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Gallery One

Robin Clarke

From "Lines the Quarry"

Everything wants to live, not
even Robocop. The difference
between human, employee
hired hand and the ocean—
simply the road gets blocked, so
Carnegie built a library
sixteen hours of work each
morning your life is mined
by one way and another
bake a cake between the days,
workers, dynamite, dripping
things you don’t want to forget

headlamp, feed dog tied to post.
A history of methane
explodes one thousand feet
in your face, burns ninety
—is a ceiling coming down?—
percent of the woman’s (we
don’t make disaster porn
at Big Branch coal mine) twenty-nine
Do Not Resuscitates
Mr. Blank Blankenship throw
down a rope I’ve got my head
but three years of citation
brings the whole sputtering us
to today, the rules, or all
Americans deserve to?
The company Tina pulled
levers for without meaning

to, everything the Titanic
pushes toward, Freud, there are
no accidents, whatever
kept us going pegged our pants
didn’t ask how does it feel
to be the Terminator
open fire to open
like a flower on evening
television? To watch
bandaged heads vanish into
parked here forever, soldier
hold your breath you’re not crying
right? Good intentions come and
go run up the street with some
adults in need of a bath
tub to slip in, piece of cake
to fall out of a chair
in five, four is how I learn
Americans have rallied
round the image of the oil

coated bird but browsers
undirected keep opening
corners of the human package:
sea-gull, swallow the regulations
the gauzy wings, eye
where security guards feed
dolphins full of tear gas
how do you feel? Better
purchase the words for a season
of fishing equipment under
water, clean-up crews have no
time to correxit. More oil
bloomed in the Niger last year
but the secret is every

broadcast ends with decisive
moments, then drowning
like the wrong number dialed
your ears fill with water then
the stadium applauds. Can’t
make that shot, given angle
distance, subcutaneous
cellulitis aka
beat hand, beat elbow, beat knee
you are what they eat. Falling
out teeth dreams say it, together
Shell did nothing wrong.

Robin Clarke

From "Lines the Quarry"

Type any key to begin
annotating the annotated:
my father raped in a quarry
age five by friends of the fam’ly
Carnegie’s many faces
fill a steam engine book
of men who climbed out of hist’ry—
my body neither shame nor bliss
simply try, their words come out
cursive in the margins
oil in the ocean where
cities built over the last
ones. Don’t know what it means
I was born on a business
trip, suspect everything

If we look at my cell phone
what do we see? Illusion,
no distance between our lives,
bonds—terrible and standing
up for what we be, sediment
toilet or balls to the wall
smart or nobody knows my
name. Grade I would give on your
painting of a lighthouse scene?
You can’t stay neutral on
the bus leaves at 8am
there will not be another.
Mom knocked three times but the door
to the human party was
let’s just say nope. Hope this ends
better than the play. Crack the
following, a roach in every
pot, twenty-four/seven
community oriented
lice. When I return we can
marry, exchange relatives.
We’ll see. When I see my dreams
staring with the human
carcass, steady as they gather
at the liver. You’ve got to listen

to your part. Many like us
yet no two alike, my journey
to the center of the earth
begins with wreckage, attempts
to return safe slash sound.
In biographies workers’
decisions have been left out.
How a child connects most
fondly with the Terminator
those affected I’ll go ons

Lynn Strongin

This arm of the blues stretches far

Love the lesson longest learned, no homily.
I will be there to meet you in my Netherlands gray:
Country flat as the eye can see, Postage stamp Poland, Holland.
The jacket with wet look will look as though it came from centuries of are
Eggshell thin, it will glisten lethally looked at one way, becoming like dove feathers the other.
The sort of footlocker-packed gardening stashes away.
I use my grabber rod, shepherd's crook in a former life
& reach down the six-shaped hatbox letters
the letters I always reach when at the rim, the ruinous bring of love.
Soundless film Blue's lips, Civil War stores,
Dark currencies of currency.
I have gone the distance, entered Oxen Bridge,
The year of withdrawal.
The bullet glancing past my temple vein,
Grazing the eye, glassing the eye that hustler faster.
Who made no lady of me.
Winter's pained face glistens thru black branches where water ends.
Don't put me out. I am not a fire.
The stitches from where I cut myself at twelve are still there
but not like Belsen's blue numbers.
He iron bedstead, the scarecrow moving on wires
A slightly modified embroidery table is what my love presents.

Lynn Strongin

Stretches Far, but I have walked to the end of the night & found you.

Button eyes, angular planes of a European woman in your face,
smoking, collar turned up, an airport somewhere maybe Yugoslvia.

