Adagia 300 – 348

Daniel Nester


300. The tough guy is always African American.
301. The fatherly anvil is always feverishly ached-after.
302. The freelancer is always busty.
303. The apartment of a sucker MC is always gentle.
304. The sucker MC is always peaceful.
305. The crank call from a sucker MC is always kind.
306. The blue-balled kind is always wrong.
307. The blue-balled nutcase is always sweet.
308. A do-nothing tough guy is always to avoid sexual contact with a priest.
309. A peaceful shy brownie is always accurately hairless.
310. The Angel of Equations is always faggy.
311. An All Cows Eat Grass is always faggy.
312. The Texan is always sharp-dressed. And faggy.
313. The red wheelbarrow is always inexorably bitchin’.
314. The red wheelbarrow is always faggy.
315. The red wheelbarrow is always gentle.
316. The red wheelbarrow is always myself.
317. Act your age.
318. Grab your age.
319. High, lame, ink, lamas.
320. I’m a uniter, not a drinker of water.
321. Up in the air, fish go and marry.
322. Raise questions about rocks only underwater.
323. The tenth time you see someone nude, you must provide your own shirt.
324. Answer and measure at the same time.
325. Out of the house a funky nectar.
326. Relax on your own ass.
327. The ass responds.
328. Leap, regret, question.
329. Where your pud goes, fire follows.
330. Shapely, piggish, make your own fun.
331. Locks littered, vents, clogged.
332. Last words come easy.
333. Sturdy canes in a made-up story.
334. Your cans frustrate.
335. The lap of loquacious, the parents of the loquacious.
336. Nudge the farmers.
337. Inchoate jock itch.
338. Can’t your dolphins lighten up a bit?
339. Grab angry causes by the thorax.
340. Filthy books hold the angry.
341. Hold on to your gold.
342. Newborn dolphins unite.
343. Go with God, question him.
344. An ode in haste sings off-key.
345. The water’s hair.
346. Many caddies at the milk counter will see The Giant Labrador.
347. Inside of us and off somewhere.
348. At the start of a fight, no prayers for one’s cause.








Stuart Ross


Big Monkey watches over me
as the blistering clouds bang
against my window and I dream
of you again and you are alive.
We are in a snow fort on my lawn
on Pannahill Road and we pretend
we are soaring through space.
The rumble of a 1967 Valiant
station wagon passing by my
driveway is the roar
of a meteor hurtling toward
earth and narrowly missing our
craft. We know now that
everyone will die except for us,
because we are in space. Except
our ship has turned into a womb,
its hot, sticky walls pressing
against us until we can barely
move our arms. We are crushed
together like conjoined twins
and because you are dead, I
wonder if I too am now dead
and I call out to Big Monkey
but he is bent over my desk,
rolling a sheet of yellow paper
through the platen of my
1952 Underwood, so intent he
cannot see us in the TV set,
our palms against the screen
from inside, and vertical hold
starts slipping.








Amanda Jernigan


Waiting in the hall
I tried to recollect
a mother’s prayer: the Hail
Mary? Now and in
the hour of our death

not right. And anyway
what right had I to say it,
who had it on faith from my atheist
father, a locked box.
Or, rather, open:

ladies and gentlemen, you
are free to inspect the contents
of this box, ‘sickness
and suffering, hatred and jealousy …
greed …’ (yes, also hope).

What is the right prayer
for Ethan? I thought. And thought:
‘What is the right prayer
for Ethan?’








Either, Or

Guy Gavriel Kay


She doesn’t like being understood, which makes
loneliness complicated, though you could take the
(perfectly valid) view that all loneliness is complex,
or really simple. Either, or. She wouldn’t even
be pleased that her dislikes are understood.
She walks Manhattan streets in March, long-
striding through snow melting to slush, in new boots
bought to assuage (however inadequately) her latest
iteration of midwinter blues. A southern girl in
New York, what could one reasonably expect?
She flashes confidence in her stride, at work,
in a bar with friends, end of day, into night.
She withdraws inside, seeing them falling for it,
knowing she’s only flashing, really – another
fly façade among too many in this city.
But our own mirror matters most, has to do that,
unless we’re maybe in love and then the image offered
by the one we’ve (maybe) fallen for might mean more.
Either, or. It’s hard to fall in love with people we can fool.








Dina Del Bucchia and Daniel Zomparelli


The Rose
for Belle

What happens after
you suffer through
a beast and a wedding,
everyone, objects you knew,
changed into old flesh?

You were so smart,
I always thought
it was about books, ideas,
living life through the eyes of another,
pretending because
life isn’t so fucking great.
We want more.

I’d been dismissed too
for talking about thinking,
pressing my nose to books,
creating new spaces in my body
for knowledge.

When you’re young
all the sexy misogynists,
Provencal gym monkeys
show off their brawn,
propel beastly bodies.

Maybe Stockholm syndrome
isn’t any less romantic
than cocktease guilt.

But once you get involved
in your own fairy tale,
so meta: the magical rose,
like the kind lady’s throw
to knights, like the kind
someone in a different story
will compare to your vagina

Outdated stories.

What happens
when you’ve transformed,
when you’re delicate stained glass,
decorative and one-dimensional?

hollow ship to hell
for Ariel

You saw him on a ship
and he was destined to drown, but
you saved him and fell in love.

I was a fish too, fins for feet,
flapping on the beach only for moments
before the air burned my scales.

I broke my body in half,
footed myself into his life at every moment
until I caught his attention.

I was up late one night in his bed
air burning flesh
again, my body craving the ocean.

My body sealed itself.
Skin tightened and gills
slit neck.

I filled the bathtub with
water and Epsom salts
let my scales smooth.

Then, I slipped out
of his apartment and
sunk back into the ocean.

