5/30/14

Francesca Chabrier

When i look up and see / i am walking

hello memory
hello simple me
happening again in a new
ordinary day
Hello sister
and rain, truth
written on the wall.
Hello exceptions,
slap on the wrist.
Oh, hello goodbye.
I ask you sweetly
for every piece of me
would go back to tip
something else over.
Hello spongy hope in a glass
Dried up and sorry.
Orchestrated so poorly.
Say hello
to my mother and father.
I am sorry
I cannot be with them.
Hello out there
In the distance.
I know I came here
for this
simple me
a man’s man,
I am just learning
My way around.
Hello red light in the shower
Secret and silent
In the new house.
Take me back
To before I was born
so I can say hello
again for the first time


Francesca Chabrier is the author of Throw Yourself Into The Prairie (Sarabande, 2014) was published earlier this year. She lives and writes in Oregon.

5/29/14

Amina Cain

GENTLE NIGHTS

When people look at me they sometimes think of the word “decadence,” but I only have the face and body of a decadent person, not the experience. I am someone who enjoys getting rid of things, even if it seems like I should be sitting down in a jewelry store surrounded by gold.

Something has brought me here. Violent paintings. Almost all of them are religious. Here, in the middle of the gallery, is that famous one of St John the Baptist’s head on a platter. See the shadows on Salome’s face and neck? When I see too many paintings like this, I emerge into something softer, allowed the pleasure of arriving from a museum into a warm winter night. This is why I look. Snow blankets the ground, but not coldly. I could take off my coat if I wanted to. I don’t have to wear gloves.

Usually I gravitate towards paintings of village scenes. Look at this one with its bright dabs of light in the windows of the houses. I would like to go inside the houses. I would like to go inside those rooms above the pastry shop. In one of the windows sits a simple striped chair and a side table with books on top. I could read in that room, and entertain guests.




Even though I am not a decadent person, I have had decadent friendships. I have been able to love many people. Today I miss everyone and I look at the paintings feeling close to something.

I have been trying to figure out my relationship to the person I live with, who I also love, though I don’t know him very well. We have only lived together for a few weeks and in that time there have been many nights of sitting bundled up on the porch, and now that it’s even colder, in the living room or the kitchen, or one of us reads in bed. It is me who usually lies in bed, sometimes with my laptop. I look at things on the Internet, but I am still aware of the mountains around us. They have become part of everything and the Internet doesn’t stop this.

Here is a winter scene in which a shrub covered in snow looks like a tarantula. And a painting of a frost fair on the river Thames in 1684. A full marketplace set up for the freezing, the doors of the tents flapping, and people riding over the ice on their horses to get to them, or walking in groups of three or four, with a dog running on ahead. In this painting the light comes from a small fire on the edge of the frozen river.

Here I am returning home. My figure crosses the landscape; a mountainside with dark houses perched here and there. Now I am on the porch, stamping the snow from my boots. The person I live with is heating something on the stovetop.

We embrace. The room is warm from the stove.

“You look like you want something,” he says.

“It’s just the way my face is shaped.” The living room is sparse and perfect. Two comfortable chairs with an oval rug between them. A clear glass bowl sits on the windowsill. All the boxes are gone.

“It looks great in here,” I say. “Actually, it might be the best place I’ve ever lived in.”

“Me too.”

“I’ll go organize the bedroom.”

All of our bedroom things are taken out of boxes, cleaned, and put away; when your belongings are few unpacking doesn’t take long. The bed is next to the window, and now there’s a fine dresser across from it that used to belong to my grandmother. Our clothes are inside. I place pink and blue cloth flowers in my hair and see my reflection. I’m startled by how spoiled I look.




Before I left the last city I lived in, all my friends had already moved. I went to a party and in the bathroom I thought to myself, when you walk back out none of the people you love will be there.

One friend is too much in her body, and was one of the people I missed most in that bathroom, feeling how far away she was, that I wouldn’t go with her to parties in that city anymore. Another friend and I used to remind each other that someday this moment would be over, a continuous recognition, grateful to still be immersed in it.

For a long time after that I thought I had already met all the people worth meeting, but it wasn’t true. Something in me has always been naïve, though I’m not sure my face has registered that.




Today I am going to the spa. It costs $20 and I will spend five hours there. If only to warm up in winter to sweat things out of me, I need the spa. In between the hot tub and the steam room I stay for a while in the cold pool just so I can get hot again.

