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sprung formal issue 11 – 2016


11:11

sprung formal issue 11 – 2016


MANAGING EDITOR Janie Marino STAFF Sarah Bryan, Avery Dennison, Hannah Lynn Calvert Fine, Sara Garrison, Nathan Henry, Esther Leech, Salacia Loe, Nicholas Olivares, Myles Thompson, Joseph Tuzzolino, Samantha Yates FACULTY EDITOR Jordan Stempleman SPRUNG FORMAL WOULD LIKE TO THANK: Phyllis Moore Malynda Eshleman Henry Wurst, Inc. Nicole Leth of Sex + Ice Cream FRONT COVER “Queremos Pastel” by Rebeka Pech-Moguel BACK COVER “La Mordida” by Rebeka Pech-Moguel FRONT AND BACK MATTER “Daily Walks” by Mary Kuvet

Sprung Formal is a literary arts journal published annually in association with the Liberal Arts Department at the Kansas City Art Institute. Established in 2005, Sprung Formal is a literary magazine edited and produced by students who pride themselves on combining professional content with professional-grade student work. To view past issues please visit: www.sprungformal.wordpress.com


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Zach Savich

007 008 009 010

[LIKE SEEING A MOVIE IN THE DAY IN ANOTHER CIT Y] [IF YOU ARE THIRST Y IT IS TOO L ATE] [BEES MADE THE CALENDAR]

[WHEN I WAS BORN DEATH WAS WALKING]

I DON’T UNDERSTAND ART BUT HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMA RHONDA

011 012

Tory Foulk

Joshua Johnston

CARTOGRAPHER’S SONGBOOK

FRAGMENT NO. 8 FROM CLEAN YOUR ROOM

SIX DAYS IN THE FIELDS

014

STONE COLD KILLER

020

PILL AR OF SALT

Jordan Hooper Joe Aguilar

Nika Winn

K. Robert Quilty

Sara Garrison PILE OF SAND Matthew Suss IF LOVE IS THE TRAUMA Jordan Hooper WOMEN STUDY, PT. II

TISSUES OF NEW YORK

PARK REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER THE LONE BL ACK CROW WHEN YOUR MOTHER DIED WHEN YOUR MOTHER DIED WHEN YOUR MOTHER DIED

Rhiannon Dickerson OVERL AND

Matt Dennison GALLOP THE BRED HORSES Meghan Brauner UNTITLED (ITALIAN COURT YARD) Andy Stallings PARADISE Sarah Bryan CONCEPTUAL FURNITURE Claire Brankin LIVE FEED

I’M AT THE PARK ALONE AND CAN’T

Meghan Brauner MISE EN Nika Winn

ABYME

BREAKFAST IN BED

Robert Gano

EXTERMINATION PL ACENTA IRREGUL AR PENIS

013

021 022 023 027 028 030 031 032 033 034 035 036 037 042 043 044 045

046

047 050 053


Joseph Tuzzolino DON’T EAT TACO BELL Brian Clifton AN INTROVERT ’S GUIDE TO DREAMS Hannah Carr GARDEN Jennifer Pilch DISCUSSED / FROM NOTIONS OF THE Myles Thompson BL ACK OVER BLUE

056

Meghan Brauner I’M A FAN Jack Christian THE POND Tim Earley WHEN ELVIS

068

WAYS TO CLEAN A MAT TRESS (INTERIOR,) POOL PART Y (ONE ALREADY MENTIONED -- “ .”) THINK OF RUGBURNS.

065 066 067

FALSE PAGODAS

062

A TRAIN ON CANAL ST.

Lucy Chouquette UNENDING

Joseph Tuzzolino MOM LEG Mercedes Padro SPRAINED ANKLE Sara Garrison WARM SUN Myles Thompson

POEM CALLED NIGEL

057

063

SUBLIME

LEAN ON CLEAR

Tory Foulk PRINZESSIN I Robert Long Foreman WEIRD PIG: THE NOVELIZ ATION Hannah Lynn Calvert Fine CHROMASCOPE Carlos Miguel Ortiz-Gallo UNTITLED IV Braden Bandel WATERFALL II Candice Wuehle [ ] Stella Corso SONG FOR THE CONSEQUENCE OF

076 078 079 080 082

083

084

085 086 087 088 090 091 092 093 094

SANG GOSPEL ALL OUR _________ MELTED 095 CRYSTAL’S HOOKED ON CRYSTAL AND I’M HOOKED 096 ON HER NATIVIST FEELING IN REL ATION TO THE PECULIARIT Y OF 097 OUR HOUNDS


Nika Winn LEATHER DOGGIE Frank Norton THE POPE LICK MONSTER Phil Estes THE DULL END (1)

098

THE DULL END (2)

Avery Dennison MISSISSISSIPPI QUEEN & KING Carlos Miguel Ortiz-Gallo UNTITLED VI Sarah Bryan MORTIFICARE Jessica Fjeld AT THE MOUTH OF A SPACE-AGE

CAVE THE FOUNDATION STONE AND THE WEATHERVANE

Sara Garrison CITRUS PALM TREE C. Violet Eaton THE ACTUAL MOMENT WHERE THE RHY THM Myles Thompson PYR MARY Paul Siegell QWERT Y OWL: ON THE WRITING OF

099 100 101 102 103 104 106 107 108 109 112 113

THE WRIT TEN OBJECT

Erick Felix MOURN ME Heather June Gibbons SO FAR GONE

THE BRAIN MAY DISASSEMBLE ITSELF IN SLEEP Erin J. Mullikin SUPERSTITION PAGEANTRY

Nika Winn BEAUT Y QUEEN I Sara Garrison WAVE Jeanette Powers BREAKING PL ATES Avery Dennison LUVVVA GURL Rachel Abramowitz 16. THINGS THAT MAKE ONE’S HEART Craig Deppen Auge SKULLS II Mercedes Padro PY THON RECIPE (A BURMESE TALE)

BEAT FASTER

114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125


SPRUNG FORMAL [LIKE SEEING A MOVIE IN THE DAY IN ANOTHER CITY]

Like seeing a movie in the day in another city Foundling dove I rest my hammock on the grass Grew able to read only when very aroused Could we be reading the same line now Or say this is heaven And there is no heaven So only this remains

ZACH SAVICH

007


SPRUNG FORMAL [IF YOU ARE THIRSTY IT IS TOO LATE]

If you are thirsty it is too late But if there may be gradations of thirst There was this sweet bolt new bark grew around And new shapes to lock bikes to Could it matter what the confetti is made of Asparagus by the road A child made a radio by resting anything in a creek

ZACH SAVICH

An acrobat didn’t love me

008


11:11 [BEES MADE THE CALENDAR]

Bees made the calendar Totally honey Graceful in the sufficient gauge So pluck out a world and carry it before you on a dish I’m in this jacket I wear through every season If I took it off it’d be trash I’m wearing this stupid hat so you won’t Remember me pretty

ZACH SAVICH

009


SPRUNG FORMAL [WHEN I WAS BORN DEATH WAS WALKING]

When I was born death was walking A horse into a field Letting it go Should it have rained and who are you in this And will the horse my friend survive couldn’t matter Better to imagine a vase of daylilies on a bed Sure, but what must my voice become

ZACH SAVICH

To ask my friend this horse to return

010


11:11 I DON'T UNDERSTAND ART BUT HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMA RHONDA

TORY FOULK

011


SPRUNG FORMAL

JOSHUA JOHNSTON

CARTOGRAPHER’S SONGBOOK

In Plymouth, Minnesota the people gathered at the site of the burnt down dancehall and smeared ashes on their feet, and in Magnolia, Arkansas the people took their children to the park to nail Get Well cards to the trees. In Jamestown, North Dakota the people found it blasphemous the way the PA system buzzed and hummed through the pre-game moment of silence, and in Schuyler, Nebraska the people found it scandalous the way the painting of a river looked nothing like a river. In Bisbee, Arizona the people debated the ethicality of flash photography at funeral services, and the people in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania calculated the statistical probability that an asteroid would fall on the Wal-Mart. In Bartlett, Tennessee the people said, Legalize rust. In Decatur, Alabama the people said, We paid to see a miracle, not this. In Monticello, Louisiana the people elected the old mayor’s body double as the new mayor, and in Luckenbach, Texas the people filled a time capsule with painkillers and buried it in a field. A woman in Youngstown, Ohio slowly whited out every instance of the letter I in a novel before returning it to the library. In Beckley, West Virginia a man felt the wind against his back and turned around and said, What the fuck do you want?

012


11:11 FRAGMENT NO. 8 FROM CLEAN YOUR ROOM

JORDAN HOOPER

013


SPRUNG FORMAL SIX DAYS IN THE FIELDS

JOE AGUILAR

1. We wait for the mower. We wait for our bullet. The government governs. The sun floats up. I bald like a ham. You ask me to cover my shape. I rub my fingers where hair lessens. I bald like a halo. I’m in my childhood home. The sun floats down. The rain smells like blood. My lessening hair coils hazily. I wiggle it out. All of the lights switch off. The washer is thumping.

014


11:11

2. They bloat through the air, fat with blood. The sun floats down. Bullets. I am upended. They burr near my ear. I am upended, paralyzed. I cover over my shape. They inject around the point of bone behind my neck. I weigh with blood. Stalks curl deep in the hollow. Oh I am paralyzed. My cheek cools against the field. I rough it up and rough it up. Pinching. A wall leans over, clotted with miniature lights.

JOE AGUILAR

015


SPRUNG FORMAL

JOE AGUILAR

3. You mention a gunslinger fond of vacations. You suggest we shave our fate to a choice. We visit the gunslinger at her store. In the lot, I clutch at air. A stalk uncoils from the pus. Every luxury vanishes. The sun floats down. The lips turn off inside. The wind dies. The rain smells like sulfur. A customer exits. You stare toward the terrible building.

016


11:11

4. I sit with a warden aware I sleep, aware of the point of bone behind my neck. I cover over my shape. When I am forced into lotus, wind blows words from my mouth. I wait for the bullet. The sun floats up. Every nerve is fat with blood. I blink eyefuls at the Subaru. A wall leans over. An insect crashes through the church.

JOE AGUILAR

017


SPRUNG FORMAL

JOE AGUILAR

5. I pinch my instep. A stalk uncoils from the pus. Pinching. I wiggle it out. Various stalks curl deep in the hollow. I rough it up and rough it up until the format sags shapelessly. The rain smells like earth. We are waiting for a movie, cold enough for a museum.

