from The Ship by Stephen Sturgeon


to Alison Walsh

For one is beat with blasting tears,
     And burned with raging weather,
And reapt in fiery haste—, the ears
     Half-ripe, dead-ripe, or neither:

                       FREDERICK  GODDARD  TUCKERMAN.


1.

The letters I have written to the world
while traveling in this boat
contain the same message more often than not
The world is terrifying
and this boat is not much better
but it is better.


2.

Nothing would tempt me
to explain what residence on such a craft
as this could matter 

broken anchor
soaking material

is it love
grasping the weed bed
on the river’s bottom
and her feet trail behind her in the current
and the weed roots unsheathe
and love grabs a fresh weed
and water pushes past her eyes


3.

The hole in the river bottom
takes in water like a drain
and the other hole in the river bottom
pours water into the river.

It is like a brain,
so much of the same thing
going in and out at every moment.


4.

Clip clip says the sky.
What is that noise.
No one knows.

Fisk fisk say the trees.
Theories of an eventual waterfall

circulate among the drastic people.
I have my own theories.
Theories of a human waterfall.


5.

Concerning the river’s marriage,
it calmed the excitable animals
into long sleep, in which they produced
tears the color of equatorial fruit,
and it was called a successful marriage.


6.

The river’s wings flap and articulate
what a person hears exiting the Hippodrome,
the cascade of crowds and rubbings of shoes
as the sky pours hail and the earth creaks open.

So the river flies off leaving behind this boat
that goes on in confounded ways


7.

Have you even married a mountain.

Have you even loved a river or lake
visited it
and married it.


8.

It makes little sense 
what the river says when it talks

Turn Back Turn Back
No Forge Ahead Forge Ahead
You Can Do Neither

What the river says
makes less sense
when it does not talk

The Belly of a Roof
Conceals the Grave and the Secret
of the Eternal Life You will not Experience
though Eternally You Excavate the Roof


9.

spinning spinning
we in this substantial 
dialogue with creation
or the unassuming vitriol
of a creator’s whimsy
and flashing dance


10.

In my hands my eyes

I admit I eventually took out my eyes

held them a cantankerous moment
and cast them into the river
hoping to see what was there
and if indeed there was something
in the caverns constantly at work
diligently creating

And in demented darkness
I rose into a demented sleep

My eyes were back
when I awoke

carrying the outrageous memory
of the actions blistering beneath this boat
that I remember
it is foolish to communicate


11.

New Year’s Day must have come
It may have been that dismal day
we expounded on the rudder.

