July 31st, 2014 / 12:23 pm

Whas’Poppin: July


July’s a funny time because of vacations and America and hot dogs and home run derbies. It’s also funny because sometimes you are born and everyone wants to get together and just be born together (see above). It’s also also funny because who has time for anything anymore.

Here’s the shit that was the shit this month.



Who you are

is what you do. I don’t know
what most people write about. I wrote
back about birds till birds began

to follow me.

Megan Alpert, “Anatomy” (Sixth Finch)


Beef thoughtful beef
spare me your little homilies now.

Rachael Katz, “Object Valentine” (Coconut)


You are to me as the Triangle is to me.
As the west proclaims its industry to the north.

Alina Gregorian, “Another State” (Pinwheel)


He wanted us to take the power
but we just sat there
with our red mouths gaping open
He was like, this is not agape
This is the old way
The way I do it
We were like, no
no way
Where’s the agave?
And he was like,
No, no,
oh my G-d,

Natalie Lyalin, “Are You Crazy” (Fanzine)


crescent-shaped backyard
pool well after midnight, two long banks of
cherry-colored LEDs lining the sides,
saltwater, not chlorine, and I’ve never
in my life been so in need of a swim.

Brian McGackin, “Pool” (five by five hundred)


The new kitsch operates, to use the latest terms, at the crossroads of the anthropocene, the gurlesque, and the general strike. From this intersection, the poem’s relation to consumerism and the marketplace may be described as homeopathic: the substance of the remedy is an infinitesimal trace of the malady. The homeopathic poetics of kitsch—rooted in the social properties of diction—supports an aesthetic disposition, a mode of critique, at once physically real and undetectable, substantial and negligible, active and trivial.

Daniel Tiffany, “Cheap Signaling: Class Conflict and Diction in Avant-Garde Poetry” (Boston Review)


I become an orb
      of light hovering over
the blackness            & used up acres
where are you 

Nathan Kemp, “the world doesn’t end” (THE DESTROYER)


And when I touch you, trace the swallows as through window panes, ask if I can turn the light on, you tell me please don’t, call out to him through the black, please, if you wake the storm, neither of us will ever find our way home.

MK Foster, “Sandy Island Disappears from the World Atlas as You Speak to Your Father” (Ninth Letter)


My dog is blind and most
stars as well, so we can get

away with anything.

Laurie Staurborn Young, “Talking Into My Hat” (Banango Street)


I never promised you a rose 
garden, but here it is, a rose 
garden, and another rose garden. 

Tyler Smith, “The One Tattooed On My Arm” (jellyfish)


Tell me.
Tell me the joke involving the Jewish biddies
but make it instead about God.

Natalie Shapero, “Was This the Face” (diode)


orange light sucked out & my mouth yawning

for that dark saint of lost women what
was her name or is that too easy too basic

that same line about the time of the month
where i bleed right through my dress

so black you can’t even tell if i’m breathing
it means you’re doing it wrong

Alexis Pope, “Maybe these are my last words ever” (shameless self-promotion magazine of fucktards)


don’t kiss the window; please don’t
just walk into 20/12 in your vermillion–
I don’t want you dirty; I want you
to be the apocalypse and not my broken
ignition, not the sweat in a ditch
under a lifted shirt I wore all weekend,
and if I could just get closer to the window,
I could braid that stranded boardwalk, I could live
until I don’t, but why don’t you sit down, miss?

Amy Jo Trier-Walker, “Hold The Door Please” (ILK, and this is one of my favorite poems of the year)


I’ve got ten types of rocks I’m always
on the lookout for & you are made of
at least eight of them & you’ve got
me wondering what was so great
about the other two.

Sara Woods, “Dear Hairless Dream” (Voicemail Poems)


  1. deadgod

      II. is from Katz’s Object Valentine. III. the same two lines as II.

  2. deadgod

      Gregorian’s poem is now correctly excerpted and labeled (III.). Katz’s lines (II.) are still from the poem Object Valentine.

  3. Mark Cugini

      all for you, dg.

  4. Mark Cugini

      LMK when i get it right.

  5. deadgod

      –for the poets, the readers… and for me.

      Those are some good poems.

      I think Cassius King’s hostile assertion – ‘soft surrealism’ –
      is maybe 20% accurate: jagged, rapid association, which readers easily connect to surrealism.

      But automatism as a means of unleashing the poet’s, the culture’s, or the language’s unconscious? These poems (and their neighbors at the links) are plainly deliberate and worked, however spontaneous their geneses might have been. (I think a LOT of unexpected connection that people call “surreal” isn’t surreal.)

      Tiffany has a much more interesting–and accurate–taxon: ‘homeopathic kitsch’. “Kitsch” is a mean word, not least when people are tee hee-conscious about being kitschy, but homeopathic kitsch might be just the right lens to read feeling scrambled knowingly in cliché.

  6. Cassius King

      I agree with you, insofar as I don’t think these poets are “surrealist” or working within surrealism, or really engaging with it in a meaningful way, but they are rather tossing off (imagistic) gestures which the general culture associates with what they think of when they think of “surrealism,” rather then recognizing the real complex and substantial history and approach to writing and thinking associated with that particular mode. A mode, incidentally, I have neither a particular stake in, nor issue with. The work here uses these “gestures” in a way that feels slight and ornamental (in keeping with the general concept of the surreal), rather than substantive or fresh. That’s not hostile–I have no issue with these poets, at all, nor with the journals in which poems have appeared, in fact, I’m a fan of a number of those journals.

  7. Jeremy Hopkins

      “surreality” and “Surrealism” “reality” and “Realism”
      Mayn’t one deal with the formers w/o purposefully engaging with the latters?