Issue No. 9, Summer 2014: Feature


Contemplation


Postmortem


Prayer


You Always Looked So Fucking Cool


Victor Liu is a high school senior attending Branson School in Ross, CA, and is honored to have recently enrolled as part of Stanford University’s Class of 2018, planning to major in English. His artistic influences include Egon Schiele, Wangechi Mutu, Guy Denning, and David Altmejd.

Issue No. 9, Summer 2014

Delilah Scorned
Elizabeth Johnston

He calls to say he gave me up for lent—
but being as I am, no believer
and not inclined to sacrifice,
I defy his God.

This makes him unhappy.

Now we’re fighting—
he with me,
me with his Church.
I intend to convert him
to the nihilism of my love.
He intends to sentence me to Lifetime movies.
We shall see whose spirit is stronger—
a throwing of staffs,
a measuring of snakes.

I am not afraid.
I know what forty days in the desert can do to a man,

thirst, like a trumpet, crumbling Jericho’s walls.
He’ll come and I’ll be waiting

in the shade of my tent,
goblet in one hand,

scissors in the other


Elizabeth Johnston’s poetry has appeared in Organs of Vision and Sense, The Muse: an International Journal of Poetry, Yellow Medicine Review, Trivia: Voices of Feminism, The Journal of South Texas English Studies, The Mom Egg Review, New Verse News, as well as in two book anthologies, B, and Veils, Halos, and Shackles: International Poems on the Abuse and Oppression of Women. She is a founding member of the Rochester-based writer’s group, Straw Mat. She teaches writing and gender studies at Monroe Community College and, in her spare time, teaches writing as therapy for cancer survivors at the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester.

Issue No. 9, Summer 2014

Father, Dream
Patrick Cabello Hansel

You’ve stopped coming to walk with me,
seeds in one hand, knife and stone
in the other, soft laments.
The twelve stones of your death
have passed through the heavens
and you’ve no need to water
my sleep. You are at rest.
Worms tunnel. A lone bird
sings in the early morning garden.

Deep down,
you were Orpheus for a season,
and a time, and a morning,
calling me out of the ground,
sprinkling, pruning,
a wind I could not see. Still,
your hands hover over my head.
I wake to my own breath,
shedding its skin over the wet earth.


Patrick Cabello Hansel has published poems in Hawai’i Pacific Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Turtle Quarterly, Passager, Parachute, Perfume River Poetry Review, The Meadowland Review and other journals, and has poems forthcoming in Red Earth Review, Talking Stick and the anthology Veils, Halos and Shackles: International Poetry on the Abuse and Oppression of Women. He was selected for the 2008-09 Mentor Series in Poetry at the Loft Literary Center in Minnesota, and was a 2011 Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grantee. His novella Searching was serialized in 33 issues of The Alley News.

Issue No. 9, Summer 2014

Wisdom
Patrick Cabello Hansel

Some say we all come back
as our spirit animal:
moose, deer, brown bear,

which leaves the living
to discern who the dead were
and what they offer now:

footprints in the forest,
bark rubbed clean on one side,
seedlings nibbled down to the root,

these are our messages,
the ones sent from ancestors,
the ones we must learn

while there still is time.


Patrick Cabello Hansel has published poems in Hawai’i Pacific Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Turtle Quarterly, Passager, Parachute, Perfume River Poetry Review, The Meadowland Review and other journals, and has poems forthcoming in Red Earth Review, Talking Stick and the anthology Veils, Halos and Shackles: International Poetry on the Abuse and Oppression of Women. He was selected for the 2008-09 Mentor Series in Poetry at the Loft Literary Center in Minnesota, and was a 2011 Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grantee. His novella Searching was serialized in 33 issues of The Alley News.

Issue No. 9, Summer 2014

Cloud Fables
Jonathan Travelstead

Computer progress is made in sterile,
nearly-empty rooms. Pale light. Painted in eggshell.
There is a table.
On it lies the new model:
a white homunculus without eyes
as if made from an incomplete mold.

*

He bends over his creation,
the young centenarian with smooth brow,
toned physique.
Even the iridium of his eyes
no longer detect the tiny geometries
spinning inside the body’s composite shell,
soft as vellum. In his hand
the obsidian scalpel can not locate the seam
where techne divides from pulse,
where the quantum chip like a black coin
is sunk, humming in the chest.

