Rhiannon McGavin


Hate Mail_final-1Hate Mail_final-2Hate Mail_final-3

 
 
 
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rhiannon5rhiannon6rhiannon7

 
 
 
 
 
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RHIANNON McGAVIN has failed the driver’s license test three times so far. Her work has been published by Tia Chucha Press, The Believer, and Teen Vogue. She is the former Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles, as well as the 2019 recipient of the Fred and Edith Herman Memorial Prize from the Academy of American Poets. Her first book Branches is available from Not a Cult.

Justin Allen

Out of the city

For Br’er Bar and the ruins of suburbia

We meet at Br’er Bar
among old books

pens tied
to the tabletops

notations tangle
in the page margins

We cheers
the unusually temperate night

windows open

the breeze brushes
the dark, plush furniture

We clink and chug

scribble
on the walls

THEY CUT
OUR CHEX
SHORT

We don’t trust or agree with everyone among us

Wine
eases tension
among the numerous
Blacknesses

We accept gradience and argue
about how
things went down

Why should we trust the government?
How often have they actually helped us?

We’ve gotten this far
why not believe in possibility?

Possibility wreaks of the American Dream

Plates of veggies steam

a round of shots

another

as we kiss lovers
and ex-lovers
from across
the line

We have yet to outgrow politics that tell us who to fuck

Many of us
at least

Others refuse categories
eschew
national myths

We question gradience
disagree
on how things
went down

Why should the suburbs have been reforested?

We should have never lived that way

The cities aren’t for the planet
They want us all
in one place

We take our last swigs

It’s 21:20

shuffle in the light air
shut the books
grab our stuff

The streets bustle and
we nod at passersby

a gesture extending
across continents
through generations
to those that mirror us

We disagree
on the demonym
Stateser

on its intention

Are we chasing
another
sanguine
myth

or

are we
after centuries
of violence
becoming
each other?

We don’t trust AfroStaters
Who do they mean when they say “we”?

We don’t all call ourselves AfroStatesers
Revs call us that

Don’t call us Revolutionaries or Statesers
Call us Black

We interrogate gradience
among
our Blacknesses

Those of us
conflicting
sit on opposite ends of the bus

We exit the city grid into a verdant expanse

The road winds
through pine trees

headlights slice
through darkness

We pass
edibles
down
the aisle

Almost there?

We’ve never been to a mall
but older family members have

We exit the bus
and enter the ruins

Trees
bust through
the roof
forest floor
replaces
tile

We’re headed to the end
from where music blares

Birds fly overhead
startled by our footsteps

Drugs mix
inside us

perception fuzzy
like a scrim

Music vibrates
amplifies
the deeper

we go

We’re almost there

Just ahead of us

Just ahead

 
 
 
 
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140 BPM

For Bossa Nova Civic Club

When
The
Work
Load
Got
Us
Down
The
Bump
Of
Bass
Is
All
We
Have
We
Walk down Myrtle
Below the train
Elevated and rattling
Pass bars, bodegas
Check for a line
And check the time
Cuz
There
Is
No
Charge
Be
Fore
E
Le
Ven
And
We don’t get paid
Until next Friday and
Our rent is due
Tomorrow
And our friends and
Our enemies
Are securing residencies
Solo exhibitions
Being published
Promoted and
Our families
Are calling and
Our families
Aren’t calling
And our lovers
Are calling and
Our lovers
Aren’t calling and
Our fuck buddies
Aren’t answering and
Our application results
Are pending and
We
Need
To
For
Get
For
A
Few
Ow
Werz
Why
We
Pay
Rent
This
High
And
Why
We
Have
Three
Room
Mates
So
We
Have
Come
To
Thicken the atmosphere
To throw our bones
Against
The air
To sweat out
Well drinks
And beer and
Drink well drinks
And beer and
Ask
The
Bar
Ten
Der
For
A
Yer
Ba
Ma
Te
With
Our
Choice
Of
Lick
Or
And
The
Bar
Ten
Der
Pass
Iz
Us
The
Bot
Tull
And
We
Gulp
A
Third
Or
May
Be
Half
And
Pass
It
Back
And
They
Fill
The
Rest
And
We
Pass
Them
Cash
And
Head
Back
To
The
Dance
Floor
Where
We
Mesh
Into the darkness
The proliferation
Outward
Inward and outward
Bending and
Elongating
Stretching and
Dampening
Cotton and nylon
And rayon and
Viscose and wearing
In our sneakers and
Wearing in
Our boots
And throwing
And throwing
And throwing
Undone
Our laces
And throwing undone
Our posture
And hunching and
Arching
And hunching and
Twisting and
Sinking in
To
The body-swamp
The breath-cloud
The muck
Fall
Ing
N
2
Ryth
Um
And
Ben
Ding
2
The
Rih
Thum
And
Suck
Hum
Ing
Tooth
Uh
Rih
Thump
B
Cuz
The
Werk
Lode
Gaught
Us
Down
An
Cuz
Wii
Gaught
2
Fig
Yer
Ow
2
Wii
R
Deep
Down
Deep
Down

