Successfully reported this slideshow.

More Related Content

Related Audiobooks

Free with a 14 day trial from Scribd

See all

Gesture Literary Journal - February 2013

  1. 1. EDITORS HEATHER GOODRICH LINDSAY KING-MILLER PHOTOGRAPHER-AT-LARGE IAN RUMMELL REVIEW EDITOR KARA MILLER WEB EDITOR REBECCA HOWARD Gesture was founded in 2011 with the intention to publish work that is not boring. Published quarterly, we seek written and visual submissions from new and established artists. Gesture is the home for poetry, poetics, prose, theory, reviews, interviews, images, and interaction. We want work that does not intentionally concern itself with genre. Some may call this experimental. We call it exciting. As in, not boring. We want to feel a gesture and be electrified. Gesture 1 © by Gesture Press & Journal Cover art: Ian Rummell Cover & book design: Heather Goodrich www.gestureliteraryjournal.com gestureliteraryjournal@gmail.com
  2. 2. GESTURE PRESS & JOURNAL DENVER 2013 3
  3. 3. CONTENTS LETTER FROM THE EDITORS 7 POETRY & PROSE JULIEANNE COMBEST 9 JESS DEL BALZO 20 HOWIE GOOD 21 CAILY GRUBE 23 AMY KING 24 ZACHARY KLUCKMAN 27 BRENNA LEE 32 BRANDON LOCHER 22, 31 ANDREW K. PETERSON 40 ARIELLA RUTH 42 SALLY JANE SMITH 43 JEFF STUMPO 45 ELISABETH WORKMAN 47 REVIEWS KARA MILLER 51 INTERVIEWS JADE LASCELLES 55 4
  4. 4. 5
  5. 5. LETTER FROM THE EDITORS We’re so thrilled to welcome you to the first issue of Gesture, a journal of poetry, prose, art and criticism. We could not be more proud of our dazzlingly gorgeous and talented contributors, and their work that has been compiled in this issue, just for you. Gesture was born from our local writing community and our passion for new and surprising ways of stringing words together. We wanted an opportunity to bring together and promote the kind of writing we love, the kind that excites us and confuses us and scares us and makes us think. We wanted cyborg poetry and monster prose, experiments and transmutations, writing that combines disparate elements, sews them together and hoists them up on the roof to get struck by lightning. We wanted new kinds of writing we'd never seen before. Most of all, we wanted writing that impacted us physically, like a gesture. We wanted poems and stories we could feel in our chests and guts, groins and throats. We are grateful for the response we received during Gesture's first submission period, and the array of phenomenal work we got to choose from for this first issue. The writing and artwork we have selected represents what we want this journal to be: complicated, evocative, surprising and raw. We hope you love it as much as we do. Gesture was a long time coming, and we appreciate everyone who has pitched in along the way—editors, contributors, and readers alike. You're all spectacular and we wish we could kiss each and every one of you on the mouth, but that's how germs spread, so instead, come in, look around, and let's see whether we can teach syllables to dance. Love, Lindsay King-Miller & Heather Goodrich, Editors 6
  6. 6. 7
  7. 7. JULIEANNE COMBEST PLAGUES AND PUNISHMENTS from FOR SLAKE Jonah lived inside the belly of a whale. His skin bleached as white as whale bones in the sun. He felt the sound of the whale song in his organs, and his organs sang back with a song that sounded like a dream he had forgotten. Salt layered his lungs. He was so thirsty. So very thirsty. 8
  8. 8. The Plague of Blood Bleeding too heavy, her insides vibrate violently— flood out all her holes. The veil is too thin, she cannot trust matter. To hold it all. The cells are chanting, the cells are changing or leaving. Images and echoed voices come up from the blood, from the vibration—these cellular memories. This translucent overlap. The girl presses her fists into her low belly so that she— so that she will not_____ When she bleeds she keeps the blood on her hands; brings her wrists to her nose so she can inhale her insides. She cannot stand with the musk filling all her holes. She chokes on the word: slake and sinks to her knees. She bleeds on white cloth so she can see how bright blood can be. She wants to see red overcome water. She squeezes the drenched cloth. Red in white ceramic sink. Red on white cloth. Red on white sheets. In the beginning she thinks she might die from so much loss. 9
  9. 9. When her cells tremble like this—threatening to spill out, spill over—she wants to dream until she crosses over, until she sees the images on the other side that her mitochondria sing to. When she does not bleed for months the girl slices words hard into her skin until the blood comes. Insides on the outside. The blood does not smell the same, so the girl weeps in the white bathtub. Water never red enough. Skin resisting too much. She cannot get close enough. 10
  10. 10. The phantom gave her a ladder, said: wrestle the ladder. Wrestle the meat from the bones 11
  11. 11. The Plague of Rabid Creatures My wrists are rubbed red from the rope and covered in pomegranate pulp. If I smear the pulp up my forearm in a thick vein, it looks like my insides are on the outside. I imagine my organs emerging from my torso, smaller than I thought they would be, and with rougher edges. The pomegranate seeds are the color of my organs—purple, red, wet— I want to eat them. When Jesus comes back he will smell like musk and cedar mulch. He will have the fire dove on his shoulder and he will want to tie me to the bedpost again. I need my wrists wrapped so that I do not spill out. Spill over. The Chinese bound feet with cloth and broke bones; the English bound ribs in corsets and broke bones. Excessiveness of parts. When he is gone I bind my wrists so tightly with crimson lace that it leaves purple imprints in intricate designs on my skin. I do this so that I will be kept still when the impulse comes. So that the screaming organs will stop screaming against form. So that I do not tremble from the withdrawal of his weight. I think that my body will fit only him. Jesus is a wolf who eats me rabid. 12
  12. 12. The phantom is excessive. The phantom in excess. The phantom smears blood on her lips while she is sleeping. The girl wakes in a bed full of pomegranate seeds with burgeoning flesh. 13
  13. 13. The Plague of Boils Fall on the rock! Fall on the rock! Submerging the page to smear the ink, to pass through pulpy. Boil the page Boil the heart. These steaming echoes, these petrified bats. She cannot find water hot enough. A labyrinth. A wet rock wall. In the caves the water boils her veins. In the water the girl presses her back against one wall of the pool, presses her feet against the other. Small enough to cradle; tight enough to hold. Her hands underwater become not her hands. Hands reach for the rock tunnel, the underwater cave; she cannot stop them, so she follows. Sweat, the phantom says underwater. The heretic underwater says “sweat,” and she sweats. The girl pulls her hands from the water and slowly places them on the dripping rock. She moves her wet palms, presses her bare breasts against the cave. Pressing harder, hips in water, she is so very thirsty. Mouth open against the rock, she is panting mitochondrial eulogies. 14
