Category: Issue 14

Coming to Terms with Your Nuclear Heritage: Deploying


Every use becomes a metaphor


for using. Every metaphor for using


becomes a reason for using, a link in the chain


that has evolved as a chain of pure thought,


a chain that fattens or shrinks as a thought


may fatten or shrink in any given moment, untouched


as it goes in the grove of the mind. Each tree


makes way for the next while managing


to feed itself fully on the light. Wait.


Were we speaking of metal or wood


just now? Am I lost?


The goal, after all:


The word Manhattan


is a woman wishing so much


for affection


that no one will give her any;


and, for added irony,


the general’s home address. Reorient.


As he would say, Recast necessary but unsavory


violations of logic, not


see what is possible, but


see what is possible




Seen through, his language-environments


have grown greedy, speak


nuclear heritage,


define bomb


as birthright. Right. Ask:



Was your grandfather in the war?


Does your dad work at the lab?


Why are you writing about this, again?





Sara Sams is a poet, essayist & literary translator from Oak Ridge, TN. She earned a B.A. in English from Davidson College and an M.F.A. in Poetry from Arizona State University. She has taught ESL in Granada, Spain & creative writing at the National University of Singapore. She currently teaches composition for second language learners at ASU.

Internet Daul Dreams


Saving for her chrome hearts rolex

Uncountable by definition, Uncounted applicant!

Bruised in the right places complex


Search her narrow paris duplex

Their caricature, fable, our mythly immortal immigrant

Saving for a chrome hearts rolex


Not once 20 yet fully annexed

Internet farewells from the formless clairvoyant

Bruised through the disposal complex


Packaging lust to suppress her sex

“So I can buy” I am working so I can buy: Defendant

Saving for this feyed chrome hearts rolex


Pillage vastly through the artist index

Self possessed, vampire’s prey. Same faced aberrants

Bruised inside our bones complex


Break time to join us beneath the vortex

To long for destroyed, tranced combatants—

Saving for my chrome hearts rolex

Beholden to one unforgiving complex




Eunsong Kim is a writer and educator residing in southern California. Her essays on literature, digital cultures, and art criticism have appeared and are forthcoming in: Scapegoat, Lateral, The New Inquiry, Model View Culture, AAWW’s The Margins, and in the book anthologies, Global Poetics, Critical Archival Studies, and Reading Modernism with Machines. Her poetry has been published in: Denver Quarterly, Seattle Review, Feral Feminisms, Minnesota Review, Iowa Review, and Action Yes. Her first book will be published by Noemi press in 2017.







Fur Coats

Her gesture happened as

three fur coats for daughters

of law

each one more extinct than the other

her gestures started there.


Ten years into the marriage

All three daughters sold their coats

to someone of safe distance

and proclaimed to never have liked the

material in the first place



This is where they belong now—their belonging:



Coat Number 1:



Was sold to an acquaintance that was becoming wealthy due to an unexpectedly talented marriage. The daughter by law wanted a new coat because she wanted to show her own in laws that no one would should expect the burden of opulence (the mannerless son, they sighed) with the exception of her.


So when it was bought and cleaned, renewed in her name she understood that she did not need it and purchased another cleaner newer fur extension.


It was delivered in their kind of a lunch bag, made of printed cloth to the original seller.  Left on the front steps with a kind note, about souvenirs and good times.


Unfortunately, the new owner and the husband had already financially collapsed and moved to a smaller house with smaller means.


The coat sat tested, weathered.  The skin taken, seconded and dramatically abandoned.


The mailman decided, without opening the wrapped cloth, to move it to the public trash bin where it was taken to the local waste and accidentally dropped into the ocean by a young, good-hearted boy in training.


It now sits at the bottom of somewhere warm, under a pile of heavy and broken things.  The hairs have mostly come undone and are desiring to float above.  This skin remembers no one, honest, still.




