December 2018 Poetry Feature

New Poems by Our Contributors

VIRGINIA KONCHAN  |  “Historiae Mundi”

TYREE DAYE  |  “The Motorcycle Queen”

RICHIE HOFMANN  |  “Capital”

ROSBUD BEN-ONI  |  “Poet Wrestling from Zeroto the power of

 

VIRGINIA KONCHAN

Historiae Mundi 

Life on the hillside of the Euphrates:
a star in the process of exploding.
In the shadowy interstice between
language and anguish, I stand, sketching
silhouettes of the soul’s four dimensions,
while androids dream of electric sheep.
Money isn’t nothing:  nor is it substance,
life.  O wanton superlative, isn’t it ironic,
I mean iconic, I mean ionic, that the opposite
of obfuscation is transparency?  As if I could
even see five feet in front of me.  As if the x axis
and the y axis, accordant and discordant, could
ever converge.  The brain inhibits one from
engaging in dangerous activities—google it!—
but that part of the brain can be overwritten.
Sad to say, the literary industrial complex is
unstoppable, endless precincts of nightmare
populated by denizens of popular taste.
To argue otherwise is futile.  To argue
otherwise is to carve a small cave within
a cave, a space where one can breathe
despite the meaninglessness of bodies.
If I delete all images and texts of yours,
do you then cease to exist?  Voila, a boundary.
Voici, my soul, a unified design concept.
Gird your loins, guard your last red cent:
the executioner’s song is a madrigal.
The executioner’s song is all assent.

 

TYREE DAYE

The Motorcycle Queen

for Bessie Stringfield

You said you took God with you to all 48 states.
You caroled your grief on an Indian Scout,
rodeo your Harley until the crowd forgot it was a motorcycle,
saw a stallion riding the track wall,
breaking for a field’s freedom.

You wanted a story you could tell
about surviving America on two wheels,

six years too early for The Green Book.
But I understand leaving.
I’ve been looking
to see the world.

 

RICHIE HOFMANN

Capital 

The long curtain opens and I follow.

I lose myself in the exacting rain.

It trickles down scarred blocks of stone.

The church a storage facility for arms.

Sun sears the graffiti.

Bunkers squat unmarked beneath a parking lot.

The dead wait for the next life.

In a gay sex shop: instruments of passion.

It is as if the extremity of pleasure is measured by its proximity to death.

Posters are glued over posters.

My white teeth gleam.

A man touches the rims of my ears.

The embassy’s flags are brought inside for the night.

He ties a collar around my neck like a priest’s.

The past shows itself in a brimming mirror.

Cranes seethe.

The long curtain opens and I follow.

I lose myself in the exacting rain.

 

ROSEBUD BEN-ONI  

Poet Wrestling from Zeroto the power of

It’s amazing how we won’t let each other die silently.
If there is no death {then I’d rather die}. I’d rather die.
Then. I’m in love with you. Air never sleeps. The air
dies infinite
{-ly}         alive. & the closest we come to the bottom
is a looking glass

 

we dream {inside}. Looking upon ourself—
vanishes. Can’t have. Reflection. Or second.
Reflexes. Zero {of us} is dead
ringer. Zero is always greedier.
When others try {to enter}, they don’t death. But.
{Are. Could. Never.} Only we :: constant, constantly. & un-

 

ruly. By our own numbers. Zero is hunting for patterns. To the power of. Zero. Is the air erupting
& dying while sleep,    a billion
explosions before our eye. You’re in love {with} me. & space.
Will not empty. Voids are luscious & we’re looking. Hard. Like light
years of tongue. Sense thinks. Can. Will.
Separate us. Nothing, after all.
Is. Our language.

 

I don’t need words,
even these.                          Only to slip into your apothecaries
that blur fine dust into bunnies. I’m in love with the bunnies.
Falling apart. & through. The whispering. Our eye. The screen
freezes. & dry heave. Zero of us seeps through. Zero receives.

{I’d rather love dying you}

Static. Stasis. Lost goes. A grace. Note.

{As if two. Love would rather die you}

This kindling, wet & fecund. I don’t want. To. The power of.
This groove. The air is fleeced. Zero is swag. Zero is {swag}.
& hungers {I & you}. It’s amazing. How zero finds each other.
There was never a rabbit hole {& that’s where zero we}.
& forget. Would rather {then}. Our lung didn’t need.
Breath. Or dying. We don’t {when you sing}

 

Come {back} to me
I’d rather die
like the first time
we broke free

 

BIOS

Rosebud Ben-Oni is a recipient of the 2014 NYFA Fellowship in Poetry and a 2013 CantoMundo Fellow; her most recent collection of poems, turn around, BRXGHT XYXS, was selected as Agape Editions’ EDITORS’ CHOICE, and will be published in 2019. She was a Rackham Merit Fellow at the University of Michigan, a Horace Goldsmith Scholar at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is an Editorial Advisor for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. Her work appears or is forthcoming in POETRY, The American Poetry Review, Tin House, Black Warrior Review, TriQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, Arts & Letters, among others; recently, her poem “Poet Wrestling with Angels in the Dark” was commissioned by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City. She writes weekly for The Kenyon Review blog, and teaches creative writing at UCLA Extension’s Writers’ Program. Find her at 7TrainLove.org

Tyree Daye is a poet from Youngsville, North Carolina. He is the winner of the 2017 APR/Honickman First Book Prize for his book River Hymns (APR, 2017). Daye is a 2017 Ruth Lilly Finalist and Cave Canem fellow and longtime member of the editorial staff at Raleigh Review. He received his MFA in poetry from North Carolina State University. Daye’s work has been published in Prairie Schooner, New York Times, and Nashville Review. Daye recently won the Amy Clampitt Residency for 2018, the Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award, the 2019 Palm Beach Poetry Festival Langston Hughes Fellowship and the 2019 Diana and Simon Raab Writers-In- Residence.

Richie Hofmann is the author of a collection of poems, Second Empirewinner of the Beatrice Hawley Award from Alice James Books. He is the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, and his poems appear in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, and the New York Times Style Magazine. He is currently a Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University.

Author of two poetry collections, Any God Will Do(Carnegie Mellon, 2020) and The End of Spectacle (Carnegie Mellon, 2018), a collection of short stories, Anatomical Gift(Noctuary Press, 2017), and three chapbooks, including  Empire of Dirt (above/ground press, 2019), Virginia Konchan’s poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic, Boston Review, and elsewhere.

December 2018 Poetry Feature

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