Impact Has Arrived


***

Bethany Yates (she/them) is a queer social worker who utilizes intersectional feminism and art in her practice with clients who experience childhood trauma and societal marginalization. While she does not identify as an artist, she utilizes art to process the world around her and to cultivate healing within herself. 

The Prophets

I was a bad child     
They told me so

and so it was   I stole
the candy bar
from Teacher’s desk                                                          

I etched   the bully’s
initials      into the new paint    
I fired the rifle   
****************inside     I rolled    

a boulder         onto the tracks     
I hucked rocks at highway drivers    
each time I cursed       an angel    

lost its wings so           I cursed and cursed

********and took the carving knife

********to my arm  

jesus rode by   on his high cross ­­­­­­­
********and slapped me   
********on the other cheek

****he had holes
****************in his hands

****************to reduce wind resistance

********Teacher took the broomstick    
to my knees        during mass    I ate the flesh                       

****************and swallowed   
********************************blood               it burned

my tongue          I wanted to flush

the bad out   I downed           
************************the dish of holy water
in which the Parishioners      dipped their fingers

********and came down   with the flu
********************************I wanted someone

********to see me         so I ran    

********around the classroom
************************during math and pushed     

************************everyone’s books

off the desks               

****************Teacher locked me

************************in the supply closet  

**************************************** with a life-sized model

of a man’s   

********skeleton and a paper
************************cutter with a blade 

************************big as my arm     

****************************************slices                of blue fell

****************************************through the fan blades   

************************in the ceiling vent   
********************************I could hear    the Other Children  

****************laughing across

************************the playground      I told god     

********************************************************to go fuck himself

I dared him     

************************to kill me I begged him     

************************************************to kill me

****************on the football field  

****************************************in front of the Other Boys    that

 

********would show them        

 

************************I lay     in the driveway and begged 

 

satan to take me                     

 

****************************************after I killed     

 

god my grandmother       
********************************died        I couldn’t cry

 

at the funeral because   

I was a bad child
They told me

 

********so it was     

************************I wore the wrong

 

********************************shirt to school            

 

********************************************************I wore the shirt with  

 

********flowing
********************************sleeves that felt  

 

************************************************like two                       classy
***********************************************************************black

 

************************dinner dresses     so

 

************************They made me change           

********************************************************before class

******************************** I smoked a joint   

 

behind the dumpster                                       the classroom       

 

****************************************************************went liquid    

 

************************I had to excuse myself                       I ran     

 

************************to the boys’ room to puke     I carved

 

an anarchy symbol        into my calf

********************************and dressed it     with black ink

I sold               crystal meth

         

******** to the Rich Kids       at Youth Group they    

 

took turns snorting it               

****************off their bibles       in the church basement 

   

I stared at the sky        for a long time      I fell  

 

********asleep in the grass

 

********I etched my new    name  into

the park bench     I lit the park

             

********restroom     on fire   The Cops

 

****************drove around

 

****************with spotlights          my Parents   

 

 

********wanted me home      I couldn’t go

 

 

home   I needed       to keep

 

 

Myself   separate          

 

****************somehow

 

I was a bad child

***

Derek Annis is the author of Neighborhood of Gray Houses (Lost Horse Press), the associate director of Willow Springs Books, and the manager of Lynx House Press’ Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry. Their poems have appeared in The Account, Colorado Review, Epiphany, The Gettysburg Review, The Missouri Review Online, Poet Lore, Spillway, and Third Coast, among others. 

SEMANTICS: A FUGUE

A sign,

mark,

language, token,

an omen,

 portent,

     (constell

 -ation, grave—

 how it’s said,

  might come down to)

significant,

   or Sanskrit: to see,

 look, he meditates.

 

*

A pity no one can truly trace

how things rhyme,
***************that is, get along 

***************in symmetry or proportion,

 move or flow—it depends (I guess)

                        on providence,

fortune or grace—though

                        the fact that things can, and do,

seems to me a mystery

                                                meant for multitudes.

                                    *

In Hebrew a sign’s a siman,

or omen

of apple, pomegranate,

carrot, honey, beetroot

we ingest to usher in the new,

hoping to remember

words are multiple,
multi-pull—in meaning,

never to be

just one,

to take in, to become

 

*

Human:
********(featherless planti-

grade biped mammal)
********which is to suffer (Cf.

 allow to occur,
********
continue, permit, tolerate,

fail to prevent or suppress)
********such that sufferer is he,

or she, on either side
********of that equation of

allowing. Suffering:
********a painful condition,

agreed upon.

                                    *

Though experts are divided 
************************as to victim’s origins.

Some suggest sacrifice

(Arabic: adĥa)
****************but it also bears

resemblance  to vicis (turn,
occasion). Con-

nected perhaps by viscous

bodily fluids,

vicious droplets,

what happens to you happens, too,

to me (powers-that-be                      

                                    dislike this fact                                               

                                                            of biology). . .