*

A puppet-maker unwinds string from a spool,
He secures hemp from eyelets screwed in the wooden fingers,
limbs, and features of his doll,
to a cross-shaped paddle he jigs and jaunts,
checking that it moves like it’s real.

*

An electron spin’s inaudible susurration
warbles in one direction, then seven more.
Packets of light
bending information there,
here.

*

Enter the white room.
It is in a white skyscape on a white walkway
spanning a conveyance of clouds.

*

We all want to be the Maker.
In a queue we each stoop over our father’s angel,
one by one enter our transition.
Each brush of lips against the smooth cheek
flushes a warm and welcoming red,
and we go outside and lie down
atop one another, leave our friction-worn bodies.

*

The new model of lonely god
sits up on its slab above the cloud’s albumenal white.
Walks the street between robed bodies
piled like temples on either side
and then names it Avenue of the New World.
Nothing else to do,
it stops at the platform’s edge
and, willing dark into light,
the god is aware of its denuded form.
Wet with moon, it looks down on thinning sheets.
Imagines the possibilities of wind,
variegated leaves,
cells like children’s blocks
stacked on terra firma.
Considers falling instead, forever.
Now. Take in one hand a bit of cloud.
Make earth. Then take a single crescent of rib.
Create.
Or leap


Jonathan Travelstead served in the Air Force National Guard for six years as a firefighter and currently works as a fulltime firefighter for the city of Murphysboro. Having finished his MFA at Southern Illinois University of Carbondale, he now works on an old dirt-bike he hopes will one day get him to Peru.

Issue No. 9, Summer 2014

how the glass feels the moment before it

breaks through everything
( everything )

till orgasmic light a color which does not exist
radiated from between pruned fingers
that touched the world he
once thought
h o l l o w

my god, it’s full of stars, he cried
my god, it’s full of stars

with the blink of an eye
it was gone
, whatever will be

will be


Victor Liu is a high school senior attending Branson School in Ross, CA, and is honored to have recently enrolled as part of Stanford University’s Class of 2018, planning to major in English. He recently had the honor of being awarded 1st Place in Marin Poetry Center’s annual anthological competition. His influences include ee cummings and William Carlos Williams. Beyond writing, Victor is also an artist and enjoys gallery excursions.

Issue No. 9, Summer 2014

footfalls
Victor Liu

engraving the earth with
marks of tenuity i
turn to the mercurial satellites —
faithful vagrants entrapped
( yet elusive )
in perilous flight
encircling and sounding
incommensurable seconds
( , minutes, hours )
out of
step .

how does the starlight
fall so far ,
into the expanse which knows
no end ?

( a breath of bells heeds me ,
incomprehensibly omniscient . )


Victor Liu is a high school senior attending Branson School in Ross, CA, and is honored to have recently enrolled as part of Stanford University’s Class of 2018, planning to major in English. He recently had the honor of being awarded 1st Place in Marin Poetry Center’s annual anthological competition. His influences include ee cummings and William Carlos Williams. Beyond writing, Victor is also an artist and enjoys gallery excursions.

Issue No. 9, Summer 2014

On Your Hundredth Birthday
William Cullen, Jr.

Finally blowing out the last candle
you remark how the smoke
rising to the chandeliers
looks like a guardian angel
returning home.


William Cullen, Jr. is a veteran and works at a non-profit in Brooklyn, NY. His poetry has appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Camroc Press Review, Christian Science Monitor, Gulf Stream, Pirene’s Fountain, Poppy Road Review, Right Hand Pointing, Spillway, and Word Riot.

Issue No. 9, Summer 2014

Little Red
Katie Booms

is not a good enough name for her.
First love, first love, these woods
she skipped into
A little girl
with velvet blushing ties at her neck,
ruby berry-picking fingers in the
sudden cape of sunset.
Snapdragon, blanket flower, none-so-pretty,
crimson clover: blooms
with tails like the end of rattlesnakes
The scrapes you got in the woods
The tongue of a wolf when it speaks
The inside of a stomach


Katie Booms is a writer, visual artist, and advocate for community-building. She welcomes collaboration of all kinds and can be found on Twitter as @ka_booms. She earned her MFA at the University of Wyoming, served for a year with AmeriCorps at the Freret Neighborhood Center in New Orleans and recently taught at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, MI. Her poetry just appeared in Midwestern Gothic and Every Day Poems.