The Stars, the Stars
Virtuosity conceding to virtue…
What relief. In strange arrangement, they pose their difficulties, though what
they most seem is distance. Abstract and relentless as killjoy thoughts, self-given
insults. Book of them entered again and again. Like a wife, a poppy-
filled field for dreaming. They call, come out! I say, you first. Hard, to punish
and pardon. For the strong and the weak— in jotted dark, the forgive and the me. Paula Bohince is the author of two poetry collections, both from Sarabande Books: Incident at the Edge of Bayonet Woods (2008) and The Children (2012).
You are not gonna believe just how much more [...]
The Colonel What you have heard is true. I was in his house. There was a kidney-shaped pool and a Donkey Kong, Jr arcade game. We sat in the living room. His wife brought out a tray of mint juleps and a plate of Extra Crispy dark. A remote control sat on the base of a bowling trophy. With a gigantic paper napkin covering his white suit and black bolo tie, he picked up the pieces of chicken one by one, cleaning the bones dry in exaggerated sucking motions then breaking them and slurping the marrow. My friend said to me with his eyes: say nothing. There was talk [...]
A Crime at Pattaya
The following year, in a highly publicized case, four transvestites (one a transsexual) robbed a Hong Kong businessman and others by first inducing their victims to suck on their nipples, which had been coated with a tranquilizer. —Holly Brubach, Girlfriends: Men, Women, and Drag
I would do it again. I felt paradoxically adult— each chevron on each wave on that warm ocean pointing backwards and up the pale twist in the shadow below concrete stairs. I was led by my wrist. There was a great oval mirror, the hush of a closing door, two earrings unhooked and a square plastic bottle of lotion.
from Portraits of the Artists as Their Own Subjects
The screen lit up it was old
she took to foam the stitching / cloth and it was without form
patches clay Ground Theme Koji Kondo, 1982 / PVC green paint and astroturf
and darkness on the face
of the Kingdom
and her hand over the cellophane water her hand over the plush fungi and her hand over the void over the Pakkun flower with piranha teeth bared
Mike Lala has published two chapbooks: Under the Westward Night (Knickerbocker Circus, 2010) and [fire!] ([sic] Press, 2011). His work is forthcoming/in Fence; The Brooklyn Rail; Diagram; Rhino; La Petite [...]
This town is a proverb: a woman waiting. Thoughts have citations, skies are marine. All this strong weather. Chance is dead or just got tenure. Mt. Olympus is a tea. Fleeced heads loll on valedictory brick. Jam jar gaslights hold not much new.
Jack & Squat
Good morning heartache Mr. President, the more your people
Turned on you the more I loved you more.
I would fret about the lanky form that carries your ideas by day, Your lofted promises by night,
The oblong shape of thoughts that take place in your head.
Three hundred seconds away, a grizzly claws at the brains of a Coho. This is less messy than expected: this ursine,
nitpicky, chooses the prized fatty offal before bolting up to the nonsound of the ice cracking away from itself—
the air eeling, squirming for melody, a crispness that blankets the Alaskan white, some spell that cools the trees in their sway.
from Pythia Says
Pythia says missile guidance systems are locked on locked out door slamming the slopes where cattle graze it’s just a satellite or he is winking and dropping into the folds her water worn down over time channeling anger and something else besides
Wood smoke dark blue sky the walls have blackened in a strategy for asset allocation it tastes like candy canyon cannons passing strange or what could be left the bends it starts far away and when we were young
I Am Fucking With My Enemy
I am fucking with my enemy because I think it would be a fair afternoon to do so. Oh, he is no longer my enemy except at certain hours, in certain locations, such as hat shops and bait shops. There were never any knives. I turned the war in and on myself, though I was too good at it for scars. See what happens when we turn in opposite directions? Once I would have broken a whole pine forest with my bare hands in order to get to the hot little swamp, and now I hear his footfalls on my steps. It is good [...]
Along the Juniata, the gray stones, gray squares in the grass, keep the hills from the road, keep them where they are.
When we pass the stones, like the Earth’s stitches, I know we’re about to see a rock face following a bend in the road, where the strata bends like sound waves.
