public intellectuals

Nikki Reimer


it’s easy to remain safe on the streets
if you employ intelligent posture
walk with confidence lead with your jaw

whiteout can be used
when something is wrong

constantly scan but don’t be obvious

parked cardinals, daughter-in-law unlit corpses are
planetariums you should avoid
when you’re out alone

always make eye contact
make occasional eye
contact make fleeting eye contact
do not under any circumstances
make eye contact

even if it’s a quick jazz
keep your keys ready
hold on to them inside your pocket

then, bring them out:
your hands should rest lightly in your pockets

think: bitch
think: bitch, please








Poem in Which My Therapist is a Puppy

Jacob McArthur Mooney
after Max Ritvo


My therapist is French Canadian
with long, fuzzy ears.

He tucks his toes beneath his bum
while I weep inside his weeping room.

The no-pills practitioner
is your best, most boring friend.

The selfless associate
who helps you paint your picture frames

but later compares your taste in movies
to his daughter’s

and you realize you never knew
he had any kids.


Come to me as a neutered purebred
and I’ll walk you to the park in search of squirrels.

Come to me as a surgeon
and I will flop down defeated in your driveway.

Come to me as a child
nd I will teach you to read.

Come as a republic
and I will seek your sanctuary.

And on like this.
Until we have exhausted our supplies,

passing off the task
of protector and protected. Interpreter and page.

Like partners in a drawing class.
Salsa dancers.

And every time you die,
or I die,

I will leave you one hundred
dollars on your desk.








Safety Heart

Robert Priest


Some hearts are made
to be broken
like a bicycle helmet
that cracks on impact
instead of your head.

These are safety hearts
They can just split or
balloon out
and push you back
whole and away from the impact.
They take the blow.
They’re passion fuses
that pop in overload.

When your heart breaks
remember you have been saved.
When you’re up against a post
pounding with your fist “no no no”
remember you’ve been blown off a terrible course.

The guard rail has kept you back
from the abyss of deeper and deeper.
Be aware something got hit hard for you.
Your safety heart
took the big dark weight of loss
and shunted it to the other side.

When you’re bucking in the bed
biting the sheets
trying to keep that strangled scream in

this is missing a calamity
this is what it’s like to get away.








Crash Course in Cosmogony

Matthew Tierney


Weird. Friday to Sunday my
thoughts unwind in alphabetical order.
Monday on, it’s the reverse.

Black black. Blacker
than a stock ticker in October.
The totalled U-Haul, opposite lane,
deployed driver’s side airbag
like a used condom
dangled so you can size up the cum.

I keep having this dream.
My twin stabs me with a compass.
‘The circle jerk is complete,’ he seethes,
tragically misreading Nietzsche.

Brute fact: humanism will find a way
to fuck up a surprise party.

Like gold to airy thinness beat,
John Doe is done.
Collision was fatal, says CP24.
This week’s unofficial Wheel of Fortune:








Dina Del Bucchia


She is perfect. Reflexes like a cheetah when you call or ask or don’t say anything. She favourites all your less than stellar tweets. She watches sports with a quiet reverence and only speaks about the game when she has something truly great to say, or to agree with you or when spoken to. She eats hot dogs and hamburgers, dozens of them, thousands of them, and gains no weight, no she loses weight, no she floats away like a kite you thought was really cool in 1992. She is making progress on dinner and also she makes beer fly out of her vagina and then with sex magic it’s lubed up for you to fuck her. She is perfect. She is funny, talks about farts, but doesn’t fart like a real person, perfumed air drifts out on a blue cloud, not a pink cloud because you hate pink and she is perfect.








The Replay Review

Jeff Latosik


It was a new challenge about the place
one thing ended and another began.
In the stands we watched and then
rained tall cans down from the blue
as if forever was just a vendor.

It was about a line in the sand
somebody had up and called blue ribbon.
A supposed given that was more a command
so there was a tribunal and then a long deliberation.
There was a common conclusion once.

