Page 1

gritty silk

issue two issue two issue two issue two

gritty sara woods//carrie lorig .......................... freesia mckee//anja notanja sieger// elizabeth scott..........................................


4-5 6-7


8 9



sidney cherie hilley//bz bu sean m. foster//cola leckrone.................. robin lamer rahjia//lewis dejong.............

neil campau//erin case............................ robert j. baumann//chuck stebelton.....








nava fader//robin f. brox.......................... russell bennetts//rauan klassnik..............


margaret bashaar//kelly boyker...............


paul baker//ron czerwien//jordan dunn// andy gricevich//martha kaplan................ tony mancus//matt sadler......................... yvette nepper//megan martin..................

gritty silk

amy jo trier-walker.....................................


issue two





28-31 32-35





silk erin dorney//tyler barton....................... daniel kessel//joyce lainé.......................


46 47-50

michael sikkema//elisabeth workman... MOON POON







laura goldstein//nikki wallschlaeger...... contributor bios.......................................

gritty silk

titles of all poems with an * are links to their audio and/or visual accompaniments

issue two 3

STONES ALL LINK ARMS* we look like ghost tours here held in strong personal herds. these are wet dreams with fresh bulbs in stones like throwing, like mammal mouth, like throning. we look like heated pieces of gauze laps groping for corner leather. there are not excessive keys that can say: antler foam, lift hearter, weight, breed weight, mop wheezy, clip blood, crooked lust mopped into a bled of lung makes nine, six, white tables redder. me say awwwww. this is everything in my harbor bag! my face is all over in land prints and sewn department ambers. which is a list of stone happen for lizard-warm sand for mouths? pears in a jar, just over the last hoods of a salsa garden vault used as a drug in chant lotion.* *start vocally and physically bleeding into the granite alongside the murderers.

a bit between the fallen sea caps. we are a bit between each other and quartz**. a filthy red bit down between the place where we wandered hunches and sharp edges corrected. dear skies of the caribbean, we rest in helicopters. we drop like stones from helicopters. our urge to piss has been heavily blindfolded.

sara woods

my wetsuit says, FACEBOOM. my sweatsuit says, it’s the mesa **fold skulls are happening! we make lists that’s shaped like 1,000 grams of different kinds of breathing that we can of grief and counting. use later at night or during rainstorms. my swat team says, let’s put party hats on the security cameras. let’s put dragons on the maps we can’t use. this is the lasting effect of a party drug or god maybe.


carrie lorig

How should stones follow from here? What if we put in earplugs? A dream so cold I shattered my orbiting teething ring. A dream so cold an overlapping series of gray smudges and fracture. A stone unweeds. A stone un weeds the jungle and throws parrot throats into the brown ish land flowing silently. Flowing silently like an orchid born in a plastic placenta a stone holds on its own. These banks are too steep to swim in. So we just lie in the ground up pieces of stretching. When I put a chunk of wasp nest (i love how big under your tongue, I call it a beach towel. I call a stone, your my arm was stone because it fills up the definitions of the word, block. for a fox den a) Stop. b) Solid Mass. c) Work out and document the movements carefully or the audience won’t understand for whalers where the Earth was in pain with the groan dawn’s arm broken against its chemistry wall. Whenever I slice onions for Thai curry, for the lightning bolts wanting to spice up a pair of smoothies, MY EYES LEAK and lose all the rocks. How can you lose a rock when there’s no tear to even settle on? There’s just a crashing and balloons flying past the half-dead faces of people. The half-dead faces of & tree agate.) mountains jiggle like bracelets. What is your birthstone? Mine is blood stayed in the freezer for a long time and the second it got out, it vomited. There isn’t any sawdust like a glass of whiskey touching the silent tension in the sun. There isn’t any sawdust like inches deep across our porch.

sara woods

what about sea ice? (ascentionite shapes are diatoms blooming, like spills.) what about wheat rust? (!!! we are both holding ruby in zosite.)                 what does a mouth have? (check your belongings. check local farm laws.) cross bear, i am mosquito for you. i am blood lung. watch for song.      watchforitslowlyingchirring . carrie lorig


STONES RAIN* what if coats hold breathe machines found in weird dances

what if a warm arm

across the red sky took a shatter stalled at its end           what if we became swimmers i’ll be carving toeholds for oranges, hours swimmer, can we stone draw our singe what are murders like? night clicks the blimp

a stone is cool

in your pocketmouth because it is made of shade

from an outcropping

of broken pearls that were welded into a creamsicle

they are running

the Great Lake water we are watching ourselves being torn into

body wash

oh dan, oh crawler dream. you & my shoulders. remember the chest we kept wearing things in.

sara woods


carrie lorig

singe gold

& take fonts for your breathing. & take stones for what stones fit in. & take punches for coughing. & take stones for what stones fit in. lamb’s ear. cold us up. we are bluelamp we are poollamp we are stonelamp we are swimmers in here. how often is great heat in a nest, in a vein. go north.                                        tread heavy, trick rider.

sara woods carrie lorig


BLUEBIRDS FIND ME We rode on habits, relying on the whales to carry us even as we slept. They could have supped at any time. Those killers were under a cast.                You came up first                 wearing a mist                 like milk                 powder                 seals treating each sighting of you                 all sweet and particular                 like Sarah Vaughan.                                 What we did wrong                                 was sink so far,                                  to find thermal vents.                                  Nothing else.                                 Mais c’est la meme chose,                                 we are mammals: we have hair                                 and we stay warm.

freesia mcKee//anja notanja sieger

               You changed everything                 when the spin and veer of you dovetailed with those bergs                 like cold milk                  on snow.


elizabeth scott

CURLY MIMETICS Who are those riders of whales? Yeah         who are these throat singing strangers? My brother once complained American jazz singers are always altos with black sequins casing big hips, glamorous hips that pause on the piano night after night they’re huffing out husky melodramas of a baby who buys ladies fur coats and diamond rings of he I sing:

“But sometimes, sugar daddy, another train full of stories with songs sawing back and forth inside their grease-shined heads teeters you all the way totters till ya sling an arrow into the dome over this earth and the whole case snaps shut blue again.”

freesia mcKee//anja notanja sieger elizabeth scott


SYNESTHESIA* I hear the bold clacking of your tongue and feel you on me, shaking with your ice hooves— hard-shelled quarter rests chewing the metronome crunch— gnawing the beat, nibbling the hush dance// with calm legs, like ebony keys playing silently through urban-funked streets, sipping on soda pop, pop that cherry, cola fizzing on your teeth— I heard contact between lips is considered biting and i like to bleed out memory and instinct out syrup flesh in a cardboard dress //Swedish fish legs, gummy thighs squirming in my cheek my wet crush’s perfume uplifts my eager nostrils into ecstasy little ear beetles lotus eating little hairs in shells, concrete conchs eating music for free why pay for pleasure? when our eyes are prisms, kaleidoscopic iris’ knotted in chlorine hues

sean m. foster//cola leckrone

I’ll drop my swim bottoms filled with rocks and take a dip peering into the vastness of color: honey buds blooming bright, cherry snowing pink on my tongue’s graph— gridded cotton candy in a virgin’s smile whispering forget-me-nots with each flick// tangled, twined: Gone like a straw dipped into the bathtub of peach smoothie suds, orange skin, a mandarin sheen like cinnamon stick, wearing a blonde wig bursting through parachute lips— through translucent skin, I watched your eyes water, like scared teardrops, singing “Swim, girl, swim.”

