Liz Bowen


does your mother know you melt like this

spittle shower
acid humid

human pulped to preserves


ate the foot and tasted saltine

tasted a bed of bodega flowers

would you taste an ethical human
I mean

would you sample the foot

obtained ethically


watermelon cheek I slurp u up

duck head melon rind

a grandmother’s portion


“is there anything you would not taste”


is there any form

over which the tongue

does not make an ugly

sovereign costume




inching fertile and perpendicular
a caress cleaves gender into gender

a spasm marks a timesheet in topsoil
first year grad school advice: procreate now

or not until tenure 
but what if I
lay thirty eggs in a hole one by one

what if I just can’t put a lid on it

contrary to popular belief
newborn labor movements need not be slapped

upon emergence /
they are leatherleaf
they respire through a thousand surface cells

in the wet dark between a rock and a
slick mantle, human desire congeals

toward the reptilian face of repulsion
borne of the impulse to eat what is loved

by the fingers
does the provost want us
eaten with fingers or a tiny fork?

to love or to be compensated
bite the hand that feeds you table scraps


Have they deigned to look at you. Have they been startled by your appearance on an otherwise sunny day. Have you blended into the carpet at the function until a cat sniffs you out. Have you grown used to being known as either quiet or infernal. Has your one good lung opened up to the institutional air. Dense and recycled. Whistling like a kettle. Mucus monarch, back at the clinic, do you trail kleenex behind you. Walking in and walking in, can you not get an appointment with the person you saw before. Do you not bother to lower your voice when you say “valacyclovir” at the pharmacy. Does your lower lip geyser each December and May like clockwork. Do you gum your way through old rice and beans in the car. Does the leftover tofu curdle in your gut. Did you know it had probably turned when you ate it. Did you pay one-sixth of your income in taxes. Did you treat yourself to a teeth cleaning anyway! But, oh, has the off-duty cop kicked you out of the room you fell asleep in on campus again. Have you spit darts at him while slinking off into the newly landscaped dirt. Do you wake up choking on mandatory reporting. Has a full professor inched up your leg. Have you kept a secret asphalt hot. Have you sat next to a toad at the bar and laughed, and hoped he wouldn’t get hungry. Have they called your three months’ thinking “too easy.” Do you hold on to the tail end of your three-hour naps like holding on to the back of a moving truck. Have you woken up, or has the truck toppled over and spilled its gelatinous contents. Carmex. KY. Undercooked lesson plans. Kraft mac and cheese. The obscenities you swallow while passing the philosophers’ names etched into the library facade. Homer Herodotus who the fuck even Sophocles Plato probably pigs Aristotle Demosthenes I eat your legacy Cicero Virgil with my public school pedigree. From whence this truck. Who ordered all this. Does it spill over at the university loading dock. Does it spill up over the edges of the bed, oh, does it pile up on your chest, does it weigh so much, like a pillar of salt. Does it weigh so much like a descending sole, does it weigh so much like a clamping beak, does it weigh so much like a collective silence, does it weigh so much like the breaking of ground, does it weigh so much like dirt from a backhoe, does it weigh so much like the long scrolls of grass rolled out across campus, does it weigh so much like the new conference building where once was a bait shop and a strip club and a laundromat, does it weigh so much like a symposium, does it weigh so much like the Modern Language Association, does it weigh so much like famous feminists’ loyalties, does it weigh so much like all the shit you know and can’t say about the men in this room, does it weigh so much like a dossier of complaints that doesn’t weigh quite enough to get a man removed from the classroom, does it weigh so much like that.

Have you woken up. The contents suck back into the truck in a flash. This time, the driver is a teamster. The truck turns around at the picket line, refuses to deliver.



LIZ BOWEN is a poet and critic living in New York. She is the author of Sugarblood (Metatron 2017) and the chapbook Compassion Fountain (Hyacinth Girl Press 2019). Her recent writing can be found in The New Inquiry, American Poetry Review, Lit Hub, Boston Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, Dream Pop Press, glitterMOB, The Wanderer, and elsewhere. She is a Ph.D. candidate in English and comparative literature at Columbia University, and a poetry editor for Peach Mag.

Mike Lala

Microsoft Word - Lala - The Adroit Journal.docx
Microsoft Word - Lala - The Adroit Journal.docxMicrosoft Word - Lala - The Adroit Journal.docxMicrosoft Word - Lala - The Adroit Journal.docxMicrosoft Word - Lala - The Adroit Journal.docx


MIKE LALA is a poet, sound artist, and writer for the stage. His works include Exit Theater (Colorado Prize for Poetry, 2016), Twenty-Four Exits: A Closet Drama (Present Tense Pamphlets/the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 2016), In the Gun Cabinet (The Atlas Review Chapbook Series, 2016), Infinite Odyssey (Pioneer Works/Contemporary Temporary: Sound Works & Music, 2017), and the libretto for Oedipus in the District (OperaComp, the Juilliard School/National Sawdust, 2018). Poems have appeared in publications including BOMB, Boston Review, Fence, The Brooklyn Rail, Denver Quarterly, jubilat, the PEN Poetry Series, and VOLT, and he has presented his work across the United States and Canada, at the 92nd Street Y’s Unterberg Poetry Center (for Anne Carson’s Tenth Muse), The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City. Raised in the western United States and Tokyo, he lives in New York.

Kristen Steenbeeke

Dear First Name

Dear Friend, PLEASE
I am begging you send money
I am begging you send money knock doors
time is running out like water
Dear Friend, Dear %FIRSTNAME%,
Dear Dear Truly Yours For Good Dear Please
Please, the money, quickly I will match every
Enthusiasm you extend to the tune of
Money money money money
MONEY! Mercury inching up
the old thermometer while I dream
of your hot little hand. All I dream now
becomes something. I slept soundly
as Sarah drowned her baby boy in the river,
as my water braked and I’d been handed
a ten thousand year old baby by my mother DEAR
FRIEND your money will help
me get a deep tissue massage
so why don’t you rush $XX now, $XXX———
I’m in mortal pain. Friend. You would think
to leave me here, down in the pulls
of a spillway, tied with rocks, even
after all I’ve DONE? I’m counting on
all my fingers, [[FIRSTNAME]],
I know how many times
you’ve read this note.
Cacophonus Bossy Red Universe

Control Universe
tv is that empathy machine

we watch the cry and do the cry too
small clear beads rolling rolling

we pleasure the snails with a secret spray
for us they produce many slime
and the secretions scare away our ugly!

i enact my loneliness upon the world
i watch one hundred televisions

i rustle somethin’ up i rustle wrestle the true thing: scene

this outing isn’t the scene [i need]
this convo outs the scene [agreed]

INT or EXT—Somewhere betwixt?
either way it is day, the sun coats the faces

shot with a white many unlit candles
shot with mushrooms bulbousing very quick
shot with a row of dingy teeth
macro shot of grains of white sand
macro shot of exfoliating beads

i am glowing :)

some version of Ben says, “you should end your poem:
‘seasons go by like i’m binge watching’”
i am living someone else’s slimy life


KRISTEN STEENBEEKE recently graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she received the Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellowship and Alberta Metcalf Kelly Fellowship. She won Indiana Review’s 2017 Poetry Prize and has had or will have work in Pleiades, Sixth Finch, Gramma, Pinwheel, Tin House online, Bennington Review, Poetry Northwest, and others. She’s also a proofreader and illustrator.

Temp Editions 01: POND


Curated by Miriam Karraker
Web concept and construction by Theo Ellin Ballew

Annika Berry
Sophie Durbin
Mara Duvra
Jonathan Kaiser
Mary Lodu
Gunnar Tchida
Sheila Wagner

*site best interacted with on desktop



MIRIAM KARRAKER Miriam Karraker writes, performs, draws, and lives in Minneapolis. She is interested in legibility, embodied experience, long walks, and one particular heron.

THEO ELLEN BALLEW Theo Ellin Ballew has gone home to Los Angeles, CA; Baltimore, MD; Cincinnati, OH; Scottsdale, AZ; Tempe, AZ; Fresno, CA; Phoenix, AZ; Salt Lake City, UT; New Haven, CT; Cambridge, MA; Dallas, TX; Brooklyn, NY; Denver, CO; Mexico City, Mexico; and Providence, RI, in roughly that order. She writes short fictional lyric prose, some of which she programs to move, and directs ORAL, which publishes moving/digital literature from the US and Mexico in thorough translation.

TEMP EDITIONS are semifrequent, guest-curated micro-issues from Tagvverk. Each selected curator is given the opportunity to produce a collection of work from 3-6 other writers or artists, to be presented on the Tagvverk site. This presentation can take the form of a PDF chapbook,website,mixtape, email newsletter, or any other combination or experimental reinterpretation of a traditional ‘journal issue.’

Tagvverk is currently accepting project proposals for Temp Editions Issue Two (TE02). Please send proposals or inquiries to the editors at

Former contributors to Tagvverk are given special consideration in the selections process. More information here.

Valerie Hsiung

from The Letter Seven


I’d like to take you to my old home, the home I’ve never been to myself, for it’s very far and hidden.

I turn to look at you, I don’t turn my entire body, only the face, while my body stays facing where I

Why is the water warm? I squat, I press my ear to the rock, I let the wolves tickle me.



Listening to her body, she knew what was about to happen.

Listening to her body, she knew what was about to happen though she could not stop it.

Listening to her body, she knew exactly when she would die.



She’ll never forget the smell of dog’s cheek or of a dog’s paw-pad.

Once, while opening a trunk for extra blankets for guests, she thought she caught that very scent,
scent of dog’s cheek, scent of the paw pad.

