New Voices of New York
Chris Tonelli, Supplement Editor
Dan Magers is co-founder and editor of Sink Review (sinkreview.org), an online poetry magazine, as well as the publisher of the chapbook press Immaculate Disciples Press. He has poems published or forthcoming in Forklift, Ohio, Sixth Finch, the tiny, Red China, and other journals. Currently, he works on professional engineering books at a publishing company. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.
I am giving you my books. They mean everything to me, and will give you special powers, and will make you happy (even if you read them later).
Stayed up most of the night looking at your drawings, and writing all about them in a letter to you.
Non-sequiturs suddenly tell the truth. If only within the cross hatches where apertures hold this moment in, listening to some music. Hearing some friends.
A gift is not a gift unless you miss it.
Why was I selecting when I could have more than I want? And why take more than fits desire—seeing you. So much time I’ve spent against myself.
Teenage Love Years
An arm of caresses sending me explosions. The sight
is bending walls with chills. You tell me in your sleep
I am nowhere near an estimation. Than boys offering you
something with sleeves. An afternoon is drowsy,
a park with sun and strollers is superimposed
in our room. Music never has an end to itself
reliving that silence during sleep.
An ache relieved in squeezing. The crush
of balconies above people screaming.
A trembling tree is just the leaf. The hand is the being.
When this ends, it will never have an end
in thoughts fulfilling in themselves
the memory of laughing. Envy washes
my carelessness today I see you
latching to his silence. The hand is trembling
that you yearn into his sleeve.
Paige Taggart lives in Brooklyn and is a 2009 NYFA Fellow. Recent or forthcoming work can be found at No Tell Motel, Raleigh Quarterly, Sink Review, Alice Blue Review, Finery, RealPoetik, pax americana, We Are So Happy To Know Something. Other work is googleable.
from Polaroid Parade
I’ve never had so much feeling as when I say right now the world moves for me, and when I say right now the world moves for me, I mean right now. My, my against the salt of what’s right to learn, and to believe and to speak and fall and mean everything. And then the passage gave into the clouds, and the clouds to the figure and the figure to the land. And we parted without hands, without this sky, without this song. We meant cipher and things coming done and undone, we meant supine is the position to be in. We meant the only way to long. We meant sticks in the woods, flames on fire, boughs in the sky, and the cliff with its ominous departure.
Justin Marks’ first book is A Million in Prizes (New Issues Press). He is also the author of several chapbooks, the most recent being Voir Dire (Rope-a-Dope Press). He is a co-founder of Birds, LLC and lives in Woodside, Queens with his wife and their infant son and daughter.
Jack Spicer on my iPod
A beach The sound
the ocean makes It’s New Year’s
And waves passing
It’s New Year’s Mute animals
are singing An island Distance
Somewhere a child’s
first word is uterus The surf
is rough An agnostic audience
The brine in my beard
is a sliver of meaning
The dancing bear A mosquito
feeding The ant I’m about
to flick from my foot
The heart, inevitable A mirage
or human radio hugging
the corners worried about what
I don’t know
To make sense I steal
words from two-year-olds
Legs like splinters
The work wearing
Captured personas Itemized
and weeping Objects falling into
the sea and the sea a self completely
Wash over me
In the days of yore I was a parakeet and my mouth
a river The lights low to see
into other worlds Vessels completing
circuits Ancient conjuring and obscure
geometries Screens so lovely
If I have a true self it is you Blood, slow
Dimensionally agnostic and lost in the loam A gun-
powder portrait or arc that ends with smashing
into glass Skeletons scanned An imaged sky
If you hold me in your head I will be happy
An edible ghost Encoded identity in a cloud
of processors The difference you experience entirely
different Perforated form Sad
appendage The heart, a stencil
Jackie Clark is currently co-editor-in-chief for LIT magazine. She also curates Poets off Poetry at coldfrontmag.com, where poets write about music. Her chapbook Office Work (where these poems can be found) is forthcoming from Greying Ghost Press.
from Office Work
The sound of typing sounds busy. The more furious, the more impassioned. I am locked inside a music note, the way-layers strumming my chords from the outside. Isn’t she such a proper-looking phone receiver. Isn’t she just a cute cage full of white teeth. Never mind it’s morning, never mind the copy machine turns inside. We all have paper cups with lids. We don’t even have to look to be able to grab them. I think this may be the year that that poinsettia makes new flowers; its leaves are still so green, still facing up at those florescent bulbs. Sight-reading for reeds lowly rolls along in unison. It feels mostly like a Monday with a little bit of Wednesday thrown in there.