10 sidney cherie hilley//bz bu


My wife, our son, and I lived in an apartment complex with a communal pool in the middle. Anybody could

swim in the pool as long as they lived there. Strangers, though, always came by and snuck in. I always thought that was wrong. There were rules. In fact, there were good rules that I thought were important. This is what they were:

1. No Lifeguard on Duty; Swim At Own Risk

2. No Swimming after Posted Hours: 8 AM – 10 PM

3. Swimming Pool is for tenants only

4. No Horseplay or Roughhousing

5. No Food or Glass Bottles Around the Pool (No Watermelons in the Pool)

6. Please Towel off Exotic Oils and Lotions Before Entering Pool

7. Children Under 18 Must Be Accompanied By An Adult


9. No Urinating in the Pool

10. There are residents living here, so please keep them in mind, I mean c’mon. It’s common courtesy. The Cops will be notified in the future. -Management

The landlady bought the sign and then added new rules when the issues with the strangers arose. She hand

wrote in the extras. I could tell her writing. It was cheerleader writing. It was writing like on pep rally signs that cheerleaders put on other people’s lockers. The things she added were directly related to events that happened in our complex’s pool. These things had happened while our son was in the next room sleeping. It was these strangers. There was this group that came to the pool. It was usually after hours. It was usually five or six of them. They always made a ton of noise and always had food and music and beer. Always. After a while, they started keeping my wife and

they called him Con.

lewis dejong

me up. She started watching them. She told me about their ringleader. She said his name was Connor and sometimes

robin lamer rahija 11

On the night that led to the watermelon addendum, there was some yelling. My wife tapped me. But, I

rolled over. Sometime later, I noticed she was gone. I found her in the living room. She was peeking through the blinds at them. She was spying. I cleared my throat behind her. I told her that it was impolite to eavesdrop. And then she got excited to tell me about what they had been doing out there. I remember how she described it.

There were five of them, she said, and they were sitting on the edge of the pool, mostly talking about

how fucking cold the pool was, and then Connor called them all pussies and promised they’d get used to it. Also, Connor had a watermelon on his lap, and he was covering it with Vaseline by reaching his hand deep into the container and then bringing it out and smearing it across the watermelon, like how people butter corn on the cob, like his hand was the knife. He used all the Vaseline, and he spread it very uniformly, and then he presented it to his friends, and when they tried to touch it, he would pull the watermelon back and holler at them not to fucking touch it and that they should look with their goddamn eyes, and then he stood up and dropped the Vaseline-covered watermelon in the pool, and it made the initial crash followed by the gulp of the water displacing. Then Connor led his friends in a cigarette and a shotgunning of a beer as they watched the lubed watermelon truck around the pool. Then Connor shouted “Me and Brynn, stick” and they all jumped into the pool. Connor and Brynn went to the deep end and the other three went to the shallow end, and the watermelon was in the middle, floating around harmlessly, until Connor yelled go, and then he and another guy started swimming hard for it, swinging their arms and kicking up water. And they got to the watermelon at the same time and when the other guy—Guitar, she said, because he has a tattoo of guitar on his neck—tried to grab the watermelon, it shot from his grasp and drilled Connor in the shoulder, and Connor was stunned for a second. All his friends came to his side and asked if he was alright and one of them just said whoa, and Connor didn’t say anything and just caught his breath for a second, and then pushed them out of the way and he went for the watermelon, but it just torpedoed out of his hands too, and that’s when the game dissolved for a bit because everybody wanted a chance to try to hold that greasy watermelon, but each time it squirted from their hold and then they’d start laughing. (I told my wife I could hear the laughing.) So, then they were just sort of talking about it, like Guitar said that it was amazing how slick it was, and Connor said it ought to be because he put all of it on there, and then Brynn said that the watermelon was like everything—as she was talking

lewis dejong

she was giving up on the game and going over a cigarette—but she said it was like everything because everything seems like it might be easy to control, but then it’s just out of your hands, that’s the modern condition is how she ended, as if she had answered some larger question. And then Connor sized up the other three people who were just sort of poking the watermelon with a finger and making eww faces, and then he dove onto the watermelon,

12 robin lamer rahija

trying to cover it up, his chin resting on top and his knees guarding the bottom and his hands wrapped around, almost embracing it, and he wasn’t trying to swim, but he was floating with it and letting the water take him wherever, and once he got comfortable, he started trying to make his way to the deep end, which was when his friends got aggressive too, and they did their best to guide him the other way, but he was moving now and fighting them off with his elbows and wild whips of his head. When he got to the end, he surfaced, and the other team was holding him, and he couldn’t do anything, so he let go of the watermelon, and with his forearm he hit one of his friends across the face, and then with his other arm he jabbed Guitar’s throat, right with the front of his fingertips, and then gave the girl behind him a kick to the stomach that sent her drifting away, and all this gave him some room, so he again got on top of the watermelon and this time pushed it under water a ways, and then everything was quiet except that Brynn was saying his name, chanting it—Con, Con, Con. And then. He shot up out of the pool, clutching the watermelon, and he screamed, and he chucked the watermelon into a mini-arc, and it flew briefly, ending about three feet out of the pool where it hit the concrete and exploded into a hundred little chunks of splattered red and green. It made a sound like a supernova being born, she said. (I told her that was very unique way to describe it, even though I had no idea what she meant.) And then Connor hollered a victory cry and backstroked to Brynn, and they made out for a bit, until his friends came up to him, and all they could say was that that was fucked up, and Connor said yeah it was amazing, and then aside from touching their injuries, they seemed to drop it. They weren’t mad or anything. It was kind of amazing that they weren’t upset. They just don’t really care, she said.

I put my arms around her and held her. She was shook. When we met, she was not totally unlike those

people. She had destructive habits. She drank. She smoked. She had all kinds of sex. She was in a band. When I came along, she wanted me to make that go away. So, I did my best to make her understand that she didn’t need them. She mostly quit drinking and she quit smoking cigarettes when we had Mason and she quit playing music when her bandmate left town. Over time, she just seemed to understand that she didn’t have to do these things to enjoy herself. And she trusted me to keep her away from that. But, I didn’t that night. So, I ushered her to bed. I stroked her hair. I hummed. I did everything she wanted, and I was certain that she was much better. ****** lewis dejong

robin lamer rahija 13

lewis dejong

To look is to act especially if the look is really a stare and the gazed upon

pass in a silent cloud of social ceremony so soft you could nap on it

and by nap I mean glide along the sidewalk with a cocktail inspired affect.

Your embrace of the lover inside the stranger will look from the outside like a bear hugging

a small and very scandalized pine tree. Inside the cloud is hazy like a dream in a bad 80s movie.

You might need to focus your wit and words into a sharp stick to wave around until

you hit the heart of your enemy. After they are slain you find oops it was your dream friend

the whole time. No one likes me your dream friend whispers and then dies

with a passionate flourish. They lay with the cracked head of a child who looks very

much like a kid with whom you went to grammar school whose name was

kid-whose-eye-leaks-a-sticky-grime. And you point and stare and beat the eponymous eye

and want to shout I like you! but the stick has disappeared and was it ever even

in your hand and this has all gotten a little too abstract for your liking.

If you pass through the cloud everyone will look like your mother but they will like you even less.

14 robin lamer rahija


After that night, I began to keep record of when these strangers invaded. It was mostly at night and mostly

on the weekends. I figured that the optimal time to swim and avoid them was weekdays between 12 and 1. This was during my lunch break—I’d just started at Gardener, Dulleson, Obediah, and Frank. So, all that summer, my wife and I brought Mason to the pool during my lunch break. It was nice to spend time out there, just the three of us. Also, we had read that exercise in the pool was good for children. Also, Mason liked it. My wife would take him under the arms, lifting him. And he would kick at the water. Then she would dip him down into the water. He would lose it for a second. Then he’d be fine. He’d chuckle, as if to ask to be dipped in again. That was when Mason loved the pool. He doesn’t remember it now.

One day, though, the strangers showed up. I could hear them before I saw them. Connor was talking about

the awfulness of cops. I turned to my wife. “Let’s get out of here,” I said.

“Right now?” she asked. “We just got in.”

“We need to get out.”

“What? Why?”

