My main fear of the End
is that there will not be enough
to complain about.
That we will all be unwavering
in our job of trying not to die.
That we will make desperate
friendships with neighbors
who decently stockpiled goods,
and embrace a life of smelling
canned foods for rot.
That we will spend hours
bravely considering the horizon,
thinking of others.
That the greenest grass
will still be swaying.
The new tints of environmental
Children will be born with
the only thing they need
to survive which is and always has been
I have higher hopes for the End.
I wish to be the first to lose my shit.
I will scream and run,
collect my belongings dramatically,
say hundreds of wet goodbyes.
I will do this for all of you.
I will cry and pull my hair.
I will contact all of your ex- boyfriends.
I will hold the trash bag
for your mother as she stuffs
pictures of you inside.
I will dig a hole
in your backyard, pull
the sod over like a blanket
In the aisle of Target you see a handsome
new father doing goo goo to his daughter
and it makes you want to have a baby.
Suddenly, you’re pregnant
with a baby you can have when you want
and not have when you do not.
You wonder: Should you breastfeed the baby
or should it come out eating steak dinners?
The baby who eats steak dinners will also be able to talk
and will dress itself. When it is time for dress up
the baby will regress to an age akin to the helpless
luffing of a sailboat, with only you, only you
to steer it into the wind.
The tiniest bud of selfishness blooms
and a supple loneliness fills your apartment,
interrupted only by the cheerful dinging
of the microwave
saying it has prepared something for only you.
You bring the baby back at bath time, rock it sweetly,
hoist it to look at itself in the sweating mirror with so much joy.
When baby gets too heavy you will the baby away
and go to bed to think of boys.
Sometimes baby comes to the wilderness,
and always sits still when the light is right,
especially in the Fall, when you notice the baby has hair on its legs!
You cry and laugh and call your mother.
The sometimes-baby will always answer the phone
when you call, needing to be talked down because
you are dying slowly and untragically and without much fuss.
I’m dying! you say to the baby, who is now not a baby
but perhaps an accountant or pawn shop owner.
We’re all dying! the accountant baby will say,
laughing contagiously. Accountant baby
is wise without being too much of a know it all.
You will the baby one morning to come
and eat a bowl of cereal with you,
to be four years old, to tell a funny story.
But the baby is reluctant to come.
The baby is tired of being jerked around.
The baby wants you to know he’s not mad,
he’s just disappointed.
It’s me or you the baby says.
You tell the baby you need some more time.
What of my long showers?
Those dusks when the birds were enough?
The baby yawns and turns to sleep.
His every twitch is a reason you never thought of
to try and get the baby back, to take back the
time you didn’t want the baby
but you can’t
and the pink sky is primping on the horizon,
offering nothing but more of what you can’t touch
nothing but more of what you can’t do anything about.
_____________________________________ Melissa Cossey is a poet and tutor living and working in Carbondale, IL. Melissa is a former online magazine editor and MFA drop-out. Her recent publications include Prime Mincer Literary Journal.
