Whiteout

white sales
white sheets
white horses
white heat

white bread
white milk
white meat
white guilt

white cliffs
white sand
white lines
white lambs

white Christmas
white knights
white feathers
white flight

white fences
white trash
white noise
whitewash

white collar
white ties
White House
white lies

white flags
in sight–
who’ll turn
off white

*

David Southward teaches in the Honors College at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is the author of two collections: Bachelor’s Buttons (Kelsay Books 2020) and Apocrypha (Wipf & Stock 2018). His awards include the Lorine Niedecker Prize (selected by Tyehimba Jess), the Muse Prize from the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets (selected by Mark Doty), and the 2019 Frost Farm Prize for Metrical Poetry. David resides in Milwaukee with his husband, Geoff. Read more at davidsouthward.com.

[a cloud that follows us]

a cloud that follows us
wherever we go becomes
the last stage, what is lost
our auras, mothers

our fathers’ disappeared
remote pilot opens a window
to feel the breeze, notices
the contestant in high def

a look of worry at the wheel
as time runs out
the audience explodes
into the future collateral damage

*

Joshua Zelesnick’s poems and political essays have appeared in Jubilat, Drunken Boat/Meridian Anthology, Word For/Word, Juked, 8 Poems, POETiCA REViEW, Labor Notes, Counter Punch, Yes Poetry, Texas ReviewDIAGRAM, and other journals. His chapbook Cherub Poems was published with Bonfire Books in 2019.  He teaches at public school in Pittsburgh where he lives with his partner and two young daughters in a garden co-housing community. With friends, he helps host a living room music and reading series.

the seventh face

hunkering down behind the soft
purple stone we cheat
the wind to eat a sandwich top
our pack, bearded grass keeps
the wool economy wax

paper wrap break—fast his silence:
the only thing that can’t
be manufactured is land. You can
tidy her up or let her run

derelict, but you can’t draw or erase the wild raw
sustenance she births, as we all must learn to bend even
moss & lichens most primitive
instinct lives beside the nettle red

*

Patricia Connolly studied poetry at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned an MFA. Currently, she lives and works in Chicago, where she teaches sociology and literature for a community college. In 2021, her chapbook Yeats’s Teahouse will be released as the first Permutations multimedia 3D poetry chapbook from Michigan State Press.

Winter Fawn

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the milk is warm. the baguette dry
smothered by the wrong end of a butter knife
your hands across my face. come on tape
the doorway. roll the wet towels. sway
your crumpling whisper: have faith. inhale
wish me to suffer. together we possess
little recompense. an ariel view
of being filthy without sense
have no pity. pull me in
your ravine of corrugated tin

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*

Patricia Connolly studied poetry at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned an MFA. Currently, she lives and works in Chicago, where she teaches sociology and literature for a community college. In 2021, her chapbook Yeats’s Teahouse will be released as the first Permutations multimedia 3D poetry chapbook from Michigan State Press.

wormhole

froth crests attempt
to choke to death
the mouth who knows
a terrible hunger
can never comprehend                        fullness

*

Patricia Connolly studied poetry at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned an MFA. Currently, she lives and works in Chicago, where she teaches sociology and literature for a community college. In 2021, her chapbook Yeats’s Teahouse will be released as the first Permutations multimedia 3D poetry chapbook from Michigan State Press.

Discomfort Is The Shadow Of Revolution

says the slice of bread
to the droplet of rain that has fallen
on its face.

“When you touch me,” replies the raindrop,
“it is as a man touches money.”

Says the dollar, “I feel myself a piece
of a very long thread.”

Says the weather, “You are an insect
who cannot die.”

“There was a time,” says the book,
“a man expected the same coin back
he had put in the bank.”

“There was a time,” says the raindrop,
“I knew myself to be part of the weather.”

“But you are,” says the book.
“But you are not,” says the dollar.
“But you are,” says the bread, “and now you are not.”

*

Martin Rock is the author of Residuum (2015 Editor’s Choice Award, Cleveland State University Poetry Center) and Dear Mark (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2013). With Kevin Prufer and Martha Collins, he co-edited an Unsung Masters volume on the work of the poet Catherine Breese Davis. Recent work appears in Best American Experimental Writing 2018, Waxwing, LIT, Colorado Review, AGNI, Black Warrior Review, Washington Square Review, and elsewhere. A fellowship recipient from the Starworks Foundation, the Port Townsend Writers Conference, and InPrint Houston, and winner of the Donald Barthelme prize in poetry, Martin holds an MFA from New York University and a PhD from the University of Houston. He is a member of the Poetry Society of America’s Bay Area Advisory Board and serves on the board of the Unsung Masters book series.

The Lake Is Frozen The Cloud Is Death

I’ve been sleeping late again;
in my dreams, I do work
that cannot be done when awake.

Finally, an indication of the thaw:
soon the birds will return;

the ice, which now reflects
only snow, will blessedly unlatch.

This morning another sky
slips unnoticed into the ice.

It, too, is asleep.

The lake is an inverted volcano:
its pedestal the earth’s cornea,
dull as sandblasted glass.

Here in my dreams, a map
of the unthinking mind.

I press a frozen finger into the frozen eye,
wrap myself around an image:
this forgotten sword, half-eaten with rust.

This sword that does not cut.
This eye that does not bleed.