Coat Number 2:



The second daughter dined with celebrity friends.  Middle mannered, middle success.  They borrowed objects to keep, traded object stories, bartered with experience.


Her coat was bartered for invaluable estate jewelry, she told her coworkers.  I’m a vegan anyhow, she said, politically inclined towards rocks and recycling.  This was not her joke inside.


Once acquired her friend took the coat to a tailor to create and update its look—shed the weight, the length, the boxy manner of its guide.  The ends scorned, falling, scrap material of no use.


Stretched beneath it now clings to her waist as clever as thinned velvet.  She walks in slowly, stalling and patiently requires the assistance of removal before sitting.





Coat Number 3:




Coat number 3 explored fantasies, decadence and revenge.  Too bad, she thought, as she watched her still friend, holding flowers, eyes solid, pressed thin.  Too bad I agreed.


When they closed the casket she wondered how horrible would it be—if I asked for its return?  I could pay more for it, have it cleaned.  I would never wear it again: swear.


I would keep it in draped plastic bags, dark, alone.


But there was no polite way to make such a request.


So she used mnemonic devices, photographing, gossiping


Mnemonic devices: loneliness instead.


Obituary Notes


  1. This is what disposable income looks like?


  1. To tame, of tame, for tame


  1. Preservation as colonialist keeps


  1. A lifetime of the wrong ideas


  1. I already spent it all!


  1. It’s always felt like mine—


  1. & for her daughter:


  1. To all the moments you said there was no one else—




Eunsong Kim is a writer and educator residing in southern California. Her essays on literature, digital cultures, and art criticism have appeared and are forthcoming in: Scapegoat, Lateral, The New Inquiry, Model View Culture, AAWW’s The Margins, and in the book anthologies, Global Poetics, Critical Archival Studies, and Reading Modernism with Machines. Her poetry has been published in: Denver Quarterly, Seattle Review, Feral Feminisms, Minnesota Review, Iowa Review, and Action Yes. Her first book will be published by Noemi press in 2017.

Ars Poetica


if I write a poem

will you believe you’re alive


I write two poems today

one about your disappearance


and another about their protests

I write them together


in protest. I write them together side by side

trying to remember if I collected


all of my hairs the last time

the time before


and the time before that

have my loose ends swayed


I ask my second poem about

their time on the streets


I ask my second poem don’t regret it

regret nothing. we don’t regret


they will not hire you but we don’t regret it

and remember how you did agree


on two treats. one sugar,

one whole


how you made me feel I could

get into my car and wave


goodbye detached from



and who am I kidding

the second poem


and every protest is—you

the dishes, yesterday’s clippings, every photograph


“죽음의 시간은 여기까지이길”


Let this be the end


vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvfor the time of death—





If Nothing, The Land

i. the toughest sheriff in the world

There is no other bad than what I say’s bad.

It’s tough-living on this land. Miles of desert,

undeveloped; the interstates, mostly unmanned,

are threads unspooled down broad hallways.

Beyond their edge: the space is dead,

a rogue trailer or redskin reservation.

Backward problems

of methamphetamine and rape. Those doors

have their own police, their own dumb justice.

I concern my posse with invasion. Paperless

beaners. Rust that ruins a polish.

Uneatable animals doing no man any good,

unless buried to cease the flies and the stink.


ii. flock of Seagals

If not thousands than millions of hours

I’ve played bang-bang; nabbed bad guy

brownies in kung fu-grip shoot-em-ups.

Who’s better fit to patrol kids in tiny pants

than a convicted man? Limits,

like borders, stretch thin and tear. If anyone

can get a gun then shouldn’t everyone

have one at the ready, like in the glory days:

a round up of savages, spics, and spooks out

to devalue our kids, good at killing their own.

I learned from watching birds nestled within

cacti: though there might be many, a single bird

more makes another cavity, an eventual collapse.


iii. come mierda para el desayuno

Chickens dismantle, like pit crews can

a vehicle, scorpions quickly.

