hannah rubin

I will tend to you like the snapped threads of a broken fan.


In a movie script we are sweating in a small motel room, there is a pink handkerchief wrapped around my forehead. It is impossible to tell one water for another.


Dreams where you are naked and running through grocery stores. Dreams where you hold out your hand and it is glimmering with algae, trash. Dreams where the aloneness of being alone turns better men ravaged, and I become the forgotten steak too mangled for feasting.


I grasp with fingers more akin to claws as I am told in every sequence just let go. How to snap without losing balance. The long threaded footfall of where, headed.


I can’t help but turn a question in subtle rounds. What comes first the murder or the murderer? What I am asking is simple — when is the thing that happens? And how do we become it?

In the religion of my childhood, the content of your mind is irrelevant to outcome. This was seen as forgiving: Judgement only in perceivable movement. Reality only what has existed already. You can have dirty thoughts, with a tight smile, and still be innocent in the courtroom of your god.


Such solid lines make me think wound. A tear that is Cartesian in its inaccessibility, its push to grip a mouth around the absolute.


And what about all of the things I didn’t say? Where do they reside in the landscape of this absence. The ground underfoot, a map, twisting into red line of could have as far out as the horizon.


In imagined planes I dance while sweat accumulates on every crest, though without dehydration. A green water relieves me. There is no place like this — and so, every spring the salmon are shot through small cannons in order for them to make it upstream, past the dried parts. The Colorado River runs often as a nest of alluvium deposits and tightly wound hosing. Where it splashes there are cameras ready to deliver. Deep rock sits, waiting. Waiting for the big leak.


It seems I’m always finding cups to pour myself into. Always finding words that sound like you. Always finding elegies for whispered thoughts, for decay. For the slow stolidness of an imagined face.

Skin as it builds. Amassing in soft waves— violent in insistence to dapple back with eyes. The edge of your teeth is hard against my sternum.

Please, I whisper, do not go away.


hannah rubin is a writer, poet, artist, and educator based in LA. Their writing about queer ecologies and trans aesthetics has appeared in Canthius Journal, Rivulet, Berkeley Poetry Review, smoke + mold, and Ghost City Review, as well as other publications and anthologies. They co-host a monthly radio show called mellow drama, and teach sticky poetry in living rooms, backyards, and galleries around LA.

