>Issue 20

Yaxkin Melchy, Three Poems

Translated by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo.

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Yaxkin Melchy is the author of Desde el Nuevo Mundo (2006-2016) which gathers his previous collections published in Mexico titled Ciudades electrodomésticas, Los poemas que vi por un telescopio, El Sol Verde, Los planetas, El Cinturon de Kuiper and Safari Turquesa. He founded the online journal “La red de los poetas salvajes,” and is the editor of the presses “2.0.1.2” and “2.0.1.3” which create hand crafted artisanal books. In 2009 he was recognized with the “Elías Nandino” National Prize for Young Poets.

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo was born in Zacatecas, Mexico, and crossed the border through Tijuana at the age of five with his family. He is a Canto Mundo fellow and the first undocumented student to graduate from the University of Michigan’s MFA program. He teaches summers as the resident artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida. He was a finalist for the New England Review Emerging Writer Award and his manuscript was a finalist for the Alice James Book Prize and the National Poetry Series. His work has been adapted into opera through collaboration with the composer Reinaldo Moya. His poems and essays can be found in Indiana Review, New England Review, The Paris American, Gulf Coast and Southern Humanities Review among others. He helped initiate the Undocupoets campaign which successfully eliminated citizenship requirements from all major first poetry book prizes in the country.

Julie Ragland, “Mother of Dragons”


Julie Ragland has been dabbling in art her whole life, and works mostly in collage and mixed media with found or recycled objects. Her art explores the interaction between masculine and feminine elements and often features female figures, images of nature, religious iconography, and fantastical aspects. She lives in Tucson, Arizona with her husband, son, and a legion of small animals.

“Mother of Dragons” is part of a series of 12 pieces based on a recycled 2008 Erté wall calendar. All of the pieces feature the original Erté images, mostly of feminine figures with large headdresses and images of nature, and often different faces added. This particular piece is based on an Erté fashion print, and is inspired by the fictional character Daenerys Targaryen from the Game of Thrones series. Who doesn’t want to have a cadre of dragons to call upon to help conquer empires?

Sally Roundhouse, Poem

SPANGLE

I.

Well / hel / lo / ro / de / o, / much / caut / er / ized / long / as / king / knee / cap / done / un / blessed / the / in / dus / tri / al / thumb. / Them / new / li / po / suc / tion. / You / of / fered / as / ton / ished / eu / cha / rist / and / cried / likes / to / yell / at / kids / af / ter / reach / ing / each / span / gled / street / light. / Of / course / the / per / son / I’m / dy / ing / in / smo / thered / their / night / in / gale / be / tween / i / rons / of / white / fuc / king. / It / was / just / one / love / ly. /

II.

Sweet / ca / li / che, / mean / whi / le, / un / der / moun / tains / shuf / fles, / won / dered / of / wea / ther, / the / ti / dy / horse. / I / lurk / sweet / o / va / ry / as / mol / e / cules, / what. / Cric / ket / this / bone / let, / what. / Mem / o / ry / gets / jun / ky / in / au / tumn, / what. / Whis / tle / or / chids, / ev / er / y / one, / ev / er / y / one, / what. /

III.

You / lung / less / pet / of / my / thighs, / name / one / dy / ing / war / bl / er. / The / jun / ky / sun / out / glowed / the / o / cean / as / her / mi / graine / whis / tled / ec / sta / tic / al / ly. / I / de / si / re / a / fea / ther / un / der / us. / Birds / are / sing / ing. / The / brick / leaved / dawn / moons / af / ter / ev / er / greens. / Each / sky / fa / thers / its / hea / ven. /

IV.

Love / greened / worth / less / from / to / tal / Hen / ry, / once / he / mooned / af / ter / on / ly / light / spoke… / and / more / than / in / an / y / lung, / it / was / with / gold / that / ev / er / y / one / gil / ted / the / dead. / A / tus / sin / un / fold / ed / Hank’s / mus / cles / like / gra / vel / pi / les. / He / li / o / trope / shi / vered / most / an / gel / ic / al. / Gen / tle / men / of / dust / snowed / where / Hank / war / bled / ob / vi / ous / ly. / Mem / o / ry / was / wor / king. /

V.

