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.

Etty Yaniv

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Artist’s Statement

How we form narratives out of patterns that recur daily and how we process diurnal time in relation to memory and place have preoccupied me since early on. In my artwork I imagine multiple ways in which narratives may form out of fragmented knowledge by constructing and deconstructing pieces of repetitive documentation.

In a process–oriented approach I use a wide range of materials from my studio and from every-day life — such as found objects, drawings, paintings, and photographs which depict autobiographical fragments from my environment. Together, these disjointed pieces form a holistic image, widely varied in scale — from small scale collage paintings to monumental immersive installations. In either format I aim to create hybrid mindscapes in which the viewer is placed somewhere between the real and the imagined, the organic and the artificial, landscape and topography.

While on the whole I frequently allude to the fragility of our Eco system and complexity in our civilization, the layered fragments are like coded messages or excavated memories which present new clues. Each layer documents a particular moment in time and only up close the viewer may discover the content underneath, invited to choose their own perspective.

Etty Yaniv was born in Tel Aviv, Israel and currently works on her art, art writing, and curatorial projects in Brooklyn. Her work includes drawings, collaged paintings and immersive dimensional installations which merge photography, drawing, and painting. Yaniv exhibited her work in solo and group shows at galleries and museums nationally and internationally, including The Haifa Museum of Art, Israel, State Silk Museum, Tbilisi, Georgia, Newark Museum of Art, NJ, Torrance Art Museum, CA, AIR gallery, Brooklyn, Long Island University, Brooklyn, and Leipziger Baumwollspinnerie, Leipzig Germany. She holds BA in Psychology and Literature from Tel Aviv University, BFA from Parsons School of Design, and MFA from SUNY Purchase. She has been writing for several NYC art blogs and recently she has initiated Art Spiel, her own fine art blog. In 2018 she was awarded the Two Trees subsidized studio space Program in Dumbo.

Daniel Uncapher

Vanishing Point

Sam afraid of Sam the sandman, bound handy, blue flowers underfoot. Winter exposure, and if yes smaller rooms than to each to her or to her own, colder weather. Mask collector: assassin mask, drinker mask, milk-drinker this for that, wealthier or not, unhealthy human habits in unmasked faces and she called it Samson, thrasher-in-the-dust. Sam the Samnite, fifth prefect of Judaea year 26 killer-Christ unemancipated, shorter winter less than magic, Christmas notwithstanding not alone, without that open spanning night and in that hot side-of-the-road anticipation, black forest wall to no avail, without nothing. She sat at the foot of her bed playing video games with herself in this imaginary state-of-mind, flight or free, full of boundary, and they woke that night the aggressor, sickwards pants forward, old maid the confessor. Soft looker so-called the parable, me about me, for example the prodigal son not one she understood well at all; it remained a mystery even as she came to terms with far more impenetrable myths. Went to play felt distinct new feelings. The effects of candles in cold spaces, worn muslin, relentlessly didactic, audio player, cold smell of single panes — replace them, glazier! Special benthic layer, line behind her and her world of her childlike her awe, so broken, sources of angst and despair, nothing connects, non-adhesive, disconnected tissue, nothing seemed connected then, it was constant anguish. Meaning without mark, presence without trace, no motion, full falter the faltering forward, on — so on trouncing downward, overdrawn. The subjugation of the Samnites and Samson go down without grace. Safe without skin in the toxic secretion, the suprastructure of mappable worlds, surface-reminiscence. She set herself apart by the movements she had no control of, the tectonic plates, the arrangement of atoms, the circumlocution of planets and stars. Mispronounced names, no correctors, non-reciprocal faith. The difference between an encyclopedia a reference guide a bibliography, hagiograph, macrophage. The defining quality of things: 10,000 performative verbs in a dictionary. Take her to task. Dressage, dancing horses, arrow-time. The message was clear: Samson Option, world obliterator. Two already, more to come; something to eat, something too sweet, something eaten, something weak. Ships crashing from the sky. Dead Philistines, empty coast, dry canopies. The parable of the prodigal son went on undeciphered. Nothing changed in her heart. She reached out if blindly in every direction but alas just two hands, just two directions, two simultaneities. Hubble-like hyperopia — the vision ends at reception. Samnite to Samson, collapser of pillars, under rocks now Sam, hypnogenic, surpassing Sam no longer of the world; only Samsara, the surpassive self, the stepping towards eschaton, Samsara who doesn’t exist, non-exaltant. The fruit has been picked from the plant and boiled to a reduction, the silhouette flattened into a single beam of asymptotic narrowing light no one washes, there is nothing to clean, no glom, no magnanimity, there is only Samsara, borrowed light, simply machine, only Sam sans Samson, sand without grain, waste no receptacle, and Sam as Samsara, who doesn’t exist.

