TJ Beitelman

Broken Hymn for Babel

– 1 –       There was a pink paper I remember when
– 2 –       One man I know read the library
– 3 –       Words are terrible. Music is terrible. Minds
– 4 –       Instead of school—no—my mother’s warm


– 1 –       I made these, folded in half, lengthwise:
– 2 –       Book by book until it broke up
– 3 –       Jumble in them. I was the boy
– 4 –       Hatchback (where are you going, son?)—


– 1 –       A transcription in something like an order—
– 2 –       His mind or marriage or bank account—
– 3 –       Following the ants to the woods—
– 4 –       Black line of beings. Strung together. Indecipherable.

Broken Hymn for the Better Part of Valor

– 1 –       The Gnostics kept mum about it, everything.
– 2 –       (Who on earth is he talking to?)
– 3 –       I tried to learn everything yesterday but that—
– 4 –       That promise to compensate us in perpetuity…


– 1 –       It was their religion. This freighted silence.
– 2 –       (Who on earth am I writing for?)
– 3 –       Was a terrible failure because I didn’t—
– 4 –       I shouldn’t have said anything at all.


– 1 –       How often we must ask for forgiveness.
– 2 –       (Who would ask such terribly stupid questions?)
– 3 –       Have the vocabulary to jujitsu my way
– 4 –       I should have left well enough alone.


– 1 –       The bishop says, “I’m a priest too.”
– 2 –       Are they really lies, these hidden answers—
– 3 –       To new understandings, or revelatory medicinal toxins
– 4 –       No one needs to know the truth.

Broken Hymn that is a Eulogy

– 1 –       Annie Due Loveless packed up in her
– 2 –       Out: what you doing you got family
– 3 –       And purple-flowered weeds in a green
– 4 –       Not do more than write our lines


– 1 –       Tomb in this the city’s oldest cemetery
– 2 –       buried up in this place? We do
– 3 –       clover patch. A storm of dust kicked
– 4 –       And step where we should not step.


– 1 –       One woman a full round Venus shouts
– 2 –       Not. The ground is baked hard. Anthills
– 3 –       Up by the caretaker’s mower. We do
– 4 –       And tell our lies. Homeless. Loveless. Due.

Broken Sonnet as Epitaph for Straight Talk

(A) Here lies topography plate tectonics free market / (B) Graveyard. This graveyard killed children six times // (C) The ranking member of this or that / (D) The fourth estate (to suit the truth // (E) Up. It never happened. It never happened. / (A)- Capitalism magic and epiphany and the coffee // (B) Sixty times. We are children. Seen better / (C) Congressional committee this or that working group— // (D) Of fiction). Here lies the sun, sky, / (E) I said: Here: Lies (It never happened.) // (A) Magnate. Six children kill time in our / (B) Days. Here lies wind shear. Here lies // (C) The fourth estate is dead. Here lies / (D) All the other stars. We made them


Broken Abecedarian on the Occasion of an Impromptu Middle-School Field Trip to Kelly-Ingram Park, Birmingham, Alabama, C. 2019

All together we traipse into the monumental park
Zero sum game. Zenith of what’s lost.

Built for reconciliation for shame for this
Year after year without fanfare, without fail:

City’s hard-earned blues. Young activists play
X marks where the bomb went off.

Dodgeball in the grass on lunch break.
Wreaths placed down at the blast place.

Every atom in the high sky: blue.
Vesuvius of hate on a Sunday morning.

Filament of breeze, and one man dances:
Ultraviolet. History of ultraviolence one block over.

Grace in a tattered red cowboy hat
The city answers this with sunsoaked springtime,

His impossibly baggy jeans, red cape.
Sent me home to count my money.

Impossible. Red. He sings, moves. He is
Right after the doctor stitched my wounds

Just—justice—what the doctor ordered today.
Quarrelsome: my mother would sue, she says,

Kick like a showgirl my cowboy! Improvise
Possibly understand because she is so joyful,

Lyrics for what’s left of joy, exuberance:
Or else she says something I can’t

No, says Mya, I’d be horribly injured
Melany says No, Mya! You’d be dead.

