12/31/12

Jess Rowan


from the good wife

why the good wife is a wife at all or why she wouldn’t be a wife. how the good wife became a wife and when. what definition of wife she prefers. how she moves through the words to make an escape or how she moves within the words to stay. a wife surrounded by wives making an exit. a wife entering other wives removing other wives taking them under an arm. under advisement. wicked wives holding a breath. where a warm softness can spread across and into. how a shore births forth, how a century passes. now a shore comes back around.

the things one never says. the sand words. the sand of words salting you.

there was a house on the shore.

there was a house on the shore where the good wives go.

in the house on the shore where the good wives go. the only house on the shore. the good wives all in the walls. becoming walls pulling themselves down. pulling each other down. good wives upon each other crumbling. perfectly good wives fucking the floors.

where the floor becomes a berm.

what a house of wives looks like to the wives. what a house of wives looks like to the world. does the world know of the house of wives can it know? how would a world know without access to its own shores?

shore as knowledge base. shore as conduit. shore sparkling forward planting its feet. a shore waking itself to reorient. a shore discovering the wives melting them. melting against them. waking them. waking against them. how to surround surrender.

a shore that capitalizes upon itself. a shore hunting.

a capital shore. and its capital wives.

but the good wives did not marry the shore. they were once singular for the life of the rains. they were once married: each wife, each good.

they were pluralized by the storm.

what wives singular. what good single wives. what growth pattern from the one good wife to every other part of her beaming. what part of other good wives the wives of her. the wives of her separation. the audacity of wives.

oh and behold the wives in their goodness. behold the plurality of them in name.

how. do wives. linger.
wake up. wake up the shore.

wake up a good wife in a tiny nightmare. behold the trappings of wifehood.

the time when the goodness was never born.
the time when the goodness would never be born.
the time the goodness was born and never the time the goodness was conceived.

we know the wives are good because the goodness was in them. we know them by the absence of goodness. we put the goodness onto them.

they spit out the goodness and we put it back in.
we, not the wives, never the shore.

a good wife makes the goodness in piles. knows nothing of piles. somehow they make their movement. she moves as a creature with creature ways. she moves a creature out of her way gradually over years or decades. centuries. moves a creature out of her with a decade of slowness. what a creature doesn’t know may be her only real weapon.

what ever could a creature never know. a good wife with a creature of herself making itself at home. she could never be the one present presenting.


Jess Rowan's work has appeared in West Wind Review, Horse Less Review, Sprung Formal, etc, and with Maurice Burford in the collaborative chapbook Prithee (Abraham Lincoln Press). She lives and writes in the frost heaves of Maine.

12/28/12

Don Share


On the Demise of Twinkies and Wonder Bread
after Traherne

Your enjoyment of the world is never right, till every morning you awake in Heaven: see yourself in your Father’s palace


How did I get here?
                  How fat we are here.
When first I sat, thin, at a sixties table
                  O then did I see my queenly mom
Whose eternity instated my world,
                  In which I walked in Keds
And every kid I saw
                  I wanted to know.

The lawns in their magnificence,
                  The Ohio air of pewter;
How inhuman, workaday, violent, unfair!
                  Our neighbors had no sense,
And all the schoolteachers, so dull,
                  Did seem to reckon
On quashing one’s self-esteem!
                  Why did they name me Don?

A native of space age paranoia
                  and innocence of news; fluoride
helped my bones and teeth grow,
                  yet otherwise I had little to show
for all the affluence that greenly flowed
                  along our troubled Anderson Rd.
A man with black Burberry coat and hat
                  kept a roof overhead: that was that.

Harsh jagged treetops, and their leaves concealed
                  our father’s oppressions, my tears
in the fries, my brothers’ unglued tempers;
                  all hid till the Yiddish lady
called me “kid” and revealed how foreign
                  angels are, in this country’s eyes.
So the buckeyes grew wide and plump,
                  my dreams grew fadey.