Here is the mugwort tub, brewed like a tea. A sign above it lists its healing properties. One of them is for hysteria. Another is for tired legs. It’s so hot I can barely lower myself all the way in, but I do. The black water laps at my collarbones.

Here is the dry sauna, glowing red, wide planks of wood lining the walls. Heated rocks rest elegantly in the corner, while a woman pours a pitcher of water on top of them. When I lie down, the wooden bench burns me. I am quieting something in myself.

At the end of my five hours I fall asleep on the heated floor in the relaxation room. Others are sleeping too and as I drift off I can hear the distant sound of lockers opening and closing, and of hairdryers.




With some of my friends I have had a falling out. In that bathroom, I also thought of them. I see myself as a caring person, but the anger directed at me from a few of the people I’ve been close to makes me question that characteristic. One friend said she had to end her relationship with me because I wasn’t good for her. On one hand this made sense, as I know there were ways in which I let her down. We were supposed to live with each other and I backed out of it. On the other hand it confused me, and made me feel as if I didn’t know myself as well as I thought I did, because I loved her and I believed I had shown her this, in other ways. Maybe I’m not as in touch with the harmful parts of myself as I am with the loving. With some friends, we’ve taken turns hurting each other, and have come out of it on another side.

It’s beautiful how long a friendship can last, even when it is awkward to be around each other. Even when there is nothing to say, neither person wants to let go. I think this is because the body still remembers the relationship, and most likely the bodies keep it alive in spite of the mind. The best thing would be to spend time with each other physically, but this is not always possible or appropriate.

The body remembers. The body wants to have its own relationship. The mind will have to say something about it afterward, or, sometimes the mind doesn’t have to say anything at all.

Yesterday the person I live with bought me a richly designed dress, and though I like it very much I’m afraid when I wear it I’ll look aristocratic. It transforms me almost completely, physically that is. Paired with even a single piece of jewelry I’ll barely know who I am.

“Try it on,” he says.

In our simple, cabin-like house I put on a dress that is deeply, deeply patterned with the night sky.

I don’t actually think I can look at myself in any kind of mirror.

We watch something violent on my laptop. It will help me wear this dress.


Amina Cain's most recent book is Creature, a collection of stories from Dorothy, a publishing project. Writing has appeared in BOMB, n+1, The Paris Review Daily, Denver Quarterly, Two Serious Ladies, and other places. She lives in Los Angeles. “Gentle Nights” appears in the author’s collection, Creature, and has been reprinted with generous permission by the publisher.

5/28/14

Haley Rene Thompson



Haley Rene Thompson is a poet who studies poems in the MFA program at Umass Amherst. She currently lives above a suspect antique shop in Northampton, MA. Her poems can be found in Indefinite Scape, notnostrums, LOOM & iO: a journal of New American Poetry.

5/27/14

Lindsay Turner

POEM FOR LAURA MULVEY

He is a figure in a landscape—

He is a figure in a landscape
made for display of people speaking:

an amphitheater:      about
your hell, and hers, the child
in a pink t-shirt with a slogan,

the child with a smile on the brown old grass,
another smile gone down so far beneath

the face all turned to wrinkle
            no one should have

a face    
the sunlight gets
in every wrinkle     It was the day

the forsythia beside the ivy
bloomed along the way to work—

*

It is said that analyzing
destroys

     That is the intention

*

plays down the illusion
of screen depth: his
tends to be one-
dimensional, as light
and shade, lace, steam,
foliage, net, streamers
and so on reduce
the visual field






*
Demands a story

     Demands free speech

     Demands an afternoon
in spring, shouting

     Springtime:
a robin’s contour springs

     Or possible to stop and look
at things in isolation     Shock

of recognizing     roundness     yellow
streak behind the beak like eye contact

during a crowd’s dispersal
into a long and getting-longer evening—

*

but there’s more to say
about the forsythia:
arresting, permanent
in color, yellow at the end
of the winter we thought
wouldn’t, we “we” of
that season, now to see
is to be thrown, all
together, into it, new
season, a worse public,
changing and calls itself
contingency, and if
I stop to stare someone
is likely to knock into me