  14. 14. The Plague of Storms of Destruction On the twenty-first day of the fast, small objects on the mantel turn into food. I rub my eyes and blink like a cartoon character. I could just steal a piece from the plate when they are not looking. I could chew it and spit it out. I could lick the bowl. I could pray and pray and pray for spiritual food. I write in my journal: “Food is highly overrated.” Give me your heart, oh God. Give me your stomach. Let me gnaw on your widely spread arms. I pray for a vision of my future, but I can’t see beyond the walls of the church. I pray for my future husband, but I can hear my own cries echo back to me. Under my mattress are multiplying loaves of bread; I tumble still gripping my pillow. Fish spill wildly from the window well, and my basement room is flooded. My bed begins to float; I am kicking for the surface. The waves are relentless. The fish are skinning themselves. Fish bones, the flesh squirms into my tightly closed mouth. I curse the Evil One who tempts. I don’t even like fish. What are you willing to give, someone shouts from some indeterminable location. They think I’m trying to be anorexic, I shout back. Every night I dream I am breaking the fast, and wake up sweating, full of guilt. I eat foods like Peter Pan—a game. They say: Kill The Flesh. As the flesh grows weak, the spirit gets strong. Jesus is silent; there is no revelation. I want the Shekinah Glory of God. They say the veil is thinnest at 3am. I pray until 4, and feel nothing but a constant groaning coming from all of my organs. Instead of dinner I pray. Instead of breakfast I rock on my knees until they are red and there are indents in the carpet. Six hours a day. Or ten. Live in prayer. Walk in prayer. Sleep in prayer. This kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting. At the end of the fast, I eat all the foods I missed. Still, I am starving. 15
  15. 15. The phantom said the phantom said the fruit has no blood the grain is no sacrifice kill the body burn the flesh wrestle the meat from the bones wrestle the tongue from the mouth The phantom says: who is devoted to you, oh devoted 16
  16. 16. The Plague of the Swarm Through my window I watch people walk by when I am alone. Canopies of Umbrella trees fill most of my view. Jesus doesn't like me to see much of the outside world, but he tells stories about its horror. There are people who love to kill babies, he says, which makes me weep in his arms. They are sick, he says. Depraved. Witches and Perverts, Women with the Spirit of Jezebel the Whore— The Brazen Woman. People who have unnatural passion. They are deceived by the Lord of the Flies, he says, the teller of Lies. When he says this he looks out the window as if he is speaking to himself, but his hand is an iron-fist around my upper arm. He looks back at me and he has changed. His eyes blaze like fire, his cheeks burning red. Someday you will drive out their demons he says fiercely. Someday you will be like Elijah! His voice booms and echoes, foam seeping from the corners of his mouth. You will prophesy to dry bones! You will pick up snakes, and not be poisoned! You will speak with Tongues of Men and Angels! Don’t you want this?! At night I thrash in my bed, and dream of the world outside. The sun is blood red, and covered in crawling black flies. Everyone is covered in fly swarms. I cover my ears so that the buzzing will stop. I cover my ears and I sing at the top of my lungs. 17
  17. 17. Dry bones dry bones cut the tree down slay the angel wrestle the ladder Jacob wrestle the meat to the ground wrestle the dry bones cast the demons out from your belly into her belly into her belly cast them out 18
  18. 18. JESS DEL BALZO ECLIPSE WEATHER The first book is about getting over the first ten or twelve times I got under you. I don’t mention the sleepless or the dizzy or the unblinking spinning, only the nervous walking through neighborhoods we still pay too much to call “home address.” It costs a lot to look this damaged. You taught me not to be ashamed of owning something, not to be afraid to push back, throw my hips in. I was cunning legs, compliant-knees-young when we met, with clever wrists, a certain cadence of collarbone that almost tasted like “clavicle” under the tongue. We fucked like trying to reach the bottom of the ocean. You had me convinced for a while that alone meant uncatchable, and, kid, I felt like the wind sometimes, leaving your place when the bright sun was a cool ten o’clock. In the second book, you’re just the dust on your own mirror. It was my season of not looking myself in the eye when I wrote it, and I became almost good at forgetting. Still, you could have said, “Call me if you die,” and I’d have found a way. You always wanted me to haunt you, didn’t you? Another typewriter-romantic idea that sounds good at four a.m. I have dreams my mother calls to tell me I should throw mine out, even though she bought it for me, archaic machine it is. There are other, easier ways now, faster, cheaper, more dependable. Better. There’s better for me, she says. “Wake up.” And I do, only it’s to you phoning me again. I pretend not to remember your apartment number. I make you wait just to hear you say, “Hurry,” and remind myself to walk slow, footprints sure like they could leave marks if I wanted them to. It’s all just playing a part, though, isn’t it? We still live in the same places and wear the same clothes—it’s the rooms that fit us differently, and it's the ghosting around that has worn me sharp enough to laugh when you say you want to take me underwater. I say, "But we've been there before." It is where it always was. You know that, but the fevered look in your face and the blue burn of your eyes mean you want to remind me anyway, in whatever way I want you to. So I let you, and it's easy. Fast, cheap… I don't kiss back like meaning it, don’t bother with any of those breath-holding tricks I learned while I was gone, I just go under, grow gills where your teeth color my neck night-morning. You fuck flailing, open-mouthed. I fuck water-pressure. I am good at ocean-floor, but let's keep that a secret, okay kid? I liked you better back when I couldn’t tell if you were drunk off wine or whiskey, when I thought diving was what everybody did, when black ink nights were the only lovers that could hold me when you wouldn’t. I liked you better before her, before him, before we both had other places to be. And this third book should be about them, not us, but what do you know? I just wrote it. 19
  19. 19. HOWIE GOOD ERATO God bless, the squeegee man says after I roll down my window & drop a couple quarters in his begging cup. Anyone who is somewhere is there for a reason. On the radio Major Thomas E. Kennedy (of West Point, N.Y.) died when an insurgent detonated a suicide vest. I used to be jealous of the ironic young poets with cool hair. Driving back from a reading, maybe I still am. To sing like that, so unselfconscious, so propulsive, I would have to be on drugs – a lot of them. It’s a typical summer night in Boston, the first & last draft of a poem, full of heat & glare & traffic fumes, constellations of strangers speeding across the windshield. 20
  20. 20. BRANDON LOCHER MAZES TO THE MOTHERLODE: VI 21
  21. 21. CAILY GRUBE SAXTON CHURCH OF GOD two hound dogs tied up on the parsonage yard. been there over a year. fur’s matte with dirt’n’shit. in the snow, you’ll know it. inside rhine-stone cowboy pastor teaches me tongues. teaches me “doesn’t matter what you say. let anything that sounds good fall out.” then he fingers my spine, shows where to grow hair “s ‘long that it looks good, auth enticity don’t matter” and doesn’t matter if rhine-stone pastor can’t tell the name of moses’ brother for a crossword. 22
  22. 22. AMY KING THE INDECENT CORE OF ALL THINGS IS ONE To be alone, I see people. My favorite part is the blackout, a hot melting tongue, donut hole. Such is the way of days: to touch is to let go and be someone. To stand back and trace with sight. If Jesus held, then we’re all sons and tempters to light, the big O of how light tweaks and blurs on. A sweet-smelling pebble buries inside, the heart’s saliva taffy. As snow melts, light purrs, as dark matters, all things perfect cold days from our burning salt, to outline the moon rim of just one us. 23
