Category: Issue 06

Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center

Waukegan, IL, 1995

my grandmother          her face drained
had him moved to another room

but we stole his blanket by accident
tagged:                 Reichert in black Sharpie

mix-ups often occur:
——-he thought you were a nurse
——-that he was at war

his hands
——-so strong
——-the smell of piss

my own grandfather
——-paralyzed on the left
————–as long as I can remember
——-paralyzed from the bottom
————–as long as I’ve been an adult

grandfather what big eyes you have
——-I’m not Tina
——-it’s me
——-what big teeth

Why are you doing that?
get me my gun, he said

I gave the blanket away
I could never wash it enough

*

H.V. CRAMOND is the Poetry Editor for and a Co-founder of Requited Journal for Innovative Art and a Writing Instructor at Loyola University Chicago. She holds an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has received grants from the Illinois Arts Council and the City of Chicago’s Community Arts Assistance Program.Her poem “War of Attrition” was a finalist in the 2013 Split This Rock Poetry Festival Contest judged by Mark Doty.  Some recent work can be found in Soundless Poetry, Keep Going, Wunderkammer, Ignavia, death hums, and Pandora’s Box (Southport Press, 2011).  Read more of her writing at hvcramond.com.

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1.    Envelopes. The survivor’s case number and nurse’s notes are written on the envelope after evidence is inserted.
2.    Cotton swabs for the vagina (2) the anus (2) and the mouth (2).
Any unused swabs are discarded, and may be used for any orifice that might conceivably contain DNA evidence.  Those used are sealed in an envelope, and the nurse notes thereon where on or in the survivor’s body the evidence was collected, with a different envelope for each area of collection. Survivors who have showered or urinated may have less DNA evidence available.
3.    A comb for extracting hair samples from the genital area.  Stray hair or other genetic material from the perpetrator may be present.  Hair is combed, with care not to pull, over white paper and the paper is folded with the hair into another envelope.
4.    Wooden sticks for scraping.  Often if there is a struggle, the survivors will have pieces of the perpetrator’s skin under his or her fingernails.
5.    Piece of paper diagramming different areas of the body.  The nurse indicates where on the survivor’s body, if anywhere, bruising, tearing, or bleeding occurs.  This is usually completed after the doctor performs a full pelvic to determine if there is any need for medical attention. The advocate may or may not be present at the pelvic depending on the survivor’s preference.
6.    Any particularly notable injuries are photographed with a Polaroid camera; the Polaroid is then added to the kit.
7.    Paper bags. If the survivor has brought the clothes s/he was wearing at the time of the attack, or is wearing them, those clothes are taken off over a piece of white paper, again, to collect any evidence that may fall off of the clothes.  The clothes and the paper are placed in the bag.  Paper is preferred to plastic because it allows any organic stains to breathe.
8.    Test tube and a sheet of paper, both for blood samples to get the base sample of the survivor’s DNA.

If done correctly, there is an unbroken chain of custody from the attending nurse to the evidence technician.  If the kit is done incorrectly or at any time leaves the proper chain of custody (for example, if the nurse goes to the bathroom and leaves the kit unattended), it is inadmissible as evidence and must be started over.

Care is to be taken both during the pelvic and the continued collection of evidence not to re-traumatize the survivors.

After the evidence is collected, if the survivor is a woman and able to become Pregnant, The Morning After pill is administered.  All survivors receive treatment for Chlamydia, Syphilis, and Gonorrhea.  All blood and urine tests must be repeated in six weeks because those done at the time of the attack give a baseline indicating whether or not the survivor was pregnant or infected at the time of the attack.  Many diseases, including Pregnancy, take up to six weeks to surface.

*

H.V. CRAMOND is the Poetry Editor for and a Co-founder of Requited Journal for Innovative Art and a Writing Instructor at Loyola University Chicago. She holds an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has received grants from the Illinois Arts Council and the City of Chicago’s Community Arts Assistance Program.Her poem “War of Attrition” was a finalist in the 2013 Split This Rock Poetry Festival Contest judged by Mark Doty.  Some recent work can be found in Soundless Poetry, Keep Going, Wunderkammer, Ignavia, death hums, and Pandora’s Box (Southport Press, 2011).  Read more of her writing at hvcramond.com.

The future terrifies

The future terrifies.
Care is a mammal emotion.
Remember when it used to snow
and leaves changed to colors
other than yellow and took
months to fall off trees?
Let me say it again:
The future terrifies.
Things are coming for us.
What they are
we don’t know.
Death becomes more real
and thus more inconceivable
for being real.
The Imperial Theme from Star Wars blares
from my neighborhood firehouse.
Technique as a medium for expression.
The universe is a finite thing
growing into something infinite
if you’re willing to wait forever.
Or it’s always infinite.
Either way, a minute is a long time
in a microwave.
Either way, it’s difficult
not to think we’re in
the final days
of some ruinous experiment.

