KWJ

VOL. 2

Contents
From The Editors……………………………………………………2
Contributors……………………………………………………3
Face The Sea……………………………………………………5
The Exhumation of Pablo Neruda……………………………………………………6
Resurrection Myth……………………………………………………7
Venus with Biographer……………………………………………………8
My Sweet Mistress……………………………………………………9
Sorcha……………………………………………………10
[lucha lucha i]……………………………………………………11
Mirrors and Hours……………………………………………………12
Stockholm Girls……………………………………………………13
Category Three……………………………………………………14
Falling Man……………………………………………………16
Shield……………………………………………………17
Armour……………………………………………………18
Clatch……………………………………………………19
Gets Next To You……………………………………………………20
Artifact No. 1……………………………………………………22
Artifact No. 2……………………………………………………23
Artifact No. 3……………………………………………………24
World’s Fair 3……………………………………………………25
Hot Concrete……………………………………………………26
Unbecoming……………………………………………………28
from Daybook……………………………………………………29
from Daybook……………………………………………………30
Point Clear……………………………………………………31
Alligator Pond……………………………………………………33
Creatures……………………………………………………34
[link fence, a black rush streaks]……………………………………………………35
The city is impaired by fog / The floor is littered with event flyers………36
Forage In Me……………………………………………………37
Sihouette……………………………………………………39
Hostess……………………………………………………40
The Origins of Music……………………………………………………41
In the Library of Dust……………………………………………………42

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VOL. 2

From The Editors

This VOL. sees us diving to new depths and our contributors writing as resurfacing.
It is a VOL. of resurrections. And, at 45 pages, it seems Leviathan. And so, to our
contributors: you keep me moist. And I want to thank Holden Wright (p. 4) and
Anaeis Ohanian (p. 15, 27 & 38) for the wild art and (of course) the everelusive
Titus Groan for our beautiful front cover. Pay us so we can pay Titus so he can
return from his yeoman life as an Australian olive picker. And so: ¡Olé! to another
VOL. of orca-erotica. ¡Olé! to Killer Whale Journal VOL. 2.
– Samuel Rowe

In summation, I would like to dedicate these opening remarks to the moon and the
stars, and to our gorgeous contributors all--in the battle for inspiration, they drew
first blood. May you go with the whales at your back, wherever life's journey may
take you after putting away volume two--we, however, strongly recommend
Menorca: the lightning crabs a beautiful this time of year, and delicious. Let us hear
your screech pierce the gentle night! There has been some controversy over our
namesake whales. All slanderous lip. Above all else, remember the killer whale has
always been a friend to the shipwrecked. So, let your fin stand tall and proud. And
read on, dear reader.
– Alessandro Mario Powell

https://killerwhalejournal.wordpress.com
https://facebook.com/killerwhalejournal
killerwhalejournal@gmail.com
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Contributors

Robert Gibbons
M’Bilia Meekers
Emma Mackilligin
Vanessa Saunders
Hunter Deely
Gregory Crosby
Peter Cooley
Samuel Birnie
Daniel O’Connell
Stephanie Chen
Glen Armstrong
Louie Zeegen
Melissa Dickey
Andy Stallings
Carolyn Canulette
Andy Gross
Jack Rice
Strider Marcus Jones
Zachary Evans
Jackie Wills

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Robert Gibbons

Face The Sea
the cormorants sat atop jagged rock like demi-gods
the schooner, the catamaran are distant; the drizzle all
misty; once again I am on the edge, Langston transforms
this murky grey to weary blue, last night patrons
auctions art between capers and caramelized onion stanchion
between Jonathan Dowd and Dan Lupe with cheese
plastic goblets and crude enchiladas
there are no muses hear or so I thought, especially
after the whales disappear, popping up from the
skillet- bottom sea, hanging on air into that delicious
grease
there are no muses hear; only the rote silences
were charitable baptizing me in this veritable ocean
in this titanic Lusitania; like a loose train, there is
no safety; it’s all eye and all maybe
I am imprisoned by the water and I can’t fault her
she is in control of this journey; if it’s marine
and if it’s sanctuary, then call Lucille Clifton from
the dead and tell her to bless these boats,
I am still endangered