  23. 23. AMY KING PERSEPHONE ECHO Nothing in the heart: blanks. Space is a frontier, if only you go there. The vulvar blooms isometric, and her muscles reiterate a gilded scroll around the hands of your waist. We make connections as aftermath. Her skin is counterfeit laced by dress hems at the curve of this table. The table gives agency. All along the wooden meadow we risk and ride. Elbows and other props like whiskey. Break bread there, tear tissue out, and fuck the police, should we give chance a chance. Our bets are our own, a together-net. For it is only the scythe’s embrace that will bring us to matter, and in the push past, erasure’s habitat. We stand within an abyss, seeing the victim angle. That’s the way 24
  24. 24. we take place: two hollows in one fabric, flocks warm with haunting the other voice we think apart in. It is the wind that brings us to that room. Lie on the furniture; arrest interlaced hands. 25
  25. 25. ZACHARY KLUCKMAN PRACTICE KISSING IN THE RAIN Forgive me if I seem out of practice. In four years I have not kissed a single lip. Have not spent one moment lingering over the wet surface, touched my tongue to thick bottom lip or bitten it. I have not felt the faith of face muscles slipping better judgement loose. Have not pressed my face into hair hung heavy with the smell of rain, hot wax and coconut. I have not felt the pulse against my mouth, urging me to move south. In four years I have not. Moved south. Or tasted peaches rolled in warm cinnamon. I have not kissed you there. Nor any other woman. For four years I have kept the same broken promise you left me with. This amnesiac body has forgotten how to write invitations. Has held its breath like a kite while you tongued rejection letters to my body on another man’s thigh. For four years the taste of you has kept my mouth salted. I have never been kissed in the rain. Inhaled the thick damp musk of soil like inner thigh. Warm insistent breath fresh with a scent like wet grass. Tonight I forgive my tongue 26
  26. 26. for the weight of your name. Four years since I last pressed my tongue to nipple; my mouth to lips swollen with heat. I forgive myself these necessary painful absences. I wash the unspoken loneliness from my mouth with this rain. Practice kissing this water in my mouth. Forgive me. If I seem out of practice, I am sure the sky will forgive me for swallowing her thousand small tongues. 27
  27. 27. ZACHARY KLUCKMAN STORM WARNING The rain makes stringed instruments of our hair; beads on kitchen curtains, love knots for our children to climb, losing themselves in our tangles. Our search for their missing smiles is the meaning we assign to water, to blue. The reason we consider the sky broken. Peel the horizon bloody from streetlights paint the curbs with our feet, find harmony with the rain by matching our hips to bare roots, slip loose from dirt. Move past trees smoky and bored as the musician outside a club where the old men dance only to classics. Like love, gone missing for cigarettes. An angel divorcing her children. A man in a city where other men name their adultery foreplay, blame bored wives sitting in windows making a strong tea of patience. Heart a small fly drowned wingless and broken. We blame the rain for the weight of the sky as easily as we blame each other’s bodies for silence. As dull toothed and pointless as blaming you for owning a soul too old to remember naming the sky hydrant, the stars streetlights, gathering their numbers near the water, running up and down basketball courts in our sandals. Move past memories of childhood spent ignoring the bones we carried in our mouths, calling these teeth. To the fire alarms I pulled in your lungs, near misses, catches, you breathless and hungry for danger on fire escapes, pressed against windows. Tattoos made on your tongue by my teeth. Ice 28
  28. 28. rubbed across your chest until it rained down your legs. We dirtied the carpets with love. The sky bucked and pressed its heaving chest against the glass, and we swore with our sweat to wear each other’s fingerprints as promises. You don’t remember this but you remember the rain by its initials, carved in the dirt outside our yard. Count pearls of water spilled down our daughter’s throat. A broken necklace the sun borrows to stain glass her reflection. Number the freckles on son’s shoulders, divide by four because math makes more sense than love. Move like October leaves chasing the wind. When you left, the only meaning I could give to your absence was sometimes the wind hears a bell ring and chases curious after, eager to swallow the sound so she can impress the trees with a song she’s just learned, like a child it is not her nature to stand still. Move through rain, seeking whatever fever of jazz, gin or fear it is you’ve come so close to the earth to learn. Lean close to the windows. Listen. When a child tries to find his absent mother in his father’s arms, thinking she is waiting somewhere inside him, like a prize they will win if they pray or bite hard enough, all a man can do is hold them to his chest, threaten the thunder to stop scaring his children. Whisper. Tell them how she smelled like water. How her breath was the window rain looked through, jealous. How she taught him the classics. Like love. Like absence. Like children waiting for their father to stop watching the rain carry their home down a hill. Waiting for him to move. 29
  29. 29. BRANDON LOCHER MAZES TO THE MOTHERLODE: II 30
  30. 30. BRENNA LEE DREAM HOLE from Th e S cout of Sleep blue cohosh Vent open with molten skin and secretion of wriggle seed. The trifecta of shell white yolk. And what has come in the dim with two for my one and no sense in telling or eating the water logged. Exorcise this demon pouch. This reiteration of self projects distortion on broad sleep. Petals of open past chase the night and beg to be kept; knowing there is no shadow without form. The cavity of the earth is a tube that spits out the other end. A hole is made of thousands of other holes. I am fed pomegranate seeds one at a time. Long teeth beneath linen and everything is warm mud. This is not the right arc. This is a false trajectory. This is how it always happens. Bury or forget the white bull; either way bring him to the boat, the hideout, the wooden vessel carved from his likeness. It is here we will whittle parts of him; a horn, a hand, the end of limp tongue. A material binary that cannot overlap. Banished by labyrinth language and little time. To gorge with one’s own body is an act of protection. To protect with body is abandonment. Approximately. 31
  31. 31. corners She thinks about houses. Thinks about all the different parts of houses: windows, beams, porches, toilets, ovens, floors, ceilings, walls, vents, railings, table legs, sinks, frames. She is thinking about empty rooms, about how they make her think of babies. About how sometimes in the empty rooms she hears the babies. She is afraid to look at mirrors in the houses. The first thing she will do in the new house is take down all the mirrors, and the ones she can’t she will cover with linen. Then she will turn on the radio. Turn up the volume as loud as she can to drown out the babies. A tabloid on the kitchen table says: BABY EATEN BY PET CAT. 32