018


11:11

6. I clutch you through the air. I let the government govern. I let the wind blow. The sun floats down. Bullets crack out. The clouds cover over. I follow a ringing landline. I cover my ear with the plastic circle. I cover over my shape. The sun floats up. The sky turns like a drug. The rain smells like rain. Every nerve is fat with you.

JOE AGUILAR

019


SPRUNG FORMAL

NIKA WINN

STONE COLD KILLER

020


11:11 PILLAR OF SALT

Humbert Humbert, on a budget. Stumbles out of hell and into Wal-Mart. Pistol in his hand. Honey on his tongue. Wanton. The wraith grasps a blue-vested nymph stocking salt, on dimpled knees.

His breath British and foul. She gropes his tweed lapel, appending a sticker, leering yellow. Merci, ma petite mort, he sighs, satisfied before firing.

021

K. ROBERT QUILTY

And inquires about her wet, mortal cunt.


SPRUNG FORMAL

SARA GARRISON

PILE OF SAND

022


11:11 IF LOVE IS THE TRAUMA

If love is the trauma of molten beauty torn from the web of god / I’m in / to all the lights / on all at once / and just fucking every / moment we are part of making / me feel / something I don’t want / but need / to open my life to your life / because listen / love unmountains / what we want to be / is something / beginning

Birds freaking the fuck out / the world is all still / here / I just want to release all their blood / onto my face and onto / your face / and kiss you / and kiss you / what you are is / what I want / for myself / and don’t have / if love is the trauma / tie me / to me / to you

I’m into mountain shadows mysterious / flowers lead me to / to think / about death / your death / your death / your death / your death / your death / your death / I keep quiet and read about death / think a lot of thoughts about my life / outside my apartment with the burning grass I sit in my underwear / liking myself to an unnatural degree / what is porn? / in the mountains thousands of bees / fuck until you’re dead / is that porn? / when I watch porn I think about the dead / I really want the dead to fuck again / I want to fuck the dead / I want the dead / to fuck me / what is fucking? / is it something else moving / inside and outside of you until you don’t / feel / anything / except yourself?

023

MATTHEW SUSS

I’m into giving gifts just because / that’s what I’m into / if I’m waiting / it’s not for you / it’s for us / the future pierces me with questions / are you loved? / do you believe love is a continuous stream? / in the evening there is feeling in the morning / feeling / the world is always changing / its clothes because it keeps dying in them / it’s okay I don’t / want love / I want understanding / either our / future is going to happen or / it’s not / the past doesn’t care who you touch / touch me


SPRUNG FORMAL

I’m into my life / but not enough / I look / at you on the couch / I want to live in my thoughts of you / all the lights go out / good / everyone needs a place / it shouldn’t be inside someone else / I look / at you wearing my death mask and / try to feel dead / I can’t / I want to give you everything I want / love / almost destroyed me / then nothing happened

MATTHEW SUSS

I’m into the fantasy of fucking a wolf / except the wolf is you / and you’re underground and I’m above ground / and I can’t see you / and I will never see you / this is already / my life / I will never see you / I’ll only feel you / in my life for / all my life

I’m into starfishes / bleeding / a lot / get out of bed / take out a candle / it’s a little difficult to talk about / the darkness / the dream within the clock / not ticking / part-by -part you pull / me through you / to where? / on the other side / there was nobody / there / staring back at / the world into a golden wildness we could drop into / ourselves

I’m into deep / space / really dark shit / no one / knows anything about / really / or ever will / I hope / the older I get the more I feel / I hope / I pulled you deep enough into myself I thought / you would recognize yourself / you didn’t / tomorrow you leave / for / another state / love / the only problem for anyone ever / for everyone / in love / why / because love / is the only answer

I’m into blood on a horse’s face / and white butterflies drinking it just / because / love / is doing shit just because / I’ve been growing / my entire life / dark / and now I am here / totally faded / on this love / hooked to an IV of / my own blood / this love / I call into / I call on / call on me / please don’t / let me forget / I can always have more if I want it

024


11:11

I’m into finding myself / like everyone / in the desert / naked / shitting into skulls / after dark emeralds / dangling from all my / dark parts / forget about me and I’ll die / not really but / my body needs to / stop sometimes / and feel / myself / here / as long as you are / your face / streaming like violets over / an altar of beehives with me / at the center / mouth / open I can make / from my love a honeycomb / out of anything / if it’s not too late to / take deeper / breaths and / give everything to the dark / I am tied to / calling / your name

I’m into dragging a skull / on a string down the street / because fuck you / I’m real / everything is / shouting at me to do all / that I do / with love / to feel more / myself / touching everything / to bleed / more / of myself and / nothing else / to run towards / today in any way that is no / longer sick

I’m into my friends choking on rubies / crying / a lot / for a long time / without dying / pushing their bodies into the river / because in the life before / this one sparrows / told me / be afraid / of no one / only yourself / make sure you’re / afraid of yourself

I’m into doing everything / in the dark with you / in the light / around us / on us / I turn my back so / I’m woundable / so I don’t get away / with something I came a long way / to reach without / looking back / you are magic against / death why / are you here / you / could go anywhere / but / if you go / come back / if you can’t / look at me / listen for all the words / that are not words / I can say / that I’m saying / anyway

025

MATTHEW SUSS

I’m into putting my blood on all / the money / I touch / and plucking red feathers / from my inner animals / to cut / myself with / aren’t you? / don’t you / believe all god / dedicates to us / we should answer if / we can / if / we can learn to speak / from the tooth / against whatever / muscles are doing whatever / they can to be / unquiet / and to be silent?


SPRUNG FORMAL

I’m into holding / this amethyst while I sleep scared shitless / my inner animal / wild / will dissolve before me / what about you / do you need to be / bled / on by all that’s above us loving us / not / loving us / me too / it’s a feeling you’ll never lose / I live / my life and death / by being here / probing my pulse

MATTHEW SUSS

I’m into god fisting / me to / undo my body / from all / that’s alive feeling / all the time / nothing opening / to tell you you’re alive / to say all sorts of dark / shit / to say / saying it could / save you

I’m into throwing myself / into the porn of god / I’m afraid to stop / not burning / for anything / looking back to / go back where / I once lived / on the mountain of myself / inside myself / everything is so full / of you / I hear / you around me weaving me closer / to you / for us / to keep together this / world ourselves

026


11:11 WOMEN STUDY, PT.II

JORDAN HOOPER

027


SPRUNG FORMAL

JORDAN HOOPER

TISSUES OF NEW YORK

028


11:11

029


SPRUNG FORMAL OVERLAND PARK REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER

Overland Park Regional Medical Center P.O. Box 13620 Richmond, VA 23225 October 30, 2014 Kelly Ann Greer 7716 Charles St. Shawnee Mission, KS 66216 PATIENT NAME: KELLY ANN GREER DATE OF SERVICE: 10/22/2014--10/25/2014

RHIANNON DICKERSON

Dear KELLY ANN GREER: We want to thank you for your recent visit to Overland Park Regional Medical Center. The total charge for this visit was $59473.62. Our records indicate that you do not have insurance to cover this cost. It may be possible for you to get coverage under the State’s Medicaid program. Please call us at the phone number below so we can help you with this process. Advanced Patient Advocacy

030


11:11 THE LONE BLACK CROW

The lone black crow stands in the field’s stubble eating something unrecognizable across the winter distance. It is late autumn and the trees have conspired to shed their leaves overnight. Your mother’s cancer is a tumor that blooms in her lung. Sometimes the moon seems so close you forget you cannot touch it, forget you cannot clip a piece of it and save it for your mother. You watch the moon rise slowly behind the barn over the barn above the barn and the moonlight looks like snow on the tin roof. Your mother says her cancer looks like a quiet storm.

RHIANNON DICKERSON

031


SPRUNG FORMAL WHEN YOUR MOTHER DIED

RHIANNON DICKERSON

When your mother died, you and your sisters were with her. You were outside of your body. You were some strange animal trying to do. When she died you tried to close her eyes, but they wouldn’t close yet. You rang the bell. You lit sage, spread the smoke with a turkey feather, and smudged each other and the house. You opened the window. You rubbed her body with lavender oil. You called the people you had to call and woke them from their sleep and said the thing you never wanted to say.

032


11:11 WHEN YOUR MOTHER DIED

When your mother died, the flowers stood in their vases all week. With pretty ribbons you strung them head down to dry. We’re all like that, your mother, dead. And your phone never rang again with her voice on the other end. You dream of your mother almost nightly. Sometimes she dies again--her second death, and you can’t believe it. You calendar the days and vacuum her carpet. You tell her visitors bad news. You wish there was China to dust and silverware to polish and things to put in proper places. Everything in its place. At the funeral home, around a rectangular table you sat, the four of you. The mortician was stiff, and averted his gaze. Your mother was already there somewhere in the bowels of the building in a drawer on a steel slab like you’d seen on TV. Stiff.

RHIANNON DICKERSON

033


SPRUNG FORMAL WHEN YOUR MOTHER DIED

When your mother died, you couldn’t look at yourself in the mirror. People say you look like your mother, that you sound like her on the phone across the distance and they might pretend you are her just briefly. They might squint at you from across the house and hope. Before your mother died, the day before or the day before that, the day she was in and out of a coma, she looked you in the eye and told you everything would be okay. Everything’s going to be okay, she said.

RHIANNON DICKERSON

In your dream, she dies again. And again.

034


11:11 GALLOP THE BRED HORSES

the news of his death complete— my tongue forever a tent-stake, a trowel, anchoring the lost, shoveling the gone.

035

MATT DENNISON

“Too grabby,” my father said of my hands rushing to break the earthen clods before his final slice. I should know better the rhythm, the routine—cut, flop, segment, sometimes twice—by now, the blade warned me with relentless strikes not fingers from hands too eager to shake the worm souls loose, knowing that to break is better than to slice, that one whole soul is better than halves no longer wiggling but water-logged on hooks unable to interest the hungriest fish we’d be lucky to see as I galloped the bred horses of my dreams into dark waters, wanting only to find fullness with fullness found, the captured to feed that which feeds. Years later my neighbor handed me a telegram mistakenly delivered to her. Without waiting for another to halve the hidden, I sliced it open to read


SPRUNG FORMAL

MEGHAN BRAUNER

UNTITLED (ITALIAN COURTYARD)

036


11:11 PARADISE

037

ANDY STALLINGS

A light on every horizon like it’s part of the concept, horizon. Its native diameter, the hum of a medicine rock. We were there because we drove there, spiked with winter’s West Texas, an erosion lesson, the whole back seat asleep. It’s all translation. A swerve producing calm within greater calm, a smell like kerosene crashing the brain. The skin I’m writing within is a thin switching skin. Yellow intercepts the ascending spectrum. At your touch, the day becomes. But salutation just reseals the self in solitude, good morning.