*
he is a figure
in a landscape


*

NOTE: go watch the films

*

then later I tried to draw
an I on the page of text—I mean

an eye—and I
couldn’t, I turned it

to a curving shell, arches
of amusement and curling
to protect some word beneath

*

            hence the spectator,
            lulled into a false sense
            of security, sees through
            his look and finds
            himself exposed as
            complicit, caught        

*

Demands a scene of recognition

brought outdoors     Was overwhelmed
by language:     Turn it off

I’d say     whose image has been

stolen    
                       The spring turned public
all of a sudden     Turn if off,

I’d say, preferring something
less open to the sun

of middle afternoons     opacity
of birdsong just repeating     body made,

the body made, the body made a spectacle:

only the idea of the body made a sound
of shape     
                   The end of someone else’s

old sad poem
                                    a spectacle,
a spectacle, a spectacle     of care






Lindsay Turner's poems have appeared in Lana Turner Journal, WebConjunctions, The Kenyon Review, Denver Quarterly, FIELD, and elsewhere.  She lives in Charlottesville, VA.

5/26/14

Julie Doxsee

KNIT

I ripped the feather
duster apart to
make a bird
hat to warm
my head under
the moon. You
lined tiny bottles
of black
currant vodka
on the dash where
a little gold tray held
the gold ring your
finger was too
swollen to
spear & the
cigarette holder
I took once into
the shadows  
to kiss. 

*

My eye painted
church tops where
the day before
was sky I pushed
my body against &
the red wall
slid gripping air
around the 
stop-sign
shaped room. 
I fell onto
a carpet of
dying plants &
terra cotta,
drank a vial of
poppy juice &
felt 100
hands land
on my chest.

*

There was a knock on
but no foot under
the door.     

*

The sunset matched
my dress & you
passed right through
me like I’d only
ever seen you in
a shard of mirror so
I stripped nude &
knit a new dress
from strings I pulled
from the couch. 

*

Your camp filled
with basketballs &
mine with cat fur &
shirts sewn from
leftover rags we
cleaned the house
for five days
straight with.  I
remember the
particular smudge
one song left
on my eye &
the flashbulb it left
in my mouth so now
when I open it it
blinds. 

*

You took the plant
leaf in your
hand & stems
heaved 100
hands up to
the ceiling &
I never told you 
but here I tell you
I planted our dust
bunnies in the dirt. 

*

It was your booted
lower leg I saw
reflected, cut off
at the foot.  I found
your tattoos in a cup
liquefied, my face
oval, blued.  I spilled
them on my arms
& they bloomed
dark morning
glories.






Julie Doxsee is the Canadian-American author of three books of poetry: The Next Monsters (Black Ocean, 2013), Objects for a Fog Death  (Black Ocean, 2010), and Undersleep  (Octopus Books, 2008). She holds a PhD in English and Creative Writing from the University of Denver (2007) and an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2002).  After several visits to Turkey over the years, in 2007 she moved to Istanbul, where she teaches academic writing, creative writing, and literature courses at Koç University. An excerpt from this poem originally appeared in CutBank.

5/23/14

Hannah Brooks-Motl

WORK II NET

Tonight I feel hateful toward her, which equals me

When she appears, it’s a lowest moment: a cause anterior to
whatever meaning

She’s poor, but worth seeing

In any case how does one’s age feel but as everything
orange, or loading

It’s all been narrative honey. Habits execute the uncanny

*

On the corner two boys, a girl; the moon replaces an emotion

Not speaking from the outside, if you hear a voice that’s lying

And the blunder reliably sent or perceived across each act of pleasure

Another bit of bafflement

She follows me through every computer



INTENSITY

One is somewhere: New England, California, the Midwest or simply temper

One’s a place I’m going off from called

The cubby
The hot tide
The gif

Or is luster mere reliance?

*

“He fell into a brown study,” she wrote the falling
yet I don’t mind how vigor has its outlook
concomitant with logo

Like a vandal in the terrace one belongs, or does not belong

Are these the options?