Today we are making signs. I am doctoring emails. I am copying and pasting. They have all this information they want to communicate with you. “The H1N1 is making headlines across the city and the globe.” They have a plan. I am making this information available to you. “Test your Flu IQ.” I am reducing victimhood one flier at a time. Exercising control over the mythic, guards shielding its wealthy population. The task-force has placed handless hand sanitizers in key locations around the university. They will not be had.
The big band plays on down the hall. The offices with windows only turn on their lights when it rains. My once-removed light of sky. I think more clearly in the dark. Clearest when the music is first at its end. We are all here and thus safe. Some mornings the train creeps slowly through the tunnel and I finish the entire “Talk of the Town.” I don’t know anyone who talks about “Talk of the Town” but I think a lot of people I know read it just in case. I say excuse me, excuse me, then let every cute girl go ahead of me. Fuck if I’m not the most patient and chivalrous person I know.
I worry about self-importance, about keeping secrets from yourself. I feel unnerved when office doors are open but no noise comes from inside. Is it simply day-dreaming, is it the men on the scaffolding across the way. Through the window in a 5th floor classroom I once saw a man standing naked inside his apartment across 14th street. I thought how bold to be standing naked there like that without at all thinking, well, it’s his apartment.
Jessica Dessner is a poet and visual artist. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Sal Mimeo, La Petite Zine, The Invisible Stitch, H_NGM_N, Gerry Mulligan, Nowhere, and Maggy and her chapbook, Wit’s End with Bric-a-Brac was published in 2006 by Green Zone. Her drawings for Sufjan Stevens/Osso album, Run Rabbit Run, were recently on view at the 92Y Tribeca Gallery. Look for new series of her drawings in June at bird in Williamsburg, NY, and October, at Country Club Gallery, in Cincinnati, OH.
Note to Neil Armstrong
Outside it’s like a certificate of proof.
Are your thoughts crippling you?
A difficulty with endings tipped
the boat of light you began with.
Maybe you’ll buy something to kill the fruit beetle.
After the sky settled you begged to be brought down
out of a catatonic vastness, to re-point the bricks.
It must be a great joy to finally break with
your man-child who kicked people all the time.
When you wake up you’re dead, and you think about it.
I could listen to you forever, the perfect time
you keep in your head. Then another voice
was in you, the one from the dedication to the moon landing.
Good for you, flying over the ocean,
you will always find a way to mention the future.
Is that a new beginning on your face?
Turns out it was larger than you realized
having put heaven up in your mind
as a draft of where to go.
But now I’ve lost my own way among these sub-dividers
and windows in the high-rises, fighting it out for light.
John Deming is Co-Editor of Coldfront Magazine. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Boston Review, Verse Daily, POOL, Parthenon West Review and elsewhere. He teaches at Baruch College and LIM College.
It Starts with a Glad Collision
Next they’re all collisions:
random instances of compassion
for death or something living,
the moment of an idea
about something, even naming
the thing: blanket: lung:
sun: person: star: duck:
you there, colliding
with air: a fish.
That supposed blanket
as cotton-folds stuffed
and every inch of flight—
One drawn between mountains
which stand striped in snow—
a separate scrap of pretty. Sprung
in this atmosphere, some persons
identified the need to slip down
mountains at high speeds. Frost
ordered these particular mountains,
these wet, black trees. Mile beyond
mile from his windows and painted
porch. They outlived him; he knew they
could. This was part of the problem.
3,000 miles away, Iceland is bankrupt.
How would anyone, dark numbers
in tow, grow soft at losing command.