All soldiers all soldiers all soldiers have a similar strength a storm of unyielding wholesome good like an apostle oathed to a firmness courageous and this common to all soldiers and yet
Frenzied and unnatured partners spewing bullets each each in fast fast motion momentous in torsion of spirit and body mostly it was a knocking and a red mist and a leaving and an empty boot
The courageous man marvels that he owes no debt no longer sees dark dangers as a blur no more rising with his cohorts to contend with the cruel and the quorum of the dead
But inasmuch as he tries to live now he tries but he knows the music he listens to is not really playing his mind is not alive but just pretending a windowed machine without moving parts
And now all errands become a dream about the ruinous blaze and a sight that is not a sight overtakes him birds not singing only screaming shrill and the chemicals rise like a descendent dread and the collusion of horror and time has reached its head
Here we see the concision of conscious in medical circles we call that anomalist resistance and nonchalance a sinister state wherein joys grow dimmed all senses quenched no aim for hope or aid a dire sigh
How do we get here this segue in the search for meaning for meaning does not always come searching for you after all Moses glowed when the LORD appeared unto him a ruddy shine but you are no Moses
A terrible beauty and confusion at what all belongs here and there and where is everyone how does this happen and no matter what happens this has all been too long a sacrifice
When he returns the courageous man marvels that all freedom ekes away though that is what he fought for those years in the desert place full of spiders now at home everything is still and still and still
-the lines of Rene Char, from the translations of Mary Ann Caws
I love and I sob, I am living
I hurt and I am weightless
As I approach I depart
I leave you nothing to think
Praise, praise, we have come to terms with ourselves
The Sorgue enshrined me
beneath the humus of those powdery strides
I was raised amongst wood fires, next to embers
I hid among reeds under the care of creatures strong as oaks and sensitive as birds
I was one of those forests where the sun has no access
River of regard for dreams, river that rusts iron
where free pain is under the quick of the water
The clover of passion is iron in my hand
The earth loved us a little, I remember
The blade of his song closed the bed of sorrow
It held us amorous on the all-powerful arch of its imagination
The poet has returned for a long span of years into the naught of the father
The poet quickens, then races to the outcome
an extreme and compact fortune is our mountain range
Nothing any longer has name, except the shudder. It is night
far away a bed lies patient and trembling in the exile of its fragrant covers
I am a block of earth reclaiming its flower
Some put their trust in a round imagination
I would place my sleep at the disposition of the true night
My bed is a torrent with dried-up banks
Even in the midst of morning and our frenzy
quite heedless of an adventure
I lull the tender-eyed lightning to sleep
counterpoint of the void in which
the unnameable Beast
marks the moving of interwoven certainties
I heard the slither of the fearful grass-snake
The serpent sows
No one lives in space more narrow than he
amid his bloodstream’s briar-brake
Certain beings have a meaning that escapes us
Woman sleeping in flower pollen, lay lightly in his pride your frost of limitless medium
until the shoulders butt the heart
Thus he would start again until
in their narrow hands I read the joust of these stars calling others
He challenged her, went straight for her heart, like a boxer
We don’t believe in the good faith of the victor
They try to break away from stones too wise, too warm
O the exhausted motion of her diction!
The space she traverses is my faithfulness
Love, the equal of terror
From the darkness of the rock to
this child on your shoulder
Worlds of eloquence have been lost
Go one, we endure together; and together, although separate
What fear on our lips tomorrow?
___________________________________________ Adam Palumbo is a poet-critic from Annapolis, MD. His research includes rigorous people-watching, too many hours on his computer, and wearing sweatpants in the kitchen. He reads a lot and writes a little. He has published poetry at The Northern Virginia Review and St. Katherine Review and poetry reviews at The Rumpus, PANK, and Rattle
we’re going on a poetry moratorium because the poems are dead to us now… no, not really, but there are a lot of submissions we’ve got and the backlog is big, so we have to wait awhile before we can begin accepting poems again. the submissions were really fine this year. so fine that we might be pushed back until next january ish in terms of our publishing schedule. that’s a good thing. you ladies and poems are mighty fine. in terms of spirit, i feel heavy and filled with love. the universe overflows with half-drunk unicorns mounted by the ghost of federico garcia lorca– and the ghost of garcia lorca, mounted by russel edson’s ape. love, jake (poems)
Remembering a conversation this year at AWP, after we’d found the liquor store around the corner…
Them: Hey, what do you think about book trailers?
Drew: I think they’re stupid. Props for books ashamed that they’re books.
Them: Oh… well…
Drew: Books are paper, they’re text on pages, magnificent things, the best of all media, why the fuck are we gonna pretend they’re not that? The interaction between a person and the book is an intimately personal and unique thing — it’s their brain, the interaction between that person and that book is a unique experience, the words producing entirely individual images in the mind of that one reader, and only there. Why the fuck would we want to mess with that, to preemptively impose any kind of visual structure, minimize and cheapen what is probably the most sacred part of the reader’s experience?
