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SF&D | Short, Fast, and Deadly Spring/Summer 2014 | [Enter View]

ISSN (print) | 2163-0712 ISSN (online) | 2163-0704 Copyright Š 2014 by Individual Authors | All Rights Reserved

Joseph A. W. Quintela | Editor Parker Tettleton | Editor Katie Peyton | Views

Published by Deadly Chaps Press www.deadlychaps.com www.shortfastanddeadly.com DCsf&d2014| 2

Susannah Jordan | Louise Brooks SF&D | i


iii | CONCEPT [Enter View] Colin Dardis | Water to Winter // Colin Dardis | A Perfect Radius // Neila Mezynski | Suffering of Furtive Girl // Wm. Todd King | Séance // Rebecca Nison | Questions for Commuters // Elissa Gordon | Billie Boggs and Mayor Ed Koch Have Lunch on a Park Bench // William Considine | New Questions // Jacqueline Doyle | Bare Necessity: Nathan Lacky Interviews Rex X xx | Featuring Sophia Starmack | Questions // Sophia Starmack | Photograph // Sophia Starmack | Toccata and Fugue xxxvii | Word Art Susannah Jordan | Louise Brooks // Katherine Rudin | Easy Target // Samm Cohen | Reaching xlii | Prose Barry Basden | Thread // Merle Drown | Suffused with Pleasure // Randall Brown | Two // Kevin Tosca | How to Pick Up Girls in the Cemetery // Jennifer Luckenbill | Pi: A Love Story xlviii | Poems Denver Butson | lone•li•ness (ˈləʊnlinəs) // Denver Butson | di•lem•ma (dih-lem-uh) // Denver Butson | mem-or-y (mem-uh-ree) // Michael Harper | DISENGAGE // Michael Harper | On a clear night // Michael Harper | Yesterplay liv | Black Market Victoria Zelvin | On Illness // Brett Bennett | various ways of how not to drive, or- // Jose Araguz | The Priest’s Sermon in Spring // Wm. Todd King | A Scrambling Sack of Oblivions and Lame Prayers // Wm. Todd King | 1977 // Linda Kleinbub | Wind, Salt and Seaweed lxiii | Views Leah Umansky | InterView: Where I interview Don or Don interviews me // Katie Peyton | ¶6: Jeff Koons: A Retrospective at the Whitney, Noisy Sex, and Alex Holden’s Choking Victim (with Recipes)

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C

oncept

[Enter View] Colin Dardis | Water To Winter // Colin Dardis | A Perfect Radius // Neila Mezynski | Suffering of Furtive Girl // Wm. Todd King | SĂŠance // Rebecca Nison | Questions for Commuters // Elissa Gordon | Billie Boggs and Mayor Ed Koch Have Lunch on a Park Bench // William Considine | New Questions // Jacqueline Doyle | Bare Necessity: Nathan Lacky Interviews Rex X

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Colin Dardis | Water to Winter

Water: Dear Winter, I am calling to you to apply for the position of icicle. Winter: You realise we already have many under our employment? Water: Yes, but I figured that one more icicle will not ruin the season. Winter: What are your vitals? Water: I am tall, reasonably thin, and can hang like a prosaic Egyptian statue, arms and shoulders folded in, legs crossed at the ankles; if need be, I am willing to lose weight and be wiredrawn. I think I would be an excellent addition to your team. Winter: Promising. But what of nature?

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Water: At times, I can be cold and pointed in character, and I’m sure if I concentrated, these traits will transfer over to my physical demeanour. Winter: Your employment is conditional; once you are finished with your annual cycle, could we see that you are collected in some kind of receptacle as you melt, and stored away until required the next year? Water: I am yours in expectation.

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Colin Dardis | A Perfect Radius

What of her now? Still much the same. And all the others? Still by her bed. May I see her? When she is free. When will that be? Near the end feasibly. Is that far away? She is placed centrally. Are we’re the circumference? You have guessed correctly. And so the radius…? …is the straight line. And the shortest distance…? …is only the start. Are we all tangents? Depends on your angle. Where is your arc? I’m at the bend.

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And where the end? There is none such.

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Neila Mezynski | Suffering of Furtive Girl

Intrigued person: Distressed? Furtive Girl: Side to side. Dart eye eye. They see. Me. IP: Bad? FG: They'll. Me. See. IP: Why for bad? FP: Never enough cake pie. Cookie? IP: Why some not ? FP: Signify shame blame. Him told them. Dart dart. Me. IP: Told them so.

