Circular 1/22/20

PROSE

From Fictive Dream: Delirium by John C. Mannone.

“The brick-lumps sifted through the black morph into swarms of fire ants with glassy-grit teeth.” (Delirium)

From Spelk: Letters to Dead People by Foster Trecost.

“I sometimes write letters to my father, but he doesn’t read them.”

“How do you know?”

“Because dead people can’t read letters.” (Letters to Dead People)

From The Drabble: Dreams of Unspecified Crimes by Howie Good.

“I think it was Freud who said dreams are the day’s dark residue.” (Dreams of Unspecified Crimes)


VERSE

From Caliath: To Taste of Salt by João-Maria.

“What’s it like to bow up?, that rotten soliphsism of yours by which suns dawn merely to candle your rooms…” (To Taste of Salt)


ESSAYS

From Art & Crit: “The Death of the Author” Debunked by Eric Wayne.

The belief that “the author is dead” is one of the unquestioned bad ideas that has become gospel in the art world. It’s usually just asserted — along with its companion notions that originality is impossible, and the artist’s intent is irrelevant — as if to deny it is as hopelessly naive as denying evolution. (Wayne)

From New Pop Lit: Do Awards Matter? by Karl Wenclas.

Awards ceremonies, like hall of fames– sports, music, and otherwise– are in reality highly successful PR appendages to their particular industry. (Wenclas)


 

Verse & Prose Archive Updated For The Month of November

Our archive has been fully updated for the month of November (featuring new verse and prose).

The archive will be similarly updated towards the end of December or directly thereafter (in early January).

Additionally, we will be accepting verse, prose and music submissions throughout the month of December.

If interested in submitting your work, see to our submissions page for further details.

Ysatters-Kasja

I

Where sags the sun in its refrain
To pour its gleam on glassy sea;
Where lacteal pink in sky and deep
Will merge upon the doubling main;
Where plaited at the circlet fringe,
Twin orbs will sear where one had sunk,
A storm released one day in fury,
Diffusing in its neutral hue
Across the orbs and dappled gloss,
Advancing from the horizon.

Barrows upon the ocean swelled,
Cresting to spill sea back to sea,
Which, heaving, mounted higher,
Each wave then birthed of wave before.
A breath over the brine exhaled,
As spread the brume from sea to shore,
Dispensing of itself the while,
Drawing adown in languid threads
To dissolve to the seaway grey.

And at a promontory
Where wave upon wave lashes rock,
The wind began to moan and rush,
Disturbing trees to shudder,
Then swept from headland down to plain.

 

II

Observing the vale in winter luster,
As eddied wind through grasses sighed,
There sat young Himinglæva
Within her home upon the hillside,
Lonely above the lowland vale.

And ever-lonely dwelled the girl,
Idly awaiting a reprieve
From her exacting mother,
Impoverished and husbandless,
And from the ceaseless burdens
And elder sister always bears.
But few idle and lonely pleasures
Did she take, walking where a stream
Through the forest coursed in summer
Toward the solitary marsh,
Alighting in winter
What places apart she may find
Within the home her mother made.
And neither would she take a husband,
Though all attractive men of youth
Would offer her their eager hand;
And each careful entreaty
By such men all girls have desired,
And each appeal her mother offered
To return her to the travails
Daily compelled by home and hearth,
Each of her sisters’ needful pleas,
All only served to agitate
The thunderous pounding within,
Where longed her vestal heart for flight.

So sat she near to the window,
Housework undone and spindle shunned,
When the wind came to murmur.
A grey lament suppressed the twilight
As the vast storm outstretched its hand
From the sea through the frigid plains,
And what birds, wintering, remained,
Dusted the snow in their retreat
To refuge in the storm-braced firs.
All of the vale at once was livid
In an anticipation.

And the wind glided to the girl,
Approaching her home on the hillside,
Longing with soft words to be near,
To toss amongst her flying hair,
And caress down her pearly skin.
Though her coy fingers to the pane
approached to graze a biting frost,
A flame had lit within her heart
When the voice of her mother called,
“Himinglæva, come from there;
The house must now be readied.
A storm is blowing from the sea.
The shudders must be latched and braced,
The chickens gathered to their coup!”

