Samuel Nathan Breslin

I’ve got a lot on my plate right now, what with fires burning a perimeter around the edges of the city and smoke drifting in. And I’m in my own movie. Sometimes my movie is POV of my hands preparing things against the smoke that drifts in from the edges to my home in the center, and sometimes it’s a medium shot of me stuffing socks in the cracks of my Victorian windows against the smoke blowing in from the burning edges. It turns out that an apocalypse film can also be a realist slice of life and it turns out that some realist slices of life are apocalyptic.

I’m in the movie again. I’m benignly narcissistic. My movie is both POV close-up and 3rd person medium shot. Doug Fir shims I press through grey socks into the unsealed crack where the top and bottom window overlap, wooden knife cuts into cotton birthday cake and then extracted, here’s a slice, and now there’s a space between slices, but what happened to the cake-matter that is now a gap between; some of it is residue on the knife, and some of it is, actually there wasn’t anything removed, it was a pure cleaving, it’s not a table saw, it’s a kitchen knife, it’s an evergreen shim and it’s a sock, and I do it calmly and, not exactly slowly, but as a movie it feels very deliberate, and this is the effect of my life as durational cinema. Normal actions feel deliberate, so it makes me feel very in control when I’m both the movie and the audience, the victim of smoke inhalation and the protector of my home, wedger of socks into rickety wooden windows and when I pause briefly, small break in the action to smell and realize that some of these socks are a little dirty, though my facial expression indicates that this is normal and ok, but it gets tossed into the laundry basket, this is a major event in the scene, an action break in the action, a departure from the normal, which was hands at window height wedging socks into cracks, then turn around sock toss into laundry basket gets your heart pumping and you’re glad when I turn back to the window to use my wooden wedge tool again, evergreen triangle sharp and pressing. Evergreen triangle wielded as tool, siblings of which burn at the edges, causing smoke, historic wind event blows smoke inward, will industry be affected, will residents lose power, will this be a hit film.

 
*
 

I have too many pairs of glasses because of the clarity that I seek. I once had clarity with one pair but I lost them, and so got another and saw clearly again. But then I wanted a different look so I got another, because what good is clarity through a pair of glasses when the world looking back at me gets an unclear vision of who I am because I have glasses that don’t look quite right. Through this pair I both saw clearly and felt clearly seen as the attractive glasses-wearing person I felt myself to be. Then I started getting headaches while driving and looked at things in the distance wondering if I saw clearly, questioning if the thing itself were clearly seeable, especially lit signage on storefronts whose edges always seemed blurred. And then one day I could not see clearly a cactus in my house and I thought, well some cactuses cannot be seen clearly, this cactus is obviously out of focus. But objects in the world cannot be out of focus. Non-screen visions of things are always in focus, you are projecting your own inability to see clearly onto the things around you. Blaming the goddamn cactus for being out of focus. Through certain old windows the world warps and becomes unclear. Smog softens the edges of buildings downtown and the cruise ship emergency docked off the port is so large that it makes my head shake a bit and I have to turn away, because three thousand people on one boat is tough to imagine clearly, where are they all, I can’t picture them spread throughout the entire ship, speckled into rooms and in bathing suits on lounge chairs and lined up holding plates for the buffet, I can only picture them all together near the top deck pool facing me and looking up for a portrait, yes, this I can see very clearly.

 
*
 

I might start setting the physical scene of my anxiety California Sunshine. Blue sky, six percent cloud dapple, white long thin cloud like punctuation gone tired so lies down in the grass, pastoral comma nap time, this might get sexual, this might get sheep-herd roaming nearby and my dress rides above my knee because I just lay down and it’s an outdoor picture so there’s no one around but me and my herd, you know?

Blue skies against November. It’s been raining so we feel like we deserve it. Blue skies and lying down outdoor sexual punctuation clouds as mentioned, telephone poles also present, lots of them, all over town they stand tall and straight and this is what I don’t want to talk about first thing in the morning, over coffee one tries not to notice only the most dick-like things on sidewalks. But telecommunication has changed and our connectivity is no longer exclusively draped over the outstretched arms of vertical PPs towering over, but power runs along them and there’s no changing it, even though when winds blow heavy the lines break and spark, igniting things below and causing smoke (if what below not already hot with the embers that burn inside of us, which usually not because here we all cool down that feeling when we watch tv at night). What if we put eyesore wires underground as a non-phallic alternative to big dick arms outstretched forever holding power lines.