And then the five of them emerged. They didn’t stop talking when they saw us. They just entered the pool

area like they owned the place. They undressed and inched into the deep end.

I was careful to put myself in between them and my wife and Mason.

“It’s just those kids,” my wife said. “They won’t say anything or do anything.”

“Yes they will,” I said. I knew they would. I remember warning her. But she didn’t budge. We stayed at the

shallow end. They splashed each other and talked loudly. The water began to wave, and Mason caught a splash up his nose. He panicked and almost started to cry. I turned around after this and eyed the pool rules, hoping they would see it and be reminded. But they just kept chatting and kicking until there was a lull. Then, Connor swore and pushed himself out the pool. I thought it was perfect. I thought they might leave. He didn’t go to their belongings, though. Instead, he exited the pool area and went to the nearby stairs. He walked up them, slowly. Everybody, my wife and Mason included, watched him. On the second level, he lined himself up with the deep end of the pool. He climbed over the short railing in front of the apartment. His feet were tucked between the

“My God,” I said.

lewis dejong

balustrades. His hands squeezed the railing. He just leaned out over the pool. And then, he jumped.

robin lamer rahija 15

He landed right in the middle of the pool with a sizeable splash. He resurfaced quickly. His friends high-

fived him and congratulated him on the splash. Brynn was the last one and she came up and said “Yeah.” Then she stuck her tongue in his mouth.

“We should go,” I said to my wife.

“In a couple of minutes,” she said. She just kept dipping Mason up and down.

I moved closer to my wife and son.

After some more reminiscing about the jump, Connor and Guitar both got out of the pool. They exited the

gate and ran, with tiny steps, to the stairs. They went up the stairs and prepared for another jump.

“Young man,” I said. It was the first time I had said it. “I don’t think you should be doing that.”

“Oh yeah,” he said. “Why is that?”

“Because it’s against the rules,” I said.

“What rules?” he said.

“Those rules,” I said. My straightened arm pointed to the sign full of rules.

“Oh, those?” he said. “I don’t follow those rules.” He was on the other side of the railing, now. He was

bending his knees and kicking his feet. He was trying to make light of his being up there.

“You must,” I said. “If you want to swim in this complex’s pool, you must follow the rules. Look, I know you

aren’t a resident, which is already against the rules, so could you please do your best to follow the rest of them.”

“I toweled off all my exotic oils,” he said. His friends laughed at this.

“What about the others?” I said.

“Which one am I breaking?” he said.

“No Diving. No Horseplay.”

“Oh, everybody knows that only losers follow those rules,” he said, playfully.

“The rules are the rules,” I said.

“And what will you do if I don’t follow your rules?”

“First,” I said. “They aren’t my rules. And second, I will be forced to call the police. The rules are for

lewis dejong

everyone. They are for me. They are for you, regardless if you are wise enough to acknowledge their importance.”


“So you don’t want me to jump of this railing?”

“No,” I said.

“And why is that?”

robin lamer rahija

“Because the rule says you should not be jumping of that railing.”

“No, that’s not why,” he said. He looked up at the sky and gathered his breath. “You don’t want me to break

the rules because you don’t think you’re allowed to break the rules. And if you can’t break them, then nobody should. If you would have thought of it first, you’d be up here instead of me. But you don’t got the balls, and you don’t got the brain.” As he said this last part, he put his hand to head. He was showing me where his brain was. But his other hand on the railing slipped. His right foot, then, ran out of room and instead of pushing off forward, he just toppled over. He fell quick. He fell head first. His ear seemed like the first thing to hit the concrete. It made an ugly sound. I can’t say like what. It was like flesh hitting concrete. It was like nothing I had heard before or have since. It defied figuring.

His friends bolted over to him. Brynn was first. She carried all her clothes, using them to cushion his head.

And that was when I began to see the bleeding. One of their white shirts went pink. Brynn started sobbing, but silently. And I remember thinking that it was the quietest our apartment complex had ever been when those people were around.

After some moments, Connor was able to move an arm. His friends seemed relieved at this. Brynn made

him keep his neck still. Connor started crying. Then all of them were crying. This made Brynn more serious. “Fuck,” she yelled at me. “You live here. Can’t you go call somebody?”

This yelling got Mason crying. My wife picked him up and grabbed me with her other arm. She led us to

the apartment. We went right by Connor. “I’ll call an ambulance,” my wife said. I was staring at the blood. A little came out of his ear. More came from a scrape between his neck and jaw. His cheek was almost a black purple. I stopped for a second. I almost said something. I wanted to say something. I wanted to say something about the reason for the rules. My wife must have been able to sense that because she gripped me harder and led me inside.

Inside, my wife called the ambulance, and I calmed down Mason, which took some doing. My wife

intermittently peeked between the blinds, then she joined me in Mason’s room. Then, there was a knock on the door. It was two paramedics. They asked my wife where the victim was. I remember them calling him a victim. We stepped out our door to see the pool. They were gone. My wife and I apologized. We explained the fall. We showed them the dried blood and the watermelon stain. They stood around for a bit to talk. My wife wondered

sort of trouble these kids would be in because of the host of rules that they had broken. They agreed. One of the paramedics, however, said that the kids could’ve sued and won even with the rules on our complex’s side. I knew

lewis dejong

if the kids probably ran away because they thought they would be in trouble. I explained to the paramedics what

robin lamer rahija 17

what he meant. And I spent the rest of the night preparing my arguments of the case. Once, I knew my argument that I would use, I fell asleep. In the morning, my wife said that she hadn’t slept much. No strangers really came to the pool after that.

Yes I convinced Adam Walker to jump into Longview Lake naked at midnight off the old dock

the thing not much more than a myth itself the discovery of which depended on a set of word to mouth directions

passed amongst the other bad kids: park your car at the baseball diamond walk at a certain angle through the field

at a specific time of a summer’s night toward the tree bent West climb along the humid water’s edge until

the trees thin to reveal the old slats and nails barely risen from the surface hidden and ripe for teenagerly behavior.

I was sleeping with Tim but I also wanted to be sleeping with Adam. This was nothing against Tim

it’s just that I wanted every beautiful body that cocked its head a certain way and this was a time of practice.

Through a combo of bad teen movies and pheromonal instinct I knew the action to take in this situation

was to steal his trunks from the dock. I dangled them over his head like a fishing line until he bobbed up

and pulled them and I into the water. I waited two years to break his innocent stoner heart

like a teacup for vague reasons related to college and type of books enjoyed and amount of drugs consumed.

lewis dejong


Oh Matthew Adam Walker I never really saw you for all the water that surrounded us even as later during a fishing trip


robin lamer rahija

gone very real life he pulled my swimless form from the greedy currents of the river

swollen from a sudden summer rain. Not a word about the almost happened for the whole three hours we stumbled

through the woods to find a rumored bridge over this river so different from the calm lake where I first

touched his body underwater. When the trees finally parted and we crossed with our legs and arms

cut up and our bruised feet — our shoes sacrificed to the hungry river. I did not hold his hand. ******

That was our first apartment after we married. It was so long ago. A couple of years later we moved into a

nice house in the nicer part of the city. Later we moved into this bigger house outside the city. This one has a pool. We don’t use it very much though. Mason is at college, and he didn’t use it when was here. My wife only lies out beside it. I use it the most, but still not much. That’s sad. So, lately, I’ve been thinking about having a party. It would be small and fun and most of all, tasteful.

Last night, I was on the deck. My sign that I thought would be good for laughs at the party had come in the

mail. It said:

Welcome to our Ool. (Notice there is no P in it—let’s keep it that way!)

I thought it was clever and a nice reminder. I was thinking about where to put the sign and having my nightly glass of red wine. The pool water was moving almost silently around. The only sound was the guard on the filter kicking water in and out. I was very calm.