The words upon her fell like stone,
As from her life’s horizon
Advanced the days ahead her,
When never again would the woman,
When woman at last she would be,
Never would she elated dance
Amongst the springtime blossoms,
Artless and free as when a girl;
When never song would sing of spring,
To draw her to the florets near
As the clean breeze blew through her hair;
When no more would life as a song be;
When she would clean, and cook, and care,
And at days end at last would breathe,
Only to sleep a dreamless sleep.

Fury within her chest came swelling,
And a truth exhaled over her heart.
Then away from the window
She turned to face her mother,
And looked upon her sisters,
As pity then at last released
In tears for those she’d ceased to love.
With one last look did she flee.

 

III

The shutters of her home slammed shut
In the wind’s frenzied buffeting.
The sky was now beyond a glimpse,
Obscured within the quickened snow.
Not a voice could she distinguish
As scrambled she down from the hillside
Within the storm’s subduing clamor,
Shaken and lost so near to home.

Yet as she ran into the field
A calm awakened in her heart,
When waves of wind around her teased,
Ascending in a hurried joy
To billow and to pull her dress;
To caress and lash at her face;
To rebound and tug her flowing hair.
Her pallid arms began to hover,
Gliding to dance like rushing water,
As she began to turn in fearful
Rapture, releasing with the wind
Over the prairie to the sky,
Like water from an amphora pouring;
And gossamer became her skin,
As the tossed snow upon the plain;
And light as air became she then,
Diluting in the rushing gale,
Until at last her spirit thinned,
And vanished was her body;
Vanished in wind to flow at last,
As the release of rising smoke
An offering will issue
Through the sun-door of a longhouse,
Himinglæva was no more.

Hubris

A story has been told of times long passed,
When, through the primal mists, there took to flight
An eagle and swan from the earth’s utmost regions,
That they may reliably discern the omphalos;
And each, having at last sighted the other,
Rested upon the rocks where later built
Mortals the temple of Apollo Pythius. 

For many years had this fable pronounced
Itself through the inquiring hearts of men
When Epimenides—desirous of
Some certain truth—sought out the Oracle,
To attest, if she may, to the verity of
The ancient tale; yet, having but received
An obscure and uncertain answer there,
He composed in his doubt these verses: 

Now do we know that there is not, of earth or sea, a navel;
Yet, if there be, it is known not to mortals, but to gods;
And gods, beyond the sun, are not now known to anyone. 

Yet very likely did the gods repulse
The man from his design, and cloud the message
Of the Oracle, for his hubris to inquire
The proof of such a tale, as though he meant, 
As with a painting, to test of its virtue. 


—Adapted by Matt Wildermuth from Plutarch’s On the Obsolescence of Oracles 

Coda-Switch

O, viejas de negro!

How you line the front pews

at Catholic masses

like pushers sitting on street curbs,

rolling rosary beads—

like pills of black-tar heroin—

between jonesing fingers,

craving your next fixes of salvation,

visiones de Dios.

Such beastly things

behind those lifeless veils of pitch!

Those guttural mumbles

under respiraciones y lenguas,

drunk with righteousness,

acrid and rank

with the smell of death

and the sour of Communal wine.

Spells of atonement, maybe?

Curses of chastity?

Oraciones por mi?

Oh, I think not! (Creo que no!)

Why shouldn’t our ecstasies—

in all their corporal glory—compare?

Aren’t Heaven’s truths just as easily scried

amongst kaleidoscopes

of gas-streaked street puddles…

…the glorious freckles of smooth, bare backs and shoulders…

the shapes left behind in dampened sheets the morning after?

O, divine geomancies!

How I love

(need)

our alchemy—the transmutations

of magnificent bodies of light

and living streams that shimmer hot and wet,

setting skin and lips

(nuestra piel y labios)

aflame.

