Issue Eight, July 2014

Poetry:

Dan Albergotti –  “Laocoön”

Layla Benitez-James – “Bear With Me,” and “Privilege”

Ian Seed –  “Unnamed”

Hala Alyan – “Winter Altar” and “A Dream in Seville”

Lisa Ampleman – “from Courtly Love (for Courtney Love)”

Michael Eddie Anderson – “Cessation”

Tova Benjamin – “Epilation or Gradual Decline,” and “Parenthetical Killers”

Lauren Camp - “I am Practicing Now,” and “Please Do Not Send Peace, Please Send Peace”

Paula Cisewski - “The First Person”

Matthew Reed Corey - “Biopoiesis: Earth Before Life,” “His is the Encyclopedia Given to You Without a Word,” and “Written in Glass are Four Solutions to the Problem of Nothing.”

Joshua Daniel Edwin – “Book Control”

Josette Akresh-Gonzales – “Retirement”

David Dodd Lee - “Reversal” and “Andy Warhol”

Robert Lietz –  “Stunt Casting”

Joel Preston Smith, “The Redactions (1), (2), (3),” Notes

Alison Reed - “City of Crosses,” “Corvus,” and “Heidegger, 1966″

Mary Austin Speaker - “Necropastoral for the Mississipi River,” “Necropastoral for the Carribbean Ocean,” and‎ “Daughters of the American Revolution”

 

Visual Art:

Christy Lee Rogers, from OF SMOKE AND GOLD:

Riders of the Dawn

Images of a Villian Hero

The Touch of Your Skin is Broken

Since the Silence

Unknown Soldiers

The Sunshine Walks Beside Her

Fountain of Life

In a Dream I Could Believe

 

Prose:

from “In Your Absence” – Danielle Pafunda

“At the Flamboyant” - Russell Bennetts and Rauan Klassnik

Laocoön

The man held his two dead sons in his arms
and looked skyward, not trying to see gods,
but to arch his vision over the edge
of the horizon and find the real ones
to blame. Trying to see Athens or Rome,
Carthage or London. Moscow. Washington.
Who had sent serpents across the ocean?
Who was it this time? And once again, why?
And all he could hear were the rolling waves
lapping at the shore and the sighs of men
over newspapers rustling in a breeze.
And all he could ever see was nothing.
He was so many people, so many
damned people. And his eyes were made of stone.

 

*

 

Dan Albergotti is the author of The Boatloads (BOA Editions, 2008), selected by Edward Hirsch as the winner of the 2007 A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize, and a limited-edition chapbook, The Use of the World (Unicorn Press, 2013). A new full-length collection, Millennial Teeth, was selected by Rodney Jones in the Crab Orchard Series Open Competition in 2013 and will be published by Southern Illinois University Press in September 2014. His poems have appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Five Points, The Southern Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and Pushcart Prize XXXIII, as well as other journals and anthologies. A graduate of the MFA program at UNC Greensboro and former poetry editor of The Greensboro Review, Albergotti is a professor of English at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina.

Bear With Me

I like my coffee black,

like my father

likes his coffee black, black,

like I like my thoughts—coiled,

shine of a coral snake black

and red and yellow, red and black

friend of jack: jack the bear?

Yes, but the king snake fools you. Bear

with me, I know this is a bad joke, but,

sometimes, I am a bad joke.

Red and yellow kills

 

a fellow like my plagues    black

jjjjjjjjjjjlike my Fridays      black

jjjjjjjjjjjlike my mambas, my little dresses.

 

Can’t you consider yourself as anything more

than a hot beverage? Against alabaster and marble

and orchids of stone shining quiet as snow—

“Are there many black students at your school?”

Asked an old sandstone woman, and it seemed

 

I should have known how many. I shrugged. Lighten up.

When the BSU found me that first week of school,

they had a flyer with my name on it and an extra

 

for my roommate. They said, “you don’t have to be black

to be down,” said, “you don’t have to be black to be

down.” But it helps, I think, it never hurts, I want to say.

*

Layla Benitez-James’s work can be found at Acentos Review, The San Antonio Express-News, The San Antonio Current and Gulf Coast. She lives in Houston where she recently received her masters in poetry and will be moving to Spain in the fall to finish a translation project.

Privilege

The princess-colored azalea

blooms don’t care;

they make their branches heavy bright

 

and rouge the thuggish sidewalk

when they drop.

Buster, I’m the sort who cuts

 

across the muddy lawn,

ferrying soil

on my Ariat boots.

 

This is not

a complete

summary

of all transactions.

 

Oh, the universe is trying;

this morning,

I wished for Prosecco and Eggs

 

Benedict, but the Empire

would only

serve to me one rich omelette

 

and a glass of champagne;

it can be hard,

very hard, to live in the world.

 

*

 

Layla Benitez-James’s work can be found at Acentos Review, The San Antonio Express-News, The San Antonio Current and Gulf Coast. She lives in Houston where she recently received her masters in poetry and will be moving to Spain in the fall to finish a translation project.

Unnamed

 

Its colourless mouth has shaped unseizable words

 

you in yourself circle where you still my arms to return  ready-made

 

without boundaries it gives a lake a last clean

 

takes on shadow substance but the place already and again opening its tender

 

bearing tears of cold childhood directions all fluid impossible

 

and night transparent your skeleton clothes has skin arrived

 

and always another inside you I wanted fluids lips could instrument

 

the pulse of petals in their suspended unfolding

 

and vertical again only no longer touching remain open

 

I and together unfrozen of eyes have wandered near mouths

 

the hidden it under your door I the answered opening on melt

 

and fingers gentle the clean cry my small body facedown

 

 

*

 

Ian Seed is editor of http://www.shadowtrain.com. He teaches at the University of Chester (UK). His latest publication is a collection of prose poems, Makers of Empty Dreams (Shearsman, 2014).

 

 

Winter Altar

The last Sunday of the month pockets
of roses

appear on the lamppost.

I line windowsills with ash

because I cannot bear the
carcasses.

They torched the library in
Baghdad

and I am proud of the tea I swirled
with milk

the night you left. Soap

soaps a sink of plants flecking
the clay basin and

faltered I script every stalled train
into romance.

I do ballerina stretches.

I twirl
for every smiling man.

They will all die. I know that now.

*
Hala Alyan is a Palestinian-American poet whose work has appeared in several journals, including Copper Nickel, Third Coast, and The Journal. Her first full-length poetry collection, “Atrium,” was published by Three Rooms Press in New York City, and was recently awarded the 2013 Arab American Book Award in Poetry. She resides in Manhattan.

A Dream In Seville

It was as gilded as fishskin—

us, sea rising in tulip waves.
A minaret cloaked in fog.

Our voices lunar as we cry
each other’s names, rapture

and protest,
our bodies gates in a cave.

I am barefoot amongst poppies.
Each star is a dagger, shards

from an urn broken
by a drunken god.

 

*
Hala Alyan is a Palestinian-American poet whose work has appeared in several journals, including Copper Nickel, Third Coast, and The Journal. Her first full-length poetry collection, “Atrium,” was published by Three Rooms Press in New York City, and was recently awarded the 2013 Arab American Book Award in Poetry. She resides in Manhattan.