Charles Borkhuis

No One to Speak Of


tomorrow has come to suck
the egg out of another day

the moon’s double zero
perches on a branch

put it to sleep
and it wakes one day

ahead of the last
no-name day

the same day
spelled backwards

becomes yesterday
drowning in moonlight


a worm eats at the human heart
the way nothing eats at something

someone stands in for no one they know
and fills in the blanks

someone watches themself in the mirror
trying on faces

words don’t stick to the one who says them
they warm to slush and slowly slide away

tomorrow is another someday
someone is another no one

fearful that their identity
will someday desert them

someone closes their eyes
and is given a chocolate kiss

but when they open them
they see rat shit wrapped in gold foil


someone has a key
that lets them in

and a lock
that keeps others out

someone is a happy mistake
but doubts

they are
who they say they are

someone talks to no one
they know

and hears voices
through the walls

someone eats from a can
and checks their stool for blood

someone remembers playing
under the table with ghosts

someone becomes a ghost of themselves
watching others through closed windows

if someone knocks
no one is home

if no one knocks
someone is home


tomorrow wakes up
as another today

the same day
turn it over like an hourglass

tell it to the metronome
tapping to a soprano singing a solo

while another someone stops mid-bullet
blind accident speeding away

an eye spills across the page
last words written to no one

someone wakes with silent
words on their lips

little phrases on the wing
who’s speaking now and now

no one makes sense for long
no one returns from the dead

as someone else
no one knocks when someone is home

someone has forgotten their name
and becomes no one again


everyone thinks they’re someone
standing in for someone else

the way space bends
around a foreign body

and gravity spins time like a top
the way everyone is virtually there

but never present to each other
never actually in the moment

more like a recorded version
spinning off in multiple directions

something has been lost
in a shimmering pool of light

someone stares up
from the bottom

and breaks the surface of a dream
before sliding back under


someone dwells in a pause
between sentences

a parenthetical personality
neither asleep nor awake

hears the dead knocking at the door
someone shoots and someone falls

tomorrow is another day
spelled backwards

in the light from a dead star
live light dead star

someone hears nothing knocking
at the center of something

words wake us
and put us to sleep

the same words
heard but unspoken


silence nurtures someone
in the womb of nothing

the shimmer-echo
that is and is not

already there already gone
in the same motion

the constant flow of words
from nowhere to somewhere

keeps someone watching
for tomorrow’s nameless someday

someone talks
to no one they know

and hears voices
through the walls


moonlight sinks into an empty silhouette
that walks the streets without us

someone stares in the mirror
and sees another in their place

no-thing has found a home
under the skin

the empty black sky
lets everything in

the worm dining
on the human heart

dreams of one day awakening
as a butterfly lighting on a branch

so someone puts no one
in their back pocket for safe keeping

walks into a bright busy street
and slowly dissolves

Charles Borkhuis’ nine collections of poems include: Dead Ringer, Finely Tuned Static, Disappearing Acts, and Alpha Ruins, selected by Fanny Howe as a finalist for the W.C. Williams Award. His poems have appeared in eight anthologies and his essays were published in two U. of Alabama books: Telling It Slant and We Who Love to Be Astonished. He curated poetry readings for the Segue Foundation in NYC for 15 years. He translated New Exercises by Franck André Jamme from the French. Borkhuis’ plays have been presented in NYC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Hartford, San Diego, and Paris, and published in four books. His two radio plays were produced for NPR (PennSound). He is the recipient of a Dramalogue Award, and is the former editor of THEATER: EX magazine. He lives in NYC and San Diego.

Editors’ Notes (Posit 26)


Happy new year, and hopefully, new era! And welcome to Posit 26. Although the human race is still locked in struggle with the virus ravaging the globe, and dark forces led by our former president did their best to derail American democracy, we bring you this powerful new issue in a spirit of hope — even celebration. Not only did the US manage, albeit by the skin of our teeth, to achieve a desperately essential change of regime, but a substantial majority of its citizens exercised their real if fragile democratic prerogative to put an end to the Trump administration’s criminal indifference to justice, decency, and truth. Through it all, science, along with the hazardous labors of untold numbers of essential workers, have struggled to save us from ourselves, and might just manage to succeed. While art, and artists, persevere, nourishing our similarly essential need for insight, beauty, and meaning.