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Robert Gibbons

The Exhumation of Pablo Neruda
there are other reasons to resurrect a body of work
lost on the balcony of the sea; the reason black roughhewn rock is called Isla Negra; his house built as ship;
I only ask silence as his exquisite corpse collapses
behind one-hundred love sonnets; give him your silence
and then he may apex like Machu Picchu; may mute as
blue; may silver as stalactite, if you give him your silence
then his blight will refrain; his tongue will cinquain
his eyes will become water goggles; his years nautical,
but he is blind from the sea-spray; the hoarse baying
of a whale; it’s rusted anchor; his float is of plankton;
but he needs the silence of a keel; then he will feel
the humanity of Allende; the voracity of Lorca;
but silence, not the mortar, nor the creaking floorboard;
but the shutters to face the sea; ex-silencio.

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M’Bilia Meekers

Resurrection Myth
Like her brother Icarus,
the moth desires blinding light,
and flies a bit too close.
The reader knows
what happens next:
the chitinous scales erupt
in flame and she madly spirals
into the night like a flare,
marking the ground
where her body, dismantled
ash, dropped upon the grass.
But reader, look away.
Her forewings still tremble,
a threat to rise again.

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M’Bilia Meekers

Venus with Biographer
Venus leaning on the kitchen counter,
flipping through Cosmopolitan’s
April edition. Venus with Biographer.
But how did you begin, my dear?
Photographs of Hottentot
Venus, covering her labia, her elongated
fingers, dark, pearlescent.
I am uncertain
Venus setting out the china,
pouring tea to the top of the cup,
watching it spill onto saucer.
how the sickle-severed testicles plopped into the sea,
She says, “They fell like Icarus,
churning up ocean froth, feather-white.”
and formed your body from brine.
She says, “The rest is nonsense.”
Venus with Biographer’s head on her breast.
But you, fatherless, conceived yourself
Venus fingering grooves of a scallop shell.
from sea and salt, ichor and semen?
Venus lighting a cigarette. Venus blowing
rings of smoke. She says, “The Gods are fertile.”
That’s hardly an answer.
Venus smiling coyly and snuffing out the candles.
Venus rouging her lips. Venus laughing,
“What word do humans love so much?”
Venus slipping rubbers into her back pocket.
“DNA? Cling to it.”

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Emma Mackilligin

My Sweet Mistress
My sugar mistress, old prima donna,
fusion of fortune teller and maternal,
finger-pink lips and silverish lashes over
lingering eyes still lascivious, young.
Rubber-red pupils chase, catch
certain sanctified ears
(nymphets or prostitutes)
to whisper phrases of baby Sinai.
Words wrench her jaw horselike,
she blurts out detestable visions.
Old prima donna, my sugar mistress,
fusion of fortune teller and maternal,
laughed through days on coral lips,
a summer insomniac she snatched at music.
Ivory-full palms sculpted cream,
smooth as giraffe neck, milky, liquid,
she stroked air and danced to invisibles.
I had never seen her stiffen
Until the baby in her stomach stopped.

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Vanessa Saunders

Sorcha
I love her as a symptom
of a sick world.
Her vegetative dress.
Twisting her fibula to display
her soft neck.
Ink creeps over her
dank shadow in the picnic grass,
dry for words,
confused by her presence,
ecstatically stepping into the vehicle

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Hunter Deely

Lucha Lucha i
didn't know / your name
meant struggle i didn't know / the
struggle / of sunflowers the struggle
Lucha it is a struggle to remember
you
and i will not murder you
with imagination / i am a bad man but that much
i refuse / i remember
half milk half coffee and black hair
the cartoons in Spanish / Lucha so little
of you still with me but the love / the struggle
and you never returned that summer from [
that summer
we found
coyotes licking the bones of a deer
in the liana bushes / red
and yellow and white
Lucha i
Lucha
i miss you
and what your silence
meant to me / and what your struggle
to put the coffee to my lips
meant about us / how it had the taste of fingers
from south / and i was a child in the [
]
and you were a child
we were all children / but who was the coyote /
who was the deer / who were the flowers?