Daniel Uncapher is the Sparks Fellow at Notre Dame, where he received his MFA. His work has appeared in Chicago Quarterly Review, Tin House Online, Baltimore Review, Hawai’i Pacific Review, and others.

Buzz Spector

in modern America (2014)

important parts of religious experience (2014)

not even (2015)

the eternal mystery in pictures (2014)

the shadows’ touch . . . (2016)

Artist’s Statement

For the last five years I’ve been making text/image sequences of poetry employing found language on the dust jackets of hardcover books. I clip the last lines of blurbs to compose poetry. These last words, so to speak, are vestiges of writing which is itself deliberately ordinary in function. We are all too aware of the deception of buying a book after reading a blurb more engaging than the volume it’s wrapped around. I’m taking up the challenge of writing as collage from such meager shards, bringing variations of color, typography, and bits of images into the process.

Buzz Spector works in a wide range of mediums including sculpture, photography, printmaking, book arts, and installation. His art makes frequent use of the book, both as subject and object, and is concerned with relationships between public history, individual memory, and perception.

Marvin Shackelford

Far As Forever Gets You

They ran quiet, like the murmur of news on TV in the next room, but grew louder and nearer and finally exploded on the front lawn. Across the street, three police cruisers pulled into the neighbor’s yard. Kirk watched the last circle around, front tire edging into his grass, before lining up with the others. Lights flashing, sirens on a moment longer and then clipped. No porch light, none inside, the cops with flashlights looking along the eaves and knocking at the door. A Christmas play gone bad. Kirk tried to enjoy it, to imagine what was happening inside. Wouldn’t say murder, might believe a domestic dispute. He didn’t know those neighbors, barely anyone else nearby, but everyone fought. Things went south. If he’d been able to sleep, if they’d woke him, he’d have been upset, but he’d only been lying in the dark. His own disasters, plenty to think about.

They wouldn’t have come like this if things weren’t bad. They required real problems. He thought about dialing in an emergency, going over when they wrapped up, sneaking into an unattended car. They talked on their walkies, and one of the officers disappeared into the house. Kirk knew more about disappearing from a house but was unsurprised how the man was swallowed up, a child back into the womb. Flashlight beam and all. He wanted to call out, tell him to draw his weapon or run away, but it didn’t matter. People always came out, left a place as black as they found it and moved on in a squeal of light and wailing that sent a man deaf, ringing with what was lost. Okay, someone sooner or later said. Okay, Kirk said. Done here.

They eventually bundled a woman out. White nightgown, frosty breath, hands wringing and cuffed politely at her waist. A little gray in her hair. Calm. They stopped on the porch, the cops and the woman speaking at length around the gathered lights.

There’s no going back, she must have said. You take to the world and empty your soul into it.

Do you know how far we’ve come? an officer wants to know.

Far as forever until now gets you.

Ever light this place up?

I’m as lit as a long nighttime gets, honey. When I’m gone you’re still here. And here I am.

One of the men stepped back inside for her coat. Kirk gave up his watch, tried the bed again, lay with a red and blue winter throbbing through the windows. His insides stove up and broke. Doors shut. He knew what was gone, who they’d come for next. The house groaned around him, empty. He wasn’t sleeping.