Urged forward by pickers hens bob

and amble over fallen oranges, bruised grapefruit;

seek pincers, stingers, exoskeletons;

their urgent work efficient.

Back at the coop stubborn roosters fight;

bloody and unfeather each other

until the losers peck frail chicks from the clutch,

strew limp bodies beneath florescent light.

The hens return, squawk and circle the carcasses,

until the migrants transfer them in sacks

meant for citrus to anonymous holes on the land.




Bojan Louis is a member of the Navajo Nation — Naakai Dine’é; Ashiihí; Ta’neezahnii; Bilgáana. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Kenyon Review, Platte Valley Review, Hinchas de Poesía, American Indian Research and Culture Journal, and Black Renaissance Noire; his fiction in Alaska Quarterly Review, Yellow Medicine Review, and Off the Path: An Anthology of 21st Century American Indian Writers Volume 2; his creative nonfiction in As/Us Journal andMudCity Journal. He is the author of the nonfiction chapbook, Troubleshooting Silence in Arizona (Guillotine Series, 2012). He has been a resident at The MacDowell Colony. He is full-time English Instructor at Arizona State University’s Downtown Campus. Formerly Co-editor at Waxwing he is currently Poetry Editor at RED INK: An International Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art, and Humanities.  

Call Kindness an Anti-currency

Call kindness sweat or carbon dioxide

expelled.  The essence of exchange


between organisms. A natural resource

that can’t be stockpiled or charged interest.


Call it a setting free, not a paying.

Call it rhythm. To flow rather than forge.


A word unsaid. An action delayed.

Call it renewable. Accepting it is anti-sin


for it is a current called to work its work

through and through—and through you.


And as all things held too long become weight,

kindness won’t require your hands


or handsomeness or donations.

It requires no self-deprecation


or peacekeepers armed to the teeth

atop green tanks. It is the tree left uncut.


The cell not yet turned against the body.

The opposite of the not quite white flag


you wave anxiously from your perch

in the first world. Why not become


conduit or watershed?  You too

are soft-wired synapse of sky.


Your life is the mouth of a river

that provides and doesn’t stop moving


for commandments or constitutions

or jihadists or lawmen. It is prayer


beneath the rubble.

The ounce of mercy.



Amanda Fuller is a native San Diegan who has circumnavigated the earth via ship.  She is a poet, translator, founding editor of Locked Horn Press, and currently teaches at San Diego State University. Her work has been published or is forthcoming with Poetry International, Serving House Journal, 5 Quarterly, Lunch Ticket, Cactus Heart, San Diego Poetry Annual, BlazeVOX, Fugue and elsewhere.


The City of Consciousness

is the same on every side if you can speak of sides when it’s the same,


even when you’re outside


you’re inside,


together with the neighbors you meet,


every meeting has minutes,


that’s the kind of neighborhood it is.


The halls are so narrow you have to turn sideways and flatten yourself against the wall, rubbing the way you polish a shoe,


I think we have an affinity for barriers


and also for entry.


Sometimes we move around in order to see if we end up in the same place or a different place, or somewhere in between,


circling around in order to go forward backward.


I don’t think there’s a center,


or a main entrance,


this is what the sign with the slanted line through the red circle means,


the floating red circle,


you don’t feel like it,


not right now.


It’s the kind of intimacy where you’re close to something you’re not even aware of.


The corners curve like the top of a radiator,


when you touch the walls the plaster has the consistency of peat moss, nourishing but not very solid,


thickening as it dissolves,


the walls don’t know anything about the space between the walls,


while the streets cross each other like strings in Cat’s Cradle, Jacob’s Ladder, Breastbone, in order of appearance,


pulling in one place


pulls in another,


there’s energy all over, do you think it needs to be used up?


The lights are on,


or else no lighting is needed.


We spend a lot of time putting things where they belong.


To save time we often follow the neighbors home,


going the same way


but not together,


when the signs tell us to yield


I’m not sure which of our desires they’re referring to.