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Hunter Deely

Mirrors and Hours
How unsolid things mushroom:
Blood fills a syringe.
Silt breathes up around bare feet in cold water.
The atom bomb on an old TV screen.
The strange fascination of seeing your blood
preserved outside your body, but still
connected by a hair breadth's stream.
People once believed this was a political act.
Maybe it was. It still is, but the politics have changed.
No longer resistance, but letting the uranium
drip inside you, day by day, as your hair
starts thinning, your skin begins to peel like birchbark.
Ferns of ice—in a circle, icicles
filled with veins of ash sing to each other
as the wind off the ocean runs through their teeth.
We move outward so fast we turn back in
on ourselves. The men in the tomato fields with hard
skin and dark eyes that collect all the light
of the valley a spew it back out through their ears.
The boys who trade vials of insecticide for tortillas.
Who write fuck gringos in a bathroom stall
on the South Side and cross themselves, close
their eyes and watch the ocean from a black cliff.
How mushrooms make music is to become ferns.
To grow backward from the spores without thought
to what came before, to change through regression.
Percuss in your own chest the name of every person
you have ever loved. In this landscape where time
lapses and we are grappling for the dark mushroom
of silence, we all grow in coils. Breathe in the frost
through your teeth. Some day it will become you.

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Hunter Deely
Stockholm Girls
Compare her to a whale bone, her beauty the blank
space as she approaches the whiteness of death,
to see her beauty as her whiteness is her death, her death
is already in her body, you see, her bones are waiting.
The Swedes took Saartje and cooked her. Snow flicked
on the windowsills of Stockholm as the straight-razor
opened on its swivel and opened the dark skin. Teeth
red then as spiders hung from the bright evening star
of Stockholm clattered on the glass, as the men removed
a breast and slopped it on a platter with deviled egg. Gown
white on her hips, I married Summer with eyes like a narwhal's
heart, in cursive tattoos on her breasts read suck the blood
from my tit to pale me and twin birds with ribbons collide.
We want to eat you too, we tell the young Swedish girls
by the seaside shivering, nipples showing through their cotton,
we want you in glass with salt on your eyelashes, white
as a whale bone, pale and as thin. Look at the Black Venus,
they say, as the spiders skip across the snow, look how
we tear out her vulva at put it on display. Rinse that darkness
from your body to the bone. The Swedish girls at the shore
gulp sea water, sickening, to dry out the blackness
in their bodies. Their bones show through the gowns.
Summer I only love you for your whiteness and when
the shadow blooms from your mouth you'll be alone.
I told her this at the feast in Stockholm where the Hottentot
blood ran over the tile, and she looked at me with her eyes
with salt on her lashes, and I saw my own reflection there
in her pupil, with blood on my chin I saw the spiders
all over my body singing suck the blood from my nipples
while snow wrapped the glass and we were drunk on innards
I took the razor and ran it down my chest, and Summer's eyes
followed the line of blood as she said, Ah my love I am white now,
and as the snow fell I felt the pure, white shame of being a man.

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Gregory Crosby

Category Three
Hurricanes long for a glass;
spin right round their reflections,
where every eye unblinking
seeks a shore party to crash.
I like to say catastrophe
the way a TV anchor
goes overboard. A cocktail,
counter-clockwise. Stormy,
whether or not. I like to
lay in supplies for a long
shadow’s night. Pretend it’s
Key Largo. If you sing, you
can have an Oscar, a drink.
A cocktail once stirred is
unshakeable. I like to say
we, too, shall ride this out
just before the lights go out,
& the mirror goes black.
Behind this plywood mask,
the candles hold their tongues.
Our Irene always looked best
from the back. There she goes:
not a hair out of place,
clutching a cracked compact.

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Peter Cooley

Rodin “Falling Man”
I guess he has to be interpreted?
His falling is such wonder to all air
beneath him and around, a medium
catching him up, his back bent, contorted.
But how can I not wonder what it means,
this erection on the naked body
no mistake of my interpretation.
Each time I look at him I see new twists—
as if he’s shifting while I’m writing this.
The legend says Rodin intended him
to grace “The Gates of Hell,” then took him out.
It does not interpret the priapic.