Then provide humans with function,
because there’s nothing more
capricious than language: “önd”
as arbitrary to certain of aliens,
but as something to Icelanders
who’ve been around the word awhile,
who received it as children, began owning
önd with distinct associations. Hearing
a tongue one can’t cognize, there
is something to recognize, rhythm
and memory, but the idea of meaning
becomes abstract as it should be,
a language in every sound, nothing,
the perpetuation of self-sufficient code—
Steven Karl and Joseph Lappie collaborated on State(s) of Flux (Peptic Robot Press). Steven has chapbooks forthcoming from Flying Guillotine Press and Scantily Clad Press. He lives in New York City and blogs at stevenkarl.blogspot.com.
from Dialect We Wish Wasn’t
we are not free here
we are free everywhere
as it hides
how the need to help
fueled the hurt
& the need to stop the hurt
leads to more
sometimes I forget what it feels like
what it means to taste
the need to help has led to hurt
& no one holds you through this kind of night
the night seemed a simple thing
this thing of caring
to be verb of body
doer of words
from The Film of the Movie of the Film
& what do you remember of the day? i remember nothing of the day but instead film, a variation of a film with a bad script two bodies on a street before a green screen
the acting got better, the script called for silence
& what do you remember of the day? not much of the day has persisted maybe a sign something about happy hour maybe there was a scent of something
oregano let’s assume it was the hour of dinner & there were two bodies hers leaned into his the stuff of ache dripping from the eyes an eye careening upwards a short appearance of yellow slowly sinking a boy no make it a man trembling with another body trembling against his body the sky salmon-pinked no trees, no leaf, no branch
& what of the season? seasons stay the same in this script same fish swimming in same dirty water same aquariums with same tied-claw crabs
& what do you remember of the day no such music: no sonatas, no churches chiming maybe some lump-throat canaries locked inside a flower shop, gates drawn shut, puddles of left-behind rain, a hand clenching a blue jacket, a man in a blue hood looking away four eyes meeting— then her unleaning a camera angle exaggerating space a fifth floor walk-up, a key unlocking a door a room with no invitation to dance a room with a bed containing a body collasped
& what do you remember of the day only the little bits, two bodies the unforgettable which continues,
DJ Dolack‘s most recent work can be found in Handsome, Fou, and Coldfront Magazines. his chapbook, The Sad Meal, was published by Eye for an Iris Press. He teaches writing at Baruch College and lives in LIC, Queens.
NYC Postcards (From Union Hall)
And whisper here,
here is the problem.
In the bar room
we pour a little water
for our palpability.
The notion is one
that fingers the liquor;
and our letters are silk, sent
read by the night.
The light is one
people who don’t
look like their names
Namaz: Moslem prayer.
Mohr: Prayer stone typically made of unbaked clay from the vicinity of an imam’s shrine.
Amy King‘s most recent book is Slaves to Do These Things (Blazevox), and forthcoming, I Want to Make You Safe (Litmus Press). She teaches English and
Creative Writing at SUNY Nassau Community College. For information on the reading series Amy co-curates in Brooklyn, NY, please visit The Stain of Poetry: A Reading Series (http://stainofpoetry.com) and http://amyking.orgfor more.
The Rising Sound of the Sold-Out Class
I squat over pebbles
by the creek bed dry,
in evening silt, now
summer’s gone. For
every waitress, bartender,
and steel worker,
of tulips. A lizard full
of sun. For every
a bow-tied box
I’d Sunday haunt
the person who sold
your livelihoods down
river, tell him how
in his slippery sleep
you live on rice cakes
and pinto beans. And that
you still write to make
the smile’s face go
from toddler to coal miner,
from orphan to manager,
from alone to penciled in,
if only on the margins
of this planet you steal
from his daily bread.
The Impossible Existence
Yes, I feel aloft. What can I do? I’m sunning myself.
So the afternoon goes: I came by train into this past,
the diseasing dregs of a land inhabited.
