Category: Issue 01

awesome camera

awesomecamera3

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
..

awesomecamera

.

.

.

..

.

.

.

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
..
.
.
.
.
.
.
awesomecamera5
..
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
..

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Laura Goldstein’s poetry and essays have been published in American Letters and Commentary, MAKE, kill author, jacket2, EAOGH, Requited, Everyday Genius, Little Red Leaves, and How2. She has published several chapbooks including Inventory (Sona Books 2012), Let Her (Dancing Girl Press 2012), Facts of Light (Plumberries Press 2011) and Ice in Intervals (Hex Presse 2008). Her chapbook phylum is forthcoming from Horse Less Press this spring and her first full-length collection of poetry, Loaded Arc, will be released by Trembling Pillow Press this summer. She co-curates the Red Rover Series with Jennifer Karmin and teaches Writing and Literature at Loyola University.

Comrade District Attorney

What else would you like us to
do? Comrade District Attorney,
you take them. Even in that suit, er
firing-squad you’re wearing
I can almost see your conscience.
Comrade District Attorney,
save us. The engines no longer
run on mud and the headlines bray that
this fight is in the last round.
As for the other he’s a fake.
You’ll see, it’s what makes
our reenactment believable.
Comrade District Attorney,
stretch out in the palm of my hand
where a nail sprouts upward
like a flower to the believers.

 

*

Larry Sawyer has curated the Myopic Books Poetry Series in Chicago since 2005. He is the co-director of The Chicago School of Poetics and also edits milkmag.org. Look for poetry in Boston Review, Forklift Ohio, Esque, and Court Green. He recently wrote about Chicago literature for Ploughshares (http://blog.pshares.org/index.php/literary-boroughs-32-chicago/) His latest book is titled Vertigo Diary.

When I Was a Child, I Lived as a Child, I Said to My Dad

Saint Paul was a jackass, my father muttered,
keystroking his tank into position in “The Mother

Of All Tank Battles.”  I turned back to the screen,
maneuvering pixilated tanks.  Each arrow key

altered trajectory, each cursor tap a tank blast.  Fast-
forward two decades: in a cubicle outside Vegas,

Jonah joysticks his Predator above Afghanistan,
drone jockey hovering above a house on computer screen.

He knows someone’s inside.  Is it his target?  Who else
inside—cooking, crawling—will not outrun his digital will?

He is cross-hairs and shaking frame.  Stone implosion.
He watches the collapse replay onscreen, then

heads home.  Pizza.  Diaper rash.  Removes a thumb
from his toddler’s sleeping mouth.  Again, no sleep….
                                                                                          Our game’s

quaintly obsolete.  On mailboxes around our neighborhood,
our beagle would sign his line of piss, which said: it’s good

to be alive and eating meat.  He was adding to the map
that we can’t see, liquid notations on our suburban escape.

At Great Lakes Naval Base, my father imagined permutations
of disaster.  We were Region Five.  Coordinates run,

scenarios conceived, New Madrid fault lines, the possible
flood of Des Plaines, a tornado’s blinding spiral

rolling its dozer across the plain.  No preparing for it,
just to pick up what remained.  If a nuclear bomb hit

Chicago, the epicenter here, he’d draw concentric circles
radiating, a pebble disturbing the mirror of a lake.  Each circle

meant a slower death.  Between us and them, the Wall
was a mirror reflecting us and nothing beyond.  The whole

world was what the mirror hung upon.  He showed me how
to hold a blade, how to watch my reflection for every nick, how

to cut my face without bleeding.  I bled.  I hooked my glasses
over teenaged ears.  Outside, the blur of lawn became grass,

each blade stabbing upward to light.  I thought I knew
we see as through a glass, darkly….   My frames have narrowed

to lenses eye-sized.  My myopia grows.  To see
what’s happening, I open a laptop, lean into the screen:

*

Philip Metres has written a number of books and chapbooks, most recently A Concordance of Leaves (Diode 2013), abu ghraib arias (Flying Guillotine 2011), winner of the 2012 Arab American Book Award in poetry, To See the Earth (Cleveland State 2008), and Behind the Lines: War Resistance Poetry on the American Homefront since 1941 (University of Iowa 2007).   His work has appeared in Best American Poetry, and Inclined to Speak: Contemporary Arab American Poetry, and has garnered two NEA fellowships, the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, four Ohio Arts Council Grants, the Anne Halley Prize, the Arab American Book Award, and the Cleveland Arts Prize.  He teaches literature and creative writing at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.  See http://www.philipmetres.com and http://behindthelinespoetry.blogspot.com for more information.

Bindweed

Faced with a scene of cloud white flowers
Job asks the crow, What do you see?
Sheep spreading, replies the crow,
across the earth’s surface.
Convolvulus arvensis, answers Job,
common to Kansas.
Twenty feet, he says with a shrug,
is where the roots sleep.

