2 Horatio 2017

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Volume two

2 HORATIO Volume 2 Fall, 2017 2 Horatio Street New York, NY 10014

co-editors Jennifer Stewart Miller Elaine Sexton publisher Elaine Sexton designer John Kramer


5  7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15 17 18 19 20 21 23 24 25 26 27

Minny Lee Rick Hilles Mary Ellen Pelzer Emily Mohn-Slate Jeanne Chinard Kaye McDonough Mary Catherine Bolster Maja Lukic Didi Jackson Ron Slate Sherry Stuart-Berman Michele Karas joan cappello Therese Elron Kathryn Llewellyn Carmen Bardeguez-Brown J. Gerard Chalmers Jennifer Stewart Miller Tanya Grae Scott Hightower

28 29 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48

Lynn Patmalnee Joanna Brown Michelle Yasmine Valladares Susan Coco Sarah Van Arsdale MG DeNike Gannon Sheila Rabinowitch Renée Christine Ehle David Groff Shelley Hainer Linda Hillman Chayes Kate Lutzner Cami Zinzi Patricia J. Barnett Catherine Wald Marilyn Mazur Sarah T. Jewell Sarah M. Passino Elaine Sexton Bonnie Jill Emanuel

Minny Lee

The Long Chair Your mother carried you on her back against the flood line rising up to her neck submerged in water you thought you were back in your mother’s womb a new born baby with month long diarrhea you could have died but you didn’t Your parents sent you away when you were two years old down south and five hours away to your grandmother soon you forgot your parents or perhaps you never knew them A man who left for another woman never returned to your grandmother a poor lady was smoking cheap cigarettes all day her eyes fixated outside but daydreaming days go by and no one spoke a word silence was the language Your teeth got all rotten from eating sweets from your grandmother’s candy store she gave you the precious white rice while she made do with mixed grain rice never revealing how she cooked two types of rice in the same pot You were probably five when you first learned how to write numbers you would write all day from 1 to 100 —  the only thing you knew before entering elementary school You were standing on a hilltop by yourself when you heard church bells for the first time loneness and longing stirred within they never left you ever since


One day your grandmother took you to a portrait studio paying beyond her means the photographer put you on a long chair you were holding your hands tightly together that night you dreamt to be on a stage and you had to learn how to bow to the audience When you turned six, strangers came —  your parents and a sister you were glad when they left but your father returned one day to take you away or take you back.


Rick Hilles

Late Letter to Elie Wiesel You were alive — two days ago — when I opened your book, ONE GENERATION AFTER, and I took heart in knowing you were still alive when I heard a voice (your voice?) inside the words —  the same voice (is it still your voice?) I hear again when I reread your words, as if some part of you lives on in me. And what if we do give sanctuary to writers and their subjects each time we read? Yet there is more darkness in the world tonight. Like Yonathan ben Uziel who studied Torah with such laser-like focus that the fires of Sinai were said to blind and scorch all who approached, may ashes fill my mouth and burn out my tongue if I fail to say as you have said what must be told.


Mary Ellen Pelzer

Spa Appointment 15 Years 10 Months 19 Days Later She says: Welcome, change into a robe, pick your color. Have you been here before? I say: Yes, I come every year with my family and for an eternity. How’s the weather been? She says: It’s been terribly rainy and the mosquitos are ferocious. Are you ready to relax? I say: Glad I’m here, perfect way to start a beach vacation. Is there anything worse than those mosquitos? She says: Yes, nuisance alligators. Particularly the one in the pond behind her house. Where are you from? I say: I’m from New York. Lived there all my life. Have you ever been? She says: No. She hasn’t. She’s always wanted to go. You mean New York City, right? And I say: Yes, Manhattan. And she says: Were you there on 9/11? And I blink at her: Yes.


