Editors’ notes

Welcome to Posit 1!

It is with the greatest pleasure that I present this inaugural issue. From now on, whenever I am asked what kind of writing Posit is looking for, I will point to the work in this volume, which shares a quality I hope to make Posit’s hallmark: its combination of homo- and heterogeneity. Homogeneously excellent, by which I mean both original and accomplished. Yet heterogeneous in form and style. Diverse, as well, in origin, harking from Ottawa, Toronto, Rockhampton, Australia, New York, Kentucky, California, San Antonio, and Olympia, Washington. I believe that re-contextualization gives rise to re-conception – that a luminous energy emerges from the cross-talk sparked by the juxtaposition of voices as divergent as the ones assembled here.

I hope you agree, and that you enjoy the great Michael Boughn’s Whitmanesque “City II.2.iv – Flirtations of light,” singing the promise and dread of urban life in this masterful and tantalizing excerpt; Mary Kasimor’s dazzling sampler of rigorous, lapidary explorations of lyric’s cerebral and aesthetic potential, crafted and turned to frameworks of implication as sharp and graceful as razor-wire lace; the grave entertainment of Amy King’s intellectual joy-ride of verbal pyrotechnics, warning and pleasing us at once, offering treats and lifelines to help “make sense of the contagion/we call today;” Travis and JenMarie MacDonald’s playful yet probing lyric departures from Dr. Who, as grave and light of touch as the Doctor himself, and, like the Tardis, improbably expansive; rob mclennan’s entries from his Glossary of Musical Terms, whose intensity of encapsulation and fragmentation shatters preconceived ideas of word and note, generating an energetic lexicon for new connections; Bernd Sauermann’s compressed, delicate, chiseled blocks of verbal and intellectual alchemy, as quietly shocking as a “revelation making its way like mad current up my arm;” R.L. Swihart’s spare, incantatory, verbal fragments taken up and dropped like stitches connecting our shared experience of the dread unspoken; Rob Talbert’s deceptively plain-spoken, unflinching perspicacity, hiding twist after brilliant turn in plain sight, working the seam between heart and mind, lament and appreciation, elegy and critique; Brad Vogler’s meditations on what cannot, will not, or need not be said, magically drawing our quieted attention to the syntax and typography of stillness itself; Mark Young’s deliciously understated verbal artifacts, turning our expectations of allusion and ekphrasis, realism and surrealism, artifice and nature, art and commerce on their heads via splashes of “Frankendolling,” the “sonnets of Michelangelo,” and other inversions; and finally, Joanna Fuhrman and Toni Simon’s spare, precise, and gravely playful “The Ruler of Rusted Knees,” deftly uniting the verbal and the visual.

Finally, a few appreciations.

To the accomplished and celebrated contributors who so generously entrusted their work to this fledgling publication: my deepest gratitude.

To those contributors who are editors as well: Joanna Fuhrman (Ping Pong), Travis and JenMarie MacDonald (Fact-Simile), rob mclennan (Chaudiere Books, above/ground books,etc.),  Brad Vogler (Opon), and Mark Young (Otoliths): the excellence you bring to both endeavors is my inspiration for this undertaking.

To the talented artist and website designer Nathan Gwirtz: thank you for converting my ideas into (virtual) reality.

And to my friend and collaborator, Arts Editor Melissa Stern, thank you for joining me in this venture!

But perhaps most importantly, to you, dear reader: thank you for visiting Posit 1. I hope you are glad you did.


Susan Lewis

* * * * *

Beginning with this, our inaugural issue, Posit will showcase a variety of visual artists working in all mediums, whose work we find thoughtful, provocative, funny, dangerous, or just plain beautiful. Each issue will bring together galleries by three to six artists whose work presents a vision that is both individually and collectively unique.

I am honored that Susan Lewis has chosen me to accompany her on this voyage, and hope that you will join us from issue to issue.