April Fool

This year I won’t reward sleep. I won’t eat until I’m awake. I won’t drift when we’re sitting to dinner, when the girl asks what we’d like to start with this evening. I won’t have that last nine-minute dream the alarm clock makes. I won’t remember it anyway.

* * *

I will turn my body to steam at every opportunity. I’ll gather with the desert waters hidden about our home. The day will have to lift us loose with the heavy prybar of its length. Overhead, still distant and mooning down at us, they seed rain in the sky. It will only wash us loose of our fossils.

* * *

Along the road into town I collect soda cans, beer bottles, wildflowers. Most of it I dump beneath the Interstate overpass. Neatly piled. The semis and long traffic dive miles down the valley and roar through the shitty grins of my treasure. I take the cleanest, longest-stemmed dandelions home. You say you’ll be smiling all summer.

Marvin Shackelford is author of the collections Endless Building (poems) and Tall Tales from the Ladies’ Auxiliary (stories, forthcoming). His work has, or soon will have, appeared in Kenyon Review, Hobart, Wigleaf, Longleaf Review, and elsewhere. He resides in Southern Middle Tennessee, earning a living in agriculture.

David Rock


Homunculus Thinks I’m a Sweet Ride

Dennett says that, when the dualism is removed, what remains of Descartes’ original model amounts to imagining a tiny theater in the brain where a homunculus (small person) . . . performs the task of observing all the sensory data projected on a screen at a particular instant, making the decisions and sending out commands. (Wikipedia)

A sunny summer day near the Somme.
A golden smudge marks the foreplay
of Chernobyl’s sordid aurora.

The world hurtles through that glow-hole
from Mogadishu to the silver-stunned
Aymaras of Potosí.
But don’t blame me—
I’m just a pretty face.
Rock in Rio. Spinoza’s boulder.
I have these walls, these quality qualms.

The iguanas of Uxmal bask in the sun
from twilight to twilight and rarely
cast a shadow.
Meanwhile
I’m just idling at the light
all wise and shiny in my saffron suit,
in my rust-colored robe.

Call me the Cold Lotus. See: Homunculus
can hardly fall asleep at the wheel,
I’m so beautiful.

Homunculus Regrets That I Spent a Month in Europe and Waited Until I Got to the Salt Lake City Airport to Buy Souvenirs for the Kids

By the time I hit the road, the war was almost over.
The animals had all been named—
call me a hero.

And I was one of Circe’s favorite pigs.
That was my island when she had me in her arms.
And you know it’s true.
Say, is that you—
my resurgent nurse,
my beautiful teacher, old and wise?

You taught me where to sit. You taught me
to wash my hands, to wipe my nose,
the one I keep to the grindstone.

(This is not the modest millstone
of the unindicted tied around my neck.)

You wiped my tears.
You made me forget

what I was going to say.
Oh, I remember:

Sometimes I arrive home and forget how I got there.

Sometimes I get in my car and just sit there,
pretending to be furious.

Homunculus Evaluates my Artistic Incorruptibility in Terms of the 900,000 People Who Starved to Death in the Siege of Leningrad

There is no healing here,
no useful miracle.

There is no I-Hop aroma
of coffee and maple syrup
to make one’s mouth water—

just a faint odor of roses.

Just Between Homunculus and Me, Would It Have Killed Yahweh to Let Moses Enter the Promised Land?

Right makes might if only, my one and only,
the sources of miracles have all been cited:
fire, blood, brine.

To each man his Horeb from which to fall
and found a dynasty of desperation. The tang
of plagues: fiduciary proof

that God exists and He’s working for Me now.
Ah, the throbbing quails, the burden
of Heaven’s bread.

Here is a slag-heap of cloisonné calves.
A registry of fleshpots and pans. Hardware
for a hammock swaying in the shadow

of a cloud that rarely rains.
All situations are life-and-death situations.
All stones are worthy of smiting,

inasmuch as the world could always end
but hasn’t. And it would be a shame
to bail on what’s left of a pretty good party:

all this prosperity, all this pent-up desire
hissing to mist in a leaf-storm of creeds,
oracular blurbs swirling like the Law, inscrutable

as Nefertiti’s number on a napkin, sealed
like the Ark with a kiss
of lipstick.

