14 July 2015

Featured Poet: Katy Cousino


waddle thru Beaver Valley Mall w/Hot Topic bags &
Yankee Candle Pumple smells.
The female girdlebods walk in2
Lane Bryant.
“What Real Women Wear” is smeared on every hexagonal wall.
GIRDLEMOMMA & GIRDLEBABY arrive to their fav h8 spot.

      GIRDLEMOMMA: Last stop the girdlegirl store. We will sob
                                          & cut ourselves in pencil skirts.

The GirdleClerks activ8 behind the counter:
double-chins shake until they smile invitingly.

      GIRDLEBABY: I cry lard pellets—suck on crumbs for comfort.

GIRDLEBABY shoves her encased sausage
thigh into shorts she’ll never wear, causing Thickpussy
Imprint Protrusion. She stares at herself for a long time
as lardstreams flood her clothing; she is chunkier
now than before.

Outside of the dressing room GIRDLEMOMMA grunts.
She tightens her epidermis w/a spandex binder & moans
sweetly into her own ear.

      GIRDLEMOMMA: Constriction sweeter than sugar-blood.

Thin humanoids loiter at the storefront, look in with big eye
small hips, point at
GIRDLEBABY, asking if she’s real.

      Humanoid #1: what is fat but has skin
      Humanoid #2: yellow bulbous goo
      Humanoid #1: I’m, like, not even real; twas written in wallblood

Suddenly GIRDLEBABY’s titcatcher is too tight;
the silkworm straitjacket squeezes her <3 so hard.
3 GirdleClerks swarm her, large scissor hands
snipping at
GIRDLEBABY bodice. The silver slips.
Jabjow goes the <3.

GIRDLEMOMMA , noticing the screams of her baby-girdle,
leaks instinctual teetjuice from her succulence.


GIRDLEBABY is under the spyderlace canopy, staring upward
w/grumble-guts. She sprawls across her bedding & knocks
4 of her lard poles together; they expand & bounce like Newton’s
ball-click cradle. Last night she dreamt of a vamp @ her window,
pledging male fang belly-suck. Her eyes roll back in2 the skull.

A happy crevice burrows across her cheeks; teeth are
barely visible: ground to gums.

GIRDLEBABY reaches into a craft bag
of writhing phalanges. She glues them to an old back-scratcher.

      GIRDLEBABY: I will now prepare the entrance.


There is a thump from the closet. Undeterred, however,
as her girdle begins to boil over,

GIRDLEBABY envisions the vamp.
She bids him nearer w/a pout.

      GIRDLEBABY, giggling: Oh, my blood is all stopped up!

Slowly, GIRDLEBABY drags the fingerstick
across her risen teets. Its long yellow nails pinch
& scrape her jello mounds. She watches in awe @
digital magik. Her blushed nubs tremble.

Costumed humanoids whisper inside the closet.
1 wears dark glasses & a distressed sk8r gurl dress
salvaged from Urban Outfitters. The other
is in a childhood leotard, also from Urban Outfitters.
Both wear bald caps 2 sizes 2 big.
The flesh flaps hinder their eardrums.

      Humanoid #1: what say you, lard cooch?
      Humanoid #2: how it gargles!
      Humanoid #1: my voyeurism is innocent, 4 the sake of research

The humanoids inch open the closet door; a sliver
of morning sun sneaks in2 their spy spot.
1 scribbles madly on stretched mole hide.

GIRDLEBABY shoves the phalange stick down her girdle.
The widespread fabric compresses slowly as baby-girdle inhales;
bubbling moans liquify in her throats.
Inside the lard-constraint detachable fingers dig.
They swell w/forgotten liquid.
GIRDLEBABY spurts from every orifice
stiffening blood cum. The eyes seal shut.

      Humanoid #1: who sponsored this?
      Humanoid #2: I am the brittle cage of flesh
      Humanoid #1: those phalanges have no self respect!


The humanoids enter the dilapidated hospital in a panic as per usual;
goldenrod graffiti covers every sickening wing. Wet blobs creep
slowly to the carpeted floor. The shouty humanoids dash 4 sanctuary,
feet sticking to girdle-bod goo. The blobs regenerate w/every plop.
Above, Venus of Willendorf drips brown.

Humanoid #1 & Humanoid #2 slam mutually into a room.
The ruckus erupts the tile floor in dust;
yellow clumps rerupture in all corners of the room.
Rust cracks on the equipment surrounding.
They waste no time.

First quasi-scientist//halfhuman presses the suction wand
in2 her naked abdomen; old slivers fester in pale skin.
She hums loudly w/the machine. The cannula wheezes,
sux on nothing.

