Travis Macdonald

To When Ever They Don’t

by Paul Killebrew*

Everything the soul throws is wholly
inside the horrible shoebox of a skull, but still

I forget: How a desire waits between me
and anyone else, twists its little invisible

things into the resonating edges … How to
get the girl to “I do” into a family … How all true
going is taking … And then the weather

hangs triumphant from the hospital moon a while,
the stiff yogurt clouds strung there, they drift
into a line to ring the rising points the sun
expresses through others. I feel better

about the breeze, feel better than the person
I have lived as for someone else. But just today

I’d like to be the room
my things know. To live off
the temples of work, scoring matter
on the problem itself. To be
“Like, anyway…”


* from Flowers, “Invisible Scoring” 


This Fall

by Mark Lamoureux*

When them thick clay limbs
clamor, grove of sticks

on the ground, the irrefutable
ghosts come contained

with this sack of visages & scarves. We bury
the blood each day & say

“This justice drinks.” The sea
is prodded with a portentous swirl.

A warm torrent still sings
the gourds up from the ground.

The arid bones throw them
unwanted tontine shadows. Around

the hill, we repel a fragrant air
with the herbs & the potions of this

dip, the bowl wherein
the stars are many & swerve

as one.
As is.


* from Spectre, “Tontine”

A Note on the Process

Despite the potentially deceptive titles, these poems are solely the “original” work of the poet Travis Macdonald. They were composed by rearranging the words of others into an entirely new order and form. The poems from which they are adapted, and the books where those poems can be found, are footnoted beneath each poem.

Travis Macdonald is the author of two full-length books of procedural poetry – The O Mission Repo [vol.1], an erasure of The 9/11 Commission Report, and Nostradamus, an N+7 treatment of Nostradamus’ quatrains. In his spare time, he co-edits Fact-Simile Editions with his wife (and past Posit contributor) JenMarie. In 2014, Travis was the recipient of a Pew Fellowship in the Arts for Literature. He is happy to be here with you.

Editors’ Notes (Posit 9)


Welcome to Posit 9!

We love this first issue of 2016, which makes us think, in a number of different ways, about the expansive potential of artistic innovation. First, there is the incorporation and re-appropriation managed by the procedural poetry of Carlo Matos and Travis Macdonald, offering glimpses of the erased and remixed words of writers like Simone Muench, Mark Lamoureux, and Paul Killibrew. In addition, there is the implicit dialogue between new and previous work by returning contributors — in this issue: Darren C. Demaree, Howie Good, and Travis Macdonald. All of which reminds us of the extent to which art is, by definition, about incorporation and re-imagination, whether it is Anis Shivani’s Great Wall, Howie Good’s tornado, Robert McBrearty life story, Eileen Tabios’s litany of wonders and horrors, or the alchemical transformation of source material aced by every artist (visual as well as literary) featured in this exciting issue. So, it is with great pleasure that we invite you to peruse:

Darren C. Demaree’s spare, suggestive, “quiet, lowered /. . . roaring/ . . .& ecstatic” probings of identity, intimacy, and the quest for grace;

Samantha Duncan’s smart, tightly-wound, vivid constructions tracking a paradoxical “graduation from the gradient” via “veins that listen” to her extremely telling “curl/ of words;”

Raymond Farr’s wistful prosody, revealing “the sublime the ironic like a 5 o’clock shadow” where “love is a man ruled by the sun & not the itch in his bones” and “even this sad yellow paint has seven shades of itself;”

Howie Good’s somber prose poems populated by “a new god seated on a throne of razor wire,” “gray gulls, their shrieks like symptoms of dementia,” and “words, some bandaged, others still bleeding” mercifully leavened by irony, imagination, and even love;

Maja Lukic’s quietly intense evocations of cityscapes furnished with “gutted wind” and a sky which “promises to rain / money bags and emoji,” or offers snow like “cracked glitter, paw imprints in new dustings, / effigies of our old breath, frozen in the air;”

Travis Macdonald’s compelling remixes of poems by Killibrew and Lamoureux, demonstrating “how all true/going is taking” and raising intriguing questions about the relationship between vocabulary and voice;

Carlo Matos’ haunting erasures of Simone Muench’s Wolf Centos (themselves reconfigurations of other poetic texts), troubling our assumptions about center vs periphery, absence vs presence, and the loud voice of the unsaid, “when tenderness/nestles down/with her she-mask” — “sans teeth, sans/you;”

Robert Garner McBrearty’s impossibly compressed microfiction, in which the task of writing his companion’s life story deteriorates to stunning effect;

Cindy Savett’s intriguing invitation to follow her on “a trip where the babies lie flat/ tracing resistance with their fingertips” leading us careening “down the middle in an instant of delight,” only to stand speechless wondering “how do I sing of white lilacs and pine?”