  32. 32. boxes It is best to fill the boxes first. Fill them with solids and liquids housed in solid receptacles. Fill the boxes with boxes. Then fill the rooms with boxes. It is good to fill the gaps with something. To fill them with bread and cheese and milk. To fill them with moth eaten sweaters photographs. A box of letters, an empty coffee tin, carpet samples, snow boots, plastic Tupperware. One on top of another; balanced, inside, underneath. Until their cardboard spines slouch and scrape the low ceiling. Until the room is a box. Jam-packed. Bursting. 33
  33. 33. feral seer The boxes leak out into every room, spilling on top of the refrigerator and into the bathtub. The boxes are full of babies, full of cats. They cry the same. They claw up curtains and lick their own bodies. They seep under doorways. Their small forms wriggle on the wooden floorboards, soaking up the finish and splinters and slab with acidic skin. Erasing the beams and tile with flesh and fur. Swallowing. Slack jawed. Toothless mouths agape. Ductile holes that consume and fall away, leaving behind stains on cracked foundation and vacant dirt. 34
  34. 34. holy gutters The sideshow billed its biggest act as THE MIRACLE ORACLE MERMAID GIRL. She waits in line for an hour and finally is led into a room with heavy velvet drapes. A woman dressed in a plastic bra and sequined fin costume lays nearly prostrate on a stained chaise lounge. Her upper arms covered in scabs. Her decaying teeth rusted and half formed, even in the dim light. She smiles. This skin; it peels, it leaks. 35
  35. 35. girl meat Hoist the animal by tying rope to its feet and hands and then securing the rope to an overhead beam. Insert meat hooks into ankles for extra support. Place a large vessel beneath the animal to allow for easy cleanup after drainage. Then cut the throat of the animal from left to right, allowing the body to completely exsanguinate. Once the ligament has been cut away from the head, hold the skull firmly and twist, separating it where the spinal cord meets skull. After removing the head, wash the rest of the body down. Then, flay the carcass, removing all skin, hair, and distasteful glands that produce sweat and oil. Next, make a cut from the solar plexus to the anus. Then make a cut around the anus and tie it off with twine. Use a small saw to cut through the pubic bone. Then pull out lower organs, cutting them away from the back of the body with a knife. Cut through the diaphragm. Remove the breast bone. Cut straight down the middle of the carcass. Remove the lungs and heart. Remove the larynx. Trim the blood vessels. Cut into the armpit through to the shoulder. Remove the arms. Cut the hands off above the wrist. Saw through the spine, from buttocks to neck. Chop off the feet a few inches above the ankle. Cut away the mass of shoulder blade and collar bone. Cut the leg off below the buttocks and at the fleshy knee. Remove the calf muscle. Finally, carve around the curve of the pelvis. Bundle the meat together with butcher string; hang in the front shop window. 36
  36. 36. holy cunt She goes back to see the Mermaid Girl. Instead, sitting in the room is the Virgin Mary. She is half fish. She is sad. Nobody wants to fuck her anymore. Nobody wants to fuck you once your body has been declared holy and you smell like fish. Mary is so sad and her tears are so sea foam white that she begins to kiss her. She kisses her wet gill mouth and rubs her palms against salt nipples. She takes off Mary’s robes and kisses the damp seaweed hair between her legs. Lightly, lightly down curved thick running down legs then stop then up to against then hard like two women fuck. Mary’s fish smell fills the room. She loves her now. Mary asks her for a favor. And so they cut out her mother-body, together. Gut her with three or four steady straight knife marks. They walk to the park and feed it to the pigeons. 37
  37. 37. unbirth If Jung says house is self then what does it mean when my dream house is a stairwell, elevator or sink hole that glows alien and pear. A haunting of grid and knotted floor board myth snake spoken. I am hiding this low space hole for evidence. I am hiding this little salt measure. I am hiding this sound cracking with smooth direction. I chew and swallow everything. Nibble on the ends of little bits. I am building a nest. I dream of Matryoshka. I name them and push them back inside. When they cut open my stomach they find: cat claws mold garlic stacked Styrofoam magazines blankets baby teeth shotguns pillows wooden rails. Insulation in the breaking reflection of a crawl space; of the slope of a hill, of a slanted porch as broken jaw. To dream with direction is possession and downward shatter which there is little trouble recalling now. A red rug stretched the length of wrist as compass alternates backward and useless and what do I call this hollow? 38
  38. 38. ANDREW K. PETERSON LIKE A MAP WITH NO OCEAN 39
  39. 39. ANDREW K. PETERSON 40
  40. 40. ARIELLA RUTH CHERRIES IN THE SNOW this sensation isn’t residual, but rather has her own atlas of the U.S. with the exact coordinates of thoughts. she is able to turn my eyes to an old notebook, a doe on the side of highway 36, a neon blue feather with white lace as the backdrop. when i placed my left hand against the cold brick wall i felt a tingling up my arm but didn’t think to mention it. when i saw stars i laughed and said thank you. even on a frigid morning, a warmth that still feels new to me holds my shoulders, holds the rest of my organs in and keeps them safe. 41
  41. 41. SALLY JANE SMITH PRESSURE Summer warm dark in Moccasin Valley, itch of hay bales, cheap whiskey falls under white moon and the sheep sleep and the sheepdog and we climb down our knob nettle bites bare feet stinging, ice ringing. We find the pen in the dark, Sarah whispers soft to call pregnant horse in a pen too small she says it’s not legal she says the horse cries from so much making the coyotes cry she leans to us and leans in Sarah urges me says put your hand out and feel: and I scared and the horse so big, her stretching stomach flank broad beyond swell, pressure beyond bones so much heat in the dark as coal, pressure of diamonds, pressure of hooves soft becoming solid. 42
  42. 42. SALLY JANE SMITH SEDIMENT I tried for two years not to breathe or touch my body numb the bones settling crooked. I locked the door, clicking golden. I locked the door and the tile dropped, the sink a curved a seashell the way shells crack sand crusted the mountain shells, the freshwater mussels in higher streams. A voice breaks like leather cracking. The sinking of everything inside, turning sour, the way the syllables twist makes me sick. Blood black, like the mercury rivers we swim. The way the creek ran over the horse’s hooves and we walked on the crumbling edge of the road and in ditches when cars drove by. The point to prove it didn’t happen because I’m not the no one’s the woman who would let this happen, bruises blooming and, dishes feathers and bones in the sink and the sky stretched taut black tarp, bloodroot shining and the creeks clotted with trash and it all my fault: my fault, I am the tender place where the world breaks. 43
  43. 43. JEFF STUMPO from DILUVIUM 44
  44. 44. JEFF STUMPO 45
