Tony Aarts

Regretfully the World in Tooth and Bone Meets Us

Ink sky like I knew it could.

Swarms of bats screeching in the shape of triangles

up, up the length of a river slicked with petroleum

from summer’s runoff, the trickles in moss.

I’m a gray rabbit. Gables are mouths. All of them.

I’m avoiding doorways, tunnels, caves.

I’m not making a move, what color am I now?

What sound is coming down the path?

The sky like a pair of gray shears, I say,

it’s hard to piece one’s self back together

with mud, with mortar. Villagers burn

us like towers holding the monster.

The one howling in the belfry with cold hands

whose life has been lightning, dark briars.

No one’s making a move. Their torches crackle

like teeth splitting in yellow grimaces.

It’s another story that repeats itself—

the way the river bends away from us.

You’re afraid of the dwelling under your skin

and the doorway wants to crush me in its jaws.

We’re filled with dark yards and ice,

places we barely understand.

Try to forget the blood on the leaves

you saw this morning, it’s already late.

Those at the Table Are Wolves

It rains and rains and someone is passing

the sugar to the left while a wave breaks

somewhere inside their head. Their head

nailed in place like a wooden star, like pebbles

gathered to make a face. I would help us

if I knew where to begin. My lungs full of cloud.

It’s dark isn’t it. What a world, wolves are indeed

at the hearth, monastic and waiting. I’ll play

a record for them. Vinyl scratches towards notes

as our pleas ferret around the room’s silence.

There’s such a mossy depth one’s held under

with the wolves watching us through, clear souls

like glass figures on a shelf. I see my friends

shaking, one is so tired, her eyes in an age

of brown hills. But the wolves austere, the wolves

brindled and patient. I am painting for them,

a landscape of fires. There are animals there.

Ana Božičević

from Some Occurrences on the 7:18 to Penn


You had been my close secret

and then you deprived me of your furriness.

The secret was hetero, it was inhuman


and what is left after it

is a little less like the Chrysler building.

The metal and the tremor.


It’s unlikely you remember the air

awhirl thick and green like a grasshopper’s thigh

or the waiting. When you next leave a person


in the warm brown mud – beware the eggs

hatched there. Lives, damned lives –

the eggs will expose you,


horse made of cut.


The role of Guy was played by the angel.

The role of You was in turns played by the spirit, the chick

on the train, one other guy I knew, and by

the woman I wake beside, who's played by a lioness,

and the absence of her by darkness

and death. There's no nicer way to put it.

Darkness and death. In the restaurant, she

was a focus on fire. I minced toward her like Heracles mutton,

and oh lioness I daren't ask you if

you feel it too, the howling smell of linden when we kiss, & the meridians

spinning and lolling round the mechanic globe

that hangs like a cherry in darkness— in other words, do you feel me as your last.

It's like asking snow if white is a color:

or the blush in the stem of a calla, that whispers,

I'm your reflection, I'm ashamed… Or like geese and gratitude.

You put a goose into your yard, you give it feed, but still it's

just one of a pair, the one that doesn't hold the meaning. Why

so serious? This is where my lack of love of light

has brought me. The cherry sinks in the mud—

the unibody earth, thick like mole, and out of it

our heads do pop into a sparkle-scrubbed     May. My lioness, we're free.

To grow out of the darkness of boar-hide into

Don't say it. Why not? Because if we're shepherdesses

of the boar-heart of poetry we'll be shot down? No,

you silly goose.


Because you can't touch cloud.

What you want to say is cloud.


Peak light on the mountain.

Heather Christle

Happy Birthday to Me

I know where I’m going to die.

Right here in my own honest


body. I avoid my body by sleeping.

For instance I’ve just woken up.


Now here come my galloping

arms. My head: the malletless


gong. Then why is it clanging. 

So many days I do not understand. 


One plows forward, one gathers,

it rains. Each month maintains


its own atomic number. A year

does not have a skeleton; it has


an uncracked egg. You have to

eat it. You have to get married.


My friend the golden onslaught

married stuff in bloom. Every


action has a speed and a direction.

Love goes down and sometimes


slowly, but death can come from

inside or without. For my birthday


I would like to be an airplane. An

airplane with no pilot and no wings.

These People Are Getting Together

A woman and a man are on a bench.

The bench is vibrating and the trees


and purses. That which does not

vibrate falls apart. The dead also


vibrate. The woman and the man

are still alive I think. I know a lot


about the world. When the man says

he will fix dinner he does not mean


repair it. And winning is one object

of the sun. There is no good way


to draw smoke. Compared to smoke

the bench is real life. Real life keeps


hills piled behind it. A bench is in

memory of the dead. Sometimes a


choice is needed. To pick the door

and not the doorway. The woman


makes an offer. The man forgets

to vibrate and promptly falls apart.

You Are My Guest

I will call you man.

Man man man man.


It is a recipe.

It is not that expensive.


I will have you

over for dinner


and I will not

take your clothes off.


You wear clothes

like a man man.


You are a tightly

wound bundle.


When we think of

the woods


the woods

are the same


but the rabbit

between them


is different.

Eat up your soup


little man,

little man man.


There is no food

coming later.

Adam Clay

What Midday Can Do, What Midday Can Do to What Might Have Been

Earned and looking towards a laugh as if a laugh

is the place where the dark

might tighten its grip and make one feel certain of anything,


certain of Middle America especially and when I asked

the cashier for my change in dimes mostly,

she smiled and said no and asked me to leave


the store and I did and if I could have walked across town

like it was a desert, believe me, I would have.