Then my wife came home. I didn’t expect her home. Since she took a job at the library in the city, she has

many late functions with donors and guests. So, she got a little apartment downtown in case she doesn’t want to drive back at unreasonable hours. But last night, she came back and sat with me on the deck. She was wearing a green dress. She looked, by all accounts, very beautiful. I could tell she was drunk. She had that reckless smirk that

“You look very nice,” I said.

She smiled. “I see your sign came.”

lewis dejong

she used to have when we met.

robin lamer rahija 19

“Yes,” I said.

She poured me a second glass of wine, and then she started drinking out of the bottle.

We were silent for several minutes then. I was thinking about what a pool party might look like. In particular,

I wondered if I would need to post more traditional pool rules. It would be nice to have something like at our old apartment. “Do you remember that first apartment?” I asked my wife.

“Of course,” she said. She laughed to herself. And then she rose and slowly removed her dress. She

climbed up the deck railing that overlooked our pool. She balanced herself with some difficulty. She put her arms above her head. She dove into the pool. It was a graceful dive, and in the dark I couldn’t be certain there was any splash at all.

When she came up, she was loud. “It’s gorgeous,” she said. “You should get in.”

I went to the railing. “No,” I said. “I’ll just watch you swim.”

“C’mon,” she said. “Jump in. From the deck.”

“I better not.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t know,” I said

“I wish you would,” she said. “I really, really, really, really, really want you to.”

There was that. I thought about that. I thought about jumping. If there was a time to do it, it was then. It

was a Friday night. I had just had a physical. I had great insurance. Plus the deck leaned over the pool, so there was no chance I could hurt myself on the concrete. I began to disrobe. I took off my clothes and folded them. I balled my socks and tucked them into my shoes. I was in my underwear now. I could feel a great pressure rising in me. I went back to the railing and climbed up. I nearly fell. I decided those things weren’t made for standing. I got my balance, though. I was able to stand there. I didn’t want to jump. I wanted her to say that she wanted me to again. She didn’t. She just stared up at me, waiting. The wind changed direction, and I felt cold and stupid. That’s when I jumped in.

There was, I’ll admit, the initial rush. The physical touch of that new water surprised me. And my wife

greeted me when I resurfaced, which was rare and nice. She congratulated me on the jump. We kissed nicely for a few moments. Soon, after that, we left the pool and went to bed. Once there, my wife fell asleep instantly. Me, I tried but couldn’t. I kept having this sensation where I was falling. My heart was thumping. I hated it. It was awful.

lewis dejong

Some people enjoy themselves by doing these reckless things. I do not. I enjoy the understanding of why I don’t do those reckless things. That makes me happy. My wife and I are very different that way. It doesn’t mean we are bound for very different lives. It does not mean that we can’t love each other very much. It doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t.

20 robin lamer rahija

erin case neil campau 21

CINQUAINS Was Swiss Ate something Swiss A number of holes called Apocalyptic amber lamps Grow holy * You gave Me lines. You gave Me milk. At the world’s end If you reach your saturation Meet me. * Caution The irises When they grow along roads So there goes them old Blue flags *     Terror Couple krill crimp. Got it on good word from An oarfish, king of the herring. Brine shrimp. *

robert j. baumann

Yeah. No, It was very Emotional, I think. When The Artist won best picture I withdrew. * Boom fire Cuyahoga Culled better hoagies Bled out handsome slake oils into Erie

22 chuck stebelton

I COME FROM THE NASCENT BEANE coffee, castor, and cocoa, oil up between murky sips sheen sheer healing tincture tinkering among the dry leguminous grain could get lost there vanilla podlike threat of giants’ way earthward is your way up up to, uplift, upskirt action acting for what audience whose ears to hear it, whose feet to shuffle skuffling and mouths to cough caught up in the drama dreaming drone-like drowsiness lulled instead of lost, lolling about artichokes in row upon rue   rue organdy ornamental rashes will ensue and the taste is bitter. Olden times wheelworks what we’d gather as we go hemskirt unbelievable accents slippery elm to shoots them new yawkers and the sound beat in bones saltwater taffy might tongue the distance or deliberate   nosegays nosedive runny rue remedies mashed carmelized sugar and honey speed expulsion stillborn birds brewing blue-beak tea taken in clinking cups to the lip, lappable, the steaming stammer of what cannot be begins to reinvent, relevance rising small increments of eyebrow or goosebump still going up   buoyant buzzing from boys zippering whispers of what if what if, what if no one walks in negligent fruit parent lets baby travel imported from anywhere but here, hairy horned goats ramble and shout shared voice votes undercoat every time

nava fader robin f. brox 23

THE RED BIRD* “This next tweet of yours better be good,” one of them casually bit as they placed him in front of a laptop and shoved a gun against his head. “Yeah, bitch,” one of them hissed, “you better do this up real nice.” And he was crouched in the brush, and feeling a sharp sting in his right wrist he looked down and saw the menu in the red red brush. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Concubine Chicken Menu (prices as of 1884) Putrid Red Burger 19 Self-Loathing Drumsticks, with a side of skin 19 PCPancakes 19 Fraternité Fries 19 Reach Out And Touch Someone Cola (w/ Red Flares) 19 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------‘@ConcubineChicken When is reality?’ “Not ‘when,’ where grundaarn it,” said Dalybot. ‘@ConcubineChicken Where is reality?’ The bots planned to bark up his shins real good if no answer was forthcoming. They kept shoveling and shoveling their shotguns.


“Nausea will save me,” he knew, finally, & snickered, & snarled, & leaned down at the screen—but the bullet had already passed through his brain and lodged itself in one of the bot’s steel-toed boots— ___________________________________________________________________________________ In the middle of a quiet mall in Birmingham a couple stared at a bird’s shadow that passed over the floor. Now, this is exciting, they both thought. This bird, though, was distantly related to them. Yes, there was the distinctive scythe-like shape. Such is shopping in L’Oiseau Rouge, where any moment now—

russell bennetts

a bunch of delicate and miraculous feathers come drifting down. A slight, flaring red.

24 rauan klassnik

THE MEAT. THE IMPOTENCE.* (Say!) ————“Say more Seymour” ———— (Say!) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Well: La Anaconda. A hooded black teenager. Teen upskirts. Such happy spirits! Sosostris of da liver. Jaws yack beer around and around and. A 1000 little deaths over a pic of Mr. Starnbergersee. Death “Achtung Replay, Replay is the one I had,

Seymour” n’ obstruction in town. In’t town. and gown. “If your not hearing this. I juice wanna surf the nite away. Turn it over and watch what REALLY happens. 199*: did you choose something else? Sumfin else?” Can’t go left! LIMBO! A stray. 3 p.m. 3.16 p.m. Sergeant Snare on Pussy “What’s good for the soul, Seymour.” Patrol. Keep da Game Genie far fence, that’s fo’ mensch.

--------------(Say!)-------------------- “Say more Seymour” ---------------------(Say!)------------------------- and // & \\ and ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------T-t-t-t-Terminally. I am P-p-p-Prime G-g-g-g-g-Grade Meat melting in the oven. You kn-kn-kn-know the m-m-m-music’s much too g-g-g-g-g-grey. M-m-m-My hair . . .[Seymour!]. . . You know: you know where you are with reappointed plaster. Foxcoatered AntiChrist. May be some one will piss in the urinal next to me AND I won’t feel so alone.” . . .[Seymour!]. . . . . . [Seymour!] . . . . . . . . . . . . [Seymour!]. . . T-t-t-t-Terminally. I am P-p-p-Prime G-g-g-g-g-Grade Meat melting in the oven. . . . . .[Seymour!]. . . May be some one will piss in the urinal next to me AND I won’t feel so alone.” -------------------------(Say!)----------------------------- “Say more Seymour” ------------------------------(Say!)---------------------------

============================================================ ================================ [ Achtung !! ] [ Seymour!!! ] [ Achtung !! ] ============================================================ ========================================

russell bennetts rauan klassnik 25

VULTURES GROW* and this tree’s bent me to my colloquial knees, the vulture’s eating away at my eye which is on literary fire my dogs and I started drinking 14 days ago, chasing tail in the arcade that is Arcadia. Eyes pinned to ass. Mothgrub one day. vulture’s made us shepherds beneath the trees and tortured us with crosses babel and barked grammar

russell bennetts

my dogs and I, The King of Gulls, forever fornicating and his zorrowfull taped cassette of urban forestry.

