Category: Issue 04

Issue Four, August 2013

Visual Art

Camouflage V (Bird of Paradise with Ultra-Deflector” – Jenny Kendler

Poetry

playground full of mothers” – Jeffrey Allen

Vow” (an excerpt) – Kristina Marie Darling

You’re Running for the Senate” – William Doreski

Lunch Special” – Jason Koo

House|Hold 15.0
House|Hold 32.4 – Nate Liederbach

4882046652” – Travis Macdonald

For Fadhil Assultani” – Hai-Dang Phan

Brutal
Century-Swept” – Zach Savich

Meditation at Mt. Belvidere
Empire Descending a Staircase” – Zayne Turner

Prose

SIC” (an excerpt) – Davis Schneiderman

Camouflage I

Camouflage I*

JENNY KENDLER is a multimedia artist whose practice seeks to complicate the space between Nature and Culture, and re-enchant human beings’ relationship with the natural world. Her work endeavors to remind us that each individual creature lives within its own umwelt, or unique sphere of perception. She asks us to reexamine our preconceived notions of “nature” and allow space in our worldview for radical, transformative otherness.

Camouflage II

Camouflage II

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JENNY KENDLER is a multimedia artist whose practice seeks to complicate the space between Nature and Culture, and re-enchant human beings’ relationship with the natural world. Her work endeavors to remind us that each individual creature lives within its own umwelt, or unique sphere of perception. She asks us to reexamine our preconceived notions of “nature” and allow space in our worldview for radical, transformative otherness.

Camouflage V (Bird of Paradise with Ultra-Deflector)

Camouflage V (Bird of Paradise with Ultra-deflector)-circle

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JENNY KENDLER is a multimedia artist whose practice seeks to complicate the space between Nature and Culture, and re-enchant human beings’ relationship with the natural world. Her work endeavors to remind us that each individual creature lives within its own umwelt, or unique sphere of perception. She asks us to reexamine our preconceived notions of “nature” and allow space in our worldview for radical, transformative otherness.

playground full of mothers

we are the sons
birdless / workish
thumbing safeties and noses
up into an acid rain

we are raised to superglue
cuts / wings
every exposed inch of feather
is red ruin / campfire marshmallow
two worms from one

we are raised to believe
in fancy lifethings like veils
curtains are shivering ghosts
closet doors are never closed enough

mothers fill our hands with instruments
yell at us to puff our cheeks
we put our lips to things we hope
to understand / open our lungs like an oven

we soon learn that everyone’s
bitten a nailbed bloody
and screamed every breath
at a running dog

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Jeffrey Allen is the author of two chapbooks, Simple Universal (Bronze Man Books 2007) and bone and diamond (H_NGM_N Books 2013), and holds an MFA from Columbia College Chicago. His work can be found in or are forthcoming from The Bakery, Forklift Ohio, H_NGM_N, LEVELER, Pinwheel, RHINO, and elsewhereHe serves as the Poetry Editor for phantom limb.

Vow (an excerpt)

What does a white dress not resemble?  Shattered glass.  A burning house.

I had always imagined the day would look like:  velvet backdrop onto which the landscape is projected like a sad film. Somewhere in that picture, a declaration.

But before long we’ll enter the house.  You’ll notice a man with dark hair looking out the window.  Tell me what you see in him.

 

 

A locked room, but what else—? 

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Our house burns with light.  He is a shattered window overlooking the desert.  I am smoldering in a field of dead poppies.

The fire is tearing at floorboards, the rooms, us.  It’s the second night, and already we realize the danger of bringing children into a barren landscape.

So we bury our vows one by one.  We are pieces of an altar collapsing from the inside.

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I respect most the men who’ve refused me:  the bridegroom, with his corridor of locked rooms;  you, the light descending on a burned house; Saint Jude of the lost causes, despite the roses I leave at his scorched altar.

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In a film version of this story, I wandered a corridor filled with locked rooms:  endless foyers, a nursery, the master suite. Days passed and I began to pray.  When one of the doors opened, I found only the door to another room.

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The house won’t stop burning.  I had always imagined marriage differently:  a garden, tasteful furniture, and church on every holiday.  Once the fire began, I tried lighting candles, but saw that the tiny wicks had been gutted from the wax.

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I dream another me exists in the burning house, reading aloud from what I have written.  Broken glass.  A sad film.  The awkward silence.

I had always thought night would feel like:  an electric current, the most startling numbness in every fingertip.  Throughout the landscape, a small fire would still be blazing.

But somehow in the dream I’ve grown wings.  Tell me, does this change everything—?

 


I want to use them so badly, but I don’t know how—

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Kristina Marie Darling is the author of thirteen books, which include Melancholia (An Essay) (Ravenna Press, 2012),Petrarchan (BlazeVOX Books, 2013), and (with Carol GuessX Marks the Dress: A Registry (Gold Wake Press, 2013).  Her awards include fellowships from Yaddo, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and the Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers, as well as grants from the Kittredge Fund and the Elizabeth George Foundation.  She is currently working toward a Ph.D. in Poetics at S.U.N.Y.-Buffalo.