Emily Mohn-Slate

Maybe This week’s email update: you may be able to feel the baby’s kicks. Other news: twelve illegal miners hauled up from an abandoned gold mine hundreds more decomposing underground —  a 25-year old woman hacked to death with a meat cleaver in Delhi, walking to meet her cousin’s new baby —  a plane missing over Nepal over the mountains where we ate mango on twin beds pushed together, unsealable crack between bony mattresses, & talked about babies, how maybe we were ready.


Jeanne Chinard

The Width of a Human Hair See that man hunched over a microscope? Body builder. Artist. He knows how the brain works. He has long appendages and plays chess with himself at 4 a.m. His workplace is a tiny space. He thinks so hard he has strained his brain with sweat. His nose drips. He needs a tissue. He has been motionless for weeks. The only light is from under the glass slide. It gives his skin a strange pallor. O Ramon Y Cajal!, his mother cries from afar, You must eat. But he will not eat until he finds the secret. He pleads. Talk to one another. Talk to me. He is growing smaller and smaller. Soon he will be caught dangerously between firing synapses. When he was eleven he was jailed for firing a canon at his neighbor’s gate. He will be redeemed when he creates the Neuron Doctrine. But tonight his brain has grown extra matter, impulses. Nerve cells branch like dendrites.


Kaye McDonough

Nocturne by Cellphone Light It’s an all-Whistler 4 a.m. I wake to this wintry night the constant waterscape grey as his just outside my window Whistler’s, like mine, a mix of black night and fog Wideset lamps, blurred lights mark the snowy arm of safe harbor all the way to Branford Point the grey Sound settled long ago moving out to ditched ships long asleep in the fathomless Atlantic Don’t want intrusive, obliterating light to wreck this mood made from my upended dreams I write instead by cellphone light thinking of Whistler and lost cargo A rush of wind howls in the chimney


Mary Catherine Bolster

Haibun: Pittsburgh She stands at the doorway of the empty hall, thousands of miles from home. Sent last minute to rescue a conference. Floundering. Like her marriage. It’s Saturday. Her sole time with her sons. She’s tired. Lonely. Annoyed. And her spouse at home, angry. Again. He grumbles about another working weekend. She growls it’s her job. A solitary man, dark eyes, looks up from his desk, black curls framing his weathered face. He flashes what her mother would have called a “come-hither” smile. She, without a blink, unflappable, smooths her linen skirt, straightens her shoulders. His eyes lock on her as she walks. She’s weightless. As if this was a French film. A meeting in the Tuileries. A chance meeting at Ritz’ Bar Vendome. She asks him directions to the VIP suite. He’s says he’s going there, too. His long, graceful body steps out of the booth. Bowing slightly, alongside her, he extends his bent arm.

In the wind. Alone. Hardly the Seine, these three rivers. Occasion of sin.


Maja Lukic

Hudson My days began with other people’s cigarettes But no one smoked that morning No one on the porch I was tired of living on coffee and crackers Apples in a paper bag for days in a brown hotel room Paper dress I wore for him Sweating through its thin paper and black silk Dandelions crumbled in the grass Garage door jazz down the road Unruly trumpet punching out time It was someone’s birthday that day and the day after I forgot all the Norwegian I’d learned last week I forgot my ars poetica I drew the Death card and struggled for its meaning On the corner, a male mannequin with a white bra slung over his plastic wrist gazed through his glass case Fall was moving toward us He was not there and he was not coming


Didi Jackson

After the Suicide We called it heat-lightning, when summer nights camera-flashed the silhouettes of the blackened backs of thunderheads. We watched the lightning thread the cloth sky. No clap. No roll. Just silence and show. At the morgue, my husband’s body was rigid in death and cold from storage. Within a week, the blood pooled in unexpected areas, the pattern of small incisions like drops of dried honey. This is the problem with the living: we think the night bundles its blessings, comes to us nodding and weightless. We think the silence keeps us safe from the lightning: a candle and a blanket are all we need. But in the morning we are left to sweep away the scorched wings of moths.


