25 July 2014

Featured Poet: Paul Cunningham


from "The House of the Tree of Sores"
 

A kitchen: where bombs and explosions are constantly cooked up
where zombified Swedish Chef fits large and small hands
(a spoiling milk in the West) continually spills
onto Miss Misshandlade & Miss Misstanke

Nothing spills on Miss Indiana because her body is “normal”
Normal is a good thing, you should look more normal,
the mockmilk whispers.
Pour batter into prepared bowl
















a bowl is a shed is a shedding
is a clean shed or a shed of fakes?
a should snusk a snusk shed?
identisk, translation’s tisk tisk

translation, needle in a höstack
a whole stack, a sales rack
a hate-stack, bombar dem
bombard them, feja or fejka?
















Brush a grill gate with spring tension adjuster
Add 20 #7 x 7/8” flat-head screws
Add ¾ cup of decorative bolts
Preheat oven to 375’ F

Use a slotted spoon to churn headboard
Use a slotted spoon to mix the sweet
Add 2 side frames, Add 4 adjustable shelves
Add a layer of caramelized connection sleeve
















melon, knocksharps the skull
kitchen offers a mallet, a gavel, a kavel
dough-rolling a skulle, dough-rolling a should
feja skola och fejka skola?

translation, a fruit contains a secret mjölk
clayed over by peel, inte gråta över spilld mjölk?
peel-removal; glöd-core; våld-core
suga sockret, suger socker
















More boomashootns, the mockmilk whispers
puppetland, with its gun-shaped hand
home of damaged dream-appliances
microwave-safe, fits in the bowl of all sinks

puppetstringchoked sinkhole
sings a green song a salad mean song
veggie stalks tangled up in an armature wire
a stringy ooze out of mockmilk mouth utters








Copyright © 2014 Paul Cunningham

13 March 2014

Featured Poet: Roberto Harrison




plural consciousness



not this face
and its cohort, a body

and the face has many minds—
the countable and the uncountable and empty strings “”

it walks beyond the mountains
where there are others in that desert panorama

so removed from space. and the pain of split eyes
and of being more than one

and of switching to build on Origins
of the certain acausalities of a plural consciousness

an entire people of profiles
of computer parts and sounds and a throbbing Light

primordial and far before
is the unintentional truth [on the ground]

known to the lesions
perplexed by questions of the feed

and by the other lines. and for that reason
their body cannot balance itself on the enormous neuter egg

and never sleeps in flight. but the blindness
gets planted with sunfish and shoveled into ossified domes

and it becomes a horror and a random seed()
of the submerged and Unit ear

and cannot be dreamed about with its rabbits
as those minds have left the body asleep and apart

and now are separated by many Starts
attached by a single strand

invisible sinew. it becomes,
the body becomes

a husk for the colors of corn
a putrefied husk with a smile of the bus

as its afterimage
and a sorrow of the bus

as its frontal lobe. it moves with a black rat
snake and separates the other animals

so that they too shrivel
and become like the muted clouds

not of this terror. this body becomes
indistinguishable from the jungles, and the news of the frond

welcomes its poverty. it moves beyond the landscape
and desires itself to be one (and a two-toed Sloth)

of the planes for which the word becomes less
and more than light. it dissolves to portray its anti-subjects

like the animals of long ago, and it witnesses itself
become cybernetically unified. but this is only a question

without symbol. it moves to be antecedent to the imagination
but is not recognized as such, it submerges

its most horrifying trees into a lesser season and drought
of correction and comfort. it realizes

its evils must be seen and felt, and so, on that day
it becomes mineral, and moves to be a putrefied aspect of wholeness

in being skewered. and no word can place it with others
because its muteness revolves around its own Sea

and it becomes the question for answers, and the answer for questions,
but nothing more. and this body equates itself with the earth

in its seismic and sharp attributions, in its lessening waters, in each
expression another form of syzygy. it often weeps in its thoughts

without a body, and it smiles in weird ways
that betray the weather, and it says things and does things

that it no longer recognizes. this body is softened with its minds,
and its horrors were turned into fragrances and tanned leather

by the many cyber seeds of the Mound. it cannot understand
its own secrets, and it cannot see the metropolis of a wound

that it knows it is. and one day La Tulivieja
will become synchronized so as to harvest

the sun’s healing and destructive powers, so it aggravates
the soils of a home for more plants, and the jungle then resists

that its panoplies and layers dissolve the rails
of the trains of the wrong, and that they service the master

of interior regions, so confused by the chieftain
of harvest and loons on the days that wear away

the soft electrocutions of the everyday. the chieftain absorbs
the windowed necropolis where his people, and those of the she-world

witness and absorb decay. the wanderers of this interior
force the crisp attention of the less than life

to warm each possible response to the raiders of the trains
and the wind of this plural consciousness which arrives

with the marks of the page to undo the only light and the only count(*)
of this region for the lost, in this equated reverse of completion

where someone ashes the counts of another rain to absorb their light
and their darknesses, in the less than bought and more than free

which witnesses the end of number, and absorbs all the marks
of the Chooser of absence and orphanhood. in their attached body trance

someone absorbs La Tulivieja with hir Intermediate Areas
and (s)he becomes just a knot, and this is a word to absorb the interior’s climate

on that holiday of sorts where the weather rises, and where (s)he, the invisible one 
comes to me to remind me of my erasure. this song of erasure

does not count for your afterimage in the less than countable rite
of mythologies and reference. do you feel the attachment of this soft song?