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Samuel Birnie

Shield
unbreakable
stone

stained

skinned

glass

cast

stone

deflects

over

over

cover

self

skin

your

reflects
light

skin
is
mine
hide

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Samuel Birnie

Armour
stone skinned unbreakable
stained glass deflects
reflects light cast
over skin stone
over self cover
your skin is
mine hide

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Daniel O’Connell

Clatch
felt right below the edge,
a solid base contains
animal heads resting
on every wall and
my name spelled out,
a wingbeat on silk
a single loose noun;
Please lose my history.

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Daniel O’Connell

Gets Next to You
For Max
Al Green found God
in a bathtub,
grass growing
in tufts around
porcelain lion paws,
cracked glass sparkling
vines, strung out and
burrowing straight through
a faded blue sky.
Oh, the way
(the way) you
make me feel, just add
boiling grits
to sanctify/
the water
and flesh melts
into fifteen years of
sweet southern gospel
(wallpaper shimmering
new sky blue because
Here I am, baby).
Later, two tabs
like grass, slick
between my fingers,
clouds drifting
in and out above
the treeline, a hundred
cigarette smokestacks.
He just wants
to hold

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your head
under the mossy pond,
tastes like:
piss/jasmine/new plastic.
just wants
to show you
to the God water
in the center of
the golf course,
filled with ice
every morning and
clearer than forever,
halfway down
to the Mississippi
where we watched
the ships come
running in, too huge
to be real, to be dreamt
in little corners of your
spine from now
till Judgement Day.
How about
you lay it down
by the stoney beaches,
just show us
God is love
by the stoney beaches.

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Stephanie Chen

Artifact No. 1
Ignored the artifact _ you dive for scabbed knees and come up with
. Dizzy spellbound in the _ nursery rhyme _ shuns you
regardless of temptation and reappropriation _ of a phylogeny you
can’t claim _ to claim. The minutes you stopped waiting for _ are a
generational construct but _ No one is looking at your hands. You
and I watching in slow motion:
Squid finlet becoming rudder and
rudder becoming algal bloom and
algal bloom becoming detritus and jellyfish
and seaweed and microcosm and the
whole exhaling ocean body of it and
your body multiplying in the teeth
teeth of discarded stay-tabs from cheap beer cans
caught on a splintered whale

body.

Here, I _ stretch for fractals of light in the current _ dizzy with
their very permeability _ until no _ answer _ no siren _ _ _ it’s
swallowing _

the laundry machine

_ heavy load of

whites.
and here you were hoping _

I would stay.

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Stephanie Chen

Artifact No. 2
Myth splintering or delusion
of lead moving with your lipsI’m addicted to metallurgy
sculpture discarded / ripped apart by a
disturbance on the gulf coast, any coast
Sought stubborn comfort in
ragged shoelaces and sneaker toes and
exhale in the too-small corner booth
warm, peeling vinyl sticking to my thighs
There’s a whale in the room
you say
but I don’t hear it.
//

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Stepanie Chen

Artifact No. 3
In the neighborhood that won’t have me
I held gingerly onto plastic jesus head and
the winged lion body that roars hymnal
tonality, a promise on your tongue. Wanted
to howl inside your marrow, call it love
but guess things don’t happen
as planned. Here, sat beside you
and we would bow our heads, sing
but for beautiful shots! How
no one gives a shit,
anyways. What is the war in your
sidewalk crack? Laid your body in the river
but it still doesn’t matterall waterways are headed south.

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Glen Armstrong

World’s Fair 3
Friendly people in the dark
A wildcat in the dark
Piano wire in the dark
The cartographer works instinctively at times
By candlelight and then the bare
Light bulb
A million times for the surprise
The wild hands and legs
As if to say
We refuse your dark ages
We withdraw into that pinprick
Of illumination
Gather in and watch Again and again
Your hands
And watch the rose petals
In the future
Refined gels will ease that which has burdened
Man long enough
The stuffed / nocturnal / eternal
Beasts
No longer inhabit their fur
But researchers
And their girls
To a certain degree
Still feel their presence.