The elementary school is torn down now,
                  bulldozed into its elements.
The boys and girls there now grown or dead,
                  alone or remarried, or whatever.
Bullied and sullied then, I’m happy to be
                  in another state nowadays.
I call it the Tang® Dynasty, when mom
                  nourished us on the likes
of Bacos, Lipton onion soup mix,
                  Hamburger Helper,
with Cool Whip from the tub for desert.
                  Ugh.  Riding our Huffy bikes
to Burger Chef was insufficient exercise,
                  but we did read books.
The goyim abused us mightily.  Schnooks!


The shadows in the water were mine,
                  and did not divide the splendor
of my eyes.  I consumed books with avarice.
                  Amazement was my bliss
and condiment.  Each page was a Virgil to me, or
                  at least a flat rung to Paradise.
Oh did their lovely dust jackets shine!
                  “Nerd, egghead, four-eyes...”
Though I couldn’t even tie my own shoes,

I thrived, found myself on storied shores.
Over time, I became one of those bookish bores.


Don Share's most recent books are Wishbone (Black Sparrow), a new edition of his translations of Miguel Hernandez (New York Review Books), and a translation of Dario Jaramillo Agudelo's Field Guide (Marick Press).

12/27/12

Peter Richards


Bruner Street

When mom fell down the stairs
smashing her hip into a thousand tiny bits
she changed the whole world
with a moan that went through the house
a moan that never really stopped moaning
but took over her voice so now when she speaks
when she says SWEETHEART GOD IS REALLY VERY BASIC
I imagine something a long way away
something slow and dead that’s limping
down her long dark hallway of a throat
but I don’t think about it
when the mouth on her face opens and closes
and I can tell by the way she looks at the window
that God’s swollen from thinking so hard
her eyes go bad as I carry her
from one chair and into another
she needs seven primary colors of chair
she can’t walk at all from one that’s white
one that’s brown and another that’s brown
but leans all the way back so she can stare
sometimes all day long at what the rose
still looks like


Peter Richards is the author of Oubliette (Wave Books), Nude Siren (Wave Books), and Helsinki (Action Books.).

12/26/12

Sean Singer

Sarah Agonistes

Kittenish, striped, deep like plush
Money…Vaughan wins first prize.

Trading fours, stylizing, intervening
Time makes rockstep footwork on the dais.

Close embrace, sweet derring-do.
Ash gray sequences stick with sass.

Sean Singer’s first book Discography won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize. He is writing his dissertation “Brick City: Newark’s Artistic Inquiry into Urban Crisis” in American Studies at Rutgers-Newark, where he teaches English and African American Studies. He lives in New York City.

12/25/12

Kory Calico

INTIMACIES OF PAIN 

I don't know enough about anything to even try anymore, McAfee told me. He said, "I don't know enough about anything to even try." He sighed—it sounded like something wet, warm, and soft, crumpling. I said, "Please." 

He was quiet and I was scared. 

And then he whipped out a pair of pincers. He maneuvered the instrument with a dexterity of someone familiar with the intimacies of pain. I was not familiar, as I told you, I was afraid. He whirled the pincers around and they looked like a glimmering hand, like his hand, except his hand doesn't glimmer. He made a move to plunge the pincers into the place where all the pain was, where the pain was centered like a nest of stars burning, aching to make their way out of me. I was still, but then I wasn’t. I plugged my hand into the place where the pain was, before he could plunge his unnatural hand into it. I felt all that pain. It was my pain, but Mcafee did what he had to do. 

And that is a two for one. That is the story of how I lost my thumb, and also the story of how I am still alive. 


Kory Calico lives and writes in Atlanta, GA where he hosts the Kill Your Darlings Writers Workshop and co-curates The ALEF performance arts series with Puma Navarro. He likes to think of himself as good person.

