Laura Bylenok

Vessel

foot firm against     a firmament refracted,

tracked with silt,     with bootprints lapped,

unlacing in the puddled     bottom of the boat,

the lake a fingernail     of fiberglass away—

is it the lake or the canoe     that holds us in

its forward, backward     sway—a pulse I pull

into my shoulders,     spilling in the paddle’s

dip and haul, a heave,     a wave then wavelets

slap (full fast,     the morning’s on us)

bright and then opaque,     the lake a penny,

verdigris, I flip     for luck—look up—

to cedar and cold sand,     the shore as steady,

devastating as a compass     in my palm to hold

the course,     a pocketful of wind

Cassie Donish

To Sing, Awake

tiny birds open and close

their gifts. street I walk,

bright as a mirror,

your woods today are thick

and can’t be sluiced clean.

O rainfall, sing me

with your see-through

tresses. sing me aloud

to the metal trellises. vast

trestle hovering, sway

high above me, sing

me to pieces, sing all

along me. O belong me

to this world I heart against.

Melissa Dickey

notational domestic

I wipe my nose on my sleeve
building an atmosphere

I walk through the doorway
I thought was glass

fern pockets flutter
baby’s bottom under my heart

my self the man in green poncho
in the outer space of the bedroom

Anne Marie Rooney

Small skulls in the small
skull. A sort of rounded
fever. Then the heated rises.
When the world is a grapey green
ball. A dew on the day which
sits, deposes. Don’t think
a garbage higher (than it
grows). The inside tree does bend to block
the wet. It was the beat of
the parch, the beat of pink jellies.
When I cut I, the sand it
did slow

Dawn Sueoka

My life is an after life

I am a person who loves MSG,
who believes that life is exactly
what you make of it, that happiness
is a kind of flap.
I am a person who turns to you in the limitless hush
of my total blow-up life
           breathing
           in breathing out
           breathing
           in.
You shouldn’t stand so close to the microwave.
You shouldn’t stand near the microwave and dance.

People in a city wake up in different configurations, e.g.,
body + hand; face
+ body + body.
Thoughts appear, disappear extremely white
clouds go this way
and that.
When you tell me you love me
I get extremely creeped out.
Your body, like
poetry, is full of shadows.
Hey, doc, what’s really happening?
What’s happening to me?
It’s a hot, hot, sunny day. Riot!
Run away!

Brenda Hillman

In the Middle of a Meeting

                …then set the pencil down,
then pick it up then     set it down,
      look over their heads,
over pine tops
   to eyelashes of minutes:
                there now,     drought-driven,—
stalled between space & the matter,

   grains of blue-green
             winds, swirling         behind the planet
(a slight ticking—      there—   one minute won’t
  cooperate)    … your limit
is eternity,
                                an unknown     pressure
    in each human here  (around the table)…
some far off move,   mystique
         of the wood-borer,      wood mind,
pine needles,      2’s,    3’s —
      endless,         not opposite of you—

Harmony Holiday

I Hate When Zombies Run Fast/ Counterspells Against Bad Infinity

Have you seen The Connection, that Shirley Clarke film about the four jazz men like the four elements sitting around in a hotel room before their set, waiting for their heroine— them niggas was already so strung out when she finally arrived and they couldn’t decide which one she belonged to— and all of their music cries about this circumstance and some of it handles it with tambourines and shakers that shimmer and brisk and clean up nice but there’s something awkward about it like you’re supposed to be better than you are and keep the sun in your mouth/ keep the sun in your mouth/don’t pout about how you’re numb sometimes and lips so thick and liver and you’ve got a lot of nerve like you have a father, fuck what you heard, ya heard? It’s a pretty realistic account, aggressively beautiful, and they all end up on stage, praying in front an audience like broken dreams:

So is it a trap?

this whole freedom thing               I jus  I jus   I just had a brand new feeling

Britt Ashley

I Never Met a House I Didn’t Want to Burn Down

When I was younger, I wore my hair shattered and stained every color of red I found under the bathroom
sink. A dizzying spectrum of dyes left behind by old roommates and
ambitious ex-girlfriends. I wore it big and bloody like a sunset, like the final scene of a
drive-in movie in which only one girl survives. She was always me.