The remarkable work in this issue offers all of those qualities, and more. New poetry by Chuck Wachtel, Charles Borkhuis, and Joe Elliot directly addresses the current crises, alongside poetry and prose by Peter Grandbois, Lisa Lewis, Tom Fink, and Hannah Corrie that resonates with the pandemic in deep and prescient ways. Most if not all of these works grapple with mortality, identity, or both, at a time when the former is so terrifyingly foregrounded, and the latter eroded by isolation and the social-fabric-fraying hazards of human contact. And at this important historical moment, when activism has once more managed to bring the mandate for racial justice to the forefront of our societal agenda, we offer powerful poetry and visual art by David Mills and Donté K. Hayes that speak to lives and identities once stolen by slavery and still brutally undermined by racism.

With profound sorrow, we dedicate this issue to one of our most honored contributors, Lewis Warsh (November 9, 1944 – November 15, 2020). Lewis’s greatness encompassed not only his prodigious and extraordinary literary output, but his outsized generosity as an editor, publisher, mentor, and friend. For a taste of his wisdom, humanity, and wit, don’t miss his contributions to Posit, including some of the last poetry published in his lifetime: Lewis Warsh (Posit 24); Lewis Warsh (Posit 4).

And now, a bit about the work in this issue.

Charles Borkhuis returns to Posit with a looping and leaping elegy to the absurd and tragic disconnect at the heart of existence. In the circling and cycling dance of these tragicomic verses, “if someone knocks / no one is home” although “if no one knocks / someone is home.” Like the paradoxical worm “eating at the heart” of the bewildered self, these agile verses probe the enigma at the heart of consciousness. In this dazzling poem, “the constant flow of words /from nowhere to somewhere // keeps someone watching / for tomorrow’s nameless someday” only to reveal that “the worm dining / on the human heart // dreams” – like those upon whom it dines? – “of one day awakening / as a butterfly.”

Hannah Corrie‘s restrained but powerful poems reveal the stark gulf between the “poetic justice” of narrative and the random loss of a reality populated by “so many small things clamoring to survive.” In the world of these finely crafted verses, we may be “killing ourselves // with our living” but “there is no meaning in irony.” A finely calibrated tenderness balances the uncompromising depth of this poet’s gaze, cast here on young children reluctant to end the school year, an aged man unwilling to surrender to his own decline, and a narrator’s determination to find meaning in coincidence. Like Galileo experimenting with gravity in his blindness, these poems bring out “the song of the soft plummet” which “tethers us to this Earth / after all.”

By inviting the viewer to participate in deciphering their complex etiology, Mary DiDoardo’s paintings depict as well as and enact relation. These paintings reveal, as if in media res, a dynamic and ongoing interaction between line and ground, exposing the scars and failed stages interaction entails. DiDoardo’s line seems at times to loop through three-dimensional space, suggesting the traces of movement itself, like wakes or vapor trails recording the trajectories of bodies in motion. Her ground, at times pristine and untouched, at others, deeply distressed, reveals the traces and scars left by those trajectories. These paintings are alive with arcs and angles which might be fluid and graceful or broken and fragmented, advancing in fits and starts, reversals and stalls. DiDoardo’s surprising juxtapositions of intense color enhance the kinetic energy of these lively compositions.

Merridawn Duckler’s pointed and poignant studies of how the created worlds of reading and art bind us to past and present begin with the wickedly witty history of a young woman’s life as seen through an “agony” column of the past, complete with questions such as “Should I be prehensile by now” as well as slyly familiar musical pleas like “Help me, Irma. Get him out of my house.” Another poem, narrated from a doctor’s waiting room, considers a travel magazine, where our lives are vicariously lived. Its “pages and pages of turnstiles and castles” lead to a memory: “Silver Falls, where I once stood under the roar and understood this land was lodged in me like a bullet.” In the ekphrastic Five Grey Mirrors, the quiet and clear observation of Gerhardt Richter’s painting leads to an overwhelming and dire feeling of imprisonment: “The gas is so undetectable, / as we sit in the designated chairs// still, they will not allow us / to return home.”