They try to gauge how much it would take
to rip it out. Think of it, says the crow, its shocked
roots rising, its jagged strings of plant.
It’d look like sheets of ice, says Job, cracking.
Sheep God loves, says the crow, beaming.
They are silent. They breathe.

Anyway it’s just clouds, they say.
It’s just white flowers, they say

 

Jesse Nathan’s poems have appeared in the Nation, jubilat, the American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. He’s working on a PhD in English Literature at Stanford and he’s a founding editor of the McSweeney’s Poetry Series. He lives in California.

My Lover Says Nothing

We work
beneath humongous sky
full of anonymous smoke. Sunscreen,
bandanas, in summer wheat we guzzle pop
and pick rye. Our heads throb, grizzled by heat.
A week of sun has pushed our crop
from emerald green to blond.
I tire.

*

A storm gives dimension to the sky.
Thickens it.
By eight our faces are blanketed
with chaff, the sunflowers stare up
like satellites and we undress fast
but do not kiss in an upstairs bedroom.
We sleep to thunder. We won’t work
the fields tomorrow. I dream of redneck scientists
and megafarms and miles and miles
of wind turbines, each with fiendish
red eye, thumping in the blinkered night.
I sit up damp. My dearest mumbles
Sleep, dammit, and I lie back till I can’t and I rise
to stand at the curtainless pane, and I am
awakened at 2 and again at 4:30 by rain,
by dismembered limbs streaking by—
wires of lightning
light swathes of field, tractors
stagger in the mud.

*

switchgrass sage aster eastern
gamma alfalfa sumac larkspur
bluestem thistle milkweed iron-
weed bindweed dandelion beard-
tongue dogwood blue wild indigo—
flattened, a mess of nerves.

*

She clears the sleep from her voice
like cobwebs. By seven-thirty
the sky will break into blue
and soggy smells of straw
will hang, she says. Purple,
unearthed worms will squirm
underfoot. She says at eight
we’ll wade the ditches. Slog
the puddles. Pick up the heads
of sunflowers
flung upon the earth.

 

Jesse Nathan’s poems have appeared in the Nation, jubilat, the American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. He’s working on a PhD in English Literature at Stanford and he’s a founding editor of the McSweeney’s Poetry Series. He lives in California.

Power Lines, Adrian, MI

Power Lines, Adrian, MI

*

Robin Dluzen was born and raised in Southeast Michigan. In 2008, the artist received a BFA in Fine Arts and Literature from Adrian College in Adrian, MI, and in 2010, Dluzen received an MFA in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Currently the artist maintains a studio practice in the city of Chicago, and Dluzen’s work has been featured in such venues as the Union League Club of Chicago, Ugly Step Sister Gallery, Chapel Projects at the Charnel House, Chicago Artists’ Coalition and 22 in Berwyn, IL. Formerly the Editor-in-Chief and Senior Art Critic at Chicago Art Magazine, Dluzen is currently an art critic contributing to Art Ltd. Magazine, Visual Art Source, New American Paintings blog and Art F City.

For  more information, please visit http://robindluzen.com/

Dear Corporation,

           Say the senator meets me
in the lobby of my building. Say he
stretches out his hand. Say there
is something midwestern vampiric
about him, a glow of suspirian blood
in his eye sockets, an oil spill
of Nick Cave hair.  Say he holds my hand
more firmly than he should, never
breaking eye contact. Say his nails dig
into my palm. Say he thanks me
and thanks me and I don’t know why,
then takes my elbow lightly in his hand,
guides me to the elevator. Say when the
doors close his body unspines and slips
unclouded and molten into the cavities of
its self, into the cavities of my self. Say I
wake on the balcony near a table cluttered
with a tray of cherrystones, littlenecks,
that sturgeon with the crème fraîche and
bacon-infused bread crumbs. Say the
senator is gone but has conjured a 200 year
old bottle of Pinot Noir scavenged from a
shipwreck in the Baltic Sea and it reaches
out for me with the mouthfeel of a
makeshift hospital, an undimmable
bouquet of evac and silencer and signal
flare. Say the balcony beckons and I
swoon to the railing. Say 32 stories below
the floodlights erupt with thousands of
people searching for the shade of a new
false father, the dawn of a brighter
deceiver.

*

Adam Fell is the author of DEAR CORPORATION, which will be published in Fall 2013 by H_NGM_N Books. His first book of poetry I AM NOT A PIONEER (H_NGM_N Books 2011) was awarded the Posner Book Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers. He lives in Madison, WI, where he teaches at Edgewood College and co-curates the Monsters of Poetry Reading Series.

