Maureen Seaton

Tit, with Foreplay

I too would like the leisurely mind of men.
I would hold my mind in my own two hands and pet it.
If I could be anything it would be a composer.
The one who provides the soul.
Not the body, all modulated and linguistic.
Play, they call it. Play.
Or, not the mind of men. The leisurely mind of God.
Which reminds me of the mind of music.
Which reminds me of the mind of sex.
I would write an oratorio.
Me. Your lovely mate with one fickle surviving breast.
I predict a pause in this musical composition, a shift in the direction of time.
All along, I’ve meant to hold music in my hand and give it to you.

The Integrity of Matter

There’s blood on the page before this one. See?
The dark kicks up. Air torques. Rain tasers the skin.

What did Ginsberg say? That he wrote poems to tell
his version of things in a world that only tells versions

of power? How many days do we have, after all.
A tornado touches down in the next town north.

My heart iambs to some ancient classic—maybe Jackson
Browne, maybe Stylistics. I totter at the St. Vrain Creek

where it bursts from the Rockies. Cottonwoods catch me.
When the child who lives in this house is away his toys

grieve. Thomas the Train is speechless and the mottled
ball sits still. I forget the name of the film where a woman

walks into walls in hopes of entering the womb of an atom.
The child’s atoms are here, even as he climbs into the next

plane home. What a big open space I am. The way these
electrons come together, you’d think I was real.

The Integrity of Matter (A Footnote)

Whether it be your own body’s matter
or an unanimated body’s matter
(as in stone), the integrity of all matter
is related to the fact that matter,

animated or unanimated, does matter,
which jibes with the fact that all matter,
stone, flesh, or combo, will matter
infinitely—that is, without end (a matter

of speculation), although facts of matter
existing in bodies, even stones, matter
less than the actual end of matter,
which, to a stone’s integrity, will matter

less than to yours—for you, animated matter,
care greatly about whether (or not) you matter.

Psalm 2.0

Composed entirely with iPhone’s Suggestion Bar

Dear lord I don’t know what I was
just thinking about you but I’m still
in bed with my life and death and
destruction and a few years ago
I was just in my head and shoulders.
I love it when people say they will
not let you down. I have no clue
who you are. The fact is that I
have no clue who I am. I just have
a little more time with the stars
and I don’t think you should be
able to do that to me. I’m so tired
of being the only one who can
make a difference in the morning.
I have a lot more to do with my
life and death and destruction and
a few days to get my nails done.
I can see you at the end of this
month. The only way to the gym
today is with my new phone and
it will not let me go.

A Ripple in the God

A nothing-breath. A ripple in the god. A wind.
—Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus 3

It’s so quiet here, not a peep from the Walmart next door.
And you, following the mountains north and north.
Those Sangre de Cristos. A billion years old. Snowshod. Bloody.

Strange gods arrive from near and far and very far.
When light falls I see moon faces. (A reunion.)
What did you say—there’s nothing left to get you high?

I’ve already used the word tequila in a poem we drank years ago.
Now four and twenty blackbirds devour the pi(e).
Get here soon. The mountaintops are rippling. I can’t hold back the gods.

Immortal #9

Immortality doesn’t normally appeal to me, although magic squares seem innocent enough.

4     9     2
3     5     7
8     1     6

Of nine muses—Sally Field, Olive Oyl, the Sargasso Sea, the IRT, Stevie Wonder, Fibonacci, robots, teal, and Yoko—all but one have appeared to me in a poem uninvited.

The number nine is not a prime number, but I don’t hold that against it.

There are nine underground worlds (Aztec), nine circles of hell (Dante), and nine months of summer (Miami).

Nine o’s in the combined names of Yoko Ono Lennon and John Ono Lennon.

Ah! Böwakawa poussé, poussé. (9 syllables)

The Ennead (nine Egyptian deities) decided who could be born and who could pass on to the afterlife. See also: nine Supreme Court judges.

The Peacemaker, Enneagram Type 9, is the type of many famous people—e.g., Carl Jung, Whoopi Goldberg, Ringo.

Finally, the Norse god, Odin, hung himself on an ash tree for nine days to learn the runic alphabet and teach it to humanity. Who would care that much about language, I ask myself while singing so loud you can hear me all the way to the ninth (defunct) planet. It’s there that the peacemakers find me, there where they call my name.

Maureen Seaton has authored seventeen poetry collections, both solo and collaborative—most recently, Fibonacci Batman: New & Selected Poems (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2013); and, with Denise Duhamel, Caprice: Collaborations: Collected, Uncollected, and New (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015). Her awards include the Iowa Poetry Prize, Lambda Literary Award, the Publishing Triangle’s Audre Lorde Award, and an NEA Fellowship. Her work has been honored in both the Pushcart Prize Anthology and Best American Poetry. Her memoir, Sex Talks to Girls, also won a Lammy. She teaches at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida.