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Louie Zeegen

Hot Concrete
And the suburbs have a fist
in the summer when the bins boil
and the cocks crow
at the bathing beach babes before
they become ladies with babies
married to a cock that crows
at the bathing beach babes.
They all shout to be seen
from the hot concrete that
the noise and heat and smells
bounce from. Where the cars lick the curbs
whilst the kids lick the ice creams
and kick balls into nets.

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Melissa Dickey

Unbecoming
thread coiled tight to make
the rug she stares
into as if a pond as if
she can see through
can't see through graphite
can't see past where her small
feet stand at the edge where
she's bent, looking
here her hand holds another
thinner thread laced
to a toy, twinned
and the twinned toy dog
makes a game of eyes
– ours, its – an oval
in the center of expanding white
but she is climbing into
the shrubberies she is finding
a path along the oddly shaped
curving line and climbing into the tilt of the shrub, its unkempt
contrast to the combed
straight hair and the motion
of the mother leaning in

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Melissa Dickey

from Daybook
We can drink out of jars, I want to tell Grandma, that’s what guests at our house do.
I insisted on the gaudiest garland for the tree. The skirt is an old bed sheet with
flowers, and Grandma put her silver chest under it like a present, though it is no
one’s gift. If we could really see each thing it’d be beautiful: the rug on top the
carpet under the coffee table, the globe, the poinsettia. Sometimes I wonder what’s
the point, anymore, of representational art and sometimes I wonder what’s the
point of non-representational. In the movie, we admired the clothing, the interiors,
the tiny details attended to. There’s an electric noise humming so low not everyone
hears. I'm aware of the fragility of adults in a way I usually am not. No one sings the
lights out to me anymore, but sometimes I feel young.

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Melissa Dickey

from Daybook
A fly lands on her nose though her mouth is open wide, crying, and I wonder if I
can appreciate anything as it’s happening, if I can have that calm awareness at times
other than when it's expected. How to pay that kind of attention to the building
cries, and how to take, if possible, some part of my attention back from her. Earlier
she startled at a feeding and milk came out her nose – I used it to wipe her peeling
eyelids. Bodies become more familiar, more strange. I am no longer modest, bodies
exist, I am more and I am less myself.

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Andy Stallings

Point Clear
Days in the sway of paradox slipping the neutral
days arranging squares of absence with salt
at the hotel brunch for instance
detailing a paradigmatic shift
in aesthetics & the hierarchicalizing
apparatus of
ordinary speech
to the young politician whose
commitment to the present is
actually radical his
interest apparently real
later with the acting
corporal at hospitality swapping
stories of plagiarized grace
over macadamia cookies &
the placid cosmetic of wealth
what crashes through the money's mostly warm
men selecting men women talking
like men co-opted by men in
paradise losing pursuit
or acquiring the urge
to drink too much in one morning
so as to puke prosaically
on the fresh-swept bricks by midday
idleness produces this veneer we call familial
conversation a simulacrum
of intimacy thanks to the
anxiety we each feel
when it's clear that something definite
has been said & the endless
unfolding joke must end
then someone gets up for coffee
or wanders off to schedule a babysitter
as anything viewed from the distance

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of a passing superhighway
retains a sheen like celebrity
punctured only by the billboards which
deliver us reliably into our own lives
life curates a sense of us
fearlessly roaming a nowhere-between
not lost in placeless place
& seemingly bound for a nearness
that vaguely describes itself as vanishing
if it's hopeful to hope without hope
then yes we're still hopeful
if the tone is nearly always
elegiac it's a mark of something
that we're not what we are
or are what we're not
or simply have grown older hour
by hour & are kinda concerned
about how traffic will be
tomorrow on the drive back
it's bathtime first then snack
then vitamins then singing songs
until they're all asleep
we'll be back by 10:00
number if you need it's 5042478291
within tremendous gift
deserving none
good night
goodbye
sorry for all
that wasn't ours but held
its delicious chirr within
the texture of
our kitchen conversation
cicada prominent on
the wall & crawling
behind a scab
of paint beneath
this shifting skin
of expectation

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Carolyn Canulette

Alligator Pond
We float
between two planes of darkness,
naked bodies radiant
like stars.
Mimic
the easy earthworms beneath us
we intertwine
sink deeper
into mud
plant our feet
like strands of seaweed.
Soon,
they will not be able
to find us.