CJ Martin

Complete Poem
or the Arthur Russell Sonnet
or The Death of Poetry Reading Series

Maybe don’t *start* w/ how memory fucks us up,
all the lang, some good little days
all papered down, half capable of love, comfort,
one time it was just reassuring ppl from
the double number I did on taste, a body musical I’d disrupt,
& if the fashionable lie of a hotel shone then, as if
to say memories of a drive
& prolly parking, then the big dish-washing locomotive cry
& heavy silence I go to (as go-to)
was a real ex-life thing,
& I was like will
& cried of looking, & C. was a dog-mother
& that was life, horrible but alright
, the Jacks just like cartoons, the grass
so still, the country “ours” again, the Sierras “ours,”
our basement hearts so small, touchy,
all windswept off snow & snowbeam,
& from fatigue, things washed down sick,
& breakfast was a lot of cantaloupe,
dinner all Iroquois,
our notebook trash in brass &
pocket-wrtg on asshole Ed,
in the living delay of grass & afterwards poems
like a grass that needs mown,
backdrop to just basically abuse,
the switch our grammar-measure (a bar the poet walks into),
poems worn like a spacesuit, really, a public’s forum
on being moved by the moving image,
& by July, just nuns & flood-the-gas,
trash outtakes
now caked like likeness lost asleep,
like a lost junkie or gigolo,
there was this party when they asked the face
(past dust), the flighty/excited dress
like hips in ballrooms in the dream,
down dusty stairs w/pleasant little reaching hands,
strolling space & wearing fashion,
& we were just about to kick the bucket,
buy the farm or cash in our chips
—there was a sequence of unavoidable calamities—
or else it was a grand vocab,
words for a house as in the Blackmur narrative,
as bit & brass & sat beside her w/mail
to the heart of middle-fashion,
each noise a little noisier than the last,
so this was just like the movies,
I don’t know if there was more to the lesson than that,
or explanation really won’t much help,
it’s just the common work we later went crazy for,
Ash, Colleen, Mark, Les—TX hippies were basically Masons
or trying mamas or maybe
just burglars casing the joint,
it’s funny arabesques, MIX-glistening,
MIX-missed & un-graphed,
someone said we should make the shirt of it,
I hear it now as part of the furniture
(what did a mouth lack, asked a uterus)
, but the last line’s exact, the traffic stopped
for these huge benevolent cows in the dream,
this chasing-ticking feeling of shadow speech
the smiling-brinking boy can’t
at first know as his own heart, being taken for trash—
& goes to earth starting to chase me
over my garden aches, singing trash-country
plus maybe saying some Stevens,
this one time some lit trash jumped
to the pasture & all the neighbors came,
like we’re ghosts to one another when we see each other,
why always rocks/ash/river (gland/strata/deposit),
Joy was a baby she lost she’d sing hymns to
for art, as a kid she’d witness it,
she was “a wonderful witness” she said,
or me I’m just breast-beating & reiterate
that lament was a textual omission, absorbed as of a paltry grief
where the poem’s for high-speed chases instead,
drives erratically then crashes through the courthouse,
I eat & toss
along the basic lay of the land
& then something gets me anyway,
a human regard (grass, light—everything),
“the imposition of showing up as a person,”
where improvising lasts like a brief aside,
it’s when you wash your hands,
all nostalgic for some place,
or it’s slow w/o fiction, thick-heavy w/shape, bass w/o
vibration really, just a background of,
a margin-music, bewildered space
as a kind of lightness (space-waste),
the way I sing w/loudspeakers blasting muzak for ex.,
& some sounds that happen in/as a mouth,
a tendency to living,
remind yourself about that,
like how you been in & around in my lns.
as star-life & stupid lasting poetry,
like the pasture spring, the name-deep classroom
plus just plain loving yourself,
the past explains the present, so for you I’d
wash ashore to hear
where desire/pleasure lurks, oh no,
maybe my best understanding of clarity,
that it was precisely what’s difficult
for me to paraphrase,
cats writing tail-chasing sonnets, & us wandering home, oh,
or I dwelt w/o board, I sat by shady years & ages,
I was born & born by the tented river,
mamas trying after mamas, like life—
oh no mamas (bonneted) stop into a church
& the interest goes, like romance,
some last parenthetical word
I only survive as a reference
to weather, just some shit they threw in, so go tell Bill that’s the measure,
the con was always small (men talking,
free-tongueing Whitman),
or just easy idle chatter aft an aesthetic
easiness in wild Jacques,
a ride on the pleasure horse,
“the non-rapport” I’m over but
that ride in back was sung amplitude,
the name a numb chest coming up
through our pores as bare geological ruin,
great natural
land removes & pastoral greatness parting
on a garden pass, garden scenes where assistants come,
I tell John today how hist. was never much
my thing, just some words like stones the body makes,
glassed down by cameras, mammoth paintings
abt speech as prepared into little earth,
& at the same
plowing grove he’s shooting horses, isn’t he?,
a mustache w/asthma, & earlier
the mind was serious, northerly,
down trees’ years, some basic hitch-eagle
traffic, sticks in place/in pasture,
so thankfully the day wasn’t a loss,
got pizzas & cigs & pistachio gelato,
& this was where the cattle drove the runner,
some trailers shone
up a coast as cost, cast of
the last of body-physics or
ceaseless hungry lang & animal-ship, Homer’s
(superlative) horse, all dust & mouth-pass, all brain
just past the last corner, stand & snort into the wood,
if I let my focus blur I’ll catch their passing forms,
& friends in the grass & mock-
breath, exact as jokes in
the pleasure experiment (for ex.),
to be lately as mine (the love salutation),
a younger person might’ve been more easily seduced,
the come-on saturates then house then grasses,
late-neon workdays, gas & simple double conscience,
the breakfast wig & dinnertime wig/aperitif,
our pronouns plural as a kind of wish
re-assembled on the lawn,
in defense of making just music, as if
buds whistle as dresses moving, as rush
of our/their hearts out there, last prairies grown still over
old/other taste (sought solutions in prose today),
so what if ppl are aching ports, bad lang & living grassland
+ telephone voiceovers, the life past that
of northern plants in view,
& I’m still on a linguistic coast where preachers stop preaching,
Henri’s prose is pure form, better than asshole prose
on assholes, is maybe all I’m getting at,
Christ carrying you on a beach
& in the poems, too: the last 2 lns are a musical awkwardness
& cloudy tribute, there was a want
passing as pleasant aloneness on an open beach
where the tempo refracts, ask around & you’ll find it’s
little tokens of a frenship has gone & us
awaiting updates about breaks in the case I always thought,
how Teresa’s more prayer than precedent,
a spiritual proposition or passage in discourse
(was Julia’s point tonight)—not altogether
elastic, but a real group shirt-shape, waving
folded/feminine prints & country heads—October was
mannered “bastard” poetry & poem waste,
the grass produced in the grass, happy hiding
blind, blasted love underbrush—the glow in anyone’s grass,
pitched wrtg as off-heading space, so I begin all human
like saying “don’t leave” or
how I got from Jean that the mystery’s public
w/the audience as collaborators, the performance
like the way rent transforms a visual art,
there was a family on music-drugs & when they did
German operettas
a counter-bass rang! & chilly wind!
, everywhere I strug & pass & you’re not there,
I’m trying to just casually walk past
art’s intent (publications, gossip),
so here I come w/friends to street topics
as kids sounding an overdub,
all glimmer in glass
like tried-on hats & shades, when tramps made
