Simone Muench & Jackie K. White

Disclosure

but dresses dressed in dresses are dresses
—Saeed Jones

The dress says I will frame your beauty
when I bury you. The dress is a chateau
of ghosts demanding don’t go, don’t love
your nakedness. It is the vehicle, the volta

that comes too soon, without steering, only
sash for a wheel. Let it fly loose, grip yourself.
The dress is a liar laced with history’s lies.
Your beauty needs no frame; pivot on this

exposé as the body drowns its cargo
of blues beneath a voluminous red dress
that enters the room before you do.
Let it go on ahead, swirl its cliché, evoke

whatever gazes it can. That nakedness
you do love refigures any space you choose.

Department of Brokenness

The desert is an armory of black tires.
Assemble the animals. Assemble
the murder ballads, and the trembling
shadows. Silence strung along barbwire

catches the heat, the threat against flesh,
and starts to hum. Always the eye believes
human forms will emerge, some voice
will clear debris, give guidance or light.

Instead, fading notes, roadkill. A mass
of songless bodies trussed tight with shoulder
holsters. The weathervane no longer moves,
the land is out of breath. Assemble

every muted scarecrow. Every body’s
just as frail, and even the silence lies.

Solve for X

Everything is loss and the longing for
connection, but the ache of vacancy
has no home. Brittle stem flower—headless,
every planted thing knows its own uprooting,
knows that this is the way we wound—
sometimes a needle, sometimes a shovel.
Morning’s wasp-bright sting turns bodies
to stories of wreckage, of folly, the dull

thudding steps we plot for going on.
If salve or salvage exist somewhere,
do the stories weave what leads us there
away from the garden’s rot, obit, subplot,
toward something less dark. Not quite song
or sugar water, but a wrought ripe, sunlit.

Process Statement

Our primary approach is one in which each of us decides on a specific poetic form (sonnet, cento, glosa, pantoum, etc.); or, in some cases, we merely make a decision about stanzaic length (for example, we may choose to write in couplets). We then begin a stanza, establishing its length as well as any other parameters, before giving it to the other person through differing collaborative encounters including email, text, phone conversations, and bi-weekly meetings. During our meetings (typically over a glass of Malbec), we discuss new topics and possibilities as we reflect on our discoveries about our collaborations. We continue to develop those ideas as we write, editing as we go along as well as after each poem is completed. The sonnet seems particularly suited to a two-person collaboration due to its dialogic nature, and so we find ourselves returning to this form frequently.

Simone Muench is the author of six books, including Wolf Centos (Sarabande, 2014). Her recent, Suture, includes sonnets written with Dean Rader (BLP, 2017). She is an editor of They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing (BLP, 2018) and curator of the HB Sunday Reading Series in Chicago. Additionally, she serves as faculty advisor for Jet Fuel Review and as a senior poetry editor for Tupelo Quarterly.
Jackie K. White is a professor at Lewis University and a faculty advisor for Jet Fuel Review. Recent poems appear in Tupelo Quarterly and Superstition Review along with collaborative centos in Isthmus and a collaborative sonnet in Cincinnati Review. She has also published three chapbooks and served as an assistant editor for the collaborative anthology, They Said.

Devon Balwit & Jeff Whitney

Lifelike

by Devon Balwit

Red copse on an age-flecked page. 500 years of hounds and the runners of hounds gone to bones since the artist’s hand clustered the russet branches, the grove of birdsong and unseen creatures foraging. Without the attribution, we’d think it a sketch from last Sunday’s picnic. We know the place, have been there even. But see the name Leonardo, and suddenly, the trees groan beneath manna, the mute solemnity of the archive, untouchable. Omit it then, leaving the gate unlatched, no sign to ward off trespassers. Thus relieved, we can enter, quick as quick, rustling the underbrush.

History of the Knife

by Devon Balwit and Jeff Whitney

You’re it. You’re the rabbit. You’re the knife, the flensing blade, the wordless cry. You’re the tulle, rucked in the hurry to fuck in the stairwell. You’re the dropped clatter, the harrow scattering voles. You’re the slap and the burning thereafter, the skinned scrotum, the tap into nailbeds. You’re the splash over the bridge railing, the burst bubble, the sink into secrets.

You’re the frantic in the backward glance, the lifted curtain. Thunder. The dark-stained cloud belly. You’re the hectic, fever-fed, the uttering candle. You’re the raised palps, questing, the flat stare in the reflection, the back-lit pane. You’re the key, dropped in darkness, the groping fingers, not finding.