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Wm. Todd King | SĂŠance

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Rebecca Nison | Questions for Commuters

Who? The commuters of New York City What? The holes in our shoes, the dirt on our backpacks, the runs in our stockings, the salt on our jeans, the lipstick on our foreheads, the hickeys on our necks, the coffee sloshing in our cups and in our brains. The snooze buttons on our phones. Though we haven't yet crossed the river, home already summons us back to the empty spaces behind open books, beside our lovers and dogs. We are resigned, faces blank to the day ahead. There are countless urges we will not satisfy for hours to come. Where? Underground, where the lights blare as if to substitute for the absent sun, where we cling to metal poles, grasping for steadiness against the current. When? 8:37am. Why? We work the day so that we can come back again to a home we can claim we have earned: to our dinners, our families, our books, paints,

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and beds. Some make this commute for survival, some for luxury. For others, it is merely to fund our true purposes. How? Take a deep breath. Hold your possessions close and your body parts closer. Look at others, but not at their eyes. Listen, but not too carefully. Observe without disdain. Remember, always remember, that what surrounds you are not obstacles, but people.

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Elissa Gordon | Billie Boggs and Mayor Ed Koch Have Lunch on a Park Bench

Billie Boggs: So, you gonna finish that? Ed Koch: This half a sandwich? Billie Boggs: I love tuna fish. Say, it’s cut in triangles, fancy! Ed Koch: Great smile. You’re very charming when you want to be, you know that? Billie Boggs: Don't distract me with sweet talk. What's that got to do with my rights? Ed Koch: How much can that heated grate help in winter? It doesn't make you any weaker to move inside, you know. Billie Boggs: I've got my civil rights, the right to pick where I stay. Ed Koch: Don’t you want to be inside, with beds, clean sheets and meals? Billie Boggs: Got my civil liberties, those lawyers said so. Ed Koch: You’re a product of New York, an original, what this city is all about. Why won't you let us protect you?

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Billie Boggs: You say “protect”; I say “move and hold me against my will”. Ed Koch: Billie, we've only been sitting out on this park bench for 20 minutes and I already know I'm too old for this temperature. Billie Boggs: Mr. Mayor, Ed, bubala, it is my choice, my street, my corner. I know everyone who settles here at dark. It's Second Avenue, I can yell if I want to. Ed Koch: When it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others, your freedom to say and do, theirs to walk there, unafraid. But after getting hot meals and medicine, hasn’t that felt safer, more comfortable? Billie Boggs: How did you find a place for us to talk, away from all those reporters, anyway? Ed Koch: But don't you feel better? Billie Boggs: With the medicine, I feel weird; dull, slow. Which is perfect this week - did you hear I am speaking at Harvard? Reporter: Here they are! Billie! Billie! How do you feel about being forced to move from where you were outside? Ed Koch: We're having a private conversation here. What do you think you're doing?

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Reporter: I am asking Billie, but let me ask you, Mr. Mayor. What about NYCLU President Norman Siegel’s condemnation that your forcible removal of Billie Boggs from her chosen sidewalk home is a violation of her basic rights? Ed Koch: What do I think? I’ll tell you what I think. People who don’t have a home, who are living outside should be offered a place to come in out of the cold, be clean and dry, get meals, and if they need it, medication. Reporter: What if the person doesn't want to go? What if they are being removed and held against their will? Ed Koch: Can you walk over here with me a minute? Reporter: Yeah, but shouldn't we say whatever we have to say in front of Billie? Ed Koch: Oh, now she's “Billie”? You may think you know her, but I bet you don't. And let me answer your question. The mentally ill need help just to get to a condition where they can make decisions. What kind of exercise of free will is not being able to take care of yourself? Do you get what I'm saying to you? It's not freedom of anything if you can't recognize your situation and your options. Reporter: OK. We’re done here.

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William Considine | New Questions

For hours in the afternoon, we played puzzles, and my daughter even let me watch an opera on TV while we played. What are they doing? They're all singing that they want a new king. What happens? A man becomes king and they sing and then later the king dies. I want to see the king die. That became the day's refrain. Is the king going to die now? I want to see the king die. Ten weeks ago, her Aunt Lizzie died. Since then, at mention of Lizzie, my daughter has turned away and pulled inward, her arms at her chest. Watching the king on TV, she asks, Will someone step on him? (This must refer to ants on the kitchen floor, the first and only beings she saw die, stepped on.) No. He gets very sick.