  45. 45. ELISABETH WORKMAN HUNDREDS OF HALF-NAKED GIRLS The greatest difficulty in organizing a family establishment is moonwalking without skin [abrasions, for example, blisters brushburns amputations decapitations [school bus bullies should be very pleasing [a whole class of young women “getting help” [HUNDREDS OF HALF-NAKED GIRLS IN A TIME OF BADNESS taint Friday night in a yellow dress pleated with red roses. Try this limbless doll whore slash monster truck backslash mucus plug . Try Chapter 6. Servants-Society-Evening Pastries all Natural Disposition Training in treating poured people like broken vassals you’ll find that won’t do here and so we cleft Friday night is alright it may be called bad taste a dirty horde but this is yours now heretofore free-for- all night pudding secretion party is it still hymen to you in your country where strangers are felling your woods? the point of being this cold storage is business it grows membrane and still, and the evening quiet alone watches over our cells we might more than anything need where public ventilation has to stop, there tumescent conspirators the loud battle cry of dead riders rubbing against hot phones how to hold how to call the smash cuts how to fork for hours unadorned 46
  46. 46. thought tongue cunning the greatest difficulty for the greatest generation is fang adaptation remote sex slash ground control buzzing in drone driver spaces hazing and rackets the women basically herd together basic military training it is obvious errata: Chapter 6 Seer Vents—Sentient Past—Un-Past Humming it always appeared to me that they remained together as long as they could bear it then they rose en masse cloak bomb veil exit 47
  47. 47. I NEVER SAW ANY PEOPLE WHO APPEARED TO LIVE SO MUCH WITHOUT AMUSEMENT xxxxxxxxxxxx xxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx They were told there would be no math here one hour late the headmens who can’t count right they were told you are the best the headmens who can’t cunt who say true and cantos xxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx they were told true or false the blue book cums xxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx from blue trees & xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx that is a retro xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx the main cunt con xxxxx wet plumage xxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxx They were told to just point and moot you can’t talk everythings xxxxxxxxxx xxxx they were told to ply in the pillage to sit and wait and hate each other fidget sit and wait and count trees minus trees always equals fixed chins of monuments xxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx They were told there would be jetpacks xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxx to apex in Ikea xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx not come back moon xxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxx not say dead xxxxxxx play dead xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx x They were told speak this that we may give you time & we will shew you houses xx & they were told just paint the houses xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx & they were told nice patio xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxx & they were told nix patois xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx fix the grids & syntax deviations xxxxxx devilmations xxxxxx voodoo nation xxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx & they were told no image that fur feels brains miasma-land or returns hot pincered cinder speech with flesh noise and skull quivering under thirsting was okay xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx They were told line-up sentence xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx to prick the pathos xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx to quaint hum xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx but it hurt their fingers and made all the animals scream xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx They were told but nobody was listening nobody was listening nobody was listening no xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx nobody was radiant xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx nobody was here xxxx xxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 48
  48. 48. REVIEWS 49
  49. 49. KARA MILLER IN REVIEW: ALISON BECHDEL, ARE YOU MY MOTHER & LIDIA YUKNAVICH, DORA: A HEADCASE Are You My Mother, Alison Bechdel’s 2012 memoir of her relationship with her mother, presents the reader with a dizzying array of primary sources. Bechdel reproduces newspaper articles, letters from her father to her mother, aged photographs, lecture notes, highlighted and annotated pages from books; she’s a historian of her own life. She conducts this research and reinterpretation through the lens of a number of secondary texts, primarily the psychological studies of D.W. Winnicott and the diaries of Virginia Woolf. At times, the authorial voice threatens to disappear under the weight of all these documents, but Bechdel neatly balances her curatorial impulse with the personalizing effects of psychoanalysis. The reader sees these documents while hearing the character Alison talking her way through her understanding of them, so the book maintains a personality behind all the cutting and pasting. Bechdel might, in this sense, be a more mature analog to another recent protagonist struggling with both her mother and her therapist: Ida, heroine of Lidia Yuknavitch’s Dora: A Headcase. Dora rewrites Freud’s famous case study of the aphonia of Ida Bauer, alias Dora, into a gory, fiery revenge fantasy. While Alison journals and digs through old letters, Ida stages “art attacks.” Her magnum opus is her bedroom, papered with art reproductions, text clippings, and letters to Francis Bacon and her psychiatrist: “Dear Francis Bacon: My face is an I hole.” Bechdel’s collaging is an act of willed memory, an attempt to reassemble a life story as accurately as possible; Dora’s is spontaneous, impressionistic, and not accountable to strict accuracy or good taste. For Bechdel, there is an enormous amount of story in figuring out how to tell the story. Significant sections of Are You My Mother revolve around the writing and publication of Bechdel’s earlier memoir, Fun Home, the “dad book” to this “mom book.” Alison worries that “my mother’s editorial voice—precisian, dispassionate, elegant, adverbless—is lodged deep in my temporal lobes,” but the book’s elegance can be an enormous pleasure. The illustrations of Alison’s dreams that open each chapter are arresting, tense and fluid in their linkage of disconnected images, and Bechdel slices them open to reveal subconscious riches, connecting each dream to a concept from Winnicott’s works as well as episodes from her own life. The book’s psychoanalytical elements act as a method of teasing out structure from the messiness of a full life, certainly an interesting endeavor, but watching a stranger 50
