Category: Issue 12

the dead

the dead come dropping down
this time of year, as tanks pass
through neighborhoods of
flame, causing traffic jams
the radio plays questions:
when was your last kiss?
can a tank be a poem?
do airplanes fall in fields
of sunflowers?
everything that was once
new, has become our future
there are no clear paths to the sea
where lovers roll naked
in sand, and hotel strips
and bars are still taking down
the screens from World Cup
dreams, where roses grow
in ashtrays and last sunsets
fade into sorbet, summer
haze is burning steel
and camouflage now, every tire
a weapon, the mass destruction
of clouds mar our skies, as breaths
expand and wind contracts, the years
take themselves apart, hot
like bonfires on mountain-tops
smoke signals and the nightly
sound of gunfire or fireworks
you pick. give me your alcoholic
stars, your burned-out flocks of home-
made rockets, ice-popsicles and dreams
tell me: do televisions lie?
the wind is granulated here
cities are burning
when was your last kiss?

 

 

***

 

Rena Rossner is a graduate of the Writing Seminars program at The Johns Hopkins University. She also holds degrees from Trinity College Dublin and McGill University. She currently works as a literary and foreign rights agent at The Deborah Harris Agency in Jerusalem, Israel. Her poetry and short fiction has been published or is forthcoming from Carve Magazine, Midwest Quarterly, The Mayo Review, Thin Air Magazine, Rattle, Chicago Literati, Arc 23, JewishFiction.net and more. Her cookbook, Eating the Bible, has been translated into 5 language and is published by Skyhorse Press.

Chaosmosis Engine

Financial Black Hole and the Vanishing World

When crisis seems more crisis
than economics the collapse

of dangers is replaced
in the machine by awakening

hidden nights of rage in English
suburbs. Algorithmic spells

of cognitive labor, intellect
dispossessed of the erotic.

Automatism of the human
swarm . The happy ending

is hypercomplex interfaces
trapped in inescapable

patterns. Invasion of the possible.
Financial obligation is a swarm.

Your rebellion is irrelevant,
is a swarm provoked by debt

of the symbolic family. Privatization
of dependence means more

information means less meaning.
The escape of the word

into financial formats.
Parthogenesis:

***

Semio-Inflation

Signs
**************without
*******flesh
realized
*******through
*********************search
**************engines.

A sphere of hyperinclusion.
*******The magic
of value without muscular
work dissolving products
**************into motors.
Voice reactivation.

Abandonment of the emotional.
The desiring force reduced
*******to protocols.
The voice is reemergence
**************of recombinability.

*******Sensuousness exploding.
An infinite slippage of sensuousness.
The monstruous singularity
cannot be compassionate,

*******open to becoming
other. A desert enunciation.
Poison of daily life. The oil

of eviction. Perturbation in response
to perturbation. Autonomy:

**************the ability to escape.

***

Future Exhaustion and Happy Frugality

Chaosmosis is the network,******* polysemy of mimickry.

Scriptural machines and their avatars exchange voice

for submission.********************* An umbilical of extrinsic

coordinates at the junction of ambiguity and standardization.

Enunciation is the rhizome. *******The disaster of subjectivity.

The subjectivity of disaster******* An acceleration of loneliness.

Extinction is finite.******* Desire, infinite.******* The sensitive

organism is the threshold.******* We cannot think. We cannot

say.******* What we cannot say is the world.******* The world

resides in language.******* Digital finance is a closed reality.

A new barbarism.******* The violence of finitude.

The ironic act traversing the logic of excess.******* The game

to create,******* to play,********************* to shuffle, a mechanism

to disentangle age and act************** from the limits of debt.

*Sections titles are extracted from Franco “Bifo” Berardi’s “The Uprising. Lines are reconfigurations and erasures from the same text.