In Joe Elliot’s profound probe into the brevity and meaning of our lives, the author reminds a dying patient: “We are all dying. You are just doing / the hospital part of it,” noting that sometimes “time seems to expand, / giving your life a malleable dimension / and shape, as if it could go on forever.” Nonetheless, there is true consolation in the dailiness: “the falling in love part of it, the running around / with the kids part of it, the carrying laundry / up the stairs and binding tomatoes and hopping on / your bike and riding to work part of it.” And in a truly apt poem for this moment in US history, Elliot exposes the limits of our understanding and commitment to other humans stemming from the “arrested development” of those who “think other people are the problem” in a society in which “Growth Eternal is the staple / of this state religion that eats. Eating / by indirection each other is its sport. Its sporty / Galilean runs for office. Its office is to grind / and mash a bratwurst of they. They are unnamed, / although all around you.”

With a nimble mix of wordplay, prosodic flourish, and social critique, Thomas Fink’s Dusk Bowl Intimacies consider the “rust- / plated American tenets” of capitalism in decline via a unique poetic form, reminiscent of Haibun. These densely-packed prose blocs concluded by brief, Haiku-like tercets entice us to “gawk at how bumbling ‘sapiens’ sap sincerest intentions” even as they compel us to face what we may not want to admit, preferring to “snak[e] [our] way out of the cloud sum of blaring indulgences” in the fading “dusk bowl” of contemporary capitalism.

Peter Grandbois Hole explores the conundrum of the dreamer and the dreamed, and our compulsion to make things right, to make them fit our understanding and expectations. This compelling and disturbing story creates the accepted certainty of the dreamworld. Its meticulous logic builds and leads us forward through its unnamed protagonist’s perfectly understandable and yet ever stranger choices, all of which seem to follow inevitably from the moment he suddenly notices a hole in the wall he is painting, and the enigma it reveals. Like him, we question, and then accept, each metamorphosis from the expected to the actual. And like him we are carried by the elusive, ecstatic detail of the moment to moment, like “breaths that made you feel as if you could float away on them. Breaths that could carry you to the cusp of clarity.” As the painter tries in vain to force the enigma back inside its hole, we are forced, with him, to face that our resources, like his, are “Not enough. Still, he applied it religiously, hoping somehow it would do the job.”

The ceramic sculptures of Donté K. Hayes resonate with the echoes of millennia of human artifacts. These remarkable creations honor the cultural and physical experience of the Black Diaspora, even as they grapple with the historical centrality of slavery at the core of racism today. Although these curvaceous, muscular, biomorphic forms concern themselves especially with the iconography of pineapples, whose signification of hospitality is directly connected to slavery in the Americas, they are also suggestive of serving vessels, head ornaments, ritual figures, and the (Black) body itself. With lush and intricate surface textures suggestive of both fur and bristles, these works have a sensual complexity that is both gentle and strong, welcoming and steadfast, nurturing and resolute. As balanced as they are sturdy, Hayes’ creations radiate a warm and inviting power.

Genevieve Kaplan’s remarkable poems marry the concrete with the abstract to yield a rich and unique mix of recognition and surprise. With equal parts precision and inspiration, these “delightful, pulled out, loosely / skeined” poems parse plain language and ordinary experience until what they offer is anything but plain or ordinary, “read[ing] / the situation with such careful / attentiveness,” “ask[ing] each word” and “hon[ing] in on their availability” to plumb fresh and unexpected depths of wonder and wisdom – until “one detail actually manages to encompass the entirety of the other” and each poem becomes “a way to begin.”