*

Coming down, perhaps, to this:

no one’s ever
********just one 

but rather,

in exchange with, vicarious

knobs and branches

along paths where

people (populonia, lit.: she who protects
****************against devastation)

link up

at the edges, scent to scent,

                                    body to body.

*

And naturally, mind to

mind— which meant
(perhaps archaically)

loving memory,

 or significance, import.

 Someone long ago thought:

                                    she who protects against devastation

                                    and thought:

                                                      people.

I’ve wanted to share

the source of a certain despair

but nothing stays

                                                            in place. Somehow, the mind

is where we love

what’s gone. Roots (underground

 part of a plant) turn to trunks.

                                                A word meaning body has

replaced life in certain

tongues. Wherever

we look, the wonder of seeing—

 to behold in the imagination or a dream—

 in a word, what we mean.

***

Annie Kantar’s poems and translations of poetry have appeared in The American Literary Review, Barrow Street, Bennington Review, Birmingham Review, Cincinnati Review, Entropy, Gulf Coast, Literary Imagination, Poetry Daily, Poetry International, Rattle, Smartish Pace, Tikkun, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. Her translation from the Hebrew of With This Night, the final collection of poetry that Leah Goldberg published during her lifetime, was published by University of Texas Press and  shortlisted for the ALTA Translation Prize. The recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize and Fulbright Scholarship, she has recently completed a literary translation of the Book of Job, for which she was commissioned by Koren Publishers. 

Borders are Like Poems

“Aussi ai-je enfermé sous ma langue un pays,
gardé comme une hostie”

                                                  Nadia Tuéni

“Tell me about your country” – she commanded,

as if I can open a page inside the cage

of an inner atlas, and pinpoint a mountain peak

spread over the valley, inside a museum of forgetting,

an old taxidermy shop after the taxidermist

died, forsaking a prehistoric bird with melted

wings on the speckled floor.

A glade ambles vertically, feebly holding

the obdurate Mount Lebanon with the acquiescent

Anti-Lebanon from plunging into the abyss.

Fractal images, portents of sirocco storms,

loom on the rocks of Byblos, scour the shoreline,

where old fishermen mend their shredded nets

with letters of the alphabet.

Ancient shores beckon rivers that feed them with invisible

silt, secret alluvium, steep-sided gorges, choruses of

vagarious reefs, seracs scraping adrift on submerged

limestone, spurs across fjords gazing at a waxed moon.

Nothing is left for us but salt marks on the membranes

of an earth we treaded, a land with no borders, unfinished like

the best poems, leaving us opened, a murex on a rock.

***

Donia G. Mounsef grew up in Beirut, Lebanon. She is a Canadian-Lebanese poet, playwright and dramaturge. She splits her time on either side of the Canadian Shield, between Toronto and Edmonton where she teaches theatre and poetry at the University of Alberta. She is the author of a poetry collection: “Plimsoll Lines” (Urban Farmhouse Press, 2018), and a chapbook: “Slant of Arils,” (Damaged Goods Press, 2015). Her writing has been published and anthologized in print and online in Pacific Review, The Harpoon Review, Rabid Oak, La Vague Journal, Habitat Literary Magazine, The Toronto Quarterly, Bluestem, Yes Poetry, Gutter Eloquence, Poetry Quarterly, Lavender Review, Linden Avenue, Bookends Review, Gravel Magazine, Skin 2 Skin, Iris Brown, Reverie’s Rage Anthology, 40 Below Anthology, etc. Her performance poetry and plays have been performed on stages in Toronto, Avignon, Montréal, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, and New Haven.

Six Images


RHINO
BREAKING THE PATTERN
ORGANIZED CHAOS
FOXES AMONG FLOWERS
A SERVANT OF NATURE

***

Robin Hextrum is a contemporary oil painter who lives and works in the Denver area. She grew up in a small coastal town called Stinson Beach in Northern California where she developed a passion for the natural environment. During her undergraduate studies at USC she completed a double major in Fine Art and Neuroscience while also rowing on the Varsity Women’s Crew Team. Following this diverse experience, she studied at Laguna College of Art and Design where she received her MFA in painting. She then completed a second Master’s degree in Modern and Contemporary Art History at UC Riverside. Her paintings represent a fusion of her traditional art training with her knowledge of art history and art theory. Robin is now an Assistant Professor of Visual Art at Regis University. She has gallery representation at Abend Gallery in Colorado. Robin Hextrum has exhibited her paintings across the country and is the recipient of grants from The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation and The Stobart Foundation.

Handlebar von Scruples

Used to be you could spot him a mile away.

His mustache styled and waxed, anachronistic

though well-kept. Top hats and bowlers,

and always a black cape, even in the stick

of summer, over a black suit. Tip-toeing.

