About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the editor of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom, winner of the 2017 Washington Prize, Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in such places as The Awl, Berkeley Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Cimarron, Gargoyle, The Journal, New American Writing, The New Orleans Review, Prelude, Raritan, Seneca Review, So to Speak, Verse, Verse Daily, and VOLT.

G. C. Waldrep

Exodus

—after Jean Dubuffet

You could have said flame but you did not.
You could have said roof but did not.
You could have said light-bearing roof
beneath which a house crouches
you could have crushed pearls into powder
you could have struck a match.
You could have said prayer but you did not.

Twombly

parallel descending motions
“insatiable little gardens”

a machine holds the tongue
by its root

 

it’s you, you’re the machine

—line 2 is quoted from Friederike Mayröcker, Études, trans. Donna Stonecipher

Poor Souls’ Light

where & what is green
the bone strikes, honeycombed
frost-crowned perigee
 

 
the womb has no bone
runs the thief’s rhymed ecology

& therefore no secret solace
 
 
 
I profess my blue coin
in the tine-orchard, my book
set into the crux
of the most ancient testimony

G.C. Waldrep’s most recent books are feast gently (Tupelo, 2018), winner of the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and The Earliest Witnesses, forthcoming from Tupelo and Carcanet (in the UK) in January 2021. Newer work has appeared in APR, Poetry, Paris Review, New England Review, Yale Review, Iowa Review, Colorado Review, New American Writing, Conjunctions, etc. Waldrep lives in Lewisburg, Pa., where he teaches at Bucknell University and edits the journal West Branch.

Tony Trigilio

Aristotle Thrills the Fissure Step

Aristotle thrills the fissure step, chasing great caribou
inside the pretend delicatessen. Southward, hoard
of the modern uprising: an aesthete whose sacrosanct
observance prickles the highest vanes of clamor can be

explained to thousands. My maladjustment chalked up
to workstations and candelabra. But the desperado inside
my Outlook calendar is an ecumenical etching, a summer-
intern muckraker, an elongated schoolmaster gradually

broadened to make the ingénue fall through the sofa
laughing. The first budgets of the twenty-first century:
the poke, the nub, their neo-liberalism. Palindrome and
seabird. The dominant social group exhausts itself.

“Spontaneity” replaced by “constraint” in ever less
disguised and indirect forms, in outright police measures.

We Should’ve Known Swindlers Can Pose as Subterraneans

But we persist, calling it a veranda.
In Europe, bicycles grow from the flutter.
Irrational bankers soften the fun
surrounded by shinier lightning.
This traditional, popular conception
of the world is unimaginatively
called “instinct,” though it is a primitive
and elementary historical acquisition.
Frugal parents from Soviet Florida
bicker in fumy saloons assumed
venomous because of their fused anthers.
We should’ve known swindlers can pose
as subterraneans. Our single-genital
arbiters grossly oversimplified it for us.

The Seat, the Charlatan, the #Latergram

The seat, the charlatan, the #latergram:
curator dolls sink reasonably well.
Can you blame us for wanting to gull
the great money—the only orthodoxy
was the newspaper, which at the moment
revealed itself inept. This never became
the platform for new organic policy.
We learned to entertain ourselves with

our thrills. The fairground must be a nut-
house of umbrellas to get what we want.
Reapers, mutation, internets: it takes a few
journalists to make good melodrama happen.
Love is the fence we build around someone
who arouses the pest we spend for tingles.

Tony Trigilio’s most recent poetry collections are Proof Something Happened (Marsh Hawk Press, forthcoming 2021) and Ghosts of the Upper Floor (BlazeVOX [books], 2019). His selected poems, Fuera del Taller del Cosmos, was published in 2018 by Guatemala’s Editorial Poe (translated by Bony Hernández). He is a Professor of Creative Writing/Poetry at Columbia College Chicago.

Thaddeus Rutkowski

“Get A Life”

While riding my bicycle, I see a man step into the street in front of me. I swing around him—I don’t slow so he can pass. He sees me roll close, and when he is within earshot he says, “Get a light.” Either that, or he says, “Get a life.”