Deoxyribonucleic Acid

The man says she should shoot him now, shoot him “right in the fucking head.” The man says go ahead. There is a pattern. Blood sprays in a pattern. A wall is a wall. It can be wiped clean. Painted fresh. Life goes on: portraits of young children frozen in time; protein film unseen in real sunlight later glows electric, and always. Piece it together. Explain it away. Aftermath is still life. (9 mm.) (.30-06.) (Cancerous organ.) (Ignorance.) (Excess.) (Sentiment.) (Earthquake.) (Pilot error.) (Phillips head.) The man says it again. (Tongue, teeth. Tire iron.) (God.) (Fear of God, fear of fear.) (Car bomb, shrapnel.) He should be shot in the fucking head or anything or anything (Hammer, claw.) (Sick blood.) as long as she can bring herself (Boot heel, hands.) to do it now, to do it right this very second.
TJ Beitelman is the author of three poetry collections, most recently This Is the Story of His Life from Black Lawrence Press. He can be found online at

Editors’ Notes (Posit 31)


Welcome to Posit 31! We’re excited to offer another selection of poetry, video, visual art, and text + image that is as aesthetically innovative as it is emotionally resonant. The works in this issue deal with matters of the gravest collective hazard: war, climate change, injustice and inequality, as well as the personal suffering caused by loss, loneliness, aging, and mortality. They also explore the tenderness and exuberance of love, hope, and the joy of being alive. Formally, these works engage a particularly exciting range of original and experimental approaches to the realities of memory and experience.

As TJ Beitelman’s “Broken Sonnet as Epitaph for Straight Talk” declares and enacts, the art in this issue offers a much-needed alternative to linear approaches which do not suffice when “topography plate tectonics free market . . . killed children six times” and “the fourth estate is dead.” Since sometimes “the only way I’ve ever made meaning // is to pile it all together” (nicole v basta, “where to begin or what are you bringing”) these works eschew the temptation “to cover the hole over” (Ben Miller, “Re: Writing”) at the heart of our messy lives. In place of any such flimsy and misleading patches, these works offer a fascinating and insightful range of approaches to its irreducible topography.

nicole v basta’s poems wrestle with the necessity and problematics of hope in a society in which materialism is more cause than salve for the misery and alienation at its core. These poems confront an “america, [where] instead of tenderness, we use plastic as the counterweight to all the violence” and a child anticipates dollar store “consolation prizes” from a mother who “prays the rosary” without hope, “knowing, deep down, we are the product of the same familiar thieves.” Aspiring to a forgiveness which may be just out of emotional reach (“on the top of my throat . . . standing on a chair”) these poems manage to grasp a wise kind of hope uncoupled from illusion and find the courage to ask “where to begin and what are you bringing” – all the way to “the end of the world.”

TJ Beitleman’s innovative “broken” works free the reader by departing from the familiar forms of hymnbook lyrics, sonnets and abecedarians to suggest new ways to interpret and perceive the text. In the “Broken Hymn” series, Beitelman offers, and scrambles, lyrics one might see in a hymn book, suggesting that the poem be read both traditionally and as a mirror image that has slipped like a fault line off its axis. All of the poems are “broken” in form as well as content, concerned with fragments of regret, broken minds and broken marriages: “Words are terrible. Music is terrible. Minds jumble in them.” With its combination of science and politics, history and geology, “Broken Sonnet as Epitaph for Straight Talk” tries to make sense of our fragmentary knowledge: “(A) Here lies topography plate tectonics free market / (B) Graveyard. This graveyard killed children six times // (C) The ranking member of this or that / (D) The fourth estate (to suit the truth // (E) Up. It never happened. It never happened.” In Beitleman’s (and our) world with its unrelenting violence, these startling juxtapositions of form and content give us a choice to either “Piece it together” or “Explain it away” in light of the fact that “Aftermath is still life.”

