I get that it's the meate dream of a octafish. What I don't understand is why it's the neon meate dream of a octafish….


Abraham Lincoln #1, edited by K. Silem Mohammad and Anne Boyer

CA Conrad:

When Mother first grew
tentacles from her
shoulders Frank found a
path of ink across his
breakfast and went
to school sick

no one believed him

she arrived at school in a
long cape and burned the
principal with her eyes from across
the desk until she left with his apologies

her tentacles continued to grow with
a sharp smell of salt and fish

Alli Warren:

We sought adequate funding
to remember the rules of animal behavior
the realm in which one is permitted
to enter and exit in every type of society

Rodney Koeneke:

eyes & a moon and silence
rivulets outside the theaters
filling with evening cerise
there is no syntax
to carry this light
light isn’t syntax
it just holds everything

Sharon Mesmer:

Former Trotskyite right-wing chicken-butt Kingons

Nada Gordon:

Rise up, spirit goslings
and clap your beaks
at the awesome magnitude.

Ann Margret keeps coming
of age among the Shiners--
upon her forehead,
a little barcode:
"for all your camp needs."

Tigers fuck on a carpet.

You must eat your neck.

Sandra Simonds:

all the neurons poured through a diamond-shaped keyhole
of black shards that bleed black light.

Shanna Compton

What I'd like to know is
how come books insist different when you open them &

why can't panties be out aids in math?
Oh rules're made to be counted up & swept

clean with the clear button before
all of us end up talking like ET

Michael Magee

Sorry. Really. My head just works that way. My boss
tells me that. He also says that I am just the opposite down

at the massacres. I'm not foxy but I am foxy lazy. Just choose
the added weight of nipple shields, start ranting, and voila,

you've established a little church. War's definitely foxy
but its politics make me shrivel in a very important place.

I'm probably just pissed that war doesn't play for my team.
The Copernican revolution placed the hegemony of the Church

in GIRLS' sports, such as hot oil wrestling, foxy boxing, sacrificing
underprivileged children to Karl Rove's idiot gods, etc.

The animal on the globe is a fox. This is not just a north
Eugene problem: this affects me in southeast Eugene.

Bill Luoma:

he unleashed a bad disease upon the people and shiny dog
he downshifted the farshooting marshallers of men


Vanitas 2, edited by Vincent Katz

Kit Robinson:

Trees are our principal mental comfort

Ron Silliman:

When a giant clam bites down, it can sever a man's finger
In the next room, I hear the sound of her urine
One rooster, half hidden among the great noise of gulls at dawn

Brent Cunningham:

There ended my salad days. "Tis forever a hard and difficult lesson when a boy deduces the burial of his hamster. I guessed then that I should become the enemy of consciousness.

Stephanie Young:

the minute I walked into the room--hit a button--any save the lovely face--went running to the edge of the screen--the money too--languishingly turned toward her executioner--and other people--100% modal

Jeni Olin:

We're all the same height lying down.

Elaine Equi:

I know better / than to go punching holes / in the universe.

K. Silem Mohammad:

I was talking booty talk all phat
do me favor please um sure
where you headed lemme follow
come live with me come be my love
my love for you is boundless
like the Atlantic Ocean
true shit

Jack Kimball:

I have no idea where we parked or why we exist.


from The Poker 8, edited by Dan Bouchard

Rachel Blau Duplessis:

Who could want to be bored with correct recipe
when cooking and splicing and stirring is glee.
Doggerel's so bad that it can't come to grief.
It's Two Thousand and Seven. We need Comic Relief!
We need more mixage-drivel, less straight-edged bevel.
We need poetry played on the mishegoss level!

Anne Boyer:

Tell a controlled fiction: Alex says
the sophist walks in crop circles,

never put his/her prosthesis on.
He says, "Fuck you, be happy."

I wobble so spherically, an amputee.

Douglas Rothschild:

…Their / yellow leaves above me shine
with that internal light which
tells us so much about our-
selves & so little about our

. . .

E: The Museum of the Mind
I sort of wish I had a snack.

Jennifer Moxley:

There's a quote from Adorno where he says "wrong life cannot be lived rightly." You know, I'm in opposition to the belief that a lot of people have that you can live right within the wrong society, you know, like if you live a certain way you will be right and everyone else wrong.

Anselm Berrigan:

to be the spurned recipient // of what soldiers die for

Rick Snider:

An occasional mania keeps me sane
homemade canals only flow up and down
plagued by a sudden desire to anthropomorphize myself
another solution to all your duplication problems.


