The War Vase
None of the words in my voice are my own. What I can see I see only through your eyes: the tempera gold leaf—my vessel, my vim. The accumulation of all my reflections; your face is older now too. Still, I am rash— a prize above the fray. Spared in the minds of those who will not spare each other. Emanation is a light that can shine from one’s own body. But ruder powers do the job I cannot do myself. My only enemies are those who will not fight for me. Thomas Devaney is the author of The Picture that Remains (The Print Center, Philadelphia, [...]
Like a Prayer
Everyone must stand alone with other loners. The black lace
veils from every other chapel- goer, all the doves mourning
a boy-star petered out too soon. Heaven help me slip through
the bars of this brick house shattered by blue light, glum moon
fidgeting with shadow. The boy’s black light vision. His sideways
ways of painting wings, crowns, anointed words and words
backtracked. Track back a beginning, what the cave muralists
meant. Not the death of the beast but the brilliant red, the rigid white
of bones. Raise folded hands and a fur-gilded skull. Crown yourself
with horns, most elegant weapons. And with slowly going embers
Consider Yourselves All “Debbie”
Dear Debbie, why is it so hard to understand? The accident was me. It was in me, it was on me, it keeps getting written all over my face. Watch your tongue, you might say, or, go ahead and fix your face. But help is on the other side, Debbie, my good one, it’s stuck in profile, Debbie, it’s not on its way. Use our arms as your arms, the ditch lilies beckon. There, they say, now you know what it’s like to be pleasantly ignored. We keep all the wrong appointments, Debbie. Sunday bleeds into Monday and unlike flowers, Monday will not be ignored. Because. [...]
Day My Father Died
Friday, June 24th. It’s easy to remember, being halfway before and after. Record low temperature. November 22nd draws close. By now, in 2005, he told me he needs to go somewhere. The day my father died, I could not cry; my mother did. His face on the pillow in the faux moonlight. Rote morning, black and white, I was walking home from the library carrying nine books. That’s the way my memory sees it, but I can’t know exactly nine. “It was the worst day of my life.” The Day My Father Died (updated with pictures). Rate: 36 Flag. Explain why. We laid flowers on [...]
Poem Ending with a Phrase from Federico Garcia Lorca The last time I saw Lorenzo he was wearing a blind man’s glasses and holding the leash of a seeing-eye dog
though he isn’t blind and he doesn’t have a dog and his name isn’t Lorenzo but Bruce.
Who can explain why a man might dance on the ledge outside his office five flights above the Hudson River?
The city with five boroughs and two thousand bridges fits on one side of the coin my father gave me to give to a beggar.
It remains in my pocket as I look out the window on the day of my [...]
In a Landscape: XXXVII
I think “getting out of the way” is a great way to be helpful to most people most of the time, especially when I meet one of those people who reminds me of the truth behind “killing someone with kindness.” And so we’re all, no matter what, trapped in our own heads, of course, and there’s usually nothing different about the day you started, it was the day you started, that’s all. What that has to do with being overly helpful, I’m not sure, it just kind of came to me. Maybe it’s just that it’s all some version of the unknown, and getting out of [...]
Net, Web I land fully formed like a cherub. Nothing pleases me. You least of all, with your fingers poking their grime on dreams. Behind thick drapes my code is plain and can’t account for your dismal nerves, twitchy joys and wounds. This is what you wanted. Guarantee of unplumbable lake. Forget you are greatly eased or disturbed by smells, where and how your nerves directly touch the air. Here, you will always have everyone wherever you go. Molly Brodak is the author of A Little Middle of the Night (University of Iowa Press, 2010) and three chapbooks of poetry. She lives in Atlanta and teaches at Emory University. [...]
Either everything’s a valley, a jelly donut dimpled down the middle, or else everything’s
a collision of plates, crustal thickening on its way toward muscled mountains. Either everything’s way,
way, beyond mid-gallop or a rundown shack haystack- still, a dog-patch immobilizing glory, gumption, get up
and go. Either everything’s a sandy path leading to a dune-saving fence or nothing’s guarded, out of reach.
Which is worse: too many walls or not enough, the laciness of shams or an endless hallway of bare
jalousies, dead fly lounging on each lone pane?
Pferd Marino Marini, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
Gift Swiss, holding American, art Italian, tradition Boeotian. The diabetic buckles on the expo path, dislodges the fizzy headset and—would it be cavalier to add—misses in the Snapple retrieved for him
the incidental part Marini plays in the tour of art a love poem once underwent, beloved incidental, he on whose behalf from all the world’s unconcern one circulating suitor contrived express concession.
Anyway if there is a homologue in the Frick what can it mean in Charlotte, stooped at the centerpiece, in powered-down posterity, in a sugar low, North Carolina? Not rearing, and no rider, right or wrong, so by [...]
