Anselm Berrigan


deanimate squeaks harmonize for hula hoops, evolving
squabble, I’m constantly almost smacking perma-fear
into, we almost knew each other’s variation, fire’s
on screen, the tender’s bag is blowing pipey wind
iconoclastic in the submergent future, another one
was the phial, any snakes nearby, they even moved
like you, puice in the ghosthouse, retinal anecdotes
their backs, skywritten, are turned to you, next to
being ridden dimensionally, you’re the eohippus
the D is the jockey, since my groom loon’s doomed
on the glass, he’s flat, ready to be inverted into pictures
the filth-ridden Titan phone booth a few feet north
to the right lives in fear of painterly execution, efficient
Boozer adjusts to role on bench, following pseudo-
pseudonym, a grasshopper swimming with grasshoppers
old dirty classic of the period, imaginary dingleberries
stank-optional, I need these things out now — I might
be dead later, I’m not expecting fragment bump, fall
away bump, pile on & still exude bump aura, reverse
the outer corners until specific arrival mandates itself
into existence, hi Satan, your schemes lack gmos & bpas
& rbis, & contested amphibian blunt imitations, yays
the re-ape for the Divine Mystery of the Universe is an
open secret, as I just got told by a firm, a rapid, a very
agreeable transparent, no, flesh-colored premise


image productions sells us our meltdowns, we con
ourselves into participation, coming on an of at ages
laughter is very very good to the coeval populace
disfigured via comparison with flow, I don’t know
numerously, flattened impact players mounting real
madness & ending anti-heroically, even sanity ain’t
sane today, disinvited to play Dragon City please
snipers gotta stop ripping off pigeons, first vision’s
the vulgar one, sadness tones given by the dark
dominant, a self-portrait all ash-colored, true para-
sites of the object, glad I figured out how to be kinder
to my brother, outside of any unfortunate art please
accept all my regards, zapf explains, your rethought
got rethoughted, or verily skate-ragged & rebesotted
neutrality in shadows, misuse of shadows, when you
put camouflage on I can’t see the bummer’s rehab
eternal, if to be is the object of resurgence merged
with insurgence, we’ll be a nice menu memory
druggy in huggies, replacement level topless vatican
protestor who stole jesus free, I used my transfer
drawing to hop on unlimited lead heads from behind
the practiced shadow in a form of public, shape
contains form & moves for listeners listening to
how you say you see walking get held on the aves
the sides the gaps the co-flats the blocks the hoary
periwinkle tune symbols shuffling down into locks


too tired to be the monster, every thing’s the wrong
words, blind spot warning mistaking the comforts
of legitimacy for ambition, naked lovers of wisdom
hoists a three, amazingly few movement motives
used, confession use, vanity divinity caress, a helmet-
to-helmet blow, which involved no helmets touching
red purgatorial tire swing making angles over leaves
out of spin, the leaves gently raise ground as names
of convenience fail to reappear, names vanish into
sound, a walled-up camera disappears into condo-land
mildly fascist brunch snuggles with livers, complicity
traitor favorited live, fleetingly, no time for poems
with all this e-sociology poised to bite in disparate
need of absolute paragons, dressed on the cheap
like warmth installed, reddish bunny balloon metal
worth lobby millions plants its non-ass here, to be
seen through allowable glass, pen explosion hair
getting a touch of the old iron filing, receding into
a shammy cottage playing at industrial parquet
reserve, stick a flat bug fiat onto prosody plane, call
it sub-local divinity for lack of a common affect
to disabuse of its urgent withdrawal, we are in view
through diamond cut into theater site privately torn
down, brought to the shop to enliven assigned elegies
all potential seeing things run themselves, like, away

Anselm Berrigan’s recent books include Come In Alone (Wave, 2016) & Primitive State (Edge, 2015). He is the editor of What Is Poetry?(Just kidding, I know you know): Interviews from the Poetry Project Newsletter 1983-2009, due out this spring from Wave Books.

Editors’ Notes (Posit 13)


Spring may be imminent, but, as will likely be the case for some time to come, this issue of Posit arrives in less-than-optimistic times. However, once again, the work in this issue has the potential to address, and even salve, our pervasive distress, in ways that are no less satisfying for being indirect. Much of the art in this issue is about making — and all of it makes the case for the value of its having been made. Which is to say, for the value of art itself — not as luxury, as the current US regime might have it — but as emotional, intellectual necessity. One facet of which is its uncanny capacity to speak to situations that did not exist when it was created. Although the poetry and prose in this issue was written before the advent of the current political crisis, many of these pieces find a way to speak to it. Thus, that “we have somehow, / in haste and hubris, walked / into a deep night” is, unfortunately, incontestable (Matthew Burns, The Border). As is the fact that “even sanity ain’t sane today” (Anselm Berrigan, Degrets). Or that we are asked to believe that “once spoken, every word is true, even / all the words yoked to great chains of lies” (Gregory Crosby, The Marquis of Sad).

