THE FRICTION OF
car parts sacked & slung around my neck
(a joke) like skeleton keys
to be examined, slipped into
a periodic table of combustion & horses
dismantled diaries of drive-ins
& red lights & locked brakes
the churning under felt-lined floors where he slipped
his hand onto her bare knee
& once for a second a little higher
the reaction determined by physics (not chemistry)
lighting leaving through the toes
& the tiny surge shot through
to tin & steel now clinking their oiled sounds
the same as cans looped with string
to a bumper, dangling
HOLLY AMOS’s work has appeared in North American Review and Columbia Poetry Review. She recently completed her MFA at Columbia College Chicago.
The trade is made and two work
one for the other and the second
for the first. What is the trade?
What entitles the first to work for
the second? who are the first and the
second? The process of inventing any
information that is not already given
within a text is unpleasant. Entertainment
is meant to saturate with a
certain kind of comfort. Now, back
to the trade. Entertainment works
for the information given and the
information works last. Always
pick the ripest of the fruits. No
further information necessary.
Unless you first forget to swallow
and then shit out the seed.
MICHAEL HAIGHT is a poet from California.
PICK UP LITTLE DYNAMITE
she’s pretty like a bruise
hands stretched to the ends
of arms, she isn’t thinning just drawing taut
of arms, she isn’t thinning just drawing taut
she’s a strategy mapped on the air and rising
inked and tendriled
against the wall
(you make plans for women like this)
the sand dune of her is rolling shadowmake
hipbones all siftable intricacies
she’s hourglassed together with your
that which makes her sweat
she’s probably got a name
like Rosie so you’ll buy a motorcycle, start smoking, shoot up four inches,
switch to unfiltered, and get into fights you can’t lose. all so that
she’ll call you kid
her daddy will have a problem
and you can leave her first.
just keep telling yourself
all buildings go up
the house then in her steadfast reaching
must have shifted a little so pressed beneath
of her :
the shelves have all emptied
your ears are full of shatter and somehow that wall now rests
against your shoulder
but you’ll be
damned if you moved even an inch
(this house has made a lean-to of your spine)
so foundationed, you are now one essential
trace of her
tiny destructions :
the open jar
the dirty knife
if you left now
for if you left too
this house would bevel a bruise into the earth
an amateur architect at best.
JEFFREY ALLEN is the author of Simple Universal (Bronze Man Books, 2007). He holds an MFA in Poetry from Columbia College Chicago, where he co-edited Columbia Poetry Review. His poetry has appeared in TriQuarterly, CutBank, Blue Earth Review, The Dirty Napkin, and Clementine.
WANTING AS REFLECTIVE FRUIT
Stunned and squatting on the black marble counter. An overweight orange gauged
conquerable. A simple shred, skin dismissed from a wealth of citrus. Squishy halves assemblies
of spokes to be divvied.
Called him coxswain of the Floridian crop. Called him conjecturer of inhabit, a tease and strip-
search. Wrist rustled. Tendered carpels of tangerines, juices undisturbed, but could not
shake the dismal prospect of peeling.
You took the paring knife, a bargaining chip, hacked off my top and botton straight through
the pith. Rind flaked after fingers began tearing; hunger worked you over so you worked me
over. I wanted to be rolled in the sugar of candid conversation.
Candied to the point of being slang, slung. With its lush trash ripe for fencing in, peel stretched
over teeth. Fed the husk, a corkscrewed torso, to the compost pile. Waited, hustled some shrivel.
STEPHEN DANOS earned an MFA in Creative Writing – Poetry from Columbia College Chicago. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Forklift Ohio, Court Green, lo-ball magazine, Bateau, and elsewhere. If you want to learn more about him, he maintains a Tumblr at http://drolldrumroll.tumblr.com.
I MET OZZY OSBOURNE LAST NIGHT
I know I should lock the door, but
I’m not afraid,
not since I saw my stepdad
choke my sister one Christmas
(I really couldn’t breathe, she said later,
I thought I was going to die)
while our mother, drunk, watched.
Sixteen, I knew nothing about
how love and need can meet
and turn a mother into a dust
drunk by eight pm,
I open my apartment door to find
Ozzy sitting on the floor of my four-room apartment
holding a ball of yarn over the head
of my cat.
I named my cat Ozzy after him
because I wish we were blood,
that our family trees shared
acid tripping, bat biting, pot smoking
ancestors. And I’m spinning
from the beer I drank with my friend Louis
before I discovered in my apartment
the Prince of Fucking Darkness,
the man who sang me to sleep over my teenage
Wal-Mart stereo while my mom and stepdad
fucked across the hall.
KAYLA SARGESON’s poems appear in 5am and Paper Street, as well as the anthologies Voices from the Attice XIV, Dionne’s Story, and Time You Let Me In, an anthology of 25 poets under the age of 25, edited by Naomi Shihab Nye. She co-founded the Pittsburgh-based Girls with Glasses reading series in 2009.
