Poetry of the Non-Prose Kind

Monday in a Nutshell

David Spicer

You play one last note on the quiet Wurlitzer,
yielding to the murmur of distant whales
near the beach, and I pray to Buddha
hummingbirds will revel in the sand.
The smell of cabbage drifts into the parlor.
I wipe the marble counter and shut
the oven door, flashing the calico and tuxedo
a honeyed smile. You and I flirt
during the drive to work, on our elevator ride.
Coil against each other like contented snakes.
While the clocks hide in the bottom
drawers, we prowl the office all day,
selling every stock in sight
after we kiss each other’s noses for luck.

[are we born blue]

Jack Darrow

are we born blue
or simply
poured into the sky

II. Maytree & I take our first veterinary exam

Lauren Page

Post-Anatomy came
        celebratory Sweet Water where
his bottom lip’s a snapshot
        the shade of rhomboids on
an embalmed cat’s corpse that we
        studied for weeks

            & his voice
licked a blackberry bush that stung like
        Doveak’s prophecy that Negro melodies
would be the basis for American music—
        but he could never have foreseen
our jazz on gold sheets like Ellington

       translated into something you could wrap
in fingers from his huge palms, those
       stilled metronomes gone post-sex sedentary,

sat braided with mine on his sternum while
       my bottom lip brushed his left nipple:
nerve center of my enterprise.

from Notebook: New Mexico

Tom Montag

January 2016, Highway 20, Mile Marker 39

Close enough to see
the mountains

have shaped the clouds.


Michelle Chen

It is almost spring in the asylum
by the olive groves. Once I saw a dog
the color of a wedding train
eat the newly planted daffodil
bulbs but slept through its
vomit. The next day the gardener
found the streaks of a sixteen-wheeler
between its eyes, a staggering promise.
If I’d known I would’ve
clutched a bayonet and
circumcised the moon.
Today, the lobes of tulips
wave dreamishly towards my
sill like virginal bells, and the
anger pulls and closes
like cat gums on nip.

Materials & Properties

Jonathan Travelstead

Skyscrapers whirligig Boeing 747s away like maple seeds
while nothing grenades down Fifth Avenue, clouding our lungs with emphysema’s
ghost. The new materials, tenfold stronger than steel,

taken out of service for how it wrinkles, then fails at twelve-hundred degrees.
Angels dance on neon atoms of gussets & trusses we print
from the nobler elements. Admiring our construction’s spinoid,

novel geometries, representatives from the class of arachnae
sigh, get on the horn, inform spiders everywhere they can cease weaving silk.
Snow flakes, unsurprising to us now, melt.

Ten years & nary a fire catches the new boughs, jumps a break,
or burns the mountain down. Come, speaking after me: Love Thy Properties.
Come, see what’s under the hood, what new engines purr.

Breaking the Rules

Roberta Feins

Tell me Never use ‘blue’ in a poem, Never
step in the same river twice. Blue Creek
straddles two seasons, rime white as blued laundry,
rimming rocks, bluets scattering the verge.
Rounding the curve of slough, the crack of ice—
one loud boo to a single dipper, feathered
slate-blue and hopping upstream. She starts,
rises up into the blue morning.

Driving Through West Virginia

Gary Charles Wilkens

What I thought was mountain
was cloud,
what I thought cloud
was mountain.

The old travel out of desire,
the young travel
out of need.

Duane Reade Run

Adrienne Christian

Only on Halloween does she miss homeownership.
For she is ordinary tonight, not
The Lady Who Gives Whole Snickers and
Silver Dollars. When her lover sees she’s almost in tears about something so silly
he suggests they have junk food that night for dinner. His treat he says.
They even raid the center console of his truck
for change.

from “pointing at the window while asking for the door”

Joe Nicholas

if only this mouth in the ceiling could lick up its drool

no  /  this is not stardust  /  this is an attempt

at sanity  /   do you ever wonder

if we’re already doomed  /  i do

so often it hurts

if i had a nickel for every time  /  i would give you

all of them

if i had the time to build a steamboat

i would spend it in the garden