“Dickinson’s Widow” – Prose Poetry by Claudia Zander

Neapolitan Lighthouse – Ivan Aivazovsky, 1842

A lonely lighthouse keeper struggles to stay sane in “Dickinson’s Widow,” Claudia Zander‘s prose poem from our Summer 2017 issue.

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after David Markson’s “Wittgenstein’s Mistress”

 

AFTER THE END, I’LL JUST KEEP FLINGING my musings into the void.

I don’t watch the news—well, I sort of do. More accurately, I don’t listen to the news, I just keep it on TV, on mute, in case of apocalypse.

My love’s a $10 bill you forgot to take out of your pants before you ran it through the laundry; it’s all stiff & crinkly now but it’ll still buy you a drink.

My soul’s a dreaming dachshund napping in the sun, twitching its paws & chomping at ephemeral squirrels.

My moral compass led me to a treasure map hidden behind a Sugar Ray poster in the Tulsa Hard Rock Café.

Thoughts collide & scrape inside me
like a rusty clusterfuck,
they twitch & blister as they spread their pox across Long Island Sound.
Sighs of anguish, howls of glee
are chiming through my lighthouse home,
they somersault like feisty leprechauns
across Long Island Sound.

Shit, I just remembered a field trip’s coming to tour my lighthouse tomorrow—gotta Febreze everything & hide all my Egon Schiele paintings!

Gonna spend the weekend booby-trapping the windmills of my mind, scrubbing all the Zinfandel stains out of my Metallica T-shirts, and constructing elaborate dioramas based on my most memorable childhood humiliations.

Tonight I’ll be hanging my silky new hammock in the toasty sliver between honest mistake & reckless abandon. I’ll build a fortress from coarse, lint-spangled pillows in the slender valley between false hope & unconditional surrender. I’ll be twitching atop the border of judicious heightened sensitivity & insufferable over-sensitivity.

Continue reading “Dickinson’s Widow” – Prose Poetry by Claudia Zander

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“When I Die Someone Just Fuck My Body Please” – Poetry by Ian Kappos

Mannequin de Salvador Dali – Raoul Ubac

“When I Die Someone Just Fuck My Body Please” is Ian Kappos‘ punker-than-hell poem from our Summer 2017 issue.

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NO CHECKERED FLAG FOR ME as carsick I       cross the divide the
closest there is       on this side of town to a demilitarized
zone between the living       & the dead         I       watch an obese
woman lean over a gravestone drawing thru straw unmarked cup stomach
turns     liver face up       kidneys & jelly knees I’m       not sure if we’re
even related       in the chapel outrageously symmetrical floors a big brave
fuck you to disorder take   that death/ now I need to learn real fast how
to hug a man you know the type     strong concrete beer-gut good humor
lives at the race track fresh oil change eyes
bends             left in grief       we’re all of us staring at the body burping up
lies how beautiful the blouse is & happy but she looks
terrible I mean what sick roughshod     imitation of life is this/  well, case:
roadblock anatomy weird ditches around lips those teeth
pushing eager like I did my time let me out Dali
clock ears & nose in eternal flux of smelling obscene
smell (that’s formaldehyde baby & it’s gonna
cost you)          it just doesn’t       add up, face erasure the glasses
for everyone else’s sake &     you’d be kidding
yourself to think otherwise/ old man
shoulders quivering now saying      how he
fell asleep           by the casket       & dreamt I thought she & I’d just
hop right up &                    get out of here.             & it hits me then
the flowers       shitty carpets canned          flute music CD & pickled
grief repeating       void whistling          closed inside the straw why even
pretend/ I’m no iron       stomach is the woman at
the gravestone dead yet am I a fucking mannequin how       will
death animate me       fuck all the post-haste posthumous let’s just
go for a            joyride you & me/       get younger while the time is ripe

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IAN KAPPOS was born and raised in Northern California. To date, over thirty of his works of short fiction, nonfiction and poetry have been published online and in print. He plays in the hardcore punk band Cross Class and co-edits Milkfist, and is an MFA candidate in the School of Critical Studies at California Institute of the Arts. He maintains a website at www.iankappos.net.

“My skin felt too hot” – Poetry by E. Kristin Anderson

Visual Poems: Tongue Stabbed – Lygia Pape, 1968

“My skin felt too hot” is a powerfully visceral & transcendently surreal poem by E. Kristin Anderson from our Summer 2017 issue.

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LIKE THE FOX, IT’S MOSTLY RITZY,
sort of brainy—that blood just
rolled dreaming into brutality.

I salivate like the earlier poets
flirting with absurd reason,
the doorway to so cold.

Veins willing, I thinned down,
aristocratic, bewildered
as an instant of sharp home.

Those things always
are monstrous, stung trusted,
ridden, swerving to good emergency.

And then, for some reason:

The rough tongue (like shaking hell)
was blood, as if it should have been
strong, out of the best intensions.

I wanted a flush of dissociation;
my repertoire cake sitting
in the center of my stomach.

 


This is an erasure poem. Source: King, Stephen. Christine. New York: Signet, 1983. 17-22, Print.

