June 2016 Poetry Feature

Please join us in welcoming Erica Dawson and William Brewer, poets new to our pages. Both have work forthcoming in our print journal.



Jesus, with gun

Why not? Your chance at vigilante,
to bring it home and fucking ante
up your omnipresence.


in the beginning, there was was
it good?


              It’s not. Where is your free
for all? What of that jealousy?


This is your chance to be a man
who keeps the shells because he can;
and, when he shoots, he always cocks
his head up towards his shadow box
shined up with carbon copied gods
and gutted animals. Thy rod’s


Useless. The good word cannot make
morning beget another take
on mourning.


                         Say you’ve been abused,
you have no choice, you can’t get used
to it. No need to shake. Get stable.


Your hands wash clean in the water table.


Black Matter




Bless us, O Lord, to these
electrons, nuclei, the bonds
between the charge that corresponds
to charges.

Dear Lord, please


bless all the girth of black
Mandingo-looking Hercules,
the cracked out preemies, the bee’s knees
negroes yakkity-yak




                       Bless this
matter as it, apparently,
matters. I saw the effigy
on Facebook.




                         Matter: criss-
cross bandage on a wound.
Matter: of substance.



First dead man

I saw? My grandfather dead pan
in his casket, more pruned
than ever, face shaved clean.


My mother said he used to call
all white men Mr. Charlie. All
`nem, she says. She says he’d lean
and never swept the rooms
he and my grandma cleaned at night
at Michigan State where all the white
chalk must’ve gone kaboom
in Mom’s eyes.

He’d say.

Mr. Charlie ain’t shit. Now Grandma can’t
remember it.




                      Matter: a slant.


Say of the matter, say
It ain’t so. Matter: state.




When Baltimore blew up in May
after the police killed Freddie Gray,
my brother got irate
at News 13: It’s one
damn neighborhood. Whole town’s not up
in smoke. I told him, Frank, get up,
grab your tv and gun
it down your block and see
what happens.




                         Matter: consequence:
if then after before and hence:
matter of fact: you, me.


For that matter, were we
pretty? Back when we first begun
In your image? When is it done?




How sweet the sound of thee.


Your dark matter accounts
For all matter in space.




                                           I saw
a dead man in the moon, the maw
of a hagfish, an ounce
of lymph.




                        Matter: no matter
but for breath, its water in the air
fogging my glasses when, in prayer,
the grackles’ chatter
distracts me and it’s how
perfect an omen: a blackbird, ants
on its body so it has a chance
to survive, at least, for now.


Erica Dawson is the author of two collections of poetry: The Small Blades Hurt, winner of the 2016 Poet’s Prize, and Big-Eyed Afraid, winner of the 2006 Anthony Hecht Prize.



Detox Psalm


Only in the slow braid of a dream
can you study want and need, their
patience, their cruelty. Amid the thin
trunks of their camp fires’ smoke,
I watched the hours take off
their polished armor, clean and
sheath their blades, water their
stallions, and refuse to leave the shore.
Always a shore. And overcast, a sun
that offers me to climb inside its mouth,
and therefore cannot be trusted.
You’re asking to be taken apart
without the help of time, in the face
of its broken promise to keep
forward. I thought to give myself
to the dogs, but they only gnawed
my thighs. With the waves’ jade
coaxing, I heaved my every organ
through my mouth, then cut a mouth,
at last, in my abdomen and prayed
for there to be something more divine
than the body, and still something
more divine than that, for a torrent
of white flies to fly out of me,
anything, make me in the image
of the bullet, I begged, release me
from myself and I will end a life.


William Brewer‘s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Kenyon Review Online, The Nation, A Public Space, and other journals.


Julia PikeJune 2016 Poetry Feature

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