Dylan Loring

We were going to make a blood oath

but instead of a needle you used a dagger
and started gushing, and I vomited on
your mostly severed finger,
and you told me I needed to take you to the hospital,
but I told you I needed a less smelly shirt
because not all of the vomit landed on the finger,
and you said if we have to wait anyway
we might as well do the blood oath
while you were already bleeding,
and so you handed me the dagger,
and I intentionally dropped it
because at least one of us needed enough blood to drive,
and you told me to watch it because the dagger cost $500,
so I asked why I paid for your lunch,
and you said because it was sweet to do it
up until I made that crack,
and so I decided to change the subject back to the hospital,
but you insisted on doing the blood oath immediately
in case you didn’t make it
because even as you passed out
from a vampiric wet dream-level of blood loss,
you were able to argue that it made a better obituary
if the blood oath was successful,
but I totally disagreed
and so could no longer take the blood oath
in good conscience.

Mark Young

                      from 100 Titles From Tom Beckett


#100: Lust and Listlessness

He once kept secret lists,
on a regular basis, of the
emotional states he passed
through. Would collate them
monthly. Lust, it turned out,
was the prime recurring state;
embarrassingly so, especially
when his husband discovered

his notations & saw that the
lust was pointed in other dire-
ctions. A number of harsh
words were exchanged, many
ultimatums. He has now begun
a forced course of listlessness.

Nicholas Ravnikar

The Book of Money

I shook the tree twice — once on top and once on bottom.
We saw the children, then,
arguing for their right to anger
in an old language we forgot
to teach them. 
They hid a part of me away
and never showed me where.
We count all the new money twice as it falls on us.
That’s the way of these worn facets.
rolling over and rolling over — past time. After it.
Still, they call me a liar.
God knows where my grave is,
but it’s filled with your best advice.
If I read it aloud, nobody would believe me.

Matthew Schmidt

Cranial Repo

I rip my head off
with the best of them.
What moguls

are to the skier: alpine
throes in crepuscular spleen.
When I exfoliate

my brain stem, ribald
speech tolls consequence
for sheep. Penned,

they sup on stalks.
Selected to tup
as castrato

the ram will not bleat.
Soprano arias
when the market

herds them to the abattoir.
Colloquial, all I really know.
Tongue-sin for tungsten

when the filament shorts.
To muzzle with fiery tongs
or Scold’s bridle.

Sheila E. Murphy

from "October Sequence"
96/

Listen to speech before it leaves the mouth
Create an oral history of fern wind
And perplexities fruited with breezeway logic
And tarantulas that accidentally sift through screens
To heal the neurologically impaired and no one else
Accumulate some murk and chafing lore
While you recoil in face of sentences
You did not make or merely heard or guarded
Once they earned the status of the real
Impending stipules we trust to grow beyond
Our inklings and our tapestries for lore
To be of use policed only by alarming
Winds of first born capsized visions
Stretched across geography we play
Like lutelelies fractured by contention
Not redemption so the fender crush
Holds true regardless of recusal
And apparent fairness cloaked by godawful
Reminiscence that replays the way things were
Only to disguise reiteration as a bludgeoning
Reminder that the hierarchy’s here and voiced
And constant anymore as windows ritually
Lie to us about our fate

Eileen R. Tabios

I Forgot My Great American Novel


Chapter 1:
I forgot caution because caution always exhausts and is not you.



Chapter 2:
I forgot nothing can blow away light after it’s touched your flesh.

I forgot how, through rhyme, an archetypal music arose from your silence.

I forgot the universe shifted and leaked stars when you held my hand.

I forgot the color of your eyes changes with each angle of observation—each shift evokes the flux of identity, the subjectivity of beauty, and the instability of fate.

I forgot the difference between magnolias and cherry blossoms—the former dies whole while the latter dies petal by petal.

I forgot Salvador Plascencia writing, “I don’t know what they are called, the spaces between seconds, but I think of you always in those intervals.”

I forgot architecture can distract to effect calamity.

I forgot the world could be underwater and you still could make my throat dry.



Chapter 3:
I forgot the Greek god Aeolus blew at a night sky to unlatch stars—they sparkled as they fell to form blue sand sapphires that made an entire island glitter.