*

Martin Rock is the author of Residuum (2015 Editor’s Choice Award, Cleveland State University Poetry Center) and Dear Mark (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2013). With Kevin Prufer and Martha Collins, he co-edited an Unsung Masters volume on the work of the poet Catherine Breese Davis. Recent work appears in Best American Experimental Writing 2018, Waxwing, LIT, Colorado Review, AGNI, Black Warrior Review, Washington Square Review, and elsewhere. A fellowship recipient from the Starworks Foundation, the Port Townsend Writers Conference, and InPrint Houston, and winner of the Donald Barthelme prize in poetry, Martin holds an MFA from New York University and a PhD from the University of Houston. He is a member of the Poetry Society of America’s Bay Area Advisory Board and serves on the board of the Unsung Masters book series.

Fermi’s Enigma

And considering it all,
it is not hard to come to understand
that we are the uncanny.

            Out there
            will only be what we
            send of ourselves

which will no longer belong to us
or be something we can call
ourselves.

And the daily realization
that I will have to join
the eternal mode
crushes all meaning as if
my heart becoming

            black hole

my heart
unbecoming.

*

Austin Veldman is a multidisciplinary artist from South Bend, Indiana. His poetry has recently appeared in Plainsongs, Atlanta Review, Free State Review, Glassworks, Ocean State Review, & more. His artwork can be viewed in Watershed Review. He is the Managing Editor of 42 Miles Press and is the founding editor of Twyckenham Notes, an online literary magazine. He holds an MA in English from Indiana University South Bend. He lives in Northern Indiana with his family. www.austinveldman.com

Kapok Tree

Ancient, I stand, canopy bristling with gods,
brined feet buried in bickering river gods.

Cut me down and I am coffin or canoe:
Detours to dances with the gods.

Earth’s center is where I belong, but
find me everywhere, just like the gods.

Giant of the rainforest, I am also
humble seed, disguised in the way of gods.

Introduce my fever by its fruit, the
juvenilia of feral, fertile gods,

king of their own ambitions, colonizing,
lionized, always with their own kind. Gods

marrow me, sprout from me foul blossoms.
Neotropical, Amazonian gods

open me to create medicines for
preserving life. No choice, I give to gods

quality fibers to make mattresses,
ream into life vests, rings to float like gods.

Study me as I stretch ten feet per year.
Temptation is to leave your growth to gods,

undermine your core’s ambition. Be as
versatile as my trunk, home for tiny gods

who croak and gambol at raves, sheltered from
x, y, and z: The raging output of gods.

Young, I resist the Precious Twins. Old, I un-
zip their winds and step in, inhabit gods.

*

Jen Karetnick‘s fourth full-length book is The Burning Where Breath Used to Be (David Robert Books, September 2020), an Eric Hoffer Poetry Category Finalist and a Kops-Fetherling Honorable Mention. Co-founder and managing editor of SWWIM Every Day, she has work appearing recently in Barrow Street, The Comstock Review, december, Michigan Quarterly Review, Terrain.org, and elsewhere. Based in Miami, she works as a lifestyle journalist and is the author of four cookbooks, four guidebooks, and more. Find her on Twitter @Kavetchnik and Instagram @JenKaretnick, or see jkaretnick.com

Ritual

an abecedarian contrapuntal for Ilan Naibryf, Deborah Benezdivin, Andreas Giannitsopoulos, and Max Solomon Lewis, college students who were victims of the building collapse in Surfside and a stray bullet in Chicago

At a summer party, I ask my son to dance.

******Blushing like a paint chip into successive shades, he

can’t, he says, I’m not good at this, but

******does sort of transpose his feet into an off-key composition,

endearing because of its flat tones, wrong notes,

            Frankensteinian march. He doesn’t know where to put his hands,

gripping my palms somewhere around the shoulders.

            He bicycles his arms back and forth

in an effort to hit the sampled drum machine beat

            juggernauting through the Florida room.

Kinesthesis is easier for him on court and field.

            Later this August he will head back to college,

mother on his mind like a rain cloud crossing an incarnadine sun.

            Not once will he think a body his age is about to be 

origin stories of fires that boil the brain during

            pandemic fevers, crushed in the night while sleeping naked under

quilts that become shrouds, shot in the neck riding on the El train.

            Risk, a lottery drawing for young people who spent their lives reading,

studying physics, economics, and engineering to prevent this siege of realities—

            text we never wanted to learn—teach us meaning, help

understanding. My son. My son, there is a photo of us that shows this

            vulnerability of ties, one you might someday repeat at your

wedding, bodies winched into the air by the arms of others after a surprise

            X-rated bachelor party. Tell me now if it will be mazel tov or murmured

yitgadal v’yitkadash sh’mei raba under this titanic

            zaffre sky, so eternal, so deceptive, so here.

*

Jen Karetnick‘s fourth full-length book is The Burning Where Breath Used to Be (David Robert Books, September 2020), an Eric Hoffer Poetry Category Finalist and a Kops-Fetherling Honorable Mention. Co-founder and managing editor of SWWIM Every Day, she has work appearing recently in Barrow Street, The Comstock Review, december, Michigan Quarterly Review, Terrain.org, and elsewhere. Based in Miami, she works as a lifestyle journalist and is the author of four cookbooks, four guidebooks, and more. Find her on Twitter @Kavetchnik and Instagram @JenKaretnick, or see jkaretnick.com