J. Kirk Maynard ~ Three Poems

Fourth & FoundJMaynard

somewhere where in the universe between an adverb &
a preposition there I came to some conclusions let me
explain it was spring and I attended a poetry lecture at
the armory in central park that is to say in central park
my self sat in the armory while my mind as it willed
it whorled between the now & then & to-be
a ponderosa climbing toward the canyon’s blue roof and
I heard a poet say out into the garden to stepping out & into
perhaps because we sat inside perhaps perhaps because we sat
in chairs & fashionable feather-light scarves curved round
our necks for gravitas & vestem populi and she
spoke and we listened the windows were closed I stood
at the farthest edge of field looking over looking toward as she spoke
out into the exiting & introduction of space my conclusions were

heel clap on concrete an eruption an interruption takes place
on boulevards door-stops sewer grates I say I know the signs
of space signified by place but what I mean I mean is
hinges on a door to where a cornerstone’s weight unfolds
from the crate it arrived in from the mountain it was quarried in
to sit still and mean seat, center, or home but where was the bedrock
heaved? who dug the hole? and how I’ve stood up now there’s
hollow silence where my voice had been the poet says well, ah
but what did I mean I meant a door to a wilderness opens
and a city steps out steps out into the fields the groves the marshes
are drained where we sit in our chairs and murmur a plank in Reason
broke I see the barn’s grey & rotted wood topple o’er and write it
we the wrong angels dress the emperor we from an O
make the covenant but what I mean will be my covenant

out of the atmosphere of the smog the helix of the skyline
& partially the sunlight & partially my brain at its periphery
the sky at Classon Ave. as I crossed the line of midtown Manhattan
took the clouds to form the purple-blue mountain pinnacles
the Mission mountains across the continent formed from the corner
because a certain slanting light in the middle of Classon because
I wandered lonely drop-kicked & strained out and I
from my eye turned to it the trick & slant & vision burst
but the peaks remain through the clouds across the country
and the traffic skids past blares avoid or what happens next
you lunatic blind & visited in this noise by ghosts
turnkeys who lift the window let the light trick in & close the blinds
in every room hall elevator avenue staircase sewer the doors
open & close the brick & stone processions the tug the fume the steam

I stand at the farthest edge of field and watch the doors open & close
& open to a greater stillness still surrounded & pecked at by sounds
of sucking mud chatter of crow the lilting whir of chickadee in flight
toward a mournful higher Silence when sky is clear & free who hasn’t
lost their self to that sky’s undying consummation? my purpose is
to feel a field’s expanse & be enlightened by its reel of blue
morning fog rolling from marsh to roadside ditch before the sun
before the first rise & shine up & at’em before the first bell told
the counting hour and household gods stopped visiting the gourds
& banquet platters that is when the city’s angular storm broke
& rose the concrete through the earth I’ll stay where the roots
can worm & cling and this is mine this mossy rock & spring
without signpost signature or preposition I am an endless rest

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Robin Archbold ~ Three Poems

robinarchboldIn 2009, I saw A film titled No One Knows About Persian Cats. It was about the underground music scene in Iran, and the persecution of its practitioners. It inspired a story, and the poem Abid’s Playing Air Guitar. In July 2014, the Revolutionary Court of Iran sentenced writer and poet Arzhang Davoodi to death on the charge of Mohharabeh, ‘enmity against God.’ He was co-founder of the Confederation of Iranian Sudents, which has been a major organisation in the resistance to the Iranian regime, campaigns against theocracy, and in favor of a democratic transition. He is one of many writers, musicians and artists killed and persecuted by the regime, and to whom this work is dedicated.

Abid’s Playing Air Guitar

Abid’s playing air guitar
sitting in a cellar bar in downtown Tehran
shades on a disfigured face
blind eyes focussed on some faraway place
where he’s hearing the music
got stumps for arms
hands are gone
but he’s fully groovin
body movin
got some serious internal dialogue going on
if some nosy mullah looks in
looking for sin
he’ll just see some mutilated blind kid waving his stumps in the air
having a fit on speed or crack or despair he’s supposing
but in fact Abid’s composing a song
he’s composing a song to God

He was a trainee suicide bomber
had a little wardrobe malfunction
lucky fella got a death injunction from Allah
got extreme unction but didn’t die
shrapnel in his eye
shrapnel in his head
hands blown off but he ain’t dead
woke up blind in a hospital bed
with a ringing in his ears
then the ringing got a rhythm
he heard singing through his tears
heard angels singing with him
heard angels singing with him

Two nurses in the room
Gita and Mahsheed
their names mean song and moon
two angels singing with joy
in a ward full of broken boys
a vengeful god’s toys
poisoned inside
damaged or died
flung aside
martyrs for a holy cause
just sign the registration papers
and the glory will be yours
noble story will be yours
while the laws that allow this
ban a public kiss and western music and women from singing
but there’s a song in every human heart and how do you stop the moon?