I forgot how no one had to explain: inevitably, everyone breaks.

I forgot the 18th century birthing the hungriest human in history: the Frenchman Tarrare who ate his bodyweight’s worth of food every day.

I forgot new lovers privileging what Stoic philosophers deemed unnatural: monogramy.

I forgot true devotion battles its identity’s evaporation.

I forgot light cherishing its fall into the ocean though its dive will dilute itself into non-existence.

I forgot water departs swiftly under the tropical sun until it becomes mere stain, a useless shadow against land.

I forgot the taste of salt is logical: sweetness always disappears.

I forgot water as perfect memory, filling any space sculpted by amnesia.

I forgot fate is most generous to those who can bear instead of buckle under the burden of suffering.



Chapter 4:
I forgot a color because it had no name.

I forgot the newly-dead’s slogan: Effort is Beauty.

I forgot humanizing stars because they are at home in your eyes.

I forgot a scarlet rosebud deliberately falling onto a thorn—when it ripped, it revealed the same light glinting in the eyes of an ascetic whose starvation spiraled him into ecstasy.

I forgot the shape of absence because your presence overwhelms.

I forgot silver’s nobility can be scarred by tears.

I forget an oenophile calling wine “racy” after tasting black cherries, kirsch, dried flowers, spices, leather, and Darjeeling tea.

I forgot all deathbed illusions are forgivable.

I forgot you grinding glass to create a solar system for soothing my muted gaze.

I forgot what didn’t exist until I named it: Black Rose.



Chapter 5:
I forgot barracudas swimming beside vast schools of jackfish atop an undersea volcano.

I forgot how curiosity, a tsundoku addiction, and amusement share the characteristic of irony.

I forgot cannibalism thriving in morally malnourished contexts.

I forgot the rarity of tranquility in a world dominated by orphan-makers and spies.



Chapter 6:
I forgot the Egyptian god Alun tinting his skin with the sky’s color so he could fly invisibly.

I forgot how lips immersed in salt-water metamorphosed to blue, thus cautioning against the charisma of unrequited desire.

I forgot the proof of a human becoming a saint: eyes become sky.

I forgot the poet startled by blue veins simmering beneath the skin covering a lover’s breast.

I forgot how words destroy worlds, and how the same words in different weather can create momentary heavens on earth.



Chapter 7:
I forgot orangutan turds smashing the face of a sleeping spy under an unreconnoitred tree.

I forgot the edge of a forest guarding a meadow with feral orphans shredding wild violets.

I forgot rivulets of water etching the boulder that cradled your exhaustion.

I forgot a smile can be adjusted to indicate no threat.

I forgot “nice” as a word of failure.

I forgot your tendon becoming a cracked whip as the dust of ancient books left sepia pages to tickle my nose.

I forgot an island surrounded by water rippling in the same manner of your falling hair after being unleashed.

I forgot the difficulty of holding a stare with one’s reflection.

I forgot my pores memorizing your scent—I forgot inhaling you to become you.

I forgot the instability of amusement as incentive.



Chapter 8:
I forgot how love requires loosening armors to fall out of theories that made them real.

I forgot corals blushing underwater because an island is nearby.

I forgot unbuttoning a garment can cause an observer's fist to open in a gesture immortalized on all paintings of infinity.

I forgot the paradoxes of sacrifice exemplified by a durian’s shell hardening as its contents mutate towards sweetness.

I forgot the futility of searching for past lovers… unless you turned to look back with an astonishment new to you.

I forgot words can ruin countries.

I forgot words can create countries.

I forgot how words can create from dew a love that succeeds through sincerity.

I forgot the scent of old leatherbound books: vanilla flowers, almonds, juniper, birch tar, patchouli, black tea, tobacco…

I forgot the definition of adhesion: the attraction of molecules for molecules of a different kind, like water helplessly drawn to glass—like eyes helplessly drawn to parted lips.

I forgot gold flickering atop emerald eyes turned towards a sun whose noonday blaze forges its own chemistry.



Chapter 9:
I forgot lust causes selective amnesia.

I forgot checking your flesh for new scars.

I forgot gods laughing as mortals edited the limits of agony.

