40 contemporary writers compiled and edited by Jacob Steinberg
40 contemporary writers compiled and edited by Jacob Steinberg
cityscapes compiled and edited by Jacob Steinberg Nov. 2012
This anthology and all of the individual works included herein, with the exception of those otherwise noted below, are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-‐Noncommercial-‐No Derivs 3.0 Unported License. “Arqueología del calor” by Aurelio Meza, and its respective translation “An Archaeology of Heat,” are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-‐Noncommercial-‐ShareAlike 2.5 Mexico License. The reproduction of any of its contents is permissible under the conditions that the work not be altered in any form, no profit be derived from its reproduction, and that credit be given to the appropriate author (and translator, in the event of a translated text). Any of these rights may be waived with explicit permission from the creator of the piece (and translator, in the event of a translated text). Cityscapes http://altlitcityscapes.tumblr.com
40 contemporary writers compiled and edited by Jacob Steinberg altlitcityscapes.tumblr.com 2012
Prologue by Jacob Steinberg
The Antipodeans I live in a magical kingdom (Wellington) Jackson Nieuwland Wellington Alice May Connolly thank you Batman, I feel magical now (Melbourne) Susie Anderson Snail (Auckland) Stacey Teague
O Canada Waiting For a Flood (Winnipeg) Dave Shaw Hunter Gather (Halifax) Frank Hinton
God Save the Queen London Alexander J. Allison excerpt from nature poem (London) Crispin Best Find directions for Shardeloes Road, South East London Thom James Pada (Brighton) Giles Ruffer
High Male Vocals (San Diego) Ana Carrete Palm Trees Are Not Native To Los Angeles Mira Gonzalez Welcome to Los Angeles Megan Lent from oregon (Portland) Zeke Hudson SELFPORTRAITS T AKEN ON MY SHITTY WEBCAM IN EVERY P LACE I’VE LIVED SINCE MOVING TO SAN FRANCISCO A LITTLE OVER A YEAR AGO M Kitchell
67 72 75
East Coast Swing Bodies in DC Carolyn DeCarlo Jesus Christ Boy Detective: It’s A Small World After All (Orlando) J. Bradley #FILA: Forever I Love Atlanta Michael Hessel-‐Mial New York Alex Dimitrov My Dreams Are Shaped Like You (New York) Mike Bushnell in new york city Regina Green Breakup Sex (New York) Willis Plummer Ode T o Flatbush (New York) Jacob Steinberg Please H ave No Interest In Provoking Ghosts: Philadelphia City of Poets CAConrad
121 124 128 130 135
Middletown, USA Chicago Sam Pink
When Any Decision Can Feel Like A Betrayal (Chicago) Cassandra Troyan Memphis, T ennessee Janey Smith Ode to the Gulf Wind (New Orleans) Rod Naquin
Uncharted Territory sonilóquio em são Paulo Ana Guadalupe são paulo somniloquy English Version by Ana Guadalupe “Elle souriait en pensant à cette exigence qu’il avait…” (Paris) Irène Gayraud “She smiled thinking of that demand he had…” translated by Caitlin Adams Tríptico de la Rambla del Raval (Barcelona), donde la mente es el estómago d e un gato callejero: #cucharachas #gaviotas @elolordelaciudadmeinvade Luna Miguel
176 177 180
Triptych From the Rambla del Raval (Barcelona), W here the Mind Is a Street Cat’s Stomach: #cockroaches #seagulls @thesmellofthecityoverwhelmsme translated by Jacob Steinberg Korea Poems (Seoul) Noah Cicero Seoul Brittany Wallace El reencuentro anunciado. (Buenos Aires) Malén Denis The Forecast Reunion translated by Jacob Steinberg thinking about us and remembering the steel factory (Taipei) Ben Townsend hello hyderabad (the saddest story i ever heard) (Dubai) Vivek Nemana
פואמת קיץ (Tel Aviv) Tahel Frosh A Summer Poem translated by Eran Tzelgov and Uri Eran Arqueología d el calor (Mexico City) Aurelio Meza
196 199 204 205 210
An Archaeology of Heat translated by Jacob Steinberg México Mariachi (Mexico City) Viktor Ibarra Calavera Mexico Mariachi translated by Jacob Steinberg Port-‐au-‐Prince Ariana Reines
שאין כוחות החטה,בדומה טהחל הנזרעת באדמה אולם לאחר... זולת על ידי הסביבה שלה,מתגלים בפועל . הוא מוטל בידיהם כחומר ביד היוצר,שבחר הסביבה
Just as the seed that is sown in the ground manifests its potential only through its environment… once the individual has chosen his environment, he is subjected to it like clay in the hands of a potter.
Rav Yehuda Ashlag, Baʼal Ha-Sulam (1885-1954)
The idea for this project was born one day this past winter in Buenos Aires. As I walked to the subway, I remembered my third year of college, when a friend of mine took a seminar about space and our relationship to it. She explained to me how there are meaningful spaces (our dwellings, where we work, or our destinations, to name a few), and then there are inter-‐spaces: the paths we simply traverse between points of significant contact. Julio Cortázar would frequently write about the Parisian métro as one of these surreal interstices where the displacement from our daily lives leads to a heightened creative perception. Removed from the quotidian, observing it from these non-‐places, we are able to draw what he called “figures” and forge connections between ostensibly random events. Oftentimes as I walk down the sidewalk and vaguely take in my surroundings, lines of verse start to write themselves in my head. I believe Cortázar when he says that from these non-‐places, we begin to see things differently. As I become distracted, the points beyond me form their own shapes 1
and my observations become astute. The city around me becomes a womb nourishing my thoughts and crafting my words. No matter what topics appear in my writing, there are always traces that remain lingering in the background: the anonymity of the urban imaginative. Our surroundings affect us. They are the palette on which we develop our lives, our beliefs, and our feelings. The great twentieth-‐century Kabbalist Rav Ashlag explains that “just as the seed that is sown in the ground manifests its potential only through its environment,” that is, the quality of the soil, the amount of water or sunlight available, “once the individual has chosen his environment, he is subjected to it like clay in the hands of a potter.” It is well known that people ascribe different cities with their own identities; our urban landscapes most certainly have their own unique way in which they are represented in culture, film, and writing. But what interested me for this project was how those identities are so often transplanted onto their inhabitants. And while dispute continues over terminology to define contemporary literature, there is an undeniable shared quality in how we write, publish, and take in literature in the internet era. 2
The “cityscapes” in this project are reflections on the urban environments that we all know and how the current generation of writers relates to them. It was inevitable that the focus be on English-‐speaking writers as they form such a large part of the contemporary “alt lit” community, but I have also tried to seek out writers from similar movements abroad, such as the Mexican Red de los poetas salvajes or Argentina’s Posnoventismo. I am greatly indebted to all the writers, translators, and artists who participated in this project. Without community, literature ceases to exist. I hope the readers will enjoy the journey through this collection as much I have enjoyed compiling and editing it. Jacob Steinberg October, 2012
i live in a magical kingdom jackson nieuwland
Everyone in this city is an actor. They each play an important role. The baker is a method actor. He wakes at 3am and applies flour instead of makeup. The beekeeper hides behind his costume and special effects. The barista was hired with no experience. I am the town crier.
I live in a tiny house with only one room at the bottom of a hill, at the top of a hill, next to a castle, next to a beach. Every morning I ride a sheep into the city. I stand in the street and try to cry. Sometimes it is difficult, so I look around this beautiful city and think about the places that make me sad. I look at the chain hung across the driveway at Wellington College that I tripped over in the dark and I think of climbing the fence, running, and watching 127 Hours before realising my arm was broken.
I look at the hospital and think of my friend leaving me there, in the same emergency room they drove me to after I left an empty wine bottle and an empty pill bottle in the alley behind the theatre. I look at the building where they told me You are not a functioning member of society. You are a terrible actor. The only role you are fit for is town crier. My tears tear my cheeks to shreds. Passersby peel pieces from my face and read the sad, secret messages. They throw coins into my hat, but they are only props made of tin foil. When it rains my audience shrinks, but I still cry under the giant umbrella. 9
During an earthquake I was summoned to the giant beehive. The queen bee directed me to cry for her and her alone. I closed my eyes and did it without thinking of anything at all. Outside the wind wound the clocks and bees tied every raindrop into a bow
____________________ Jackson Nieuwland likes unicorns. ____________________
wellington alice may connolly
The Market A couple, soon-‐to-‐be-‐married, strolled through the fruit and vegetable market. It was a Sunday -‐ the market took place in the car park of the central museum at the end of every week. The woman said to her soon-‐to-‐be-‐husband that she would be going to get a big leek for a soup she was making that evening when their guests came over. The man said to his soon-‐to-‐be-‐wife “righto” and that he would be going to get some nice bread they could butter up and dip into the soup. A young child on a scooter with the handles too high for his little torso rolled past, weaving in and out of all the people, and a man fed a bit of roti to his dog on the sidewalk. Pigeon Hello my name is Pigeon. Here are my friends; their names are Pigeon too. See how we are all friends? We live for 12
crumbs. We hate seagulls. They bully us every day with their squeals and gross red, beady eyes. Seagulls are dicks. Lunchtime is an important time of day to get right if you like crumbs as much as we do. If you do not secure a decent spot where there are snackers nearby you will miss out on the crumbs. At midday a good place is the square by the library. In the morning a good place is by the famous pie-‐ shop. My favorite kind of crumb is cracker crumbs and for second favorite I like multi-‐grain sandwich crumbs. The others will agree with me that the crumb I like least is no crumb. Courtenay Place A young man on his 21st birthday ‘pashes up’ an 18y/o outside a burger bar, alternating his bready chomps with aioli-‐smeared lip-‐caresses. Steps I’m very happy about the state of my butt this year; it’s never looked better. I think all this walking is very good for my butt-‐health especially the upper-‐thigh-‐to-‐buttock area. I can see the little space between my legs again, and hills 13
don’t give me that sense of dread that they used to in Christchurch. Christchurch is famously hill-‐less though the curvature of my new butt reminds me of the rolling hills of the central South Island. Sometimes when I reach my house I look out over the harbour at the glassy water sparkling in either the day or the night via either the sun or the nearby alighted buildings and I rub my legs and they burn deep down in the muscles. It’s just the most sensual feeling.
____________________ Alice May Connolly lives in Wellington, New Zealand. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Melbourne 16 Â
thank you batman, i feel magical now susie anderson What can this mean? It refers to Hobson’s Bay, the head of Port Phillip Bay, and to the River Yarra Yarra. Whence came the rumour of a township there? Why, from John Batman himself, who, though not a great writer, had spoken of its suitability for a village in his journal, and without doubt, as I hear from others, had fully expressed his intention of forming a settlement there. Mr. Batman is then the real indirect FOUNDER OF MELBOURNE. JOHN BATMAN, THE FOUNDER OF VICTORIA, James Bonwick, 1867
at the end of the night we fly home and hover above the streets. people reverberate through carparks and we are consumed by this, an ugliness, a vengeance in public. they are an earnest nothingness composed of half feelings, they want anything as long as it ends up as not much at all. crowds with bored faces, they want only to be instantly nowhere. i am putting my hand into your pocket because i like you. with eyes closed we could be anywhere, these sounds are universal sounds maybe, i’m sure everyone is just waiting until it is warm again. there are spires all across the city skyline, buildings decorated with various graffiti, one tag that stands out is ‘vigil.’ some skyscrapers have lights on all weekend, some people go to work on sunday. cartoons spill from our eyes and we leave colours wherever 17
we go, they leak onto the ground from our pockets. move towards the light, find me there
____________________ Susie Anderson dreams of one day becoming a whale, in the meantime she spends her time making sure her friends are well fed.
snail stacey teague
walking down queen street is like travelling through a sea looking at people through salt water eyes sea foam in my ears. the city is a good place to feel lonely but really anywhere is. there have been so many cities between me and my own and what i perceive as home has become less about geography and more about bodies, ideas, objects. i want to be able to carry my city around with me like a backpack. remember when i told you about wanting to be like a snail and you never said anything well i’m going to do that. you said you never liked this city but you’ve never taken it by the shoulders you’ve never held it to your ear you’ve never sat in a tree at 3am in myers park spilling wine onto the ground beneath you. after a while you said that my city felt like your city and when we sat within the walls of our apartment we imagined that the cars outside were like waves hurling themselves into the carpark below. everywhere here sounds like the ocean to me. on the other side of the world i am never far away.
____________________ Stacey Teague is from Auckland, NZ, but currently lives in a lil village in England. staceyteague.tumblr.com
waiting for a flood dave shaw
This is what it’s like. Sara calls Jens and says that she is coming over. Jens says that is okay, asks if she could maybe bring him some ice, says he wants iced coffee but his trays of ice are filled only with cool liquid water. Jens lives in East St. Paul, a bedroom community just north of Winnipeg. He lives there with three friends from high school. Right now he is lying on his back on the floor of his room, reading a novel by John Updike. His phone is on the floor near his head. His MacBook is open at his feet and it is streaming music from Slow Dancers’ bandcamp at a low volume. Jens could have been described like this for maybe the last hour. It is 2100h on a Saturday. When Sara arrives, she goes into Jens’ room and lies on the floor next to him. She places a disposable McDonald’s cup on Jen’s chest and says here’s your ice. Jens lowers the book and smiles at her. He asks if she went to McDonald’s and asked them for a cup of ice and Sara smiles and nods. He tells her she could have just gotten iced coffee from there and Sara says he just asked for ice. She tells him he doesn’t 25
like the iced coffee from McDonald’s, anyway. You think it’s too sweet, she says. She is right, he thinks. They talk about other things, the ice in the cup on Jen’s chest slowly returns to cool liquid water. At 2200h the front door opens and Jens yells hello from his position on his bedroom floor. Sara remains silent. Jens’ roommate, Zach, yells back. He says he needs some help carrying some things. Jens and Sara get up from the floor and help Zach carry eight dozen eggs and two grocery bags full of crab apples into the house from his car. Zach explains that the eggs are from a lady who has a farm. Zach says he’s cutting out the middleman. Zach has an egg lady. He says the apples are also from the egg lady. She gave them to him for free, he says. She has some trees. She likes the way the trees look with the apples on them but she doesn’t like the apples. Jens takes three apples from the bag and washes them in the sink. He tosses one to Zach and hands another one to Sara. They all eat the apples slowly and talk about things. Zach says some bands are playing at the Lo Pub tonight if they are interested. He says Kayla is going to pick him up in an hour or so. They decide they should drink something first. Jens goes to his bedroom and returns with an almost full bottle of vodka. He says someone left this last time there was a party here and he felt guilty drinking it, but now seems like the right time. 26
Sara gets orange juice from the fridge and Zach gets glasses from a cupboard by the sink. Teamwork. Jens gets his MacBook from the floor of his room and sets it on the counter. He puts on music, says it is a mix of songs that his friend from Texas sent him. The three people stand in the kitchen and drink and talk and listen to music. Kayla arrives and joins them in the kitchen. Kayla is Zach’s ex-‐girlfriend, now she just seems to be around sometimes. Kayla says hello to everyone but mostly does not talk, just smiles pleasantly and tries to avoid eye contact. Eventually the people leave the house and go to Kayla’s car. Zach sits in the front seat. Jens sits in the back behind the driver’s seat and Sara sits next to him in the middle seat. She leans her head on his shoulder and exhales. Jens feels a confusion that he must repress. Now is not the time. Zach and Jens talk about the bands that are playing tonight. Zach says he opened for Cannon Bros once at a church. Sara’s hair has loose waves, something like an ocean. Something to get lost in, thinks Jens, something I could get lost in. What the hell is going on. Kayla remains silent. At Lo Pub there is a band onstage, they’re called Hand-‐ claps. There are three people on stage: a guy playing guitar and singing, a guy playing a synth and a sampler, and a guy 27
whose role in the band does not become apparent until after three songs, when he touches his ipad screen four times and closes his eyes. It is not clear what effect this action has on the sound of the band. Immediately after Handclaps’ set, the third guy unplugs his ipad and walks offstage into the crowd. Jens and Sara walk to the bar and order drinks. Jens gets a beer and Sara gets a vodka and cranberry juice. Jens pays for the drinks out of habit but feels uneasy about the interpretation of this gesture. Sara smiles at Jens and thanks him politely, almost formally. A boy approaches them and says hello. Sara smiles widely and introduces him to Jens. This is Eli, she says. Eli tells Jens it is nice to meet him. He says “Sara and I go way back, way back to that thing, remember that, Sara?” “Oh my god, yes,” says Sara. “That time, when that thing happened?” Sara and Eli grin at each other. “With the other stuff!” they say in unison, and laugh. Eli says it’s nice to see them, wishes them a goodnight. He moves away into the crowd. Sara explains that she and Eli went to high school together, and were part of the same friend circles, but could never really find things to say to each other. 28
“We developed a kind of meta-‐conversation,” she says, “we would reminisce about undefined things, like sort of as a joke. But we did it so often that we stopped being able to actually talk about anything without it seeming like a joke. It is a fun relationship.” Jens smiles politely. Everything counts a little less without proper nouns, he thinks. Kayla is flirting with a member of Handclaps, the one who’s job seemed closest to nothing. Kayla expands relative to the size of the room, thinks Jens, like a goldfish. Jens smiles, he is maybe more drunk than he thought. Cannon Bros go onstage and play some songs. Zach stands at the wooden railing between the stage and crowd. Jens stands with Sara further back, and they dance with some girls who appear to be on MDMA. Jens watches as Kayla and the least active member of Handclaps exit the pub from through the large wooden door next to the stage. Sara asks one of the MDMA girls if they have any MDMA left. The girl looks at her and shrugs, then makes an exaggerated sad face and gives Sara a hug. After Cannon Bros’ set, Jens and Sara go outside and Sara smokes a cigarette. They stand with Jennifer and a guy who Jennifer knows. Jennifer is a friend of Jens’ from high school who just returned from a three month tour in Australia. Sara says it must be depressing for Jennifer to return to 29
somewhere like Winnipeg after three months in Australia. Jennifer smiles. She says Winnipeg is a good place to return to. It is a good place to be home, she says. She says that if cities were like races, Winnipeg would be a marathon. The pace is the trick, she says. Jens smiles. I kind of get that, he thinks. Interpol. Zach comes outside and asks Jens if he has seen Kayla around. Jens says he saw her with the iPad guy from Handclaps. He thought they would be out here, actually. Sara says she didn’t quite forget that Kayla existed, just maybe forgot that she was with them. Zach looks a little angry. “Fuck that,” he says, “I mean... fuck... her.” Zach says there is maybe going to be a party at a place in St. Boniface, says they could maybe walk there. They go back inside and each order more drinks. Jens and Zach each get two beers for the walk. There is construction everywhere. A lot of sidewalks are closed. Jens, Sara, and Zach pass an aboriginal woman who is sitting up and sleeping in a bus shelter. An aboriginal man passes them on the street and asks them if they have any cigarettes. Sara gives him a cigarette and the man thanks her. He puts the cigarette behind his ear and walks 30
across the street. Zach looks at his phone and says the party isn’t going on. They decide to just walk to the Forks, sit by the river and drink. They get to the bank of the river and sit quietly. Sara sits next to Jens, sometimes taking his beer and drinking from it. Zach looks at his phone and then answers it. It’s Kayla, she is crying. Zach is silent as she speaks and then asks her where she is, says she doesn’t need to apologize. Jens looks at Sara and feels embarrassed. Sara looks embarrassed, too. Zach says they are at the Forks, near the river. He says more things into the phone. Jens can hear Kayla’s tinny responses requiring fewer and fewer syllables. Zach hangs up the phone and says Kayla fucked that guy who played the iPad and now she is coming to pick them up. Sara asks if that is okay, asks if Zach even wants to see her right now. Jens says they could just call a taxi. Zach says no, says it doesn’t matter. They are quiet and look at the motion of the dark water against the mud of the bank. Zach spits into the river. Contribution. They walk to the parkade where Zach said Kayla would meet them. When Kayla pulls up she gets out of the car and walks toward Zach. Zach says the word ‘keys’ and Kayla hands him the keys. He moves past her into the driver’s seat of the car. Zach says the words 31
‘Jens’ and ‘shotgun’ and Jens looks at Sara nervously as he moves toward the passenger seat of the car. Sara touches Kayla’s arm, smiles sympathetically. The two girls sit in the back seat. In the car Sara asks where they’re even going. Zach says he doesn’t care, says he wants to go somewhere with some space. Jens says they could go to the floodway and looks to the back seat at Sara. Sara says that would be fine, says she likes it there. She turns away from Jens and looks out the window. The car is quiet and tense, like the inside of a balloon. The floodway is a man-‐made waterway that surrounds Winnipeg and protects it from flooding. When the water is low, as it is this year, the floodway becomes a valley with spare grass and low shrubs and only a thin creek running through it. There are also periods of high water, which prevent heavier and taller vegetation from growing. The floodway can only grow so much, the floodway only waits. They arrive at the floodway and Jens looks to the backseat. Kayla has moved to the middle seat in the back and has her head rested on Sara’s chest. Sara has her arm around Kayla and is touching Kayla’s hair, while looking out the window. Sara could be a mother, thinks Jens. He feels suddenly very old. They get out of the car and walk out onto the floodway. It is flat and spare and further out it begins a soft curve to the north. The night is very calm and there are no clouds. Kayla moves to Zach and says some things to him. Zach is quiet and doesn’t look at 32
her as she speaks. Jens looks at Sara and they walk away from Zach and Kayla, into the blank darkness of the night. Sara says she loves it out here, says the sky looks beautiful and huge. There is more sky than prairie out here, she says. Jens nods into the dark. He looks toward Sara and feels a tension beginning to break loose, beginning to break free. He moves toward Sara and cannot discern if the breakage is a culmination of the beer, or the night, or his observation of the situation with Kayla or what. He kisses Sara and she lets him kiss her, briefly, and then she turns from him, smiling in the way he has known her to smile since high school. He says the sky out here is like a huge foreign animal at the zoo, something mysterious and knowable only from a distance, something you only ever look at, and that is somehow enough. Sara says she likes that, says it’s so weird that Neil Armstrong is dead. They walk together toward the flat distant horizon, knowing only to enjoy the walk itself, knowing the sky cannot be touched.