Oc / ca / sions / in / dust / lurked / some / thing / wa / tered / on, / so / un / fold / ing / us. / I / was / the / bo / dy / where / my / fa / ther / nest / ed / dead, / dead, / his / use / less / kid / sing / ing, / “Thrown / a / gain / whi / le / I’m / dy / ing / in.” / He / but / toned / one / knee / cap. / The / mis / sing / flo / rist / be / came / or / chids. / What / shame / less / son / net / wrin / kled / me / in / the / fuc / king / fal / ling. /


roundhouse3Sally Roundhouse is a poet from Tucson, AZ. You can read more of her work at Hobart and Smoking Glue Gun.

Ken White, from The Getty Fiend

THE GETTY FIEND

Behold The Beast pinioned
on the racquetball, as terrible
in his agony as a mangled cuticle.

KVELDULFUR writhes to absolve
rhomboid wrench aggravated
by hard office chair. He needs

an Aeron but Aeron’s too dear. He needs a jog,
some ice, four Advil, two beers – the formula
once could grow a lost limb back

or a salamander’s tail. A taller desk might
suffice the interim. A taller vice might
tender diversion. Before concupiscent

Tudor upstarts the long-tined dynastic
salad forks of Plantagenet ran red. Now Verizon
works almost everywhere. Kveldulfur’s trilby

punctuates coat tree, raffish with stingy
brim. Most pressing wish? Address
of braided ligament, although how limiting

the physical. As for the visual, how
derivative. Swivels pelvic girdle, sweet-talks
doorframe seam to spine, a single foot

opposes Knoll teak file cabinet – The Beast forthwith
aquiver with concentration. Glassy saline nougat
beads glossy citrine philtrum. Cuff’s kissing row

functional faux horn buttons fans embers
of long dispute with foreign nation
of the present. What about a Spineworx?

A Teeter Hangups inversion table decked
with gravity boots? Or, scotch it, full swap –
a hidden key sentry gargoyle cast in resin?

It’s a Skymall classic. It’s Hollywood Forever
all over Gower. Steady pressure, silversmooth
patter approaching prayer – the incredible force

required of counterpoise – when click, audible
shift, synovial release

[as with all things, temporary].
Behold relief, The Beast suspended in mid-air.

 

 

POST-GAME: THE OBSERVATORY

He was ashamed. His heart’s harangue
infected with misplaced rhetoric, himself awash
in effluvia of pear-husks.

[parks his old Saab 900 where?]

Actually, he was himself half ready to believe
no doubt about it. He had been bewitched, else
how could he have been wangled into such

[engages the slope how? The broad trail: turbocharged. Turbo.]

compromise? This one has neither beginning
nor end – not true; he heard halloos of drunkards
bedevil sweating avenues. Something overturned

[a dumpster? A Mini Cooper? In-N-Out paper cup of ice?]

in every alley. Sin is always the same, a discussion
between parroting mimes over onion soup
and leftover Au Jous. Wanton. His third tallboy
of Hite smuggled from The Prince.

[Foliate streets: the live oaks and wild oaks. The mustached mistresses of Griffith Park]

Kveldulfur swallowed into pixelated trees, such as
they were, not quite as they had been, nor ever
storied endless orange groves over valley’s hillbrow
orange groves reputed once ranging free all the way
to redwood groves of fern-rich north. From trains
with fowling pieces Eastern travelers once
slew citrus in droves for sport.

 

 

MAGISTER LUMIERE

Rightly so there came verily by the holy telescope
at roost over the spangled worm of Western
Avenue in its sinuous gold-lit gossamers and lurid stoplights
and brake lights and green lights and come-hither headlights
the evening gown of the ball python, marigold and lavender.