Dear Corporation,

                 Bullets breathe through
the sky of my mouth and my teeth
record them all: caplets of momentary
light strafing twilit buildings. Or is it a
blur of countryside. A bright district of
popular cafes. The body of a whale
disincorporating at the bottom of the sea.
It’s a human trick we play on top of the
very own trick of our blood: placing our
cameras just far enough away to convince
ourselves the people we are uncoiling are
not really people at all. We dismiss the
death as tape glitch and lens flare and
faulty intelligence, as garbled facts on the
ground. We dismiss the damage as a deep
dissolve and dust motes dancing in the
backlighting of the steadicam. I could tell
you this is the safety we should all be
afraid. I could tell you we should have the
guts to look each person in the eye before
we rechristen them collateral. But who am
I to judge these men and women when I
don’t have the guts to face them or this
world on its own crude, unbridled terms.
Who am I to argue against the self-defense
of keeping distance, keeping discrete. Who
am I to decide whether it’s good for drone
pilots to be able to drive home each night
and have dinner with their families or if
some moral bond is lost forever through
such flagrant disconnection. And who am
I to decide that one of those possibilities
necessarily excludes the other. The body
of a whale disincorporating at the bottom
of the sea is a metropolis of creatures alive
because of its disincorporation. I’m the
one who can tell you to your face that I
believe in moral absolutes but, if pressed,
not exactly what those absolutes are. I’m
the one who wakes up each morning and
erases, deletes, minimizes, revises, and
swipes away. I’m the one who powers
down and creates new tabs and undoes
typing and closes out to dashboard. I’m
the one who changes the channel, hits
mute, closes my eyes, plugs my ears. I’m
the one who leaves the room, heaves the
flatscreen through the living room
window, takes an axe to the electrical box,
pries the porcine masks of the power
outlets off of their fatfuck faces. I’m the
one who rips all my fucking cables and
cords and surge protectors from the walls
and cauterizes their necks so their heads
can never grow back. We’ve devised and
cultivated so many avenues of avoidance
that I could burn all my bridges, cut all my
ties, go off every grid, bivouac at the
remotest Arctic outpost, or crash land
myself inside the darkest lungs of the
moon, but I’d still be culpable for all of
this violence. Just like you.

*

Adam Fell is the author of DEAR CORPORATION, which will be published in Fall 2013 by H_NGM_N Books. His first book of poetry I AM NOT A PIONEER (H_NGM_N Books 2011) was awarded the Posner Book Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers. He lives in Madison, WI, where he teaches at Edgewood College and co-curates the Monsters of Poetry Reading Series.

from As We Know

Borsuk-Fitch-Matter  Borsuk-Fitch-Matter2 Borsuk-Fitch-Matter3Borsuk-Fitch-Matter4


Amaranth Borsuk
 is the author of Handiwork (Slope Editions, 2012), selected by Paul Hoover for the 2011 Slope Editions Book Prize; Tonal Saw (The Song Cave, 2010), a chapbook; and, with programmer Brad Bouse, Between Page and Screen (Siglio Press, 2012), a book of augmented-reality poems. Her intermedia project Abra, a hybrid book-performance collaboration with Kate Durbin, Ian Hatcher, and Zach Kleyn recently received an Expanded Artists’ Books grant from the Center for Book and Paper Arts in Chicago and will be issued as an artist’s book and iPad app in fall of 2013. She has a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California and recently served as Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at MIT, where she taught classes in digital, visual, and material poetics. She currently teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics at the University of Washington, Bothell.

Andy Fitch’s most recent book is Pop Poetics: Reframing Joe BrainardIn fall, Ugly Duckling will publish his two collections Sixty Morning Walks and Sixty Morning Talks. For Letter Machine Editions, he currently is assembling, with Cristiana Baik, The Letter Machine Book of Interviews. Fitch teaches in the University of Wyoming’s MFA program.

Industrial Strength Forever

Why can’t we have nice things?

Platinum skin welded
surgically thin
stapled taffeta eye marbles
thick, pelvic webby
upholstery       on the sofa, let’s do it
on the sofa in the store
Memory   foam.

Bolt-flint squirrels,
we stockpile. Conveyor
transportation,
gun-mother make me   more.
Why can’t we have
the platypus, why can’t we have
baby bump? Please correctly adjust the
shelving units.
We have nice
polyurethane, punch-me-in-the-face
deodorant things, we can build her,
we have the mâchénery!

*

Lina ramona Vitkauskas (Lithuanian-American-Canadian, b. 1973) is the author of five poetry books/chapbooks: A Neon Tryst (Shearsman Books, 2013); HONEY IS A SHE (Plastique Press, 2012); THE RANGE OF YOUR AMAZING NOTHING (Ravenna Press, 2010); Failed Star Spawns Planet/Star (dancing girl press, 2006); and Shooting Dead Films with Poets (Fractal Edge Press, 2004). In 2009, she was selected by Pulitzer-finalist Brenda Hillman for The Poetry Center of Chicago’s Juried Reading Award, and nominated by Another Chicago Magazine for an Illinois Arts Council Award.  Publications include Coconut, Requited, DIAGRAM, TriQuarterly, The Chicago Review, The Toronto Quarterly, VLAK (Ed. Louis Armand, Edmund Berrigan), The Prague Literary Review, White Fungus (Taiwan; recently displayed at MoMA), and more.