The UFO Gambit (looking back

 

It was a fractured night. I cried when I heard the singing from nowhere, so fragile, so empty. The
all-black sky was a switched-off monitor. Our bodies hot in the arms of the Hen Constellation,
we turned the heat up—insane vertigo, lust in the jello the jello the jello.

The moon was absent, dark & strange but real. What could we do but fuck through our pain &
stare out at space waiting for something? We never knew what. Our heads wrapped in our space
suits like a billion baked eggs, we seemed one innocent, ill-defined alien zapped by an x ray or
gamma burst, the flash of an ember bearing us quietly adrift in some imaginary cosmos we kept
pent up inside us.

& the something that occurred, occurred out of reach. We were seen from the air. We were seen
from the road—a stream of language like a blessing of ash. & between these two, the past was
alive but losing its voice.

& everyone… simply everyone on earth yearned to be elsewhere, to be 9 or 20 unresolved issues
away from the light years of childhood—a moon rock, a pet rock, a world we assembled inside
another smaller world, paradoxically denying each fragment its place in the cosmos.

& so we wandered alone on stellar mental moonscapes, scooping up samples for the lab boys
back home but where had we come to? & who were those others, those invisible others who
stood in our place wearing our countenance?

 

* * *

 

Raymond Farr is author of numerous books, including Ecstatic/.of facts (Otoliths 2011) as well as Starched, Rien Ici, & Writing What For? across the Mourning Sky. His latest book Poetry in the Age of Zero Grav. He is editor of the experimental poetry zine Blue & Yellow Dog.

PROUST

“The Perfect Vandals”…but of the mind and the heart.
A farm hidden by the sprawling apple orchard,
the Champs-Elysees at the start of the night,
the sound of the bat striking the ball and April
full of catfish under the wayward bridge, the blending
of the concrete and the stars, the planets of the cities beaming.

***

Tim Suermondt has published two full-length books of poems:
TRYING TO HELP THE ELEPHANT MAN DANCE (The Backwaters Press, 2007)
and JUST BEAUTIFUL (New York Quarterly Books, 2010). After many years
in Brooklyn and Queens, he now lives in Cambridge with his wife,
the poet Pui Ying Wong.

 

Berry_The Mill Road copy

Jake Berry is a poet, musician and visual artist. The author of Brambu Drezi, Species of Abandoned Light, Drafts of the Sorcery, Genesis Suicide and numerous other books. He has been an active member of the global arts and literary community for more than 25 years. His poems, fiction, essays, reviews and other writings have been published widely in both print and electronic mediums. In 2010, Lavender Ink released a collaborative book, Cyclones In High Northern Latitudes, with poet Jeffrey Side and drawings by Rich Curtis; and Outside Voices: An Email  Correspondence (with Jeffrey Side) was released by Otoliths also in that year. He regularly records and performs his compositions solo and with the groups Bare Knuckles, The Ascension Brothers and The Strindbergs. Wilderness and Grace, his ninth solo album, was released in 2012. Ongoing projects include book four of Brambu Drezi, a collection of short poems, and a wide range of musical projects.

Krasner Says

 

 

DAVID MOSCOVICH is a Romanian-American writer who performs or reads his texts by fragmenting, ricochetting, and refurnishing language until it meets its own devolution. Born into a family who escaped Romania at a time when fear and surveillance in the Ceau?escu regime was nearing its peak, Moscovich plays with glossolalia and collage to appropriate, self-appropriate and remix metafiction. A finalist for the 2013 Eric Hoffer Award for Best New Writing and a current Teachers & Writers Fellow at NYU, Moscovich lives in New York City and runs Louffa Press, a micro-press dedicated to innovative fiction.

Cantilever

 

In the era of nonconformity, I conform
To the strictest of regulations. Take my pillow.
I rest no more in the halo heart of Hollywood.
I am indebted to the dust mite and the angel.
I am what was said in the dais. I speak for uniforms.
Lengthening it out, always lengthening it out.
The tributaries of the moth. The ocean is old.
The Earth older. Nights I have origami nightmares.
I listen to Gustav Holst. Jupiter out tonight.
No day. No night. Just Jupiter, homely as a
Blanket belonging to a vagabond. Suspended,
Innocent, all innocent, Mars too, the red one,
And IO, poor broken IO, my moon browbeat
By mythology, the sun innocent, the comet innocent,
The fractured diameter of the Milky Way innocent.
How I wish I could practice the silence of space.
The nocturnal sexuality of the astronomical leaf.
I have no counterpart out here in the paper zone.
The cars swipe me like knives or robot jackrabbits.
My laughing cage splits at the heart. I am nothing
If not a part of the cantilever and the airy drift
Of the bulb. I listen to the forces glass into light.