And Snow Is What Snow Has Always Been

Of course a quilt is a house—


And of course you can become so enamored

with an image that you become it:


like the snow all over town

and like the snow

all over town you become it.


You have far-reaching talent for

mass appeal and for sending a few thousand birds

a few thousands miles south. And when it is March

you might even melt a bit but you are last

to tuck us in at night

and last to think a thought we wish we had:


what we croon is what we have a deed to, and the deed

is some thing we think we thought we always had.

Peter Davis

Poem Addressing the Blind

Despite your inability to read this in the traditional fashion, I am happy you are able to read this in brail. I’m excited that someone has rendered it in pattern of small paper bumps which indicates it has achieved a small degree of success. This poem is partly for you, person rendering this poem in brail! Thanks! Just as amazing as you—the blind person actually lightly touching this poem with fingertips! You! Unreal! Also it is possible that you’re at a poetry reading or listening to this poem via some sort of recording. If you are listening to me read this poem, thanks! I am grateful for you, blind appreciator of this poem! I love you as I love everyone who comprehends this poem. 

Poem Addressing the Deaf

I’m glad you can see and read this poem, unlike the blind who can either listen to it read out loud, or read it in brail, but can never see it. Of course you won’t ever hear how this sounds, particularly articulated by my voice at a reading or on some kind of available recording. On the other hand, you have these beautiful words in silence, save but for the sounds within your noggin (which I absolutely can’t imagine—I’m ashamed as I write this how little I know about you)! Or perhaps you are eligible for a cochlea implant and so you go that route and regain your alertness to waves vibrating in the ear canal. Maybe you live in a time period when there are other solutions to your condition. In that case this poem isn’t really for you, this poem is for people who are deaf now, whenever now might be. Still, I’m so happy you’re looking at this sentence. If you could hear what you would hear are sounds that sound like, “I love you! I love you! Please, love me too.”  

Poem Addressing the Illiterate

I am glad this is finding you, despite the obvious difficulties. I hope this might inspire you to learn to read. I hope that whoever is helping you with this poem becomes a close friend to you, in such a way that your relationship naturally leads to an educational bond. Not everything that is written is as fascinating and life-changing as this poem, but, seriously, there’s some pretty interesting stuff out there.

Denise Duhamel


 A brief history:

I sucked my thumb longer than the other kids and practiced spelling on my lips—my fingernails engraving words that disappeared as my flesh sprung back. I plotted to kill my mean third grade teacher, sure there was a chemical I could eye-dropper into that awful perfume she kept in her desk drawer to spritz herself between classes I hatched a fairy tale scheme to poison the roses that grew in her garden so that when she touched the petals the toxin would seep into her system. I grew fat with hate until the zipper of my jeans left its print from my belly button to my crotch.

A brief history (part 2): 

In 1959, Frenchman Arthur Granjean took “L'Ecran Magique,” a drawing toy he’d invented, to the International Toy Fair in Nuremburg, Germany. The Ohio Art Company decided to take a chance on it in the U.S. and renamed the toy Etch A Sketch. The response to the first television advertisements were so overwhelming that the company manufactured Etch A Sketches until noon on December 24, 1960 so that children in California could have them in time for Christmas.

A more recent history:


During a walk on the beach after a hurricane, I crouched down to read the first page of a letter written on yellow lined paper:

Dear Ed,


           Ever since we met I thought we had something special.  I

           thought we were soul mates.  But Friday is only two days

           away and it seems as though you forget about me come

           every Friday.  It seems as though there is not a skank

           whore in Broward County that you haven’t been with and

           somehow I keep living next door to all of them!  They all

           say you’re everybody’s boyfriend, not just mine.  I don’t let

           men get to me very often, but I love you and miss you.  I

           really need a lot of reassurance from you because I

As I picked up the still-wet letter, it began to disintegrate in my hands:


         Eve  sin                      we       met in

        we were so                                           only two

         see                             forge              me    me

         Frida      I                                             not

        who   in      war                                 haven

         ow                                 do    to all                     hey

        eve                                          us                           let


         ally                                                                  cause

My fingers popped through the paper, the pulp softened, masticated. 


The Magic Slate:

After I took the ex-lax, my lips turned white as dust, white as powdered sugar or flour.  I’d drink a gallon of water and plump up again like a berry.  I had a navy one-piece with pointy bra cups I’d bought from the thrift store. I wore it to the apartment complex’s pool on my one day off, and the man working on the roof would not take no for an answer.  His big hands and hammer.  His booming radio. He knew which studio I walked in and out of, the one in the back near the bushes and cactus, so I slept with the phone right by my bed just in case.  I was impatient and poured the Sun-In onto my whole head instead of using the pump to try to make streaks.  After work on Friday nights, we’d all go to the pancake house and the one fat girl would order decaf with skim milk.  I’d get the apple fritter pancakes or strawberry French toast and scarf everything down knowing I could get rid of it when I got home.  Who was the original owner of the bathing suit hanging over the towel rack in my bathroom?  How old was she now?  Did she still live in Tucson?  I’d eat canned Veg-All the rest of the week, meticulously picking out the potato cubes.

One definition of bulimia:


You could write or draw anything you wanted on a Magic Slate, then peel away the milky plastic sheet, and it was like you’d said nothing.  You could erase your mistakes, be nostalgic for the flower you’d made a few minutes before. You could write a swear word and then lift off the top page with a slight smack and fool yourself into thinking that was the end of your anger.  You could draw a meticulous princess and, with a wrist swipe, she’d be gone.  Sometimes I would push down with that red stylus so hard that I’d leave scars on the dark gray surface underneath.