David Rock’s poems and translations are published or forthcoming in The Carolina Quarterly, The Laurel Review, The Bitter Oleander, The Main Street Rag, Free State Review, and other journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Latin American literature from Penn State University and currently teaches Spanish at Brigham Young University-Idaho in Rexburg.

Elizabeth Robinson

After the Flood

 

We are walking, slipping on the ice.

 

Earlier today, someone asked me,

“What stake do you have in this?”

 

Later, I ask you

“Did the flood come through here?” and you, gesturing to the expanding field:

 

“It was a fast-moving river, all water.”

 

 

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Here’s the gap,

the place where we once knew solid ground

and now is all movement—

 

Calling over the man who was flying a sign at Arapahoe and Broadway,
I handed him the thawing, sloppy food I’d carried down the flooded hill.

Stupid with trauma. All of us.

 

The loudspeakers blaring, “Leave immediately. Seek higher ground.”

But the flood didn’t simply rise from below;
it rushed down from above.

 

 

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Later, when the man suddenly shows up at the shelter

after months gone,

I hit him with a rolled up newspaper:

 

“Where have you been? You had me worried!”

 

Then we both laughed. Then

 

he’s gone again, limping in memory.

 

My attentions are crude, raw.

 

I begin to think that all attention is a form of loss

 

because it cannot create perfect reciprocity

with its focus.

 

 

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I remembered trying to cross the street and

being unable to. That current.

 

How to explain the utility of loss and fear?

 

How to explain that the fragmentary quality of my love for

 

you
and you and
you is enough,

 

even if it is as inconsistent

 

as the comings and goings of the many who

present themselves to be loved.

 

 

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The logbook says he returned, got a bus ticket,

one day when I was out sick.

 

Exhausted with the effort of paying attention,
of making present to my awareness
the ones whose presence is fundamentally
homeless.

 

Those whose presence is fundamentally unhoused.

 

What is your stake in this?

 

We love, if we love, inside every increment of error, forgetfulness, panic.

 

 

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I stammer, “I believe—my

experience—is that

there is a Divine who loves

all of us—all of it.”

You ask, “And why would some people never

experience that?”

 

Incomprehension is not always the same as doubt:

“I don’t know.”

 

 

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Walking outside in the cold with you, I do not say that I have a dying tooth and its

dying will reassert itself as pain when I am inside again, in

the warm air.

 

The weather, captive to its own movements, may freeze the ground,

but it doesn’t tell us who we are as we fall and scramble to right ourselves.

 

It doesn’t awaken pain by its warm absence.

 

 

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This partial, this fragment, this self-as-errant

blunders on.

 

The world, we may agree, is ending badly.

 

But inside despair

 

there are ameliorating coincidences.
There are pleasures. I have a loving

 

commitment

to hearing the erotic talk of the two owls

who perch on the dark peak of the garage across the street.

 

 

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A man disabled by his stutter tells me haltingly that

on the best of days he can say this much:

—he shapes his hands to a small box in the air—

 

when there is this much

—broad gesture of arms—

in his mind.

 

I lack the whole story while

the story itself corrodes or the current

carries it

out of reach.

 

I have peace only in some part as,

in passing, it attends to me.

 

 

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Despair may always be true, with its glare.

Its greedy light
blanches the surround of all color.

 

Beside or aside it, rapture has its own kind of patience,

groping in the dark.

 

I, with my keen scent, sniff it in, but am still dim, thick not knowing whether

presence is coming or going.

 

Elizabeth Robinson is the author, most recently, of Blue Heron (Center for Literary Publishing) and Rumor (Parlor Press/Free Verse Editions). Vulnerability Index is forthcoming from Ahsahta Press in 2019. With Jennifer Phelps, Robinson co-edited the critical anthology Quo Anima: innovation and spirituality in contemporary women’s poetry, which is forthcoming from University of Akron Press.

