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                                                                 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  

40 contemporary  writers                                                                    compiled  and  edited  by  Jacob  Steinberg                      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  


12 17  



O Canada Waiting  For  a  Flood  (Winnipeg)   Dave  Shaw     Hunter  Gather  (Halifax)   Frank  Hinton    


25 36    

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  


51 54  



Best Coast

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  

83 91  

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  

149   vii

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  


156 168  


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  


225 232  

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  

233 250  

251 268  





‫ 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        


The Antipodeans




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



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.



O Canada

23 Â



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:





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

47 Â



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 :) ____________________    


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



Best Coast

65 Â

San Diego


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).



los angeles

71 Â

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



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.




82 Â

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:



San Francisco


selfportraits taken on my shitty webcam in every place i’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

99 Â

Washington, DC


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.




105 Â

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  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   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  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.     “  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.”     “  you  mean?”     “My   father’s   all   about   giving   us   cases   with   soul   boggling  ugliness.  This...”     “Sometimes...things  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




114 Â

#fila (forever i love atlanta)

michael hessel-mial





____________________   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



New York


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 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. [ //]



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




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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



Middletown, USA




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.

cassandra troyan

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.




155 Â

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).




New Orleans

167 Â

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




Uncharted Territory

173 Â

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.





« 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.




185 Â

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:

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.





203 Â

Buenos Aires

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. +  

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___





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. [ +]



‫תל אביב‬ Tel Aviv

‫פואמת קיץ‬ ‫תהל פרוש!)‪(tahel frosh‬‬

‫הקיץ דפק בום בום‬ ‫סיכוי‬

‫כידוני עפעפיים‬

‫מלאכי השחרחר‬ ‫האוהלים‬

‫וצעקתי גבר נם גבר נם‬

‫נשלחו למקום אבל רוחי עקודה‬

‫נפלאה אהבתו האוטמת‬

‫שם כל גרמניה טבעה בים הבלטי‬

‫אווזים וברבורים‬

‫ויד מסרבת‬

‫ישראל ישראל‬ ‫צעקות‬


‫לילה כל זיון בא לשלום‬ ‫אוהבת‬

‫נשרפו ברגע‬

‫אינו שואל‬

‫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

‫נחשים מסביבו‬

‫כי הים נסגר הרחוב נפתח לרגלינו‬

‫‪ ‬‬ ‫‪224‬‬


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

‫הבנאליות התפשטו‬

‫אנחנו נשכבנו לרגלי המשפטים הגדולים בום‬ ‫הקיץ בער והלהיב‬

‫מעולם לא עשו‬


‫את ראשי העצים כמו שחוטי החשמל‬

‫עשו הבדים שנזרקו ערומים דפוקים‬

‫בין בדלי‬

‫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

‫זינ־ים וקוס־ים‬

‫כל מי‬

‫דמיינתי אותו עושה לי‬

‫נישק אותי באלנבי פינת נחלת בנימין‬

‫‪ ‬‬ ‫‪226‬‬

‫בכיכר המרפאה‬

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


‫נכנס בקור‬

‫הוא נישק אותי בפה העצוב‬

‫ועוד הרבה לפני כן‬ ‫‪ ‬‬

‫‪ ‬‬ ‫‪228‬‬

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 []. 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."

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Mexico City

231 Â

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    



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.





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.




Cover Art  

“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.


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“Map of Auckland 1932” in The Probert Encyclopaedia


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San  Diego  

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Los  Angeles  

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Original Photography by Sarah Cook, ©2012.

San  Francisco  

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Washington, DC  

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New  York  City  

“Rapid Transit Lines of the New York City Transit System” (1948 Subway Map) taken from



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New  Orleans  

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São  Paulo  

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Buenos Aires  

“Cementerio de La Recoleta” by Ramiro Javier Croce under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

Tel  Aviv  

Original photography by Jacob Steinberg, ©2012.


“Satsuma Daimyo” from Geographicus Fine Antique Maps Archive


Original photography by Vivek Nemana, ©2012.

Mexico  City  

“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


It is well known that people ascribe different cities with their own identities; our urban landscapes most certainly have their own unique w...

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