You’re the dark of a wizard’s dream, his book of mites and half-fleshed demons. The world tilts this way and that, flat-lined equator, continents of grief, islands of sorry. You’re the you of this poem, of the line you go to the window. Drawn to its red horizon, you’re the strange bird summoned always back to earth.

You go outside, pick a tree, name it Mary. You don’t know why. Important is the act of carving, sap-sticky. A rite lucky and mournful. The best coffins are made from what the earth can eat. Even you, the knife, flicking the forest to desert and swallowing ruin.

Sometimes, you tire of the whetstone’s rasp, the hairsplitting, but no longer a knife, what would you be? What beyond your pearl handle? A story? Fine. No street ever went anywhere golden. Now you’re a scorpion snipping the head of a star. You’re looking become wanting. You’re the balloon, floating away.

What do you do when nothing calls you anymore? When you turn, and there is only the empty clearing, those you came with hidden? When you wait there, counting Mississippis?

Best to remain the knife. There is a knife in everything, in all stories of suffering, beetle to hanged man, finches at a feeder. Every so often, one sings.

Devon Balwit lives scarily close to the Cascadia Subduction Zone. She has six chapbooks and three collections out in the world. Her individual poems can be found in journals such as The Cincinnati Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Sugar House Review, apt, Cultural Weekly, The Free State Review, and Sierra Nevada Review. For more, see her website.
Jeff Whitney is the author of five chapbooks, two of which were co-written with Philip Schaefer. His poems can be found in journals such as 32 Poems, Adroit, Beloit Poetry Journal, Blackbird, Prairie Schooner, and Verse Daily.

Nicolette Wong & David Heg

The Classroom

You have left for tomorrow
like the rhythm of rust

reverberating through
the blinds—darting,

gasping, fleeing the day
we pressed our hearts

against the glitter
of wisdom, our being

choked on a voiceless
command—be still,

be pliant, be the words
translucent as dust.

 

The Waiting Room

It must be rain inside the walls. The rain of a child’s cries, a red swing against the grey sweetness of sky. A hollow to stifle, rocking in the cold front. Of ciphers discarded on the doorsteps, lips bleeding into porcelain shards to let live. Come back, come back, to the call of faceless drinkers pleading for histories, in a room of dust singed by erasure. For I will wait, I will wait to touch their voices, punctured by rain.

Nicolette Wong is the editor in chief of A-Minor Magazine & Press. Her writing has appeared in Bellingham Review, Crab Orchard Review, Escape Into Life, Thrush Poetry Journal and other venues.
David Heg is a photographer and educator currently manifesting in the wooded hills of eastern CT. His work has appeared on the cover of Nicolette Wong’s poetry chapbook, Stone Bride Madrigals, and the online zines, Negative Suck, Dark Chaos, A-Minor Magazine, Revolution John and Otoliths.

Sarah Stengle & Eva Mantell

from Pages from the Frozen Sea

—click on any image to enlarge—

positInkSpash131210.small

Artists’ Statement

The “pages” in Pages from the Frozen Sea are photographs of ordinary objects or materials suspended in ice, or artworks made by working with ice. This collaborative project is a celebration of the beauty and constantly changing nature of ice, and embraces an experimental, process-oriented approach to art-making. The project was inspired by a quote from Franz Kafka: “A book must be an axe for the frozen sea within us.” The images selected were done during the winter of 2017. The project will continue during the winter of 2018: it requires cold weather. This year Sarah Stengle and Eva Mantel hope to extend the scope of the project by inviting other artists to also contribute pages. The project can be followed on Facebook and Instagram.

Sarah Stengle lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and is a book artist and sculptor. She is represented by Central Booking Gallery in New York City, and her work is included in many collections including the Chicago Art Institute, the Fogg Museum at Harvard, the Brooklyn Museum of Art and Morgan Library. She is interested in inter-disciplinary art and has collaborated with mathematicians and writers on art projects. Her most recently completed collaboration was with author Michael Joseph and was featured at VISPO: Visual Poetry, a traveling exhibit that originated in Aachen Germany, September, 2016 and concluded in Bergau, Germany in May, 2017.
Eva Mantell lives in Princeton, NJ and has exhibited her sculpture, painting and video at the Monmouth Museum, the Hunterdon Museum, the Bernstein Gallery at Princeton University, the Abington Art Center, the Jersey City Museum and the Brooklyn Museum of Art. She has a BA from Penn and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in NYC. She curates, teaches and speaks about art including the recent Art as Activism, at the exhibit Fight or Flight at The Painting Center, NYC. She has a special interest in arts engagement and community outreach and her teaching has been included in Designing and Delivering Arts Programs for Older Adult Learners, published by the National Center for Creative Aging in Washington, DC.

