tinfoildresses Summer 2009
Edited by Heather Ann Schmidt Painting by Heather Ann Schmidt
Fading Force This time so filled with remembrance of beggar’s words that seem to prance from my dishonest mouth’s story, that struts a moment of glory, laments its defeats in despair, chants of maidens with streaming hair, who slay their hopes and change their ways the victims of my maddened days, that pass as swift as spring’s delight, that stir me in a blaze of white flash-fire, extinguishing the coals, mocking my unaccomplished goals.
Greg Billingham Skinny Dipping the trees are destined against us, exhaling the kiss of their reflection where clouds are one with water. and for a moment we shattered their double life of surface its dreamy edges cut through as you rise like a newborn earth scattering ripples your naked movements wake that drowsy country, until everything is scurrying off like the daylightlost to such a deepness
David Bradsher Night Shift At the dim juncture of the dawn, my yawn-and-stretch completes a canvassing of tousled sheets to find my lover gone. She showed up late, but didn't stay, and left with no goodbye, proving again that she and I are strangers in the day; yet, in the dark, we'll reunite as two amnesiacs who coalesce like candle wax that moats a tongue of light.
Enabled for Charles Delaine Bradsher, Sr. 1. He's smaller now. He never was that tall, too short for top-shelf pots, or basketball, though at the Yâ€”at lunchtimeâ€”there he was, launching a shot amid the bigs, because a man with limitations either spends his life aground or, grasping hold, ascends. 2. He's taller now. Two strokes (and age) combined to wilt an arm and leg, but not his mind. He fights the loss from an ischemic crash to rise above the dust of settled ash, helping the doubters see and understand a man with Phoenix feathers in his hand.
Exile on Mabel St. Of your new street there is freshness. Reeks lavender in spring. Doesn’t help that your first love was a movie set, or when you say, let’s make cinematic tonight and drive to Culver City, what you long for is a picture interference can’t retune. Missing the emptiness of nest, you open like a house that stays drafty each summer, like a fridge used for storing fresh cases they’ve captured as cut up police and court logs. You highlight the name in hot pink ink. The fridge gives you character crisis anew. Are you the villain? The hero upped anti? Is magnetism even in you? You think not, in line for change and results of other people’s blood tests, a wait that takes you into the next frame which, not yet summer, is still the season for games and gallow’s humor:
by Sylvia Plath
Death by Isadora Duncan Plath’s the hometown girl but you have to choose
of the thing
scarf strangulation for the strangeness
Sedition passing between rooms where molds of her pudenda mount the walls; where folks start branding you traitor, questioning your commitment to town’s dramatic nature. Barring a mixture of feather and tar, you bounce in wish accrual. Your genie’s breath has brought you here. You waste days checking lists.
Birthday Girl Zebra overcooked. Frosting plain impasto. Bulimia stretches the ladies’ room line dance extended operating hours. Such a skink, flicking her tongue like that. Remainders with stomach raise their mop handles to swat the piñata the nightly nurse resembles. She’s spilled party favors. Pluck of lonesome tilde. I think a thoughtful joke of spiking insufflation with nasalizing eyebrows. Such a cloud, showering her cake like this.
Her blessed Birthday wish begs nothing but extinguish. Her one good lung no match for sentineled tapers.
from Mellow Wine We’re out on the terrace sucking down Belgians Nicole with her mother and Jules and I’m ringed around the stump of an amputated tree out Onder de Linden where cerecloth shade casts goblets and rings in light deemed medieval making motion slow as one takes a mistress But which is the mistress Someone new Someone blue One’s got blue eyes the other a blue soul Both have soft hands right and left almost touching
in a synchronized pinch of legs left and right My face flickers red a match for the gangrene that blushes like Xmas numb from the waist down A non-degree paraplegic knows when to cut out the angle of dead skin the wrong side of scalene the flimsy triangle built to rest on prosthetics
At night, the dark has a sound: Light is a mirror & the back of the mirror is dark. It sounds like being under water. It's sound is the sound of a man standing by the water, quieting his baby with a blanket. The palm goes over the blanket. The water is hiding what it waits for. The water is silent. The baby is silent. Yes we part we open Clay cup of the mouth, what jar you've become All the breath echoing there spit-slip the wetness of you when you talk: two fingers as far as you can Filled, a slick grasp & carry the jar is four fingers wide but not fist-fit around Is this trying No one will stop us but us & we
are somewhere else parting each refusal, the tin of it here in the jar they are as cymbals & when they touch I call it music
Chris Deal the zed word they were always of interest, as a kid, the gun shows. i had fired a few, but in honesty, they frightened me, guns. the potential that was there in them, i hated it, though i was being taught to understand and to live with them, to use them if need be, but never to fear them. they were something to do, the shows, booth after booth of pistols and rifles and semi-autos, knives and grenades and the anarchist cookbook, damn near every booth was slinging copies.
that day i saw a guy selling these small gold coins, with three letters right across, and a man in a hood on horseback. i stepped away, not giving the man, my elder, pepper beard over beer gut and a dirt covered chevy cap, not giving him my money, no, going over to where my dad was, talking about his ford with an old timer, and then we went towards the exit, to the next building of the expo, and this fellow he stopped us, a scarcrow in black pressed pants, crisp white shirt and a black tie, he looked like a minister, a lawyer, and he asked my dad, sir, are you happy with the way this country is going, as a white christian man? and my dad, he kept on walking, but i saw, looking at that man,
thin blond hair, dead blue eyes, and i never did go to another one of those, the gun show, i never pestered my pop about taking me again. there were nights where i kept seeing those eyes, blue like the horizon on a clear day, bright eyes but dead to the world, something unnatural, evil in the way an uncaring god would be. those eyes, you see them damn near everywhere, always on faces you don't quite expect, church leaders, teachers, kids you grew up with, family, all with eyes that see only what they want, that give nothing to the world, dead eyes for dead souls. there's a word, but we don't say that word, what they are, we don't say it for fear of a sort of infection
of the heart, you could say, a sickness of the mind, the word, we don't say it, and we ignore what they are.
of voices say it's thanksgiving, and you hear these voices familial voices, ones you've heard your entire life and they're saying his name in hushed, harsh tones like liquid disappointment and when they see you listening they're cut off quickly but the voices are still hanging like smoke after a grease fire. the things they're saying these things they say he's done you know they can't be true it's a fiction, a lie but then you think on it and you've never been alone with him because there's something like a smell, a pheromone perhaps and like an animal the hair on your neck prickles with survival instinct when you see him and the years pass and he's out of your life you think on him every once in a while and perhaps what those voices you heard, perhaps what they say
well, maybe it was true but you can't ask for confirmation and you'll never know what he did or did not do.
Mike Donkin Weavings 1) So many children inhabit this house, the house the writer has rented for the summer months. He had thought it a good idea, the property being so remote. â€œFully soundproof,â€? the ad had said. A) I reach a fork in the road. I go left instead of right to exercise my free will. This too, I concede, was predetermined. 2) The house is covered in beetles. The children inside hear sounds which resemble the crumpling of dried leaves as they hold their stethoscopes to the glass walls. The writer scribbles prose amidst pandemonium. B) Lamps line cobblestone pathways, illumining the night travelers. Their long, fang-like shadows cut through the vibrating yellow of the buzzing lamps. Bursts of ghoulish laughter spike and take on the colors of the dreary nothing, a mix of yellows, browns, and blacks.
3) Weeks have gone by. The writer does not know anymore whether it is day or night. The insects, whose abdomens are constantly blinking on and off with phosphorescent light, have subsumed the glass home. The writer does not sleep. C) Galactic old-timers slowly perusing a vast universe, nodding off with somnolent planets, babbling incessantly to remote, disinterested stars.
If you want to create, remember: It is when words donâ€™t come when they are summoned that it is best to write down words As it is when surroundings are unrecognizable that it is best to paint images/ An artist must work hard to dislodge the commonplaces that
have been firmly rooted by the voices, the fluent flaccid voices, like gasping balloons, which beset and confuse the artist, / The geometric person who said that one does not understand what they cannot explain was wrong -the geometric person who said that one cannot see what they donâ€™t recognize was lying For they did not know the act of forgetting(- pure art is only possible if one can will forgetfulness / Accordingly the pure artist has unremembered everything ; pure writers have forgotten how to speak; pure painters have removed their eyes
Literature Bygones extremely save maddening thwart rumple causes astride syncopated trumpet coughs I’m finished save along all falling glass gorgeous ballads of the mole’s regal cricket never ending but never exactly reality working out but that’s not to say I’ve shortchanged far from itself beloved of all but never that I go for annual machination societies encouraging cashmere some systematize the whole canon doubt without doubt a larger possibility necessary go on and strip one of pleurisy spilling mercury
Lauren Eggert-Crowe Black feathers, fibers We burnt caramel and hemmed our jeans. You showed me how to pin the seam, straight on straight. The midnight running like railroad tracks. From the kitchen, the pot sang its sugar song. Because I could have cracked my teeth on you. The needle dives and surfaces. The knot is an anchor and a pearl. I am doing this to keep the night outside. Sometimes the night comes in through the window and asks for puerh tea. It asks for a longer seam. You thought you knew time, but something about fog makes you not understand. The night paws its concrete thoroughfares under mesquite blossoms. You have cursed me. If I don't keep stitching, the mountain will get closer and ask me to swallow it down. If I don't keep stitching, the river. Salamander crawls into my lap. Raven's song, why do you love him why do why do why do you. I love him because he has cursed me with threads. I love him because I am afraid of the needle's power. I did not before. Inside the kitchen, the night has seeped in through a crack in the stove. The night whistles in the teakettle. It isn't night. Salamanders were gods long ago. It is lonely in a place that begs to be sweetened.
Cosmetic lesson Aristotle said the world is made of spheres. They slide back and forth and around and between without knowing prepositions. One sphere holds everything we know. The second sphere holds everything we don't know. Every night a mangrove tree sucks down another root and stretches higher. Every morning something catches on fire. The third sphere holds the other spheres but is still lonely because the fourth sphere holds love. When she cranes her neck up at the sky, at night, she shivers This may be because she is trying to find Scorpio. She is more afraid of falling up endlessly than falling from heights. The night is colder than it should be. She wonders if one of the spheres has a hole. A leak that hisses the light out like a deflated tire. The fifth sphere holds the sun. Spheres six and seven don't know what love is but can recite equations. The mangrove would shiver if it could. We sat under it when you said you were leaving. The cold came in then like a guest that wants to love you all night. The eighth sphere is rounder than the gold ring at the bottom of the drawer in the attic. Even a guest knows this, having never seen the dust's halo. The sun is quieter than you would imagine. I am the ninth sphere.
Charles’ Muse You wonder if you are naked – everybody must see. Yes, reversed mirror-visage shows him again – heavy, dark features, scarred they say by adolescence, not the subsequent life, warm, far-seeing eyes – he possesses you, and you must submit to the vision. You leer through others because it is not you alone who are unclothed. Silk entangles you, but this thread is not spun by a spider, and not by a worm – so you flee, but you only get more of him on you, in you. He slips into
your viscera , grabbing your soul, and sucking it out. Your pulse pitches high in your ears, ring ring ring â€“ heartbeat harmony of longing. Your throat strains for him but he sticks on your tongue. He knows you, and wrestling him to paper is your only chance. Now all see â€“ your Bukowski is showing.
Christina Farella untitled as I kneel I bend 窶電ouble I steal over your blades of light you, Dreamtiger wading survivor of poets, mirrored armor paramour of underwater skies brushfire and bloodletting; we read all the pages in the house with floors like ginger waves and accidental notes played
John Floyd halcyon white ferries across nantucket sound, and she and i looked out from starboard and from bow at the teary blue waters and the surf they washed onto kennedy beach. through the overgrown iron of the gates to our beach. along paths of broken seashells, wreathed in sawgrass; and that night we slept on the sandy rocks, beneath a shingled lighthouse, shining out. submergence oceanic firewalkers barefoot on the sun wish on satellites in orbit where shooting stars burn out beneath them, will a flooding earth drown in the shadows of the whales? rock bottom with a sandy floor; we should have stayed in the shallows.
What Remains Mid-November melts Like the edges of spring Calling back the wasted Days we lost together. Specks of dust caught In the Santa Ana winds. My foolish hands Didnâ€™t reach out To skim the surface Of your face, gently Touching the still soft stubble Tinted red from the late autumn sun. I would like to touch you now But weâ€™ve been unrecognizably Replaced. Cheeks and hands Already spoken for By this tidy, grown up Version of us. Outside in our turtlenecks We tend to our fading Garden of peppers and pumpkins.
We call for the dog and tie our shoelaces While august flecks of gold and rust fall Piece by piece from the trees. I water the garden and see you proudly Pocket the last orange and yellow pepper. Everything weâ€™ve planted has survived. The sun droops downward in the sky. I pause to watch half of it disppear. What remains seems brighter. I am happy until I notice You've turned to go. The moment has passed and I am Holding a watering can And not your face. I call your name, And tell you I need you. You smirk. I have leaves in my hair. We laugh and you tell me I am beautiful. Before I can object, You kiss my forehead, And I believe you. I smile as your fingers Brush dead leaves from my hair. We watch them fall on purpose, Landing at my feet like paper airplanes
Made by the future daughter We always meant to have. -For Mark Davies
The Twisted Cactus Lone on the desert floor Tough, fibrous bravado, thorns and tiny Glochids defend curiosities. Meanwhile Begging me to ask the story of her creation. I cannot tell just by looking What events led to her endless writhing. I long to reach Past the thorns, beyond oblique Barbs, and touch her from the inside Out. I am drawn to the grotesque Convolutions of self-preservation, Natureâ€™s silent prayer to herself. Her prickly limbs intertwine. Untouchable, or so it seems. Yet here she is, shallow Roots and all. Prone to separation, She joins with herself And thrives.
Fenton Grant Breaking Bars cloud your face. Locked, cement setting In the sun; All the cartoon flowers I'd draw, Wilting. I don Blue and yellow's baby, And trumpet almost half My heritage With fermented beverages, A blue eye, green's father, Out, patrolling, For interest. The other blue Eye Knows I'll find my way home Alone To plot and promise Your escape.
John Grey THE MONTH BEFORE I LEAVE HOME I am getting ready to leave so, the time I have left, I will spend staying. See how bodily, I occupy a room, how much heft I put even to kisses on the cheek. Whatever the world wants of me, first the home will have in generous helpings. Time remaining gathers weight, can't be moved out of this house. It's not your looks that hook into me, not those sudden elevations over knitting, around newspapers, the sigh that greets sons like they are kittens. I am quite capable of snaring myself. Bookshelves dangle like worms. The goldfish bowl is a willing fly. For as long as it takes, I'll be both fish and fisherman. See me in the chair. My bones are finding gravity a boon. Never has this television so absorbed me. The stairs are lovingly finite. The attic is the perfect harness for my head. Such clinging
sleep... the bed shrinks the dimensions of a life into a photo on a dresser, banner on a wall. Watch how I deal with what I'm letting go... I suck it into me, drag it near and dear. My restlessness has stilled me. My itch is scratched by listening to bathwater run, clothes spin through the rinse cycle. My hunger first must get out from under being fed. But it's sated far into the future. And what do eyes at the window know? Do they expect blood not to do its family duty? Sure I'm greedy for the passing cars, the overhead jets, the people I know already in the city. But asphalt highways draw their inspiration from the turnpikes of the heart. And they're all one way.
John Griener Maitre dâ€™ From the farms of the mid-West we give you the silence of the butcher standing in the slaughter house smiling. Come one, come all. Disregard your change, for something such as this you should be willing to put down a few bucks. On these bloodstained floors you will learn of the rise and fall of empires, not to mention where tonightâ€™s steak au poivre originates. Things such as these should not be left unseen,
and that is why for a nominal fee the universeâ€™s most wondrous secrets will be revealed to you. This will be an experience not to be forgotten, and when the tour is finished please join us for a nice piece of meat, and superb glass of house red.
Message from Istanbul Garbage truck, Friday morning pick-up. I will go off with the trash pickers looking for the remnants of Byzantium dumped into ash cans. Ah, the lost jewels of the heady empress found in the dust, their beauty has outshined her. I can no longer remember her name, but this is the way of history. To say that she was a beauty is an assumption. I wish to give her the benefit of the doubt, but now that all of her glories are in my dirty hands
there is no reason for me to sing praises to her lost memory.
Erik Knutsen Clear I have already been thinking about you thoroughly; about marble and of jade. It is becoming quickly the something I must say that it is the girl rushing through the woods and houses along the way who holds the heart for singing that ignites salacious remonstrances, or is it the other way. Her inborne dualist primacy, feral or severe, is reflected in me right here; so by virtue of wishing through another upon oneself but withal still intact - I want her to be made of porcelaine. In Pan's reedy whistle she wanders merrily, her green, green cloak a shoutback of his verdant melody. It is the shoulder that I wish to lay my hand upon. "So let me guide you," and thus I stood beguided. For I deniably stand for all that is good. While shaking off the grime, I was beckoning you in, though may I not enjoin you overzealously. But when you're through my door the knockings are louder ever more. You didn't walk this way only for yourself; I was there right with you in previous foreknowledge of the moutains and crystal lakes which praise my kind of day. Marf is a clean carpet and sweat sock footed feet. Chocolate. A Link fighting nobly to the console between our controllers' cord's end things. Candy. You and me and disney. Lollipops. The one thing I gave that I can never take away. I have abandoned everyone. I would come, I would come to visit you. My marf is your diamonds and cocaine. Is a relationship now contained in so few days, when all available recollections reflect a moribund instant of joy or two? She wants to be bone and flesh! Could the ikons love bone and flesh? When a wooded fir is trying to be an art print littered table, perhaps along the way. Hallowed be thy name; I wish but fear I'm failing to preserve thy sanctity. But that art print littered table may not have been what the fir had meant, it seems, it's
strivings to achieve. So my mundanity breeds your insanity, I would still take those cut out pills with you another day. It wasn't even my affectations of nobility but my vectorised lucidity which prevented me. I wanted, oh, I wanted; please don't take away. Give me a second chance to rectifie today. Am I to keep myself from ever opening my abdomen to someone else, my entrails spilling out only onto the page where their blemishes are not shared to understanding. This next silence may even be too much for me. I forget who I'm to be writing about: a porcelain girl, or me. You seem to want to be Nastassya Filippovna, while I want to be Myshkin with a different wakeful ending. You said, "Link Absolves Zelda," which was a wonderfully beautiful and insightful thing.
Kirk Layton the audition they sit in darkness with pens held marking comments in script deciding the future for me while right hand fingers brush the nylon strings the left forms dancing ballerina steps mistakes reverb between the empty seats forcing pens to the pads in instant action eyes close to silence the darkness of fear replaced by the color of a bach fugue ten years practice condensed to minutes for three academy student seats her touch comforts me as i stroke her neck feeling her body as i have daily they judge in toronto, paris, new york and here where i heard them play late last night i can smell honey oil i rub her with as our heartbeats turn to one yet again
they complete comments on musicality i stand, i bow, i leave knowing the truth we have been intimate for many years and lovers we remain in private joy
Black is Not a Pastel Hue Oratory in lavender, self-speak in pastel-blue hues. Brush-strokes deftly applied, impregnate mine bellicose deliberations in ephemeral tints of taciturn existence.
Aqua notes, flutter, fly, mine ethereal thoughts whisper nigh. Palette of subtlety, soft earth-tones, evoke memories birthed yesteryear, melodic chords woven, longings I enunciate to only ears mine. Ordained, Summers digress to Fall,
Green-toned leaves mutate to russet, then brown. Wither. And fall. Winterâ€™s chill, alas, takes hold; Sanguinity born of love expires, displaced by immeasurable torment of heartbreak, Jagged rocks I see through tears beneath. Of grays and charcoal-black, I leap to closure, oh merciful cessation, their neutral tones soon to be colored by mine incandescent reds. Mine last worldly vision before all subsides, is of blackness, nothing more. Mine last fleeting earthly contemplation is... black of death is not a pastel hue.
Carla Martin-Wood Comet A child who loved myths, summer evenings I would search amongst the stars to find Andromeda between the clouds, sweet arms lifted, though in chains, or altruistic Chiron with his bow, honoured there forever, celestial and eternal monuments, reminding us from whence we came and what, with grace, we might attain. Yet, on that sleepy August afternoon, when Kathy called me up the hill to play, I still refused. Four to my nine years, I thought myself too old for her, and too grown-up for paper dolls. So Kathy went her solitary way, learned how swiftly fire can leap from match to flesh, how paper dolls can burn, lingered without hope for days, hers, the first coffin I would see, she, who made death real to me, and still I hear the sound her mother made.
Tonight I hurried home to watch as Comet Lulin streaks the sky, and yet instead, through these late tears I saw a four-year old run helpless down a neverending hill, an ever-living torch, fire fanning out like wings against the night, immortal in my darkness.
Darcy McMurtery Yarn Grandmother would tell stories of our kin late into the evenings of our childhood. The void between her words filled with a spitting fire and the incessant click of knitting needles as she spoke to wide eyed darkness.
The dust storms came and winds kicked up and wore away the field, grain by grain. Her work dress, that brown calico from the picture, whipped her sunburned calves as she watched her new crops destroyed, buried. In spite of bare fields, the babies came, instead of the rain everyone prayed for, wet and salty, wailing with their own vinegar tears. A week later their only tears were specks of sand blown in from the fields streaking their new faces With grime and blood. Most of the babies lived, and some were doled out to neighbors from a basket, like sourdough starts , except for the sick one she drowned in the bathtub. She would finish her knitting, winding wool around gnarled, arthritic fingers
and carefully bind off a stitch, or mark off a place to begin the next night. She snipped off the remainder of the yarn so no questions were asked and sent us off to bed to the sounds of the dying fire and soft murmurs.
Quincy, Washington My father once spent a summer pinning railroad spikes into a scorched earth while the constant sun struck its rhythm on his back driving him to lay that track, a path for escape or new beginnings, dividing the desert into choices. Days dawned and faded, pinned down at each hammerâ€™s strike until Friday nights delivered the far off squeal of brakes down our curved hill and we fought for his attention, clamored for his greeting, a grunt or a nod through the open door then he would tip his ice chest into the brown lawn, a weekâ€™s worth of comfort into parched ground . We lined up to touch the treasures he bestowed: dried rattle from a dead snake, half ground to dust a rusty railroad spike disappearing flake by flake a penny flattened by a passing train The real gift was his presence kept only until the road beckoned, a mistress, now lonely, a come hither to the long ribbon of black asphalt, a journey without promise of return.
Ben Nardolilli War Stars It was a cappella access, But did not produce believability. Just banter with filming, Every mother a material And Christineâ€™s skin a gallery. The risk of ghosts and geodes, Interesting mythological families, Writing with her umbrella. Times and houses were worth That isolation and any poems the same.
Sweet New Style In the shadows no one watches Closely how we play, the rules Are never kept, and in the dark They cannot be read In the shadows there is freedom In being hidden, submerged Under the void of light Cast by feet on ancient shoulders. They form a totem for us, covering The chaos we weave, we speak Without a care for syntax, the echo Delights us and we laugh in the dark. I do not care much for these games, Little work is done, and I miss the sun And the attention others used to pay to us, We play, but only for ourselves. One day the totem will collapse, when We fail to tend to it, thinking Games have always been played this way, Without rules, without winners and losers, When the feet up ahead lose their grip And feet fall off shoulders, the shadow Collapsing and shrinking, exposing
Homerâ€™s head, barely above the ground
LeeAnn Patrick Persephone Lost Like the eternal mother I have been robbed! Not you my daughter but your soft child-light gone missing. And as I search my myth for answers, for direction the earth grows old and cracks beneath the weight of my grief. And how I misread the story! Preparing frantically, obsessively for the hand of Hades I blinded myself to the power of Aphrodite. Disguised in promiscuous white riding ashore on hormonal waves rising...falling...rising cresting, finally, above you she stopped atop the impending crash to contemplate the victory then, as one, the wave and she
swept you deep into the mystery drowning your innocence in an ocean of perfume and foamy white puffs of mousse.
Romy Shinn Piccollela Seashells and Salt Crush me into butter and salt. Ducks fly overhead as he runs his hands over my arms, holds me like a husband and smoothes my hair. Door hinges filter light, turn fluorescent into speckled turquoise cracked in the sun. The metal desk is burnt sapphires like his eyes that focus on me in the dark. and push me onto a fist that he slips between my legs and tells me that I look good enough to eat. Turn me into sky, sea, tide. I watch mallards float in the stream and wonder do they taste the same salt on their tongues?
Mid-Afternoon Bonfire We build a fire. Dry seeds husk themselves in the heat as a doe walks between stalks; cloven hooves fight dust and the shells of centipedes and grasshoppers. Predecessors to locusts? Or did they come after? I have written of deer before. They are common where I live. Tufted fur like caramel popcorn blows in the wind, copperheads coiled like strands of wet cotton. Smoke thickens above brush. I join him with two chairs, Cokes and a bag of chips. We sit and watch the flames. Snakes freeze into stone. Deer run, velvet leaping from spikes. Velvet does not leap, but I want it to. I am imagining this.
After Examining Bone Fishhooks and Cherry Seeds I order steak, medium-rare, a spinach salad with hot bacon dressing and a strawberry daiquiri with whipped cream. I want him to become meat soaked in balsamic, chest open as ritual Aztec, fat mashed to porcelain. Ask me why I am a heronâ€™s beak to frogs. I want to plaster him with mud, decorate him with belled garland, unearth him from dissolved sandstone and catalog his ashes with flint and mussel shells. I want to hold his shoulders to my plate and answer the question in his eyes with blood, ice, and strawberries.
Peter Res Downpour What was it about thunder? Ever-clung to the concept of brick stemmed a wild orchestration amid your fatherâ€™s feigned cries and the deep rain that would come to defy your trust a half-eaten pomegranate, asleep in the fridge, bleeding into a lost breath of air you forgot to seal. Glad for the possibilities for nourishment, the smooth elixir of spring, you mourn the storms before they pass, like the swift swell of barbecues and the slow death of mosquitoes a pungent dance onto our shoulder, before you bothered to notice, no one ever told you, melting on the porch, sounding-out the vowels of softened states, you discovered theory in your motherâ€™s chrysanthemum, roots of imitation porcelain and the true beauty of new jersey. Bodies become gardens we were named for that when the rain returns the blistered halves of trust will have become sweet.
Green Bathed in kale the leafy shoulders vessel you beseeched in your motherâ€™s old stainless, turning hue as a tinted forest. You drew first on restless sheets of blaring paper from your fatherâ€™s printer before the Market Economy had meaning, and marker dyes left their scent. Like a window steeping folds of earth indoors after rain. When the eyes of the clouds spewed from the pot did you return? Or forget, in the moment I strained you-out with the rest of the trees grinning, disastrously, through the meal like a young Pan in trance.
Felino Soriano Painters’ Exhalations 6 —after Edvard Munch’s Jealousy Tonight, what matters is the distance steps cannot recuperate in genuine effort. Voices by the thrown handful, evaporated transgressions. Your face gone of the flower I found scented across my caressing palms. I’ve dissected the tome of us, the written splendor now buried beneath the wanted parting of your name from its tattooed throne atop my once panting tongue. He’s the anvil. May your newness crumble from the steps I’ve created in burgeoned elsewhere; fall from your beauty, may he find another as your body evaporates into a forgotten garden, wilted. My face, hoping it visits what frightens fear, resting ablaze across your wandering eyes.
Painters’ Exhalations 7 —after Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn’s The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp
Study the dedication to stillness. Being breathless conjures crowds, the curious. Lie there, you the dead, the prior walking among planted secrets (did they drift from your tongue, phantoms of deceit?), they, the proliferation of studious dispositions, watching and documenting among intertwining minds. With pontificating wings, the lesson of anatomy, physiological causation, philosophy of incision meets with scientific accuracy. Feet from the partial covered skeleton, eyes with glare and purpose persuade a silence to be paused, a voice’s shadow lies down with the graduated dead, lifted from the surface of intellect, branding the alive with bare realization and copacetic teachings, unaware.
Painters’ Exhalations 8 —after Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s The Dance at Moulin Rouge
Garbed impression of fluidity, dance of man engaging eyes’ reticent appearance. She, centered vision of complete flight, of escalated joy. He meets her with concrete facial features, taken by the exhaling sounds of music’s layered expressions. The watching engaged in silent conversations, positioned to escape into this night’s grand celebration. Outside, a city of mentors guides the walking tracing sidewalks’ several leavings. As night crawls into its dedicated meaning, the dancing fade into the walls draped in memory, permanent etches of music’s skin tacked against its rising breaths.
Peter Schwartz the conservationist I've shed layers of worldly curtains until I barely wasI've crawled from post to post for mouthfuls of anything to grasp the price of my conservation.
Linda Ann Strang
Gwen John’s Vision Having stared for too long at the impressionists, she leaves the art museum of her bedroom with impressions of her own: Rodin’s handkerchief in her hand, compressed. Two gossiping women wobble inside a crochet of shadow. A boy like a blur on two blight stars, waves goodbye. Paris is a cradle of water lilies – choking, and reflected on a world of deep water. Monet paints and floats yellow stars of saffron from one retina to another, from one retinue to another. From one pedigreed filly filigree to another, trees and riders threaten to resolve into Seurat’s petite pulse points together. Naiad of the midnight bruise, she rubs her compound eyes but the boy on the bicycle still wears teasels of light everywhere for combing her spirit through.
Identity Dissolution on Closing Night I was raised in a paper lantern. The flame flickered in and out of my navel. If I used you would you think I meant me? If I used you would you think I meant everyone? Is your leg as long as the leg of a spotlight? But when you shot a bolt through my golden wing everyone lifted the lock from my face. You applauded from the gods when I flew through the air. Everyoneâ€™s lip has a shape like a curtsey. Everyone corpses when it comes to the punch line. When the curtains drop you will lose half your soul. The firebird is broadcast in reverse through my bodice: the trail of fire at once double breasted; the trail of fire
double breasted no more. Everyone’s heart has a flint and a spark Everyone splinters and the theatre is dark. Becoming Scottish I didn’t know that the skeletons in my closest wore tartan. They began with Mac. My mother saying slyly, They think they come from Scotland though they’ve been here for years and years, had little effect. I was a princess under the table; my concern was a handful of broad beans in a dented soup ladle. Being her own Tower of Babel in the kitchen, Mother was chiefly of French and of Dutch descent, with, perhaps, a spicy Malaysian smack. She held a handful of cloves and bloodlines that were none too easy to track. By the time I strode out pouting from under the table Mel Gibson had taken on a brotherly cast. Robert Burns was read: I needed beating out, and the heather in my heart was heard to cough. Then the lassie in me came out of the cupboard; at the culture auction she was ready to bark.
But official languages create quite a clamor so there she was defeated under the hammer. Now, ultimately, consider my birthright bright a mess of curry, crowdie and custard. I crucify the Bear on the Southern Cross, change my heart to pomander and sniff at my loss.
James Wilk Bereft Rocky mouses his muzzle through the crack of the front door, his leash taut, bound for the street. Our breathsâ€™ vapor, testament that he and I still live, dissipates into fog as we shuffle suburban streets, past the unheeded four-way stops, past the driving-range, abandoned. A golf ball sulks in the gutter, an orphan or widower, or perhaps a scapegoat driven and banished from the others who nestle warm in the club-house, in a bucket like raspberries or amber cherries. They too will be driven into the gutter and washed by the melting snow into the sewer. We reach University Boulevard. Asphalt crumbles. Painted lines, faded and covered by gravel, only suggestions, not stone-tablets from Sinai. A flattened raccoon-carcass sprawls, slack, bones crushed to gravel by tires, more a half-unrolled strip of sod fallen from a truck than something no longer breathing. Rocky pulls me onto the bike path, down
past the gnarled cottonwoods, stripped bare for winter, flanking the lifeless creek bed, branches bent upward and outward like fingers, wavering like the upraised and tremulous arms of a dozen emaciated Jews, rounded up at daybreak in those flickering newsreels they showed in school. I stumble past the empty soccer fields, browned and strewn with muddy snow, then past the squat, non-cathedral of the post office onto my street again. Ungaraged cars, shrouded with frost, hunch pale at the curb, metallic corpses. Fine gravel, snowâ€™s jetsam, crunches under foot and paw toward home.
Why one prospective employer, upon divining our horoscope, refused to hire us
Conceived together of a nation’s grief— Compacted in blood, says Solomon, of man’s seed, and the pleasure of sleep— coming into life as President Kennedy left his, we were to be children of sorrow, the stars aligned malignantly at our births: Apollo fleeing the lion, Artemis parting the fish, each longing for eclipse, to be womb-tight once more. That’s why, he said, we’d be unreliable workers.
Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director and worked as an art dealer when he couldn't earn a living in the theater. He has also been a tennis pro, a ditch digger and a salvage diver. His chapbook 'Remembrance' was published by Origami Condom Press and 'The Conquest of Somalia' was published by Cervena Barva Press. A collection of his poetry 'Days of Destruction' has been published in 2009 by Skive Press. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway and toured colleges and outdoor performance venues. He currently lives in New York City , where he's busy writing. His poetry and short stories have appeared in numerous literary magazines. Greg Billingham is a recent graduate of the University of New Hampshire with a BA in English. He is currently living, working, and writing in New Hampshire. Previous or forthcoming publishing credits include White Whale Review, Tonopah Review, Emprise Review, Sierra Nevada Review, and Flutter. David Bradsher lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. Eric Burke lives in Columbus, Ohio. More of his work can be found in elimae, Right Hand Pointing, Alba, Spillway Review, JMWW, Word Riot, Tipton Poetry Journal, Roadrunner, Otoliths, Haibun Today, and nibble.
Lisa Ciccarello is in Portland, OR, slowly making tiny things. Chris Deal writes from Huntersville, North Carolina. He is a fiction editor for Red Fez. Michael G. Donkin is like a pregnant woman, only that the thing inside him is not a baby, but a youth. No, it isn't a youth, it is a woman, young, and wearing a coat of mail like a knight (from the great Sherwood Anderson). His work is in such places as elimae and 6S, and upcoming in decomP and Boston Literary Magazine. Lauren Eggert-Crowe is a graduate of the University of Arizona and a Bay Area transplant. She has been published in Puerto Del Sol, So to Speak, Water-Stone Review, and Alligator Juniper. Aside from writing poetry, she also writes a 'zine called Galatea's Pants www.galateaspants.com. Chris Elder lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he works for the NC Department of Agriculture. His years of reading and observing man and nature have recently ripened into a love for expression through poetry. Christina Farella's mother is a fish. She is extremely interested in squalor. She has upcoming work in Mud Luscious.