Ron Slate

La lumière blanche With CPR and drugs, the emergency room team revived my cousin Serge. Once a pulse was established, they applied shock paddles to restore an even rhythm. That morning Serge had thought he was coming down with the flu, his chest was congested. Finally around noon, he decided to leave his art gallery in the hands of his staff and walk the eight blocks to the Hôpital Hôtel-Dieu, crossing over the Pont Saint-Michel. On arrival, he collapsed at the admittance desk. Surgeons inserted stents in his blocked arteries and he was discharged two days later. “I was just regaining consciousness after the surgery when a woman appeared at my bedside,” he told me on the phone. “She asked if I had seen a white light while I was dying. I think she wanted my impressions while they were still fresh and unembellished.” In fact, Serge had been awestruck by the white light. He observed it as if standing behind himself. The light had a bluish tinge at its edge, that is, at the edge of his field of vision. The woman listened attentively to his description. “Don’t you think it’s remarkable?” he asked me. “Of course,” I said, “your timing couldn’t have been luckier. What if you hadn’t taken yourself to the hospital?” “That’s not what I mean,” he said. “Don’t you think it’s remarkable that there’s a person whose job is to collect data about the white light?” A few weeks later, while I was in Paris on business, Serge said his health was fine but he wanted to speak with the woman, to know more about what he had experienced. He asked me to attend as witness. We walked to the hospital along the same route he took while nearing death.


“Oh, we know virtually nothing about the white light,” she replied tersely to his question. “And we don’t inquire for that purpose. When someone flat-lines and then returns to life, we ask about the white light — because it seems when the patient, excited and amazed, tells the story of seeing it, this speeds recovery.”


Sherry Stuart-Berman

Flying Saucer Everywhere I turn bent necks and the office still-life to stare down. Nothing sticks. How to keep the story out of my eyes: ever since that night, by the ocean —  just seconds really, it flew up, was gone —  a certain sky. What flies, when I, pale objection, haven’t flown in years. Would I go if I could? My timing, like my love, is off, way off. The moon is out tonight. My fingers at the window part the blinds.


Michele Karas

skyjump bungee trampoline i   crucify grip too tight   a cord in either hand push away land

ascend —

overhead two swallows skate  on a glacial lake quivering aspen into the dry ravine of my lungs rushes


(i am so high)

&when i touch down  on a field of trampoline the shadow of last year’s  grasping shatters


i bounce i bounce

rainbow fractals

an aerial tram floats by looking for its mountain

it’s almost like flying   this (not)thinking of you


joan cappello

man eating i wake up alone whistling the theme from the guns of navarone you’ve taken everything (including your collected poems of ernest hemingway) gone to live with that witch suzie sweetdreams in her gingerbread house on woodside i can see her now catering to your oral satisfactions and you in the backyard slow-swinging in her hammock drinking piña coladas from a straw dipping chips into bowls of homemade salsa and guacamole reciting that poem with the whores in it unaware that suzie’s in the kitchen preheating her oven


Therese Elron

Metaphunghi Let’s see a thing as just one thing, shut the spigot of association down, drain watery reflections from puddled minds until a tossed stone can’t ripple, but thuds on gray matter so droughty, metaphunghi and simil-er illusions perish and black is black and white just white and meaning’s crisp as bird chirp.


Kathryn Llewellyn

Flavors On snowy days when I was young, our kitchen steamed like Hangzhou in July as my mother prepared foods of her childhood to teach me flavors of the old world: Sweet Fresh lotus root in Buddha’s ambrosia simmers for hours with sticky rice until Mom serves syrupy logs whole so I can grasp the glut between wooden sticks. Savory Backside of indulgence —  Peking duck, carved in golden petals, emerging from Mom’s red takeaway bag as she explains how farmers gorge young birds. Dry Sesame seeds on day-old bread cascade to the plate after every bite in spite of Mom’s struggle to feed us peasants’ food with grace. Bitter Xuelihong leaves float in ginger and garlic, a soggy Great Wall, fortifying my plate until Mom withholds dessert to teach me to swallow bitterness. But now, far from home, nearly grown, I order takeout and eat Doritos and Pepsi, wondering, what recipes will I cook for my daughter?