____________________ Dave Shaw is a writer living in Canada. His debut echap Less of Everything was published by NAP in early 2012. He has work published or forthcoming on Shabby Doll House, Metazen, UP, and other online sources. You can be friends with him on the internet here: facebook.com/davveshaw
hunter gather frank hinton
The harbour takes a breath, its shape like an old heart. Cold metric tonnes of seawater flood this ancient glacial reservoir, slime and algae trace the coves. Every breath slaps dark water along the coastline, the efflorescence of an entire city is in process, but it’s slow, sufferable. The black ocean spreads on the horizon, it is the time of day where sky and sea are indistinguishable. It’s raining like piss tonight. From some spot in the black a shape moves, a girl. She steps from a small apartment building covered in a flimsy hood and coat. She picks her way through the coastal detritus and finds a small path that guides her towards the city. Building lights speckle the night before her, though buildings themselves are indistinguishable from the sky. The girl twists her head at the firmament of lights, blinks rain from her eyes, walks. The fenestrations blur. There is a certain strength in her step, she pushes forward up a hill.
Her bones are hard and cold, her body it seems is built to journey. These streets are empty in a storm like this, nobody walks anymore. It’s been raining for twenty days. City purlieus fill with lightning and thunder’s moving south. Great clouds begin to wander above. The girl listens as the storm gathers up around her. The deeper she cuts through the city the straighter she walks, her skeleton transforms. The girl crosses onto Spring Garden and here the street is full. All manner of class are about, rich and gaudy, the freakish, the sensual. Lost and scared and civil alike mingle in the nooks. She walks through plumes of smoke and smells burnt coffee, grease, body spray. She weaves the crowds, her eyes down, and crosses at McDonalds. Inside a man twice her size waddles to claim a plastic seat. His tray is a decoration of orders. It’s Saturday night. Next door sits a shitty bar, two sandy palm trees decorate the door. This is the Oasis, another sandcastle along this haunted beach, this one a sports bar. The girl stops and 37
explores her purse. She finds her ID and bag of drugs. She enters the bar. Inside is something of a fevered dream, half a hundred bodies soak up underneath the artificial light. The place is made to look like sand, and once this place may have been refreshing but now the space is some cruel joke on its namesake. The girl takes an apercu and flashes her ID at the bouncer. The walls are painted with crude games of hockey, players are etched in uninteresting positions. VLCS line the back where broken women sit thwapping endlessly at buttons, waiting. In another corner two men play shuffleboard. One of them slides a biscuit along the deck for a clean ten. He rewards himself a mighty drink of beer. All TVs glow, the Raptors trail on every screen. All in all half a hundred creatures are in here soaking, drying. The girl oscillates her vision and spots Yosh, a kind of friend, sitting in the farthest corner. Yosh rests lizard-‐like, a fixture half in shadows. He watches nothing at all. He’s pale and sickly and as the girl nears he lets crack a smile. It’s a sick sight to the girl. She removes her coat and shakes it making rain. The girl spreads the fabric neatly along a chair and now uncloaked becomes of a sudden radiance, a pristine sight in this cave. 38
Her tank-‐top is made of flowing fabrics, her jeans take mold to firm legs. She’s tall and shapely, thin in all the right places. Her hair is untouched by the storm and she is instantly out of place. Some eyes turn; salivations, chortles. The girl sits. Let’s get out of here, she says. Yosh takes a drink and holds it in his maw examining her face before swallowing. His cheeks are dotted with pimples, pimple-‐scars and freckles. He blinks quick-‐like, a trade-‐ mark of his and leans forward drawing air through his yellow nostrils. You smell sweet, even the rain doesn’t wash that off you, he says. You’re sick. Stay a while, I’m waiting for some friends. Drink with us and then I’ll take you where you want to go. The girl is silent and thinks about a drink. A waitress floats over, her body curved in all the wrong places. She slides a bowl of peanuts onto the table and 39
takes their orders. The Raptors go into overtime. The girl goes to the bathroom and bumps and there are others with her, on their own game. She returns to Yosh and others have joined, both men, both native. One of them makes a soundless whistle as she sits. The other doesn’t seem to know he’s in a bar, the ice melts in his drink. Neither of them look her in the eyes. Yosh introduces them, the girl nods. Yosh and the men talk about things, the girl’s mind picks over the bar. A cover band sets up on stage and a few patrons are annoyed at the hiss of audio equipment cutting into their basketball. The Raptors eventually lose and a few of the older folk shuffle off. The atmosphere is colder. These guys have stuff, Yosh says to the girl. The natives take notice of her it seems for the first time. We don’t have to go anywhere. What’s your names, the girl asks. Kukwes, says the little one. Bear, says the big one. 40
-‐ They step onto the street and find their way into some car. They are heavy with rain and drunk. The girl holds Kukwes, he puts his tongue in her mouth. They cross the McKay, driving forward into a fog. Have you been to the reserve? The woods on either side of the road peel forth, the headlighted foliage blurs. Yosh puts a cigarette in the girl’s mouth and lights it. He lets his finger catch her lower lip and drags it all the way down her shoulder. After a long moment she takes a drag. Where are we going again? she asks. They drive for a long time, they take an old highway. The rain has stops and the night is black and still. It is cold. Kukwes turns the radio on and finds a receptionless station. I like this shit, he says. The reserve is quiet and still. They turn down a road where fat natives smoke cigarettes on palely lit porches. In every 41
nook an empty, this is a road of brown and green glass. A mother holds a baby’s head to her tit, a little boy is rocking himself barefoot. This place is haunted. The girl feels haunted. It’s late, too late for children. She turns to Yosh, he looks nervous. Kukwes parks the car. Strange vapours rise on all sides, a mixture of exhaust and chill and ghosts. They all get out except the girl. They tell her to wait. They enter a large trailer and the girl finds a radio station. A song plays. Another song plays. She closes her eyes. She reclines the seat and checks her phone. Her head is spinning. Half an hour passes before she unbuckles her seatbelt. She does a bump and enters the trailer. Inside Yosh is on his knees sucking Bear’s dick. Bear’s braids fall over his chest and onto Yosh’s back. There’s a mountain of drugs on the kitchen table. Kukwes is yelling at some woman. The trailer is full of people. Yosh looks up but doesn’t stop, his eyes apologize before he closes them. They forgot me, the girl says to no one. What’s your name? a man asks. He’s in a plush pink rocking chair, his gut is bare, the size of a pumpkin. Cinderella, the girl says. 42
C’mere bitch. She sits on his lap and he sniffs at her. He passes her his beer. You smell fresh, he says. I stink, smell like shit. I need to shower. Hehehehe! The girl nods. Are those yours? She points to the table. You want, yeah. Yeah, the man says. A clicking sound comes from his skull. The man stands and picks her up, his arms are strong. He does stink. He carries the girl into the bathroom. She takes her clothes off and he touches her back. He removes drugs from his pocket and lets her at them. He’s behind her smiling in the mirror and she smiles at her reflection and his. Small thing, he says. Small little bitch. 43
They shower under scalding water. Their bodies pinken, redden, prune. He kisses her and pushes her into the tub, she folds for him. The water hits her back in uneven bursts. He hums a melodic tune. Beautiful bitch, beautiful bitch, he says over and over. I love your skin you beautiful bitch. -‐ Pink morning when they step from the trailer, she and Yosh. Leaves are scattered about the dirt, red and orange and yellow. A light snow is falling. The girl has lost her coat somewhere and Yosh doesn’t offer his. Their pockets are stuffed with drugs and they walk through the trailer park in silence. They come across gardens of trash, bottles, children’s toys and butts. Chicken bones litter the wet grooves that line the road. The wind blows at them sharp and the girl shivers. Their cab comes sometime near six, half lost in this dirty place. They ride home in silence while good Christian radio presents some sermon. -‐ if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we 44
confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar... It’s a forty-‐dollar cab ride and they stop at a McDonalds and eat ham and egg McMuffins. They haven’t spoken since she entered the trailer. The girl’s makeup runs down her face and she realizes as she’s sucking her orange juice that she’s crying. She spits a mouthful of juice onto her tray. There are children here now, watching her and mothers and fathers and grandparents begin to gasp and complain as she lets forth a wailing. Yosh walks from the table afraid of the attention. She begins to sob into napkins and McMuffin wrappers. A woman wearing a visor and headset comes to speak to her, to calm her down, but the girl is in hysterics. She can’t fathom for what she cries, she can only witness herself emptying, draining like some bucket. Sunday, she walks home, the first day of winter. She crosses the MacKay bridge, its mighty tendons arch into the city. In the distance she saw a storm far off and silent. The ocean groans beneath her. Black clouds came this way again, to meet the breathing harbour. She wipes a stream of steady snot from her nostrils, half blood and phlegm. The traffic thickens on the MacKay, the city is wide awake.
____________________ Frank Hinton lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia and edits the litzine Metazen. Frank's first novel Action, Figure is available from Tiny Hardcore Press.
God Save the Queen
london alexander j. allison
It’s not the smell, I explain. More, lips that curl around our name, earpricked to each road home. When all light seems to seal, noise glows, swell and gross with siren. Only then the bus will launch, plucking man by child, street by roof, each found from the nevermet. They, all spoiled and piemashed, fishchipped and swung on coarse moans from Westminster (outside – a tent sea: all opinion, law on a knife, a shot, a waste they’ll say). You mammoths in glass. You of steel, who ache to be everything. Explain the wealth weeping from wounds more open than you could ever know. 49
____________________ Alexander J. Allison (b. 1991) is from London. He is a graduate of the University of York and an MFA candidate at the University of Manchester. His writing has appeared in [PANK], >kill author, Willow Springs, Artifice, Popshot, Thought Catalog and more. His first novel, The Prodigal, will be published by Civil Coping Mechanisms in January 2013.
excerpt from nature poem crispin best
we’re here i’m alone with you in capital letters through the window a tall crane builds new things in the distance we’re here realise that it’s perfect to be allowed to like things together i hit the lampshade with a towel dust and dead mosquitos fall and us here in all of it in london quiet dancing realise that part of me is already haunting every mcdonalds i’ve ever been in and part of you is already haunting every place you’ve ever kissed me so yes you are haunting my collarbone 51
we’re here quiet dancing in london still you are like a tulip when there are tulips behind you and i can’t decide what you’re like realise that i would like to fuck a mountain of you yes you are haunting my kneebacks yes you are haunting my chest through my tshirt at night yes you are haunting 360° of some shitty ferris wheel we’re here realise that at every moment you’re the only visible part of an infinite invisible conga line ok now imagine crying wearing shorts it’s hard to do tonight we share a moon toothpaste this blue-‐orange night sky a fucked up trestle table we’ve stopped quiet dancing in london now i’m alone with you with a crane in the distance congratulations tonight our lives will change 0% in every direction 52
____________________ Crispin Best lives in london and at http://www.crispinbest.com :) ____________________
find directions for shardeloes road, south east london thom james
all that is good & natural bind me by my chest until i yearn no more until i am that person or this person until i forget my surroundings until i am a new person a completely new person (at least) a complete person i sit on the overground & imagine then i step off in lewisham, again I am diminished. & sometimes you just want to fester to engage in normal human connections and interactions 54
to live and just live feel ok and nothing more than ok To know that you’re alive and be fully aware of that fact. unfortunately i yield a low amount of mass that travels lightly a low amount of mass that has a low percentage of control over bodily functions we emit ourselves at the best/worst of times that is rarely ok and always not enough the pressure is exceeding to not just be a human being) to be something more) to be something more than you were meant to be) A person is attached to their home like two lovers bound by a single shoestring. 55
it seems people talk about bigger ideas and concepts than i will ever have or ever understand curse an interest in completely ordinary and unsubstantial things, so i laughed at the glorious future you were going to have and i laughed and yet i did not know if it was out of jealousy, pity, or sadness
we are unfortunate and we don't know it most of the time i sit and the degrees are lower than last week & the sun is running away earlier than before so it doesn't have to show its face in an ugly place no more there are mountains being climbed in other regions but right now there is a blue/black delay directly above and it reminds me of swimming 56
I half heartedly applaud everyone. I want to say congratulations, but there is nothing worthy of being congratulated.
____________________ Thom James is a London based writer. His writing has been published by Housefire, Ribbon Pig Press, Internet Poetry, and more. 'Jesus Christ Bury Me Already', his first e-chapbook, was distributed in 2012 by Radioactive Moat Press. He is currently writing his first novel.
pada giles ruffer
He is trying to find the words that were underlined in pencil. A drilling has started from somewhere and the inside of his head already feels like wet sand. He knows he has seen the words underlined in the book before. At the bottom of the page on the left, possibly continuing onto the next page. The book is musty, the pages clean, almost-‐cream and black. He goes front to back then takes his thumb and flicks the pages back to front, from page 259 to 64 where he finds it. It is not underlined like he remembered, but bracketed. The whole nature conveyed a feeling of hopelessness, of sickness; the earth languished like a fallen woman who sits alone in a dark room and tries not to think of the past; remembering spring and summer, it waited apathetically for the inevitable winter.
Not as he remembered, but there it is. He re-‐reads it with a memory of cancer, of a frail, unresponsive body. Hopeless-‐ ness, sickness, etc. The things that happen when you mistreat your body for whatever reason. He tells people a story sometimes. Not so much a story, just a fact about his youth. Before he was old enough to go to school, he spent days with his grandfather. He cannot remember much about his grandfather now. He remembers his beard, the smell of wine in his house. His grandfather would take him to a pub. He has not been to the pub since but has walked past it many times. No real reason why. He remembers the toilets. Original Crappers. He leaves the book and goes to the kitchen to make coffee. He measures the coffee. He measures the water. He times it with a broken Casio watch. He measures a lot of things. I should leave the house, he thinks to himself, considering the action as just something to do, not considering what he will do once he has done it, what he will achieve from it. There are pages, he thinks, that I have written in notebooks where I describe the time I waste as I leave the various houses and rooms I have lived in to go into town to do nothing. The amount of time I have spent in book shops, 61
reading the backs of books, observing things, when I could have been reading things, writing things. He can hear people from outside his window. The window itself backs onto nothing, but there is a farmer’s market nearby. ‘It’s weird how the Japanese...’ he hears a woman’s voice say. On drugs, he thinks. He spent a lot of time walking in the country, away from people. Away from shops, not spending money. His walks were an anti-‐capitalist statement, he thinks in hindsight, jokingly. It seemed like many writers drowned themselves in bodies of water near the city. This was exciting. A lot of time wasted, he thinks now. From certain views, there were panoramas of the city, curled up on the floor like a mildly depressed teenage boy. There were views at night where all you could see were lights. There were places he saw where he often thought of living, in solitude, older, in a high-‐rise building in Whitehawk. He lives in the centre of town now, in the North Laines. Shops, bars, people, people, people. It is easy for me to go into town briefly and be home in the comfort of my own living room, or using my own toilet in a matter of minutes, he thinks. 62
He goes into the living room where a girl is sitting, conveying a feeling of hopelessness and sickness – an ear infection. ‘Sex,’ one of them says. The other agrees. As they fuck in the bedroom the noise of people talking from the market can still be heard. Try not to think of the past, he thinks to himself.