  50. 50. interpret her dreams can feel chilly and remote. Bechdel assigns the weight of narrative climaxes to therapeutic breakthroughs, compulsively attaching the word “interesting” to turns of event that could interest no one outside of the book’s subjects: “Interestingly, it was immediately after watching The Sound of Music on TV in 1987 that my own depression set in.” Therapy allows Alison, the character, to create a story out of the banalities and accidents of her life; psychoanalytical concepts allow Bechdel, the author, to give her autobiographical bricolage a spine. At times, the two projects could benefit from a little distance from one another. Ida’s self-narration, by contrast, is pre-therapeutic and as close to unmediated as a novel can be. Psychoanalysis wrenches her story out of her hands—literally, in a plotline in which Sigmund (her analyst, and yes, last name Freud) is coerced into selling his “case study” to a sleazy television producer. For Ida, psychoanalysis is a form of violation and, therefore, a promising site for vengeance and resistance: “The whole set-up of this doctor/patient shit is completely porno. You spill your guts and cry like a pussy while they ‘father you better.’” At one point, Ida tells Sigmund about a dream taken directly from the original Dora’s case study. For the nonfictional Freud, Dora’s dreams provided a point at which her traumas could be unlocked and opened, a means of mastery over the young woman’s disorders as well as the woman herself. In Yuknavitch’s hands, this same dream is a trap set by Ida for her therapist: “And yep, just like I think he will, he goes straight for the jewel case. And just like I knew he would, he says it’s a vag.” Sigmund isn’t wrong, exactly; he’s just wildly outmatched. In Yuknavitch’s world of hyper-sharpened, hyper-corporeal symbols, of course the jewel case is already genitalia, and of course it has already transcended its bodily significance, and of course any symbol of the female body has already been vivisected and stitched back together in a grotesque imitation of embodiment. The analytic technique that serves Bechdel’s narrative so effectively is torn to pieces by Yuknavitch’s fragmented, hysterical storytelling. If Bechdel is conducting a symphony, introducing themes from psychology and modernist literature in order to trace their variations through her own life, Yuknavitch is a riot grrl, flooding her novel with female bodily fluids and smells, concerned more with immediacy and direct contact with the nerves than with technique. Too much structure would detract from Ida’s character. Yet most of what Ida does is find ways to reread and restructure the world around her. Ida’s major area of expertise is recording technology; her Zoom H4n audio recorder travels with her everywhere she goes, sometimes a secret weapon and sometimes a religious talisman. Ida records dialogues, soundscapes, conversations not meant for her ears. Her greatest project—other than her bedroom—is a secretly filmed document of Sigmund undergoing a gleefully gory medical procedure. Alison is a diarist, dedicated and skilled in the art of finding a single narrative to anchor her life. Ida—alienated, anxiety-ridden, subject to fits of bodily numbness—can’t make that sort of claim on her story. Ida appropriates, collages, cuts and pastes and shreds to bits; it’s an act of subjugation toward a world that wants to subjugate her. Furthermore, for Bechdel, the act of journaling gets subsumed into the process of 51
  51. 51. psychoanalysis. She presents her childhood diaries as part of the evidence of her life and discusses her journaling habits with her therapist. The diaries precede the analysis, true, but without the intervention of analysis they could never be presented as part of the narrative. By contrast, Ida’s art is part of her struggle against the violation of therapy. Bechdel writes of her therapist’s transition into psychoanalysis: “Analysis and therapy are different in many ways, but the seating arrangement is a big one. In this position the patient can’t see the analyst. And lying down, in theory, allows more ready access to the unconscious.” Ida just accuses Sigmund of trying to look up her skirt. Early on in Are You My Mother, Bechdel actually maps out her important relationships—mother, therapists, and lovers, in that order—in bracketed categories against a grid-paper background. Every relationship, the inlaid text from Winnicott explains, progresses from the mother figure. Having established a psychoanalytical point of origin, Bechdel proceeds with linear certainty in marking out the lines that lead back to her mother. She even tells the reader that she wants one of her therapists to be her mother. She also places the reader in the mother/therapist role. At one point, after narrating a childhood episode in which her mother discovered a dirty picture that she had drawn, Alison tells her therapist, “I can’t believe I told you that. I’m still, like, frozen with shame about it.” This calculated vulnerability, this plea for affection and absolution, can’t help but direct itself to the reader as well as the therapist. It’s an affecting technique, certainly, but the algebraic substitutions, reader for analyst for mother, are a little too clean. It’s easy to long for the messiness of Dora, in which Yuknavitch depicts Ida as excessively, alarmingly embodied and expansive, part of a “microorganism” of freaks whose strange bodies and voices smear across her narrative. At times, Yuknavitch depicts this cast of characters— including a Rwandan trans woman, a First Nations girl who ran away from sexual abuse on her reservation, and a boy faking a mental disability—with a fetishistic quality that can turn queasy. Too often, Dora’s peripheral characters merely illustrate Ida’s own freakishness, but in the book’s best moments, Ida and her friends blend together in ecstatic, fluid interdependence. Of course, like Alison, Ida does need her mother back—and she does need to reclaim her voice, and even, she eventually admits, to “pass through a psychosexual crucible.” But while the pleasure of Are You My Mother lies largely in watching Bechdel arrange her needs into taut, elegant graphics, the joy of Dora lies in Ida’s refusal to want the things she needs. She’s a nightmare of a patient, but a fantastic protagonist, and Yuknavitch is wise to hold the two roles in unresolved tension. 52
  52. 52. INTERVIEWS 53
  53. 53. JADE LASCELLES (OVER)EXCESS AND OVERLAP: AN INTERVIEW WITH AMARANTH BORSUK & KATE DURBIN Amaranth Borsuk and Kate Durbin are writers immersed in possibility: the possibility of the word, the possibility of the page (or lack thereof), the possibility of fusion and/or conversation. In projects such as Gaga Stigmata, Women as Objects, and Kept Women (Insert Blanc Press), Kate Durbin slices into the undercarriage of the spaces we occupy. She finds poetry and dialogue stuffed somewhere between our idolization of pop stars, our obsession with reality television, and our pervasive and chosen objectification in the form of smart-phone-in-the-bathroom-mirror self- portraits. Amaranth Borsuk uses digital poetics, web design, and hand-crafted artist’s books to locate an altered reality of applied materiality. Hers a world of technology, history, and language literally animating onto and into each other to offer unprecedented notions of hybridity. See: Between Page and Screen (Siglio Press). See: Handiwork (Slope Editions). In addition to their individual projects, the two have engaged another form of overlap and intersection: that of an on-going and prolific collaboration. In collaboration, it is the play between moments of interstice and junction which is most captivating. Where is an act of layering necessary? When might the “we” dissolve away? What happens when writers lay their languages onto one another? What does the “page” of multitude look like? How do digital and print forms come into play as a third (or fourth) collaborator? Borsuk and Durbin have applied these and other questions to their collaborative writing and performances for several years now. Their poetic progeny will culminate in the forthcoming Abra. A recipient of the Expanded Artists’ Book Grant from the Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College Chicago, this project, manifested as an artist’s book and interactive iPad app edition, will explore and celebrate “the potentials of the book in the 21st century.” And true to form, the potential for continued growth of this project into sustained iterations remains lingering in the margins. As a precursor to its publication, there is this: a combined conversation. Interview as a space for their poetics and personalities to find motion in an act of conjoining. Another page-space for the two to meet. JADE LASCELLES: One of the things that draws me to you both is the attempt not to privilege print or digital over the other in the publication of your writing. 54