During the break in the film making, a little romantic break, about to go to the front line

with child, just in time. Go to the Tower of London.

Neck wound in a long reefer.

Cold miserable, looking out at her London all the lights are out
like all the people out of conrol forgetting speech.

Could take no more.

No more dark. No more light.

Blackout. The sheer stun.

Sheer as mountainface.

Lynn Strongin

Hatbox letters are laid out

Pearly diver
The Portuguese house keepr with seven children and fifteen grandchildren has come
With a touch of the other world:
brought back from a former life or a filmic projection of the life to come:
she will star in this one.
Lays down her feather duster, a cluster of
bees swarm out of comb. The next world will be dustless, surreal, almost neon.
Robin's egg blue.
    Like a painter laying the first color on his canvas.
From this we hatch.
Purple People, Radiation people come and visit me.
I shall sit in the Garden for the Blind above the sea.
Reading waves' monotony.
Like purling knitting.
One silver, one grey.

Totally upped the romantic ante.
The perfectly chillzone your moment of Zen.
Night widens the gap between stairs:
We think of more to tell each other:
Words come tumbling out.
But we have no mother.
The arm of he blues shortens. Turn the radio down. Light up.
Delicious. Relax the shoulders, shrug, turn the jacket collar up.
You are desired, sheltered, drawn up long legs,
knees to child, foldng & unfolding them like a stork.
All my pennies go on books, ring of bright thunder.
Will anyone read them when I am dead & gone?
I walk across an airport, slicked with rain, legs moving easily as scissor s making time.
Hip joints real ball & socket.
Cutting darkness, a flash of purple on fingernails.
Smoking, my cigarette a little ikon like the cross this me in Majorca, Spain.

Lynn Strongin

Cut Friday in half

Laid the paycheck under the grocery bag
all thoset tins of tunafish.
Got cigarettes, Black Russians. Forgot matches.
Ribbons from the flowershop for her
Tomorrow morning first thing.
Alma didn't cut cheese with me.
But afer all we aren't children playing on the school playground.
I used to sing you a tune, or whistle an aria from Handel.
You piled my books onin a sack slung from the wheelchair handles.
We two who used to just get up there & boget.
We're getting on.
Rabbit is half skinned.
Whatever we remember let's not forget the other.
Or the gin: all four burners on, blue-violet as the queen's bodice or gown:
Love is a lesson lenient rarely, smooth as a florist's wide-band ribbons:
grain with a swish almost audible sound
Love is a lesson holding breath during a taxi ride home thru Jamaica, Queens,
over the lace wrought bridges in the unforgiving night
from a bad performance, a debacle:
Every movement of lungs burns:
Is a lesson(lighting up outside the concert hall after the meltdown in the wings)

Lynn Strongin

Look under the thunder

Love is a continuing lesson.
Release, ride me terrier: Little Moll (that flash of prostitute) knows that love begins alone in the gloom.
These sombre contain bottles are two horses, Nicola & Nicolo I ride while bells of Cordoba ring.
Where? A dawn I have never seen.
Digging my ankles into you spur, ivory satin, known to me like the thrill of coming.
Dark archers.
Listen there are unicorns coming along the side streets.
We carry back packs of books, colorful, fabulous creatures:
We learn things by touching ourselves & each other we never can learn from teachers.
Black keys white keys come to me. Don't let bad things happen to the children.
The broken man has come.
I do not offer him honey: Amiel. I cap it. I save it for the children.
He rolls wheelchairs.
He has big wings.

Lynn Strongin

I would go then

Mother wanted me to see France and London. Sister said "Rough it."
From mascara to violin varnish.
White Yule promised mercury dips.
An adolescent, my extreme incarceration led to extreme joy.
From pillar box to stained glass.
Foxy writes me that all through his pelvis he is cancer.
The blood is stained glass window red.
Near Shadwell Basin in Boneville.
Such curious things are gong on: stamps pasted in color window.
Setting up a lab on the top floor of an East London home.
What goes on up so high next to sky.
Pressed jowel by cheek.

Open a dye factory:
Blend another color with madder.
The Fury of the Mauve Era.
O to have a beautiful backbone.
To have had radiant chidlren
In Beirut my ultimate aim was to find purple but my immediate aim was to find coffee.
As easy as locating a bullet-riddled wall in the torn city center:
Make things whole again. With maximum tenderness, mercy.
Lace could not get more whorled with circles.
Bridal, finer.
Than in my dreams of holding (under a storm cloud, just enough darkness for pity the blinding light).
If a raven falls down the chimney death will be that nears a hatclose to us:
Not my fault.
But use salt.