Seen from above, the interior is an origami crane folded over itself,


overlapping like a bouquet or Venn diagram in which you’re in a lot of different places at the same time,


touching all over,


not lifting or flying away,


not outside the city,


which is already a sanctuary for folded birds.




Peter Leigh has previously published poems in Paris Review, Partisan Review, AGNI, Western Humanities Review, Cincinnati Review, Seneca Review, The Southampton Review, Cimarron, Hubbub, and other magazines.





Til Death Do Us Part: Approaching Josué Guébo’s My country, tonight

It is important, first, to realize that the country Josué Guébo refers to in the title, My country, tonight, is the Ivory Coast. Guébo’s poems respond to the civil wars that have been at the center of life in Côte d’Ivoire since the new millennium. The first civil war, following coups and a contested election, spanned from 2002 to 2007. The ongoing conflict continued to divide north/south. Ethnic groups in the north are often perceived as influenced by the Islamic Kingdoms that have come and gone in the Sahara for over a thousand years. The south, like the north, is composed of many ethnic groups, but has identified, historically, primarily as animist—though Christianity has certainly wedged itself in. An ecological border once existed, a coastal rainforest, but that jungle is now lost to plantation- and small-scale monoculture. Reconcilation efforts in 2008 and 2009 led to the first presidential election in nearly a decade. But the 2010 election gave way to the second civil war, a period of violence that reached its peak in April 2011 and concluded with French and UN military intervention. My country, tonight was published later that year. The title’s claim, my country, speaks to the source of the conflict: national identity. Who has rights to citizenship? Who belongs in the Ivory Coast? Who has the rights to what territory? What territory, in fact, composes the Ivory Coast? Its brief split rendered a Republic of the North. Guebo’s position, however—and he asserts his ideological position consistently—regards the conflict as part of larger geopolitical concerns. For him, the ethnic conflict is a consequence of neocolonial policies imposed by international agencies such as the IMF or World Bank on behalf of G-8 nations. Those policies preserve the structures of colonial governance, most basically the exploitation of labor and resources, creating conditions of scarcity. This is the case with many former colonies. Guébo sees Françafrique, the French-African alliance once regarded as a positive postcolonial relationship, as profoundly ruptured in the Ivory Coast—it was, after all, French and UN forces that bombed parts of the de facto capital, Abidjan, in an immediate response to the 2011 election dispute. The poems in My country, tonight connect Ivorian cities to other African sites of colonial violence—Bouaké to Kinshasa, Abidjan to Gorée. Guébo reanimates the littérature engagée championed by writers of the Panafricanist movement who contributed to the creation of national liberation states in the 1960s. Unlike many of his Panafrican forebearers, Guébo does not try to face this work West. My country, tonight is not interested, anyway, in conciliatory gestures. Guébo is defining his country, his Africa, in fact. Consequently, I have had to add footnotes in order to clarify allusions that would be familiar to West African readers, and probably to many French readers, but less so to Americans.

This excerpt begins from page nine of the book and covers much of the book’s first third.

Author bio:
Josué Guébo is a professor at the University of Félix Houphouët-Boigny of Cocody in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, and president of the Ivorian Writer’s Association. He is the author of five collections of poetry, the most recent of which, Think of Lampedusa, won the 2014 Tchicaya U Tam’si Prize for African Poetry.

Translator bio:
Todd Fredson is the author of the poetry collection, The Crucifix-Blocks, which won the 2011 Patricia Bibby First Book Award. My country, tonight, his translation of Ivorian poet Josué Guébo’s collection, Mon pays, ce soir, will be out from Action Books in Spring 2016. Fredson’s poems, essays, translations, and nonfiction appear or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, In Review at The Volta, Warscapes, and other journals and anthologies. He is a doctoral candidate in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Southern California and a 2015-16 Fulbright Scholar in the Ivory Coast.