Joakim Ojanen

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Artist’s Statement

In Joakim Ojanen’s new body of work, he expands into more complex motifs and materials. Ojanen’s glazed ceramic, “Flower Eyes, Yin Yang Shirt, and Polka Dot Dress,” is a young woman in a yellow, bell-shaped, dress, who plaintively holds a vase containing a wilted thistle. Her eyes pop out of her head and morph into delicate flowers. Her dress, surrounded by flowers, features a cave-like hole, which reveals a pair of bare feet that straddle a small detached head. Ojanen has also created two large-scale bronze sculptures, multiple charcoal drawings, and several oil paintings, for the exhibition. In Ojanen’s bronze sculpture, “Bossy Bird Claimed My Nose in The Park,” a drunk and queasy park denizen awakens to find his extended Pinocchio/Giacometti nose has been taken over by a nesting bird.

Joakim Ojanen was Born in 1985, Västerås, Sweden in 1985 and lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. He received his BA in 2012 from Konstfack University College of Arts,Crafts and Design, and his MFA in 2014 from Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design.

Stephen Nelson

The Woods Are Mine

1.

Someone was walking in the woods as the train passed. It was autumn and the woods were crimson and brown. It was hot in the train so I opened a window and let the smell of autumn in. The ticket inspector came and checked my ticket. He looked grumpy and bored, not at all like the man in the woods. I had nowhere to go, so I got off at the next station and walked back to the woods. The clouds were entertaining divas. The leaves were sad songs the man hummed along to. I wondered if the man was married. Another train passed heading in the opposite direction. Someone waved at me from the middle carriage, a man walking alone in the woods. I waved back but it made me feel lonely and frustrated. My life was spinning out of control. I had never married and the girl of my dreams had three children to three different fathers. A leaf fell at my feet and I started to wipe it against my cheek. It smelled like leather so I stuffed it in my pocket and sat against a tree. I waited till twilight. I wanted people in passing trains to see me covered in leaves. I thought that might be of interest.

2.

The woods were owned by the Duke of *********, whose ancient castle hangs over the river on the other side. Sometimes I’ll walk the length of the river, stumbling over fallen trees, just to reach the ruined castle. It’s possible I was a peasant in a previous existence but I’ve never been a Duke and nothing can ever be proven. Politics is of no consequence in the woods now, although once it might have been. There is no political answer for loneliness. Under the castle, I’ll eat a sandwich I prepared at home from the last slices of a Warburton’s loaf. I sense the deer sniffing the scented air, getting closer. The Duke who hunted deer is dead now and buried in an ornate mausoleum. Some say he was murdered in his sleep by an angry peasant. I don’t know the truth about that but I want to leave a piece of my sandwich under the castle for the deer. A rainbow drops over the castle into the river. The people of the parish have never been happier, now that the Duke is dead.

3.

Deep in the woods there’s a convent, and a garden in the convent where the nuns walk and pray. I watched them from a distance, imagining we were married. One time I approached and asked the nuns to exorcise my demons. The left side of my body was a dark, damp bog. The nuns carried on rejoicing, unused to men and requests for exorcisms. Eventually I left and lay in a stream to ease the pain in my body. Everything in me was empty and rattled like an old sack of rubbish. I imagined the nuns in a shower of leaves, hoping the stream could bring some uniformity at least. My wet clothes gripped me. A train passed, rattling like an old metallic ghost. Someone saw a man lying in his clothes in a stream like a ghost. Someone else prayed.

4.

There’s a crumbling wall in a clearing in the woods. I sat on top and waited for a train to pass, wondering about the wall. Brambles grew at the foot of the wall and I kept thinking I might fall into them. Some of the brambles had been nibbled by deer. The wall was once part of a storehouse the nuns used when the war was on. I dropped from the wall and collected brambles for my journey. I was travelling back to the war. A train passed full of school kids. Can you take me back to the war, I shouted. The kids waved but some shouted weirdo and perv and some hadn’t even heard of the war. I ate the brambles and drank from a stream but only ended up back at the wall. I sat on top and knew the war was nearer than I could ever imagine.

