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Post-sunburst.

A long time ago, I wrote to you: I am hesitant in revelation. Today is hard. I am semi-determined to not despair. The half-nature and negative construction alludes to much that I am not saying. So we enter an age of paradox, where the door we’ve opened onto the night reveals both light and dark. We are of nature in this. We are both tricksters of the light and perfume sellers.

And of what I told you, I add a postscript:

Words are of service when they are not words. Words of sky and rain. They carry the whole of language, the whole body in them and then let them go. They release meaning and the need for meaning. They sacrifice themselves like insects drowning in water. They are water and the insect becoming part of the water, dissolving and decaying. I write, and language decays. The world pronounces itself from a syllable. There is no difference between me and a syllable.

More of what I could have told you but didn’t:

We are widening into orbs of light. We carry fireflies in our stomach. We try to digest the world, when the world looms large, a closed factory, and our senses reflect more back to us than pain and concrete. We know there is more out there or in here but we’ve lost the thread. We are haliphones; we drink, measure outcomes. We are the worry of the rain. We are its untangling.

In a ceremony, we declared that we are hope and peace. We live within the molecules of rain becoming something else; we become rain when we hold the sky as weightless weight. The weight of water measures death and transformation. We hope and grieve and weather; we make weather from sighs and the space inside. We breathe strangely. We are aliens and constructions of paper and light. We have hope in a strange light that we know is important somehow and comes with a key to decipher it.

We are history. We carry it in us like a desperate orphan. It claws and cries and becomes silent as we look at the future, without listening to its stories. We have so many stories inside us. The truth of the world is in us. The patterning of the sky under the eyelids. The chalky residue of stars in skin. We are residue and completion, returning to water and space.

On Tuesday, I wrote:

The worry of this day.

On Thursday:

The worry of the sky.

And, finally, in a letter I never sent:

The ghostly presences in our lives harden against the implacable gloom or magic of imagined pasts and futures. There is no way to know what will happen as we press ourselves into the mystery of the present.

Our mattering lies in our hands like a newborn. We barely know what to do with it but we know so much. We know its first breath and we care for it, making sure it gets enough food and water and air and space. We are nautical engineers under oceans where our descendants learn to make light and food out of water.

You were born.

And at some point, I’ll write this, but I won’t remember:

Moth wings rub together in low light, the light is music, we sit in the shadow where light doesn’t fall. We do not fall. We try not to. All our might, mouth scrunched up in tense exhaustion. We are tired of being scared. Dreamless nights, we wake from a nightmare, the dream was scary in our bones and our body trembles because it’s a kind of truth. The truth of dreams in the bones hums like an animal making breakfast, aware of her surroundings and body and lilt in song. The fire under the kettle, the scream of the kettle, the history of water. But that’s too rough. The dawn shows through a little. The green blinds in the kitchen are lighter with a square outline of morning light. This is safety or security or a semblance of those things, which are theories. We don’t live in theories. Safety can’t be figured out in the mind. After waking from a nightmare, we know that. We feel it in our arms, hearts, beating quiet and rough, in our breath that can’t quite collect itself.

Safety is formed in the cells, which have souls. Every cell has a soul.

Late Dynasty Statuette

in clerestory antiphon
let angels hug your theory head
and paint your sugar nails

Grace

the small musketeers of the second world
some tiny grassy carousel
your wild dogs, arachnid
the sands here

Valentine

wearing bright ecumenical tides
in a shimmering waterveil
with my sleeved teal limbs
i collect small flat stones
for constant storied worlds

 

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Photo by Ivy Rae Jackson

Elizabeth Treadwell lives and writes in Oakland, California, where she was born in 1967. www.elizabethtreadwell.com

Notebook Series, 2011-2014

 

There’s nothing so forlorn as a book on a bookshelf in a bookstore

*

The pleasure of pushing one’s legs into fresh blue jeans

*

Song (after Arcade Fire)

I wasted my life
      don’t waste yours
on chocolate milk
      cigarettes & wars

 

& when that girl looks at you
      don’t look away
      you must
      hold her gaze

*

Song (after Lucinda Williams)

Baby since you left
      I’m crying loud
but I can’t call
      ’cause I’m too proud
I can’t go back
      to how things were
before you left
      & took up with her

 

(chorus:)
It’s the long, long way
      you loved me
the long, long way
      you loved me

*

Band name: The Hickies

*

Country Song

I’ve put out an A.P.B.
on my heart
honey it all fell apart
if you see it out there
please tell me where
so we can make a fresh start

*

At the supermarket: for some reason the phrase “fingerling potatoes” sounded very luxurious to me

*

How many times have I shaved? How many times will I shave? The strange impatient pleasure of lathering, the feel of the whiskers under the shaving cream, so familiar as to be “second nature” – even so, I continue to learn how to do it better, to use the edge of the blade guard to avoid cutting my face, to push the blade with and against the grain, with and against the grain