Gamy Filet mignon congeals in butter and blood as I peck at contracts, bottom lines, feigning attentiveness and an appetite for free food for millionaires.* Fizzy Bubbles dance in fluted glass, my mouth wandering from its rim to waterfalls of jazz and tuxedos, trying to quench my thirst with air. Zesty Swirls of lemon, basking in cool water, or drizzled over field greens and branzino: a feast, cooked without recipes, which leaves me wanting just a morsel more.

*In homage to Min Ji Lee’s 2007 novel of the same title.


Carmen Bardeguez-Brown

Adios Of crimson lips with the coconut scent. Of Spanish ballads you love to sing at the end of the day. Of your boring jokes and your unique frown. The laughs that we shared, warm hugs and more‌ of that which is memorable. Of your life force dancing in truncated syllables demised... Approaching Like fire melting away regrets and te quieros Of that which is passion. Of that. Of the sound of your silence. Of your sweet guayaba kisses Ebbing. Navigating the unknown. Of that journey my love. Of that.


J. Gerard Chalmers

Daddy My father kept his cigars in a wood cabinet in his study. Took one out each night. Sat for awhile in his brown leather chair fondling it. The end glowing like a precious jewel. He saved the narrow embossed wrapper for me. Brought it with him when he came up to my room. “We’re married,” he said raising his eyebrows I never know if he is just teasing. Will anyone else ever want me. The tobacco taste of his breath still in my mouth even now. And a faint scar, like the branding of cattle, on my ring finger where the sharp edge of the paper sliced into my skin, marking me as his, no matter where I roam.


Jennifer Stewart Miller

The Mother Omission Chatham, MA death records 1839

November 16 William … 6 years & 7 days December 3d James … 1 year 6 mo 2 days December 18 Esther … 3 years 9mo 4 days   the Above 3 children are Mr. Levi Eldridge[’s] Thus the mother’s existence is confirmed —  omission being the history of her. Surely nothing is meant by it? The sun blinds with no dark intent.


Tanya Grae

Carry a Golden Shovel Let me wear the day well so when it reaches you, you will enjoy it. —Sonia Sanchez

before dawn she wakes to let the dogs outside no thought why me only the day ahead to wear hours like a broad grin brave what the morning brings make the day shine make tea & word well digging deep into the whole of it so others will see something new when it was just ground when what it wants can be unhidden the mind reaches dark places the curtained rooms you hide in but sun will seek you out better to split the stone it will give back put your head down enjoy the day you make it


Scott Hightower

The Sum of It Back living beside The River That Runs Both Ways, I first encountered the slogan SILENCE EQUALS DEATH; lots of pink, black, and white. One day, I will go back to being wherever I was before I was here––at home, in this noisy world of art.


Lynn Patmalnee

Driving to Eternal Rest Late again doing 80 in the slow lane something flags me down beakless breathless one gray wing flapping on the asphalt waving like my mother in our Super 8 home movies and I am braking, braking


Joanna Brown

Celia’s Story I. Where They Came From San Pedro Sula, her boyfriend shattered on the sidewalk, her brother, Luis, crouched in the closet, front door bashed in by a Ponce leader. I don’t know she’d answered, heart pounding. Her sister, Marielis, strapped to her breast, ate a softened carrot, tore at a tortilla, laughed at the boy waving the pistol. Gracias a Dios, he didn’t find Luis. Her will hardened, she’d found a new door, these bulwarks; she’d kept them alive. II. The Journey The coyote eyed her hungrily, even as she felt herself grow shabby, stretched, jumpy from snakes, spiders, the sun a crown of lava overhead. Her brother’s smile loose, away from the gangs, but she slept one arm over the water jug, the other settling her sister close, almost sobbing, almost yielding, almost a sinking statue in the sand, hating her mother, whose hummingbird lullaby sang in her mind as she tripped on a diamond-back. How could a mother leave her daughter? The desert rattled its castanet, its hiss, and on they crept.


