Katie Naughton

debt ritual: vector

I bleed in the direction of something
(what would it mean to take this literally)
or: my blood moves in the direction of something
(what thing?)
my blood is a vector
(motion and direction)
my breath is a vector
(motion and direction)
a conveyance
of pathos meaning disease
a production of suffering
a path through the city
all night a practice
of listening: the foot step
the distant highway wet from snow
overlaid: the church bells
their own echoes and self-
simultaneity and what I
whistle I think I hear
also distant I will miss
church buildings when they are
gone a roof falls in
the wind they’re made of
money of course but also
something some people gathered
and remain a place
made of money you can
go into without money
some kind of light
you can wrap yourself in
and call it yours
this time of year every
one wraps themselves in lights
its easier and more difficult
to see whose house is whose
when someone lives upstairs
and someone else down
when they light their houses differently
my blood moves my breath
in which direction?

 
 
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debt ritual: savings bank

the building on the corner of 96th and Amsterdam
a temple in the Greek idiom
pillars set down directly
on the sidewalk
with presidents (Jefferson):
Save and teach all you are
interested
to save: thus pave
the way for moral and material
success
(Lincoln):
Teach economy. That is
one of the first and highest
virtues. It begins with saving
money.
The 1920s took
down two tenements to
put it there. Now it’s
a CVS and a private
preschool. I could say
some obvious things
about tenements preschool
tuition and who might save
what. I could say something
about the instructional
ambitions of bank walls
American presidents
and the Grecian ideals
of political and economic
American architecture
like was this place doomed
to be an expensive preschool
by the tone of the inscriptions
over its doors.
I guess the advice is
basically sound to keep
carefully what you don’t
need today and let
it grow. I could add
the bank was the first
to welcome women,
immigrants, that it served
wealth then maybe
against wealth that it was
done in by high interest
rates by bad investments
by the 1970s. I could say
something obvious
about what the wall doesn’t know
about 21st century interest rates
or about need and excess
about precarity or that
my life-long poverty-line
grandmother’s advice was
if you have it use it
for what you are
interested in

and instantly feel
I need to defend her
nevertheless near-
complete and necessary
frugality. The insistence
on virtue not accidental
the poem’s already there
in the words on the corner
in the lobby now full
of light medical equipment
and snack food
a place we might have
walked to bought
some small un-
necessary thing.

 
 
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debt ritual: originary objects

Running in the cold the ritual
of what remains essential:
the body and its care the
necessary conditions of making
sound my footfalls and hard
breath-vector cars of course
when it’s cold like this sound
travels differently and scent
it’s quiet and more pronounced
the sound the smell the city makes
meat searing and the particularly
upwardly mobile lower middle class
1990s scent of one kind of laundry
detergent an expensive version
at a regular supermarket. I’m thinking
about originary objects the already-
retro orange madras beach towel
I thought would always be what
a beach towel was the weave
of silence and echo the steep valley
made of the lake in June.

 
 
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debt ritual: drift
(owing a debt to Roland Barthes The Pleasure of the Text and Lisa Robertson “Time in the Codex”)

an idea passes over the city
the lake wanting to be with us
the cloud shade of desire
the void blush accumulating
on time and its architecture
like other ideas I memorize
or which make themselves in me
and in which I choose of necessity
to live an idea makes good
neighbors a good storm a good
way out for someone I am way
in with someone hearing
their teeth and breathing
hearing the orthographic noises
of their thinking I am way in
with the city the way it isn’t going
I am not going with it
something layered on
the surface something stupid
and intractable about me
a text a building someone else
some other time was here
of this same hasty ritual
and its drift what gives
and what is given back

 
 

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KATIE NAUGHTON is the author of the chapbook Study (Above/Ground Press, 2021). Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Bennington Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Jubilat, and elsewhere. She is at work on two collections of poems, “Debt Ritual” and “the real ethereal,” which was a finalist for the 2021 Nightboat Poetry Prize and the 2021 Autumn House Press Book Prize under the title “Hour Song.” She is the publicity editor for Essay Press, editor and project manager at the HOW(ever) and How2 Digital Archive Project (launching in 2022), and founder of Etcetera, a web journal of reading recommendations from poets. She lives in Buffalo, NY, where she is a doctoral candidate in the Poetics program at SUNY – Buffalo.