Happily, the works in this issue also have “a harmony that makes us forget the incontestable” (Dennis Barone, Vast Oculus). For one thing, we are reminded “not to fear the truth, to understand the neighbor, the houses, and this land” (Vast Oculus). And we are offered the grave and ethereal beauty of G.C. Waldrep’s “root & its entourage / ark-in-the-forest, / zither-lit & -strung” (first person). We are exhorted, with ringing, if enigmatic, energy, to “substitute optimistically!” (Rae Armantrout, Going Somewhere). Which I take the liberty of interpreting, at least in part, as an injunction to continue making, and imbibing, the arts, including:

Rae Armantrout’s tantalizing chains of Delphic utterances, guiding our gaze in “the fullness of time” from the spare beauty of the resonant particulars to the universes coiled within them, bringing to mind Bashō, W. C. Williams, Hansel and Gretel, and the inspiriting newborn whose “just opened eyes / see we can’t see what;”

Dennis Barone’s Vast Oculus, opening its generous aperture from the tangible familiar to “another world . . . beyond the armchair — like the point of a rapier” in prose that captures the ultimate essence of poetry, “leap[ing] from the enormous weight” of reality to “follow ideas without bodies;”

The urgent yet playful poetics of Anselm Berrigan’s Pregrets, Degrets, and Regrets, which may not expect “fragment bump” but delivers that and more, “revers[ing] the outer corners until specific arrival” of something very much like revelation “mandates itself / into existence” despite the possibility that there may be “no time for poems / with all this e-sociology poised to bite in disparate / need of absolute paragons;”

Matthew Burns’ lithe and slender verse columns exploring absence and corporeality, boundaries and trajectories, hope and despair: “zero / being nothing / but, like / the past: / still there / and affecting” as these spare and melancholy verses;

James Capozzi’s eerily relevant evocations of the demise of the mighty, from Nimrod, “basted by the city’s voice” to the conquistadores, having lost the nerve to defend their “sham heaven” in the face of the “troubling questions” posed by the earth they have just torched;

Rob Cook’s sharp yet lyrical elegies to the existential divide between self and other, be they one’s own shadow or the companion of one’s dreams, until even “the wind is just my shadow / moving its weapons from tree to tree;”

Gregory Crosby’s aphoristic verses masterfully evoking the pathos and humor of existence in which “[a]ll this death [is] another sticky note: Live!” in a universe “so / magnanimous that it breaks your heart in two;”

Julia Leverone’s exploration of the paradoxical interdependence of creation and destruction, adhesion and repulsion, as voiced by an unregretful Medusa hoping “never to return to the beforehand” and a lover observing the “force of keeping / together against pulling away;”

Caolan Madden’s penetrating exploration of isolation, “[t]he silence, the league of witches . . . that unclaimed feeling,” along with the ambivalence of a mother who doesn’t “want to grow up I want to spoil” rather than “fold . . . up her I” “when [the baby] made [her] shape known;”

F. Daniel Rzicznek’s prose poems from Leafmold, an inventory of poetic makings, including dogs and doctors, hawks and herons, history and science, “[i]naccuacies and errata smuggled via alternate versions of this weird life” brilliantly assembled, not “to deliver something heinous . . . but a text like a free state, a paregoric of the brain;”

Alina Stefanescu’s high-octane prose pieces expanding from a sense of lived experience (insomnia, scars, selfies) to wider implications in “this era of anodyne-paradigms pocked upon our model houses” where “a promise might be less than an omen as a toothache is less than a broken jar as a head circles the room without one single landing strip in sight;”

and G.C. Waldrep’s elegant, emotionally charged jewels of melodic and depictive compression, “lobed with the literal,” in which “the dream sweeps / through, & puts music away–,” evoking worlds in each parsed and potent word — luminous worlds in which meaning and music are not only married, but inseparable.

I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome the newest member of the Posit team. Carol Ciavonne is an accomplished poet, teacher, editor, and past contributor, who promises to bring discernment, dedication, and generosity to her work as Associate Editor. We are delighted and grateful to welcome her aboard.

With thanks to you, our readers, for being here.
Susan Lewis


Welcome to the visual art of Posit 13!

Nathan Brujis makes lyrical and luscious abstract paintings, loosely based on nature and autobiographical experience. Working in a rich palette of saturated colors, he weaves ribbons of form in, under, over, and around one another. These canvases hint at abstract narratives while always retaining their joyful exploration of the painting process.

The almost ritualistic patternings of Jeanne Heifetz’s drawings are hypnotic. They seem to meander across the page, yet there is always an underlying logic to the journey of her lines. Using a visual ordering system based on the branching of natural structures, her work investigates the organic growth of form and the movement of marks on paper.

Eva Kwong’s miraculous sculptures exist somewhere between the natural and fabricated worlds. Drawing upon her interest in the spiritual and visual interconnectedness of the universe, she creates beautiful objects that manage to make reference to many different realities simultaneously. Her animated sculptures delight the eye while defying categorization.

The sculptures of Greely Myatt build upon the notion of “transformation.” His impeccably crafted found and fabricated mixed-media sculptures are funny and provocative, playing with artistic and social conventions in an amusing and elegant manner. Myatt references everything from rural southern culture to contemporary art, creating both installation and intimate scale works that welcome the viewer in, with a wink and a nod.

And Brian Sargent’s deep dive photographic investigations into light and the landscape capture an eerie mood. The sky seems on the verge of dusk, the light fading… or is it about to dawn? They are full of mystery and quietude. The occasional flash of a silhouetted figure, a ghost or a vision? The choice is yours.

I hope you enjoy!
Melissa Stern