 One definition of pica:


                                --from pica pica, the Latin for magpie,

                                   the scavenger bird that will eat anything.


“Wooly Willy” was another of my favorite games—Willy was a bald man with a round nose, a pile of iron powder under his chin, a piece of raised plastic over him.  I took the red wand with a magnet at its end and drew up the metal dust to make whiskers and sideburns and bangs.  Once I even changed Willy into a glamour girl by giving him arched eyebrows and a flip hairdo. 


I mistakenly left “Wooly Willy” on the porch.  A neighborhood boy stole it.  He broke through the plastic frame, tipped the game towards him, and poured the metal shavings like pepper into his mouth.



One definition of young love:


Someday I will be a widow and/or my husband will be a widower and we’ll check different boxes on our tax forms and medical forms.  Our sadness will be a different kind of sadness than the one we have now.


When they were dating, my aunt and uncle had a fight and she threw her engagement ring into the snow.  “You’ll never find it! The diamond is so small,” she hissed and closed the door.  My uncle dug into her family’s yard, his hands wet and raw right through his gloves, the sky dark and cloudy without many stars. An hour later she stuck her head out of her bedroom window and said, “Cheapskate!” then slammed it shut.  My grandmother wanted to bring my uncle cocoa, but my aunt forbade it.  One by one the neighbors switched off the lights and went to bed, and my aunt didn’t find the ring until spring.  My aunt and uncle were married and stayed married 50 years and told the story at parties, told the story to their grandkids who began a tradition of throwing their Happy Meal toys into the snow and waiting for the next thaw to find them.  The story evolved from a tragedy to a comedy (no mention ever again of what my uncle did to make my aunt so angry) and a lesson to wait things out.



A partial list of non-food items people diagnosed with pica have eaten:

ashes, burnt match heads, baking soda, bed linen, buttons,

cornstarch, cigarette butts, cotton balls, charcoal briquettes,

coffee grounds, cat food, coal, clay, dirt, (especially the dirt

from dirty potatoes), dried dog chow, Elmer’s glue,

earthworms, earwax, fingernail clippings, fleece, glass, gravel,

hair, ice, Johnson’s baby powder, Kleenex, light bulbs, lint,

laundry starch, mud, nails, needles, nuts and bolts, objet d’art,

ointment, paint chips, plaster, paste, pennies, paper, plastic

bags, packing peanuts, pencil erasers, Play-Doh, potpourri, Q-

Tips, rust, string, screws, soap, sand, stones, sock fuzz,

toothpaste, thread, tire tubes, upholstery, Vaseline, vinyl

gloves, Wite-out,  white glue, wood chips, excrement, yarn,

zipper teeth

Cold comfort:

In 2000, the Etch A Sketch plant moved to Shenzhen, China and left Bryan, Ohio (population 8,000) with unemployed people, foreclosed homes, and empty stores.  The downtown looked like an empty movie set, the last few boxes of cereal and soda bottles on display gathering dust.  William Killgallon, the chief executive of Ohio Etch A Sketch, looking hangdog, said he had to move the plant because of the “ineluctable laws of economics.”

Comfort food:

acuphagia (the eating of sharp items)

amylophagia (the eating of soap)

cautopyreiophagia (the eating of burnt matches)

geophagia (the eating of dirt)

geomelophagia (the eating of raw potatoes)

Potential and the bright red frame:

You can write with both hands on an Etch A Sketch, using both sides of the brain.  You can draw with both white knobs, doorknobs in your dream.  And what are poems but doors you haven’t opened yet?  Doors to closets you haven’t cleaned out, doors from grainy black and white kitchens to in-color backyard Ozes, doors to the forbidden, doors that hang over cliffs, game show doors with shimmering cars behind them, doors leading to bedrooms with lampshades covered with fringed shawls and promising sex, doors to money and new offices, doors leading to stairs, emergency exits, revolving doors, doors which are openings to the body, the vagina, the anus, doors which lead the way to and from the subconscious, doors which are a means of escape, doors leading to a small room (womb).

Potential and the bright red frame (2):

Then my beloved said I don’t want to live anymore and I didn’t know whether he meant at all or with me.  His lines began to fade.  He began to get so faint that sometimes I couldn’t find him in a crowd.  He’d be standing right in front of Sears where we’d planned to meet, but he was so still I couldn’t see him.  He was starting to disappear, stating to become gray snow.  That is sometimes how we lose the ones we love, the ones we have drawn, the ones we think are ours.  We become snow to them as well. Cold snow, TV snow at the end of a broadcasting day, “The Star Spangled Banner” and a flag.  My beloved retreated into the sand of an Etch A Sketch. I took hold of the knobs and twisted, but our L'Ecran Magique was broken. 

The inner workings:

The reverse side of an Etch A Sketch’s screen is coated with a mixture of aluminum powder and plastic beads.  The left and right knobs control the horizontal and vertical rods, moving the stylus where the two meet.  Whenever the stylus moves, it scrapes the screen.

Adam Fell

Coffin Tree

Somewhere in the national forest,

there is a coffin tree for each of us,

chosen at birth, containing us

completely, even in its youngest seedling.

If we keep no one left to love, to love us,

to cut it down, to afford it

carved to order, we will wander,

the flower bridge, the light-rail route,

the geopark lot, unclean ghosts

the clouded blue of our deepening cataracts.

What’s left of us, children moved to city,

smudged air of our once bodies, is holding,

exhausted, the village brinkline of trees

from the road, disappearing as the mist

that beads us shape burns off at dawn.

There is a difference between fire shaped

like a horse and a horse made of fire.

