Category: Issue 20

Prologue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

Kate Puxley was born in Edmonton, Alberta and has since lived in Toronto, Ottawa, Rome and Montreal. After completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Concordia University in 2005, she extended her practice beyond the palette, and became a certified taxidermist. She specializes in large charcoal drawings, collage, sculpture and ethical taxidermy (found animals, predominantly road kill.)  Puxley has apprenticed with taxidermists in Canada, the UK, Austria and Italy.  In 2011 she was invited to create a diorama at The Museum of Zoology in Rome, Italy and in 2016 presented her on-going installation ‘Trans-Canada’ at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Ontario.  She recently completed her MFA in Sculpture at Concordia University, in Montreal, Quebec.

Mount #10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

Kate Puxley was born in Edmonton, Alberta and has since lived in Toronto, Ottawa, Rome and Montreal. After completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Concordia University in 2005, she extended her practice beyond the palette, and became a certified taxidermist. She specializes in large charcoal drawings, collage, sculpture and ethical taxidermy (found animals, predominantly road kill.)  Puxley has apprenticed with taxidermists in Canada, the UK, Austria and Italy.  In 2011 she was invited to create a diorama at The Museum of Zoology in Rome, Italy and in 2016 presented her on-going installation ‘Trans-Canada’ at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Ontario.  She recently completed her MFA in Sculpture at Concordia University, in Montreal, Quebec.

Flesh #1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

Kate Puxley was born in Edmonton, Alberta and has since lived in Toronto, Ottawa, Rome and Montreal. After completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Concordia University in 2005, she extended her practice beyond the palette, and became a certified taxidermist. She specializes in large charcoal drawings, collage, sculpture and ethical taxidermy (found animals, predominantly road kill.)  Puxley has apprenticed with taxidermists in Canada, the UK, Austria and Italy.  In 2011 she was invited to create a diorama at The Museum of Zoology in Rome, Italy and in 2016 presented her on-going installation ‘Trans-Canada’ at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Ontario.  She recently completed her MFA in Sculpture at Concordia University, in Montreal, Quebec.

Hunt #14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

 

Kate Puxley was born in Edmonton, Alberta and has since lived in Toronto, Ottawa, Rome and Montreal. After completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Concordia University in 2005, she extended her practice beyond the palette, and became a certified taxidermist. She specializes in large charcoal drawings, collage, sculpture and ethical taxidermy (found animals, predominantly road kill.)  Puxley has apprenticed with taxidermists in Canada, the UK, Austria and Italy.  In 2011 she was invited to create a diorama at The Museum of Zoology in Rome, Italy and in 2016 presented her on-going installation ‘Trans-Canada’ at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Ontario.  She recently completed her MFA in Sculpture at Concordia University, in Montreal, Quebec.

Tan #1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

Kate Puxley was born in Edmonton, Alberta and has since lived in Toronto, Ottawa, Rome and Montreal. After completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Concordia University in 2005, she extended her practice beyond the palette, and became a certified taxidermist. She specializes in large charcoal drawings, collage, sculpture and ethical taxidermy (found animals, predominantly road kill.)  Puxley has apprenticed with taxidermists in Canada, the UK, Austria and Italy.  In 2011 she was invited to create a diorama at The Museum of Zoology in Rome, Italy and in 2016 presented her on-going installation ‘Trans-Canada’ at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Ontario.  She recently completed her MFA in Sculpture at Concordia University, in Montreal, Quebec.

 

Montage

Begin with strips of light left over from
Splicing reels of celluloid: an image
Of a woman’s hand, a horse bolting,
Bees circling a flower, slanted sunlight,
The horse’s hooves, and motes of pollen.
A man and a woman walking somewhere
Isolated—while a trolley car winds
Through Zurich, Einstein
Thinks relativity into being, the woman’s
Hand holds on to a railing, the ship
Pulls away, and dinner waits steaming
On the table, but the chairs are empty.
During the blitz, a Polish refugee plays
Mozart in the tube beneath Trafalgar Square.
Walls crumble. Some moments are black and
White and even silent. Others are in colors so
Rich they make our eyes hurt—but on a small
Table gloved fingers flatten and assemble the
Curling strips, rearrange them into one order and
Then another. In this story, the hero survives.
In that one, he dies. The poem can open
And close the same way regardless. Bees
Circle a flower. Autumn sunlight. A woman’s hand.

*

George Franklin practices law on Miami Beach, teaches writing in Florida prisons, and even subs for the occasional yoga class.  He received his MFA from Columbia and his PhD from Brandeis.  His poems have been published in Salamander, The Threepenny Review, Verse, The Ghazal Page, and Vending Machine Press, and his criticism has been published in ELH.