In DPNY’s innovative and piercing short films, the concerns of the I are shown to be inextricable from the concerns of community. In recounting personal challenges, collective experiences of war, and what it means to be human, both now and for our future, DPNY explores the visual of the body, collaged with written and spoken word, recorded interview, and innovative cuts of images meaningful to the artist’s history. In “Androgynoire,” images of the artist and their voice show us a person “fully splintered,” honoring the strength of the word “No” to reiterate “I regulate myself now.” In “Testimony 1,” a visual map of Lagos and collaged written words accompany the spoken testimony of refugees from a civil war, recalling the violence and death. We are confronted with the physical and emotional devastation of ordinary people who “used to do well” but “will never have the capacity to do it again.” As DPNY says, “The Otodo Gbame are survivors speaking their truth in the court of human conscience, calling on international bystanders, like myself, to act.”

With her signature insight and wit, Elaine Equi’s tightly crafted new poems consider how we live now with a bemused empathy that brings out the tragic humor of the human condition. These pieces center on time — “the hours that fly” and “drink the last light,” in the context of a planet reeling from a pandemic and facing the prospect of environmental doom. Yet despite their observations on isolation, decline, immorality, and death (“sweet, sharp / spider’s liqueur”), these poems are as funny as we are, teetering on the brink of our self-inflicted demise. As Equi dryly observes: “Darkness is relative / where backlit screens abound.” But the distraction of our backlit screens cannot undo the mess we have made IRL, so the time has come for “Everyone [to get] into the Pyramid,” bringing not only our “altars . . . avatars / and alter egos” but our “iPads . . . sex toys and . . . almonds/ dusted with pink Himalayan salt.”

Peter Grandbois’ bleakly beautiful verses confront the challenge of continuing to “walk through the labyrinth of days” after the loss of a loved one. Unlike someone “depending / on the safe lies of memory” the bereaved narrator cannot forget “how you said / you’d take flight / from this blind dream” rather than “sit / counting drips / from the faucet.” Eschewing the comforts of faith or illusion, these poems express a pain as palpable as the truth at its core: “There is no mistaking / this haunted sky / for a field // where you might dig free / of this chosen / silence.” Nonetheless, the narrator chooses to “walk through the soughing wind / into the dimming light” because “life hums with almost / blossoms” – thereby offering the hope of hope, if not yet the thing itself.

In another kind of sonnet, Justin La Cour writes detailed and fantastic stories for his lover’s delectation with the ease of intimacy, to “surprise / you w/a story of how a bird swooped down / & swallowed a venus flytrap, but the flytrap / gnawed a hole in the bird’s belly midair til /they both crashed by the orthodontics place.” These sonnets contemplate day to day incidents with the pathos of loneliness: “This day will disappear & / I won’t get to talk to you. /… (But if I wanted you to feel sorry /for me, I’d say I’m reading novels alone in the sarcastic/afternoon.)” Then, in an original and moving compliment to the loved one, “When you speak it’s like an animal breathing /deep inside an ice sculpture of the same animal. Even the / way you shake your umbrella is completely arthouse.”

Donna McCullough works with steel, bronze, wire, and mesh to reimagine iconic forms of feminine adornment such as ball gowns and tutus. As lovely and beguiling as they are bold and witty, McCullough’s armored bodices sculpted from vintage motor oil cans and skirts of metal mesh handily upend female stereotypes of helplessness and fragility. In their stead, these sculptures decisively enact an alternative physical and psychological narrative of fortitude and capability in which feminine strength and practicality is part and parcel of its grace and beauty.

Like maps of thought itself, Ben Miller’s graffiti-like gestures and faux-naïve doodles wander through a cornucupia of textual meditations on life, memory, and art-making. Branching and winding, traveling backwards and upside-down, Miller’s combination of abstract and representational images, sensorial memory fragments, and essayistic cogitations create a world in which Keith Haring meets James Joyce. These works explore the artist’s choice to “walk . . . out on the constructions of the page” in order “to allow the piece to have shoots like a plant” rather than “cover the hole over and hope it stayed covered.” The sheer profusion and intricacy of marks and text presented in such deliberate and exuberant defiance of conventional directionality enact Miller’s commitment to “remain enmeshed in the intent to get fully lost / in the trusted atmosphere of being,” richly rewarding the reader/viewer willing to surrender to their riches.