Emily Kendal Frey


Everyone wants to love

you, matador.


I won’t be dead

by you, tree.


Moon, take me

closer to the



The church doesn’t love

the matador.


Ole ole ole ole ole ole ole ole ole ole ole ole ole!


The river

is dirtier than ever.


Ribbon for a matador.

Brian Henry


A shark’s sharper teeth flee on contact,

bream the darker side of the sea.

Piss-swollen and merciless sea,

it moves nowhere but up, piston,

and down, its lateral fragments strewn

behind the assholes of whales.

The whale shark, though huge,

is harmless. Cookiecutters unplug

the sides of submarines, live off

the sides of whales. The whale shark

lives near the sea’s roof, bumps

into subs and ships it’s so slow.

Filters plankton. Swallows plankton.

The dwarf shark fits in a palm.

Sawsharks dig up what they devour.

A bonnethead digs and pins.

Nothing can budge the swellshark

wedged in a crack. The thresher’s

tail delivers a mean slap, to stun.

Step on the carpet shark if you want

your foot stumped. Ditto with the angel

shark. If you can walk on water,

you have nothing to fear, your needs

will be met when you arrive.

If you can walk on water, my offer

to bathe your feet at the end of your journey,

to kneel and bathe your feet, is empty.

The fullness comes in the delivery.

Brad Liening

Flash Point

When something burns, does it burn up

or down? It isn’t just a question of usage,

ash in your hair and grit in your teeth.

Something inside of me springs into

a fizz and all the clocks go back an hour.

It’s the time of year when everything spongy

in the world recedes and we make do

tracing the calcified edges. Being so

easily squished, the hermit crab finds

itself a bigger home. A good move

for the crab but I dread getting the mail

which must be done no matter how many

times I move. It’s the havoc in miniature

that gets me, garbles me up in twaddle

court reports and nonsensical forensics,

my shopping list consisting entirely

of canned beans so who needs a list?

Radiance sprung from sudden secret

belief snuffed by the pet store window,

can’t afford the skinny calico kitten

trembling in a chewed-up cardboard box.

Mist on the dog track, clothes askew

in the persimmons. Lingering tingle

of lips on your cheek, an intricate pastiche

of stains on my nice interview shirt

indicating all the past campaigns that have

ultimately led me to these granite steps,

these frilly pillows, feeling like I missed

the first few minutes of a movie in which

vital plot points are given, thus relegating

the dramatic eleventh-hour revelation less

to the province of a subtle articulation

of individual ennui with a gesture to shared

human despair, and more to the domain

of just what the fuck was all that about? 

There goes ten bucks. There go the avocadoes,

moldering the moment you turn your back.

If we follow this string long enough

does it lead back to your rotten tooth?

Must the medieval tapestry be undone

by the loose thread of a dragon’s tongue?

Let’s let morning unstitch the dark, and

when that stops working how bout a beer? 

For an entire year I was late for every morning

meeting since I was always buying coffee

from a machine in the opposite wing,

always hating the chalky taste and never once

not thinking I was holding a thin cup

of hot robot pee. You know what I mean,

x amount of y requires no less than z.

Otherwise the whole thing is doomed.

Gashed earth matched by gashed sky.

There’s no way all this blood is mine.

Fire dashes from one point to the next,

caring not for our proofs or theorems,

our flammable darlings and funny bumps,

consistency or perfection, just as fog

simply slides from the pond or small clouds

drift in and out of the sore spot in your chest.

Within the green field is a brown/black

field getting bigger, within the red field

no one knows for sure. The photoelectric

solution fans out and spreads its webs.

Your purple popsicle dribbles into your fist,

and suddenly I feel like a flaming hoop

through which a tiger lazily hops.

Chris Martin

from This False Peace

It is said the last     woman who tattoos you       is your wife


To be a self is to be a sudden     cipher interpellated      by faces


a tattoo that moves          A man’s expensive           shoes invade me


ballistic earrings quiver         around the soft circle of a neck


this false     peace          a pantomime of not              falling      


I want to locate a no        stillness     this      false      peace


Topographies of rumor               jutting  in the streets


a torture so        plain it seeps into this garland        of irises   


or islands of nail        clippings caught in the leaves         all matter        


inebriated     tenebrous          boomeranging      wet


We awed so much        that tending to        life put us to sleep





Black braids grazing the outstretched      wings of the television


antenna frozen stoic      the lie was that one      was alone      the worst


and most common              a vast and incurious      thing    now


that your wallet is all lit up        A tiny girl with black    


braids moves      through the air  the air is so smug sometimes


but can I say it         is beautiful?    It is        a vast


and incurious thing          in our eyes and we permit     ourselves to


be this wong      I loved so many      people because      they were looking       


fascinated              The field is not       neutral  the corpse   


is really still          alive      shifting      birds         running into windows       