Orchid Tierney

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ORCHID TIERNEY is an Aotearoa New Zealand poet and scholar. Her first book is a year of misreading the wildcats (The Operating System, 2019).

Emily Martin


 

NOTE:
“hear the shaped scream of duration three times: / the same, the same, the same again” are slightly altered lines from Rachel Blau DuPlessis’s poem Draft 17: Unnamed.

 
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EMILY MARTIN is a writer and teacher from Brooklyn. More of her work is here: myemilymartin.com

imogen xtian smith

 
 
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imogen xtian smith is a poet, performer, & sometimes curator living in Lenapehoking/ NYC. Their debut collection, STEMMY THINGS, is forthcoming from Nightboat Books in 2022.

Jack Jung


Hammer

Feeling extra technical O most lyrical,
Almost an extra-terrestrial terra-forming fanatical,
Caltech engineers cannot calculate
Tactically weaponized nuking of my rate
When it’s so freaking fast I’ve already passed
What predetermined fate cannot emancipate,
All according to the procedure similar
To illegal contra-banding of brands and pedicures,
And the ecumenical dogma of an animated corpse
Anticipated in the walk-up to the final boss is
The territorial nature of a brood mother in her cage.
So, this sentiment sanctifies
(Don’t wait!) all the ecclesiastical particulars
Of proclamations barked out and sentimentalizes
Ozymandias’s onus.
Each piece a collateral collective bargaining
Memorandum of acts thrown off verandas,
The ghost of post-it notes, my Miranda.
Word-orgy scoured of pathology
A thousand-time fold of bad iron can’t fix.

 
 
**
 
 

My Jawbone Looks Like

This mandible of manatee in cryotherapy—
Theoretical donkey jaw perhaps a Samsonite,
A carry-on for sky-scorching jet-fuels,
Israelite with superhuman God-given strength—
Are the bags made of minerals that some son ate?
Silver manganese antimony sulfides
In steel-black monoclinic prismatic crystals.
O good chemist! With all this hard science
Can we cook pure amphetamines,
Anti-memes of aging mnemonic devices?
The mathematics required are already breathless.
A mouth falls off reciting hyped-up charges,
The iced jawbone melting down its DNA.
Without rest can it make a speech?
This new crystal skull of prolonged absence
Euthanized by the blind,
Who got his mojo back with Rockstar hair
Pushing the pillars and Delilah dead—
Dust rarely settles on his destroyed arena.
A heavy trunk holding two bodies,
Loving your barber is a dear price to pay.

 
 
**
 
 

Orion’s Song I

Snarl, Artemis. Let’s play net-less tennis.
Miss me with that harlequin, this hot list
Is for you, O queen! I’m putting on a mask
To win prizes and get a rise out of my huntress.
Bob my head if my game’s lame: I’m a shameless
Hairless body in your palace’s airless lobby.
The moonbeam is your finger reaching me
Even without the sonata. So Imma make
A hot bread with my stale baking soda,
And bet that an oven mitt is good enough
To disguise a maimed hand—
Same as the golden goose though it laid no egg.
See, my Santa sock is filled with black coal,
A couple of million years old since it was gold.
The Moon was buttery smooth once, too,
Like the Sun, as if it had tried hard to be one.
Yes, I’ve hunted all the animals—
This is how our ballistic tale ends,
My belt’s lights going out one by one.

 
 
**
 
 

Orion’s Song II

Are you hissing at me, Artemis? Come here
And kiss me if you are going to bury me.
Hell of a thing to ask your daddy to do
After all that has happened between you two,
Making stars out of me to consecrate.
Let’s look at the astrolabe together, baby.
The strobe lights will not stop until the dance ends.
It’s ended? Give me my lance and shield,
Sancho, and my horse! This dutiful errant-knight
Isn’t going to sleep after all his errs
But labor like an ant still working on his colony.
O baloney, Christi Corpus sanctimony!
What is illness to my destroyed body?
Each time I fall I will go to sleep!
Don’t let me wake up as a heavenly body just yet
Or with an arrow in my back. Be gone, Cupid!
It wasn’t your shot that killed me,
But every act is arguably a cause of another.
Dear lover, I am still getting over it.

