Category: Issue 03

Beyond Repair

In the town where you used to live, even the couches
refuse to swallow you. Animals
crossing the street are only optical illusions
based on your perspective to persist, though
everyone here sees them too. What of the streetlamps
exploding toward the unlit sky, and what of the
desire to please only no one? Your coat is somewhere
along a side street. That’s your scarf right there
hanging from the limbs of the oak, the one spent
and polluted beyond repair. The insects have turned
away—they devour the town one click over
and no one there seems to mind. In the town where
no one used to live, you are living now, your senses
all beyond a basic type of sorting out. What you are capable of here,
right now, is nothing near capable. What this town deserves
is what this town is: a place burrowed out, expecting
itself to emerge as something younger and more normal than itself.

*

Adam Clay is the author of A Hotel Lobby at the Edge of the World (Milkweed Editions, 2012) and The Wash (Parlor Press, 2006). A third book of poems, Stranger, is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Boston Review, Ploughshares, Denver Quarterly, Iowa Review, New Orleans Review, and elsewhere. He co-edits TYPO Magazine and lives in Kentucky.

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Everything is a Win

All the buildings are idle    your city     your townspeople

insist on immediate action     with track lighting       Attractive

spikes of lightning bolts       fastening a striking brushfire

onto a congregation of bitter cherry trees      Mmmm toasted almond

Can you give what they want     be an honest absentee    It’s true

most questions are commands       crooked military states

Your driveway lined          with bottle rockets         And on

the lawn in generous piles     soiled party

dresses          fishnet wedding veils        the bizarre fetishes you

hide from even yourself        queasy     secretly yearning for the life

of an American         Girl doll       and a hospital ward for

those with bruises      from bumping into coffee tables

Where from a bedside window              I mistake

a feisty robin       for a cardinal in heat     The failing

peripheral vision doesn’t notice     the poisonous fog    This digression

is the mouth        of a river         spewing into        another

for Josh Y

*

Stephen Danos is author of Playhouse State (H_NGM_N Books, 2012). His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in American Letters & Commentary, Anti-, Bateau, cream city review, Court Green, Forklift Ohio, and elsewhere. He is editor-in-chief of the online journal Pinwheel, assistant editor for YesYes Books, and lives in Seattle.

We Will Never Go To North Dakota

for the buckshot rattling through frontier
organs, for scary story precedents, wincing
forthright at semblances of unibrow or the beastly
shadow of reproductive health. Let’s play a logic game.
Let’s assume you’re game like pronghorn moose.
You can’t hunt them legally due to low populations,
there aren’t enough fertile moose wombs
for mating seasons. This all might give you a semi-
automatic erection when you shove in the clip.
Plateaus of majesty beget tableaus of agony, someone
changing the grayishness of old flower water.
You hole up in an avalanche, eat the daylights
out of fried chicken, claim yourself birthday boy
by your lonesome. A Tommy gun is the best
filibuster. A testament to shaking the tenements.
To shaking filaments from their electric
obligations. The enclave of your forest cabin
infested with vampire bats. You wear snazzy
bowties to blend in. The American Dream is best realized
by shoving your success in your father’s face, by
lazing unsightly things from blessed bodies.

*

Stephen Danos is author of Playhouse State (H_NGM_N Books, 2012). His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in American Letters & Commentary, Anti-, Bateau, cream city review, Court Green, Forklift Ohio, and elsewhere. He is editor-in-chief of the online journal Pinwheel, assistant editor for YesYes Books, and lives in Seattle.

Crankbucket Throat

——————-after Carrie Lorig

There the pain dropping like
cattle. Thousands of cattle
mooing—AIN’T THIS A BARREN
LAND. The land’s heart jumps.
The land’s heart can’t pump
the blood. The grass has begun
suffocating itself. The factory
Is on fire for no good reason.
There The Laughter stood up
to exist, but the grass was already
dead. The cattle up to their necks.
The throat this whole time ungargled
watching the suffering. The suffering
on fire for no good reason.

*

Tyler Gobble is lead editor of Stoked, associate editor of the Magic Helicopter Press team, and a contributor with Vouched Books. He is the author of four chapbooks, most recently 48 Pornos (Safety Third Enterprises, 2013). More at www.tylergobble.com.

 

Tromp L’oeil, Jasper-Style

—————————————“James Byrd was buried near an old iron fence
—————————————-on the black side of Jasper City Cemetery.”

The hidden you
watches behind
——–a curtain, locks the doors
——–turns the TV up and sits
——–back to relocate: a question –

the urination on,
and dragging to death of,
——–a Byrd is expected (historic?)
——–but what about the
——–[tattoo]?

[a black man hangs
from a tree, the
——–tree hangs on an arm
——–the arm] on a John William
——–King as he leans out his truck –

An artist drew/
traced/needled/
——–pale beige skin
——–darkened the hanged,
——–knotted a tree together.

Mute is grey. Mute
comes from the
——–severed head [a culvert].
——–A bounty of ankles and teeth;
——–what was the make of that truck?

Demons hide in
details. “To tell you the truth,
——–I’d do it again.”
——–Tell me again,
——–what did you do?

*

Lana Rakhman has current poems published or forthcoming in Weave, New Madrid, RHINO, Poetry Quarterly, Harpur Palate, Salamander, 5th Wednesday and others. She received her MFA from Northwestern University, where she was the poetry editor of TriQuarterly. She teaches college English, and lives in Chicago with her husband and unruly cat, Pretzel.

Transfer Station

Rakhman1

*

Lana Rakhman has current poems published or forthcoming in Weave, New Madrid, RHINO, Poetry Quarterly, Harpur Palate, Salamander, 5th Wednesday and others. She received her MFA from Northwestern University, where she was the poetry editor of TriQuarterly. She teaches college English, and lives in Chicago with her husband and unruly cat, Pretzel.

Direct Address

I’m trying to find out who wrote
every prayer, but it isn’t the wisdom
most readily dug up, not like when
training a dog you must look it
in the eye or other aphorisms
of good sense. Yes, I’m in line to get bit,
never checking, long swearing
that F. Scott Fitzgerald so pitied
newsboys out in the rain, he would buy
all their papers. He was named
for Francis Scott Key, and likely
knew where to give thanks
for that, but not for prayers, of which
there are many, uttered up to the same
God or none, if one’s faith forbids

the specific. They say war’s no time
to shy from direct address, dear foxhole
cry or jungle bomb that who
inscribed——— DEAR VIET CONG

*

Natalie Shapero is the author of No Object (Saturnalia, 2013). She writes and teaches at Kenyon College, where she is a Kenyon Review Fellow.