Soledad Salamé has created a wide-ranging body of work honoring the beauty of the natural world and the radiance of its life-giving elements while warning us of its vulnerability to our abuse— as well as our own vulnerability to the increasingly catastrophic consequences of our recklessness. The depth and scope of her investigations into our impact on our environment encompasses drawing, painting, photography, print-making, stage design, and life-sized installation, featuring dynamic, living elements such as water and plants. Salamé’s explorations of light, water, and time are as meticulously researched and executed as they are wide-ranging and inventive, featuring painstaking re-creations of natural phenomena like ice, water, and resin-interred life forms, as well as technological elements like barcodes. Salamé’s precision-crafted worlds mirror and comment upon our own with a balance, and serenity made all the more disturbing by their implications.

Mara Adamitz Scrupe finds the core connection of human spirit in the procreation and decay of nature and the beauty in the commingling of animal and vegetable as well as the human passion to be the thing, as well as admire it: “& here I am /an enterprise flawed & wounded in amalgamates /of shame & hubris / ambition & my own private /hungers / something creamed off as in /scoop the topmost richest layer as in /smash the glass door to get inside.” Scrupe’s ornate imagery binds the feminine to the life of plants: “do not think I don’t know the important /element of any fabric /landscape / wild ginger on the precipice the down /slope the true side soft /pubescent & tender.” And in “Rope,” another kind of human passion possesses a modern Leda in the hubris of youth: “I was / I know I thought I knew / enough to let go of the rope.”

In Ashley Somwaru’s brilliant poems, the speaker interrogates her own fear and shame as a witness to her mother’s life. In “Eh Gyal,Yuh Nah Get Shame” the first shocking line (“You /want / to be bludgeoned /don’t you?”) plunges the reader into a depiction of a terrible beating and the speaker’s fear and shame projected as disdain of the victim. The vivid imagery of despair and the language of remembered childhood show the inevitability of this abuse: “Spine arched /like the leather belt used for beatings. / Slicked with soap and Black / Label. Pata stink. / Your body /as boulders breaking / sea waves.” The poem-as-interview “Dear Little One” speaks with a wrenching honesty that both blames and tries to understand a child’s abandonment of, and distancing from, her mother’s failure to resist brutality. “You didn’t understand before your mother became who she was, she was a motorcycle rider, a woman who could hold her head under water long enough to show you what breathing means. You should’ve said, Mother, I’ll stop feeding off your arms. Mother, I’ll let you stop slipping yourself into the pot.”

Barbara Tomash’s sensuous imagery and serious questioning are lyrically and intellectually bonded in a modern and fantastical philosopher’s treatise, a little sacred and a little profane. The form of the poems, reminiscent of incunabula, enshrines beauty in the natural and spiritual worlds: “isn’t it better to err on the side of / the invisible than the visible a / fine film of capillaries gathered / into veins leads back to my heart / on the far shore the growling of / other animals intensifies.” But the poems are also a history of the deadliness of our human attempts at science, and our mixed prayers to be defended from our own experiments: “yes we poured vinegar / and pepper into the mouth / applied red hot pokers to the feet /let it not come near me but cells / that have been starved for more / than five minutes die not from / lack of oxygen but when their / oxygen supply resumes let it not fold round or over me.” What if this poetic history of humanity is the foundation of a new way to think about the world? “What if I told you there is a peg in my center secured to the ground and yet I am freely spinning.”

In John Walser’s lyrical descriptions of music, an afternoon, or a word, each further search he makes deepens the feel of the described object, which also turns out not to be the subject of the poem, but rather the unnamable feeling behind that object: “But then something lets loose just a little /some shell, some husk, some bark /some pod, some rind, some hull /some skin, some chaff, some crust /some peel, some case, some carapace;” and “Joe Williams’s voice / is candle wax / swallow snuffing /another flame / into loose smoke.” And in as beautiful a love poem as ever we’ve read, the word slough is defined, refined, and redefined into another word for love: “I love the word slough: always have: /its dryness: the way in my throat: /a chrysalis: it gets left behind /like a jacket on a bench…”