I’m in a hurry. I have a twenty-minute ride before I get to the bridge. It’s dark already, but my red taillight is on. I can’t see it, but it must be blinking in a steady strobe pattern, warning drivers to stay back.

The man couldn’t have seen my taillight—he’s wrong that I need one. As for a life, maybe I need to get one. Maybe I should find a way not to have to ride my bike everywhere, in daylight and darkness, in good weather and bad. Maybe that’s what this ticked-off man was trying to tell me.

I come to an intersection where the avenue forks. I want to go straight, but doing so would mean cutting in front of any vehicle behind me. The traffic lights don’t work in concert here: The green shows on one side of the street before it signals “Go” on the other side. I roll ahead anyway, but when I reach the median, I can’t go any farther. Traffic passes in front of me, so I end up in the middle of the street, in a traffic lane. A package-delivery truck comes up beside me, and the driver yells out his open door, “Red light, man!”

A woman rolls toward me, ringing her bell. She’s working her handlebar button frantically. “Get out of my way!” she yells.

A man on a bicycle passes me from behind and heads toward the woman. When he gets next to her, he reaches out and says, “Wrong way!”

“Don’t touch me!” she says.

Minutes later, I hear the squawk of a siren behind me, then see the blue and red lights of a police car. I hear through a loudspeaker, “Pull over,” but I don’t think it means me—there are plenty of other vehicles on the street.

I make it about a block before the police car comes to a stop ahead of me.

I ride my bicycle around the cruiser, and it quickly gives chase. “Stop right there,” the driver says through his open window.

I park on the street as the officer approaches. “You went through a red light,” he says. “Why did you do that?”

I have no doubt I ran the light, but I don’t know why. Maybe I was looking for oncoming traffic, not at the light. But I don’t want to start a conversation. Any exchange might seem rude, and rudeness would lead to arrest, detainment, and penalty.

“I didn’t realize I went through until you told me,” I say.

“Do you have ID?” the officer asks.

I must not be responding quickly enough, so he says sharply, “ID! Ten hut!”

I come to attention and give him my driver’s license and a card with a photo.

“Do you have two licenses? Is one of these fake?”

“No, one is not a license.”

“Wait here,” he says as he gets back into his car.

Rain is falling as I step onto the sidewalk. My bike balances on its kickstand. Cars pass the police car obediently.

I’m sure I’ll get a ticket, not only for running a red light, but for responding to an order too slowly. I’m guessing the fine will be hundreds of dollars. I could appeal, but I would have to go to court. Which court would that be? Does the local traffic court have a bicycle division? Will the judge be on my side? The cops won’t change their story, and the judge might think that everything a cop says is true.

The arresting officer returns and says, “Your record is clean, so I’m letting you go.”

I stop at every red light on the route to the bridge. I have to cover about three miles before I reach the ramp. The traffic lights slow me down, though I’m still in a hurry.

On the bridge, there are no intersections. I cannot be stopped for proceeding illegally. But the hill is steep. I pedal slowly as I approach the first platform. I almost cannot move forward, but I don’t stop. Near the top of the ramp someone has painted graffiti on the pavement: “Sarah2, Marry Me,” with a superscript “2.” I don’t know what the “2” means. Is this the second Sarah to receive a proposal? Or is she Sarah Squared? Maybe she is a super Sarah. On the other side of the peak, sadder words are spaced at even intervals: “Entropy,” “Self-Obsession,” “Mediocrity,” “Boredom,” “Conflict,” “Revolution.”

I’m coasting fast as I approach the exit, faster than the cars in their lane beside me. I squeeze the brake handles, then release them. I do not use the “death grip”—the motion that would engage the brakes at the risk of my life. The path narrows as I come to the street. I have to get through a space in a wall and ease over a bump. When I pass through the last obstacle, I will be more or less home.

