Poetry: “Peruvianus” by Jacob Riyeff

Peruvianus

Making love to February air;
staring out at neon lights freezing.
Droning into a rising sun
and drinking soma in the mind—
this beatific brace stunting every thought
and settles simply with a longing laugh.

Jacob Riyeff currently studies medieval literature at the University of Notre Dame. When not spending time with his family, studying, or translating, he enjoys playing the baritone ukulele and wrangling anyone he can into reading Old and Middle English poetry with him. His verse has appeared in Dappled Things, PILGRIM, and is forthcoming in Vine Leaves.

Poetry: “This Way to the Tower” by Kristine Ong Muslim

This Way to the Tower

Your faulty timekeeping device
has finally brought you here.
How the city teems with bodies,
the bodies of those who
dismembered their mute citizens.
What remains is the taut spirit
of morning, its dew-stricken air
made denser by swirling debris—
and you now understand
that not everything is allowed to settle,
that not everything is allowed to rest.
What remains—the glazed glass
hulls of skyscrapers, the charcoal
of what once were trees flanking
the entrance to the Grand Pavilion.
The beacon on the roof of Station Tower
still calls out for its long gone listeners,
prisoners, fugitives, redeemers. You imagine
hearing its faraway voice, a voice like that
of a deep-sea diver in a helmet and a suit.
The beacon rises above the ruins
of the city. Its metal array juts skyward—
a posture indicating either a truce or a threat
depending on where you are looking.

Kristine Ong Muslim is the author of We Bury the Landscape (Queen’s Ferry Press, 2012) and Grim Series (Popcorn Press, 2012). Her stories and poems appeared in the likes of Southword, Sou’wester, and The State. Her online home is http://kristinemuslim.weebly.com/ 

Poetry: “Fireside Chat” by John F. Buckley and Martin Ott

Fireside Chat

The fireplace has been replaced by a TV
cracked open like a dinosaur egg, the blue
flame flickering inside the screen. President

Smunchner, half-ruined face still swoonworthy
from the right, patiently waits for the drums
to subside, for children to return to parents’

sides. The purple mountains proudly wear
their scars and even the battlefields smoke
on screen, like Tinseltown toughs and starlets.

His voice is low, clear, reasonable as extra
rations for rebuilders. He weaves plans like
rainbow scarves fluttering on sore cold necks.

His words are not important; they never are.
He has taken the country as a bride. Vows
billow out and there is a mist drifting across

the studio, lamb-shaped, looking as soft as
a well-braised armistice. One of the teary
cameramen won’t stop whispering, History

Is Just a Country Road, Take Me Home,
but has forgotten the singer who’d starred
in a movie with God, yet not the sequel.

The President scarcely pauses as Secret
Servants whisk the crying man away for
tea and reconditioning. He adjusts his patch

and scans the tiny screens blinking tiredly,
his broadcast spooling upside down in irises,
a silent actor, trying to make sense of it all.

John F. Buckley and Martin Ott began their ongoing games of poetic volleyball in the spring of 2009. Since then, their collaborations have been accepted into more than seventy journals and anthologies, including Drawn to Marvel, Evergreen Review, Rabbit Ears, and ZYZZYVA, and gathered into two full-length collections on Brooklyn Arts Press, Poets’ Guide to America (2012) and the forthcoming Yankee Broadcast Network (2014). They are now writing poems for a third manuscript, American Wonder, about superheroes and supervillains.

From the Archives: “Grown” by Janelle Adsit

we choose familiar
places for goodbye
places with trees,
twigs hardly
fastened,
and geese droppings
like paste beneath us
which we avoid
so as not to stay
or take
the place with us.
the bed
of water holds
the green—only
green—so not even
our reflections
can remind us.

Originally published in Winter 2009.