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Will he die on something? He'll die on red steps. You'll see them. People die on something. Yes. What did Lizzie die on? Lizzie died sitting on a chair, dear. This is her first mention of Lizzie since the morning after Lizzie died. Then she ventured to ease her mother's grief with, I think Lizzie's getting better now. Is the king going to die now? Soon, dear. I don't see the steps. The red steps are in front of his chair. I want to see the king die. The operatic climax when the great basso Nesterenko sprawls as dead Boris Godunov on red stairs in the Kremlin was my daughter's first glimpse at age three of human dying. She sat in my lap. Her mother came and sat beside us on the couch. She needed to talk too about grief in her sister's death. We were all pulling inward. She answered attentively our child's effort to share loss.

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Why does he die? He's very old, old and sick, very sick, not a little sick like we get sometimes, but very sick. Why did Lizzie die? She was very sick. I don't like doctors, our girl said with a shrewd look. The doctors helped Lizzie a whole lot. The doctor's didn't make her die. Doctors help us. Lizzie died. Yes, Lizzie died, and we're very sad. I miss Lizzie. We miss Lizzie too, very much. Lizzie died. Yes, she did. But we - we won't die. She waves among us three inclusive loved ones, so briefly dreamed an eternity. Her mother says, We won't die for a long, long time. No, I said, we won't die. We won't die for a long, long time. She curls her lip, looks hard and does not dare to repeat the question, to hear again an awful amendment to her answer.

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The next day, I don't want to see opera again. It's too scary.

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Jacqueline Doyle | Bare Necessity: Nathan Lacky Interviews Rex X

On a gray Saturday afternoon, Rex X and I met to talk about his genredefying aesthetic of bare necessity, and his newest book, Some Tiny Things I Wrote. We met at the Void, described in the latest Literary Tittle Tattle as “the hippest bar on the dark side of town.” Tall, lanky, and unshaven, Rex X was dressed in black jeans and a black t-shirt. He was nursing a martini when I arrived, and asked if I had any aspirin. Nathan: This is a great honor. I can’t believe I’m sitting here at the Void with you, actually meeting Rex X in person. I’m speechless. Rex: Not noticeably. Nathan: You are of course well known in the literary underground. A cult figure, even. But less well known to the public at large. Tell our readers something about yourself. Rex: There’s not much to tell. Nathan: Exactly. You’ve been called a minimalist and master of the micro-form. One critic writes, “Poised precariously on the boundary between consciousness and the abyss, Rex X in Some Tiny Things I Wrote strips language to its essence, employing form as a bare necessity.” Is that an accurate characterization of your work? Rex: You could say that.

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Nathan: In “Rendezvous,” your character Ramona arranges a tryst with her ex-lover Ramon but they’re unable to connect when they meet. Is “Rendezvous” a commentary on the human condition? Or on contemporary malaise? Rex: Or something. Nathan: I couldn’t help but wonder whether the similarity between the two characters’ names was intentional. Would you call “Rendezvous” a parable of solipsism? Rex: Probably not. But you could. Nathan: This sentence in “The One-Legged Man” seems to sum up so much about your aesthetic. “Most of the time he felt incomplete.” Could you comment further? Rex: Not really. Nathan: Mental derangement and linguistic incapacity seem to be persistent themes in works like “Depressive Aporia” and “A Schizophrenic Struggles with an Artichoke,” among others. I think it was Samuel Beckett who once said, “We are all born mad. Some remain so.” What do you think? Rex: Yes. Nathan: He also said “Words are all we have.”

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Rex: I’ll have another martini. Nathan: One could argue that the silences on the page are as important as the words in your work. Would you like to comment on that insight? Rex: Not if silence is so important. Nathan: Do you feel that all great literature is transgressive? Rex: Trans-something. Nathan: Your pieces seem to defy conventional genre classification. Flash epic, anti-tragedy, postmodern farce, micro-novelette, prose poem sequence, neo-fiction, faction. All of these terms have been used in reviews. How would you describe your newest work? Or do you think all generic descriptors have become irrelevant? Rex: Well, there are big things and there are tiny things. Recently I’ve been writing tiny things. Nathan: Is there anything else you’d like to talk about today? Rex: I don’t think so. Nathan: Do you have any advice for young writers? Rex: Write. The rest is bullshit.