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Based in Austin, TX, E. KRISTIN ANDERSON has been published widely in magazines. She’s also the author of seven chapbooks, including A Guide for the Practical AbducteeFire in the Sky and Pray, Pray, Pray: Poems I wrote to Prince in the middle of the nightKristin is an editor and designer at Red Paint Hill and was formerly a poetry editor at Found Poetry Review. Once upon a time she worked at The New Yorker.

“We Make Our Own Ghosts” – A Conversation with Jessie Janeshek

Nobody has contributed more poems to our weird little zine over the years than Jessie Janeshek, and it’s not even close. It’s because her poetry so perfectly captures that easily-recognizable-yet-hard-to-define quality known as “flappiness” that we look for in the work we publish. (One of her recent contributions, “Delicate / Cheap,” was posted here last week.) Jessie has had poetry appear in other excellent publications like Potluck, Drunk in a Midnight Choir, and Anti-Heroin Chic, among dozens of others. She’s also the author of numerous chapbooks & collections, including The Shaky Phase, published earlier this year by Stalking Horse Press.

Jessie recently exchanged emails with our managing editor Joseph P. O’Brien about her poetry, as well as the sorrow of nostalgia, the allure of Golden Age Hollywood, and the ghosts of our own creation…

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JO’B: To me, your poems feel both spontaneously, almost subconsciously crafted, and yet also meticulously assembled from vintage / antique parts. How much subconscious spontaneity and how much meticulous assemblage would you say plays a part in your writing process?

JJ: I really like this description of my work, so thank you! It’s both lyrical and accurate. I would say that many of the phrases and images used are subconsciously generated. I take a lot from dreams and memories, and I jot down random phrases that come into my head, often while I’m exercising or just ostensibly focused on something else. I also use lines from films, articles, songs, etc. Putting these parts together on the page is where the “meticulous assemblage” comes in. I’m very deliberate about how the parts come together to make the whole. I recall reading an interview with Kim Addonizio quite a few years ago where she referred to her revision process as a “comb-over,” a need to go back through her work and fill in the sparse parts. I do something similar in subsequent drafts of my poems; my writing process often feels like a layering process.

(Here’s a link to the interview with Addonizio. I found it again by googling “kim addonizio” and “comb over” to make sure I wasn’t going crazy.)

JO’B: Do you practice any particular rituals or traditions to write, or to otherwise activate the more creative / intuitive realms of your mind?

JJ: Nothing too interesting or magical. It is usually a little hard for me to get started, if only in the sense that writing is harder than reading news articles on my phone or watching TV or petting a cat or listening to music or just existing. So, I usually put my phone in another room; otherwise, I’m tempted to mess with it any time I get stuck for a second. I usually sit on my couch. I have a journal of on-going notes, as well as a clipboard and a stack of typing paper with notes like more than an inch high. Sometimes I look at them; sometimes I don’t.

I usually have a glass of ice water and something caffeinated. Eighty-five percent of the time it’s strong coffee with a bit of cream and one sweet and low; the other 15% of the time it’s diet pop. (I was told the other day that my use of the word “pop” to describe a carbonated beverage is “so colloquial.”) Sometimes I light a candle or three, but not always.

I will say that even though it can be hard to get started, I’m much happier and saner if I’m writing for a bit every day or at least every other day. If I don’t write for like a week, my brain really starts to feel out of whack.

I write in the afternoon. I hate the morning, and I like to do my reading at night.

JO’B: In your recent interview with Kailey Tedesco for Rag Queen Periodical, you said of your poems’ speakers that “most of the time they’re just nostalgic and sad.” What are your personal feelings about nostalgia? Do you generally see it as a sad thing?

JJ: Yes. As I learned in a college course on Greek and Roman literature, nostalgia literally translates to “a longing for home.” Looking at a past, a home, that I know I can never get back to, is sad to me. The rational part of me is well aware that I’m seeing things from the past in soft focus, both on and off the screen, and that the past has its flaws, just as the present does. The irrational part of me thinks the pasts—and I make it plural, whether it’s my adolescence in the 90s or the 1920s of a film I’m watching—are so much better. And I can never get back to them. And the irrational part of me is where the poetry comes from.

Continue reading “We Make Our Own Ghosts” – A Conversation with Jessie Janeshek

“Hope Springs Eternal, or: The Reincarnation of Andy Warhol’s Soul” – Poetry by Ron Kolm

The iconic pop artist experiences a poetic rebirth in “Hope Springs Eternal, or: The Reincarnation of Andy Warhol’s Soul,” Ron Kolm‘s delightfully surreal contribution to our Summer 2017 issue.

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THERE’S A SLIGHT DISTURBANCE
Among the potato chips
In a pink Tupperware bowl
Sitting on a wooden picnic table
At a Baptist prayer meeting
In Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Now this particular disturbance
Is not man made, nor is it
An act of Nature; it is, in fact,
The awakening of Andy Warhol’s
Reincarnated soul.

What the Hell, Andy thinks,
A potato chip? I silk-screened
Monroe for this?
The guys at the Factory
Assured me I’d come back
As the hippest thing possible
But a potato chip?!
Now, it’s nitpicking
In the extreme
But we should note
That Andy Warhol
Returned as a Pringle,
Not as a real potato chip, a detail
That would have delighted him
In his previous incarnation.