 
 


 
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JACK JUNG is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was a Truman Capote Fellow. His translations of Korean poet Yi Sang’s poetry and prose are published in Yi Sang: Selected Works by Wave Books.

Mike Corrao

IN TUNNELS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

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MIKE CORRAO is the author of three novels, MAN, OH MAN (Orson’s Publishing); GUT TEXT (11:11 Press) and RITUALS PERFORMED IN THE ABSENCE OF GANYMEDE (11:11 Press); one book of poetry, TWO NOVELS (Orson’s Publishing); two plays, SMUT-MAKER (Inside the Castle) and ANDROMEDUSA (Forthcoming – Plays Inverse); and three chapbooks, AVIAN FUNERAL MARCH (Self-Fuck); MATERIAL CATALOGUE (Alienist) and SPELUNKER (Schism – Neuronics). Along with earning multiple Best of the Net nominations, Mike’s work has been featured in publications such as 3:AM, Collagist, Always Crashing, and Denver Quarterly. He lives in Minneapolis.

Emily Barton Altman

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EMILY BARTON ALTMAN is the author of two chapbooks, “Bathymetry” (Present Tense Pamphlets, 2016) and “Alice Hangs Her Map” (dancing girl press, 2019). Recent poems are forthcoming or appear in La Vague, Bone Bouquet, Dreginald, and elsewhere. She is a recipient of a Poets & Writers Amy Award and received her MFA from New York University. She is currently pursuing a PhD in English and Creative Writing at the University of Denver.

Aristilde Kirby

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ARISTILDE KIRBY is a being constellation of given human category [poet]. She has published this [Daisy & Catherine (Belladonna*)], that [Sonnet Infinitesimal / Material Girl (Black Warrior Review & Best American Experimental Writing 2020)], & the third [Daisy & Catherine². (Auric Press, Summer 2021)].

More contemporary affairs include this², [Mairead Connect Radio Club: Point A, a radio play for Montez Press Radio], that², [The Envoyelle: Notes on A Conditional Form, an essay on poetic form for Montez Press] & the third² [Crush Blossom / Crash Blossom, an essay about the global cut flower trade during the pandemic for Illiberal Arts, a group exhibition at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, curated by Kerstin Stakemeier & Anselm Franke.] She has a master’s degree from the Milton Avery Graduate School of The Arts, Bard College.

Scout Katherine Turkel


Weather

Upon the earth
I make orderly

Shapes. I miss the
Piles. Each

Attempt to clean
Halfhearted.

The weather is
Fucked. For years

I hate the wind. I
Follow suit, I suit

You best. I fear the
Lines come

Too closely. On weekends
The bureaucrats

Sift the sea
For hard plastics

Of various density, and
Similar size.

The figures
Disfigured by

Waves.
The fantasy

Of holding them
A shared leisure.

 
 
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Sasha

The sight of
Cruel rain.

Exquisite display
Of spheres.

Mouth composed
Of scabs.

An eye for the
Wet window.

The sun slotted
Against time.

A curtain quilts
The light.

A good friend takes a
New job.

A good friend becomes
An administrator.

I am not
Too sick.

The device
Records well.

My mouth
Still hurts.

Together though
Not indoors.

The air does not
Move there.

Flowering stalks
Arrive useless.

Today is wrong for
My hair.

The sign I
Most control.

It is so wet
Out here.

Propagation will
Come simply.

Drawers full
Of shears.

I have not seen
Sasha today.

That is a
Pretty name.

Our administrator
Stays online.

She administrates
The chat.

Our administrator
Catches lies.

My face is
Still wet.

Sasha minds
The scabbing.

In the light my
Mouth hurts.

Sasha sews
A shade.

