Brett Salsbury


        There’s something wrong here. The poor have always had children without privacy: I’m privileged. I don’t remember the lessons I was taught and now I try to unlearn them. I can’t remember. Never drink water straight from the tap.
        It hurts when you are unkind. My gut tells me things. By listening to one’s chakra we lay our ears to the ground, and to the ether most white people cannot access. Pay heed, to dear ley lines: we are all closer than we realize.

        Instinct must not be confused with what is social.
        Chatter at birds.
        Arise the goose bumps and arm-hair.
        Let the machine sense its phase in the drying cycle.
        Say “ow” before actually getting hurt.
        Stare into his eyes and feel warm.
        Stare into his eyes and be deceived.

Recapitulation and Conclusion

        One tells another who tells five more. Myth travels at a different speed. You find it in line at the 7/11 as you pay for your morning coffee. It’s gossip               and fact, how your dreams rearrange the day.
        If you believe in how you water Sempervivum you believe in the blood that leys in the ground. We all share it. To remember gossip is to remember the flexibility of giving.
        If only we’d trash the versions of our textbooks and revert again to all of our myths. Story is the reason                our Gods become kind. The woods out back are a lesson in living. A bee-sting is a rumor that we’re doing it all wrong.
        Eventually gravity                takes its whole toll and then we’re returned to the moment we’re conceived. It changed me. This poem wouldn’t be here if they’d stayed at work an extra hour.
        —and to create a bench we need all the materials: wood; saw; measurements; hope; and a myth that sitting adds an extra bit of comfort                  and how it gives us more time.
        In your previous murder you hummed a song in your head. The song you sang was stolen—shared with you, but taken with their lives. You read               that talking was the cure for hate—that exchanging with others would fix the broken system. But the fire brews               and your marshmallows burn. You are still                  using the same old tongue.
        I made a whole book                and I should have just stopped talking. I should have unlearned                all the tools I used to write it.

Terrapene ornata ornata
or, Ornate box turtle

I never see you around here. When I came home from prom
the year before last, everyone woke to the sound of my foot-
prints. The creak in the boards was never fixed, my closet
the only soundless place, the raspberries devoured
from the fridge like my nightmares.

In fact, I’ve never seen you in the wild before. The abstract
landing caressing the backyard is filled with pieces of what
could be your shell. I’m sorry for the mess. There are 20
dollars in this roll of bank quarters. What else do we need?

Right now we only have croutons for the salad.

In a few million years, perhaps we’ll have mountains.

Brett Salsbury is a goat. Originally from Kansas, he now roams the neon-lit lands of the Las Vegas Valley. Along with writing, he regularly conducts tours of a retired casino sign collection. His work has appeared in Words Dance Publishing, Foothill, Fourculture, GTK Creative, and The Odd Magazine. He does bleat when he gets excited.

Editor’s Notes (Posit 10)

Welcome to summer, and with it, to our 10th issue!

While not what is most often referred to as “summer reading,” this issue’s poetry and prose is energetic, surprising, pleasurable, and above all, various. From Martine Bellen’s Delphic utterances to James Capozzi’s lush expansiveness; from Joe Pan’s virtuosic fecundity to the compressed insightfulness of Alec Hershman, Call Freeman, and Becka Mara McKay, the work aggregated in these pages gives rise to its own poetic chiarascuro, an emphatic energy of contrasts fed as well by the moving micro-fiction of Anthony Schneider, Randee Silv’s suggestive “wordslabs,” an excerpt from a new collaboration by Thomas Cook and Tyler Flynn Dorholt, and the accomplished poetics of TJ Beitelman, Brett Salsbury, and Patrick Williams. So here’s to the delights of summer, and of Posit 10:

T.J. Beitelman’s probings of the intersection of truth and creation, vanity and desire, futility and hope, exploring “the real imagined” and the “imagined real” in which “none of this is holy. This is only art”;

Martine Bellen’s spare and exquisite excerpt from , inspired by Brazilian jujitsu, invoking “the efficacious arc of hatching” the insight that “delusions are inexhaustible”;

the expansive richness of James Capozzi’s verses, grappling with the psychic implications of “film that is a litany of artifacts ragged behind the rest of our evolution” as well as the elusive notion of “our majesty” which “blows the petals that form us” whether it resides in “maps of the coast the length of the coast” or “the life and the sub-life”;

Thomas Cook’s and Tyler Flynn Dorholt’s masterful collaborative meditation on time, identity, and language, which “keep[s] breaking perfectly with commas into slight unknowns” in order to remind us that “no matter what, what is always the thing mattering,” which “is not news nor is news not us”;

Cal Freeman’s sure-footed gems of energy, imagination, and insight, in which, as the author tells “The Innocent” in the epistle addressed to her, “grace is the shape of light that isn’t cast”;

the range yet compression of Alec Hershman’s lyrics, which convey meditative melancholy, wry humor, and philosophical rumination by tapping a well of surprise in which “the megaphone’s a dunce-cap; the helicopter lands with a limp”;

Becka Mara McKay’s lyrical yet gently wry investigations of relationship and faith, in which the “heart is/a dropped bottle,” “sorrow sags,” and “God leaves unlatched//the shore of sleep”;

Joe Pan’s virtuosically individuated monologues on one love which is wistfully “awash in what [she] cannot keep/or keep private,” while another struggles with her own “humble fidelity to [her] infidel’s lovely bits & bargaining chips” such as the beloved’s “ol’ stigmata’d-mouth-by-unforgiving-knuckles exploitation show”;

The wry melancholy and deadpan humor of Brett Salsbury’s pitch-perfect timing, reminding us “how your dreams rearrange the day” until “eventually gravity takes its whole toll”;

Anthony Schneider’s poignant fiction about personal constriction as coping mechanism and abuse, ringing with the potency of what is left unsaid;

Randee Silv’s ‘wordslabs’ constructed from resonant declaratives colliding productively like “circuits of cascading autumn clouds,” their “inward attentions inexhaustible”;

and Patrick Williams’ elegies to memory and mortality, in which “the lake is dead as a dream” although “we are too unfixed” and “someone is calling, but really/who picks up the phone anymore?”

Thank you for reading!

Susan Lewis and Bernd Sauermann


And welcome to the visual art of Posit 10!

Alex Bunn’s photographs bedazzle and confound the viewer. Through his meticulous studio arrangements he creates temporary universes that leave us wondering at exactly what we are looking at. They are both delicious and decidedly creepy at the same time.

In Cynthia Carlson’s recent body of paintings, “Beyond the Rectangle,” we see a group of rigorously constructed, geometric compositions. Each painting is made of up many smaller canvases, combining to make compositions that inhabit the walls with architectural presence. The paintings are deeply and lushly painted: Carlson uses color to both harmonize and connect the compositions. Like jazz, they are syncopated and alive with energy.

Mary DeVincentis presents us with a world where darkness, both physical and psychological, is ever present. Beneath the cheerful colors and vigorous brushwork we see hints of the troubled life inside.

Carl Heyward creates mixed media works that are elegant and lyrical. With graceful gesture he mixes found and fabricated imagery to suggest visual short stories. Each work provides us with a bit of the narrative, leaving it up to the viewer to complete the story.

And Matt Nolen’s ceramic sculptures are richly layered with color, texture and meaning. Like surrealist narratives, they lead us along a dreamlike path where all interpretations are the rights ones.


Melissa Stern