26 rauan klassnik

A CERTAIN MYTHOLOGY OF WOMEN We drove our Model T on the road until it floundered in a pasture of goats, stepped to the ground in our long skirts, held hands and tried to avoid the mud, while blackened sunflowers creaked in a skeletal chorus, while the air settled around us in heaps. I held you up to my face like a glass those days. I was forever parting my hair to the image of you, forever tightening my stays to pinch your waist as we raced through the fields, flanked by foxes, field mice and bumble bees, and in our footsteps flowers bloomed into wildfire, behind us the fields burned, our faces smoking as embers, our flesh pulling away from muscle, curling to scrolls that hung from our limbs. Beneath each face we had a new face with hard-bitten lips, soft-lined brows. Beneath each hand we had new hands, new axes in the town where we found shelter, in the town which begged for sons from our wombs, to be shackled to the coal mines as the black trains throbbed by. When they came for our children we readied our hands to be made smooth and empty, we had no lifelines to follow, no heartlines to whisper threaded advice about boys who lived across the train tracks– which ones would tie us tight, which ones would render us in a delicate evisceration of unkept promises, back alley abortions, where the screams of the she-cats could not eclipse the pleasured howls of the fish-hooked penised Toms, and in that moment I reached for your hand, in that moment I knew the face of the moon that peeked from behind your skirt, and your words, the whispered spell of a witch with ivory fingernails, your bones delicately cracked just like mine, a scrimshaw of both our names.

kelly boyker margaret bashaar 27

CORPSE A (WHAT IS A PREGNANT PAUSE?)* What is a pregnant pause? With merry-go-round drain cleaner Over vodka-shooter-bleeding deers’ SUV-smashing Deaf to hear its own loud voice Which evolved into its primitive self Over predominant causeway expressions Of which post-dominant slip lanes Crawling on 5A, stuck in my middle bureaucrat Where the snow sheeted from roof corners Like fetch off ocean swells Because of all them spent shells And Captain Crunch hairballs mounted By backdating setters in tunics Slowly losing the definition of their crests In the untouchable handbook of flames Licking Steve’s Ungraspable Hand With the good photic imagination Falling slowly with slow sphincters As if to wind tighter and tighter When sound blasted through the auditorium Into tobacco barn cut-trap pelicans Who spare change the meteoric spoon To spare change the obligation of release It is a harmful form of smiling.

paul baker//ron czerwien//jordan dunn

28 andy gricevich//martha kaplan

CORPSE B (WHAT IS UP?)* What is up? What is a find? Binding documentary is custom. Ink, it is a custom. Pretty question. The soul’s favorite attachment? No, it’s a large starcrossed elbow consistent and thrust outside the frosting, out of the direction of garments, specifically those construction sites. That’s right. What is your problem’s office? Office, what is your problem? Soft sherbet. It’s a verb form in small cadres with enlarged and poorly lit auditoriums. Question what is the philosopher. It’s a highly concentrated detergent for generally excepted reply. Wealthy Cabdrivers is the substance that retrains you into both. Okay with retaining Steve while reading Steve’s autobiography and forgetting it by screaming.

paul baker//ron czerwien//jordan dunn andy gricevich//martha kaplan 29

CORPSE C (FIND THE BODY)* Find the body Lines are testing the scene around this really horrible slant, the detective familiar with the softening affect You have help with the automatic community and all of them equally nervous, all want to appear in the mouth, qualitative with differentiation so large that only someone in—we’re not there—it’s childhood, and the dales phone The church banks attack against your time For the sake of the manufacture of greater numbers of church bells (under the messages, unfortunately), and what their income is So, I can remember when the space station crashed into the picture frame, but it didn’t happen. So explain my lack of memory Never really on the wall without justification To be a worthwhile disciple through this statement, implicate the suspect for all we can do doesn’t bother incredibly small art supplies (more colors are some preachers that I cared for) These garments assigned to the federal agency that dare not speak its name Or was one paying the first, where the pipeline vacation’s possible “House the dinosaurs from under the earth quickly,” I told you, for (at least) atonement In the name of our dazzle by their well The first wave years old and the glasses of kernels, patient, pregnant church

paul baker//ron czerwien//jordan dunn

Bees WARNING. WARNING. DO NOT ADVANCE BEYOND THE ROOM “This delicious pussy consists of the marmalade and the runoff from the dish not too greedy, not too lazy it’s very windy that doesn’t mean you still live in the house Where he kept his monkey buddy there were 30 years of experience. Strangely ancestral before he lost his hammer, he was a handtool not measured and fervid, not feathered ladies—it’s not as if it’s one You can’t squeeze your fingers together without popping up pallets in this Bank You can’t predict that some of your best moments we’re now having around the toilet. You can’t wait

30 andy gricevich//martha kaplan

Wipe that ice cream off your sweatshirt We, transformed by Walgreens like gold Now fingernails are things and reminders, called in to discover the cause of finance in general I’m always wondering if there’s Al Grant in the elevator room. I want the vinaigrette big, with a nice time he ever wasn’t The blood actually beat bravely, mowing the fulfillment it was the Greeks who invented stopping, farewell seasons, packets of tender dough, and seasons. They can be found as far back as the ass. We know more variety Years which we invest with the performance of our local, even our dishwashers with tender pieces Remarkable years, remarkable remarkable that we spend that we spend so much election reform should unremarkable that (mathematically speaking this adds up to no solution, but a multiplication of the mysteries in the pockets of several investigators all highly private in their geometries) Let’s make a map. Sharpen your pencil.

paul baker//ron czerwien//jordan dunn andy gricevich//martha kaplan 31

MY POEM IS... 1. made of pink plastic swearing at it

I keep

2. tiny stages, shed dust, cough meteors and dark matter and people stuck in our lungs 3. your catfood from a jar bad rock playing endlessly 4. the body of the chicken (separate light from dark) internal laundry a capon

(“without testicles called”)

the Broken rocks fuck us 5.-7. “the book behind my fridge …”


“Our bodies and faces as kids…” “one thing worse than Florida…”



8.-9. the quiet woman she sees the chosen path waving hello attempts to line dance

matt sadler

one step short of a two step

32 tony mancus

her hands inside robe folds

10. (flimsy metal birds

like stroke victims)

11. (glints of other things everywhere there are places) 12. where thought was ending all your credit cards healed 13. , the day a metal light alsos into sound 14. metaphor all over the ivy wires of previous attempts subtext buried the snakes in all those walls 15. (ten thousand years under a thin crust of ash the first shovel kicked in piles and piles of words together before at ) 16. the slick boards fast to the rail, medusa to the neighbors puny souls

matt sadler tony mancus 33

17. creeping Charlie the yard from dark hands one root and stem, repeat the life we always thought we wanted 18. darlin’ please don’t 19.-21. gravity though all our maps

matt sadler

and I want

34 tony mancus

ROPA VIEJA thou are not on the menu stung like a harpsichord. blood from that piccolo armbones together the drums. the gris the body demands music creates. other damned joints yip like an old bird.

matt sadler tony mancus 35


somebody posts it on facebook & i go looking for you online.

no it’s not, that’s another person with your same name.

Brandon’s told to stay in the basement; we stay in the basement together.

stranger-face drowns me a few days i smell like flowers, sick collapsed balloon at end of summer. promise not to look again.

When he’s on the rugby field he says he’s afraid someone will get hurt.

megan martin

tomorrow i’m scrolling for hours & hours backward through your online life

Tony watches t.v. upstairs.

