Sunday, June 26, 2022

Chyron quotidienne (Package Store Parking Lot), by James Sanders

 






James Sanders is a member of the Atlanta Poets Group, a writing and performing collective. He was included in the 2016 BAX: Best American Experimental Writing/ anthology. His most recent book, Self-Portrait in Plants, was published in 2015. The University of New Orleans Press also recently published the group’s An Atlanta Poets Group Anthology: The Lattice Inside.

Friday, June 24, 2022

labyrinth (a triolet), by Greg Hill

 




labyrinth (a triolet) is in the triolet form, with the additional constraint that each line is exactly the same number of characters, including the acknowledgement line "[after Luke Bradford]" and the dedication line at the bottom "[for Anthony Etherin]". Printed in a monotype, or fixed width, font like Courier New, each line is visually of equal length as well.


 

Greg Hill is an experimental poet and adjunct professor of English in West Hartford, Connecticut. He has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and his work has appeared in Pioneertown, Past Ten, Poetry Breakfast, and appears in the Penteract Press anthology The Book of Penteract (2022). In the free time afforded to a father of three young children, he composes music for piano using cryptographic constraints. Twitter: @PrimeArepo. Website: https://www.gregjhill.com.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Two from "War Diary," by Susan M. Schultz

 


What the Hoarders Left Behind

29 April 2022

Old joy stick, wreathed in webs. Two pink elephants, laughing in theirs. Premium oil, Value Power car battery. Old rubber ball, once red, now flecked, beside the yellow tool. Old string of white Christmas lights on the chain link fence. On the porch, a crumpled up American flag to go with a sticker on the moldy truck window. Stacks of flat cardboard, boxes of old spray cans, cleaners, squirt bottles. No one’s been here for weeks. This is not quite narrative, not quite not narrative. Diary of objects, the dirty carport its frame. Hard to decide which to take, which to leave. 

She puts a photograph of herself and her mother in her war diary. They are ordinary, but so is the war. I can’t write a proper one, as I don’t look at TikTok, or read the articles about rape as a military strategy. After you listen to a trauma story, you double up, breathe in, fold back into seated position. Later, you drive down Haunani, where an old woman trudges, looking lost, carrying her Target bag. You don’t stop to ask if she needs a ride. Your ticket got punched this morning.

She was her father’s “experiment,” left in a room alone to see how she reacted. My friend says there was no kindness in her house growing up. She found kindness in her 50s. Avoidance of story was my self-care.

So many of the abandoned objects have to do with cleaning, lubing, fixing, making stuff work. Yellow oil bottles sit like trophies on the carport frame. The only vehicle is pinned in place by junk, by mold, by disuse. I love the old trucks whose beds have ginger growing in them.

Mass graves left by the hoarders of war. Loss is accumulation. We have more than you, so we lose. You have more than we do, so you lose. The man down the street screamed obscenities when he played video games. His dead joy stick half smashed in the carport. Easier to name the joy stick than the flowers across the road, purple prods melting in the rain.

 


Heidegger as a Cure for Anxiety

2 May 2022

“Anxiety could be experienced as a kind of calm by holding yourself out, into that experience”: moments when you’re past worry, adrenaline-surfing, full of everything you can’t name except it moves quickly, curling like a leaf around itself on asphalt, mottled brown and darker brown, and I wondered why friends thought about colors in poetry, as it was the thoughts that seemed most to count, and count they did, by 25s or 100s, in math that was not yet critical race theory, or anything except raw numbers. The four on a telephone pole sits upside down, making the shape of an “I” with a handle, as if we could hold our first person up to our lips and drink. If we take “calm” to mean stillness, not a steady being in yourself, then calm it is. Renovate your words and they will mean what you need them to mean.

Dissolving vignettes, each a single take, holding itself out until stopping in mid-air, which is mid-time, which is the space of an absent narrative, or at least of one that cannot find its ending. What we think is true—a woman captured by a psychopath in a metal container—ends. When next we see her, she’s ironing. The psychopath wants her to show her “true face,” not the one she assumes. The torturer always looks for truth, because the means justify whatever ends. Body, story, the tweets of Russian torture victims you can’t see because they’re “disturbing." Scroll past to see the latest trades, the low batting averages, the poetry gossip. That tweet is a trap-door, but you leap over it the way your dog does a puddle when a car comes. The water breaks into shadow pieces; her tongue sticks out, offering a hint of color in the drab overcast light.

Those still trapped in Mariupol’s steel factory have moved past anxiety, because where they exist is true. Anxiety assumes, but when it’s proven, it dissolves into an after-calm, horrifying and yet certain. This is not how you imagine relieving your anxiety; mostly, you think of yourself lying comfortably on a beach, once again able to breathe in, out. But the steel mill is the labyrinth that promises to hide you long enough to become accustomed. To hunger, to terror, to fingers that push on walls, but cannot feel them. Hongly described his body as it starved, his arms eating themselves. New Yorkers, we read, are now terrified.