Now is Forever

And it is written:
You belong to no one.
Yet the dead own me.
What am I to make
of this strange paradox?
I see faces in the bathroom
mirror. I think they miss
this house where I now
live. Perhaps they are
trapped? Who, after all,
can tell the difference
between longing and duty?
But when I look again, they
disappear as if they were
never there at all. And I
thought that was my story.

*

Michelle Brooks’ work has been published or is forthcoming in Threepenny Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Iowa Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Natural Bridge, and elsewhere. Her poetry collection, Make Yourself Small, was published by Backwaters Press, and her novella, Dead Girl, Live Boy, was published by Storylandia Press.

Stand Ground

Whispers, no assaults on my peace, equalizing of the large and the small. I once thought it pretty to lie awake in the night and hear the rain scatter on the tin roof. Tried to discover rhythms and patterns, till I realized it’s only what I put there I heard. Tonight I accuse the audaciousness of this assault. A man must defend his home.

There is fatigue in being embodied, whenever one contends with demanding tasks, like walking or sleeping. If this water won’t just flood us and drown us . . . if there is one good person in all of Sodom . . . Do you ever wake to the rain and ask, maybe I’m the plague?

Don’t get me wrong, that’s a liberation. If I’m patient zero, I’ll infect the city, waiting for the great evolutionary leap. Wood will rot, winter gardens wilt rubbery, but the bubbling out of primal stew cries for its tincture of blood.

*

Scott Branson is an anarchist living in Asheville, NC, where he writes, teaches, and organizes.

Three Myths

Machines of Flesh

He dreamed of what we have, sowing
fecund little seeds in consenting heads:
at night, wiping his furrowed brow,
leaning heavy on his walking stick,
spirals of wiry chest hair poking out
from under his tunic. Ungodly body,
ungovernable after all, blood and bones
soft and yielding. And every day
the same Olympian hammers to swing
and anvils to crush. He tinkered
with his tables to give them three legs,
crafted in his own damaged image,
golden legs and golden wheels
spinning on their own, moving
with no need of him. Freeing him
for more artful matters. The tripods’
steely hearts beat like drums, more
animal than human, all precious metal
and mechanism, slowly turning corporeal.
Ancient themes don’t rust or rot,
built to outlive our mortal technology.
The gods are rewiring our brains, writing
code, odes to modern monsters: half men,
half machine.

The Artificer

In his atelier he set about sketching
slim-hipped sylphs to assist day
to day, brought them to life on his
bellows. They made things easier:
sometimes he just needed to sit for
a minute, to rest his frail foot while
they packed his tools away in the
strongbox. Then there was the one
he made special for a VIP,
sculpting her form from water and
earth, burnishing her arms and legs
golden, endowing her well, charms
impossible to resist. All the gods
grinned impiously as they breached
her with their mighty aspects.
A beautiful evil. All-gifted girl,
manmade woman, crafted with
spite and skill. Given away at
our peril. She never had free will—
they made her like this, filling the jar
themselves. They even left a note as bait,
sadistic souls. So, who’s deceitful?

Creator of Many Devices

Enthroned in his workshop, a serene
shining studio guarded by frosted glass,
the idol takes up today’s task.
The worshippers are waiting for a new
place to store their faith. Jazz in the air,
twenty tables laid with cooled metal.
The room’s all white like heaven or a
hospital, a gateway. But he sweats
like a human, yells with mortal temper,
new age music in the background.
The old gods got their hands dirty,
their goddess wives did whatever
they pleased. You can read all about
it on the painted vase. Deities—
they’re just like us. But look what
he’s made: this object of pure beauty.

*

Alexandra Haines-Stiles is a graduate of Harvard and Oxford, where she studied twentieth century literature and language. Her work has appeared recently or is forthcoming in Copper Nickel, The Missouri Review, Clementine Unbound, and elsewhere. She lives in New York and London.

Warden of the Winds

I feel it picking up again,
slow sibilance.

The air is moving.
The leaves are its hands
in my hair.

It will turn hurricane,
this breeze, clear blue
against blue sky,
so gentle now,
a solemn gentility—

how storms begin.
These gusts are
only breathing.

They want to exist.
They will learn of power
and proof, dragging
fragments across earth.

Not to let them grow, these
gasps, to recognize themselves,
I hunt them out of hiding—
before the branch sways or
the apple falls, before
the ship is wrecked at sea.

I get there when and if I can
(I’m old as myth)
and even then, futility:

how childlike, men, storm-
tossed, inquiring. How like
the bag of wind a box of shells,
a brightening gun,
a grey-skinned bomb.

*

Alexandra Haines-Stiles is a graduate of Harvard and Oxford, where she studied twentieth century literature and language. Her work has appeared recently or is forthcoming in Copper Nickel, The Missouri Review, Clementine Unbound, and elsewhere. She lives in New York and London.