79 Degree Probability of Loss

What beautiful death there is in Madonna di Campiglio,
the peasant people frozen in ice in dance,
the slopes of Austria, and now they call it Italy,
another place you must come, one more dream to put your trust in,

and you can’t believe you’ll ever do it again,
swimming in the light and shadows where you’ve drowned,
the gum arabic and green volatilize of Valle Verzasca—
the river where you saw the diver from Lucerne go down three times,
the way you held his girlfriend, the river from the glacier,
minion and nonpareil, crystalline, his body preserved,
Russian experiment in the stone houses of Sonogno,

the ache in my body as you ease yourself against me,
the way your legs cower out, the ecstasy in your pain,
in the white under your flesh in your bones,
the risk, the knife of your spine,
and I take it, twist and turn and bludgeon it,
and the body moves, consumes all of me, and you give in,
and you die in a way too, so cold here in the Dolomites,
always writing by candlelight, the bathroom out in the hallway,
and dance without music—

the sound of your hands against the piano back in the States.

This is a reprint of work originally published in Magnolia: A Florida Journal of Literary and Fine Arts.

Jéanpaul Ferro is a novelist, short fiction author, and poet from Providence, Rhode Island. A 9-time Pushcart Prize nominee, his work has appeared on National Public Radio, Contemporary American Voices, The Columbia Review, The Emerson Review, Connecticut Review, The Cleveland Review, The Cortland Review, Portland Monthly, Arts & Understanding Magazine, Hawai’i Review, and others. He is the author of Essendo Morti – Being Dead (Goldfish Press, 2009), nominated for the 2010 Griffin Prize in Poetry, and Jazz (Honest Publishing, 2011), nominated for both the 2012 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Prize and the 2012 Griffin Prize in Poetry. He is represented by the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency. His website: http://www.jeanpaulferro.com.

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Death Valley

He should have known better
When he saw the vultures
Circling in her eyes

And again when he heard
The hiss of the rattlesnake
Coiled beneath her bed

But he chose to ignore
The tarantula’s nest
Of the apartment they shared

For he learned too late
That her heart was a desert
And her love a mirage

Richard Schnap is a poet, songwriter, and collagist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His poems have most recently appeared locally, nationally and overseas in a variety of print and online publications.

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The Colors of Revelry

At a cheap carnival in a strip mall’s parking lot,
I am compelled to revelry. I revel for a costly reprieve.
I have pink cotton candy. Several children travel
with me. They are dressed like turnips.

Aunts Wilhemena and Helene steer the schooner
of elementary ed in Prattsville, Georgia, in that, the middle part
of the 20th century. Among the sons and daughters
of millworkers and one-eyed subsistence farmers, there.

Pill nation. Pills. Pills. I dream of round white tablets
with the imprint of pharmaceutical concerns and lozenges
of earthy hues and capsules done up in primary colors
and faceless yellow pills.

The schooner sails through Pharmacology.

Pastel painted elephants goaded among
cheap neon tubes burning, always shining.
Among spinning rides with music and
more light, moving.

I give my children tickets and they disperse.

“Behold he comes/riding on the clouds/shining
like the sun.”

Carried away in the mouth of a fox yet
escaping said working-out by trickery.

Blue, green, purple surrounded
by plain white bulbs strobing
the sad and tawny background
of our celebrations.

Janice sports a crow’s mask.
She has become my power animal.

The schooner sails through Anthropology.

“Talk to that fox, brother,
tell on your disease, Chanticleer.”

This floor resembles a chess board.
A white paper machete horse’s head is tilted back
on Uncle Ernie’s head who resembles
a Franciscan monk.

I dressed as a pirate on Walpurgis Eve.
The black eye patch. With only one eye.
I was raised in a world of revelry, debauch.
I can only make hand signs about which I have to also
try to explain the meaning.

The schooner sails through Dissipation.

Festive midget clowns and tom toms and women
who are not white. Anodyne.

I am come from a land with no sunset
seeking carnival. I’ve come for a room
with a view,

                     of Canal Street,
of the most gimcrack celebration.
(I read all of Vonnegut’s extant work
in the late 70s. “Gimcrack” is one of the words
I learned.)

Like a chainsaw cutting butter.
Fundamental annihilation in process
at the base of personality.
Growing.

The schooner sails around Ethics.

As a lad at the Grant Park Zoo, I watched
a baboon gather up its stuff and throw it
at the patrons.

A young girl child weeps beside the horses.
She is overcome with joy. It is obvious.

The eye on the top level
of the pyramid winks for me. Or
it never winks for me.

Prattsville is an austere place. The schooner
carries clouds of butterflies.

Bryan Merck has published in America, Amethyst Arsenic, The Camel Saloon, Eunoia Review and others. He has fiction forthcoming in Moon City Review and poetry forthcoming in Triggerfish, The Camel Saloon and others. He is a past winner of the Southern Literary Festival Poetry Prize and the Barkesdale-Maynard Fiction and Poetry Prizes. He lives in south Georgia with his wife Janice.

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The robots loved me as if they knew me

I was pale and untried, subversively observed,
a sieve. You approached, unwinding cogs.
In the right light you resembled an abandoned spoon.
My rash grew elastic in response. I could only attach
so many revelations, the moon a heartache
against cold steel. What could we try that hadn’t
been tried before? I was prided with prejudice.
I liked to hide and never be found. I had collected
parts that were too good to be true. You wanted
to punish me for arguing with you. I argued anyway.