III. In the U.S. The reunion sparkled with her mother, father, their new baby. Yet the years away from parents, of remesas not besos  — too long! And now ICE spiders over LA, Chicago, D.C. She slowly exhales, scrubbing dishes, steam clouding the window, her breaths cool. She and Luis will go to school today, Marielis & the baby to daycare. Her bare feet tap the linoleum, decisions dark, exquisite — three without papers, three with – she envies the baby in its yellow onesy, its red, white and blue spoon.


Michelle Yasmine Valladares

Mangroves The stench, thick muck, loamy and fertile from mangrove trees in Bandra wafts through mists of childhood. The salt coated our arms, legs and dreams. Wading barefoot past the mangroves the fishermen cast their nets in the early dawn. The fisherwomen on St. Thomas Road sold pomfret, shrimp and Bombay duck gutted, skinned, deboned or whole. They squatted behind large baskets saris tied up lungi style bargained with crude jokes. Silver knives flashed to scale and filet the catch, transformed by a grandmother or cook into the evening curry —  leaves crushed with masalas into thick paste mixed with coconut milk. No market in the West smells the same. Mangroves stabilize storm surges, prevent erosion by waves and tides attract fish to food and shelter. We migrate to cleaner smells forfeit the coastal forests’ dense tangle of roots and shrubs, as the seas around us rise.


Susan Coco

Catching Rhythms Awakening a bit later today a bit more on my own Not without a hull Not without old stones or buckets of water They seem to gather round as if a satsang was announced So a bit less fogged over by the western suns And eastern leering sunrises Not even the southern surprises that arise from time to time and to what direction lies next i cannot recall Not even the direction of the wind knows this cadence maybe an iced coffee again or a sip of gin would anchor me But it’s a bit early yet Ah yes for a moment forgot North the way my sails used to know the way my skipper used to go. The route.


Sarah Van Arsdale

Fishtail Dad at the wheel, parti-colored Christmas lights blinking in our own trees like spun candies as we careened down the drive, out to East Allendale Avenue, Mom at the back door, imploring, don’t go but Dad with the promise he’d made to the widow Greene — and after three bourbons unable to stop. Or was it four? Did I pitch closer to Laurie in the back seat? The road black-iced, sickening lurch, fishtail swish. At Rusty Greene’s the long hallway crowded at first with the party guests, her daughters in their velvet best, loud laughing and eggnog in delicate glass cups. Late, the guests cleared out, Rusty Greene’s daughters disappeared up to their rooms. What I remember: looking up into the gulfing darkness of the stair, silhouettes of the Greene girls hung on the wall, as if they were raised in the olden days. We waited, and the house grew still.


MG DeNike Gannon

Ode to a Red Chevy II It was because of the tailgate that could lay down flat that we bought the red Chevy II. We’d pile in wearing woolen hats and sweaters handknit by my nana, and navy blue mittens with a string through the sleeve, my eyes barely even with the window ledge. There were lace up black leather boots with hooks and grommets. There was always a picnic lunch on the tailgate between morning and afternoon runs. The perfect cold and cerulean sky framed the looming mountain, trails white with new fallen snow. We peeled cold hard boiled eggs and sprinkled salt on every bite. I had gone back to Stowe to share with my own children the neverland where I’d once stood alone, wrapped in fog, and found myself in the evergreen dark. But the snow was just cold, and the first time unwieldy. Only the red of our Honda echoed back my childhood joy, safe under daddy’s arm, gliding up in the t-bar tracks.


