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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Daniel Godston

 

 

Trash

 

Perched on the outskirts of the periphery,
just outside the where of how,
you once noticed a crack, the craw, the claw,
the cusp of yesterday edging toward a moment ago.

Lips lost longing, lounging with the lunchbox open,
the aluminum foil unsnugged, sesame seeds & bits of crust
in the tiny foil crinklepockets that look like inverted
reflective mud dried up & cracked into patterns.

She said a serious joke that’s no hoax, not hokey.
What's your position? I wish I knew. That's my position.
Too little time for so much trash. Time off, down

time that can never be downed or sunk
like an empty tempus fugit battleship,
a fugitive monarch butterfly, not mockingbird or monarchy,

no mock-up or rehearsal, neither hearse nor umbilical cord
snipped for freezeform finesse. The moment migrates
from the here & now to the nevermore or sweet hereafter.
Bittersweet, not neat or ribbontied.

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Daniel Godston teaches, writes, and creates music in Chicago. His poetry and fiction have appeared in Chase Park, Versal, Drunken Boat, 580 Split, Kyoto Journal, Eratica, California Quarterly, after hours, Moria, Sentinel Poetry, and other print publications and online journals. His poem “Mask to Skin to Blood to Heart to Bone and Back” was nominated by the editors of 580 Split for the Pushcart Prize. In February 2007 he curated the Forth Sound Back event, in the Red Rover Series. He works with the Borderbend Arts Collective to organize the Chicago Calling Arts Festival.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Brian Townsley

 

 

Drinking with Tu Fu

 

They suffered, no doubt,

nights

like this one, the Chinese

poets. Li Po, Wang

Wei, Tu Fu. Nights of

facts while only one

fact

matters, nights when

your country wars

without reason, nights

of spilled

anesthesia.

 

Li Po never held an

official position in any court

& stood solitary in

voice. He wanders the room

tonight, traces my tattoos

with his finger, says

nothing,

walks to the window

to stare at the bent

palm trees fanning the gusts

of wind like the mallard

shuddering loose the unwanted

wetness. Wang Wei

is on the cell phone, the

master of adaptation,

counseling the dead on etiquette

& expectation. Tu Fu sits

on the couch opposite

heavy into his cups, slurring

his genius.

I remind him that in

his poem

a guest arrives

he offers the man

nothing more than his own

home-brewed wine

for supper. He even calls

the neighbor over to help them

finish the pot. He laughs

at this now,

such simple violence, such

fury & dust. He raises

the glass to his lips

& smiles. A simple man

enjoying the simple life. Li Po

retires from the window,

comes and sits next to me.

 

Wang Wei & Li Po clearly

don’t get along, each

flicking origami dragons

across the never

like diamond from coal.

Such philosophical

differences amid

the whoring

of the spirit. I’ve bitten off

a bit of the scotch tonight,

the cheap stuff of

plastic bottle &

midnight soul.

Wang Wei has fallen asleep, is

drooling on the couch, cell

phone in his hand

still.

Li Po will outlast us all, he

is lighting candles &

watching the flame

shimmy

to the dissonance

of night. Tu Fu has

peaked, he cannot

focus on conversation

or poetry

anymore. The wall opposite

him the greatest obstacle.

He will face it

with dignity despite its

movement & his lack

of sobriety. I wander

the halls in search

of the toilet. It finds me

like a pleasure for

the damned &

as I stand

& aim

I know that Li Po

is watching, the theme

for his next unrulable

romantic

lament.

 

 

š

 

Brakeman

 

the reefs of cloud align

in rhythm to the passing tracks

built a time ago

beneath the layers of now, god’s

own distance to the other

side. The crows dip & bend to

spill themselves of motion

amid the coal of memory, the desires

unmet. The child as warrant.

 

The empty bottle dangles from

your hand in mock desire. The worst

is yet to come as the odds

diminish.

The typewriter is silent. & out

across the everything of land there

is a child full of a hope enough

to spin the world

entire. Think of that.

 

The night casketblack & the doors

locked lest they come knocking.

& then the girl

with tambourine eyes, the pixiedust

of slipspring youth & the wisdom

that nothing

can be held.

Almost nothing.

There are those out beyond

The breakers

singing if the brakeman comes my way

unaware

of infinite coincidence, of nights of gamble

& dance, of fate herself

as protagonist.

 

Look at it this way: you’ve earned it,

these things falling apart, yet

to heal, the tracks passing beneath you

like

scars without memory.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Brian Townsley is a native of Los Angeles. He attended UC Berkeley & USC, receiving degrees from each. In 2001, he won the AWP Intro Award for the poem "Unidentified" in Oxford, Georgia, 1908, and has since published numerous pieces in various journals, including Quarterly West, Eclipse, Connecticut Review, Berkeley Poetry Review, Killpoet, Diner, Spectum, Hawaii Pacific Review, and Southern California Anthology, among others. He is the author of the books everybody pays, let the devil ride, and Badinfinity, and is a contributing writer to guerillalit.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Justin Hyde

 

 

Trailer Park Poems #1 (it never came again) 

 

when i was nine

we moved to the

blue double wide

on date court.

 

in the front yard

a length of chicken wire

stretched around

four metal rods

contained

what used to be

a garden.

 

i noticed the green

vine while watching

dad mow around the

small dry square of dirt.

 

over time

a small pickle

began to form at

the base of the vine,

 

it kept expanding

until it was

wide as my guinea pig

and just as

long.

 

i came home from

school to find dad

unexpectedly there,

standing over the

kitchen sink with

the pickle in hand.

 

we’re having

zucchini bread,

he smiled and

showed me how

to chop walnuts

with the large

knife.

 

told me he was twenty-three

on an army base

in georgia when he

tried walnuts for the

first time,

said they were so good

he ate the whole bag

and puked.

 

when mom came home

we sat around

the table together

for the first time

ever and

ate the whole

loaf

 

then

 

he

whispered

something

into mom’s

ear

 

traced his fingers

along the back

of her arm

 

and

didn’t go

to the bar

that night.

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Justin Hyde lives in Iowa where he works as a correctional officer. His first book of poetry ‘Down where the hummingbird goes to die’ is available from The Guild of Outsider Writers and Zygote in My Coffee. He is also a poetry editor at Thieves Jargon.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

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