I forgot intimacy as a threshold into a vulnerability strong enough to create addicts but whose ethics will birth regret.



Chapter 10:
I forgot deadheading roses named by hopeful gardeners as “Cherry Parfaits,” “Falstaffs,” “Tahitian Sunsets,” “Wild Blue Yonders,” “Ketchups & Mustards,” “About Faces,” and “Frankly Scarlets.”

I forgot wind-whipped sand covering the tracks of traffickers, arms dealers, and jihadists traversing the Sahara.

I forgot romanticizing The Battle of Thermopylae by describing rose bushes creating bottlenecks on a mountain pathway instead of Spartans combing long oily hair that was the privilege of veteran soldiers.



Chapter 11:
I forgot the symphony conductor humming as he guided new refugees on the streets of Kharkiv.

I forgot how pronouns change to third-party shields when the speaker recognizes mortality.

I forgot how today’s parenting no longer sculpts a natural upturn on the corners of children’s lips.

I forgot your calloused thumb grazing my lips to cease my pouting.

I forgot a lonely sunray threading a crack through thick tree canopies.

I forgot the novelist wanting each sentence to succeed as a monostich poem if it were excised from its prose context.

I forgot how much you warranted my desperate insistence because you foregoed guarantees to bend a knee before me.

I forgot the poet remaining loyal to form despite the banality of content.



Chapter 12:
I forgot the unique affection that characterizes ambedo.

I forgot the leather jacket sprawled over a Ducati Multistrada V4.

I forgot the woman turning her body into a corporation by cutting the length of her heels.

I forgot the compromise of watercolor because of fearing the vivid.

I forgot how watercolors are unforgiving through a fluid nature preventing the guarantee of the artist’s control.

I forgot how, when everything fails, poetry is the remaining language.

I forgot silk flowing about and from your body.

I forgot the zaffre velvet sleeve sheathing your wounds.

I forgot you faking a kiss because you didn’t want a morsel of your authenticity observed by the CIA.



Chapter 13:
I forgot the flaws of innocence are among the most potent seductive forces.

I forgot I wanted to follow the scents you breathed in from your cup of tea: orange peel, calendula, cornflower…

I forgot you wanted to know if camel engastration was an urban legend—it took you years to create the opportunity to stuff a boiled camel with a large lamb, 20 chickens, 60 eggs, 12 kilos of rice, two kilos of pine nuts, two kilos of almonds, one kilo of pistachio nuts, 110 gallons of water, and five pounds each of black pepper and salt.

I forgot how the 4th century battles between the Jin, Yan, Liang, and Qin nations taught you how to “hold a sword with compassion.”

I forgot you taught me other shortcuts besides fear.



Chapter 14:
I forgot perfume rising from the bedsheets that received your body: top note of plum, middle notes of musk and heliotrope, and base note of suede.

I forgot you planted plum trees in snowy ground so you could harvest its syrup for my winter tea.

I forgot a karambit knife that looked like a serpent with its paracord wrapped handle.

I forgot the ebony eyes of roosters sheathed with razors for cockfights.

I forgot recognizing you despite the blood still unwashed from your skin.



Chapter 15:
I forgot kindness and hatreds were not always choices.

I forgot the tenderness in eyes who’d released their barricades.

I forgot you could charm the sky to fall but knew better.

I forgot how your lashes curled in a stance that could not be edited by wind, rain, or tears.

I forgot you drinking my hot psychic tears.


Chapter 16:
I forgot my musk on your lips.

I forgot the patience you defined by steeling your body against urges that made me tremble.

I forgot you used rain as an excuse for turning away, as if a window was open and the rain was not gentle in falling straight, as if I didn’t prefer windows open to the breathing of the jade forest.

I forgot rainwater graying a cityscape into tiles of wet slate, like those paving a road in Burgundy where a pregnant winemaker opened a bottle to perfume our tongues.

I forgot a bed of moss as gentle as Dr. Samuel Johnson’s “breeze that plays in the evening among the spices of the Sahara.”

I forgot memories making us.

I forgot memories unmaking us.

I forgot redwood trees imbibing water from fog.

I forgot how tears improve vision.