Anne Waldman and Pamela Lawton

Waldman cover

from Sweet-Voiced [Mutilated] Papyrus

for George Schneeman

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Waldman Thumbnail

Thumbnail

feminine art controversy? do not spray
we’re regressing here in the manner of social and civil rights

ostracized, never
never go homeless into the void

deep in time things are done out of contrariness

cast away pretense, charm the winds of Thrace
speech! speech! before the angry mob
& a clamor for pride

dreamed in the Greek dream I gave birth to a snake
and had a laugh with the other damsels

wanted the ones who were feminists to cheer
but they didn’t (did I?) get the joke

I was their school teacher……………………………………………………..
……………………………………………..[]
[]…………………………………………………………….[].
pencil over my ear

_________________________________________________

thumbnail: retrograde
forearm: necessary
thumbprint: obsolete

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Waldman 2 (Lash)

Lash

“weibliche Arbeiten”
woman’s work is never shunned

knuckles: rapt

the pudenda chronicles
look up to see the pillaging Zeus?

can you spin? will you be scanned?
are you mad?
groves & shrines, dance around my course description

“Madchen”
“jeunes filles”

what is the art of our love?

he went thinking, the shes kept circling the
liberated hearth, escaped into the streets

memory, meanwhile, kept steady
and standing on the soapbox heads

_______________________________________________________

lash: febrile
nose: in profile
hairline: reconstitute for the fabricant

 

Waldman Gaze 1

Waldman gaze 2

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Pamela Lawton_Gaze

Gaze

syntactic weakness
fin de siècle decadence
I mean the last go-round

was she pure?

waiting for a future society to take over
hermeneutics for everyone……………..
lens of rescue

did we miss the absentee ballot procedure?
[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]

Hetairia! my friends
welcome to the symposium
and sing all night because we are all suppliants here

she is not an island of paypals
where beauty is set apart and purchased
no!

_______________________________________________

gaze: masked identity
palm: extends
cornea: awake

Artists’ Statements

Runes, fragments and the odd moments and gestures and fissures of cultural artifacts of the past are ever generative in my poetry. How they relate to language and the body is always an exploration. Lines come together as the images assume composite yet fluid identities suggesting, in this case, parts of the hieratic female body.
On one occasion while visiting my literary archive at the Hatcher Graduate Library in Ann Arbor I watched skilled and scholarly librarians gently repair a recently acquired “mutilated” papyrus. Neglect, weather, age, war, other abuse? It triggered a suite of poems that eventually morphed into this one. I see this serial poem as montaged to reclaim and recreate a viable presence – a visible body, which is also a kind of archive – on the page.

I had already thought about a visual collaboration with the artist Pamela Lawton whose work I have long admired. Visualizing the project in black and white with her inimitable drawing line, I invited her into this project. This seemed the perfect match.

Pamela in her “Educator” role at the Metropolitan Museum has access to a range of cultural artifacts and outstanding masterpieces of all times and place and her recent work has been reflecting some of this visual input, as well as the machinations of her own expansive imagination.

I presented Pamela initially with my first drafts and then went on to respond to her responses to my texts. Things evolved in a playful back and forth mode, and when we presented the work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art live in the galleries with some of the pieces she had worked from, I felt the further dynamic of performance enter into the mix. I think of our collaboration as an interactive project in many ways, of a process that that will continue into the future with a sense of discourse, reclamation, and intervention.

–Anne Waldman

positInkSpash131210

 

When collaborating, my peripheral vision expands, taking in others’ perspectives. This leads to spontaneous, unexpected and uncensored creative responses. This encounter with the “other”, this potential for empathy, occurs for me when working with poets, in a direct way, and also when I work from a motif, such as architecture or statuary. It also happens when interacting with other artists’ works, such as at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where, as an educator there, I have a glimpse into the world view of, say, a Renaissance tapestry designer, or a Buddhist sculptor.

