We’re an elegy, if by elegy you mean
a motherfucker ready to light this place up.
We’re an elegy, if by elegy you mean
a motherfucker ready to light this place up.
[ The madness I make does it like ]
[ THIS ]
is where enters
the night’s worst phase walking on one’s mother
Remembering the encounter of the book the gestation of it as a blind object the potencies hidden
within herein lies mysteries the impatience in that desire to know that deep loving want of to be
able to be known by it and even in the un-understanding in the understanding of knowing it as
it was written thru pores → an unstoppable train this language as seepage a seepage of
language as the age sees its page in the page of disks sick reference bro you are my brother as
this word the same the same this homonym this home breathing in in unity and then again
again to be untied and once then more united on and on and [ a mother does her twin sons in
the steamroom and they are not shy of each other ] read into a tape already looped it builds a
nest ( wow mom wow mom wow ) and into another such womb are we all the more
enveloped a deferment of form cabin’d in ain soph thirsty for the outside the madness
of the day the nonsense of the moment [ a diagram of the essential mystification ] reveals
nothing in the manner that one cannot measure momentum-slash-position a concentric
cube, this calendar
"Nothing quenches my step."
André du Bouchet
Designer time signatures
for bread light or bust
worry required to keep
thoughtforms all lined up
and nailed to a board
to admire or play
another game of darts at
into the wood
of our booth because we’re sitting in it and sitting down
a way of loving
let this be enough
as an eyelash
declarative & willing
to be wrong
"And nothing will be yours except a movement
toward a where that is whereless."
or bad face
of pivot’s distance
on charred glass
Savaging thru a
of infinite intimacy
& you other
up faerie folk
on cellar shelves
in middle basements
off planet poses
all the best
how you heard
close or on top
tee shirt thin
and the hum
of apt pipes
in the wall
piston out blues
to oblivion sis
of holes in a rut
This slow out of tune
of haircuts of hedonism
and the shape a mouth makes
to our regularly
does a madness
so nice so good
in the project our light cleans
There is no approach
I am at the extreme
of this thing here I am
& your dream makes
the pocket round
for echoing day
GARETT STRICKLAND is the editor of .PLINTH., ICHNOS, and other publications of the Unwin-Dunraven Literary Ecclesia. He is the author of a long-poem, WHOA DONT CARE (Jerkpoet, 2015), and UNGULA (forthcoming from Solar▲Luxuriance). He’s an ordealist.
PAPER DOLL CHAIN
Girls folded in upon girl and
another girl, holding hands of paper
a mask of thick mascara, eye-
liner, owling their eyes
paper dolls for play, holding
hands and repeating
thoughts, solo boats set afloat
by boys and men, pushed
farther still by the white world.
How to anchor except by holding hands with other
girls, girls to size and compare,
how their edges crease or fold more than
yours, how you want that too. That rusty anchor
in my best friend, which I hold onto,
its breast shape and weighted steady
as she practices her hand-smother and the gentle crush
of me. How else are we to prepare for the Mexican boys
now roaming the hallways, their arms
a hanging hook around some brown girl's neck?
Girls wanting to know
what it takes be a woman, how much to erase.
The rubber tip leaving no mark
left of a girl in a woman set inside the body of a man
or a boy. For now, it's a game of that blow
she knows is coming. I let her teach
it to me, practice and practice the art of being
inside other bodies, hers and then his
and his, all those brown, white,
red red bodies.
Those black-beat wings. A rustle in my chest, those balled fist-of-hearts beating like lit
bulbs that click on and off, secret spark. Too many people move about, waist deep in
swamp stench, the doors of buildings breaking into dark waters. No matter to them.
