Mary G. Wilson

Phantomemorial

1.

There are those who can’t
perceive a thing they don’t expect
so all is what they know it will be
a green field and a feathered something
to lodge in your chest with the other
political loves. Apparently
I don’t so much seek pleasure
as a void its opposite
is un-truth, charisma, vanishing            memorial / kite
the moth that brags all night
of its moon-colored body
and includes the charm
of excess, ornaments
conveyances, bees
while the internet of things
I adore sends me into silent mode
so I don’t know what
made me close the book
of the tenured poet
tonight, or why when
you tap my knee I’m still
as if suddenly present

2.

It’s raining in the news
a storm or congress of box
jellies on the artificial reef
where some “they” sank
ships, planes and concrete
so fish could gather somewhere
offshore in their lunar cycle
return, so the sea
is a hazard today potentially            alive / lively
latent with angry living
ghosts who balk at being
called so casually
—back, the cry waits for whatever
comes out of the baby next door
and the youth get alive with new
ideas we dreamed stages of
and asleep with the new opiates
we also dreamed, some
of which were real
deadly, while the proof is
hiding in trees, formerly
capacious with blue
bottles, un-discovered
leaves striated for emphasis
the occupants
searched, found

The Persistence of Memory

If you write about something round
your writing will follow that shape.
The clock in The Persistence of Memory
a New York Pizza in the rain.
The pizza in New York—
a clock that tastes of salt and the dollars
of tourists, eating it on the curb.

Logic says a form will free us up
some rules to live by in the minefield
which is not grey but flowering
not pollinated but somehow alive
in its impossible purplish dream-scape.
So we run a search.
Pull up the street view.

Before the house stands a small girl
whose face, obscured in the rubble of
the foreground has been blurred
by some precision. It’s like, “look
here, you’re a tense lens mounted
to a vehicle.” Ok then.
One apostrophe will bend the eyes
false with astonishment, and then
we get the very weight of looking.

When hopeful, we imagine her
demanding bribe-money.
When cautious, we become acquisitive
as stars. Stein says there is no
astonishment or width
, but here
there is both, for ours was the cycle
of post-90’s complacency fatigue
even calling something a ruse
was an act of clarity that could split
things wide open, or so we told ourselves.

At the Joint

There’s no “we” for where this language wants to exist
not for us but for the plural between us
the shade we become to meet each other
conversationally, at the beach.
Here—the lyric is a prosthesis
a mosquito net too tight against the skin
is a grid, ineffectually
we go around begging narrative for stairs
floors, housing, that cloud has an idea
of thickening itself on the green peaks
(it has called a meeting) there’s probably even
a mill somewhere, churning wet gears
keeping both its voices separate
its labor staunch as wounds

Ether / Air

What it takes—
laminate skull un-pending
root, plotted an escape

Did the years parade lightly?
was the calcium in bloom?

*

Imagine if there were three oranges and two suns
and a bright sense of one setting down and the other

arrayed in a deep and bitter skin, setting us up.
We’d probably be taken for fools.

See, in the ocean, on the rippled floor
the wavering nets of light.

*

The sense that some days are auspicious, some nights
closed for business, some ganglia arranged to please

that some men are verbose in possession and lack
some women, holding the doors

that some bread contains, absorbs
seeks company, travels

*

Un-mingling with other
less clearly productive waters
this island could feed
and carry our blood away.
Eyelet and net shadow.
Weird canopy whether gold.
When at last we’re hopeful.
Secure from our want

Mary G. Wilson is the author of the chapbooks Both, Apollo (Omnidawn, 2022) and Not Yet (Projective Industries, 2019). Her poetry has appeared in Baest, Typo, Paperbag, The Scores, Elderly, Coconut, and elsewhere. She is currently a lecturer in English at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.

