The Poetry Section

A Poem By John Gallaher

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 [...]


A Poem By Brian Blanchfield

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 [...]


A Poem By Monica McClure

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 [...]


A Poem By Josh Bell

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, [...]


A Poem By Alissa Quart


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.


A Poem By Patricia Lockwood

Rape Joke

The rape joke is that you were 19 years old.

The rape joke is that he was your boyfriend.

The rape joke it wore a goatee. A goatee.

Imagine the rape joke looking in the mirror, perfectly reflecting back itself, and grooming itself to look more like a rape joke. “Ahhhh,” it thinks. “Yes. A goatee.”

No offense.

The rape joke is that he was seven years older. The rape joke is that you had known him for years, since you were too young to be interesting to him. You liked that use of the word interesting, as if you were a piece of knowledge that someone could [...]


A Poem By Lo Kwa Mei-en

Babel / Aubade

After the aftermath of that hard-spent spring how will I break thee is the question. Pin down in the dark and halt. All the horses

strained to the flickering ropes in the trees and restrained. Or lay crack the gardens oh freak violet were we. The horses rode after me

after. The bats were a miracle with legs I saw to say how could you. And even though the new world got brave out of doors I shut &

all the aftermath is all I want. (Twice.) All night you take a bride chest in thy swanny clutch I want in: wanting out is why we change


A Poem By Molly Brodak

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. [...]


A Poem By Sandra Simonds

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 [...]


Two Poems By Alli Warren

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 [...]


A Poem By Kamilah Aisha Moon

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 [...]


A Poem By Gregory Sherl

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 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   


A Poem By Alfred Corn

Perfect Pitcher

                    for David

The invaders used a non-vegetarian method of emptying the town of its populace.

What we see is a kind of attributed trembling, as with stars, or pebbles in the streambed of a brook.

He led us a dance, which ended in closed-mouth laughter. A brimming fountain in the middle distance spilled a willow.

The poem misses, and only by a hairsbreadth, being nothing but itself.

Windowframe. Branch of a red maple bowing the breeze, seventeen times.

Don’t call that cerise shirt loud. Colors, too, have feelings, they can hurt and be hurt, same as words.

Over a tall glass J. and I babbled of [...]


A Poem By Jake Kennedy

Cezanne’s Still-Life with Skull, Candlestick, & Book

Poor Yorick would speak a speech about fucking and how to run balls-out into the sea; how the rose once moved

this way and that in the breeze and how the pages were always turning towards the better future (and they were)

yet there’s no light half as true as the guttered candle; that’s the luminousness around the shadow which is a fact

or something dope like that with memory’s stagecraft here stupefying all vanities— Jake Kennedy lives in the Okanagan, BC. He and his BFF, poetcomicartfool kevin mcpherson eckhoff, are compiling a collaborative community western novel entitled Death Valley.


A Poem By Martha Silano


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?


Two Poems By Craig Morgan Teicher


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.


A Poem By Harriet Levin And Ravi Shankar

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. [...]


A Poem By Michael Schiavo

Rose 90

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.

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A Poem By Craig Morgan Teicher


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 [...]


"More Interesting": A Poem by Matthew Cooperman

I love the old philosophers

I feel the turn of the earth like heavy traffic

I am not a die-hard sports fan

I love to cut wood

Gender is a fuse that lights the way back

I love to cut wood

When I was a child I believed in a lake in the woods

Somewhere near Salzburg, a lake, fog on a lake… I am standing there as you are here, holding

          A novel about Nazi burials

I have a large library

I am not a fan of Sappho

I am the newly dead

I go to a boat show and buy a dog

The earth, little movement and [...]