Dante Di Stefano

Wear Black, Drink Water, Nourish a Fierce Zeal with Locusts and Wild Honey

after Derek Mahon

I believe in love at first episode
and binge watching HBO. I always
plan really cute movie nights with myself
and then fall asleep. My mood depends on
how good my hair looks. I’m the most stressed out
lazy person ever. A good neighbor
would never password protect her Wi-Fi.
I’m sliding across the floor in my socks.
We accept the love we think we deserve.
I drink dirty bathwater like a saint.
I’ve got a bad case of the Thursdays. Turn
that frown into an origami swan
and sell it. Internet kids never sleep.
Count blessings, not problems. Count the chickens
who roost in the belfry of your bad dreams.
Get a life, earthquakes. Get a life, healthcare.
Get a life, education reform.
Stop worrying about what if and start
embracing what will be. Start embracing
cuddly galaxies of absolute light
and epiphanies that are like so true.
What’s never started today is never
finished tomorrow. Scooby Doo taught us
that the real monsters are always human.
Left to itself, the functional will cast
a death-bed glow on what’s been abandoned.
I think I dated the national debt
on a dare for a week in middle school;
I didn’t like the way she chewed bubble gum.
Now I’ve got sunflowers stuck in my teeth
and a diatribe I wrote on napkins
at Arby’s stuck in my sweatpants pocket.
I’m as wrong as two hotdogs in one bun.
I believe in deep fried democracy
and I pick clean the bones of John Donne’s lines.
Lilac greets me with the scent of regret.
I out walk what’s luminary in town.
I stand on a cliff and recite the rose.
I want to be a prophet whose message
unravels the logic of the strip mall.
Carry on and retweet if you agree.

I Am Your High School Love Poem Come Back


I’m your purple bubble letter block print
written on loose leaf torn from a notebook
with a unicorn on the front cover.
My fringe is still attached, although you try
to rip me along the perforations.
I contain platitudes, the journeywork
of chalk dust, pheromones, and cheap perfume.
I am most myself when I am reaching
elsewhere. I still sleep in footie pajamas,
but I snuggle sex and Jean Baudrillard.
I haven’t learned it’s bad form to name drop.
In the locker room of my heart, jocks
snap each other with towels like theorists
snapping signifiers into columns.
I haven’t learned how to court metaphor.
I’m earnest. I won’t inflict my hipness
on your ears. Besides, your ears are muffled,
anyway. Anyway, education
is just a bucket with a hole in it.
I perform miracles. I walk on loaves
and fishes raise the dead after four days.
There’s nothing I can’t say that won’t undo
the reader who holds me so close right now.
I clutch. I caterwaul. I somersault.
I gossip a glow back into your mien.
You are, after all, only a poet’s
bust stuck on a pedestal in the stacks.
I’m closer to you than a grabbed collar.
I don’t understand how you became what
you are: a top that spins this frigate earth.
Everything that dies comes back like songs
on the radio and you want to turn
the dial to re-hear the words crumpled
on me in a drawer or a wastebasket.
I assure you I haven’t changed a bit
as I drift into goodbye forever.
Recite me from memory like a prayer.
Snooze and wake and lick the nipples of dew
that linger on the tips of grass before
you forget what it feels like to taste sun
and moon and stars cindered into gravel.
Recite me from memory like a prayer.
Recite me from memory like a prayer.
I’m closer to you than a grabbed collar.
Recite me from memory like a prayer.

Dante Di Stefano’s poetry and essays have appeared recently in The Writer’s Chronicle, Shenandoah, Obsidian: Literature in the African Diaspora, The Hollins Critic, Brilliant Corners, The Southern California Review, and elsewhere. He was the winner of the Thayer Fellowship, the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award, the Ruth Stone Poetry Prize, the Phyllis Smart-Young Prize in Poetry, the Bea Gonzalez Prize in Poetry, and an Academy of American Poets College Prize.

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