We screamed and shook hands,
the next day woke up

We are in this boat,
millions of people
it must
be

a vacuum

State of the State by JoAnna Novak


Girls stay invisible says the woman 
I could become if I never left 
Massachusetts and let myself long 
for pleasure, get planted in the ground, 
crest my crown off the coast, ride 
all the swans in common. Say mute 
in New York, invasive in Manhattan, 
cygnet by my favorite Russian’s tongue. 
My Russian is no woman, but yes 
pleasure, he who—listen some, in St. 
Petersburg I could’ve been: small, very 
flou kind of girl, pretty little photism, so 
and so: his palpable girl grown on 
words, light-papered walls, fluttering for the 
moths. I am many mouths and 
months away from being someone’s 
bag. I never needed a feeding 
tube in Massachusetts, nor, for that 
matter, did I require nutrients in Illinois 
or Missouri. Florida, though: glimpse 
through the mist my anklets (tendons), 
bracelets (cicatrix), coccyx (bruised), 
soul-weather (vitreous, smashed, delete). 
Were you in Florida, woman? Did 
I meet a Disney man, too? Fourteen, 
eighteen, seventy-two: I charmed the guards, 
licked their flavored tattoos. Pleasure, 
we argue, starts with night-Grammy’s 
or soft truffled cheese, a slideshow of 
cheagles and porgis: other hybrid 
dogs. The DNA test is a clickable 
truth. The woman is a cluck away 
from her soft-cornered hen house. 
And the man is seventy-eight, eighty- 
one, four or seven, charting his 
stabby afterimage in Montana, 
California, Orlando, Massachusetts: 
we argue about Othello and Iago, 
bad hair and grainy lost time, in- 
visible girl: I know what I see. Scene 
where I am only you. Call 
woman—brazen, brackish, back 
watered, not the one I pay to see, 
woman with scattered scabs who feeds 
me carved smiles and nod after nod 
as I search my week for some 
state or another that would benefit 
from garbled recreate: it was like 
this and I cried that, which was 
one way to call my wolf a sheep: 
march into the woods and unclip 
that leash. Do we have anything 
else in Massachusetts, viscid 
state to which I’m stuck? We have 
witches in Massachusetts and good 
schools in Salem. Classroom swath 
of Massachusetts. Strong maple 
smoke curling from the woodshed 
called Massachusetts: primers and 
grammars and crooks. I thought 
I had missed all my country; hadn’t 
my girl gone untook? Oh they spelled 
me by the throat, tunnel red-swabbed 
and stung. Spit, spit, spit. They 
knew me by the hole, the crook 
in my door. The nose in the crack: 
dog again, hungry for dust called joy. 
I confess I do not believe my dog; 
there’s a little girl inside her, 
invisible but for her wet eyes. Crumbs 
of people sleep in her fur, the 
animal from my natural state, she 
from the cramped up city, east of 
Mississippi. From the backseat she’s 
sniffed Connecticut, New York, 
Minnesota, Vermont. She is not at all 
large, not very, not tall. Twelve girls 
over state lines—New Hampshire—dark 
taxes, shotgun booze, skimpy 
women—and woof, she eats yams 
to care not when I sob, she tucks in her 
ball. Massachusetts, Massachusetts, 
who was I in Missouri, unleashed 
on casinos and confluences, ready to 
get in any guy’s boat. Drop and push 
twenty, thirty, forty, five. Knees 
in the air, triceps wide. Triangle, clap, 
flush, fold. We steered Wednesday 
upstream, ate afternoon sun one Thursday, 
braced my neck for donuts one 
bent-over morning. Was I the girl 
inside of myself? I remembered 
Canada, Vancouver—what do they 
call a state in Canada? What do 
they name a scene, a mood, a fidget, 
a flight? Six hours, three snacks, 
several sideways looks. I needed 
tennis courts across the city, raw 
vistas and fish on the second floor 
next to the French president. Pass 
me the ha-ha, bridgelet my sorrows. 
Row, row: we paddled into nothing 
and our boat held me down, oar 
slapping fish thinking, sun cresting, 
coast, coast, splashed throat: I 
could’ve drowned my good 
hopes. One man took me to my 
first orchard and fed my neck, 
red lips, apple throat: Pink Lady, 
Sweet Sixteen, American Gala 
Beauty Crisp. They make these 
in Minnesota, he said, which meant 
at a lab in the U. An apple is a 
boat, hollowed out for peanut butter, 
raisins; an apple star stamped on 
your palm keeping you in the club 
(I am always hungry), pared 
into eight or twelve (wanting), twenty 
-four, forty-two, depending on your state. 
An orange was snack. The men 
smuggled more: cigarettes and chalk 
for us to trace our bodies on 
concrete. Crush my head, said the 
skinnies dribbling, afraid of their women, 
escaped from their tall Russian men. 
We would’ve chosen basement life, 
state of mold, better invisible stars: 
flush with the ceiling, albino by day.

Voice: Red Turnip, Unnoticed Float, Crown On by Catherine Blauvelt


Voice: Red Turnip, Unnoticed Float, Crown On

a wet bob, an occasion for weeding
the tops of waves, Styrofoam plates, say
hello. She gathers I love how it looks
her voice moved like wet hair. Sky built of wind
now is gone, and then go my limbs: Youth Pops.

Sudden the bud; in example I’m dead 
counting pebbles the rabbit stays by me
and eats. Have this enormous invisible.
Take and then breathe out wants out: two rabbits
bud long summers. Did I ask her? Without 
saying it, have. A leg settles in
a delicate god. A maple tree 
finds its way in a flower pot, finds
its parentheses drink until wood wilts. 

White Drapes Between, Fill Up The Climate. Remove by Catherine Blauvelt


White Drapes Between, Fill Up
The Climate. Remove

Us. Sanely
I struck
adhesive. I go set
out on a ledge. Just one
argument. Far out set by them
barely sugar. In the forest
now canopy. It thinks it is
movement. On a ledge. Pomp sets
well. Voice ahead of us. May
this thrill. Move at lilt.
Critters, weak opponents.
Geese make love to conceal
glitters. Stop my head
all the same. A little ahead, white
between just one. So well
pines the rind of grass.
See instead of finger
marks. I live here.
Intervals. Kites.
Here is fur. All in black
before the heaven drape.
Hurl and soon a prompt lift.

Snow Flower Wag Holds The Day Here Beneath by Catherine Blauvelt


Snow Flower Wag Holds The Day Here Beneath

a tree; to exist 
the green is invisible. Arms dip in the sink, 
          push the mud logged with furniture,
          lock and drawer. Water pleats
appear 
by waterfall. 
I’ll rest too. Near you I can be 
present, frond. 
White kept at the surrounding, 
stood looking, fit my face to see if I was
ironwork. 
              Wader, your hinges 
              shock the shape 
              water’s spilling; your legs now in eyes. 
When I go mole, cover me.