Drew: Sorry. I got me some opinions on stuff. You want some bourbon? There’s a store just around the corner. Shit’s expensive. Who are you guys with? What do you do?
Them: We do book trailers…
Drew: I guess this is the part where I say “Well… this is awkward…”, isn’t it?
Our friends at H_NGM_N have a new issue here.
Steve Roggenbuck reads for us at the Black Spork (Black Ocean/Spork) reading for Mission Creek Fest, Iowa City.
Amelia Gray reads for us at the Black Spork (Black Ocean/Spork) reading for Mission Creek Fest, Iowa City.
Accidentally said Colin’s book was Animal Collective instead of Animal COLLECTION in a mass mail. Was the hipster inside, making its way outside, through the fingers. Sorry Colin. Love, Jake
The external hard drive containing the archive of everything we’ve done since we started caught fire today. I mention this because maybe you’ll click on a link somewhere on our site and you’ll see a bunch of garbled mess rather than the text you were expecting to see. I went to retrieve the original text to fix these glitched pages, and then, as I said, there was fire. I stripped the drive from the housing, and it appears undamaged, the thing powers on and spins up… so maybe it’s just a matter of getting a new housing for it, or maybe it’s a matter of getting some pro-type so-and-so to retrieve the information on the disk, but I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to salvage what we need to salvage and then I’ll be able to get the glitches handled.
Also. We’ve changed the way shipping works when you order books from us. It’s now based on weight rather than the weird and wacky whatnot we had going before where you could order 10 copies of a book and pay just the one shipping charge, or order two different books and pay two shipping charges… this mostly didn’t make any difference to anyone, since the books are mostly purchased one at a time. This way’s better.
Those errors and glitches I was talking about, they’re on the pages for the stuff from our physical issues. Which are accessible via that link on the page that’s been sitting dead for way too long. Issue 9.1 still needs to be added to the pile, which will happen damn soon, but it’s the everything else that really matters. Like Issue 4.1. That one’s fan-fucking-tastic. And there’s 4.3, which our buddy Kevin Sampsell edited for us. It’s all up there, it’s all pretty damn good. And it’s easily accessible once again.
———- Casey Hannan lives on Horse Streetand you should, too. Here’s an excerpt from a new interview up at Necessary Fiction.
\\\Do you have a favorite story in the collection? If so, what is it and why?
I don’t have a favorite. Spiders don’t have favorite legs. The stories in Mother Ghost function better together, which is why they’re together.
But if you said you were going to erase one of the stories, I guess I’d beg you not to erase “Horse Street.” There are some lines in there I still can’t believe I wrote. ///
Hearty call-out to Anthony Spaeth, the man who wrote “Aliens” for us. Check out his new book of stories The Reasons for My Alias, now out on Wrong Way Press. Find it on the Amazons & elsewhere.
In other news, we have patches and stickers. Join our crew.
You can buy a book and a patch for $15 (includes shipping). And, as always, stickers are free.
There’s books we’re telling you that you can have now. We say this late at night because we made books and then we went to Boston and then we sold all the books and then we came home and made more books and we’re making more books, and so the late night saying is in hope for the slow creep of information, the slow creep creeping in such a way that the pace of want does not outstrip the pace of the making. A stupid hope, probably, but we do what we can. These books are
Both are 10 bucks, like always, and both have the same aesthetic thing going on with Mr. Shuta’s designs, Mr. Burk’s insistence on maintaining the consistent interiors (outside keying off old kids’ books, inside thinking it wanna be like 60s-time Daedalus). But with the insistence on the sameyness why the different format page for these books? Why their own pages, and where are the covers? I don’t know. Errythan different. Sometimes. We’re gonna make, as well, available, our new special anthology, SIMULACRUM, consisting of our favorites from the online poetry from 2012, and last year’s CONSUMPTIVES, the fiction anthology compiled by Joel, for AWP Chicago, which we’re deciding to make available.