For Posit 1, it is my pleasure to present the work of three artists whose work shares a sense of elegance and grace. In these galleries, Michael Janis creates sublime narratives of extraordinary depth and dimensionality through the laborious fusing of layer upon layer of laminated glass, bringing precision and construct to a parallel universe where science and reason adhere to their own logic; while Leah Oates’ gentle layers of image and tone build mysterious photographic journeys through countryside and city; a theme taken up by Kyle Gallup’s celebration of the past and possibility of New York, from Coney Island to old theater marquees, alternately documenting a world long-gone and fashioning a fantasy of what it might have been.

Happy viewing!

Melissa Stern

Rob Talbert


I have become convinced
there is no devastating train
of epiphany thundering down
in the night. But still I don’t sleep.
And the monarchs flutter in
from the south
on currents that prove
knowing one’s purpose
is not an invention of man.
I only follow the currents I do
because they’ve betrayed me
the least. The city skyline is one,
lit up like an electric birthday cake.
And the traffic, too, streaming by
the apartment and hushing with intent.
All of it is there. Watching
and trying to get its message through.
But few people remember
their pounding hearts
and even then
it’s only once in a while,
like a migration,
like riding something only felt,
going on in trust
until the world forgets to continue.

The Fields

At the ends of your life is a field.
When the office closes for the night
or the restaurant deadbolt locks,
when the shower curtain glides,
or when the light goes out:
there is a field there, waiting
and overflowing with mice.
They busily collect the fragments of you.
They build intricate nests from the grass
of how the fuck could you?
And the drugs and the jokes
and the liquor and the jobs
and the you will never find another
keep the mice warm and heavy with sleep.
It all goes there. Your anger.
Your reticent hope.
The mice may even dream in your ruins.
Every day you live is bookended
with a field like this, dividing the body
from the aftershock. The twilight hour
of washing dishes while the sun
is dragged kicking and screaming
over the hills, the way we kick and scream
when we are dragged out of love,
that heavy and uncompromising machine.
A rusted, derelict tractor
in the memory.


Are you a desert? Are you dismantled
in grains, or does your life come in waves,
rhythmic as seasons crawling over the land?

The years of my past are zoned and fenced-off
by state lines, jobs and women.
By friends and rum and long nights
that re-colored the patterns of my winter fur.

Each memory and idea has a sudden stop,
the way a bullet hits the earth.

Is your life like a bullet? Like regret?
Like an obsessed finch heading for the mountain peaks?

We were told we’d be capable of great things.
I stood in the dripping sun
and watched her pick raspberries.
The military came and she was gone.

Has her desire for red changed?
Has yours?

I crashed apartment parties. Slid against
thighs and strange walls. Enveloped the energies
that I sought and still seek.

What do you seek?
Are you the rotting couch in the adult megaplex?
Do you dance like drunks in the glow of bookstores?

Wait. Don’t leave so angrily.
There is plenty to drink. Let’s enjoy something.
Let’s talk about the river in which I had to drown
in order to become a man.

Before You Go

The world is just a place.
Then I have one mother and one father.
But they get replaced by trees and sacred
bottles of wine. By laughter and coins.
Then those things are replaced.
And replaced again.
The way friends fade in and out of your life.
How jobs come and go,
and surety about the future,
as the chambers in the heavy metallic casing
circle around.
The world is just a place that spins.
I have been replaced
as many times as you,
living in the middle of the hourglass
where nothing stays for long,
living over the continents that slip
under our feet.
The world is just a place where all things
crashed together,
and now, dazed, step away.
People who collided in the mall
and are now on to other things.
A building in Detroit.
A mind in shock
about how far back childhood swirls.
The world is just a place until you change.
we are islands.

Rob Talbert has worked in jails, bars, bookstores, and on cruise ships. He received his MFA from Virginia Tech University and his first book of poems, “Jagged Tune,” is forthcoming from Mad Hat Press. He spends a lot of time in Texas nightclubs.