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20. Featuring: April Bratten

Including:

 

Aleathia Drehmer: Painted Post, upstate New York, USA + Mark Floyer: Hampshire, UK + Kate Hinds: Stanley, UK + S. Jalal Mousavi: Iran + Alec Newman: Newton-Le-Willows, UK + Anna Nowok: Berlin, Germany + Felino Soriano: California, USA

 

Legs

 

I finally decided to shave my legs

somewhere outside of Baton Rouge,

just as your head (lookin’ like a

rusted skillet) swung toward the road.

You rubbed your bear-like belly,

complained, complained,

of the hunger and the peas and rice.

I said what does it matter, I can’t cook nohow.

The sun started spillin’ just then,

poured like a smooth liquor over my calves.

I found a flat sharp stone and

chiseled at the coarse hairs.

You pointed your toes toward the north.

I decided to make a bed right there,

on the side of the road, somewhere outside of Baton Rouge,

in the sparse grass, inside the weeds,

and small nippled rocks.

You burned like a kerosene lamp on a hill.

I See the End of the World

From the Top, Right Side Up

 

We all know

the world

will cave

eventually,

because all

things

must surely

die.

 

I know

how the planet

will look after,

 

(just like the

rotting stomachs

of all the

early mothers)

 

and I know

how we will be

destroyed when,

 

(lava will flow

over the plains,

and ash will fill the air,

as king tornadoes

devour our precious cities)

 

and we will lose

our lush pieces

of natural flesh.

 

We are no trees grown from the earth.

We are no dead birds or dried up fish.

We are not made of mud or rocks.

We are just the stupid wile of human.

 

Rings have dropped

faster from our

withered fingers

than any buildings

will split,

and the crack

of our knees

will mirror

the sands falling

into the vulgar,

as the rot

of berries

turns to gold

when all sweetness

has been lost.

 

We will be shocked along with

the lightning sublime,and we will

fall from the stumbling of statues,

 

their stoned feet

like a grand

rind

we could only pray

to suck at.

 

We will wear

our entities

like brackets

at our sides,

and then demolish them,

as everything else,

like smashed pretty faces.

 

We will rush

to the seas,

the new dormant

beds of hope,

 

and tell me

now,

wouldn’t you

rather

live

inside

that well placed

shroud

of the misty

blur?

Machine

 

The strict shape of a bone is masculine.

It will sit in your hands like a tiny god

with structure and purity.

 

Its perfectness can be brought and held

to a white wall, white bone,

where wall meets bone’s eye stare

and they both swear their beauty is distinct

and all their own.

 

On a perfect bone there are no red corners to clean,

there are no wet drooping parts to untangle.

You rip them from your body.

 

Bones now fly, striking that white steel wall,

and splintering out perfect miniature ones too.

From the body,

obscene white jut out

without a single blood drop.

 

You do not scream.

                   You become dead matter.

                                                You are machine.

Pacifist Afternoon

 

I feared there was a bird

deep nested

in your winter beard.

A bird,

alive or not,

is far too hostile a presence

for the precious pacings

of your clock-handed face.

There was no bird,

just a hunger

for more

of my answers.

I want to eat

questions

off of you

like Sunday dinner,

where we can wrap together

in linoleum truce,

and make our small fires

from the kitchen floor.