ANDY STALLINGS

SPRUNG FORMAL

Rubbing the motionless shoreline with both thumbs, I ask the birds idly about acceleration. A coin all shine and no currency, like heaven. A question color-stricken, but syntax is transparent, isn’t it. Not fresh or classic, unamplified, my skin a porous blend, but rot is probably not silent or slow when it spreads. A body’s a powerless magnet, midnight or daylight. The moon marks its orbit thus, also thundrous, roaring with sleep. How would I represent this family as a family without the hand of a tattoo artist too skilled for his trade but happy.

038


11:11

039

ANDY STALLINGS

With one pre-selected expectation, fulfilled some other promise, then struggled for decades to meet the original aim. Desire must be in the language making every noun a metaphorical body, every body a pure functional wonder. Is every conversation erotic. It was touching, then moving, then sex. Out there with the apple orchards and lakes called ponds. A fully conservative, sexist and racist, unintellectual bucolic countryside fantasy. Seeds, chips, cones, lichens, dryfall. Nature scatters. What color is light. Is light pink.


ANDY STALLINGS

SPRUNG FORMAL

An expression of class conscienceless, careless bones, the index of grammar showing. The sun shines brighter where the midriff’s trim, it’s a matter of numbers. If many, then more. Nighttime television, tawdry or refined, descending. As food waste filled the drain and dishes stacked up, the high ceilinged murmur lent a sense of glamour, he hoped, or at least dissolve to the water. Why aren’t voices distinct in a crowd, composed of distinct voices. Or crowd noise, passing for white.

040


11:11

041

ANDY STALLINGS

Is this still paradise. As each life’s trauma gathers its grip, the city sits mostly in traffic, turns over produce, breathing in and out, quietly talking, asleep. A nail slides, you’d say, entering the wrist. Nobody, watching the homeless man wake up in the neighborhood green space, thinks, “I’ll be homeless one day,” yet there are enough homeless people in this country today to fill a metropolis any young professional would pay to visit. Do you mean nobody or nobody like you. Forgiveness is the demand of the ruling class. It gathers in neighborhoods. In darkness this complete, we wouldn’t conceive of ourselves as “in darkness” unless instructed or shown.


SPRUNG FORMAL

SARAH BRYAN

CONCEPTUAL FURNITURE

042


11:11 LIVE FEED

Light changes color with frequency, like sound and geometrics. If time and space are synonymous, I was then; you are now. What happens to this text in between? Nobody knows what makes good poetry. I can tell you I can’t stand any of it. These objects existing without us, between us, maybe between us, maybe because of us. Don’t look back. Press play. I need you, I need you to stand for me on the other side and say what’s there. CLAIRE BRANKIN

043


SPRUNG FORMAL I’M AT THE PARK ALONE AND CAN’T

do it, be here (at the park). The colors are ruined by how they might look in a photograph, a painting, a self-satisfied poem about going to parks alone. It’s my party, and, so, fails to surprise me.

CLAIRE BRANKIN

The weather only exists as true as I can’t describe it, but nothing is as I couldn’t. It’s, as they say, lovely, which is to say, should be, and might be could I experience first-hand instead of every other. The daisies may as well be shadows on my wall, be the word daisies – that’s how goddamned perfect they are. I’ll go home, listen to dance music. Whatever.

044


11:11 MISE EN ABYME

MEGHAN BRAUNER

045


SPRUNG FORMAL

NIKA WINN

BREAKFAST IN BED

046


11:11 EXTERMINATION

I witnessed an extermination and I contacted you immediately. You were sure how and when I should be felt. I feel so like an exterminator, an exterminator drawn to make doodles of the dead I imagined so vividly. That’s the extermination, render you laying down so impressively still. I knew this situation, this extermination with so many right here lying down so inanimately would be much more extravagant if the extermination didn’t call just one of us such unflattering names. Big bullies lay down so still too.

You counted six exterminations that qualify as recent. Not five. Six.

047

ROBERT GANO

But I am recent. I am not in between. I am urinating a heavy stream as when I copyright clear evidence for five recently witnessed exterminations. Being witness-like is the finest surefire art form. There are exactly five exterminations that I crown as recent. My urine is of good color.


SPRUNG FORMAL

ROBERT GANO

Recent events show me recent is what is qualified to be recent. You make me corrected, asserting I make six, not five, very unflattering yes yes. I know a man who gave me a crown and sash. He called me “Mr. Recent.” This man of great precision is on top of the world and he led me to the kingdom where all is recent. In my brand new kingdom I make more power than you and good apples grow. I believe we were fucking and you mislabeled that event as an extermination. You said you felt amazing. You said exterminations are the positions to be. I show you your error. I shall cohabitate with my best friend forever always affinitive, as I do clearly state that the five recent exterminations were not pornographic. Pornography is evidence for the last five times we stared at each other’s celebrity look-alikes best regimented endorphins, as we are, we truly are well rendered on prime time television. Our television screen, with buzz sex electricity dripping down our legs, is where I spent all my love to be shared with you once I made sure to water the television with my paparazzi sucked watering can.

048


11:11

I can be a true Mr. Recent as being true is the same as being recent. My self is just there to be picked like good apples. Mr. Recent says he gets paid to exterminate the vermin, case closed. I do think Mr. Recent should stop giving me nicknames. I know people die, but I’ll leave you laying on the side of the road. I’ll douse myself with ketchup and fall asleep for a very long time. I’ll douse myself with ketchup as I do fuck downstream, a stream that ends, just when, I appoint the proper time. Proper time is to be appointed, as I am good apple Mr. Recent.

You down there, the one lingering on the roadside, there’s no good reason why you still aren’t moving. Get up. Stop your complaining. Get in the photo with Mr. Recent and Bang Bang Bang

049

ROBERT GANO

I love you Mr. Recent because I call you Bang Bang Bang. I give you gifts, all those gifts that work for us. Bang Bang Bang you make photos of us as best friends forever.


SPRUNG FORMAL PLACENTA

It is a doll part, your ridicule your feeding organ is too bloody repulsive it feasts upon me as if I am a mistake. We should have witnessed the neck that divorced itself from it’s inauspicious head. That beefy neck part completes the sure-handed arrangement that is known as the sickness of veritable head loss.

ROBERT GANO

I’ve heard this sort of head thought is liable to give me contagion. My doll part popped itself out as it was feasting upon the exact same placenta that we were about to chuck into the garbage. I should have passed out because I could never have imagined a tiny glass jar of ridicule could make us forget how abysmally our unwholesome meat neck stinks up the room. Stop eating the placenta of all your desirous dreams. I don’t care if your dreams invite you to dine upon piles of soggy beef. I see that odor of sickness race up your nose. It rips out a warrior. It edits the drool that calls out my name. I hate it it is my name my drool is reflexive I don’t care if your saliva is just spit

050


11:11

I don’t care if I am the spittle of furious indignance toward the steak house that served you the wicked e-coli, but I swear I shall gladly befriend every cook who deliberately serves you with a thick spoon of guile. They give you disease. Music can be easily defined as the strict organizational guidelines that allow us to be thoroughly conscious of how sound should behave. Should music behave like the odor of my placenta?

The well-behaved babies coo exactly like well-tempered music only after you point out that that music is ultimately an insidious affair of control freaks whose singular desire is to chomp on beefy placentas as if they are living out their undisclosed dreams. I shall hold our tiny jar of ridicule right to the nerve of my neck. It makes my neck meat smell appetizing. Some people say I communicate exactly like goose liver force fed by an invisible-handed economy that allows my placentas to slip right out of their miraculous package right down each of our throats. A kindly placenta has never irreparably damaged the spirit that entered your body the moment your parents laid eyes on each other and realized they were in love. At least when placentas clap their hands while we all play patty cake, they are not foreshadowing the sins of generations that do nothing else but feast upon weakness.

051

ROBERT GANO

We do know a baby behaves with far more sin then their placenta could ever suggest as babies sure do dispense all of their unmitigated terrors whenever they get their chance. Bad babies will take no suggestions. Bad babies compromise never.


SPRUNG FORMAL

Placentas will eventually decompose in the dump without any drama because nature documentaries will devour those placentas with a slick narration that arranges our minds as if our thoughts are meant to be organized into a Wagnerian Opera, preferably the entire Ring Cycle as who doesn’t like The Big One as the size of the universe sure boggles our minds.

ROBERT GANO

Sometimes I look up into the sky and I realize that if you put together all the constellations they have an uncanny resemblance to a one pound disc-shaped placenta rotted and beef shame and glowing my exaltation is tearing the sick flesh I promise I shall place the good stars together only if I can dispose of my ugly feast of a doll part that nobody will speak of. My genus, my species, my kingdom my good stars my exaltation my placenta clapping its hands my genus, my species, my kingdom my teething disposition I ridicule my clap hands my doll part my beef neck it is sick in your garbage

052


11:11 IRREGULAR PENIS

I would like to prevent and preserve, I will acknowledge today there have been five suicides in my family within the span of one hour. My dog killed itself twice in that odd hour. His two tries counts as one. He has a strange penis. It ‘twas exactly five impossible death matches for all those kin of mine who I will gladly verify were not bad in a strange manner, even the dog

ROBERT GANO

my dog is not unbecoming. Don’t mention his penis. He killed himself twice all in one hour. I have prevented and preserved the kill of our very last moment, the kill in a rucksack full of dog penis. I threw that bag off a cliff. It is still plummeting. I hear the sirens of emergency vehicles as we sing five musical numbers, the hero was deprived starved into submission it was not a matter of family. The hero was zapped by our theory, our theory is a singular rucksack of irregular dog penis manufactured in sweatshops to siphon off those buffalo just fall off our cliff. We call ourselves out-of-the-loop in the suburban rec room. Some of us feel deviant I just killed myself

053


SPRUNG FORMAL

We light a candle. Our hero will not eat its dinner as the buffalo just die they don’t know how to sing their meat is too tough.