  54. 54. Could you talk about your relationship with these two mediums? What is the insistence of both? AMARANTH BORSUK: I’m invested in books as a writer and a book artist. I have shelves full of books at home and in my office, I buy books constantly, and I spend a lot of time browsing shelves at the library. I also love books because I have a very spatial memory. I recall things better when I can picture where I have read them. What the book looks and feels like, and even where a phrase appears on the page, becomes a kind of touchstone for me that helps me recall a quotation or other tidbit of text. But I am also fascinated by digital media and by the possibilities it opens up for a kind of networked authorship, for fast and wide-ranging research, and for immersive reading experiences. I don’t see why we can’t have both, since each platform brings something different to the reading experience. As a poet, my primary medium is language. If I am going to further mediate the text in some way, I need to have a reason to do so. That’s my approach—the text calls out for its medium. JL: When considering medium: a web page can continue to be updated; its ability for growth is inherent. The solid “fixedness” of the book means its growth requires an intervention of some sort. How could writers intervene in the book/page? Can a digital text cause fixation without a fixing? KATE DURBIN: I think that digital and e-books, blogs, Tumblrs, Twitters and Facebook pages are giving writers incredible opportunities for more reader-involved reading. I am thinking of Kate Zambreno tweeting her reading of Fifty Shades of Grey, or Matias Viegner’s 2500 Things About Me Too book from Les Figues Press that he wrote entirely on Facebook, or Marie Calloway’s really vital self-published Tumblr stories (soon to be a book from Tyrant), or Amaranth’s augmented reality in Between Page and Screen. I also think digital books are forcing us to look at paper books in new ways, to see them as the objects they are, and to consider how to render these objects ever more glorious, demanding they make use of their object-ness more fully. Ultimately, a never-ending story (pun intended) has a possibility to collapse the false boundaries between life and art in order to render a reader a more active, free participant in life and with others. That is the beauty of the ever-increasingly reader-involved, endless text. JL: In your collaborative work, I love the recurrent notion of a text that exceeds two voices or structures, one that exists as a third text in a third space. Do you think it is possible for a procreation to happen beyond the third space? Can a text grow exponentially? AB: I definitely think that kind of growth is possible. Literature has always been participatory in that it invites us to construct an imaginative world and its meanings take shape in the reader. Beyond that sort of expansion, though, I’ve been interested in texts that draw on social media to extend their authorship beyond the individual. 55
  55. 55. In Ander Monson and Jer Thorpe’s web version of Monson’s Index For X, for example, readers of the poem/essay, which is written as an alphabetized index, are invited to tag their Flickr photos with the keyword “indexx”. The program Thorpe wrote for the piece crawls through Flickr and selects 100 images from among those that have been tagged, [then] these images come up as you click through the text, leading to startling, and often beautiful juxtapositions. This type of participatory architecture isn’t just a gimmick—I see it as central to the themes of the piece. As a portrait of the speaker’s grief over the loss of his girlfriend and best friend, it resists a single totalizing perspective. It’s very much about the accumulation of detail that makes up our lives. The connections created by readers become emblematic of the way the speaker is linked to a network of friends and loved ones, all of whom are part of his “book.” It’s an index to an unseen / unseeable / unwriteable text. In Abra, Kate and I approached the page as a space to enact the drama of language’s instability. The words and images face one another, and they move in a way that suggests a courtship and self-sublimation. Neither wins out, but they merge as each reaches across the gutter into the other. JL: Could you speak more about Abra? KD: I have done a lot of collaborations at this point, and I have to say my collaboration with Amaranth has been the most fruitful, in that the work itself is both abundant and difficult and physically enacts the process of collaboration itself. Abra is very much a text that could not have been written without "the hive mind" as one phrase in the text espouses—I couldn't have done it alone, nor could I have conceived of it entirely on my own, which has sometimes been the case in my other collaborations (where I have been the mastermind). Amaranth has told me she feels similarly—that this was a unique, highly fruitful experience for her too, one she could not have accomplished alone. It was almost telepathic for us. As for the process of creating the work, we both picked out a series of incredibly burstingly beautiful visual images from artists such as Will Cotton, Shoplifter, Kimiko Yoshida, and Matthew Barney, that, for us, spoke to overabundance—of sound, self, and sense. We then gave ourselves a series of poetic constraints that forced us to use "excessive" language—gerunds, adjectives, and infinitives. Once we wrote the poems, wherein we focused on rich image, language, and sound (separately, while looking at the images), we interleaved and edited them in a painstaking manner, together. We no longer know who wrote which words, and the words themselves are strange, non-sensical, and magical. The visual artist, my first husband, Zach Kleyn, then read them and drew a morphing drawing over the course of several hours that he took images of as he drew in order to create an animation. Amaranth and I then laid out the images and text in book form, with the images on the left and the text on the right, but the poems and text move around the page and grow and morph into each other, circling around to create new meanings, even as the two "reflect" one another. It operates as a flip book, in effect. The first and last word of the book are the same, suggesting a kind of never-ending circle of death and rebirth. Many of the words themselves 56