thriftstore poems in Boulder it was hilarious,
then the Dollar Suite was a station composition,
I break a brick to tease the concert out,
you have words on cassettes, & living w/wrtg as
a country-assed phrase (“lo-o-ove oh love let me”),
the love-magic in Johnny’s attitude as elegy-
to-be-here or something,
then the house lightning, workhorse-in-the-grass or grass
as character in a Scalapino novel,
the beach itself working as nurse or caretaker,
at the rest-stop ppl asking for rain, on turnpikes
& in ln at the coastal passing plateau, so that
I can’t tell am I okay or basically furious,
& the car’s dead oil’s LS again,
babies crying in joy class, hands above shopping bag,
& cop cars passing up over / organized bus-
waiting, flopping like push-grass,
pillows, light
b/w waves &, reading, rows
of surface panic, teargas blasted
/cruising & angry milling
street ppl,
Les Others returning as
le vibraphone, before a heap of gas across a roof (pronounced ‘ruff’),
last night just like that 1 day, 4 times to rehab class,
when Julius was buried just for looking into something
(aft walk at dusk to find bats),
the present become hands in the past, like these
basso clubs, 3 horns/3 bass w/
some added controversy (where’re the hits?),
shortish stanzas in switched-up elegies,
the solitary dream-image of boyish running / pastoral cuts
dressed for ruin in kid tests (for LB’s passing today),
so hold this easy day or two
then read memory as soft casein, or pleasure b/w forms,
a water-repellant mass we ask little of,
the central dread or impasse
(same as use)
& the show’s just talking to us,
we do viewer sequences as social kids,
& when we speak of voice, voice was a real
image-of-life refrain, how I experience pain, for ex.,
or music where llamas sing in the ditches,
sham dolls or how this tragic elder-love creates an ordinary impasse,
we ride bikes to render the romance of persons, superior sex-fights
or big adolescent passion for fixed sleep & passive night, a pastel beach
in popular dark & glassed-in stillness (pride?) now flat
behind clouds,
& life gone out all down around me like a worn sun,
keeping even spigots on bathtubs preoccupied,
love-acting, basically, to reverb on the train,
say living is fussing, but please don’t crowd
that last life in & so-called time in film & western shirts,
8:00 nude flag desecration w/ Bob,
then a souvenir-based laughter,
we mark the holiday w/ withered times & classic anarchism,
big taste, image of tiny TVs ending in sparks,
a struggle towards lap-center as if
I’d, like, lost the confessional, been flung far past hope
-less musing speech I used to could bear, was a pro
& sometimes I’d sing the gone field as abrupter age began,
& words left out like washing,
was prolly just this greeny evidence
that the birds were as yet un
-remembered of an eye, case fabric & nothing-nothing,
me in a corner slouching out past
talk I think, glass looks & missing amazemt,
old ash I frequented in a bookstall
to catalog (basically) couplets, the lord grooms
prose as sextets, but the phrase
that crossed Roseanne was just trying out being pleased of poetry,
they lean in & the poem pronounces
the cloud—structural ash of
light walking as measure,
so corruption’s so easy, it’s all abt. adding uneasiness
against easy fear, sleep
downstairs as the track winds down,
easily & fr confusion of meaning
in the 2nd chorus, clash of
needs & new mamas we leave,
we sing flat measures in the clash, we outlast our own appeal,
so my favorite track’s fascination, warp as method’s
easy-wide course, okay?, fitting well in the changes,
an easy read like this one I’m also in the mood for,
so I’m out cold, touchable as such—fog’s, um,
somewhere moving faster than us,
as invisible archive of fog parties,
occupied as maps, tangles of
the look the beasts do, the ‘oh
my cryin last,’ or under some flowy nets, the passengers
asleep behind the latch, heave breasts in sleep, “I don’t
mind the mood you leave—& I climb on up on occasion,”
to no repose of gridwork—
foreseen like points among a loss,
easier on voice-wounds I brought & nursed,
so for a minute we cast shadows w/Friederike in the pasture (still in song)
as symphonic order, or at least
that’s how it went in the bananas dream,
halfway asleep thr just anything,
all my connections / bright on every thing
to appear all done
& pleasurable,
grass-like, a room picked-up of Polaroids,
& the great familiar breakfast of, say, rose flowers,
lowercased Charles & something still so pleasure-dirty
in your walk, in sleep, but you asked abt. need—
the wool, the tree, the phrase,
the flesh-place under: these monastics,
whereas other ppl miss the country
& me I’m still pining over these crying-disaster wars,
pleasure’s silent hum’s just heartbreak,
a para-tense of the masculine
or the romance of bright warm days, breakfast,
heat pinning us down as passers in a street,
the music lasts & fades in close-up
so I’m uneasy beneath a formal
exile fr. ease until I basically give up & feel something anyway,
“Ocean Bird (Washup),” the shed where we change
thr. ashes fr. leaves,
earthen grasses nearby,
we pass the days as speaking cameras
w/ notes on viewer-biography,
so the price then’s just our ugliness, trashy novels of
composure pleasure,
harsh light on occasion of practice
in the poetry of some asshole,
on view at the pass, the color
over-passing the view,
in facets in grass, like right alongside it,
& cattle in the film all deathless now along hard work,
as legs at rest,
I wish I was a scrap of wind, hot smoke, breakfast
w/ ideas in space like loudness’s last finale,
I feel it as an outline of our separation
where the day begins w/ cops in class,
the flora does a drag diaspora
fr. today to Sat., someone wants to pass an aimless Maine
so fuck the cops & fuck the kid they wanted,
there’s a awareness of boring lit & the strange ideas of boring lit profs
—we cut & dip like youth & cloud sound from past lives
as a little crucifix against the casual case—we go all contrasty
in the filter-maker piece, a globe has
ours as living forms in knitted space,
the din b/w or during class where
we number lg. events as civil acts on love, & then the band’s together
again & attitude is its common theme,
it’s basically just unbaptism, adoration’s pretty long
if not perpetual, as spendthrift of just
co-signed arms taken up
as costume of value in the film, embarassmt upon effort,
the afternoon’s an easy pass,
lustrous ankle on film, appearing tossed (ankle-to-parasol),
the pasture & the pasture-wife, as I look up
was just the funny jokes we meant to be,
pass always on out past the harrow-ends,
my life as animal/trash gesture,
passing before me like a cup, the dim
-inishing rain of thought passing
like dogs, &, like, you & me
was never there that long but
the disaster is I’m just
still asleep on the phone, the pain lasts like hours,
life & power releasing,
& I thought the pastoral a so-called practice creek,
goodbye to a compass, we emphasize friends
& basic storytelling,
visible branch or classic branching sentence
I write up hills as slopes in memory,
the drama figures are tasks in a sea
or a complex of counter-looking as forest preference,
whatever’s left of someone’s coastal crisis,
fr the get-go to be so livable,
the story I was told was objects
staring out as passing-waiting,
before the weather occasion drags us past the visitor,
down glass edge into parking lot,
they’re using words as shapes, errors,
blasting country tunnels like ants,
like warm-ups for just asking for & giving some notes
(the A-side’s ethnography
but the B-side’s
just these natural sands),
the little century’s turned away fr what it was,
we were fibrous as wool & we founded
a body-health, panoramas, say, a written treatise on torment
washing over ppl’s
roll-call in ash, so
Sunday was a lark I was at,
the world where you refuse (beings/plants)
(in youth) (on tape)
, or this version where
we’ve been working fr. (the funeral) home.