Kristin LaFollette’s striking collages combine the energy and spontaneity of abstract expressionism with a surrealist sensibility. Organic elements contrast with inorganic via intensely colored painterly brushstrokes and drips juxtaposed with magazine cut-outs of text and images. In ‘The Accident,’ black paint has been scribbled over a washed blue background layered over the repeated phrase “I’m sorry.” The focus of the collage is a photo of a model deer cut up and reassembled with a pipe and a skateboard. Sandpaper and marble appear along with cutouts of technical drawings of cells. The free placement of the text and visual elements suggest emotion, if not agitation, while the skateboard contributes an element of humor. What exactly, is this “accident,” and why are we “sorry?” The combination of bold visuals with suggestive, enigmatic text invites us to make our own connections. In ‘like a cell of your skin’ a fire hydrant appears in front of a snowy neighborhood alongside medical drawings of a dissected heart; the bloody red swathes underscore the parallel between the pump of the hydrant and the pump of the heart. And in ‘Old Bones,’ the opposition/attraction of dry and wet suggests more than just a change in weather.

Lisa Lewis poems unite form and content, masterfully enacting the structured, multi-layered grasping at meaning they describe: “the gear and the grind” of clockworks, the architectural designs “chasing space” for the love of “beauty and the mystery of beauty,” the still life “primarily concerned / with religion and allegory,” the highway scaling “a precipice of light / flinching at the raised hand of gleam.” These poems capture the heartbreak of what we have made of the land, interrogating the city/country dichotomy and how it affects our souls. They evoke the long spaces of the Midwest, the sun on them, the buildings that shouldn’t have been built on the prairie, the skyscrapers “wrong for this landscape but proud in horizon light” erected by “donors who admire the endeavors of the business college and take as their doctrine its longing to rise above the prairie and the ghosts as if also wingéd and holy” – unlike the “impure and lustful” partridges, sage-grouse, and wild turkeys who “barge right into town . . . pacing fledged measurements” of their dwindling habitat. With exquisite craftsmanship, Lewis evokes the humble tragedy of ordinary life: the “shadows / we hardly get the chance to know before /someone rises from the gray with a blade.”

David Mills exquisite, devastating series, Talking to the Bones, gives voice to the spirits of enslaved 18th Century New Yorkers. In these tragic and profoundly moving dialogues, Mills offers a glimpse of the eloquence and wisdom, insight and humanity of men whose own humanity was brutally denied. With maximal economy and delicate grace, Mills renders these men’s aphoristic utterances to reveal a brief but tantalizing glimpse of their untapped reservoirs of wisdom (“Death: a sad cabinet is it not?”) and a resolve as necessary as it is inspiring: that “[t]he first shall have a last and the last shall have a first.”

JoAnna Novak’s high-octane meditations assess the relationship between self and other, work and domesticity, with its “hoard of / hand-me-downs and sentiment, the flinch and shrink / and scowl before savings.” As succinct as they are popping with rhythmic energy, these verses ground their explorations in the tangible and the tactile in all of its vivid and various glory: the “joints / joists vices files ferries roses and fathers.” Optimism as well as angst propels these bold yet questioning poems, in which a narrator “surrounded by black hills / and an enemy with busy lips and a tank to burn and / pockets stuffed with chips” asks “what if simplicity saves nothing? If my monochrome / chant is a mere red grunt?” With eyes wide open, this poet has “advanced along / the plank and called it a path, an El Dorado of rubies / and routine” in the conviction that, like these verses, “we are the gale in an ordinary machine.”

Elizabeth Shull’s magical and restorative paintings consider homo sapiens as a humble but fortunate inhabitant of the natural world. In place of hegemonic exceptionalism, Shull’s humans have the great good luck to share the wonder and beauty of nature side by side with a remarkable range of fellow creatures who, as these canvases reveal, are literally, and thankfully, everywhere around us. Hers is a world teeming with graceful form and glowing color, rich texture and harmonious compositional balance, joyous vitality and an intrinsic, ineluctable strength that is humbling but never threatening. In these lush, optimistic canvases, what lies beneath the luminous surface is even more wondrous than what shines above, and surprises are gifts glowing with a life we cannot help but treasure.

To close, Chuck Wachtel’s “Sheltering in Place” directs its tender, laser gaze on the modest beauty of ordinary life under extraordinary threat. This deep and moving elegy to the “fierce, continual” struggle to survive is dedicated and addressed to Lewis Warsh, a friend and kindred spirit whose poetry and prose also confronted issues of identity and mortality via specific and loving attention to the day to day. The gentle understatement of Wachtel’s elegy to the fragile hyper-normality of our current lives “sheltering in place / for the entire moment we hover in the serene eye // of this raging storm” offers a balm for our weary, grieving psyches, even as it confronts the reason for that need, those fearful forces threatening to “come crashing through the walls.” The real challenge, Wachtel reminds us, is as modest as it is daunting: to “try to continue being who we still, mostly / are.”