*

The purpose and harmony of the cafe workers dancing behind the counter in close quarters, washing and stacking dishes, prepping supplies, one woman hustling gracefully to fix and serve meals, moving back and forth, glancing around with one eye. Then a “new guy” slides behind the counter and she asks his name – “Kevin” – “I’m Natalie” – then immediately asks him again – “I forgot” – laughing – begins showing him around, explaining, sleepy at first, but warming up to it as he jokes with her

*

Song

I’ve lost
     my favorite handkerchief
        my favorite handkerchief
     now is gone

I’ve found
     my missing handkerchief
        my missing handkerchief
     has been found

*

Story: “Walking with Seevely”

An alien falls in beside a young woman walking around in the city – they continue to walk silently through the night

shipwrecked – bodies floating in the dark, on the water

the opening is small – maybe the size of a pinprick, a bite on the tongue – but it is there if we feel for it

*

The woman’s knowing eagerness as she pitches her payroll service to the young entrepreneur in the cafe – asking him if he’s already done this or that to prepare the financial side of the business, hired an accountant, etc. – so that she takes control of the meeting and seems to be interviewing him, assertive and pert in her business suit, hunched tautly forward in her seat while the guy leans back, casual in shorts

*

The weave too fine
     the glass too finely
      spun
no news – no news

*

Blue car pulls in across the street, blonde-haired woman wearing light blue summer dress and wedge sandals gets out, adjusts bike rack on back of car, marches off behind house, marches back with a bag of golf clubs slung over her shoulder, swings bag into back seat, kneels to adjust something, gets back into car, drives off

*

Leaf-blossoms blow down from the trees, thin as silk, twisting and fluttering down to catch in the edges of drives and sidewalk and gutters, falling on cars and porches. Children scoop them up in double-handfuls to throw them at each other in the neighbor’s yard

*

The world’s foremost onomatopoeist settled in with a faraway look of concentration, held her writing utensil poised over her notebook, and waited

*

So many citizens out tonight: little finches hopping twig to twig, the hush of the street then a car coming, neighbor on his porch staring

*
Aeneas

Then things got harder. Labors
once performed easily grew
out of reach. The neighbors
      he once knew
all moved away and mother
just a name, no goddess blew
the seas calm, nor
no tempest came

*

Song

I wanna be your red corvette
but it hasn’t happened yet

*

Two women and a man walk south down the block. A little while later they pass the same way heading north, each one carrying a dresser drawer in either hand, moving slowly, in a kind of rhythm, the drawers swaying heavily, none of them talking

 

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David Hadbawnik is a poet living in Buffalo, NY. Part one of his translation of the Aeneid was published in 2013 (Little Red Leaves); part two is forthcoming in 2014. In 2012, he edited Thomas Meyer’s Beowulf (Punctum Books), and in 2011 he edited (with Sean Reynolds) selections from Jack Spicer’s Beowulf for CUNY’s Lost and Found Document Series. Other publications include Field Work (BlazeVOX, 2011), Translations From Creeley (Sardines, 2008), Ovid in Exile (Interbirth, 2007), and SF Spleen (Skanky Possum, 2006). He is the editor and publisher of Habenicht Press and the journal kadar koli, and a co-editor of eth press (www.ethpress.com).

From My Beauty is an Occupiable Space: 37 Prosed Sonnets

John Bloomberg-Rissman and Anne Gorrick

 

Sonnet 9 – He said, “I’m drinking the beautiful Scotch.”

My beauty has a Black Friday velocity. My beauty has the attributes of the Number 8, men and women who dance like birds and salmon herds, the South West Wind, The Maltese Falcon and Farewell, My Lovely. My email account had a dark and twisted fantasy about Walmart and a diary mask ammo kit. The moon is enough for us in Spanish, even when death goes undetected by Beauticontrol ™ His everythings were shallow, not a cough in a carload. But there were shy violets, birds – skylit, scarlet. It’s so beautiful there and the trout are great. Why waste money on fire prevention when prayer rallies can generate actual cash? When Cocteau was asked what he would rescue if his house burned with all his precious objects inside, he said he’d rescue the fire. My beauty burned on April 16, 2007. A fire came near my parents’ house once. My mom was in Florida, so I called my dad and asked he what he’d packed. “How do you pack a life?”, he said, “I’m drinking the beautiful Scotch.” Good lord, he was drunk!