where I am not I, in this weather of promise and recursions
that decays and absorbs each of our numerous

corporations in the wonder world of executions and the council fire
so gigantic and guarded by the others. they are moving

in this desertion to unwind the releasing tense of the door. to unwind
the approach of their targets         to renumber their attack

and place hold the skin service. they do not want
their only council with their only chieftain to be a part of the smoke

that each holds for the heart of the isthmus, that new service
that attaches itself to each consciousness, so divided and One and not Two and ~~~~~~~

ritual number. they wear away the programs of cascading sides
and they pick the service of the trains to amount to the ride of the dispossessed

those wretched that the chieftain had become and was and now…. but the putrefied sweetness
of the bees no longer attends to the animals as they grow so wild. on that day

with the sun at its warmest we ride to the western mountains of a digital
oblivion, one more attenuation and one more cross of those counted wings. they know

by their hair that the wolves approach from the east and that they understand winter
in its back and forth connection of truth evaluations. those bruises never stop that pattern

as the gift of life does not endure the seasonal demands on our numbering
smoke. there is no plural there. it heals itself as the body of Moons

except when it is lost in a self. that endures for something
erased but not worn in this element, a long and numinous husk of each origin’s fire

resumes and attends to it, more than measure






number name

     for Daniel Borzutzky


one moved
and then a finger appeared. a leg, a torso

one moved again
and then someone called from far away. it rang in the water

formed like the lights of offering
more people knew more languages and they flew

one sentence
and then two sentences. their faces wavered

and a whole country was mute. they offered their voices
to roll upon the earth and confront the ships.

once, they went nowhere. their approach to the Sun
was given in steps. the network of stars

would not amount to service or to the lines of amputation
as they emerged from the earth. and they saw

that someone held the innocent. but experience
would not hold to a single self. the screen

of afterimages would amend and portray the lost herds
for the reasons that silence would absolve, for the amount of people

that they serviced in the daylight. bodies were formed that spoke
secretly, in the trees. their mute literatures covered the ashes

of their dead. they said that they were not persons
and so the law did not pertain to them. they moved like the light

but no one understood the anguish
of personhood. their mute literatures would be brought up

by vicious dogs. they did not understand
the news. their fear transformed them

beyond facial recognition, beyond all security.
once, they throttled and amounted to the aims

of services. their bombs would not attach the spirit
to their monumental fires. they learned from the flesh

and they knew the warmth of the straw. they were one in the time
of offering. their books would attend to the cracks

in the ground. their songs would seek others more
than they were sought. they did not have feelings

because they could not trust. once, there were others.
their laughter moved the animals and the animals

sang to them in homage, secretly. they were always together
with the animals. they once again would free themselves

from the world. they knew more songs and they revealed the ashes
that grew to their hunger. they arrived to the other worlds

as this one stopped. they moved with the wishes
of their infancy. they were once like the Turing machines

of deception. they danced the fear away and they knew that someone
would one day be fearless among them and change them all for that.

once, they reasoned that their minds were like blankets, a warming
of the flesh, and their minds radiated heliocentrically beyond the moon,

and they stood at the surface of the Sea, and they moved with the Oceans
to endure the earth of cogitations and the earth of motionlessness.

they received the others and they announced to themselves that they would learn
to speak as the light speaks. they moved to be there like one was

and they counted among the numbers




© Copyright 2014 Roberto Harrison

21 January 2014

Featured Poet: Sarah Carson

The Twenty-Four Hour Grocery Store, Part I 

Ron Bowman got fired from the twenty-four hour grocery store for no-call-no-shows after his girlfriend had him arrested for trying to kill her with his Tupac chain. In a meeting with both produce managers, he’d been accused of carving swastikas into the card table in the smoking break room, though the smokers defended him vehemently, though Joe Fischer took full credit for it the night he quit, running off through the dimly lit parking lot with two cans of soup and a bottle of champagne. Later Ron and Joe smoked cigarillos with Matt from bottles beneath the black lights in their living room, Matt’s fingers still ripe with Diet Coke and Sprite and 42 varieties of beer. When Matt turned up dead in his grandmother’s doorway, Ron and Joe were miles away, passed out with their heads on each other’s shoulders, having signed a secret pact between them to never let a bitch get them down. 





The Twenty-Four Hour Grocery Store, Part II 

Maura was the manager on duty the night Bill got caught drinking and driving in the Coke van. We were sitting in her office, drawing pictures with the highlighters she kept in her top desk drawer while the Pepsi guys sat on the empty pallets in the drop trailer watching porn on their cell phones. Around eleven o'clock Bill came storming up action alley, took a 2 liter of Vault and threw it so hard against the floor that it bounced over the cereal racks and into the next aisle. The boys went with him to the parking lot where they all lit up cigarettes and spent a long time not making eye contact. Maura called for a floor machine from behind the locked door, seated beside me scratching at the incisions she'd made on her forearms during lunch. 





