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05/12/10 1:00pm
05/12/2010 1:00 PM |

Tune in Tokyo

At twelve, you’re handed torpedoes. The boys see you, try to push under your shirt. Obsequious

                                          little troops under the underwire, elbows digging in.
                                                           A good, clean fight: it’s you v. the nuzzlers.

They come at you all day long, especially in the summers when
the weather requires you to wear less.

Walking through Times Square one day, you learn the Spanish word tetas. O, tetas!

                                                     Boobs has long been in the lexicon. The wide vowels gone gooey in the mouth.
                                                                                                         Tits. The sound of a fingernail tapping a tabletop.
                                                                                                  Breasts: polite. A word for poetry. (See Making Love)
                                                                                         Zabas. Bazoombas. Funbags! Knockers. Zank you, Doctor.
                                                                                                                                             Hooters, where The Girls are.

On the sidewalk, heads spring from their shoulders,
                 googly eyes bobbing loose from their necks, grinning mouths, tongues a-loll.

Mornings, you weeble wobble to the sound of Reveille, wrassle them into Aunt Helen bras, over the
shoulder boulder holders, feats of architecture:
                                                                                      wire and polyester to resist gravity, to stabilize the economy,

                                                                                      to raise high the roof beams, to save yourself from evolution,
                                                                                                              from making and remaking those little suckers.

This you must remember, my child: women carried these things

                                                                                                      from the Motherland straight to your door.

KC Trommer‘s poems have appeared in AGNI, The Antioch Review, Coconut, MARGIE, Octopus, The Sycamore Review and other journals. A graduate of the MFA program at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, KC has been the recipient of an Academy of American Poets prize, as well as fellowships from the Maine Summer Arts Program, the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Prague Summer Program. She lives in Queens with her husband, the writer Justin Courter.

04/07/10 4:00am
04/07/2010 4:00 AM |

Tibetan Monk Shot While on Fire

I can’t talk about God. I can only talk about distance
from the sun—

near enough to warm us,
not close
enough to kill us.

Incredible as the atoms
surging through the bed I share with wonder and somehow
the Old Testament tucked under
my pillow, a bookmark

a friend gave me
that says unputdownable

stuck halfway through Genesis.
I get bored with
all the begetting, end

up drunk with questions
on your porch again, eluding party

guests and glaring at the blue

cataract of the sky.
I have science, I have Shakespeare

and I’m young and it’s enough.
It’s hard to believe
in a place where every day

is your birthday and it’s always a surprise party

and you are always
surprised. Heaven seems

a lot like Groundhog Day.
I feel the universe
as it expands

with the walls of my taut chest—
I can’t talk about God.

I can only talk about distance
between our dry hands, twitching.

Caitlin Cowan is a second-year MFA Poetry student at The New School. Born and raised in Michigan, Caitlin graduated from The University of Michigan in 2004, where she won an Avery Hopwood Award for her manuscript, The Taste of Tomatoes. She is currently preparing her thesis, which explores collage poetry and the found language of magazines. Her work has appeared in Crate, The Offbeat, Fortnight Literary Review, Xylem, and The Claremont Review. She lives in Brooklyn.

02/03/10 4:00am
02/03/2010 4:00 AM |

TO THE MUSTACHE OF THE GUY IN THE “CHE GUEVARA IS MY HOMEBOY” T-SHIRT WHO GABE AND ETAN INSIST WAS CHECKING ME OUT AT ODESSA’S LATE THE OTHER NIGHT

Furry worm, red herring, blood-engorged
leech. Anemone waving fronds
to hide the nether regions of the face.
Feathery lost earring on the ground I do not stop

to contemplate because always it seems
I am walking very fast. Borscht’s
ghost, remnants of a clown’s kiss,
inflamed bivalve’s upper lip. Last night,

I closed my eyes and ten thousand
people died while I was sleeping. I wake
up and there are more. I am very lucky.
I drink coffee and read the paper.

I am surrounded by friends who tell me
this is a benevolent universe,
and sometimes I believe them. You,
mustache, hide the secret sorrow

of a man whose perfect mix tape
was stolen from him in his sleep
and who awakens to a forgotten
playlist. Mustache, you know

one should not offer unsolicited
advice: to shave or not to shave,
to leave town or stay, to find new jobs or break up

with lovers, to change our lives in any way,

because this leaves us open
for a deluge in return. It’s late

and already I am sleepy thinking of the legion

of my faults: lassitude, inordinate

shyness, the pointless hungers of my noisy
infant heart that keeps on wanting
when I should not want. Mustache, you live

perched above the lip and see all.

You can sense the musculature
turning. You live below the nose
and thus take in the world
with all its promises.

Kate Angus’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Barrow Street, Subtropics, Gulf Coast, Mid-American Review, Verse Daily, Barrelhouse, North American Review, Third Coast and Tar River Poetry among other places. She teaches at Gotham Writers Workshop and at LIM College.

01/27/10 4:00am
01/27/2010 4:00 AM |

Dylan Thomas Was Dead

So we said “fuck it” and got the jalapeno poppers with cream cheese and American.

Four cigarettes later and the Australian is shoving his eye balls down Julie’s shirt—enjoying the images she describes of when she got strip searched going over the Ambassador Bridge. Deep squats. No—deeper.