Lynn Strongin

Shipyards & Angels

A lorry catapults throws a young woman straight thru a window:
A doorknob is caught in a woman's pelvis (Frida Kahlo).
I see a cart filled with Indigo, drawn by a mule, looks like blue hay.
Mule like tilted, a Gargoyle face, Quasimodo.
Have seen the place where light begins to dance.
Where shall I go in the gloom alone, the gloam, work's apron.
A square of brown or dove Quaker grey over my lap.
Where desire begins.
I set my hands in my lap.
Move them like doves.
A nose-wringkling joy.
He waits till he no longer lasts.
I wait too.
Riding beside in a carriage of color.
I go thru a mystical process down Iron Age Hill from the village.
To create from woad the color Indigo.
She is a gem, a keeper.
Blue Portugese feather duster:
she takes my torn things away bring hem back like new.
Love has a long arm reach but closes its fist over darkness,
clenching a deal, holding strong, saving a child.
Dying their pale ancient torsos blue fit the ancient Britons.
Shipyard and angels.
Lo to bring things to artists supply shops in London.

Lynn Strongin

December slides it translucent coat over park benches, the boat basic at Riverside & 72nd where we did most of our early days courting: What did I know, a girl who was an alumna of the State Hospital, still virgin at twenty one, attending a girl's college formerly "Female Normal School," hadn't tasted gin. A straight A student with eyes for the Classics professor, another woman with Italian boy bob. Got high on my first coke & aspirin.

Winter slips clear of its skin translucent affections and hostilities stand. Spearheaded: exposed like lace of the six-sided poliovirus under the high magnificaion glass: Hold this old yellow speller in your hands: smell the history behind it: offered my ring, a poor enamel open band wwe bought in the Greeenwich Village. I bought my wedding dress at Carnaby Streets where the daughters of the Mexican governors got their bridal dresses. Stretched out on beds then all fuschia, chartreuse, Indigo. The terrible beehive hairdos of he fifies. If a man could fall for a girl then, but I wore classic Smith girl attire: pullover & mother's pearls, sholder length pageboy, Sylva Plath swoop but I was tender as an angel no worldly broad. Androgynous-thin. My boyish tree-climbing had been exchanged for the quick grab in hospital halls, wheelchair races. When that passion, music, became driver again I got a drawing board with black wrought iron wheel & composed first thru fifth species co unterpoint. One whole year we wrote motets. A medieval choral school. Passion fruit & poemgranate. The embroidery table tilted overlooking Sant Annes & Riverside. Embroidery of scalloped bushes straight out of Alice in Wonderland, but I'd taken my first smoke in the back bathroom I was a fallen woman. I never took a man for husband. We scripted cancellations to the wedding, explaned to the harpist we'd engaged for the chape at The Coisters for that afternoon. I wound my wools in a basket, lidded it. Sold the drawing board giving the wheel a last spin to the lowest position. December once again slid its too thin coat over the bones of the city, the human bones began moving in new ways. Mother said that fat Lesbian Gwyn had seduced me: she played the cello, I composed: we gave Unitarian Fellowship Sunday morning services & played the black ghetto of Oakland: She rented a cottage out of Lady Chatterly's lover, a poemgranate tree drawn on the kitchen walls: We hung our windbreakers on a thin nail.

We always had to move the car for a neighbor to get to work. Frisco, the mystical city that had broken more than a few poets' hearts. Despite December & no money, she found second-hand booties with fleece-lining. She bought a cheese wheel in the Portuguese section of town, put it on the elevator & sent it up to my floor: I was already in full bloom.

Lynn Strongin

You ask about my husband. I never took one. Several took me. And put me down like a book they'd grown bored reading, print side down in the grass. So I moved to a new town. A woman in another country read my poems in a book & fell in love. To cut to the chase, we have lived together since then: short & tall, blond & dark. We crisscrossed the continent exchanged countries. But there's one voyage with more lists than Homer: Disability, two religions, family feuds, reconditioning: This is the dry voyage, despite drowning, that begins like the alphabet wth A for Ativan. I was in my thirties. Now, seventy-two, oxymorphine contin cannot ravage what is already mown beyond burn or blame. I thought the gin years the worst during immigration. But this was ldower yet: an interesting thing you learn about pits: they always have deeper ones: I knew that we'd never have to take this trip again. Crossing from Hades to the promised land: And we haven't. That morning in the medical pavilion I learned all I'd ever have to know of Dante's inferno. Out of withdrawal, the backpack cutting into our ribs like anvils. We came home. Thin ribbed, voiceless. I'd spare you the details but I give you what you ask in the man: You asked about my husband.

