Category: Uncategorized

A Conversation About Dicators

My son and I were talking about dictators, the sign that
Says “vacancy” hanging on their chests like a medal, a hollow

Space, a room with no furniture, derelict, abandoned. The rest of us
Have no trouble moving in, putting our bed in the corner, our desk

By the window, turning on a light—the emptiness is an invitation
To want things, people, sunlight reflected in waterdrops, the moon reflected

In the pupil’s depths. But, my son and I were talking about dictators,
Men who know there’s a country inside them, who can see its borders

Clearly, who set up checkpoints and fences, watchtowers, and machine guns.
The machine guns point out toward everything else, the country on

The other side of the fence, the lights of the city they can see in the dark,
They always have very good vision; they eat carrots to see better at night.

Their eyes are always pointed in the same direction as the machine guns.
If anything moves or stirs in the wind, they give instructions to fire, to Fire the machine

guns that point outside the fence. The tree trunks are
Splintered by bullets. There are no birds left in the forest. My son asks what

Are they protecting, behind the watchtowers and the fence, and I
Tell him “nothing.” They are afraid to look there, frightened by the acres

Of rubble, rough pieces of stone, by the dust and the wind that doesn’t
Stop blowing, by the sound that’s not a sound. Think of it like ringing in

Your ears that never lets up. It’s a place where no one speaks. If words
Could be formed there, then that place would be no different from anywhere else,

But it is different. Words never make it past the fence, past the machine guns,
Past a dictator who barely sleeps for fear that dreaming he’ll see the space

Inside his chest, the horizon of rubble.

*

George Franklin practices law in Miami and teaches poetry workshops in Florida state prisons. His work appeared in Issue #20 of Matter and more recently in The Threepenny Review, Pedestal Magazine, B O D Y, Salamander, Cagibi, and The Wild Word, and translated into Spanish in various journals. A bilingual collection of his poems, Among the Ruins, is forthcoming from Katakana Editores.

Dream Where I Am In A Bathtub With Ivanka Trump

I lie in deep water,
inhaling cedar as I cleanse my wounds,
a swirl of red.
Because some part of me wants to believe
woman is woman,
I beckon her come in,
fold my knees to make room.
I think if we could only—if—
if some camaraderie of body parts
could fasten breast to breast,
and entwine ovaries like vines
on ancient brick,
wouldn’t she understand?
But as she comes closer
I see her body is not body, but
a swirl of sparkling white fragrant smoke.
And so it is not hard
to drag her in,
to pull her corn silk head
beneath the water line
and hold her down.
She doesn’t even fight.
Before I know it she evaporates;
she doesn’t even drown,
just dissipates into the humid air
till there is nothing of her perfume left.
I settle back into the liquid warmth,
dyed the hue of my blood,
and soak it in.

*

Emily Banks lives in Atlanta, where she is a doctoral candidate at Emory University. She holds an MFA from the University of Maryland and a BA from UNC-Chapel Hill. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals including Muse/A Journal, storySouth, Free State Review, Cimarron Review, Pembroke Magazine, and Yemassee.

What We Consider To Be Data

For John Ashbery

With you, the instruction manual to the universal
remote, I’m afraid to report, we also lost. I imagine
there’s plenty more to be butterfingered. The pure
guesswork of the situation. And what you aren’t here to log
accrues in petaflops. In the worsted, disappointed
office spaces. Cracking up or letting on or copping to
the fact that things now grow, gradually, more different.
Why, exactly, you’d be hanging on here, in any case,
when we’d all prefer to progress into that other dimension
of ourselves we do not control, if you can believe it.
Alive and resting as scheduled. Provided we find out
what it is & how best to break the news. Probably just
with lines, falling, the way September moves a curtain
so that what lurks through the pearl gray light can’t be seen.

*

Jeff Hipsher’s work has previously appeared in The Boston Review, The Common, Phoebe, Forklift: Ohio, Sixth Finch and the anthology It Was Written: Poems Inspired by Hip-Hop. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife Sarah and their dog, Emma Frost.

Works cited in these poems include The Eagles’ “Hotel California,” Andrew Marvell’s “The Nymph Complaining for the Death of her Fawn,” Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s The Silver Surfer: The Ultimate Cosmic Experience (1978), Future’s “Use Me,” Sir Thomas Wyatt’s “They Flee From Me,” and John Ashbery’s “The Chateau Hardware,” “The Instruction Manual,” “The Recent Past,” “Pyrography,” & “Late Echo.”

American Paleocontact

On a dark desert highway
storm troopers on dewbacks riding by
have shot my fawn and it will die.
Owning it was the first real
violence, though. So that’s on me.
Deer drink deep
the wastewater under palms
behind our property. But, some
where else, luckily, in the swirling
mists of space, white contours of light
shape the Silver Surfer’s abs.
Heaven’s king who keeps register
of everything and never blabs.
These tools are for you to use
me. Like the little birds
who collect along the privacy
fence, we plead and prate about ourselves
inside the colonizer’s non-transferable
estates. Dear Heart, how like you
this type shit? Now my sweet fawn is
vanish’d, lickety split,
and I can hardly breathe.
I seduce you on top
of Old Smokey, all covered in
baptisteries, where I would have thine
grave be white as I can, tho not as thee.

*

Jeff Hipsher’s work has previously appeared in The Boston Review, The Common, Phoebe, Forklift: Ohio, Sixth Finch and the anthology It Was Written: Poems Inspired by Hip-Hop. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife Sarah and their dog, Emma Frost.

Works cited in these poems include The Eagles’ “Hotel California,” Andrew Marvell’s “The Nymph Complaining for the Death of her Fawn,” Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s The Silver Surfer: The Ultimate Cosmic Experience (1978), Future’s “Use Me,” Sir Thomas Wyatt’s “They Flee From Me,” and John Ashbery’s “The Chateau Hardware,” “The Instruction Manual,” “The Recent Past,” “Pyrography,” & “Late Echo.”