The afternoon wears on,
And one by one his companions
Disappear; Lou, Holly, Baby Jane,
Gerard, Viva, and, yes, even
little Edie — until Andy
Is the only chip remaining.

Please let me come back
As a roll of aluminum foil
Next time, he prays,
As the shadow of a large,
Calloused Baptist hand
Blots out the sky above.

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Continue reading “Hope Springs Eternal, or: The Reincarnation of Andy Warhol’s Soul” – Poetry by Ron Kolm

“Delicate / Cheap” – Poetry by Jessie Janeshek

“Delicate / Cheap” is one of five quintessentially flappy poems by Jessie Janeshek in our Summer 2017 issue.

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I’M NOT GOING TO TELL YOU                                                            doped and thick
                  not going to kill you                                                       old shouldered
       red incense        red saints
but Paris was one of my places
                  where they kept saying                                               seaweed and ketamine
and           what is the name of your station?

 Delusion is one kind of service
                  and beauty is truth                                                        in drink and black roots.
Harlouche stories are blue
                  Theda Bara reading your Tarot through three generations
transmuting frustration-green snakeskin
                  around her an aura of snow.

Step down/open up                                                                         an era of bad on both sides
                  New York City                                                                   an ice blue Saturday night.
                  Move through the store                                                                w/ your blue eyes on top
tableted paper or pills.                                                                    Figure out Marilyn
                  in front of the falls or the fog.
The world was so friendly                                                              the bridal veil slick
                  her walk opening up
but what is your signal?

We weren’t the brownettes                                                            throwing shoes or preserving
                  the notion of marriage
flickering cocaine                                                                               and vanitas into each other
                  how Baby moved                                                              in her sailor blouse
                  transmuting Vs                                                                   toward rot at the altar
wouldn’t drown out                                                                           in her white fur at night
                  and so what if it was puppetry
kabuki and pretty                    when they kept saying
                  we can’t believe Harlow’s no more
                  
and what are we doing it for?

 


Note: A few phrases in this poem are taken from page 317 in the sixth edition of the Radio License Q & A Manual by Milton Kaufman (New York: John F. Rider Publishing, 1957).

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JESSIE  JANESHEK‘s second full-length book of poems is The Shaky Phase (Stalking Horse Press). Her chapbooks are Spanish Donkey/Pear of Anguish (Grey Book Press, 2016), Rah-Rah Nostalgia(dancing girl press, 2016), Hardscape (Reality Beach, forthcoming), and Supernoir (Grey Book Press, forthcoming). Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010) is her first full-length collection. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and an M.F.A. from Emerson College. You can read more of her poetry at jessiejaneshek.net.

“Birdland”- Fiction by Julia Dixon Evans

Child and Bird – Kaoru Kawano, 1950

After their parents’ deaths, three sisters reunite & resurrect some unsettling secrets in “Birdland,” Julia Dixon Evans‘ unforgettable short story from our Summer 2017 issue.

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MY SISTERS ARE DUE ANY MINUTE. A rush of birdwing-flap overhead, the shadow of their cloud. Migrating sandpipers maybe, or golden plovers; I am a bit rusty these days. It’s cold out, the sun still up but June always seems like the wintriest month we have here: moody and overcast, unpredictable, twenty degrees cooler at night than at noon. Bits of crabgrass fall from between my fingertips and thumb. I rub them together like a chef dusting rubbed salt over a pan and that metaphor probably means I’m the salt, ground up and rubbed to within an inch of my life so that whatever’s in the pan has a better time of it.

I wait for more birds. I wait for my sisters. This is all I have.

When we first took over the mortgage on this house it seemed like the best idea. Our parents, dead younger than anyone expected, left us an unfinished mortgage, anemic life insurance policies, and a disastrous filing cabinet full of 5% useful documents about their finances and 95% shit that should have been shredded ten years ago. The worst part about their death was being annoyed by them because of this. I just wished they’d give me some time to miss them. It sometimes feels like they died forever ago, not four months ago. It sometimes even feels like it’s still happening.

Sarah is the oldest, the wildest. She’s thin and tall, disarmingly brilliant, and she’s mean. Louise is the youngest, the kindest, the timid one. She’s built like me, which is to say: not thin, not tall, not disarmingly brilliant, not mean. I usually can’t stand Louise.

Next to my sandals in the grass there’s a can of strawberry soda. I stopped drinking soda ten years ago (for Lent, for superiority, for the squishiness around my stomach) but it’s all my parents left in this house. Soda and five or six bottles of expensive whiskey with only an inch left each. I lift the can up, a straw in the metal hole, and drink until the straw rattles with empty. I turn my back to the late sun in the hope that it’ll warm me more. Last night when it was also cold, I sucked Rafael’s dick in my car and he loved me and grabbed at my stomach and said what does it feel like to have someone this into you? and today he said I think I hate myself when I’m with you.

Continue reading “Birdland”- Fiction by Julia Dixon Evans