Category: Issue 17

Mistory

This combustible fetish for those

early-early Brueghels. That swell

5-pack of life-giving devices, 1 in each pocket.

 

Everyone is waiting, long dead or tapping

toe-sized feet, barf-muck

between the slips of their licit toes.

 

Hopefully you’re saving, after all,

the clashiest for last. With any luck

 

it’s molding

into complex techniques, minor jealousies

the color of tea and a global pop mainstream.

But who knows. It’s all so sad for us, etc.

 

***
Jeremy Schmidt lives in Los Angeles where he is completing a PhD in English while working in the UCLA Scholarship Resource Center. His writing has appeared in Boston Review, Lana Turner, Los Angeles Review of Books, Prelude, and elsewhere, and a handful of his poems were selected by John Ashbery for the 2014 “Discovery” Poetry Prize.

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Adjunct of the Arm (4/2015)

I dropped a glass in Tulsa

and wound up leaning, from the sill.

It made the sunken sidewalk

reach that sill.

 

The cement rose up with its pieces

and glinted forward, out of air.

The glass was dark against the ground

and spread and in a slip of capture.

 

It took its time dispersing.

The glass was sharp and clear.

It did not part for feet or wheel,

like every other thing in Tulsa.

 

***

Jeremy Schmidt lives in Los Angeles where he is completing a PhD in English while working in the UCLA Scholarship Resource Center. His writing has appeared in Boston Review, Lana Turner, Los Angeles Review of Books, Prelude, and elsewhere, and a handful of his poems were selected by John Ashbery for the 2014 “Discovery” Poetry Prize.

And the Thankful Seldom Shall Eat

A freshly grilled filet of flaky tilapia, russet Burbank potatoes roasted in herbs, and charred green asparagus spears across a yellow, fluted plate.

xxxxxxxxxThank you, O Lord, for this bounty.

xxxxxxxxxThank you, good people, who were taught to fish.

xxxxxxxxxThank you, farmers, who were taught to potato and asparagus farm, and to your farming teachers and farming forebears, and to Archer Daniels Midland, Monsanto, Dow Chemical, and the other companies who employ you farmers.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to the makers and sellers and distributors of farming equipment, such as Case New Holland and John Deere.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to you, Eagle Claw, Shakespeare, Berkley, and other makers and sellers of personal and commercial fishing equipment, and to High Liner and Clearwater and other companies that may have caught, and subsequently brought me, this flaky, nice, white fish.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to you, Stop and Shop, Safeway, Publix, Wegmans, Piggly Wiggly, and the hundreds of supermarket chains and thousands of private corner markets, like Dominick’s, who stock these types of goods and make them available to me for a sensible price.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to Wolseley Industrial, Amazon, YRC Worldwide, Schenker AG, and all the other wholesale and retail distributors who bring the useful products I employ to the stores where I can buy them.

xxxxxxxxxAnd thanks to the latest technologies of preservation, genetic modification, and irradiation that keep food safe for consumption as it travels long distances to get to us.