Ken Taylor

wyoming

when the calendars quit it was a time of the rug being pulled out from under my boots. over and over. the sun rose and fell but nothing advanced. the creak of saloon doors marked something bound to happen in versions of imagined minutes. imagined but not embraced, like a septum piercing casting unease across the posse. where nothing was precisely wrong but after a slow burn no longer proved close. food didn’t vary with the seasons. only served as a guide to not showing. memories resumed like a clutch of things stared at but not seen. underpainted in the luminescent silver of antique fields. framed as a constant stickup. once i did the math, rodeo clowns infected my thinking. nothing moved past unevenly sized and loose. replication collapsed limits and offered so little except to revisit what just happened again. i was caught in the purge. yet i had to admit i was charmed by the chance whiff of alien air. of walking through baroque interiors like some industrial disaster back east. fraught with a mouth full of stitches voicing doubts. awaiting the holy avatar meant to lead by a glow into a wraithlike dissolving. too slight to fill the picture plane. ridden hard and hung up wet. my paper vane impeller turned by heat without expressing the full measure of my waning. it was always wednesday. and while there were gestures toward double-starched horns or a herding song or a new visual code for grammar, i was tightly bound in the chords of a pitched belief that i’d escape the lassoing abyss. i mapped hours only to find lapsing. it was the year of the rat. of browser spin. of empty data. of vengeance from the analog world. to plan for what’s next i must trust in my talent to fish and make fire. to accept dreaming in mechanically rolled patterns. and admit there may be no better account of my decline than falling out a tintype window. splatter as a lesson spectacularly thwarted.

red line

1.

above the hockey team in the hotel lobby
is a maundy thursday take by tintoretto
doubled embossed on oversized & queer.

icons fixed in space, ring a halo making
rounds of confraternity to scrub up teaching
(though judas has left the building.)

the preamble to lantern & bell
begs quartering         where drinkers
never reach kaleidoscopic eggs.

X walks thru with clean feet
vexed by sins of their past.
sidetracked counting ordinary fish.

they rise to enter at lake
where everyone basks in echoes.
where everyone riding is not with them.

figures on behalf of inside seams
with semi-skilled demands work thru lapsing
in a serial act outside of lofty views.

brick & graffiti rush by like precious trash.
carpenter gothic drifts thru —
a dentist with a pitchfork measuring sound.

where people once loved dawn
thru distant threat & desire.
where bigger things rise from rough

like stacks downriver keeping lights on.
X files guilt in grayscales
thinks empty doesn’t differ from design.

they glimpse rust from a weeping cord
& mourn the loss of dayglo on their wrist
that got them in for more song.

they pause for disembarkments
existing separately from names.
they’re asked      to change for other colors.

to take a long view of the street.
to take in chicken-wire clouds.
to say what it is not what it means.

2.

it’s the time of mysteries
of the many unfolding as one
where pastorals acquiesce.

power lines dip like scissortails.
windows act out kites in clearings
that shape the future of abstraction.

they’re told gambling is prohibited.
they’re told smoking is prohibited.
they’re told thru translation & revision

a servant is not greater than their master.
they dodge holy probing with retorts.
believe their microwave a kind of god.

a new command I give you: love one another as I have loved you

X aims to make fibrous smooth —
returning to the grid of viscous promise.
burning to be the blank of the party.

tonight is the night of girl names
parading as poster boys for posterity
& drawn badly by the gods.

they maintain a special distance
from their body       as organic minding.
as a transient ghost

yielding as a guest to the host
to sweet floral notes & froth
that call for several minutes of shaking.

to celebrate the hat trick.
to celebrate the lamp lit three times.
to celebrate three biscuits in the basket.

the special tonight is two starters & a main.
the special tonight is large works in small relief.
the special tonight is slept on in the garden.

when doors part        X leaves skimming lilacs
what’s flying on high voltage —
moving closer to a feast they can almost taste.

for Sally Rose

Ken Taylor is the author of five books of poetry including variations in the dream of X, forthcoming from Black Square Editions.

Mikey Swanberg

on overlook beach

lover scoop me up too
& carry me In your wind-

breaker’s pink pocket
oh whatever you do

just take my ass home

auto-biography (abr.)

I knew I knew nothing.
The dog of kindness

pressed her paw hard
on my hip.

Wild blackberries
scratched the shit

out of my arms, but later
I couldn’t find a mark.

For so long I hoped
I’d turn out different

than I am –
dog help me.