or these spiders absurd         crawling into mouth after      mouth   


for warmth         The world          does not go         silently on  


It is      hum      It is   hum       It is an      hum     It is an engine





I can’t stop sensing        movieness          and millions now living


will never die     an intuitive mathematics transcribing hate      or else 


we become harvesters    of the      blink         accident           blink        


line      break    jump      cut       the distances euphoric 


otherwise perfect     skin littered      with dry islands        to catch


Trigger stars trigger     birdsong and the pluvial whoosh   


of woods trigger lavender       uprooted and set       aside     minute


eyes terrifyingly      composite          a pose      anticipatory


Trigger ligature in the soft     hollow of the gut dribbling Philip


Guston Pink           words are not secrets     the sunset is not deathly


words are not secret     yes     words are not secret         yes they are





I space     out only to emerge larger     my sweet little


tone is my arm     I can’t tell you how little         I think about time


My everything              anything by grace          My own


body was too       thick for the light beams     a dirty dirge  with white


on drums     I wake to garbage        trucks wherever I


live     spine audible in this      only-just-this-very-second-brightening


side-world          The real world is on     television     the girl behind


the counter is yelling at you      You?           and everything helps            


it never to conclude       The church bells tinkling       the fish


stupid and beautiful      in love and in Washington    all


our dicks in a row       as umbilical illuminations fill the cloud body

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Clay Matthews

Confessional Poem

I meant to tell you I never liked what you named your baby,

though I said I did, though I said I liked many things

when I, in fact, did not like many things. Though I said, Oh,

really? That’s so sweet. Perfect, in fact. But truthfully I believe

that nothing is perfect, and never shall be, and shouldn’t be

because I’ve this theory that perfection is really an algorithm

for death, and that death is really an algorithm for desire,

and that desire is going to be the name of the next really big

muscle car put out by the Ford motor company. I suppose

we’ve all meant so many things, and meant to tell about

so many other things we said we meant but never really did.

But what have I meant, as a person? I mean, what am I, what

have I been as a collective of actions, biology, intake, exhaust,

what kind of person says Hey, I think that’s a fantastic name

for a baby when really I think it’s terrible—not even a good name

for a cat, or dog, or fish, even, and fish get away with the worst

names of all. Does this make me polite, or a liar, courteous

or dishonest, did you know that to be honest once meant

to have a decent appearance, was I decent in sparing your feelings,

how many times have you been decent in sparing mine?

Until babies get to be a year old I can never exactly tell what

they look like, just babies, really, but I say Oh, he’s got your nose,

and so maybe he does or doesn’t, but what does it matter

anyway, and isn’t it strange to make these poor little babies

out to be Frankensteins of their fathers and mothers, aunts

and uncles, are our body parts really all that simple? Maybe they

are. Maybe everything is that simple—maybe good and evil,

right and wrong, right and left. But still I’m left with what to say

in the face of a baby with the disastrous name, because to be named,

to be forever something, to be defined even if nothing can define.

Then how over the years it all slowly starts to stick, and I think I

meant to tell you that I was wrong before, about what I never told

you in the first place, because holding this chubby thing up in the sky,

it looks exactly like whatever you call it, its name, its short history

as a human here on earth, an identity in the wild, wild field of voices.

Corey Mesler

The Monkey and the Mountain

The monkey went to the mountain

because he had a soft spot

on his soul. The mountain stood for

something willful, something

vainglorious. The monkey made a

small pyre near the base of the

mountain and there he recited his own

shifty sins. The mountain nodded

or maybe the monkey only needed the

mountain to nod. At any rate the

monkey returned to his own kind a

gentler sort, having given up some-

thing that was difficult to give up

and having communed with the

mountain, with fervor and humility, here

in the new time of monkeys and mountains.

Danielle Pafunda

Fuckwad, history's cockroach, progeny cockroach,

wax-sealed silk-legged multi-beast. Famine-sexed

premonitory land lubber. I mean you, dreg bug, coyly

sluicing the grotto. Face over face, mask ecstatic

exo-spiel. Trade wind winced you once, and you,

orphan by choice, heavy lifting plug holing pack wracking

bleach fiend, lesson learned.


In the Wake of Most Revolutions, a Pug Will Yet Be Attached to Your Teat

your freak tassel comfort lodge. Here your calf

collection, plaster cast mistress improvements, net bearing

stumps, sanitized plow proof. Fact fickle, your memoir

slugs wan into the room, velvet fug parted, rank

chicken wing mattress scuttle, rank robe parted, hissing.


Sings it high the old tune, the fuckwad, humming, French

and bawd, humming, this the bitch who waits on the rug,

fire spooked, slipper gagged, this the bitch who keeps

her head, bears her head and broods.

The fuckwad has placed her in the room with the knife. 

Behind one-way glass he zooms. Watch her pollywog doing. 

First will she slice out her hundred tongues. Her beaded, beetled,

work-wise tonguing. Then nine-quandrant cross-

section skull brain scalp and face.

Oh, she gives out unwise teeter. But,

The Real Sleety Meaty Vacancy

the durmoid void. Drain her winning doubt,

chain her slick padding, and still winks her wile under the table.


Then face it, face plow and she zeroes the camera: I would not

wash my horse in men. She foams. A soap escapes her. A single

little bronze baked shoe escapes her. A root, she carves it.


Rare, she says. She runs her hand across the lens, and sap scums

the flick fouled screen.

Matthew Savoca

If There Was a Book about This Tuna,


It would be a sad book.


It would start:

There is a Tuna on the piano.



And the middle:

The Tuna fell from the piano.


The Tuna broke into a million pieces.


On its way down, the Tuna played a chord.


The chord was a sad perfect chord.



It would end:

The tuna was a ceramic Tuna.



We loved that Tuna.

Michael Schiavo

from The Mad Song

     All the doors are open and everything is empty. My valentine said it to me one dawn. Honey day will come to crawl. Our office is how you left it, hardly immaculate. The rooms bunch up and slant. How the grayness of autumn never comes here now. There’s no grayness left to become of, to mourn and hullabaloo. This here is the speckled fire we abhor. She is the mistress of drum-taps. The cobwebs pulse in the evening breeze. They are growing to the vine. Because we know the things we don’t. And the shadow that slangs under moonlit leaves.