Thaddeus Rutkowski is the author of seven books, most recently Tricks of Light, a poetry collection. His novel Haywire won the Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s members’ choice award, and his memoir Guess and Check won the Electronic Literature bronze award for multicultural fiction. He teaches at Medgar Evers College and the West Side YMCA in New York. He received a fiction writing fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Lesle Lewis

You Go That Way

I turn the heat on and off a thousand times.

I make anti-gravity moves.

The mouths of the dead fall open.

Let’s let these things be by themselves, not goose-to-goose, duck-to-duck, dog-to-dog, person-to-person, civilization-to-wild, open-to -sanctuary.

Not bandages to names.

But to be methodical, to determine plausibility, to draw a puff.

Field meets field, one object meets another, one objection.

And papers, window cakes, fish tanks, donuts, hallucinated cartoons.

Not to mention the bicycle repair, bottle tipsy, rolls, locks, sailboat muses, leads, cones, a suitable caravan, sockets, easels, republics, daubs, naps, and miracle bambinos.

Be brave and smart little mouse.

You are someone of importance.

“Years and Years Went By”

Hopscotch, drugs, and Poppins.

Years and years went by.

Canyon, pool, and pothole.

Years and years went by.

The pond bubbled up and burped a stink.

The girls laughed on the porch.

Is it not possible to float in an infinite present?

Let’s talk about this now before it’s too late and two hour wars become three hundred years.

A Woman Visits a Woman

Morning light longs for itself, longs over the sea.

The moon over the ruins, the television and the remote, three stars, careless talk.

Men work outside and clocks tick the seconds by.

It’s not the anguish of illness.

Not the swelling, drooping, hanging, dangling water or hair.

It might be after-the-fact useful.

During, it flounders.

The earth turns and opens its mouth.

The hope is that this can do that.

Lesle Lewis’s books include Small Boat, Landscapes I & II, lie down too, A Boot’s a Boot, and her new book Rainy Days on the Farm. She lives in New Hampshire.

Suejin Jo

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Artist’s Statement
As an immigrant, my work deals with the inner journey between the physical and mental landscapes of Korea where I grew up and the Western world where I have spent most of my adult life. Migration as it applies to all living creatures, including humans, is close to my heart as a subject. At Westhampton Beach, I have watched endless lines of Monarch butterflies trying to head south, fighting the strong ocean winds turning them around. It takes only a few seconds for these tiny creatures to realize something is wrong and turn themselves back to continue on their journey. I am reminded of Sebastian in Tennessee Williams’ “Suddenly Last Summer.” I have seen God!

My painting process is not unlike the Monarchs’ journey. I am seeking the heart of the matter, the deepest places my emotion carries me. Often I do not know which form this will take. But I know if it is a wrong direction when I lay down my strokes, shapes, and colors. Often this takes many trials and errors. But every hour I spend with a canvas takes me closer to the essence of what I want to say. Accidents along the way often turn out to be the right path. I think of Lee Krasner saying she got up in the morning thinking she would do a green painting but at the end of the day it became a purple painting.

I care about the picture surface. For many years I used oil and dry pigment, which required me to wear a mask and be very careful not to inhale the powder. After a decade I had to give this up for health reasons as well as the difficulty of storing and exhibiting without damage. Although I miss the deep yet clear surface yielded by the kneading of the powder into the oil paint, I have come to appreciate the way acrylic and oil paint often simultaneously create an interesting picture surface.

Suejin Jo is a Korean-born abstract painter based in New York City. She studied with Stamos and Vytlacil at the Art Students League, winning a McDowell Award juried by Richard Pousette D’art and Romare Bearden. For many years, Jo painted with a unique medium of oil and dry pigment using the process of “inlay” like Korean potters of the eleventh century. Helen Harrison of The New York Times described Jo’s painting as having “the character of an ancient wall painting.” She is the recipient of a number of awards, including the Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Exhibition Award, and has exhibited nationally and internationally. Jo’s most recent solo show, Migration_Passages, opened at the John Molloy Gallery in New York City in March, 2020, but ended up in quarantine as a result of the pandemic. Her work is held in many public and private collections, including the Library of Congress and the WTC Memorial Museum. The US State Department selected Jo’s painting “Pontchartrain” to be included in its 2012 desk calendar “Homage to American Women Artists.”