DROPPED PRESSURE SYSTEMS
over the rockies
behind my driving eastward woman I thought
fell but turned up unbruised
well I have all sorts of games to horizon
all ready and gone
solid weight of you marble I swallow
disguised nights it rolls
and I wake to perfect snowfall
grope my way through gone-dream
encounter the fireplace it is safe here to play
play constant friction
over here little flint rock here
Y MADRONE currently lives and works in Chicago, IL via Olympia, WA via Detroit, MI, via Baku, Azerbaijan. Other work can be found or is forthcoming in The National Poetry Review, RHINO, American Letters & Commentary, Cloudbank, Columbia Poetry Review, and Phoebe.
How well I can see you
When the whole world is looking
Too, gracefully awaiting,
Perched surreptitiously pulling
Your veil back on--
I can barely see you at all.
JORDAN CONRAD was born in Maryland in the year of our Lorde, 1987. He is now a graduate of Bishop’s University where he studied English Literature and Continental Philosophy. He will be attending the University of Edinburgh as a full-time student in their philosophy department.
BEAR DOESN’T KNOW THE COLOR OF MAKA’S EYES
Maka eyes are green salty specks of orange
BB eyes are blue warmer than she thinks
Maka and BB are sisters The real kind
Bear is Tob Tob sometimes fire
is about self-preservation
He is Maka and BB’s elder
Bear put the scar on BB’s knee
out of love out of mending joints
limps out of love out of mending her joints
BB knows the way Maka is lost in the real forest
DOLLY LEMKE lives in Chicago where she is Assistant Editor at Switchback Books and co-curates The Dollhouse Reading Series. Her poems are published or forthcoming in Best American Poetry 2010, Horse Less Review, Super Arrow, and Court Green. Her chapbook O Town Heights is forthcoming from DoubleCross Press.
I awoke today in a different home than yesterday.
The day before I waited in a woman’s mailbox to nip
her fingers. I am without post and roost today.
Not we, there can be no we.
I watch the sky blacken like smoke with our bodies.
Like we’re transporting a net by being caught in it.
I was never taught to share like you share.
I am often still watching you when the moon comes.
I think of you while you sleep, and I hunger.
Snow coats me like a field, a ghost. With button eyes.
Kate Litterer recently graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a dual degree in literature and creative writing and has since relocated to the midwest, where she wishes to continue her education toward an MFA in poetry.
DEEP MOUNTAIN GAP
from Wang Wei
the emptiness between mountains
is not seen by a person
in a resonance
the aether and
opaquely settle back
into the pines
the moon resonant
in a waning silhouette
air beams translucent
against the shadows
returning to deep forest
in ribbons of echoes
and rebounding agains
shining with the barren summit
and the blue stained lichen
in an overtone
NATHAN BREITLING is a native of Chicagoland and received his BA in Creative Writing from Illinois Wesleyan University. He recently completed his MFA at Columbia College Chicago.
I am the sore thumb and I ache, I ache.
What more is there in the angles of a square peg
if not the box shape, if not the box shape?
My home is the niche in the round hole —the box
scrapes me, reminding me that it is the owner
of my shape —with each thrust my form is renewed
until jaggedly I allow it to fit straight through.
Not known for much of anything, CAMIELE WHITE is always a student. Her main goals in life: Not to fuck up to badly and to have enough money for groceries and to pay the rent. She can do many things, but hasn’t mastered anything. Everything is in little bits: She can sing…a little bit. But other that that, she hopes her poetry gives people a thrill (or not) or at least grabs people’s attention enough to make it all worth while. The End.
So much to
so little to say.
The bar is long
and thick, sin-
uous, murder when
Pressed for tender
in a book like flowers,
give my love to--
Poet and performance artist IZZY ONEIRIC’s writing has appeared under various names in nearly twenty print and online publications such as $pread, Exquisite Corpse, Wheelhouse MAgazine, Opium, and Burdock. Izzy holds a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from the California Institute of Integral Studies and an MFA from Columbia College Chicago.
I SIT ALONE AT THE KITCHEN TABLE
My grandpa drinks. My dad drinks.
My brother drinks.
My grandpa counts lines
on the tablecloth by twitching toes.
The lines spill over the edge
no matter how he works it.
My grandma waits for his fist to drop.
My grandma drinks. My mother drinks.
My sister drinks.
My mom waits for his fist to drop.
She plays a game of solitaire
flipping three cards at a time
waiting for one card;
the one that will make her win.
She flips three over at time.
One uncle gambles on the game
of solitaire with the other one.
They bet against her.
My aunt plays with the edge
of a knife, thinking of plunging
it into one wrist, or maybe the other.
My mom keeps flipping cards
that never change.
She smiles at each of them.
STEVE HENRY, originally from the rust belt town of Buffalo, NY, is an MFA poetry student at Columbia College Chicago. This [would be] his first publication.
i’m donating my eggs to make
tiny omelettes. i heard all
the eggs are in me forever
and ever from the time
i was an egg myself,
dividing and dividing.
i am flattening, smoothing out
over a hotplate. i hear
egg whites are good for burns
because they are emollient.
are the ovaries drying up yet?
i’m not using them. my eggs
are negotiable anyway.
how many do you want
this time? i mean …
how hungry are you?