It’s going to take me
forever to carry back

all this sweetness
I found.

for the plank road billboard

if the end is coming soonish
it didn’t think to call ahead

though in full sun you can see
how grey I’ve gotten

how serious joy was about leaving
its record across my face

my god I liked to stay up late
in the kitchen talking shit

being sweet and noisy
in those blue cat hours

how nice that was
to be the last

window still lit
on the wine-dark street

and to go on glowing anyway
and to go on glowing

lover we are all alone – it is terrible

a man on the train says
that’s just the way it is

with biblical angels
to a friend who shook

his head & shrugged
I guess I must be

thinking of a different kind
of biblical angel

I wish our days
were not this packed

with stupid beauty
I rattle out of the city alone

my hundred eyes
spinning hidden

under fifty pairs
of shades

I know only that I am living
which means I am still

moving towards you
I have long forgotten

where I started
I have never

once known
the way

basic land management

the retention ponds burned
old lovers walked off

into lucrative consulting gigs

the neighbor’s heritage pigs got loose
but looked so like the woods

we all knew they were gone

did birds once fly in and out of you
or was that me

years now I’ve wandered this dry creek

yowling your name
training my ear to catch

some distant cry in the cypress

I’ve been wearing as a winter coat
what someone I love once said to me

only half of the calls the birds make come with a purpose

the experts all agree
that they just really like to sing

Mikey Swanberg is the author of Good Grief and the chapbook On Earth As It Is, both with VA Press. His work has appeared in Kenyon Review, Oxford American, Passages North and elsewhere. He holds an MFA from the University of Wisconsin—Madison & lives in Chicago.

Suzanne Maxson

Art

In a time before this time
I bought a plane ticket and ascended through the sky
to Los Angeles for the day just to see some murals
from the cave temples of Dunhuang. The line was long
even with a time-ticket and they herded us mercilessly
through the reconstructed caves replicating the darkness
of the temples with barely a minute to see the paintings
but it was an experience worth seeking. And then
I ate some lunch because I like a small meal after art
and museum food is often pretty good, and wandered
in the various beauty which is the Getty until it was time
to get back to LAX and catch a plane north to home.
Who lives in the privilege to do such a thing? I did
in the time before this time. Despite anxiety
about the cost I flew Virgin Atlantic (in their violet
illumination of the cabin) to London just to see
some paintings by Rothko and that was more
than my money’s worth as the capitalists say, a feast
in silence on abstraction. I’m running low on words
but to see requires no words, which is why to go alone
to art is so desirable and the particular wordlessness
within that solitude so glorious. Silence he said
is so accurate.

Once in a Blue Moon on All Hallow’s Eve
at the end of a long Leap Year: a stroke, and to those
neural threads where in the pons perception, attention
and memory entangle by subtle means there was a wound
rendering the air a bright translucent dimensional density
of motion, the space before me jelly through which
I found my way slowly, distracted and absorbed
by every beauty even in the form and utility
of that green plastic hospital mug. To be absorbed
into beauty cannot be undesirable, nor can it be
unwise to learn from the snail, and anyway the time
for ascending on a whim into the sky, unmindful
of planetary consequences, is over for all of us.
Go slowly now, understanding the art of the snail
in her silver trail.

The neurologist advises
(looking straight into my eyes) to savor
life on two feet and recommends a book by Ram Dass
whose practice was love in helplessness—a profound
practice as the doctor pointed out although my thought
left unsaid was of those devotees who wheeled him
through the airports and museums. The actual
question for me now is not of possibility but of desire
and whether I might desire ever again to leave home
for art or for love or forever not to leave home
where with little dog I live in long tranquil mornings
and crickety nights and might enjoy that monkish life
which for me has always had both abstract and
emotional attractions. But what I know is that it’s
all here, in the visible the tangible and the intangible
in this impermanent placement on the ground
called home, in this sufficiency of beauty and feeling
while I’m breathing

Southern Exposure

Frankenthaler, thanks

In fifty-one colors intended
she said to be only beauty

(despite telling myself
& little dog     who doesn’t mind

that the day is only white noise
to which we dance a jerky jig

while above the birds that day
pours into itself as night, not

of the birds nor in the blue
nor even as some meditative

moment winding into itself
but only in the movement)

appears in that paint
what is

All Right

Everything is all right
he said. That everything
is all right
the message delivered to me
from my cousin who visited on a whim
a psychic who told her someone
has a message, your uncle, the one
with a daughter has a message
for his daughter: that everything
is all right
. And so the message

was delivered although she was
skeptical because my father was
dead for more than a year
and this cousin far away never
thought of him nor of me, and because
she went with a friend to the psychic
only as a lark. And I do not believe
in the endurance of personality
after death and surely not in the form
of psychic messages from the dead
although my grandmother
did receive letters from the dead
in what she called automatic writing
but my father, the psychic said, desired
only that I hear this reassurance