Jeanne Jaffe


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Artist’s Statement
Inspired by an interest in anthropology, mythology, and psychology, my work explores how identity is forged from early pre-verbal experience through the later influences of language and culture.

In my earlier sculpture, I give concrete form to intangible sensations and barely remembered bodily experiences. This is accomplished by creating hybrid forms of mixed origins of experience – fusions of animate and inanimate worlds, simultaneously familiar yet strange. Body fragments, vegetative processes, and microscopic life fuse, mutate, and morph, and the resulting objects invite recognition while remaining mutable, suggestive, and indeterminate. Visceral experiences of longing, repulsion, fear, loss, curiosity, and discovery are elicited.

In my more recent installations such as “Little Red Riding Hood as a Crime Scene,” “Elegy for Tesla,” and “T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets,” popular folktales, history, and literature are reimagined through a contemporary lens and made into multi-sensory environments. In these installations, sculpture, videos, interactive elements, and animation create a space for exploring the implications of these known narratives and for reimagining new perspectives.

Most recently I am working on a stop motion animation, “Alice in Dystopia,” a retelling of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. In this version, Alice and the Rabbit fall down the wrong rabbit hole into the contemporary world of 2020, with all of its environmental and societal ills, where the characters must find a way to confront the current crises and offer hope for renewal and change.

In all of my work different signifying systems of image, motion, language, and sound intertwine, highlighting and allowing us to reexamine different aspects of our internal and external experiences, the stories we have been told, and the assumptions we have internalized.

How we navigate multi layered experience, where signification and understanding is being endlessly reshaped, and how we create meaning and self-determination from the cacophony of sensation, memory, myth, and cultural history is the subject of all my work.

Jeanne Jaffe is a multi-disciplinary artist and a frequent visiting artist at Xian Academy of Fine Arts in China who lives in Florida with her husband and parrot Lilly. She is the recipient of grants from the Gottlieb Foundation, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, NEA, Virginia Groot Foundation, and Mid Atlantic/NEA, among others. Her work has been exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art Museum, Delaware Art Museum, Michener Art Museum, Royal Scottish Academy of Edinburgh, Seokdang Museum of Art in Korea, and elsewhere. Reviews of her work have appeared in Art in America, The New York Times, and Sculpture Magazine.

Hiroyuki Hamada

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Artist’s Statement

Artists are blessed with that rare moment when everything disappears in our studios except for our works and ourselves — when we feel the profound connection to what we have worked on as it melts with the world, space and time. Such an occasion is indeed very rare but that is what I strive to capture when I struggle in my studio. As our world continues to be subservient to the hierarchy of money and violence, I believe the exploration of artists to perceive the world reaching beyond the framework of corporatism, colonialism and militarism continues to be a crucial part of being human.

Hiroyuki Hamada (b. 1968, Tokyo) has exhibited throughout the United States and in Europe. He has been awarded various residencies including those at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, the Edward F. Albee Foundation/William Flanagan Memorial Creative Person’s Center, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the MacDowell Colony. Hamada’s work has been featured in various publications, including Stokstad and Cothren’s widely used art history text book Art: A Brief History (Pearseon). In 1998 he was the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant; he is a two time recipient of New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships (2009 and 2017), and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2018. Hamada lives and works in East Hampton, New York.