Their bodies glide like liquid, agile, part of this covering up and over. So, hide, little
warriors of fur, blood-rimmed eyes staining the night, the quiet blinking, the barely
breath. Hide to live amid these bloated houses, straining to contain all its things,
cosmetics and laced-up shoes and plastic toys that constantly sing. Because everything
sings, constantly, a radio tune that no one wants to hear but keeps on playing. Those can't
keep my hands to myselfs, those go love yourselves. A smothered piano, a cello, a
symphony, in the tight muscle around my lungs, beating into me like my own bright
blood. I cannot live here if I don't save this hush, this furious sound.
On the photograph "Pleasure and Terrors of Levitation," by Aaron Siskind
spun into air--
a white man containing a woman
containing her crippled
walk, her brown body,
in his limbs, that whip-shaped
hair. He carries
her freedom in his levity,
that will to never fall to earth,
to be held buoyant by nothing
but air and belief in his own brilliance.
O, to be that light,
and to still be weighted
by the body's core of muscles,
bone and tissues, toughing its way
through sinew and blood to move
and be seen, to be allowed to be
a body that moves through the world
at will, that flock of black birds
crashing through the sky
of white starlight. Not
this life of boxes within boxes
Let me be that. Let all women
and girls, men and boys,
be that, stretching their bodies
along the sun-track to God,
not caring how many times
we fall apart and break,
that fall-apart dance so familiar
to us all. All those beautiful broken
spines lined up to make a ladder
to find what is missing.
Leslie Contreras Schwartz is a Mexican-American writer of Maya descent, and a third-generation Houstonian. Her first collection of poetry, Fuego, was published by St. Julian Press in March 2016. She writes poetry, essays, and fiction about the lives of women and girls, particularly as survivors of bodily and psychic trauma. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Collagist, Hermeneutic Chaos, Tinderbox Literary Journal, Houston Chronicle, Catapult, and more. She lives in Houston with her husband and three children.
This feels like staying safe, settling for the old known wound.
But this is also time, or an antidote to time;
I’m not sure yet, it can be hard to read myself.
When I go to work I try to leave myself asleep in bed
whispering oh please do not wake up
oh god please do not wake up.
But God is just a silent shape of time.
Ode to a Parallel Universe in Which We Are Animated by Centripetal Force
Once, seeking something to capture you,
I bowed my head at the feet of a priestess
wearing all blue in a desert. Her robe, flowing,
milky horizon. Melding with milky horizon.
I asked for a snare and she handed a vial. I wore
it around my neck. A choker, a ribbon chain.
Thrumming over my heart. Belief: a common theme
here. An ardent desire to bind to you, fastened around
my throat. As if a pounded rhythm: a female
guided by want. Days later we are dragging off
a bottle near the freeway. The shadows syruping walls
with headlights render you zoetrope. A man shifting
in and out. In and out of light. Glass bottle a fallen star,
amber liquid honey. I hold the vial out to you. I know
this is kid stuff, I say. But it’s potion. Potion to bind us
together. You exhale smoke and inhale vial. Zoetrope,
spinning, unknowable if stilled. Sequence of images,
fracturing, that add up to something beloved. Passing
headlights strobe your throat, jugular bobbing
with swallows. Belief: a common word for love, one
frequently interchanged. One attached to electrode,
that sings with illuminating volts, as if in praise.
Ode to a Parallel Universe in Which Two Young Ladies Jailbreak
We climb the tree to escape
the ground. Its verdant and
fetid decay. Its earthworms
squiggling, spaghetti meat
strands. The beetles that chomp
with pincers. Scavengers who
eat the dead. We were not intended
to know of the treehouse. We
in our petticoats. We in our pinafores.
We with our shined, round shoes.
But we do know now. We spied it
out the window. Waving its arms
like a tormented saint. Beckoning
through the mist. So our round shoes
tread over slippery grass, over dewy
caterpillars. Our small hands grip
the ladder planks. We ascend like
parfaits, like gumdrops. Skirts
pink petits fours. The wooden floor
is within sight, but we must not
disturb the hornets. Those who would
hunger for plums. Those who would
feast ceaselessly on their flesh if
awoken by foot on board. The hornets
are dozing, metallic wings folded.