ROBERT GANO

Goddammit nobody ever gives themselves a chance, they don’t give a damn, I think we all want to die. I won’t even let you. We just run those buffalo right off the cliff, as buffalo bear their sabertooth teeth. They believe they are mammoths! Oh they sure are real furry. Their tusks procreate a swarm of Tyrannosaurs that eat my very determined dog as it tries to kill itself for the third time. I sure hope we don’t let in all that bad dog logic into our house. The saliva of Tyrannosaurus rex is tremendous in bed! It seeps in our fabrics. It won’t let us sleep. But my dog is not to be dismayed, it’s on its fourth try as the CEOs are never happy except when I tell them most people do not die, they will never die, even when it’s agreed that it’s time to die, most people do not die. Even when they get on their knees and pray for a sabertooth Tyrannosaur to chew them to pieces. Even if their dog with it’s incredibly fast rubber penis jumps out of car windows when the freeways believe they are given to god concrete murder, goddamnit we all think too much about the five family suicides. There is a gaggle of Tyrannosaurs clogging the off ramp! How the hell am I to drive in these peculiar conditions? 054


11:11

How does this cruel world prevent and preserve? This world is fantastic, it is so cruel. How does this cruel world prevent and preserve when I love you with bad bad bad dog logic, when CEOs send death squads to your doorstop, when sweatshops manufacture buffalo who whip out their sabertooth teeth, it’s a fucking party

I want to sing a musical number as if I’m a peacemaker. I am completely cocked as I throw my dog out of the window, onto the freeway, where the CEOs are masturbating their one millionth penis! It’s all their possessive penises, as if they are private. It’s an ownership society, as most of these dicks are golden. They are the softest gold that money can buy! A few of their dicks smoke high society cigarettes in the back of bad bad bad limousines driven by dog logic. Don’t talk about dog penis. It’s just a rubber bullet. We don’t need to mention all that dog penis. I have heard my family will not kill themselves! Goddammit it’s true. It’s all indisputable fact. The CEOs are happy. They ejaculate out the window. 055

ROBERT GANO

when five of my family decide they are never to be dead. Because CEOs are threatening my family with rubber bullets. I had rubber toys. I owned a sweatshop bouncing with rubber machinations. Nobody stays horny. My dog wants to buy every last biscuit at Walmart. He heard biscuits at Walmart are a proxy for all the best poison.


SPRUNG FORMAL

JOSEPH TUZZOLINO

DON’T EAT TACO BELL

056


11:11 AN INTROVERT’S GUIDE TO DREAMS

You stand before a glass doorway, watching a ghost move through the yard. You reach out, and the door opens. You hear several birds shuffling their wings. You wait for their little bodies to shoot through the dark into your home. You wait for years. A phantom mimics your every move.

BRIAN CLIFTON

057


SPRUNG FORMAL

BRIAN CLIFTON

Your son stands on the other side of the sliding glass door. Before you noticed him, you were thinking about a night long ago when you lay on a bed and watched a toy cast its multi-colored lights across the ceiling and the walls. You giggled for hours into your pillow. Back then, you knew what loneliness was. This was before your son sprung out of every dark crevice. You open your hands, and your son is there.

058


11:11

You follow him into the unlit bathroom where he shows you his beautiful skull. His teeth pile over one another like a graveyard sinking into the earth. His black eyes, his swaybacked cheekbones. You love your son and his sandstone skull. He sticks out his tongue— like a candied cherry, its red almost aflame.

BRIAN CLIFTON

059


SPRUNG FORMAL

BRIAN CLIFTON

You look into your duffle bag and find your lower half. Your upper half is propped against a wall in the locker room. It’s winter in the 80s; everyone is exercising. You open the nearest locker and find your doppelganger’s lower half, so you try it on. It fits. You almost open another locker, but something inside begins to growl as you near.

060


11:11

You and your doppelganger are on the floor. You raise your finger and put it in the other’s mouth Your doppelganger mirrors you. You are babies. It’s hard to tell, but inside your flesh your skeletons are slowly fusing into a single bone. The world is a knife flipping open in a stranger’s palm. Your hand in your doppelganger’s mouth and their hand in yours, it’s getting harder and harder to move, to look away.

BRIAN CLIFTON

061


SPRUNG FORMAL

HANNAH CARR

GARDEN

062


11:11 DISCUSSED / FROM NOTIONS OF THE SUBLIME

Mullion-clamps jag tier-flung grates in triangular pinch of glint of an iris strangle hold I am attempting fear using the eye. I attempt abrasion obstructing the punishment of an eye. Rose splays an ooze of peel the concrete lips of a punched out construction

aborts

I am admitting flesh-heads stand erect for all the words to see. Refrain: How did you do it you’ll ask and I’ll say, I attempted a discussion of the body using my body—it was all I had.

I teach how to be strong? Jump—you fall so fast your stomach leaves your world as Richter. Your stomach content. Refrain: How did you do it you’ll ask and I’ll say, I attempted a discussion of the body using my body—it was all I had. You beg rough nudes, disrobe a book of tissues evacuate functions flush exposed pleas (assholes rife) Did you come to see some perfumed valor? The house? Porcelain turns-of-corner boiled down to a spring.

063

JENNIFER PILCH

Perfect orbs monstrous idealized Marches weigh down below traffic the mind long green dew West


SPRUNG FORMAL

I have experience. I trace the curvature

of your dialogue; I reach where every obstacle is a mindfield. I make you out of the language of innards. For this beauty

remains my enemy.

You only saw my body and I spoke the body. There were two bodies, then there were three.

JENNIFER PILCH

Refrain: How did you do it, you’ll ask and I’ll say, I attempted a discussion of the body using my body—it was all I had.

064


11:11 BLACK OVER BLUE

MYLES THOMPSON

065


SPRUNG FORMAL

MYLES THOMPSON

LEAN ON CLEAR

066


11:11 PRINZESSIN I

TORY FOULK

067


SPRUNG FORMAL

ROBERT LONG FOREMAN

BREAD / FROM WEIRD PIG: THE NOVELIZATION

Weird Pig had never made bread before, but he wanted to try something new. He wanted to have something, at last, that he knew how to do, something he was good at, something other than sinking down into the good, soft mud and ordering for his friends at restaurants. He had to start somewhere. He got some flour. He got baking powder and yeast. He got water and preheated the oven. He followed the directions. It is a bad idea, though, when following a recipe, to add new directions that go between the established ones. After following step 4 of the recipe for Celeste’s Sunflower-Oatmeal Bread, and seeing that step 5 says to let the dough rise at room temperature for 90 minutes, it isn’t necessary to insert a step 4.5, and find the author of the bread cookbook on Facebook and tell her in a direct message that 90 minutes is a very long time and that she should have made it not take as long when she wrote the directions. It isn’t her fault that it takes that long. It is the fault of the bread itself—or of the ingredients, and the chemical reactions that result in bread. Nowhere in the directions did it say that Weird Pig should eat all of the cheese in the kitchen. It wasn’t even his kitchen. It was the kitchen of a house he had broken into. He didn’t know who lived there. He didn’t know when the owner would come back. Maybe never, thought Weird Pig with a mouthful of cheese. Maybe they left for good, or died or whatever. Step 4.7 said that Weird Pig should get bored with baking bread and give up on the whole ordeal, as he would later call it. He turned the oven as high as it would go and stuffed in the contents of the refrigerator, everything that would fit. He broke a dozen eggs on the floor and set the living room couch on fire. He was in thrall to another set of directions, now. They whipped across the back of his mind when he was awake and when he slept like a demented stock ticker. It said he should dismantle all that had been assembled, that he should ruin all that had not yet been ruined. The instructions flew by so fast sometimes it made him dizzy. He could hardly keep up. He riffled through the upstairs bedroom and found a pearl necklace he put around his neck, and some rings that he stuffed in his pockets. The bread didn’t turn out well, not that Weird Pig stayed around to see how it would go. It merged with the rest of the house as it burned and collapsed in on itself. The house crushed the bread and everything turned to ash. Weird Pig leapt from a window just in time, after stopping to use the bathroom for ten minutes as the bathroom filled with smoke and the bedroom burned. He caught the branch of a tree and climbed down and strolled away like he’d had nothing to do with the bread and the house that went with it. By the next morning, he’d lost the jewelry and was ready to admit that the baking of the bread had not gone well. He thought next time he might try the Portugese Sweet Bread with Honey. Or, no, the Mile-High Popovers. Or, no, maybe something else. Or, no. No. No. 068


11:11 READING / FROM WEIRD PIG: THE NOVELIZATION

A man is mahogany. A man is a hammer. A man is much is much is A man is A man is

jelly

a man

A man A man Is Life and death and Cobra Commander

So perfect in their clarity;

How ideal in their emptiness,

Like moonquakes.

Then Weird Pig read his own poem, The Man Poem. He read it slowly, drawing out every vowel for as long as he could. It took him half an hour to read the one poem, which was a letdown for his audience, because he’d prefaced it by saying it was the last poem he would read. This had made their hearts soar, but then he really took his time with that last poem. 069

ROBERT LONG FOREMAN

Weird Pig didn’t know the first thing about writing a poem. He had a typewriter, though, and he liked to press the TAB key. He’d been reading the collected poems of e. e. cummings, and it had given him ideas. One idea was that he could write poems like e. e. had. The poem quoted above was 40 lines long. It never got any better than that first part, but it didn’t stop Weird Pig from hosting a poetry reading at Farmer Dan’s house so that he could read it aloud before an audience. He didn’t tell Farmer Dan that he’d planned the reading, nor that he had invited everyone on the farm, all the animals and field hands, to come and listen. They didn’t like poetry. Weird Pig didn’t, either. Not really. But he’d started writing it the day prior to the reading, and saw in it a way to get others to look at him and think he was smarter than he was. When everyone had settled into Farmer Dan’s living room, with Dan in the back row, fuming, because not only had he not been told this event was happening in his house, he didn’t even get a good seat, Weird Pig started by clearing his throat and reading a poem he didn’t write. It was by Wallace Piggins, a famous poet who had worked at an insurance company for pigs. It was a poem about how good jars are for holding leftover food, and also how, when they’re not holding things, they’re perfectly clear:


SPRUNG FORMAL

ROBERT LONG FOREMAN

By the time he reached the stanza that deployed an extended metaphor in which an empty kitchen represented his childhood, half his audience had split. Weird Pig did not fail to notice. He could see them flocking out and thought it was rude. These philistines, he thought. These animals. He improvised. With the last of the attendees seated before him, he recited a new poem on the fly:

I can see through mountains.