*

Intensity grows its one leg, growing longer and not intenser

Yet I have fallen to the blue—it tears the scripture
into life-ness




Hannah Brooks-Motl was born and raised in Wisconsin. Her poems and criticism appear or will soon in Best American Experimental Writing, Bookforum, Fence, and Typo, among others. She is the author of the chapbook The Montaigne Result (Song Cave, 2013) and the full-length collection The New Years(Rescue Press, 2014). She currently lives in Chicago

5/22/14

Arda Collins

392



blood spread on your face

to the beat

it’s cool

lions tear it apart



wind blows through the night

in the big seven wonder

identical knife point

“fuck this!”

ha

I know

kiss



487



Stars bleat the light shoals

on a secondary attempt to heel

and stave off the fatuous aspects

7 witless bank robbers find a sun

At the bottom of a ravine goat stomachs torn open

gate changed migration routes

when the light changes at sundown on the pond

goodbye

siren

calls break pale black

liable to say it all night


Arda Collins is the author of It Is Daylight, awarded the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize. She currently teaches at NYU.

5/21/14

Harmony Holiday



Harmony Holiday is a writer, dancer, and archivist/ myth scientist, and the author of GO FIND YOUR FATHER/A FAMOUS BLUES (Ricochet Editions, 2014) and NEGRO LEAGUE BASEBALL (Fence Books, 2011). She lives in New York and Los Angeles.

5/20/14

Sara Renee Marshall

TO BE NEW FOR THE EMPIRE

Clipped wings is how we say
less fortunate hurtled toward
either triumph or disaster
We recline to watch the hero
an underdog slogging through
a clapped-out thriller
paint pictures of angels
turning like feathers sluggishly
down the city hills—this
the broader measure of living
a slept-under fog a dome of dreams
even our passive sight bribed
or charmed by falling by rhetoric
of dwindling budgets airborne
pledges without deadlines perfuming
our rest—disasters tempests or manmade
fates waiting to weigh down our money
until its green-light promise its green
leaves fall to sleep beneath us or surrender
What we mine mines us and here cradled
at the grassy edge of sound we keep digging

*

And pretend with our eyes
a warm languor
Pretend long Sundays
We coat the hallway
with our edgeless voices or
pretend the hallway
and empty our throats
of the cadence of want of ropes
of tides. Pretend long swathes
of sand and barrenness
to never hear accusation
when one says children

*

Leave the room and change
into a green dress to become
novel as the next woman
lusted-for and liquid as money
Capital makes everyone desperate—
desirous to be capital
Sorry I once apologized
for my apologies
I want to at least pretend to
want to take back what didn't sell me

*

There are signs of growth
and in the best world
it might begin a rapprochement
where among two sides
one is alive and the other
is a derivative name
There can only be one turn
at a time—footloose capital
lured back to its primary lap

*

Work competes in the shadows
and shone upon by night
looks like motion shuffling
Some progress is austerity
The ropier reaches of earth
slapped and sent back to
reckon with climbing
We get physical push
currencies ardently edge up
buoy west and lap our spoils

*

Can you hear ourselves
here—fabled as a voice
pursuing the future
The opulence of princelings
gathering in an unhealthy vacuum
Look around the world
the last chance—breaking
the Olympic record for Olympic cost
Intrepid as energy booming
Transpacific swagger echoing
the renewed momentum of the west
where men carry weight and weight carries
speed and speed itself is wealth

*

While sadly peacemaking
Not all the forecasts will prove
Sadly national happiness
and what remains elusive when war
the oceans distant comets
when tunneling underground or RNA
or history the big prize
Obese continents a determined push
from the top for those craving a boss
the barrel of a pretty weapon
When we mean to talk
safety eaten up by avowals
we trail off to empire

*

The third shadow is timing:
a ruse to support
the décor at the duel
We're talking nailing down
a brokering of urgent relief
We slink we hesitate toward
a reward of others—
a real scorn on America
There are other ways to make
a deal: light the fuse
and freeze funds
by painful step and volatile region
amid the turmoil of the modern—
an unexpected triumph
Every Theodore come forward
His hat and his tail
his sure thing



Sara Renee Marshall hails from the American southwest. She procured B.A.s from University of Colorado in Political Science and History, and an MFA in Poetry. Brave Men Press published her chapbook, Affectionately We Call This The House. Her poems can be found in places like Omniverse, Colorado Review, and elsewhere. In the fall, Sara will begin a PhD at University of Georgia.

5/19/14

Kelly Schirmann

NEVER GOING BACK AGAIN

It took me two decades
to respect powerpop as a physical force
& now it lives in me like a great Christmas –

People change.

I can sit across the table from any man
& run around the yard
of our fake future, feeling
its weightlessness, the waxy grass ...