All of this and more came together in working with Anne Waldman, whose poetry and writings and performances I had long-admired. When she asked me to work with her on this project, I was intrigued and overwhelmed by the serially fragmented fragments, on artistic, historic and corporeal levels. Among the oblique antiquities and modern muses, the textual layers elicted countless possibilities, leading to my making a connection between her writing and the overwhelming array of art within the museum. Her writing in hand, I allowed the voice of her poem and the language of the art at the Met to speak to me obliquely, sub-consciously, and made many artworks in front of statues, stele, and more. When the idea to present it as a performance arose, then our collaboration took on a new level, and we exchanged writing and art (mine and the Met’s) to shape it as both a visual and oral piece. Within this new way of working, the possibilities are rich, and we are looking forward to new iterations.

–Pamela Lawton

Anne Waldman has been a prolific poet, editor, professor, and performer, creating radical hybrid forms for the long poem, both serial and narrative, and engaged in “documentary poetics,” fueling her ethos as a cultural activist. She is a frequent collaborator with visual artists. She is the author of the magnum opus The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment, a feminist “intervention” taking on war and patriarchy with a Buddhist edge, which won the PEN Center 2012 Award for Poetry. Her book Gossamurmur, (2013) is an allegorical adventure and plea for poetry’s archive which “reanimates sentient beings.” She helped found and directed The Poetry Project at St Mark’s in the 1960-70s and went on to co-found The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University with Allen Ginsberg, where she continues to curate the Summer Writing Program. Widely traveled and translated, she has worked most recently in Morocco, India and France. She is a recipient of the Shelley Memorial Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship for 2013-14. www.annewaldman.org
Pamela Lawton has exhibited in galleries and museums both locally and internationally, including one-person exhibitions at the Galeria Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica, The Conde Nast Building, NY, 180 Maiden Lane, NY, The Atrium Gallery, NY, and the Galeria Isabel Ignacio in Seville, Spain. Group exhibitions including her work have been featured in Pierogi Gallery, NYC, Sideshow Gallery, NYC, Tibor De Nagy Gallery, NYC, The Artists’ Museum, Lodz, Poland, and the Emmanuel Heller Gallery, Tel Aviv. Lawton is currently an Artist-In-Residence (AIR) at Chashama, NYC, and has been an AIR at the World Trade Center through the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Collaborations with poets include Sweet-voiced [mutilated] Papyrus with Anne Waldman (Spyuyten Duyvil Press, 2015), Walking After Midnight with Bill Kushner (Spuyten Duyvil Press,2011), and A Place In the Sun with Lewis Warsh (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2010). Interviews featuring her one-person exhibitions were featured on NY 1 News, in November 2011, and November 2009. She received a BA from Bennington College in visual arts and an MFA in painting from the City College in New York and Scuola Lorenzo De Medici in Florence, Italy. While a faculty member at New School University, she created a study-abroad art program in Sri Lanka. She has been teaching at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for more than ten years, and is on the faculty of Manhattanville College. www.pamelalawton.com

Joanna Fuhrman and Toni Simon

The Ruler of Rusted Knees

THE RULER OF RUSTED KNEES

You were the king of all the abandoned bathtubs  and I was the king of air/ space/ time/ questions unlucky fuzzy key chains and speech.  Were you jealous? Um, sorry (?)  I'm was never  actually kidding. You were the king of all the abandoned bathtubs

and I was the king of air/space/ time/ questions

unlucky fuzzy key chains and speech.

Were you jealous?

Um, sorry (?)

I was never / actually kidding.

thoth3

In the beginning, we made birds chirps translated into the language of broken chairs.

No one exactly understood us, so they called us wise.

This was before the bloody fedoras,

before the arrival of floating leaf territory.

rustedknees4

Try to balance
like an idea,

like a balanced
idea, like the idea

of balance like
an idea balanced

on another idea,
on balanced ideas

on many ideas
balancing.

rustedknees5

Back then—you were
the ruler of plastic wrap,

lost words and
radiators.

I was the ruler
of disobedient vowels,

folded origami-style
guidebooks.

rustedknees6

A man with double eights
in his halo is lucky.

A man without a head and double eights
in his halo is unlucky.

Can a man have a halo without a head?
Can a haloed man be unlucky?

If a man is lucky and unlucky at once,
he is doubly unlucky and doubly lucky.

If you try to be lucky,
you’re unlucky.

If want to be unlucky,
you’re in luck!

thoth7

In the beginning, we didn’t need to be friends with all the parts of ourselves.

It was enough to listen to the wind tear the world to pieces.