So many sharp objects with edges invaded
my peripheral vision I couldn’t count them all.
I knew someone who knew someone…who said
not to worry. But there was no breath, no rain,
not enough given back although a metal hand
landed near my feet. A detached humming
surrounded my coffee. I was once useful.
I painted a goat on your breastplate. You blinked
at me, limped away. I told you that no one needed
a little television. My dream last night was tinged
with electricity. Nothing was natural anymore except
lingering colors and the way I told everyone what to do
as though we could ignore what was coming.

Laurie Blauner is the author of three novels, The Bohemians (2013), Infinite Kindness, and Somebody, all from Black Heron Press, and six books of poetry. Her most recent chapbook of poetry was published in 2013 by dancing girl press. A novella called Instructions for Living was published in 2011 by Main Street Rag. She has received a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship as well as Seattle Arts Commission, King County Arts Commission, 4Culture, and Artist Trust grants and awards. She was a resident at Centrum in Washington state and was in the Jack Straw Writers Program in 2007. Her work has appeared in The New Republic, The Nation, The Georgia Review, American Poetry Review, Mississippi Review, and many other magazines. A new book of poetry is forthcoming from What Books Press. Her web site is http://www.laurieblauner.com.

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Syndrome, Circuitry of Eyes

The diagnosis is hypothetical,
birds & clouds picking & choosing,
unable to distinguish objects, a pear,
table, yellow eyes, leaf, claws. I was asleep,
most of the time. The distance between
brick & sky grew mathematically.
My world was composed of edges
of awareness like steps startling at any sound.
Friends visited with little epilogues,
telling me it was the same everywhere.
I wanted to own air. I moved away from
myself, explained lapsing all around me.
I was dead in America & watching sunlight
diminish, become something else. Sky
was glad & broken. I was searching
for someone who could diagnose
our beautiful history, explain
what was pulling at my body & then
letting it go. I was shedding blood.
I had to get out & look since they haven’t told
us yet what to do about our symptoms.

Laurie Blauner is the author of three novels, The Bohemians (2013), Infinite Kindness, and Somebody, all from Black Heron Press, and six books of poetry. Her most recent chapbook of poetry was published in 2013 by dancing girl press. A novella called Instructions for Living was published in 2011 by Main Street Rag. She has received a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship as well as Seattle Arts Commission, King County Arts Commission, 4Culture, and Artist Trust grants and awards. She was a resident at Centrum in Washington state and was in the Jack Straw Writers Program in 2007. Her work has appeared in The New Republic, The Nation, The Georgia Review, American Poetry Review, Mississippi Review, and many other magazines. A new book of poetry is forthcoming from What Books Press. Her web site is http://www.laurieblauner.com.

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Footnotes, the embodied version; Paul Klee

1. Green, trembling, vulnerable, full of microscopic holes.

2.I miss the unspoken voice, close and too quiet. I think about paint hurrying, flirting with air.

3. I comment on the comment, an awkward language of color and space, the zero distance of skin. Everything is better lying down, weight centering me. How many people study this?

4. What he came for: a show congealing like old pudding.

5. Chaos fills everything, dashing around a square space. I want the chance to prove the impossible, a window in the room that resembles perception.

6. I’m eating hair. Clouds remember tall grass, something perceptible.

7. ibid…Hair eats me.

8. That day stopped right outside my window. For example, I understood my skin was on fire overhearing this conversation…how I wasn’t there, as if I was so small I had disappeared.

9. At that moment I had a point of view.

Laurie Blauner is the author of three novels, The Bohemians (2013), Infinite Kindness, and Somebody, all from Black Heron Press, and six books of poetry. Her most recent chapbook of poetry was published in 2013 by dancing girl press. A novella called Instructions for Living was published in 2011 by Main Street Rag. She has received a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship as well as Seattle Arts Commission, King County Arts Commission, 4Culture, and Artist Trust grants and awards. She was a resident at Centrum in Washington state and was in the Jack Straw Writers Program in 2007. Her work has appeared in The New Republic, The Nation, The Georgia Review, American Poetry Review, Mississippi Review, and many other magazines. A new book of poetry is forthcoming from What Books Press. Her web site is http://www.laurieblauner.com.

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Two Parts

1: Morning

You,
walking in here full-frontal—
no declaration,
no warning.
Just being you
being with me,
nude.
Because you can.
Because to drink coffee
in one’s skin
is nice
is honest
and a bit of kiddish fun because
it’s against the rules out there.

And because I look.
Six years hasn’t changed that.
I look, and sometimes I
look
and say the Great Masters
carved marble men
far inferior to you.
If art is true,
I feel sorry for the ancient Greeks
and their tiny,
leaf-covered penises.

2: Evening

Me,
tracing small circles along your spine
the way you taught me,
forefingers and thumbs
press deep into the smooth muscle,
teasing kinks,
easing rigid nerves.
I am no sculptor.
I am not shaping you
with small circles,
but merely reminding you
what you already are…

Beneath the pressed grins
and crimped postures
that attempted to wear you today.
We strip these external superfluities
not just for sex
or games of intent,
but to be
nothing else
than what we are.

You, Me.

Sarah Cody is a creative writer and musician residing in NYC. When she’s not working on her novels, she can be found performing at dive bars at niche venues with her husband, as dark electronic duo DEVOTION. She welcomes visitors here: http://sarahcody.net.

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