I prefer to introduce myself
as a time of year, or as an artifact
from your childhood bedroom,
all of its revisions understood.

Being a woman is so naked,
like a tree you could just zoom past
& not try to figure out.

I treasure being in my twenties, & feeling so violently
about whatever peace means.

Bear-hugging the version of you I’ve invented
& not being afraid of what other lies I’ve told me.

I saw you walking
quickly away from me in the movie theater
& then we cried together talking about that train scene
until he came out to smoke a cigarette
but this was the last time.

I don't miss anything.

For the same reason
I could never make you feel guilty about money,
I read biographies about 80's supergroups
& dog--‐ear the passages about loving
versus fucking.

I am not dead without you &
this makes it worse.

Every machine just stops working
if you use it long enough.

Kelly Schirmann is the author of Activity Book (NAP) & the co—author of Nature Machine (Poor Claudia). She sings in the band Young Family, whose EP King Cobra is now available from Spork Press, & runs BLACK CAKE, a web-based audio-chapbook label for contemporary poetry. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

5/16/14

Shannon Tharp

ANNIVERSARY



The consequence
     of singing
          is reason, thus


we arrive at
     what we call
          understanding,


this making use of
     the shadows
          in us, these


small waves
     of pain passed from
          you to me to you.



Shannon Tharp is the author of The Cost of Walking (Skysill Press, 2011) and Vertigo in Spring (The Cultural Society, 2013). Her writing has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Hidden City Quarterly, Typo, Verse, and The Volta. She lives in Laramie, where she is a librarian at the University of Wyoming.

5/15/14

Julia Cohen

The Ache The Ache

Standing in a raggedy yard as Jen takes
photographs to send her sleeping boyfriend
we consider rent & location. We consider
biking in winter. Selah smells good today
& I tell her so, her kimono reminds me how
as a child I searched for an object
to make me unique. Is effortlessness a personality trait?
I tried a ring on each finger. I tried Billie Holiday.
I tried root-beer milk. Objects cannot do this.
Sommer is due August 30th & Farrah is having
a boy. In Turkey, Julie, mountainous with twins.
Baby Ione gurgles through the phone as I talk to her mother.
Frogs in kiddie pools will collect into temporary pets.
I don’t own a couch anymore so my dog sits in the chair
next to me & suddenly it feels like a waiting room.
If you’re with someone when they want to die then
you’re a type of weather. As a gift my sibling replaces
my bicycle’s stolen tire. My sibling with lighter tresses.
With no tonsils & faith in this country. I’m here because
I’m not ready to leave the feelings. Each feeling
a lung swelling like linens on the line’s breeze. To let
the yard fill. Seth, Emily, Brian in Massachusetts
with the mussels & thin steeples—my feelings will visit.
Disclosures: I’ve read The New Yorker since
4th grade which probably makes me a jerk; I’d twirl
my hair non-stop if I could; washing dishes
is the only chore I like; I choose the sea;
sometimes instead of conjuring the flower’s design
I see its name in white reflective letters & blame
street signs in Denver; I break & lose sunglasses
because new weather crushes memory. Umbrellas, too.
The closest I get to anger is sadness. If we could
inhabit feelings more than spaces. Or, this space
starts a feeling I can carry somewhere else.
I vacuum before I leave. Coastal kinship &
milkweed for monarchs. Certain anxieties I seem
to welcome: let the gauge hit empty before refilling
the tank; wait for the due date to send
the electricity check; the tallest bookshelf tilts
precariously forward. That I will fail to
understand what I read. Driving my sibling
to the airport in a borrowed car we pass
Dahlia Street. I walk the perimeters of my apartment.
Who beheaded my camera? Do I remember
the names of all my teachers? What year was I
most confident? These words I say in my head
most often: magenta, faith, lilacs, Rachmaninoff, the sea.
I think the prairie is only good for
watching lightning bounce back
to the sky. I have buried objects
in a yard I do not want found. I’m trying
to react to myself. Above ground. To find
faith in language’s failures. What is okay to cultivate?
Is art the only tangible object?
Weather does not hold feelings of its own.


Julia Cohen is the author of Collateral Light (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2013); Triggermoon Triggermoon (Black Lawrence Press, 2011); and a collection of lyric essays forthcoming with Noemi Press this fall. Her work appears in places like DIAGRAM, Banango Street, and Kenyon Review Online.She lives in Chicago now.