5.

At sundown I met the man I’d seen from the train. He looked afraid and backed away into the woods as I held out my hand for him to shake. People used to call me Fox and I admit I hadn’t washed for days. My hand smelled of earth and river water and was rough like a rotting leaf. If only he knew how much I’d admired him from the train while he walked alone in the woods. I don’t have any heroes left but there’s a song I like which seems to say it all. It occurred to me I hadn’t eaten since I’d finished the Warburton’s loaf. The only way to make friends of the deer was to leave a trail of food for them. In a wave of bitterness I concluded the man had no clue there were deer in the woods and even if he saw one he’d probably be ashamed of being alone in that environment. At least in my loneliness I could reverence the deer.

Stephen Nelson is the author of several books of poetry, including a Xerolage of visual poetry called Arcturian Punctuation (Xexoxial Editions). He exhibits vispo around the world and has published poetry internationally. Find him at afterlights-vispo.tumblr.com.

Jefferson Navicky

The Butler’s Life

Mark has left for work. He said he’d send a patrol car every hour and look into a Cease & Desist. But I know none of that is necessary. The butler wouldn’t do anything to hurt me. He’s too good a servant.

The butler is out in the garden. He took up his post yesterday. He looks very dignified standing rigid among the squash. He really was born to serve. His back is so straight you could use it as a tomato stake. Black coat and tails, a white napkin folded over his forearm. His shoes, we think, must be suffering in the garden dirt and the butler won’t like that, but he’s too good a servant to abandon his post. He’s also got, we notice through the kitchen window, quite a sunburn on his bald spot. Little Daniel thinks to bring him out a baseball cap, but he, of course, refuses. Little Daniel cries when he returns inside.

It was early in our marriage when I started calling him the butler. He was simply so good at serving people, at serving me, so thoughtful, so helpful, that it seemed like a natural nickname to me. Then we had Little Daniel together and the world got small. One thing led to another, sadness upon sadness, and I met Mark at an Indians game in the beer line. Mark says there are two things that can happen to a person after a break up: you can either get better or get worse, but you can’t stay the same. You can either acknowledge the karmic rightness of what’s happening and make the best of it, or you can fight against it and make life miserable.

Some rain last night, but still the butler will not abandon his post among the squash. Mark says he’ll snap out of it, don’t worry. But I can’t help myself, I worry. I’m a professional worrier. The butler is a bit sun-faded now, which of course is not his fault. Is it me, or is he wilting a little? Still straight, but imperceptibly bent?

So I take my coffee out to the garden. I do a little weeding before I say, I release you from your service, Jeff. You can’t really do this, here, it’s not right. You’re not a butler. It’s a bit much.

I go inside to do some laundry, breathe, and when I look back out to the garden, the butler is gone. My chest almost cracks in two at his absence and at all the posts we’ve abandoned.

Moon Park

I’m going to give you a magic nose, Spoonman said and placed it over the top of the little boy’s nose. So you can smell all the smells under the smells. They were in the back seat of the car on its way to the beach.

I smell poop, the little boy said. I’m going to poop in your mouth. You’re going to eat poop.

Don’t say poop, his mother said from the passenger’s seat. It’s not nice. And it gets you all riled up.

It doesn’t matter, his father said. He’s on vacation. Let him say what he wants.

I’m going to give you a magic set of ears, so you can hear what’s really there, Spoonman said and hung them from the little boy’s ears.

I hear poop, the little boy said. There’s poop dripping out of my ears.

Okay, that’s enough, his mother said. Don’t egg him on.

For Christ’s sake, his father said. Let the kid be.

They arrived at the beach. The waves went out, came back gentle. There was a breeze like the ages. The little boy dug in the sand. He pulled his hands through the sand with a backhoe’s burden. The mother read a magazine. The father squinted at the horizon. Spoonman tried to sleep.

The little boy came up to Spoonman with a closed fist. I have something for you, he said. Close your eyes and stick out your hand.

The little boy dropped a golden tooth into Spoonman’s hand.