***

Vincent Toro has an MFA in poetry from Rutgers University. He is winner of the 2015 Sawtooth Poetry Prize and is recipient of a Poet’s House Emerging Poets Fellowship and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. His poems have been published in The Buenos Aires Review, The Acentos Review, Codex, The Journal, and in the anthologies CHORUS: A Literary Mixtape, and The Waiting Room Reader 2. He lives and teaches in The Bronx with his wife, writer and scholar Dr. Grisel Acosta. His collection, “Stereo.Island.Mosaic.” is forthcoming in January 2016 from Ahasahta Press.

Mercator Projections

Nancy Flynn

***

Nancy Flynn grew up on the Susquehanna River in northeastern Pennsylvania, spent many years on a downtown creek in Ithaca, New York, and now lives near the mighty Columbia in Portland, Oregon. Her writing has received an Oregon Literary Fellowship and the James Jones First Novel Fellowship. Poetry chapbooks include The Hours of Us (2007) and Eternity a Coal’s Throw (2012); her book-length collection, Every Door Recklessly Ajar, was published by Cayuga Lake Books in June 2015. Her website is www.nancyflynn.com.

[IS]LAND

Into a yellowing spring. I now see

Eleven years into my adulthood

I am a woman who will empty herself

Of resistance upon encounter of light,

Of any color.

I do not hesitate to drive, or even walk,

In the direction of deep shades

Of zodiacal darkening. Of the hot

Pink electronic emptiness

Released in any neighbor’s window. What is worse is when
An area
Unexpectedly unlocks, whitens and blinds. I

Am unlikely to open my own mail. Unbound,

I like to live
Lightly, in love with loosed earth, unlimited

To dirt, demarcated not by roots or the limbs

Of other’s trees, but by fallen leaves, the wash
Off graves. I know I sound like a little ghoul
Girl but too often I want to stand at a platform, a sub

Way structure ajar into winter and not wish for other

Seasons or times, of course I have lived all these

Years under and I am committed to understanding

The intent of animals with eyes not opened
Up all the way. Moles, little rock babies, unhaired

Fatty mammals don’t differentiate between

Dream and day, do not invent a thing like
A curtain. What is furniture except another
Apparatus
A way to insist on eating inside a human house? I

Try harder & I try higher to send sounds through
The tubes & tunnels that access womanish words, I

Pull closed the shower door, I cover my nails beds
With lacquer and shine and in another effort at imposs

Ible peopling, I speak and sound like ideas. Red, pink
Plastic carnations, photos, other fancy trash

Flooded out from the uppermost monuments

Fence the edges of the memory garden. Far
Away a flying thing rings itself with its own

Feathers, it takes hours and it takes hours and

It happens everyday and as I approach the season
Of the extension of the light

I try also
To enter the circlet, to be not only surrounded but touched

***

Candice Wuehle is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in Iowa City, Iowa where she has taught rhetoric and creative writing at The University of Iowa. She holds a Masters in Literature from the University of Minnesota and is a PhD candidate at the University of Kansas.

Her work can be found in “The Volta”, “NOO”, “Fairy Tale Review”, “BlazeVOX”, “SOFTBLOW”, “Smoking Glue Gun”, “Quarter After Eight”, “Similar:Peaks::” and “The Sonora Review”. Candice’s first chapbook, “cursewords”, is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press.

[shift work]

I’m not sure how I decided
********to join the living but I know
****************when it began: that winter so long
********persimmons lasted until April
****************& the neighbors hissed until three a.m.

Pigeons flared in my rafters: a susurrus
********of oiled wings. Snow clung
****************stubborn as shower scum.
********On the train we rocked
************************as one, a catamaran pitch
********in green waves, a rocket
********************************toward where the exit would be.

I got better at taking the garbage out
********************************& making less. At the idea
********of getting better. The fridge hummed low
************************with the wings. I kept
********a box of smoke and a fever beneath my bed.
************************Blew on them before sleep,
************************made a wish.

I thought of the jobs I thought I’d do.
********The job I did. Got up,
****************went to work. Aligned my boots so
****************************************careful on the platform.
****************Ate the last persimmon.
********************************Went dark inside.

***

Nina Puro’s work is forthcoming or recently appeared in Guernica, H_ngm_n, the PEN America Poetry Series, and other places. She is a member of the Belladonna* Collaborative and the author of The Winter Palace (dancing girl press, 2015). She lives and works in Brooklyn.

