Skip to content →

Author: Evan Williamson

After Philip Johnson’s Glass House

It could be air, a seemingly postless porch on a ridge edge in Connecticut.

Grounded by the too-wide dark brick cylinder within it?

Low clump of cabinets to the left

standing alone, no walls to be attached to. So

freestanding but not free.

Huddled.

As if round-backed, they’re bent against the sky.

With everything exposed, they might find safety only

in that, and in their reddish, homey-colored wood.

But the corners are sharp, right-angled.

There’s no hammer beam or sally in the house.

No gusset needed, balk. If there are sleepers, they’re sunk.

Only the cylinder is curved, only that

having anything to do with what might bend toward imperfection.

Anatolian cuneiforms etched into it? —a cylinder seal to be rolled onto

lake-sized sheets of wax intaglio, a communication thus

entering the mind? But the ancient seals are a little bit

bowed, this isn’t, smokestack shadow cast across the scene—

to scare off anyone who might approach

(as if they’d see it!) a room-sized house hanging in thin air,

banks of lush or leafless wild shrubs all around and down

the great ridge (for Connecticut)

may as well be in it. Trees erase it.

from EffacementFind more by Elizabeth Arnold at the library

Copyright © Elizabeth Arnold
Used with the permission of Flood Editions.

Something for John Clare

Spiderwort, the begs-

to-be-said: Fat of the summer,

off at the crack of the fat

of the bat. A pair of grosbeaks

feed in a hackberry tree

so lost in it all they have

a sort of kundalini air.

Orioles prefer the goatsbeard.

We watch the slow horses trail

the way Baudelaire, a Frenchman

who followed you through,

watched the clouds: a file

of chestnuts and flashy bays plod

across a meadow, drift?

it seems like hours, head to tail

past a clutter of fallen cottonwoods,

disappear up a cool box elder draw.

Then we watch the clouds.

from UndanceableFind more by Merrill Gilfillan at the library

Copyright © 2005 Merrill Gilfillan
Used with the permission of Flood Editions.

Witchcraft

After being possessed and overcome by the Devil I lost access
to my own thoughts. This meant that in order to recover them
I had to ask question after question of strangers, which for the
most part they couldn’t answer. When someone felt he or she
could answer, I took careful note of what was said and how it
was said, and made a point to request an account of its origin and
development. In this way, over many months and years, I was
slowly able to regain access to my mental life, even translating
it into propositions for public or private use. But problems soon
arose when my intentions proved too elusive for my means to
convey them, which resulted in unexpected deflections and dis-
tortions, and turned my ideas into twigs. Despite this I have
something to tell you. What for so long you and I have observed
together, day in and day out, has been constantly modified by
what we don’t see, leaving one whole side of experience blank.
And now that we’ve grown old, we lack energy to work out
what these dark lanes or vacant areas impart to us. Although the
intellect takes pleasure in exercising itself according to the five-
fold method—listening, reading, grasping, remembering, forget-
ting—there are some tasks that make it bristle. I hereby repre-
sent myself to you as the residue of things that aren’t true. Or
can these even be distinguished? Whose face shades the differ-
ence? Whose memory stores it?

from PlaytimeFind more by William Fuller at the library

Copyright © 2015 William Fuller
Used with the permission of Flood Editions.

Marcus Aurelius Rose

FOR THOMAS

From the five good emperors

I have learned that there were five good emperors,

From the lemon tree I’ve planted

now I know that leaves unpummeled yet will drop,

From the clock, the time, it’s five p.m.,

from the sun the length of day,

From Quercus borealis, the queer names of the leaves

of all the trees,

From burning I’ve learned burning,

from the aster family chickory abounds,

From hawkweed of the colors bright,

from sleeping, of my dreams,

From mosquitoes, scratching, from fishes, fishing,

from turkeys how to run and how to hop,

From erect perennials I’ve learned to reach the shelf,

from my cats to lick the dark part of the tin,

From the sparrows I’ve learned this and that,

from Germanic tribes, to gather thoughts in herds,

From the window blinds, from the sun decayed,

from the heart, a brimming record braised and turned.

from Night ScenesFind more by Lisa Jarnot at the library

Copyright © 2008 Lisa Jarnot
Used with the permission of Flood Editions.

Poem to my Daughter

The sky has, is, one exit, one excuse,

and if I’m dead now that I’m saying this,

I can’t vouch for my transition from life

as having been rough or even evident.

Have I tried turning it off and then on again?

Have I tried throwing it against the wall?

Getting to know you, getting to know all

about you getting the mirror to mean

not only me, and thinking I must look

dumber than I look—dumber, then, than prose—

I walk through the laundry room regretting

getting the weekend done this way, as if

backstage, and say the name of your birthplace

as if I’d lost a hundred dollars there,

which I may have . . . Dear, when nowhere, don’t do

as those of us in nowhere do—just go.

from NightingalelessnessFind more by Graham Foust at the library

Copyright © 2018 Graham Foust
Used with the permission of Flood Editions.

Front

there is something so familiar in what is said

I stop and listen,

a traveller’s monologue of dark moaning trees,

chopped waters,

deserted street corners,

randomly disturbed light,

raised curtains,

doors flung open,

sudden precipitous avenues,

far away dogs brought near

it is insistent

secures my inner ear

we pick up the old conversation

neither of us understands

from The Dark Months of MayFind more by Tom Pickard at the library

Copyright © 2004 Tom Pickard
Used with the permission of Flood Editions.

Kings

The chances are good you were built from kings like these,
whoever you are, so it’s no wonder they’re inside you banging
to get out and then regretting it immediately when they do—and
I’ve come up from the basement with a stack of leaves and a bent
candle, intending to set new rules for accepting appointments,
although not today as I fall back on absolutely no resources, and
even the kings are sleeping or at most paying attention to nothing but the garden’s gradual self-augmentation. Over time they
grow old, die, are buried, to rise again with green eyes, plant
flowers, negotiate contracts, advocate secular liberation, seek
repeal of Section 2 (a), and become comfortable with activities
that are increasingly hard to define.

from PlaytimeFind more by William Fuller at the library

Copyright © 2015 William Fuller
Used with the permission of Flood Editions.

Mess of Blues

an embattled horizon

and a silk storm of subtle rain at the window

I thought was you

packed up and portable

I’m ready to run

I heard a gun at dawn

a fuckwind shot and screeching

what carries forward is love

—what a mover!

sleek hips and hanging loose

can I come over?

I kiss your punches, embrace your kicks

gan on, beg me to die for you

although your love turned toxic

my breath stops when you hurry past

to lock up the chickens, clutching a fag

from The Dark Months of MayFind more by Tom Pickard at the library

Copyright © 2004 Tom Pickard
Used with the permission of Flood Editions.

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.

css.php