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Author: Corey Oglesby

(The Outskirts of Agnes)

 

That we sag with many weights

and buoy ourselves with the word—

although the word fails its captain

 

many a time and to/for no avail—

we of the lesser rank do toil:

take a town like Agnes

 

with its fine people and subpar soil,

its metal gate and burnt red brick

with a clutch of blue-gray lichen spin.

 

All night a mayor’s words echoed in my head

and wanting this language myself

and others much like me

 

found the outskirts of Agnes

and I swear our clapping came like rain.

There were stairs past heavy doors

 

on shrill hinges and finally a window

looking out over a town,

still Agnes, perhaps, all but lights

 

now and our eyes tracking out to lights’ end

where water lays a black tarp—

where captains look east and want,

 

out of the blue, their little red-red.

from Void and CompensationFind more by Michael Morse at the library

Copyright © 2015 Michael Morse
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

Whale

 
He was nice and I was nice and when that is the case what to do but consolidate.
We bought a house.
In the years before we’d bought a house I had dreamt of a house and had loved dreaming of a house and then we had a house and I missed my dreams.
So I resumed them.
—The real estate agent stood on the lawn. She was my mother and she was also, in the dream, a large bird. It was a strange neighborhood, set deep in a valley. I kept asking my mother, the real estate agent, why the hills there were so blue but she kept trilling Copper plumbing! school system! and I knew she did not want me to know the answer.
—Out back was a deep well and we were rolling a rock over the grass to cover the well so that the kids would not fall in and the rock was very very heavy but in the dream I knew that, in real life, the rock was no bigger than my husband’s eye.
I tried reading Jung.
On page one, there he was, wishing to remember only when the imperishable world irrupted into the transitory one.
I said irrupted aloud. Then slept.
—We were frozen in the yard of a dollhouse. The yard was turf instead of grass. I was the wife doll in a lounge chair. The husband figure had a rake in his hands. The kids were also dolls and there were bubbles around their doll heads and they were posed as if trying to pop them. Then the yard suddenly exploded and in my doll head I thought, Run. Then it was later and a toy boat was coming to collect our bodies from the scene.
—The real estate agent’s throat was blocked. I knew that she had tried to swallow sperm and I knew that it was whale sperm. I was behind her in the Heimlich position and she took my arm from around her waist and pointed my pointer finger up at the sky where the sun was bright and high. I knew even during the dream why I was dreaming this and it was because, in real life, my mother has a high and bright voice.
—A homeless man was at the door of our house. It was my husband. I opened the door. He wasn’t speaking. I spoke. Everything I said was sounding flat. In the dream I told myself, Say something not flat, say something round. I looked over the man’s shoulders out at the round blue hills. I said, Boo hoo. I remember in the dream how glad I was that it was a dream because I had said the wrong thing.
The day after that dream, someone knocked on our real door.
I did not answer. I was pretending to read Kierkegaard.
A moment later my husband came in from the kitchen and asked me, Who was that at the door? And I said, It was you.
I said, I think it was you.

from Madame XFind more by Darcie Dennigan at the library

Copyright © 2012 Darcie Dennigan
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

Banana

 

The sunbeam is first redder than crash,

Then a yellow, loud and dumb.

And if there is a nose it is soft-shaped

In the business of still-young foes:

The skin dangles from your hand,

Leading comedian, o kingpin with a punchline,

Who finds the fruit is laughable (as we do) and creates

All the to-do, then slips on the lit step up?

 

Delight is near you, a limp epaulette.

A chunk gleams in your hand: the edible guts of geodes!

A dollop of wet polar bear fur, a fur beneath

The skin! Reversible, like a curse, a logos,

Children’s children,

Pounding bright on the sleeve.

from Great Guns Find more by Farnoosh Fathi at the library

Copyright © 2013 Farnoosh Fathi
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

Plain Greek

 

Fate’s wind can be cold it is true.

What is the wind to you

But an impression of wind

 

A phantasia

As Epictetus puts it

In his Handbook

 

A fact you must weather

Like any other fact

Such as daylight adultery taxes

 

And naturally death.

Face the facts.

They do not matter.

 

What matters is the use

You put them to.

The Iliad consists of nothing but facts.

 

Epictetus wipes his nose

And explains this

To the students growing restless at his feet.

 

Fact prompted Paris.

Fact prompted Helen to follow.

If fact had prompted Menelaus

 

To count his blessings

In the face of Helen’s absence

Not only the Iliad

 

Would have been lost to us

But the Odyssey too.

When the wind blows

 

Do not long for warmer climes.

Epictetus puts it

In plain Greek.

 

Wipe your nose

And do not accuse God.

If all is fire

 

You may warm your hands

By thrusting them here

Into this burning book.

from The IrrationalistFind more by Suzanne Buffam at the library

Copyright © 2010 Suzanne Buffam
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

Boarded-Up Shop

 

Boarded-up shop. It gets dark, then it rains.

The paint on a mallet’s not fated to last.

It was always coming and now it’s here.

 

Boarded-up shop. In Chicago it’s hot.

A bubble in the glue and a crease in the tape.

Don’t mingle germane and irrelevant.

 

Boarded-up shop and a six-leggèd rat.

Chattering robin jets into a tree.

The humiliated aren’t as receptive.