     Bring me the crown of Queen Mab. Bring a legion of tall women from New Jersey. Bring the heavy currency to fit such a purse. Bring her water like gasoline. Bring any Martha I might marry. Bring bullets, leave the rifle. Bring red corn and blue lobsters. Bring an extra pair of boots for the retreat. Bring sawhorse and gargoyle. Bring to the Rose Garden the machines that will fight in place of our children. Bring that farm girl and sit her firmly, here. Bring a bucket of boll weevils to the panty raid. Bring me some news when you return from paradise.

     How the men in white suits have shorn the grass to the morning paper. Geese, suspect creatures, funereal music. Sunrise creaks the mountain door. The path is excellent. The trees weigh down the breeze. The hermit leaves his hall and begins to run.

     Bring the juice of twelve thousand lemons. Bring rosy fog that swears across the drumlins. Bring your gorgeous hoedown. Bring, O bring, such sweat to my thighs, O do. Bring the very moccasins I lost. Bring low the pure puritanical. Bring back the day before she died.

     Any other me is a shadowy or. Consumed by the chronic music of life. Too ensorcelled to notice a great thing in glory. Make merry with the fife and drum. Reel me right, and rough. I’ll roll you over slow. Don’t you make much of the charcoal skyline. Your breasts have nothing to worry about. Your lips, your thighs, your hips, your eyes. I can muster only silence, more sufficient sometimes. I’m going back to where I’ve come. The birds then, when they sang, meant. It’s not ever like it used to be.

Brandon Shimoda

A Giant Asleep in Fortune's Spindle

If thoughts are really moving

If we are

Or, alternately, if we are really

Moving. I asked a Belgian girl with blond, curly hair

If she was really moving


For example, my two most problematic friends

—one loving the word, the other hating to listen

Are only partially moving

In and around a circle of trees, two symphonies

On facing mountains moving

And not moving in equivalent intervals


Why don’t we leave the mountain for the forest

Where a Belgian girl with blond, curly hair

Waits with a basket of pork-fried oysters

A little napkin folded smartly over her alabaster legs

I would not let you touch


Without meaning to control or complain

As if the savior

Having taken the women by their curls

Pressing their heads to the porcelain

Is running his hand up my leg, soft as spiders

We find our seats, and order drinks

A band strikes up the cocksure

Hands fall to the shoulders they have waited

In the sweating, boreal light

For territory to unearth

Music, abundant, oppressive


Hands enfold hands as dancing becomes the consistency


I brush past a waist, pain rises each leg

Tremulous fish squeezed out of a vice

More likely light

Distancing itself, shifting flowers

To the blades on the ceiling

Spinning slowly, cutting the watery air

Into oil, suddenly

We are nowhere—petals against the bricks

Drinking the room into a black cloud—yes

There is a corpse that carries on—

I know without thought we are done for

A Giant Asleep in Fortune's Spindle


                 [click for image]

Mathias Svalina

Your Wound Is Uneasy Today

I consider your wound

each morning. Each

leg, arm, mouth, etc.


Before the wounds

I considered the

empty senses of sky,


dry tundras of skin

buckling with each

smile & lathe.


The next time I think

about the wound

I’m in a bleak forest.


It’s night & freezing,

snow in the collar

of my pink oxford shirt.


The new moon falls

behind the treeline.

I see the wounds


on every tree, branch

& blade. My skin

is a squirming mass


of wounds, each one

belching out chunks

of blood-clotted


cotton in the shapes

of hard-backed books,

& human teeth.

The Evolution of Love

When you look into another’s face

you will find it cracked

like an over-boiled egg,

ribbons of skin flapping

from the cracks.


When you look at your own face

you will see the flat-white

smoothness of an eggshell.

You will have no eyes,

no nose, no mouth or ears.

Inside your shell

loose teeth rattle into pearls.


It’s snowing outside. Winds whip

brown grasses. The other’s face

is swollen now from the 48 hours

of beatings, the electrocutions,

the smell of burnt fat.


Soon even the guard dogs will curl

into shells.

Chad Sweeney

The Warden and His Keys

The warden demanded new towers, new halls, and more keys for his collection. The workers built and built until they ran out of materials. Keep going, he said. The workers built two more years until they ran out of prisoners. Now you are the prisoners, he said. Each morning they escaped in order to arrive at their jobs guarding each other, then sneaked back in at night to sleep. None had been happier. They grinned and plotted, tapped secret messages on jail bars. Quiet! shouted the warden, dipping his keys in brandy.


Deep inside the glacier, paleontologists discovered a prehistoric fire. They thawed it out to light their pipes and the candles in our basilica. The fire burned in several colors for which the names have been lost. Colors between jade and coal, between tusk and ermine. Flames writhed on the altar, in nooks and ledges, multiplied by windows, fanning up inside the panes. I had the impression this fire waited for us in the future rather than the past. It cast the shadows of horses and titanic birds which galloped and flapped across the faces of the saints.



The earthquake spilled my coffee

but otherwise felt intimate

the way a big sleeping man

rolls toward me in bed.


The curtains were moist with light

and probably flammable.

My bear lay across the stairs

in need of winding. Everything


at once told me

to get up and beat the rugs

over the balcony

until coins hidden in their folds


fell into a private abyss.


shook flies from their flanks. 

Foxes crept home with the secret of fire.

Bronwen Tate

Chamber Pot to Perfume

Snout beetles in the owlery, weevils nibble at my ear pillow. She bellyaches at your colic, whips up sparks from coal. With a fleshy heave, he is spirited. No longer the foggy man we thought he was. Some lout wears a rut to the gate of the same charming garden. Asparagus, your delicate gradations move us all to tears. 