that everything is all right even
that day, my mother wailing Don’t go
No don’t go & my urgency in his ear
Yes, you can go & with everything
else left unsaid in whirlwind around us
his hand emptied into mine and he did go.
And what I wanted was for everything
to be all right, that it be not chaos
nor my will nor the terror in her need.
And thus it is, in a moment which

might be that one, might be also
this one in the nature of time
as with the help of the Physicists
the Buddhists the Aboriginal people
we have come to understand it,
because forty years later everything
is all right
upon awakening today
in the bright room, all right in the yellow
and in the blue and even in the unjust
and violent world unfurling always into
chaos, where still there might be stars
in a night sky, time to breathe a little
longer and for everybody for even just
one nanomoment in a lifetime to be offered
the news that everything is all right
and feel that.

I do not believe that personality
endures after death but as for my father
it seems he acquired there some power
to offer authoritative reassurance,
the last word so to speak, about my life-
long entanglement with worry and doubt,
an offering which in retrospect
in prospect of its usefulness was there
as an expansion of presence
in his soft hand in my hands, felt
as yes, and found its way back weirdly
through my cousin, and in the forms
and the colors I arrange within
the rooms in which I practice the art
of routine, and as the sky
is always changing.

And I suppose this is a prayer
that every being in the depth
of their suffering might even for one
nanomoment in a lifetime be offered
a night sky of stars and from my dead father
the news that everything is all right
and feel that.

The Long Thought

The neuroscientists
located some places in the brain, a network
where apparently the catalog we call myself
lights up their brain-screens when intention takes a break—
posterior cingulate cortex, medial prefrontal cortex
constructing the long thought called myself. I am
I am the person who

mother and child, my tentative hand
on the flesh of her arm, wishing to be beside her on the couch
but reaching for the ashtray she swats it away, and cruelly
I reduced her character to this, although that body
contained complexities not manifest in photographs
now confused with her stories, her stories with the catalog
of memory & with those stories wherein I wrote her life
as fiction in an effort to decipher the single remaining snapshot
2×2 inches & blurred of a little girl, short bob & bangs
as that mother. And all along she was? In her body surely
and in mine now as shadow, developing sometimes into presence
as the photograph once developed in its chemical bath (which
is a way to explain one effect
of aging and its ailments)
or of another moment only her words, no photograph
but which I remember as a photograph: on a park bench
holding the hand of a tiny girl wearing a brown coat
and a bonnet, whose white shoes/red shoes dangled.
and her first intention
to leave that child on the bench
but how she held on, clutching (my word) the little hand
(my hand) unable to let it go, and then the second intention.
but a timely rescue. The doctor diagnosed a suicidal mood.
Hysterectomy might open a mood like a wound. Bonnet
brown coat red shoes probably my embellishment. That she
clutched the little hand my embellishment, an effort
to understand. Park bench? Possibly all embellishment
of a fractured remark as she wandered in the urgency
of language vanishing into the factual tumor
as the long thought called Ruth
came to an end, entering mine.

Chosen

Choosing to settle in mystery which is
preferable in any morning to the news

as good fortune gave me senses
and time to read & contemplate

that in the Peruvian Amazon for example
& elsewhere, a butterfly feeds on the tears

of a turtle. Those tears they say
are never shed in grief but only

as a physiological process, an excretion
of sodium, & the butterfly’s attendance

only to some nourishment there & not
a kiss upon that turtle’s grief nor even

the impulse to grace in such a kiss
but only supply & demand. I disagree.

Capitalism never satisfies and Darwin
only partly. Sometimes what we perceive

as the perfection of tenderness is just
that, presenting itself to perception

just as in Wales we met an old farmer
blessed by crooked teeth untouched

by any dentist, & love for these broken
brown teeth arose like love for all

we call human, the unAmerican
imperfection of his teeth, their beauty

beyond reason, arising still in dreams
as the meaning of life. So you see

how it is, the geography in all of it
& the shock of benevolence & how

we come to a kind of settlement
with what we have allowed

into understanding, how we keep on
coming into mystery, choosing it

An Offering of Vowel Sounds

According to a white-haired writer
the musician has notes for making music but the poet
has vowels.     think about wind     in Japanese maples.
thinking to read this book under my crooked hand
about the soul of an octopus     but unable.
to read. lacking concentration     thinking
one summer on the Strait, practicing departure
as line breaks, feeling for the first time movement
as wind in pines     undertaking perfection
as a celadon Hermes 3000 typewriter
in a battered VW van, campground
on the water, a cushion, a mug

Now move some furniture. Carry a painting
to this wall from that one, table better there
than here, lamp four inches farther left on that table
now get up and move it back again to get it
right, precisely. thereby disturbing little dog
at rest. all this compulsive up & down
a seasonal weeding out
out out of mental disorder.
But I do have vowels.     In the subjectivity
of the vowel sound, assonance
might open like a state of grace.