In considering the process of aging, Donald Zirilli’s poems are both witty (“Imagine how cool I look lying on landscaping bricks, wondering when the ants will reach me, / considering I might be in a Tai Chi position called Unable to Get Up”) and disorienting, as poetry itself is disorienting and yet centers us in truth: “I have a warning / about the poems I sent you. They’re not done. The poems that you asked for / are not quite written. Whatever you saw in them is not entirely out of me.” Some realizations can only come later, as the poet remembers his childhood numbness in the face of a grandmother’s death: “but I believe I heard her long ago forgiving me /already for today /for the wintry / blankness of my head / the dull abandoned / fireplace of my heart / in a house burned down /that she would answer /to whom I would not speak.”

In Martha Zweig’s compressed poetics, wordplay and prosody are not ornaments or highlights but the very stuff of the poem’s construction. There are as many levels of irony and pathos in these lines as there are layers of assonance, alliteration, and internal rhyme, all delivered in snappy staccato rhythms underscoring the sharpness of the poet’s vision. Zweig’s punchy, high-friction linking of ending and beginning, creation and destruction, and ultimately, life and death throw off sparks of insight at gleeful risk of bursting into flame – not, perhaps, an altogether unappealing outcome for the narrator of “Gloaming” who prefers to “take another flirt at the world” rather than let herself get “suckered & sapped” by the “bluedevil dirty earth” with its “gory locks of lice / & beggary, strategy, calculus, scrapheap / scrubbed & pricked to glitter.”

Thank you so much for being here.

With love and gratitude,

Susan Lewis, Carol Ciavonne, and Bernd Sauermann

TJ Beitelman

Math and Science

This is the story of his life he drew up around himself: preparations to turn one square block into a street bazaar. Orange cones. Folding tables. Port-a-potties. Police shoo the unfortunately parked. A stream of men who glare purpose-fully and stalk the block in some surely official capacity. They hiss into walkie-talkies. Don one or more version of three different kinds of ID badge. Conspicuously military is this linearity.

——lines intersect or else run parallel. Period.——

He sits on one end of the long table inside the café. Scribbling her math homework in a spiral notebook at the other end of the long table etc. sits a pretty co-ed.

——all the young people walk or sit so erect. Such clear elegant lines they make!——

The math exists to prove the existence of parallel universes. Or at the very least a world inside a world. It is said there is a statistically significant distinction between the males of our species and the females of our species. Namely: women see far more out of the corners of their eyes. Once he took this as an invitation to believe in infinite possibility. Even if she’s not looking she is. And she is and she is and so on. There’s another way to see it now.

——she’s not looking but she knows you are. Or else she’s just not looking period.——

These other potentials trail off to their respective vanishing points. The vendors open their carts. The smudged sky threatens to open itself. Later there will be electrified music and plastic cups of pissy beer. In a tucked away corner one young man in a crisp white untucked shirt will vomit mostly foam. Some time ago one poet wrote of some bird or another circling out and out from its handler until it couldn’t be seen or heard.

——I don’t remember the rest. Something something stones. Something something sleep. Something something slouching. Then eventually Bethlehem.——

Down the table etc. she solves for x and y and graphs it out along the squiggly perpendicular axes she’s drawn. He strains to see and not be seen. He fails on both fronts. She collects her things and without looking one way or another takes her infinite leave.

It was a double-helix for what it’s worth. Twisted strands.

What makes up all or any one of us.

Art in the Park

This is the story of his life he drew up around himself: he planted twenty-three miles of plasticized orange in the winding Central Park of his own mind or body or else the simple disembodied history of him. It’s just buzzing. It’s just buzzing. You have to come here. It’s the sound. Kids and people. You have to come here. It’s the sound of it. Someone in the crowd said all that.

It was the middle of winter for all this orange. The sleet and freezing rain. The squirrels. What do they think. And the fat dachshunds decked out in sweater vests. The creaking the aching groans the orange things I made made. The way they swayed. What is a lie. The art that you make in orange for everyone to see is a kind of lie.