CJ MARTIN (he/him) teaches writing and publishing in Colorado and does Further Other Book Works with the poet Julia Drescher, where he published his most recent book, novelppl/practicebk. Other books and chapbooks came out from NewLights Press, Portable Press @ Yo-Yo Labs, Compline, Delete Press, and supersuperette.

Parker Menzimer

Waiting by the Telephone

“No?” Who else might care that “As William James put it
a century ago, ‘Nothing includes everything.’” And that
“the word ‘and’ follows along after every sentence.” And
if you’re reading this, I waited by the telephone; you might
have recognized my outline behind the velvet curtains.
And once you said, “This waiting is salt in the wound.”
This is the romance novel I’m named after (William James
called this “a synthetic scheme”). I made myself someone
you might call when the cherries bloomed at Prospect Park.
I waited by the telephone. And the utterance begins “No.”
And so you said, adding the rest.


That last bit was written in a world where substitutes are
always available. As if between takes, I tend to stand by,
deactivated. To this role I bring my love of cliché,
which brings me closer to what we know. In Berkeley I feel
limited to two positions: loving some unloving marble
and waiting to be loved, recording seedlike California valley
quail scattering. The Berkeley City Club’s disapproving
staff. The winter’s inroads on the mellow climate. My mother
extends a fist of pearly knuckles. Translucent and daily. Am I
her? “Not knowing exactly is something I find fascinating.”


The book of love was certainly plagiarized, copied from
the throats of American birds. For example, I noticed
cryptic arrows beneath your seat cushion: experience,
subtext, and a thank-you note. Everyone, someday,
will regret a word spoken in anger to a child, then die
comparing unit prices in a windowless room. With an
eyeball dependent on the inversion of the original picture.
With a love of the derivative and its interoperability.
In an anagram of some stock phrase, you might recognize
my outline.


Frankly, as someone who feels always trapped in a “synthetic
scheme,” I’ve relied on backward glances. Retinal after-effects.
A love of obedience. As the obviousness of night ironizes
the amorous encounter, this morning, I decoded the sidewalk
graffiti. It follows a sunken, meandering creek, shunted
beneath the city sidewalk. Waterways buried in urban landscapes
remind me of my own childhood, and childhood generally. And
today, once again, “today, transfigured leaves individuate
corruption.” From my position, huddled next to a public
telephone, I make illegible notes on the outdoors.


To my point: I feel alert to afterimages, having stared
too long and looked too late. Now the wet paint on my cheek
seems reflected in the window’s predawn dark. Though it’s said
that the life of a leading man drags the leading man along with it,
I see muqarnas above the wainscotting; fingers loosely
interlaced; Ikea flatware scattered across the floor; red wax
from a votive candle frozen to the sideboard. I’ve wish for this
life to be more like a tessellation, where proliferation
adds nothing that might really accumulate. Wherever I’ve lived,
I’ve struggled to see my own bedroom. Only afterimages
on a painted surface. Then, singing begins: delicately, amorously.


Poem beginning with the line “My own name struck me like a bullet”

My own name struck me like a bullet
Without one particular fault, lacklustering
You should not have apologized, feeling is art
Technopharmacological comforts – ruined, I felt

Ruined palaces cannot but advertise
Their walls, I feel their well-versed blank misuse
You are no comfort at all within your means
And I cannot but feel – amphetamine

Without one particular fault, the Paul Klees
Disappear like a hopeless neglected wink
Docents heavy with particulars
Round the amphoralike stair, starry-eyed

The shockfest survives exegesis
Undeified magpie’d divinization


Poem beginning with the line “I’m sorry Marianne, it may be the altitude”

I’m sorry Marianne, it may be the altitude
My finger upraised, my trolley glamourized
I have a serious nature, brow-beaten, too high
A working knowledge of unwholesome winners
I feel

Nonexcellence, not wholesome, raspberries
Accustomed, unaccounted precapitulation
Microcritters, in Cuba & Mexico I enclose
Dearest Marianne, with joy and misunderstandings

Today transfigured leaves individuate corruption
Invalidators and goofazoids, greying not
Graying at the temples, a diagnosis
En plein air, I take my foodstuffs inside

I seem to miss the season every year
Dewinged, unlanguaged matrimonialis


Poem ending with the line “The corrupted darlings went for a nude swim

Once dismissed, I witnessed Cartoon Network
Circling the celestial orifice
The broken ozone gave a setting
To stage my formless basement play

The ground for opioids to burgeon handsomely
Rebar makes any utopia enhanced
We do know by whose bodies by what lengths
American larpers get deputized