Watch me disappear.

I can even touch the sky.

Swallowing colors of the sounds I hear,

Am I just a crazy guy?

You bet.

It was Flying High Again. It was the lyrics to Flying High Again by Ozzy Osbourne. But none of the animals had ever listened to Ozzy, so it worked. It changed their worlds. They started talking, even before he was done with the poem, about how high they wanted to fly, how they so desired to live like Weird Pig, who could fly higher than them all, or so they gathered from how enthusiastically he recited his poem about flying high again. They took it to be literal, and autobiographical. The animals knew nothing about poetry. They didn’t know that when a poet writes, she is rarely writing about herself. Sure, there is often some connection between the poem and the poet’s life and mind, but they had never heard of the concept of the speaker, the idea that in a poem the one referring to him- or herself is not the I of the poet but a fictionalized buffer of an I, an artificial stand-in, a character. Flying High Again wasn’t about Weird Pig. As a song, sure, it was maybe about Ozzy taking up drugs again, probably cocaine, but as a poem its subjectivity was fabricated. What made matters worse was that the only animals who had gone to the reading were the really dumb ones. The smart ones knew better than to go. The attendees at the poetry reading took Weird Pig at his word when he said he could see through mountains. Had they been critical thinkers, they might have asked him, when he finally stopped to take questions, What mountains? Instead, one of the chickens asked him why he smelled like formaldehyde. Weird Pig regretted ever taking up poetry, which, to be fair, many poets do from time to time. The cow asked where the snacks were. But there were no snacks. There was only poetry.

070


11:11 GILBERT THE FOX / FROM WEIRD PIG: THE NOVELIZATION

071

ROBERT LONG FOREMAN

Weird Pig didn’t know about nature. He knew about it, he would say. He had heard of it. He knew he was supposed to like it, but he didn’t know that he did. There was a lot, still, that he didn’t know. When he was honest with himself and others, which was rare, he would admit that he didn’t like nature at all. He thought it was a problem—an affront—something that must be challenged and brought under control. Nature meant chaos to Weird Pig, and as much as he liked chaos in certain things, like his driving style, he didn’t like it in the world outside the walls of his home. He didn’t like that as soon as he entered the dense woods on the farm’s eastern edge anything could happen. Once, when he was out in the woods, he found a bra. It was a white bra, on the ground by a tree. There was dirt in its fibers, either from animals and people who had stepped on it unwittingly and ground dirt and mud into it, or from someone who didn’t like bras and those who wore them (women, mostly) and had brought this one into the woods and soiled it as a symbolic gesture against women. Considering it for a moment, he knew which of the two explanations was more credible, and after thinking yet another moment he decided which one it was. The dirty bra was the work of Gilbert the Fox, an actual fox who lived in those woods and was notorious for his problems with women. He would bring one home and demand she perform sex acts. When she didn’t, or said something like, What do you mean, exactly? What sex acts?, he would send her away. It didn’t make any sense. He would refuse to drive her home, or call for a taxi, or make her the dinner he’d promised to make. Cell phone service was so bad, on that side of the farm, that she had to walk back into town on her own. When Weird Pig reached the clearing where Gilbert’s house stood, it was dusk. When he crept to the window, shielding himself from sight, using the bush outside the window for cover, he saw there was a woman in there. He couldn’t see Gilbert, but he could hear him trying to explain himself. No, baby, listen, said Gilbert. It’s not that I don’t like talking dirty. It’s that I don’t like talking dirty about sex. What other kind is there? asked the woman. The kind I was just trying. I was trying to show you. You were talking about your car. I was establishing a setting. I was doing the necessary work of describing the place where all the sex would happen that we were going to then go over together.


ROBERT LONG FOREMAN

SPRUNG FORMAL

Go over? Yeah, you know. Talk dirty about. Listen, baby, if you don’t establish a setting, if you don’t first get it straight where the characters are when the action takes place, then you might as well not have any action. Gilbert, said the woman. We are not collaborating on a novel. Is what we’re doing so different from that? Are we not creating something together? No. We are not. Gilbert, listen. You’re an interesting fox. Don’t go, baby. Goodbye, Gilbert. The woman walked to the door, purse in hand. Weird Pig watched around the corner of the house as she exited through the front door and checked her phone, then shook her head and began walking in the direction of town. Weird Pig intercepted Gilbert as he emerged from the house to follow her. He was desperate, saying, Wait, let me tell you how your panties get draped on the rearview. It’s all about rising action! Speaking of which, said Weird Pig from behind Gilbert. Does this look familiar? He held up the bra he’d found in the woods. It hung from his outstretched hoof. Weird Pig, said Gilbert, spinning on his heels. What are you doing here? This bra. You’ve seen it before. Sure I’ve seen it. I rubbed dirt in it this morning, with all my paws. Let me guess. It was a symbolic gesture meant to denigrate women. That’s right. Help me understand one thing, Weird Pig said. He scratched his forehead. Why is it that you’re so reluctant to even refer to sex directly that you’ll let an interested woman storm out of your house, angry, before you’ll explain in an arousing way what you’d like to do to her once you’ve got her undressed? What have you got against talking dirty? Get away from me. Get away from my house. Gilbert snatched the bra out of Weird Pig’s hand and backed into his home. You need to watch yourself, said Weird Pig. Because you’d better believe I’m watching you. And if I’m the one who’s watching you then you’re in trouble. Gilbert shut the door and watched Mad Max on Netflix. Weird Pig stood at the window and watched Gilbert watch the first half of the movie, until he lost interest and stumbled home in the dark.

072


11:11

Maybe instead of literally keeping an eye on Gilbert, he said to himself on the way home, misusing the word literally, I could keep tabs on him from afar. I could call him every day, to see what he’s doing, and make sure he’s doing nothing wrong. But that wouldn’t work. Gilbert could lie, over the phone, about what he was doing, and so Weird Pig tried to think about something else altogether. He couldn’t stop Gilbert or change his ways, so he told himself to try to forget it. More like falling action, he said as he trudged through the woods he didn’t like. More like falling action.

ROBERT LONG FOREMAN

073


SPRUNG FORMAL

ROBERT LONG FOREMAN

LIFE / FROM WEIRD PIG: THE NOVELIZATION

Weird Pig wanted to watch something die. All this death, he said. It’s all around us. There’s more than enough to counterbalance the life that teems across the surface of this farm. So much death, and nearly all of it hidden from our sight. I killed a mouse last week, said Kid Bryce, son of Farmer Dan. They were sitting, the two of them, by the stream that made the farm’s naturally occurring border to the north. Okay, said Weird Pig. What else? Bugs, shrugged Bryce. Different kinds. It’s not enough. Weird Pig flung a rock into the stream. I want to see something big die. A thing whose death you can’t miss. Who dies audibly. You mean, so you can hear it? That’s exactly what I mean. They made a plan, and when the plan was made Weird Pig went to tell the tiger tomcat, who lived in the rafters of the big red barn, that he should go to the shed. There is a surprise there for you, he said. A good surprise. It will be good. The tiger tomcat went for it, giving a great meow and striding off to the shed, where Bryce was waiting with what would indeed be a surprise: a noose. He would hang it just level with the tomcat’s head, so that when he walked through the door all he’d have to do was pull, to get the cat strung up. He had practiced his technique on Weird Pig, who had coached him along, until he really had it down. He would hold the tomcat there, like that, until Weird Pig arrived. He would choke the tomcat just enough to keep him breathing, but keep him from crying out. Keep him from asking what Bryce was doing, what had gotten into him. Keep him from talking sense into the six-year-old boy. Weird Pig laughed when he emerged into the darkness of the shed from the blinding outside. He saw the tomcat choking in the perfect noose, lifted off the floor of the shed so that just his back paws barely touched the floor. When he saw the concentration written across Bryce’s face, he snorted and laughed at the boy. Weird Pig took the end of the noose from Bryce. He didn’t say a word as he lifted the cat off the ground, tightening the noose that much more, and tied its end to a nail that he had driven into the wall prior to all this. Weird Pig stepped back to where Kid Bryce stood paralyzed. Bryce watched as the tomcat thrashed against the wall, kicking with four legs where he hung, twisting his head back and forth. He’s only making it tighter, Weird Pig said. It won’t be long. He opened a Miller High Life Bryce hadn’t known Weird Pig had. Weird Pig took a drink and glanced at Bryce’s pants, soaked with urine. Oh, man, said Weird Pig. That’s what I was smelling. He laughed. Who’s the pig in this shed? he said. Kid Bryce started crying. He couldn’t take his eyes off the tiger tomcat, who was twitching, now. Weird Pig took a gulp from his beer. 074


11:11

075

ROBERT LONG FOREMAN

After some seconds passed—seconds full of the rasping of the tomcat like Death itself breathing down the necks of the three creatures in the hot shed—Bryce turned his soaking eyes from the choking cat for one second. He looked at Weird Pig. Weird Pig wasn’t even paying attention. He was looking at his iPhone. He was buying something from the App Store: a game, called Expand! The object was to make a circle expand by pressing your finger on the center of the screen as many times as you could in ten seconds. The more times you pressed it, the bigger the circle got, until it was bigger than your phone could show it to be, bigger than cities and towns. Weird Pig had read good reviews, and as he waited for it to download he took another drink of his High Life. And in the next second found himself on his knees with the bottle lodged in his narrow pig throat. He was choking on glass and on beer. The glass must have broken, he thought. He was dying. Bryce had slapped the base of the bottle with the palm of his hand, as hard as he could, jamming it down the throat of Weird Pig. Weird Pig retched, and choked, and retched again. The bottle wouldn’t come out. He had to reach in with his hooves and dislodge it. Finally the bottle emerged from his throat with the beer he’d swallowed and more. The bottle wasn’t broken, thank god for that, and as he retched again, ears ringing, out came the mouse he’d found in the barn rafters that the tiger tomcat had left behind when he’d bounded off to meet his death. He looked around, then, still coughing. He was alone. The tiger tomcat wasn’t dead. He was just gone. Bryce had seen his chance and followed up his minute of fear and indecision by jamming the half-empty bottle down Weird Pig’s gullet and taking three steps across the shed to free the tiger tomcat. He didn’t stop crying, couldn’t stop the tears from dripping off his face as he undid Weird Pig’s horrid work, fumbling to untie the awful knot that kept the cat suspended lifeless from the nail. Not lifeless. As Weird Pig choked beer and bile, Bryce took the tiger tomcat in his arms. The knot was strong. Bryce held the cat and bit the frayed rope in two. He had powerful jaws. As Weird Pig collected himself from the floor, Bryce fled with the tomcat unconscious in his arms, the tomcat’s breath labored and loud. To the sheep enclosure he brought the cat, where the sheep stood to one side and watched as Bryce curled in the hay, soaked from the waist down, tearful as a new mother with her baby, his regretful heart beating with the beating heart of the gasping creature whose life he had saved, who was safe because Bryce had done what his heart commanded. He kept crying, and crying, as he told the cat he was sorry, and sorry again, as the cat rasped his way back to life and back to the farm that held life and death in its indifferent, earthen arms as if the two were interchangeable.