We sit beneath
The hedge.

We go outside
When able.

Out here there is
No administrator.

I do miss
My friend.

I guess we have
The hedge.

I assume we are
Still recorded.

The sun slights
The inverse.

The outdoors is
Too vulnerable.

My lit mouth
Now hurting.

We pocket
The seeds.

Sasha says some plants
Hate water.

Water hurts
The leaves.

I understand what
That means.

He has a thing
I want.

Only his name
Is feminine.

The curtains for
Shade indoors.

The administrator detects
My wanting.

I typed it without
Really thinking.

I turn want
For seeds.

We go outside to
Play rain.

When allowed it
Is easy.

Is this science
He asks.

 
 
**
 
 

Isabel

Common items in the common plot.

A meadow is some grass in place of water.

I resist the urge to google.

Nature is well organized.

You shouldn’t say that here.

I’m taught that common means to share.

It can also mean to burgle.

The water is still evident.

The ground harbors some sound.

By ground I meant earth.

I lie less in photographs.

The expression of my chest beneath wool.

A genuinely deranged landscape is the front yard.

It was so dark and they told me I was wet.

I don’t know how they knew.

They know everything, though.

Though in this case they were wrong.

It doesn’t matter I couldn’t prove it.

I don’t fuck them anymore.

Collection day comes and I have a basket now.

I’ve lived here long enough.

Trusting Isabel with my binding.

She carries my basket sometimes too.

She shows me the block function of some buttons.

I wrap everything now.

Why wouldn’t I.

How slight it all becomes.

How reduced in expression.

Isabel has inappropriate shoes for the wet earth.

She refracts my vocabulary.

The stupid moon is too bright.

The full neighborhood hardly cares.

The streets are patterned offensively.

Isabel takes my picture discreetly.

She knows the angle I prefer.

My hands are most visible.

Sorrel and strawberries where a shoulder was.

Basil treated to the wool of my chest.

She refers to me with this image only.

Thumbing the ground/earth and bound up.

 
 
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Saint Gianna

An arrow
Of gulls.

Here as near
The sea

Now. A
Pink pill

Each
Morning.

My poems
Become so bare.

Routinely
Kept

Floorboards
Stained

For this
Season.

I stop
Bleeding

With a
Failure

Of pronoun.
When I

Start again
It is not

Of will. Evilness
Tints the

Moon. What’s left
Above

At least. The
Internet

Was designed
For reading

Reviews of
Medication.

The colors
Are perfect

This cycle.
The ground

The perfect
Sky. I keep

My poem
Bare.

Mimicry
No longer

Pleases me.
Survival

Is common
And also

Pleasurable.
I see

In terms of
Ovals. My

Figure being
Two. The day

Having one.
In hand

Another
Example

Not unlike
The waves

And their
Concentric

Manner. I am
For the first

Time overcome
By an urge

To swim. I find
It sickening

Though not
Yet excessive.

 
 
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FMK

The introduction of a
Supervising order. Ceramic
Flower arrangement in
The vase. Real objects
Patrol the outdoors. I
Learn of shapes in the
Schoolhouse. Where
Else. The floor precedes
The wall projects
A roof upward three
Men constitute a
Set of people who go
Together. My insecure
Method rejects touch by
Way of demand. Where
It happened to my neck
A circle. My arm
A ring. That is they
Instruct what is.


 
 
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SCOUT KATHERINE TURKEL lives in Berkeley. Scout’s writing can be found in ZYZZYVA, The Spectacle, BAEST: a journal of queer forms & affects, and elsewhere.

