Borgeois. Quaratania I.

Eskimos
in their new homes in Florida
take to being slow

holding a candle
but not holding
a button-up dress.
Nothing angry can be gathered
in this chapel.
Alcohol meat
with inuit breath.

Borgeois. Quaratania I.

Eskimos
in their new homes in Florida
take to being slow

holding a candle
but not holding
a button-up dress.
Nothing angry can be gathered
in this chapel.
Alcohol meat
with inuit breath.

Giacometti. Woman with Her Throat Cut.

At last
at the interstices of nature
and nightmare
the tendrils and exoshells
of godliness.

Tell us about 
the tin-barometer
of the psyche.
Weave your holodeck controls
and layers of tarp. 
Oversee 
amounts of lemon
controlled by phones
in the Netherlands.
We wonder aloud
at your happiness.

Giacometti. Woman with Her Throat Cut.

At last
at the interstices of nature
and nightmare
the tendrils and exoshells
of godliness.

Tell us about
the tin-barometer
of the psyche.
Weave your holodeck controls
and layers of tarp.
Oversee
amounts of lemon
controlled by phones
in the Netherlands.
We wonder aloud
at your happiness.

Giacometti. Hands Holding the Void (Invisible Object).

Back into the century
of being amphibian

but with helplessness
in our mouth and hands—
with symbolic systems in our eyes
and a bronze torture
in the leg
like the emigration bus
of Ayn Rand.

Giacometti. Hands Holding the Void (Invisible Object).

Back into the century
of being amphibian

but with helplessness
in our mouth and hands—
with symbolic systems in our eyes
and a bronze torture
in the leg
like the emigration bus
of Ayn Rand.

Ernst. Lunar Asparagus.

Elide with those big eyes,
white vegetable saleables
cast with fire,
nicely slimmed 
into palindrome talk.

Ernst. Lunar Asparagus.

Elide with those big eyes,
white vegetable saleables
cast with fire,
nicely slimmed
into palindrome talk.

that basic hand grenade / that keeps about-facing

A Sonnet from 555

John Lowther

I don’t skinny dip I chunky dunk.
To be plain and unadorned is to be helpless and unattractive.
Relationships are forged by people who just happened to have these body parts and not the other way around.
She blacked out due to lack of oxygen but regained consciousness at roughly 23,000 feet.
I was never the man I used to be.

You’ll have seen plenty of news stories telling you that one part of the brain is bigger, or smaller, in people with a particular mental health problem, or even a specific job.
Life itself is just the dead on vacation.


Process & Sources: These sonnets use only found material and are assembled using text analytic software and a database. Shakespeare has a guiding role as well. Read all about the process here. I don’t tend to keep track of where I harvest my lines, but in this sonnet I recognize that last line that I picked up from a Tom Waits interview. 

John Lowther was a founding member of the Atlanta Poets Group and active therein from 1997-2012 when he ‘went solo.’ Held to the Letter, co-authored with Dana Lisa Young is forthcoming from Lavender Ink. Two other sonnets from 555 have been published in Uut, here and here.

tow the harking groove

a bark as sure/ as story

Still Missing

apocolypsemambo

It’s when you’re trying
to talk about God
and you don’t know how
that you discover
another city is possible,

where the only facts
that exist,  exist
as incidental music
from forgotten movies,

or as retweets
of movie quotes  (e.g.,
“The life of a repo man
is always intense”).

Even whales
drink milk there,
and the statue
of John the Baptist
outside a church
searches in the bushes
for his missing head.

art by JohnMoProductions

Still Missing

apocolypsemambo

It’s when you’re trying
to talk about God
and you don’t know how
that you discover
another city is possible,

where the only facts
that exist, exist
as incidental music
from forgotten movies,

or as retweets
of movie quotes (e.g.,
“The life of a repo man
is always intense”).

Even whales
drink milk there,
and the statue
of John the Baptist
outside a church
searches in the bushes
for his missing head.

art by JohnMoProductions

7 Famous Symbols That Don’t Mean What You Think

Howie Good

Admire the Japanese beetle, luminescent green racing stripe between its bombazine wings/ admire the sky, shredded and fading, like the eyesight of a syphilitic/ admire the woman from HR who drowned herself while on vacation/ admire everyday objects – brown beer bottles, metronomes, gas fireplaces – some with only one good eye, some with a dog’s heart/ admire the phenomenon represented by the word “glint”/ admire the refugee writer Theodor Adorno, though that wasn’t his real name/ admire cadences long since replaced by the stuttering silence that we pretend, for the public’s sake, suffices.