“Keep looking for reality. You’ll drive yourself crazier and crazier,” says Jany in Kathy Acker’s Blood and Guts in High School, a book where things start off horribly and end even worse.

“But the whole aim of civilization is to make everything a source of enjoyment,” says Oblonksy in Tolstoy’s Anna Kerenina, where things begin “very easy and simply” and end terribly, in part because they were never really that easy and simple to begin with.

“Shame on you if you’re not thinking every single year, ‘What’s my next step?’ ” says my career coach.

—————————Be still

————————————-my dying heart

—————————Just minutes ago

————————————————I was young

————————————–What’s on my mind

—————————is on my mind

——————————What’s your story,

———————————————–world

“We are the music makers. We are the dreamers of dreams,” says Willy Wonka.

“They’re just humans with wives and children,” says the Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne.

——————————–Empathy is a biological emotion
——————————–A specific chemical
——————————–progression
Last night I dreamt I was Captain America
——————————-shitting himself

——————————–Water sizzling on a burned man’s skin
——————————–as it runs over his legs from the spigot

*
Justin Marks’ first book of poems is A Million in Prizes (New Issues, 2009), and his latest chapbook is Best Practices (Greying Ghost, 2013). Recent work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Barrelhouse, Leveler and Interrupture. He is a co-founder of Birds, LLC, an independent poetry press, and lives in Queens, NY with his wife and their 4 year-old twin son and daughter.

A number of events

A number of events conspired to prevent me from—
———————no, they didn’t

To an event there is no me

What there is———–is resistant

——————-Spin around—-Look
——————-nonchalant

A gull arcing out
————over the inlet is such
——————————–a long way to go

Two bananas, some apples

The offers——————–come pouring in

*
Justin Marks’ first book of poems is A Million in Prizes (New Issues, 2009), and his latest chapbook is Best Practices (Greying Ghost, 2013). Recent work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Barrelhouse, Leveler and Interrupture. He is a co-founder of Birds, LLC, an independent poetry press, and lives in Queens, NY with his wife and their 4 year-old twin son and daughter.

HETERONOMY

You may recall from an earlier poem that I was kicked out of heaven for using the N-
word
Well –

Not exactly – it was more of a bardo … and I was really just quoting

But it made me wonder – what’s the difference between shame and karma?