36 yvette nepper

backwards & forwards & backwards again

I make Brandon sign up for a talent show at the Community Picnic, grow his curls out and fake the piano.

last self-portrait: full shirtless torso mouth&eyes but can’t stop looking into the crypt of your chest. didn’t really know you now i know you less.

We play war with fake guns. I like one in particular because it looks real.

something too black for here keeps touching you again

Brandon’s wife wins a trip to Australia on the Ellen show. Brandon’s wife watches him die. Ellen Degenerous hears about the accident.

your expression makes me think you found the state of your body & this photo of it & posting the photo a little humorous

megan martin

Brandon tells me I don’t like guns. Brandon tells me I want to be a ninja (I don’t remember). yvette nepper


(there’d been other gruesome,uncomfort- able performances, ie: counting crows cover band [drunken, melodramatic belting spectacle], i was just the photographer)

Brandon’s wife, then Australian news, then youtube, then facebook, then me, then everybody.

bones jutting under your pants, you lean on a cane

Brandon scratches my Run DMC record and mom says he has to buy me a new one. we pitch a tent in the front yard.

wedding pants a few weeks before you asked her to marry you while you were in the middle of--

we play in the creek across the street from the house; every day is sort of like training. we carry guns, dig holes, and do lots of running.

Wikipedia says you once taught a class titled “Adventures and Ridiculousness.”

megan martin

Brandon has a stepdad named Tony.

38 yvette nepper

reminded of genreless poemsomething called arcana during grad school, made me cold & jealous to read it.

Tony does bodywork on cars in his off-limits garage. we can hear ZZ Top; we can see pictures of half-naked women.

(it felt thin, transparent, like reading scaffolding made of ice, sci-fi future without flowers, without grass.)

Tony watches t.v. upstairs.

backwards & forwards & tipped back in a chair drinking a beer in a straw hat i love because i can’t imagine the person i didn’t know wearing it.

When Brandon comes home from Iraq we meet on the front porch and share a bottle of Jägermeister (his choice).

just doing nothing, shooting the shit with somebody i can’t see

Brandon dies in a parachute accident aired in Australia reaching youtube, reaching facebook, reaching me.

recognize you a second you recede again

megan martin

yvette nepper



Tony wakes me up with his motorcycle on the weekends.

visit your website weeks later, print out copies of all the poems i can find online. Blood is ephemera, kept fresh by the living.1

I suppose i’m his talent manager or something. He is Jerry Lee and I am Sun Records, he is an accident waiting to happen.

water & mountains & singing. you carted film equipment up a mountain to make something 4 people would watch. i hang out with you for the first time atop a mountain inside your film inside the internet.

Brandon is home from the war and going to Bowling Green University. He’s having a hard time taking his professors seriously.

megan martin

we don’t play in brandon’s room. brandon’s room is dark and at the end of a hallway. 1

Brian Torrey Scott, “Blood,” Green Candle, Snail Press 2014

40 yvette nepper

a man reads all the papers in a woman’s desk & keeps screaming, it’s our house, it’s OUR house, IT’S OUR HOUSE

poem where at the end levitating where your train.

you wish for friends like trees of your hospital bed, you. poem about nightmares eyes disappear & you become a

Brandon watches movies about soldiers in action; he tells me we should watch Hamburger Hill, Platoon, Full Metal Jacket. Every time he says Hamburger Hill, I think about hamburgers.

i do not feel like i have a way of defending myself against an internal aggressor.2

i think he knows that he’s going to grow up and shoot people, kill people, and die.

the most pleasurable urge is articulation, particularly when you do not understand your subject.3

megan martin

2 3

Brian Torrey Scott, “Wind Wake,” Green Candle, Snail Press 2014 Brian Torrey Scott, “Rendered,” Green Candle, Snail Press 2014

yvette nepper 41


(Listen, Pantry ~ the cutting room is born as cloth ~ grained itself into her desire to be mother ~ some parts lamp interrogation, some parts candle, some parts right funeral, some parts leg ~ why is there this other wall ~ when ~ animal to plant cell mostly ~ in that other life: a chair, mirrors, fortune, flames, May ~ right after she’s okay, remember ~ remember the clumped rope, the platform, why alive to no ties ~ need to forget so much ~ need as a rumor ~ stay out, Stranger ~ the night

gritty silk

door meant out ~ this is far too far off the road ~

42 amy jo trier-walker

(Listen, Pantry ~ taking grass low ~ folks don’t hear certain words ~ meeting who knows ~ foot of leaf sings, recalls west ~ cross the china with a dreamed move or early tools, dark black ~ ochre wearing black wearing violet ~ black pales toward the gates ~ their backs made in tea, city careers broken ~ scenes in kitchen arrange ~ excessively blank ~ on the counter, just her dust shrines ~ an archway of five fresh plaster bands, a good stack ~ but lacking sticks for the girl’s dollhouse ~ sculpture alters the urge I didn’t arrange ~ tell me the exact kneeling on brittle ~ remember running, driving ~ forget the rabbits ~ that girl just took off after them ~ am I supposed to know who she is ~ another dream I moved ~

gritty silk amy jo trier-walker 43

(Listen ~ Stranger, come in, hurry ~ bags, pickaxes, clothes, a pulley ~ all like years after ~ not the town ~ I wouldn’t ~ try to be a way, a wandering ~ some height is tough now ~ I’ve read, translated, those: law, logic, word ~ here’s some coffee now, good, black ~ read friends, fidelity ~ share those faithfully ~ from now on, photogenic ~ resembles frost, just breaking dew ~ lost blame remains background elsewhere ~ elsewhere isn’t so strange ~ splitting isn’t natural ~ reach back, then love an encounter with a Russian doll ~ it’s fine, all hands are dirt ~ shocked life conversations could slip barriers ~ quick now, the bell ~ I’m fine, thank you ~ we’re all ~ get real paint someday ~ take pictures of who you are in rearrangement ~ blank always ~ not

gritty silk

blank maybe yet ~

44 amy jo trier-walker

(Listen, Pantry ~ I’m only introduction, choices ~ the request is incorrect ~ I’m not saying ~ daughters work secret on one’s own thoughts ~ wailing upstairs below ballads ~ socially uncomplaining ~ enemy feeling likened to thunder hunting the bed ~ clap over cresses ~ so between them then ~ a summer-long storm, a gun ~ that girl works by thunder ~ a long moment running away from the bed ~ hard ceiling and innocent ~ I distract you, Strange Girl, as if outside ~ hear it ~ naked signs hidden ~ has she really taken to living in the brooder coop ~ hidden dialogue halos like say goodbye

gritty silk amy jo trier-walker 45

erin dorney


46 tyler barton

SEASON SIX DW drinks a lanky glass of water. That’s a…transferred epithet. “Drinking coffee just like us.” Dribbling her fingertips against her pillowy lips her hands wandering into her sweater or underneath an elbow’s crook I need water, hair more natural than manicured with eyes exactly the samechestnut. She is young and old an American girl, I butcher her with mediocre verbiage. “My mother’s lipstick red.” & then I don’t remember what next, I reach after the words like trying to catch raindrops, like this girl in the audience with high eyebrows and a slight look of agony- no, worry. “The lockless lights in this hotel.” She looks up enchanted, hand leaps up to mouth, a bulb glowing at the end of a penlight? up to her mouth, downward, the black of brows against the red of lips. E-cig. “A total fact of poetry whose ___ is risque.” Here would be the hand reaching out to touch you from the other side of a page, tuck your hair behind the ear, shake the dust out of your winter coat. No lines in her forehead except an egg-shaped thing there, a boil of worry, “the color of my true love’s hair.” Nothing to inspect

