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MANAGING EDITOR Brittany Ficken STAFF Miles Fermin, Elizabeth Howe, Krystal Jolicoeur, Alexandra Khoder, Lauren Lanza, Amelia McKnight, Victoria Meyers, Joseph Watson, Jennifer Wilkinson, Patrick Wolf, Alec Wright FACULTY EDITOR Jordan Stempleman Sprung Formal would like to thank: Phyllis Moore, Malynda Eshleman, Spin Pizza, and Pam and Gary Gradinger Copyright © Thérèse Aubray, 1937. Published with the permission of the Association Guy Lévis Mano. Sprung Formal is a literary arts journal published annually in association with the School of Liberal Arts at the Kansas City Art Institute. Since 2005, Sprung Formal is a student-edited & produced literary magazine. We pride ourselves on combining professional content with professional grade student work. To see past issues please visit WWW.SPRUNGFORMAL.WORDPRESS.COM

[Cover] Brett Livingston and Eric Scrivner

We Woke Up Like This

9. Colleen Maynard Glowy

10. Abeleine Throckmorton


13. Mathias Svalina Missouri Montana

15. Billy Golden

Jeff Laughs Back

16. Daniel Borzutzky

Therapy Song for the Rotten Carcass Future Insomniac’s Nightmare #4

25. Jen Wilkenson

(X, Y, Z) (0, 0, 0)

4 Selections from The Cell

Why is Quiet “Kept”?


mom made me do it


26. Rauan Klassnik 32. Paul Hoover

33. Sandra Simonds 36. Lauren McGill

37. Brandon Shimoda

41. Clay Hickson

Sottsass Sunday Thoughts

43. Anthony Madrid

13 Lmryx

Hand II Hand III


Alien VS. Elephant Shark and Weiner

Oh Yes, Son, They’re Talking to You

Zombie High School Reunion Not Safe For Work The Conference Call

46. Kate Schapira 48. Evan Kleekamp

53. Brett Livingston and Eric Scrivner 55. Peter Holby

56. Sampson Starkweather

60. xTx

Today I Am A Surgeon

The Sire

62. Kelsey Wroten

63. Victoria Meyers Gems

64. Dot Devota


Daises Up Your Monster

66. Steven Karl 68. Siara Berry Marriage

69. Eddie Dixon


You Are Doing Something Good

72. Luke Bloomfield

73. Hateful: Lydia Moyer & Tory Wright Test

74. Joseph Bradshaw

Creative Writing in New Orleans (for John) 28th & 7th

77. Mike Topp

The Truth Confession TV Review Who Knows Profile of a Pea

83. Joseph Watson

Untited Composition

Bullet with Butterfly Wings (Nickel Mix) Brimful of Asha (Drum and Bass Remix) Butterfly Wings (Matt Pinfield Remix)

Please Stop Yelling At Me, Part 3

Insular Living

84. Christopher DeWeese

87. Jennifer L. Knox 88. Amy Erickson

89. Thérèse Aubray

Phoenix Release The Crucial Scene

93. Brian Clifton

Mortality University

Floating Monuments

Everything Is All Right Defense Mechanisms

94. Madeleine Hanlon 95. Phil Estes

99. Andra Khoder Rubber Band

Colleen Maynard Glowy


HEY FATHER O’MALLEY Abeleine Throckmorton




Abeleine Throckmorton



QUOTE FROM TOMMATHY Abeleine Throckmorton




Mathias Svalina It is frightening in the dark. Frightening to be naked, an eyelid. Missouri is important but about Missouri one can only know facts. For instance, a dirt road links every pair of towns in Missouri, but each goes mostly unused. For instance, in 1838 the Mormon War occurred. Governor Lilburn Boggs raised a state militia against the Mormons. He issued Missouri Executive Order 44. It said Mormons must be treated as enemies & must be exterminated or driven from the state. For instance, in Missouri crocodiles have human hearts, but also have bird hearts & hearts of bombs & hearts of sod & hearts of gas. We equal only what we can conclude, yet darkness cannot free us. Facts, massacres, atrocities, laws cannot love, five hearts beating like a kegger, dirt roads surfacing from our feet. It is frightening to know what you are or what you have to become. It is frightening to feel a feeling on your leg & to look down & see, it in its entire grotesque coup, your leg.



Mathias Svalina Montana is the densest substance known to science. Therein luminous forms wear old-fashioned clothes of the 1960s & turn & look at me for help. They turn until the dirt below them is worn away, the density of them pulling them ever downward like falling anvils, turn until they are buried in a mound of the dirt they’ve worn away & they continue turning through the earth, dislodging the foundations from Quikmarts & cathedrals, gapping out the dry plains, cracking the shinbones of the mountain ranges. Sometimes I hear a low moaning from Montana, even when Montana is nowhere in sight, even when I am nowhere near a map. A red blood drop falls from the sky but never reaches the dirt. The momentum of my legs carries me through the door, which slams shut, & through the other door, which slams shut, & so on until I am somewhere hot, somewhere where there could be no Montana & even then the low moan, like a new staircase of pungent pine wood descending into a dirt-floor basement, continues. Montana is so real, so dense with reality that it is constantly falling into itself & all the mountains & colleges & Timothy can only be held as luminous, as forms that swell by morning & fade by night. Which is why Montana, by night, has so gossamer & irregular a breath.


Billy Golden

Jeff Laughs Back



Daniel Borzutzky I am sitting in my therapist’s office thinking about the relationship between my smart phone and the end of the world It is hard to not be in my therapist’s office without thinking about all the messages waiting for me on my smart phone There is a table for toddlers with some pleasant pictures of flowers above it in the corner of my therapist’s office I think: if I sit in those baby chairs, I will crush them If I sit on that baby table, I will crush it You (by which I mean me) indulge this thought: it would feel really good to crush those chairs It would feel really good to put my ass right on the center of that table, right where that abacus is, and sit plop down upon it You imagine the weight of your 167 pounds sitting right in the middle of the 8 pound table from Ikea with screw-on legs You think: what will my therapist say if I smash the fucking table with my ass What will she say if I put my ass on the middle of the children’s table and destroy it before we even begin talking again about my feelings You think about your smart phone You think about smashing the table You (me again!) remember as a child, how once you went to a theater with a giant chandelier hanging from the middle of the ceiling How you couldn’t focus on the musical because the entire time you were thinking about swinging from the chandelier How you dreamt of hanging from the chandelier, of pulling it off the ceiling, of bringing the roof down and thus you missed the entire performance of Little Shop of Horrors because you couldn’t stop thinking about the chandelier Good morning. How’s it going? What’s new since last I saw you (Smash that fucking table, gag me while I smash that fucking table, put that gag in my mouth, the one that’s been in all the other mouths, and watch me smash this table, put my lovers here, put them on top of me, put my father here, put him on top of me, put my girlfriend and my wife and my books and my memories and the things that I am actively trying to forget here: the things I am actively trying to repress: put them on top of me here: put them here: in my face as I put my ass in the middle of this stupid fucking abacus-covered plywood table from Ikea!)