A very Gimme-my-fucking-coffee and a Here’s-your-fucking-coffee kind of town, and it appealed, that aspect, that thing about them, it was appealing. The Dunkin part of it is what I’m saying, which if we do things in terms of frequency and density is probably I’m thinking a good measure. Each Dunkin its own mirror of its surroundings and people and in each one I’d think This Is Where I Am. And they’d give me my fucking coffee and I’d get on a train or keep walking or go back to selling books or whatever; and we don’t need to say it because it’s said all the time and is I think probably the reason for it and its appeal and purpose, but then Starbucks and you walk in and you’re everywhere, anywhere. Had I wanted to be in Tucson or California or just not-Boston I just had to go to Starbucks. Already I’ve tested my Dunkin hypothesis even though I’m barely home, and yes, there’s the Central African refugee Dunkin, and there’s the Dunkin with the side of posole and menudo and they do not make me think Boston or anywhere but where I am, where I am then. If the coffee were not uniformly bad across both chains I could infer maybe or observe maybe or allow the unformed or sub-something to decide for me—but preferable I think that proximity alone decides, followed by price when proximity in multiples forces choicemaking.
Near and often hard upon each, regardless, so often were books. Often more than just one shop, multiple shops, which, if my plane had run out of gas and I was still there, I wouldn’t be asking with any real enthusiasm for change.
And we were lost so often, and I was the only one not annoyed by that. Moss and stone and the verylong dead clustering the infrastructure, and the marsh and the small and here we’re all sides surrounded by desert and we carry our guns and we pay for our prisons with our education moneys and there’s like five or six of us here and this is the place to work. This is the good place to work. We go back to the desert because there’s nothing, nothing for us here and we’ve got so much work to do. We are never lost here, in the desert, because there is no here, there is no lost, there is nowhere to go and nothing to do so there’s no need for directions, no cab no train and the buses run but they run in long circles for when we need to feel like maybe we’re going somewhere.
New Poems To Dance To by B.J Love. Sweet. And also, AWP. I’ll be live tweeting about my imaginary AWP in Seoul while the other Spork peeps are actually there. Come and see us at AWP. We’ll give you free feels of us / books. Kisses, Jake.
———- This is a poem by Anna Maria Hong and this is a poem by Jon Leon. I really like both of these poems. One is on Boston Review and one is on Octopus. I don’t really think anymore about the space in which the poems get displayed, but the journey I somehow took to get there (email, google search query, submission guidelines, poetry section link). I used to feel that when I read a good book that the route and timing were inevitable, as if it was destined, and we all used to read in the houses where the work was made (presses), but now we read through various channels and rivulets that get spooned inside us by our phones and web devices, social-media and online news outlets. For better or worse that’s how the future readership is being built. On that note, Spork does the web and does the work by hand. It’s strange to work with both at the same time, like we are manhandling the future, work-by-the-week online, while curating and developing books with our hands. We’re going to make something for AWP again where some of the work that was first on the web is going to appear in a book. It’s strange to take cyberspace and stack it in a page, and if the two worlds are interwoven, (which they are), it is not so much a balancing act where two fighters pitch at each other with opposite hands tied, but a magic dance held on the moon…. ballerinas in a celestial turn, animal masks, bearded, throwing knives. -jl
You people have no idea just how much Batman influences decisions at Spork Press. Also Blade Runner. “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion… I’ve watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate… All these. Moments… will be lost, in time, like… tears… in rain.” Thinking now, thinking about Batman, I’m thinking that Blade Runner might actually have surpassed Batman in the influential arena, which is not to say that Batman’s importance, generally, has decreased at all. Only that Blade Runner wields itself a bunch of influence. Also, I was at a bookstore (and I hate bookstores in Tucson: we have exactly zero actual bookstores—okay, we’ve got Antigone, they’re doing all right, they’re a good bookstore, but they’re specialized and they’re really the only valid bookstore in this town—here, we’ve got two BN boxes, we’ve got a few used bookstore places, and we’ve got Bookmans, but they’re shifting their focus away from books and onto recreational equipment and musical instruments and all kinds of non-book stuff, and that’s cool, I guess, but I still wish for a bookstore) and I picked up Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” and I tried reading it and on the first page he showed three times that he didn’t know what the hell he was doing… end-loaded awkward sentences misusing tense and while all structurally correct all were aesthetic abominations. The phrases and sentences between mere workmanlike bits of connective fluff, his style when evidenced a display of his disconnect from people, from society, his yearning for a connection with a more genteel (maybe) time telegraphed in his stilted and shitty prose. I’m saying here that Scott’s visual representation of the story (of which Dick heartily approved) is a far superior thing to its source.