 

Boarded-up shop. Dangle the car.

The dripping slush’ll slide off in one piece.

If you say it’s obvious, it’s never.

 

Boarded-up shop. It’s May before June.

Shaming your students to teach ’em a lesson:

They learn something—not the lesson.

 

Boarded-up shop. Beer bottle sweats.

Curtains get sucked up against the screen.

If it’s not your job, then whose is it.

 

Boarded-up shop. Scissor the top:

A pound of coffee in a metal bag.

They don’t care about the minds of their enemies.

 

Boarded-up shop. Little walk in the rain.

Softcover book with thick plastic pages:

Resisting concession to nuance.

 

Boarded-up shop. The buzzer goes off.

The driers emitting a droning B flat.

Hello, officer handing out tickets.

 

Boarded-up shop. How dare you not know.

It was always coming and now it’s here.

She always “knows what she saw.”

 

Boarded-up shop. Clouds rolling in.

Wind makes the leaves all point the same way.

No need for an investigation.

 

Boarded-up shop. Severe terror rain.

We’re all on the shoulder, hazards going.

Doesn’t matter what anyone meant.

 

Boarded-up shop. Kick the lights and lock up.

Rolling seascape in every direction.

Horizon with green and black waves.

from Try Never Find more by Anthony Madrid at the library

Copyright © 2017 Anthony Madrid
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

“if trying too hard is to be”

 

if trying too hard is to be

unfeeling and thankless

if it is hard where then

 

do you hide your kernels

where then devil do you

release your sheets

 

where then ornament,

where can I trust my eyes

 

where then lying

are you light, are you down,

are you dolmen, liquid

crown

 

where then

your power to charm

me your power to see me

 

I awake in affair I again

in a day I remote and de-

mote I flurry and fathom

 

I gust up in fathoms

as in a net

I bring you fathoms

from Pink ReefFind more by Robert Fernandez at the library

Copyright © 2013 Robert Fernandez
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

Fragment

 

The blue officer corps wearing military caps of cloud stands in line.

From a bottomless pit they lop off the neck of night.

Sky and trees layer atop one another and seem to be fighting.

The antenna traverses above, running.

Are the flower petals floating in space?

At noon, two suns run up the arena.

The rusty red emotions of summer will soon sever our love.

from The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa Find more by Chika Sagawa at the library

Copyright © 2015 Chika Sagawa
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

No One Here Gets Out Alive:
The Life of Lee Harvey Eliot

 

Something happens. The idea is

to keep people from catching on fire.

“It smells so nice in here, like it’s

some kind of castle.” Why else would I

have scattered my favorite propositions

in the path of some angry loser,

destined for at least a couple of minutes

to fill the day with mist, turn trumpets

into a series of abstract paintings

called “Abstract Series”? The part

about mythology is finally over.

What replaced it nobody could say,

but giggled shyly, like a young

farmgirl, and proclaimed to his class,

“Flee to the mountains, for the end

of all things is at hand!” He was acting

as a safety valve, keeping the two young lovers

from becoming overheated. Good luck!

Eliot had a secretary named Pound,

Pound a secretary named Mussolini.

(Capsule history of the twentieth

century.) Well, come on, I mean

some of my best friends are modernists,

or were, before their education fell upon them,

devouring hearts and livers, leaving

bare ruined backpacks behind. The more

there is to see, the less there is to say

about it, except for maybe, “Look at the view,”

NO ONE HERE GETS OUT ALIVE:

THE LIFE OF LEE HARVEY ELIOT

“I fell on account of the pretzel,” or

“The wine I wanted to buy

wasn’t there any more.” Meanwhile

an interminable series of internal conflicts

play themselves out, like single trumpeters

along a winding Spanish alley. It

promises to be an arduous night,

and then it finds its promise

impossible to keep, but at the last

it finds its promise, writes it in flashes

across the pale pink sky:

Flee to the mountains!

The end of all things is at hand!

from The Waste Land and Other PoemsFind more by John Beer at the library

Copyright © 2010 John Beer
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

In Hell the Units Are The Gallon and The Fuck

 

THE unit of wine is the cup. Of LOVE, the unit is the kiss. That’s here.

In Hell, the units are the gallon and the fuck. In Paradise, the drop and the glance.

 

Ants are my hero. They debate and obey. They can sit at a table for

Eight hours, drawing. They spot out the under-theorized…

 

Have some. For they are as abundant here as the flecks of mica in the Iowa night sky.

What are twenty-sided dishes of fancy almonds? What use jewels?

 

He is Kālidāsa. YOU are nothing. Or rather, you’re a tray of stainless steel cones.

Meanwhile, one opens Kumārasambhava to rainbow-colored crystals pointing every which way.

 

Nice try. You’re a tank-builder but you refuse to build tanks. And so now you are to be watched over

By three heckling birds, evilly named, discomfiting to children.

 

¡Fijate! you’re to be watched by three fowl, commonplace in Florida. Even these

Three hearty objectionables: the blue tit, the woodpecker, and the swampcunt.

 

I’m one to talk. I’m so twisted up, my only hope is Salena. My physical therapist,

With the eyes of Athena—and the hands of a destroying eagle.

from I Am Your Slave Now Do What I Say Find more by Anthony Madrid at the library

Copyright © 2012 Anthony Madrid
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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