Then a bunch of crummy pamphlets.
It was a beaut in one kind of way.
A territorial dispute of whether the fence-post
was foul or fair in a deafening boo.
It was everything peer-reviewed

up in the air set to blaring country
music and each citizen elbow deep
in their data plan and their to-dos.
It was waiting. It was hard.
It was discovering that our camera-flipped

phones when turned to each other
created a kind of infinity mirror
making the whole scene more fun house
than a place you’d ever want to keep score
of anything true. It was a hunch that reality,

never more tricky, kept moving quietly
in and out of view as if on one of those terrible
hot dog carousels. It was being so lost
in the inside baseball and the legalese
we couldn’t tell the storms from the breeze

and couldn’t freeze the bobbleheads
some other team, and then our team,
were becoming. Man, it was really bumming
me out. I was in the nosebleeds
wondering if I might just up and blow away.

I was watching all of us hovering there.
It was all hovering. A kind of slow flash
and it moved like knees do when the jury,
the crew chief, the judge, the worry of doctors
and the sea of committees are taking their sweet time.

It was arguing about that initial challenge
or at what point the call had been made.
No tape on that, though. All the times
I gave up on the last one I came back less afraid.








Tangmere in the Night

Andrew Neilson


He showed me then the seafood in his fridge,
shelled and unshelled, all the slices and slabs,
the fretwork, bagged in cellophane, which
he boasted was eked from Iberian crab.
I watched as he took to the kitchen sink
something filleted, scaled and slickened pink.

This was her father—the girl I was with—
bearded, still thick with his Porto accent,
a man transplanted, given where they lived,
in a concrete block, on a council rent;
here, in the Broadwater Farm Estate,
where ‘60s Brutalism waxes late.

We were far from young love, but friends of a friend—
me and the girl, not her widowed father—
and life was still stuck in the shallow end:
being cold, as I was, under the collar
and new to more than this callous city
where I’d pitched up, searching for truth and beauty.

Of which I knew nothing. Nothing I’d read
readied me for that keyless afternoon
we sat on the landing, waiting for her dad
to wheeze up the stairwell and let us in.
Days after, I saw the splay of her hand
an inch from mine, as if printed on sand.










Nathaniel G. Moore


I remember now, instances ago

near the fabulous false decorative tree,

as she shredded the buttered toast

in a fit against her soft lips,

and when closed, these lips formed

a temporary pink rose

and her nipples slept well

under incandescent gown,

which by now phantoms

on a floor somewhere,

beneath all my derangement.

The outlaw garment, once removed,

revealed a suggestive corporeal estate

as if she was preparing to feed

in a maternal role pantomiming

a dirty balance of sustenance and eros

now my inadequacy rises

now my duress circulates

and the potion of hope vanishes

the vanity of defeat and predictive flaws

self-propel: I am the designer,

but cannot feel the plan

for all I feel is love.








Polite Uncertainty

Canisia Lubrin


for Bianca Spence


Let me see you
leave with your
posture of stones.
Or pray, if you must, to your lit
from both ends artillery
where the world is reduced
to the height of your nose.
Best yet: is grazed on the boundary of your toes.
Your local memory, your pause, cannot suddenly sag my syllables,
or whatever you trip upon outside
myself being invaded–but no–
who reduced you to the work
of a tilted head, and respite, pardon my flare, stretching the lips, polite?

But uncertain as what borrows now, as always, the dread mock of beauty fusing mindlessly, the morse-code to the hieroglyph, the telegraph to the Braille, the dying serif to the pixelated phrase,
throw the uproar the swallowed whole, the history as font.

Tell me how to be funny. Tell me how I haven’t tried.
Lend me your gaze.
Let me sign, stupidly, your name:








Aporia (in the feminine mode)

Lisa Young Kutsukake


Finally, something humiliating.
Below the cut steel stare of fluorescents
Lit in the commotion of the present:
I am a cobweb that caught an aging
Fingernail in the dining room cupboard,
Bland paint chip fallen off the bed’s frail leg,
Iron-stained panty clung to a clothes peg.
Neglect—to disavow, turn from, abhor.

Stubbornly posed before men’s scrutiny,
Our palimpsest-inked pages glow, one makes
Another. “Tabula rasa. The lot.”
Words fail to write actions; shrewd entropy
Blots Reason, favours twittering Rapture—
Who claims to say who is real and who’s not?