We should aim, all of us, to create things that cannot be surpassed by any filming. And when the movies fail, we should praise the things anyway, appreciating what little they were able to do, and extolling the new perspectives they were able to bring to our work (since, yes, there will be a broadening and greatering of our work, things we could not have said which will be elucidated visually and which will enhance the things we’ve written), and we will say THANK YOU, and we will gladly sell the rights to our short stories and to our novels—and also, maybe, we can write poems that will deserve and beg to be filmed.
SPORK PRESS is officially headed to Bostontown— March 6-9 2013. Bad news is we’re keeping all our beans in Tucson. “SERVICES. It is mutually understood and agreed that AWP will provide each Exhibitor with the following services free of additional charge: erection of necessary flame-retardant backgrounds of uniform style.” Toilets and your humor, be now forewarned. -js
in other news, the biggest problem facing middle earth has got to be declining birth rates… in 3 hours there was one female character of any given race / species who i’m pretty sure isn’t even able to reproduce as she is an elven demi-god or something… she isn’t even given a proper speaking part, just some telepathy thing she uses to talk to the wizard, which is exactly how i try to communicate with drew when we talk poetry or contests, which we haven’t done since i accidentally sliced part of my thumb off making dan beachy-quick books… a sign, if you will, carved with my own blood. no contests. we’ve got a solid 2 months of poems lined up that i can assure you has more sex than the hobbit. -jl
The jump from Billy Idol (Chrysalis, black) to Turing Machine (TRL, pink) abrupt and jarring and continuing the thinking about the object, the times, the differences between then and now — 1983, when Mr. Idol, a mushroom for certain (a fungi, right?), could succeed releasing things that were merely physical content delivery systems; now, the content needs no deliverer, it’s there. Turing Machine has it the objectness, heavy paper and good design and pink/white splatter, things I’d forgotten, but then the sleeve out and the vinyl slipped and me: “Oh. FUCK YEAH.” and me: “Hey, look.” And now, them over there on the thing spinning I think but cannot be certain but think still probably that the pink and the paper and the FUCK YEAH of it is making it sound better. No. I’m allowing it a different access, because somebody cared, because somebody made this not mere content, but made of it a thing, and it’s the THING I crave, the content inextricably part of the thing, though by no means subsumed by it, instead supported and invigorated and greater-ed by it. // I was lecturing just yesterday, not intentionally (and I hope they understand that it was me saying THIS IS WHAT I THINK and not THIS IS WHAT YOU SHOULD THINK) both a very important musician and an important label-head about mere content delivery medium vs desirable object, and then wandering and waxing re: content and yes it should be the same whether consumed via page or screen or tablet or whisper (laptop/mp3/Pandora/etc) but the fact is that it is not and where the difference lay is in the possibility that we are becoming the old men and we are becoming irrelevant via the fact of us failing in our evangelization via hubris and insecurity and ego and just fucking not getting it. // What I mean to say is we make objects. What I mean to say is our objects are a reflection of the value we place upon the content, and we intend, vis-a-vis said objects, to have these things stay with you longer than the things that you might otherwise eventually sell off or throw away in the interest of more shelfspace for your very very zen minimalistic lifestyle (because the sheer volume of CONTENT necessitates a clearing of your physical environs).
