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.

Doug Paul Case

Tradition

There is a long tradition of poets looking out
their windows and writing poems about what
they see, and I wanted to be a poet, so
I moved out of my basement apartment so
I could live in a house that had windows
and write poems about what I saw. This
is logic. This happened months ago.
My windows now are large and let in
sunlight in abundance. My windows now
have screens to keep the bugs out and the air
everywhere. It is winter, and so
I have not seen any bugs. I have not
seen any bears nor hawks nor beavers nor
dramatic car accidents nor hummingbirds
nor falling leaves nor wild growth, though
I assume many of those things are happening
under the snow. I don’t know how
hibernation works, only that I might miss
something when the steam from my coffee
becomes steam on my window. Maybe it
will be the mailman. I am waiting
for a new Hemingway t-shirt. Maybe
it will be the neighbor boy, who likes
to jog in tiny shorts even though it’s cold.

Doug Paul Case lives in Bloomington, where he’s an MFA candidate at Indiana University and editor of Gabby, a new journal dedicated to the talky poem. His work has appeared in Salt Hill, Court Green, Hobart, and Moon City Review. He’s probably wearing a cardigan.

Muriel Leung

I Love You, Dead

 

Also for such stillness there should be teeth   

and wine enough to yank the thought up throat.

 

When she dies, she dies. She plunges her blood toes

into somebody’s ash tea. A kindness and a penny drop.

 

In another life, she was a jujube. I am an overeater. She is not

a body I want to eat. Shiny tuna rot in the forest mulch.

 

Though she stews gently. Her thoughts of me are always kind.

Her thoughts are always mangled and full of electric

 

suction cups. For example, she wants to wear my lungs

for a bag of pipes. These are the days of brilliance and poetry.

 

Bloated with salt and our little muses. My jaw now is a little worse

for wear. I need her like a copper tinge and mechanical throb.

 

Bury her though she leaps up with cumbersome

thirst. She swarms me. She thrusts a hand upward

and through me. Nothing stays. Is knobbed

 

and oozing past a stone. What heart. What sponge for brain.

She will not fit inside my tiny mouth, my mouth full of dead hair.

Dylan W. Krieger

saint drain


strung out inside / my tired thigh highs / I AM / filling my stigmata
with cotton / all the blotted bite holes / showing through / tracks
down the / gaudy skin-shroud / when I purse my lipids / like a
schoolgirl / blood and water trickle / outbound to my godhead /
bursting girdled stars / throughout the organs’ / pipes all wet with
mucosal / overtures on who / overturns stones in golgotha / or goes
tell it / like prayerful ghosts of / one’s own stoned femur /
preserved in tupperware and twine / my ankles dilate / and I mime
out / every gape that isn’t mine / a-writhe, a-writhe / on the thirsty /
in the worst way that / sometimes / my church muscle feels / dirty

Jackie Kari

Bridle & Bit

Abjectify me: perfumey
glands muscling my hair
ribbons, satin swaddle

Go cry me a generic    Wait
a year   Go finish your sandwich
Rest your head on my neck and finish

in your dream     stall I, petrified
of our home, pickled white
vinegarish, préservatives de
livery in my pocket—

Do you like this shirt? I lost it

to the dead year
lingerie in bed alofty red
& bred thoroughly

wake up bruisey
we eat our spaghetti
we have no money
we have no I +

whip-smart you

bait with carats
let mucky my vulva
let plow my stall
I don’t like

but spurred on I love you
I whisper, a little hoarsey
Neigh do I love the
pastoral you
put out to past

your wounding heels
in my ribs
in mysticky

jumpy, you say
I say, how 

Min Kang

blissed out

I hatha cuz I plummet liquid worry I’m a sno-globe swimming in slouching sad which massive blips into white wine bliss I recognize those eyes in myselfie the glint of knowing who that be legging fierce stomping down the shining moving airport sidewalk in her Lulu the crystallization of descending swirling was foggy disease I know me cept that my iPhone is shattered so is brain blitzed into oblivion revived to cold wetness with black hole in myselfie cannot visualize myselfie

Matthew Sherling

[BEFORE]

there are those who watch TV
& those who used to watch TV.

before TV there were films
& before films photography
& before photography
nobody saw the same moment twice.

before moments there wasn’t time 
& before maps there was no reason
to chart space.

there are those who play video games
& those who played video games
who now just talk to each other 
electronically instead.

there are those with light skin & those with dark skin
& those somewhere in between
who have all probably done
both great & shitty things.

before skin there was bone
& before bone there was dirt
& before dirt there was just wind
pushing against itself. 

there are those who have access to processed food
& those who don’t
& those who do but eat 
unprocessed food instead.

before processed food there were gardens
& before gardens animals
& before animals just energy. 

there are those who believe that energy came from nothing
& those who believe it came from something
& those who simply believe that there is no beginning.

Matthew Sherling has recently moved from San Francisco to a small town in Georgia, where he will surely continue to foster his internet addiction & wander around the woods. He runs the interview blog CUTTY SPOT & the online magazine Gesture. He hasn’t slept since 2004.