DD It’s 2:22 a.m. on January 27th, 2012, I mean 2014. FCPX read nothing to inspect as the machine slowly camped up, I hadn’t selected anything yet, shots of toys in the stark Mexican light tending toward dark in the clip deck, waiting. This is a film for my goddess that I will make, in good ancient philistine tradition, in bad modern novelist shape. The night consisted of picking up one book and hating it, and going on to inspect many other books to see whether I hated them too: it turned out that I didn’t. This reassured me not all words are sickening therefore maybe I can also make words that don’t make other people sick, rather more connected to their own situated selves. I mean the kind of intrusive stuff that doesn’t leave you gutted except for renovations, the kind of intrusion that shakes out an old jacket, puts it on, sometimes all of a sudden it’s made of sequins. I mean it does leave you gutted but it doesn’t create a stale Styrofoam lean-to for your night-time forts. The woman who we are going to see on Friday has an expressive face, an active way of listening, she smokes electronic cigarettes. She has good posture, which I used to but probably lost.

daniel kessel joyce lainé 47

SEASON SEVEN So, a season in Hell? I don’t know this Rimbaud 141 years ago Rimbaud walked like in

12x12 years ago in our then-cultural center, anyway

hell. Blake flowed through him or whatever

flowed through Blake now flowed through

Rimbaud, now in Brooklyn just as in Manhattan

it seems like a good way to dispel all of the sort-of-hate I’ve been harboring towards 40 years ago whatever flowed through

this, our sweet city (sweet is not a word I think of when I think of this city) Rimbaud through Blake flows through Katy

6 years and 6 months ago sitting on the clean floor of a bar

in Williamsburg. Tonight’s the Grammys but

I guess I lost that youth-energy everyone successful that I love still touts

who cares, anyone curious just keep tabs

on their phone. Brooklyn streets I’m told

(& I think I lost it because of highly personal failures that yet – )

were about 40 years ago more literally hell

but hell I see boys mugged on the subway still,

(has to do with)

single tears un-dried on their pretty cheeks.

In the smallest rooms if there is room

(our city)

they pile up, one on top of the other, cannibalism

is when I find new pages

to write on and still it’s 6 days ago. I returned from Mexico.

daniel kessel

I was visiting family. I was working slowly. I was writing letters.

48 joyce lainé

not enough and anyway there is

an unlimited source, the unwritten

I was reading Clarice. I was filming Juanita. I was lying in a cancerous sun. I was avoiding my betrayal and sadness.

white pages of the internet The Chelsea Hotel

Back home from home now I have to work with my worst decisions and only omission can sustain

now Greenwood

and now Gravesend are full,

this malaise: I’m scheming for a return of clarity

and now Greenpoint and Red Hook spew

though I know I have to just make it new.

(US) out like spittle on a baby’s bib. Subway maps lead us onward

to the A-Train of morality,

We land in a blizzard. Memories of the last one, a first love. far rockaway babies cry because their iPhones stolen. I, too, take swigs of e-cigarette and see MC in the streets, having a smoke exactly like one of us except I never smoke and that boy’s face is cherubic. We walk over the Williamsburg Bridge like First friends. Then it’s all come say hello, hey remind me why I am in debt,


I guess it’s spiritual debt. it’s just impressions

I’m obsessed with the personal lies we call perspective or

we are stealing

a point of view. Interpretation, the propagation of information.

the suspension

We stay in New York even though we don’t want to,

in November fog

the bicycles

wise out of ourselves, or at least sustainable

gliding past

daniel kessel

To feel better about leaving, or like we’re making something

joyce lainé 49

and although the city strains this goal

no one rich or poor here

with its unwalkable winter streets, unpayable rooms,

Overheard in the bar “I hate text messaging”

or wait maybe that’s just us.

and I do too and everyone.

all the old semi-friends I love all the semi-enemies ambiguity leaves me tender toward

Now that’s what we talk of by the way,

[die gestundete Zeit, my past hour by hour)

and with time so limited

talking about alcoholism or caligula, or the occult

I field all incoming/ Delay my message/

Ginsberg asked: “Are you my angel?”

Open this up

Or back to Kathy Acker and sitting by a tree

of course Ginsberg had visions

of Blake and the beats

at St Marks Church. The pigeons reporting to a lion

were already Rimbaud but look:

daniel kessel

A drawing to tell you Let’s meet by Garibaldi.

50 joyce lainé

It is clear that the world is purely parodic, in other words, that each thing seen is the parody of another, or is the same thing in a deceptive form.

–Georges Bataille



I interpret climax trouble and the wobble is problematic purity. Interpret other worlds. Throbby ebb here, theremin siesta in the posture of another. Orgiastic impishness tells some theater intestines to applaud doom forts.

It is fear when the word is purely clear. More clavicle. Make catapult. The world is penile. The world is pragmatic. The world is not true! In other worlds, each pore’s a portal, or a sum, a thing on a prime flotilla full of devious feelings. It’s always something.

elisabeth workman michael sikkema 51

Every sense sexy, circulating in brain-pans, the sound of seeing one’s water face, and naming the whole ocean after a pimple is present. If shrunk, the ocean could back-play all thought, like it does, a sentence could be elevated to catcall. Actual cats calling. The obvious confidence man would copulate with Indra’s net, but some of us are less narcissistic.

My butt, the copulation of storms hiss no loss. Irritate me in the cupola. Body the architecture with creams. Cry I AM SOON. I am impossible immanently. I am immanent inherent. The election results predetermined because the vibe is manufactured and therefore replaceable; we interchange with the interponies of clamorous undoing, beast-daisies

elisabeth workman

frothing the bends.

52 michael sikkema



elisabeth workman michael sikkema 53

HOME IS A COLLABORATION 6 it was the end of a war in the future that was right now. my son and i were being held prisoner by white supremacists but they had lost and they knew it. they were just standing around silently,while we waited for the allies to come get us. there was no hostility anymore, the same old same old thought shower had rusted, broken up into sunlight and a hungover emptiness. but there’s a tornado coming and i am the only one that sees it so i grab my baby and take cover in one of the abandoned shiny buildings with shiny gymnasium floors for basketball practice. no one follows us as we open a tiny door in the wall and burrow ourselves in. i feel finally, like a library. the waiting is pleasant. i smell his curls and i don’t think the storm knows where i am because we summoned it through a stolen phone. what are you doing here? 6

laura goldstein

the two of us finally made it as far south as we possibly could. the car barely made it, a leftover from another time. at some point the sun got so hot no one was supposed to go outside. the car started steaming and then slowly stopped. we smoked catnip all night and watched the cartoons of stars drip their stories one at a time. we stayed in the slave quarters. we had sex with whomever was there, until i figured out how to make some money. we poured fire onto the floor to see which cards would survive. everyday we’d go down to the river and throw something in. the room wasn’t divided perfectly so sometimes i had to hear her having sex with other people. someone would make a big pot of something and we’d all eat it, then someone would make tea. one time i came down the stairs and they were all in the kitchen, sitting on the counters and crying. what’s wrong? i asked. it was the wrong question. what are you doing here?

54 nikki wallschlaeger

7 the moths finally escape the closet where the old dresses hang. when i saw the car pull away i took off all my clothes and lit a cigarette and somehow they had returned to retrieve something and there i was at the top of the stairs. there’s a fence and a stone wall, there’s a large flat field of bright grass. in the evening lights are kept low as a reminder. there’s all the old furniture and the rug with the different color stripes. sometimes we sit with other families in a large space and talk about the true home. it’s like the dream of owning anything you want, they fit together perfectly, these two lives. in even lower light a story of bright dresses and deep holes and somewhere you can never go called home. called land. the first word that ever lived, every single life a different vantage point and the infinite places we meet and depart from. i’m suddenly still. what are you doing here?

laura goldstein nikki wallschlaeger 55


laura goldstein

they said the sight of your face disrupted the learning process. then they tried to take a photograph of you in the teachers lounge for their school district most wanted list. this was all because of the locution of your perfect point plus eyeliner and they were terrified. i was your friend and they hated me for different reasons, but basically both of us were criminals because we asked the obvious questions. she was so hungry, oh so hungry, but the home ec teacher was not. under her sugar cookie bunting her ramrod foisting of beeline values hysteria. parents were messaged for supporting sick fix jumpsuit uniforms. all because of your face, which was beautiful. don’t they recognize when someone is crying. their walkie talkies papering the lunchroom with the watery debris of school spirit spittle. no, not cheerleaders, breakdancers. they thought we were a gang j because some of us were asian and black. what are you doing here?