People out there they’re giving us what I think is uncritical praise. I think we do good work and I’m happy when this good work is appreciated, but I think also that our books could maybe open easier, I think that we could follow through on all the things we begin—or that maybe we could not begin so many things that we inevitably fail at most of them. Folk could mention our scattershot focus, our overreaching and confusion, our tendency to do this or that right, sure, but to do so much else badly. Someone could wonder, someone could ask what the hell is up with the audio, what’s with the gaps, the lack of consistent or coherent structure, what’s the deal with sounding so TAL and then not? There’s lots of questions to be asked, lots of shit that could be talked publicly. I think it oughtta be. // It’s nice that we do books, that we have this nice selection of neat books that, yeah, aren’t really like other books out there, not in content or structure—but is this vision on our part, or lack of it? These are the questions I’m always asking myself, wondering to the rest of us. Or to some of the rest of us. Some of us are bright-eyed and driven and always positive, some of us do work every day and actually accomplish all the things they said they’d do, and some of us are questioning daily just what the hell we’re doing anyway. Factions (of one) push consistently to let the robots in to do the work, to streamline and simplify, to engage in contests (they make money, you know)—and none of those points are really all that wrong, except that they are, not the streamlining and simplifying parts, that’s valid, and yes, we’re trying and always figuring out better ways to do what we do but there’s only so much that can be simplified and the only real improvements that are left to be made are with our hands. // Our hands need to obey consistently, they need to move thoughtlessly but correct… some of us like to fold; some of us hate to glue; everybody loves the sewing. Everybody also likes the letterpress parts, our savage and barbaric process, the hazardous chemicals, the force and destruction of it. We are all about that.
RE: SITE // Still there’s the dead links. We know. We’re on it. You’d think with all our funding we’d just hire someone that we could yell at, you’d think that. But nobody we interview—we yell A LOT in the interviews—seems to really enjoy being yelled at. It’s important, you see, the yelling. Every other aspect just works like it should and we’re all smiles and cooperation and compliments and catering to and for each other (the soups are always fantastic), so it’s only proper that we have this one area where all the yelling happens. We treat our interns well, so our thinking was since we screwed up so bad by setting that precedent with earlier interns (who went and told prospective interns that we’re kinda nice to them, and then bring also their own prospective interns who show up with all these EXPECTATIONS based upon factual reporting by existing interns), we’d pay money to someone with the understanding that their position, while nominally about doing work for us, probably something like maintaining the website for us, their main function would be to take the abuse we’ve so far failed to give to anybody else. I will say, however, that even though nobody accepts the position when we stop yelling and offer it to them, all the yelling we do in the interviews is helping a whole lot with our collective well-being. SO HEY, THANKS YOU GUYS.
STUPID DOCTYPE PARSING. We’re functional now, in the stupid IE world.
New. We’re new. This has been sitting in a secret directory for months and months and months. // Not everything works just yet. That’s a kind of always thing with us, I guess. But that’s not supposed to be an always thing. There’s parts to come and to update, and the print archive page is a holy shitting mess, all set up in tables and so big and unwieldy and—I think I said something about a mess. // Hi. Welcome to the new place. There’s formatting stuff on the things what got imported and transported and yeah, we know. We’re on it. We’re all on it.
Word is/was, and the word is/was verified, that this shit just don’t work in IE. We don’t know why (but we do), and really we don’t know anyone that uses IE, but probably there are people that do. So, if you’re one of those people, we’re real sorry about that/this. We’ll get it worked out, but really you oughtta be using some other browser. // Since, come on, srsly, the shit works correct in every other browser. // AND NOW