I forgot how humans lack extra eyelids for protection—unlike cats, camels, polar bears, seals, and aardvarks—because we use other weaponry besides teeth to capture prey.



Chapter 17:
I forgot absence heightens the impetus to please.

I forgot you didn’t walk towards me because you wanted me to be the one to erase the distance between us.

I forgot you on the roof fixing a cracked gutter while you sang about the longings of a thousand flutes in simultaneous melody.

I forgot your hands on my waist made me forget the dim alley cocooning us.

I forgot you said my scent became your bone marrow.

I forgot you opened the car door for me to step onto cream-colored gravel surrounding a white house with windows beaming forth a golden light.

I forgot your landscape painting that combined bunchberry, painted trillium, partridgeberry, sheep laurel, foxglove, tall corydalis, wild columbine, rough-fruited cinquefoil, common yarrow, white baneberry, butterfly weed, American bellflower, trumpet creeper, bluebell bellflower, and purple clematis.

I forgot the Filipino god of sun, Amman, whose eye is the sun.

I forgot whispering, Idealism is not naivete, and you holding back your laughter.

I forgot my two fingers tapped your cheek as if to chastise you, only to fail when you turned to lock them between your lips and refused to let go.



Chapter 18:
I forgot how any distance between us, even an inch, felt unbearably huge.

I forgot you licking your lips when the frayed edge of my t-shirt rose briefly above my jeans’ waistline.

I forgot your frown as you watched me skillfully clean pistols laid out on a table: the Glock 17, a Sig Sauer P320, Beretta 92, Sig Sauer P226, C-75, Smith & Wesson Military & Police, FN Five Seven, HK USP, Beretta PX4 Storm, and Walther P99.

I forgot royalty thrived because of humanity’s disease known as “silence of the lambs.”

I forgot feudal lords practicing “jus primae noctis” that allowed noblemen to have sex with low-ranked women on their wedding nights.

I forgot caressing the tears on a long-haired woman whispering, To live is inevitably to shatter.



Chapter 19:
I forgot how I protested, “Must everything be remembered?”

I forgot night’s consistency in always arriving.

I forgot words turning me into water without flavor because its memories had yet to be conceived.

I forgot night’s consistency in always ending.

I forgot the Koran’s “eternal water”—whiter than milk, sweeter than honey, and colder than ice.

I forgot the chilled perfume of a fountain spouting helplessly towards a ceiling of mist in a dim, anonymous cave.



Chapter 20:
I forgot parting my lips beneath clouds in the planet’s top repositories of rain: Zurich, Miami, Ljubljana, Burgundy, Hilo, Copenhagen, Beijing, Quibdó to Borongan, Glasgow, Taipei, Jagdalpur, and the Pacifican rainforest.

I forgot the futility of smelling vivid images of the world’s most fragrant flowers: gardenia, rose, lily, magnolia, jasmine, freesia, honeysuckle, lavender, orange blossom, hyacinth, lilac, and heliotrope.

I forgot we became pluviophiles because rain-lovers more fully appreciate life by basking in any experience.

I forgot the Apuan Alps where mountains glimmered as though cloaked with snow all year because they homed the marble that became Michelangelo’s “Pietà” and “David.”

I forgot Lardo di Colonatta, pork back-fat seasoned with sea salt, garlic, black pepper, sage, rosemary, cinnamon, cloves, and coriander.

I forgot the ingredients of Venetian Tongue with Olive Sauce: calves’ tongue, green olives with pits, lemon juice, anchovy paste, virgin olive oil, and flat-leaf Italian parsley.

I forgot deer horn is not a good handle for the Bowie knife because, unlike stamina wood, it can be slippery.

I forgot Marrakech where you licked the remnants of chermoula from my mouth after it welcomed beef cubes from a tagine the same color as that day’s sky.

I forgot worlds changing and love keeping up.

I forgot that for those whose nerves have been steeled by fortitude, love retains its constancy.



Chapter 21:
I forgot even Hadaka-Jime judo was not as efficient as chiffonading a bad guy’s head.

I forgot a long-lashed god who slept nude on a floating cloud off the coast of Kauai.

