Archives for May 2017

The Hurried Valley

Brad Rose

Nearly died of too much weekend. Even if you have only one symptom, you’ve probably got the whole disease. Like a bloodhound who’s lost the scent, you have to learn to adjust your goals. I thought I saw a face in the trees, but it was just my pareidolia acting up. Bruegel or Bosch? It’s bad, but it won’t kill you. My half-sister arrived with a basket of rented food. Usually it doesn’t agree with me, but here in Purgatory Park, I feel like a total bro, for sure. That’s why I tell people, Appreciate each hand clapping in the applause. You never know when it’s going to be too late to benefit from exercise. But it’s a balancing act. Your heart beats all the time. Six of one, a half-dozen of the other. Pretty soon you’ve grown eyes in the back of your head and the mountains crawl toward you, like a hunter on his knees, the dark of the approaching valleys, black and smooth as a panther’s flank. You’d like to think they only toy with you, but you’ve never run as fast as you’re running now, panicked prey fleeing the valley of the shadow of death. By the way, aren’t those fantastic snakes? But don’t take my word for it. Decide for yourself. No rush.

In the Dawn

Ricky Ray

for John Berryman

Nobody in the dawn. It hasn’t yet assembled
 the people in its psalm.
If a voice has no body, does it need an ear?
 Does the blood carry
its own crosses as it flickers in the flesh
 in search of nothing,
the woman it is, a walking yard of graves?
 She is not for loving,
as if love were the sharp tip of purpose
 piercing, cutting away
the civilizations bacteria build on bone.
 But loving does fit in,
if fitting means being strung along an act
 of service: the guitar
talks back to the fingers, the world whispers
 to the living: touch
until the noise and feel coalesce, reveal
 the music made when
strings and fingers lock as lovers
 knocking the headboard
against the wall, a thousand times
 its rhythmic pulse
that gives the hour what it wanted when
 it made the bodies
and made them ache and put them together
 for love or what
might ever come of living in the dawn.

Potiphar’s Wife Talks About that Time

Deborah Bacharach

In the end Joseph did all right for himself.
Because he was in the dungeons,
he called the dreams, and from there
he worked it like he worked it in
my husband’s home, putting together
puzzles of rain, watching hands,
oh he watched, roll pastry dough
on marble table tops. I saw the oasis
shimmer at the edge of the horizon
like I had been walking toward it
my entire life, like I had been crawling
on my hands and knees.


Devon Balwit

Eat me, I say. Bite me. Pincerslice into soft webbing. Champ cuspids. Beakpick to bone. Lift me, shake me, breakneck, side to side, side to side. Dogroll over my unthreading innards. Bury muzzle in bloodmuck. I offer myself. I drizzle a garnish.

[four poems]

Bob Heman

inserts words
into the field
the others approach

the meaning there
nothing more
than their experience


they were repeated
where the sky
was empty where
the trees ended
where even the
bears had machines


this was
how they
went away

a door
in a field
of flowers


predictable words
arranged upon
the ground
they walk upon

they are removed
if too much
meaning gathers

Excerpts from Translations

Benjamin L. Perez

The endless other
Of the void’s silhouette.

Infinite winding-sheet
For a stillborn god.

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

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


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

Neither Sun nor Death

Howie Good

They are beating the cars with metal bats. I think, “Am I supposed to be here?” That thing is on fire in a big way. I don’t get outside as much anymore. An illegal string offset “echo” has disappeared into the archive, to be handled by only people who wear white cotton gloves. I’m left to just cry. You need to be careful in interpreting that. Every day I confront the same choice: stay inside or perish. Somebody grabs Suzanne’s hair and twists her neck. We make eye contact. I know tulips aren’t spelled two lips.

concīs Spring 2017 Season Anthology!

The concīs spring 2017 seasonal anthology (PDF) is out, featuring Brad Rose, C. Kubasta, Caitlin Scarano, Christopher Morgan, Dylan Krieger, Eric Pankey, Feral Willcox, Greg Lyons, Jaime Garcia, Jed Myers, Jennifer Atkinson, Jerry McGuire, Jonathan Jones, Karen George, Kelly Fordon, Lana Bella, Lorene Delany-Ullman, M.A. Scott, M.R.R. Gutierrez, Margaret Turner, Mark Budman, Maureen Alsop, Mercedes Lawry, Monica Rico, Phoebe Reeves, Richard LeBlond, Robert Hamilton, Robert Miltner, Rose Knapp, Samuel Rafael Barber, Sarah Puschmann, Spencer Shaak, Tammy Robacker, Tricia DeJesus-Gutierrez, Xujun Eberlein, Yuan Changming and Christopher Lee Miles!

Cover: “Inspiration” by Amanda Lo