All that is good is gold,

but nothing gold can stay*

for even the most treasured of God’s sparrows

fall from flight,

silently screaming,

impaling

upon the holy stabs of His Electric Crown of Thorns.

So, let’s dwell on patches of fragrant grasses

and sip (not sin) from our gardens’ springs

O, sacred elixir!

partaking of flesh and blood—

our Eucharist—

devouring, ‘til all is gone,

shining, brillante,

against shadows of cold piety

cast by dark, ringless Brides of the Lord,

before the hues of the day bleed away

into pale shades that

powder and crumble to dust

under the gravity of God’s thumb

(love).

Amen.


*Line taken from Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay” (1923).

Cajeta (Gimme Some Sweet!)

“Gimme some sweet!”

we scream

blessed by your MAD words

BAD words

GLAD words

SAD

letting them scorch palates

y quemar nuestros labios

like Holy Wafers

in the Devil’s mouth.

Give us a taste

of life

your loco—

salty and caramel-kissed—

with every candy-flip of the page

forming crystalizations

of lithium-pink

opiate rock (candy)

on dripping tips of lenguas

(so ready)

that hunger for the taste

of sweet poets’ milk

melting rains of cajeta

upon wanting chins and souls

under hot breaths of your WICKED verse.

“Gimme some sweet!”

gritamos

longing for a fix—

ecstatic

spasmatic

orgasms—

of your word-sugar

(tus palabras dulces)

their velvet, fatal stabs

to the heart

(mi corazón)

and the backs of throats

(releasing bad blood and MAD words)

like glistening Astro Pops

sharpened and honed

by the spit and rolling tongues

of PrOphETS—

their anointing mouths

and bleeding pens

working their brujería—

confectionate necromancies—

upon lifeless eardrums

y animas

that languished bitterly

in reductive states

of silent subtraction.

C’mon…Gimme some sweet!

(Some candied teats to suckle)

Gimme some sweet!

(Sticky trickles of sanctified honey-nectar)

Gimme some sweet!

(El fuego…la alma en mi sangre)

Gimme some sweet!

(Good, proper skull-fucks that inject your Truths)

Gimme some sweet!

(A case of “the sugars” that never felt so good)

Ándale! Dame tu dulce

y no me dejaís aquí estropeado!

(Don’t leave me here CRASHING)

Burn

Life is slow

here in a border town

where lazy palms

scantly twitch in dead breezes—

dry and pollen-choked.

Everywhere.

Nowhere.

Cattle,

brown against my hand

and an expanse of cloudless blue,

meander aimlessly,

chewing cud

that never quite hits the spot.

Their eyes, like minds—

blank—

close to things made new

by the blessing of the sun,

cast downward

upon cracks and clods of grey clay

underfoot,

where a fire burns beneath the ground.

Life is slow

here in a border town,

where—in-kind—

like a shadow

I wait for a shift,

the balm of a breeze

to kiss the delicate yellow from the retama

and pave my road.

Everywhere.

Nowhere.

Noon rages overhead

(Devil’s at the crossroads)

as flames whip and lick the sky,

beckoning

just beyond the watery promise

of the horizon.

So, I close my eyes

here in this border town—

everywhere,

nowhere—

seeing white and the blood

that courses through my veins,

dig my toes into the ground, and slowly

burn.

Little Deaths

We implode—

explode—

in raptures

of liquid light

that set the skin

to sizzle on the spit

like slow-cooked meat,

pulled apart

in greedy clutches,

peeling

skin from skin,

limb from limb,

sinew from bone

until all is gone,

fallen away

in shreds

and trickles.

Tongues prodding,

hungrily,

for the taste of coppery bliss

of chewed lips,

these beautiful bodies—

diminished

heartbeats and exhales

of viscera and vasculature

with eyelids, aflutter—

fade

into black, into white—

dick-teasing,

mind-fucking

strobes of abstract consciousness.

Hand-in-hand,

together,

we die

little deaths,

again…

again…

and again—

every morning, a resurrection.