-Why do you see the city only through sexual metaphors?

-I don’t know. I’d rather not.

-Rather not what? Rather not see it that way or rather not talk about why?

Rather not see it that way so as not to have to talk about why. Also, not all metaphors, also see the city through sexual facts. Sometimes walk around and it’s all people with genitals covered by clothing. In the locker room it’s people with genitals covered in towels, or, if sitting with me in bubbling hot water, people with genitals covered by bubbling hot water, or when walking up the steps holding the stainless handrail (which is nasty, soap scum spotted chlorine speckled fogged up for the heat), when walking up the hot tub steps out the jet bubbled waters they’re people without their genitals covered and I’ll look. I’ll look the same way I look when they are covered, and if they look back at me like, over the shoulder look back at the harsh chem waters from whence you came, big butt shoulder looking slip your flip flops back on, I look away before you catch my gaze, nice try, I will not be caught, I’ve got too much at stake.

The city is a sexy place, but maybe not a place for sexual encounters, I’m not really sure. I might be more content just to look at people’s clothing and know that deep down, underneath all that clothing are their parts, are all of our parts. The rest of our bodies, mediated by hip hugging layers of fabric. Welcome to California where your body will be protected by denim, wool, linen, cotton, leather, nylon, silk, but also, glass and plastic on your glasses, steel and rubber and upholstered foam sit comfortably in traffic, stainless railings steady your light-headed hot tub soaked big butt, and stainless encasements of lithium ion batteries and mother boards and HD retina screens through which we see the world, and glass outlined with wood, holes in the house, windows; windows to the outside world from the safety of our homes, literal windows to the outside world, in which there are blue skies and telephone poles, but mostly I look into other people’s windows.

Carmen’s cooking pasta across the breezeway. Paul’s cleaning dishes in his underpants, I witness crotch scratch. Frosted glass turns yellow means there’s someone in there. I take my shirt off facing the street but shut the blinds for the rest of it. Hairy person holding laptop plops down on couch. Smooth skin person with long hair sits on bed and opens laptop. Wool sweater person sits at table typing on laptop.

 
*
 

If I am a two-inch memory foam mattress topper then you are a quilted waterproof mattress cover filled with down-alternative and we both get mixed reviews online especially about cooling properties. Some reviewers think we cool properly as advertised but still others say night sweats continue, or even have started for the first time, but one reviewer isn’t sure because of recent onset of menopause so who knows where this heat comes from. Maybe airflow blockage via this new surface on top of my mattress, though there are holes in the foam, though patterned quilting separates the down into squares and allows valleys of air flow through, but sometimes these things just don’t work, or they just don’t work for certain people, or certain people make specific body heats that get trapped in some materials and not in others, which is why our reviews are so mixed. Because some people will airflow right through my foam holes and some people will airflow right through your quilted valleys and others will get hot and be angry with us. When we’re both in mattress form we’re nothing to each other. Mattresses don’t need other mattresses except for flat stack pillow top to pillow top rectangle extrusion via pile on the mattresses for princess. Or for compare and review. So we either have to trade off being mattresses so the other as a person can lay down on it and see how the air flow is and if night sweats stop or start, and if soft enough or too soft or not soft enough. I expect that though I have strong cooling needs—because I am hot boiling bile inside—I do not have strong cooling properties. Or we can try both being people at the same time. Go through the same test process like, do we sleep well together, do we make each other hot when wanted, can we cool each other down when wanted, is contact supportive, can I let your hip sink deep enough so you are comfortable. Mattresses are covered in cotton sheets and skin is leather.

 
*
 

I feel bad in the following ways: I am hungry, I have a stomach ache, and I am absent minded because I stopped drinking coffee in order to soften the edges of my mind and body, the edges of my body being a rectangle sadness that is: top edge across my chest, two sides down the rims of my lungs, bottom edge span hip to hip like a belt on a paper doll 2D person. I will fuckin flip out at any moment. But you won’t be able to tell because bile boils on the inside and you can’t feel the heat until I start talking about it, and then I might start crying in bed and you’ll be like, Damn babe where did all this heat come from and do you like it? Do you like all this heat? And I’ll be like I don’t know do you like it? Do you like that the hot fire bile boils inside of me? Do you like that I am a paper-person? Is everyone 3D but me and are their rectangle sadnesses actually prisms that go back depthwise into their cavities? No I am 3D too but while you make your prisms in the manner of extruding your front facing rectangle back into your bodies, the rectangle on my chest is one side of a triangular prism that comes to a point behind my spine. One triangle sits below my throat and another sort of encompasses my bladder and when the sun shines through me it makes rainbows. So I stand with my back to the southfacing california windows and because of blue skies again, rainbows shine onto the white walls around my bed. My studio apartment is also a prism and one of its faces is carpeted, which, I know, you’re like, too bad, it would be great if it were hardwood, but to me the carpet makes it really quiet, which is why I prefer this room to the kitchen.