____________________ Giles Ruffer lives in Brighton, UK. He is the author of two selfpublished novellas, available for download as pdf, as well as several short stories published online. He is also co-author of the ebook ‘Broz II Men’ with Laurens Verdonkschot. He has a blog that is updated sporadically at libraryofdust.blogspot.com
high male vocals ana carrete
Macaulay Culkin is fucking hot. We were online when I told him that and I think he got the message. Half white and half brown but he came out one hundred percent pale. Just like Macaulay. Unlike Macaulay, he was named after a punk-‐rocker and he laughed when I told him I thought the ʻRamoneʼ part was a joke. It really wasnʼt. He emailed me and I replied and he replied and I replied. Etcetera, etcetera and I told him how to download msn messenger via hotmail and the ﬁrst time we touched he asked if I wanted to shake hands. The ﬁrst time I went into his room, he left the door open and quoted another indie movie. His black cat kept running in and out of his room. He had a poster of the Buzzcocks in his room. I read Buzzcocks but my mind deleted the buzz part. He showed me his record collection. I kept deleting the buzz part. I told him I thought his poster with the two girls kissing was funny because the kiss looked fake. He asked if I thought 67
all his posters were cheesy and I said no and I kept deleting the buzz part. We never hung out in Tijuana because he was afraid because he read the newspaper. Because we hung out in his house, I met his mom and his sister. His mom was a hairstylist and she said I had so much and she touched my hair and he apologized for it. He brought me water bottles and bananas whenever we hung out outside of his room. He called me banana and one time he got 3D paper glasses so we could watch a Björk video and I told him I wanted to be Björk’s backpack and we laughed. And one time I kissed another guy and he wasn’t my boyfriend and I told him via email and he didn’t like me for a while. And then we were sort of cool again but my car broke down on his birthday and some friends had to give me a ride and dropped me off at a bar. I saw him in the parking lot and he asked for a kiss so I gave him one. I was the co-‐pilot and later she got in his car too. I shook hands with his ex-‐girlfriend and we smiled awkwardly and she gave him a gift and I didn’t give him anything. We walked into the bar and he held my hand. His boots were noisy. His jeans skinnier than mine. They were playing a porno inside. It was on mute. They played obscure new wave and punk songs. We kissed in front of his ex-‐girlfriend. A man sucked a woman’s foot on TV. 68
Mark Mothersbaugh kept singing, “I just want pink pussycat.” I ate some peanuts. I deleted the buzz part. He touched her. We kissed again. Whenever he introduced me to someone new he told them I lived in Tijuana. Hardcore fucking on TV. I asked why he kept doing that. He said he thought that was exotic and cool and asked if it bothered me. I drank beer, watched porn and spoke Spanish with one of his friends because he wanted to practice. One of his friends gave us a ride back to his house. I was the co-‐pilot and he was in the backseat. We made out wearing clothes in his living room. His black cat kept panicking. My phone vibrated and I left.
____________________ Ana Carrete writes poems, tweets and is on a diet. She is the editor of New Wave Vomit. She is in love with Mike Bushnell. Her first full-length collection of poetry Baby Babe is forthcoming from Civil Coping Mechanisms (November 2012).
palm trees are not native to los angeles mira gonzalez
lying on the sidewalk on venice boulevard i am able to perceive this inconceivably large distance between myself and the street i am trying to become two squares of cement i am one fraction of the pacific ocean compared to me everything is enormous i am focusing on empty space between barely visible sea anemones which cling to the underside of piers i felt 3 earthquakes last week 72
it is going to be 73 degrees today there are exactly 4 clouds in the sky i am one unit of matter moving through time at this incredible pace
____________________ Mira Gonzalez [b. 1992] lives in Los Angeles, California http://twitter.com/miragonz http://miratortilla.tumblr.com
welcome to los angeles megan lent
*** There’s this great moment in Double Indemnity where Barbara Stanwyck’s character is driving to the railroad tracks to assist in enacting the murder at the center of the film’s plot (one of those movies where murder can’t not be essential to the story, an atmosphere of smoky jukebox joints and dark corridors, world where men say “doll” and every other line is an innuendo), and her eyes narrow, and she begins to smile, and her grayscaled face takes up the entire screen, and when you’re watching that, you get this feeling at the roots of the hairs in your arms, almost like she’s there in your house, on your bed, waiting to plot out your death, too; but, you are also her, in that moment, you feel what she feels, she is horrible for you, bad candy, alcohol, possibly evil, you hate her, but you are connected to her, you are one, she is you, and you register an almost intrinsically awful love. *** 75
I wear a lace dress with a yellow lining, champagne nail polish, Chanel red lipstick. My hair has been freshly bleached and my earrings are vintage. I’m in the lobby of a famous hotel, looking at my phone, and two men walk by (both in suits – it’s a rule here, men have to wear suit jackets, in order to eat in any of the hotel restaurants). One says, “Hello, I am Derek.” I say, “Hello.” He says, “This is my son, Derek.” I say, “Hello,” again. The second Derek looks uncomfortable. When I shake his hand, it feels like he’s been holding the same can of frozen Pepsi for days. Also, he is not making eye contact. This is when I realize that Derek and second Derek think that I am a prostitute. My phone rings. “It’s Marvin,” I smack my lips and roll my eyes. “He always gets so angry when I don’t check in with him between appointments.” I let the last word linger so that they can get the picture. 77
While I walk outside to take the call from my mom, I realize that there is now a thread being woven, a piece of string that has just been looped around my ankle, now connecting me to a million other girls. A spider’s web of young blondes in lobbies, outside of Texaco stations, under palm trees, at diners past midnight, being taken for something they probably are not. It’s the kind of club someone like me, who never went on dates in high school and who had never seen actual cocaine and who was jealous of Jean Harlow even though she died at 26, would look at as sparkling and ethereal and special, and then be drafted into. And then realize that it’s all about as magical as how it must feel for a cement building to finally get a new coat of paint; one letter in a sign losing its neon; gluing together a crushed compact mirror. *** The best part of Los Angeles, of course, is the ocean. The sky above it. The “end of historic Route 66” sign. A blind man playing saxophone. Your best friend standing under the pier. Someone you love walking down the sand with you late at night, picking up a playing card – three of clubs, from a sports bar advertising the LA Kings, according to the back – and handing it to you, lighting your joint, kissing your cheek. 78
The old woman at a diner one table over telling you how she’d been a screenwriter, and does not trust unfunny women. A rabbi off of the Miracle Mile changing the time for Shabbat service on a slot underneath a stained glass of Mt. Sinai. Two children playing hide-‐and-‐seek around the chunk of the Berlin Wall that stands opposite the art museum. A painting that is all in shades of red that looks just like your hair and probably your heart. The view of the city off of any of the canyon cliffs. The breeze. A man holding your hand and walking you past a movie studio with marble walls. The observatory from that James Dean movie where your dad took a picture of you posing with your sunglasses. The place you saw that guy from Northern Exposure putting sugar in his coffee. A house with a palm tree in front of it. A girl kissing you in the sculpture garden. The highway. Knowing that the only reason you are here is because a hundred years ago, people who looked exactly like you took a boat across an ocean, and then a train, and then didn’t stop until they saw another ocean. Knowing that because they could do that, you can do this. The Hollywood sign, but not the famous one; a decimated miniature, the letters torn down from the façade of a now-‐ defunct Hollywood Videos. They sit at the edge of the junk lot on First Street. They are still glowing. You see them, 79
next to an oversized faux-‐gold frame and a King Kong head, and you recognize that you are here, in this city, under this layer of smog, and stars, yes, you are here. ***
____________________ Megan Lent (b. 1992) lives in California. She is the interview editor for Housefire and has work published at Metazen, Sadcore Dadwave, Keep This Bag Away from Children, Illuminati Girl Gang, etc. She remembers her dreams from the night before, every morning, but only for about an hour. She spit in your soup and is sorry about it. Be her friend.
from oregon zeke hudson
my own flight from oregon came with heat / & dust / & a dimming halo about the sun’s corona / in short, i felt as much with my lungs & eyes as with my heart & guts —is this too visceral? i am always willing to give […] // (with nothing left for me in ashland, i didn’t clean well / & left a consolation pile to my friends) here there are no specifics / i have become vague there is an uneasiness that results from incorporeality / like that of having no home, save for the distance between two points, or c2, though roads are sine waves— which is a math with which i haven’t yet become comfortable 83
& so on the other end of this distance, in hills / is… / well, i’m sure there is no formula to evaluate which decisions are good / & which are bad / & which are healthy in portland / i saw wildfires burning houses (on the tv) / & was struck by the coverage— both the acreage of consumption & the location (oregon tv reporting on some idaho fires) —& though i am versed in nature’s habits & am thoroughly convinced of immolation’s regenerative properties / & though i don’t see houses as new seeds opened & birthed through heat— i do believe in new beginnings in rites of passage / what is the form of loss? i see context via observation / or change as damage even my own friends are like nails that drive me into the earth / & i feel my location in a way that makes me nauseated […] 84
let me restart: my own flight from oregon complete / i became acutely aware of rebirth / in the low hills // by heat / by heat / by fire, purged— / / / we arrived in cascade locks / & only the moon still shone, wide & big // our site was surrounded on all sides by children / who woke us, screaming & chasing / in the morning // but it wasn’t just they who broke the warm dawn / but metal— machines/ gears/engines— a train’s insistent horn / the tugboat’s reply / the helicopter rhythmically beating the air above / the slow drone / the buzz of the freeway nestled in the cliffs […] & the pancake breakfast too expensive for us, or just too early // we ate small boxes of sugary cereal, not labeled for individual retail sale we packed & found home in the deep side of the river valley / —what seemed like an open hobbit hole, or rolling maze through loam & trees // small
pack-‐in campsites, fire pits cakes with carbonized proteins, sugars, & fibers— —the earnestness of the green against the brown / all around us that night, after dinner in the city / & our 15th & 16th kinds of meat in two days / we returned to the site with dry firewood— a one-‐match start / & sent sparks dimmed by black smoke to the small canopy of stars above // we watched the embers glimmer like a sea of scarabs / with iridescent chitin / crawling over each other— the same crackling my clothes smelled of the fire for days / and the joint we shared // —i realize that a controlled burn is healthy / & that what is wild is often terrifying so i feel like an animal when certain flashes […] (do you remember the fire scene in bambi? the way the flames jumped out at every turn? how burning debris fell about them like water droplets?) (imagine that, & then imagine the 86
triumph of the first humans to master fire, & then imagine how each cigarette cinder embodies that same victory, & how the illicit spliff becomes tamed—a controlled substance) also, sometimes a box of cheap merlot doesn’t cut it / although / it would have gone well with the chocolate in our s’mores // mine melted / & mixed with the marshmallow // dripped down my beard / & made my mouth feel sticky, like an idiot i know i’d rather feel drunk than alone i don’t remember if i told allie i loved her / but that night / i felt safer as two in the tent / instead of one & perhaps it was home & what is oregon but a home to millions? with roads so tired that they stretch through the night & become confused in washington or forget themselves in all of california? 87
wherever there is rain something to remind us of the windshield / or make us feel the effort of the tires around turns when it’s almost black out— grabbing the “oh shit” handle forgetting to breathe // remembering to sigh in relief when we saw our exit on our way back the second night / i met karo, a burlesque dancer, who forgot her i.d. & so she couldn’t order drinks / so she snuck sips of ours (i’m still perfecting the jalapeno martini & haven’t bought cachaça or st. germain to make a lily white) / & later showed us her room / & practiced her trumpet at 2am despite having / maybe 4 roommates if it’s fair to say i miss portland then i do i do say it it’s a part of me the way some people are
____________________ Zeke Hudson's heart lives in the Northwest. So does his body. He's getting his MFA at Boise State University, which takes up a good portion of his internet and drinking time. His chapbook Blue Lake just came out from Thrush Press. Also: http://twitter.com/ProfoctorZekey
selfportraits taken on my shitty webcam in every place iâ€™ve lived since moving to san francisco a little over a year ago m kitchell
____________________ M Kitchell has entered the labyrinthine halls of mirrors know as contemporary living via an extension from the sun into the levitation horizon that is also occasionally known as the future. He has learned how to be a human.
East Coast Swing
bodies in dc carolyn decarlo
When my father asks me if I feel sad about leaving Washington, DC I say no with confidence I won’t miss the short buildings or the tight streets with their order, the rushing people I’ve imagined living their sad, bureaucratic lives I won’t miss feeling scared when walking home alone from the bar or the café or the man sitting behind me in the bus who told me he had a gun at his house Won’t miss the stale summer heat My friends all moved away too, like we all couldn’t wait 101
What I’ll miss is your mouth full of donut on a bench in Dupont Circle, our fingers colliding over pages in Kramerbooks, your body moving on the dance floor at the Black Cat, our hands touching in the popcorn at E Street Cinema, our knees grazing under the table over brunch at Policy, my hand on your thigh in the balcony at the Uptown, our legs matching strides on the piers at the waterfront, our hands clasping while we run through the fountain, our tongues licking ice cream off cones at the zoo, my face touching yours in every Smithsonian, your arms around mine as we walk to my apartment, your hips in my belly against the wall of the elevator, our sides pressed together 102
making dinner in my kitchen, your fingers rubbing soap on my back in the shower, my calves on your thighs reading books on the couch, my fingers in your hair cutting strands in the bathtub, your eyes closed in sleep on the pillow next to mine, the winter sun in my bedroom warming the sheets and our bodies, your naked body framed in the open glass doors as I stand on my bed and melt my body into yours
____________________ Carolyn DeCarlo has one foot in America and the other in New Zealand, and subsequently none left for Washington, DC, where she made her home from 2006-2012. For now, you can find her staring out of windows at her parents’ home in Maryland. When the world ends, she’ll be making a new home for herself in Wellington.
jesus christ, boy detective: it’s a small world afterall j. bradley
Timmy Hightower squirms in his window seat, seat belt cinched around his waist. He looks out the window, staring as the wing slightly wobbles and shakes. Timmy grips his armrest and turns to Leopold. “Uncle Leo, is the wing...is it supposed to be doing that?” Leopold Franz closes the SkyMall catalog, places it in the pouch in the seat in front of him and turns to Timmy. “Haven’t you...flown before?” “Not like this.” “Relax. Besides...if something were to happen...it wouldn’t be as bad as how you died...the first time.” *** The humidity punches Timmy and Leopold as they walk up the ramp, out the open door of Gate 14, through roving packs of families, cheerleading squads, business travelers toward the tram. “Why...are we here again,” Leopold asks between the 106
wheels of his carry-‐on clattering against the tile floor. “Our suspect killed the ice skater who wore the Mickey Mouse costume, scratched the eyes of the head out after he was done. Chief Donaldson sent us here to make sure he won’t get the chance to finish the job.” *** Leopold paces nervously in the hotel room, a Travelodge pen in each hand. Timmy sits on the bed, laptop computer open, reviewing Gary Petto’s case file. Leopold throws one of the pens at the wall. It bounces off, somersaulting sharply in the air before landing on the carpet with a quiet thump. “I wish...I had my knives.” “They think you can take over a plane with more than three liquid ounces of a substance. Imagine the panic you would have caused with your knives, even if it was checked with your checked luggage. If you were with the circus, you could have explained it away.” “Still...any ideas where to go from here?” “The park is incredibly secure. There are cameras everywhere, off duty cops who work security for some extra cash. You have to be an employee to get into the park’s bowels. However, the size of the labor pool makes it really easy for one person to sneak in with the right credentials, and there’s always someone looking to make extra cash.” 107
“Does Gary...know anyone locally?” “According to the Chief, he doesn’t have any local contacts. That gives us an advantage.” Timmy opens up another tab on his Internet browser. “Let’s see if he’ll take the bait.” *** Leopold tips his stool back, leaning against the wall, his Miller Lite baseball cap itching his forehead. “Is he there yet,” Timmy’s voice seeps through the Bluetooth earpiece in Leopold’s left ear. “Not yet.” “Excuse me. Are you lost, young man?” Timmy looks up at the police officer looming over him. “No. I’m just waiting for my uncle” “Where is your uncle?” “In there.” Timmy leans his head back towards Wally’s. “Your uncle is in a bar and left you outside at this time of night?” “Well...we’re working a case.” “You got a badge, kid?” “Not with the police officially, just acting on the behalf of the police. I can give you Chief Donaldson’s card 108
and you can call him to check my story out.” “What’s...going on,” Timmy presses the Bluetooth to his ear. “Officer...” “Edgars.” “Officer Edgars is outside and would like to have a word with the man who left his nephew outside of a bar at 9 o’clock at night.” *** “The police should stay out of this one.” Timmy reclines back in the hotel room’s office chair. “It would have been nice to have their help, but their bandwidth is too maxed out.” “Why didn’t your father...intervene?” The Trave-‐ lodge pen shivers over the mirror above the writing desk. “He has to remain as unseen as possible here. While the belief is off the charts, it’s a violent, maddening one. If there was any sign of the direct influence of my father, it would make Sodom and Gomorrah look like a backyard barbeque.” “What are you...” “Don’t bother finishing that question, Leo.” *** 109
Leopold sits in the booth of Independent Bar, the thump of Depeche Mode’s “Strangelove”, plumes of cigarette smoke smothering the air. A man in a black leather jacket and torn jeans slides into the seat across from Leopold. “Mr. Toad once had a wild ride,” the man yells. “It...was a whole...new world for him...until he died,” Leopold yells back. “What happened last night, man?” “Didn’t like...the way things looked...had to walk.” “Yeah, the police are kinda up everyone’s ass here in this town. Do you have what we discussed?” Leopold pulls a bag from underneath the table, plops it down. “Do you have...what we discussed?” The man pulls a paper bag from his leather jacket, places it on the table, and slides it over to Leopold. Both men look in their respective bags, verifying their contents. “Pleasure doing business with you, Mr. Franklin,” the man yells before sliding out of the booth, wading through the aging goths toward the front door. Leopold pulls out his cell phone and dials. “He should be outside in a minute.” Leopold slides out his booth, heads to the outdoor drinking area. “He’s crossing Orange and now Washington. He’s heading towards the hotel.” “I’m leaving the room, now. Tail him.” Leopold leaps over the bar, walks across Orange, 110
keeping his distance. The man slows down, then stops and turns, facing Leopold. “Dude, why are you following me? Our business is done.” “Not...quite.” The ballpoint of the Travelodge pen grazes the man’s cheek. He bandages the flesh wound with his palm. “Who...no...no no no no...no, it can’t be?” “It is.” The man turns around and faces a boy wearing a black t-‐shirt and cargo shorts. “Did you really think you would get away with what you did, Mr. Petto?” “He had it coming, Timmy Hightower. There is only one true soul for the mouse and I assure you, he does not ice skate.” “You’re under arrest for the murder of Seth Masterson and for the purchase of false identification with the intent to commit murder.” Gary yells, throwing a wild front kick. Timmy catches his foot, then pushes his leg up, the air smashed out of him as his back smacks on the sidewalk. Leopold crouches down, the tip of a ballpoint pen pressing against Gary’s neck. ***
Timmy stares at the slight wavering of the airplane’s 111
wing, the whir of the jet engine. “That was nice...of OPD to help us get him...on the plane.” “Yeah, it was.” Timmy looks over at Gary, his head bowed down. “Leopold, this seems to be a little too easy.” “What...do you mean?” “My father’s all about giving us cases with soul boggling ugliness. This...” “Sometimes...things are...as they appear to be.” Timmy squirms in his seat each time he sees the wing shakes. *** Chief Donaldson looks up at the ceiling. “They’re heading back with him. They got to him faster than I expected.” “Good,” the air hisses. “Is everything in place?” “The bracelet was delivered to its destination as requested.” “Excellent. Soon, we shall see if my son is ready to finally make the right choice.”