Anis Shivani’s virtuosic bricolage of allusive musicality and aphoristic insights nailing “art, the fleabite to time,” transforming “partial manuscripts signed/ by the angels of detritus” into “experimental gardens . . . [imbued with] the nuance of musicality;”

Eileen R. Tabios’ masterful litany of all that could never again be forgotten, once she “composed this song that would turn you into ice, so that you will know with my next note what it means to shatter into tiny pieces the universe will ignore;”

and Leah Umansky’s inspired revelations of the “satisfaction in seeing the day as something clear for landing or for sending off” where “once, there was the falling of night and I was alone with its steepness, and . . . felt I was a pooling of light; a door-sliver and golden beam.”

Thank you, as ever, for reading.

Susan Lewis and Bernd Sauermann


And welcome to the visual art of Posit 9!

Keren Kroul’s complex and beautiful paintings evoke maps of imaginary countries or the pathways of the brain. The individual sections stand strongly on their own, but conjoined in the large grids presented here, they make a statement that is simultaneously bold and intimate. The sum is as beautiful as the parts.

The mixed media sculptures of Sydney Ewerth turn our expectations about space and materials topsy-turvy. Her play with the object and its painted shadows confounds our expectations even while her materials and colors delight the eye. Her aesthetic is clear and the work masterful.

Don Porcaro choreographs an elegant dance between the two- and three-dimensional pieces presented here. It is evident how his work in one medium reverberates into another. His colorful and almost playful forms belie the serious artistic concerns that underlie this evocative body of work.

The lyrical paintings of Sarah Slavick are reminiscent of the movement of water, wind and sand. The rhythm and dynamism of her patterns are mesmerizing, with light and color moving through and around them, underscoring their complexity.

Mariah Karson presents a fascinating vision of landscape, whether it be the interior landscapes of abandoned school buildings or the poetics of isolated buildings in desolate settings. The solitude in her photographs is profound, and perhaps a little lonely. However, she frames this vision with a clarity that is elegant and precise.

Melissa Stern

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

Travis and JenMarie Macdonald

It’s All Your Fault, Now Burn with Me

Whatever you do, don’t defrost
that last thought
dancing out the airlock.

I wanna know your infection
touches the glass
you pound with savior palms

I’ve never found. An ideal worth believing
in retreats from you, lowers its solar shields.

We need our decompression
initiated, stranger. Love, as

we coast into the sun,
scoop your fusion heart out

illegally. Flash the flares
of your eyes in someone else’s direction.

Say Your Silent Goodbyes

The most impossible white
point star left

a conventional impact crater.
And yet you are found:
a skinny little idiot
in a blizzard of bullets.

Unfrazzle your asteroid
laser, cue montage music
like a missile through a plate glass window.
Hide your weeping angel eyebrows;

the approach begins.
The horde of travesty’s
nightmare child. Choose your enemy
from memory’s 4-beat cycle.

27 Effervescent Planets

Pulled a second out
of sync, hidden in

a time pocket
torn through. The universe pants—

the run was too long
for the crucible loop.
Shoot! The dimension cannon

naked in the neutrino
core with only one disgusting heart,
one inhumane universe.

Reality bomb (boom)
testing calibration apotheosis
waits for a wavelength.

An Anomaly on the List of the Dead

An army of ghosts gone
hungry, running warm,
shoots into void 600
feet above your body

politic. That’s inside the future
breach and science lines. Genesis
arc needs 13 square

miles. Move your universe a little
to the left. Exterminate,
delete, elevate. The void
stuff is sticky with duty

to queen and country. Cue
the move-on music, burning
up a sun just to say goodbye.

Authors’ note:

The preceding poems are taken from a short manuscript titled “Bigger On The Inside” that the authors wrote collaboratively while watching episodes of Doctor Who. It will be published by Ixnay Press in 2014.

JenMarie Macdonald is one half of Fact-Simile Editions and the author of “Sometime Soon Ago” (Shadow Mountain Press) and co-author, with Travis Macdonald, of the forthcoming chapbooks “Graceries” (Horse Less Press) and “Bigger on the Inside” (Ixnay Press).

Travis Macdonald is a poet, copywriter and small press publisher. He is the author of two full-length collections: “The O Mission Repo [vol. 1]” (Fact-Simile) and “N7ostradamus” (BlazeVox), as well as several chapbooks. He currently lives, works, writes and co-edits Fact-Simile Editions in Philadelphia, PA.