Handwringing. That compulsive snicker.

And the kidnapping. Always

tying women to train tracks.

One woman, his third victim that week,

freed herself before help even arrived—

xxxxxxxxjiggled the knot loose and slid right out.

He enrolled in a rope-tying course

at the community center. Dug the aesthetic

and decided to move out west.

Found a few months’ work on a rodeo tour.

Drank hard with the clowns.

Bought a black cowboy hat and changed

his name for a spell to Stubble.

Ran with a rough crowd and robbed a bank.

Got bogged down in shady land deals. Lost a horse

and two men to the law. A third to diphtheria.

xxxxxxxxxGot lonely.

He wanted to make a better life for himself.

Went off to college. Bought a lair with his loans.

Studied engineering and biology. Gained

fetishes and gold. Bred white longhairs

and built a couple lasers, but the cats

kept chasing them. Built bombs instead.

He called newspapers and leaders

demanding money and fame. Wanted

witness so terribly that his downfall

was a Facebook live event officials traced

xxxxxxxxto a basement in South Bronx.

He cut his losses and went professional.

Hired a brand consultant who told him

evil we can see we know we can defeat.

It’s the unrecognized that we ought fear.

So he shaved the mustache, added some pastels

and whites to his wardrobe. Got a stress ball

to help with constant handwringing.

All of a sudden, evil looked

xxxxxxa lot like us.




***




Andrew Lee Butler is a PhD student at the University of Tennessee in English and Creative Writing, where he’s also a poetry co-editor at Grist.  

The Last Meal of Thomas J. Grasso

Two dozen steamed mussels

split open like coin purses,

revealing the buttery brine

of their spare change.


Two dozen steamed oysters

with a quartered lemon.

A double cheeseburger

from Burger King.


A half-pound of spaghetti,

al dente enough to fight back,

beneath a red sauce, generously

basiled and sprinkled with cheese.


This is why he asked

for execution: one fine meal.

A half-dozen barbecued

spare ribs in Oklahoma


worth more than twenty years

in New York. The best he’s eaten

since the sirloin with a warm red center

bought with a dead man’s check.


For dessert, diced strawberries,

pumpkin pie and memories

of wrapping Christmas lights high

around a neighbor’s neck.


Before his execution, he says

I did not get my SpaghettiOs.

I got spaghetti.

I want the press to know this—


after he’s strapped down,

his tongue grows thick, still

coated with the overripe taste

of this thing some call justice.




***


Andrew Lee Butler is a PhD student at the University of Tennessee in English and Creative Writing, where he’s also a poetry co-editor at Grist.  

Midlothian

Clocks addled, wandering in long daylight to land’s end

where the Esk bends, we skip rocks, pile a cairn

of granite, sandstone, bits of glass, pocky curves, striped shards —

a river’s take from igneous hills where hide, flesh, bones are stilled.

On Whitsunday along the prime meridian, churchwalls muffle

prayer for farmer suicides, for split hemispheres of shepherd

sheep. Diggers trench field-long graves. Air transports a relentless slurry.

Thistled clearances hold burning flocks. Led by an invisible hand firm as

stones that incomers might pitch or cradle in, townsfolk

and villagers roll towels, stuff thresholds, lintels, jambs.



‘He intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.’ ~ Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations  ~Fife, 1776

                                                             I.M. Foot and Mouth epidemic, Britain 2001

***




Mary Gilliland is the author of The Ruined Walled Castle Garden (2020), winner of the Bright Hill Press Chapbook Competition. Recent poems and commentary also appear in The Fiddlehead, Stand, TAB, and Vallum. Honors include Ann Stanford and Pablo Neruda poetry prizes and a Stanley Kunitz Fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Alice Fulton has called Gilliland “by turns mystical and realist” with a vision “profound and enduring,” and describes the work in her newest book as “sinewy” and “nuanced”—“poems that understand earth—and consciousness—as gardens that no walls or enchantments can protect.”

A— uses more ordnance in a single campaign than B— used in epochs of imperial rule *


May you not be subjected to civilizing missions

May you want to continue more than you want to stop

May God move your muscles as you lie there

May you be passed over by the local police

May God spare you the mornings of steady heat

May your computers learn to make the dead talk

May no one stop your ears to the bee-hum

May none indulge in witty banter before the eerie video clip

May God roll in, the fog in the first cool hour

May your weeping with remembrance be in slippers

May you be forcible within your heart

May your fertile regions not be barbarized, nor your large populations

May you dine in restaurants and work in offices

May the light enlarge thy days                             

May God occupy thy country

* from “The Curious Case of American Hegemony,” David C. Hendrickson, World Policy Journal

***



Mary Gilliland is the author of The Ruined Walled Castle Garden (2020), winner of the Bright Hill Press Chapbook Competition. Recent poems and commentary also appear in The Fiddlehead, Stand, TAB, and Vallum. Honors include Ann Stanford and Pablo Neruda poetry prizes and a Stanley Kunitz Fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Alice Fulton has called Gilliland “by turns mystical and realist” with a vision “profound and enduring,” and describes the work in her newest book as “sinewy” and “nuanced”—“poems that understand earth—and consciousness—as gardens that no walls or enchantments can protect.”

