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Mine’s Not A Political Heart

Mine’s Not A Political Heart All of my childhood fantasies–icescapes with Alaskan cranes, treasure diving in the Black Sea–Putin has beat me to them. He drapes a medal over his shadow, then extradites the dead from purgatory. I live with this deadweight of humor and scorn until the humor burns out. I know my birthmarks […]

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Why Harp On It

Why Harp On It In the stillness of dawn when the air hangs back and you plunge your hand into the bottomless dark of a jasmine bush when roosters crack the day open under a slurry sky and you’ve forgotten why you’re awake and don’t know why you’re thinking of the time you gave the […]

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Tulip Mania

Tulip Mania Oh Mary we will probably not live To see the next century’s nineties. Our century’s nineties were grand. They were ok. They were before The End Times and Now I’m in a fit about not ever getting to find out if our nineties were better And now now I have this crown imperial […]

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Horoscope for the Past

  Horoscope for the Past  ddd My godmother looked most at ease smoking. She didn’t have that flair for French cinema,   angled wrist, rolling paper held delicately as a question. It made it easier to breathe,   to be my godmother. She didn’t care how the sun is held so capably, the bridge   […]

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EVERY DRUNK WANTS TO DIE SOBER IT’S HOW WE BEAT THE GAME

From the current issue, Rehab, a poem by Kaveh Akbar. EVERY DRUNK WANTS TO DIE SOBER IT’S HOW WE BEAT THE GAME   Hazrat Ali son-in-law of the prophet was martyred by a poisoned sword while saying his evening prayers his final words I am successful      I am successful I want to carve it […]

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A Cup of Cold Water

A Cup of Cold Water In the kitchen, under the open light bulb burning out, my father is looking at the two pills in the palm of his hand: one a red oval, like candy, the other a firm blue square. He says do you know how they make me feel?   I have filled […]

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Escape Plan #46

& you should exit whatever dark place you’re in: leave your date wanting more, then pour out on the sidewalk. In full sun, who knows how your cheekbones may photograph. How foreign your heart may appear. You have a nice body on your hands. You have your looks good enough to eat. You can run […]

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Colibrí

Colibrí When I used to demand things of my first love, when I was unhappy even in his arms, he would say, Mi fascista.   Because I would say, It has to be this way.   He was full of affection.   In enneagram, I am an “individualist” (4) with a streak or wing of […]

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Recipe: How to Become an Immigrant and an Exile

Listen. Do you hear ghosts? Connect them to the sound of a canoe
on Indian Ocean. Listen to that tape of familiar beats that has weathered
foreign seasons. Sukus found in Salsa. Fela Kuti meets Masekela
in Appalachia. Do not inhale the coal fumes. Hold a memory.

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In Support of Violence

From the current issue, Issue 70, comes a poem from Christopher Soto. Two hundred Indian women killed their rapist on the courtroom floor of Nagpur in 2004. When Police tried to arrest lead perpetrators // the women responded “arrest us all.”   In this windowless room // where he poured acid & stole money // […]

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Knowing

Our newest issue has hit the newsstands. Here, from its pages, we are pleased to present a poem by Ruth Madievsky. KNOWING How does the tongue know how do the fingers know the leg the cunt the cable running from eye to nose this feeling like an empty illuminated office where a stockbroker is eating out […]

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Tender

From This Means War (Issue #55) TENDER Dear patriot Dear catastrophe None of this means what we thought it did   Dear bone fragments Dear displacement Dear broken skin I am in over my head   Dear prisoner Dear, dear wounded You have earned our respect   Dear glad hands, curbed dog Dear perfect object […]

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Wordstock Week: Kevin Young

“…All night long
at the Hold’em table
we’ll gamble it all
like tin men hoping
for hearts.”

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Field

Field The plaque said this was the oldest wall in the state. It was stone, set by hand, and ran the length of a field, splitting an unused road from incongruous grasses. It was no less true to say the wall bisected the field. (I could draw a diagram if provided paper.) Let me start […]

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Past Midnight

  And an icy tower was rising out of the sea. A wingless man was filling a bag with pickaxes and asking for directions to our house. The moon was expanding like a balloon and I was worried it might go pop. I could already see through it and there was nothing inside, no bibles […]

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Preemptive Elegy

PREEMPTIVE ELEGY   Metaphor frustrates me. It has no limbs or limits, and I have no idea where it came from. I’ve learned   the way for me to tell my father I love him is a game of HORSE, but the hardest way to love him   is to witness his shooting percentage decline […]

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Frieze

Frieze Look at the photo I’m holding an Art Forum magazine My head is cropped off It says Manhattan in the painting behind me but it isn’t Manhattan at all It’s just impressionistic gold leaves in the countryside with no city in sight Zoe Brezsny is a writer from Oakland, California who is now based […]

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The Late Horse Race

Translated from the original Georgian by Rebecca Gould The Late Horse Race   I dream of a horse race. I mount my nag. From every poem I know only my shame remains. Neither crusader nor knight, my battlefield has fled. Fly away with me, my dream, do not linger, wretchedly. My pool of blood stirs sadly. […]

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Please Don’t Feed the Spirit Animals

Please Don’t Feed the Spirit Animals I saw a pair of mechanical polar bears getting it on at the Vienna Prater. It was unexpected—his bucking her from behind while I slid by unobserved in a no-rail cart. Knees to my chin, bar low and tight across my lap, I dropped the fake camera I’d been […]

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Life Expectancy

Life Expectancy  It’s 2016, just after gravity’s first speech. Here I am, lying in the dirt, attempting to sense the rotation of an earth I imagine to be singular in space. I watch the breathable take shape, though my eyes are inadequate, poised between nanobes and primitive galaxies. You’ll find me at my sewing machine, […]

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Stuck In A Ball

  Stuck In A Ball   Think of the rivers of blood, spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters, of a fraction, of a dot. – Carl Sagan   If you want to feel really small you think of Carl and his photograph […]

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Minnesotan Association of Rogue Taxidermists

  Minnesotan Association of Rogue Taxidermists   We’ve all had to confront our chimeras and give them life.   If not life, a voice.   If not voice, a body more true to their 1-3 immortal soul(s).   Only we can take the garter snake and recognize the hydra in its separate skins.   You […]

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Fishes’ Tears

  Fishes’ Tears Translated from the Ukrainian by Alan Zhukovski   Spring passes! Birds cry. Fishes’ eyes Are filled with tears. —Matsuo Basho   after the flood subsided we listened attentively to fishes’ tongueless weeping through the lines and planes of gelid water the fishes swam above our sunken ships and we observed the gently […]

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Ode to the Tampon

From Issue 66 Ode to the Tampon Inside-out clothing; queen’s robe; white-jacketed worker who clears the table prepared for the feast which goes uneaten; hospital orderly; straitjacket which takes into its folded wings the spirit of the uncapturable one; soldier’s coat; dry dock for the boat not taken; seeker of the red light of stars […]

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Philadelphia, Negro

    As we can’t get enough of Gregory Pardlo (his lecture, reading, and pants were some of the top highlights of our recently completed summer workshop), we thought we would revisit his poem from issue #54.  Philadelphia, Negro Alien-faced patriot in my Papa’s mirrored aviators that reflected a mind full of cloud keloids, the […]

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