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

 

through.

 

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.

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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

finales

 

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.