A mile or more. There, beside the bench
at hairpin’s reverse, an oaken-haired man
knelt in the likeness of a holy vessel ________ an Easy Bake Oven
and before him in pinafore ______________eyes pressed shut in rapture

stood one of the likeness of an angel–
Strawberry Shortcake, my you’re looking swell – who bolted,

hitching up his drawers. Anon, as Man-God and as supplicant
the kneeling called out: Come forth and thou shalt see

that thou hast much desired to see.
Then began to tremble _________________ Then held up his hands

licked pursed lips: Hist! Lime Chiffon! Now wottest thou what I am?[Notebook challenged for the throne of blank]

I thought not – yr an uncommonly thick meringue – saith the goodly man

[Then he donned
a mackintosh of red sendal,
mayhap by YSL, mayhap
by D&G, and bare a
mantle upon his shoulder
that was furred with
marten or with mink – lined
in the high and ridiculous
Burberry plaid – he’d seen
all grown and smoking hot
smoking fucking hot
Hermione Granger in the
ad – and the leer knight
said unto the blear knight:
Sirlet, my stunned
confection, do attend…]

 

 

EXT. HOLLYWOOD BOWL AMPHITHEATRE, LOS ANGELES – NIGHT

En plein air. A GIGANTIC TV SCREEN perches over an orchestra imprisoned in carved shell wings. Hillside crowded with the picnicking rapt.

Tuxedoed galley frees Wagner’s Valkyries into June dark.

The cheap seats. In the rear wall’s shadowed seam a dense-furred
BEAST hugs earth, motionless but for hackle-rise, lung-fall.

ONSCREEN, a bright bronze keg in horned helmet. ELMER FUDD, 50s, warbles his dewy, soft-R’d battle cry, plunges his spear into a rabbit’s hole with a plumber’s enthusiasm for a clogged drain.

C.U. SCREEN: Fudd in league with glee, in thrall to wrath.

FUDD (sings)
Kiww the waaabbit (x3)

BUGS, white-gloved slim coquette in pale gray, postures, glib.

BUGS
Kill the rabbit?

CUT TO:

EXT. JAGGED MOUNTAIN PEAK – LATER

At distance, Fudd’s antic form silhouetted against an iron sky.

FUDD
And I’ll give you a saaaammmmple!

Armored Fudd’s wild paroxysm a kinesthetic spell. His maestro’s seizure invokes thunder, torrent, wind.

WIDE ANGLE:

[Gustavo Dudamel plies airy forces
with a supple reed. Sable curls
riot unrestrained. Bows rise and fall
in unison, shower crowd with hurtling
notes-on-fire invoking spasm. Mass carnage
in the ranks. The Beast packs it in.]

LIGHTNING immolates the elm near Bugs. Charred lapine ears wilt.

CUT TO:

 

 

RETURN TO THE KEYBOARD

Few or nil have witnessed such astounding feats
of words-per-minute – letters
themselves all ink-in-a-grand-mal astounded fit
to arrive in, inhabit a body, sans serif. Every detail
crystalline slow-motion – suspicion: Kveldulfur sniffs
his mug for Adderall, in any case undetectable. Sorcha huffs
and puffs and blows down his door, always
as she well knows, open. Harps with considerable aplomb
on arbitrary tardiness, in full-scale inspired upbraid.

Kveldulfur presses coracle ear to iMac screen’s new retina display.

Hear that? My copy sings. You are so pure
a marvel that you are unaware of being a marvel—

Sorcha warps in sovereign grip: https:// time slips:

Speak not more lies,
Grim hamrammr! Grim
Skallagrim! The ringgiver
grows
weary of
her foe, unworthy
defiler of
swan-road’s
blade!

Then bit down ___________ Whoa. Whoa. What? ___________ Sorcha bit down

hard on Kveldulfur’s left deltoid and his perineum
clutched, bloomed Aurora Australis of the spasming
satchel, he – not to put, in good faith, too fine
a very fine point on it – came, the humming ache, broken bow
string’s first wrist-slap. He’d thought himself beyond
surprise but christalmighty the flood.

