[We grow away from strangers]

Jude Dillon

We grow away from strangers
remain unsolved

by a bramble-shadowed stream
grey rock turning black in a sudden field of snow

your distance I wonder at
tightens the loveliness

reaches in
to lead us out

Words that Glide Past Cryptid Hunters

KJ Hannah Greenberg

When records open to eclectic simulacra,
Spinning like Disney’s hippos in tutus,
They prove, again, business’ isotopy.

Poor craftsmanship’s happenstances,
Offering no signs of fiduciary rendition,
Cough or hack vis-a-vis virtual reality.

The illumination of the actual orients generative
Grammar, remains the stuff of speculative fiction,
Gives over ideological pablum in horrific doses.

Accordingly, the offspring of self-fulfilling critics,
Signify that certain observed objects produce
Alternative paradigmatic events, also plum jelly.

Metaphysics-oriented tackle, needing existential
Importance (and access to fine bibelots) rots since
Opinion relies on perspective, bribes, good teeth.

Before we delight in empowered organizations,
Clarify hypotheses on earth worms, maybe caviar
Should support theories that generate royalties.

Soundtrack

Florence Lenaers

In the space between hearing and listening I’m stuck. Imperfect soundproofing hands me half an earful of narrative straight from another kitchen sink. I should listen away. Can’t. Sleety sound effects, trickles of dialogues seep out, soak in my low-quality socks. Downstairs as downstairs neighbors are supposed to be, they lift the lid of their domestic music box, lift it with the very tips of their voices. Humming thrumming drumming. I make out few of their words, high volume helps, & ■■■■ is an easy one. The others wade beyond recognition, end up moving like shadow puppets made with mittens on. Their mouths are not the only ones talking. Their TV set has a loud flush. Their chair legs sharpen their claws on the tiles. Their cigarettes hiss by the window. Huffing puffing. Their trained bed comments upon whatever love they are making. Their doors slam themselves to sleep. Their arguments run in red high heels. Babbling. Their baby girl must question the ceiling every time my pile of books tumbles to the floor.

Dutch Tilt

Jennifer Handley

Dreamed I was in the back seat of a car with Robert Downey, Jr., a big black Packard like in a James M. Cain story. We’re making a movie, we’re making out; we’re being filmed through the side window by two guys crouched behind an old-fashioned camera shaped like Mickey Mouse ears. Robert wears a white shirt. He bends over me as I fall back against the vast upholstery. There is a driver, black suit and skinny tie, half turned in his seat. He gestures, and we look behind us, and framed in the back window is the top half of a huge rising moon, craters visible on its surface, moonlight shining in so that Robert’s white shirt glows and glows, the light nearly shattering the blue glass of my eyes.

The Red Disk

Tim Adams

—for Joan Miro

one does not
blanch
a river’s
milk in
a trench

The Cheated Will Shape It So It Fits

James Blevins

she—he—& me:
three little glooms

three wounds corralled

I will drink to that
& to hammers
& to their flat, red impacts

Wheel

Jari Chevalier

Weeds blow
among ruins. Stones
cut to fit tight, fortress
razed to three
stones high.

People selling antennas,
fried bananas,
brooms, scratch
their chigger bites.

Cuenca’s cathedral,
where I place my running
shoes on the steps for someone,
light a candle.

Ornaments, vessels,
tools for killing or making music . . .
Incans lived without the wheel.
Vendor piercing

the square with ice cream
cries. Little hands,
sticky with ice cream,
washed in the colonial fountain.

In the market,
so many
chickens on spits
and a girl sobbing

beside a wire bin,
so overbrimmed
with chicken heads
they slide right off
the edge of the rim.

Signs

Michelle Granvile

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Mosquito Logic Three (We the Help)

Jake Edgar

Emerging from your chrysalis, you were welcomed by an ignition of light that caught you and held you there. The warmth of crossed hands, pudgy and sterile. Is this true? Can belief be found in a place full of failed attempts to coalesce?

Peter says that he really just misses his kids and thank GOD for those emergency workers for talking him off that roof. You think sort of less of him each time he says the word God.

You’re waiting for the coloring session to end, to show a blackness sans blackness and then he brings up his kids again, each time he says kids he blinks like a falcon.

Paper Revolution

Lita Kurth

Paper stays with us, black and smoky like the sky above the roofs but behind the trees and there, automatic, it wasn’t, that thing that made me turn the lights on, car alarms buzzing and shouting, a noisy night of mammalian thunder and siren’s arms spilling out of cars. When the bomb hits, it’s only one, and wow, what a brightness and forth of July to a dead revolution, but bombs still burst. Here’s me in my quiet bed imagining blood. If only those soft curls fell on wounds, if only the snow, but why even talk of snow in a San Jose drought? This will be forgotten; an impact arises and grows from ambition, is that right? I doubt it. There’s door-kings of glass to grab, but leave the door closed. All the belts behind the door hide their history and the sky is cracking. Where are the soft hamburgers of pointed pain, a mess, but popcorn helps. It has no edges, only a plaintive mew. The bombs scratch the sky. Did we really do it all on purpose? We bought it, the breaking of many branches.

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