____________________ J. Bradley is the Web Editor of Monkeybicycle and the Falconer of Fiction at NAP. He lives at iheartfailure.net.
#fila (forever i love atlanta)
____________________ Michael Hessel-‐Mial is a Midwestern windmill, dancing and wishing and making in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the webmaster of Internet Poetry. He studies cybernetic poetics at Emory University and posts image macros at michaelhesselmial.tumblr.com.
new york alex dimitrov
The first time you kissed someone in New York. The first time you crossed a room for someone. The first time you were hailed by a feeling like a cab hailed by a hand. The first time you cried in public. The first time you walked home alone surrounded by everyone at night. The first time home was a slab of light on First Avenue. The first time a painting spoke to you and you were not alone. The first time you had poems for lunch. The first time you waited so long for that person that never did come. 121
The first time you read Rimbaud in New York and he was alive. The first time the dead were better friends than the living. The first time you heard Arthur Russell’s “Arm Around You.” The first time you had to be direct because soon everyone dies. The first time time reminded you of another time. The first time what appeared to be love was not love. The first time New York was New York and you were living and dying in it.
____________________ Alex Dimitrov’s first book of poems, Begging for It, will be published by Four Way Books in March 2013. He is the founder of Wilde Boys, a queer poetry salon in New York City. Dimitrov’s poems have been published in The Yale Review, The Kenyon Review, Slate, Poetry Daily, Tin House, Boston Review, and the American Poetry Review, which awarded him the Stanley Kunitz Prize in 2011. He is also the author of American Boys, an echapbook published by Floating Wolf Quarterly in 2012. Dimitrov works at the Academy of American Poets, teaches creative writing at Rutgers University, and frequently writes for Poets & Writers.
my dreams are shaped like you mike bushnell
this life is just an automatic walkway we conveyor toward the stupid furnace that stays burning that stays burning no matter how eloquent the rain I will roulette I accidentally take a chance I move on I talk to tell the cats there is nothing to worry envy thing it will be fine tiny sounds of cellophane covering the leftovers I struggle with the cone I wrestle the orange cone in the middle of the intersection two people look into each others eyes sitting on a bench so wholesome while the train vibrates from underground where did all this traffic come from I thought we were express I squint like a gangsta I wiggle my toes like a little girl when I put on the fresh socks hah I put down the electric toothbrush I witness something dripping from the metal to the earth I give birth to new dreams I jog past the damsel undistressed where did you learn how to do that the frog jumps from the sewer a cockroach is run over by a taxi when the sun is at its peak what does it all mean who cares dive in we live through the baking rains a coming I can feel it in my back 124
birds fly out of a deep crack in the asphalt I whistle to the leaves that move in the wind I touch my headphones I sit in the train I hear metal on metal echoey parts of life those days that just painlessly torture what has this life become what am I doing with this pocket change I get the message I read a news story about someone I grew up with stealing fourteen purses then ditching them next to the supermarket that train is not in service it is sitting on the tracks abandoned in this silent tunnel where the drills carved out so slowly eye contact eye contact and despair I touch the pole with my fingers I have visions of your face what is hiding down here gimme the flashlight gimme the engine gimme the radioactive ambition damn our half life I dip a toe in the water I touch you I touch your hips with my hips I don’t dream but when I wake up I know you have been with me telling me it’s fine all night damn the polka dots damn the plaidass this is a universe where wheels spin ping pong paddle in a drawer behind in the count there’s centerfolds shooting automatics the middle age riding the merry go round remembering dead children the neon green paint splashes out of the bucket I run out the train I chase my dreams motherfucker I crash my shoulder into the wall 125
over and over I can’t feel the wall I can only feel beyond it I know what is there the apex is shaped like you my darling spinning in ballet shoes
____________________ Mike Bushnell lives in New York City, where he works in an office during the day. His book, Traumahawk (SGP 2010), is availible on Amazon. He tweets @iamaparty and videos on youtube.com/iamapartyiamaprty. He is the current world heavy weight champion of live readings.
in new york city regina green
kiss me like a cab driver all fury and fumes consider the meter its hard click we’ve crossed into another borough all heart-‐stopped and forgotten our luggage too
____________________ Regina Green’s poems can be found on-line and in print, including most recently Golden Horses, One Night Stanzas, Lyre Lyre, inkscrawl, BoySlut, Metazen, The Delinquent and The Citron Review. She is included in the most recent issue of Thunderclap Press and has four poems in the next issue of The Wild Iris. For the month of April 2010 she was the featured poet at Contemporary American Voices. She is a therapist living and working in Atlanta, GA.
breakup sex willis plummer
Sitting on a bench on Mott Street, Eric’s breath tastes like green curry and Anne’s tastes like pad Thai. Tears are running down her cheeks. He can’t understand why she is crying; he is the one getting dumped. They kiss for a while, then pull away to look at each other, then kiss more, then he whispers something about her letting him come up to her apartment one last time, and she shakes her head “no.” After an hour of begging her to let him spend the night, tears are in his eyes too. He feels unsure if he is crying because he feels like crying or because he is supposed to be. While they sit on the bench repeating the cycle of crying and kissing and begging to go upstairs, a homeless man walks up to them and sticks his face between theirs. 130
The homeless man grins and says, “Help me out,” with an outstretched hand. Eric looks up at the homeless man in disbelief. He tells the homeless man to “fuck off,” but the homeless man keeps smiling and holding out his hand for money. Eric feels frustrated at his inability to control the situation. He struggles not to cry in front of the homeless man. Anne gives the homeless man five dollars, and he walks away satisfied. Eric tells her she shouldn’t have done that. She shrugs and says that it doesn’t matter. He feels something like resentment at her indifference to money. The whole time they sit on the bench in front of her apartment, he thinks about breakup sex. He has read a lot about breakup sex, and he has seen it in movies, but he has never had breakup sex. Maybe he is crying because he knows that Anne isn’t going to let him angrily fuck her brains out one last time. 131
Eventually, Anne says that she is tired and needs to go to bed, because she has to work in the morning. He makes one last pass at sleeping over, but she is firm when she says no. He says okay, but that he still needs to come up to get his turntable, which he ordered to her apartment, because she has a doorman who can sign for the package, and he lives in a walk-‐up in Brooklyn. -‐I don’t think that’s a good idea. -‐I’m just going to get my turntable and leave. -‐Can’t you just do it another time?” -‐I don’t think I want to see you another time. -‐Oh. In the elevator, they keep kissing, but when the doors open on her floor, they look like they barely know each other. She leads him through the living room where he greets her roommates who pretend not to notice his puffy eyes. In her bedroom, he looks around. It feels wrong -‐-‐ he doesn’t belong here. 132
He steps over piles of her underwear to the corner where his turntable is. He picks it up, walks out of the apartment, and waits for the elevator. She follows him. He is proud of himself for not making one more attempt to stay the night. He wonders if she is disappointed. When the elevator arrives, Anne kisses him gently and whispers, “You’re the best.” He tries to smile and stumbles into the elevator, mumbling goodbye. As he walks to the subway carrying the turntable, he thinks about what just happened. He doesn’t feel anything. He has known for weeks that this was coming -‐-‐ at least since when she stopped texting him back. He feels the weight of his backpack on his shoulders. It contains clothes, deodorant, antidepressants, anxiety medication, and his laptop. He starts to breathe quickly. He isn’t panicking, but he feels that he is supposed to be. 133
____________________ Willis Plummer [b.1992] attended both of Drake's Bar Mitzvahs. [willisplummer.tumblr.com // twitter.com/willisplummer]
ode to flatbush jacob steinberg
I’m the only customer in Dunkin’ Donuts at 7 am in the “hood.” My friends don’t get why I live here. They think it’s remote or dangerous. It isn’t quite anywhere near gentrified yet. But there’s a certain charm to Flatbush that can only be seen in the first rays of morning. As I strolled with my coffee along Church Ave. and the schoolchildren marched by, en route to the bus I felt a sense of inner peace that I never remember feeling on any sidewalk past. Not even the graveyard across the street could detract from the calming aura, for I was certain that the spirits that lived here before were content with my presence -‐no matter how out of context-‐ in the southern reaches of Prospect Park. 135
I have begun to feel nostalgia for the present but not quite a desire to remain in this city. It’s a nostalgia for this state that I’m in, and an anticipation, or fear, that soon I will change. Fifty-‐six years ago my father was born here and lived in a house on East 5th St. It’s not far from my apartment, about ten blocks. My grandparents went to Erasmus Hall High, right around the corner. And without any awareness when I made the decision, I came here in search of my past. Remnants of that era still linger in the yarmulkes that march down Ocean Parkway, Friday evening at 6. But for the most part the Flatbush dialect has evolved into tinges of Patois and Creole. The old Jewish bakeries are now Jamaican patty stands. And my five-‐year-‐old father has been replaced by a 21 year old poet. It’s funny the kinds of thoughts you can have in a Dunkin’ Donuts at 7 am. 136
As if days long gone had suddenly rushed upon you and converged in your morning coffee ("Light, no sugar please") staring you in the face (Is this young, black cashier the image of my past?) offering you some company as you make your way home.
____________________ Jacob Steinberg was born in Stony Brook, New York, in 1989. He did his undergraduate work at NYU and currently lives in Buenos Aires while working on his Masters in Spanish and Latin American Literature. He wrote This isn’t about Jon Ross, it’s about art and Magulladón. He writes at http://magulladon.tumblr.com.
please have no interest in provoking ghosts philadelphia city of poets
CAConrad1: End painting for a hospital bed warm from the recently departed. It’s an it now, for certain. No more he. Or maybe? CAConrad2: Thank you for asking. It’s the poems, the city. It’s the days, the poems. I have known fortunate souls who delivered less for the price of a notebook. To share this now feels, well it feels tubal. Everything about the place has this sensation and I haven’t feared it in many years. When I did fear it I was usually high or breaking up with another boyfriend. For instance in 1987 I had a boyfriend who was kissing on me in my apartment and he said, “WHY do you have this dingy little cave? It’s so small we have to roll the bed out to have sex.” I took his hand, led him to the bus stop. We got on the 42 bus, got off at 3rd Street, we walked a couple of blocks to a beautiful gazebo with wisteria braiding the lattice-‐work. Sitting inside it I said, “See, this is my living room.” He said, 140
“You’re RIDICULOUS!” I said, “No, really, this city is a treasure of public space. I am public. I am a poet. This is my living room. Welcome!” CA1: No music was good for the hold. Attempts and jeers at failing all. Misdanced at the river loft. French horns instead of alarms? CA2: Yes, and then the generosity is what needs to be acknowledged. Al Zuli was our landlord, the rent was magnificently affordable for artists. It was for artists. Zuli only rented to artists, the special rent. His generosity created a warmth when the rent was due because you knew it was because of him that you could spend so much time in the libraries reading and writing. He should have a statue at the corner of Pine and 13th Streets for he gave us space for art. No one ever dedicated a poem or painting or sculpture to him that I know of. Maybe I will do that. For Al Zuli, the man who gave me community and honored my poems, a man who knew what the world really needs. Landlord extraordinaire!! CA1: A breath below their cap. Ethos of drag queen hall-‐ ways. Each door has a lingering droll regard? 141
CA2: There was something about it, yes. There is a corner, it’s 22nd and Chestnut, and it’s where I found a new triumph of the possible! The architect Frank Furness built the First Unitarian Church in 1886. When you take someone there for the first time they will often remark, “I love the angel wings carved into the façade!” I say nothing to correct this. But on closer examination you will see that these are not angel wings but tree and plant fronds. This world is our Heaven, he says with these carvings, best to keep it beautiful. The angelic world. Poems in search of the angelic world when searching is not needed. Just stand still, look, it’s ALL AROUND US!! CA1: Yoke fell apart and everyone’s on their own. Dubious decorations, why not spurs, why not hand grenades? CA2: Why not love? Let’s answer, YES! You cannot help learning love at certain points in your life. I hope this for everyone at least. Money is not an issue. Money may be the biggest problem if it’s there for love. Friends who lived on little house boats docked where George Washington made his crossing. Where William Penn landed, where before them both Lenni Lenape kept camp and fished the centuries away before the Campbell’s Soup factory filled the river with soup byproduct. Tomato? Cream of Mushroom? I wasn’t there. I wasn’t born. But I had friends who lived in 142
boats and we took trips down the river and once all the way to the Atlantic. CA1: Adjudicate your meringue. Does it thistle? Does it poppy? CA2: Well we have a community now, if that’s what you mean by flowers. It’s marvelous and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, anyone, or for any other time. Poetry is what is now. Poetry should have a past tense of itself so that Poetry means now, now. There are bookstores of poetry, which is terrific news. But there are benches and small, hidden parks the poets work through. One such treasure is hiding near Pine and 8th, but I’ll tell no more! A garden like no other, a medicinal herb garden first planted in 1775. There is a kind of magic such as this garden where the world can barely see into it, and when you’re in it you can barely remember they are out there. The writing is the city’s favorite food! Poetry is present, otherwise it is poetried. CA1: The strumpet has flounce! Carefully in the tinsel of the feeling, a broach, a single clip of pot. You crest, or the world’s discarded foreskins at sanguine pen? 143
CA2: Okay, one ghost. His name was Eddie and he was from Puerto Rico. We loved Eddie, all of my friends. Rudy and I were getting high with him, circa 1985. Eddie said, “I’ve got a button of the best shit back at my apartment. I’ll go get it. I’ll be back in 10 minutes.” He said 10 minutes, 10 minutes, over and over. Yes, we get it. 45 minutes later I asked Rudy where Eddie could be? We were worried and walked down the street. The front door was open. The door to his apartment was open. Then the door to his room, his bedroom, we were so nervous. We opened it and Eddie was dressed in a wedding gown, hanging by his neck. He was dead. Oh we felt so strange. You want to throw up seeing beautiful Eddie hanging there. Rudy and I looked at one another and burst out laughing. It was the strangest reaction. The strangest. The police came. The one upstairs yelled out the window, “WE’VE GOT A FRUIT ON A LOOP UP HERE!” Fruit on a loop, Eddie I am so glad you were gone from this. Dear beautiful Eddie. I miss you. Rudy is dead now, so is Tommy, Patches, Elaine. I cleaned up in time. I’m still here. And I’m happy. I have poems and I love Philadelphia more than ever. More than ever it’s the city that teaches me how to love the world. It’s the poems the city gives me that do it. CA1: Antlers our antenna? 144
CA2: Thank you, yes, this has been the place for it.
____________________ CAConrad is the author
of A BEAUTIFUL MARSUPIAL AFTERNOON: New (Soma)tics (Wave Books, 2012), The Book of Frank (Wave Books, 2010), Advanced Elvis Course (Soft Skull Press, 2009), Deviant Propulsion (Soft Skull Press, 2006), and a collaboration with poet Frank Sherlock titled The City Real & Imagined (Factory School, 2010). He is a 2011 PEW Fellow, a 2012 UCROSS Fellow, and a 2013 BANFF Fellow. Visit him at CAConrad.blogspot.com
chicago sam pink
i’ve envisioned my eventual suicide in chicago many times. it involves me going to lake michigan, taking as many oxycontin as i can, then swimming out into the lake as far as i can go before i pass out and drown, dead on the lake’s bottom, hopefully never to be found. did you know chicago is called the “windy city” because of politicians trying to get the world’s fair to the city, not because of weather conditions?
____________________ Sam Pink is 29. he lives in chicago. his books are available through lazy fascist press.
why any decision can feel like a betrayal or, getting tied to places that feel like regret, until they loop around towards the pleasure of where you already are.
Wherever I live I am drawn to the dead. The eternal life that you return to and returns to you again and again. The want of a cling melodrama pressured stick that matters a desperate last chance with frantic face pressed to a train’s departing glass yet roaming still through a past thought but never touched. I want to see the grave of Tristan Tzara. 151
Unknown broken Vaterland stones and bones both distant and locally obtained. Every place feels the weight of shame, the heritage of dedication. geborn oct. 8 1834 gestorben nov. 11 1893 What is closer than the breaking of a new horizon, a clean wave splits a plane of the insufferable. This century’s greatest taste a soured jam. A flavor to be melded. Is it ever possible to think of anything other than death? Pulled to Jim Morrison’s grave by whiffs of weed roaches clip the stone plate, smashed by distressed pleas. “Do you really think someone tried to make themselves whole, find a cipher to the code?” I hold to a gray Berlin winter like a Sunday tied shy. Like your cadaver eyes sewn closed and your pleated lips stuck dry. 152
The shriveled is just another succulent. To go back into moist everyday and feel the need, the presence motivating allure. There is such a thing as people. And this is intriguing. After the cemetery I sit outside the Pompidou exhausted and eat a crust of bread with Camembert. The blur recedes and I feel the warmth of hot industrial winds blowing underneath me and I walk over to a newsstand and The New President is all over every cover and strange the feeling of another country’s pride for a potential, a hope that isn’t even their own. Every nation has its own topography of terror, some more misted more perfume clotted than the rest. Yesterday I sat at the base of a tree next to a crypt and the wings of flying ants were shimmering in the distance and suddenly everything moving all that glittered grass and I knew I could want nothing less than truth.