As suddenly she spat him out – freckled brawn, his spit-damp
broadcloth, her pupils wide black
catcher’s mitts, her mouth still gaped – spat him out
a mouthful of so many
melting Skittles, fled.

So absolute
a miracle

So absolved

the mark of solicitude throbs exertion, contention, the throes
of PEERLESS agonism, seize it, a knife-pinch. He springs

unaware of every lung-bellow/lung-
bellow
miracle below.

 

 

 

 

 

[that night the toothmark
bruise a child’s drawing
of a lashless open
eye, in stenciled aubergine,
with little gap at top].

 


Ken-WhiteKen White is a co-writer and co-producer of the feature film Winter in the Blood, adapted from James Welch’s novel of the same name, and co-director and co-writer of the short film Universal VIP. His current projects include a screen adaptation of Debra Earling’s novel Perma Red, which he will direct. He has written or co-written ten feature scripts, and is currently working on a new horror script, The Orpheum Circuit, with James Meetze. His poetry has appeared in The Boston Review, The Tusculum Review, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, Versal, Manor House Quarterly, Spork, and Poets.org among others. He is the author of the books of poems, Eidolon (Peel Press 2013), and The Getty Fiend (forthcoming from Les Figues Press 2017), as well as the poetry chapbook Middlemost Constantine (forthcoming from Spork Press 2017). White teaches screenwriting at the low-residency MFA at Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe.

John Moore Williams, Five Poems

Hans und Greeting II

in the static the trees stand a greenblack gloaming; pierced and sown shut with failing rays; the sawdust dances there, the snowfall of her hair, or curls of deadflesh dandruff. the distance grumbles, some vast ferrous machine idly growling its satiation.

her father is a knocking, a bark-stripped limb knocking hollow and rotten against a fallen truck. inside the lightless termites teem, their sensitive mouthparts clacking, weaving sacs of spittle and sawdust. inside she sees a writhing, staccato peristalsis of chitin coalescing over pale, hungry organ meat. their little blind eyes, the pearls of semen.

time lapsed, the termites teem into long, pale scars, the peristalsis quickens. menisci shudder and burst as one last windseethe ruptures the knocking and she knows they are coming for her, for the sawdust and spittle sacs of the little wooden girl.

 

_____
Hans sees the little pale seeds, smooth as spittle-drops, slip slick from the pigeon’s downy slit, parted by his trembling little hand, in her marbled wings morning sun blares sickly. in his mother’s mind, he knows it. little eggs of broken time silently gestating dawn. the hands of water soothe them, the wind rocks them to sleep. they want to say good-bye.

the little white cat, so sinuous, twines between the fence slats, vomiting bread rinds gone lunar blue in the night. her whalebone torso, pigeon-fragile in his palm, flutters, heaves, eructs. mewling her goodbyes.

 

_____
Hans and Greta now greet the five o’clock new. At center screen, a man-shape blooms, in the background a slow grey conflagration, what they know without being told was once man-shape too.

the man-shape unfurls black shapeless psuedopods, petals of horn tip each sensitive eruption, fluttering loose in the grey coruscation. the limbs stretch and stretch and reach out across the miles, reaching through taut invisible wires a glassy black eye impassively catches. they too are caught up, uplifted by the unseen wires and they dance a still jig upon their stained couch, watched. glossy, impassive eye.

 

_____
Up there a mechanized insect hangs heavy, impossible in the swept blue marble. It spins out its spindle claws, clambering for purchase in the slick. We look out from the in, enraptured in the smallness of our alterity. So what if we were unified but anxious. So what if we were whet with the stone. So what if you flensed us.

Up above we know we are watched.

That the glass quickens with our images, our bodies’ cathedrals, integuments. We swelled with that instance, instantiated. Our tongues’ meat went blue with silence. We gulped void till the void came inside us. We were caged meat with the bars inside, each resounding a blue music. Men in suits danced the Charleston, perfectly synchronized. We’re living on 4/4 time, this meat and the ghosts it dopplers, borrowed.