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F

eaturing

Sophia Starmack | Questions // Sophia Starmack | Photograph // Sophia Starmack | Toccata and Fugue

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Sophia Starmack | Questions

Who? Dieterich Buxtehude (1637?-1707) Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) Anna Magdelena Wilcke Bach (1701-1760) Elizabeth Linett Phillips (1958- ) Sophia Gould Starmack (1980- ) What? There is always an art under the art. All good poets I can think of got their start as painters (Joni Mitchell) or musicians (Tomas Tranströmer). For me, music, always music. When? In 1705, the twenty-year-old Bach walked 250 miles from Arnstadt to Lübeck, in order to find the great Dutch organist Buxtehude. They had never met. There were no recordings; Bach knew of the master only through copies of sheet music and murmurs. In 1992, my mother, Elizabeth Phillips, completed her undergraduate degree in vocal performance. She was 34 years old, a single mother with three daughters and a secretary’s minimal income. To my mind, these pilgrimages are the stuff of genius. Art can only be accomplished through bodily will.

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Where? As a young person, I accompanied my mother to lessons, master classes, rehearsals, recitals, and of course, to church, where for twenty years she earned supplemental income as a soloist. I went to the weddings and funerals of many strangers. When needed, I turned pages. We went to all denominations, but mostly the Lutheran church. Lutherans are great musicians; Martin Luther was a composer and organist. Why? I’ve always been the kind of person who thrives on challenge. I’ve come to know myself through my reaction to a difficult task or situation. Ezekiel 37: “The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones… This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” How? By listening, mostly. And besides, what choice have you got?

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Sophia Starmack | Photograph

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Sophia Starmack | Toccata and Fugue

1. The Organist Because he can smell it Each key a stop the dusty road between reason and death Because he can stroke it The gap among notes The labial notch where the mind’s dry wind bellows collects stirs in its husk then pares A mind scraping tuba of light Wave shatters glass This was what Bach smelled as he slept in the choir It’s trite but the player knows Each mantis leg Each praying arm strikes the varnished note Splits water wind tin and bone The touch of sole on wood The body amplified at last His breath sails the machine

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Sophia Starmack | Toccata and Fugue

2. Bach at Twenty Because he does not sleep When the town crier goes in The watchman with his heavy leg his dragging club passed by While choristers snore and stink two to a bed Bach walks out The cobbled heads of Arnstadt dreaming rattled carts and wheat Bach touches the pulsing gap between the walls The whirling cakehouse whore the beggar the hollowed eyes of the yard Bach scents the quadrilled stars They pull the shabby threads of his wig

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Sophia Starmack | Toccata and Fugue

3. Bach Meets the Master So frail His box body becoming soft The cosmonautic spheres of sound note a mirrored world So close to this one so deadly real It must be hell to make something so good Buxtehude is all terror All beer and bread

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Sophia Starmack | Toccata and Fugue

4. Passacaglia: the Master at the Stops Something hideous inside the organ Black spider of fuzzy sound Desire His mother’s lipstick smeared The cut glass mirror Green silk the People who sit to listen lean forward press chins into palms nervous and sleepy Until the Roof shoots up thousands of feet Splinters into Packets of Light Buxtehude’s world is geometric Planes and Ether Behind the curtains two choirboys work the pedals The machine wheezes groans Buxtehude climbs the ladder of its breath The Great Watcher peels open the Eye at the top of his skull

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Sophia Starmack | Toccata and Fugue

5. The Builder Florence 1769 Hand to metal to polish steady brush of tin on tin The master must burnish the pipe In the corner the prentice stirs the tacky stuff the sick urine smelling vat of rabbit glue and turpentine Devotion is a leather smock Black apron that shields the flimsy heart In the smokelit stinking attic metal sparks sail and gild the square of light pouring out from the angel they carved for the shade over the pipes His dust trembles in the planer’s grooved trail

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Sophia Starmack | Toccata and Fugue

6. The Watcher Because it is not a poem about Bach or Buxtehude or the swell of cantatas the sense of the verse Because it is not even my mother The one who sings It’s the hidden projection the little one watching in a hard straight chair beside the impossible tower of song Because her mother says so Because the sound is wax shellacking the mind because The coffin is so impossibly small She turns the page when her mother nods That was music That was death

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Sophia Starmack | Toccata and Fugue

7. The Prentice Planer on pipe Bitter scraping scar The rasped inhale Already the pockmarked lungs of the boy spared from the plague that took the baby his sister the mother with child He stirs and stirs the rabbit glue