Lynn Strongin

Our amaryllis looks on LSD.
I cannot bear the feeling of being old. Hold. Hold me.
Cutwork embroidery, able cloth.
Pearly table cloths in space.
More when my cheeks' flush dies doem from Morphine.
More when I have sacked together like toys my beautiful wives & husbands.
Browh cloth. Dark wood. Homecoming.
Soldiers on leave in Britain could not pass the time indoors
so they passed the long warm lazy days on the Downs.
The very paths used by Chaucer's pilgrims.

Adam Strauss

From "Rootavega Lapse"


She licked her moonlit fur. Endymion's gloss and saliva create an atmosphere like the aftermath of fratricide. A rutabaga casts a shadow on a gray tile; ants swarm its burly bumps. From the upper-left corner of the frame queer light angles to so centrally in the center the way-fab location ends up arresting. The center of what: shadow or casts?

Endymion's gloss and saliva--who knew that overlap could outdo Renaissance chiaroscuro. Right outside the frame a rutabaga rots; the smell magnifies her eyes till they look daemonic and this particular demon is oh so pretty not the kind that makes your dreaming heart freak till eyes fright open and a grumpy rump gets up.

Someone has cut rutabaga into stars. Stars don't make movies so why are there movie stars. Stars are dead; movie stars are not--even the dead ones. The one thing stars have in common with stars is being simultaneously close and far. The knife the ones scattered on these porch-steps were cut by shines like a downs of dewy humus.

Adam Strauss


Rutabaga is a good name for a cozy feline--one can then call it Vega because the switch is more fun than some lock-jawed B. The litter-box needs changing but no-one gets up from their screen if anyone's even home. The movie-stars in the bedroom cannot be seen but where they're affixed to the walls quadrants subtly sensuously glitter.

An artist painted a picture; she split her canvas between two scenes: a cartoon tiger drinking a mug of cut-‘n-paste coffee and a tiger in a row of the beans lining a lowly ridge as lovely as its muscles as they pulse through its hide. She pines for dream-on shots; while waiting she wonders why British English for rutabaga is Swede.

Stars light a farm in Sweden.  Students with handsome carriages carry fruit across a stripe of grass. Fifty kilometers away a white Siberian named Handsome is in the midst of catching a cold but that's hard to freak for when sun turns sere fields gold. Domestic purrs and then a letter in the alphabet's been purloined. Dazzling dead energy.

Adam Strauss


She licks her fur; dust falls and she does the cleaning over. He's a fan of threes: square them and there's nine or the number forming the Ennead. I concur: Egyptian mythology possesses a freshness the Greek lacks. Leave a bone out long enough and in the process of revitalizing you'll need to conjure up some marrow.

She loved her cat but didn't offer any of her parmesan-and prosciutto-rind fortified red-wine poached marrow to then be put on toasts and drizzled with the poaching liquid reduced to a syrup. She shudder-laughed at how painful breaking out one's frame would be--lapse one can't recover from.  She decided to look at lapses based on unusual ratios.

I advocate lapses be redefined as lapis; I get in the way like Apophis. If I were an artist I'd like to make a piece which pleases a cat by which I mean a cat appears pleased to me.  A bloody mouse is almost always an unpleasant interruption so it's a shame that's just what's scampered across the linoleum though the blood track is pretty--tres De Kooning.

Adam Strauss

A Ball

She cut a ball-gown from a swath of whisky; touch

             This 100 proof

Slosh and

See--the warp and weft and every

                                         Inebriating atom

Send interchangeable

                      Signals to the nerves

Lining your gorgeous fingers.

                             At the ball where there's no whisky

She did a

         Lesbian Lambada.

                             She did a
                                                                                       Shot first thing

                                       After shucking off her dress--isn't

A gown to be grown out of?

Adam Strauss

Fashionable Politics

for Kate Durbin

"If it                were a wound
            It'd be terrible"

From                that wound I'll make
               A womb                births

A form                 fits
               Perfectly                 into

A perfectly                cut
                    Cabernet Cristobal

Balenciaga                suit                like lambs
                    Leaping over                fire hydrants

Under                protest for
               Torturing                peaceful

Protesters                putting mirrors
                    Up to                the state's

Posturing                places some
                  Of us in                a position

To want                a pastoral
                  Nation                in which

Country                is
               Divested of                its empire

Wes Benson

A Long-Abandoned Breath

A long-abandoned breath
heard between apologies
unmaps the world.