I (hello you) take a sip from my stainless steel water bottle bought at CVS for $6 after applying a 25% off coupon acquired through the frequent use of my Extra Care Card “You” or someone like “you” says: I thought I knew myself pretty well until they medicated me and then I got to know myself again after they medicated the me which was like a different me from the previous me but then I started taking a new medication and it didn’t work so I was stuck with a different me and then I stopped taking medication altogether and I was kind of back to my old me but you can’t ever really go back to your old you once you have been with all your other yous and me’s Which is, frankly, a load of fucking shit Let’s try that again: You (hi me!) have this feeling you don’t want. Let’s call it ungovernable feeling A. You have some choices about what to do with ungovernable feeling A Drugs might make it go away Or, you could indulge it. Feel it as strongly as possible Go around all the time telling everyone you know: I have this feeling! I have ungovernable feeling A and when I have ungovernable feeling A I cannot control my reactions to ungovernable feeling A so forgive me if I say something alarming, insulting, revealing, if I make myself too vulnerable, or if disclose too much of myself to you right now as I am in the midst of feeling ungovernable feeling A If you start to feel uncomfortable when I begin to tell you about, for example, how much I hate my husband, how much I hate my girlfriend, how much I hate my husband’s girlfriend, how much I hate my girlfriend’s husband If you start to feel uncomfortable if I say something like: I’d like to rip off his ____ I’d like to punch her in the ______ I’d like to rip off his _______ and shove it in her fucking ______________ Let’s just make one thing clear: if you start to feel uncomfortable when I talk like this please understand that this is your problem, and not mine, okay It’s fucking complicated enough having one relationship And now I HAVE to have so many more relationships and it’s hard to do this and at the same time not get upset that the city I once lived in is filled with police officers firing rubber bullets at my friends and my friends’ friends and my friends’ friends’ friends are all inhaling tear gas right now and getting pelted with rubber bullets and you think I’m talking about my feelings but actually I am talking about the ungovernability of militaristic capitalism You have other choices about how to respond to ungovernable feeling A Not now, brother. Sit still


Just be still, man, and sing slowly, and in a deep voice: I try to forget things all the time I try to forget things all the time I try to forget things all the time But I can’t forget you blew my mind In conclusion: (snap snap snap snap snap snap snap) Forget the living bodies and bring those corpses in Forget the bleeding bodies so very tall and thin Forget the dying bodies so very short and fat Ga-deeby-deeby-body-with-the-beebly-bobbly-blat



Song for the Rotten Carcass Future Daniel Borzutzky

Do not visit me in prison I do not want to talk to priests, rabbis, social workers or anyone associated with God, love or the media If I decide to rot in the back of my cell do not bring me a blanket let me be cold let little critters nibble at my body (do you remember when you used to sing that song about how the Dean of Academic Affairs nibbled at your body First, it was playful like nip nip lick lick sniff sniff – but then he took big bites – he put his tongue in your belly button and then he dug his teeth deep into the little roll beneath your belly and he bit hard until you bled and you did not like it and he kept biting but you were tied up and there was nothing you could do about it because your tenure was on the line because you had to get tied up by the Dean of Academic Affairs in order to be eligible for lifetime employment at the state university you will never be able to leave and you had to let him mutilate your body, to put your flesh between his teeth, to let him slop your flesh the way a dog might slop a raw steak What is more important to you? Dignity? Or job security? Stupid question Did you hear the one about the farm owner who shot the migrant worker for drinking water from the horse trough – he just meant to scare the worker – but then by accident he shot that little boy from El Salvador eighteen times in the skull the chest the rib cage (you just can’t tell what’s going to happen when you get yourself a gun and a displaced person) Let us now talk about the bloodstream I have dreams of streams of blood They force me to watch movies I sit in the bleachers of a stadium as the pilots on screen fly over occupied air space and my seat is in the middle of a stream of blood The movie is projected on an enormous curtain that falls from the top of the stadium and covers the thousands of prisoners who are trapped on the other side of it It is a film about occupied air space and the unraveling of the global economy The pilots fly around in circles performing fellatio on each other, mixing cocktails, having birthday parties for people who don’t exist They will never be able to land because they fly through air that does not belong to them They endlessly circle the skies they do not own There is a team of unionized workers in the upper row of the stadium They are working together to tilt over an enormous barrel filled with blood The barrel empties out into a giant funnel with a multi-pronged distribution system Blood flows out of the barrel, through the tunnel, and spills into three streams on each side


of the stadium It is my job to stretch my body out on the ground To let the river of blood flow over me To bury myself while I listen to the film If I do not do this, they will beat me and whip me and love me But look.....something is changing.....there is now a sign in the middle of my body that reads: Your Body is the Rotten Night Yap Jewish dog Yap Chilean mutt Yap Yap Yap It’s silly, this song It rhymes onomatopoeia with sparkling gonorrhea The guards paint the names of diseases with blood onto my t-shirt I growl at them and together we sing a song about the overpass they are building The overpass that passes over the entrance to a privatized heaven Which is in a stadium in Chicago filled with 3 billion liters of blood extracted by a private corporation from the arms of tax-paying citizens Can I declare my own body bankrupt, I ask my lawyer There are legal restrictions, he says However, comma, you are free to make any declaration you like In that case, then, let me tell you When you stare at me because I have been darkened by the sun I feel a historical burden: to lay down in the stream of blood in this stadium To let the first responders blow dead air into my body and to not wake up when resuscitated To tell my mother and father: my body has been attacked 4,394 times since last November when they infected me with the infection that cannot be treated with traditional antibiotics I was attacked by parasites of the state who were out to destroy my skin my veins my knee caps I was attacked by human capital comfortable in a goat blanket and detained on the flimsy bed of a lover who can no longer exist in the present tense This is a song about things I would like to say to the future I don’t need you now future, fuck off I don’t need you now future, plup ploff Don’t need now you now future, mup moff My body is covered in the chunky mucus of my lover’s lyrical fantasy She sings:


You belong to the bank now, sweetheart You gurgling little thing called love


An Insomniac’s Nightmare #4

Daniel Borzutzky

“They ain’t Eye-talians, they’re Poles,” she said. “From Poland where all them bodies were stacked up. You remember all them bodies.” ---Flannery O’Connor, “The Displaced Person”