The plums are all around. Hanging
like pale green uvulas waiting for license
to speak. We are waiting for license
to speak. These lace collars cloister
our words. We scale the tree and
unfasten each other’s. We shed the
pinafores. We stand in our bloomers
and camisoles. Barefooted rebel dolls.
The sky is lightening in the east. You
reach your hand out toward it. The tree
issues a massive groan. One thousand
hornets snap awake. Two thousand
webbed wings whir. But we are glint-
eyed. We are not afraid. Moss and leaves
shudder down to earth as treehouse
untangles from roost. It hovers, creaking
in the air, dragging snapping branches.
I gather as many green plums as I can
in the satchel of my shorn dress. You quietly
mouth an aubade, staring toward the sun.
The swarm is outraged, searing toward us.
Screaming, Get inside. You are not meant
for movement, for motion. You were made to
be eaten. You are ours to consume. You shake
your head. Steer toward the horizon. The
cirrus clouds sodden with violet. The swarm
falls away like livid gold dust as we slowly pick
up speed. We undo our ribbons, final vestiges
of domicile. Wind stirs, tousles our hair.
Catherine Kyle holds a Ph.D. in English from Western Michigan University. She teaches literature and composition at the College of Western Idaho and creative writing at The Cabin, a literary nonprofit. She is the author of the hybrid-genre collection Feral Domesticity (Robocup Press, 2014) and the poetry chapbooks Flotsam (Etched Press, 2015) and Gamer: A Role-Playing Poem (dancing girl press, 2015). She also helps run the Ghosts & Projectors poetry reading series. Her poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and graphic narratives have appeared in The Rumpus, Superstition Review, WomenArts Quarterly, and elsewhere. Her writing has been honored by the Idaho Commission on the Arts and other organizations. You can learn more about her at www.catherinebaileykyle.com.
Etel Adnan, Tizio Fratus, Nicelle Davis, Leah SilvieusRead More
Marina Carreira is a feminist Luso-American writer from Newark, NJ. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers University. Marina is curator and co-host of "Brick City Speaks," a monthly reading series held in the LIPS studio of the Gateway Project Spaces art gallery in Newark, NJ. Her work is featured or forthcoming in The Acentos Review, The Writing Disorder, Naugatuck River Review, Writers of the Portuguese Diaspora: An Anthology, The Fem, Paterson Literary Review, Rock and Sling, Bluestockings Magazine, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, and Pif Magazine, among others.Read More
black fur brown gloves doom
and divorce but wait
riding pants at the ski resort
not ready for French Traditional
…she’s hiding something…
Or I’ll call you scleroses. I won’t say my brain
is melting, my brain is dissolving. The Temporarily Able
-Bodied don’t like metaphorical bodies. Only sick & not-sick.
an hour of closed eyes ignoring
pseudo hockey mask and tight
quarters of a human shaped
tube like a plastic coffin;
In May, I scribble out one to my mother. I start to hoard the pills, they line the paper, weak soldiers eager to drown. I imagine she won’t understand, like a paper doll, blank look, easy to fold.Read More
when you’re the Dead Dad girl
who leaves the party with two boys—just friends—
to see who can leap the farthest off the swing
you felt me, you left me—moaning open in a landslide. I harden like grease
and there’s glimmer. the saplings anxious for ripping, cleaved the way you
like it. let’s say: you’re the woodsman and I am a girl, slipping in a magician
box, my bra cups filling out—buttermilk, tiny bow in the middle. you wield
a saw, a tremor—sung like choirs, biting through.
You're the dappled world, brilliant toxin. a choate reprieve. Hair, a triptych of flax and rippled sheaf at break of day. You bear your assiduousness cleanly, your sharpened jaw, your forehead, those enamel cliffs. A ruminant has strewed you thus, over the paper weirs, over the torn lip of the world, its heft of blood. sleet in-the-voice touch. My engrossment, a kitten in snow. beyond ode.Read More