SPRUNG FORMAL

HANNAH LYNN CALVERT FINE

CHROMASCOPE

076


11:11

077


SPRUNG FORMAL

CARLOS MIGUEL ORTIZ-GALLO

UNTITLED IV

078


11:11 WATERFALL II

BRADEN BANDEL

079


SPRUNG FORMAL [ ]

Like an altar carved in the pine to pray to concrete and noise, so much spilled light spread even on the darkest day of the year. Navy light, teal light. Walking a straight line through a town built on an arc, blades of bruised green puffing sprigged gas. Muffled times, a lot of energy.

CANDICE WUEHLE

Our Lady existent only in the Forbidden Photograph: an auric commemorative technology, like lipstick or bells. Remnant of the future. Easy, easy to stand on the heating grate and forget. If doves are a memory, picture them emptying out of the asphalt and all around instead of only your own grey mourning cloak as the heated air upends. Never remembering the remaining feature of the emptied frame from which they fell, citizens of a careless country, bumps on a bodiless spine. Bent for nothing. Maybe not careless; uncared for. Not nothing; anything. Not emptied; erased. Imagine neither fire nor ice and one day shavings of ash, or snow. A raw powder outfitted of the same void uniform. Without access to crystal or carcass, without events unpartitioned to event, how to tell which? Or if. An unsiftable why. Understand how we tired of ghosts. There was to be a dirty-fingernailed present determined by the future. Historicity the greased blot on the silk pillowcase created by the archivist’s oiled head. There was no after, only the ungrievable always where we all were written. Where after the Ordained Instrument was excised we were all equal. No graves to return from, fear belonged to the Party Spirit.

080


11:11

THE PARTY SPIRIT THE PARTY SPIRIT THE PARTY SPIRIT THE PARTY SPIRIT THE PARTY SPIRIT THE PARTY SPIRIT THE PARTY SPIRIT THE PARTY SPIRIT THE PARTY SPIRIT THE PARTY SPIRIT THE PARTY SPIRIT THE PARTY SPIRIT THE PARTY SPIRIT THE PARTY SPIRIT

Each but all of The Party Spirit made their name a social number, helped to trim the town back into the trees. Having children or swimming under water were never remembered. Sometimes an afterimage surfaced. A remainder, bad math. An idea that in the next life The Party Spirit might make their lungs black branches tipped with unopened opal buds. Only let out what’s been taken in. At the edge of the town a path beaten. A quorum of squirrel at the entrance, a cocoon in the throat, a spiral of silence leading out or in

081

CANDICE WUEHLE

Fear of trash. Fear of noise. Fear of secretions. Fear of dreams. Fear of shame. Fear of the soft skin of the earlobe. Fear of undomesticated animals. Fear of wild plants, mushrooms, streams from the mountian. Fear of neologisms. Fear of fat. Fear of lace. Fear of echoes. Fear of echoes. Fear of the moon. Fear of others. Fear of unknown names, noises, languages. Unburdened by the velocity of memory, echo chambers and bad ideas gained speed. Synchronicity lost traction. The Party Spirit lied collectively and did not admit to each other that they even feared fear. When The Party Spirit laughed they told each other it did not sound like neon. When The Party Spirit sang they insisted it did not feel like rope. There was something dark in the corner of the eye.


SPRUNG FORMAL SONG FOR THE CONSEQUENCE OF FALSE PAGODAS

this poem has not been easy meanwhile many babies were made and came to, quickly babies which are predictable and therefore not miracles I may grow uglier for thinking so but I have been ugly in this world and it wasn’t that terrible though even at ugliness I did not excel a sad excuse for having a body

STELLA CORSO

I have been fat in this body and I have been skinny in this body and I know it is possible to be both and still go on living that shows range sometimes we forget our bodies have gone on living there are necessary functions that need our attentions then a hearse honks and we are gently waved along through the traffic

082


11:11 POEM CALLED NIGEL

Chances are you lived In a house by a city near a river You vacationed often in the Swiss Alps You listened to jazz occasionally And drove a Honda in a detached state You grew an inch or two every year Then grew to despise systems of growth You had a secret agent for a wife She did not kill you with cyanide

You had a baby And you named the baby Gary

083

STELLA CORSO

But slowly and in private


SPRUNG FORMAL

JOSEPH TUZZOLINO

MOM LEG

084


11:11 SPRAINED ANKLE

MERCEDES PADRO

085


SPRUNG FORMAL

SARA GARRISON

WARM SUN

086


11:11 A TRAIN ON CANAL ST.

MYLES THOMPSON

087


SPRUNG FORMAL UNENDING WAYS TO CLEAN A MATTRESS

1. A parse of me -- take a few ( s

paces. ) Stroke. What it means to create broad fires;

they can crash. Lift a lot between cut / inside your palms circle touches,

LUCY CHOUQUETTE

\

stroking through egg-white noise

touching glimpses of my above waters; lap, licking -

as yolks slope downward. They can. Perhaps, inside your palms. 2. Little blue tiles can’t be differentiated between water or my – I spend whole times down under waters with my eyes closed not for any reason other than my childhood was spent in Or my parent’s bathroom.

( s

pools. )

Imagining beaded, soggy dog with wet grass stuck to under belly mouth open

as I palm myself by pressing palm to palm.

088


11:11

3. I am cumbersome to illuminate, but if you finger my scalp repeatedly in calm gestures,

you will

or the side of the fridge. Here

, parched, I think, I pinched at kitchen walls.

4. My teeth feel short. I lick back a little longer.

089

LUCY CHOUQUETTE

let sprawl out of your fingers the ongoing rises of – that warm you up to all the things that pierce into your hands like me. I hope you let me swell there . – the thrill of surfacing belly up, mouth open, brush my face against the angle of the headboard


SPRUNG FORMAL (INTERIOR,) POOL PARTY

– and, after you, it takes after tasting like boiling mud pools. I have neglected all of the things on my bedroom floor. For years.

LUCY CHOUQUETTE

They’re like pooled dead fish, parched. You tilted your head back as we stood outside your cousin’s house you made a throat weighted gesture of simultaneity of protecting , and, of surrendering of sounds. Spots of hair on your neck don’t seem to move but your freckle stretches and when you gulp back it seems to gulp, too. And as I watch I feel as if I am looking up towards the surface in a pitch black swimming pool shared by leaves softening and insects whose eyes never closed whom once, I felt rivaled me whom at once – I felt pity for they face upwards towards more of the same and I,

I get to see you. Or perhaps, arguably, what you gulp is these waters and within them the whole of me. Something to ease my size, for you. Perhaps.

090


11:11 (ONE ALREADY MENTIONED -- “ .”)

– did you know there’s pulp in your teeth?

You placed a shell in your mouth and I couldn’t tell if what I heard next was the texture of your teeth filmed over after immediate wake up morning sex or the shell on your tongue. I imagine both could be bruising in gouging out a reason for themselves to exist in parallel – one another. You said you felt a pain in your cheek. I didn’t ask which one because I knew either side of the face would do. I never knew spit could be territorial until I kissed you.

I suppose you were abundant in your own waves.

091

LUCY CHOUQUETTE

Soil sounds quite well until you make it soiled. Milk. Sheets. Orgasms. I think you soiled inside me. Developed into tiny holes. I never figured to quantify them, but now I speculate how many tiny little holes. How many of those holes others have come into in better ways . . .


SPRUNG FORMAL THINK OF RUGBURNS.

Take a leaf from outside. Make a wound in it. See if it curdles.

You yank on it like a tooth a shadow of a tongue,

LUCY CHOUQUETTE

wound living in a tissue break to ask breached fleshy parts if they consider injury / I saw inside your cheek once. Parenthetical for your lick, light (pass the tongue over to moisten) falls forcibly in gesture from mouth, mouths a seldom monument to memory, my mattress is a lively mouth telling

of both the expulsed and the soused more than soaked through – think of how your mouth carries wet, now think of my stomach, it has something to do with water.

092


11:11 I’M A FAN

MEGHAN BRAUNER

093


SPRUNG FORMAL THE POND

You skip enough stones the pond becomes a pile of stones. That’s the hovercraft we don’t see. That’s the divine bannister. The leaf pile morphs into a groundhog. The groundhog into catastrophe. It’s been morning all along.

JACK CHRISTIAN

We’re all pretending you don’t have a disorder.