Sheila Rabinowitch

August Night The lake breeze cools the cabin porch. I sit in my willow chair surrounded by night — chirps, croaks, hoots —  under far away stars and an orange Klee moon. Shadows of serviceberry and seven-son trees. Wildflower’s fragrance of evening primrose. Snails and earthworms in my garden bed. A small light in the distance grows brighter on the lake. A catamaran glides into full view. Glasses clink, candles glow, laughter spreads —  Ella’s voice floats “Someone to Watch Over Me.” More than anything, I want to be carried on that boat.


Renée Christine Ehle

Sarai at the Edge of the Pool I have our father’s dark-circled eyes, my mother’s sallow skin. I regard the tranquility of my face, smoother than the water’s surface whose ripples hide rocks and sleeping fish. Nations will call me blessed; teachers and preachers will say I am righteous…beautiful…prophet-mother. Kneeling at this pool’s edge I see reflected the round moon, a nested bird, a desert fox behind a bush. I know the striving in my name and that my wisdom will be in this silence and my grief. God is in my burning tongue, consuming me.


David Groff

Tallgrass Prairie Burn me down all you want, you humans, when over my bloom you can’t find each other’s eyes or the fat humps of bison logy from eating the least of me. Do what lightning can’t —  try to guide your fire, frame your flames to hound your meat animal into your corral of precious fallen oaks and spear it, or else singe it again and again to the edge of my cover where the cliff will kill it. Make me combust, make my mice race to the grace of safety, ignite me so fast the birds are falling stars. Scraped out of glacier, I rise from fire as from ice. Or try to scythe me, plow down my visible cellulose —  my roots go as deep as you are tall. If the gods strike you standing I knot you where you drop. If they bury you deep I make you my seed.


Shelley Hainer

Daily Rite I have known the anticipated delight of submergence, Contact thru elements; earth, my toe jets the air, waves The water’s silk, its tide ebbs me to porcelain depth, Through pink tint bubbles, effervescent heat rises around Fleshy curves, which upon impact scatter citrus scent in the breeze As the body plunges, displaces a proportion of H2O, A hydrotherapeutic, elixir fixer, surrounds baby skin now grown old. Head dips back in baptismal obedience. And I have heard the unspoken sound while under water in the bath, Not only the squeaks of doors reverberating through stairwells’ hollow Echo chambers, exaggerated through this inner medium, where once The tiny muscle of my inner ear grew, stretched, reached, to Hear mother’s voice through these chambers where listening began.


Linda Hillman Chayes

Patient as Wetlands What is this thirst for construction, my coastal town intent on ever more housing? I’ve spent my life on landscape, fertilizing, irrigating and still feel unquenched. Sheltered myself only to unleash floods and reckless storms. You and I are natural sponges trapping and releasing water or memory as needed. Our damns and levees flooded long ago. Now we lay fewer claims, relish a bench, watch the canals inching in off the harbor empty and refill.


Kate Lutzner

To all those who get depressed sometimes The grief pecking order, all those sad years ahead of me. I was easy company in those days, points of comfort you could map with a pin. Each time I thought of leaving. There were many harsh moments in a fight, general thoughts of despair. I didn’t have the luxury to complain, no love affairs taking place in a war zone, only the fleeting, thin feeling of loss. I can’t remember what I told you about nostalgia, what spectacular failures were waiting for me. I can only say even lilacs erode. Everything devoted to the sea must die.


Cami Zinzi

Transubstantiation The priest is handing out Jesus’ remains again and I am dutifully waiting on line to get my own piece of His body —  a toe, perhaps, or maybe a fingernail —  my very own relic to chew. If I’m lucky, maybe this time I’ll get a piece of forehead pierced by crown and I’ll swallow stigmata stuff myself with wound until it is my body in pieces. Each day I rise to communion at the breakfast table newspapers unfold, open their mouths and take of my body consumed by another school shooting, another car mowing people down, a beheading posted online, a bomb maiming many. Everyone losing bits of themselves all of us devoured and devouring.