These girls don’t see anything wrong with a song
these girls don’t follow orders
call themselves the Olive Daughters
after the female suicide bomber squad
they’re listening to their own god
and they’re singing the music
they’re bringing the music
at raves in the forests below the ancient ruins of Persopolis
and sound-proofed underground bars in the metropolis
cranking out reggae, rap, jazz, electronica, the Veronicas,
trance dance seventeenth century Iranian poetry set to modern Persian Rock

hip hop, indy pop, be-bop, it’s all over the shop and the shop’s on fire
a magical musical Muslim jihad waiting for a messiah
waiting for a messiah

Now he’s a few years older
sitting in a packed cellar bar in downtown Tehran
Olive Daughter at each shoulder
shades on a disfigured face
blind eyes focussed on some faraway place
where he’s hearing the music
got stumps for arms
hands are gone
but he’s fully groovin
the whole room is movin
they got some serious musical dialogue going on
and the pilgrims they come from near and far
by foot and bike and bus and plane and train and car
to see Abid and the Olive Daughters rapping out a song to God
and Abid playing air guitar
Abid’s playing air guitar
and rapping out a song to God

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Video Poem

Sonder: Everyone Has A Story by John Koenig

You are the main character—the protagonist—the star at the center of your own unfolding story. You’re surrounded by your supporting cast: friends and family hanging in your immediate orbit. Scattered a little further out, a network of acquaintances who drift in and out of contact over the years.

But there in the background, faint and out of focus, are the extras. The random passersby. Each living a life as vivid and complex as your own. They carry on invisibly around you, bearing the accumulated weight of their own ambitions, friends, routines, mistakes, worries, triumphs and inherited craziness. When your life moves on to the next scene, theirs flickers in place, wrapped in a cloud of backstory and inside jokes and characters strung together with countless other stories you’ll never be able to see. That you’ll never know exists.

In which you might appear only once. As an extra sipping coffee in the background. As a blur of traffic passing on the highway. As a lighted window at dusk.”

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a new web series by John Koenig. The author’s mission is to capture the aches, demons, vibes, joys and urges that roam the wilderness of the psychological interior. Each sorrow is bagged, tagged and tranquilized, then released gently back into the subconscious.

© John Koenig




Joanna C. Valente ~ Four Poems

My Vagina Will Be the Death of MeJoanna-c-Valente

In the morning a storm like breath
dimming in dread, twists like silver
around fingers, a bit too tight
so it leaves a mark, almost stops
blood but faintly quivers back–

larger like smoke from a house
fire–blacker–heavier like
colonial brick. Part of surviving
is to keep moving, grow up
& ignore the distance where

dogs sometimes bark–most
people will try to write a novel
without using their hands, praying
to a sack of human bones dug up
in the sand, asks WebMD if

we’re hypochondriacs, if a man’s
hand at the base of a woman’s
vulva is haunted with alien symbols,
is a weapon salting infertility,
is an abandoned Victorian decomposing

in Louisiana heat, his hand over
her mouth stales her desire for
anything, her mind sets an ultimatum:
Heaven or Brooklyn? When she
gets home she tweets #StruggleCity

& cuts an apple like sun lighting
the holes between maple branches,
a voice wafting a million years homeless
like burning garbage the shape of
woman’s first body, a hole drilled down

the middle of a long damaged earth.

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Jennifer McBain-Stephens ~ Three Poems

Field and Stream:Jennifer-McBain-Stephens
Joan’s Mise-en-scene

She was remembering that she was remembering…

Stallions writhed in the
Sully-sur-Loire muck
Manes tangled up amongst
legs and soap opera sighs
Sunken curvatures, broken
backs backed into themselves

Joan pulls an arrow
out of her own neck
ties bloodlines
eats grub infested porridge
covers her face in mud
Hundreds of years later

The overly footnoted painting
By Ingres
Joan of Arc at the Coronation of Charles VII
revered by thousands
Hangs in the Louvre
Glows in red and silver

Commissions made:
Give her long hair
Put her in a dress

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Ali Znaidi ~ Six Poems

The StatutesAli-Znaidi

Enfolding you in the mysticism of ancient epochs
& current times, they talk vibrant history, either
beautifully sculptured or amputated— [a good
exercise in the historiography of resistance]. Don’t
forget they tend to liken themselves to pieces
of literature, too[eloquence w/out words]. They
stretch out in museums’ halls [hallmark of pride].
I can hear them telling their stories of resistance,
reminding people of resisting howling winds,
heavy rain, & wars. Though fragile statutes lost
a hand or a leg, they [oftentimes] keep the head
because their heads are stuffed w/ the dream
of eternity— a resistance against decay, &
a refusal to look back in grief.