Hemp


Hemp is making people on Wall Street money medical

marijuana but also just marijuana for whatever purpose it’s legal

now Cannabis or just CBD oil (THC or no THC) gummies etc.

I don’t know you can keep drinking tequila sure but it’s tough

on the system tax revenues are way up it’s all part of a new economic

landscape and John Boehner (Republican) is on the board of

a publicly-traded cannabis company he’s promoting legalization!

after wanting to outlaw it for two decades I smoked plenty

in my back yard four decades ago two friends of mine were

jailed in 1982 for selling it out of a cabin in Newago County

true they had rifles at the ready but I don’t think they ever

pointed them at anybody I made pipes using tin foil applied

to flimsy toilet paper rolls if I couldn’t find my bong or small

pipe or if rolling papers were unavailable Out in the woods one

time after smoking sinsemilla I found myself strolling down

a two-track as part of a society of bears a hallucination

in 1979 I knew what was really happening it was a triumph

of the imagination egged on by the weed Sullivan was a polar

bear due to his white hair otherwise we were all black bears

or brown bears or lumbering grizzlies it lasted only ten seconds

probably I’ll never forget it how the delicate undersides 

of leaves seemed to have feelings we walked everywhere

then because gas was so expensive due to a second oil crisis

we slept in pine groves and fields fast forward 36 years

to Colorado Springs smoking cannabis under an umbrella

outside a coffeehouse nobody paying attention poor people

still landing in jail for selling the stuff in some places though

my former brother in law’s brother got a license to grow

and sell it in 2015 I myself sold pounds of it illegally in 9th grade

my supplier is dead now but a lot of people from those days are dead

he loaned me Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks after he got a divorce 

traveling through the ethers he called it a bedroll acoustic

guitar a frisbee and a rolling machine I never returned the Dylan

I still have it I’ve found a million ways to be someone other

than whoever I might have been by virtue of the ways I

found to make a living years in a fish hatchery park ranger

I pushed a cart around in a hospital storeroom after a while I

focused on teaching I could do without the meetings but it’s less

physical I get to read books my back aches from typing but try

removing fence posts with subluxation a little Prednisone injection

every couple of years the body has limits I’ve got a scrip

for Ativan because I worry too much about the electricity

coursing through the wires in my house my eyes wide open

at night I might wake up while walking down Vistula at

midnight black flags streaming from pick-up trucks the skeletons

of Asian carp littering the roadsides invasive species warning

invasive species warning triggered by the Emergency Alert System

screenshots sent over email as proof my students have completed

their evaluations popping up in my dreams like a web browser

The last time I smoked a joint I watched a honey bee burrow

into a snapdragon You’ve got to really put your exoskeleton into it 

I channeled while a bumblebee hovered nearby on a tether

like a big yellowblimp there was virtually no space between us

me with my two lidded eyes they with their three unlidded

it made me so happy I loved them so much! I began writing

a sestina comparing a split level ranch house to a beehive that was

the conceit! I typed maniacally the next day I read it out loud

to my collie what garbage I told her no wonder I quit smoking

at 23 trying it out again during a mid-life crisis (42, 43) which is

when I put that draft in a paper shredder I never wrote high again




***


David Dodd Lee is the author of ten full-length books of poems & a chapbook, including Downsides of Fish Culture (New Issues Press, 1997), Arrow Pointing North (Four Way Books, 2002), Abrupt Rural (New Issues Press, 2004), The Nervous Filaments (Four Way Books, 2010) Orphan, Indiana (University of Akron Press, 2010), Sky Booths in the Breath Somewhere, the Ashbery Erasure Poems (BlaxeVox, 2010), Animalities (Four Way Books, 2014), & And Other’s, Vaguer Presences, a second book of Ashbery erasure poems. He has published fiction in hundreds of literary magazines (including The Nation, Copper Nickel, Chattahoochee Review, and Diode recently) & is currently making final edits on Flood, a novel. He is also a painter, collage artist, and a photographer. Since 2014 he has been featured in three one person exhibitions, mixing collage & poetry texts into single improvisational art works. Recent artwork has appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, The Hunger, The Rumpus, and Twyckenham Notes. In 2016 he began making sculpture, most of which he installs on various public lands, surreptitiously. Unlucky Animals, a book of collages, original poems, erasures, and dictionary sonnets is forthcoming in 2019. Lee is Editor-in-Chief of 42 Miles Press.