094


11:11 WHEN ELVIS SANG GOSPEL ALL OUR _________ MELTED

095

TIM EARLEY

Dysteria in the fillet wires and the first drink its own thriving cultured imaginative faltering, it raises up a spring, fawning webs, murk of generations and yellow death bed. My uncle’s belly turnt out filled with parasitic fish. Forfeited and wood-paneled lungs. When I was five he put a rifle in my hands it was hard to lift imperial rigid snake I found my mother in its scope rounding the corner of the trailer raising a special kind of hell later he made me euthanize with a rawhide hammer a kitten he had backed over in his truck forced me to fight my cousins how to close a fist and wail how to not let up when you got somebody on the ground he shit in the doberman’s pen he shit in the middle of the yard he’d shove two giant fingers inside your asshole to abrogate salvation. I am engaging in radical self-care. I am filling my uncle’s corpse with asbestos and green cum stolen from the pastoral market. I am feeding the chickens seven dust. I am rainsing my strangled puerile member with Roundup. Flower yanked into your hair in the wild engine of tomorrow is the extent of my disguise. I was dressed for an extraordinary day inside my house. Halfway submerged in the trellised excrement of wood worms I dreamed of cocaine and recess, a supraimposition of such and such hour upon my feathery legs, coordinated reproductions of systemic abuse, fealty to nullification. I have become PURE SPIRIT and BELLIED MOON AXE and the WEIGHT OF EVERY TOOTH. Pickerling is earnestly manifold. Multifractal mouse eggs. Irradiated sousaphone myths. I am dumb as a fuck lip yet highly active. The industrialist and the loom have composed for me fields of the slickest shit for my delectations and parsings. A white balloon filled with delusional whiteness was slipped inside my anus at birth. It granteth me trees. It granteth me bears to ride upon. It granteth me glocks and grenades. At the whiskey turnstyle I impregnated all my skinny cousins. I pulled the old clawfoot tub into the yard and filled it with Spam and the insides of Donny Breelander’s head. I drew a breath so singular that it destroyed (yasss!) the universe, all the feelings. I deserve only this. I armoured my heart in the identities of bird bills and the infinite corpse of a dog and kept telling everyone the devil is within you why as dawn spreads the river is disintegrating behind the blood hoof leaning house the peregrine sick worm room of his man crimes pray portal of assigned prey yes friends the devil is within you.


SPRUNG FORMAL

TIM EARLEY

CRYSTAL’S HOOKED ON CRYSTAL AND I’M HOOKED ON HER

Horny abstractions tossed in a wagon. PeePeePawPaw cut his milk with kerosene. These ideas are entirely fungible. You are real fungible hoss. Something has been eating the ears off living hogs. I intend to give you a portion of my wealth. Pictured second to the left, back row. Uncle got rolled for his vainglory for his cloudburst Americana money rolls. Gnats made out around his arm pits like they were honing in on the upper room. He smelled like shit sometimes. His whisky breath would make a pallbearer dizzy. He might have been an adult snapping turtle. Masculine coagulate. Memory is a green room an aqueous indulgent. Jesus caught up in the nettles while Satan was counting his strawberries his balls ripe as an ancient pipe organ. His followers drove white vans up and down those lonesome county roads in Hollis in Golden Valley our Aracadian remnants squired by the servinaught mills. They’d sacrifice bunnies goats cats dogs white girls they’d orgy this orgy that concatenate spells straight turn Baptists into undulating worms in their crotchless nightmares their proper respect Treenie would say and eat a cigarette and finger my trellis sexualis. Like the rest of us they lived in piss shacks and ranch houses and Chalet Ridge Mobile Home Park and went to the Wal Marts. A higher perhaps per capita Megadeth. MeeMeeMawMaw said I declare they lordy an entire telephone conversation could be a succession of I declares law theys they lordies. Aporic voxulations of all contained therein. The self can only assume so many shapes until oh glory you are an extremophile playing a xylophone a somadrone playing symbols on the planus xenon emporium and wherefore the extinction of communal possibility and then what was once transformative becomes a fee-fey modality a consumptive marker marquee consumption market consommé. I was troubled by the loping ranginess of Bradley Wayne Jones’ limbs I guess he was kind of like free on the wind kind of like a human deer he had four inches of reach on me and a Camaro Z-28. He were missing FANGERS but not his middle easier to shoot a bird he said babies poured forth from his penis like a cherubic river gloried with trout.

096


11:11 NATIVIST FEELING IN RELATION TO THE PECULIARITY OF OUR HOUNDS

097

TIM EARLEY

Legion of withered roots if I yearn for homestead or turnstile if I sanction the memorial evangelical hortatory as a kind of yellow caul that ministrated to the POOR ASS CULTURALLY DETERMINED BENIGHTED SKELETAL FLASH OF BEING IN THE TRASH HILLS well then may I be assailed by temptation and may a sentient zombie double be constructed that I am forced to converse with until I negate my interior value system and become a bleeding rooch mewling on the ridgeline of an ordinary mason’s imagination or let me drown in the river while my sisters sing and nettles converse with wind and other nettles or give me wings so I may urinate from any vantage point arc a limbic of angel-plague doctor splitstream modality or lay me down in the potter’s field with the most exceptional masculine erudites among my ancestors so they may dispense their many hatreds into my being and no one will fuck with me except celestial wolves and their thousand little ritualized nightmare resurrections tearing at my belly or eyeholes and then whole again I would pick the banjo for the first time in a furious way that would justify the moaning alcoholic cotillion of my younger days and that would be one of many ways to die. In a high mountain valley the greeny asphodels about Filch asked to borrow my lawnmower and some gasoline. He mowed the adjacent trailer park and returned to me and offered to mow my lawn with my own mower and gasoline for twenty dollars. I felt like an emperor. I drained my bag. I filleted a barracuda. I said I want to be you Filch let me live in your trailer house with its many prescription bottles its Spanish art its enormous garden tub the wind that whistles through the broken window at night and gives birth to yr dreams more intense than any rivening prophet’s, much boots, what rust. He said but I want to be you to place my trailer house inside your trailer house an erstwhile citizen filled with bookish theoric an anchorite on a stoop or just regular with a backup generator some cable channels a family Bible alive with script okay I said you grasshopper you young goat we will be in complete amity and provoke salvation and spool catfish whiskers and survey the valley round for signs of holler ghosts or other unsavory elements a modified stock car an astonishing spray of gravel a hundred flasks a thousand pills could not undo us.


SPRUNG FORMAL

NIKA WINN

LEATHER DOGGIE

098


11:11 THE POPE LICK MONSTER

FRANK NORTON

099


SPRUNG FORMAL THE DULL END (1)

The Cyclops looks stupid, always the same gym shorts, wolf t-shirt. His cornea papery and thin, stupid. He pronounces at times; they break his usual stutter: “Person comes from Latin, but comes from the Etruscan word for mask, phersu.” These things sound annoying until he is away from you. That’s the rub. They steep in your afternoon darkness.

PHIL ESTES

In this week’s play: a boy is marked for sacrifice by his tribe because horns grew from his head. We said “awe” when we saw him try to climb out of the coffin. The chorus always on his side.

100


11:11 THE DULL END (2)

He says the Doc’s Virgin jumped the fence. Identify her by the whole shebang: garlands, white dress. “She is like a sun to us.” Covenanter, that’s what he calls himself, so we call him that or Doctor doctor when we open a cask. He speaks for the Doctor of the Church of the Holy District, old like Ambrose. Tapes his dick to his thigh, the doctor does—they say. The Covenanter glitters in the light: the last hair gel—widely documented—the crewcut, “just like their fisherman.” The pearl teeth, which smell like urine. Like mine, I do the Roman piss thing too. The Age of “Understanding” is over.

PHIL ESTES

101


SPRUNG FORMAL

AVERY DENNISON

MISSISSISSIPPI QUEEN & KING

102


11:11 UNTITLED VI

CARLOS MIGUEL ORTIZ-GALLO

103


SPRUNG FORMAL MORTIFICARE

Hello my tongue is not as powerful as yours but still more so than Jesuses My only broken teeth are the ones I cracked on purpose. Hello, how sweet you say the irony that we went for so long unaware of the other but hello we are at the intersection of sweet and excruciating.

SARAH BRYAN

Hello, you were excruciating. If you are the June to my cleaver then you are the bone I cannot swing hard enough to break but that is a misconception anyway, hello. (It would need to be sharpened too)

Sitting at the bar in the dark on the worst possible night Hello just say hello just kiss her why can’t you say anything? Why are you here? to chain smoke and make whiskey cranberries disappear, hello. Mortified mortificare – subdue, kill (Latin) basically, hello.

104


11:11

but that is not what I want, (just fucking kiss her) that is what I know I can have because I can’t say hello.

SARAH BRYAN

105


SPRUNG FORMAL AT THE MOUTH OF A SPACE-AGE CAVE

Somebody paved the sky and I liked it because they put the stars back in each one fitted like a pebble into wet sand Below them the cars go by more lethal than ever like whoever’s driving their arms must ripple with power Ripple like the ribbon on a gift which is what it is

JESSICA FJELD

to be allowed into this solar system with no responsibilities

106


11:11 THE FOUNDATION STONE AND THE WEATHERVANE

We came into the morning

unprepared Found its gardens were open A girl on horseback was circling the city shouting out the familiar conditions of its surrender Oh the air was soft as the pages of a paperback and you were my object and I was

What oceans you knew I had them inside of me So when you looked straight into my face There I was and also there was the blue sky behind me

107

JESSICA FJELD

the elephant you lived inside Came and went from


SPRUNG FORMAL

SARA GARRISON

CITRUS PALM TREE

108


11:11 THE ACTUAL MOMENT WHERE THE RHYTHM

means to me a half step & a slow drag : finger at the partial label’s edge to smear the speed it was an early morning of air left out of color more mechanic than had been of late : the sequence of its pulse was yet preserved : orientation ward swinging, sidemen head-on-bone a one of them did rise to honk a note & hang it clear blew down through his rank mount man : beat-druggèd & wanting some : neither for nor of us (the occasional who still listen & who belong to the cymbals dark full ride : we strained in these couplets, our condition there exceeded

my heart stopped : (one motion (the second so much slower than that of the first : that the first may overcome the second mayhap lap it & pass it in its off balance, imperfectly cast : that imprecision takes the past master further : satisfies to capture shapes that’s onto there like when instead the rate made faster some perceived the interval in the visual manifest : subject 14 conjured a series of dots : subject 11 at one time an undulating line & at another an ellipse with four dots placed upon either side : subject 15 made a color association subject 22 struck tight on the root problem : these type measures are centersless : only by “in-himself-each-moving-backward” are

109

C. VIOLET EATON

easy punctuation, needed proportion like the rhythm treated even increasing each meaning’s slur-heard rag riff :


SPRUNG FORMAL

quantities suggested which practically clock a measurable wave & its cool shadow accent : the increased duration of every second sound : nervous for the lead with slight arrangement & equal release that the seconds seemed longer, time slight speak in continuous column : when divided the ratio compounds the subject : is no doubt proprioceptive, & must rise, I get that the body suffers vapors, ‘allelujah : its grace did shake at songs the others died on the spirit falling to its knees, I find C. VIOLET EATON