____________________ Cassandra Troyan, born in the USA (1986). The insatiable has product the glitch is proscribed and this fucking entitlement like a line slant, the lever cancel and I can see that what you really want to make is pasta. Her first collection of poetry, THE THINGS WE EMBODY ARE THE THINGS WE DESTROY is slated for publication from Tiny Hardcore Press in 2013. She curates the reading and performance series EAR EATER in Chicago, IL. www.cassandratroyan.com
memphis, tennessee janey smith
1. Saturday I have come home for my father’s funeral. I have not been invited and I don’t know where the service will be located. But I know it’s around here somewhere. I don’t own a suit. I get a paper one at a party store across the street and try it on. It fits a little stiffly at first, but the more I walk, the more I get used to it. In fact, the more I walk, the more my paper suit relaxes, and takes to my body. My paper suit rips a little down the side. I ask the party store guy if I can get a refund or maybe another paper suit, “My dad’s dead.” The party store guy sells me a rope, says, “You’ll need a tie.” He helps me fasten it, snugly. He’s right. It looks good with the suit. I stand among bike racks. I’ll walk home from here. I don’t have a bike. Someday, I’ll have one and I’ll stand among bike racks with a bike. I feel like an empty parking lot is the saddest place in the world. I don’t know why. A tumble-‐ 156
weed appears, it rolls across the parking lot into the street, then rolls up and over a fence into somebody’s back yard. My paper suit flaps in the wind. I feel like the observation ‘my paper suit flaps in the wind’ obliquely indicates my sadness at coming back to Memphis. I try to locate my father’s funeral. I stand in the bike racks alone. I face an empty parking lot alone. My shoes are too big for my feet. I feel like if I try to walk home in these shoes that one shoe will be left behind, that I will step out of probably my right shoe, while I walk, because my right foot is slightly smaller than my left, and because it is hard to walk in these shoes without feeling that I am about to step out of them. I feel like someone may find my right shoe sitting by itself on a sidewalk somewhere and maybe wonder about how lonely and sad the shoe seems. I feel like that person will try to put the shoe to use to alleviate the sadness associated with something that seems lost and throw the shoe up over a telephone wire to mark the place where that person likes to buy drugs, but the shoe will keep falling onto the sidewalk beside him. He will keep trying to make the shoe useful and less sad seeming. But because there is only one shoe, and not two shoes tied together, the shoe will keep falling onto the sidewalk beside him. 157
I feel like I will find my father’s funeral or experience it, kind of, if I walk from the bike racks of my elementary school, home. I feel like Memphis is full of signs. There are the deaths at Graceland. There is the birth of Brian Jose. Harmony Korine lives here. There’s a bunch of other things, little things, little things one might not notice, if one weren’t looking for signs, too. A blind man crosses the parking lot one step at a time. His cane goes tap, tap. I feel like that blind man is a sign that I will find the location of my father’s funeral. I am ready for the funeral. I place the palms of my hands on the sides of my paper pants. After a short time, I raise my hands. I place them in front of my eyes so all my eyes can see are hands. I feel like that by placing my hands in front of my eyes the blind man crossing the empty parking lot will not notice me. It’s crazy, I know. I lower my hands. The blind man does not notice me. I say, “Dude.” I say it again. The blind man stops, straightens, says, “I’m blind.” I feel like I want to sit down with the blind man and talk to him about all the people in the world who are looking for signs, and hope somebody sees me looking for my father’s funeral and says, “Come.” The blind man doesn’t want to sit though. The blind man says, “What are you doing?” I take 158
his arm, tell him I want to sit. The blind man says, “I don’t want to sit.” He takes my hands. The blind man takes my hands, says, “Listen to your pants.” At first I feel like the blind man is trying to distract me. Then I feel like the sound of my paper pants flapping in wind sounds like a newspaper being blown across an empty parking lot. A newspaper sticks to my face. A wind blows the newspaper hard so that it flaps against my face very rapidly. I stand alone with a newspaper stuck to my face, flapping very rapidly. A blind man stands next to me, and holds my hands. I feel like I will no longer be able to listen to my pants. The blind man says, “What do you hear?” I feel like any answer I give the blind man that is not the most honest answer will be a sign that I don’t want to find the location of my father’s funeral. “Flapping.” The blind man takes the newspaper off my face, “You really need to listen.” 159
2. The Funeral People really love to fly kites. A really lovely kite has risen above two or three trees. I feel like if I follow the kite’s yellow string, I may find the location of my father’s funeral. I follow the kite’s yellow string. The string goes into the window of a small house. I feel like small houses are mysterious. I feel like if I follow the yellow string into the mysterious house, I will find my father holding the string, waiting to hand it to me. The kite’s string is laid out on the street. In a way, as I follow, I wish it had been prepared with many objects attached to it, things that belonged to my father. Hats, a mustache, shoes, underwear, toothbrushes, a hammer, cans of soup, a soccer ball. I get tangled up in the string, look around to see if anybody notices, feel embarrassed anyway. Three nine-‐year-‐old girls run through a sprinkler, their fresh wet hair makes trickles. I bought some candy on my way to the party store. I check my pocket for the candy, but my paper suit doesn’t have a pocket. I swing at a ball and then run to first base. One of the girls does her stretches. Another finds shelter under the twigs of a tree. Near a wall, the third one laughs. I feel like everyone who is at my father’s funeral is bouncing tennis balls dipped in red, 160
yellow, and blue paint. I don’t know why. My father never played tennis, but my mom did. I stand on second base, a folded newspaper in the street. I listen to my pants. A sprinkler goes back and forth on grass that’s yellow. I follow the kite’s yellow string, although it’s hard to see in some places, to where my father is, but he isn’t there. I feel like all I want to do is find him one more time. I ring a doorbell to ask for help. Nobody answers. I wait and ring again. Still, nobody. I wait and get down real low like I’m hiding. I reach for the doorbell, but I feel like if I extend my arm so that it’s fully extended, I will neither find the location of my father’s funeral nor see my father again. I don’t know why I feel like that. I don’t know why I’m hiding. I tuck my face under the doormat, and wait. The door makes the sound of a door closing. I get up real fast. I open the closed door. I cautiously peek inside. I close the opened door. “Hello?” I wait, face the door. The door I face is adorable. It’s blank like me. I open the closed door. I cautiously peek inside. I close the opened door. 161
“Hello?” I face the closed door. I feel like it is good that nobody answers. I feel like the blank architecture of the door is a result of my sadness of coming back to Memphis. I step inside, look around. A bare, naked Christmas tree is seated in a huge pile of clothes. I follow the yellow string. A couple is all tied up together using the kite’s yellow string. Away from them, another couple sits on a couch. The couple on the couch use balls of white string to throw string over the heads of the couple tied up with yellow string. It’s like a party except no one’s happy. A dense web of white string entangles the couple tied up with yellow string. The couple on the couch says, “Hey.” I feel like I want to say, “Have you seen my father?” but my low self-‐esteem gets in the way. Instead I say, “Sorry. It was a mistake. I thought I lived here.” I put microwave burrito in microwave on table in room, push twenty minutes, and leave. 3. My Hope I take a Christmas tree into a restaurant. I place the tree on the seat next to me. I order two cups of coffee. I place one cup of coffee in front of tree. The waiter person, myself, and 162
tree try not to look at each other. I feel like it is very quiet in the restaurant. “May I have garland of popcorn, please?” In the bike racks, next to me, I talk to tree, pick a popcorn, and eat. After a while, I depart, leave tree. I feel like I will pass bike rack and empty parking lot many times before I see my father again. I run in large circle. I run in larger circle, make strong rhythm. I beat up my hair. I whoop. I yell. I also jump, raise my arms to mark time. I stand still, observe how distinctive my Christmas tree emerges under these conditions. Then I watch my Christmas tree many times as I pass, wonder about my empty lot, and if. I feel like there’s no telling where home is now. I feel like if I had a cell phone I’d call my father, ask him why he set Gary’s lawn on fire the night of the blackout? “Dad? Why’d you only ever eat Chicken McNuggets and why only from the McDonald’s where Jilly worked?” I look at my Christmas tree. I realize that some things will always remain a mystery. My paper suit flaps in wind. I listen to my suit, get down on my knees, clasp my hands behind my neck, give myself a full nelson, hit the blacktop with my head many times. My Christmas tree falls on me. I take the sound of my Christmas tree wrapping itself around 163
me, and listen, and curl myself around my tree. And by hiding, by divesting myself of all distinguishing marks, by going away, by sinking through the floor, by becoming someone else, by concentrating so hard on some object or idea that I cease to be aware of my physical appearance, by distracting everybody else from my physical presence or suffering, by ceasing to exist . . . I feel like I become invisible. But I am here—looking for a sign, listening for you. I listen to my tree, carefully. I won’t let go of my tree. My tree covers me. Dad, I feel like if I whisper your name, Dad, that you will hear me. I feel like if I whisper very carefully my hope that somewhere out there, somewhere closer to me than I could possibly imagine, is you, then my hope will come true. I am whispering to you now, Dad. Listen to me: there’s dirt, and grass grows through blacktop, my lot isn’t so bad. My paper suit flaps in wind, my tree is fine though it’s hard to move, upward, anywhere. I prepare a bed on blacktop almost every night, I am ready to take a nap on it. If 250 nails are hammered into my head, then maybe I will be ready to tell you that I remember what your cock felt like in my little hand. I feel sleepy now so listen, listen as if I were the one dead, because I feel like I have been dying since 164
long before I came back to Memphis, and I am done looking for signs. I brush an ant from my paper pants and stare at my old, brown shoes which are too big for my feet. I follow that little ant. The dirt and dead grass must seem like mountains to it. But it keeps frantically going. Soon, it is gone.
____________________ Janey Smith lives in San Francisco, California. She is the writer of Animals (2011) and The Snow Poems (2012).
ode to the gulf wind rod naquin
I Over the improvised street, the balcony leans and the air mingles with oaks. Colorful food is strewn on the leaves, she moves like a jazz in the humid air and the way her thin blue jeans is stretched amuses me. What do words mean? What is this feeling I have? I’m as confused as the drunks that wake on Frenchmen. I am bound by no law, hear the nonsense of New Orleans bounce off the road. I am dazzled by the harsh sound of the horns, she said it didn’t matter how I smelled. The men had burned the marsh and settled here, I gave her the round quarter I found on the pavement. The church in this parish resounds with prayer and moves with the water. 168
II Very slowly the Sunlight begins to paint her arms and shoulders, she is seeming to weigh her thoughts like clouds. She gives the room a sigh and I am lost in desire, I see the saints that stand still by the churches. What's the point of loving and of living? See how her thigh is revealed by the raiment’s contour, the high and arching sky is assuming an ochre tint and she is nude before me. I feel the color of every object in white light, violets and blues adorn the horizon. She stands within the door and is outlined the way the planets pursue the Sun. How is it my mouth has yet to savor her body and to finally assess its value?
III I watch the dazzling lights that trace a figure on the zodiac, the lights begin to produce a sustained illusion. The images seduce the disciplined man, her form is just so rare that I can’t comprehend it. She’s obscured by language and the names that I use reduce her to static maps. The water is inducing growth in grasses, the delta has endured many a storm. I seem to remember a woman wandering the cypress floor, I am tempted to possess her now. I hear the mumbling shaman on the porch, the sky is lit by the abrupt lightning in the distance. The Moon wanes above the courteous sod where she has slept.
____________________ Rod Naquin is a musician, poet and teacher from New Orleans. He writes about listening with the birds, frogs and clouds that sing on the bayou. More of his work can be read at http://briefdreamsonnets.blogspot.com
sonilóquio em são paulo ana guadalupe
esta cidade que nunca dorme dorme com muita frequência conforme presenciamos nas madrugadas a cidade dorme e fica suada como você na sua cama pequena suando dormindo suando com a certeza de que a cidade pode ser outra ou nenhuma impossível conhecê-‐la direito impossível conhecê-‐lo morador misterioso e vice-‐versa sem pressa de novo quando você e a cidade roncam estamos num bairro de antes e ao mesmo tempo num quadro de 2215 o mapa carregado pela tartaruga os lençóis da lenta asfixia onde todo visitante depende de um ônibus sem número e sem gente às vezes não sei que cidade é esta ela está bem aqui e não responde 176
são paulo somniloquy english version by ana guadalupe
this city that never sleeps is often caught sleeping as we witness at night the city sleeps and sweats like you in your small bed sweating sleeping sweating aware that the city can be any other and no other impossible to know it well impossible to know you mysterious dweller and vice versa no hurry again when you and the city snore we’re in a neighborhood from the past and also in a frame from the year 2215 a map carried by a turtle bed sheets of slow asphyxiation where every visitor relies on a bus with no number or passengers sometimes I don’t know which city this is she is right here and yet still doesn't answer 177
____________________ Ana Guadalupe was born in 1985 in Paraná, Brazil, studied Literature and currently lives/works/sleeps in São Paulo. Her poems were featured in anthologies and magazines in Brazil, Spain, Mexico and Chile. Her first book, Relógio de Pulso, was published in 2011. http://welcomehomeroxy.interbarney.com/ https://twitter.com/anaguadalupe.
« elle souriait en pensant à cette exigence qu’il avait… » irène gayraud
Piramidal, funesta de la tierra nacida sombra, al cielo encaminaba de vanos obeliscos punta altiva, escalar pretendiendo las estrellas… “Primero sueño”, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
Elle souriait en pensant à cette exigence qu’il avait, comme certains étudiants issus de familles mexicaines aisées, de vivre dans les riches arrondissements de Paris pourtant si mornes, ou de pratiquer seulement des sports nobles et si possible onéreux. Malgré tout elle aimait bien son minuscule appartement en forme de cube sous les toits du XVIème, où elle lui rendait visite de temps à autre. D’en haut, on voyait la Seine, la Tour Eiffel, des bateaux-‐ mouches voguaient au plafond pendant la nuit, et en été, le même morceau de phrase pour touristes, dans une langue ou une autre selon la position du bateau, entrait vingt fois par jour par la fenêtre ouverte… le pont de Bir Hakeim a été construit en mille huit cent soixan… Entre chaque étreinte ils lisaient des fragments de poèmes de Sor Juana, en buvant un licuado de aguacate. Ces trois plaisirs émanaient au fond d’un même désir de 180
“she smiled thinking of that demand he had…” translated by caitlin adams Pyramidal, funereal and Earthen Born like shadow and aimed in vain Like the raised point of an obelisk Set towards the sky… “First Dream,” Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz She smiled thinking of that demand he had, like those made by upper class Mexican families, to live in the rich, yet dull suburbs of Paris, or to only play the most noble and demanding sports. Despite everything, she loved his miniscule apartment, shaped like the cubed roofs of the 16th Quarter, where she had visited him from time to time. From high up, one could see the Seine, the Eiffel Tower, the bateaux-‐mouches crossing the ceiling throughout the night, and in the summer, the same bits of phrases made for tourists, in some language or another, could be heard through the open window twenty times a day … the Bir Hakeim bridge was built in eighteen sixt… Between each embrace, they read fragments of Sor Juana poems, and drank avocado shakes. These three pleasures emanated from the same desire for total voluptuousness, easy in that exoticism without voyage, in 181
volupté totale, si facile dans cet exotisme sans voyage, auquel elle pouvait s’abandonner avec le léger cynisme de se savoir sur un îlot de songe sans conséquence qu’elle oublierait jusqu’à sa prochaine visite. Cette nuit-‐là il ouvrit la porte nu comme à l’accoutumée. Elle eut à peine le temps de souffler un hola qu’il la poussait déjà à pas lents vers la fenêtre ouverte et l’asseyait face à lui sur le balcon, sans un mot. Cambrée, la tête renversée, au-‐dessus du vide suspendue, elle aperçut derrière elle la forme inversée de la Tour Eiffel, pyramidale, qui semblait tendre vers la terre ou naître du ciel, et elle distingua un instant le dessin du lièvre morcelé qu’il lui avait appris à voir sur la lune aztèque.
which she could abandon herself with the light cynicism of the knowledge of a dream islet without consequence that she could forget until her next visit. That night, he opened the door naked, in his customary way. She had barely whispered an hola when he had slowly crossed toward the open window and sat her facing him on the balcony, without a word. Arched, her head tilted back toward the ground, she perceived behind her the inverse of the Eiffel Tower, pyramidal, that seemed to tighten toward the earth or be born from the sky, and she distinguished instantly the drawing of the rabbit that he had taught her to see on the Aztec moon.
____________________ Irène Gayraud, born in Sète, France, in 1984, writes poems, short fiction, critical essays, and translations from German, Spanish and Italian poetry. She tries to explore and experience, through her writing, the relationship between music and poetry. She is currently preparing a doctoral thesis and has been a teaching assistant in comparative literature at the University of Paris IVSorbonne since late 2009.
Caitlin Adams is in her third year at Hiram College, studying Creative Writing, French, and Art History.
tríptico de la rambla del raval (barcelona), donde la mente es el estómago de un gato callejero: #cucarachas #gaviotas @elolordelaciudadmeinvade luna miguel
* UNO: CERDO Me pregunto cómo ha llegado esta cabeza de conejo hasta mis manos. Cómo ha rodado, escalera arriba, hasta el corazón del Raval, arrastrándose, escalera arriba, girando, escalera arriba hasta mis manos. Me pregunto quién mutiló al animal. Me pregunto cuántos estómagos hacen falta para vencer el hambre. Me pregunto: hay cuartos oscuros y humedades en venta, 186
triptych from the rambla del raval (barcelona), where the mind is a street cat’s stomach: #cockroaches #seagulls @thesmellofthecityoverwhelmsme translated by jacob steinberg
* ONE: PIG I wonder how this rabbit’s head has reached my hands. How has it rolled, upstairs, to the heart of the Raval, dragging itself, upstairs, rolling, upstairs to my hands. I wonder who mutilated the animal. I wonder how many stomachs are needed to beat the hunger. I wonder: there are dark rooms and humidity for sale, 187
hay insectos de alquiler y trasteros que huelen a ceniza. Todos los días una mariposa muere encerrada entre los calefactores. Pero no hay peligro porque el invierno ya se acaba, y con él los poetas que hablan del frío y con él los suicidios y las mariposas y con él los conejos domésticos, comestibles. Me pregunto cómo ha llegado mi lengua hasta el techo de los muertos. Con la ciudad encendida. Con su cabeza bien sujeta entre los dedos. ** DOS: ANTONIO NO COME CARNE Como esas palomas aplastadas en la Rambla quiero ser sólo un agujero. Como esas palomas estúpidas que ya ni los gusanos muerden quiero ser sólo un agujero y que tú deposites dentro todo el dolor. Como esas palomas aplastadas en el camino 188
there are insects for rent and storerooms that smell of dust. Every day a butterfly dies trapped in the radiators. But there is no danger because winter is just about over, and with it, the poets who speak of cold and with it, the suicides and the butterflies and with it, the pet rabbits, edible. I wonder how my tongue has reached the roof of the dead. With the city ablaze. With its head quite grasped between fingers. ** TWO: ANTONIO DOESN’T EAT MEAT Like those pigeons run over on the Rambla I seek to be just a hole. Like those stupid pigeons that not even the worms will bite I seek to be just a hole and for you to deposit all your pain within. Like those pigeons run over on the street 189
quiero ser sólo un agujero abierto y seco un agujero comprensible un agujero en donde el bicho habite un agujero al que la droga encienda. Como esas palomas aplastadas quiero ser salvaje y mala. Salvaje y reina para que tú deposites dentro todo el dolor. *** TRES: DESPERTAR EN LA RAMBLA DEL RAVAL No sé si sabes que por las mañanas el portal de nuestra casa huele a carne, que en la acera el pollo se amontona en cajas de plástico junto al contenedor de vidrio, y que las vacas y los corderos esperan tendidos en el suelo, mientras alguna gaviota picotea las cuencas de sus ojos aparentemente muertos. ―Te lo cuento porque ya no me da asco. Ya no temo ese lugar en donde las moscas pequeñas bailan en espiral chocándose las unas contra las otras 190
I seek to be just hole, open and dry, an understandable hole a hole where the bug dwells a hole turned on by the drug. Like those pigeons run over I seek to be wild and evil. Savage and a queen for you to deposit all your pain within. *** THREE: WAKING UP ON THE RAMBLA DEL RAVAL I don’t know if you know that in the mornings the doorway to our house smells like meat, that the chicken is piled up in plastic crates on the sidewalk along with its glass container, and that the cows and lambs wait stretched out on the ground, while some seagull pecks at their apparently dead eye sockets. ―I’m telling you this because it no longer disgusts me. I no longer fear that place where the miniscule flies dance in spirals clashing into each other 191
en celebración de la leche vertida las moscas van hacia el deshecho hacia el excremento pero también danzan en la carne anidan en ella se quedan, para siempre, en el hueco coagulado de su sangre. No sé si sabes que los gatos eran bestias cazadoras, que los perros se creen iguales al hombre pero más desgraciados. No sé si sabes que los hombres desprecian lo viviente atreviéndose a adorar íconos invisibles. La cuestión… la cuestión… la cuestión no es Qué hago aquí sino Qué hago Ahora que me han traído a este lugar. Hay hilos que se arrastran por la acera. ―Te lo cuento porque es irremediable. 192
celebrating the milk turned over the flies move towards the garbage towards the excrement but they also dance on the meat form nests in it they stay there, forever, in the coagulated hole of its blood. I don’t know if you know that those cats were beasts who hunt, that those dogs think they’re equal to man but less fortunate. I don’t know if you know that those men spurn the living daring to adore unseen icons. The question… the question… the question is not What am I doing here but What do I do Now that they’ve brought me to this place. There are strings that are dragged along the sidewalk. ―I’m telling you this because it’s irreparable. 193
____________________ Luna Miguel was born November 6, 1990, in Madrid, but lives in Barcelona, where she works as an editor and journalist. She is the author of the books of poetry Estar enfermo, Poetry is not dead and Pensamientos estériles (published in Spain) and the poetry collections Bluebird and Other Tattoos (United States) and Musa ammalata (Italy). She manages her blog: http://www.lunamiguel.com
Jacob Steinberg was born in Stony Brook, New York, in 1989. He did his undergraduate work at NYU and currently lives in Buenos Aires while working on his Masters in Spanish and Latin American Literature. He works as a translator and edits Chronos (loves) Kairos.
korea poems noah cicero
Korea poem 1 I don’t like koreans I'm from Brooklyn none of the Korean girls will fuck me so I write this poem read to an audience about how I hate their culture they will fuck me now Itaewon dreams!