Gloria Frym

Sense

Some people don’t know what needs to be done. Perhaps they can’t sense what needs to be done. Montaigne says that it is only through the senses that we know. Such people who don’t sense what needs to be done don’t do the thing that needs doing and avoid knowing about it. There are others who know what needs to be done, always know. They sense the needing, such as the dirty metal ring staining the wood floor that the base of the old pole lamp has made over time until one day, though previously unseen, the etching of metal on wood is visible. As if carved. Greasy, even. Though it’s not. It’s solid. If it were greasy, well. The viewer of this ring, reclining in a recliner some five feet away, gets up and repositions the old pole lamp so that it once again covers its own orbit. The viewer is just too tired to make a fuss; and besides, he rationalizes, who cares, I’m old, I’m busy, I’m young, I have better things to do. One who sees clearly could be deemed responsible for remedying the situation, the needing that something should be done to remove the dirty metal ring from the wood floor and prevent the base of the lamp from carving further scars on the living wood. After all, rust never dies, just goes deeper. Living wood, haven’t you heard the floorboards speak, the entire frame speak at night? But, and after imagining several possible solutions or not, probably not, the reclining one takes the nap he had started before interrupted by the unsightly circle eating into the pale oak floor.

Faced with such knowledge, other people know what needs to be done, imagine it, and do it. Their first attempts may fail. He thought he could simply spray a cleaning solvent on the floor to eliminate the grease. However, the stain is not grease. The second attempt is floor polish. He rubs it in well. But the stain does not disappear. Then he cuts out a circle of carpet pad from a nearby rug and places it under the lamp base. This he is sure will prevent the stain from spreading. However, he is in a hurry, his thoughts have already leapt beyond his perceptions, he takes no measurements of the carpet pad, just cuts out a jagged circle smaller than the diameter. When he places the scrappy pad under the lamp base it wobbles. He makes a mental note to do it again more carefully, with exact measurements. But he doesn’t. He forgets. Time passes. Seasons change. He moves to Portland
or Sweden to throw pots.

Another member of the family, or occupant of the household (whose precise roles shall remain unnamed for anonymity, to avoid stereotypic gender assumptions), notices the circle made by the lamp. Didn’t M buy that for $15, so long ago, at a flea market or garage sale in the last century, when such events offered the contents of a garage or grandmother’s castoffs collecting nothing but dust and spiders in an unventilated attic, or the recently acquired products of a journey to a country that produced tribal textiles, basketry, beadwork, etc. At the very least, the material remains of a marriage the former wife of which sits on a folding chair next to her youngest child who beckons other children his age to visit his collection of miniature action heroes. “Two for $5,” he says shyly, to the first looker.

This member of the family or the household endowed with historical memory unplugs their earphones, whips out their self-retracting tape measure, and measures the diameter of the stain. My Business is Circumference, they recall with a smile, and note the dimension. The next day they visit a hardware emporium. Such places, with names like Passed Time, Time on My Side, Kingfisher, Do It Best, Bricorama, carry everything one can imagine for home improvement, which, in a country of dreams, is practically self-improvement. They ask for a piece of felt cut to a specific size. A clerk behind the counter cheerfully inquires as to the “color of the felt.” “It doesn’t matter,” they—the person who knows what needs to be done—reply. “What sort of glue do you recommend for adhering felt to ah . . . .old metal?” The cheerful clerk senses hesitation, knows it through her senses of course. “Brass?” she offers. “Oh yes, that’s it, or it’s pot metal that looks like old brass.” The clerk leads the person who knows what needs to be done to the appropriate aisle of the store, embarks upon an explanation of glues, which stick to what and for how long, the price of each, and though the person who knows what needs to be done—this has become a bulky assignation we could acronym to TPWKWNTBD, which hasn’t a single vowel and seems impossible to pronounce, not unlike the Hebrew alphabet, which also relies strictly on consonants, so we’d better shorten it to TPW, perhaps a bit corporate, something one would notice on the side of a truck in traffic, akin to the menacing CVS or KGB or PMS—enjoys details and specifics, is tiring of glues, though finds the expertise and bright visage of the clerk suddenly enchanting.

They both blurt out nearly simultaneously a similar thought: Why don’t you/I bring in the lamp! TPW knows by now that the lamp is brass but wants to 1) get the job done right? 2) see the cheerful clerk again? Who knows and who cares about this part! TPW rushes home, etc. The lamp is brass of course, and so TPW returns to the hardware emporium to purchase both the perfectly cut circle of felt and the appropriate glue. Whatever happens next is collateral, and though may well be the story that begins the rest of two lives—that has nothing or everything to do with the simple observation which began this rumination. We can establish, however, a “bond” between TPW and the job they set out to accomplish. We’re done now.