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Sophia Starmack | Toccata and Fugue

8. Refugees Because the organ at last in pieces Because the cargo plane by night Because the pilot with headphones Because in the hold the packages numbered Because technician strapped in can prefers not to speak English but has an ear like an axe Because the bowels of the jet scour the Atlantic scrape smoke into sky Because someone is hiding Because a man will fall to earth Because borders papers guards because torture Because the only way for a ticketless man is the ice scabbed well of the wheel Because like an organ a man needs air Because it is death and yet what is sure The organ streams on The technician rebuilds the numbers flute by eight-foot pipe in the fountain court where they land Around the massive bellows reduced and dour patrons Late-faced wives dimensioned saints on gilded board O fleshly baroque O devout O how the way reminds them of the excess of sin

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Sophia Starmack | Toccata and Fugue

9. The Soprano Pinned to the stringed breath of its pipes Fly in its case bottle wings Fractured planes of eyes Like the music the singer is many Sheets of sound and terror At once the gilded planes of light startle the room where Bach lay at night If I could break his bread I’d unhinge my mother’s body and all things hidden The organist soaring over the nave Pipes big as a thigh The piccolos finger size and all but invisible Until she begins to sing Her body my body whose breath my breath The text the clay the jagged fire scorched tree jabs out of the swamp Like a body the hidden room where a young man works pedals so large he must stand Depress right let it rise Depress left I cannot see the bellows scarred tender lungs the rabbit skin glue that binds the beast The room sized camera obscura flickering my mother’s body brilliant sound on the wall

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Sophia Starmack | Toccata and Fugue

10. Music My Mother When my mother sings Bach I think of Bach’s twenty children seven with the first Mrs. Bach and thirteen with Anna Magdalena Twenty children and ten survived My mother sings and the director plays the organ his enormous hands and feet like a mantis in prayer Behind the curtain a child walks up and down on the pedals the room-sized lungs of the organ up and down to funnel the air that inflates the pumps and bellows the pipes Thirteen times Anna Magdalena a delicious musician herself opened her hips and made room for the musical head of a child. Can you sing I ask my mother with your insides compressed like that a baby inside you sucking the air Yes she says I could still sing Breastfeeding is what killed me The milk runs when it will and if you think men don’t understand how a woman needs to run to the toilet to change her tampon you can’t imagine to be trapped in a fluorescent room of musical notes and burning milk

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I failed my music school exam that way when your sister was born I couldn’t stand it and I left my test undone and went to pump and when I came back the room was locked and that was it for me All those babies the air squeezed up and out the Geometric Planes the Sound and Light the Sky’s Eye scraped the liquid spermal mathematics of Bach and the guttural grief of a woman in song

//Acknowledgment: Section 4 of “Toccata and Fugue” was first published under the title Passacaglia in Issue VII of Lyre Lyre//

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W

ord Art

Susannah Jordan | Louise Brooks // Katherine Rudin | Easy Target // Samm Cohen | Reaching

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Susannah Jordan | Louise Brooks

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Katherine Rudin | Easy Target

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Samm Cohen | Reaching

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P

rose

Barry Basden | Thread // Merle Drown | Suffused with Pleasure // Randall Brown | Two // Kevin Tosca | How to Pick Up Girls in the Cemetery // Jennifer Luckenbill | Pi: A Love Story

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Barry Basden | Thread

When I wake up she's stitching a cut over my eye in a crisp, professional manner I don't remember from Denver. My tongue slides over a chipped tooth. "When did you learn this?" I ask. She looks hard at me and gives the thread a sharp little tug that lifts my eyebrow. She ties off and snips with tiny scissors. "There," she says, patting my swollen knuckles. "Change your shirt and stay away from the window."

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Merle Drown | Suffused with Pleasure

She bit him, quick, sharp, precisely, and before he knew it, he said, “I love you.”

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Randall Brown | Two

My daughter came upon Frida—her two monkeys and two necklaces, one of bone, the other a dead hummingbird and barbed intertwined spines of limbs. Two of her, my daughter says, unhurt and the other. She shreds unhurt Frida, the monkey-wrapped one. I find the other weeks later, glued in her scrapbook, Frida’s monkey covered by leaves from our Japanese elm tree. Why leaves? Because, she says, he didn’t care.

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Kevin Tosca | How to Pick Up Girls in the Cemetery

The key is to be, if not bereaved, at least emotional, visibly so, and if there’s any blood in that organ we call a heart, and if there’s any meaningful activity in that organ we call a brain, you will be.