John Floyd is 18 and lives outside Chicago. His interests include hermit crabs. This is his first publication. Amylia Grace is a writer and teacher living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She works as Executive Director of The Diabetes Ray of Hope Foundation and writes for Diabetes Daily. She's currently completing her M.F.A. in Creative Writing at National University. Follow her blogs at diabetesdaily.com/grace and amyliawrites.com. Fenton Grant writes. Most recently, his work has appeared in Outsider Writers Collective, Zygote in My Coffee, and Ophelia Street Magazine. Fenton Grant can be found on twitter and facebook. Erik Knutsen is a writer who does not enjoy writing about himself in the third person, so he didn't he dictated. In this sense, he is trying to be the new Milton. His life seems to constantly be sucked back to Vancouver, BC. Yonatan Maisel is a psychologist and writer. His latest work of fiction, "Life After Death in The Bronx" appears in the current issue of Review Americana. His latest work of poetry, "Self-Esteem by-Proxy: on How Your Downfall Quells my Angst" is scheduled to appear in the next issue of The Literary Review: an International Journal of Contemporary Writing. He has just been notified of his first Pushcart Nomination.
Carla Martin-Wood’s newest chapbook, Garden of Regret, is available from Pudding House Publications, and another chapbook, Redheaded Stepchild, is forthcoming from Pudding House. She will have poems included in two anthologies, Love Poems and other Messages for Bruce Springsteen and Casting the Nines, both due for release in September. A recent Pushcart Prize nominee, she has been widely published in print and online in the US and Ireland, including Elk River Review, Rosebud, The Foliate Oak, The Lyric, Oak Bend Review, and other journals. She is Chief Copywriter of a large ad agency and serves as an in-house reader for Soundzine. Darcy McMurtery is a librarian in Washington state. She has the power to answer life's important questions including "where is the bathroom?" and "can I borrow your stapler?" When she is not slinging information she is hiding from the chaos caused by her two children and rowdy chocolate lab. These are the first published pieces she has dared to sign with her real name. Ben Nardolilli a twenty three year old writer currently living in New York City. My work has appeared in Houston Literary Review, Perigee Magazine, Canopic Jar, and Lachryma: Modern Songs of Lament, Baker’s Dozen, Thieves Jargon, Farmhouse Magazine, Elimae, Poems Niederngasse, The Delmarva Review, Underground Voices Magazine, Heroin Love Songs, Shakespeare’s Monkey Revue, Literary Fever, and Perspectives Magazine. In
addition I was the poetry editor for West 10th Magazine at NYU and maintain a blog at mirrorsponge.blogspot.com. LeeAnn Patrick is the mother of five and the teacher of many. She has an AA in English, an AA in Psychology, an AAS in Biotechnology, a BA in English from Salem College (the oldest school for women in the United States) and is currently working on my MFA in Creative Writing. She teaches 9th and 10th grade English at Mount Airy High School. Romy Shinn Piccolella lives in rural Pennsylvania, loves to go spotlighting and is currently obsessed with attending mineral and fossil shows. She has published poems in Pennsylvania English, The Fourth River, Miller's Pond, The Cherry Blossom Review, The Externalist and Earth's Daughters, among others. Her chapbook, Tether, was published by Pudding House. She received an MFA in poetry from Goddard College. Peter G Res is an MFA student in Poetry at New England College. He is a self-proclaimed anti-academic with an unwavering fondness for his dog. He currently resides in his beautiful home state of New Jersey, where he works as a writer. His poetry is forthcoming in CounterExample Poetics and Abjective. He is 23. Peter Schwartz has more styles than a Natal Midlands Dwarf Chameleon. His work's been featured on such sites as Arsenic Lobster, Diagram, Opium Magazine; and in such journals as The Silt Reader and the Asheville Poetry
Review. His third chapbook 'ghost diet' will be published by Altered Crow Press in late 2009. See the extent of his shenanigans at: www.sitrahahra.com. Felino Soriano (California) is a case manager working with developmentally and physically disabled adults. He is the editor of the online journal, Counterexample Poetics, www.counterexamplepoetics.com, which focuses on International interpretations of experimental, philosophical, post-postmodern, and avant-garde poetry, art, and photography. He is the author of fivechapbooks and ebooks, including Among the Interrogated (BlazeVOX books], 2008) Feeling Through Mirages (Shadow Archer Press, 2008) and Calling Toward Clarity (Chippens Press, 2009), and also has a mini-chapbook forthcoming from Wheelhouse Magazine. The internal collocation of philosophical studies with classic and avant-garde jazz explains his poetic stimulation. Website: www.felinosoriano.com Linda Ann Strang lives in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where she works as a writing consultant at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. Her poems and stories have been published internationally. James Wilk was born and raised in Colorado. He received a B.A in Chemistry and in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology from the University of Colorado in Boulder. He then received an M.D. degree from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver and currently works in private practice at Rose Medical Center
in Denver, specializing in internal medicine and medical disorders complicating pregnancy. In addition, he is active in teaching medical students and holds an appointment as Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at his alma mater. Dr. Wilk serves as a moderator for The Critical Poet online poetry workshop and his poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Aurorean, The Blue Unicorn, Main Channel Voices, The Barefoot Muse, Measure, The Lyric, The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, The Pharos, Contemporary Sonnet and elsewhere. In 2007, one of his poems was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Gabriella Yokoyama's work has been published in various journals, most recently in Inscribed.