Recycle

One transgression against the self may beget another. This is evident in persons on strict diets who take a second piece of cake then a third, deceiving only themselves. She threw the book into the recycle, she said, for its own good. Of course I’m against censorship, she insisted, but this piece of shit was remaindered and anyway, it was a galley proof. The late author was a famous experimentalist but these narratives were the awful mean-spirited dregs of his late life, good for nothing but the dump. He said nasty things about the physiognomy of old people. He reviled the few friends he had left. However, the guilt of throwing away a book nagged at her. It burns me, she said, that the book was even published. She had no such guilt about another book on gems and precious stones which arrived in her mailbox without her having ordered it. It was nothing she was interested in, so she put it in the bathroom where it sat for years, along with 501 Slovokian Verbs, until she finally dumped both into the recycle.

When she was a child, her father taught her never to desecrate books, never to write in them, fold their pages down, break their spines—all of which she began to do once in the world on her own. First it began with pencil—checking off certain passages, even underlining them. Then as the prohibition gradually lessened in her she took up the pen and would bracket sections. In the 1950s, during the “Red Scare,” her mother, not a recipient of the same training, found a box of “Communist” books in the garage just after they’d moved into a new house. She ripped them apart and put them into the incinerator, only to be severely chastised by her husband who came from a long line of Torah scholars most of whom had died in the Holocaust. A book is a holy thing, her sad father muttered, watching the bonfire. It was the first time she ever heard him use the word holy, as he was not just a secularist but given his history, he had no use for god.

When she initially began to read what she eventually trashed, this writer had high hopes for the book and thought it might give her ideas. But the only idea that she had was to get rid of it. First she tried to leave it in a restaurant, but the waitress came running after her. Then she tried to find a trash receptacle and there was none in sight. The one thought in her mind was that no one else would or should read this book because they might get the idea that its lack of merit was ‘experimental.’ Au contraire, it was lousy writing. After all, she told me, we know good writing from bad, don’t we? The back cover said that the author worked on it until his death but she joked that it must have killed him when he finished the last word. Crossing the street against a red light with the book in her hand, she said, nearly killed her.

She was determined to rid herself of this book not just because it repulsed her. Ultimately, she felt that it tarnished the reputation of an otherwise interesting writer, and if she could, she would buy up all the copies of this now-out-of-print abomination and throw them into the recycle too.

And yet, she confided, if it was so easy to throw away something an artist had put himself into, might it not start a habit? Might she not get rid of the dreadful painting that depicted a scene out of Things Fall Apart, a black man hanging, which a student gave her in lieu of a final paper? Or the imposing portrait of an artichoke fifty times the size of the real thing as a wedding present that arrived in the mail fully framed? Would such actions precipitate a clean up of all the books and artworks and odds and ends that no longer held meaning for her, even offended her sensibility? Would she accelerate her desire to rid the world of bad writing? Would she actively seek out other books like the vigilante “book ripper” of Herne Bay, England, who targets books in a store whose proceeds go to charity, books out of sight of the cash register, particularly in the true crime section, who rips their pages in half and puts them back on the shelves? Was destroying what one deemed a bad text the gateway to further moral lapses? A future of dangerous infidelities to one’s soul? After all, it had to start somewhere.

Gloria Frym lives in Berkeley. Her most recent book is The True Patriot, a collection of proses, from Spuyten Duyvil. She is the author of short story collections, Distance No Object (City Lights Books) and How I Learned (Coffee House Press), as well as many volumes of poetry. She is professor in the Graduate Writing Program and the Writing & Literature Program at California College of the Arts.

Connor Fisher

Autobiography III

Sometimes the body smells a little
off, though we prefer not to talk about
those moments, and sometimes we would do well
to admit professional failures. Even shepherds
lose their sheep and with them the
wool that wraps the animals and what fatty,
sweet milk each ewe makes, brimming, as
it is, with gentle, delicate globes of fat.