On behalf of our contributors, thank you for reading. Please protect each other, and stay strong.

with love and hope,

Susan Lewis, Carol Ciavonne, and Bernd Sauermann

Charles Borkhuis

Dark Side of the Room

there’s another room inside this one
an anti-room with anti-matter people
sleeping or screwing on anti-matter beds

every so often someone’s elbow or foot
breaks through an invisible wall
then slips back almost unnoticed

I glimpsed one of them once
staring at me bemused
like a reflection on a dark tv screen

some say the void is not empty
it’s populated by virtual particles
that pop in for a quick bite and run

perhaps you’re unaccustomed
to the world’s indifference or phantom lovers
who annihilate each other over dinner

au contraire it gives me a certain curious comfort
to realize that I’m inhabited by beings
about whom I know virtually nothing

Gummy Head

half-turned away
from the incessant buzz of factoids
those janus-faced insects
that swarm around the whirlpool
working their books of percentages

as if reality might be conjured
from an infinity of jumbled numbers
where sound waves cancel out signals
mistaken as trivia
faint glimmers in the trash
pockets of order in chaos
chaos in order projected indefinitely
at which magnification would you like to proceed

let us start with a fact
which is indisputably the case
the rock upon which all rocks depend
kick it down the road and set the world in motion

or must we pass through the eye of a needle buried
in a cliché and if so where to place the disappeared
those nameless lives in voiceless graves
water over stones mumbling to loved ones
left to wonder where exactly is gone

as if a bored creator might leave
a little gummy head on a stick and walk away
to play dice in another trending universe
as if to say one is left to pick up sticks
that cross and separate by chance
or interpret leaves at the bottom of a tea cup
and play through these migratory moments

Truth Game

the same room but different now
the mirror’s slight mockery of all that is
turn a millimeter away and a change of mood
spreads across the sofa and table
a series of words bubble up the curving stem
of a standing lamp
these could be anyone’s thoughts
moving from mind to mind
chair to chair

one creates an image
an idea of oneself that demands to be fed
so you may bluff your life away
waiting for the real deal
the card that may reveal you
for who you are or not

the truth
don’t mention it
in so many words
that which withdraws from the slightest observation
and splits into possible selves
so one is captured
by the magnetic draw of uncertainty
the nuanced realm of multiple lives

until all possible positions collapse
and you are called upon to act
to break the mirror’s hold
and step through your image
a simple yes or no will do

so a parallel world is created
in which you may be asked
to put your life on the line
facts break down still further
but that is not for us
now you get to play the game

Further Instructions

let’s say a body falls
head first into wave upon wave
of roiling voices a harsh hello here
a sweet goodbye there
it all gets tangled in the gurgle and foam
so many swarming targets
searching for the right arrow

each to his own amateurish speculations
reincarnation placed upon a shelf
next to a can of pork and beans
a logbook of meaningful coincidences
leans against a jar of rusty keys
which door to what metaphor

no need to panic
most ideas only go so far
then someone blows a whistle
and you pick yourself up off the ground
maybe we’re not made to get
to the heart of the matter
maybe nothing sticks around that long

might as well catch the next wave
of fluttering digressions and half-baked ideas
and listen closely for a secret echolalia in the banter
close but never close enough
to hear light’s squiggles turn to matter
yet it happens while we were thinking
of something else

it’s no secret that words were
watching us from a distance
waiting to switch narratives or bite

maybe it’s unavoidable that we must stand
for something we don’t understand
and act upon it with our lives

no matter just place your ear
near the static in the wind tunnel
and await further instructions


tell me if I’m getting
too personal
but looking into your eyes
makes me wonder

where you keep
your longing
I mean is there a road
you’d like to take

is it on a map
of brooklyn or maybe
in a black box
pulled up from the sea

will I need a key to open it
is it like a hand left
on a pillow
have the fingers fallen asleep