Mussolini Wept

See Zizek touching his nose.
See it replaced by another kind of liability: 
sweet Princesse de Parme waving across the aisle
celebrating a very approximate breakdown
in the eye of eyes.
Leaping peppers could sometimes just as well be defined as
internal forcefields 
in the neverending story
of your white elephant salad.

Mussolini wept; catwalks fell;
and carefully manipulated concomitance relays its
retrospections, anticipations, and red breasts.
From the waste down we are the suspension of disbelief.
From the tombs of our fathers to now we are the activity,
or rather the presence, of the narrator himself.
Nothing can overreach its own nonorganized position.
All possibility laughs
like kind hatchets
in the unrealism garage.

seed text: Narrative Discourse, by Gérard Genet
art by recombiner

Mussolini Wept

See Zizek touching his nose.
See it replaced by another kind of liability:
sweet Princesse de Parme waving across the aisle
celebrating a very approximate breakdown
in the eye of eyes.
Leaping peppers could sometimes just as well be defined as
internal forcefields
in the neverending story
of your white elephant salad.

Mussolini wept; catwalks fell;
and carefully manipulated concomitance relays its
retrospections, anticipations, and red breasts.
From the waste down we are the suspension of disbelief.
From the tombs of our fathers to now we are the activity,
or rather the presence, of the narrator himself.
Nothing can overreach its own nonorganized position.
All possibility laughs
like kind hatchets
in the unrealism garage.

seed text: Narrative Discourse, by Gérard Genet
art by recombiner

seams fiery spots

Sleep: Not Really a Reprieve

Elaine Woo


       from age seven     fluorescent green
petulant airborne snakes
        dive-hunted me
                       epoch night after night
                 sky splitting at the seams   neon snake #1 Mom’s face foams forth
     a shaken carbonated drink
fiery;   she arcs her head
            cutlery tines of forked tongue wounds,
                       You buried any chance
       I have of a meaningful career
                 sliming electric-glow snake #2 is three-headed:
                         first topped with spiked brown hair, angel skin, goatee
   second a squeezed lemon expression, char black freckles
                      third mouldy spots   tattooed    multiple piercings
                          third hisssses, Who’s the most stacked?
                       first’s tongue drills the air,
                Hide, go ahead, hide behind
                            your umbrella
                             second: You have to repeat
grade one!
                         I fly inside my skull—my only helmet
           enduring double winged snakes
                         soaked me in flighty
                perspiration
         swelled in my core
a clinging pupa of desire
        to stifle serpent alarm bells
                         my shut eyelids;    Red Sea part
                             cider light;    ear-ringing silence
                                        drenched sheets

Relocation

golfishd87

Our city becomes another’s city and they don’t even live here.

Our city becomes another city that will one day glow, for miles underwater.

Our city has strategically-planned streets, and accidental cobblestones. The neighborhoods have their symbols, their light-pole banners, their car washes and coffee shops. Clogged drains and stray dogs and condos and bullfrogs. A little fence to keep the heart in. A garden. Ten Thai restaurants in a row. A bus stop and a newspaper on every homeless porch.

The neighborhoods remain separate, or they collide. Some are ramming into each other, smash-mixing, in the time it takes one body to fall from the observation deck.

The streets below the streets are daunting, gurgling with sewage. A black-gloved hand motions outside a window. People are coughing, steaming into each other’s faces on the subway. No one has a face unless it is cut out of a magazine.

I moved out of the city. Now, my neighbor is the one whose name I forget every other conversation. His neighbor is me, and a young family with closed blinds and a yard full of broken plastic. We circle each other like dogs, not saying anything. But the truth is that we live with our families and this is a nice neighborhood, close to schools and shopping.

I moved out of the city and now I don’t even live here.

My neighbor remembers how bright his city glowed too.
Our sons are jerks and we are embarrassed by what we thought we knew.

All Is Straw

Howie Good

My heart is crying, crying…

Rather to blow up, then!

Let’s be wild tonight.

Roses plural or Rose’s roses

with an apostrophe?

It is hovering and it’s not an aircraft.

Dear me! I think I’m turning into a god.

Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.

Seed text:  “Last Words” at Wikiquotes, available at http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Last_words