Every death a disappearance into bone or shell
& what to make of it. Make home
in memoriam of those
disappeared into these
objects of beauty and devotion.
into photographs     (the camera
re-engineered our experience of death. of life)
But equally floats this home     on joyful motion
as a Tibetan prayer begins
Having obtained this excellent free and well-favored life
and it is

and in vowel sounds I call out to my children
Here I am for you, imperfect
but present     into the future
which already is here

Questions Before Sleep About Iris Murdoch

To pierce the veil of selfish consciousness
and enter the world as it really is—this unselfing
she described as an effort of goodness, and art
as an occasion for that release
into the world as it is
and wrote that the essence of art is love
in its many dimensions, and that love, like art
is the discovery of reality.

It’s possible I have her thinking wrong.
I encountered her words in a casual way
and not from careful reading of her work
but I wrote this down and I wonder now

about her last years
how that unselfing we call dementia
changed her mind. No effort of goodness in it, no art.
Did she pierce the veil of selfish consciousness?
Did she enter the world as it really is
or was it lost to her?
And love?

Suzanne Maxson was raised in suburban Southern California (with a fortunate interlude in Iran), and migrated north in 1972 to the Russian River watershed of Sonoma County. As a public high school teacher she integrated the arts and literature with history, social justice, and comparative religion. Movement, a collection of her work, will be published by Fernwood Press in November 2023.

Brendan Lorber

These are not normal times

These are not normal times        say the people        who ruined time
and want us to live        in the ruins        broken and grateful for the semi-
autobiographical vividness that terror lends an afternoon        Your edition
of Paradise Lost may differ        in its approach to the oligarchs’ dark arts
airbrushed        on the wrong side of history        or the right side of a creepy van
you find yourself        having been tricked into        driving yourself down
a boulevard of faschy schemes        but more likely just ulterior neglect
as a principle come to life        within its victims        The enchanted novel filament’s
unchecked genesis in the retort of your lungs        is no more a surprise than
the devil may care        only about himself response        There are zero spells
that don’t contain their mirror        and every mirror contains its own spells
that you’d have to be        a pretty fucked up sorcerer        to have even heard of
The mournful fright at the austere world’s end        is both real and also the disguise
my half-dressed anxiety wears        in the countdown to a new day one

A new day one

A new day        one of us        picked out of nostalgia        for before the trials
with the same languorous relief        as a morning in search of noon
who finds it        but only at the expense        of no longer being morning
You can cling to brunch        or be something magic        in the unlocked era
already here        when the lights level down        and you discover who you were
meant to see        in the dark all along        The kind of self-lethality
that cheese lays on crackers        and without which        neither’s shortcomings
lead anywhere cute        My own shortcomings long        for the adaptation
that caused them        the evolutionary gambit        of having become almost
all water        at the moment almost all the water in the world        was inside
living things        A Darwinian détente that        ripples through my cheerful
inability        to cope with the apocalypse        as some unethically monogamous
attachment        to a single cypher        separate from all the rest        when we
can’t have one        without the others        and the space sloshing between them

Someone full of sparkle

Like someone full        of sparkle        in the form        of batteries
and marbles        they ought not to have swallowed        the solution
was inside us all along        or maybe        the solution was staying
inside        roused and cagey under a city        whose hot swarms
remain a standing argument        to not live anywhere else        but
which also composes itself        as an essay to humanity that begins
we are sorry for your loss        and keeps going        until internalized
beliefs        in the mythic outside chance        that a pure-hearted lab tech’s
razzle dazzle heroism        or more impersonally        that the economy
might not be        totally over        the idea of reopening        despite
only ever having been        a chasm we participate in        by screaming
as we fall        Here’s how my scream sounds today:        You and I
have everything in common        with the virus        that only wants
to live        but which is        so much better at it        than we are

Brendan Lorber is a writer, visual artist, and teacher. He is the author of If this is paradise why are we still driving? (subpress, 2018) and several chapbooks, most recently Unfixed Elegy and Other Poems. His visual art is in The Museum of Modern Art, The Free Black Women’s Library, Artists Space NYC, The Free Library of Philadelphia, The Woodland Pattern Center, The Scottish Poetry Library, and in private collections.