I am with loose now, unwooden like macumba : & to name that a vision? I see a need to summon sun wasp, mammon, summer too far brightly : or the fair bright pace of more quotidian lists: lightbulbs batteries ant traps whiskey & spoons this, the ordinary flux, day’s rhythm : drum the horse that carries the heart away, heart asymmetric, pitched between semitone, tricuspid valve dilating, closing : the hi-hat half-choked then it opens out, floating back pressing on the 1 : ghost on 3rd where the pressure lessens : tactus, longa, brevis, anacrusis the actual moment where the rhythm ‘s considerable in its local variations : x·x·x··x·x··x·x·x··x·x·x: x·x·xx·x·x·xx·xx·x·xx·x· proceed to swerve at or truncate, get stuck there, eccentric, by which to pour in touch : report between numbers on the & : percolating among them as in baião

110


11:11

or in son clave, which I felt mainly as a hitch in the larger looming propulsion : let go of unbecome like a phonecall lost : it was an early morning of air held rapt in praise of the slowed-down jass record w/ the popcorn beat that lobs an echo : like Ligeti’s poem for 100 metronomes : a moment near the end just two are left out-of-phase, sounds so clearly like snare & floor tom, like the two-spot hit legend : o didn’t he ramble : did his crossstick not clack priesterly on the metal rim, the

flam drag flammed mill seven stroke roll : but drunker than that, play drunker, sound more drunk

111

C. VIOLET EATON

language of its attack so distinct that he mackle his hands, rewind, & jape with the time :


SPRUNG FORMAL

MYLES THOMPSON

PYR MARY

112


11:11 QWERTY OWL: ON THE WRITING OF THE WRITTEN OBJECT

sphinx” an alien? a lion? glyphs as links, y’all: yonder: spell “conjure,” how we’re all in for a spell: a letter, a line pointing to thoughts: “slide to unlock,” that tomb, that tomb could— viper tongue, jackal bone, on a priestly owl prowl of old; blood through the depths of instinctual beast self, as the owl flies low along a line of shapes: symbols of the could, shifting— but how? and how to pierce the shadow of the owl when bereft a shadow-piercing arrow? (like I need another tchotchke not sold in stores—) and why yes writing’s posterity, and o those golden lion language growls;

roaring for Pharaohs: as I am drawn to images, visually you, your ancient insatiable eyes, visually a line to you.

113

PAUL SIEGELL

but the idea that a thought, that that sphinx “actually” could, that it could all somehow align with sights that link and shape, constellations


SPRUNG FORMAL

ERICK FELIX

MOURN ME

114


11:11 SO FAR GONE

I don’t know anything about the speed of sound except that subsonic and supersonic sound like garage rock and maybe something about waves, the way sound changes over distance, marred by a million echoes, scraped smooth as beach glass through invisible interactions with space. The most beautiful songs are the ones you can barely hear because they are so far away, so far so gone, which is the sound of foghorns on the Golden Gate intoning their own requiem

I wonder what interval that is in music theory which I flunked freshman year. “Foghorns (Golden

Gate) with light traffic noise” is a sound effect you can buy online and it’s weird to hear it at the bus stop on a morning with perfect skies, everyone looking around to see whose phone that is. We are lonely. Even the foghorn itself is now automated, a laser beam shot out to sea, a sensor that talks to a computer, like most people the sound of the foghorn is determined by the landscape through which it must travel, often overwhelming in extreme close-up though dear when heard from far away.

115

HEATHER JUNE GIBBONS

with each delayed two-tone as satellite-guided GPS may soon eliminate the need for them.


SPRUNG FORMAL

HEATHER JUNE GIBBONS

THE BRAIN MAY DISASSEMBLE ITSELF IN SLEEP

Every night, neural connections unravel a little as your mind edits itself and resets, making way for recently formed memories to replay and become more sharply etched. You dream of a lanky lawyer in a flawless dress shirt who smells faintly of hotel lobby and of ham, not to mention the one about teeth. Julia says teeth mean control, but you’re pretty sure they mean death. Either way, it’s not good to dream about your mother in the tall, wet grass, her arms folded as if to say, what are you waiting for? And when Julia appears in tattered lace with a green ribbon around her wrist and tells you her terrible secret, you are happy because she finally told you what you already knew. It is not enough to say we are transparent things. The sun sets in the cracks of a haggard, snowy peak. The captain cracks his knuckles over the intercom. The dog sleeps in cargo, sedate in its crate while wildfires in the west rage against the blowing dust advisory. Every September, the arctic ground squirrel burrows beneath the tundra to curl up in a nest of lichen and caribou hair. Its heart slows, its lungs slow, its temperature dips below freezing and electrical signals vanish in many areas of its brain, but don’t worry. Soon it will awaken and return to the surface of the earth, hungry and eager to mate, just as you will wake up with creases on your face on a plane still circling airspace, waiting for permission to land, just in time

to see clouds unraveling magenta, your brain nicely blank but for vague pulses of light.

116


11:11 SUPERSTITION

I. I drank tea in the weeds that grew up against the house, & a spool of fishing line came undone in my hands. I could not go back to any place I had come from, nor could I find the end of the spool, the line kept running so fast between my fingers. So I dreamed that silk fell down the chimney, & the soft crinkle of its landing woke up an evil tiger whose eyes swiveled like moon rocks in his large, primitive skull. It was not that I departed, but that I dreamed my own departure. I took a letter opener & slit the tiger’s throat. I turned the letter opener on your farewell.

II.

III. In my haste for departure, I slipped the night under my tongue. I was then the only eye of the moon, & I watched you write the letter on silk. I wore the skull of the tiger, I saw through the eye of the moon. Black smoke departed from the chimney, & I crawled into the boat of tiger bones, & went out onto the pond where I asked the supernova about what I had done.

117

ERIN J. MULLIKIN

In the house, I drank fire. I dreamed the tiger curled up into a small spot on the bookshelf, that he opened his mouth & bled fish onto the rug. I was tying fish together with the wrong hand, my knots breaking open, making the letters that spell out G-O-O-D-N-I-G-H-T.


SPRUNG FORMAL

ERIN J. MULLIKIN

PAGEANTRY

Falling has no say over itself; it is controlled by physics, not by spells or learning to walk. And you know how the night is. It’s like being in a drama that you didn’t write, a weather made of sleep and violence, a punch driven into the throat of a sexed hallway, blood-deep. But the night in me is not darkness; it is ancient rock, falling. Everything that falls in me falls in you as well. The night in me falls on me like ancient rock. This is exactly what I’d been trying to say before you fell asleep, before you became a spell of bad weather punctuated by a drought. Take a bow. The lights are on. The night in me is the same as the night in you. We are fires come down from the mountains of Appalachia, and in the morning, we are either the blooms of April, or it, itself. I don’t know what I mean except to mean something to someone. That’s my way of being. I don’t know what put the night in me. Maybe it was the darkness. I’ve always loved sleeping in a small space, I’ve always loved sleeping inside you, and I’ve never been able to stop the night from coming onto you. I have no say over it. I have no say over myself. I go wild.

118


11:11 BEAUTY QUEEN I

NIKA WINN

119


SPRUNG FORMAL

SARA GARRISON

WAVE

120


11:11 BREAKING PLATES

Grandpa said: The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, the second best time is today. And that is exactly why I destroyed the entire kitchen. I took a broom to the wine rack, climbed the cabinets and pulled them off the back wall. I took one look at Grandmother’s porcelain plates and I knew they had a destiny to fulfill, that they had to be ransacked. Coffee cups and crock pots, ladles and lobster forks, measuring spoon and melon baller, cutting board and colander. I just had to break every dish that has served these cold meals over silent dinner tables, and the sick stomach of forcing down food, forcing down food. I just had to break and take a stab at breaking these traditions, these ambitions, this role and those tropes. I’m under a lot of pressure, you see, I never want to look back into another mirror, you see. I don’t want to have to pick up after the history of history which left us with so much on our plates and all this cutlery.

Grandpa said: An old lie has more friends than a new truth. I dropped that stack of dinner plates and called it momma’s confetti, I said I might break, will break, did break, I broke both the pinky and the teacup, the shotgun and the wedding, I’m leaving the shards and sharp edges all over the floor. I’m walking over them in my barefoot feet I’m bleeding, I’m banged up, I’m trashing everything I’ve been handed, I’m gonna go hungry, I’m gonna take a chance on planting today over grandma’s grave, a new truth in new shape. I’m gonna steal my future from the past because Grandpa said: Little thieves are hanged, but great ones escape.

121

JEANETTE POWERS

Grandpa said: Don’t dig a grave for someone, you might fall in. And that is exactly why that kitchen had to go, it’s been the final resting place of Grandma for years, she fell into a hole she didn’t even dig, but she gave me the chance to dig her and me and mine and yours out and that’s what we’ve been doing since we trashed the fine linens and took up paper towels. I body slammed the breakfast nook, I made a bonfire of the kitchen chairs, the sink resisted, having so much pressure but when that sink finally gave up its grave the spray of dirty city water washed away the make-up and the make-do and that house began to flood. Which meant there wasn’t gonna be one more dish to do, one more casserole to cook, no soap, no suds, no stainless steel scrubber no drying rack settled in the afternoon sun just waiting to get used again and cleaned again.


SPRUNG FORMAL

AVERY DENNISON

LUVVVA GURL

122


11:11 16. THINGS THAT MAKE ONE’S HEART BEAT FASTER

Opening words. To see nets for whitebait unused in summer. To follow someone whose gait reminds one of someone else. To wear the clothes of a foreign religion. To be unsuitable. To smell bread in the afternoon. To smell of bread. To find a rare thing. To see a wild duck. To recognize a Guardian Demon. To decorate a branch in any season. To find that one’s old jewelry has become beautiful. To send a reply-poem. To sleep in the daytime and feel immortal. To prepare for the afternoon quietly. A letter after an unkind day. Suddenly the rain and the night is washed like hair.

RACHEL ABRAMOWITZ

123


SPRUNG FORMAL

CRAIG DEPPEN AUGE

SKULLS II

124


11:11 PYTHON RECIPE (A BURMESE TALE)

Once you’ve caught your Python After it snuck into your bed Take a machete and cut off its Nose so that it cannot smell you Or use it’s teeth to snap Then lock the python in your room Preferably with your third wife And now the recipe begins Preheat your oven to 375 Prepare a seasoning of curry and lime Check the room to see whom is dead If the snake is still breathing Find your oldest child Th Oo Who is likely hiding in the woods Wrangle the Python Into the preheated oven And cook for five minutes MERCEDES PADRO

125


Sprung Formal Issue 11  
Sprung Formal Issue 11  
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