You’re Running for the Senate

You’re running for the Senate
so I have to saw down pine trees
for telegraph poles to carry
the news to the deepest slums
in the state. Wi-Fi and cell phones
won’t do because you’re running
on the Village Blacksmith platform.

If you’re elected, the whang!
of hammer on hot iron will rouse
every citizen daily at dawn—
a work-rhythm potent enough
to incite the whole economy.
I chainsaw a few large pines
and drag them to the millpond
in which they sink without a ripple.
Too rotten to float, I conclude.

Meanwhile you’re down with migraine.
Stars blacken your dim bedroom.
A wet compress drapes your eyes
against the insults of the cosmos.
I try to report the sinking
of the telegraph poles as well
as your sinking in opinion polls
but you’re unable to hear me—
the pain too parti-colored
and political theory too pale
to register in your swollen brain.

No point in cutting more trees.
The forges have gone cold forever
and the Senate doesn’t want you—
gray old politicians so warped
by greed they can’t accept from you
an agony they could have embraced
without cutting down a single tree
to fulfill an imagined need.

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William Doreski teaches at Keene State College in New Hampshire. His most recent books of poetry are City of Palms and June Snow Dance, both 2012. He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors.  His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals, including Massachusetts Review, Atlanta Review, Notre Dame Review, The Alembic, New England Quarterly, Worcester Review, Harvard Review, Modern Philology, Antioch Review, and  Natural Bridge.

Lunch Special

    How quickly the old sadness comes back.
You strewn on a chair eating lunch
      alone, fat meatball parm
   slagged in front of you, book & notebook

   replaced by a phone. One other
couple in the restaurant, fanny-packed tourists
      pestering the waitress
   about biking the Brooklyn Bridge, No,

   but, what we mean is, Can we bike in this city
without a helmet? Nothing stirring
      but a vague desire
   to pluck one of Citibank’s new blue rental bikes

   off the mechanized rack outside
and ride the Bridge yourself, looking for some
      healing transport, some
   speed back to a wider, lighter selfhood,

   no cynicism about the Citibike
program, no regarding the rack an intrusion
      into “your” neighborhood,
   no judging the tourists stupid, needing to have

   their unhelmeted heads bashed in
by the bikes, but believing only in the blue
      slicing through
   the sunlit crowds congregating in the sky,

   a soloist’s note separating
the rest, launching ahead stupidly
      unprotected, capable
   of such huge, stupid questions

   that return it, in the end, to this table
unfed, stumped in solitude, so why bother?
      You are already there,
   here. And in truth you didn’t think

   of biking across the Bridge,
only added that thought as you set yourself
      to thinking seriously
   about your sadness. Every time

   the waitress comes to ask,
Are you okay, your face is full of parm,
      stuffed goon, and you think
   she must be a bored god just fucking with you

   on a random afternoon, Beckett himself
couldn’t script her timing any better,
      the whole room evacuated
   of even the tourists now, just you,

   your sandwich and your phone
and the waitress materializing from the wings
      to iron you over
   in spotlight, just as soon withdrawing

   as you nod, trying to eke out
a yes, the chorus of chairs around you
      silent, the windows,
   the bikes, the city. Your face is full of pain

   you chew and swallow so genteelly
in napkined-over bites, steering helmeted
   down this familiar
   back alley, gripping the handlebars

   of sandwich and phone, none
the wiser, all too imperious, thinking somehow
      you can get away
   with this, clenching and squinting.

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Jason Koo is Founder and Executive Director of Brooklyn Poets. He is the author of America’s Favorite Poem (C&R Press, forthcoming 2014) and Man on Extremely Small Island (C&R Press, 2009), winner of the De Novo Poetry Prize and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop Members’ Choice Award for the best Asian American book of 2009. He earned his BA in English from Yale, his MFA in creative writing from the University of Houston and his PhD in English and creative writing from the University of Missouri-Columbia. The winner of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Vermont Studio Center and the New York State Writers Institute, he has published his poetry and prose in numerous journals, including The Yale Review, North American Review and The Missouri Review. Formerly director of the graduate program in English at Lehman College of the City University of New York, he is an Assistant Professor of English at Quinnipiac University and lives in Brooklyn.

House | Hold 15.0

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Nate Liederbach is a PhD candidate at the University of Utah and Managing Editor of Western Humanities Review. Recent and forthcoming work can be found in The Collagist, Denver Quarterly, LA ReviewPhantom Drift, and Third Coast.

House | Hold 32.4

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Nate Liederbach is a PhD candidate at the University of Utah and Managing Editor of Western Humanities Review. Recent and forthcoming work can be found in The Collagist, Denver Quarterly, LA ReviewPhantom Drift, and Third Coast.