Later, the wind swallowed parts of ourselves we had no name for

but missed terribly.

rustedknees8

We had happened in many
different somewheres,

and everywheres,
and were here now.

Like the taste of teeth
is here, or the migrating

space around a loose flag.

rustedkness9

You can be the king
of whatever–the-hell

you believe
you are the king of.

Take light,
for example.

If you whispered to the light,
no one would

say you were
wrong to believe

its flashing was a product
of your will.

Artists’ Statement

In our mixed-media literary project, Egyptian gods, stripped of their context and role, wander various New York City neighborhoods trying to figure out where they belong, how to make sense of what they have lost, and how to get along with one another.

In the first step of our project, Toni Simon constructs three-dimensional, small-scale figurines out of paper, modeled on Egyptian gods. She then paints them with abstract, graphic details. We then take the little gods out into different neighborhoods and take hundreds of photographs of them. We select eight to ten images, which become the basis for a series of poems written by Joanna Fuhrman.

So far, we have created picture/poem serial combinations in Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Chinatown, the Reversible Destiny Studio, Red Hook and Gowanus (featured here). Parts of the project have appeared online in paperbag and Talisman and in print in the 100th issue of Hanging Loose.

Toni Simon is a multimedia artist living in Brooklyn. Her illustrated book of prose poetry “Earth After Earth” was published by Lunar Chandelier Press in 2012. Over 80 of her illustrations appear in “Contradicta: Aphorisms” (Green Integer, 2010) by Nick Piombino. She has exhibited her drawings at the Drawing Center and at the AIR Gallery in NYC. http://tonisimonart.blogspot.com

Joanna Fuhrman is the author of four books of poetry, most recently “Pageant” (Alice James Books 2009) and “Moraine” (Hanging Loose Press 2006), as well as the chapbook “The Emotive Function” (Least Weasel Press 2011). She teaches poetry writing at Rutgers University and through Teachers & Writers Collaborative. Other sections of her project with Toni appear online at paperbag and Tailsman and in print in the journal Hanging Loose. For more see: Joannafuhrman.com

Travis and JenMarie Macdonald

It’s All Your Fault, Now Burn with Me

Whatever you do, don’t defrost
that last thought
dancing out the airlock.

I wanna know your infection
touches the glass
you pound with savior palms

I’ve never found. An ideal worth believing
in retreats from you, lowers its solar shields.

We need our decompression
initiated, stranger. Love, as

we coast into the sun,
scoop your fusion heart out

illegally. Flash the flares
of your eyes in someone else’s direction.

Say Your Silent Goodbyes

The most impossible white
point star left

a conventional impact crater.
And yet you are found:
a skinny little idiot
in a blizzard of bullets.

Unfrazzle your asteroid
laser, cue montage music
like a missile through a plate glass window.
Hide your weeping angel eyebrows;

the approach begins.
The horde of travesty’s
nightmare child. Choose your enemy
from memory’s 4-beat cycle.

27 Effervescent Planets

Pulled a second out
of sync, hidden in

a time pocket
torn through. The universe pants—

the run was too long
for the crucible loop.
Shoot! The dimension cannon

naked in the neutrino
core with only one disgusting heart,
one inhumane universe.

Reality bomb (boom)
testing calibration apotheosis
waits for a wavelength.

An Anomaly on the List of the Dead

An army of ghosts gone
hungry, running warm,
shoots into void 600
feet above your body

politic. That’s inside the future
breach and science lines. Genesis
arc needs 13 square

miles. Move your universe a little
to the left. Exterminate,
delete, elevate. The void
stuff is sticky with duty

to queen and country. Cue
the move-on music, burning
up a sun just to say goodbye.

Authors’ note:

The preceding poems are taken from a short manuscript titled “Bigger On The Inside” that the authors wrote collaboratively while watching episodes of Doctor Who. It will be published by Ixnay Press in 2014.

JenMarie Macdonald is one half of Fact-Simile Editions and the author of “Sometime Soon Ago” (Shadow Mountain Press) and co-author, with Travis Macdonald, of the forthcoming chapbooks “Graceries” (Horse Less Press) and “Bigger on the Inside” (Ixnay Press).

Travis Macdonald is a poet, copywriter and small press publisher. He is the author of two full-length collections: “The O Mission Repo [vol. 1]” (Fact-Simile) and “N7ostradamus” (BlazeVox), as well as several chapbooks. He currently lives, works, writes and co-edits Fact-Simile Editions in Philadelphia, PA.