But I have never been a shepherd.

My urge was only to join together
the small pieces of whatever strange
object you chose to muster up: an article, a
partridge, the sweat built up under your arms, a
child, the image of the moon in water, some
notes scribbled down then forgotten, then lost.

The Shore

Don’t ask me to go there again.

The only objects I prize are memories of shorelines: me in
high-waisted jeans writing postcards to old students, small hints
of familiarity among the misspelled names, but in the end postage
ran out. I chatted with the mayor’s daughter. Her in a little hat.

Later the story resumed disguised
as the old novelist’s shopping list.

There’s always a rhythm, isn’t
there, that keeps us coming back, that reminds us
of a conversation’s subtle momentum.
But the shore has become disconcerting.

As if on cue, rats started to creep
in. The willows leaned closer for a view. Their
branches sported retinas, not leaves, never
spring-green buds.

That’s all right by me. I never
mind the mess, the noise, the waste.

North Georgia as Palatal Sound

The Oconee river, here       to Uvalda————

Below       I ground beans;
frozen in the Piedmont       or Plateau.

And still the coffee       keeps cold:
a blessing beside lilies,       the beach.
The      poem      comes      slowly;           wasp at a
window.       Writing       a
daily practice
like               your first      story.

We       like the weather hot————
we prefer to see       the sky       directly————
that is,       the old afternoon          blab
turned sour.     So we prefer     our
consonants firm———— dental,       not wilted.

No news,           no horses; they          lag while    a
mountain       moved on       before them.
Evening in the blue ridge.           Sun’s down.
Like all the rest, we say.

Connor Fisher is the author of the chapbooks The Hinge (Epigraph Magazine, 2018) and Speculative Geography (Greying Ghost Press, forthcoming 2020). He has an MFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Ph.D. in Creative Writing and English from the University of Georgia. His poetry and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in Typo, the Colorado Review, Tammy, Cloud Rodeo, and Denver Quarterly.

Darren Demaree

From The Field Party

The Field Party #1

 

in the feeder of ohio the fires burn with bodies as well as they burn with the furniture that once held the bodies it doesn’t matter if it’s summer & you can feel the heat from the two-lane the fires will be lit all night long we raise our children to track those gatherings to bring the drinks to those gatherings to bring the cord and the blood in the cord to not fear becoming part of that fire to know that the fire is ohio to laugh in spite of ohio as it masquerades as fate and then becomes fate in a twist once it has you on the bench by the fire staring at the fire feeding fall with the fire knowing that there will be no crisp without the fire without your body without your willingness to see at night far past the rational hours the midwest always claims to be all the hours

The Field Party #2

 

the guns are tucked into the field party they stare at us from the trucks the bikes the toyotas the regardless they’re always pointed at something which is always held by someone three times i’ve seen a bullet enter the fire & never return three times i’ve seen the casualty claim it wasn’t the bullet that entered their ribs we prefer the lie

Emily As We Let the Faucets Run

Teeth don’t sing,
but they know
all of the songs

& the rub
to vibration
of all of the songs

& since Emily
is only perfect
when she’s wasteful

I wait to hear
the water clear
the pipes in summer

for no other reason
than to displace
the music that runs

through my head
& echoes past my
teeth. All I want

is for her to give
me that dedication
of water

that we do not collect
that we do not use
except to quiet

my intentions for her.
She can erase me.
It’s an actual gift.

Emily As I’ve Offered

to bless each cheek swipe
as an ending

apparently, I’m not
to bury any part of her

it’s the sort of promise
that plants me with history

Darren C. Demaree is the author of fourteen poetry collections, most recently Unfinished Murder Ballads (October 2020, Backlash Press). He is the recipient of a 2018 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, the Louise Bogan Award from Trio House Press, and the Nancy Dew Taylor Award from Emrys Journal. He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry. He is currently living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.