My dreams are telling. I am loving you and my dreams aren’t stopping. You are lovingly telling
me to look away. You are loving someone else. She might be your wife. Or you might not tell
me anything. Sometimes you bend. I mean every day I am harrowed when you bend. Your one
shoulder slopes down to hold the hand. Your son is three. And your shoulder slopes to hold his
hand. You cross the street. Every day you cross the street. I want to bear your child. I want
my own version of you to behold always. I want proof. I want to birth the evidence. Your one
shoulder slopes and I want to birth the evidence. You put him in the car seat and I am harrowed
every day. You bend and my dreams are not telling. The world is getting smaller. The world is
always smaller than I want it to be. I want the world to even smaller than that. If it has to be
small, I want it to be just your size. And fit into me. Like bending. Harrowed. Like sloping down.
Like proof. She might be your wife. Wife might just be another person. And together you make
more people. It is the whole world. Except for dreaming. But we don’t have to tell. I cannot look
away because away is in the dark and I hate fumbling for the unknown switch. Every day you
cross the street. Every day I am dreaming. Every day she might be your wife. Your son’s hand
is so small. Every day is so small. Your wife is so small. My dreams are so small. The car
seat is so small. Your shoulder is so small. Your jaw is a crooked landscape and the world is
infinitesimal. Sometimes I type “Where can I find more of you?” into the search engine so it will
retrieve other people seeking more of someone. I want to put him in the car seat. I want to be
your wife. I want to be so small. I want to hold his hand. I want to bear your dreams. I want to
dream your evidence. I want to fit into me. I want the light to be on. I might be your wife. She
might be dreaming. She might be infinitesimal. She might just be another person. But we don’t
have to tell. She might cross the street. She might not survive. He might outgrow the car seat.
Your shoulder might not slope. I might not be harrowed someday. I might not dream someday.
Someday, you might not cross the street. His hand is always getting bigger. A crooked
landscape is so harrowing. Where can I find more of you? I promised I wouldn’t ask for your
proof until I turn 30. I might not make it. I might ask the question too soon. Thirty is so far away.
I might not dream your crooked landscape. Someday I might not cross the street. I might not
make it. The world is so small. I hate fumbling. Can you bend? Can you fit into me? Can you
be another person? Can you be infinitesimal? Can you be a world? Can you slope slightly
down? Can you put him in the car seat? Can you leave the light on? Can you drive like that? My
dreams are so small. They might not survive. The world is so small. She might not cross the
street. Can you re-imagine me? Imagine me as something else. Something not so small.
Something someone else sees? Something dreams a crooked shoulder. Everything might not
make it to a hand. But we cross the street. Where is there to fumble? I might be your wife. I
might be a landscape. A landscape might be shifting. A landscape might be a person. I might
be shifting. A landscape might be earthen. Nobody might remember us this way. I might forget
you. You might never have known me. We might not recognize a landscape. A car seat might
be too small. Or a hand, unfamiliar. We might have dreamed each other. Or we might be other
CHELSEA KURNICK’s grades suffered her second semester of 11th grade for two reasons: 1) Her first boyfriend broke up with her and 2) She started writing poetry during class. Though her first attempted poems weren’t any good, her first poetic inspiration (the devastation of love) has never left her. These selections reflect some of her more-recent efforts. Chelsea earned a B.A. from the University of California, Riverside, in Linguistics where she was the most recent Editor-in-Chief of Mosaic: Art and Literary Journal.
Actually, I’m not sure what I did. There is a sense of knowledge
without being taught, like I’m a baby bean sprout. The more I see weather,
I drift asleep. This is going to make me I’m going to be late—or loosened.
Here is a pause. Here, where the rail sparks glimmer. I need black coffee or
a full body under me.
Yes, I mean sex. I can’t cross my legs like that. The woman in front
of me applies mascara. She begins to read… some novel? I couldn’t put
mascara on when I was sixteen. It was too dangerous, that black stick near
my eye. Instead I wore cherry chapstick, shaved my legs with a pink, Bic,
two-blade razor. Legs spotted and red, I’m getting there.
KRISTIN RAVEL is from a mélange of rural pockets in Michigan. She graduated from Central Michigan University with a B.A. in English. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in magazines including Big Lucks, The Columbia Poetry Review, Poets and Artists, Indefinite Space, and elimae.
LETTERS TO LETTERS NEVER SENT
A gathering of tinder. Brush of kindling. A lungful of warm-blooded words
and braids of breath set
fire. The swollen heap burning holes in open sky. Glimpses of sudden blue. Branches splitting
down the center. The marrow scraped dry, unearthing the loose skin
of secrets. Tough wood charring word after word in black scratch.
Hasty and in haze. The beating page and loud silences cooled off,
died down in months of wind and water. Smoke and stress quieted.
to a dull pang. Cold coal, dusty ash, whispers.
SARAH KELLEY is a student in the MFA poetry program at Columbia College Chicago, where she also co-edits Columbia Poetry Review.