*

 

Her hair was the color of a charcoal filter

(after “Can-Am Series” – as suggested by Google)

 Anne Gorrick

 

She replaces the pool water with pee

We are in the theater of chance now

Hope embraced her mistakes

She thinks she has control over all shapes of water

She takes the trees for granted, has crushes in Croatian subtitles

America has been bamboozled by a nectar of baseball references

America rehearses

She made a temple out of tires for the Cat Goddess

Her red pyramids name the wind like a radio

Rehab is a rehypothesis, dinner dress her a little

Spell “rehypothocation” on an empty stage, without an audience

Sableye, antelope goggles, helicopter, herbicide

Sliced bread and strangling isn’t an option

Stop smoking, start drinking, since steroid hormones are lipids

This sentence loves you

Start a sentence with “a ballroom startles easily” and go from there

The idea of heaven could easily be a disease reflex

Her anxiety is an acoustic apparatus

A witch, a dog, a baby, a cat, a goat, a horse

Startle it

 

Peat, willows, eels

Make up some statistics about them on the spot

If you look up tonight, the stars have no makeup

Black holes organize into a pattern

Satellites event and twinkle

Snowflakes fell in perfect stripes

Scorpion star clusters fell like sand, laid out like starfish

Start a sentence with “a religion of doors”

Windows normally do nothing, windows are not like a parade

Goodbyes stuck into her skin, her life cycle began with indifference

Nautical twilight, small wars smuggled like smart chargers

She was afflicted by meaning

And boom goes the dynamite family guy in the marriage hearse

Bliss blizzard, blink tiger, melon light, pig barber

Electrical significance, shock stretches her character

There is friction in her address

A kinetic analysis

Even after 65 days in a sugarcult, his rhymes are not appealing

Fevers, rashes, thumb deformities

Four lights on and no children

There are worse things I could have purchased on my iphone

There are two kinds of people, three parties to a check, and several isotopes

Trees mistaken for transitional fossils

There are trap doors among us

Are teeth also a fruit?

Are tanning beds poisonous?

Are trampolines tax deductible?

Are travel agents worth it?

Cultivated wheat, puppeteer death clips, there is evidence of love in the urine

Biblefire, virulent bacteriophage

She’s a lime light kisser

What are the lyrics to these fireworks?

Pressure gradiant, sliverswell, cyclone amusement

Laughter assaults American grains

A desert asymmetry, an astronaut farmer

An astronomical unit is really an asteroid belt

Astigmatism and the astrology of beer

What is your compatibility to day?

The invention of pronunciation, a sonata in D minor

There are plenty of fish

Who played Hitler in a high school musical?

Clancyness, his cereal never gets soggy

Ribbon fractures, inflatable boats, injuries from coughing

Instead of happily exploring the attractive toys

She was a heavy cream bride

Her Helvetica heart, coral boned

Headless mice sing in handcuffs

Her immunity was invisible, her income elastic

A weather halo interpolated light

No sebaceous threshold, pigmented, navigated, narrative

Tramadol thrust, ghost crush, collapse

Horses in calm review, three months of Thai horror

The stars are projectors, dustmoon, inerrancy

On inertial motion on a rotating sphere

Silver breaks easily, electric easy tea, our entangling breath

Oil droplets ossicilate, circadian rhythms, chatclash

Bring your own bright star

 

anne-gorrick-2-copy

Anne Gorrick is the author of: I-Formation (Book 2) (Shearsman Books, Bristol, UK, 2012), I-Formation (Book 1) (Shearsman, 2010), and Kyotologic (Shearsman, 2008). She has co-edited (with Sam Truitt) In|Filtration: An Anthology of Innovative Poetry from the Hudson River Valley (Station Hill Press, Barrytown, NY, forthcoming in 2014), and has a new book of poetry, A’s Visuality, coming out soon with BlazeVOX Books (Buffalo, NY). She has collaborated with artist Cynthia Winika to produce a limited edition artists’ book called “Swans, the ice,” she said with grants through the Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She has also collaborated on large textual and/or visual projects with John Bloomberg-Rissman and Scott Helmes.

She curates the reading series, Cadmium Text (www.cadmiumtextseries.blogspot.com ) and co-curates (with Lynn Behrendt), the electronic journal Peep/Show at www.peepshowpoetry.blogspot.com. Her visual art can be seen at: www.theropedanceraccompaniesherself.blogspot.com.

She lives in West Park, New York.

 

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John Bloomberg-Rissman is in the last year of five on In the House of the Hangman, the third section of his maybe life project called Zeitgeist Spam. The first two volumes have been published: No Sounds of My Own Making (Leafe Press, 2007), and Flux, Clot & Froth (Meritage Press 2010), and sections of Hangman have been published over the last couple years at Jacket2. In addition to his Zeitgeist Spam project, the main other things on his plate right now are an anthology which he is editing with Jerome Rothenberg, titled Poems for the Millennium 5: Barbaric Vast & Wild: An Anthology of Outside & Subterranean Poetry, due out from Black Widow Press around the end of 2014, longterm collabs with Anne Gorrick, and a study of Etel Adnan, which is in its early stages. He’s also learning to play viola and he blogs at www.johnbr.com (Zeitgeist Spam).

 

Joshua Tree, March 2014