A Unity Belonging Only to Our Creations 

The paths, perfect and separate like two halves of a pear, lead past riparian glades or near a tangle of duck-weed and periwinkle. Ash blue, the funereal moon casts a pallor. My forehead, wreathed in wrinkles, smoothes at the sight of your erudite swindler, a joke I’m wise to. A blade that slices hollow husks of lilac leaves a scent like talc. Nothing languid in this concentration; I too want to soak up salt, apprehend a wicker basket as a possible sign of presence. 

Dara Wier

Chinese Restaurant on Fire

There they were sitting in the shade of a twisty gingko only more it was he

and less it was she conversing, only is it conversing when one does all of the

listening and the other does all of the talking, it probably is in some and not

in all circumstances. These were the subjects and the subjects were many: 

his recent move, his eating habits, his phone manners, his headaches, his

sleep apnea, his poor eating habits, his non-cooking ways, his laundry

phobia, his desire to have children, his house hunting activities, his failure to

receive results in this endeavor, his apartment complex, his mother’s

dependence, his inheritance, his brother’s mental ill-health, his wife’s long-

suffering, his several ambitions, his many good qualities, his friends in

important places, his past of dark and glamorous drug addiction, his bad

knees, his dental work, his plans for future projects, his preferences in

footwear, his reading habits, his fear of failing to succeed, his ambitions, his

history of past successes, his taste in music, his this that and the other which

went on uninterrupted as the smell of smoke accumulated and eventually

insisted on gaining her attention which did nothing to deter his continuing

his involvement with his it turned out to be nothing less than all he could

find in his mind at the time, each piece of it leading to another, while she

had by now looked in the direction from which the smell of smoke was

coming to see rising up out of the rooftop just over her shoulder Chinese

cooks frantically scrambling from out of what must have been some sort of

escape hatch, it looked as if they were ascending, smoke did this to them, it

created an aura of beauty around their danger and it looked as if they would

successfully free themselves in time to survive as he continued talking

though it had become difficult to hear him above noises of people running

and by now at least three different kinds of sirens so she said look the

restaurant is on fire and he ignored her and kept right on talking as if none of

this registered as he was so lost in his thoughts nothing could derail them or

stop their headlong streaking into the future where everything was in flames,

everything in ruins, uninhabitable.

Joshua Marie Wilkinson

Poem for Philip Jenks

Hexed from the aluminum tap

shaky skeleton jughead shoeing why


am I not standing in the back

with you? What’s weaponed

us here at the same time?

Trains, mostly. Your snaky boots.


Grinning like you’ve hidden

the hatchet, not you I know

holed up in the snowed treads, as

if to pull your teeth out


& counter them,

keeping the blood off your

sleeve by smearing it up

your arm. Animal wire.


Song from cotton marrow.

Undone bootlaces. Howler

room. Lullaby for insomniac

crook watchers, watching back.


Junked accuser in the nights,

wild, nights, wild.

Poem for Sommer Browning

Slowly the sun lets up.

Ample lines of enemies making

their rote pledges. We have some.


We have backyard wrestlers, Frank

you know pretty much usually on

the roof about clobbered hearts.

The coil of war to get us through the parade

crosswise. Bathtub of ale. You laugh good.


Enough booth drinking already, let’s get

serious about getting our stories to line

up. Tricky in shape & dust. Steady


in the dread & compaction & know how.

Steady in the cobra buckle. Steady us

for some old dancing steps, good ones.

Poem for Paul Fattaruso

We go swimming the old way, by being stunned.

The street becomes this sheet of rusty water. We know how to


wrong it, but have to stand awhile, admiring the material richness

of how bonked up everything can get in no time.


I introduce you to the dead. I miss the farrier

& I’m sad & then your eyes get into the milk


& you invent some new verbs: like how to follow a stranger

on your bicycle without them going ghost. Like how

to listen all the way into the heart of the apple to see


if the seeds have that little stinger. How to dance a jig

after winning a hand & not fall through a window.

Fou is Cate Peebles, David Sewell, and Brad Soucy.

Artwork © Brad Soucy.

Submit 3-5 poems, with a brief bio, to

We prefer non-simultaneous submissions.

Fou No. 1 can be viewed here.

Fou No. 2's contributors' notes are below.

Tony Aarts is a graduate of the MFA program at The University of North Carolina-Greensboro. He lives, runs, and eats in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Much of his time is spent searching for books or films to devour.

Ana Božičević emigrated to NYC from Croatia in 1997. She's the author of chapbooks Document (Octopus Books, 2007) and Morning News (Kitchen Press, 2006). With Amy King, she is editing an anthology, The Urban Poetic (Factory School, forthcoming). Look for her recent work in Denver Quarterly, Hotel Amerika, Bat City Review, absent, typo and elsewhere. Ana works at The Center for the Humanities at the Graduate Center, CUNY.

Heather Christle is the assistant editor of jubilat.  Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Boston Review, Fence, LIT, NO: A Journal of the Arts, and The Best American Erotic Poetry.  She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she recently starred in Madeline ffitch's Go to the Chateau: A Moving Play for an Audience of Two.

Adam Clay is the author of The Wash and lives in Michigan. He has new work forthcoming in Ploughshares, Bat City Review, and Ninth Letter. A chapbook, As Complete as a Thought Can Be, is forthcoming from Cannibal Books.

Peter Davis’ book of poems is Hitler’s Mustache. He’s recently had poems in Court Green, Left Facing Bird, Mipoesias, and Forklift, Ohio. He lives in Muncie, Indiana, with a sweet wife, daughter, son, and dog and teaches at Ball State University. 