Do you remember the mutilated trees screaming into the wind Do you remember the inside of the church, where they took the lily and placed it on the grave of the dead child Do you remember the piece of aluminum that was jammed through his belly I remember the story of a woman who was torn apart by a dog in a trench What tool did they use to pick apart her brain What tool did they use to pull it out of her mouth The image of the stadium, empty, but for one team of players running down the field They shoot into the empty net A symbolic goal for which no one cheers Golazo! Azo! Azo! Running down the field, the players argue about who should score the symbolic goal No one could understand the priest because he spoke in a foreign language But they needed his blessing before they could move from one ghost town to another He didn’t want to return to his native country for fear that he would be killed by his cousins She understood she had a moral obligation to enact revenge in the name of the Lord The sand opened into a large hole out of which appeared a skyscraper in the desert with an infinite number of fluorescent lights What’s an oasis, what’s a peaked face, what’s a dream you have every night for the rest of your life in which you are stuck in a broken window, fractured face jammed between glass and light It’s not impossible to forget about all those bodies and to instead focus on the mutilation of millions of trees It’s not impossible to count the legs of all the animals that were destroyed alongside the bodies and the trees It’s not impossible to dream of a tower constructed of animal legs and bodies and mutilated trees that stretches up past a fluorescent skyscraper in the desert It’s not impossible to imagine the stadium after the symbolic goal erupting into cheers, even though it is empty It’s not impossible to imagine the goal is defended even though there is no one to defend it It’s not impossible to imagine a symmetry of breath that blows past the mutilated trees


and into the screaming night of a fluorescent desert Do you remember them bodies How many times did he make you bang your head against the tree How many times did he make you watch the video of the boy falling out of the window How many times did he make you stand against the wall to participate in your mock execution A young boy came to the door and I had the urge to kiss him even though he was beneath the legal age of consent I watched her slink down the stairs and back into the arms of the man who would beat her because she loved him more than she loved herself The butchering of the children of wicked nations is legally permis sible in some contexts “Legs where arms should be, foot to face, ear in the palm of hand” I recognized the man at the grocery store as the one who had tied me up many years before He was buying milk and corned beef and apple sauce and rye bread for his family I didn’t want to kill him but I followed him home just the same (Poem as force field poem as communist parable poem as suffocating sauna) When the crowd rushed forward to attack the hanging body, the boy slipped and was trampled on by his friends and neighbors He was stepped on multiple times, bandaged, and afterwards his parents gave him a cookie and apologized that he had such a bad experience at his first hanging The room I grew up in doesn’t exist anymore (Room as mutilated space memory as prohibited function nostalgia as imminent terror)


Jen Wilkenson

(X, Y, Z) (0, 0, 0)


from The Cell

Rauan Klassnik

A pile of firewood. Your body. It’s raining--the beach where we walked. Fantasized. And it’s like I’m biting into a shining, exorbitant seed and paradise exists flaring all around us. It’s cold. No flowers. Mountains. Growling. Nothing.


A man scatters old bread for the seagulls. A corpse washes up. Three pelicans high-gliding over bring me no peace at all. No quiet blood--child’s voice like an anchor. The foaming old man’s hand, bubbling, maimed like a lizard’s. The birds suddenly quite dazzled, stifled, shot through. Poisoned. The sea. And the sky. My heart, tilting. Winged. Dead.


The ocean was filled with stars. I spent three days in a cage with you. There was a fish. It wanted to live. And we stabbed it. And we stabbed it...As we lay there trembling in each others’ arms...There was so much flesh. Smoke. And it screamed. Screamed. There in the core of the god-damned world.


The ghost cow walks around the cell. Pauses. We are the calf it leans its head against. We are the calf it licks.


Let’s go for a walk. You might get ten years. A train built out of darkness. You might get twenty. Everything’s steel. The streets. The trees. Hundreds of people (a horde!), rising, diligently, gazing, out, away. Bang on the glass! (all aboard!) Slice off your balls! This aint easy. ha. ha.



Why is Quiet “Kept”?

Paul Hoover They are crying out in restaurants, so delighted to be speaking, they appear to be insane. But we are the silent types, who hold speech within like the rustle of gold foil. We eat our words and swallow hard. There’s nothing much to say. The knot’s in its nest, breathing. A hand thinks it’s a bird. The world “nows”; it doesn’t know. The world “wows.” Then it snows. A word arrives, silent and upright. It stands in profile against a white wall. It’s here for safekeeping only. Keep quiet, mice. A cat’s patrolling the area, with drones and more drones. The keys we carry unlock us every day and lock us up again. Hushed is the ward. Now conjugate, please, to werd and to werld. One of us has just conceived the sum for infinity: plus one, plus one, plus one. In the cosmological phone booth, there’s always one more. The fishing report’s too thick to read, but its cadence is that of a god. Waves and ships are passing. We can barely discern the semaphores flashing through the fog. And here are the ones who walk the walk and talk the talk, blackening the day with news, with news.



Sandra Simonds

You are so negative and funny! It’s like you’re always saying no to everything Maybe you’re just nodding off though Did you know how negative and funny you act? Probably you should be waiting for the springtime to join the circus or fall in love or go to war You are so bouncy and negative! It’s like you are lactating all over the pages of this very good book that I’m reading for class I guess that means that either you’re a woman slash mom or that you’re going to join the circus You are so negative and funny and so much like eating fresh fruit in the springtime in Paris by the funky riverbeds and gardens You are so negative and nice! It’s like you’re asking for trouble when you say no so often We are going to drag you behind a truck because you are so negative and funny! It’s like you’re trying to say no to everyone and that is so fantastic and pretty! We need to also remind you that you are pretty and fantastic! It’s like you’re eating Paris in the flower time or you came out of the 1960s or something with fresh milk squeezed from a crisp cow These tater tots are crispy This butter is crispy This chicken is wild and crispy This lettuce is crispy This hog’s head cheese is crispy These antelope eyes are crispy and nice and a light brown This cancer is crispy This mud is crispy This cancer and mud cure is crispy Your breasts are crispy and huge That’s why I review your books and talk to you on the internet during the day You are so negative, my girlfriend It’s almost you’re Adolf Hitler and I’m just sitting in my city like a poor Jew or whatever You are so negative and pretty good looking That’s why I review your books and call you on Skype Oh god now we’re playing phone tag How long is this thing gonna drag on? For reals bro You are so


negative and incredibly negative indeed You are in fact more negative than I had previously expected which fills me with plenty of coffee and pure vitality You are so negative it’s either you’re like Hitler or Adorno since no one can keep up with your sheer negative demands You are so funny! It’s like here we are making a movie and you have to pull the plug on this whole relationship You are so negative and even more negative than a river or a city You are like a cube disaster You are like a square disaster You are like three cubes and a square disaster You are so disastrous and confident! It’s like I’ve been meaning to talk to you my whole life you are so confident You are so anonymous and negative and even more anonymous than I had previously suspected It’s like the only way to control this whole thing is to call the police on the moon etc. You are even more negative than lightning or goodness I mean it’s like my whole life I’ve been meaning to meet someone so powerfully funny and negative but maybe you are just nodding off though and this whole thing is like trying to make it to the circus in one piece You are so acrobat You are so agro You are so crispy and agriculturally inclined It’s like your whole mom thing just milking cows before supper and feeding everyone at the table blood You are so Jesus You are so thrift store painting of Jesus You are so childproof and climactic and full of winters You are so full of winters and negative You are so full of negative snow and negative whiteness You are so the opposite of the word white You are the opposite of the womb You are so the opposite of the white womb You are like a kind of dance marathon that’s pounding out whiteness like a heart made of pretty cool animals that have escaped from the zoo like Coco or Bubbles and now they’re just wandering around Paris You are like a horn or an antler You are so


funny and unimaginably opposite You are inversing the opposite of white because you have made decisions You have made decisions like a field of magnetic filings organized in one direction The filings are under the moon and they are also the moon herself The opposed poles are made of milk but they are also milking They are milk’s opposite like a binary star system or flesh They are starting etc. They start


