Browse by Artist/Writer

Volume 10.2 | from “An Altar in the World”
I pick up a stone and name it
Every time you’ve hurt me. I keep it
in my mouth, let it click
against my teeth. … [more]
Volume 10.1 | from “Songs of Parting”
The other morning I picked up a hitchhiker and it turned out to be Walt Whitman. The beard should’ve been a dead giveaway, but I didn’t put it together at first. Most tramps wear beards like that, honestly: long, scraggly things all yellowed around the mouth with nicotine. You’d think it’d be easy to tell a poet from a bum, but it ain’t. … [more]
Volume 9.2 | from “Rootwork”
Bo sat up front with daddy. Julius rode in the back with me. The dirty rag tied around his arm looked black in the moonlight; all that blood mixing in with the dirt. It was too dark to see his eyes, but my memory was fresh. … [more]
Volume 9.1 | from “Pull and Drag”
I rarely see any African Americans swimming in my gym pool in Knoxville, Tennessee. I always imagine that other members of the gym are amazed to see me doing laps. … [more]
Volume 8.2 | from “Blue Bird, Blue Skies”
Her name was Maria and she was beautiful. A woman knows. That primal sense of competition kicks in and you recognize that even if you had just stepped out of the beauty salon with flawless hair and makeup, wearing a designer dress, men would turn their heads and look, not at you, but at Maria. … [more]
Volume 8.1 | from “What We Will Not Save If When I Am Beside You”
There are things that break and there are the things I have entered against and there are the things that no one promised. … [more]
Volume 7.3 | from “Boleros, June”
The last time I remember breathing
was early June at the Goodman,
the end of Boleros for the Disenchanted
we held each other under house lights like
we were the elderly Puerto Rican couple
upstage right …
Volume 7.2 | from “You Asked to Come In”
It was as if I had found you on my threshold, bathed in yellow porch light, a halo of gnats around your head, and I could say yes or no. For the first time I realized the body was a house I hadn’t lived in for years, a house that’d been broken into long ago, the crushed glass on the sill, the unidentifiable stain on the carpet, the faint but lingering scent of strangers …
Volume 7.1 | from “The Raisin Invasion”
When my sister got kicked out of the house for good, my mother filled her bedroom with raisins. Once she had replaced her furniture—the ratty blue chair, the mattress pocked with cigarette burns and the yellow bean bag slumped in the corner—with a white wicker ensemble suggesting we had suddenly moved to the beach, she covered every surface of that room with purple, hard plastic raisins. …
Volume 6.4 | from “Blue Collar Mosaic”
I’ve lost count of scars. Some I don’t notice until years later. Pink indentations across my hands, my back, my shoulders, my legs, my ribs, where the skin seems to creep and join together over the knife blade ravines, over deep splinters that become integrated into my body, over sutures and staples, the meat filling in beneath I suppose. I’ve missed seconds, minutes, hours, days and months of work to heal each one, waiting impatiently to stand, walk, see, grip a hammer and wake up without a worry in regards to my body….
Volume 6.3 | from “G Is for Grief”
Is for glad, gone, and gabby
Which grief
With a martini in hand
Is. Is
For gaunt, garish, and grating
Which grief
After moons of emaciating
Volume 6.2 | from “Remembering Mahalia”
Every Sunday my father used to blast Mahalia Jackson gospel records on our old, upright hi-fi, a spiritual experience of greater depth and resonance than we ever found at our local Catholic church. I sang in the children’s choir at St. Catherine of Siena, pallid Catholic hymns, even the most celebratory never very rousing. “Holy, holy, holy. Lord God almighty, Heaven and Earth, are full of your glory.” We sang in sweet, uncertain, quavering voices, as the choir director waved her arms like a sea anemone….
Volume 6.1 | from “Taking Heart”
In the main lobby of the Hotel Tuzla, a painting hangs of nine, life-sized women standing side-by-side. The wall to the right of the painting is entirely glass so that the sun throws a spotlight on each woman, one by one from morning on, until they all bask in unison for an hour or so before nightfall. The women vary in their manifestations—four are whole and nubile, two are sporadically bare-boned, three expose both abstract and graphic organs—a red box for a heart, a fibrous lung, musculature that streaks like the lights of a Vegas night.
Volume 5.3 | from “Summer of Our Unemployement”
The sun rises and treads overhead, a 45-degree angle devastating the bedroom in brightness. It’s hot in here. The air conditioner is off. There’s the electric bill to think about. Also, the environment.
On the earliest mornings and the coolest afternoons, we run. Five of us. Heart-healthy individuals. Sometimes there’s a sixth runner. Sometimes he temps instead….
Volume 5.2 | from “Not for Identification”
His rifle scope bears JN8:12
for the light of the world
She remembers dancing is all about
(from when she learned to waltz) …
5.1 | from “At Breakfast I Asked About the Burning of Bones”
I imagined them starting at the top
lighting the end of each tight curl
like a birthday candle
until the flame hit their fingers
and the matches fell
littering her forehead,
her outer ear…
4.4 | From “How to be a Ballroom Regular”
The worries of your common life have released you for the night.