I switch on the kitchen light.
Appliances emerge
as if by choice.

With regard to supplication
I'm dead to difficulty.
Am I what I think I am.

Am I error's dancehall:

Wes Benson

There May Be a Real World

So much music
rests on it.

Duvet sky
a busy river fork.

But only
the broken

No photographs
of this exist.

Wes Benson

The Day I Packed My Death I Forgot to Mark the Box

A finite thought.  
I let it go.

Another one.  
I let it go.

I'm a finite thought.  
I let it go.

A list of finite thoughts.
The list quickens me.

It burns me back
to where the ashes end.

Wes Benson

Pretend a History

The lift, the wind-up of you.  
Your nowhere wired
from where you aren't.

I slur your words.
Slip, sleeve-like,
from your shoulder.

Red meat inside you
no longer gleaming
that meat-counter gleam.

Wes Benson

Momentary Surgeries

That through which
I am.

The not-a-thing-

Grievous pivot.  
Turning outward.

Every glance

How much of sky
is skin.

What is the body.
What's left

to waver forward,

Jane Wong

Trace (Bloom)

A tree set in motion blooms                looms in                greens

Look at the woods; there is nothing to change; the sunlit moss spreads; without you--

In reach of cities, towns                  the-light-through-windows-certainty:

Greens on the kitchen table, basin rinsed in clover

Steam, a form of water                    a form of fists on the table

You raise a sliced plum to your mouth

Under clouds, a plane orbits eternally

You can see it from the window, smoke trailing--


Jane Wong

Trace (Wound)

A wound magnified opens in glass blue

stitch. Thin threads of light filtering through trees

Treasures in the trees. Birds violet in mid-light, deepening

You bite into a plum                     you finish it                     the bright volcano

There is honey mucked in your mouth; there is a hunter wintering your town--

The cold avenues through which                              the heart radios

After which, it extinguishes itself

A tender surface

Jane Wong

Decent with the Seasons

when the owl lost its eye
I was in the other room boiling
an egg it was a felt
thing bracing pot metal my eye was
owl breath                   mirrored and true as
egg shell after
rain I was afraid I saw
the good eye look up
to see a world or what else                    how lowly
I stood over it I was a jar surrounded I could not
fall even when the tall grass tangled
the strike                 in the ground where I know you


best to pluck from
song pluck from the neck
up                     near what but a fountain
to drowse in    a root to drink in
the trees resting in                     me: a drowsy child
on a stranger's lap                    to be small be the day
gone                    I said goodbye to the finches I flinched
fevered till there was blood


among the feathers or
my mouth: I swear I am as decent as
a hat        I could tip over
a pitcher poured
over trees as if locating
rain as if you could measure at arms
length or dare I say beard's length         I could touch
the tree but we know autumn
is a lie is a lake you can not swim


in the dark
a parliament of owls proceed in single file
as if afraid of losing          the dark I tunnel through
silent as a silver coin
the dark surrounds it weighs in plums
it waits by the door like worn leather
the rough ruin of once, before,           and then
what? I remember how healthy I grew
I was a child         an echo of circumference enough
to cradle you in         I was decent with the seasons
I could keep up appearances           snow slipping
through the droning         sun

Jane Wong

Proof 2


        1. The night before, b hit a deer on the way home and left an imprint of a torso.
        2. b said to a, "I will do it later" and took sugar in his coffee.

If a slipped on the ice and broke her leg so that the bone kicked out, that implies that b did not shovel and used sugar instead of salt. Considering the givens, yes, there is proof to blame b.

However, as a certainly did not scream (neither did the deer) and thus alert b of her fall, it is not b’s fault for not noticing and worsening the condition with time.

Regardless, because the fall happened because of b’s negligence to begin with, b must produce something much > than apology. For, as a will later argue, what is apology but a mess of words?1

1Indeed, apology will not shovel ice.

Jane Wong

Proof 6

Let a live in triangle A and b live in the angle outside of triangle A. For years, a has been trying to get b to lean backwards, to let her breathe for one second (a says, "it feels like bricks in my throat"). For years, a has dreamt of triangle B, where they are both upright, and can place their hands equally against the glass. But b is suspicious; b says, "if I lean backwards, how am I to know you won’t push me down?" b says he can feel the tension between their angles and refuses to take the chance. "I am not stupid," b says, pushing forward into what is now triangle C. Crying, a thinks of collapsing, but holds up her angle, if only to feel something on the other side.

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