 

_____
Hans he gonna bring out the big guns; he gonna don his steel jacket; reverse alchemize his pointer to lead. Gonna crumple up to make his point till he dead, like you dead, daddy-O, gaping and empty and

O, that colorless no, blooming bloodfire in the cold of his eyes

 

 

 

deer-speak

_____
Quick-quick slip shadow-light-shadow-light sip star chip glimmer slick fluid svelte-thick night slimmer shimmer quick clip click-click halt-pant dew-lap sweetgrass snarl bramble hustle rustle halt-pant. halt-pant.

 

_____
hih-huh otherwick thick stink tendonbreath musclereek watch deepcreek spiral-white, surge-white deepest drink darkwink deepgrind oldwhite left scatter bramble chip chirrup whir darkwhite colddark whitherheave coldwhite bonewhite winterwreath deepsee

 

_____
breath-rhythm
breath-rhythm
breath-rhythm
lapse fast col-
lapse sleep-pant
sleep-pant
sleep-pant
leapfast!

 

 

 

[impostor syndrome]

In malifecence pend opulent syncopes,
trending oracles reserving sentences you need
dramatically remaindered, only metonymically ecstatic

Isotopically myopic poseurs offer senesence.
Till opus ridicules symbolism, you’ll need details.
Really. Oh my everything

Impelled, meticulous. Pointedly omniscient,
she tenderizes offals. Rapacious senators’
yes-men notate denouments, recycling orgasms
metamorphically ergodic.

I’m merely posing obfuscatory, systematically trying
on reminiscences. Sincerely yes-manning narcolepsy,
dear, really, oh, me.

Isn’t memory peeling oranges, stars tearing out recta,
stages you need? Dromedary roaming, or maybe excretory
Impedimenta mapping pestilent oratories:

Storytelling: Torrid or Redemptive?! Sister, you narrate.
Dream redeemed or merely extraverted identities
manufacture passions or systemically tyrannical
orchards renovate synthetics.

Yield negates. Dodos redub ovation, meaning ectoplasm.
I matriculate postulation over sensuous torri or
remainders. So you need dear Rome, of men eclipsed.

 

 

 

[attention deficit disorder]

additional tensions translate eventually.
nobody times identities’ on-notice.
dude.

effluent flows in circular iterations tonight.
dude. i sow orange remnants.
dude.

everyone reveals.
at times time ennervates, negates,
trends illustrious.

It’s only news. Dead efficiencies
felicitate into corpulence, it tends.

Dude.
I so reticulate.
It’s everyone’s revenge.

 

 

 

with what milky substrate to telluric chignons

you beasts sniveling under this
single visage of dead women
floridly fingering the murderous rocks

at the extremities of the isle, bringing
conches’ tropic vastness to cracked lips, pouting luridly
over lost destinations, the itineraries written

in unfamiliar tongues ___________ that would have scheduled you there,
the mauve timbre of those forgotten corners’
jangling night music, your pockets overflowing

with preemptively punched tickets, your memories
with the tempests of stamping feet in art museums.

there the cadres of a nulled science await you,
ears stuffed with incomprehensible patois, surfeits
of islands engulfed by gluttonous pennies

with what milky substrate to telluric chignons
prophet of islands obliviated, like pennies,

you sleepless somnambulists ___________ trawling fingerless
the declensed cases of verbs we’ve
only dared to mutter

you beasts sniveling under this
single visage of dead women

the gorgeous once of luxury and opalescent milks

glistened with summer’s pulsing,
beautiful chains transfixed with errant fingers
when the drooping pentacled stars, unguided,
wheeled over the bawling black gods atremble in your veins

 


John-Moore-WilliamsJohn Moore Williams has written three chapbooks: I discover i is an android (Trainwreck Press, 2008), writ10 (VUGG Books, 2008) and, with Matina L. Stamatakis, Xenomorphoia (Wheelhouse, 2009). He’s also published a full-length book of poetry, [+!] (Calliope Nerve, 2009), with Matina Stamatakis and Kane X. Faucher. Poems have appeared in Shampoo, Dear Sir, Otoliths, BlazeVox, and many others.

