Category: Issue 02

Curtain Design for Victory over Sun

My observation are as follows: still dirty
“in the wisdom” that is constructivist
red theatre pieces, bike gloves all
like a mashed crop of dyed hair,
a bad crop this year.

We started the play at once:
An Enemy of the People.
A Buddha of lapidary contrition enters,
hospice, tears, La Clemenza di Tito interlude

rolled in tulips of decisive consequence.

Sprezzatura. Our row
throws that cosmic scratch,
apotropaic, scalene
back to the corner pocket
angle on the hustle—

Live at the Paradox.

*

David Lau is the author of the book of poems Virgil and the Mountain Cat (University of California Press).   He co-edits Lana Turner: a Journal of Poetry and Opinion and teaches writing at UC Santa Cruz and Cabrillo College.

Short Talk About Freud

The unconscious disclosed language,
the asubjective phenomenology:
the blackened page vegetal;
Trotsky’s Lenin in the form dream.
We came up Whittier Narrows
in the alley where art workers
practice rah-rah increasing nihil.

Dis moi la verité.  Sick joy,
unified at last, we were the same hair god,

hold hard hurt anyone coming
back this way, foci of origin
fired unexpected political innovations
in every direction.

—————————A certain cavelike
coolness scorchingly danced
with the French Republic.
Our treasures turned avalanche
express menu items. Tinariwen.

*

David Lau is the author of the book of poems Virgil and the Mountain Cat (University of California Press).   He co-edits Lana Turner: a Journal of Poetry and Opinion and teaches writing at UC Santa Cruz and Cabrillo College.

Star Nemesis

the central ore in the slum-ified
takeoff’s footgear full of radio—

———————bad love

in an edgy,
————-scrofulous stereo,
which musicked the tramways, the bus
route sparky distance as western town
edge, sundown,
———————–light storm off
branch
————–los coyotes

*

David Lau is the author of the book of poems Virgil and the Mountain Cat (University of California Press).   He co-edits Lana Turner: a Journal of Poetry and Opinion and teaches writing at UC Santa Cruz and Cabrillo College.

 

Profession

Q. To study whether the torture was working
would violate ethics and international laws.
A. No, it’s fine, the tortured suspect says.

Q. Aphrodite rescuing Ares, in the Iliad, from cruel Athena,
who hit him with a rock.
A. Isn’t this always what we ask of beauty?

Q. He had studied the medical and psychological literature.
A. On how Chinese interrogators extracted false
confessions.

Q. (false: (false: (false: (false: (false:
A. Millions of official secrets created every day,
Q. In another story, Odysseus waxed his ears

alone, and the crew went crazy.
A. Even the freedom
of information act request (censored:

Q. Is the suspicion of beauty also its pursuit?
A. In the bumbling spy comedy, the prisoner asks
if he will ever be let go and the interrogator laughs.

*

Joshua Gottlieb-Miller is the winner of the 2012 Indiana Review Poetry Prize, and his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Third Coast, Pebble Lake Review, Cell Poems, Blackbird, Linebreak, and elsewhere.

Proximity Is The Greatest Motivator Of Fear

Q. What materials do your suppliers use
that are poisonous?
A. We have thirty-five suppliers.

Q. How come you do not remember
your worst nightmare?
A. A corporation is a person that cannot dream.

Q. What is the most disgusting thing to emerge
from this tragedy?
A. For people to assign blame.

Q. When is proximity the greatest motivator
of fear and love?
A. Close his eyelids without waking the dead man.

 

*


Joshua Gottlieb-Miller
 is the winner of the 2012 Indiana Review Poetry Prize, and his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Third Coast, Pebble Lake Review, Cell Poems, Blackbird, Linebreak, and elsewhere.