Keren Ann, Bowery Ballroom, 6.4.07

The show was sold out by the time we arrived, early enough to catch the solo opening act, Jason Hart, who is Keren Ann's keyboard player. Hart's set consisted of excruciatingly corny C minus cabaret material which sounded like the demo button songs on a low-end Casio keyboard circa 1989. He broke the songs up with astonishingly long stretches of talk between tunes featuring the exact intonation and level of engagement of a public television fund drive pitch. To be fair, Hart sounded great as the keyboard player during Keren Ann's set: not everyone should be a front man. And if the idea was to have an opening act that makes the headliner sound good by contrast, this certainly worked. We did have to retreat to the downstairs area after three songs, where a quick scan of the crowd demographics revealed 75% attractive mid-to-late 20s couples.

Keren Ann was pretty much totally transporting from beginning to end. Call it sexual narcissism, but there are a handful of female vocalists who are capable of casting a spell over me wherein my normal critical apparatus is left either powerless or else mostly beside the point: she is one of these singers. When this happens it's like a giant dark wave of pathos that I have no control over moving from the stage through me and the rest of the audience across the room and back again for the duration of the concert.

Her set consisted of perfectly balanced, beautiful, gently melancholy pop tunes drawing from folk, jazz, and triphop. The songs from Nolita I recognized weren't reproduced with the exact feel of the album -- they tended to be a bit loser in interpretation and more relaxed rhythmically. I was impressed by the nonchalance of the arrangements and voicings, with the band sounding best when Keren Ann played picked cowboy chords on an acoustic guitar. She aligned the breathy quality of her voice with her melodies in way that produced alluring effects that had a nostalgic quality but also a deep run of unassuming empathy. The other songs must have been earlier or material off the new Blue Note CD, which I picked up at the show but haven't listened to yet. I'm going to wait to listen to it on my real stereo rather than rip it to the iPod and hear it in the smushed format first. I'm hoping the CD is half as good as this show was.


Joe Elliot, Opposable Thumb, Subpress, 2007, designed and edited by Deirdre Kovac

"the predator is / forced to look at the world // surrounding his target"

Many poems in this books are built from speech-derived phrases partially teased away from original contexts, then re-arranged and sequenced, with a careful, light touch. The original contexts are still operative somehow, though not directly -- assemblages of ghost-frames shifting in the background of the poems.

Straight-forward concise meditations / commentary on place and sight, but the poems move outward in small bursts from their scenes and contexts with the levity and compact solidity of a stone skipped over the surface of a lake.

"lollapalooza shard"

Many of these poems seem to approach motionlessness as a way of making room for their own occasions, with a self-consciousness which allows it's own awkwardness.

"the pattern of how you talk or don't talk about what you think you're talking about"

This allowance makes for an effective contrast when it segues into startling directness: "I cannot make my heart beat."

Some formula/exercise poems -- The _blank_ is a _blank_ that could have been cut. You "get the joke" after three lines and further reading doesn't add anything.

There are "New York School" strategies used, but never in a way that seems mannerist -- one never gets the sense that the author is merely politely basking in the atmospherics of leisure time with occasional casual thoughts and non-sequiturs thrown in.

The feeling of language as a solid, endlessly rearrangeable medium is always present, but there is also no point in Opposable Thumb where the author is not also seriously _working something out_ -- turning something over -- and connected to his chosen set of references -- the memory of a road trip, a response to a street scene or domestic scene, a series of contradictory thoughts -- often all at the same time.

"Denial's exposed puppet collapse."

The volume in the poems is mostly set to low, as in a Morton Feldman piece, so it becomes necessary to turn up the gain setting on your attention when reading, and Elliot uses this to achieve particular textural and cognitive effects.

"When you really breathe a bubble forms above your head where words can be put"

The long centerpiece -- "Index", is perhaps the strongest thing in the book. Here the tentativeness and sometimes slightly excessive self-consciousness operative elsewhere has been scaled back, and Elliot allows himself more bite, and a much more confident pacing, with vivid, gently tumbling associations, intertwined observations, settings and fantasies, world play, and a popping, balanced fusion of humor and insight. You can feel that he's having a good time with the poem, and he doesn't hoard it all for himself.

"Hyperbole starts when you pick up a pen"

"an eye from the point of view of a maggot"

"can't save face and ass at the same time"

"when I'm unhappy it's hard to brush my teeth"

"dutiful display of love laced with resentment"

"I love to watch you buy things"

"say hello to the cameras I guess / nothing but arrested putrescence."

"Throw the plastic baby onto the waves for the chocolate lab to fetch"

The other high points of the book, "Office Work," and "Half Gross" are also serial pieces with rich textures, flawless stop/go rhythms, and evocative variations. The alarmingly high success rate in these poems make me think Elliot may be a maximalist in minimalist drag.

"the dark is alive"