Denise Duhamel's most recent poetry title Two and Two (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005) is the winner of Binghamton University’s Milt Kessler Book Award. Her other titles include Mille et un Sentiments (Firewheel, 2005), Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems (Pittsburgh, 2001) and The Star-Spangled Banner (Southern Illinois University Press, 1999). A recipient of an NEA Fellowship, she is an associate professor at Florida International University in Miami.

Adam Fell lives in Madison, Wisconsin. His poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Diagram, Forklift, Ohio, Crazyhorse, Tin House, Notnostrums, and Asheville Poetry Review.

Emily Kendal Frey lives in Portland, Oregon. Recent work is forthcoming from or appears in New York Quarterly, Word For/ Word, Spinning Jenny, Octopus, and Knock. Additionally, work will appear in Portland Review (w/ Sarah Bartlett), Bat City Review (w/ Sarah Bartlett), horse less press (w/Sarah Bartlett), Pilot (w/ Zachary Schomburg), and Diode (w/ Zachary Schomburg).

Brian Henry is the author of five books of poetry—Astronaut (published in the U.S. and England and short-listed for the Forward Prize), American Incident, Graft (published in the U.S. and England), Quarantine (winner of the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award), and The Stripping Point—and the chapbooks In the Unlikely Event of a Water and Hit and Run. He has co-edited Verse since 1995. His translation of the Slovenian poet Tomaž Šalamun’s Woods and Chalices appeared from Harcourt in 2008. He lives in Richmond, Virginia.

Brad Liening is the author of the chapbook Ker-Thunk (H_NGM_N B__KS) and his work has appeared or is forthcoming in H_NGM_N, Forklift, SUB-LIT and elsewhere.  He lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and you can visit him at

Chris Martin is the author of American Music, recipient of the Hayden Carruth Award.  He is furthermore the editor of Puppy Flowers: an online magazine of the arts.  When he is not teaching in Manhattan he is becoming weather in Brooklyn.

Clay Matthews has recent work in H_NGM_N, Black Warrior Review, The Laurel Review, LIT, Court Green, Forklift, Ohio, and elsewhere. He has two chapbooks: Muffler (H_NGM_N B_ _KS) and Western Reruns (End & Shelf Books), which is available for free online. His first book, Superfecta, was recently released by Ghost Road Press.

Corey Mesler has published in numerous journals and anthologies. He has published two novels, Talk: A Novel in Dialogue (2002) and We Are Billion-Year-Old Carbon (2006). His first full length poetry collection, Some Identity Problems (2008), is out from Foothills Publishing. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize numerous times, and one of his poems was chosen for Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. He has two children, Toby, age 19, and Chloe, age 12. With his wife, he runs Burke’s Book Store, one of the country’s oldest (1875) and best independent bookstores. He also claims to have written “These Boots are Made for Walking.” He can be found at

Danielle Pafunda is the author of My Zorba (Bloof Books 2008), Pretty Young Thing (Soft Skull Press 2005), and the forthcoming Iatrogenic: Their Testimonies (Noemi Press). She is co-editor of the online journal La Petite Zine, and Visiting Assistant Professor of English and Women's Studies at University of Wyoming. More information can be found at

Matthew Savoca is 26 years old. He was born in Philadelphia and now officially lives in Italy, but he is kind of wandering around the continent of Europe at the moment. Read his poetry ebook at bear creek feed and also look at his blog, please. Thank you.

Michael Schiavo is the author of The Mad Song and an editor of the literary journal Tight, both of which are printed at the Northshire Bookstore using the Espresso Book Machine. His poetry has appeared in The Yale Review, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, LIT, Painted Bride Quarterly, Guernica, The Normal School, No Tell Motel, Forklift, Ohio, and elsewhere. He is a contributing editor to CUE and lives in North Bennington, Vermont. Visit his blog at

Brandon Shimoda was born in California. His attempts have appeared or are forthcoming in A Public Space, Bird Dog, Cannibal, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, jubilat, Mrs. Maybe, and elsewhere, as well as in three book projects forthcoming in the fall of 2008. He works for both Slope and Wave Books. And though his body is currently in both Montana and Washington, his mind and heart are less geographically placed.

Mathias Svalina is, with Zachary Schomburg, the co-editor of Octopus Magazine & Books. He is the author of three chapbooks, most recently The Viral Lease, which is forthcoming from Small Anchor Press. His first book, Destruction Myth, is forthcoming from CSU Press in the fall of ’09.

Chad Sweeney is the author of An Architecture (BlazeVOX, 2007), Arranging the Blaze (Anhinga, 2009) and A Mirror to Shatter the Hammer (Tarpaulin Sky, 2006). The poems in fou are from his next manuscript, Salt Plain and Other Stories. He co-edits Parthenon West Review, and will begin the Ph.D. program in lit/poetry at WMU in Kalamazoo this fall.

Bronwen Tate is the author of Souvenirs (Dusie Chapbook Kollektiv 2007). She's currently hard at work on the 2008 Kollektiv and a new chapbook forthcoming from Cannibal Books. She is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at Stanford University where she edits Mantis: A Journal of Poetry, Criticism and Translation and knits in class. She writes about poems, books, food, and yarn at

Dara Wier's newest books are Remnants of Hannah and Reverse Rapture. She lives in North Amherst, Massachusetts.

Born and raised in Seattle, Joshua Marie Wilkinson is the author of three books. The Book of Whispering in the Projection Booth is due out next year along with an anthology of conversations in poetics, and a tour film about the band Califone. He lives in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago.