About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.

Tyrone Williams

A Little Coffee In A Saucer

cools
as it pools
over

faux
porcelain.
I grip

lift
the dish a
little

with
fingertips
as brown

lips
descend—pursed
to send

cool
warmth across
a thin

black
shiver I
cold sip.

History, History, All is History

Dreaming has been confiscated…

In the lawn around an island of sycamores the roots are starting to show.

Throw a few bags of denial on ‘em, says the tree man.

After your screams finally became ambulatory, I could no longer slip into the trance of another life, needing your horror here to be unheard.

A patch of Yankee know-how updates the trick.

Having resigned ourselves to one another we refastened our seatbelts as we descended through the clouds, touching down to taxi the tarmac indefinitely.

…but the dream cannot be stopped.

 

* italicized lines from the documentary The Lebanese Rocket Society (2012)

Tyrone Williams teaches literature and theory at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is the author of several chapbooks and seven books of poetry: c.c. (Krupskaya 2002), On Spec (Omnidawn 2008), The Hero Project of the Century (The Backwaters Press 2009), Adventures of Pi (Dos Madres Press 2011), Howell (Atelos Books 2011), As Iz (Omnidawn 2018), and, with Pat Clifford, washpark (Delete Press, 2021). A limited-edition art project, Trump l’oeil, was published by Hostile Books in 2017. He and Jeanne Heuving edited an anthology of critical essays, Inciting Poetics (University of New Mexico Press, 2019).

Nancy White

Spell

Sway. Dissolve the walls. Drain
the jelly and scrape the skull.
Unhinge the arms. Slip the skin.

Instead of stalking, flutter. Swap pound
for patter and shank for shim. Sand
the phalanges. Translate brass

to piccolo, cricket, sigh. Soften, offer,
drift. Oh, weep. Waft, puff,
settle. Widen. Stop. All done now,

dear, sweet as our best
enemy (the moon) whom
we’ve watched too much

shuttle the sky. Our deeds are
dead or just loose thread
and that’s all that’s left to carry.

Traveler

They’d lived there all their lives.
A land of shushing geysers, long plains of gray.
A populous place and watching.
The remaining animals skeletal and slinking.
The homes drastic and identical.
Alleys gave safe passage.
Traditional costume concealed some of my difference.
We embraced at formal events in the correct way.
I felt their ribs the small bowed shoulders.
I always wore my lightest shoes.
Should they turn their blue eyes on me.
Should the smell of joy provoke.
Should it corrode.
Should the sight of my uncovered throat.
They were not my people but I stayed.
What happened had not happened yet.

Nancy White’s work appears in journals such as FIELD, Ploughshares, and New Letters. Her three poetry collections are Sun, Moon, Salt (winner of the Washington Prize), Detour, and Ask Again Later. She teaches at SUNY Adirondack and serves as president of The Word Works in Washington, D.C.

Sam Herschel Wein

Chewing a Cabbage Leaf Stir-Fried with Brussels Sprouts

The doctor at my lunch table is stressed,
single parent five kids & I’m talking about
how I was raised to be a good liar,

parents’ fingers weeklong in my scalp,
thinking they have a hold of everything,
and me, since those baby years, knowing

how to talk my way under the water slide,
over the sledding hill, up the chimney
where I grow glittery wings. Wings made

of lies. The doctor doesn’t want to believe
her kids will lie, so now I’m three-eyed,
an extra chin growing from my ankle,

my spine. It’s easy to become a good liar,
I try to reason with her, my sanity
on the line here, well also you know I grew up

gay, like really gay, I’m red and speaking
faster as the other lunch table rears
so many heads full of eye contact

see I was kissing so many boys at sleepovers
in basements and I had to learn so young
to lie about it!
and it just kept going

from there and the doctor chewing
a cabbage leaf stir-fried with brussel sprouts
says with the food still in her mouth

“children who feel they are unwanted
do everything to try and hide themselves”
and the lunchroom ears stay above

their food, I’m stuck with my chicken sandwich
stuck with juice in my beard saying
yes, yes, exactly as everyone watches

I say thank you for saying that because nobody
has ever said that, to me, or my parents,
or my face, I pause from chewing,

see everyone’s eyes on me, awaiting
a response, I smile, I open my face
wide and swallow the room

I Think My Grandmother Knew I Was Gay

At a hometown LGBT event, after I’d just given a speech, my grade school art teacher corners me to say, I’m never sure what we’re supposed to do when we can tell so early! At seven, nine, the little ones trying to hide themselves, just like with you and I think about this, my grandmother dead a few months, how as a child I would dance through the front hallway to the room we weren’t allowed in, with its china, with its fancy wooden dining table, with its piano I’d crawl on the seat of, play a few notes before she’d come yelling, waving a wooden spoon, saying again that this room was only for adults how she bought me beanie babies, nintendo games, how she kept me in the basement as long as she could, made the food I wanted so I would be over more, and I think, of course, about illness, her Alzheimer’s, it began when I was only eleven, it crawled like a stuck beetle across her knuckles for years, forgetting where the parked car, paying the painter three times out of confusion, telling the therapist he’s a fucking loonytoon that anything would be wrong with her, my grandmother, who started calling me Rick, my Uncle’s name, bought her eighth blender because she wasn’t sure she had one, this woman, this chair in recline, this motor skills decline, how

when I was fourteen, my sister, much older, had a boyfriend come stay at our house, just for a bit, how he was dancing with me in our hallways, how he jumped at the sight of a good meal, like me, I felt connected with him, like we had shared a past I didn’t know how to speak, how he and my sister and I, we walked, with our dog, down to grandma’s, to introduce him, and grandma didn’t say much, didn’t recognize much, didn’t open her eyes much. But she still knew us, our names, at least then. And she met the boyfriend, with his booming loud voice, and turned to me, her eyebrow raised, and said, is this one yours? And my sister laughed a deep belly laugh and the boyfriend didn’t catch the joke and kept asking what? what was that? what did she say? and I don’t think I’d ever considered that a boy could be mine, something I possess, or take with me to the soccer field, or walk to the park with, swing on the swings, and I didn’t visit my grandmother for the last three years of her life because she stopped speaking, stopped looking around at the world like it wasn’t curious to her, like she’d learned all she needed and decided the rest was a waste, and I want to think she knew about all my boyfriends like I knew a handful of treats would be waiting, every time, on the kitchen table, at home, when we returned from out of town as kids, she sneaking in just before, it was like they had just been left, just dropped, seconds ago

Season of Fanny Packs

Unfurling, the hairy legs of Chicago’s hottest nightclubs
open wide for it—the refilled trees of late spring,

the early short shorts that start summer, the lake still frozen
but in we run, shrieking. We zip and unzip and voila:

chapstick, poppers, housekeys, loose change, Lactaid
pills, MDMA, little stones we pass around, put on

our altars. Van Gogh himself couldn’t paint the pure
fashion of preparedness, the insatiable delight

of hot pink at the waist, lime green over the shoulder,
black with red stripes, looped around the arm

swinging ourselves to wonderment. The first time I saw
my future, it was from a dance television show on MTV,

I watched until I learned so many dance moves, practicing
in mirrors with no one home. In the second season,

Fanny Pak: a queer, 70s themed dance troop from
the Valley with packs at their waists, and I thought, I need

to be that. I need to be them. The judges told them I want
to see the fellas dance like fellas
and they didn’t—they didn’t listen.

How they went home before the end, without winning.
For months, I dreamt of meeting them, telling them, one day,

I’ll have style at my waist, like you. I won’t listen to anybody.
Look, under the nail of your thumb on this sunny day.

It’s late April. And you are.

Sam Herschel Wein (he/they) is a lollygagging plum of a poet who specializes in perpetual frolicking. They are an MFA student in poetry at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Their third chapbook, Butt Stuff Flower Bush, is faggotly forthcoming from Porkbelly Press. He co-founded and edits Underblong and is the poetry editor for Grist. Recent work can be found in Split Lip Magazine, Waxwing Mag, and Shenandoah, among others.

Dennis James Sweeney

We gave the years unsaddled

to rightlanguage
moon as blue as gold
the chosen pockholed in it
moon like a delicate ring
To skip is to science
Leaders in pink
pyjamas reckon     with their dogs’
ill breath     on the lawn
of a microphone villa
in coin form gleaming
We the People offer a head

I built a subtle

failure in the box-
house of organs;
I slept like an egg
through the
ungulate night;
I clenched like
hard bread, gray
in back of blue
as my face grew
nearer to (gasp)
emotion: Lease
me your rest-
clothes, those
lawless maps
of body swept
from dirt…
Forgive a
self, not this one,
allow a personal
blank faucet
of snow…
Let the glyphs
rage o’er me-
moirs sodden
with flour, the
rest-road for me
does not flake
but hollows
with throat talk;
intentions snap
in time and out
of instant, I told
you, I lied in
your chest;
I soothed like
mercury, I cleft

And whose fine-tuned beginning

lyric with obvious nest
gave system to longing
An ocean to remember in bed
We were the already, “Ach”
with the end of water
we drank salt and coughed sea
on land—     but on land
was no room for next time
Ill color of muscle
buried in shells
while my ancestors
roll calmly, I fold
their paper, I drag
their gallons, they
are already-said

Birds roll in the yard

like morning’s
small statue
An egg donated
and lost is worth
blistering green
Whole breath
through the screen
door: I slicked
my sickness
buttery
for the wooden
eminent lope
at the point of a beak
scarred barklike
Sky shrinks into
my body, my body
swells to be mowed

Dennis James Sweeney is the author of In the Antarctic Circle (Autumn House Press, 2021) and You’re the Woods Too, which is forthcoming from Essay Press. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Ana Rendich

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Artist’s Statement

I have always been connected to the invisible and visible aspects of human drama, the particular and the universal. Although my paintings and sculptures are my own work, they are not intended to be about me. The subject matter is greater than me as an individual. My studio is like a lab, where space, form and meaning intertwine, shaping and filling my artworks.

I have been exploring the Japanese concept “Ma” (間), a concept embedded in our relationship with our space, internal and external, and how we relate one to another one; as well as the interpretation of time and space, pauses and silences, and the emptiness in a space, full of possibilities. This concept MA is the skeleton of my works, where my art starts. These sculptures, mixed media and paintings emerge from a thought, an infinite path with no endpoint, where resolution is impossible. Hope in the light of loss and displacement is my primary subject. The works are fragments of what has been lost, negated, and postponed. Their structures are a form of reparation, a healing tool, tying together absences and presences, sometimes in a meditative form.

In some of my sculptures, I incorporate resin, because of its reflective or opaque property, but I transform it, leaving my own fingerprints, and colors are mainly a tool that reveals presence. In certain works, the observer can see the ghostly effect generated by the reflection created by the mixed media illustrating the transient and mercurial nature of reality. Upon seeing my art, many find that the colors draw their attention before anything else. The story behind these colors is born in the interplay between these colors, but it is not color itself that matters most to me. Rather, the color is secondary, the whole composition makes the work… Colors and shapes are not separated elements, both are an essential symbiosis. When I make an artwork that contains individual pieces, it is always thinking that each piece must belong to the next artwork, creating a work, where all the pieces share the same space; the togetherness is what makes the work.

My work has been evolving and changing every year, incorporating new media and materials. Sculpture and mixed media has helped me to grow, and it gives me the chance to explore pieces rooted in the human condition, past and present social and historic events. In the WWII pieces, for example, the research in getting the letters from WWII has been a long road, it almost took me two years until I started to work.

The base of my art is bringing presence through absence. There are different types of absences: not only physical absence, but also the lack of the fabric that could make us better human beings. All these have created the need to incorporate other elements, according to the sensibility of each piece, like the use of wood, fabric, metal, yarn and paper, besides oil, silicone, etc. I enjoy immensely the closeness with my materials, that intimacy…the tactile and physical connection, too, aids to create a deep connection with space, form and meaning, leaving all decorative items aside, and helps me to concentrate more in exploration, questioning and contemplation. I see the reflections, materials and surfaces as healing presences, making the invisible visible.

Ana Rendich was born in Argentina and lives and works in Spotsylvania, Viriginia. She attended Instituto Superior de Arte del Teatro Colon, University del Salvador, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the National Academy of Design, New York, New York.

Jo O’Lone-Hahn

County fair princess sash

A catapult w/ every
joint in proportion
to a body,
something landed in

my circle
—a figure
of whether I’m better
off without

you.
Bent
grass.
You

notice something.
“There’s no daffodils,” in that

patch. Why do

you want me just as
naked? “Suicide

watch,” doesn’t
make you that

special. Jo,
“how
will
he
do
it?” is still
draped across your breast.

Leave you sleeping in Las Vegas / the meadows

You’re loved by all, but still seedless.

You aren’t loved by all.

The sunrise from
far away makes the Man
-dalay Bay, Treasure I
-sland and Flaming
-o glow smooth, gold
indestructible. I’m sweating
into your mouth —just
say something surprising

& I’ll stop. I’m not

in the hotel w/ you.

Flowers wrapped around a port
-ico, out of
proportion in their
dewy moan

-ing. I’m picking
up a bracelet
off the street. My wrist
hurts.

Don’t follow
me. Jo, “how will he

do it?”
is still
draped across your breast.

I got dressed up for you

& spat
out the concept
that eating is always
death & equally
so for
all things
eaten. I’m re
-producing
my sky blue tulle
as a reflection
pool & drawing
a bikini because
I need this
body to jump

Between

these 2 blue
options. Scientists
often choose
to save only
creatures that
eat smaller
creatures. What
are you gonna
do to me? Jo,
“how will
he do it?” is still
draped across
your breast.

I’m wearing a bikini at the beach house bonfire

I tell                                this sudden memory
                                      for the first time: young,
                                      Mom told Dad to stop
                                      dreaming of rockstar
                                      fame & he tossed
                                      out boxes boxes of Rock
                                      n’ Roll records, crying.

Mo recounts                  a hard time meditating
                                      on a sunny day.

Chelsi
& Ahmed discuss,          decide between

sacrifice or triage.

But You stare out
until this beach

is invisible, invisibility
licking your half-open

eyes —vulgar & some-

how more obsessed
with light.

I wanna ask:                 “Will we feel stoned?”
                                      when these 2 sky blue

                                      sea blue options
                                      kill us for fun?

“I think it’s possible”
is a heartache that
someone says               & that
                                      is the center
                                      of fun. Is
                                      this fun?

Jo, “how will
he do it?”
is still

draped
across
your
breast.

Electric lamp above a museum painting

Your old friend men
-tioned suicide & said “you
won’t feel anything.”

Riskless wires, Sol
-utions. Both
of which know
gutter-waste also
grew from nothing.

Prelude suicide notes
say meet you at the donut
shop, the car wash.
I’m meditating into the sin
-ews of your fingertips,
I see your see
-dy motel

bed. I have a big
bad heartache. I touched
like any other tourist
mining obsessions

from Rothko color fields.

Jo, “how will he

do it?”

is still draped across
your

breast.

Jo O’Lone-Hahn is a poet and visual artist based in Las Vegas. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in the Tampa Review, Black Warrior Review, SPECTRA Poets, New Delta Review, Great River Review and elsewhere. She is a current MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the poetry editor of Witness Magazine.

Vi Khi Nao & Jessica Alexander

Vi Khi Nao is the author of six poetry collections & of the short stories collection, A Brief Alphabet of Torture (winner of the 2016 FC2’s Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize), & the novel, Swimming with Dead Stars. Her work includes poetry, fiction, film and cross-genre collaboration. Her collaborative work with Jessica Alexander, That Woman Could Be You, has just arrived from BlazeVOX. She was the Fall 2019 fellow at the Black Mountain Institute.
Jessica Alexander’s novella, “None of This Is an Invitation” (co-written with Katie Jean Shinkle) is forthcoming from Astrophil Press. Her story collection, Dear Enemy, was the winning manuscript in the 2016 Subito Prose Contest, as judged by Selah Saterstrom. Her fiction has been published in journals such as Fence, Black Warrior Review, PANK, Denver Quarterly, The Collagist, and DIAGRAM. She lives in Louisiana where she teaches creative writing at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Taraneh Mosadegh

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Artist’s Statement

In my practice, by using Micro/Macro levels of observation and intuition, I intend to understand nature, humanity, science, and the threads and patterns that connect them. I mean to acknowledge the interconnectedness between humans and other forms of being without privileging humans. Repetitive mark-making, exploring the materiality of paint and the transparency of each pigment, layering one on top of the other, creates a spatiality that helps me pinpoint zones where the human and the non-human overlap, intertwine and resonate.

Since 2020, I have been experimenting with a 400-year-old formal technique, Reverse Glass Painting, which uses a transparent material to combine reflective light on glass with the subject’s emergence. The surface glass covering the painting is also refractive, absorbing select wavelengths of light but not others. Using multiple layers of glass makes a material conversation of vernacular form and biomorphic organic shapes. Color, Reflection, and Refraction provide the vocabulary.

The trajectories of the reverse glass painting have been part of Iranian history for a long time: This technique arrived in Iran via the Silk Road around the 17th century from Venice. Safavids embraced it, and the Zand dynasty sustained it, but the method prevailed during the Qajar era (1789-1925). During this period, not only did Iranian paintings change as a result of European influence, but also Iran encountered political upheavals: Constitutional revolution; Women criticizing the social and political state of the nation; Iran getting partitioned by foreign forces, etc. Before this era, reverse glass painting was primarily used in interior decorations, but after that, it evolved to be autonomous artwork by individual artists. It reflected the realities of its time.

Taraneh Mosadegh is an Iranian visual artist based in Vermont and New York. She earned her MFA from The Le Roy. E Hoffberger School of Painting at MICA in Baltimore and her BFA from Tehran Art University. She has been an artist-in-residence at Vermont Studio Center, The Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, and The Windy Mowing Artist Retreat. She has shown her work in Tehran, Toronto, Baltimore, Johnson VT, and Woodstock, NY. Mosadegh is the recipient of the 2022 Vermont Arts Council Development Grant and the 2019 Alumnux juried exhibition prize of Vermont Studio Center, where she will have a solo exhibition at The Red Mill Gallery in October 2022.