Atilt, in high relief, on the right shoulder
Of despair, more unloaded heavy clips sound
In unhurried air, define the weather
Send us to heaven in a barrel

Save any Tuesday, Tuesday before noon
The corrupted darlings went for a nude swim


Poem ending with the line “The lenses & prisms & the balsam”

The overblunt speechifier watches
Through lenses & prisms, his pewter spoon
Stirring an oversteamed puppucino
I never saw any one idling
So stupidly

I badly want to be counterpresent
An anyman playing unrandom themes
I want so badly to get something good
Done in New York with my binoculars

Did someone put spam in my word salad
A shabby, makeshift, sorry day
I feel myself to be disownably
Watching life through optical instruments

Pale vulgar instruments of every kind
The lenses & prisms & the balsam



PARKER MENZIMER is the author of the chapbook The Links (1080press, 2022). He works as Public Programs Manager at the Poetry Society of America, an adjunct lecturer in the Department of English at Brooklyn College, and an editor of Topos Press. He has lived and worked in New York since 2009.

Alana Solin


My worried floor a ceiling, I am low
& close by. The clock’s four digits
have a reverent sum.

The tell is order given, decoy
pitched by a sourceless wake,
angle pushed through segments,
seeking pattern, settling for shape.

The door becomes a wing,
the room its battered crane,
& the drum a hum.



Memory clenches solid, men clamoring, men quiet like fallen coins. That’s commitment, he insults me. True, I wanted to be everybody you touched at once. I wanted to slam the door open and the gale to pin us both. Life goes on, my quarter sticks in the slot, dream machines sieve fine the soil of your plot.



Where I’m frank, I can’t keep doing this; why the receptor shivers, bears its shoulder against the door. Who lives, who ties up the excess of strings, who welds the circle back into place? Into columns, the words frightened into shape, into prizefighting the press and, hapless, reversed. My foot fused to my rushing mouth. Contained, can’t take it, the gutting against the structure. Lieu of hail untouched by the wipers. And there’s trouble below. Go long.



These landscapes fill to coherence and combust upon exposure. The eye is a doctor, pockets of gauze, unavailable for the foreseeable future. Any figure would recede, a square into plaid, if I could anticipate the failure of my hands. If I could mete out my dexterity, find its average and distribute. Instead, a city on red waters, pointe shoes hanging from a post on the dock, birds reappearing where the stars dry clear. The snake swallows the house, the glue loses stick, the exit is right here.



Preset names rig the pictures together. A tear in the linchpin, its eye gone transparent; why wry, raised voice? The ilk which one settles upon. It’s on her like pollen, like her head on her neck. It’s near her like an adjacent well. The bridge is clear but the air is misty and together they are stark.



Tell me what taps my way

on thousands of rubies
chafed to a surface.

When the weight is enough, where

the face comes off
with pressure, where

the pillar breaks the picture,
why the plan has changed again.

Tell me lodestone to lodestone

the distance I pend, the color
and powder of my streak

when scraped, and
the genius I apple for

to take the apple, along with my hand.



ALANA SOLIN is a writer from New Jersey. She graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2022 with an MFA in poetry. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Afternoon Visitor, Second Factory, Tyger Quarterly, jubilat, and elsewhere. You can find more at alanasol.in.



used to say slough like slow but more
ow, not slough like trough, or slough like slew,
but slough like snuff, like death’s voyeur.

violence or knowledge might be the throughline.
knowledge grasped through violence.

the things i’ve learned: epitome is not pronounced
like tome, but me. what’s found at the base
of the scalp is scorn. secrets are visible beneath the nails.

light is not the only directional. the body is to be
listened to. commands are avoidable.

everything you run from will find you.
what’s waiting for you outside the window
can be found behind the mirror.

if you reach inside yourself eventually you’ll find truth.
the body is tangible but the self is not.

the only thing worth repeating is
everything. last night, i watched myself open
and wished myself closed. daybreak taught me

regret. moonlight taught me consequence.
afternoon heat bled into me, taught me to resist.

water taught me imperfect reflection, taught me slake,
taught me slow. i haven’t learned anything
well enough to pause.

i learn best from the sediment glow
held in my throat. burn. smoke.

the voice of me was born in the coal forest.
the rest of me was born in absence.
i don’t know where all i’ve been,

but i know the names that each place called me.
every definition of till has homed me. land. time.
supply. i’m still learning.


fear and what makes it

it’s not that i’m afraid of dying, i’m just afraid
of what comes after. not afraid of heights, just falling.

not afraid of ghosts, just hauntings. not the dark,
just what’s in it. not what’s gone, what’s left behind.

both everything and the concept of nothingness.

never played bloody mary or ouija. hid under blankets,
not sheets. convinced myself thinking about dead people

meant they could hear you. never stopped believing,
think of them at the worst times. a ghost can be anything

that lingers longer than its welcome, i’ve always known this.

any shadow longer than the light. anything moving
while you’re asleep. anything that wakes before you do.

anything eliciting fear. etc. i’m not afraid of being alone,
just being left. i’ve ghosted and been ghosted and so it goes.

i’m not haunted by memories, just remembering.
i’m not haunted, just feel a presence. it never leaves.

not when i check the mirror and see nothing,
not when i look behind me and see nothing,

not when i lock and unlock and lock my door,

not when i test the knob, not when i check the peephole.
i watch myself weep and know i’m not the only one.

i cover the cameras because i know there are eyes behind them.

when i hear wailing it comes from inside me. when i hear whispers
it’s often my own. when i lose time i know where it goes.

when i lose myself i know who takes it.