This is not figured out by thinking so much as by returning from the dead
Which means I guess if poetry were television
this would be a kind of Season 6 of Buffy
I mean I’m back
My friends have brought me back
*
As from a dream I woke into my life and wondered at the architecture
It was nothing special: Farragut North
But coming up from under it was sweet to smell the earth
It was sweet to hear the young pronounce on what the critics to date have
overlooked
I had the last three words of my novel composed but I couldn’t make the story
reach them
Part of me was thinking, wait, that time-warp-island show is still on the air?
Part of me thought, shut up journalism and act like the advertising you are
Walls within walls / a clear enclosure / Roman fountains and a curvature that
always keeps you safe / If you want to be safe
And from my window you could see the weapons corridor
I followed it down hollows, I followed it down dales
Virginia, Alabama, California –
But once again my story became a poem: a poem in which I wake to find I’ve missed
the social history that added a “z” to “for real”
False fronts on the empty condos / balconies that aren’t / unpaid rent and plant life
tacked on as an afterthought
It was sweet to smell the earth
The poem was the horizon
*
Meanwhile against the grain of the general austerity the capital rebuilds itself
Holes dug deep by work crews drawn from far beyond DC – DC feeling layered like
an Alexandria
And what does a poet know about that? Next to nothing –
Though I do wonder, what if all the little cafes had names that were just three-letter
acronyms, and the property developers were called Aquarius and Paradise?
Meanwhile against the grain of the general austerity, I’ve got time away from work
*
Watching a newborn, especially at night, is like watching someone return from the
forest – someone you can tell has only just now folded up a tent –
Or in reverse – a tent fold up itself – become just sticks – at last geometry – slim
enough to get beneath the rind of the world and slip back out …
Standing over him at night I wish I understood topology
How does the soul come back around? Is it shuffled like a deck of cards? Is it
instantaneous? Does it happen only at antipodes?
At midnight on the first of March – at 38 degrees and 50 minutes – I lay in dreams
I wobbled mid-meridian
I did though have a vivid sense of coming back into the size of things
Night had knit the streets together
Child-world / diorama / miniature of valley under stars
Then the melancholy feeling that the miniature had maybe been the actual size – that
what I took for actuality was just projection …
4am – embarrassed by the unegoic chirring of the birds – ego drowning out what’s
evident from even just the lightest breeze –
Connectedness –
Environmentalists of a certain stripe like to point out scornfully how many diapers the
average American baby goes through in its first few years –
Sure –
But there’s also simply what it means to be a species, which is to soak up resources and
create waste —
I mean look at that goose shit —
The species-shame, the American shame we feel on the left – we teach ourselves that
shame is what will mark us off us from the right – it’s immobilizing –
The thing that should distinguish us from the right is the refusal of all exploitation —
I just don’t think self-hatred is what shame is for
I do think shame is a species of pride – crushed, inverted pride – and speaking as
someone who has been continuously ashamed since the age of 13, I think I can
say regret is better
Those dancers make me feel I’ve wasted my life
On the other hand so be it
At least in middle age I have intermittent access to this mostly un-trippy sense of
cosmos, which I’ve come to see as a poetic resource –
That doesn’t suck –
There’s a kind of Colorado in me
Alpine valley under stars –
There’s a lemon-yellow sunlight over the harbor in Sydney –
And in poetry I sense that everyone can go there
We don’t suck, do you hear me?
If we failed it was by cruelty to each other, not because of human nature
*
There’s a moment near the end of “Down at The Cross” where Baldwin writes,
“When I was very young, and was dealing with my buddies in those
wine- and urine-stained hallways, something in me wondered,
What will happen to all that beauty?”
This never fails to make me think of Hurston, startled and amused by white
standoffishness –
“How can anyone deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.”
She calls the vantage from which this thought is possible “Cosmic Zora” –
And you wonder why I was curious about the N-word
*
Here in Union Station – pigeons sailing through the ductwork overhead
At intervals along the wall a gleaming video of plans for renovation
It alternates with episodes of a single long low-budget telenovela by TSA –
It is glorious
But whoever builds it – who will build the ductwork in the 22nd century?
I remember Chris Sturr telling me about a date he had once with a little Cambridge
preppy, eating underneath the atrium of some 80’s Atheneum, and saying with
staged innocence, gee, I wonder what all this will be used for, after the revolution …
“Gleaming” is an Oppen word, he uses it for opulence, for decadence
It doesn’t apply right now – DC’s no New York – but it may gleam yet
Speculation architecture for the contractor class
Rooftop pools and tiki torches
And underneath all that? And inside it?
*
I wrote a little book of poetry
while Rome burned. Rome burned
in 2001. In Latin
it was called, It’s All Good –
Friends far away
Poetry a joke
Alone on my memory foam
When the sun rose —
Rome is in Seattle
The ferry ride is nine songs long
This one wants to be late grunge but it’s just grunge-themed
This one’s bridge is in a minor key, toying with dolor
I want to say “roil” and have it mean “head-rush”
I need to write “sound” and have it mean “history”
Making time pass – accumulating stuff to make a shape with – it’s not even experience, it’s too thin –
Shapely stupor
Stupid vapor
The roil of the sound
*
I almost called that one “Prose Merlin,” since I kept rewinding the playlist
Also because loneliness is prose, if in prose you feel the world pass by around you
But maybe that’s more Rip van Winkle –
Heroes, sidekicks, anti-heroes –
Each more lonely than the other
*
It’s a delicate thing, to touch down lightly on heroic narratives for purposes not epic
I’d hate to end up Alexandrian – making snarky little lyric figures out of earlier escapades, thinking there’s          no future –
“And if one’s life is meaningless and existence is pointless, if the emperor
should fall from his parade horse or choke on a fishbone and the bad
times rush back, sweep through the boulevards, burn down the library?
Idle, foolish, neurotic thoughts. There is no danger here …”
That’s WR Johnson on Callimachus – completely charming – but boy that passage
makes me blush –
Twice over actually – first because what poet living in the great metropoli today
doesn’t recognize her city in it?
Second because elite obliviousness is always coded gay
*
To feel as if by actual touch the curve of the pulsing forearm gripping the handle in
front of your seat –
To look up saying sorry as you bump the elbow of that forearm on your way out of the
train –
The kernel of that feeling – the part that comes from far away –
I think whenever you felt it, in austere modernity above a skyline, or in the back of some
pub on the pilgrim’s way –
I think wherever you are when you feel this, you’re in a kind of meadow –
And – I don’t know how to explain – I think no matter how we all go down together, by
whichever combination of terminal failures –
Whether the landscape after is a ravaged wasteland or a wide plain, hushed –
I think however we die out, we’ll have died in that meadow
*
On the final night of the insomnia in which I wrote this poem I had a visit from a demon
named Lysander
It was a homoerotic demon – he was shirtless, and muscular, and wearing headphones,
which he placed on me
The purpose of this I think was to make me feel my heteronomy
The headphones played the sound of suffering
It made no harmony – it wasn’t like white noise, or any threnody –
It was the sound of time itself in agony
And throughout the long expanding minutes when that sound was all I heard, I spun
around the axis of Lysander’s eyes – his statue-eyes and creaturely eyes    by
turn –
Then something entered them – he was beseeching me –
I saw what demons are
And just when I could bear no more he slipped the headphones off me –
Just as I was crying out,
“No! Please – will this never end?”
All the monads silent –
“Of course,” he said,
and touched my ear.