Kristi Maxwell

Giant Panda
an extinction

Chromosomes form self’s reef—we reek of luck.
Shells overwhelm shore’s bosom: less jewelry, more leech.
Overwhelm me, Yoko. Be my ovum’s yolk.
My Elmer’s flubs, fuses lobe & bulb, skull & bloom.
Messy crumb of us crumbles more. We’re else.
Summer schemes brooks, muumuus, church of
mushrooms—morels. We seek some. We’re our souls’ humus,
yes? We observe lemurs floss creeks, loose
bush from rock. Reefer-less. Here, for you, four brews,
cheese, chemo for your cells, emo for your moors. Some hero.

Avahi
an extinction

Moon’s tour of ponds reflects detours snow took

young snow’s ego-less melt

To unbecome to become

Our ego’s bordered by flowers slowest to boom

Our ego—murky cocoons       respond to
mournful coups: nest not (n’est knots)

To be lemur-less, to be stunned—country-less globes
bowls but no tongues, molested wool suddenly unmolested

Beefless cow       cowers not, kowtows to seed

Perky from sleep, bounty’s clone blesses bone

Nude skeletons emerge, sun-meek, body-keen

Monsoon-boosted, somebody’s desert’s wet dessert

Strung pole to pole, our closest story          bound to weep dry

Forests forget words, get lessons: remember
cruelty once took
bloom to be fester so left.

Green Turtle
an extinction

Who am I boss of? My iPod? My pick?

I had him as a sow has ham

If I sob a swamp, if I’m hid by sob-camo
If a swamp is Camp Sob—a soppy wish

Hiss—how is my wish a wash, a foam-sick soap?

Did I miss my sad hippo—a hammock of if?

Away, bossy iamb, who dams my said, my say
My FOMO is a hawk who hawks his doom

Is I a happy scab?

Bookish, mom picks commas as if a posy
A posh dick sways
I mop piss, dish posh food, famish

A wasp picks my body as a so-so dock

Whim my mood: I am a spoof, a shook shack,
da bomb’s damp wick

Kristi Maxwell is the author of seven books of poems, including My My (Saturnalia Books, 2020) and Bright and Hurtless (Ahsahta, 2018). Her books have been editor’s choice selections for the Sawtooth Poetry Prize and the Saturnalia Poetry Prize. She is an associate professor at the University of Louisville.

Benjamin Landry

from PASSAGEN

—in conversation with Walter Benjamin’s ARCADES PROJECT

There is no fullness of pleasure unless

“There is no fullness of pleasure unless the precipice is near.”
—Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project (quoting Anatole France)

tell me about
of which capable
the wet white teeth
of modesty
a sort of dissolute gravitas
stars mount the sky and later
take themselves down a peg
sugar is a faithful taper     watch

the hills light themselves up
neck down has a funereal sheen
what’s the use you ask

to be used and complete you’d
never guess completion’s sickness

Galeries de Bois

Gray is harmless and spreads
the crystals     the hairlines and Maginot

overheard, under breath    When
does it stop not meaning and become?

So, the regiment of brute-faced
animals muster. They suppress
crucial information: everyone
has a mother.

Trees lay down their arms
just as a new-shorn lamb
stands from its fleece.

The dead realization
of loneliness colors everything
you love. The whites
of stars are like the flashing
of teeth and eyes.

The canvas stretched above
is a mercy, even though
the rows of acquaintances
forming the aisle
refuse to say your name.

The Bourse could represent anything

“The Bourse could represent anything; the Crystal Palace
could be used for anything.”
—Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project

Featureless desert of now, or,
in negative, the stars’ darkroom.

I’m thinking of having my open
heart surgery projected. And also
a culvert constructed through marrow.

Each morning to raise one’s head—

this vast of brittle iron and glass like the one
eye in which your future self is fixed.

A place to call the winds to order,
a place out of the weather where the remains
of the world are brushed clean, cataloged,
reconstructed, finally understood.

Benjamin Landry is the author most recently of Mercies in the American Desert (LSU Press, 2021). His poems appear widely, including in venues such as The New Yorker, Kenyon Review and Ploughshares. He is at work on VerseCurious, a podcast of poetry reviews, debuting in the summer of 2022. He teaches creative writing and is the guest poetry editor of Saranac Review.