Once when he was a boy there was a question regarding his veracity. It was a very important question.

He told a story about the bag lady of his mind who had been cast off. Discarded. She toted her bags in the park and no one noticed her until the city took its toll of her and once and for all she was sent back to from whence she came. Ashes to ashes.

But that’s not what really happens to her. He cannot even recall all her potential ends:

Does she grow wings.
Is she an heiress. A prophet.
Midwestern beauty queen.
First female astrophysicist. Abstract Expressionist.
Mother Mary. Marilyn Monroe. Etc.
——yes and yes and yes.——
And yes.

——but remember this: the ducks don’t leave. They stay and swim through the winter slush. Propelled by the furious invisible churn they make of their own orange-webbed feet. Orange and orange everywhere around them in my mind. None of this is holy. None of this is holy. This is only art. Which is something but is not wholly important. I am just one in the eight millions. One in the eight millions. One man said in the city of my mind that what I had done to his park was as if I had squatted and shat in his yard. But he forgets my mind and all this orange belongs to me. Even the ducks. To me not him. Call to me dear. All this orange. It sighs. I am only waiting. Amen.

The Dream of Flight

This is the story of his life he drew up around himself: he was headed somewhere. Directly. In a machine. While all along the way other machines made a beautiful rubble of the cracked-slab manmade road.

Which is to say: they re-did the road.

While he was on it.

Which was necessary in a manner of speaking but not strictly necessary in the so-called Grander Scheme.

Indirectly necessary. Necessarily indirect. Etc.

Regardless. To pave the way over what was already smooth or smoothish needed to be made fully rough. This is called vision or revision, one.

A beaked machine bit rebar into smaller and smaller bits to build a very long row of nests. Unseen men in unseen moments had balanced chunks of gray rock like eggs or constellations in the crinkled irregular masses of wire. Nest after nest after nest in a rough corridor of nests.

Or else if not a corridor then at least a regular series of singular points on an otherwise infinite line.

Or not nests: galaxies. A galaxy of inanimate nests. Rough nest of inanimate galaxies. Etc. Startled smell of grasses seeps through the vent. Senses have senses. Etc.

Or not inanimate. Intimate.

——lord no. Trust me. Turn back. I know your aim: you think you want to go there. No you don’t.——


Machines have beaks and make ordered nests of broken metal bits and manmade rock. This all delights him in a way. It’s all he recalls at the end of the day. Nests zooming back away. Zoom is a word and crunch is and crinkle. So is bird. And fly. And fast. Etc.

Once he was headed somewhere only where he doesn’t remember. Instead he’s only here now where he conjures up an erroneous sensation: warm living meat of a small wild bird in his palm. A real imagined bird. Imagined real. And live.

Long I.

——I thought I told you…——

Calm at first. But for the fluttery tick-tick-tock of the wild mechanics at her core. Then in a flurry of her sleek imaginary wings she bursts away. The energy of the universe.


But then the energy of the universe is a constant. Which means it stays the same. Which means it stays just where it is. It doesn’t ever go. It doesn’t ever go away. Even though disorder grows——

——yes yes Love. I know:——————That’s the only law we know

TJ Beitelman is a writer and teacher living in Birmingham, Alabama. He’s published a novel, John the Revelator, and a collection of short fiction, Communion, as well as two collections of poetry: In Order to Form a More Perfect Union and Americana, all from Black Lawrence Press. His stories and poems have appeared widely in literary magazines, and he’s received fellowships from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham. He currently directs the creative writing program at the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham. He can be found online at

Editor’s Notes (Posit 10)

Welcome to summer, and with it, to our 10th issue!

