Bobbi Lurie

Twigs In My Hair

Slowly, I stopped needing people. It was a steep climb for a codependent as he said in his email, yet another stranger, met in person makes it worse. Another human with conditions. My contrition makes me “the listener” so they love me more that way: three dimensional and silent; not this clacking of the keys, the wise retorts, the endless stories.

The real pills you take are fake as plastic shrubs. Neither here nor in my bed do I dread anything more than confrontation.

Smoking is the greatest addiction. It covers up the blunders as you hesitate to inhale, then exhale. Like life, only more so, for you are prepared to let it go. Anything for a good conversation, if only with one’s self.

Edge of Once

I pack peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in my satchel. I am but a peasant. My dowry is an army knife and the skill to slice whatever needs to.

Swaddled babies line the fence, their mothers’ breasts, exposed; the sacrificial tongues of babes, trusting ones, dine on liquid from the flesh.

Trees do not speak. Neither do the fields where I search for food.

I’ve always lived alone; baby in me dead before arrival.

The nearest bathroom, filled with scent of incense. I bled and bled. The smell of frankincense, pain so intense, my breath…passed out on the toilet; later, I pray: not again. Not this, too.

The nuisance of others drains me, stains me with abuse.

There is a sterile room I once lived in. The doctors wore masks and the nurses kept track of my pulse. They counted down from ten and after seven I was gone.

miasma fugue

more people like me than you do me.
you don’t.

when i went under the covers you imagined another.
you thinking you were deserving of

other than

too, have petroglyphs against my sin
my blades are shoulders arms reach far

men have touched me deep in the knife wound
which is you

a serial killer of dented lines a hook which took the eye
when i cried scarlet in the heart so innocently was i

sicker than
any pack animal can tell you

how much the pursued is pursuant upon
a clause in the material fabric of a lie

no shadow in a word
no blood

Bobbi Lurie is the author of four poetry collections, most recently, the morphine poems. Her poems can be found in Fence, New American Writing and American Poetry Review, among others.

Editors’ Notes (Posit 5)


Welcome to Posit 5!

In this issue we are proud to feature literary and visual work by many rising, as well as gloriously risen, stars. As ever, we offer a range of literary aesthetics and approaches, from excerpted book-length projects by Anne Waldman and Pamela Lawton, Jane Lewty, and Deborah Poe, to short fiction by Luke Whisnant. This issue also showcases the poetic potential of the long prose line, put to innovative and distinctive use by Stephanie Anderson, Rob Cook, Kristina Marie Darling, Vanessa Couto Johnson, Bobbi Lurie, and Zach Savich.

We hope you enjoy:

Stephanie Anderson’s delightfully surreal and surprising Ditties, in which “everyone sits in the yo-yo park, staring at the buds,” and we are playfully invited to “look up the appendix” but warned not to “ride in the wrong direction”;

Marcia Arrieta’s gossamer constructions, at once contemplative, startling, and forlorn, in which “everything is dreadfully calm,” “deer come and graze on [her] bed,” and the narrator “often feel like an orphan”;

Rob Cook’s somber, foreboding poems in which he informs us of “the screams where I went / looking / for the clothes / my mother wore”;

Kristina Marie Darling’s wittily slant re-imaginings of nostalgic iconographies of femininity, charting their magical courses “from Iceland to Finland to anxious”;

Vanessa Couto Johnson’s wise wordplay delivered via statements that “think with the delicate,” awakening us to the mystery and ambiguity of our own existence, in which “the heart is not a pound but an apothecary dispensing needs”;

Jane Lewty’s “Spatio-Temporal [Re]Mix” of aural and visual referents amalgamated with precision and care into poems of musicality and provocative design, resonant with “a strange elation,/the skitter guilt of/achievement”;

Bobbi Lurie’s dense and powerful evocations of strength in the face of pain, shunning what is “fake as plastic shrubs” to reveal “how much the pursued is pursuant upon/a clause in the material fabric of a lie” with “the skill to slice whatever needs to”;

Nils Michals’ prose poems, teasing us with the contents of boxes: “an entire forest, petrified white, whereby the occasional breeze stirs the crowns” and something “unclaimed . . . is gifted to the Church in the name of a holy work that shall be unnamed”;

Deborah Poe’s quiet, serene “prouns:” elegant transformations of space to states of being we “don’t have to understand” although we are led to consider “[w]hat is lost when you ask why,” and assured that we “don’t have to connect dirt to language, But the histories cave right there”;

Zach Savich’s spare, starkly simple nuggets of imagist magic, demonstrating that “the things I like are the things that happen,” in other words, why “pleasure educates”;

Anne Waldman and Pamela Lawton’s feminist appropriation of classical oral tradition in which “women’s work is never shunned” and “the skies [keep] circling the/liberated hearth” where the female body is sung by its self and she/we can feel genuinely “welcome to the symposium”;

and Luke Whisnant’s post-apocalyptic flash fiction about a mandolin virtuoso in whose “music [resides] the anguished song of a headless doll and the rubato stagger of a cripple’s broken crutch.”

Thank you for reading!
Susan Lewis and Bernd Sauermann


Welcome to the visual art of Posit 5!

Made from found and fabricated objects, Mari Andrews’ sculptures delicately dance the line between nature and nurture, form and object. Each piece suggests a multitude of possible references. At once open-ended and concrete, her works are bits of sculptural poetry.

Kevin Brisco’s series “Build” presents a world of young men at work with muscular energy, both literally and imagistically. The raw materials that his images are painted on – wood, tape, and sheetrock – interact with the subject matter in a way that comments on the process and the product of a creative life.

The fact that Marcus Leatherdale uses the English colonial name for the Indian sub-continent, “Bharat,” in the title of this stunning photographic essay gives more than a clue as to its intent. This reference to India’s past jives perfectly with these elegant and haunting portraits of his friends and neighbors, imbued as they are with such a feeling of timeless nostalgia.

Oriane Stender’s work plays with the imagery and the objects of our material world. Using US currency and found paper, she sews, weaves, and paints these sly commentaries on the cultural interplay of commerce and art, image and meaning.

And finally, the video artworks by Tim Tate, elegantly framed in handmade glass, conjure the bits and pieces of half-remembered dreams. Their inhabitants share a moment with us and then, poof — they’re gone.

I hope you enjoy!
Melissa Stern