Lauren McGill

mom made me do it



Brandon Shimoda

Whenever father smoked opium I liked to hang around him That is how I touched The vein on his foot Then he was traded for a lump My heart sank. Mother forgot To put her denture in So we had to do it again Whenever father smoked opium I liked to hang around the vein On his foot, and occasionally touch The vein on his foot It was edible, or was When father was rendered from His body, for instance His foot I learned to treat With the kind of kindness reserved For hearts Held beneath the tongue The most nutritious part of father’s body Became the vein Whenever he ate fruit The vein engorged Sugars and colors Became sentient Fruit traveled up His leg The bonds of sentience were such I wanted to split his leg And stroke it Like an instrument Sing the songs that Father sang into The hairless, hollow neck he knew was Going to collapse And made everyone more attractive By their grieving. I thought If I sucked the vein with my entire body Father would bear himself in me


And I could pass But I, a curse Upon what songs there were To remember, got it wrong I would have to inspire father’s body To take a longer breath Though I am short Beside his thigh I hug his thigh. His thigh is thin And poor. About the world I never understood where goes The little that is taken



Brandon Shimoda

Mother married at zero. At eight Her feet were broken Or so Was said I washed her feet I cut her toenails to prepare her For the day Her feet would be unfurled And she’d walk freely The roofs of people Sleeping to the sound of her Feet unfurling Giving birth to feet, the harvest detail Hovering in the air A newborn fire Blowing into glass As scrubbing mother’s feet is To master a definition Of the feeling, then To clean them For intensifying above The people sleeping off Their dreams The spinning mutilation



A rat is preparing a place to sleep For the night, the night only there’s Only the night Liver shaped Earth’s slim-sighted attempt To grip the air and remake Evolution inside earth That makes it Trees, earth under duress is trees Rats despairing cut of bowl Tall, capsule oranges Make a nice frame For the place the rat’s preparing Is night, there is only the night For the rat is The gland of the people But there are no people The gland succeeds, returns to An encouraging place to be Naked and rubbing the hair Without stop, there is only the night The rat’s eyes are fat Candied hospitals dredging The septic


Clay Hickson



Clay Hickson Sunday Thoughts


13 Limericks

Anthony Madrid

1. There was an old person from Oak Brook: Cleared a space in his yard for a Pope nook. But they called in the cops, who took turns taking shots At the space he had cleared for the Pope nook. 2. The way she ate lunch on a bicycle Could not be considered advisable,— For potatoes au gratin were constantly caught in The spokes of the wheels of her bicycle. 3. There was an old person from Naperville, Who was second to none at the paper mill. He could oil the machine, and then whip up a ream With the speed of a gun or a power dill. 4. There was an old person from Pilsen, Who was peacefully smoking until someone turned up the gas, which exploded, alas, Leaving wreckage of what had been Pilsen. 5. There was an old man in a bower, Whose salad was stacked like a tower. He said that his croutons | could not be improved on, Regarding their beauty and power. 6. There was an old man from Des Plaines, Whose pathology partly explains Why he said like a dad “All these bikes are so bad, They have nothing to lose but their chains!” 7. There was an old man from Park Ridge, Who tiptoed in crossing the bridge. The police being phoned, he retreated and groaned, “If it weren’t for those meddling kids—!”


8. There was a young lady named Eldridge, Who was never quite able to tell which Kind of topping was better, the jack or the cheddar, On her fresh-filet gator-tail sandwich. 9. There was an old person from Darien, Whose views were considered Hitlerian. When they called him misguided, he roundly denied it, And ran around like a barbarian. 10. There was an old person from Red Hook, Who, in shaving the top of his head, took A little too long, and so something went wrong, And then rioting broke out in Red Hook. 11. There was a young girl from the Bowery, Whose vagina resembled a cowrie. To her lover’s chagrin, there was no getting in, And so tensions ran high in the Bowery. 12. There was an old man with a yo-yo,— Always bothering people in SoHo. He’d be lying in ambush, while eating a sandwich, Then follow you, working his yo-yo. 13. There was an old person from Bozeman, Who got báck to what he’d been engrossed in. When they tried to distract him, he got up and whacked ’em: In fact, he attacked ’em in Bozeman.




Hand II

Kate Schapira Wirp wirp wired our fingers to the floor we yip. Who are we? You, a-work at the sign of the sense of vibration. Paper-thin e-skin responds to touch. If there’s no you, you can’t die to the glade. If there’s an us, we can all die die dip into the irkosystemic ink of the shadows of the weeds. What heartens and harrows can testify or hearken to the testimony of plastics—tipped winks, thirsty lipids—witness the thickness of the indigest in the bone layer. Weeds grow the shape of a lain body—yellowed, nettled, withered—maybe you’ve heard. Whose way could this pursibly be, hot sand in the uplands where we wax and shame. We wear a wire. We draw circles on cement with a wet finger that shakes with age-rage. Wet for where we ask everything, like a grey gift. Don’t talk to us about how we’re wired —scratch that, talk to us, talk to us where we give and go. How we grow is old, sinking into leaf litter as into shock, pilling and bugging, our armor all joints and cracks, epidormant, floored, obvious, eyes a-roll, sensors agog, mycographically spreading, spore-printed, in no way solo, radial where we’re remade and may live to be old. Let’s say we leap up as you say from murdered bodies, hypopathetically conformable to matter, sickosomatic with substance. Let’s just say. Under each nail, scratch something different. Whatever’s likely. Think back to it. Rest your palms flat on the top of the earth. Then grip your fingertips into the ground. If you can’t find dirt, use concrete. Any piece of floor. You’re not looking for the perfect spot. Make any spot imperfect with your offering. You are a bridge of offering. You’re how to eat from here to there.


Hand III

Kate Schapira The fat of the innocent—we rub their fat on our arms, it’s well known— glints its cells to protect us from the fission of our actions, cavities and crevices to hold what people say about us where we hover. Seep, or crawl. We want to lick and be like all of that—alive to it—but can’t. A spell that works every time isn’t a spell. Too many shifts licked into shape by too many tongues. Names in mouths. Eyes watching from under the pointed tongue lids. Looking to be lipped or liked to make our transformation for us we fail and feel just the right alarm lodged in the meat. Sometimes we mean too much. Our hands run out and over leaked schematics. We dream to leak. To align with matter. Vision opens like a million mouths of velvet. Vision’s a cloud of spores that spoons our faces. We invite it, but then it arrives. It gets worms. It will die. Standing among pine columns and fog mirrors we beg, replace us. Do we mean it? If we mean it, does it have to happen right away? We want to know what the dead know because we think they’re not us, who yearn in our marrow. We think they must be like everything, listening. We try to imagine but can only take things away from imagining us. Listen to this: how can we fail them? We’re here to sponge and here to heart alternatives, the best of all possible welts, human autoactivity, a moon face looking down on us, the ones who open our round and fear to hear the thing we called for come on up to the fire. Don’t spray your nape or ankles. Lie in the grass. Wait to be found. Smell the ground. Be at rest. Be a host to guests. Be a site. You, as you, will gain nothing from this. Sink so that something may rise. While you have them, adjust your eyes.



today i bought a pack of menthols. might as well give myself a reason to wake up. might as well give myself the right tool to melt the ice in the alleyway, to admire the dead bark on the telephone wire. you are never going to space anyway, i told myself. and yet again it snowed. i received notice to evict my heart. must incinerate, she said. poor thing old thing. a satellite awakes in space to find the world left vacant. the televisions are dead. the remaining women settled for being cat-women. even ugly blonde Liz replaced her useless husband with a three cat set, all of which could play fetch. needless to say, she canceled the newspaper subscription after the roads iced over. i was the last man alive because i liked getting my nails done. you could imagine my surprise how well we all get along without them. i settled for one hag’s body after the next, giving each cat lady a massage because all they wanted was a callused hand to show them tenderness. then the sky broke open. too bad all the mailmen are dead. i wanted to write one last letter.



Evan Kleekamp

i answered the telephone. in the receiver was my own voice, but i haven’t met a Denise in years. o body, you have yet to innovate. you have yet to yield immaculate powers. i made a wish to teleport, and then the streets were empty. there was broad daylight, but the moon shone. i rode my bicycle down the highway to a phone booth (red). it climbed skyscrapers once they appeared. i was out of quarters. o body, i got tired of calling you. wind, leave those fields alone. and near the top, there was a church (a cathedral, stone). sea-salt climbed out of my mouth, the dreams came back violent. i think of how the dog bled (a cathedral). there was a window. i hear a birdsong on the radio. there she is falling in the sky. o Denise, i should have never answered that telephone. i should have never heard your voice. you are not an angel, Denise. stop screaming, you are very fucking dead. so leave me alone. there is a waterfall and all these helicopters. who is this woman running on an elliptical in my tropical paradise. why is there is so much blood, such golden blood, gathered around the pool. o body, you never learned how to swim.



in spring, Rachmaninoff played on the victrola. curled smoke softened the windows. i would bring water to a boil until an angel spoke. an angel never spoke. the horizon would bring daylight for the clouds to wash away. we would drink until the walls buzzed yellow. in our heads there would be commerce, some kid kept quoting the symposium and i was only concerned how to clean dishes without water spilling onto my shirt, unless this is just part of the procedure. the procedure was this: i would life in bed and think of all the ways to explain a giraffe to myself. i took pictures of a cherry blossom tree and a woman appeared inside them, her hair was golden. i made a movie about a piece of wind in a field. i rode my bicycle in rain to have sex, and then the pieces puzzled themselves back together. i decided i needed to draw heavy black lines across the page. i wrote odes for the dogs because i loved them, but what you don’t know about me is what i also don’t know about me. so i keep looking at the moon and praying for something to appear in the darkness. * i think of how my hair would look blonde. what color are my lungs. who is my true version. and then i’m sitting on your coach seeing pictures of California. i threw up on that swing. i drowned myself in that beach water. it’s like who was that person. i’d like to take you to San Diego and show you what the sky the is like. it’s not the same sky. it’s not even the same universe. it’s kind of like the woman i used to know. she has the same name, but a different phone number. i think i have the same phone number, but there is a lot i have forgotten. i just think if you see that sky, you will know it is different, and you will understand me. * i used to live in a house with large windows. i would sit naked on my bed and think of ways to elude eating. and then nothing. or i just can’t remember. maybe nothing happened, but it doesn’t feel that way. it feels like i may have loved someone or the house was cold. there was a girl who drove a white truck and cigarettes butts covered the lawn. sometimes i mowed the lawn and then again, nothing. * so what i’m saying is that there was an absence. there was a fan in the window that spewed cold air. we had a neighbor whose wife died of cancer, but the sun insisted on rising that day. John and i would walk the dog. i had a dreams where i pulled a winged horse out from a dresser drawer. i was in search of mastery. the floorboards creaked. if i could only remember the answer.


* the cat died. i remember crying at the dinner table and feeling soft. like at one point i held a life in my hands. and then nothing. but that was years ago. now i make my bed and wait until the rainy season comes. i fold my clothes and attempt to stock the fridge with groceries. i’ll light a cigarette if no one is watching. sometimes i laugh when little smoke rings form around my head.




Brett Livingston and Eric Scrivner Alien VS. Elephant


Brett Livingston and Eric Scrivner Shark and Weiner


Oh Yes, Son, They’re Talking to You

Peter Holby

January twenty-fifth is the five thousand, four hundred and seventy-seventh day that TLC did not want any scrubs. Five thousand, four hundred and seventy-seven days in which they did not want your number and no, they didn’t want to give you theirs. It’s reasonable to think, even that Chilli, T-Boz and Left Eye had little to no desire for scrubs well before the 1999 release of the “No Scrubs” single. We don’t know how far back this goes. Consider: the chorus defines a scrub as a guy “hangin’ out the passenger side of his best friend’s ride tryin’ to holler at me.” They go on to say a lot more about scrubs, detailing several scrub archetypes, their scrub-esque living arrangements and relationships with shorties. And the chorus, still: Tryin’. Tryin’. Trying implies that the hollering lies beyond intention, that a holler must be received, must be welcomed before it can be considered a holler. This world could be full of inchoate hollers, drifting, unheard and abandoned. Consider that your own hollers may have gone uncompleted. Where do they wait for you? When they find you again, what will you say?


Zombie High School Reunion A Trilogy, Part II Sampson Starkweather

(A gymnasium filled with 30-somethings, TLC’s “Waterfalls” plays in the background.) Dead You: What happened to everybody? Dead dude from Drivers Education: They are all alive. Dead You: Wanna eat their brains? (They eat brains.)


Not Safe For Work —a play vérité

Sampson Starkweather

I am writing a play called NSFW …which consists of me quitting my job in real life and leaving the city and driving directly to the ocean and living in a little house down by the sea… The play will have no words and will last a lifetime.




The Conference Call —a silent play

Sampson Starkweather

Twelve executives sit silently around a conference table staring at the blank screen on the wall as if waiting for God or fireworks to go off. A Skype call comes in…(sound of Skype call) The CFO appears…but he is too close to the screen, so all that can be seen is the bottom of his chin and neck that disappears into his crisp white shirt. He is like OZ, unknowable. No one dares tell the CFO he is not in the frame. The CFO starts bleeding...from somewhere above his neck. The blood drips onto the screen; its blood is flowing faster now; a dark waterfall. The CFO tries to wipe the blood with his thumb, leaving a red smear on the screen. Suddenly the blood ceases, as if a cartoon character stuck their finger in the hole of a dam to stop a flood. As if on cue the suits stand up and burst into applause (applause machine). They go back to work. They understand. The End.


Today I Am A Surgeon xTx

Today I am a surgeon. I am in my bathrobe. It is pink around the cofee stains and sags on me like a wet dishcloth. The cigarette burns pepper it like buckshot. One day it will become a screen door or mosquito netting. Surprisingly enough, the belt is still secured in its loops, although both ends of it are now gray-brown. It’s an ugly color that doesn’t need to exist. Nobody would miss it. God would even admit it’s a mistake. The color spawned because I never tie it. I just let the ends dangle and they do whatever they want. Good thing I never had kids, I can’t even parent a bathrobe. Did you know that pink is the most popular color of ladies’ bathrobes? I do. Look it up. I did careful research before I bought it. My mom deserved only the best. “Only the best for my dear mother!!” That’s exactly what I said after she opened it. After she gushed her thanks at me, holding it to her chest like a newly-birthed infant. “Oh, Michael!” she said, her voice bubbled with goo that she proceeded to hack up into the small towel she kept next to her cigarettes. Oh, how she clutched it! Remember how I used to fit in her arms? Of course you don’t. But she loved that bathrobe. Wore it every day until the end. That’s when I took it. Now it’s my bathrobe. I start most mornings sitting outside smoking my breakfast, doing my own hacking. On better days I’ll try to have a bowl of cereal. Try to eat food like normal people do. That never goes the way I want it to. It usually just sits there until I get angry and start throwing the little colored nuggets off my deck into my downstairs neighbor’s barbeque grill. Rainbow hail. My deck looks like a wrecked pirate ship; the faded green, rip-shredded sun umbrella, its battered flag. The wood is splintered and warped. Everything tilted. I’m surprised the whole of it hasn’t fallen into my neighbor’s yard. I know it’s only a matter of time until it does and I hope I’m sitting on it when it happens. Anything to speed up this process. My house is wedged in like pie a slice between the Santa Monica Freeway on one side, and the Robertson Avenue off ramp on the other. It’s a peninsula. When I am out on my deck, I face west and the eastbound traffic on either side of me blows my hair back. When I’m out on my deck and stoned, it feels like I am standing right there amongst the cars. Its constant noise soothes me. I am a baby. I have my mother’s hands. If my hands were severed from my wrists and found next to a dumpster in a grocery bag, the authorities would assume they belonged to a woman. The skin is baby smooth. The fingers, thin and long. The nails, almond-shaped and well-manicured. When I was young, my mother and I would play “nail salon” and she would paint our nails. She would always paint them the same color. Afterwards, she’d lift her finished work by the wrists and exclaim, “The hands of a surgeon!!!” And then we’d go looking for recyclables. Making sure to bring our metal “grabbers” and rubber gloves so as to not mar our perfect manicures. It never mattered, they’d always get ruined. “Fix me, baby,” she’d say, slumped in her chair, waggling her fingers, eyes closed. I’d go get the polish remover and some toilet paper and she’d fall asleep by the time I’d get to the third finger. Her brownest one.


I’d do mine after. My surgeon fingers not yet brown. Took only until 14 when that happened. We shared the same brand. Of course we did. We shared the same everything. Even now. Same disease wrapped in the same bathrobe. Except I have nobody here to “fix me, baby.”


Kelsey Wroten The Sire



Victoria Meyers I wounded myself, when I just, when I was just young. You can tell by my hands. And I wounded an animal, found curiosity and glory within the blood. With bolstering callouses and multilingual shades of skin. You can tell by my hands. There was a water channel near the shoulder of the back road. The living were always yellows. You built a reservoir up into the embankment, I liked to call it a moment. You did it for me and Joni. One evening in the wood in the dark we met paths with a wounded female wolf who had given much blood, I opened her wound, her moment, took her to the water and let the moment flood. And I have relapses of residue and instinct that protrude. You can tell by my throat. It swells in heaps. and then digresses. into more heaps, but I keep these heaps narrow; I keep them in a consistent swallow. You can tell by my throat.



When data begins to dance moves perpetrated the duo with wasp hands we can escape but the creek is fiddled roots of vegetables webbed clams come packaged making us believe all life has a peculiar taste each month I drop the mother’s tea bag from a string into the most useful puddle a net yielding no fare the cosmos roll their eyes and count me truant feeding the remainder of my pets we refused to let live I declare all eating civil strife wearing heavy metals as two-bit cannibals emerge if a person consumes himself out of anger if the hunger was an anger for which the feast is protest I wouldn’t cook what they knew how to catch You can all receive your own messages why would you need to? I’m trying to finish page after page my signature required I initial DD DD DD checking the box hung from black outlines climbing out of a lake onto a dock I cough the hook dislodges.




Daisies Up Your Monster Steven Karl * Outside they sing. Outside they drop dead from trees. Laugh as tomorrow’s new atmosphere today. Or tonight. It’s tempting to keep slipping centuries. Conflate a season into changed interior weather. * If you were that kind of girl. If I were that kind of brother. Two siblings in same stretchy black pants. The temptation of noise. Slow sip of thick beer. An absence for an evening of pills. * A compliance of clouds & trace your face as lines of beauty application. The combat boots do little for that look. Remember to put the crack balls in the fridge. The adornment of heat will remain unbearable into evening. * Another option, the overheard chatter About a fuck buffet in Thailand. So-called friends are filth on the outside. When everyone’s out of earshot. Over-amplified ambition & the imagined actions of an imagined life. Pathetic pretty & two oblivious people in a train. * It’s a beauty stick. 24k gold. It vibrates. When you put your face on it.


* The truth is all the flower shops in this city depress me. All that Potential harnessed & displayed. How to escape the commodity of everyday. Tomorrow pressed shirts & crooked ties straightened. A face pressed into a face. * Two siblings in unidentical outfits. The train will empty its mouth all the same. There is no escape. Each of these lines a suggestion of the infinite. Out there for each of our everys. A daisy for your monster.