Editors’ Notes (Posit 14)

 
If you have ever scored an especially amazing present which was difficult (if not downright painful) not to prematurely reveal, then you know how my team and I have felt while assembling the current issue of Posit! So it is with great excitement — and no small bit of relief — that we offer the masterful works of poetry and prose by this issue’s distinguished roster of contributors. Perhaps it is not such a surprise, in light of the current geopolitical climate, that certain themes recur in a number of these works. I’m thinking, for instance, of the psychology of questionable celebrity (via Lydia Davis and Joe Milazzo), the breadth and violence of domestic and global injustice (Tongo Eisen-Martin, Rajiv Mohabir, Sarah Riggs), and the toxic confluence of fraudulence with power (Joanna Fuhrman). But here you will also find a robust literature of love and hope — for instance, in the tender yet powerful work of Maureen Seaton, Rajiv Mohabir, Lynn Schmeidler, Debasis Mukhopadhyay, Tongo Eisen-Martin, and Sarah Riggs. In other words, the literature in this issue casts a penetrating light on our critical collective ills — and on how they might yet be transcended.

So don’t miss:

Stephanie Berger’s lyric explorations of relation on both the personal and the global scale, entailing and enacting the “ethereal chasing the unspeakable” to an end which “isn’t the point & yet . . . is indispensable;”

The brilliance and precision of Lydia Davis’s Five More Claims to Fame, as sharp as a laser and as probing, bringing her profound but subtle humor to bear on human vanity and the inescapable distortions of subjectivity;

Tongo Eisen-Martin’s virtuosic convocations of voices from the besieged, indomitable heart of American urban reality, in which “the start of mass destruction / Begins and ends /in restaurant bathrooms / That some people use /And other people clean” — viewed with wisdom, musicality, and love by this “conductor of minds / In a city-wide symphony / waving souls to sing;”

Joanna Fuhrman’s witty and chiseled reimaginings of received mythoi of poetic authenticity and presidential honor, in which we learn that “before George, there was another / first president,” although, resonantly, “when the rivers voted for him, / the earth cratered in shame;”

Kevin McLellan’s spare and resonating koan-like meditations on reality, perception, identity, and existence, which is “not unlike the uncertainty // behind these open bulkhead / doors” in which one is “put into motion // from falling and stilled by / the thought of crawling;”

Joe Milazzo’s exploration of the psychology of minor celebrity, the porosity of its self-love and self-loathing, “bold shame free-styling / out towards air taken with itself,” as well as the breathless virtuosity of Palindromes Are the Fascistic Imagination’s Anagrams, its “limp exercise trailing / the mad pudge of gesticulations / tracing / the glutinous curl;”

Rajiv Mohabir’s lush and generous yet precisely turned paens to love and life and survival in the face of “beetles worm[ing] from the mouths of saints, / words rotting in books” and “the fires all about telling me / a mass extinction looms / and I should drop my flowers / and run;”

Debasis Mukhopadhyay’s love songs to poetry, polarity, and “the rainstorms behind the kites, the pantomime in the trammels, the trampoline behind the rampages,” laying his “bare hands on the whispering rivet” of the sweepstakes of the imagination;

Sarah Riggs’s HEARD (Crisis), balanced, along with our endangered planet, on the edge of hope and alarm, struggling with delicate wisdom and poetic alchemy to engage these uneasy times in which “freedoms / crash[ ] together into one giant globe-wreck” so as to avoid “render[ing] the time a point / of contention rather than a beautiful /mingling of constantly translating spaces;”

Maureen Seaton’s lyric riffs on the eternal themes of love, mortality, poetic heritage, and the very fabric of reality, via the pared-down, unvarnished magic of her beautifully turned phrases (“I’m still / in bed with my life and death and / destruction”), and potent imagery (“The way these / electrons come together, you’d think I was real;” “The mountaintops are rippling. I can’t hold back the gods”);

Lynn Schmeidler’s arresting lyric examinations of the tension and complexity of the way things are, as opposed to how we wish they were — treated with grace, originality, and the optimism that “it’s still early in the world of tomorrow and each new word is a machine;”

and the litanistic intonations of Stu Watson’s Kleptomaniac Thomas Hardy Wedding, nimbly juggling startling collisions of image and meaning like a “fraternal knot dry heaved out from [the] earth” with the musicality of rhyming couplets “floating by on a river of glee | flowing freely from a guilting mob.”

Happy reading!

Susan Lewis

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Welcome to the visual art of Posit 14!

The political and aesthetic maps generated by the fertile imagination Malala Andrialavidrazana tell intricate stories of the history of colonization. Taking Africa as her focal point, these works marry the history of continents and cultures with a distinctively contemporary sensibility expressed via intricate layers of image, both descriptive and decorative.

The sculptural installations of Lorrie Fredette refer to the multiplicity of organisms, the elegant architecture of natural forms, and the phenomenon of reproduction. She uses a critical mass of objects to completely transform and interior space. Each installation relates directly to the site in which it is installed, creating magical worlds of form and shadow.

To view Brenda’s Goodman’s paintings is to witness an intensive dance between intellect and intuition. Her work is a passionate exploration of form, figure, color, and narrative. Every painting tells a story, be it abstract or literal. These narratives are fiercely personal, yet contain the power to reach out of the canvas and connect with each viewer. They are both beautiful and substantive — a powerful combination.

Ruben Natal-San Miguel travels the five boroughs of New York City documenting the eccentric and beautiful people that he meets along the way. A self-taught photographer, he has an unerring instinct for how to engage and capture that perfect moment in street photography. His subjects, carefully posed for the camera, reveal humor and pathos.

And Jill Parisi’s work delights in the vagaries of nature. Her installations dance across walls like swarms of beautiful critters. The single objects ask us to focus on the patterns and delights of the natural world. Her mastery of the art of printmaking is revealed in the fluidity with which she moves between materials and techniques.

I hope you enjoy!

Melissa Stern