my brother; bronzed grackle

here we are again, two sides of the mirror.

i still hear the desperation in your voice as you beg
i still wonder— here, there’s no need for wonder.

i shed my fear like an overwarm coat. i followed
the tether of your voice into the dark sea. we
were two bodies floating. i lent you a life raft

and you took it. the voice from beneath the water
was a stranger’s. muffled by lungs full of what
does not belong. brother, can you swim?

short distances, maybe. when you were young
you filled my lungs with chlorine, didn’t blink.

the coin of your eye like the moon disappears.

nothing to guide us out of the water. brother,
are you drowning? are you wading or waiting
for me to pull you out? here we are, two sides
of the mirror. you above water and me below

or me above and you below and both of us
trading water for air back and forth. brother,
i do not know how to save you. i do not know

where you’re going or how to follow. brother,
here, in this dream, i broke through my fear
like the surface, gasping for air, hands flailing

reaching for you, my shore. and you reaching
for me in the distance. both of us searching
for land. brother, have you landed? how far
must we go to find shore? i heard your voice

today and it came so close to breaking me
out of this dream i’ve been stuck in since
that night you called. brother, i’m tired

of treading water, relaying messages, replaying
the fear that led you where you are. the release
of air into what could hold it was all you needed
and hearing the shatter of your voice, i refused.

brother, forgive me. neither of us know how to
swim. neither of us have webbed feet. enter the
water only in search of what could sustain us.

brother, nothing can sustain us for long enough.

brother, the water cannot hold us, but neither
can the ground. brother, do you know what

it feels like to carry wind beneath you? brother,
you have outran everything that’s ever chased
us and still been caught. brother, does your cage

remind you of who put you there? brother, do
you blame me? brother, do you think about
that night, the water in your lungs and me

drowning in my fear? brother, have you ever
feared me? brother, have you ever seen me

in your reflection and been scared? brother, have
you ever scared yourself? brother, are you there?


after Abbie Kiefer

because my life is unmoored, my schedule is unknown. because my schedule is unknown, my mother has scheduled video visits with my brother during my last two workshops. because my workshops are reducing my credit debt, i have chosen them over my brother. because my brother is in prison, i must choose between him and my schedule. because i have chosen my life over my brother’s, i’m reduced to guilt. because i have never been anything but guilty, this is not uncommon. because i define guilt as emotion rather than sentence, i must acknowledge the distance between my life and my brother’s. because there is distance between our lives, my brother is in prison. because i blame myself for my brother’s imprisonment, my life is on pause. because my life is on pause, i have no requirements. because i have no requirements, my life is unmoored. because my life is unmoored, i am here, i am writing, i am performing the act known as creation. because creation comes naturally to me, it doesn’t feel like a celebratory feat. because i do not know how to celebrate my creation, i discount myself. because i discount myself, i devalue myself. because i devalue myself, i reduce my workshops to their effect on my credit debt. because my credit debt is constantly accruing, i reduce everything to its effect on my credit debt. because i get daily emails asking if i want to raise my credit limit, i am constantly thinking about my credit score. because i am constantly thinking about my credit score, i am constantly thinking about money. because money is needed to live, i reduce the concept of living to what i can afford. because i cannot afford to live, i rack up credit debt. because i want to live a life i enjoy, i ignore my credit debt. because i ignore my credit debt, i choose only credit cards with introductory no interest. because i choose cards with no interest, my debt doesn’t feel like debt. because the no interest period ends, my debt begins to feel like debt. once my debt begins to feel like debt, i begin chasing my tail trying to reduce it. because i am not a dog, i know what to do once i catch my tail. once i catch the tail of my credit debt, i clench it between my teeth, i search for a card with no interest, i open a new line of credit. i don’t know when i forgot my brother in this poem, but here at the end, i remember.


solar system inhabited

planet sickness: stark. a web of scars, a volatile
surface. a year is three days. the sun comes out once
in two years. in a lifetime, ten days of light. life
unsustainable. sleepless, sick, forsaken, lost.

planet health: transient. a habitable
surface. a year is a year, everything is
what you expect. give it time, you will
lose what you thought was permanent.

planet between sickness and health: an unbreathable
surface. fluid in the air, in the lungs. crushing weight. once,
a year consisted of two nights. now a year consists of constant
empty loss. temporary, passing, essential, trapped.



BEE LB is an array of letters, bound to impulse; a writer creating delicate connections. their portfolio can be found at twinbrights.carrd.co

Jared Daniel Fagen


you broadcast
and with
the sickle
of the moon
every night
your light
bisque as
i wallow
the hither side
of an aurora
to us



i speak
you speak
did you
not hear
the trilling
conducting succulence
the serrated blade
giving the gift
of breath
a sheen
to seeds
a sarcophagus
that performs
its haptics
how sad
i was
to miss it



in what
kind hush
has its
beauty held
and does
allow to
listen of
soft hums
the hope for
untold blossoms
enters but
another solstice
to make room
for that same
shameful garden
a wilderness
of wilt
hitherto stalks
my starry
eyed palm



with myself
i lost
my reason
to abrasion
archiving ancestor-
strewn valleys
dimly passable
& cached
the third-
of another
shares my
blood type
after years
of siege
and a western
resides still
a part of me



for the dishonest
the number of
the riot
wielded by
flight attendants
bike messengers
& mercenaries
humoring appetites
for the journey
reach deceivingly
the laughing
the ipse
a minor accident
an apology
looking for
to say
of repair
that would
save us



JARED DANIEL FAGEN is the author of The Animal of Existence (Black Square Editions, 2022). His prose poems, essays, and conversations have appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Fence, Lana Turner, and Asymptote, among other publications. He is the editor and publisher of Black Sun Lit, a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at the CUNY Graduate Center, and an adjunct lecturer at the City College of New York. Born in Jeollanam-do, South Korea, he lives in Brooklyn and the western Catskills.