Korea poem 2 saturday night everyone having a good time i tell another foreigner that i enjoy eating paris baguette for lunch he responds that he has been to paris and paris baguette doesn’t match the power of french bread that man’s expertise on bread I believed in the purity of his words i never went to paris baguette again
____________________ Noah Cicero lives in Korea. He teaches English to children, some of the kids don’t know any English and will never learn English, but for some reason: their parents keep paying for them to never learn English. Whatever, at least he’s in Korea.
seoul brittany wallace
It took five months for me to realize there is a bus that runs between the location of my workplace and the location of my boyfriend’s apartment and it’s three times faster than the subway. The bus travels a highway that cuts through a mountain, 청계산, tunnels straight through it. I take the bus most of the week even though I think I’ve gotten meaner and I think my boyfriend and I have grown into something new and different together. I have little reason to glare at him and kick him under the table in public because we don’t really know anyone here, we don’t have anyone to impress, but I still do those things, I still sometimes whisper “shut the fuck UP” when I’m drunk, then apologize for being a micromanager and a bitch. I think of the Korean concept of 정 and consider that maybe our relationship has moved towards it, past passion and closer to a bond of loyalty, or something. My behavior is dictated by my nerves here but the mountains sometimes calm me, they are constantly surrounding me, here I am constantly surrounded by 199
something, sometimes things that don’t calm me. The children I teach calm me, sometimes, sometimes even when they are surrounding me. I’ve never felt more American. Seoul expands endlessly during the day and allows me to borrow something, it feels like home. At night the city constricts and I feel the consequences. I’ve discovered so little about this place and I will probably never know much more. I've discovered more about myself than I ever wanted to. I lied, I guess. I’m consistently unimpressed. (Every moment not spent in space.) I’ve never felt more American.
____________________ Brittany Wallace is 25 years old and is currently teaching English to babies in South Korea. She has some things published some places. http://twitter.com/kilakilakila
el reencuentro anunciado. malén denis
El paisaje urbano se troquelaba en medida que el taxi se acercaba al centro se alejaba del alma parque de media estación que todos tenemos cuando recién nos levantamos -‐en el barrio privado que es nuestra alma-‐ A la par de la música dulce que decora la niebla a los siete grados centígrados veo vívida tu imagen balanceando bolsas de supermercado a las nueve de la mañana silbando Quién quiere algo real si puede ver al amor de todos los tiempos volviendo sin saber al lugar de origen de todo: la recolección No cazamos porque la única sangre que soportamos es la propia pero nunca nos lastimaríamos a nosotros mismos 204
the forecast reunion translated by jacob steinberg
The urban landscape was being stamped in a die as the cab moved towards the city-‐center it moved away from the soul, a mid-‐season park that we all have when we’ve just woken up -‐in the gated community that is our soul-‐ At par with the sweet music that adorns the fog at 45 degrees Fahrenheit I see your image vivid, balancing supermarket bags at nine in the morning whistling Who wants anything real if they can see the love of all eras returning unaware to the point of the origin of all: the recollection We don’t hunt because the only blood we can stand is our own but we would never hurt ourselves 205
Porque aún viviendo en tiempo distintos reencontrarnos significó el bautismo y esta ciudad nos conforma esta ciudad nos reconforta esta ciudad nos reúne esta ciudad atestigua la unión esta ciudad atestigua el inicio y, ante todo, lo sagrado. La unión nuestra en cuerpo La unión nuestra en alma La reunión nuestra Y el tiempo que no pasó El tiempo que en realidad nunca pasa.
Because even while living in different times reuniting meant baptism and this city forms us this city relieves us this city reunites us this city witnesses the union this city witnesses the beginning and, above all, the sacred. Our union in body Our union in soul Our reunion, you and I And the time that never passed by Time that in reality never passes by.
____________________ Malén Denis was born in 1989 in Buenos Aires. She graduated from the Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires in 2006 and studied TV production and photography. In 2009, she published her first book Con una remera de Sonic Youth through the publishing house Arte Nulú Bonsai. http://malendenis.tumblr.com + http://malendenis.blogspot.com
Jacob Steinberg was born in Stony Brook, New York, in 1989. He did his undergraduate work at NYU and currently lives in Buenos Aires while working on his Masters in Spanish and Latin American Literature. He works as a translator and edits Chronos (loves) Kairos.
thinking about us and remembering the steel factory ben townsend
one of my eyelashes turned white and grew very long: i’m obsessed with a video game i downloaded three months ago and played for one week before i moved to a country with different voltages, and i never bought an adapter for my ds lite my eyelashes are palm shades for a forest house: when you wake up next to me and your eyes have glued themselves shut and your first face of the day is a frown i can see everything even more clearly than after showering, after putting contacts in, after sharing a cigarette my eyes are very dark, sometimes i can’t see my pupils, sometimes i can and they look like slits: i leave the building; i pull breaths with the slow attitude of the gloss jungle plants pushing through the grates on aunties’ porches 210
hundreds of miles of intent-‐heavy black pipes standing through and above hundreds of miles of rich black leaves and tiny peach flowers; a grey milk sky and grey milk ocean follow me following a game trail you made i’m okay
____________________ Ben Townsend is from atlanta and studies mandarin at georgia tech. he is currently studying in taipei, taiwan, republic of china. he owes a lot to katamari, sincerely yours, twitter, and his younger brother @__ben___to___ ghostmodern.tumblr.com
hello hyderabad (the saddest story i ever heard) vivek nemana
I arrived in India on February 8, finally, after months of quiet anticipation and brazen fantasy. My uncle and aunt dropped me off at Sharjah International Airport late at night. It wasn’t sad to say goodbye because I would see them again in 15 days. I checked in, hung out, ordered a drink, read from my Kindle, and boarded the flight. An Indian woman, probably in her late 30s, was sitting in my assigned seat, next to the window. She was dressed in robes that Muslim women in India typically wear, I think, which are roomy and modest but aren’t quite as formal as a burqa. She seemed poor, lower-‐caste. The air hostess asked her to move over one seat but she didn’t understand. Then the air hostess yelled at her and she moved, and I took my seat. I listened to M83 on my iPod and read Ham on Rye by Bukowski. I had never read anything by Bukowski before, but it occurred to me that the way I write someone might think I was trying to imitate him. At least in the way my
sentences are structured. I don’t know. I’ll have to read more Bukowski to know for sure. Whenever the music in my headphones got soft, or skipped to the next track, I could hear the lady next to me sobbing into her phone. She was saying something about losing stuff but I couldn’t really understand. We made eye contact and she smiled and I smiled back, even though she kept crying. I guessed that she was either a migrant worker or domestic servant. I became uncomfortably aware of my privileges, of my iPod and my Kindle and my navy blue blazer folded neatly across my lap. Then the flight took off. From the air, the UAE at night is strings of lights crisscrossing over vast plains of darkness, like necklaces suspended in nothingness. The void is probably the desert but might as well have been the sea. Sometimes it is both. “Where the Boats Go” was playing at that exact moment and it was incredible. There were no clouds that night and I could see the floating necklaces for a very long time. Soon the flight attendants came around handing us arrival cards, which we were required to fill out and hand in to passport control. Even though India is a country of like 23 215
official languages and many hundreds more of local iterations, the cards were written entirely in English. I asked the woman next to me, who was still crying softly, if she needed help filling hers out. We nominally spoke the same language, but she couldn’t really understand my Telugu and I couldn’t really understand hers. What got the point across was the word “help,” in English. She nodded and handed me her card. I asked for her passport, which she retrieved from an old plastic shopping bag stowed under her seat that was otherwise stuffed with faded clothes. Her Dubai visa had ‘SERVANT’ written in bright red letters, just below her picture. When I finished filling out her arrival card I was handed another, and then another, and another by women sitting around me. I filled out six cards this way. I didn’t mind. All of these women were, like the crying woman, domestic servants in the Middle East, who couldn’t read or write any English. Since I couldn’t communicate with them I had to look through their passports to figure out where they lived and where they had been and what they did for a living (‘SERVANTS’). Many servants in Middle Eastern households come from poorer countries like India and Pakistan, and are often abused and treated like shit. The law essentially guarantees 216
this. Say what you will about #occupy and systemic malfunctions in the American legal framework, but Gulf countries reach spectacular new heights of discrimination against Poor Brown People. Foreign servants have no recourse so their employers can do whatever they want. In Dubai, even locals on the government dole are given Poor Brown People servants. Fuck this city-‐state. There were no more forms left to fill. I went back to Ham on Rye and listened to Real Estate. I was looking forward to doing this for the rest of the flight until the crying woman tapped my shoulder. Then she told me probably the saddest story I ever heard. “I worked for my family for sixteen years, and I cared for them,” she said. She wasn’t crying now. ”They told me to pack a change of clothes because they were going to their vacation home and wanted me to come. Everything I saved, all my belongings, a hundred thousand rupees worth of jewelry, I locked in my room, and they took the key. “But they didn’t take me to their vacation home. They drove me straight to the airport and told me to go back to India. I didn’t understand! I said, what wrong did I do? 217
They just gave me my ticket and my passport and told me to leave. “I said, what about my things? They said they would mail them to me in India, but they never asked for my address. I said, what about my husband? They said it wasn’t their problem.” Her husband lived in Al-‐ain, which was about 30 miles away, but she hadn’t seen him in six years, she said. “They said he wasn’t their concern. They didn’t pay me. I wasn’t even allowed to eat today. I’m hungry.” She was speaking in a mix of Telugu and Arabic and English that I had difficulty with, but I understood. Her family she worked for sent her home, without warning. They lied to her. She wasn’t even allowed to pack. They stole her possessions. They kept her from her husband. “I was clutching their feet and begging for forgiveness, but I did nothing wrong.” She put her hand on mine, and began to sob. “I raised their kids and did everything for them, I did all the cooking, I did all the cleaning. I never stole, I never lied, I never tried to run away, even though I thought 218
about it and I could have if I wanted to. But I never did it because I worried what the family would do without me.” She said they had her feed strangers who came to the house asking for food, even as she went hungry herself. She said her madamji, who she helped to raise, accused her of stealing from the family, and added contacts to her phone to accuse her of making international calls. I asked if she had tried seeking help at the airport. American naiveté on my part. Airport security threatened to send her to jail if she didn’t board the flight. I believed what I was hearing, but I couldn’t believe it was happening in the seat next to mine. I didn’t know what to say. She was a woman without rights. As I held my iPod in one hand and Kindle in another, I told her what had happened was terrible and unfair. Did she think I was a liar? Because I felt like one. Then I did something I hadn’t done in years: I stopped being an atheist. I told her god would look after her and would punish the family because cosmically, or whatever, there was simply no justice in what had happened. I didn’t really believe the god part but I did believe something good had to happen to her soon and maybe ever hoped for a second that there was a god who could help her. That 219
universal karmic justice would be served. It’s easier to be an atheist when you don’t already have worldly masters to fuck you over, I guess. This woman was living an illusion, where she had thought her family needed her, and cared for her, like she needed them. How can a human being be so disposable, you might ask? It probably has something to do with one of the most efficient schemes of systematic discrimination against the poor to ever exist. The cycle starts in South Asia and extends to any country that’s rich off oil. This woman is another input. I just wish I remembered her name. Now she was worried about coming home to her family, and her children, with nothing but a plastic shopping bag stuffed with old clothes. “What kind of things will everybody think I was doing over there?” I told her that her family would understand if she explained her story to them, but once again I didn’t really believe myself. “But I still have a visa, right? So I can go back if I want to.” She gave me her passport and asked me to check. Her visa had a big red ‘CANCELED’ stamp, dated January 09, 2012. Her family, who controlled both her passport and visa by 220
law, had been quietly plotting to send her away. In the UAE, you are legally allowed to stay in the country for up to one month after your visa expires. She was surprised at the airport exactly one month after her visa was cancelled. That’s why airport security had threatened her. I explained this to her, fearing the worst, but she just nodded, almost knowingly. Earlier that day, I listened to the Vande Mataram and cried. Now I cried for the second time. We were silent after that. Eventually I put my headphones on again and went back to reading. India’s first lights – from fishing boats in the waters near Mumbai – appeared in the window. My iPod was playing “Chicago” as we landed. I was done with Dubai. It was time to start my two years of self-‐ exploration in India. But the journey had already begun. Hello, Hyderabad.
____________________ Vivek Nemana [b. 1989] lives in Hyderabad, India. He is writing a book on Maoist rebels and multinational mines in India's tribal heartland. His work has been published in the New York Times, the Nation and elsewhere. He went to NYU and is an American Dream Fellow. He likes Indiana Jones and is sort of getting into racial identity, but mostly he just tells the stories. [viveknemana.com + twitter.com/vnemana]
תל אביב Tel Aviv
פואמת קיץ תהל פרוש!)(tahel frosh
הקיץ דפק בום בום סיכוי
מלאכי השחרחר האוהלים
וצעקתי גבר נם גבר נם
נשלחו למקום אבל רוחי עקודה
נפלאה אהבתו האוטמת
שם כל גרמניה טבעה בים הבלטי
ישראל ישראל צעקות
לילה כל זיון בא לשלום אוהבת
ולמטה היו ישראל
עברתי את השילוט ואת הזמזום את
אחיזת המגהפון ביד הרועדת
שבקענו כולנו בזעם
לקח אותי אל
נשלחה אלף מעלה
ציורים צבעונין מתפזמים ליד פיקוס אה!
צעקתי אין לי
את הקול שנצרח כעורב
חירוף נפש לאספלט חם ורטוב
אני אוהבת ודבר כמו מים רכים אני
ולא ראיתי את מגדל האופרה מכוער כל כך ומזרקת
כי הים נסגר הרחוב נפתח לרגלינו
a summer poem translated by eran tzelgov & uri eran
The summer slammed boom boom And I yelled sleeping man sleeping man I yelled I have no chance Spear eyelids were sent to a place But my spirit is bound And mine is my black angel Wonderful is his sealing love He took me to the tents Where Germany drowned in the Baltic Sea Geese and swans were burnt instantly And a defiant hand was sent up a thousand heights And down kaleidoscopic paintings were sung beside a Ficus That does not say Israel Israel Israel Ah! I passed the signs and the humming the yelling The grasp of the megaphone with a shaking hand The voice yelled-‐out like a raven That we all hatched in rage Ahh! Valiant onto warm and wet asphalt At night every fuck finds peace I love, and something like soft water I love And I haven’t seen the Opera Tower so ugly with a snakes’ fountain around it Because the sea has closed The street opened at our feet Chubby white shoed legs 225
שמנמנות לבנבנות נעולות צעקתי עד שרציתי עוד
כמה צעקתי שגרוני נבקע
כמה צעקתי ששלושים שנים נעלמו
כמה צעקתי שאהבתי את הוריי שוב
צעקתי למען השם
על הקרקע מול המגדלים והיינו צעקה עם גדול מרוגש מתרבה מבקש עוד מולנו בום
כן ,הנה שמע אתה ביקשנו עוד
אנחנו נשכבנו לרגלי המשפטים הגדולים בום הקיץ בער והלהיב
מעולם לא עשו
את ראשי העצים כמו שחוטי החשמל
עשו הבדים שנזרקו ערומים דפוקים
סיגריות ופחים מאה אחוז פלסטיק ומנועי מכוניות מעופשים מפיחים בלוני עשן קרבורטור מת לשתות מים השלנו בגדים שבא בער לו הגוף
הכל היה סקסי נהפכנו
ועיניים מכוכבות בחלומות מכוערים
אנחנו צעדנו נערכנו ליקקנו
כוכבים עם גיטרות בחלציים אש אש
ראש ממשלה שרים
ומדי משטרה וראשי ערים
את כולם רצינו לזיין ולהמיר
אצלי זה נגמר בבנו של המוציא לאור כסף
דמיינתי אותו עושה לי
נישק אותי באלנבי פינת נחלת בנימין
How I yelled my throat cracked How I yelled until I wanted more How I yelled that thirty years went away How I yelled I loved my parents again I yelled for God’s sake I yelled at the ground in front of the towers and we were a yell, a big excited multiplying people Asking for more Yes, listen, we asked for more The banalities undressed around us We laid down at the foot of the great sayings Boom boom boom The summer burned and incited the treetops like the electric wires never had Like the cloths did thrown naked and screwed Among cigarette butts and trash cans one hundred percent plastic and rotten sooty car engines spurting smoke clouds, carburetor dying to drink We marched prepared ourselves licked water shelled our clothes Everything was sexy Co-‐cks and pus-‐sies All who came did so with a burning body We turned into stars with guitars in our loins and starry eyes in dreams Fire fire And police uniforms and mayors Ugly Prime Minister and ministers We wanted to Fuck and convert them all It ended for me with the publisher’s son I imagined him making me money Kissed me on Allenby, corner of Nahalat Binyamin The healthcare square But 227
אבל היה זה אוויר מסתיים של קיץ מעיל חרדלי נטרף בכפות ממשמשות
הוא נישק אותי בפה העצוב
ועוד הרבה לפני כן
it’s a summer-‐end’s air And the fall Came in cold A mustard coat was devoured by grasping palms He kissed me with the sad mouth And a long time before all that
____________________ Tahel Frosh was born in Tel Aviv and grew up in Herzliya, Israel. As a poet, artist and cultural critic, Tahel's poems have been widely published in Israel and translated into English, Turkish, Arabic and Persian. "Avodat Gilui" ("Exposing Work"), Tahel's latest art project, was exhibited at highly acclaimed art events throughout Israel. She is currently working on her debut poetry collection, to be published next year by The Bialik Institute. Tahel is a member of the Cultural Guerilla poet group in Israel, majorly participating in the social struggles taking place across the country. She wrote for Israel’s Haaretz for seven years, studied law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and has recently completed her studies in clinical psychology.