 
 
 
 
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Grammar

For the island nation of Hatnaha, its infinite metropolis Bat, and my Hatnahans teacher
that could never get me to study

Three people chain their bikes along
A narrow street that teams with foot traffic
Bluish, two-story, cylindrical buildings line
The street infinitely, to the horizon

From the train entrance passersby
Emerge from underground, spill
Into the street that teams with foot traffic
And bustle off in either direction

A calm, pale sun indicates the hour
While no one checks their watches
And one more person parks their bike
Along the narrow street against an inens1

īnens2 line the takukse3 all the way to the horizon
That cradles the calm, pale sun, and a wind
Blows briskly through the narrow street
Where passersby pause to check for rain

follow īnetne4 street-along horizon-to
cradles sun pale horizon topical and blows
street-through narrow bustling wind brisk
Pause check nituksu5-for passersby

Bustle direction-toward either passersby
Stops parks bike person topical another
Street-along narrow bustling inens-against
And governs suddenly street-upon rain heavy

And don’t-have rain-in umbrella I so
Ask passersby I thus find umbrella
Location-in topical thus ask I
Don’t-have snapnanhat6 rain-in I

Search find cover entrance-in train I
Then retrieve bike person topical another
Then retrieve bike person topical another
And speed horizon-to rain-through bikes-on

Scurries street-across cat stray gray wet
Retrieves quickly bike person topical another
Speeds horizon-to rain-through bike-on
Change quickly raincoats-into passersby

Don’t-have nituksu-snīk7 umbrella I
Don’t-have nituksu-snīk snapnanhat I
Don’t-have nituksu-snīk snapnanhat ki8
hamana9 xuk10 is-not smooth Hatnahans my

Regret that is-not smooth Hatnahans my
hamana that dazi11 smooth Hatnahans my
hamana xuk dazi smooth Hatnahans my
hamana xuk dazi skika12 hatnahans kena13

Retrieve bike person topical fourth and speed
Rain-through heavy horizon-to bike-on
Find location-in umbrella thus ask I
Regret that is-not smooth Hatnahans kena

Speed entrance-out-in train passersby
Push speed me-around rough passersby
Announce I that need help I because
Don’t-have nituksu-snīk snapnanhat ki

Stop help me-for passerby one thus
Say passerby-to topical I that
hamana xuk dazi skika hatnahans kena
Speak-could English you thus ask I

Squint they and ask about thus speaking my
Repeat that speak-could English thus ask
Repeat that speak-could English thus ask
Speak-could eknisansi14 nans15 thus ask

Ask thus speak-could Hatnahans you
Repeat thus speak-could Hatnahans you
Speed takukse-tāk16 cat stray gray wet
Say buy umbrella place-at thus ask

Nods understandably and points takuksu-17sēk18
And speeds takukse-tāk and doesn’t say with bye
Look takuksu-sēk I and see snapnanhetne19
Speed entrance-from train and stops suddenly rain

Emerges smoothly clouds-out sun pale calm
Scurries street-across cat stray gray wet
Pause I thus am bewildered humidity-in
And stare down the narrow street leading to the horizon

 
 


 
 
 

 
1 Two or three-story cylindrical stone structure (nominative and vocative case>
2 Plural of inens (nominative and vocative case)
3 street (accusative case)
4 Plural of inens (accusative case)
5 heavy rain (dative and benefactive case)
6 umbrella (accusative case)
7 under
8 I/me
9 I/we regret
10 because/that
11 she/he/it/they is/are not
12 smooth, graceful
13 my/our
14 English (instrumental and comitative case)
15 you (formal)
16 across
17 street (dative and benefactive case)
18 along
19 umbrella shop (accusative case)

 
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JUSTIN ALLEN experiments with performance, writing, linguistics, and the still and moving image to understand our relationships to time, social context, and place. He has performed at Movement Research at the Judson Church, JACK, and ISSUE Project Room, among other venues. He has read his poetry, fiction, and nonfiction at venues such as The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church, Kampnagel (Hamburg, Germany), and Artists Space. His work has received support from Franklin Furnace, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and The Shed.

ELÆ

 
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ELÆ [LYNNE DESILVA-JOHNSON] is a multimodal creator, scholar and amateur mycologist, addressing intersections between bodies, language, technology, and system change. Recent and forthcoming features include Big Echo, Vestiges, Matters of Feminist Practice, Choice Words: Writers on Abortion, &Now, Ars Electronica / STWST, Dixon Place’s HOT! Festival, Performing Knowledge at the Segal Center Theater and The Exponential Festival. They teach at Pratt Institute, and are Founder/Creative Director of The Operating System.

A door via IG @thetroublewithbartleby, or web: http://onlywhatican.net