Now, at night he cuts his skin
to create gills
but can never stay under the water long enough,

tries to keep from floating upwards,
tries to weight his body with cement,
tries to anchor.








Jaime Forsythe


This all happens where houses threaten
to slip into the sea, where no one crosses
on the stairs or sings at the table, where
odd scraps get socked away, a sparrow
in the freezer, nestled next to
the tequila, where the street
sweeper roars by under a strawberry moon.
No matter where, we don’t wash
for days and bonfire rises from every layer
of us. Chanting by the kindling, songs morph
into visions, into sketches on butcher paper.
Compatible zodiac signs hang out
around the picnic table hammered
from a kicked-in door. Words guard us
against unwelcome thoughts and shifty
visitors. Fragile alchemy gets a baby
to sleep, powered by a looping
articifical heart. The button flickers
violet, and we have entered
the right ventricle. Thirteen
beats before the curtain drops. Our lives shift
softly every time a new one arrives,
high beams interrupting the performance
and stalling the pendulums, the inner workings.
Small fuses, we disconnect and reconnect, willing
the charms we’ve created to catch.







The Tightrope Walker

Patrick Warner


The bearded grind-organ lady’s
Quaker-bearded monkey,
depressed elephants,
sedated lions, insouciant
ungulate dromedaries
and belligerent camels
will tomorrow be ushered
into confinement.

With these will go
the washing-machine-cum-
bisected-jet-engine that spins,
that basin of sticky wisps,
spun stratosphere that collects
on a dipped stick to make
edible pink insulation.

Stacked like ark runners will be
parenthetical sections
of the two-ring circus,
and with them the big top’s
bamboo poles a small boy
named Hal imagined were
fishing rods for whales.

His neck stiff from looking up,
his eyes so long fixed
on the glittering funambulist
he imagines he is up there
with her seeing what she sees
when she looks down:
eyes all gelatin and night,
like frogspawn in a ditch;
workweek complexions, a
shade of pale past exhaustion,
expressions as volatile
as empty petrol cans.

His stomach fills with butterflies;
butterscotch coloured they waft
and flutter as Ms Muffet makes
her way on bony
sheep-faced slippered feet
across the braided wire
from tuffet to tuffet.

Later he will not be able to say
when he got carried away
or why he hid in a wicker hamper,
under baguette-sized lace-up
bulb-toed shoes, itchy neon-coloured
nylon wigs and red ball noses,
on a bed of oily hawsers,
pegs with hangnail heads,
mauls all dents and nicks.

Tomorrow the pigeon-chested
lion tamer and the tightrope
walker will pick out his cry
from the cries of macaws,
the shrieks of parakeets,
from the ratcheting calls of toucans,
and drop him in the next town,
entrust him to the perfumed,
fire-breathing policeman.







from Bloom and Martyr

Helen Hajnoczky


Helen image






Elska mína

Sina Queyras


You created me, you should remember me; leaned your face into the canto of
… birth and broke air with me, breathed your best, your unrest
Into me even as you bled, and my father—a taut shock of muscle—caught me
… an Eagle takes a trout.
It was a rave, mother, a real wave and blue, a sprig of fur the three of us in our
…..first Pas de trois. You chewed the cord as he yanked,
Before that I was locked in the dashboard with Patsy Cline while you two
…..hurled and ducked. You bore me,
You should recall the blood you gave me, breathed your discontent, your
…..troubling, joyous, mysterious, unquenchable thirst for
Life in me: you shock of blonde, rare as Marilyn, a knubbly shudder of hose and
…..Almond Nougat
An edible parchment, a scroll so naïve, with such fine print, so in love with
…..your melancholy sex, you sleep as neat as a cat.

You bore me. You with your complicated luck, you should not desert me here,
…..not now, you should
Not forsake me at the lip of the mirror where the ego piques, at fifty, or fifty-
…, you slept on ice, do you recall?
You might have lived, you might have let go of history, made of sorrow a kite,
…..not a shroud to suffocate
Your Viking bones, wide and still as glaciers, your thin arms reaching out for
…..Valium, Ativan, Ambien. You gave into yourself my
Garbo, my tremolo, my Jeanne d’Arc, my dragon breather, mother, warrior,
…..pursuer, giver and taker of dreams,
You saved me, and then you left me, don’t you recall? Don’t you remember
…..your long arms slipping into the womb, not
Wanting that first painful separation, how you clung to me even before
…..I was breath, before
I was open my mother, my love, my jailor, your long nails like a claw raking
…..around my ears, clamping my eyes closed.
You saved me, wasn’t it that? Wrenched me into the world as you would pull
… arrow from your heart and
Pick your teeth? You should remember me, my two moles, my wracked brow,
…..the click of lungs, my fingers, the flat,
The round, my nails, more my fathers, like impish insect wings curled, too soft
… pull your hairs, grey one
For a penny, my mother myself, you said you would live for me, you said I
…..would live for you, to you, in you, you said, Tuck me
Into your pocket and walk me like a giraffe into Manhattan, just as you tucked
… in your bag when you ran to and from him.
You saved me, you should know me here with my palm of earth, with my
…..upturned yes, without a peony to my name.
I come for you on my knees, on my thighs, on my belly: I am so sorry I couldn’t
…..take you.
I come still, digging for your hand to find my head once again, to set me right,
… let me go.





November Analogues

Susan Glickman


For Martha Baillie

Any bird’s shadow darkening the window
is more ominous than the bird itself

In the overheated lobby a scarlet peony sheds its petals
like a woman shrugging off her fur coat

Toronto’s exiled elephants must miss their cold hectare;
even the Israelites, in the desert, hankered for Egypt

The lean shank of the dog curves to the curve of my thigh
the way a mug’s warm belly brings the palms together
while steam rises between them like prayer







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