Corinne Lee

Colin Doyle, untitled (Depression glass hand)

Colin Doyle, untitled (Depression glass hand)

“sidewise movements are much more comfortable and natural, and . . .
prevent or greatly reduce the risk of glass arm.”

—William G. Pierpont, The Art & Skill of Radio-Telegraphy, 1997

After the wintry diagnosis
of soon-blue lungs, we flame
the ether—

my blood loud and gummed,
winds sinking—

our hands in grief become serpent-footed fish,

clasped together              —despite rising floe
—despite no restraining

the sudden wide poison

in my flesh captive
to paths unsprung—and yet—

happy denial, like surface,
still dolphins this region—

so as if from sea we upfloat, sidelong—
pregnant in and by lakes,

palm to palm, pretending
we are fluid undefiled—

so that we can
meet lightness—and not shatter,

but Run.


Colin Doyle, untitled (Guantanamo sea glass)

Colin Doyle, untitled (Guantanamo sea glass)

“Also known as ‘mermaid’s tears’ . . . sea glass is rare in most places around the world. But, in Guantanamo Bay anyone can visit Glass Beach and take home a handful.”
—Sergeant Emily Green, “Glass Beach on Guantanamo Bay,” America’s North Shore Journal, 2009

At Camp X-Ray, our weather (the bullet train)
cannot listen due to headlong.

Tenderloin lights and glassmen.

If everyone is the police, where do we survive?

Excludables include all affection,
even that of pastries.

Another corporal leashing
jumped orange.

Our headstalls? Mouthfuls of blood feathers, gristle.

Venereal are the elephants
of patience. Of the buried law they sing.

Gasoline has dealt with our river——————.

In every attic our mothers keen, bulging
with pins and mermaid

tears. Iodine vistas. Indecent sleep.
A boxed rock’s thoughts.

Occult chains suspending.

On to the next hook stop: eel quay of Delta.

And then a final sanding, a rounding—
into grain—
into vanishment—

erasure of imperial eye.

Corinne Lee’s fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have been published in dozens of literary magazines, and she has been a multiple nominee for the Pushcart Prize. Her book PYX won the National Poetry Series and was published by Penguin. Ms. Lee was chosen in 2007 by the Poetry Society of America as one of the top ten emerging poets in the United States. Six of her poems were included in Best American Poetry 2010. She was educated at the University of Southern California, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (fiction), and the University of Texas at Austin (poetry).

Editors’ Notes (Posit 6)


Welcome, reader, to the pleasures of Posit 6! And while we admit to loving the work we gather for every issue, this one is special, welcoming back five contributors from our first two issues: Michael Boughn, Rich Ives, Mary Kasimor, Sheila Murphy, and Mark Young. Naturally, we are also as excited as ever to welcome our newest contributors to the Posit family! This issue’s cover art by John Yoyogi Fortes is titled “Navigating the Slippery Slope,” which is exactly what all of the work in Posit 6 manages. As we hope you’ve come to expect, this issue contains stellar examples of contemporary verse that is as disciplined as it is innovative; multi-genre work, both collaborative and individual; prose poetry, and “dervish essays.” When we consider all of the literature gathered in this volume, we are amazed by the way all of these writers makes use of such a range of aesthetic strategies – from irony to gravity, emotion to ellipsis – to grapple with some of the most time-honored literary preoccupations: love, loss, mortality, the nature of existence, and the contradictions of contemporary society. Here, in a nutshell, is why you should read them all.

The precise yet organic prosodic architecture of Michael Boughn’s “City” echoes its subject in this new excerpt, in which mermaids must take refuge from their irreality in those eponymous collectivities, inviting us to consider “certain questions/with the stress on quest,” and their inevitable “figuratively speaking/loose ends.”

Cathleen Calbert’s light-heavy, sharp-edged humor startles us into recognizing such uncomfortable truths as that “all toddlers are Nazis,” and entertainingly warns of the dangers inherent in “myths: Greek, Christian, or “personal” regarding the meaning of death of chicken-fried steak.”

Emily Carr’s multi-genre mash-up begins with a visually stunning collage poem, by way of introduction to love poems whose roots are in the natural world, spinning like “a tornado of dickcissels.”

Dante Di Stefano keeps us reeling with his wild pony ride of a litany declaring “I’m the most stressed out / lazy person ever” “as wrong as two hotdogs in one bun,” desperately commanding us to “Recite me from memory like a prayer.”

Reminding us that “the travelcraft of poetry is the sound/of it,” David Giannini’s re-imaginings of our interior and exterior landscapes emit a serene musicality even as they startle us with their unforeseeable, indispensable insight, coaxing us to “open wide to unknowing” the hauntingly unknowable, such as “How asleep is awake?”

Rich Ives’ prose poems draw us in with “showgirl fluff and red-winged poppies” only to leave us with “a rooster in the lilac bush, and feast of unanswered questions” as well as a list poem teasing us with philosophical musings such as “Facts are not cruel. Understanding is” and “Wisdom is cheap, but a good lie is expensive.”

Mary Kasimor’s unmistakable ‘undressed impossible’ calls out its resemblance to “a naked turkey or a flower with all its petals torn off” but is on display here in full petal, full feather, and full glory, as fully haunting as “the icy etching of the sun.”

Corinne Lee juxtaposes her verse with haunting images of glass in poems so exquisite that they permit us to “meet lightness—and not shatter” and pose the timely question, “If everyone is the police, where do we survive?”

Kate Lutzner’s clean and potent elegies to love and loss resonate with the mystery of “voices ground to a hush,” exploring the times in all of our lives when “the scar rubs where the heart was” and “the equation says: break.”

Sheila Murphy’s spare lyrics offer a stark yet mysterious profundity in their accounts of our mortality, “this mid-range/found by living/with prospective knowing” framed by the character of our status before and after life, “advancing/and in wait.”

In his “dervish essays,” Robert Vivian offers lyrical incantations that carry us along intricate arrays of imagery to leave us spinning and elevated as “rooks, crows, and turkey vultures and smoke from distant fire.”

And finally, Mark Young’s poems delight us with juxtaposition, colliding observations such as that “Near death experiences dwarf all other categories” with “The cook was very personable, an exemplary professional. I was so excited. He came out in January” to startle us with his effortless and uncannily pleasurable verbal dope slaps.

Thank you for reading!

Susan Lewis and Bernd Sauermann


Welcome to the visual art of Posit 6!

It’s my pleasure to gather the fine work of five artists working in a range of idioms and media.

Sabhad Adam’s funny and poignant paintings of adults sitting in baby carriages marry the absurd with the sentimental. These overgrown babies scowl at us with unwavering stares, provoking us to consider the politically subversive subtext of these unsettling works.

The mad, mad world of John Yoyogi Fortes is inhabited by ids and egos, color and movement. His paintings are funny, profound and visually gorgeous. The work is as direct and spontaneous as if there were a direct line from his brain to the canvas.

Gilbert Garcin photographs a highly structured and disciplined world in luscious black, white and infinite grey tones. Man stands alone in a Universe of his own making. Solemn and quiet, these photographs invite us to witness the archetypical dramas enacted by one man’s imagination.

The drawings of Carol Radsprecher bounce with barely contained energy. Hints of figuration and narrative tease at the stories lurking beneath these surfaces of vibrant color and suggestive form.

And Hinke Schreuders’ work depicts a skewed version of idealized women in vintage advertising. Veils of embroidery pop the work into an eerily resonant psychological third dimension.

Thank you for viewing!

Melissa Stern