Missed Connections

You were, one        post describes, flying          cross-country from Boston.  Blonde.  Above        Las Vegas we made

eye contact & last         I saw you you         were on the concourse swallowed        in the crowd.  How

precarious, love.  With what          devoted vigilance we miss         each other as once,         the gods the bodies

of mortals made         their own momentarily.  Who pared          the skin & lived          among us un-

recognized.  Did not,         we asked, the very air         around us hum?  Another— the summer

rose garden in Berkeley.  You were,        as turns a planet in the light, lifting           to your stare an American

Beauty.  You        with the glasses.  The hat.  The heart             of artichoke loaded         in your basket who before

I could say hello rode         away.  Oh stranger say         anything.  Descend,          as the gods beyond

the walls of Ilion, the city          at all the borders of itself set         ablaze because        a butterfy in Phrygia fluttered

its wings.  For this         the empire sliding          into ashes.  Disaster,         like love, is the stuff

of seconds.  & yesterday—         our break-ups raging, our faces,         kissing, squinched          up like bats— passed

above us an asteroid the size of a city        block.  A shot         across the bow is how

the TV described it, inside,          even, the ring of satellites circling         the planet.  Passed

as once did not the rock         killed Dilophosaurus.  Ships          in the night.  The nineteen            hijackers captured

on camera were from the beginning listed.  Missed         connection.  At Denver

& San Diego we were late.  For each         drone strike signs         the President.  Menelaus—          for your face

I will send a thousand ships         & miss you.

*

Christopher Kempf  is a Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University.  His poetry and essays have appeared recently in GuernicaThe New Inquiry, and Prairie Schooner among other places, most of which can be accessed from his website.  He currently lives in Oakland.

Bonjour Tristesse

Hello sadness.  Hello after
the explosions no
—-language could make us

whole.  We heel-
bound & bull-
horned.  Hacking
bags of dust.  Love,
what exhaustion we fall
into our separate silences with.  Split

mattress.  Drab
cloud of sperm spilled
—-in the reservoir tip.  & it

was evil in the sight of the Lord.  Look,
sometimes I want to run away
—-when it is finished.  To admit

the things I said I meant
mistakenly.  Take
it back, your bereft

present.  Post
coitum omne animal triste est.  Let us
—-make a name, lest

we be scattered.  We saddest
mammals.  Milk-
—-swallower.  God-

less link to thistle.  Think
how often we promised
the future & produced

only fluid.  Have flung
our bodies against each other & come
apart palsied

syntax babbling.  Disaster,
like the tongue, takes
many forms.  The felled

tower.  The tented
wedding shelled.  We speak
nothing of the dark & droning

engine of the heart.  How—
from humus— we are
hung on hurt.

How urgently
it is over.  Hello.  Open
your dirty mouth & mourn.

*

Christopher Kempf  is a Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University.  His poetry and essays have appeared recently in GuernicaThe New Inquiry, and Prairie Schooner among other places, most of which can be accessed from his website.  He currently lives in Oakland.

Most Wanted

for Rashawn Brazell

 

When a friend tells me he was attacked
with a half-empty cup of cola and faggot,
both thrown from a passing car’s window,

the room I sit in grows a little darker, colder.
The sun sets and somewhere a table of two
men are heckled by a table of seven at a St. Louis

IHOP. The waitress cuts her eyes and chimes
in with the crowd who wants the “faggots”
to “stay out of straight clubs.” And a poem

is written about it that I read late into the evening,
over again until I can see myself bludgeoned
and made ghost, something able to whisper into

a living ear, to enter a body and say something
with dignity, with the cadence similar to an activist’s
or cola splashing across a gay man’s shoes. I’ve read articles

asking why Brazell’s sexuality was ever mentioned at all,
as though his death is marred by a detail as simple
as his race, though easy enough to keep hidden

like a body tucked away in a news cast, unwritten
in the script of the Nightly News. It was on a gay blog
where I first heard about Brazell’s case, then never

heard of him again. CNN, New York Times, America’s
Most Wanted—too late by months, years, mere
hours—static from the TV, story so old  it turned

invisible right off the printer. Newspapers blow
from our hands to the ground. Already we have
forgotten our brother and turn our heads like a page.