Eran Tzelgov is a Hebrew poet, translator [from Spanish, French and English] and one of the three editors of the Hebrew-language Daka – a Journal of Poetry and Criticism [http://www.dakajournal.com]. Furthermore, he is the founder and a senior editor at the nascent publishing house Ra’av, challenging the Israeli book industry and dogmatic canon. Tzelgov’s work has been published in various magazines in Israel, and has been translated into Arabic, English, Hindi and Spanish.
Uri Eran is a Philosophy student at Tel Aviv University. He is a member of the Lexicon for Political Theory in the Minerva Humanities Center and a secretary for the "Mafte'akh" lexical review of political thought. He also teaches philosophy at Tel Aviv University and writes television criticism in "Achbar Ha-ir Online."
arqueología del calor aurelio meza
Siempre he querido ser un arqueólogo de las palabras, excavar hondo en sus significados. Éste es mi trabajo de campo: *** Los excavadores encontraron las vías de un medio de transporte de la Vieja Ciudad. Al parecer era una especie de vehículo masivo en ferrocarril. Al poco tiempo llegaron a los escombros de lo que les parecía una estación de ese transporte. Alrededor sólo había tierra y más tierra: se sorprendieron al descubrir que los habitantes de la Vieja Ciudad tenían rudimentarias construcciones aéreas. Cuando se publicó el informe de los hallazgos, algunos mencionaron en los foros de opinión que el Nuevo Centro debía ser demolido para redescubrir por completo al Eslabón, aunque la mayoría se lo tomó a broma. *** 232
an archaeology of heat translated by jacob steinberg
I’ve always wanted to be an archaeologist of words, to excavate deep into their meaning. This is my fieldwork: *** The diggers found the pathways from one of the Old City’s means of transport. It appeared to be a type of massive vehicle on railway. In no time they reached the debris of what seemed to be a station from that form of transportation. Surrounding it was just dirt and more dirt: they were surprised to discover that the inhabitants of the Old City had rudimentary aerial constructions. When the findings were published in a report, some mentioned in the opinion columns that the New Downtown ought to be demolished in order to rediscover the Link completely, although the majority took it as a joke. ***
Como decía un científico, el recorrido del desastre se podía rastrear siguiendo el proceso de urbanización de la Gran Ciudad, como entubar los ríos y canales para construir grandes avenidas, que luego serían el vertedero de las desgracias por venir. *** Jacinto encontró uno más. Los llamábamos “depósitos de la muerte”: burbujas de concreto que no habían llegado a derrumbarse. Los sobrevivientes se refugiaban ahí del calor y los salteadores, pero eran muy inestables. En “su depósito”, Jacinto supone que los accesos principales se colapsaron, por lo que los sobrevivientes quedaron completamente aislados. También le parece que hubo actos de canibalismo: en los huesos de un niño pequeño encontró marcas de dientes. No parecían mordidas de rata u otro animal. La gente que murió ahí adentro debió sufrir horas realmente duras antes de poder descansar. *** Alguien logró encender un generador de energía. De esa casa nos llegaban noticias del exterior. Así nos enteramos que el Gran Temblor dejó incomunicados al Sur y al Norte. No puede ir ni venir ayuda alguna. Hemos vuelto a la época 234
As one scientist noted, the trajectory of the disaster could be traced following the process of urbanization of the Great City, for example channeling the rivers and canals to build huge avenues, which would then become the outlet for the misfortunes to come. *** Jacinto found one more. We called them “death repositories”: bubbles of concrete that hadn’t managed to cave in. Survivors sought refuge there from the heat and the highwaymen, but they weren’t very stable. In “his repository,” Jacinto thinks the main entrances collapsed, leading the survivors to be completely isolated. He also suspects that there were acts of cannibalism: in the bones of a small child, he found tooth marks. They didn’t appear to be bite marks from a rat or any other animal. Those who had died there, inside, must have suffered through some very difficult hours before finally being able to rest. *** Somebody managed to start up a generator. From that house, we received news from the outside. That is how we found out about how the Great Tremor left both the South 235
en que los Estados Unidos nos robaron territorio: las regiones ya no forman un solo país. *** La vida de los pueblos del Desierto está muy relacionada con las hierbas que les ayudaron a sobrevivir: el zacate en Zacatecas, la cachanilla en Mexicali. La planta del valle de México, específicamente de Xochimilco, era el lirio acuático. Luego del desbordamiento de los Ríos Renacidos, era común que el olor a podrido de los lirios se mezclara con el de los cadáveres. Después del Gran Temblor, la hierba predilecta fue la marihuana. La gente prefería morir drogada y con la boca seca antes que simplemente morirse de calor. Ya nada tenía sentido para ese entonces. *** Venía al D.F. escapando del calor de mi tierra, en Culiacán, cuando comenzaron las tragedias. El terremoto fue lo más impactante de todo lo que sucedió. Llegó en el peor momento, justo cuando el calor alcanzó los niveles de los Desiertos del Norte. Los trabajos de rescate se entorpecieron, gente moría mientras intentaban levantar los escombros y rescatar cuerpos que rápidamente entraban en descomposición. Cuando los Ríos Renacidos 236
and the North cut off from communication. No help can come nor go. We have returned to the era when the United States stole our territory: our regions no longer form a sole country. *** Life in the Desert towns is closely related to the plants that helped them survive: the zacate long-‐grass of Zacatecas, or Mexicali’s arrowweed. That plant for the Valley of Mexico, or more specifically, for Xochimilco, was the water hyacinth. After the flooding of the Reborn Rivers, the blended smell of rotting hyacinth and dead corpses was quite common. After the Great Tremor, the favored plant became marijuana. People preferred to die drugged up and dry-‐mouthed over simply dying from the heat. Nothing held any meaning at that point. *** I came to Mexico City fleeing the heat of my land, Culiacán, when the tragedies began. The earthquake was the most stunning thing that happened. It came at the worst moment, just when the heat had reached levels like the Northern Deserts. The rescue missions hindered, people were dying as they made efforts to lift the debris and rescue 237
volvieron a secarse, sólo quedó una estela de cadáveres. *** Yo sólo habría vuelto a esa ciudad con ella, fue una coincidencia que sucediera todo esto mientras yo estaba de paso. Era la última semana que el aeropuerto estaría abierto, los Ríos Renacidos dificultaban la evacuación pero pese a todo, me enviaron en un vuelo de conexión. Ella decía que la Ciudad de México era como una de esas morras que cogen con todos y no andan con nadie. Yo pensaba en una amante que era así y comprendí por qué no se puede atrapar con palabras a una ciudad ni a una mujer. En todo caso fue una mala broma del destino que el Gran Temblor me agarrara justo aquí, donde jamás me habría gustado tener que sobrevivir. Y aun así comí, robé y maté para no morir. *** El día de hoy fui por agua al centro de acopio: a las 10 am estaba fresco, unos 35o C a la sombra. En el camino hay algunas palapas pequeñas para descansar del sol, pero la mayoría está hecha de aluminio y otros desechos, no de palma. Yo nunca me detengo, siento que nomás me gasto el agua que debo llevar y me da más calor así. A mediodía la 238
bodies quickly beginning decomposition. When the Reborn Rivers began to dry up again, all that was left was a wake of corpses. *** I only would have returned to this city with her, it was a coincidence that all of this happened while I was passing through. It was the last week the airport would be open, the Reborn Rivers made evacuation difficult but, despite all else, they sent me on a connecting flight. She said Mexico City was like one of those chicks that fucks everyone but dates no one. I was thinking about a lover who was like that, and I understood why you cannot capture a city or a woman with words. In any case it was a bad joke by fate that the Great Tremor would catch me right here, where I never would have chosen to have to survive. And even so, I ate, I stole and I killed to not die. *** Today I went to get water from the stock center: at 10 am it was cool out, just 95 ˚F in the shade. On the way there are some small palm shelters to rest from the sun, but most of them are just made from aluminum and other scrap, not palm leaves. I never stop, I feel like I just waste the water I 239
temperatura ya pasó de los 40o y eso no es nada, mi papá nunca me deja ir en verano, cuando llega a 60o, dice que estoy muy pequeña para soportar ese calor. Lo dice quien ha estado en silla de ruedas desde que un camión lo aplastó entre los escombros de un Río Renacido, la Piedad, que por un tiempo fuera llamado Viaducto Miguel Alemán. A veces se le olvida que está vivo gracias a mí. En la noche, el sonido a lo lejos de unos ventiladores destartalados no nos deja dormir. *** ¿Sabes cuando me di cuenta que este calor no era normal? Cuando por primera vez sentí la piel de mis párpados. Después comencé a sentir mis ojos calientes, a esa temperatura los encendedores explotaban en los bolsillos y en la sala de urgencias era común ver a personas con el muslo o el pecho destrozado. *** Nadie estaba preparado en esta ciudad para lo que venía. En Hermosillo o Monterrey llevaban muchos años de “práctica”, por así decirlo. Pero en el D.F. casi nadie tenía aire acondicionado en los hogares, así que cuando llegó la primera ola de calor la gente no sabía donde resguardarse. 240
need to bring and end up feeling hotter that way. At noon the temperature was already over 104 ˚F and that’s nothing, my father never lets me go out in the summer, when it hits 140 ˚F, he says daddy’s little girl is too small to handle that type of heat. He says it, the one who has been in a wheelchair since a truck crushed him among the debris of one of the Reborn Rivers, Piety, which for some time was called the Miguel Alemán Viaduct. Sometimes he forgets that he is alive thanks to me. At night, the distant sound of beat-‐up ceiling fans won’t let us sleep. *** You know when I realized this heat wasn’t normal? When I felt the skin of my eyelids for the first time. Then I began to feel my hot eyes, at that temperature lighters burst in pockets and it was normal to see people with broken thighs or chests in the emergency room. *** Nobody in this city was prepared for what was coming. In Hermosillo or Monterrey, they had been “practicing” for years, so to speak. But in Mexico City almost nobody had air conditioning in their homes, so when the first heat wave came people didn’t know where to take cover. The scarcity 241
La escasez de luz eléctrica no pudo llegar un momento más inoportuno. Luego de las inundaciones alcanzamos los 55o C a la sombra… ¡y no había aire acondicionado! *** Todos estaban aferrados a la comodidad. Se hicieron a la idea de que era un derecho suyo, un deber de las autoridades. Cuando los generadores eléctricos portátiles y el aire acondicionado empiecen a ser una cosa más común, el efecto invernadero se agudizará en el valle. Cualquier temperatura arriba de 26o C será pretexto para encenderlo, incluso en invierno. Con razón todo sucede primero en la ciudad de México: quieren llegar primero al infierno para apartarle un lugar a sus familiares del interior del país. *** Yo pude haberme dado cuenta: en Montreal el verano llegó a casi 30o C por algunos días, en Madison me dijeron que el invierno no había sido tan crudo, las ciudades de Baja California registraron récords de temperatura, la lluvia no paraba en la ciudad de México. Yo pude advertirles, mi vida estaba diseccionada entre la Hora del centro y la del Pacífico, sabía malabarear entre el vacío de dos husos horarios. Y no hice nada. 242
of electricity couldn’t have come at a least opportune moment. After the floods we got as high as 131 ˚F in the shade… and there wasn’t any air conditioning! *** Everybody clung to comfort. They got used to the idea that it was their right, a duty of the authorities. When the portable electric generators and air conditioning begin to be a more common item, the greenhouse effect in the valley will get worse. Any temperature over 79 ˚F will be a pretext for turning them on, including in the winter. For good reason everything happens in Mexico City first: they want to reach hell first so they save a spot for all their relatives from the rest of the country. *** I could have realized: in Montreal the summer reached almost 86 ˚F some days; in Madison they told me that winter hadn’t been so harsh; cities in Baja California recorded record temperatures; the rain wouldn’t cease in Mexico City. I could have warned them, my life was divided between Central Time Zone and Pacific, I knew how to juggle between the void of two time zones. And I did nothing. 243
*** Tanta muerte me hizo pensar que estábamos tan acostumbrados a la felicidad. Nos olvidamos de ella hasta que la perdimos. Por lo menos los que podíamos pagarla. Los pobres siempre han sufrido, están más adaptados a las condiciones extremas, fueron los primeros en comerse cadáveres frescos. Cadáveres por lo general de gente rica. Los caníbales arrancaban a pedazos sus alhajas y ropas finas, las tiraban al suelo llenas de polvo y sangre. *** Los cadáveres que arrastraron los Ríos Renacidos quedaron expuestos al sol. A los pocos días toda la ciudad olía a carne podrida. Las hogueras en las fosas comunes empeoraban el calor y disminuían la visibilidad. Los pocos dueños de autos que aún tenían gasolina corrían el riesgo de chocar si iban a alta velocidad, pero también de ser emboscados por los salteadores si manejaban muy despacio. ***
Primero hubo una enorme inundación, o más bien una serie de ellas. El primer río que se desbordó del sistema de *** So much death made me think that we were used to happiness. We forgot about it until we lost it. At least those of us who could pay for it. The poor have always suffered, they’re more adapted to extreme conditions, they were the first to eat fresh corpses. Corpses that were usually the rich people. The cannibals ripped their jewelry and fine clothes to pieces, threw them to the floor full of dust and blood. *** The corpses that the Reborn Rivers dragged along were exposed to the sun. After a few days the whole city smelled of rotten meat. The bonfires in the mass graves made the heat worse and diminished visibility. The few car-‐owners that still had gasoline ran the risk of crashing if they went at high speed, but likewise being ambushed by the highwaymen if they went too slow. *** 245
First there was a huge flood, or better put, a series of them. The first river to flow over from the drainage system was the National Canal, in the stretch know as la Viga, one of drenaje fue el Canal Nacional, en el tramo que se llama de la Viga, uno de los primeros que entubaron en la Gran Planificación Hidrográfica, a mediados del s. XX. Fue una gran ironía para los más viejos. Al Canal de la Viga le siguieron otros ríos: el Hondo, el Churubusco, el Mixcoac, el Magdalena. La red acuática de Xochimilco, que antes se extendía hasta el Centro Histórico mismo, revivió por unos cuantos meses. Se cumplió otra predicción, la de los Ríos Renacidos, más por planeación deficiente que por el clima o por “acto de Dios”, como decían los abogados en sus contratos. *** Yo no soy humano, yo soy el sol mismo. Nací de él y hacia él me dirige mi muerte. Un hilo de luz se escurre por mi boca y mis lágrimas son cristales de azufre. Huelo a podredumbre y polvo. Ayudo a los zopilotes y la valentía me da risa: todos morirán bajo la marca del cáncer en la piel. 246
the first ones they channeled in the Great Hydrographic Planning, in the mid-‐1900’s. It was quite ironic for the elderly. After the la Viga Canal came other rivers: el Hondo, el Churubusco, el Mixcoac, el Magdalena. The waterways of Xochimilco, which used to extend all the way to Historic Downtown, came to life again for some months. Another prediction came true, that of the Reborn Rivers, more so because of deficient planning than the environment or “Acts of God,” as lawyers put in their contracts. *** I am not human, I am the sun itself. I was born of it and towards it I direct my death. A string of light slips from my mouth and my tears are sulfur crystals. I smell of rot and dust. I help the buzzards and courage makes me laugh: everyone will die beneath the cancer mark on their skin.
____________________ Aurelio Meza was born in Mexico City in 1985. Poetry: Sakura (2008), La droga (2010) and Sombra (Unpublished). Essay: Shuffle. poesía sonora (2011).