  56. 56. speak to different phases in evolutionary development and periods in art history. From there Abra, the voice of the conjoined speaker, emerged. She is both posthuman and prophetic. Amaranth and I dress as her for performances. She is us, and she is the reader. The words have merged from the page to the fashion and the body of Abra herself (they are all the same thing at this point). The book we are constructing now is an iPad edition, which we received a grant from the Center from Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College Chicago in order to produce. For that version, the reader can use their iPad to create new poems out of the texts we've created, among other soon-to-be announced other elements. There will also be a series of artists' books, high art items that are decadent and individualized from CPBA too. These books are inspired by illuminated manuscripts of the medieval period. A paperback trade edition is our next goal. AB: [We] are trying to extend the text beyond our Burroughs/Gysin-esque third mind by allowing readers to remix the words and generate new poems. Because the book is so much about uncontrollable growth and mutation, the way words resist our attempts to fix them and the way Abra resists categories of propriety, femininity, high and low art, and ethnic and cultural identity, it made sense to us that the text should mutate and expand beyond any boundaries we might set for it. JL: How can the materiality of the page be explored without being exploited? Or should we as writers be trying to exploit it? AB: I suppose writers shouldn’t imagine the page is a transparent interface, in the same way most of us no longer view language as a transparent carrier of meanings. The page is bound up in all sorts of structures that construct the reader in the process of reading, so thinking about that materiality seems vital to me in considering how texts work. JL: Is there a sacredness to the page? KD: I suspect there is no more sacredness to the page than there is to any "thing" in life, or maybe just that it's sacred in a different way. I don't know. Page does rhyme with sage. Perhaps I'm balking at that term sacred, having grown up in the Christian Church, where it meant a kind of untouchable purity. I see the page as magic and powerful, potent as any witch’s spell. And dangerous, certainly. But it is also just life. I think it's meant to be touched, just as much as it's meant to be honored. But it's foolish to underestimate its power. In doing so, we underestimate our own power. It's also foolish to overestimate its import and become like those who lock the Ark of the Covenant away from the people. I'm not so much interested in explaining this paradox. I think the truth of both these ideas can be felt. In the end, the page comes from us—and is as sacred as we are. 57
  57. 57. CONTRIBUTORS JULIEANNE COMBEST recently graduated with an MFA in Writing and Poetics from the Jack Kerouac School for Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. She writes to carve new scriptures into bones and to conduct rituals that shift bodies into desire and revelation. “Plagues and Punishments” is an excerpt from her experimental novel For Slake—a book of fairy tales and fractured memoirs on what wailing sounds like underwater, the excessiveness of a transgressive body in longing, and the mystic practice of breathing life into unknown gods. JESS DEL BALZO's work has appeared under several names in various print and online publications, most recently Rose Red Review, Lunch Ticket, Extracts, and Knocking at the Door: Poems About Approaching the Other. HOWIE GOOD, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Cryptic Endearments from Knives Forks & Spoons Press. He has published numerous chapbooks, including A Special Gun for Elephant Hunting from Dog on a Chain Press, The Death of Me from Pig Ear Press, and Strange Roads from Puddles of Sky Press. CAILY GRUBE grew up in a dead coal town in Central Pennsylvania. Caily Grube eats two jars of honey a week and writes poems on her lunch break about post- industrialism and virtual identity. Caily Grube graduated from and now works for the University of Pittsburgh. Her poems have appeared in Hot Metal Bridge and Collision. Of her most recent book from Litmus Press, I Want to Make You Safe, John Ashbery described AMY KING's poems as bringing “abstractions to brilliant, jagged life, emerging into rather than out of the busyness of living.” Safe was one of the Boston Globe’s Best Poetry Books of 2011. King teaches English & Creative Writing at SUNY Nassau Community College. For more, check http://www.litmuspress.org/iwanttomakeyousafe.html A performance poet since 2006, ZACHARY KLUCKMAN was a member of Albuquerque’s 2012 National Poetry Slam Team, a Pushcart Prize nominee and recipient of the Red Mountain Press National Poetry Prize. His work appears in print globally in such publications as the New York Quarterly and Cutthroat. Featured on over 500 radio stations worldwide, he is an accomplished spoken word artist. Twice recognized for making world history, he is the creator of the Slam Poet Laureate Program and an organizer for the 100 Thousand Poets for Change program, as well as serving as Spoken Word Editor for the Pedestal magazine. 58
  58. 58. JADE LASCELLES is a busy lady. A poet and letterpress printer, some of her current projects include: editing book reviews for Bombay Gin Literary Journal, serving as a founding member of the eco-poetic publishing project Inukshuk Collective, managing the Harry Smith Print Shop at Naropa University, and teaching writing and literature in and around Boulder, Colorado. Despite all of this, however, she will always make time for any dance parties she may be invited to join. BRENNA LEE is the Art Editor of Bombay Gin Literary Journal. She is currently editing her first novel, The Scout of Sleep, and working towards creating a new theory of feminist passivity, Radical Objects. BRANDON LOCHER was born on May 8, 1985 in Johnstown, PA. A main contributor of the Johnstown, PA based artist collective, My Idea of Fun, Locher has over 50+ releases under various monikers and artistic mediums that can all be discovered digitally at: www.myideaoffun.org/brandonlocher. KARA MILLER likes giant messy novels, the Russian language, and giant messy novels written in the Russian language. She graduated from the University of Colorado and lives in Boulder, where she has started to like hiking but still refuses to learn to do yoga. ANDREW K. PETERSON's poetry publications include some deer left the yard moving day (BlazeVox 2013), karaoke lipsync opera (White Sky 2012), and Museum of Thrown Objects (BlazeVox 2010). His chapbook bonjour meriwether and the rabid maps was runner up in the Equinox Chapbook Contest, and published by Fact-Simile Press in 2010. Recent poetry appears in the journals Dear Sir, Country Music, e- ratio, and ditch; and a performance document will appear in Emergency Index 2012 (Ugly Duckling Presse). He edits the online lit journal summer stock, and lives in Massachusetts. ARIELLA RUTH is a poet from Boston, Massachusetts. She received her BA in Poetry from The New School and her MFA in Writing and Poetics from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. She is the Co-founder of Roots+Limbs, a book production collaborative with artist Jeremy Jacob Schlangen (www.rootsandlimbs.com). Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Other Rooms Press, Epiphany, The Pulchritudinous Review, Bombay Gin, Esque Magazine, and Eleven and a Half Journal. She writes story-poems on the blog: www.mountainlostinthepalm.com. SALLY JANE SMITH learned to write with sticks on the railroad tracks. She is currently at Naropa University, working toward her MFA, and also teaches. She serves as marketing editor on the Bombay Gin Literary Journal. She thinks a gesture is never complete. 59
  59. 59. JEFF STUMPO's diluvium, from which these poems are a selection, is a 64-page genre-blending poetic sequence featuring Noah and his wife in a humanist retelling of the ancient myth. It is still looking for a publisher, hint, hint. He recently completed a chapbook manuscript, Heroes & Villannelles, reflecting on the darker side of the world via that obsessive form and which is also looking for a home. To see his previous and upcoming publications and performances, please visit www.jeffstumpo.com. ELISABETH WORKMAN's chapbooks include Opolis (Dusie) and Megaprairieland (Grey Book Press). Her first full-length collection Ultramegaprairieland is forthcoming from Bloof Books. 60
  60. 60. 61

×