Poetry of the Non-Prose Kind

Excerpts from Translations

Benjamin L. Perez

Toska
The endless other
Of the void’s silhouette.

Lítost
Infinite winding-sheet
For a stillborn god.

Alpenglow
Sanguinary summit;
Executioner’s block.

if a body is bound

Kristen Renee Miller

i. if a body is bound

—yet is not a book
(weird inner stringing)
call it hate, sprung
from under sodden, salten
fear, a kind of failure
open, given

see—
one’s best hid under,
working, see—
I’m dust and full of sight

 

ii. if a body is bound

—but you’re here on invitation
dear, so we decorate
and minister

embitter these
in greater numbers, O—
behind this roar, a door

binary be shade again
send in the gradient
sea

 

iii. if a body is bound

—I’m right to object
to die of wonder
creating under unseen welts
and trending sins

a sister dies—
her object was
a little darkness
not a book
not in the usual sense

Meditation On an Unnamed Island

Jennifer Atkinson

No one asks who dropped the first shell,
when among the mangroves’ arched roots,
out of the heaps of oyster shells, fallen
and crushed to lime, the snags and shoals
of random tide-flung bits and silt-on-silt
accumulation, new land rises up.

We love the idea of the world as a sudden
paradise created whole on purpose for us
to lose by being human. Or the other idea
of the world as envisioned designed garden
toward which it studiously evolves.

Meanwhile, here on actual shell-by-shell-
by-mangrove created ground, the raccoon
philosopher turns her mind to pleasure,
to work—shucking oysters, digging clams,
combing her tail of fleas and burrs. All around

the rack and weave of mangrove, mudflats
marked with slicks and shallows, decomp
reverting and recombining. And overhead
the fish crow flies from bay to bayou,
the sun-silvered eel in its talons writhing
(what if it were?) in a sideways figure eight.

Association

Tricia DeJesus-Gutierrez

There is erogenesis
a slit between
mint and molar
the throwback
safety of innocence

designated hitler

Dylan Krieger

never trust a pitcher who refuses to hit his fair share, whether fair or foul, or else you’ll end up whispering your wedding vows to the outfield, cleaning up after the septic run-on sentence of your body—fainting spells, blood-caked toenails, rose-gold swellings jetting pus around the five-pointed star of your breast. different from the rest, he told you the story of how he became designated hitter in college, adopted a fake name you remember (perhaps wrongly) as tucker, and somehow mustered the guts to face each pitch stone-cold sober—swearing off the devil’s water, leafy greens and LS-dream fodder, not to mention children’s tylenol, atenalol, pain relievers one and all. that’s the kind of teetotaling ragdoll i would have let tattoo my forearm come fall, had the lager not robbed me of my faith in man and god. that’s the happy-go-lucky glad-hander who threw the first pitch in the dirt, so it wouldn’t hurt as much when its stitching ripped apart and left the earth

Hanalei Bay, 1971

M.J. Turner

Tourists wade at the edge of the surf,
white swollen knees hover above the clay-
colored foam — blimps following a parade.

Sand pours out of bathing suits shucked
outside the backyard shower: bare flanks
breaded like chicken cutlets, waiting. Yellow
grains scratch the painted floorboards again.

To the South

M.J. Turner

Five borders, three languages: I’ve left
slate roofs and sausage rolls behind.
In the empty compartment, the bed

stretches out – whiter than home,
starched, almost the smell of bottled
clouds – shuddering at each unnamed
stop, squealing by the late-night sidings.
When magenta and chrome yellow
hang in the windows, fields
colored like cheap calendars taped
to a pre-school wall, I’ll step
into the train station and speak
its language like a toddler,
with a wallet and a full set of keys.

Compartmentalization

Samuel Rafael Barber

Fifty-eight percent of the men and women at whom you smile while grocery shopping say the torture of suspected terrorists can be justified “often” or “sometimes.” Fifty-seven percent of the men and women who hold a restaurant door open for you say harsh interrogation techniques can provide information that can prevent terrorist attacks. Army Field Manual 34-52 Chapter 1 reads: “Experience indicates that the use of force is not necessary to gain the cooperation of sources for interrogation. Therefore, the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear.” And yet.

Silo

Caitlin Scarano

the year I spent eating

eyelashes suckling

a hangover hippocampus

slamming on & off like a stagelight

I couldn’t stop watching

that trashbag caught in a tree

 pray for a break in the blight

how many people won’t

speak to you now

there was a silo I knew

that burnt down and what remained

was a cement ring this

is autopsy membrane

fixation in all my territory

I find so little tender

One Saturday Afternoon

Tammy Robacker

I watched my mother
(Who had grown
All of her fingernails
Very long) choose
Not to dust or clean
The house that day

Instead she polished
Each pointy oval tip
A bright candy pink
Twice over then added
A translucent topcoat
And let them air-dry

While she eased back
Ignoring everything:
The kitchen, my father,
Even me, and leisured
To read Prisoner of Desire
On our old green sofa.

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