Scattered foam, a paroxysm of floating
bubbles. From forgotten surfaces the sea
spits sapphire blaze. The seagulls contour
the sea’s waves like Gothic arches—a shield
against the tyrannical wind/ a C-clamp
holding waves together. & the lumbering
birds cut the sky’s timber, lubricating
an artist’s mind.||Wandering boats, errant
rants, sowing your oats.||
& adventure is not but a boat named courage,
sharing the sea with the Gothic


The eye is not just an apparatus through
which you can see your world.
The eye is something more dangerous
than that because it has a cheetah inside.
The eye is a cougar chasing preys &
always keeps chasing more.
& the more it preys, the more the limitation
thread unravels.
Eye only connotes a power lust—
a cougar w/ paws always sharp.
& the history of eye is the geography of
its stretching gaze.

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Lisa Marie Basile ~ A Poem


I confess dissociative,
swing a heavy summer down on me.            I will not falter
but I am fall.


If it seems I have flowered,    you are mistaken.
Our night attracts
simpler things.         Other things we don’t see.
That I might be bright white,
a visible thing.          I am not a visible thing.


I am steeple, pure, filled of daydead.           I am its pupil.
Not dull, or charred,
or fragment.      Not piled.                 I am
the holder of small things      and the other body
of my body.


I read all the books. I opened them
one by one.        I startled it,             night,               and said sorry.
As if the shapes were not mine,         but a star deflated.
I wished for it to be like this:
The small round table: forlorn as children, me standing
with finger on splinter,           on edge. The table collects us
when we come near it.


We gather around it               and make of
the shapes.

The fountain: I came to it, to throw coins in.
The water was cool
and sullied.                 I saw it and felt it did not see me.
And I see, I saw. I saw, I’ve seen
what the sounds of space have made: a basin of body, a swell, a ravine
where water is water and water is me.


The white plate,         I broke it.
I mean, I dropped it,
and it broke.      One piece is here,
the other buried                      as a sick lover
in the meadow.                       It is meaning, the meaning of something
that kills me: this porcelain thing.                 That it is,
and is not,         that it lives and does not.


A little blood in the cracks,
a spoil of self,    all made to say hello
I am here.                   

© Lisa Marie Basile

Lisa Marie Basile is the author of APOCRYPHAL. Her poetry and other work can be seen in the Best American Poetry, PANK Magazine, Tin House, The Nervous Breakdown, Johns Hopkin’s The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, The Huffington Post and Prick of the Spindle, among others. She is the editor-in-chief of Luna Luna Magazine and a co-curator for Diorama, a NYC-based collaborative poetry/music salon. Stay Thirsty Media recently featured her as an emerging poet worth reading. She is a graduate of the New School’s MFA in Writing program, and works as an editor.  







The Art of Poetry, with Julian Peters


In 2013, when Julian Peters, a comic book artist and illustrator living in Montreal, published the first nine pages of his yet unfinished visual adaptation of T.S. Eliots’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock on his website, poetry and art buffs all over the internet rejoiced at the lyrical and seemingly effortless quality of the images. Peters’ works, which have been praised for both their faithfulness to the original text and their innovative, original aspects, are evocatively in perfect tune with the verses they attempt to describe. Those impressed by the aforementioned adaptation, continued on to devour the stunning interpretations of Keats, Yeats, Rimbaud, Nelligan and more, published on his website. Here, in conversation with Eye, Peters discusses his art, his inspirations, and why the juxtaposition of the visual and the verse is more relevant than ever.

1. Tell us about Julian Peters the man- where you come from, what your story is. If you had to sum yourself up in a short, autobiographical comic strip, what would you choose to draw?

I was born 35 years ago in Montreal, the son of two biology professors. My mother is Italian, and I spent a great deal of time in Italy as a child; I even did a year of elementary school over there, and one year of high school.

If I had to do a comic strip about myself (a project that, in truth, I’d rather avoid), I’d probably focus on those childhood summers spent in Italy, at the family home on the hills overlooking beautiful Lake Orta, in Piedmont. That’s my Eden, and probably the greatest repository of artistic inspiration I have. Perhaps the day will come when I will tackle the memory of those sensations head on in a comic, although it’s more the kind of thing I picture myself doing as an old man.

It’s also in Italy that I developed my passion for comics, starting with the wonderful Disney comics that they have over there (Oddly enough, Italy is the world’s largest producer of Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse comics!). Then, later, my mother’s cousin, who had studied comics in Milan and who amassed a vast comics collection throughout his life, introduced me to what I consider the golden age of Italian comics, those from the late sixties to the mid eighties. These are still my favorites. Those are the comics that revived my childhood passion for the medium, and set me down the path I’m still pursuing to this day.

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