January 2023 Poetry Feature

New poems by our contributors TINA CANE, MYRONN HARDY, and MARC VINCENZ


Table of Contents:

            Tina Cane
                        —You Are Now Interacting as Yourself
                        —The Subject Line

            Myronn Hardy
                        —Among Asters

            Marc Vincenz
                        —An Empire in the Ground


You Are Now Interacting As Yourself        

Sheila had IHOP     delivered to her apartment     in El Alto, NY    
on January 6th     so she could kick back     self-proclaimed terrorist     
that she is     and eat pancakes     while watching white supremacists
storm the Capital on T.V.     a coup                                                             for the gig economy    
                                     plus chickens     come home to roost     whites afraid of whites
two birds one stone     we joked    
as mind control     like trying to read the wind     this influx
of information     You are now interacting as yourself     platforms
tell me     as if my mind     were a private kind of charm offensive    
against limitation     what else am I
                                                             missing here?    
I used to say fall     but now I use autumn     because I want language    
to save humanity    as if not speaking     something into being    
isn’t a tautology     in and of itself    
                                                           stuff keeps
happening though     and after two years     of daily walks
in the woods      I’m more akin to a tree     than ever before
more open and like time     tangled up with eternity   
                                                                                       so when
Sheila visits from El Alto     we head for the woods    
its brisk cathedral of leaves     and bracing wind     perfect
for spontaneous confession
                                                 still seasons
keep turning     beneath our feet     I keep walking    
and Sheila keeps growing     hungrier for life’s blood
of poetry     that’s how I know     we’re onto something                                                                           
with the terroristic pancakes     our movement and the wind


The Subject Line 

The subject line     of the email message
from the corporation     posing as artisanal craft    
asks if I am     Feeling Nostalgic?     I generally don’t    
name emotions     so much as     embroil the motions    
of understanding     the arc of my life
                                                                 like today    
I could be     a Republican strategist     for all the blood
lust I feel around this     email I refuse to open     my nostalgia
so persistent even corporate      America is onto me    
                                                                                       Sean says
                      nostalgia leads only
to suffering     and he’s right     I didn’t really like
1982     and neither did you     so let’s not lie about time    
as a linear thing     let’s call it     a series of planes    
                                                     not the kind    
                         that fly in the sky    
but the dimensional ones     that make the actual
sky of everything     so pervasive     nostalgia warps
into a time-elapse     panic attack     I must breathe through    
                                                                 alternating the shallow
                                          with the deep    
would that I could     keep everything     yet remain
attached to little     except for the part
in the middle     I’m calling now    


Among Asters  

In a field of asters     I find you in blue. 
You are watching something fly     something predatory.
The sky is some version of violet  
like the asters.  That symmetry haunts.   
It’s a well into the well I don’t see  
but know is there.  The water beneath  
us     in us     in the asters     in the sky. 
How the wind bends through  
the field     your hair     the thing that flies. 
You don’t know I’m here.  Too transfixed  
on wings     the patterns moonlike.  Don’t you know the moon
nothing     feathers fall when they’re plucked? 
I’m not the fall but the always. 
Don’t you want to fly?


An Empire in the Ground

                    for the people of Ukraine

Linen stretching mound to mound,
The heat of the day passes through the ceiling.

A row of soldiers. The cold air plucks at threads.
Manikins here and there, washed in soap and lavender;

A weasel creeps into the picture with fish in her teeth.
Useful, they say, eons away. We shall have our crest

Of arms. Don’t all armaments need alms?
My friend says (at least I think it’s him), adjusting

His gas mask. His filter needs to be changed,
His eyes and thyroid are running out; surely

The blood-sugar levels too, wiping away
Any trace of what came before.

Somewhere in this rubble
A mouse is fishing for stale bread.




Tina Cane serves as the Poet Laureate of Rhode Island where she is the founder and director of Writers-in-the-Schools, RI. Cane is the author of The Fifth Thought, Dear Elena: Letters for Elena Ferrante, poems with art by Esther Solondz, Once More With Feeling, and Body of Work. In 2016, Cane received the Poetry Merit Fellowship Award from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and, in 2020, was a Poet Laureate Fellow with the Academy of American Poets. Tina is also the creator/curator of the distance reading series, Poetry is Bread. Her most recent poetry collection, Year of the Murder Hornet, was released from Veliz Books in May 2022, and her debut novel-in-verse for young adults, Alma Presses Play,(Penguin/Random House)was released in September 2021.

Myronn Hardy is the author of, most recently, Radioactive Starlings. Aurora Americana is forthcoming this fall (Princeton University Press). His poems have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Ploughshares, POETRY, The Georgia Review, The Baffler, and elsewhereHe teaches at Bates College.

Marc Vincenz is a poet, fiction writer, translator, editor and artist. He has published over 30 books of poetry, fiction and translation. His work has been published in many journals, including The Nation, Ploughshares, Raritan, Colorado Review, World Literature Today and The Los Angeles Review of Books. He is publisher and editor of MadHat Press and publisher of New American Writing. His forthcoming books are: The Pearl Diver of Irunmani (poetry, White Pine Press, 2023) and Three Taos of Tao (fiction, Spuyten Duyvil, 2023).

January 2023 Poetry Feature

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