 
*
 

Today I woke up and everything from yesterday was still true, and nothing new was true, meaning nothing happened while I was sleeping that changed everything. Meaning nobody texted me in the night. So everything, based on the evidences I have accessible to me, is the same.

External Evidence of Non-Change: white walls bedroom, wooden windows through which blue skies again, black wires across which power the grid still.

Internal Evidence of Change: I was sobbing in my dream because the child I was taking care of who never knew her mother bought a hot-dog for another motherless girl and I felt so proud of her and just heartbroken that my girl, my troubled teen baby girl has had it so hard motherless childhood but knows how to care for another troubled kid, her friend. My daughter is thoughtful despite her sadness of having only me: attentive caretaker yes, doing the best I can and feeling increasingly responsible like, though I know I’ll never be the mother she needs I can put her near what other mothers I know to serve as surrogate, if not a whole Kentucky of them then all the ones I can think of and this, maybe, is the first actual selfless thing yet in my lifetime, to divert mothers’ attention away from myself and to this child, to deflect mothers’ attention down to the helpless babe in my arms. Or maybe it’s not selfless and it’s just what being a parent is, and actually has its own neo-being-cared for like, all these people who love my child and surrogate (verb) motherhood are also caring for me, because though it is she my taken-on baby who gets all the care I also get the attention because when they come over to help they all hug me first and ask how I am and then we care for the child together.

 
*
 

If you don’t want to read then watch tv. I don’t want to read. I want to watch tv because it’s like hanging out with people who can’t see or hear me and who are flat, and who fit inside a rectangle with a thirteen-inch diagonal. It’s like watching a romance occur without having to strangely glance in a restaurant at an engaging couple. I mean an engaged couple. I mean a couple so engaged and laughing and speaking with good timing that the sun sets on fish dinner. Night Falls on summer bay. String lights come on and oncome sexy. I look at them over the shoulder of my restaurant friend and think in my head back to the time they first met, then look down at my own fish dinner, upon which the sun has also set, and look up over the shoulder of my friend, and then look forward into time when tonight they kiss. Cut to a shot of their butts in underwear middles about to touch, maybe hand grab cotton round. Cut to mid-winder argument and they fight honestly so you know they’ll make it, they let their anger out so it doesn’t stay wrapped up and turn into something else, cut back to my own fish dinner, spiced carcass pointing right to left on the white circle like its 3:45 on the fish plate clock, did I just eat a whole fish, plus grains and a salad. Pan up past the salt and wine center table, friend’s chest behind rosé. Pull focus pink wine yielding to patterned blouse, skin V point between her breasts gold necklace, Diane is across from me at a nice restaurant again, Diane got the fish too and picks at it still, clicking her fork and knife separating super small pieces so a bone couldn’t hide in them. Cut to Diane-Vision looking down at fork and knife inside the white circle, on Diane’s plate-clock the fish is just a background image and her hands wielding tools mark time, knife comes in from the lower right and fork comes in from the lower left, on Diane’s fish it’s 4:40.

 
 

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SAMUEL NATHAN BRESLIN is the author of two self-published chapbooks, Parts of the Passion (2014) and Poems about Poland for Americans (2010). He is a co-founder and curator of Light Field, an experimental film festival held annually in San Francisco, and recently received an MFA from The Milton Avery Graduate School for the Arts at Bard College. He is now living in Queens, New York, working on a currently untitled book-length manuscript of fiction, from which these pieces are excerpted.

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?

 
 
**
 
 

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.

 
 
**
 
 

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.

 
 
**
 
 

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

 
 

**

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.

 
 


 
**
 
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.

 
 
**
 
 

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.

 
 
**
 
 

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.

 
 
**
 
 

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.


 
 
**

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.