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Carolyn Canulette

Creatures
I
Hammock lullabies.
Moon beckons his sweet tide—leaves
stranded jellyfish
waiting for the sea
to swallow them up. They are
patient like my heart.
II
Child plays on the shore.
Her name is Hailmeda:
thinking of the sea.
She asks me if when
pacific sea nettles touch,
they sting each other.
III
Love, she has your eyes,
blue-green and glistening like
wet angelfish gills
in the sun, like stars
reflected on the water.
She'll be your lighthouse.

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Andy Gross

“link fence, a black rush streaks”
–Man
netted concentration syncopates next to four wives
either of them stare
god damn god damn this is jass
& standstill
Houston don’t stain marks fly
wetted post // guns n grass
adjacent sheens embody glass
& standstill
will chambered sits concluding
subside // staccato bricks pinch
linen on the ground

split Eve mastered and fastened
rubble bit - callus and fat
the queen,
Unblemished.

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Jack Rice

The city is impaired by fog / The floor is littered with event flyers
The brown and white dog looks up at me with curious intensity
I took a gross amount of coke and rode high on a pair of strong male shoulders
An ornate and mostly glass chandelier
Here I am sandwiched between the reflection of two dogs
I found this mattress
She took me to her old elementary school
There are at least two animal masks
An estranged friend poses still
Blurred image of a dead celebrity
A parking lot on 23rd street completely vacant beneath clouding mid-afternoon sky
Descending the BART staircase in shadow

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Strider Marcus Jones

Forage In Me
forage in me
amongst the dunes
still damp in sun and wind
as the tide retreatsfor driftwood
and strange shaped pebbles.
where have they been,
these abandoned voices,
with colours
and textures,
wild
and domestic,
moving
and rooted,
sooting and scenting the airbeing engraved
by beauties and conflicts,
uncovering how love is only rented
jumping ship
when it sights new land.
inner changes,
have not changed anything
out there;
and when what moved in
is all moved out,
we can sometimes sit
in this displaced time,
with drifting belongings
and pebbled thoughts,
aware of strangers
moving slower than the clouds
deliberately

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Zachary Evans

Silhouette
Blood thrummed in your head.
You were eighteen and elegiac, you knew the
hidden names of the ages and your
knowledge curled back on itself,
a nautilus. You busted open your lip
on fists full of silver dollars while you
waited for the train. Boston faded deep
in the distance & you prayed hard in
the dark, terrific filth. You unfolded.
Brine of your oyster-shucked heart.
Honey ran through your teeth.

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Zachary Evans

Hostess
good morning
everybody it’s so nice
to meet you
so nice to be here on benches
of burnished lacquer
eating the finest
shrimps beneath a
charbroiled sky & i’d
like to take this
floating moment to say a few
words about our
perpetual states of grace
oh man just
check us out
looking great in
cornfields
tying anchors to our faults
until the
lines grow taut & by the way
could you take your shoes off
we just
vacuumed
you wouldn’t believe how
messy it was
this morning someone left
a treasure map of lipstick kisses on
the floor
like clockwork every thursday
kids these days
it’s everybody’s mother’s
birthday so
make damn sure that all is limned
for her
she’ll smile but won’t
mean it unless
pools hum
with rings of selfish light & knuckles
crack like rice paper
from your sincerity of grip
wow
that’s a firm handshake son
i can tell that
you mean business & do i ever
have an investment
opportunity for you
we’ll discuss the details later
but
in the meantime
just make the check out to
staring down the barren heart of the void, inc
i love that sweater
where did you get it wait no
don’t tell me it’s better not to know
anyways
hello beansprouts
hello skyline
hello all these
horses & welcome to the party
hello people
hold
your applause
how great is this
we’re all here
grinning at sunsets
like they’ll
kill us
if we flinch
& whoah
it’s so nice to hold your hand
& live with
every
angle
unadjusted
every
tree
in bloom