I Grade Online Humanities Tests
at McDonalds where there are no black people and there’s a multiple choice question or white people about Don Quixote or Asian or Indian people I don’t want to be around people I want to be here where there is free wireless I do not want to sit at the Christian coffee shop nor the public library No I want religion to blow itself up My sister converted to Catholicism I do not want to sit at Starbucks I like McDonalds coffee because it is cheap and watery I like how it tastes I like this table where the old man is telling his old [...]
All the worrier wants is love, like anyone else. But he won’t seize it for himself; he needs you to come to him, admiring the way he keeps the background safe for everyone. He can’t—maybe you’re right, he won’t—descend the pole into the heart of the burning house, the hotspot between the sheets. But someone fastidious must man the radar, someone, unlike you, who is happy in the lukewarm broth between choices. One part of him is forever holding his foot above its first step, waiting for the all-clear that can never come. Another part is waiting for you—he may move if you take his hand.
Beauty School Dropout
I want to solve the problem of heterosexual desire like why do I love dick so much Is there something transcendent about self-abasement I’m not a licensed esthetician so I don’t know what scholars say about Brazilian keratin treatments The formaldehyde stylists breathe is Adam’s Curse To be a woman is to know one must starve I don’t feel very straight at all I masturbate to underground gay thug porn and still wind up thinking about the male gaze I want to be so skinny people ask if I’m dying Have you ever been on the roof of The Standard and noticed your tatters in the unforgiving [...]
My Factless Autobiography
The grammarian chooses a place in the open air for arguments fiction runs sweet in my nostrils I inhale a failing air fleet four of them for to eat the milky crab the pudding proof is found in
I am the Assayer of Weights and Measures I am what I am because I am not something else I hold a lily in my hands it is not gross As a fabric is a historic surface I am propelled I touch bone & traffic in salt like minefields & the people we inhabit
Who but the most despairing among us will dwell on that point tonight? Good [...]
Love and Decay
Graze on the face like a fly on honeydew, bend over toward someone so that your entire body alights imperceptibly, on the cusp of action, afternoon fretted in long lines of light through a near-drawn shade. Between what you do and what you don’t do, what you can’t (but could) or haven’t (again) but have imagined, fates hang suspended in the whirl of motes over sugar, over a piece of fruit, over an orb smashed on the ground. The bride walked out of church with her bouquet, then seeing it still in her hand, she dropped it. The airplane running low on fuel cannot circle back. [...]
If not Princess, then Warden
Things start off well: I’m the warden and no one’s writing on the walls in shit. I encourage all inmates to grow a mustache like mine, a bit of sculpted punctuation curling beneath the nose, directing the reader of the face downward to the lips. With them, and to the fellow in the mirror, I say, “my sweat unbreakable you,” helplessly using the word “sweat” instead of “sweet,” the way a high-school girlfriend did once in a letter, writing “Sweatheart, are we still going to the jamboree?” We were not going to the jamboree, anymore, Sally Garrett. This morning, out by the smokestacks before school, [...]
The First Time I Saw My Mother Without Her Prosthesis
after Hafizah Geter
Like the smooth face of the cliff she was just thrown from, the left side of her chest was flat and blank, save for two tiny raised scythes. Not a half-carved turkey, thankless, but a woman.
It almost seemed as if her breast could be drawn back on again, as if the scalpel was merely erasing cancer, as if the right one hanging like a luminous brown tear wasn’t the lonely twin. As if this new lightness didn’t threaten to render her a widow of his touch, de-mother her somehow.
Is this a crystal ball moment— the [...]
weakly accepted as a name of the type it was serious consequently it occurred a benefit which concludes decreases what it raises of an increase in persona of the report of relation color grain crops the type of bees that have no approximation clear into fragrant you that flower these are they under the sunroar Michael Schiavo is author of The Mad Song and editor of Gondola.
You will find more poems here. You may contact the editor at email@example.com.
There, reading against the traffic, a car crash between chapters.
Alphabet via street signs. C is for Con Ed.
Kids music meant an actual kid, singing to herself
past all the silent billboards.
Then those days—when you were starting out, as they say—you were sulfur
frozen at Odeon
when strapped to the masthead, every remark, aside, sharpened.
The table by the mirror reserved for all the baby lionesses.
And now. You are living the app. A pop-up. La Vida App!
Too many words, not enough ears.
Quit the Breaks
People are dying faster than even dentists are dying than even octopuses are dying than even elephants are dying What worries me is everything Flawed masculinity My outlook in bushes a wedding band the color of the moon breath mints between hips never touching feral The streets are crooked & that’s why everyone falls down I love you What I remember more people shot than a lane of bowling pins the drench of heat picture frames of basements There are ghouls inside me clenched fists !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As an expression of our inability to live up to the standards of experience, which aren't even that high, art is transcendent, beating reality at its own game, making reality real, the imagination wearing mortal flesh, slumming, readying itself to go back to God after sprinkling its messages like apple seeds across a nation, which will grow into fruit-bearing trees. Because of this, artists have more, or less, sex, or the same amount. Think of Picasso and Kafka. Art is made instead: if life were enough, we wouldn't. But we need art’s off ramp to a parallel road, less congested, more beautiful, where it means something just to pass [...]