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Jennifer Luckenbill |Pi: A Love Story

She baked cherry pie, rolling and cutting circles. He tamed and bent metal, forming rings. She worked in accounting. He was the nighttime tech guy. She ate numbers for lunch. He dreamed in binary. They met in the median for dinner. She summed him up with pie. He encircled her with metal. They forgot to add 2.5 to their equation, existing in their own plane, irrationally happy, a single circle, looping to infinity.

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P

oems

Denver Butson | lone•li•ness (ˈləʊnlinəs) // Denver Butson | di•lem•ma (dih-lem-uh) // Denver Butson | mem-or-y (mem-uh-ree) // Michael Harper | DISENGAGE // Michael Harper | On a clear night // Michael Harper | Yesterplay

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Denver Butson | lone•li•ness (ˈləʊnlinəs)

the scarecrow has no answers but then again nobody but the wind ever asks him questions and the wind has no ears

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Denver Butson | di•lem•ma (dih-lem-uh)

what shall we do with the scarecrow's bones now that his clothes and flesh have fallen away?

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Denver Butson | mem-or-y (mem-uh-ree)

sometimes the amnesia of scarecrows is so vast so contagious it almost becomes a landscape

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Michael Harper | DISENGAGE

I supposed her an always and asked her to forever too soon and we nevered each other again

Michael Harper | On a clear night

So they came down and became cities when we named them after animals Climb a tall hill & look down at the sky lazing in our infrastructure

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Michael Harper | Yesterplay

Late last night ditched itself on my fingertips, her dawn gently furrowed in my beard hidden in the hour I was late to work

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B

lack Market

Victoria Zelvin | On Illness // Brett Bennett | various ways of how not to drive, or- // Jose Araguz | The Priest’s Sermon in Spring // Wm. Todd King | A Scrambling Sack of Oblivions and Lame Prayers // Wm. Todd King | 1977 // Linda Kleinbub | Wind, Salt and Seaweed

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Victoria Zelvin | On Illness

He carried his own low temperature always about with him. And the bearded man still waited. Are there no prisons? Foggier yet, and colder. The bearded man sighed, made chatter motions with thumb and fingers. Struck silent. He did not speak or comprehend spoken language. Many would rather die. Scrooge never painted out Old Marley's name. Cold within him froze his old features. Surely there had been enough dying. The man took something from his coat pocket, who's the worse for the loss of a few things? Every person has a right to take care of themselves, hoarse from disuse.

//written entirely with words excerpted from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and Speech Sounds by Octavia Butler//

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Brett Bennett | various ways of how not to drive, or-

when I was a kid I used to do it too the long stretches of depression little pieces of red and blue cloth my old man was always singing on the side of the road we began drinking wine I cried and didn’t stop for five days arrested at the age of eight in the back seat I had a vision of myself You were an Eastern kid and dreamed I had wilder schizophrenia lurking

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blank in our souls all our lives anxious and whiny we know that everything is really FINE now here we are together go with it.

//written entirely with words excerpted from On the Road by Jack Kerouac//

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Jose Araguz | The Priest’s Sermon in Spring

spring is hissing this flower is a wonderful little engine for that same feeling again perfumed with warm pineapple the priest addresses his flock for a long time, and seriously forget the sky drinking is bitter hope the reason unseen the enlightenment Let go of the knife with a sigh petals shedding from her face who is from the north a singing man neck supple as an owl’s a knockout

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hers to be his untangle them brightness makes me blind blind // pulled down inside to defy habit yet fucking intelligent with it I will just sweat it out here

//written entirely with words excerpted from American Hybrid edited by Cole Swenson and David St. John, madeleine is sleeping by Sarah ShunLien Bynum, and Troll: a love story by Johanna Sinisalo//

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Wm. Todd King | A Scrambling Sack of Oblivions and Lame Prayers

In coal seams the filaments of cold light bulbs tremble, casting shadows so frail that I can see through them, the faces of unimaginably beautiful blind men locked up in a dream of a still place. They lay white as a skein of a spider floating, tilted and stained by wind. It is the sinking of things. The sad bones of my hands descend into a valley hiding in the church of an abandoned stone. Faroff, the shopping centers empty and darken, delicate little boxes of dust.