12/24/12

Becca Klaver

Once More Cement the Hymen

once more screw the breasts
once more drill the cervix
once more solder the toes
once more nail the clitoris
once more caulk the ears

it is a construction
a job
you are the site
it turns you on
like a whistle
never will

it turns you on
like you are a massive
infrastructure
lately bathed
in seawater

and the mayors
and the governors
and the president
tele-tell you what to do
like you are naked
handcuffed
to the bedframe

who has the power
who turns it on
who turns it off
I said who turns it on!

try generating
your own
electricity

once more caulk the ears
once more nail the clitoris
once more solder the toes
once more drill the cervix
once more screw the breasts

in the s&m scenario
where you are the citizen
and he is the state

where a hurricane’s
a woman
and a room full of men
give a press conference
on her power

power’s always hot
up till the point of death

he brings you as close
as he can

after Joyce Mansour

Becca Klaver is the author of the poetry collection LA Liminal (Kore Press, 2010) and the chapbook Inside a Red Corvette: A 90s Mix Tape (greying ghost press, 2009). A founding editor of the feminist poetry press Switchback Books, she holds an MFA in Poetry from Columbia College Chicago and is currently a PhD student in Literatures in English at Rutgers University. Born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, she now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

12/21/12

Elisa Gabbert

from THE SELF UNSTABLE



What I miss about childhood is awe – the filter of inexperience, without the further filter of inadequacy, shame. But shame, a friend told me, can be comforting. Adulthood is knowing that someone is watching, an increasing sensation of things being fixed. When I hear the song for the second time, what I like is its familiarity. It has not become more beautiful, nor have I gained access to its beauty.

*

Be thankful for adversity. Boethius said, “For in all adversity of fortune the worst sort of misery is to have been happy.” It’s easier to repeat mistakes than re-create successes, so think of your past self as a different person – each self, a different person. No great art comes from happiness, comfort, but discomfort is not enough. I write from suffering, not lust.

*

The last day of my 29th year, I woke up crying. “Despite myself.” Youth is wasted, full stop. We trade awe for regret, beauty for truth. I’ll remember forever how Brandon Shimoda threw his half-eaten ice cream cone in the trash: “This is boring.” Awe is nothing like shock. Time moves so fast I want it to move faster, make memories of you.


Elisa Gabbert is the author of The French Exit (Birds LLC, 2010) and The Self Unstable (forthcoming from Black Ocean in 2013). Her poems, prose, and collaborations have recently appeared in journals including Another Chicago Magazine, Conduit, Court Green, Salt Hill, and Sentence. She blogs at http://thefrenchexit.blogspot.com.

12/20/12

Tim Earley

*

mead at clog. in the moar this chicken red tipped and phenomenon. gossips lord aslant. in a sense I live only to violate and shudder but not even the bounding line is moved by my betrothals. today is scanning of thrift pants. a new mate is possible. and with that an entirely new coaglum of being. a heaven recurving as the sky. the v’s the possums make as they migrate to the orange grove of the floridas. cut a hole in that goddamned porch. lordy or a dog or sponge absorbent corpse ill-benamed and permanent in its dimensions is hiding down there. the diaspora safely contained in the castle. nothing shall overbear my paramourmal incantations. my first addressee is the weathervane. my first lover was not oafish or dressed as hyena was not redolent of plums did not scotch an apple in her mouth there were no reams of grotesque children packed into her suitcase yet. she was a bureaucrat with an arrow through her thigh. a gestural impasse. she was my heart before my heart realized sex is a displacement an irritation of alternatives a metallic license and always occurring under a bridge either my ear is imaginary or there is a far away mote in it. when she smiled a dominant theme was reintroduced. to conceive a gallant chapter in the arsenic pool. wind a sissure heaming and so cannot direct my lustful action, friends. obey the garland for form cannot repent. or for further instance me and these animals have conjugal contracts our degrees of insight mobled and good men left to urinate on spring-toothed harrows poor in worms and peculiar in green. desiderated quark rondel reminds us of the cauteled mule and bredwine maggot. in our brains numerous trematodes dispense their furrows. we are forced nightly to labor and inform.


Tim Earley is the author of two collections of poems, Boondoggle (Main Street Rag, 2005) and The Spooking of Mavens (Cracked Slab Books, 2010). A chapbook, Catfish Poems, is forthcoming from Delete Press. His work has appeared in Chicago Review, Colorado Review, Typo, jubilat, La Petite Zine, Muthafucka, and other journals. He is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Mississippi and teaches in the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown's Online Writing Program.