We drink the half-full vodka tonics drunker girls leave unattended on our table. Forward reeling—I am a sparkling, giggling monster. An explosion of hair and teeth, dripping orchid into the piles of cherry stems we have man-made.

Well lubed and sweating, we burst the door like the cowboys we were sure of. Smoking cigarette after cigarette with our hands in our pockets, squinting down Hudson. If we had been men, we would have been the only ones in the bar without ties on. We ran through all the money. We crystallized the table. We were sugared to the max and waiting for room to lose its cool.

Katie Naoum, originally from Michigan, now lives in Brooklyn. She is an MFA candidate at the New School where she also works for the magazine LIT.

01/20/10 4:00am
01/20/2010 4:00 AM |

8:46 AM, Five Years Later

I’m stuck on an N ready to tunnel
under the river. Train delays on this

of all days. Cell phones flip, office call-ins,
iPod shuffle and newspaper fold. Shift

weight. The conductor stays silent. Back then
I lived in the shadow city, heard first

through phone and radio as sun slatted
the cherry desk, that bell tower office

where prerecorded chimes marked the hour.
And the images day played night replayed.

I went there two weeks later, surveyed what
memory left me, the sights I once knew.

To live here now stuck on an N, to scan
the sky, elevated, tunnel-bound. What

morning will greet me when I depart, rise
from beneath this city’s streets? September’s

light in all its dazzle? Will it still hint
at the shadows to come? Stand on this isle,

Time’s X, on the gum-dimed concrete and grate
V. Stand where the steam ventilates hidden

speakers, where the subterranean hum
drones on long after a struck bell when rung.


Matthew Hittinger is the author of the chapbooks
Pear Slip (winner of the 2006 Spire Press Chapbook Award), Narcissus Resists (GOSS183/MiPOesias, 2009) and Platos de Sal (Seven Kitchens Press, 2009). He lives and works in New York City.

12/09/09 4:00am
12/09/2009 4:00 AM |

Thank You For Your Payment to the City of New York

Thank you for your payment

to the City of New York. Congratulations
on accomplishing

a version of good behavior

in light of the circumstances

good luck with

the ballad

about James Dean.

Have a good day.

Nice to see you

without a knife

telling the engineering

of the steerage

to your doctor

and going out

and spreading rumors

about the number

of gloryholes in our school.

We would have also accepted

“stop-motion,”

“crime fighting ,”

“accident” for

having turned sixty

we will give you further points

because you have lice.

That we are familiar

with your good looks

is a result of motorcycling and

an aptitude for holding still

and all sorts

of glad-handing

in the bathroom holding

my breath under water

with the assurance with which

I always handle my nutsack.

What the floor does not describe

is for us to know

and you to find out

in a chain letter.

In view of the metropolis

in what twilight

you cannot see

if you are up so close

in the rows as the audience

applauding, the audience

should give themselves

a round of applause

for showing up

lecherous in pursuit

as they have

in other simulations of the cross.

Thank you

for your contributions to science

making the scenery recognizable

from the vantage point

of dusk raking the mountain

and the houses scattered

and young among the surroundings.



Jibade-Khalil Huffman is the author of
19 Names for Our Band and was the curator of WRONG: A Program of Text and Image, a group exhibition which recently closed in Los Angeles. He lives in Brooklyn.

11/25/09 4:00am
11/25/2009 4:00 AM |

The Other Dead

The summer my mother
grew algae in the arch
of a single red high-heel,
I got my first kiss
and listened
to my father’s dream-

the one where
the whale refuses to eat him
and he’s forced
to roll dice with the wind,
so he hops a bus
headed south
’til he runs into
his dead mother
who pats his bottom
and buys him a snow-cone.

Cherry. Cherry. Cherry,
he says,
but she can’t hear him
for the sound
of the clouds
moving the other dead around:

Dead Joe. Dead Michael.
Dead Harriet.

And so,
my father says,
I pour myself
a glass of milk and leave
,

but I do not know
if he is still talking
about his dream
or if it is something else
entirely, because I am 11

and have just been kissed
and my mother
is growing algae
in her red high-heel,
and seeing an orthopedist
who brings me pink roses
and all I can think of

is being under the stairs
with Nathan Clark’s
mouth on mine
and how I said,
mmm, because I’d seen it
in the movies,
and I slipped my tongue
between his skinny lips
and he said nothing.

We wondered when
the other six and a half
minutes would run up
until the end when
all we tasted were our
own mouths.

I walked back
to my house
that I remember
as paper
though I’m sure
it was brick or stone
or wood and my mother

was crying because
the orthopedist
was screwing a nurse,
she said,
then explained
that screwing is when
grown-ups kiss.

So I divided
a slice of chocolate pie
between the two of us,
and she said,

over and over,
chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate.


Nicole Callihan’s poems, stories, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in
Painted Bride Quarterly, InDigest, cream city review, and La Petite Zine. She was a finalist for the Iowa Review‘s Award for Literary Nonfiction and was named Notable Reading for Best American Non-required Reading. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter and teaches at New York University. You can find out far too much about her at thebluepitcher.com.