 

The Atheist Wedding

 

First of all, there was crying, so you don’t have to worry about that.
There was pageantry. The groom came out to the theme from Star Wars.
The entire room was draped in white, as if to form galaxies.
The galaxies were white, the entire room was white except for the elk head
That lorded over the proceedings, but it only seemed to lord, of course.
The officiate was a penguin-shaped man who walked the couple
Through their shared pragmatic vows, and then declared them married
By the Universalist Life Church and the internet it was founded on.
The bride lost control of the ceremony but once, and held herself back.
The guests left, or most of them anyway, right after the cutting of the cake.
Each reception table was decorated with centerpieces from sci-fi movies:
A Star Trek phase pistol on one, the furthest furnished with a Death Star.
There were some dubious motorcycle characters parked at the bar.
The newlywed game was a gas. The groom nodded vigorously
Like an aggressive duck and joked about his wife needing to be right.
Outside, the venue was lit up in purple, and it was a purple valley night.
Only a smattering of people danced when it was finally time to dance.
The galaxies remained white, and the elk head stayed mostly out of sight.

 

* * *

 

Alejandro Escudé is the winner of the 2012 Sacramento Poetry Center Award. The winning manuscript, My Earthbound Eye, was published in September 2013. He received his master’s degree in creative writing from U.C. Davis and teaches high school English in Santa Monica, California. His poems have appeared in Poet Lore, Rattle, Phoebe, California Quarterly, Main Street Rag, as well as in an anthology entitled How to Be This Man, published by Swan Scythe Press. He lives with my wife and two kids in Los Angeles.

Svapna Manavaka*

 

I had just lost a lengthy and rather spirited debate to a Buddhist monk, a painful outcome I thought I could avoid through the constant recourse to irrelevant poetic tropes which usually never fail me, but in this case, and in the end, his restrained pedantry won out. The whooping and the stomping of the sizeable crowd that had gathered by the end left no doubt. Such is the nature of Vishnu’s singular dream, growing from his navel like a lotus and naturally not pleasing everyone. Wandering in the forest adjacent to the town I’ve never entered, several towns over from the town in which I tell people I was born, I felt confident that I had found a safe haven from my fellow Brahmins. It is good to allow several hours to several days for one’s newly-acquired shame to dissipate naturally, and then to return to ones base of operations, coolly going about one’s business as if nothing had happened. And business is what interests me, and this is precisely what I intended to do. It would not be the first time. Walking and talking with my wayward thoughts, prancing and romancing my private romances for hours on end, shielding my eyes from the sun’s blazing arrows which burst from the occasional openings between boughs and leaves, I came upon a strange sight. It was a hollowed-out tree trunk with an opening large enough for a man to walk through, so naturally walk through it I did. Once inside I saw that the trunk, which from the outside appeared to have the circumference of a full-grown elephant sitting upright on its rump, was actually much more spacious. I was immediately confronted by a circle of twelve statues the forms of which varied, but which all corresponded to no being or decorative image the likes of which I’ve ever espied. I can only describe them as nonsensical, rather vulgar nothings at best, mockeries of the sacred order at worst. To be honest I rather liked them. You’ll find nothing like them back at the hyena farm, I assure you. At the far end of the trunk’s interior was a standing cabinet with one of its doors slightly ajar. Peeking inside my eyes were blind-sided by a light brighter than the sun’s outside. Stepping inside I quickly found myself transported once again, this time to a gigantic temple larger than the entire forest in which I only moments ago had been jaunting along oh-so-merrily and carefree. The pillars which held this temple’s roof up, if indeed a roof there was, for of this fact I was far from certain, disappeared into the clouds above. All around me I could see only the faintest hintings of walls so far in the distance they were scant visible at all, like far off mountain ranges disappearing in blue. So, I found myself thinking, this is the body of Vishnu. The walls pulsated slowly as if breathing. A free-standing door stood before me, but I’ll spare you the details of my next and final destination, as I’m sure you have already guessed at it in your feeble way, groping in the dark.

 

* Sanskrit, “seeking a dream.”

 

* * *

James Bradley’s poetry has appeared in Caliban Online, Gone Law, La Fovea, BLACK&WHITE, Sein un Werden, Eccolinguistics, Anamesa, Counterexample Poetics, and S/WORD. As a visual artist, some of his work can be found at http://registry.whitecolumns.org/view_artist.php?artist=11157. James received an MFA in painting from the California College of the Arts in 2009. He currently lives and work in Brooklyn, New York.

Cigarette Break

 

Heriot_Photo2

 

 
 
* * *
 
Sean Neving Heriot is a 19-year-old artist presently living in rural New England, a Vermont valley nestled by masses of trees, near the border of New York. His favorite band is The Dillinger Escape Plan. While the pen and camera remain his primary tools of art, he has an undying love for music and spends most of his money collecting records, going to shows.
 