xxxxxxxxxAnd thanks to gasoline, without which no food would ever get to us. And thanks also to Exxon, Mobile, Chevron, and the other companies without whom our planet wouldn’t render us the means for gasoline.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to Pier One, the makers and sellers and distributors of this beautiful, yellow, fluted plate set.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to the ancient inventors and modern disseminators of ceramic technology, which is fascinating, and helped us conceive of semiconductors, and to which this contemporary plate of mine owes its material existence.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to the inventors and disseminators of the systems that provide my readily available and reasonably affordable light and heat – like SunSource and Airgas – so that it is comfortable and convenient for me to eat.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to the developers (J.D. Salley and Associates), builders (Sheffield Construction), and landlords (First Property Services, and, in particular, Ashley Dawes) who have provided this sturdy and inexpensive apartment where I’m about to experience my evening meal, that is perhaps getting cold, in which case, I should be thankful for my microwave, and for Percy Spencer having the insight and wherewithal to invent the microwave, and for the scientists at Raytheon who died of cancer improving the microwave, and for the scientists at Tappan who were able to make the microwave more safe, and for Amana Corporation’s development, and for the ongoing chain of companies who obtained the technologies and rights for the worldwide manufacture, sale, and distribution of the more safe microwave.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to Ikea, and the other makers and sellers and distributors around and upon whose inexpensive furniture I arrange most days’ rather wholesome repasts.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to Liberty Tabletop, the makers and sellers and distributors and designers of the handy silverware I’m about to employ, to bring this modest banquet to my mouth.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to Pierre Burthier, the metallurgist who invented stainless steel technology, which is fascinating, and helped us conceive of better bridges and surgical instruments, and to which my handy silverware owes its material existence.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to mother nature, which has privileged me with the safest place at the apex of the food chain, but from where I must remember to be thankful, to the tilapia itself, and to the russet potatoes, and the green asparagus, and the oil of the olives, and to the leaves of the herbs.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to the original cookers of food, whoever they were, who discovered that raising the internal temperature of much of what we put into our mouths not only improves its flavor but also allows us to eat more calories and therefore to evolve larger brains. And to the makers and sellers and distributors of Weber grills, who raised the internal temperatures of my tilapia and asparagus, and to the enterprising Amish people of Amana, whose oven raised the internal temperature of my potatoes.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to the individuals who labor impossible hours in heat and sweat for little pay with nets outside their factory windows in case they would rather die than manufacture the basic goods needed to live in such a way that one is able to be comfortable enough to turn around and be thankful.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to the individuals who gather, slaughter, and more or less humanely process the living things that I eat, so that I don’t have to do more than open a package to enjoy my sustenance.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to the Clinton Corn Processing Company, for bringing high fructose corn syrup to humanity, so that so many may eat so much for so little money.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to the doctors, insurance companies, and drug makers and distributors who protect and save us from diseases, including ones caused by feasting on high fructose corn syrup.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to the system of organizations, people, activities, information, natural resources, raw materials, components, regulators, governments, and products involved in fulfilling my ongoing need for sustenance, and current desire for fish, potatoes, and asparagus, with a glass of tap water.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to the planners and providers of the infrastructure that makes it possible for me to draw potable water, any time I want, straight from my tap.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to the manufacturers and sellers and distributors and fixers of the pipes and sink and faucet that bring me drinking water, especially Pfister and Roto Rooter. And to my plumber, whose name is Dave.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to the manufacturers and sellers and distributors of this drinking glass, who could have been anyone, since there are more than 12,000 drinking glass suppliers in the world.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to the ancient inventors and modern disseminators of glass, which is fascinating, and which helped us conceive of new concepts in quantum physics, and to which my own drinking glass owes its material existence.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to the inventors and disseminators of plastic, which is everywhere, and which we are using in some form or another, even as I speak, whether we’re aware of it or not.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to the inventors and disseminators of you, O Lord, who is everywhere, whatever anyone calls you.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to my loving parents, and to their parents, and to theirs, since without them I would never have been here. And to your parents also, and to you, whoever you are, since without you the world would be less interesting and lonelier.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to the universe, for exploding and spontaneously creating an orderly matrix of interaction which has become breathable and sustaining to life as we know it.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to every proton, electron, neutron, gluon, muon, lepton, boson, and quark in every atom in every molecule in every element in every isotope in every compound in every substance in every galaxy.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to the educators, employers, customers, countries, creditors, and others who may have been involved in my food, and whom I may have overlooked or forgotten.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to those whom I’ve thanked mistakenly, or for debatable reasons, thank you still and anyway.

xxxxxxxxxAnd to an emerging worldwide financial situation that might serve to make us better and happier members in a network of privileges where more people become able to have meals as healthy as the one I am finally about to begin.

 

***

 

Geoff Bouvier’s first book, Living Room, won the APR/Honickman Prize, and was published in 2005 by Copper Canyon. His second book, Glass Harmonica, appeared in 2011 from Quale Press. In 2009, he was the Roberta C. Holloway Lecturer in Poetry at the University of California-Berkeley. He earned an MFA from Bard College in 1997 and a PhD in poetry from Florida State in 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE BROWNNESS OF BREAD

I.

Alexander assumes a position resembling that of a rooster – he squats & then loops his arms – down – behind his knees & firmly holds his ears.  It’s the ears that make it extremely painful.

II.