It’s clear God is below the Earth, not above— his head, giant frame for the planet— and he makes a sound that makes the Earth.
But first I thought of Kanye’s head singing, singing, singing into that rock. Sarah Blake lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and son. Her Kanye West [...]
It wasn’t God with us that October.
It was something bigger than we can put into solemn books and pray to
although I saw you praying as you stood over the falls,
your eyes shut for a while. I was praying too which I do when I’ve lost sight
of anything human.
This Person-sized Sky with Bruise,
simultaneously orange and violet, (though my eyes are closed) is
either my inner color (that covered mirror) or simply dusk.
An opaline sheet pulled because the night is ashamed
to come in front of everyone, blacking out in joy.
On the Beautiful and Sublime
Knowledge is beautiful; understanding is sublime. —Kant
Radio is a hot medium; Television, a cool one.
A train ride in Russia is a novel. A train ride to Chicago is a movie. A flight to Miami is a disaster movie.
A yew tree is a poem. A banyan tree is the prose of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Do you know Bertolt Brecht's The Hammer Throwers? One hundred men divide on right and left sides of a stage and throw hammers at each other for half an hour. Every performance, a different number of men are standing at the end, twenty nine or three, and in one performance, the most famous, one hundred and one men took a bow. Bertolt Brecht was alone in noticing that his play had given birth to a man. When asked his name, the man replied, I am Bertolt Brecht.
Inferno Canto XXVIII
Who could ever capture in words, Even using prose and retelling countless times, The bloodbath and carnage I was now seeing?
Every tongue would prove inadequate Because speech and intellect have strict limits And can only accommodate so much.
Even if you reassembled all those From the troubled land of Apulia Who cried over their blood
Shed by the Trojans; plus those who fell in the long war That ended in a heap of rings cut from corpses— As Livy, who was never wrong, writes;
Add in those who gasped in pain When wounded resisting Robert Guiscard; And those whose bones still cover [...]
26 Poems by Emily Dickinson translated by Paul Legault
700. My favorite way to interact with people is to read letters from them, completely alone, in a locked room.
701. Children are better than real people.
702. I wouldn’t be so sad if I weren’t Emily Dickinson.
703. The sun came up this morning, and I saw it.
704. Today sucks balls.
Gaud, lea, spry, loaf, spawn, scalp, slake, splay: (Pause for laughter). Thank you all for coming, for surviving those infamous six to ninety-four years of famine, ostensibly living off grape juice (Krane’s “zippy violet pilot of sustenance”), violent riots to claim last cups of java, searing coffee crop-dusting a talc on the tongue. Truly, the first hit of it at the top of the throat makes me believe that I have been drowning, and that, being revived, I am taking the first
gasp of breath, the rest of my life, so, thank you.
Ladies and Gentlemen, We don’t want the forms floating out there longer than necessary.
It makes crazy sense to me.
Do not, do I, take pride in the loss of paradise? Cioran
Your hair shone like the Seine.
I’m pretty sure it’s a demon, bye and bye.
What are we talking about?
First the city disappears, bye and bye, then the river.
I don’t have that kind of power.
An exact science made of small inexact sciences.
How to Read the Secret Language of the Pharaohs
I am afraid that if they build a sarcophagus exactly to your measurements and then
invite you to a party, the sarcophagus will be there and you will climb inside
and fit and then they’ll shut the lid and throw you into the river and you
will drown and what will I do then?
Death is here, you took a photo, sure, death Is near, remember, remember, today we fight Like birds, fight like burning rags, today we Fight like gods, today we die for gods, how Much is that ahi in the window, here you Are, here we are, no mercy, no future, lots And lots of turkey sausage, death tangles, Death shakes, death breakfast served all Night, death tangles, death shakes, death- Flavored ice-cream, deathberry gum
Joseph Lease’s critically acclaimed books of poetry include Testify (Coffee House Press, 2011), Broken World (Coffee House Press, 2007), and Human Rights (Talisman House, second edition forthcoming). Lease’s poems "'Broken World' (For James [...]