11-18: “Nearly 400 children rescued from global child pornography ring”

In the article there is a photograph of the inspector:
she looks defeated
*******Thousands
*******& thousands
*******of images
though her team has just won a seven month battle
*******of hundreds of once-bright-eyed children
and those 45 terabytes she never wanted to see
can now crack into jagged pixels
*******A terabyte
*******is 1,024 gigabytes
*******and that multiplied by 45
She knew she hadn’t been born into a safe world
she thought she could make it one
and some days it seems she does
*******= thousands of images
*******of children
*******arranged
*******in ways that make the most money
She and her team busted
348 working class people
who had found a profitable business
a lucrative desecration
*******40 school teachers
*******9 physicians
*******6 officers of the law
*******9 clergymen
*******….
Professionals and officials chosen to protect and nurture
what they filmed
united with 284 others
in a pan-continental network
producing X-rated videos of five-twelve year olds
in their spare time and on their off-days
the evidence
that they sold the arrangements
was all there for her to inspect on their computers
*******The youth baseball coach
*******boosted his income
*******after practices
*******from the privacy of his den
*******keeping 500 films secret
Horrified, she told the press, horrified. How many more?
*******Mostly she wishes she just hadn’t seen
Today the newspaper says
400 five-twelve year olds are set free
into an unsafe world
to figure out how to mend someday
from something that they cannot delete

Maybe she thinks
*******if we live in a world where
*******thousands of people
*******in plain clothes
*******in lab coats
*******in uniform
*******feel happy
*******when they look
*******at naked children and the dollars that follow
*******so effortlessly
*******there is no doubt
*******that hell exists
*******that it’s humanmade
*******that it’s local
and she’s barely crossed the threshold
Maybe she thinks
*******there is no doubt
*******who will inherit the earth
*******and who will
*******bow before them
but for now
she lives in a world where everyday people rearrange
even what is most untainted
until it gratifies
flows like milk
*******and there is nothing she can do to unsee it
For a hero her head tilted forward and her eyes
staring under the floorboards
her photograph says
*******some battles cannot be celebrated.

***

Jessica Martini received her MFA in Poetry and Creative Nonfiction from Northern Arizona University. Her poetry has been featured inWritten River: A Journal of Eco-Poetics, White Ash Literary Magazine, If and Only If: A Journal of Body Image and Eating Disorders, and Golden Walkman Magazine. She lives in Flagstaff.

a manual of foreign seasons

i am at the war
they say it’s real this time

sipping my hotdog and lemonade
i cast my line over the revolving sky

of north america, pull it back
fishless—the bleachers are cold

in the unspooled sun, the scale
points north, a history of our black music—

putting the hotdog back
in the fridge in saran wrap, news

of a varnished rose reaches me
filthy rumors, threadbare levers

on a reservoir of diffuse intent—down
at the third shift

in the factory of facts about the war
where i work the refridgerator isle

dreams slide open
and the lights slam off

but luckily we just got in
some sophisticated scope operators for our temporal adverbs—

this won’t come as a shock because you got my message
but we are now representing a new client,

in the end, ourselves, but only
as representation itself, the unmediated touch of words

nothing outside the world—
after the first good rain of spring

italian airmen accumulate
around the bulletproof

mannequins, investigating
their distant stares with fishhooks

which lead them back
into the stomach of a swan

but the investigation can’t begin
until the budget comes in

and the tide goes out
and the DNA swabs

of the victim’s eyes
clear canadian customs

in the radiant urn-sun
where the splitting branches of the elm

multiply simple fractions—i left
the office early expecting war

we need to get out
of the office sometime

and remember to remember
to remember—the blinds

are snapping up the sunlight
like hogdogs—as a training experiment the police

pull over my friend van green in his blue
bmw convertible, grab him from the car

at gunpoint, handcuff him on the ground
with their knees in his back, breaking his watch and