***

Chris Nealon is the author of two books of literary criticism, Foundlings: Lesbian and Gay Historical Emotion before Stonewall, and The Matter of Capital: Poetry and Crisis in The American Century, as well as two books of poems, The Joyous Age and Plummet, and a recent chapbook, The Dial.  He teaches in the English Department at Johns Hopkins University, and lives in Washington, DC.

Figure, With Multitude

Rain on the roof. The lilies have shot up
a bevy of stalks, green highrises,
each loaded with several buds,
that could start exploding
silently any night now.  I am alone,
but I am not alone.  On the computer,
I could video chat with a woman
in Singapore.  I could talk to the hearts
alive this very instant in Prague.
The smoke is leaving the stacks of Lanzhou.
The blackened men who all day shoveled out
the charcoal kilns of Brazil, sleep now
in the common room watching soccer.
It would be easier if I were alone.
I am not alone.  We are here together,
but we are not together.  The rain behind my cottage
is rushing through, making its clear-haired
sound through the soundless dark
of no human ear.  The desert sun on my back
may or may not lead me to freedom.
I am standing in the door of the pink light.
I am a pink light in an empty alley,
waiting to be recognized in my meaning.
The stone in my hand is a small weapon indeed
against the constellation of my still-born dreams.
I am calling the tendrils and the curling wisp.
I am calling the dark vapors, the molecules
of car commercials moist against my lids,
my closed buds any night now could explode.
We are alone, but we are not alone,
but it would be better if we were alone.
Or if we were together.  A pile of lemons.
Men in white bibs.  I am giving out
cheese samples.  I am slicing the tears
into small bite-sized bits, but it would be better
if we were not alone like this.

*

Sam Taylor is the author of Body of the World (Ausable/Copper Canyon) and the forthcoming collection, Nude Descending an Empire (Pitt Poetry Series, 2014), which develops the lyrical voice of a citizen-poet engaged with history, politics, and our contemporary moment.  He is an Assistant Professor in the MFA program at Wichita State University.  You can read more of his work on the web at www.samtaylor.us.

The Book of Things

Obscene to walk through the world with eyes
open. With feet soles spread in the naked clover.
A moment ago, outside, the black butterfly
folded his wings and slid his whole body
into the speckled throat of the tiger lily.
Now, the wooden spoons, face up, huddle together
in the metal pitcher beside the sink.
Who will comfort the millions carrying their loads?
The leanto of the wood cutting board
propped against the wall, behind the toaster.
The giant mason jar, half-filled with red lentils.
Each thing is a sentence, a subject and verb,
the event of itself, perishing in ever more slivered
ecstasy. On the counter, a six-pack of Guinness.
The bananas discovering, one spot at a time,
the well of darkness that waits for them.
Or: What cool river will smooth the foreheads
and families of the disappeared? What museum
will house the final poses of those who died
in the streets of Nanking and Nagasaki?
The colander turned upside down in the dish rack.
The tea kettle steaming, but still silent.
It is obscene to walk through the world
with eyes open. And now I have picked the blackberries
and shaken the cream, to eat with this woman,
her long back lined with light gold-black hairs,
the bell of her secret cry still alive inside me,
though it is another, whom I cannot go to, that I love.

*

Sam Taylor is the author of Body of the World (Ausable/Copper Canyon) and the forthcoming collection, Nude Descending an Empire (Pitt Poetry Series, 2014), which develops the lyrical voice of a citizen-poet engaged with history, politics, and our contemporary moment.  He is an Assistant Professor in the MFA program at Wichita State University.  You can read more of his work on the web at www.samtaylor.us.