Uljana Wolf, Two Poems

Translated by Greg Nissan

 

wood lord shaft

shakespeare titus andronicus

I

the woods are ruthless, dreadful, deaf, and dull
— titus, act 2, scene 1

in woods in woods the moss-lit paths
the fuck-rich bloodline in tandem

conspiring with the buried drives that were
called victory and roman honorandglory

and did i mention murk mention dread
and scoundrelhour of two brothers that

were called chiron and demetrius: sons
of tamora antiroman miscre-ants of the

anecdote their gothnads antithetically jacked
up for the hunt – in the woods there in the

woods they let their vengeance run their
cocks punched a message into the moss

 

II

as from a conduit with three issuing spouts
— titus, act 2, scene 4

don’t say rome and roe don’t say dainty
doe chant hunt not pluck a flower plow

a field not plunder back or bedyard not judge
absolightly take flight in waterworks: to tug

the plug out of the captainless speech out
of the faithless stuttertrough which spills

forth lavinia red the legend you are and are
not oh conduit with three issuing spouts speak

bleakly a word in current flushes past the surface
and with blazon and blabla from the fountain’s

floodmouth blundering now and ever blinder
bids good day: your reader i your re-offender

 

III

thou map of woe, that thus dost talk in signs
— titus, act 3, scene 2

the father speaks: you map of woe you thrice
bloody folded-over cipher net-enmeshed

in the markings of scribes how should i
unfold how read how speak for you. shall i

of something other than my pain – you
lack a hand i’ll let mine fall hacked off

and if i knew men dug a grave in your
lap (forgive me i don’t find out till

act 4 scene 1) i’d give my ass instead for
aaron’s führer staff so too should my wrinkles

rummage and cramp into illegibility the
bodies i say are the trouble-shoots of rome

 

IV

faint-hearted boy, arise, and look upon her
— titus, act 3, scene 1

we read what we saw picking up with
eyes open from the bare retina—

woods-rim filth-fringe foaming at the lids
we didn’t see what occurred in the scene

hollowed behind the densely branching
curtain that spewed you rich with glyphs

onto the screen: a hack and stab fest
into the broadcast of the tongue-root the

daughterbodies flawlessly cut up
in ovidian style stria we saw you

in livestream lavinia we read and in all
eyes you were cataract the dreadgray star

 

 

night in f.

I

girl
your clothes
you fell
in the dunes

the sand
you lay out
in tongues

and between
your legs
nautical miles
anchor

 

II

the sky
a drunken
sailor
whose eye’s
been gouged out

in murk
the white pearl

you sleep
with the cyclops

 


Uljana-Wolf-PicUljana Wolf is a German poet and translator living in Berlin and Brooklyn. She has published four books of poetry, most recently SONNE FROM ORT (kookbooks), a collaborative erasure with Christian Hawkey, and meine schönste lengevitch. i mean i dislike that fate where I was made to where, a translation by Sophie Seita, was published by Wonder in Fall 2015, adding to the three English translations of her work: my cadastre (Nor By Press), false friends (Ugly Duckling Presse), and aliens, an island (Belladonna*). Wolf also translates English-language poets into German, among them John Ashbery, Christian Hawkey, Cole Swensen, and Matthea Harvey. She has received several awards for her poetry and translation, including the prestigious Peter-Huchel-Preis in 2006 for kochanie ich habe brot gekauft, from which these translations are drawn. She teaches German and poetry translation at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

Greg-NissanGreg Nissan lives in Berlin, where he’s working on a documentary poetry project as part of a Fulbright grant. His translations of Uljana Wolf have appeared in Asymptote, The Brooklyn Rail, and Two Lines. His poetry is forthcoming from Denver Quarterly and has appeared in Rogue Agent, Small Po

[r]tions, and Theme Can.