Yongyu Chen & Jes Smith

The first page of the giant Snow Novel (roast)
(for Roberto Bolaño)

(The shapes of the letters… of your poem. I haven’t read it yet. I just rewrote it. The letters in your handwriting. Your hand shaking and speaking-acting on the world. I just re-wrote it.) Hello, prairies of tiger-grass, hello. The sky-of-your-prairiness is spreading over me, as I bathe. The softly purple light-of-that-sky, is singing me to there, as I bathe. If we disappeared, language would bring us back. Your poems would bring us back, all fuzzy like tiger-ghost-prairies that we don’t know how to spell. It’s ok. Just use the letters that will lose enough light. Just enough. Just enough for us to write the Snow Novel… which I think is reaching towards prayer-as-naming. Whenever you write is time-without-writing, like wings braiding themselves into the bookshelf, the bed, the postcards-stuck-to-the-ceiling, the geometry of the walls, the old blankets from Beijing. Can’t you feel itall calling out to fly? And it does, it flies, it snows, until the postcards flip away your heart. The Snow Novel grows wheels but there’s no door. It drives itself through my bathroom likea ghost in love with bathwater, with being-unforgivably-changed. Remember those shapes? They were letters as well. You could have read it twice. You could have stopped time to look at me, eating the string lights like they’re all absolutely one. Shapes-of-letters, letters, form, the perfect immaterial. The myth ofactuality, riding alongside me through miles of pine trees, laughing as the sun rises right fucking before our eyes…

 
 
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Ending, longing, ending again, roasting (roast)
(for O)

Confrontation, at the end. Being saved, at the end.
A wide, open field, mustard green. Us… writing poetry
in it? Us, writing cold water. Writing halos
on our own bodies. It doesn’t have to be us.
If anyone wrote this poem we would fly through
their room. Their tiles, sticky with orange
blossom honey, all poemed up…. Their white
ropes (hold this) tying them to the Soft Materials. Rain,
warm snow, huge (hold this) praying hands. It’s like we
took the life-dreams of all the crooning ducks on that
lake, theory-of-colors-ed them into all these (hold these) life-dream-feathers,
and wore them like crowns. What happened to the
honey? Oh. The bottle fell from my hands so I could
hold the rope, hold the praying hands. Now,
honey is all over my legs, all over the floor. If
I fell asleep who would turn off the lights and then
turn off the dark. There’s honey in every
self-knot on the rope. I didn’t lose
it all. I only lost my gaze-unto-terror of it all. I only
lost my driving-like-the-first-maverick-of-daisies of
it all. I want to reach out, just reach out, into the
light-yellow breath of routine and pull you out of it. Your
wide open arms (like the field), your simultaneity-with-me,
your belly full of images, like a panther. There’s a
way I know I can do it, I just need the spirit of calling-
out to call out. I just need the spirit of flying to fly:
Well, if flying doesn’t change the ground, I will.
Well if spirit doesn’t rearrange the soul, its columns, I will.
“Well, if knowing the future doesn’t change
the past, I’ll just have to forget both.”

 
 
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Riding away… roast…

Five shimmering canyons? Now there’s only six.
It feels like the world is growing out of
the world. I really… have never rode away. I’ve been
there. I’ve been there, singing. I’ve been there, reading
your poetry. And then the dream where I forget
how to read, one word at a time. Oh. I’m in
my bedroom & the sheets are gone. The bed is swaying.
It’s like… someone rode through here to leave little
persimmons behind. I’m throwing… you off the
balcony, as we write the third poem. Turns out,
we’ll never have to finish it, but we do. That’s
why I’m throwing you… why you’re flying… why
the poem flies after me to catch you. Who
will pick us up? I’m hiding in the freezer
while you turn into light, into everything you
want except it’s seen from the perspective
of light (& the curtains are white, so white
it’s summer again.)

II.
The bridge… we’re dropping tea leaves off the bridge
and laughing. Why are we here? Like, here here I mean.
It has something to do with the pure
wings of a story, ya know? It would make the
water fold us back into selves we never were, hair
so wet we don’t know which of us is underwater and which
will live forever. Like… really forever, ya know? I hid
everything — the old pears, the mirrors, the sound so
that now you can hear me. You can hear me empty the world for you.

 
 
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YONGYU CHEN is a PhD student in Film and Visual Studies at Harvard and JES SMITH will be a physics PhD at NYU’s Courant Institute next fall. They met as undergrads at Cornell, which is where they started writing the snow novel. Their collaborative work has also appeared in New Delta Review, Eachother Journal, and Cornell’s Marginalia Review.