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This here Wild West is
no reprieve, bearing all secret, no rule, fewest boundary
before transgression. A lark, his caw, makes good on the temperament:

A song whose words aren’t sung

dirge that swells- expands when we’re not careful,
pent and held in on the balls of our feet. The tightrope ballet. Mourning the living
will make you too tired to dance

It will make you graceless.

a) A stork flies over the lake, dropping a baby to a woman paddling a canoe. She catches it like a touchdown, but her oars slip into the water, and are lost.

1. Sometimes I feel like riding a steamroller over the graves, over the monuments, over the trophy cases. Compared to the river cutting the mountain in half, we flow only one way, too. Me and you, mountains and rivers all the live long day.

Epistolary

By A.M. O'Malley

Poem

Dear Brother,

The night you were born it was summer in Chino Valley. That night the curly valley was a bowl of lizards. I drank Fresca and counted wasps. Our mother, in another room of the house, tried to be calm. Earlier that day in the whitest heat I crept to her bedroom window to watch your father try to induce her, playing with her plate sized nipples. I was caught. You were late.

We need air all the time.

the broadcast of a tea kettle
the ignition of a ghost fog

mercury snapping through linden
& the orchard’s doe is polka-dotted

on a road as open as a new notebook;
you, snow-stormed in the dawn of exits

husband & harpooner

with an iceberg caving in the thorax

For Alan Dann

A woman came up to me in Bloomingdales and said she liked my glasses and I told her where to get them and she said, “what do you think I am — a millionaire?” and stomped off.
A woman came up to me in grad school and said she wished she was as smart as I was and I told her where to find the good theory books at the library and she said “what do you think I am — stupid or something?” and threw down her copy of Derrida’s On Grammatology and stomped off.

Trusting only in

my legions of cats and piles of
                    sweaters, holy tights
          and wool dresses.

Oh, to be more than a hand-
                              stringing-out words
on a clothesline,

          like a bad joke for no audience.

          No one
at the bus stop.

                    Unemployed
                         in the
          afternoon.

Like the Moon

By John Mortara

Poem

like the moon / i once collided with something much larger than myself / and then refused to leave / like the moon i turn everyone around me / into wolves / salivating at the night / teething on the dark / just like the moon i can churn an ocean into an angry stomach / sick of itself / was pledged to the earth / but can’t / stop talking / about the sun / like the moon / now you see me / and now you can fuck off / i used to be your distant dream / turned stupid success / so quickly i became a bored routine / claimed / and then absently abandoned when the future suddenly seemed / too expensive / admit it / the only reason you ever wanted me was war / you have everything you could ever need below your feet / and you stare up at me with all that lonely / i am like the moon / all the myth / the legend / the religion / the complete and absolute human delusion / all of it / countless wistful longing poems later / and you still / don’t get it / the future / is too / expensive / i am like the moon and it’s daytime and i’m still here so deal with it / i am like the moon and it has been so / so long / that people just stopped believing we even happened / i am like the moon / and you’re right / there are no men here anymore / i am killing each one of them / with time.

the black mouth empty
and quivering, and where there should be that shape,
that almost leggy, round-eyed jump, there is only space.
The doctor purses his lips, as he pursed them at the foot of my birth bed
where he delivered my first son. He was tired then, three in the morning
bleary Christmas Eve.  Now, he stands at the foot of this table and delivers
as kindly as he can: “This looks very early” and “there is no heartbeat.”
His eyes are smeared with sympathy as his hands and the cold instrument
probe me. Once those hands issued out my son, rich with birth blood
and cries. Now they search my womb, an open sarcophagus. Not death;
this is an un-being: life tentative as seed that doesn’t take root.
I think of my son, wanting pictures of the “tiny baby” and hope
he will forget, that we will rip out this idea as stitches in a project started
but abandoned, a mouth that opened to speak but aborted its idea.
The screen stays black and true, the doctor apologetic. My body:
exposed as fraud, made promises it can’t or won’t deliver.
The probe retracts; the doctor and I, bereft of purpose.
Time has lost its shape. There is nothing to hand over.

The Nouns

By Anthony McCann

Poem

But I’m a plant
                      you said

           bedewed
        in object drool

                Sometimes
                                 I was shoes

                      I looked down
                      into the earth
                  I saw

                            the feathered clouds

                                 I saw
                                 a rash of light:
                                       Heads ‘n’ Things,
                                                       The Nouns

                                      like when a head comes off
                             and light spreads across the room

Minor Plot (I)

He hired a woman to look after the garden.  Not the dead poppies, but another garden on a separate piece of land.  They planted seeds in neat little rows . Days passed. When she gaped at the enormous primroses, he began tearing them from the ground.

Bad Directions

By Nina Puro

Poem

i.
the last patients
leave the hospital
through a curtain
of marigolds. the hospital
closes like an eye

ii.
the prairie boys
in john deere hats
and burger king crowns
run through
all the meadows

Do not catalogue, organize or nickname the stone. The stone has been shoved into fires of coordinates that stretch beyond state lines, territories and provinces. The stone has been used as a weapon; it has deflated bone. Notice the blood stains against its minerals. The stone cannot keep a lover; its historical uprooting disallows dialogues on monogamy or the existence of marriage. The stone has been a perch for others, glued into walls, walked over by callused feet, and licked by ocean. Call the stone androgynous, but it refuses to pick a side or stagnant approach to infrastructure. The stone is a danger to itself and others; it has seen too much. Never mention the time the stone ********. Just do not mention that, please. The stone suffers from phantom limb syndrome, even though legs have never existed nor arms or approachable neck. The stone has no womb, yet yearns to publicize fertility. The stone is still in search of its god. The stone does not conform to any political party and yet this stone is queer. And yet this stone marches for the freedom of others and yet this stone is still. And the stone meditates. And the stone chants. And the stone crawls toward a ceremonious existence within its scarred and scared packaging.

And every brittle bone
shivered like an oak leaf
caught in spring thunder,

and each blind eye
glistened with white film
opaque as the sealing wax
on beans jarred in the cellar,

and mud seeped more tar than earth
around the ankles of scuffed
sneakers, their tongues wagging
like dogs panting in summer heat,

more destination than place
Los Angeles remains a
shifting landscape of
water and sand

mercy has little to do with life here

nor is this city the cruel, friendless,
kitten with a whip that many
would like to believe

make of it what you will
these eviscerated roads are my river
lit by the constant final flash of fame

An Errand

By Joel Landmine

Poem

We were going to her family’s house for
dinner,
I think it was her Mother’s birthday.

I had gotten her daughter ready, made sure
her hair was brushed,
gotten her in to her jacket,
gotten her in to the car seat.