Jacob Steinberg was born in Stony Brook, New York, in 1989. He did his undergraduate work at NYU and currently lives in Buenos Aires while working on his Masters in Spanish and Latin American Literature. He works as a translator and edits Chronos (loves) Kairos.
méxico mariachi viktor ibarra calavera
MEXICO CITY BLUES [muchachos desnudos pálidos enfermos desarrapados escuálidos indefendibles piojosos desenfrenados cancerígenos intoxicados desdeñables tiranos drogadictos apáticos destruidos terribles frenéticos caninos selváticos mortales tartamudos paupérrimos jadeantes alumbrados rabiosos perdidos lumpen vacíos monstruosos repetitivos diminutos inexpertos olvidados vulnerables sucios pegajosos últimos] MÉXICO MARIACHI ni lo último, ni pegasos, ni el libro de mi vida cerrándose como fondo clavado de gárgaras, ni yéndose, 250
mexico mariachi translated by jacob steinberg
MEXICO CITY BLUES [nude boys pale sick raggedy scrawny defenseless filthy unrestrained carcinogenic poisoned insignificant tyrannical drug-‐addicted apathetic destroyed terrible frenzied canine wild mortal stuttering poverty-‐stricken panting lit-‐aflame rabid lost disenfranchised empty monstrous repetitive minute inexperienced forgotten vulnerable dirty sticky last] MEXICO MARIACHI neither the last, nor pegassus, nor the book of my life closing like depth nailed by gargling, neither leaving, nor 251
ni asustado, sin lugar, incendiándose como galopando a través del aliento, sin detenerse, aplastando tarántulas, rayos de sol, coágulos de delirio, gorilas chispeantes, náusea, mirando hacia atrás el incendio a latidos, la boca del revólver, el grafiti del rosto, el mar de huesos crujiendo mientras se desnuda, como una vía láctea a medio camino de la silla eléctrica, el paisaje del ojo como un refrigerador abierto, los dientes del ataúd masticándome con gusanos, los gusanos del intestino conduciendo a toda velocidad a través de mis fantasmas, la calvicie de recordarme con espejos rotos y perfume, mi nombre por todas partes, lluvia negra y de concreto apresurándose contra mi cráneo de agua estancada con flores, el témpano de ondas sin cruz, la montaña de testigos deslumbrados por ángeles, la baba del esperma girando en la licuadora, la circunferencia de antes y el prepucio como un precipicio infinito para esconderme del fin del mundo a punto de hacer erupción, cegado de pausas y gritos nevando, la fotografía de mis explosiones a toda sangre, ni vértigo, ni caries, ni ruido genital de callejones oscuros, ni polvareda, ni cascajos, 252
scared without place, burning up as if galloping through breath, without stopping, squishing tarantulas, sunrays, clots of delirium, lifelike gorillas, nausea, looking back at the beating fire, the mouth of the revolver, the graffiti on that face, the sea of bones crunching as it strips naked, like a milky path halfway en route to the electric chair, the landscape of the eye like an open refrigerator, the teeth on the shroud chewing me up with worms, those intestinal worms driving full speed through my ghosts, the bareness of reminding me with broken mirrors and perfume, my name everywhere, black, concrete rain pressuring me against my skull of stagnant water with flowers, the ice floe of waves without cross, the mountain of witnesses blinded by angels, the spittle of sperm swirling in the blender, the circumference from before and the foreskin like an infinite foreskin to hide me from the end of the world on the verge of erupting, blinded from pauses and screams snowing, the photography of my explosions at full blood, neither vertigo, nor cavities, nor genital racket from dark alleys, neither dust clouds, nor wrecks, 253
sino sombras y aberturas, géisers de cables y propaganda, aplausos atravesando el arco iris, flores de metal incandescente, balazos en lugar de ojos, enjambres en lugar de ojos, fábricas, tallos burbujeantes, espadas de luz contaminadas, vientres hinchados como escopetas, travestis bibliotecarios susurrando despedidas en el infierno, cascos de solicitud, falsos imperios lobotomizados, tiraderos de basura, magnetismo astral, delincuencia juvenil a regañadientes, ni parias, ni ganglios, ni heridas escapando de jaulas, ni cáncer, ni diamantes en órbita, ni puntos suspensivos, ni puertas blancas detrás de la puerta de mercurio, ni salvajes, ni futuros, ni espesura derramada, prematuros, hipnóticos, neón y calvicie, pixeles dorados, chimpa chuscos chinches chundos changos chongos chocos choros chingo chemos churros chescos chetos chanchos chasquidos chingaderas, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni 254
just shadows and openings, geysers of wires and propaganda, applauses piercing the rainbow, metal flowers, incandescent, bullet-‐wounds for eyes, swarms for eyes, factories, smoke-‐bellowing stalks, contaminated spades of light, bellies bloated like shotguns, librarian trannies in hell whispering their goodbyes, solicitous helmets, false lobotomizing empires, garbage dumps, astral magnetism, reluctantly juvenile delinquency, neither pariahs, nor ganglions, nor wounds escaping cells, nor cancer, nor diamonds in orbit, neither ellipses, nor white doors behind the mercury gate, neither savages, nor futures, nor spilled thickness, premature, hypnotic, neon and hairlessness, gilded pixels, chimp cheap champs chumps chalks chores chants chaps chill chicks chums chucks chumps chasing choking cheers chit chatter, neither single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor single, nor sober, nor 255
solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solo, ni sobrios, ni solo, ni sobrios, ni solo, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solos, ni sobrios, ni solo, ni sobrios, ni solo, ni sobrio, ni solos, sobrios, mariachis en éxtasis, pedradas de convicción, jauría de espectros TEPITO BARBARIE colgados de astros luz cabeza de mundo palpa de flor moliendo susto fuego en todo ángeles intoxicados con el día de volvernos pájaros y amar de susto la inmolación suceden cosas terribles ruidos mortales de pedrada cielo por los ojos temblando puertas tigres enrojecimiento salpicados a corrernos de la mirada golpeados de hueso galopando sucios invisibles corrosivos en sigla hirviendo a galope de ansias en lo esencial 256
single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, nor sober, nor single, sober, mariachis in ecstasy, blows of conviction, a hound-‐pack of spectra TEPITO BARBARITY hanging from stars light head of the world palpating from flower grinding fear fire in everything angels poisoned by the day where we became birds and had passion for immolation out of fear terrible things occur mortal sounds of blows by stone the sky trembling through our eyes gates tigers reddening spattered as we ran from that stare struck of bone galloping dirty invisible corrosive in abbreviation boiling at a gallop out of anxieties in the essential & 257
i soltando fuego a diestra y siniestra luz y sangre golpeando perros excesivos de ángel tragándose los vidrios rotos del interior floreciendo piano de golpes los brazos arrancados el mar las ansias besándose paréntesis al ritmo de soltarse el mar de cabellos las esquirlas de mirar atrás las ruinas de constelación alcanzada por relámpagos volviendo el rostro de tanto corriéndose luminosos angustiados largos de fuera caídos de golpe sol de oración templo de hambre cerrado naciendo ojos puño surgirán restos y lo pronto de ondar precipitados yenos de sustarse enfáticos alcalinos almibarados montajes negros palpándose los gustos sin edificar tastéreos metrollas filados floreciendo a nada la inmensidad de tragarse signos el pantalón de cortarse los huesos los fantasmas so esquirlas rumbo la pelvis el mínimo quelado grandemente herrumbres largueros firmes íntimos escosados tanto de pavor vueltos de asteriscos sobre los hombros quedándose tambores al luto y dientes al dolernos muy sin rajarnos el pecto aliviados chinches de sobresalir guasados izquierdos esclarecidos tardando suntonas de calaveral también solamente naciendo florecer tremulando i acharse meridianos sintéticos el fin del mundo 258
unleashing fire left and right blood and light beating dogs high in angel swallowing up the broken bits of glass from inside flourishing piano suddenly the torn off limbs the sea the anxieties parentheses kissing to the beat of letting the sea of hairs go the splinters of looking back at the ruins of a constellation reached by lightning bolts turning your face back from so much running luminous distressed distances from abroad fallen suddenly sun of prayer temple of hunger closed being born eyes fist remains will emerge and the brevity of delving rash phull of being fraid emphatic alkaline sugary black assemblies palpating pleasures without building testereos shropnell spun flourishing into nothing the immensity of swallowing signs the pants for cutting your own bones the ghosts under shards bound for the pelvis the ever-‐chelated minimum firm rusted crossbeams starved for milk and intimate so much terror come back from asterisks from over the shoulders drums left in mourning and teeth alleviated by hurting us quite without cracking our chesct bedbugs from hanging loose over the left elucidated tarrying established in reed beds of skulls also only being born to flourish quivering & axing yourself along synthetic meridians the end of the world 259
AVÁNDARO dentrándose cayéndose aventajados en siglos y temblor de polvos mismísimos de esqueleto travancados inevitables yéndose de largos prepucios al caer soltándose de astros ni magma ni tribu sino fábricas de serlo en el límite de quilatarse volcados de ansias pies y viceversa volando de caballos al sol intoxicados de ángel ni se acuerdan de sí pero bastan sobran yéndose de siempre lagartos encendidos de tripas volados de ansias dentrándose más o más herpes ladrillos gángsters de médula cruzados de nunca el desierto de mirarse yorando impertinentes volcanes ángeles drogados hinchándose de neón oídos de menos a guitarras temblándoles las aortas de salitre el pecho de pájaros el pájaro de coca baleados sin fin ausentes de volver ardiendo sin mar como ahogados excesivos fermentos molares de guano y horca numerados en bemol harinas de gárgara descalzos rupestres azotándose de olas heces de heces huecos vandalismo idos de no soltarse sino justos de ternura padecer cascos jaurías de tiento alumbrar fondos llevándose de ciegos larvas culpas tempestad racimados al venven de zoológicos trapecios galácticos echados de cuajo al trote de mulos 260
AVÁNDARO turning inward centuries ahead and trembling from the very skeleton dusts inevitable wreckless leaving long foreskins upon falling letting go of stars not magma nor tribe but factories of being them on the edge of anxiously assaying their turned over feet and viceversa flying by horse to the sun poisoned with angels they don’t even remember if so but they’re enough they’re too much the usual leaving from lizards ignited on innards flying from anxiety turning inward more or more herpes bricks gangsters of medulla crossed from nothing the desert szobbing from watching itself impertinent volcanoes drugged angels filling up on neon faint sounds of guitars shaking their saltpeter aortas bird’s breast the coke bird shot without end absents from coming back burning without sea as if drowned excessive molar ferment from guano and gallows numbered in flat notes gargling flours barefoot caves flogging themselves of waves feces of feces holes vandalism absent-‐minded for not having let go but righteous for how tender suffering blows wild packs of tether illuminating depths heading forth blind larvae blame tempest clustered 261
ayunando por distancias colmena de lindes inadvertidos témpagos de amor yerbando entre lastres sin solamente plantarse de insultos sintéticos de principal aturdidos mecánicos ogrios dispensores sensales perforados de trago lumbre y velcro zurcidos a la pista válvula cetáceos robándose el íntimo freón de improvisto siniestros oyados visos de hundirse zurdos de puja y cuántos por suceder en acto si nada más echos de nacer guijarros lactando hielarse sólo sí peciolos luminados de principio golpeándose con lo alto de rabiar tenebrosos calcas luz latidos jardines tropicales abundantes sin melodía serruchados de ánima lactando vidrios rotos solares primitivos infinitamente hojerosos bebidos agonizando relámpagos de fugarse pixelados felpudos de escroto automáticos idos de fábrica jugando carnicerías neones templados en cúspide convictos descalabros blanquísimos imposibles ataris sufriendo apaches descomponerse terrados de enviudar pericardios sébolas tifones bufos derrotados paraísos atómicos asaltando partituras intenciones de postizo chispeantes perforados de introducción radicales sobrados de cráneo contagiados vervales narcóticos 262
to the swinging of galactic trapezium zoos rooted out at a mule’s trot fasting for distances a beehive of boundaries unnoticed ice bolts of love getting toked between ballasts without just standing firm from synthetic insults mainly stunned mechanical ogres sensal dispensers perforated in a gulp fire and velcro damned to the highway cetacean valves unexpectedly stealing the intimate freon sinister and tread-‐upon petticoats of left-‐handers sinking from bidding and how many to occur immediately if nothing more the facts of being born suckling pebbles freezing just that petioles illuminated from the offset hitting the highs of gloomy great pain you trace light heartbeats tropical gardens abundant without melody sawed from their souls suckling broken primitive sun panes infinitely baggy-‐eyed drunken agonizing pixelated lighting bolts of flight automatic scrotum doormats fabric-‐crazed nuts playing lukewarm neon butcher’s shop at peak convicts defeats bleach-‐white impossible ataris suffering apaches losing their composure rooftops of widowing pericardium ebol like bait typhoons defeated comedies atomic paradises mugging scores of music fake intentions sparkling perforated from the start radical and ample infected in the cranium verval narcotics 263
humos derramándose de labios a espaldas y no suficientes cacareos purgando rumbados volcanes de no ser moluscos perplejos de vida a disparos pérgonas invisibles vértigos de sordera y costras por azor de ��perlada gustia golpeándose zumbidos palidecer monstruos virulencia tajados fugaces venidos de sacudirse coléricos palpando sin anochecer las avispas los trastos mellados el apocalipsis tan estallando frenéticos al límite de vulgaros calcinados de arranque inmensos prostáticos fatales fatales hundidos que ni el mundo
bellows of smoke pouring themselves from lips to backs and not enough crowing purging thrown down course dancing the rumba volcanoes of non-‐mollusks perplexed from life invisible bulletholes shooting away deafness vertigos and scabs left by goshawks from pearled anxiety beating itself humming going pale monsters virulence sharpened fleeting coming off convulsions choleraic palpitating without ever going dark the wasps the gap-‐ toothed junk the apocalypse so exploding frantic at the edge of vulgar scorching from ignition immense prostatic fatal fatal so sunken they’re not even in the world
____________________ Viktor Ibarra Calavera (Mexico City, 1991) X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X XX X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X Y X X X Y XYX Y YYX X X X X X XX X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X XX XXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXYX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X XX X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X XX X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X XY X X X X X X X X
port-au-prince ariana reines
Eyes are wet and stick to you Electricity shoots up from the ground into you It is like electromagnetic Your pussy puts a shine on your eyes You put one foot in front of the other It is to be thirsty it is to be kind it is to be curious it is The feeling of relief that comes in a place where what it is Is customary To see more than what can you know Be seen White sand Sand stone I get hit by a car I like it It is terrible I love it I won’t tell you about it We’re stupid Women with problems And men with problems in this place 268
It is of great splendor It is anciently cruel and physical When you thought you had a soul And believed you could become a good person The satchel-‐like breast Quivers behind the balconet bra of our large leader A long long clitoris like a Russian manatee in Ossetia or Yeravan in a spa doing pilates in orange lace jeggings In The Abduction From the Seraglio In The Rape of the Sabine Women In Express Yourself Oak Oak Fuck me like two years ago Muscles cost nothing flesh costs Nothing beauty has almost no value truth and hearts You can eat them raw nobody will know The horror the horror I keep wanting to call her Our Kurtz Babies children boys babies only in such ignorance could we do this Here Only fools fall in love Purity Three years ago I saw a man naked with his hands ziptied behind his back Caked in white mud 269
In the rain I give a blowjob by a car and I feel like it You couldn’t eat and cried all the time and had nightmares That was me Isn’t it romantic Civilization isn’t Isn’t it Isn’t life and death romance It is not romance True romance Isn’t it romance When the ghost comes blooming out of your shorts Like a blast from the past Like a turkey wattle among turkey wattles attached to turkeys held in a bundle by the legs By an enormous woman whose eyes are like continents with whom you will never speak Cum on rubble Everybody knows dead fruit smells worse than dead people Remember that you are dust is painted on the bus A very strange eternally muscular fidelity pounds the heart Which is love and not discernible for some reason by some I don’t know a taste of salt It is like the torpor of all imprisoned things Under the right circumstances the soul grows so large 270
It becomes a white nightshift blooming around the skeletal corpse of a hag in the sea It is a tent Lit from within So just to make it obvious The truck drives into us and Bouchon’s leg is broken in three places I was ready to die alone without the ladies or the men There are several chambers in the heart They are meant to be incommensurate It is a challenge for engineers Which is why the great houngans are all engineers It is that the substance of the person Is not only the good but time and desire which deserve also their measure How to make the heart beat as one is what my friends call A mystic thing It is impolitic to say what I really really want In the catastrophe that harmonizes me In platform flip flops our humanitarian leader goes to find the money changer She likes to party with fucked people Everybody wants to party with fucked people It is the universal principle It is to be blanched Burning garbage 271
It is true and it makes me cry If the map were made of fat mother tongues which could melt like wax and exude maggots and flowers If pigs and dogs could browse the carnage If I could enter the house of my father and be cured against its bare walls hospital green It will take a long time to empty my head But I will empty it Any devil or asshole or wizened mediocre heart can have what he wants of it I made of my skull a begging bowl I told the sky to fill it I put the ace of hearts in my pocket Some shit happened My organs contracted my rude ungrateful spaghetti I let you clean me out entirely I made of my skull a begging bowl I told you I told the sky to fill it and then I waited I waited And then the sky said yes
____________________ Ariana Reines is author of The Cow (Alberta Prize, FenceBooks: 2006), Coeur de Lion (Mal-O-Mar: 2007; FenceBooks: 2011), and MERCURY (FenceBooks: 2011). Her play TELEPHONE was produced at the Cherry Lane Theater and won several Obie awards. It can now be read in PLAY: A JOURNAL OF PLAYS. In 2009, Reines became the youngest-ever Roberta C. Holloway Lecturer in Poetry at the University of California Berkeley; she has taught master classes at Pomona College, the University of California Davis, and the University of Pittsburgh.
“Belgrano R desde el balcón, 17:29” by Jacob Steinberg, ©2012.
The artwork on pages 5, 23, 47, 65, 99, 147 and 173 Original Illustrations by Haley Houseman, ©2012.
Wellington Original Photography by Hamish Parkinson, ©2012.
“Melbourne graffiti alleyway” by cjohnlang under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
“Map of Auckland 1932” in The Probert Encyclopaedia
“Winnipeg Skyline At Night” by Travel Manitoba under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
“Lighthouse – Georges Island” by Geordie Lounsbury under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
“London Tube” by Sébastien Garnier under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic
“Brighton Pier Amusements” by Robert Hunt under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
“Border Art” by Nathan Gibbs under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
“Los-Angeles-Downtown” by Masivaan under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
Original Photography by Sarah Cook, ©2012.
“San Francisco Cable Cars” by Florian under Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivs 2.0 Generic
“dupont circle” by sciascia under Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
“Epcot 2011” by Edward Beavers under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
“Atlanta Skyline” by k1ng under Creative Commons AttributionShareAlike 2.0 Generic
New York City
“Rapid Transit Lines of the New York City Transit System” (1948 Subway Map) taken from http://www.nycsubway.org
“Independence Hall” by HarshLight under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
“IL Chicago Exposition 1893” by Snapshots of the Past under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic “1933 century of progress panorama” by Jason Tinkey under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
“Memphis Skyline HDR [Reinhard]” by Exothermic under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
“Mardi Gras Mask” by Timothy Tolle under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
Screenshots of Google Streetview taken at 3 locations in Sao Paulo, Brazil
“Latin Quartier – Black and White – Paris” by Israel Mendoza under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
“Barcelona i el modernisme” by Jaume Meneses under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
“Seoul subway moving sidewalk” by Gene Han under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic
“Cementerio de La Recoleta” by Ramiro Javier Croce under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
Original photography by Jacob Steinberg, ©2012.
“Satsuma Daimyo” from Geographicus Fine Antique Maps Archive
Original photography by Vivek Nemana, ©2012.
“Mexico City 2010 - 08212010 - 082” by Robert Blackie under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
“Downtown Port-au-Prince” by Mangrove Mike under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
It is well known that people ascribe to different cities their own identities. Our urban landscapes most certainly have their own unique way in which they are represented in culture, film, and writing. But the focus of this project was the ways in which those identities are so often transplanted onto their inhabitants. While dispute continues over terminology to define contemporary literature, there is an undeniable, shared quality in how we write, publish, and consume literature in the internet era. The “cityscapes” in this project are reflections on the urban environments that we all know and how the current genera-‐ tion of writers relates to them. “The city exists as a fruitful, generative space, a locus of culture, and Cityscapes explores this space, probing the intersections between art and life. These pieces take the reader around a spin of the globe, inhabiting and evoking spaces in all their splendor–and squalor.” -Rachel Hyman, Co-founder of Banango Lit
“…One of THE MOST ambitious and amazing city projects that I’ve ever seen!!” -CAConrad, Contributor, 2013 BANFF Fellow, and author of A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon