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.
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.
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.
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
/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
/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
if he’s not
>>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
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
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.
Everyone is funner than me
at the Bronx Museum of Art
whoever’s controlling the lobby music is playing
and I am feeling
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
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
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
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
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
I’m so voracious, it scares
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
to the Chasidic Jews we passed
the looks I got made me thankful
that murder is nixed
in the Ten Commandments.
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.
NICO VASSILAKIS writes and draws language. Many of his results can be found online and on his website, Staring Poetics. Recent books include Alphabet Noir and In The Breast Pocket Of A Fine Overcast Day. He co-edited The Last Vispo Anthology (Fantagraphics Books, 2012). He lives in the Bronx with his wife.
To flail again, within the call, to face
behind the awl and laud no meeker
skirmish. I heard you glib-running
a glimmer through thread and asked whether
or not potholder making was still the fashion.
A red heron, a rescue boat– some trinkets
spitting blood into piss, paint
into dark and plot across the day, a marker
to the face– take the planets, break
a year, give a year a ship and call
the year a spade. Pedal is to
petal is to: the analogy I’m making,
if possible almost likened eternities
gets you going— driving away
crowds of loved ones in slow motion
reveals only the image of a power drill
making love to a rubber nipple, I’m sorry
I just meant to but couldn’t channel
the surfable dialectic and now
lo, the stiff breeze teases this
proprioceptive undercurrent like wrung
hunger guts: prepositionless, x-rayless,
having not spoken for days less equivalent
to breadcrumbs and still days to come—
often a hmm to oneself reviles, no?
Brackens the inhabitable isles of air
where migraines unlubricate inner tender
private drift, sends one humping
against murmur dregs til chafed. Pitter
til close is a way out of income and income
is on its way out, drought patterns
dispelling mythologies of ancient grasses
fit for un-chain salad options we might
skim decidedly against as against we might
parades, as against we might a vapid
field of swordplayers on a Wednesday—
it’s too much sometimes, all the shit
doggie-paddling won’t suffice to distance,
won’t calamine the rampant itching
you’d forbid me scratch an arm off to.
Grandparents love those many-birded clocks
great-horning owls into REM cycles,
a who into duvet laden breath realm,
ordering lesser hours into aquiverous chime…
If I could mean something nefarious
by a belt buckle in a bathtub, I’d rather
I couldn’t, you know? Tupperware
wearing down of anecdote, a millstone– blue
carrion elbowing into my, no–
goblet of what you’re having, I’ll– no,
choreographed conviction over dull
twinges of others’ ailings like a coffin were
descending, sails winding, moving, could you,
no, you really could– perform me, a marionette,
I’m asking, the lingering petunias
billowing in the drift of how-our- days-were?
Unblemished though in want of surface, bluely
I haywired a grave crop, caught a hangnail
mid-penance. Dropped it. Drilled further, railed
beneath the mound dumbly with a mouthharp
for a saw, and saw the mound unfurling.
Not feverish so much as fervent, the dirt
forbade me wed it back to sleep, whether
granular air commits to grandiose or feathered
gavel-banging, I nonetheless pitted it pat.
Look– we’ve all felt zero interest in zoos,
one need not exhume extraneous limbs
to articulate the headachey gloss of artifacts
oohed and ahhed over, moussed verbally
til flattened—take from a pressed coin a coiled
rattlesnake and out of it ragtime a thimble’s
worth of venom. That’s a vindictive ruse
I could incubate, inculcated as I am by
the surface of even lime, lithe in the rim
of what seems questionable—a quotient of drink
undowned ‘cross mahogany watermarks, unthink
-able in even xeroxed treaties for xenophobic
killjoys whose kink is kinkshaming. I’d tear
a jewel into the moon if it made me seem judicious.
How? Yardstick and yarn. It’s a young man’s game,
tensing index to icon and omitting the touch.
Indifference or resignation to disease
directs the ventilation of my speech, deifying
less distinct figures under indigo lit
and candied waiting tanks, a plastic dentist’s
chair, surgeons indistinguishable from
diptych renderings of cardinal benediction.
Idiocy, like the sun, dilutes the cornea
and the tomb, though dim light never did
a diligent man make. Sterile with light
like Iditarod dogs, I grow dizzy in distorted
air, disjointed with breeding. Diphtheria
should be of no disturbance, though I’d
deem the Adirondack trail devisor hallowed
who survives it, braiding daffodils into rope,
hammering obsidian into sundial– same
difference– whimpering inventions distract
the diagnosed poorly, make failed disciples.
SELF PORTRAIT AS GLITCHED SKY
The fruitless fields have bored you
with the medium of air, noon mode
through which there is no ratio
of argument to document. Materials
subject to vision, but the day’s at least maroon
as a toothache, a foot-hole catching
sunset where a hare sleeps harder
not knowing the mechanical yearnings affixed
to reaping. Don’t let me keep you
tying factory line knots with laces just
for show. A libretto of clouds part to reveal
the HTML of your desire but what did you expect?
A sooty Grecian icon?
Another bright breakfast option?
Sliver of sky like the fate
from an eight ball: It is decidedly so.
Either take the sterile scape to see flightless
birds emerging from your nest egg
or recall the barebreasted women milling mash
from trees. It was in a video. It was through
Visine, the caustic laughter of horses awaiting
hide-lessness for someone’s future
back pocket wallet. Beyond that,
wall-to- wall ether. There’s a dialogue
of vastness to further back-and- forth.
Sky re-configures. Says count the sequins
of the slow drop of a priceless watch.
Of the dewed apple falling.
Says watch the ants in vinegar dance
across the sill like a barrage of striking typos.
ELLEN BOYETTE is an MFA candidate at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she is an editorial assistant for The Iowa Review. Her work appears or is forthcoming at Leveler, poets.org, The Iowa Review blog, and Flag + Void.
As pleasurable as milk pouring out of the moan of a mouth
Sticking a knife into the center of an apple
A drop of blood falls down the side
The worm escapes
I drive until the fog covers my windshield
I keep driving after that
Seeps through the closed window
Creeps up the center of my neck like a snake
I keep going after that
I lay my socks down one by one outside of the shower as an offering
I bring the bird into the shower and let her sing
I cup the water in my hands and pour it over my head
It slides down my back like an oyster
SOPHIE JENNIS (b. 1996) is a curator and writer residing in the Hudson Valley. You can find more of her work at sophiejennis.com.
MICHAEL MCKEE GREEN‘s first book of poems, Fugue Figure (the Kent State University Press), was selected by Khaled Mattawa as the winner of the 2017 Stan and Tom Wick Prize. A recipient of awards and grants from the Academy of American Poets and The Cabin Literary Center, Green is a 2018 artist in residence at the Boise Public Library at Bown Crossing.
HAND MIT RINGEN
a quartet of blasted trees
slouch at the edge of the pond
and throw their jointed image in
one trunk warped by a burl
rope of root curled in a socket
an embolus crawling up a vessel
I have seen my death
the fingers dredge up silt
a body taken apart under the sea
assembles itself on the tidal machine
playing lazily among the squid beaks
a hand waves ballasted with a ring
flecks of alien gold glinting under the nail
SAME PIG, SHARPER EDGE
You might think me frigid
to hone this blade in the bristles
once I rooted in humus
among the rusts and smuts
rutted in a cluster of wood ear
in a crown of spores
in the glen I ran with a tusk
erupting from my jaw
I ran into a circle of graces
and held the tusk to my pig organ
this is a stickup a razorback
a dull scraping of hooves
a casing to hold the sausage in
I feed myself to the passel
the graces paint their cheeks
to defend against the angels of the lord
I murdered the dauphin for his oxblood raiment.
For his fabulous rubbery skin. I made myself
intouchable in his mammal jacket. Pearlescent stole.
Strike up the danse, flense, and pas de bourrée.
Carry on, everyone’s carrion, it’s the new couture.
The ballerina sloshes a glass of neutron yellow
you can drink like anything else if it’s cold. Santé.
Let the roast dauphin jaw an apple. Let us dine
in the reactor core, the artificial womb, the storm
drain. We float down the watershed in a plastic château
and skin dive the trireme in actual skin. Lift the scuttled
wine cup and look through the drunk god’s painted eyes
with the vision of a marble satyr staring at his helical penis.
Swan boats pole around the lawn by the light of a bad planet
while a water spirit chases his horses out of the fountain.
The ballerina dumps the dauphin in the imperial boudoir.
We sparkle in a royal dose among the creatures of the pool.
LE MARIAGE DU LOUP
Dream death is a dog nail
lodged in the skin overnight
red skein unraveling its bolero
a euthanized bison bleed
garnish where the bone should be
blood-shouldered horse at a dead
gallop spilling a warp of weeds
from a rip in the meadow’s hide
It was clear sun and prismatic drops
the house was going down like a ship
the horse was filling up with sand
it collected in the bucket’s crease
I was eating chopped dates
rolled in flour
the dog’s eye came open
it was utterly white
ZACK ANDERSON holds an MFA from the University of Notre Dame, where he worked for Action Books, and an MA from the University of Wyoming. He teaches English in Denver and writes for American Microreviews and Interviews.
There needs to be a different word
I don’t know why the song is on repeat. If we
gave it another shot the apartment would
have exploded. We could’ve been sued. In
the brink of it I felt like spending every day
watching grass curl, just by looking at it. By
January I wanted a new body. Our faucet is
I’m not getting what I want so you’re a bad
person. I didn’t want to go on a date but
thought you’d think I was a slut if I offered to
hang in my room again, even though I just
wanted to smoke and talk and listen to the
new Black Moth.
Our parents are both brown so we’ll get
along, right? It’s a question of how to enjoy
trash media and still be a good person. Teach
me how to be gay. I never want to go
clubbing again ever.
Faggot is a generous word because I can use
it to reclaim myself or be rude depending on
my needs. My mom wanted me to keep
getting diplomas, it didn’t matter what kind.
She’s trying to set me up with her neighbor’s
daughter. I just want to be friends, really. I
want to help her choose a hairstyle and give
dating advice. My mom doesn’t know we’ve
already agreed to fake-date.
You post a hot pic and it makes me jealous so
I post one too and now it looks like we’re
planning a threesome because we’re
monogamous after all, and it’s not that we
fear the other leaving for those liking our
posts the day after a fight, even though we
said we were good and had sex after.
The first time I heard a bomb it was actually
the sound barrier breaking. It was louder than
a bomb. If I say it one more time I become a
It takes more energy to hate than to ignore. I
still want to learn how to draw and decide no,
but also I don’t hate you and it’s ok that you
moved to LA. I would have been down but I
grew up there is all.
I know what you want me to say, but I’m just
saying there are plutocrats in brown countries
complaining about white people. Rich brown
people who won’t admit the context makes
them analogous to the white people they drag
on bad days. Maybe they do know.
Pretending not to be in love is turning out to
be hard. I preempted this by saying I was
busy and wanted nothing serious. I
preempted feeling anything on the ride home
when I tripped and pretended not to check if
Can’t tell if I want to adopt a cat because I
love cats or I’m just sad. Can’t tell if I’m sad
or if we ran out of milk and I wanted cereal.
I exclusively fall for the sons of immigrant
mothers they at some point fell in love with.
Mine taught me love and attachment were
kind of the same. Now when she calls it’s
always “What did you eat?” and “How is
your health?” Sometimes twice in a day.
Institutions are bad but one of them gave us a
room to basically trash for a month. I didn’t
come over because it was late and I had work
the next morning. I want to be in love but not
publicly, if that makes sense?
What’s the word for empathizing with your
mom so much that you start to cry at the
same things? I should learn how to end
something. It shouldn’t be your fault that I’m
not getting what I want, so please stop me
from being wistful. If you play No Doubt,
we’ll never leave.
There is something about distance that makes
Fontana feel like a neon fantasyland. It is a
holiday at an immigrant church and not the
second generation’s fault they perform
nostalgia. Christians from Beirut say they are
French because of archways in the mall they
built there. I am interested in Sufism as a
I get to your room with the wrong snacks but
it’s cool because I have the next Kardashians
episode and we are past pretending our
watching it is anthropological. Is anyone else
coming? I believe it when you say it’s not
that serious. After, you scroll through Tumblr
porn while I call home on your fire escape.
There needs to be another way of saying no
to hanging or “I don’t smoke.” You said it
would have been better if I actually wanted to
help. I told you about when having ideals felt
more like narcissism than helping people,
which actually involves giving something up.
RAMI KARIM is a writer and artist based in Brooklyn. Their work has appeared in Apogee, The Brooklyn Review, The Invisible Bear, and Peregrine, and their chapbook is Smile & Nod (Wendy’s Subway, 2018).