56 nikki wallschlaeger

9 by the time i got to the front door the snow was up over my head and we had to make tunnels to the street. by the time the dust was drifting down in front of the windows, its thick music was stilled forever in a way that was captured by what was outside that window. there was no one else around according to my description but you were seeing a lot of other people. in a larger space that could fit a few hundred other families, she puked on my shoe. it was translucent with just a bit of yellow and thick at its edges where it dripped towards the white floor. this is always always the consistency of growth, and mine’s staying inside me. she looks up at me as if i could do something for her. what are you doing here?

laura goldstein nikki wallschlaeger 57

gritty silk



sarah woods//carrie lorig are the authors of the chapbook rootpoems, which is currently out from Radioactive Moat Press. One of them lives in Chicago and one of them lives in Minneapolis. Their collaborations are published or forthcoming in Diagram, Denver Quarterly, inter|rupture and iO. anja notanja sieger//elizbeth scott//freesia mckee are in their 20’s. Anja vaguely remembers conspiring with Freesia for the first time back in grade school. Beth and Anja as persons have never met, but their minds have exchanged here in these works. Prompts for these three poems included riders of whales, jazz singing, milk, domes, and memes. sidney cherie hilley//bz bu//sean m. foster//cola leckrone run Nip Nip Zine which is disgustingly adorable and deliciously absurd. The foursome behind this fivesenses-themed zine and literary-art collaborative dig fondling words, licking images and any other mash-up of the senses. robin lamer rahija is a poet living in Lexington, KY. lewis dejong is a writer living in Tuscan, AZ. neil campau (CA)//erin case (MI) are long distance friends who share a passion for DIY ethos, music, and paper arts. Neil founded, makes rad music under the moniker Electrician, and travels the world in an RV with his partner and their baby, Cricket. Erin founded DIY MI, is an internationally renowned collage artist, and mostly stays home alone. You can find Neil’s work at and Erin’s at robert j. baumann //chuck stebelton: What a couple of clucks. nava fader//robin f. brox met in Buffalo, New York. They acted together often for Buffalo Poets Theater, and read together as featured poets many times. Fader’s poems usually begin with a line from another poet; this piece gets its title from a book by the late poet & polyartist Lyx Ish (Elizabeth Was). Ish co-founded the permaculture ecovillage Dreamtime Village in West Lima, Wisconsin where Brox now lives; Fader, a New York City native, continues to live in Buffalo where she works as a librarian. “i come from the nascent beane” was created by email, each poet taking turns writing a few lines until they agreed it felt finished. russell bennetts is the editor of Berfrois. He lives in Kentish Town, London. rauan klassnik grew up in South Africa and then Dallas, TX. He has twobooks of poetry through Black Ocean: Holy Land (2008) and The Moon’s Jaw (2013). Rauan currently resides in a quiet suburb of Seattle, WA with hiswife, Edith, and their dog, Camilla. These stories were written using a variation on the exquisite corpse technique. We have never met IRL. margaret bashaar//kelly boyker are from Pittsburgh and Seattle, respectively, and started their collaborative writing as part of the Fainting Couch Idioglossia project  from Blood Pudding Press. The writing they began from that collection has continued and evolved from there. They’ve done collaborative readings and performances together in both of their cities. Kelly’s chapbook, Zoonosis, was released this year from Margaret’s Hyacinth Girl Press. Nancy Breton, founder of the Breton cracker empire, was dead in the water before her first miniscule collection, You’re Going to Need Less Splendor in that Bucket, saw publication in 1971. After her subsequent reconstruction, organ donors paul baker//ron czerwien//jordan dunn//andy gricevich// martha kaplan initiated the project of stitching together her immense posthumous output, with the help of a grant from the Madison Foundation for the Production of Unnecessary Dolls and Real Estate Conglomeration. This work, the most quantitatively representative of Breton’s odes and superepodes, has never before appeared in English, except in fevered dream. matt sadler//tony mancus met in Tucson a decade ago and recently collaborated to whittle down a book together. It’s called The love you call construction. Matt is Poetry Editor at Versal and he lives in Detroit. Tony is co-founder of Flying Guillotine Press and he lives in Northern Virginia. yvette nepper//megan martin live in Cincinnati, OH.  They met at a poetry reading a few years ago, talked about anxiety, and formed a life-long friendship. This collaboration means a whole lot to both of them. Yvette is the author of a chapbook, 26 Poems For Grown-Ups and Children; Megan is the author of one depressing book of hybrid things, Sparrow & Other Eulogies, and has a book of tiny weird fictions called I Don’t Want to Win Things coming out from Caketrain in the spring.

issue two

bios amy jo trier-walker lives behind a dune in Indiana. She is not the woman in the dunes although she does dig for sand. Quicksand is no longer a collective fear for Americans.  Apartment complexes still are. Crows know when your neighbors die before you do, so they fear your messages and will not deliver them. Especially messages that scold strangers into writing love poems back without a return address except for your traces in sand. “The Exact Kneeling on Brittle” was developed from an auditory erasure of Kate Greenstreet reading from her most recent book, Young Tambling (Ahsahta Press, 2013) while she read at Columbia College Chicago in October 2012.erin dorney //tyler barton live in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where they edit The Triangle (, a website that promotes and hosts literary events. This poem was created with both writers working simultaneously in one Google Doc, which can be viewed (with more extensive comments and edits—click on Comments next to the blue Share button) at You can follow Tyler on Twitter at @goftyler and Erin at @edorney. daniel kessel, the poet, lives on an island. For now, anyway. He’s really sorry about the adverbs. He has a heart of glass. His friend and collaborator joyce lainé is a nomad. michael sikkema//elisabeth workman’s third mind is ribald, riotous, and ran away from home (and any fidelity to the aesthetics of its makers) at a very early age. laura goldstein has published poetry and essays in the West Wind Review, Denver Quarterly, American Letters and Commentary, Tenderloin, How2, Jacket2 and other fine publications. She has six chapbooks, including phylum from horse less press and let her from dancing girl press. Her first collection of poetry, loaded arc was released by Trembling Pillow Press in 2013, and her second book, awesome camera, is forthcoming from Make Now Press in 2014. She teaches Writing and Literature at Loyola University and is the co-curator of the Red Rover Series with Jennifer Karmin. nikki wallschlaeger’s work has been featured in DecomP, Word Riot, Spork, Likewise Folio, Horse Less Review, Storyscape Journal, Coconut ,The Account, & others. She is also the author of the chapbook The Frogs at Night (Shirt Pocket Press) and the chapbook I Would Be the Happiest Bird (Horseless Press). Her first full-length book of poems, HOUSES, is forthcoming from Horseless Press in 2015. She’s also an Assistant Poetry Editor at Coconut Poetry. She lives in Milwaukee, WI and you can reach her at

g r i t t y s i l k / / i s s u e t w o / / c o m p i l e d / / d e s i g n e d / / b y / / chelseatadeyeske//for//pitymilkpress//summer2014 photos//by//chelseatadeyeske// gritty silk issue two 59

gritty silk

issue two issue two issue two issue two

Profile for pitymilk press

gritty silk//issue two  

gritty silk is an online journal showcasing the breakdown of singular authorship with collaborative poetry, sound and visual art. issue two...

gritty silk//issue two  

gritty silk is an online journal showcasing the breakdown of singular authorship with collaborative poetry, sound and visual art. issue two...