//written entirely with words excerpted from Collected Poems by James Wright//

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Wm. Todd King | 1977

//written entirely with words excerpted from Ring of Bone: Collected Poems of Lew Welch by Lew Welch//

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Linda Kleinbub | Wind, Salt and Seaweed

Her bed-messed hair, mango aura, cherished darkness withdraws into summer's marbled air. Behind the clouds, a vortex plunge, wormy matter, complexifying, an unfinished squeeze, waiting.

//written entirely with words excerpted from Tombo by W.S. Di Piero//

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V

iews

Leah Umansky | InterView: Where I interview Don or Don interviews me // Katie Peyton | ¶6: Jeff Koons: A Retrospective at the Whitney, Noisy Sex, and Alex Holden’s Choking Victim (with Recipes)

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Leah Umansky | InterView: Where I interview Don or Don interviews me

I wanted to find out more about Leah Umansky, this poet who thinks she knows me so well that she’s written a book, Don Dreams and I Dream, inspired by my life in advertising in NYC. She came down to Madison Avenue for a chat. Don Draper: So, Leah, (can I call you, Leah?) what brings you to the world of advertising? Leah Umansky: Well, I’ve always been intrigued by commercials, advertisements and promotions. I grew up around sales. My father works in sales, but I think it’s the enthusiast in me. I’m a passionate person. When I love something, I want everyone to love it. When I’m excited about something, I want everyone to know it. Also, I enjoy the pitch. I like to see what pulls someone in. It’s the intensity of a sale that is striking, and by sale, I mean any kind of exchange. I mean submitting poems to literary journals, that’s a kind of transaction. One of the most important things I’ve learned as a poet, is to identify as a poet and to learn how to sell yourself. At the end of the day it’s about being satisfied. I mean look at you, Don, you started with furs, and worked your way up. Furs. Condiments. Airlines. Cars. That’s big stuff. DD: Yes. You’re right. Roger Sterling, of then Cooper Sterling, said “yes,” to me. Sometimes all you need is someone to say, “yes.” Who was your, “yes-man?” LU: Well, my “yes-man,” was probably the poet, Maria Mazziotti Gillan, so in that case, it’s a “yes-woman.” She published one of my first poems in her journal, The Paterson Review¸ and she was my professor in

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undergrad. That publication really paved my way and built me up. It gave me confidence and made me proud. But also, Geoffrey Gatza of Blazevox. When he said “yes,” to my first book, Domestic Uncertainties, it was after many years of “no,” by other presses and contests. Everything felt right in the world when I got his email. His, “yes,” made such a difference in my life. It’s so easy to just let the rejection ruin you, but I always keep my head up. Life is about timing. DD: Okay, so now you’re a philosopher. Save it. We’re done with the niceties. What makes you different from all the other poets lining the streets down in Washington Square Park? LU: I care about poetry. I promote others. I try to be true to myself. I know what I want and I go after it. I’m determined. I’m motivated. I’m a Capricorn – we’re very goal oriented. I’m also very interested in “white space,” on the page, and well, wordplay. That’s the truth. DD: No one cares about the truth, Leah. I told the truth, and look where it got me. Why did you become a poet. Why not go into business or marketing? You certainly have a way with language. LU: I know, but you’re fighting the good fight now, Don. I could’ve gone into marketing or business, and I wouldn’t have student loans, and I wouldn’t have had to worry about money, but I don’t know that I’d be happy doing that day in and day out. Teaching makes me happy. Poetry makes me happy. Writing makes me happy. I get up in the morning, and I love going to work. I’m good at teaching. All those meetings and deadlines. I don’t know. I decided to do something I love, and I guess, I decided to suffer the consequence. Life is short. DD: You could handle it. So, what’s your obsession with Peggy? Do you think you’re better than her? I read that poem, “The Times,” and I

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don’t get it. What do you mean, “I bet he’s thinking: I’ve created a monster.” LU: Well, you created a monster. A sort of monster. And, that’s okay because we are all monstrous in our ways. Peggy is your creation. You saw something in her from day one and went with it. You haven’t given her an inch until this past year. When Peggy left the firm, back in season 5, you were on the edge of tears. How could she betray you? How could she try to find her own footing? But, you know what, she did. She startles me. She amazes me. And, she amazes you. You’re both just too stubborn to see it. You’re starting to now, now that she’s back. You need each other. It’s kind of a beautiful thing. DD: Okay, we have a special relationship. It’s true. That’s all I’m going to say about that. So, what’s the next big thing? LU: My third book, of course. And, yes, you’re in it.