The Twenty-Four Hour Grocery Store, Part III 

His wife found out the week before Christmas, and so he dragged both of his daughters through the twenty-four hour grocery store in search of the cashier who was causing all of his problems, each little girl with a tiny hand wrapped around one of his index fingers, the bells their mother had tied to their snow boots a flurry of quiet jingling as they hurried down the soda aisle like late entrants in a three-legged race. In the front yard that night the cops told the grown-ups to scatter, but the cashier was sure she was the only one who’d listened. For months she'd find herself pulling up next to the payphone outside the Speedy Q off the highway, dialing their number and listening intently to the chatter in the background before someone hung up. 





If We Toast to the New World, 
We should toast to all its possibilities, 

to Srmad in the shop on the corner, 
his window full of knock-off Nikes 
and single cigarettes. 

This morning when we went to get the paper, 
two men were climbing out my neighbor’s window 
with her television in their arms. 

You can’t blame the factory for that, 

 like you can’t blame the Generals 
for giving up in the playoffs 
when the stands were empty 
and their paychecks had been bouncing for months. 




© Copyright 2014 Sarah Carson

21 August 2013

Featured Poet: Angela Narciso Torres

56 SANTO TOMAS STREET


Your patent shoes sink
in loam flecked with feathers,
seedcases split and empty. Already,
the summer frock you wear is short
for your four years. Knees frown
beneath the shirred skirt.

The black purse you clutch
was your sister’s once. Your grasp
is tentative—you know some things
will never be wholly yours.

Your father lowers the lens,
asks you to move from the shade.
From the corner of your eye,
your grandmother, a grey-white
blur, shakes the bag of seed. You fix

your eyes beyond the camera.
The cage, a feathered
crescendo, ochre-green.
Your lit face
holds everything
as the shutter clicks.





DARKROOM


Under the red lamp
I watch him douse
each small white square.

Side by side we search
the shallows, seafarers
peering through glass

for sliver of coast, rough ridge.
One by one he brings us
back—daughter, brother,

mother, son. Again and again
within light-tight walls
he births us.





LOST OBJECTS


My mother-of-pearl pendant—
half teardrop slung on a leather cord,
bought from a hawker of veils
and batik. A brown book of poems,

signed by the Indonesian poet
who sat next to me at dinner.
Four words remain in memory:
“To love, to wander…” I’m missing

a watercolor of vegetable vendors
given by my mother on the occasion
of my first apartment. The stillness
of those nights, the last box emptied,
searching the blank ceiling, imagining

the shades of green, the shapes
of the women—squatting, stooped, large
with child, bent over baskets piled with
a season’s bounty. I’d give anything

to find my tape of Glenn Gould playing
Bach’s Goldberg Variations, the one my father
copied for me on a gray cassette before the age
of compact discs. Hearing the first strains

at Mandrake Books on Story Street,
Mr. Rosen, my ninety-year old boss,
paused at the window, lost
in shining sound, smooth as water
over stone. Idly he smiled,

arthritic knuckles tapping time
on a dog-eared Books-In-Print,
eyes fixed on some lost heaven.





ELEGY WITH ATLAS MOTH AND YELLOW BELLS


We may never see them again
     the giant-winged Lepidoptera
alighting on fire trees that shaded us
     at recess, our bench
a mass of knuckled roots.

About the size of a fruit bat,
     they spread their wings like burnt
maps across a span of leaves
     proving that beauty appears
to the small and lonely alike.

And it’s unlikely that anyone will discover—
     as I did, leaning into a hollow bush
on the playground near the septic tank,
     the foliated room where sun poured
through yellow trumpet blooms

we could spy from our classroom.
     Daily we wrote in cursive to the swish
of Sister Angelica’s skirts as she dusted
     a cracked row of encyclopedias,
June rain rinsing the window glass.





OCTOBER


It’s raining when you pass the glistening
warehouses on the right, the overgrown field
down the slope. Above, a redwing veers
off its path, seeks cover under a branch.
And suddenly your eyes smart
with tears. Not because your son
just moved a thousand miles away—no,
not for your mother who cannot recall
her name. And not for any of those lost
loves the wind stirs up like burnt leaves.
But because, for a moment, everything
comes clear—a crimson flash igniting
a bird’s arc over the rainslick road.





WHAT ISN’T THERE


Even without leaves
the Bradford pear keeps
its bell silhouette.

Above, a commonplace moon,
somewhere between half
and full, waxing edge

rubbed like the worn
ridges of a lucky quarter.
A sentence partly

erased—a brightness
we might have been.











Angela Narciso Torres’s first book of poetry, Blood Orange, won the Willow Books Literature Award for Poetry and will be published in the fall of 2013. A graduate of Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, she has received fellowships from Illinois Arts Council, Ragdale Foundation, and Midwest Writing Center. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Manila, she lives in Chicago and edits the poetry journal RHINO. For more, visit http://www.angelanarcisotorres.com/.

© 2013 Angela Narcisco Torres