The cat vomit you left next to the couch; your sometimes-boyfriend, who left a message on your machine while you blotted your lipstick with a credit card bill; your goal to become editor of the trite features section of the newspaper and still be a contributor to world peace, etc.; gone, all of it.

Volume 4.3
4.3 | From “An Interview with Poet Brian Turner”
… [W]hen I was in Iraq (2003-2004) death became a much more living presence within every moment. I emphasize every. Words like “tragedy” simply don’t survey, or encompass, the gravity and depth of what’s being lost. Language is an incomplete vehicle for this kind of loss. But, for me, poetry is about as close as I can get to it.
Volume 4.2
4.2 | from “On the Disappearance of Bees, Spring 2009” by Colin Pope

… You want something that
in its being can display more
than one emotion and that one
emotion not to be rage
pointed at the world it thinks
it owns with a little finger …

Volume 4.1
4.1 | from “Love Terns” by Sean Patrick Hill
There is no love like theirs.
They couple, I’m told,
for life.
They build no nest
but balance eggs in palms …
Volume 3.4
3.4 | from “Avalanche” by Gregory Lawless
I knew a guy once
who died, and came back
as a planetary ring
somewhere in the space-boonies.
He’s still mostly dust.
And when he sends
letters home they just burn up
in the atmosphere…
Volume 3.3
3.3 | from “Mathmatics, Gallbladders, and Sticking Your Babies in the Mail” by Calvin Mills
Allow the failure to be housed in a small unimportant organ inside you—one you can live without. A tonsil or appendix would be my first choice, but many of you may already be sans these superfluous organs. Then what? Okay, I know what you’re considering, but let’s not lose our fertility over this.
Volume 3.2
3.2 | from “Someting In the Way” by Sarah Layden
. . . According to the Internet, the celebrity
grows something inside herself. She won’t say
whether it’s a fetus or cancer. Or a fake
fetus. Or fake cancer. The talk show host
sighs and deadpans, “It’s always something.”
Of course he’s wrong. It’s something else.
Volume 3.1
3.1 | from “Jellyfish” by Sarah J. Sloat
There are rooms underwater
we can’t imagine, pellucid rooms
we’ll never penetrate, gelid
chambers, fastened by lashes
to the tide. Dark sharpens
their sparkle, a trance of staircases
and chandeliers that traipse
and sway as those on ships
drawn far from shore. . .
Volume 2.6
2.6 | from “The First Lovefall” by Corey Mesler
We all went outside.
Love was gathering in puddles
in the declivities of the parish lawn.
It was the first lovefall
and some of us thought we knew how
it would end. Some of
us were optimistic suddenly. . .
Volume 2.5
2.5 | from “On Appearance” by Nicholas Ripatrazone:
When are a man’s shorts too short? The knee is an arbitrary, yet time-honored barrier. Anything lower feigns youth, and anything higher is feminine, because there is nothing less masculine than a thigh. . . .
Volume 2.4
2.4 | from “Fugue State” by Ben Russell:
In my hand I’m holding
a can of tuna in aisle five
when the lights go out.
No one is moving. . .
Volume 2.3
2.3 | from “Rue” by Kit Kennedy:
how my finger recoils
from a drop of juice
almost imperceptible the cut . . .
Volume 2.2
2.2 | from “A Little Fever” by Kristy Bowen:
In the glass factory, the space behind
her body is warm, chambered
like a heart. All wires and threaded light.
Her mind a railcar sideways on a track. . .
Volume 2.1
2.1 | from “Bureaucracy of Trees” by Colie Hoffman:
Now is the perfect moment
To quit my job
And begin work as a tree.
That’s the life:
Roots twisting nude in damp dirt,
No clean-up, no apology. . .
Volume 1.5
1.5 | from “Clearcut” by Alice Derry:
A man and a woman can love each other
so much it would be impossible
to unravel what they have together,
the threads not just woven,
but matted . . .
Volume 1.4
1.4 | from “Six Eggs and Grace” by Joel James Davis:
Mr. Jones’s fame made people give a holy crap about what he looked like with his insides on the outside. . . .
Volume 1.3
1.3 | from “Dove Meat” by Eileen Malone:
She talks about the dove meat
in this special Adriatic gravy
the last one warbled “I’m sorry”
and she said “I don’t mean it”
going ahead, slicing its throat
so the blood spurted cleanly. . .
Volume 1.2
1.2 | from “Premature Regrets” by Adina Kay:
Sara says, mamikah, tell me, what’s new in your private life?
Volume 1.1
1.1 | from “Phone” by Sally Albiso:
She swallowed her cell phone,
choked as it pressed on her larynx,
shoved there by her boyfriend
to still the tongue’s smug muscle. . .