While not what is most often referred to as “summer reading,” this issue’s poetry and prose is energetic, surprising, pleasurable, and above all, various. From Martine Bellen’s Delphic utterances to James Capozzi’s lush expansiveness; from Joe Pan’s virtuosic fecundity to the compressed insightfulness of Alec Hershman, Call Freeman, and Becka Mara McKay, the work aggregated in these pages gives rise to its own poetic chiarascuro, an emphatic energy of contrasts fed as well by the moving micro-fiction of Anthony Schneider, Randee Silv’s suggestive “wordslabs,” an excerpt from a new collaboration by Thomas Cook and Tyler Flynn Dorholt, and the accomplished poetics of TJ Beitelman, Brett Salsbury, and Patrick Williams. So here’s to the delights of summer, and of Posit 10:

T.J. Beitelman’s probings of the intersection of truth and creation, vanity and desire, futility and hope, exploring “the real imagined” and the “imagined real” in which “none of this is holy. This is only art”;

Martine Bellen’s spare and exquisite excerpt from , inspired by Brazilian jujitsu, invoking “the efficacious arc of hatching” the insight that “delusions are inexhaustible”;

the expansive richness of James Capozzi’s verses, grappling with the psychic implications of “film that is a litany of artifacts ragged behind the rest of our evolution” as well as the elusive notion of “our majesty” which “blows the petals that form us” whether it resides in “maps of the coast the length of the coast” or “the life and the sub-life”;

Thomas Cook’s and Tyler Flynn Dorholt’s masterful collaborative meditation on time, identity, and language, which “keep[s] breaking perfectly with commas into slight unknowns” in order to remind us that “no matter what, what is always the thing mattering,” which “is not news nor is news not us”;

Cal Freeman’s sure-footed gems of energy, imagination, and insight, in which, as the author tells “The Innocent” in the epistle addressed to her, “grace is the shape of light that isn’t cast”;

the range yet compression of Alec Hershman’s lyrics, which convey meditative melancholy, wry humor, and philosophical rumination by tapping a well of surprise in which “the megaphone’s a dunce-cap; the helicopter lands with a limp”;

Becka Mara McKay’s lyrical yet gently wry investigations of relationship and faith, in which the “heart is/a dropped bottle,” “sorrow sags,” and “God leaves unlatched//the shore of sleep”;

Joe Pan’s virtuosically individuated monologues on one love which is wistfully “awash in what [she] cannot keep/or keep private,” while another struggles with her own “humble fidelity to [her] infidel’s lovely bits & bargaining chips” such as the beloved’s “ol’ stigmata’d-mouth-by-unforgiving-knuckles exploitation show”;

The wry melancholy and deadpan humor of Brett Salsbury’s pitch-perfect timing, reminding us “how your dreams rearrange the day” until “eventually gravity takes its whole toll”;

Anthony Schneider’s poignant fiction about personal constriction as coping mechanism and abuse, ringing with the potency of what is left unsaid;

Randee Silv’s ‘wordslabs’ constructed from resonant declaratives colliding productively like “circuits of cascading autumn clouds,” their “inward attentions inexhaustible”;

and Patrick Williams’ elegies to memory and mortality, in which “the lake is dead as a dream” although “we are too unfixed” and “someone is calling, but really/who picks up the phone anymore?”

Thank you for reading!

Susan Lewis and Bernd Sauermann


And welcome to the visual art of Posit 10!

Alex Bunn’s photographs bedazzle and confound the viewer. Through his meticulous studio arrangements he creates temporary universes that leave us wondering at exactly what we are looking at. They are both delicious and decidedly creepy at the same time.

In Cynthia Carlson’s recent body of paintings, “Beyond the Rectangle,” we see a group of rigorously constructed, geometric compositions. Each painting is made of up many smaller canvases, combining to make compositions that inhabit the walls with architectural presence. The paintings are deeply and lushly painted: Carlson uses color to both harmonize and connect the compositions. Like jazz, they are syncopated and alive with energy.

Mary DeVincentis presents us with a world where darkness, both physical and psychological, is ever present. Beneath the cheerful colors and vigorous brushwork we see hints of the troubled life inside.

Carl Heyward creates mixed media works that are elegant and lyrical. With graceful gesture he mixes found and fabricated imagery to suggest visual short stories. Each work provides us with a bit of the narrative, leaving it up to the viewer to complete the story.

And Matt Nolen’s ceramic sculptures are richly layered with color, texture and meaning. Like surrealist narratives, they lead us along a dreamlike path where all interpretations are the rights ones.


Melissa Stern