*

Phillip B. Williams is a Chicago, Illinois native. He is the author of the chapbooks Bruised Gospels (Arts in Bloom Inc. 2011) and Burn (YesYes Books, 2013). A Cave Canem graduate, he has received work-study scholarships from Bread Loaf. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Kenyon Review Online, Callaloo, The Southern Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Sou’wester, West Branch, Blackbird and others. Phillip is currently a Chancellor’s Graduate Fellow at the Washington University in St. Louis and is working on his MFA in Creative Writing. He is the poetry editor of the online journal Vinyl Poetry.

Mythos

Forget the rented women taken to the barn
a second time, a third, by the father. Forget
ghosts that are leaves moved by wind
glossing one branch, another. A son,
opened by fear, is shown by his father how
to find manhood, maraud a wet heat.

——————————————~

Forgive the heat of two bodies:
a son with a boy, discovered. Both the key
————to unlock the other. And they burned.
Give him his father’s fist, its commandment. How
ghoulish the son’s puppet mouth that forges
Os in a woman’s thighs. To taste. The son
tastes. His father
——————watches.

Forgive the lantern’s dim light that wraps
a loneliness around
——————the son,
give him somewhere to put his hands.
Give the hunger of owls. Barn door
open—he resists, attempts to undo,
tosses like,
————like a burning body—

————————————–~

Fugitive, his body hates the woman it must enter

against its nature. The son’s craven

grunt more animal than animal whose reins

gave out beneath its rage. If he had hooves, let them knot at the ankle.

On his back now, legs in the air, legs forced open, a door

that his father enters. Enters more. His hands—

————————————————–~

forced to fit   to weigh

against his son’s lips

————a hand      flat-palmed and held

gifted      a bit   a cloak   a thrust to make room

give something man to the un-man whose hands
——————cannot reject the fire      inner-lanced

over-bloomed      by his father’s

—————————–reign      fingers      they touch

a man’s touch on him      underneath and

———-behind      he entered him

to      reconfigure

—————————-~

Fig split by knife through its heatless heart the ripe

Architecture the sweet it is most known for how sweetness is

Given up from the sun-red interior handed over to the knife

Given up from the grass lifted up by the wind

Open windows forget their gaping and sunlight enters

The barn with light the color of a boy ran naked away

*


Phillip B. Williams is a Chicago, Illinois native. He is the author of the chapbooks Bruised Gospels (Arts in Bloom Inc. 2011) and Burn (YesYes Books, 2013). A Cave Canem graduate, he has received work-study scholarships from Bread Loaf. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Kenyon Review Online, Callaloo, The Southern Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Sou’wester, West Branch, Blackbird and others. Phillip is currently a Chancellor’s Graduate Fellow at the Washington University in St. Louis and is working on his MFA in Creative Writing. He is the poetry editor of the online journal Vinyl Poetry.

Cheval de Frise and Gone-Sweetness at the All-Inclusive

Vacation with sand and they are parasols, paper parasols
in my drinks. Umbrellas are for keeping the rain
off and atop. Parasols of this size are for insinuating,
yet again, sun into the equation of relaxation
and open tabs. Tabs on beer are canned laughter here.
Here, nothing is contained in more secure a vault
than paper or plastic: consumer echoes can’t be missed.
Neither can one miss the presence of the not-there beer bottle
in the hand worth two on the walls all around: broken bits
to keep one off the atop: embedded sharp and sun in green,
in amber (after rain, which never comes here but must) sans dust.
There has been a poem about this before. About this
severe accessory of height and trespass.
I tell you this is not news: this is a rebroadcast from the mind
spending its American time uncomfortably in its own skin abroad.
I tell you, despite this, there is no cover to be found.
Not even between another’s covers. The parasol yields everything.

 

*

 

Elizabyth A. Hiscox is the author of the chapbook Inventory from a One-Hour Room (Finishing Line Press) and her poetry has appeared in The Fiddlehead, Gargoyle, Gulf Coast, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and elsewhere. She is completing a PhD at Western Michigan University where she has served as Layout Editor for New Issues Poetry & Prose, and Poetry Editor for Third Coast.