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VOL. 2

Jackie Wills

The Origins of Music
Any moorhen's song, if you can call it that,
is an echo sounding, a call not to air, but to water,
a whistle from one warship to another, almost
out of human range, or a tracing of the shapes below it.
The bird is crested, neat, as it appears and dives,
unpredictable as this conversation we're not having,
autumn flocks above us that I don't see anymore,
bull rushes I don't see anymore from this path I haven't walked
in 40 years. The moorhen's so abruptly gone, then back up,
feet away, as if the water never touched it. But water carries it,
opens up to it and what it knows, I'll never know the notes it tastes in mud, amphibian, older than anything.

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VOL. 2

Jackie Wills

In the Library of Dust
Miniature tray
I used to sit them at a matchbox,
the miniature people
I served from a miniature tray,
held in my voice
not to injure their ears
or blow them down.
I opened a hatch into myself
where could look into a cup
and see a horse galloping away.
*
Geode
The shepherd builds an image of himself
from stones, tricking sheep, tricking dusk.
He carries what’s left of the diamond mine
for sale in his hands. Cars pass
and night bounces back his mineral lights
as lost children and gods.
*
Maltese Doll
Lift the petticoat every pleat of her black skirt
is starched with prayer.
Her tiny hands are splayed,
a veil gathers folds
to press down her hair.
Lift the petticoat -

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KWJ
see stitches on her legs,
authentic underwear.
*
Driftwood
Under the floorboards
is a library of dust litter spills, sand blown in
from the rest of the world.
A ship, echoing shoes
and wringing hands.
*
Purse with two coins
Hidden in the fireplace,
waiting for the children
to weigh silver in their palms.
*
Hospital tags
A boy, a girl
two and a half years apart.
These two clamps for umbilical cords
knotted onto string with wrist tags,
dates and times of birth
are as tangled as air roots.
*
Silver inkwell
A thought in the darkness of itself –
could remain complete
in the lake between head and hand.
*
Postcard with six stamps
This woman’s head staring east
commemorates the invention of gravity.
Sometimes almost all the space for an address
is occupied by a row of heads
lined up for nothing more than a hello.

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KWJ

VOL. 2

*
Bourjois
In a box of rouge on a dressing table
and inside the wartime-thin house,
up the dark stairs,
is the sound of a letter
practising how it will end.
*
A letter telling the rest of the truth
in pencil, was in a drawer by her bed
for 50 years.
My aunt married a letter, Johnny,
a list of excuses written from a ship.
*
Felt needle book
It has returned to me
as presents often do, unexpectedly,
in her sewing box,
my eight year old self
is stitching four empty pages
together for her.
*
A sleeping worry doll
knows the exposed sky
is full of shooting stars
and shadows to inflate my heart
until I hear nothing else.
*
Turkish shell
A single spike points the way
off a deserted beach
to an amphitheatre’s wide-open stage,
narrowing from a bulge
where a mollusc lived,
it smells of a cave where I once hid.

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*
Broken necklace
Even now it deflects red
into the gaps,
like the red blossom in winter
monkeys love to eat,
or rose hips reserving space
for summer in a winter hedge.
*
Bottle of Billet Doux
A sample on the wrist, rubbed on the vein,
will perfume the blood. It’s all I want –
my blood replaced
by a love letter from Provence.
*
Copper bracelet
The shackle, then, is a survivor.
With the crucifix
it outlasts almost everything.
*
Pocket St Anthony
I am now unable to ease a splinter
from my thumb or read the small print
of terms and conditions. Join a flock of sheep,
people say, or post a prayer to St Anthony
down the back of the sofa. Lost time
and stolen time are gathering behind me
darkening the sky. They will come back
as hail, rain, snow, keeping me inside
to watch the breaking sky and scatter me.

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VOL. 2