Siara Berry Marriage



Eddie Dixon 1. these sparrows yell all the time i feed them imagining i am buying luck add the entire bushfull up they weigh less than my shoe i am being haunted joyously by paper airplanes smoke-light alarmists the front of my house is a brittle toothed tambourine a cult of happy wrenches falling together down a well the spiders. brown glass move barest suggestions of things moving across the cookied concrete when i move a thing they drop like dangled theater stars down from their dusty battens they have no poison for me so i call them luck too take away the house and a frame of moving legs billions of eyes would stick around hungry ghosting it feels good to do old man things as a young man to me ?. what’s it gonna be comforter in the end or buzzard coat do i spill into sand and bottle tops or make black the satin in a 7ft wooden spaceship on one hand i’m lazy but i’ve always loved the rain 3. graceful eyes for someone that falls so much they announce from my liminal hungry trumpets


standing out from the background like diamond rings on the back of a bull in the movie the treasure has been hidden in my house the code is the dog’s name the snake is piled on itself in my sleeping bag the birthmark is the map the door unlocks and stunned we blabber clarion to clarion 4. my photographs now there are more less rain and cracks rolling in my hand a music box cylinder prayer wheel of faces teeth talking there are more lights more phyla of brightnesses less left in shadow and smoke grey all funereal soviet-from-this-angle apartment blocks and things falling into rusty comas have given way to painted rocks pinatas and proud fleshes eyes clouded with sweet deals struck deep gouges of breath if they made a noise when you flipped through i could dig out the math and write it down somewhere beside an admonition be like this always if you can 5. you’re a fire i don’t know i want to recognize your skull if it arrives alone i want to know that your finger plucked the string i’m walking by by the smear of it’s frequency if we both skinned are strips of ribboned light stretched between black bookends i want to know without looking




You Are Doing Something Good Luke Bloomfield

You want to do something good for the old man and woman who live under the porch. You want to slice an orange and bring the slices to them under the porch where they weed their little patches. But they’re not there. That’s how it is with them. You want to do something good but you turn your back for a second and they’re gone. You want to comb their hair, and you walk into the bedroom where you’re certain they had entered moments before but the room is empty, a faint tremor in the air, breeze through an open window that’s too small for them to have slipped out of.


Hateful: Lydia Moyer & Tory Wright Test


Creative Writing in New Orleans (For John) Joseph Bradshaw

I think I’m getting fat. I don’t want to be fat. But I don’t want to starve either, I’ve been starving for so long. I can always tell when someone is starving. My friend John Craun, for instance, is skinnier than me, he never eats and his lips are always chapped. Last night I rode out to the suburbs with John and Michael Lee and Trina and a guy named Christopher so we could see Andy Stallings and Melissa Dickey and read our new writing to each other. On the drive out Christopher pointed to a daycare center called Clear Head, and we all wondered: Whose heads are cleared there? And who does the clearing? I didn’t sleep at all last night after the reading. I was too disturbed thinking that this is what we do as poets: we go to foreign cities and seek out other poets, and we go into their houses even if they’re in their pajamas and they’re five months pregnant and it’s late. It doesn’t matter that their already-living kids will scream them awake in just a few hours, because it’s evening now and we’re trying to listen to one another. While some of us are good at listening, I’m usually too distracted to hear anyone else. All I hear is myself thinking that it’s great we’re doing this, I should be happy we’re in my friends’ living room, listening, this is why we have cars and airplanes and bicycles and Segues, though I’ve yet to meet a poet who rides a Segue. I’m sure some are out there. Maybe Ron Silliman rides one. I wonder what Ron Silliman would do if I showed up to his house in rural Pennsylvania and tried to read this poem to him. In a daiquiri bar on St. Charles the other night, Ben Kopel asked me if I remember Silliman’s Blog. His question reminded me that last year I wrote a poem for our friend Mark Leidner in Northampton. It’s inscrutable, and I still don’t get it. It goes:

it’s just a cheese sandwich and that’s all it is so fuck you blog of the future

I can’t remember why I dedicated this to Mark Leidner. Maybe because I pictured him right after or while I wrote it? I must have also been thinking about Ron Silliman and how sometime around 2005, in the heyday of poetry Blogspots, I left a bunch of comments on Alli Warren’s blog about how much I liked “cheese sammiches.” I attributed my comments to Ron Silliman. Those days, when I could be anybody in a comment stream, I definitely wasn’t sleeping. I was a typical Portland waif, my lips were pale and chapped, and I was trying so hard to write poetry. Yet I had so many friends who listened to me—like David Abel, Maryrose Larkin, Chris Piuma, Mark Owens, Matt Marble—and I had friends in Seattle too, like Nico Vassilakis and Drew Kunz. Still, something was always wrong. Just like last night. Just like today. All over New Orleans there are signs that read “Be Nice Or Leave.” How appropriate that I’m going back to New York tomorrow. Appropriate too that I see this sign at 2:32PM. For nearly half my life I’ve looked at the clock at 2:32, AM or PM. This etymologicallyspeaking weird reflexivity in relation to my circadian rhythms—which have long been chaotic—are due to a song I wrote, a really tortured piece of teenage creative writing called “2:32AM.” The only part of it I remember is the first line of the chorus, “It’s 2:32 in the morning.” Now, when I try to remember what came after all I hear is Elliott Smith’s line, “And I’m putting myself on warning,” from his song “2:45AM,” which goes:


It’s 2:45 in the morning And I’m putting myself on warning For waking up in some unknown place With a recollection that’s half erased

I’m sure I tried to convince myself that I wasn’t merely a depressed teenager sitting in a basement in Astoria, Oregon, ripping off Elliott Smith. 2:32 is like 13 whole minutes BEFORE 2:45, so I kind of got there first. Besides, it really was 2:32AM when I wrote my song—which I don’t think I’ll ever remember. What I do remember is the morning around the song: I walked through the sunrise Columbia River fog, wrote letters to no one in particular on the water. In my total saccharine romantic naivety I didn’t feel in love or heartbroken or in need of companionship, and I definitely didn’t worry about getting fat. I just didn’t feel like sleeping.


28th & 7th

Joseph Bradshaw Fuck Chase, the Megabus is late

I hate ConEd, I need to find a fax machine

this morning, Trina and I had distracted sex I was thinking about fax machines

ConEd, Optimum, Trina came first

I should be happy to live in New York to write poems about New York

I should be happy, Jordan just texted he’s at Lincoln Tunnel, I’m excited

to hear Jordan Stempleman’s new poems tonight, I should be happy

all the FIT students are checking me out I’m hot today, I know, I’ve spent

money at Barney’s recently, money

I no longer have, I have to fax ConEd

to prove I’ve paid my bill so they don’t shut off the power, the Megabus arrives

another Megabus and Jordan’s not on it who uses fax machines anyway


The Truth

Mike Topp

When you kiss someone you should remember you are sucking on the end of a 30-foot tube, the last five feet of which are filled with shit.


Confession Mike Topp

I don’t think John Denver will get back together.




TV Review Mike Topp

Latest episode of GLEE made me laugh. But overall I was less engaged than usual. Maybe just a mood (had leg amputated over weekend).


Who Knows

Mike Topp

- What famous actress is Larry King? - Is intuition what I think it is? - How many monkeys even own typewriters anymore? - Who was the first interstellar candidate for Bronx borough president? - What animal is found only in cyberspace? - What is the key ingredient of frozen ginger ale salad? - How come there’s only one game called Monopoly? - What could be simpler than the gift of a solid gold baby?