will it spill
over and fill the room
or is it a nothing
kind of thing

that’s everywhere
and nowhere
and will I know it
when I see it

Place Holder

they told us that as density increases
space shrinks inside the number
and at the zero point
the equation breaks down and weeps

they told us half of infinity is still infinity
and that illumination slips through
chips in the armor and words
are filled with oceans of empty space

they said that the largest licks the spiral ear
of the smallest and folds in upon itself
they told us to watch how leaves cluster
in open parentheses and then just blow away

they told us that numbers were hooks
in the clouds and that a poet must zero forth
to thread the eye through an ear
and learn to wing it outward on a word

they said that the foot lies in the leap
across death’s gummy shoe
and that infinity guarantees repetition
but our return will be unrecognizable to us

Charles Borkhuis is a poet, playwright, screenwriter, and essayist. His nine collections of poems include: Dead Ringer [BlazeVOX], Finely Tuned Static (with paintings by John McCluskey) [Lunar Chandelier], Disappearing Acts [Chax], Afterimage [Chax], and Alpha Ruins [Bucknell University], selected by Fanny Howe as a finalist for the William Carlos Williams Book Award. His poems have appeared in eight anthologies including: Resist Much, Obey Little [Spuyten Duyvil], Dia Anthology [Dia Art Foundation], An Avec Sampler #2 [Avec], Primary Trouble [Talisman House], and Writing From The New Coast: Presentation and Technique [o.blek]. His essays on contemporary poetics have appeared in Telling it Slant and We Who Love to Be Astonished (University of Alabama Press). He translated New Exercises from the French by Franck André Jamme [Wave]. His plays have been presented in NYC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Hartford, and Paris and published in Mouth of Shadows [Spuyten Duyvil], The Sound of Fear Clapping [Obscure Press], Present Tense [Stage This 3], and Poets’ Theater [Ailanthus]. His radio plays The Sound of Fear Clapping and Foreign Bodies were produced on NPR and can be heard at pennsound. He is the recipient of a Dramalogue Award and the former editor of Theater:Ex, an experimental theater publication. He lives in New York City.

Editor’s Notes (Posit 15)


It is a bittersweet pleasure to introduce this magnificent fifteenth issue of Posit, coming as it does in the wake of what feels like an avalanche of national and global upheaval — both natural and human-made, toxically entangled as those categories are. But also: coming out on the heels of such a great loss for anyone interested in contemporary poetry. I’m referring, of course, to the death of John Ashbery, one of the greatest and most beloved poets of the past half-century. Although his loss hits hard, I find consolation in detecting his influence on so much of the poetry I love — and publish.

This issue is a perfect case in point, notable as it is for the singularity and variety of the voices it assembles — an aesthetic capaciousness which owes no small thanks to Ashbery’s paradigm-shifting work, which demonstrated by contagious example the extent of what is possible. Which ranges, in this issue, from the sizzling imaginative fertility of Will Alexander’s monumental monologue to the analytic calm of Robert Okaji’s meditations; from the poignant crises of Louis Bourgeois’ beautifully drawn protagonists to the understated humor of David Lehman’s and Stephen Paul Miller’s riffs on Frank O’Hara’s famous Lana Turner poem; from John Beer’s tidal flow of verbal riches to Charles Borkhuis’ razor-sharp yet deadly serious wit; from Patty Seyburn’s evocative experimentalism to Aliesa Zoecklein’s equally evocative lyric odes to love and loss.

To quote Mr. Ashbery, all of the work in this issue offers “what we need now:” these “unlikely / Challenger[s] pounding on the gates of an amazed / Castle” (“Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror”). So I hope you’ll honor his passing by reading, or re-reading, his work — and theirs:

the revolutionary heat and devastating light of this fragment from Will Alexander’s tome, The Ganges, the “supreme toil” of its “treasonous instruction” in the voice of an Untouchable, that “remnant outside a palace of hoaxes” banned “to exclusion voiced through tainted opinion,” with its grim echoes of the meanness and menace in our contemporary political landscape;

the rhythmic fluidity of John Beer’s “The Fictive Hour,” “split[ting] the feast of [its] intentions” in wave after melodic wave, enacting the sensitive pursuit of meaning embedded in the quiddity of the moment becoming “the mother of itself;”