Patricia J. Barnett

Ode to a Recalcitrant Thread Because of the unraveling threads of her suit we found each other again. We traced the colors to the strands of her hair and the dye to the cast of her eyes. There were buttons that yielded biography and hems of history and spurned myths. Trims of paisley gathering dust and nothing to share but our proximity. I had gone back to recapture this youth to reverse the web and wean of my birth where nothing had come between us but chance and the chagrin of hardened stares. Not the slightest tug would dispel the geyser’s quixotic trail and the flow of our calcified years.


Catherine Wald

Ah, je ris de me voir si belle dans ce miroir!

— Faust

“ The box of jewels catches her eye, and after some misgivings she opens it. Then follows the bright and sparkling ‘Jewel Song,’ or ‘Air des bijoux,’ in which childish glee and virginal coquettishness are so happily expressed.” — Victrola Book of the Opera, 1919

My mother’s mother loved this aria —  frothy, showy, superficial as that star soprano of Bayonne, New Jersey, soloist at mayoral ribbon-cuttings and wedding chuppahs, who repeatedly promised her only pair of diamond earrings to each of four granddaughters —  and left them to no one. I can easily picture Minette, a la Marguerite, laughing to see how beautiful she is — eyebrows raised, cheeks taut, dashing off trills like a curly-haired schoolgirl in patent-leather shoes showing off for the class, as her unworthy husband shrinks into the wings. She may not have believed in the devil, but she had utmost faith in baubles enthrallment curtain calls.


Marilyn Mazur

Mfg. bent-handle shears gripped tight slice neatly stacked fabric

Mfg. into shapes; abstract forms (with occasional sleeves)

Mfg. litter the table, Moore’s raw material of

Mfg. poetry ready for a shapely lady’s dress Mfg. crafted & seamed from cotton cloth: genuine


Sarah T. Jewell

Secretary I’m unfolding paper clips at my desk, scattering undone trombones to silence the symphony in my head. Her heels click as she approaches the door. She has a pen between her lips when she walks in, a coffee cup in each hand. I pretend to work, shuffling papers, as she spits the pen onto my desk and hands me my coffee. I study the red lip print. For my own pleasure, I pocket the pen.


Sarah M. Passino

Sounds Like “That’s Real,” she said to her friend in front of the pharoah in the front of The Met, “No, like, everything in here is real,” her friend said back as they looked out from the entryway as I ran by on my one good leg to catch the downtown bus to listen to those poets who I can never understand except that one who pretends he is a jack hammer and just jackhammers the sidewalk at 2nd Avenue all day as if to say: “this is what it sounds like to be alive right now,” and I limp across 2nd Avenue and think yeah that’s exactly what it sounds like right now


Elaine Sexton

Privilege It was because of the change in the light that I left home early and walked toward the source somewhere on the horizon obscured by low-rise and hi-rise buildings. The light was weak but gathering in cloud cover, gathering and shuttering overhead. I hurried to the edge of the river not stopping for street signs. No traffic at that hour. At that hour to exhale is to make music, to make art of the air, to be in conversation with the body listening to the road crew restoring heat to a tenement, listening to the sack of rags which is a person living in the crotch of a church’s stone vestibule. Listening to my shoes’ leather, my coat’s wool, and the hum of the beat cop who is — for me — merely a man on the street watching out.


Bonnie Jill Emanuel

The Pink Angels by de Kooning, I say. That’s what these clouds look like. I can see the heart I tell you, twisted thighs, half-torso. A forearm stretching across a star. Contorted face over the freeway. The dismembered pink los angeles working the pink cement street. Black rips of a helicopter smoking into the ochre canvas. Charcoal smears across a canyon. Beautiful. Real. The risk one takes just looking up.


Irving IrvingPenn Pennbackdrop backdrop Metropolitan MetropolitanMuseum Museumof ofArt, Art,May May2017 2017 Photograph Photographby byJohn JohnKramer Kramer



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