Humanoid #2 is pumped w/vasoconstriction; the leftover serum
expired by prior yrs. Swaying in the glass wall reflection,
she wears an old gas mask coated in different spit.
Her gown is damp & she cannot see her eyes.

      Humanoid #1: All work & no play make the humanoid a dull girl.
      Humanoid #2: I’m all juiced up, sis; I can taste my skinny!
      Humanoid #1: We dance w/the devil in the pale moonlight.

The humanoids’ thin rib cages ache apart slowly,
bend 2 riveted flesh. They gasp 4 orgasm.
Vessels swim clear thru their skin.


xX mY cOnFiNeD sUsTeNaNcE xX

Before I was girdled, I didn’t know my #’s,
but focusing now,
I feel maybe 5 vaginal deposits within me.
Momma tells me I could have
girdle-babes of my own some day,
40 in each spydersac.
She tells me that my thick liquid distinguishes
fart from fertility
& I am full of both.
My fleshular masses are
stopped ^ w/ moo moo mucus
cervical goo; there is no room for
food or another 8-legged monster
inside these fat sacs.

I don’t need no scrubs nor the rubbing procreation.
I need for meatus tube-feed:
different juice, the kind that creates
substantial volume in humanchunks.
Momma doesn’t know I swallow whole.

Katy Cousino is an MFA candidate at the University of Notre Dame. She facilitates writing workshops weekly with the young women at the Juvenile Justice Center of South Bend. She believes that poetry is a powerful tool for social justice.

© Copyright 2015 Katy Cousino

06 June 2015

Featured Poet: Miguel Ángel Bustos | Featured Translator: Lucina Schell


Today I have sought
the birds in my chest.
Heavy trill,
hard fist
suspended from soul’s center.
Today I have defended myself
from the street and the tree,
from their wall of feathers and tongues.
Today I fear the crazed song
that rises from inside me.
Today I fear silence.
I want the flight of my birds
how I want you!
Until wing by wing,
shadow opened,
we kiss freely.

—from Heart of Outer Skin, 1959


Maybe revolving over the city
the machines rebel.
The filing cabinets like flowers
quickly fanning out,
and corral man.
It may be that the wall of my house
suspends a bit its weight
and watches my sleeping body.
Hounded walking with the fugitives.
By the field and by the river,
at the hour that the sun takes the day laughing.
We could forget the number brothers.
Looking at each other.

—from Heart of Outer Skin, 1959


My tongue sinks
deep tremors in your body.
My tongue lives
skips of your idiom
in your throat.
My tongue flies
and cuts
beat of water
your belly.
My tongue ties
far away in your blood.
My tongue looks
and sees only one tongue.
And today winds of stone blow
and there are millions of mouths that seek
tongues to make hearts stand on end.
Tongues that inhabit the chest.
Tongues in vigil erect,
on the eyes on the brow.

—from Heart of Outer Skin, 1959


Night you joined fire in water on land transformed by the sky.

Where did your flame appear?
Cell and panel of glass captivate me.
Make in me a forest of total innocence where fury and love
       graze, beneath the still clarity of silence.
Who opened the air and separated my tranquil beatitude?
A god in the sea inspires his storm.
A god on land flaps the windows and his angel goes wandering.

—published in La Nación on March 7, 1971


If it is already time to raise his Dominion,
make it
your width, your length, your absolute depth.
Break my heaven, fled sea, home of
Ease my sun in motion to the air of your
arrogance           in the emptiness of your calm.
Tree of gods. Tempest of birds.
Tremor in temples of fear. An absent god
in the origin of god that
I pursue.
Same as children          similar to the savages
of death find your justice
in zeal             see the prayer of your first
angel                           your angel fallen in the
terror of dream.

—published in La Nación on January 16, 1972

MIGUEL ÁNGEL BUSTOS was a major poet of the Argentine Generation of 1960. His Visión de los hijos del mal, with a prologue by Leopoldo Marechal, won the Buenos Aires Municipal Prize for Poetry in 1968. Bustos became an early victim of the military dictatorship, which ushered in decades of censorship of his poetry. His collected poetry was republished in 2008, the first time it had appeared in print in more than thirty years. Bustos’s remains were identified in 2014 by forensic anthropologists.

LUCINA SCHELL is founding editor of readingintranslation.com, dedicated to publishing reviews of literature in translation written by translators. Her translations of Bustos appear in Ezra Translation Journal, the Bitter Oleander, and Drunken Boat and her literary reviews have been published in Ezra and Zoland Poetry.

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