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Katie Peyton | ¶6: Jeff Koons: A Retrospective at the Whitney, Noisy Sex, and Alex Holden’s Choking Victim (with Recipes)

¶i. Jeff Koons preview at the Whitney, and you are not on the list. You are working on an article for this magazine but your notes so far consist of coffee stains, outlined with a felt-tip pen on bar napkins. ¶ii. Instructions for sneaking into the Whitney: 1.) Fall into step with someone well-dressed. It helps to be well-dressed yourself, but that requires prior knowledge of the event and let’s be honest – no one tells someone like you about things like this. So let’s assume you’re wearing an inside-out black camisole you dug out from the bottom of your backpack, and have teased your hair into a sultry updo with a mechanical pencil. You’re toeing the line, sister. Best to try to blend. 2.) While your decoy exchanges pleasantries with the guy with the clipboard, take your chance – you only get one. Break away. DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT. Head straight for the stairway on the right, and dart up at least two flights. 3.) Enter the exhibit and walk to the middle of the crowd. Once you are in the sea of people, you are a Guest. Relax. Have a glass of wine. Enjoy that plastic tumbler of cheap Chardonnay. You deserve it.

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¶iii. Tingle with weightless excitement – you have infiltrated a party that does not want you. Someone important must be protected within. The night is filled with high or strange fashion, small talk about summer vacation, dealers promoting shows. This takes place against the background of Art (this particular Art celebrates the consumption of pop goods, people and culture). More cheap Chardonnay. As you leave, you do not want to admit that you are disappointed but you feel a heaviness; you are the same but somehow lessened. ¶iv. On the way home, you stop at a restaurant to look at your notes for this article. You order a glass of wine at the bar and outline the drippings in Sharpie. Is it responsible, you ponder, to add material to a world already chock-full of art? When right there, by the exotic tequilas, you identify your next target. On first glance, it appears to be a simple drawing of a tranquil tropical fete. Under a canopy of palm trees and globe lights, a woman is seated at a picnic table, holding the world’s tiniest coupe of champagne. She gazes lovingly in her partner’s eyes, seated across from her with his back to the viewer. But why hasn’t she taken off her backpack? You sense something sinister concealed behind those drooping eyelids…In the background, there is a second table of drinkers: a man with a pencil mustache, a woman with a Nancy Drew hairstyle, and a third diner, who is being strangled by a disembodied hand. Her eyes are conspicuously protruding from their sockets. Putting the pieces together quickly, you notice the predella, in which there are instructions for how to recognize a chocking victim. If one of your dinner guests grabs her throat, or falls to the ground, or simply turns blue, she might be choking. According to the illustrated panel, you might at that point invoke Jazz Hands, or drive to a haunted house, in search of a doctor or whatever shamanistic figure you might find there.

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Âśv. The predella is a false lead, a distraction. In the far background of the main panel, you now realize, is the real subject of Choking Victim. She SF&D | lxix


stands at the shoreline, champagne glass in hand, gazing out at the absurd vastness of the water. Still dressed in her evening gown, she possesses the same desires she had before this ridiculous tropical vacation, which one more party has not fulfilled. Her back is to the viewer, and she is choking on the entire ocean. What does it mean to be an artist in this world of verisimilitude? If we don’t go choking on our champagne, the ocean is there to take us home. ¶vi. Through the bedroom wall later that night, you hear someone throw an elephant against a refrigerator. Your neighbors are having sex again. Ensues moaning. A dog begins to howl. Now the clattering of silverware: this is all going under the table, dog, arms and legs and asses, it’s definitely all under there. You see her again in the morning and your encounter is recorded on a closed circuit camera. She is small but strong, and you’re never sure what to say. BONUS RECIPE Existential Avocado and Cucumber Soup Blend together: 1 avocado 3 cucumbers 1 cup chicken broth Sour cream to taste Serves one, cold. //Jeff Koons: A Retrospective can be found at the Whitney Museum of American Art until 19 October, Alex Holden’s Choking Victim can be found at various restaurants in New York City, and Noisy Sex by the neighbors can be found almost anywhere//

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2014 2spring issuu  

The [Enter View] issue of SF&D features prose and poetry written in the form of an interview. CONCEPT [Enter View] by Colin Dardis, Neila...

2014 2spring issuu  

The [Enter View] issue of SF&D features prose and poetry written in the form of an interview. CONCEPT [Enter View] by Colin Dardis, Neila...

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