Eric Tyler Benick

from “fox hunts”


somewhere hidden on the high line

fox has weaponized pastiche

like an x-man or john cassavetes

and can harness the red light of a summer squall

fox possesses the great animal genius

the flemish painters sought in slaughter

everyone knows a fox

in new york is a bad idea

and none more so than fox

who’s gone transcendental among the tulips

resplendent in his raiment of rain

conducting sorrows and shadows

like a lotus of bodhisattva

the wet wind off the hudson

making maelstrom of manhattan litter

fox is a fixed object

stripped like an orange

as an answer to the rain


from “vole clock”


quietly coughing thunder
braised the air of alabama
as the bronze effigy was pulled
from the public square
like a rotten tooth
the third in its likeness
a hat trick of justice
albeit retroactive
vole is a tender artichoke
bleary below a buick
from a bad season’s nap
but fistbumps the air
in celebration hoping
there will be a party
which is a pity
no one gave him the news

we don’t party anymore


from “mothman retrograde”


everyone’s favorite porcine capsule

unctuous mothman takes the wheel

with all their vitamin strength

eyes inert like miami neon

hungry for the insurrection

their dreams black as goyas

a ballroom of billionaires hang

from their own balustrade

and sway in nocturnes

mothman so horny for revolution

they’re nearly inept but who else

to reverse the tidal swells

the curse of federal negligence

these odious engravings of men

on mountains each world

more onerous than the one it survives

and mothman’s seen them all

both as fact and phantasm

every single soldier of art killed

or subdued basquiat became a glove

of money and bob dylan peeled back

his amphibian skin and what happened

to lil kim who could have castrated

an army with her cadence

loaded on long island iced tea

mothman has lost all practical function

and clings to a few explosive frames

of diegetic action because like keanu reeves

mothman is immortal and can leave the sequence

from points a and b to special effects and bad writing

still greased up from the barbecue and blissfully sunk

by benzodiazepine the night is a cherry in their jowl

the rich lights of the art basel soon to be subsumed

by the solid fats of a forced animal



ERIC TYLER BENICK is a writer, publisher, and educator living in Brooklyn, NY. He is the author of the chapbooks Farce Poetica (Spiral Editions, 2022), I Don’t Know What an Oboe Can Do (No Rest Press, 2020), and The George Oppen Memorial BBQ (The Operating System, 2019), as well as a co-founding editor of Ursus Americanus Press, a chapbook publisher. More recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bennington Review, Copper Nickel, The Harvard Advocate, Meridian, Southeast Review, and elsewhere. His debut collection of poems, the fox hunts, is forthcoming from Beautiful Days Press.

Darcie Dennigan

The Pill vs the Springhill Mine Disaster

We walked into the pharmacy.
(Oh. I’m starting with “we.” Oh well.)

I bought the pill. It cost me 3.5 times the hourly wage of the clerk who unlocked the case and handled the transaction. I contemplated standing in the pharmacy for 3.5 hours, so as to better “earn” the pill.

He took my pointless contemplating, my body’s stance as it housed that pointlessness, for worry over the pill’s cost. He offered to split it.

Then I contemplated us standing in the feminine hygiene aisle for 1.75 hours. Would rather have spent double that time alone.

It was his whispering. He was whispering a word. It was one of “ours.” One that hadn’t seemed to exist: the word for children one might have had with one’s lover but did not.

He had coined a word for it. Well I’d asked him to. But I had never, ever requested that he say it aloud at an apropos time.

From the pharmacy, to a cafe–

I had bought the one pill. But I’m a nervous eater. Emotional eater.

I was NOT nervous about taking the pill. It was what was happening across from me that I felt…unable to bear.

At the cafe table across from me he was reciting a Richard Brautigan poem. The one that goes something like, When you take your pill I think of all those people lost inside you.

That was the poem he was reciting. To me. For me? It’s not a long poem. One sentence I think. And yet, the stress that this poem’s recitation by the man across from me was occasioning… I decided to chew the pill. A little mastication session, a small violent crush in the grooves of a molar. A commensurately small relief.

I brought my palm to my mouth to take in the pill. But it wasn’t a single dose. It was a handful. Like a whole bunch of tic tacs. Should I–

I had to. Off his loving look, I popped a good dozen into my mouth.

Down there in my sweaty palm a few remained, and so I chewed them too.

I definitely thought, needing at that point to align myself with anyone but him, of texting Kate: “i’m eating morning after pills like candy!”

He was still there, across the cafe table. How was it possible that the poem was still going on…What’s this poem called, dear. He was asking me as if I knew. I did know and he knew I knew. He was, therefore, asking me to be intimate with him. He smiled. Oh how we both loved poems.

–I gave the title to him sweetly, with chipped bits of pill stuck in one corner of my bottom lip. I hoped he would comment on how pale (powdery!) my lips looked.

Ahh yes. He smiled. Sadly. He was very happy to be this kind of sad. All rollicking in hypotheticalness.

He was not– he was. Repeating the poem.