 

 

 

 

Conc(auction)

 

 

* * *

 

Nikki Whitaker Malley rose out of the corn fields of Indiana to study music at Knox College under the tutelage of Scott Garlock. She remained in Galesburg after graduation, playing with the Dave Lowry Defenestration Quartet until academia once again called her to campus. She received her M.A. in musicology from Washington University in St. Louis, and has returned to central Illinois to direct the jazz program at Knox College. Nikki directs the Knox College Jazz Ensemble, the Cherry St. combo, and plays with the Defenstration Quartet on alternating Sundays at the Seminary St. Pub in Galesburg. (With hearttfelt thanks to Rob Smith.)

Me and my shadow

When I go out, three creatures tail me. They try to at least. But I’m still grieving for Erich.

Erich had tailed me for years. Erich was physically fit, different from these three. He wasn’t tall, but compact. His body muscular, his skin felt cool even after a long walk when I bumped into him by mistake. You feel closer in such situations, familiar in some odd way. Erich even had a sense of humor. Once he whispered to me: I’m just five feet three inches tall, Lehmann, how can I shadow you? I can only tail you.

Erich was always well informed, but that’s normal for his kind of people. Should be, at least. These three are not. Erich always knew beforehand if I planned a walk through the woods at the edge of town. On those occasions he took along some food. He knew better than I did where I wanted to go. But I don’t think I went into the woods only when Erich brought food. I don’t think I was ever dependent on him like that. Eric had a sharp, prominent nose and lots of deep wrinkles around the corners of the mouth.

The three can’t hold a candle to him, but now they’re all I’ve got. Because Erich whispered to me one day that his organization would probably be going belly-up soon. He had intelligence, he said. Then I would have to walk alone. He wished me good luck. He tailed me one more week, then never turned up again. After a few days a letter came, but the envelope was empty. The powerful handwriting with its serifs on the envelope was Erich’s, for sure. I’ll never know what he wanted to tell me.

Now those three obviously have the task of shadowing me. As soon as I step out the door, I hear them mutter: Here comes Lehmann! Then they try to follow me. But they have no feet, and their legs are flabby like pillow snakes, their pant legs sewed up. And they appear to be headless, I refuse to look too closely at them. A creaking sound escapes their chests after having followed me just ten yards. Then they stop, if they are not already flat on the ground, having clumsily pushed each other over, or because they stumbled over their own legs. What would Erich say?

Now my walks are for me alone, but the feeling of freedom is spoiled whenever I think of those losers lying on the sidewalk not far from my front door.

When they see me, they struggle to their feet and shout: Here comes Lehmann! The rales and wheezes of consumptive lungs accompany their words.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

At the window

There are five windows in the white wall. Two on the second floor, three below. Or vice versa, it does not matter.

You focus on the bottom right window. You belong to the world, but you don’t have much to do. I stand inside and look out. Slightly on the side, but clearly visible. At first you mistakenly thought that I was interested in the outside world. Because I often sit on the windowsill, tuck up my legs, turn outward on my backside and then push off with both arms to jump onto the lawn. But shortly after you see me back inside. Believe me, it’s all about me and my window and nothing that is outside.

You have to admit that you never see me go through a door. You don’t even know whether there is a door, because you see only one side of the house and part of the roof. You are only watching this one window. But it’s worth it. Every time the house is in flames, I take an artistic header through the window, but not before carefully closing it. The glass splinters spectacularly. It is not dangerous for me, or for you. Feel free to come closer! You may have noticed that I sometimes jump with my mouth wide open, hoping to get a shard between the teeth. The glass in fact consists of sugar glaze. And the house is not really on fire. Otherwise this could not be repeated that often.

By now, you step quite casually onto the soft and flowery meadow in front of the window. Time after time you watch me come through the window in different ways and approaching you. And then I’m back inside again and looking through the window. I jump when I get uneasy, or when I feel that the window demands it. I would also jump when the phone rings, but this has not yet happened. Believe me, it’s not about me and not about the world or you, it’s just about our window. Maybe I will bring my phone number next time, written on a piece of paper. You’ll find it on the front lawn when you wake up.

And then you will see me standing inside again, at the bottom right window.

***
Rupprecht Mayer was born 1946 near Salzburg. After some 20 years living and working in Taiwan, Beijing, and Shanghai, he recently resettled in SE Bavaria. He translates Chinese literature and writes short prose and poetry in German and English. English versions appeared in Connotation Press, Frostwriting, Mikrokosmos/Mojo, Ninth Letter, Prick of the Spindle, Washington Square Review and elsewhere. For more of his work, see www.chinablaetter.info/rupprechtmayer/