glasses before they search his car, then
release him—the future forms

from failed metaphors in the moist climate
under vinyl carpeting, thrives during gestation

on powdered vicodin and the general
shape of socialist eschatology unfolding above—i love

the tulip tree,
i love that tulip tree, it’s important

somehow—i am at the war
a can of chicken of the sea

open in my hand, the scale
on the fulcrum of a moth points its levers

north from a lion-pawed bathtub
of breakfasts i’ve embalmed with hairspray and vaseline,

offerings to our apollo of guadalupe, protector of the unborn
and in the next two frames

the dream slides open
and the lights slam off

***

Joshua Krugman lives in Glover, Vermont, where he works as a puppeteer with the Bread and Puppet Theater. His poems have appeared in Osiris and The Bitter Oleander.

 

scum troughs

dissilient dissident,
malcontent revolteur,

****************************a repetition of mediums seems kind of filthy
*
*
*
*

the couleur of shroud

an ethereal pout

dragging******** twitching
*
*
*
*

From your derelict scum troughs
I am scathing you into a laden halt
begging until it seems common

*
*
*
If you despised their ferocity******** you should not have spelled heretic so beautifully
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
****************************************Barren little concerned ink,
****************************************a well could hardly have defended your fall.

***

Brit Parks is a poet and artist. She is the recipient of The Claire Rosen and Samuel Edes Emerging Artist Semi-Finalist Fellowship. She received both her Master of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is featured in the current issue of RINE and was previously published in after hours. She has exhibited her films at The Chicago Underground Film Festival and Chicago Filmmakers. She resided in New York for ten years and currently lives in Seattle.

Dear Israel,

It would take me a full day to get to you.
Still, I cannot be your hero. All I am is sand,
my arms full of words, mini war birds
of zero impact, time and air on a sparrow’s brow.
Still, I see you. My mind full of words and arms.

***

Along with poetry, Andrea Collins writes short stories and essays. Her work has appeared in The Rumpus, Plath Profiles, Bridge Eight, and Off The Rocks. She is an IMA Creative Writing graduate from Antioch University Midwest. She earned her BA with a concentration in creative writing from Wittenberg University. She is currently working on a memoir, many poems, and outreach projects as an intern with Women Writing for (a) Change.

Poem Made of East Sides

I trace the stitching of clouds in the blue sheet of sky stretching above the long slab of our lives, this autopsy I start with words, toe tagging the people we were.
Zip guns and the zigzag line of clothesline across the East Side sky. Your grandfather riding his bike, humming in Polish, Kishka and a loaf of bread in a bag. Before and after the wars, we are always riding our bikes in the rain.
The only light we have in our lives is the light from broken glass.
Nothing that is whole is art.
That woman I passed waiting in the rain, in her Wendy’s uniform, sitting on an overturned shopping cart someone had wheeled from the Plaza, tired of standing one time too many waiting for the bus.
Scoring in the Safeway parking lot.
The tight noose along the arm, the pock marked wrists. Michele you haunt me lately,
20 years ago, in a East side three flight tenement (we used to walk up three flights of outside stairs to get to your room, to get to how many rooms? We didn’t question anything back then.)
“I think of my mother, the chemo, the endless tests, her pocked arm.”
The difference is when I see a hypodermic I don’t see my childhood
doctor, the visit, the memory of first shots, I see my dead.
I walked by a doorway in Cleveland Heights, an addict or runaway or both, a girl with a nose ring, the wisp of her thick eyebrows, her dirty dreadlocked white girl hair, with the face of someone
I used to know, a name I uttered softly as the rain falling on both our heads.
The shine of a stranger’s hand as she reaches towards me.

The bruises on our elbows and shins.

We are two lanterns burning our own inexhaustible oils.

We are the outstretched autobiography of our razored limbs.

***

Sean Thomas Dougherty is the author or editor of 13 books including All You Ask for Is Longing: Poems 1994- 2014 (2014 BOA Editions) and Scything Grace (2013 Etruscan Press). Recent poems in North American Review, and Best American Poetry 2014. He works in a pool hall in Erie, PA.