Once, while falling asleep, too, she thought she found her at last.



For the afternoon we braid each other’s hair and lick charcoal stones until our tongues are scabby

Suddenly she remembers him, what he did to her, and she cannot look into her sister’s eyes anymore.



This is the world we live in. The moths colonize the bag of flour in a matter of weeks.

She looks at a man’s sweating face and thinks he may be a terrorist.

She writes a letter to her long lost family, explaining her absence but then going on a bit of a rant
about the future of this country.

She signs off,
I’m worried…
it may be the end of it all…
for all of us…

She continues to embroider, to keep the compass wrapped inside the pulpy flesh of her wrist, to
receive death threats if she continued to “ignite” the public, from her own government.

Her body turned up a few weeks later, scrubbed clean of evidence (by the world’s best).



She could see in the distance what appeared to be a woman gardening through a fence.

But they kept her hungry, thirsty, and confused, so she wasn’t sure if it all was a mirage in her head or
if—if there could be a good woman not too far from here just through the fence who wasn’t also in on



It is a sin
to misguide
a fool
or even one fully capable
to the falls, or to
any other peril.

It is
a sin.
To ruin a family.



Well, first it began with an illness and then it would end as such—

uncontrollable projectiles, but
nobody listened.

Your tears sank into the page of the book of losers.

You thought how odd that the one letter should separate loser from lover—it’s just because you could
feel the passion being pushed out of your skin.

One must be so careful how one chooses to spend their time, and with whom one chooses to spend it.
One must ask, Do I love this person less or more than when our love was fresh and unexplored, and



We picked food from the ground that we harvested and cared for all year.

It was an experiment to see if we could survive without having to travel and move every other day.

Nature was kind to us, in her bounty, resilience, regeneration (powers I liken to a God or some blood-
work), intelligence, acceptance of death and adversity, and the life force that makes a plant dance and

In the end, we found ourselves with extra time to cultivate not just food but other than food.

In fact, food would cease to be the focal point of our labor, although it would never cease to be the
focal point of our livelihood, because how ever could it, how could it ever?



Perhaps it was then she began to not fully recognize herself. But she was merely a child. It was society
which labeled her a beast, a monster, a specimen.

So, it would be through society that she would enact her perfect revenge.

Even now, she locks the doors at night because her wolf mother taught her better than that.

She realized, then, that to be naked was
to be most pure.



During times of war, we’d see the theater become even more packed than usual. That bed beneath the
theater was, of course, an odd prop bed before the war which was, of course, someone’s actual bed
during the previous war.

Once she reached the window, she would climb in, without expectation, receive her drink of water
and her charge. They would lift up her shirt, plug into her belly button—into the outlet that was her
belly button—until she had all that she needed before embarking again, to walk back on the string,
back to the other window again.

To live with the feeling that a shadow of a martyr walks beside your own shadow, masking you from having to
sacrifice too much.

To live with the feeling that one is not alone, that the shadow of a soul goes with you.



Will you do me this favor?

No, I don’t want your pity…

She slides down the muddy hill.

Sometimes a good night’s sleep is all that’s ever needed to get on from a toxin ingested.

And they’re selling that now.

Why, are some memories more vivid than other colors? Tell me then

I felt that… I had to make up for it… I had to fix it, I had to improve my self, cleanse myself, with

Though refusing to ever give up this dirty mind…

like a killer
a killer.



You’re saying all these names.

But I don’t recognize them.

And you can do whatever you want to do with me, you can keep doing what you’re doing, but my
answer will never change…



Occurred along the carousel…

This song

This song because it reminds me of standing somewhere in spring without loneliness

Why did you say that? Why did you say that to me? Why? Most

importantly. If now you

say you never meant it

And we could finally get lost here…

You see that’s the thing.

I don’t want to think about your tragic life anymore…

But, I guess, I never knew and we’ll never know anymore

how much and for how little, or who those women even were



We can’t help but wait. And then laugh, hysterically, when I say,

you’ll be sorry.

It’s not that you don’t take me seriously but you aren’t sure whether

I’ve ever truly forgiven you.



VALERIE HSIUNG is the author of three full-length poetry collections, the latest of which is e f g (Action Books). Her poems can be found or are forthcoming in The Nation, Gramma, Denver Quarterly, Poetry Northwest, Pinwheel, VOLT, Hayden’s Ferry Review, FANZINE, PEN Poetry Series, American Letters & Commentary, Foundry Journal, Prelude, No Dear Magazine, New Delta Review, Tammy, and Yes Poetry. She has performed her poetry theater at Treefort Music Festival, DC Arts Center, Common Area Maintenance, Leon Gallery, Poetic Research Bureau, Rhizome, and The Silent Barn. Born and raised by Chinese immigrants via Taiwan in southern Ohio, Hsiung is nowadays based out of New York. She serves as an editor for Poor Claudia.

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

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.