With subway hands, I open the earth
by her heartbeat that speeds
through the East River tunnel, up
the spine of my heart, slits its way across
the road’s gristled railways
of what I am to become:
a comedian knocking at your brain’s jealous song.
I want to hold you with the infection of voice,
I want to charm you with mirrors that fall
from the candor my eyes speak in no words at all.
I’ll caress you with a pint of Guinness and cheese
at Black Betty’s off Bedford, where hipsters
strut their immodest limbs and neighbors work
on backyard art with the pity we feel
for every breath’s antelope and fictional setting
our collegial minds revive. Eyes half closed,
Lolita dangles her legs and tethers our lusts
to the drift of pen and guilt
via Nabokov. We swim past the blues
of Faulkner’s Mississippi, layered
in robes of the Hudson’s waves,
splitting New York wide with New Jersey.
The flowers of death reach softly
to our throats in the gulp of Baudelaire’s opiate mouth,
awash in his distant French country and alleys.
I am not the same as an hour ago,
when the Statue of Liberty opened to visitors again.
You see me waver on the other shore,
the Brooklyn country of three million
stewards, immigrants and off-the-clock children,
sand along each lover’s legs,
down the skin of a lover’s shorts. Which came first:
the sky or the planet? The stars that disappear when
hopes rise from the phoenix of sight?
These internal eyes that gobble the flickers
and wing beats pull
smoke from cob pipes and keep us warm
by the marsh of next winter’s frost.
My tan won’t wipe free by then. So for now,
I’ll head back to the place we are seated at the bar
and turn to you, my cheek, your hand’s tiny hairs,
and hear like music the slow burn that ripples
from your infinite follicles, lyrics that chisel
our mortality down the darkened walls
of seedy seconds smoked over by patrons’ cigars.
No one will see us, even when we stand,
adjust our pants, and leave a tip for the waiter’s smile—
but we’ll remember this night always among
the crickets by the sidewalk wisteria
as the roaches pass over our feet, noting in
their scroll work of legs: we too were once inhabitants.
Sean Singer’s first book Discography won the 2001 Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize, selected by W.S. Merwin, and the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. He is also the recipient of a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is a Ph.D. student in American Studies at Rutgers-Newark. He lives in Harlem, New York City.
Crimson enfilade: a person is wounded by the beribboned arrow.
He drones like hot magic. She is cradled by night root ground.
Her eyes are clothed by laurels circulating around Saturn.
One eye has the black ponds of a cathedral’s spire.
Her mint legs in instrumental fabric, stilled.
No one can guess the time from the raisin-colored light.
Occasional echoes, the lime wrapper of jazz, burning like a bier.
Film noir curtains, a mattress floating—a Bessie Smith lament.
Electric bass, face on the stage; violin, styling its own evening treble air.
Tongue against reed, dear constancy, tongue against tongue.
Yes, and the coral has the grey beat of female powder and alarms.
Keep Right On Playing Through The Mirror Over The Water
“all losses trigger all previous losses”
With its blurred field, Air—the trio—throws off its slips and cases
Capturing and preserving traces.
We wait to be anesthetized—
Edging lilac and darkness beyond the double doors.
Beautiful tablecloths, a porcelain stove, a portable gramophone:
An encased man seeks comfort in the casing.
Leather lacquer, damask rose, downy rayon; nailhead trim,
Skirted double camel, speckled canapé, velvet ottoman, a square with legs.
Miles Ross lives in Brooklyn and works early in the morning in Manhattan. He keeps a blog (http://milesjosephross.blogspot.com) of his writing on various topics. He has been published at Muu Muu House and has work forthcoming at bearcreekfeed.
620 on Caton
Seemed like I was drunk enough
And I could close gchat and enjoy The Simpsons.
Seemed like I should have signed back online.
She was online all night.
I am usually in bed or my entire screen is taken up by a movie.
Can I enjoy these altered perceptions privately?
Not trying to cope with something outwardly.
I want to re-read twitter for something I read earlier
The person seemed lonelier yet more accurate than I am now.
I am confused.
Her name was idle for a while.
Then it wasn’t.
Why is she up so late?
She signed off for a second then back on.