12/19/12

Jennifer L. Knox

The Body Is Its Own Thermometer

Having lost all faith in my own memory,
I was taking notes in the doctor’s office.
“First, you’ll lose the ability to write...”
he said as my hand suddenly cramped up
and drove the pen off the edge of the paper.
I wondered what he would possibly say
next. “Then you’ll begin to wonder a lot...
mostly about possibilities...” That’s weird,
I thought. “...And how weird things are...”
My heart began to pound—I felt dizzy.
“...Accelerated pulse, lightheadedness...”
“Stop,” I said, closing my eyes. “Your eyes
will close, panic will set in—and you know
what the biggest killer in the forest is?”
“You?” I gasped. “You wish!” he hawed.


Jennifer L. Knox’s most recent book of poems, The Mystery of the Hidden Driveway, is available from Bloof Books. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, and four times in The Best American Poetry series. She is working on her first novel.

12/18/12

Maureen Thorson

Black Hole


Running into
Whole Foods
saying
no thanks,

no thanks
no thanks,
no thanks,
I refuse

to emit
or reflect
anything
but flowers.

I am
a single mind,
though
hybridized

into this urgent
avatar,
holding pistils
upright as

my petals
drag
across
the inky aisles.

Down
this throat,
gravity
grows denser,

lobotomized
into rote
fertility:
Come root

with me,
cross-pollinate
my tenser
virtues,

and we’ll
make sublime,
in our
herbaceous grip,

these shelves
and bags
and check-out
lines.

The suburbs’
discrete
geometries
will fruit

beneath
our
radiating
vines.



Maureen Thorson's first book of poetry, Applies to Oranges, was published by Ugly Duckling Presse in 2011. She is also the author of a number of chapbooks, including Mayport, for which she received the Poetry Society of America's National Chapbook Fellowship for 2006. She lives in Washington DC, where she co-curates the In Your Ear reading series at the DC Arts Center and is the poetry editor for Open Letters Monthly. Visit her at maureenthorson.com.

12/17/12

Joshua Clover


Poem Ending With a Line from Niedecker


I keep my mind under my arm
where I hold my
head when I walk
down to market when I
walk when I walk down
to the market
the actions are social
but the mind is private
when I walk down walk
down to the inferno
the mind is private I had
a vision the mind
is privately held
under my arm when I
walk I had a dream had a
Baudelaire had a
Rimbaud the action is
social but Apollinaire walks
he promenades down to market
promenades
in the market
walks out walks home
walks through streets named after
market towns
the names are social
but the century is private
the inferno is social
but the mind follows
the head thinks we can leave
thinks we can go
down to the market
and leave just leave thinks we can
be in it but not of it


You know all too well
that the best poetry is not
the least revolution
you know also that poetry
is the best way available to you
to affirm this truth
now we start to see how
the trap is sprung how it was
sprung and all
before you were born
mind under your arm
in the poetry market that exists
despite the spontaneous
wailings of the poets who believe
there must be no
market because they
cannot afford that for which they
should not have to pay
the action is social but the market
exists as the secret
police exist though
it will never send you
to jail for your poems though
we all believed in
private that we were
worth jailing for the terrible
 sedition of our dithyrambs  
believed we deserved this honor
in a ¡NO PASASRÁN!
todos somos Pussy Riot
sort of way but the good
reader gear’d for riot
cometh not for us


The world of the poem is
the world the world is abstract
and real the poem
fails just when it is victorious
because one cannot live
the absolute of Victory
over the Sun until
one can and we do and many
will die when this happens
poetry will be renewed
in the blood of the negative
“and dreadfully much else” 



Joshua Clover is a poet, critic, journalist, and author, as well as a Professor of English Literature and Critical Theory at the University of California, Davis. He writes a column of film criticism for Film Quarterly under the title "Marx and Coca-Cola," is a former senior writer and editor at the Village Voice, writes for The New York Times, The Nation, among others. Along with eleven students at UC-Davis, he engaged in a sit-in to protest the campus's financial arrangements with U.S. Bank. Clover and the eleven students, known as the "Davis Dozen," have each been charged with 20 counts of obstructing movement in a public place and one count of conspiracy.