R.J. Lambert

Time Is a Flat Circle

Loose associate.
More than balanced.
The heavily distorted, flamelike—

too rarely
the pen & chalk
projected his series of penetrations

& there are, by expression, these notes,
the qualities of, & with, work.
*
Infamous resting, restoring, for personal pleasure to predict.
*
The draw of broken art, domi——
The vitality. His p——
his color—
transcen——
*
The feathered drawing, later linear,
by both outlines
straight in limited forms,

in the wood, in his
grasp, in veiled practices,
accorded erotic struggles.
*
There stood a name,
his instrument pulled up into
the air. The subject revolts,
piling reframed to labor.
*
Minor color, L’art ancien
reports no brown ink.
Also, a mixture closer
to feathered time
which, in print,
the bodily structure reveals.

Desire Is a Form of Time Travel

In the wake of peasant life:
the early landers:
the ground city.
*
Overbuff, one master
new & unusual
as a stone footnote.
Art of arts,
the men,
the virgin,
& a point.
*
The future’s graphic
drawing of drawings
impacts the personal.
*
Just one with one—
assembling a new
appreciation in
predecessors, the largesse
of molded forms.
*
The peasant life rather pedestrian—yet, emotion seen.
*
How easily all engravers
parallel when preparing
in his mind another D——

Lines of Succession to the Throne

Here I am. My last stand
on the hotel balcony.

Each domain awaits its sovereign.
By domain, of course, I mean this life.

Its many & varied pawns
play varied & many plots.

A doctor playing doctor, filling out the forms.
An artist playing artist, filling out the forms.

All of this is mine?
Even the cobwebbed moth.

Even the flattened lizard.
The fly from the banana.

Its hand on mine.
These incessant buzzings in my ear.

R.J.Lambert is an award-winning queer poet and educator. His debut poetry collection, Mind Lit in Neon (FLP, 2022), is available online and at Itinerant Literate books in Park Circle, SC. Recent poems appear online in The Broadkill Review and The Good Life Review, and his chapbook, Brief Notes on Pre-Newtonian Physics, is seeking a publisher. R.J. teaches writing at the Medical University of South Carolina and sometimes remembers to update his website at rj-lambert.com.

Jessica Grim

Myanmar.22 [Mawlamyine Series 1]

Sky        through shades
of green
defining color
screed
as it finally wanders into song
still        sounds spat

language missed now falls
from a page        softly a
reprimand

verbal hinge        creaking
with its        own collateral

to stop
a thought
like that’s
a thing
too, naw?

tiny bird
dislodging dessicated
leaves from the
smallest branch

as might become
a past we
have little relation to
outside
of having lived it

summer heat’s arrival
a full-body
greeting        for the confused

as scrutiny
a thing
could be lacking

A Fall

Loss understood
by the body as
a wide series
of small attacks and
several larger
wounds

while early
in the day the world
still seems to make some
kind of sense I worry
for the afternoon

the word revenant
the ‘good’ good bye

my own only child done up & detaining air
far afield
from what he grew up
breathing

a whole flock of them
pass through        detailing
biographical nesting trauma green
as green gets on that
grass there

Aftereffect

Fixtures flicker
dying memes wailing in the dawn
of the meme wars

but since they behaved badly
when alive their deaths
are marked only
as tiny punctures
in the atmosphere

west of here where
sun rises later you
could weep for the dark
compression        of your thoughts

doubling generative pause in
a part of the language not able
to coordinate
with the writing – diversion
as designation

deranging effect
of animal elocution
& its aftermath
lets loose
flavor        from a word

on the sky
the sound
of orange

abandoned magic
upholds
fun lightness of granite,
sponge,
and its curvature

not that we as a
people intended this

Jessica Grim is author of several books of poetry; recent work has appeared in Brooklyn Rail. Excerpts of a long-form collaboration with Melanie Neilson, The Autobiography of Jean Foos, have appeared in various magazines, and a recent collaboration with Melanie and Jean Foos, Alsop’s Tables, was published as a chapbook by Ragged Sky. She lives in NE Ohio.

Maxwell Gontarek

In That November Off Tehuantepec

before negation + the nonchalant surprise of its opposite
after the revolutionists stop for orangeade
at the same time the most your poem can do to support a movement is to give someone a papercut

*

speaking of mirrors I think of hemispheres
a cross section
the fishers like Antipodes in Shoes wearing their canoes on their heads
+ the dark Hemisphere now like one of them that appears
this means there’s a dotted line that juts through everything like for scissors
+ night is falling everywhere
sometimes you’re up sometimes you’re down it’s true
the flowers like guns
ramparted
but the hemisphere insists on itself rather than its sidings

*

my godmother worked at the envelope factory for 50 years + she still wakes up at 3:00 AM
you asked if she liked it I said I didn’t think it crossed her mind

*

an envelope teaches me my friends there is no friend

*

every morning
like all disciplines they discipline

*

it meant something that’s easy for you to say no it isn’t

*

my no there
is friends

*

how many speakers come into the page briefly
+ what they say becomes us
+ what we say is we are still whole

*

an ex in blue painter’s tape on a broken window marking a stranger across the street
who we swear we are
+ what is thrown at glass
no part / remains
that is surely you

*

a hemisphere that is actually an envelope
we’re glass

*

commensality despite the ears everything is made of

*

a version of Vallejo
who calls 11 is not 12
as if bid I make a fist in my dream but it always comes out limp
without going beyond the infinite 360s most words loom profitlessly
where both hands hide the other bridge that is born to them
the border returns
the integers are not enough
wider / wider / my fellow feeling for
the border a baton that follows the ineffable
same only more her to each high
sprain
you see what it is freely
that’s the difference
how much ointment lacquers the bridge
that reaches even the mouth

*

what wets an envelope

*

we want to stay what we are
the state is small that we’re in

*

an ear is an organ
a bisected view of a sea surface full of clouds

*

the science of last things
the stippling of science
scissors

*

what is the opposite of a blue ex?
amaranth

*

amaranth banned
the conquerors fearing it would stymie their conquest
the fellow feeling for God nonchalantly + negation in the name of

*

tines or teeth dragged over mowed land
an implement reaches even the mouth

*

fellow comes from cattle property capital

*

what about the other side of any page?
I’m talking about papercuts

*

a bisection is a bridge arriving from always going everywhere

*

a version of Lorca
beautiful baton border
bridge
your hair aims at the antipodes
+ the hands open / wider / wider
I you for feel
soft ice your tongue calls
friends watch the antelope disembody itself
sleep
the side itself hums
the Americas drown + cry at the same time
the Americas don’t know first came which
negate the flowers guns words
ramparted
the dark hemisphere appears
the present is the state of the papercut

*

the edge + the point come from the same root

*

rope series
a flax ex
fiber
blade
egg

*

an antelope leaps from the envelope of your mouth into the bridge the hemisphere subtends
this is how we hear

*

what extends under a flower to support or enfold it without being a gun
this is how we are to hear

*

lately I’m resisting an attention to a new species of antelope
well new to me
whose flanks are stippled
between them
organ
music
the pressurized realness of continuity called a movement
pressurized air is called wind

Lattice After Your Advice 4

It is such a cool night
No matter what our heads will remain cow-shaped and we will try not to tip

Petitgrain / Pleonasm / Parallax
Climbing the palm palm by palm
Leave be

You are so excited about your new bathrobe
You say your favorite genre of music is R&B complaints
Mine is well + comma
as in well
I should bring the kids a couple spiders shouldn’t I?

Look who feels a bit chilly without their croquet mallet
Should have remarried
What should have remained an adjective and never become a noun
will bring us to the end of our century
in no particular order

The earth is translucent if you’re inside it

It is such a cool night no matter what

A dog ear makes a square
that suggests destitution and constitution in one gesture
ahead of you and even further ahead of you make
before you

Make
sorry that we are
true though it is

The earth trying to imagine what the opposite of the opposite of laïcité would be in English
as did the story Rauschenberg sent his mother Dora frozen mangos before visiting
and the caretaker cut a flip into Dora’s wall
making a hole
but not in any of the paintings
the story ends
what hole?

As Dora said
tough titty
baby

There is a hole in every word
There is a hole beneath you when you are cow-shaped
It is cool air

The cool is a very small one
tonight in no particular order
it is there as though you were hugging it
the green twigs of the bitter orange
the redundancy of each expression
the apparent place
being tipped

Maxwell Gontarek is a poet, photographer, and teacher. He received an award for research on Paul Celan’s later poems from the Black Mountain Institute and has poems out in Tilted House, Denver Quarterly, Witness, Interim, La Piccioletta Barca, and elsewhere. He has lived in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Las Vegas, Belgrade, Langres, and Lafayette, Louisiana.

Thomas Fink

Yinglish Strophes 31

They don’t recognize you

the minute they get
elected. Before—they’re all
over you. Marriage optimum

a beautifully soul to
with. My cousins for
youngest bashful always on
the outlook. Is brisket
shopping this? Retrospect that

forty, fifty—a glimpse
may have then to
quality a soul. Finds
the take with the
give. Trying to equal.
Attentive some days enough
be marital. Or political.

Yinglish Strophes 32

Are you going for

dinner out? “Moderation too
much”—you clucking. Well:
fancy it crave don’t

feed no wiser a
stomach or push living
a spell endure sick.
There’s yesterday a doctor.
About the nutrition is

everything you gotta eat
natural. So where find
always anywhere this natural?
Would fib lots stores
from label truth. Is
bodies differing machines built
to same behave?

Yinglish Strophes 33

Poetry is just for

sense yourself feelings from
pondering in. To make
a living doesn’t flow

that river. You took
up a profession that
kills the eyes. What
painters I’ll museum for?
The clear good ones

I can stay from far
shadows bloom sunning bright with
people crowd or few, only.
Rembrandt—he’s my pet painter.
We saw all his life.
Was going in a series.
Picasso—he’s new to me.

Yinglish Strophes 34

Noise up culture countering. Those

hippies! Still coverage they count
extreme the media. Why not
of your origin be civil?

Who else could blanketing you
that much? Your father— not
so natured ill. Only want
for him each items nice folded.
Mine: from me early cut ambulance

succumbs the house. To grow of
understanding you’ll older sweeten, too hippies
maybe. I have for you chocolate

cake a piece. Come. I have.

Thomas Fink a Professor of English at CUNY-LaGuardia, has published 12 books of poetry—including Zeugma (Marsh Hawk Press, 2022) and Selected Poems & Poetic Series (2016). He is the author of Reading Poetry with College and University Students: Overcoming Barriers and Deepening Engagement (Bloomsbury Academic, 2022), two books of criticism, and three edited anthologies. His work appeared in Best American Poetry 2007. Fink’s paintings hang in various collections.

Jared Daniel Fagen

Posh Lexicon

—for Coco

posh
lexicon
a woven mesh
lives all over me
sent perishing
to attire
penury mines
where i keep
to my shivers
suspect of
what says
i love
you
more
than a word
like filament
designed against
agapē
alighted
Alaskan
in tangled winds
adorned

Tarkovsky Gold

is a field
through which
i’d run
to you
from
a home
where apart
meant
marionette
in anywhere
as the ways
to use
tundra
in a phrase
that would name
me everything
that leans
when i
thought
i had waited
long enough
to send you
on your way
what does
one say
of the sun’s
part
in it

In Me Are Many Foes

—after Bachelard

one aria
of waves
assailing
vessel
lapidary
lilt
an-
other
shroud
lidded
cauldron
found
forum
of one
simmering
piqued
& what
gives out
a viaduct
to an
interior
the pre-
eminent grant
of collapse

Lapse

there are leaves
that have gone
too dark
to be named
other than
humus
in hours
we lose
to what passes
you’re tracking
mud inside
but i couldn’t
be less
incensed
at how
two sparrows
complex
above
the jutting hinges
of your hips
don’t you see?
we
shatter abruptly

Jared Daniel Fagen is the author of The Animal of Existence (Black Square Editions, 2022). His prose poems, essays, and conversations have appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Fence, Lana Turner, and Asymptote, among other publications. He is the editor and publisher of Black Sun Lit, a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at the CUNY Graduate Center, and an adjunct lecturer at the City College of New York. Born in Jeollanam-do, South Korea, he lives in Brooklyn and the western Catskills.