I forgot hefty bank accounts in Singapore, Georgia, Cook Islands, and Chase in the United States despite the marketing clamour from Swiss, Panamanian, Costa Rican, Anguillan, Barbados, and Cayman Island banks

I forgot Colombia’s best beer, Club Colombia Doradas brewed with malted barley and caramel malt, is fully capable of exalting any moment.

I forgot how philistine was merely a camouflage for you.

I forgot the innate talent of spies—they contain multitudes.



Chapter 22:
I forgot how the 2008 Masseto crafted “the taste of forgiveness.”

I forgot Mark Twain’s reminder: “Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”

I forgot how you redefined “dessert” as belonging in the bedroom instead of dining room.

I forgot how you whispered, “A waterfall awaits. I’ve been parched without you.”



Chapter 23:
I forgot you made me shudder more than once.

I forgot the fictionist Steve Almond’s tip of never likening nipples to Frankenstein’s bolts.

I forgot how the belly button, contrary to popular belief, is not the cut end of an umbilical cord but scar tissue.

I forgot you bathing me in champagne before you encircled my waist with a gold chain bearing charms that symbolized the history of the world: teardrop-shaped black pearls, a gold book with an enamel cover emblazoned with a red rosebud, a silver sword with its blade embossed with horses and handle studded with rubies, the sun and earth’s planets as small diamonds set atop a mother-of-pearl circle, and a heart-shaped aquamarine.

I forgot that at the height of sexual pleasure, names become irrelevant as we become acolytes of rapture.

I forgot the unique fragility of a person in love.

I forgot the oldest umbilical scar is from a 130-million-year-old dinosaur, the Psittacosaurus, whose umbilicus persisted until sexual maturity, like those on certain lizards and crocodylians.

I forgot that to treasure you is to cherish your scars.



Chapter 24:
I forgot that midnight is not black but a navy blue that resembles a moonlit night sky around a full moon.

I forgot how you left me sodden and slightly swollen.

I forgot you called my children more journeys for loving me.

I forgot how Zimbabwe’s elephants lapse to autocoprophagy—coprophagy refers to eating feces and autocoprophagy means eating one’s own.

I forgot that inheritance includes crap.

I forgot how kindness cures human autocoprophagy.

I forgot that one shouldn’t bother arguing with fate, even if one disrupts it.



Chapter 25:
I forgot scattering pink rose petals on a dining table because pink symbolizes innocence and we rarely experienced innocence.

I forgot the spy who camouflaged himself in the Congo by learning to dance mbuki-mvuki.

I forgot people bragging more about their grief than money.

I forgot Hadrian naming a constellation after his lover, Antinous.

I forgot Gertrude Stein proclaiming for Alice Toklas: “One must dare to be happy.”

I forgot history’s amnesia when it came to helpers, like Karma Paul who was a sherpa and interpreter to Hugh Rutledge’s 1936 Everest expedition, Ooladie who was rare for having her name known among the female Africans who aided H.M. Stanley’s 19th century trans-African expedition, and Juan Tepano who helped Quaker ethnologist Katherine Routledge as she conducted research on Rapa Nui, Easter Island.

I forgot most people need a savior.

I forgot thick-thighed soldiers laying waste to land until “not even a perch for a bird was left.”

I forgot King Sargon of Akkad who introduced empire to humanity.

I forgot how Enheduanna’s father used her poetry to destroy his enemies’ gods.

I forgot the sky’s color is an illusion, and how the illusion paradoxically expands blue’s personality: Argentinian Blue, Azure, Baby Blue, Blue De France, Boeing Blue, Byzantine Blue, Celeste, Capri, Carolina Blue, Cerulean, Chlorine Blue, Columbia Blue, Cornflower Blue, Crayola Blue, Dodger Blue, Facebook Blue, Indigo, Intel Blue, Maya Blue, Pacific Blue, Pantone Blue, Persian Blue, Polynesian Blue, Powder Blue, Ruddy Blue, Savoy Blue, Spanish Blue, Tufts Blue, Turquoise, Twitter Blue, Uranian Blue, and Ultramarine.

I forgot no one should clutch at the sky as their only blanket.

I forgot gods are like humans: sages are rare.

I forgot gods are formed in childhood so that the orphan’s childhood revealed gods are disposable.

I forgot we are not amateurs as spies.