I stared at the name and
My face felt weird, like it was being pushed
from within by an inner stillness.
I feel disconcerted when I think talking to people online
Is harder than talking to people in person.
Sometimes I am shy in person.
Sometimes I am shy online.
Why did I even establish this subject?
I was trying to inform you
That all I care about is feeling happy.
Sometimes if I don’t like something
The best thing I can think to do
Is just not even bring it up.
Rowena Kennedy-Epstein is a PhD candidate in English at the CUNY Graduate Center. She is a 2009 NEA recipient in nonfiction and her poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals. She teaches at Brooklyn College.
The window’s quiet night
lets in children who quietly climb
garbage heaps, lemon-ice, plastic.
The time of light overwhelms us
as secret mountains begin to erupt:
taking out centuries, un-clawing the base of trees.
The mountains collapse us in,
sit under an unmoving sky
so they appear nearer everyday.
The tops of buildings embedded
with broken bottles splinter the sun in arcs.
No one knows anything
but what was old and what might be.
The half moon of the window
gaped open a mouth of stars
listless on a roadmap of planets.
Above the flight of birds
the cliffs are jagged rock
that grip your feet and toes.
Count the trees, four kinds of Pine
Nettles to make tea:
one for the stomach, one for the lungs.
On the back of a mountain
the war seems far away, almost impossible
the poverty of saints, the power of machines.
Violence is the way you tumble down
move too far in the sky
how a village loses its water.
Mark Lamoureux lives in Astoria, NY. His first full-length collection, Astrometry Orgonon was published by BlazeVOX books in 2008. He is the author of 5 chapbooks: Poem Stripped of Artifice (winner of the New School 2007 Chapbooks Contest), Traceland, 29 Cheeseburgers, Film Poems and City/Temple. Another full-length collection, Spectre, is due out from the Black Radish Books in January 2010. Additionally, his manuscript Sometimes Things Seem Very Dark: Poems For Francesca Woodman was a finalist for the Ahsahta Press 2009 Sawtooth Poetry Prize. His work has been published in print and online in Fence, Mustachioed, miPoesias, Jubilat, Denver Quarterly, Conduit, Lungfull!, Carve Poems, Coconut, GutCult and many others. In 2006 he started Cy Gist Press, a micropress focusing on ekphrastic poetry.
From “Sometimes Things Seem Very Dark: Poems for Francesca Woodman”
[Self Portrait at Thirteen]
Emulsion a lock
scrapes, a damp
Helix-braided wool, chrysaoran
mane: dilated aperture
hair a camera grows.
[Untitled Boulder, Colorado, 1972-1975]
Upright Jack O’
Rabbit a cage of ribs,
each white like
a comma leaf apron
still sewn to the bad tree
hovers the black
reaches under the house.
[Untitled Rome, Italy, 1977 – 1978]
So this one eats with death
This one is waiting
forsaken in walls
the cornerstones of buildings
Remember I was your dream
This is my light that
that teaches the plants
This one is ready
Where nerves are
This one is going
Harvest the spaces in the net
for my dress
The air herds trees
Hossannah Asuncion is a Kundiman fellow and received an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Her poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Calyx, Inc.; Foursquare Journal; Ghoti Magazine; Storyscape Journal and Tuesday; An Art Project.
Prospect Place and Washington Avenue
Prevented from dreaming, the rats were unable to rehearse their survival behaviors.
Psychology Today, Dreams: Night School, Nov/Dec 2007
A bloody bedspread and a chalk outline of him. I lay inside the trace, hand tossed over my head, leg bent awkwardly. I squint—the aura of ceiling light bright behind his head.
Like this, I ask. Like this?
Andrea Baker is author of Like Wind Loves a Window (Slope Editions, 2005)
and the chapbooks gilda (Poetry Society of America, 2004) and true poems
about the river go like this (Cannibal Books, 2008).
Leave Applaud the Wind that Tore Them
Tuck me in with a sword. Stoke me. Love yourself
beside me. I’m a pool. The geese strum me. Rail me.