I found it in the sand, he said. Put it in your mouth so you can eat the magic poop.

Spoonman looked down at the golden tooth. It was scratched quite badly, but still held a buried fire.

Don’t be a pest, his father said. Go swim.

The little boy released a large sigh. I want to have magic teeth, he said, and popped the tooth into his mouth.

What did you just eat?! his mother shouted, but she didn’t get up.

With the first crunch, it sounded like he was chewing a stone. With the second, the little boy’s teeth started to give way. By the third, they were gone.

What Spoonman would remember: the little boy’s open-eyes as he spit the mealy mass of tooth shards and bloody pulp into Spoonman’s outstretched hand.

Picking through the mouth’s detritus, Spoonman found the golden tooth. He saved it. He knew the little boy would want it.

Spoonman heard the shouts. He rode in the car. They sped. How could you. Why. Luckily there’d been a pediatric dental surgeon on call. Luckily. What’s wrong with. What kind of child does.

The little boy crushed six of his teeth, three molars and a few others. Why did you keep chewing? the doctor wanted to know. The little boy didn’t answer. He looked down at his hands. The vacation was over. The mother looked at Spoonman. This is your fault.

Jefferson Navicky is the author of The Book of Transparencies (KERNPUNKT Press, December 2018) and The Paper Coast (Spuyten Duyvil). He works as the archivist for the Maine Women Writers Collection, teaches English at Southern Maine Community College, and lives on the coast of Maine with his wife and puppy.

Melissa Meyer

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Artist’s Statement

Included in this portfolio of images are works that trace the history of my interest in and artworks using collage, as well as recent collages influenced by this trajectory. My work is abstract with many visual references including: the improvisational and emotional qualities of Jazz and dance; the sinuous gestures of an actor moving across the big screen; the tonal qualities of Film Noir; handwriting, urban graffiti and linear natural forms; the logic of architecture; and the colors in a landscape.

I am very aware of the importance of collage in forming contemporary aesthetics. As a method, collage encourages layering, shape-making and juxtaposition, all of which I apply to my work, from my paintings to multi-panel public works using expanded media. As a young woman artist, one of the important aspects of my research was to find role models and forerunners. I observed that many mid-20th century women abstract artists made collages, including Ann Ryan, Alma Thomas and Lee Krasner. This culminated in my essay written with Miriam Schapiro, “Femmage: Waste Not Want Not, An Inquiry into What Women Saved and Assembled,” published in Heresies’ fourth issue (1978). I discovered a collage sensibility was evident in quilts, devotional pieces and scrapbooks made primarily by women in the 18th century, far before Picasso and Braque. This collage sensibility, marked by recycling, mixed-media, making art from remainders and remembrances, is echoed in the mid-century abstractionists I connected with. A famous example is Krasner, who reused her works on paper in her collage works, both large and small.

In my own work, collage has played an important role in developing new ideas and reusing old ones, from “The Green Woman,” my early (1974) collage painting for Ms. Magazine, to my most recent work. Artist residencies have provided opportunities to connect older works like “The Green Woman” and “Provincetown Summer” to the newer collage “Rearrangement Series.” In my “Residency Sketchbooks,” from which I include specific pages, I cut up and combined watercolors in an improvisational manner, which directly inspired a group of works based entirely on cutting up and rearranging previous watercolors. Another influence in this series has been the late large collage works of Jean Dubuffet, about which I wrote an essay in 2016 for the popular Painters on Painting blog, and which I was able to revisit in an exhibition this past spring 2018.

Melissa Meyer lives and works in New York City. She is represented in New York by Lennon Weinberg, Inc. Her work has been exhibited widely nationally and internationally. Meyer’s development has been surveyed in two traveling exhibitions, and she has completed public commissions in New York, Tokyo, Shanghai, and for the new U.S. Embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Her work is included in major public and private collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, Brooklyn Museum, Guggenheim Museum, and Jewish Museums. Residencies and Awards include: Rome Prize, NEA grant, Pollock Krasner Grant, Yaddo, MacDowell, Bogliasco, and BAU Institute.