I forgot enthusiasm until fate brought us together again, our eyelashes intersecting with each other’s when we kissed.



Notes:

Chapter 2: The Salvador Plascencia quote is from his novel The People of Paper (HarperVia, 2006).

Chapter 6: the 4th line is after the line “Blue as a vein o’er the Madonna’s breast” by Robert Browning.

Chapter 10: the last line was influenced by the account of “The Battle of Thermopylae” by Ludwig Heinrich Dyck: https://ludwigheinrichdyck.wordpress.com/tag/thermopylae/

Chapter 20: the list of the world’s most fragrant flora is from “12 Best Smelling Flowers in the World,” Petal Talk: https://www.1800flowers.com/blog/flower-facts/best-smelling-fragrant-flowers/

Matt Dennison

Like Winter, the Poet Returns to Silence After Beauty

The honey-leggèd jake drinkers
have arrived! The hyperbolic
exclaimers have landed!
Roll out the dancing mat!
Enjoy the fever and the swoop!—

Salvation's galled advancement
(nowhere near the punctuation
once-dumped to rumble and to squat)
performed upon the signs flung 'cross
love's angel-cast endeavors does thrive,
aligned as be to magnify the common
crowd in barrows’ micturating swell.

Expound—though this one's told! The closest
liberty here, my friend—our coldest keep—
(invisible-skinned, wingèd, if can be called),
keeps quiet as some nuisance, that old librarian,
evokes untendered brides.

My bullet goes hysterical—Lemmings! Invalids!
—notions our debt-temptation rats belie—
Master! What lies Opinion's Death does embrace!
Eternal confusion, to this untrained eye.

Steve Timm

Chapter 8

Glubbnutz just hiss side of the lawn
wracked if he was in the down’s ups or the flipperoony
rewround too if the spielool wasn’t loaded
fecklefashed and festlorn Glibsy glutted his gallopy gulplust
on the gerundial lifestyle he’d been aiming offa
shwallow naught alone he reft
but that was a coming for him too
in the blackishspoored leaves of years
and so closed he in on nature
and its skewy narwhals
the scrapchurns of uke
the zappling dirisibles
and aw the redden denouncies appurting the scrawl to the blank tape
ya scribula ya, someone hounted
knolled Glancy spackled his left retina
just left of the only appileate he’d never placed nor bet eye on

Paul Ilechko

A Government Job

These agents of the world
a golden doorway is between us
preventing thoughts of winter

leave behind the bedroom life
you never saw the hulls of
catamarans       or the coldness
of German exactitude

your passion might yet last till harvest
fresh fruit and new potatoes
and a fleece to replace
your worn-out uniform

sit beneath the lacebark elm
watching as peacocks cross the lawn
you lose your mind once more
to the synchronicity of actuarial tables.

ag davis

DEAF NOUS

-i-
in Hgodes(a),
the shadowls of black hair that coversion
the glowing storpidy of IDYL
are crumbling,
and untidy furnaces
are entangled beneath the beastly
scenes of ectodimorphic
lust-re-re-re-.
i ask for new shrinkages in horrible places,
where the silent and unspoken
square favors beside the same high-ranking
officials who are crushing my throat from
unparsed heavenly positions:
lexicologist: re-
ex-p-erv-ert perseverance
is all-o=wed.
our protection from our lives
has emerged in the polis
of the daily mesosphere
that turns the lye-amplitude
into mar-re-i.e.,
pentacle,
umbrella pressure company,
ge.rminal:
a path opens up between the stars to tame the hat.
for an attractive birth,
a colleague of m'I'ne-men-namedead '1'
sang severnal surviving avestal beelzebub,
and an operathive surrounded by an eagle
praislayed him as a dermatogens
of father itches
the dual GHz tear's
hymnal
:::
with the pig’s heroic efforts to retreat before him

stu mblin g in             to the m              downra
ge y eat
en e
d
ens-----electronic
u - par
SON
FED

Jon Riccio

Bladder Exodus Slated after Minor Holiday

The eve of any -ectomy will be penultimate.
Ceaușectomy: a procedure that enlivened the Eastern bloc.
Super Bowl party: Dad’s peace-making with ostomy.
Bladder exodus means a new method of urine

collection. He has a colander—its patterns
like ornate bootery—a pound of shrimp to sauté.
My football savvy stops at Jim McMahon,
but I’m sure the groundhog sees his Eucharist in Cyrillic.