I picked up the cookie on his plate. He loved sweets and sweetly sad things. I was going to let a bite of the cookie just sit in my mouth. Chocolate chip cafe cookie, rather gooey. Let it get stuck to the roof, let it take away all danger of smiling back.

I was going to nod all the way through this second recitation of the Brautigan poem. Mouth closed all over the cookie so as to better contain my despisement.

This despisement was a huge crisis and I needed to work it out quickly. Only hours ago, I’d–
felt so connected that i’d wanted to have with him a theoretical baby?
why had i been like, yeah sure come inside me?
did i want the male’s experience– the fun frisson of uh-oh?
really, no
why did i invite semen into an obstacleless… reticule
and enjoy
enjoy the idea it was roiling around in there
already had kids, already knew then… what?
something about space and time, how time was an annex to space but with kids there was no
…relationship? — between space and time…?
was it a youth-harkening thing
ugh maybe

One by one the chocolate chips in the cookie were turning into white pills.

It did not occur to me to not continue eating the cookie. Ate the whole thing. (the stress)
By now must have had what? 20? 25 pills?

The first noticeable effect was his head.

I could no longer see around it. It had grown larger. Had become sculptural, a bobblehead that accentuated certain of his features. The haunted sockets. The straight nose reminiscent of the cover drawing on my high school copy of A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.

The mouth on this head had not been constructed to open. Still the poem blared.

It blared from the large head and yet came across as a murmur. He was a murmurer.

The third recitation of the poem may have only been an effect of the pills. The bobblehead began: First the title, then the poet’s name. Then he reached across the cafe table and took my hand, the skin of which was a demurely chalky dry.

When you take your pill…

Parade loudspeaker volume. Yet the delivery was bedroom.


Afraid to open my mouth lest I find out I was eating even more pills, I nodded along to the poem.

I nodded. My head now also huge. I could picture what my own benevolent smile looked like when stretched to bobblehead proportions.

Another natant mound of bitterness in my mouth. Somehow three more pills were there, melting.

Sweet love, I asked, can we return to the hotel?

Gigantic nodding all around.

After our nap I knew something might still be different. Nearly 30 pills, maybe more, all in a few moments… Perhaps my uterus itself would be languishing between my legs on the hotel sheets.

Or it would be the city’s landscape that had changed. The streets covered in a dusting of hormone, pedestrians’ gonadal activities declining as they waited for the walk signal… And the trees’ remaining leaves– it was November– would be the little foil peels from each pill’s mini blister pack…

But I could see out the window from the bed. The trees had dead chlorophylled matter, not foil. There was no pilldusting of the streets.

There he was, lips very close to my ears, murmuring, murmuring. My uterus was still inside. It was him between my legs. All was the same.

I keep thinking about the word “and.”
This and that.
He and I.
Space and time.
                   and                    are what he had wanted to name our hypothetical children.

Days and weeks. He was uncircumcised. His foreskin seemed to have a slot, as though for small coins. Doll coins. It was not a leap from there to pills. I pretended to fall back asleep until he actually did.

When a man recites a Richard Brautigan poem to a woman who is no longer a teenager, little progesterone pills pop up everywhere. Mushrooms after rain. A law of nature.

All I had to do was reach my hand beneath the pillow and feel for three more white pills.

There they were.

I put them one at a time into his coinslot. Like a little jukebox. One song, three pills. (inflation). Maybe his penis would grow as big as his head had. No matter which one I played he was going to say it was “our” song.



DARCIE DENNIGAN‘s manuscript Forever Valley was a finalist for the New Directions novel prize this year.

Stephen Ira



STEPHEN IRA is a writer and performer. He is the author of the chapbook Chasers (2022, New Michigan Press) and the zine This Zine Has Everything (Victor Mature Memorial Press, 2023). His poetry and prose have appeared in Poetry (Chicago), the American Poetry Review, DIAGRAM, Fence, the Paris Review, and the Poetry Project Newsletter.

Joel Dailey

for Milos

Even the dawn here is self-congratulatory
Tuesday the counter-insurgency begins
Here’s to the extinction of all ilks
Semiotics w/semi-automatics
Megadoners pet dog owners
Disambiguation of trees
Or is your brain ok?
Shiver me pundits
Multiple guest
Tripod Elvis
Par is 13


for Scoots

So the working life of a plastic bag is 15 minutes
We are stuck in the Autobiographical Phrase
@ the intersection of Formalism & pjs
The paparazzi face the wrong way
Is unprecedented or car dented
90% of the game is ½ mental
Willows weep cafeterias
The Mechanism yawns
So much to delete
All wires down


for Ludmila Novikov

Atomic Fireballs
Fossil fuel propulsion
The very air
Long shot predictions: 2032 will see a Rottweiler elected President
Viewless wings
Speaking of the drivel, tongue & groove
A mishandling of documents
Optical delusions
Weighing the options on a not-so-grand piano scale
The milliseconds left



For every entrance an EXIT
Yes to spontaneous eels
All joking aside we debunk the non-existent cushy
Formica calamity
The semi-annual Fraudster Surge
The extended butt call
Who knew in walking not to walk but to sometimes run
As every fact turns faucet
Bidirectional hair
The Deep State demands another tweet
Incomplete fraught
Control remoto headbanging robots break camp outside DC come dawn
Broadly speaking, amphibious



JOEL DAILEY divides his time between New Orleans and Toronto. His most recent book is New Details Emerge (New Books, 2023). From 1983 to 2021 he edited Fell Swoop: The All-Bohemian Revue, which has since morphed into SWOOPCARDS, a series of letterpress poetry postcards.