We haven’t lost our sense of proportion, though that is our ambition. It’s our stage, where the player in a slump gets sent to Mariupol and the soldier in the tank gets to attend his own bobble head day at the park. Four men in a tank dream of meadows full of flowers. The tank dreams of its origins apart from war. And the war dreams it’s trapped inside a music room without a key. I’ll turn the house inside out to look for it. In the meantime, lock it all out as she did the mean lover who shot faces on the subway. Piles of books lie on the curb, each bearing the title, ETHICS.

 

Note: quote by Simon Critchley, in “A Philosopher Laughs at Death...” by Mark Dery. The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 28, 2022. Thanks to Jon Morse, who sent me the link. Some details come from Code Unknown, a film by Michael Haneke.

 



Susan M. Schultz is author of several books of poetic prose, mostly recently I Want to Write an Honest Sentence from Talisman. Forthcoming from that press is Meditations. She founded Tinfish Press in 1995 and was editor until 2019. Susan is a lifelong fan of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team for whom she cheers from her home in Hawai`i.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Three Poems, by Douglas Piccinnini






Douglas Piccinnini is the author of Blood Oboe (Omnidawn, 2015) and Story Book: a novella (The Cultural Society, 2015) and the recent chapbooks, The Grave Itself (Ethel, 2021) and A Western Sky (Greying Ghost, 2022). Recent writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Afternoon Visitor, Blazing Stadium, Denver Quarterly, Colorado Review, Dreginald, Fence, Hot Pink, Lana Turner, Michigan Quarterly Review, NOMATERIALISM, Opt West, Prelude, and Volt.


Sunday, May 29, 2022

Three Poems, by Mark Goodwin


Place

whether it be bud
or just 

twig tip at

the cent
re of a 

spin

ning weather or

some ape’s
glance or 

rub of finger

tip against
now or 

if it is a

flung purse or
bag or pock 

et of 

land wet
with 

time

i
t 

i
s


 

poetry is 

not as ‘A’
stands 

in relation

to ‘B’ nor
as ‘tree’ 

stands
for (or 

in

for) some
root 

ed bran
ched wood 

en plan    t but

poetry is
an e 

vent felt

as a
shape a 

throat rotates

into a vor
tex of a 

word

‘ ear ’


 

stepped

over a stone
placed between 

Said’s interior lamplight &
Unsaid’s far out en 

mesh 

ments of d

ark

 

 

 

 

Mark Goodwin speaks & writes in various ways. He has a number of books & chapbooks with various English poetry houses, including Leafe Press, Longbarrow Press, & Shearsman Books. His latest chapbook – a compressed mountain travelogue called Erodes On Air – was recently published in North America by Middle Creek. His next full-length collection ­– At – is forthcoming from Shearsman.  Mark lives with his partner on a narrowboat just north of Leicester, in the English Midlands. He tweets poems from @kramawoodgin, and some of his sound-enhanced poetry is here: https://markgoodwin-poet-sound-artist.bandcamp.com 
 

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Three Poems, by Jason Heroux

 

 

After Padgett

I saw a darkened cloud of something.
I stood under it.
It did what it had to do,
and rained.
This is where things get interesting:
when the rain fell to the earth
the rain wet my clothes,
and I was cold.
This is where things get interesting:
I was cold.

  

Assembly

At the assembly when they asked
If anyone had questions 

I was the first to raise a hand.
“Why aren’t there any numbers
in the alphabet?” 

No one had a clue.

They said they’d get
back to me with an answer but
they haven’t yet and never will. 

They never do.

 

A Death

A death
is a guest 

who stays
forever 

then out
of nowhere

suddenly

packs
its bags 

and stays

forever.

 

 

 

Jason Heroux is the author of four books of poetry: Memoirs of an Alias (2004); Emergency Hallelujah (2008); Natural Capital (2012) and Hard Work Cheering Up Sad Machines (2016). His most recent book is the novel Amusement Park of Constant Sorrow (Mansfield Press, 2018). He is the current Poet Laureate for the City of Kingston.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Two Poems, by Kim Fahner

 

 

Tiny things

Like fruit flies in beakers,
and broken hearts, and mushrooms
that spring up where you least
expect them on wooded hikes,
and the absence of a voice
that was once beloved.

 

In Your Bones

Water that is cold, but without ice,
and a shiver that passes from
head to toe: a manual return on
an antique typewriter, with a bell
that rings, or a door slam
that sets a gust rushing
through the house.

 

 

 

Kim Fahner lives and writes in Sudbury, Ontario. Her latest book of poems is These Wings (Pedlar Press, 2019) and her new book, Emptying the Ocean, is being published by Frontenac House in Fall 2022. Kim is a member of the League of Canadian Poets, the Ontario Representative of The Writers' Union of Canada (2020-24), and also a supporting member of The Playwrights Guild of Canada. She is currently working on a manuscript of bee poems, as well as a new novel, tentatively titled The Painted Birds. She may be reached via her author website at www.kimfahner.com

Chyron quotidienne (Package Store Parking Lot), by James Sanders

  James Sanders is a member of the Atlanta Poets Group, a writing and performing collective. He was included in the 2016 BAX: Best American...