Profile of a Pea Mike Topp



Joseph Watson Untited Composition


Bullet With Butterfly Wings (Nickel Mix) Christopher DeWeese The world is a campfire Set to cause trees some pain Belated desires Give me lots of crying Even though I’m old I want to be cool you know Let’s go to a show No let’s watch Lost and eat chocolate Despite all my rage I am still just kind of attractive


Brimful of Asha (Drum n Bass Remix)

Christopher DeWeese

That’s Charles Manson Behind the scenes Behind the moving screen That’s Charles Barkley He’s the one who Gives me the car keys We throw on some records And go dancing Everybody needs a woman I need a guardian


Butterfly Wings (Matt Pinfield Remix) Christopher DeWeese

Something about the 90s Made wretchedness delightful Everything was inane But we had faith in it The surplus economy The Rock the Vote campaign Here’s the take-away Human beings aren’t childproof They make up philosophy To try and kill you


Please Stop Yelling at Me, Part 3

Jennifer L. Knox

The analysts told me about the time you took them out for drinks and got shit hammered and started pushing and slapping (that’s assault) Steve, the only man stupid enough in the entire department to tag along. You took the corporate Amex card out of your wallet and waved it around yelling, “You’ll never get this! Never!” then you bolted into the snow, leaving your coat and backpack at the bar, and Steve had to run after you, pour you into a cab, ride with you uptown, drop you off and PAY FOR THE CAB! And YOU NEVER PAID HIM BACK! He quit six weeks later, and whenever the analysts retell this story, which they do every fucking chance they get, they say, “We should’ve let her die in the snow.” You talk smack about absolutely everyone including your half-wit wife who deserves it most of all. If anyone wonders, did she talk shit about me? The answer is yes. Hell yes. I don’t have to listen to your stories about growing up in the ghetto and how you got beaten up everyday by black people to understand that you hate black people. All I have to do is LOOK AROUND at all the people you’ve hired who aren’t black, which is everyone. When all the men in the office (all hired by someone else) kicked you out of their fantasy football league thing, I laughed my fucking ass off. Seriously. You were so pissed. God, I loved that. You’re a bossy, lonely, angry cunt who can’t pay people to hang out with her. You punched a door, at work, for fuck’s sake. If your adopted baby doesn’t hate you yet, just wait. And if you ask someone (who hates you—as everyone does) if this poem is about you, they will lie to you, like they lie to you about everything.


Amy Erickson Insular Living



Thérèse Aubray I invent, I complete and I replant in you The fire tree from the earth The blood tree, the creeping, pitiless splasher Spitting its purple flower in the idle face That wants to believe itself wise. I am every stirring wind at the heart of you Every dream stripped of it dream­leaves And who will be born. Your arms open, beautiful tree of my creation! What life to invent, to inhuman standard Where the firebird nests, to itself attached Who by itself, summer’s arsonist. Take up my broken search And on every face where my wound bleeds drink the strength to start again.

Translated by: Matthew Lyons



Thérèse Aubray The Star in the sky flickers and gives you the sign Forward! Behind all is white as before your birth. And you are pure, to yourself revealed and renounced. You birth the myth of which you can die And which itself carried you in, Love. Follow the spring to the riddled heart Where a face rises Proud of the death it carries inside And shines on you, Sun quartered at the summer’s four limbs, The face of a child king emerged from the night Takes you back to the night. The curve is gentle from his fire to the world’s fire Where you arrive Make love with his love For the birth of a new flame Licking after new torments. Transform its matter into dream for your dreams Open your body to the threat hanging over those who know and who submit... To die is to limit, you want only to pass beyond.

Translated by: Matthew Lyons





The archangel with black hair son of lightning And of germ­-pillaged earth. It’s this trembling that obstructs the obvious The path that conjures itself with every step And is forgotten, Gestures made in sleep or in love Humble recognition of royal greetings Raised around the face chosen To bear witness to forbidden things Each time lost And which tear apart the future. Dazzling bare face! It appears only when is formed or lost The exchange of your night with my night The shock: passing of the lightning — Dead.

Translated by: Matthew Lyons


Mortality University

Brian Clifton

Here at Mortality U, not everything is small: small classes, small curriculum. BIG rewards. The first semester, we hold raw steak in front of your pet and say, consider the steak. It was once an animal like you. We show them pictures and videos of live animals and say, You, now, and then we show them pictures and videos of dead animals and say, You, later. We loop the dead bird scene from “American Beauty” for 30 hours in the honors program. We teach them their owners (you) will die. In their capstone class, we teach them they will die. The results are incredible. Our graduates have gone on to lead exciting and fulfilled lives as: the guinea pigs from “G-Force,” the chimp from “MVP,” even keyboard cat once graced our halls. Now, we can’t guarantee success in life after Mortality U, but we can guarantee knowing death will eventually horde us all in its clutches will shower your pet (and your relationship) with unfathomable rewards. So we ask, can you put a price on fulfillment? On promise? On knowing that death will come for you and everyone else whether by choking on a chicken bone, or getting hit by a bus, or plain old old age? We say yes. Our tuition can be broken into a variety of payment options. But that’s for financial aid to discuss. Think about your pets. Think about you. They deserve this. You deserve this.


Madeleine Hanlon Floating Monuments


Everything Is All Right

Phil Estes

The neurologist on the radio says “You deserve Your memory.” My friend Scott, on his birthday, says: “37 Is my 9/11. Everything Changed, man.” Haesong: “No, you just realized.” Scott picked strawberries in Iowa And got $800, Tax time. Bought everyone drinks for the people Who bought him drinks, Does it every year For new people he knows now, How cool is that? * Everybody is here and we’re all fine, We have our phones. Look at the maps, The radar. Storm is coming, Let’s just watch the clouds. Like the move? I move so slow When it is nice out here: Here comes the black widows, The hail. Here comes Oral Roberts In his polyester, here he comes, he tells us: “Shorts are okay except in the library, But shorts are okay In the prayer tower, during the marathon.” It’s Oklahoma. Say it, Say it like “It’s Chinatown.” Cheesy,


Say it like that, like the old men in gray sweatshirts Painted by their granddaughters. The old men decline our offers. But they say “You know the thing, Where the soldier rubs the sour wine-sponge against his lips? That’s a relief. No one know, no one knows, No shit we’re a chorus.” * My dad used to drive past Third Empire houses, Did yours? My mom would say at night: “Your friends aren’t here To embarrass you, So kiss me on the cheek And go the fuck asleep.” * King of the Segues is back, framed In the Renaissance perspective. His arm around a woman, “Floozy” maybe, but who cares It is his birthday still. He is a sad, lovable gangster; He says “Don’t pay For those drinks.”




Defense Mechanisms Phil Estes

Alexandria got a dog, she says to him: “welcome to your kingdom.” A crow died mysteriously: flies where the head should be. The dog looked at the body, then pointed out the head in some crabgrass. I hold him back, though. He looks for the head everyday, he looks for the wings. The dog only lies close to the Priest, because of course, he’s flashy. “Your living room smells like Shakespeare,” says the Priest, because that’s all he can say. At least about this, about that.


Andra Khoder



Andra Khoder Band





Sprung Formal #9  

KCAI's Literary Art Journal

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