Bahaar Ahsan


condolence theatre

the ritual carries with it a sense of grandeur, extravagance even
more sincere than spectacle and yet presenting a reality heightened enough to pose a disruption
to the city’s usual order

a man in a gold helmet with two large green feathers on the top mounts a large white horse
it must be a man and he must wear a green feather
the other details are inconsequential

in a different city square in a different time and a different land my sister hands me a candle at
the vigil
and a different kind of spectator watches a different kind of performance with less grandeur but a
similar sincerity

scale is a question not easily grappled with
40,000 in Khoramshahr in one day alone, 23 of us in this country last year
it was not the imam but the coroner who declared a universality of death
an abstraction of one body into another into another

witnessing the reenactment places both the citydwellers
and the band of sisters in communion with their mythical subconscious
to reenact is to make sacred a space otherwise pedestrian, impersonal
a body gone is a body remythologized

it is permissible to use a camel in place of a horse or a silver helmet in place of a gold one
but it must be a man and he must wear a green feather

 
 
**
 
 

exercises in diasporic simulacra

all of my relationships are mediated by commodity
i only feel sad about it sometimes

to trace a genealogy of sisterhood would be as unfruitful as it would be exhausting
an email from my mother with the subject line Salaam reads
Are you coming home next weekend?
By the way, have you heard this song about Spring. It was very popular soon after the
revolution: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OC6lP09Xx4

golden prunes are a good substitute if you can’t find the real ones

i call khaled and ask if i can spend the night
we both decorate our rooms with suboptical reminders of our own mortality

i place the glass tea set and kettle in my kitchen to remind myself that home is not only tangible
and tactile but also collectible
a carpet once told me that i am only here because somebody else isn’t

 
 
**
 
BAHAAR AHSAN is a writer, student, performer, and community member based in the Bay Area, with roots in the South of Iran. She studies Persian Literature and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Grappling with ideas of history, embodiment, migration, and mourning, Bahaar’s work aims to interrogate ontologies which separate the ideological from the somatic, the aural from the visual, rage from softness, homeland from host-land, past from present from future. Her writing was published in the anthology Tender (Foglifter Press, 2018).

AM Ringwalt

**

 

AM RINGWALT is a writer and musician. Called “unsettling” by NPR, her words have appeared in OCCULUM, Hobart and Vinyl, and vocalized at the Watermill Center and the New Yorker Festival. Like Cleopatra, her debut poetry chapbook, was published by dancing girl press.

Janelle Effiwatt


Guy In Your MFA

i’m stuck
in the beforehand

like i
said. ambitious

market grilling us
real community-like.

shit be cut pie. be
bald white boys lyin out

the teeth cause based on
the way the trees sit up

against this entire blackass
face I mean. the clock
gets hype when we fuck off.

you deadass wrapped up. I’d
like to make your eyes

gawk for real. pull those
lips up pinocchio-style.

we’ll all slip on
in with you tall

boy, all the shit that
comes in behind you.

 
 
**
 
 

rain poem

believe in hiding
currency. how you keep
a thing you can’t

touch ? people in the desert don’t exist

without water

so I tenant here— play
pretend. you ask
to rub my titties again so

I might be the book you like. I had you
pinned up so ugly the roof

of my mouth buzzed— made folks
get up and leave. this is another rain

poem. it would be crazy not to

boogie while we’re
here and leave after.



 
 
**

JANELLE EFFIWATT is from Tucson, Arizona. She is an MFA candidate in poetry at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work has appeared in The Volta.

Catherine Vidler


 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
**

CATHERINE VIDLER‘s recent publications include lost sonnets (Spacecraft Press, 2018), table sets (no press, 2017), lake labyl and table set poems (Penteract Press, 2017), table set poems (Spacecraft Press, 2017), lake labyl and chaingrass errata slips (SOd Press, 2017), and chaingrass (zimZalla Object 039, 2016). A book of the original series of 155 lost sonnets is forthcoming from Timglaset.

Adam Greenberg


from Fortune 1989

 
 
 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 


Author’s Note: Each poem has been assembled using only language from the names of companies found in the Fourtune 500 list from 1989.

 
 

**

ADAM GREENBERG‘s poems and translations have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Chicago Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Columbia Poetry Review, Berkeley Poetry Review, and Asymptote, among others. He holds an MFA in poetry from Brown University and currently teaches writing at American University.

Alyssa Moore

**

ALYSSA MOORE is a writer and visual artist from Austin, Texas. She has received degrees and fellowships from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Harvard University. Her work has appeared or forthcoming in Boston Review, Hyperallergic, The Harvard Advocate, and The Bennington Review.

Patricia Hartland

 

**

TRISH HARTLAND is learning about poems in Notre Dame’s MFA and enjoys translating works that insinuate themselves into bendable tongue-borders. Recent samplings can be found on the Internet and elsewhere.

Tracy May Fuad


Terms of Syllogism

I was sure that being in between meant being nowhere
I was sure, too, of scissors that could cut me off the grid

I hoped there was a key, but sure the void was serious,
virulent and spreading. I was sure alone, mostly.

Surely I was right on some accounts, a logic that left me
pounding. Was intimacy, by nature, grotesque?

Those intimate with me were divided. Where was I,
young and with my mother, running in the drenching rain?

Sometimes it is that which is most anonymous and cinematic
which is preserved, pressed between two panes and sealed.

The ambulance carrying my father at three in the morning struck
and killed a black bear. The beast wore death’s fur in my father’s place,

had to be hauled off the ribbon of road before the vehicle
could pass. I know there is a door in the exact shape of my body.

That when I go through it, I will know by how perfectly it licks the rim
of my perimeter. I am certain. On the phone, my mother told me,

island. That is where I’ll go when I am gone. Be certain,
I told myself, to be ready for the door when it opens.
 
 
**
 
 
Poem with Inflammation

And who am I to have such bold intentions?

I peeled myself off for the ship slitting the ocean to you

The sea’s big mouth yawning wide for me

We wept to keep it full

I keep making a door of myself and people come right through

A crowd erupting behind another door or was it jeering?

A thin line: I recognized that summer’s screaming as belonging to a crime scene

To embroider the pelt, it must be pierced at point blank range

There are rooms lit from the inside with no one in them and I have been one of these rooms

Again and again

A cousin coughing me out of my sleep all night

How pithy, my bald resentment of her body trying to heal itself

Of love’s repentant and evaporative act

The simulacra coo to my reducing scalp

So I live here now beneath a crown of pink synthetic flowers

For you: I scrape my face off the glass to wear my self today

I am so automatic

Scarf stitched to every crenulated thing I see with eyes

Encounters that sting as an acid bath must

She reached for the iron bare handed and exclaimed how could a woman ever set herself on fire?


 
 
**

TRACY MAY FUAD is a writer and artist living in Brooklyn and a recent graduate of the Rutgers-Newark MFA program.

William Lessard

Facebook – 9/4/17

peel back the “like” emoji
glam aluminum fingers
*glove of skin dropping to the floor*
wires turning Saturn around the wrist
red wires yellow wires green wires
i wonder which carry flirt likes and which jealous likes
wonder if Republican likes are the red wires and Democratic are the blue
wonder if they’re allowed to touch

Andy says Pop means we get to like things
FB says Like whatever
is how we become God=============
$likes collecting in cartoon stomach
$$likes smoking cigarettes
$$$likes bouncing on diamonds, on stars

*tfw you feel nothing at all*
likes tickle glitter at the back of the throat
sparkle tonsil
/FB “like” emoji invented 2,000 years ago by the Romans
sometimes i look for it in my poop even if i don’t see it i know it’s there
nobody just turns back into raindrops first they must be counted

 
**
 

Facebook – 9/8/17

like Amazon, i’m opening a second headquarters
————————>>five inches to the right of a cushion
i’ve named Diogenes

my safe place is a struck blade that forks me at the center

sometimes i order products dropped in a spare bedroom behind my eyes

place is not a place @place is where brand
confirms its ubiquity

someone asks how the blue expanse of these keys has turned me
i tell them they are talking to a fiction
to know me is to friend my simulation

why else do we come here except to grow new selves to carry back to the world
/infant ontology
/on-demand, quantified biology

^^^^Wal-Mart, aisle 36B oblation: at 2 a.m., tag photo of the ground that ripples
around you mark yourself “safe” in the slow disaster that is breath

body is place w/CONDEMNED sign hung across its door
life is knowing when the cloud is parked at your window life is you walk out
footfall to sky

 
**
 

Facebook – 9/28/17

are you still
at war
if he’s not
into you
that way$$$

>>Kleenex Extra-Soft Tissue with Lotion, 4 Cube Boxes (75 tissues per box)

—————————————————————————————————————————————

zombies aren’t living
their best life

>>Home Improvement: The 20th Anniversary Complete Collection – 28-DVD set

——————————————————————————————————————————————-

tonight i unscrew my head to release a hatching bird

>>Orange Circle Studio Do-It- All Planner, Aug. 2017 – Dec. 2018, Secret Garden

—————————————————————————————————————————————

modern grounds for witch-burning: a woman with more vibrators than shoes

>>MOCOFO Set of 2 Foldable Storage Baskets Needs Containers Organizer With
Cotton Closet Removable Dividers

 
**
 

Facebook – 10/4/17

adulting under dirty glass
tubed room, translucent walls

sometimes we imagine the wrenches turning gone within us /dream a torqued solution
that sockets
the philosopher’s gauge

| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |

our pain a landscape with fluid frame

pinch a backlit border pretend history at the pixel level

==========>our subject: the glare of yellowed star
pre-Cambrian light collapsing into now

its gleam a luminal artifact, experienced as filtered modality
we pass
among friends

our metaphysics is interface
our history a lossy compression

 
 
**

WILLIAM LESSARD has writing that has appeared in McSweeney’s, Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic, Prelude, and Fanzine. His work has also been featured at MoMA PS1.

Emma Seely-Katz


Martyrdom

Everyone is funner than me
at the Bronx Museum of Art
whoever’s controlling the lobby music is playing
Salt-N-Pepa
and I am feeling
horribly depressed
but I obviously have to dance
and wonder if it’s okay that all the elementary school kids
on a field trip
are listening to “Push It”
msw is rolling
and being all big brotherly
which I don’t appreciate as much as I should
I’m probably just bitter that he’s cuter than me
though today my hair is making me feel
extremely Jewish
and that feels kind of sexy

I hold his hand
and think about what it means
that half the men I’ve slept with see me as a little sister figure
and that the other half
I don’t talk to anymore.
msw says he won’t compliment me until I least expect it
I never expect it
And I am so loud
And I am so red-faced
And I am so quick to expect
my elementary school “genius”
to return to me in my sleep some night
so I will once again
be the right kind of annoying.
I walk through the Bronx with soaking wet socks
feeling mostly unloved
and sweaty

I recognized yesterday
my lips have become addicted to Aquaphor
I looked it up online
there are chat rooms dedicated
to chapstick addictions
there is probably hope for me.

msw’s friend says she learned all she needs to know about me today
I am a Pisces
and carry a full-sized bottle of Advil
on my person at all times.
Why can’t the boys I fuck
see me that simply?

On the train home with Ellie,
I am a little performative with my sad sex stories
for the benefit of the man
whose hand is above mine on the subway pole
I can feel him
subtly shudder with laughter
when I talk about the boy
who started telling me about his hatred of his dad
while his hard penis was in my hand
I feel generous
and hope the man texts his friends
about the annoying white girl
on the Downtown 4.

In the Lorimer station,
I hand a homeless man a wet dollar bill
I found in my pocket and tell him to
“have a nice day”
and feel like an enormous cunt
and still hope people who might have seen think I’m
Good, if annoying
I go home
to watch The Passion of Joan of Arc
and feel
very nineteen
 
 
**
 
 
I like dick I guess

In the library alone
I watch the first half of three different movies
feel grand and impotent
and think about eunuchs
I listen to the bolero music
playing in the hair salon next door
seeping through the bathroom wall
I google the song and play it back
loud, so they can know I know
what they hear in it.
I have a date in one hour and fifty four minutes exactly,
and my feet smell like seaweed
sweating on a rocky beach
on the first hot day of the year.

The woman I love
has not looked at me in months
I try to project myself into her brain
but find I can’t make it past
this one painful curl on her cheekbone.

I masturbate to a wall of spines
of books and laugh
when I see
I Love Dick
I write the lost woman
letters in bed
in my head
and recite them to my smelly feet
lying on the other end
of the leather couch.
The music is slow trumpet now,
I will always love her,
I will always let her
play me to sleep
 
 
**
 
 
Winter Wind

Last night we kept splashing
rum onto my yoga mat. I cannot
believe I sent a video
performing a monologue I did
in 9th grade acting class
to my high school crush.
I did not ask him how he was doing in school
but he answered anyway:
pretty fucking good

I fell in love with him the second week
of freshman year when he told me
I was going to hell
he looked so tender
if only he could have
come with me
I tried to figure out by squinting
at his hands in Facebook pictures
if he still wears a
purity ring.
I’m so voracious, it scares
men away

my therapist told me
as an experiment, I should try to dress
sexy at a party, since I always
complain about how men don’t approach me.
She asked me “What do you want?
You want them to come up to you like
Hi I saw your face from across the room
and you look so
intelligent, fallible but ultimately
well-intentioned, would you like
to start a book club with me?”

I asked L if there was any way
I could make a turtleneck sexy
My special old person insoles
had me bouncing down the sidewalk,
dragging L along by the arm and saying
SHABBAT SHALOM!
to the Chasidic Jews we passed
the looks I got made me thankful
that murder is nixed
in the Ten Commandments.

My earnestness
will be
my downfall,
I’m calling it right now.
 
 

**

EMMA SEELY-KATZ is a Pisces studying sculpture and philosophy at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Her first book of poetry, Yellowing, was published by Lost Alphabet Press in January 2018. Every word she writes is a love note to the women in her life.