Mark DeCarteret

enough already

rain inside rain again
I have no idea how or why

it shows up as an opera star
or a rope or a water drop on a slide

rinses off miles of slimming
tea & film treatments

any gains yesterday
are yesterday’s gain

I worship another line
of mine at the workshop

order the pork w/
the sesame noodles

I don’t like it when my blood
ends up outside my body

or when the soul loses touch w/
the very things that got it here

to wait in slow motion
another wall in need of paint

this was all I had to go on
dot to dot to dot to dot

rain after rain again
fasts on nothing but air

Jill Jones

What You Said ‘Then’

‘I’ll begin, and then became aware’
‘naked streets’  |  ‘beautiful men in florals’

‘shapes as cast-offs’  |  ‘petals blown apart’
‘in the power of smokes and powders’

‘plague is the colour of pale blossom’
‘distant cars’  |  ‘her long shiny thoughts’

‘I lunge at my anger with all my commas’
‘boys don’t cry’  |  ‘yeah, not half’

‘the scraps, scales, fur’  |  ‘ghost flames, feathers’
‘a wall is not a wall when it’s not a cage’

‘still miming life’  |  ‘a suitcase is an exit’
‘a cup is an instance of heaven’

Andrew K. Peterson

HEAD SOUP
after Alfred Jarry

Orchestrated madness
demands countermelodic mendacity

: Re-collective Orchestra & Debbie Allen Dance Academy
perform Starburst live from the Hollywood Bowl

Interruptions, new continuities
to slaughter the charmless
indiscreet oligarchic bourgeoisie

: Pere Ubu serves Putin
head soup
made of radioactive wind
blown thru Ukrainian wheat

The banquet years — an empty plate

: Seven Keys for Seven Doors
To Seek a New Home
by Brother Jack McDuff

Sarah Sarai

A Vegas Vegan

I never promised you a statistician,
although I fantasize on becoming
a poet of actuarial tables,
a poet of the odds, a true Vegas
vegan with an eye keen for
a sun longing for love and,
like a Greek god who mis-
understands the penalties,
melting into the imperishable
west of the sunken and the found.

Charles J. March III

Pillaged Den

Nothing’s ever finished
Everything just gets done
Never cease fighting
Recursion & futility
Consume silently
Alone in your room
One bite at a time
Mindful of someone else’s big screen TV
Nobody in regret
A prisoner in your own home
Move to Stockholm
Sweet

Thomas Hibbard

UNOBSTRUCTED KISS

 
              O fragrant and pure sweet petals!
                                     - Tibor Tollas
 
strange Napoleonic gentle borderlands  

each night the gypsies along the river

flickering in front of Mount Hoverla

lately, a starving child appears

or a dark-haired man with his concertina

retreating into the remains of a shattered airport

all those cars parked in the forgotten parking lot

mundane disproportion of a father’s smashed mouth

kneeling on an alpine cliff, praying

in this dejected Sabbath slaughterhouse—

where everyone anticipates living forever

or is this planetary cauldron the beginning

with the “little cities” and their Cossack  

Frankenstein tumbling, walking amongst the willows

and doctors treating the tender carcasses

reality is possibility, the dreams of true experience

where the hours pass slowly and indecisively

in front of the connubial half-brother from KGB:

the incredible song of nightingale’s sorrows

Mark DuCharme

from Complicated Grief
Conjunctive Batman Thrills

I looked at the set & was spilled
By its startled eyes
Elk rhythm blunders
Economies of bird-in-cage

Rattled sentences blossoming
Once upon a shadow
Or anything else you’d likely spoil
Like a cage of lost children

Here is one: think meager
When the scrawl of night sits down in wonder
Or blunder. It doesn’t matter which. If intrigued
Please complicate noontime shadows

Scrawl penitent as a rook in lamb’s clothing
Vindicate corruption with corruption in a letter of 3,000 words
Find new ways to say goodbye
Or wander off in shadows, ’til the heat of night bleeds