I don’t know if this pose was Alexandrian, but from it I arrive back on message. That is, back to myself, realizing there would be nothing “Matthewian.”  Lacking all diminutives it can only be stretched thin “Great Matthew” or made low “Little Matty.”  The yew sound, the sound of a small & ill bred lamb, sealing a particular fate.  The hideousness of this phrase alone suggests that it’s best to step into the visual sphere.  Operating here, on the Z axis, you can have a signature that extends to three dimensions, through and beyond the fiber optics.  So I change my name from Matthew to “the brownness of bread.”

III.

Then I am, naturally, faced with the board meetings.

The conference room is oversaturated.  What was its décor?  Mostly an accumulation of signatures, some overwritten to the point of being inscrutable.

A feldspar laminate is installed over the wood laminate of the conference table.

I notice that I can’t quite rest my wrists at the edge like I used to, the lip is gone. Someone brings word of a hostile takeover.  Haribo has a new look, perfectly toasted, & it’s moving into the American market.  It seems that people have started to confuse me with the product a few weeks ago.

IV.

A name, like all things, should be an obstacle… something to stumble over.

V.

In such conditions the concern for geometry cannot be fully developed.  It is distracted by thick humidity, lack of central air, a too real reality indoors, &, outside, general poor weather.  Where the clarity of a plane is desired we find beads of sweat, & are revolted by its topography.  The name recoils & twists again into a stress position.

 

***

 

Matthew Whitley’s work has appeared or is scheduled to appear in various publications including The Brooklyn Rail, Translit, Vanitas,Gigantic Sequins, and The New Museum’s New City Reader. His writing has also appeared in the exhibition and conference context, including Vertical Reach: Political Violence & Militant Aesthetics organized under Yale’s “Utopia after Utopia” research initiative. He currently co-edits the radical artists’ imprint Cicada Press.

 

Beatriz

Elena 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

***

 

Elena grew up in the DC area, lived briefly in Berlin and Johannesburg, and now attends college in upstate New York. She’s been published in fifty literary magazines over the past few years. She is the winner of four poetry contests, including Word Works Young Poets’. Her poetry has been exhibited at the Greater Reston Art Center and at Arterie Fine Art Gallery. Check out her poetry books, “we’ll beachcomb for their broken bones” (Red Ochre Press, 2014), “a little luminescence” (Allbook-Books, 2011) and “the reason for rain” (Coffeetown Press, expected publication in fall 2015). Her visual art has won her several awards. Go to elenabotts.com and o-mourning-dove.tumblr.com to see her latest work.

we’re in an enormous quiet now

Elena 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

***

 

Elena grew up in the DC area, lived briefly in Berlin and Johannesburg, and now attends college in upstate New York. She’s been published in fifty literary magazines over the past few years. She is the winner of four poetry contests, including Word Works Young Poets’. Her poetry has been exhibited at the Greater Reston Art Center and at Arterie Fine Art Gallery. Check out her poetry books, “we’ll beachcomb for their broken bones” (Red Ochre Press, 2014), “a little luminescence” (Allbook-Books, 2011) and “the reason for rain” (Coffeetown Press, expected publication in fall 2015). Her visual art has won her several awards. Go to elenabotts.com and o-mourning-dove.tumblr.com to see her latest work.

Whistle Blow

History is reclassifying me, eyeballs stuck
to windows, trick-mirrors, peepers
feeling around the detailed corners,
well-rounded in the spycraft of futures.
I am apprehensive about my late decisions,
the state of affairs, the fact my labourious
knowing is become a crime in parliaments.
If only I’d been born in a nest of indifference,
like a rat, some self-serving animal,
unburdened with rightness, red-fanged,
laddering my way upwards with spines
removed randomly from the brood,
sharing them down again straight after,
for the aligned bottom-feeders to consume.

If only my strange sense, my appetite
for justice, could be roundly ripped out
by the servants of blissful acceptance-
then I would not ever deviate, or think to,
or question opaque organisations.
I would not conspire of flight, a stance
against their cathedrals of exceptionalities.
But history is experienced, a double-agent,
has long crawled all the auditory tunnels:
a cold comfort exposing that some state
of worth is ideal, is coming if championed,
and that witnesses remain, they remember,
that whistling has the best chance at health,
that truth needs to be blown to be believed in.

 

***

H.G.Emond is a writer and researcher based in Edinburgh. The majority of her research work focuses on contemporary themes in the fields of International Development and International Relations; and she is currently working on a first poetry collection that aims to analyse the key political issues that affect modern society today.