Artist, Helen Vitoria: Vitoria’s work, nominated for Best New Poets and the Pushcart, can be found in elimae, PANK, >kill author, Rougarou, and FRIGG Magazine. She is the author of THE SIGHTS & SOUNDS OF ARCTIC BIRDS, RANDOM CARTOGRAPHY NOTES (both from Gold Wake Press, 2011), and BLACKWATER: A PNEUMATIC DISTURBANCE (Red Ochre Press, 2011). CORN EXCHANGE, a full-length collection, is forthcoming (Scrambler Books, 2012). She is the Founding Editor and Editor in Chief of THRUSH Poetry Journal & THRUSH Press. Find her here.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In this blank put any god’s name. Anyone will do: the one that hunts or the one with wings. Remember: to live forever is boring. Remember: you want one of them for your own. Remember: when you watch them bathe in the river and come to them it never ends well. Remember: what begins as sport finishes with you wishing you were not the one who started this.
This is nothing special, this man and woman and bed. Someone turns on the light. Someone wonders when a joke will come in and ask for a glass of water.
Water frets over having no part in this. Not a single icy depth can do anything but watch. No matter which ship goes down, this merger of psychopaths will create the kind of monopoly that roams the streets when no one is looking. When people wake mailboxes cannot be opened and misery is the king who will not listen. No one can afford to be sick. No one can afford to ask for help.
Help stands on the corner dressed in a Statue of Liberty costume advertising loans that are the unified field theory but no one knows it.
It is a curious way to start a sentence. It is a curious way to end the paragraph. It has compromised itself to the point that it no longer can start its day without a pill. But it does not worry. No one notices. No one asks. No one understands that the pea under the mattress is real and that the glass slipper is about to break and is more than willing to scatter itself across the floor.
Andrew Cox is the author of THE EQUATION THAT EXPLAINS EVERYTHING (BlazeVOX [Books] 2010), the chapbook FORTUNE COOKIES (2River View, 2009), and the hypertext chapbook COMPANY X (Word Virtual). He lives in University City, MO, the Brooklyn of St. Louis, where he edits UCity Review.
When Shafts of Light Splash Through
We cannot undo what’s begun: this clearing the land,
trees already felled and chopped,
Manzanita hauled to a clear spot,
like the kind of clarity I felt
when we first met;
now we disappear into the wedding
of our bodies
that soon enough will disappear.
All summer I have waited for this:
to watch things go up in flames,
the errant brightness of a burn pile—
lick and talk of things grown hot.
Trace me back to the past, to the beginning of things;
the look on your face when you heard me read,
heat in the noonday shade.
Here in the fall of our lives we find
the beauty of what is
is not the beauty of what was.
Lodged in the foreskin of desire,
a new grief flowers:
we were perfect for each other,
your eyes caught on fire.
We clear the land to find each other.
We build our burn pile higher and higher.
Dianna Henning, twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, has published work in Crazyhorse, Poetry International, Fugue, The Asheville Poetry Review, and The Seattle Review. Henning has taught creative writing for California Poets in the Schools, through the William James Association’s Prison Arts Program and through several California Arts Council grants. Her most recent book is THE BROKEN BONE TONGUE (Black Buzzard Press).
B. Z. Niditch
the little Fauvre
print you found
at a yard sale
checked it had no
wondering if it was
lost or stolen
during the war
yet its orange
in a wild palm joy
are alembic alphabets
drawn on canvas.
B.Z. Niditch has published work in Poem, Poet Lore, Denver Quarterly, Columbia, Antioch Review, and elsewhere.
It was the film where the heroine
had a new book and lover every few scenes.
She would read while being made love to
or make love while being read to: turning
a page as the Quebecois cab driver nibbled her ear,
sucking on a Dutch banker as he gasped about Tibten.
In those days we had tellers instead of screens,
and hers acted as if he’d been locked up for
years, every day desperate to escape
his money cage, disrobe beside a good book.
Was it a Ghanan pastry chef she fell for while
savoring lines of Catullus frosted on petit fours?
lingua sed torpet, tenuis sub artus
Emily Severance has an MFA in studio art from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Camroc Press Review, Drunken Boat, Gargoyle, Juked, qarrtsiluni, Sisyphus, and Switched-on Gutenberg. She teaches in New Mexico.
No. 4: After Visiting the Metropolitan
For Henri Toulouse-Lautrec & Jane Avril
In garden musk, ivory roses bleed magenta sweet in wind arabesques.
Ether silk chiffon dresses unfurl effortless: pulsing with iridescent
veins & sugar scorched edges, flaming with absinthe.
A strappy black stiletto spiked her early morning darkroom
consciousness. His lingering words stung, whirling in a vertigo of
fingerprints. & he was no poet, but he unveiled the pink translucence
of her psyche.
3. Dream Temples
Seascapes beckon with sister voices of the graces, splashing marble-
columned temples. Snakeskin heels stutter cool silence inside flaming
halls of mirrors, silvering into vapors. In oceanic storm, henna-
plaited hair unwinds in serpentine awareness. Beneath moon bath
rituals, she shimmers, leaving only marble dust footsteps.
4. Coney Island
He wanted the balcony doors left open. Inside, the filmy curtains
inhaled and exhaled the ocean’s breath. He cupped her face in his
hands, and kissed the top of her head. “I feel like I’ve been healed,”