I’m bruising. What’s holy? Chores. Cattle and rats are holy.
And what does the body do?
It models for God the short like of a cricket.
Already each animal feeding. The roads are white with salt
but I haven’t eaten. One day I’ll live.
One day I’ll see myself standing, holy, by the midnight mirror
fatter than any form of water.
Watch me open my mouth and you’ll know
that the world has opened.
Stroke me. Or coo.
Sampson Starkweather is a co-founder of Birds, LLC, an independent poetry press. His most recent chapbook is The Heart Is Green from So Much Waiting from Immaculate Disciples Press. Recent or forthcoming work can be found in: Forklift, Ohio, La Petite Zine, Action Yes, SIR!, Anti-, NOö, Pax Americana, No Tell Motel and elsewhere.
My dad made us chorizo,
a good memory is hard to find; I tried
to fly through the TV. My dad scares me.
The house is full of ghosts. The hearts in there
are ersatzbutter. The s(o vs. u)n, a haucked loogie.
Let’s not go in. It scares me, this open
door policy. To save ourselves, we balled up
like rollie pollies in the hallways during tornado drills.
“Darker than the inside of a cow” Mrs. Lawson said
straight to my face.
The “whitehouse” is what we called it. I had nightmares
that should have made me a millionaire. They found me
beneath the Xmas tree, literally. My child psychiatrist
became a household name.
Dad, history buff, hailed Hitler’s missing testical,
what survived the fire, but couldn’t tell us shit
about the flood. In our house there were no dogs
or gods allowed. Yelling is a sign of exuberance. The good son
didn’t get jack, if memory serves. Hallelujah for that.
Another obscene gesture (!@#%$&*) has triumphed. This
is the truth. To question the actual; i.e., I never leave
the house without my lightsaber. The only
snow in Phoenix, Arizona is sin.
Another obscene gesture (!%$#$!) has triumphed, anonymously,
against an inanimate object. The pool water
in his lungs, chemically pure. An heirloom. My security
deposit, my FICA, paid in full—
so I am free
to be green and happy and faithless, and to be
the lifejacket, what the bloated body dreams;
my laughtrack, a dead dj.
Absurdity, you are purer than pool water.
Absurdity, you are enough to put death in its place.
Oh Absurdity, you are too much.
Ana Božičević emigrated to NYC in 1997. Stars of the Night Commute (Tarpaulin Sky Press, November 2009) is her first book of poems. Her fifth chapbook, Depth Hoar, will be published by Cinematheque Press in 2010. With Amy King, Ana curates The Stain of Poetry reading series in Brooklyn, and is co-editing an anthology, The Urban Poetic, forthcoming from Factory School. She works at the Center for the Humanities of The Graduate Center, CUNY. For more, visit nightcommute.org.
Paris Pride Parade
I don’t know what else to say. Really it’s the middle of the night,
and I’m sobering up from too much almond
liqueur, trying to persuade my body it’s
not dying. But it is.
At planet velocity, velocity of falling in love.
She’s right next to me. And I have landscapes inside me.
Did you leave these landscapes in here? Do you know that
I can change the size
of all those memories, just by the power of thinking?
And if tomorrow I jump off, and at the same time
think the jump back, would I not just hang
flying above the bridge-water? Well.
The inside of a rainbow
is brittle. A kind of waiting room made
out of marzipan
& an air of exclusivity,
like watching a marionette theater do a Holocaust play inside the
top of the Arc de Triomphe.
The inside of a rainbow is
peeling from too much
pressure of how
I love death now,
the way I used to love rollercoasters: that she and I
are hurtling towards it & breaking,
age-blooming outward from the imperceptible speed— of all
the things that make me happy, this one is strangest, oh
city of Paris,
body of spring.
Chris Tonelli co-curates The So and So Series and is the author of four chapbooks, most recently No Theater (Brave Men Press, forthcoming) and For People Who Like Gravity and Other People (Rope-A-Dope Press, forthcoming). New work can be found in LIT, SIR!, Sixth Finch, and the Tusculum Review. He teaches at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, where he lives with his wife Allison.