Dan Encarnacion earned an MFA in Writing at the California College of Arts and lives in Portland, Oregon where he co-curates the Verse In Person poetry series. Dan has been published in SPLIT, Upstairs at Duroc, Cha: an Asian Literary Journal, and various other journals. He was the featured artist for Reconnaissance Magazine’s 2013 issue.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
* * *
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.
* * *
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.)
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