Charles Borkhuis’ grave yet bemused invitations to puzzle over “the truth . . . which withdraws from the slightest observation,” deploying the insights of meta-and particle physics in his signature precise yet playful demotic idiom to “thread the eye through an ear / and . . . wing it outward on a word;”

the tragicomedy of Louis Bourgeois’ Salingeresque tale of the clash of integrity with pragmatism under the pressure of social reality and, especially, of time;

Lauren Camp’s evocative lyrics lifting off from the springboard of the personal to touch the universal, rising from the “rant in my inbox” which “is many / fresh-fallen failures /masquerading as failures” to the desert clouds over a party which “plump / then conjugate / all the pleasure for hours;”

Robert Farrell’s aphoristic, incantatory meditations delving, like “a vehicle into a vehicle,” into works by Anscombe, Aristotle, Zosimus, and Hala Mohammed to propose that “[a]ll / things hang together even lives that meet their natural / ends;”

the sensitivity of Cal Freeman’s meditations on literary and personal heritage in which “no one knows / what to measure or how” in light of “the terrible affront and tacit / threat [our] presence constitutes / for every seen and unseen creature;”

David Lehman’s tribute to Stephen Paul Miller’s variation on Frank O’Hara’s “Poem [Lana Turner Has Collapsed!]” — each as wryly gentle in their counsel as the charming original — Miller’s version literally raising the stakes on O’Hara’s by virtue of the weight of what’s at stake (“oh Hillary Clinton you’re going to lose get up!”)— while Lehman’s version hovers with understated complexity between empathetic optimism and doubt of a candidate who might or might not share the social ease of the kind of gregarious narrator who “want[s] to meet you / whoever you are;”

The contemplative focus of Robert Okaji’s koan-like meditations on perception filtered through the metaphorical and philosophical implications of abstraction, in which “[t]he images consume no space but the effect is of distance;”

Patty Seyburn’s richly elliptical and compelling investigations into the vulnerability of the human body and the mythography of swans, entailing “something about anomaly” and “mimesis overload;”

Devon Wootten’s delicious excerpt from Gimme the Pretty, enlisting the reader to partner its probing of the nature and value of its own endeavor (yes, poetry, but not only), achieving any number of “truly epic volta[s]” as it delivers “what [we] came for— / realer done right,”

and Aliesa Zoecklein’s elegant explorations of the grief and hazard embedded in the paraphernalia of the ordinary: the sequin dress of a former lover, the sustenance of a grieving survivor, the “convincing curve” of a swimming pool beyond which “there’s a gate-latch moment when the stranger arrives.”

Thank you for honoring these artists with your time and attention.

Susan Lewis


Welcome to the visual art of Posit 15!

Jodi Colella uses traditional needlework skills to create artworks that are referential to the great traditions she is working within while also building a commentary on her travels throughout the world. Her work speaks to the evolving roles of women in Western and Non-Western cultures as well her experiences of the natural world.

Brandon Graving, a master printmaker, uses paper in interesting and innovative ways. She casts it, creating three-dimensional sculptures that seem to defy gravity. Her mastery of printmaking technique enables her to push the medium past its known limits until the results defy categorization.

There is a palpable visual rhythm and rhyme in the graphic work of Francis Pavy. His visual interpretations of the music of his native Louisiana dance and jump off the page. His ties to Southern American folklore and culture are deep, and he expresses them in a distinctly contemporary way.

The complex sculptures of Lina Puerta present a delicate and beautifully crafted view of the confluence of the natural and manmade worlds. Her great sensitivity to the found objects she often uses and her skills in combining them creates a universe that is simultaneously natural and artificial—as well as beautiful to look at.

Umar Rashid has created a new history of the American Empire. Through his brilliant and subversive series of faux-historical painting and writings he imagines a national history quite different from that taught in school. His pictorial style riffs on many historic sources and the result is something completely original. A self-taught artist, Rashid has combined his keen intellect with a sly sense of humor and political outrage.

Melissa Stern