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Emily Hipchen. Phyllida Law is Dying.

16 Dec

Phyllida Law is Dying

She turns her face, skin the texture of flour
sifting down into jowls, her eyes
vivid blue like her daughter’s.

She says, “My husband and son died
the same day.” She says,
“I am barely here.”

The plot moves past her.
I touch the screen where just a moment
ago she was. And now is not.

I say, “I am barely here.”

The dandelion gone to seed is more here.
The sound of rain on the roof
ten years ago is more here.

I purse my lips, I breathe.
That breath is more here.

I say: I am barely here.

I purse my lips and blow.
My kiss is for no one.
“Puff,” I say, and go.


Emily Hipchen

Say Young Minnesota. Jack Peterson.

14 Dec

Say Young Minnesota

Trappers in say young Minnesota
may have seen rise of westerly light
through ice sheathed eyelashes
that bowed as frost heavy yews
to wan ray warmed cheeks
with heat enough to turn
solid to liquid state
and such an apocalypse
could only be seen from here
as tears shed for startled snow.


Jack Peterson

Michael Lythgoe. Leaving Delray Beach in January.

12 Dec

Leaving Delray Beach In January

I follow the freighted full moon
north to Jupiter. The moon and I
ride low in intracoastal waterway.

At sundown we tie up
at the lagoon in St. Sebastian.
After conch fritters and mussels

I rendezvous with my old friend.
Lady Heron wades up to her thighs
in the shallows near the pier.

She moves like a dancer
in the partial light, disappears
in the shadows. Out beyond

the marina, the river shimmers,
moonlight spangles the surface.
I lose sight of the moon

above the river where
manatees loll in warm
effluence from coal-fired

power plants. Behind me
a tornado blows through
Delray Beach.

At first light I leave, pass
St. Sebastian Catholic Church,
do not stop for Mass,

skirt Jax by noon, remember
my night in St. Mary’s
on my way down.

I stop to watch the ferry
return from the island. Pelican
makes plans on the piling.

After goat cheese with honey
and pecans, I retire alone
to the small upper room

in the B&B. I knew the boomers
armed with cruise missiles moored
nearby at Kings Bay Nuclear Submarine

Base. I push on and get home
before sundown, in time
for Mass in my own parish.

The priest reads the gospel
by St. Luke, the Greek physician
who visits his mentor, St. Paul,

in prison every day. Pope Francis
says he believes this is a time
for mercy. He quotes St. John

of the Cross:
“In the evening of life, we will
be judged on love alone.”


Michael Lythgoe

worksongs for the apocalypse. and the floorboards were golden. Tom Pescatore.

10 Dec

…and the floorboards were golden

so that you ran your tongue against them
carving and chipping bone and screw

so that you were forgetful
unable to piece together what had come before

so that you pulled your knees up to your chin
blind to dirt and dust and scruff and tar

so that you took to running knifed edges across grain
drawing up curled veins

so that each needled point penetrated the skin
and left glitters of light in their path

so that with each step the surface gave slightly sinking
marking your footprints your face prints your palms

so that at night it appeared as it did before
but for the metallic taste

so that even though your outside mildewed with collapse
the inside shone brightly in the sun


Tom Pescatore




worksong for the apocalypse. Dear Chicago, 2016. Len Kuntz.

8 Dec

Dear Chicago, 2016

In the streets
500 dead by September 1st
Blood-stained cement cracks
Crimson asphalt
Shattered windows
Crack vials crushed underfoot
Child on a swing never makes it high
Girl on a date has her kiss stolen by a slug between the eyes
Bullets like silver rain, a thrush of metal hornets
Everyone ducking
With nothing to hold onto
If there is no anger
There is no hope
And next year will see new records
Only coffin companies the beneficiaries
Of such senseless slaughter


Len Kuntz


090624-M-0581G-034 TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. (June 24, 2009) A large box of shell casings sits next to a large metal shredder at the Range Sustainment Branch at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Kelsey J. Green/Released)

TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. (June 24, 2009) A large box of shell casings sits next to a large metal shredder at the Range Sustainment Branch at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Kelsey J. Green/Released)

worksong for the apocalypse. Apocalypse Refrain (Detroit). Ken Meisel.

6 Dec

Apocalypse Refrain (Detroit)

In the event of such a sorrowed
ending as the apocalypse –

where we are fomented into the fire’s
lasting heat and its opalescence,

because our time here as mortal beings
has erupted in a finality and a blaze –

let me enter into this fanfare, a ceremonial
triad of trumpets – all blowing soundly

as the sunset’s dandelion haze
slowly slips tenderly behind the row houses

of brownstones and the streets of fire
already dusted in rose and olive. And let us notice

that the trumpets mark a lascivious farce
and a ludicrous, lugubrious fandango

across those who have been blessed,
or lost in the decade’s delirium dance

of poverty and mayhem mixed with
all this uproarious laughter and bold love.

All this, simply to notice how we have
made ourselves tender with mercy,

and also, ferocious, with the lobster
red of the sunset’s extant blaze.

And let us lift our glasses to the wise,
sprightly tempo of the piano duet

now being played in an open field
where the red-spotted purple butterfly

and the white admiral lift up and sail
with several quick flaps and a flat-winged

glide – so amused – over the field
where these two men at a piano take

turns playing a duet to the sunset’s opalescent

Let us calculate the lift and glide of

as they too, slip and disappear by night’s
crepe suzette and its crimson tinting.

Let us notice the mid-drift of the soul
in a butterfly and a bird, chasing

each other over the cylindrical blazing star
growing upside the damaged fence line.

Let us notice that we are a simple line
of flight –

inside an assemblage of light. And, in
every apocalypse, we are a frequency

probability – just a white screen upon
a black dream, or its reverse.

All this to make note of the intrepid
sound of trumpets blowing

the evening tide down through the streets
of fire from the open windows,

from the foundations of hope,
and the blown-open fa-la-la refrain

of those discontented
and those lonely roust-abouts

who have no less a place here,
as the renaissance of prosperity

emerges for the well-contented,
and for the last propulsion of clouds

streaming and threading into a gamboge
of tints, as the era’s apocalypse begins.


Ken Meisel



Sara Wilson. These Are the Trees Going On Without Us.

4 Dec

These Are The Trees Going On Without Us

There is a migration, and rocks
are crushed, the crust
moved, plowed through by woods,
the gentle stealth of fibers.

…there, amidst trunks and bluffs
that move slow, the drift of mass
of mountains, even;
treed mountains:

a march of the mulch and maddened.



Sara Wilson




a worksong for the apocalypse. There’s not much you can do. Salvador Olguín.

2 Dec

There’s not much you can do

the older Child
managed to get home
behind the wheel

another youngster
a woman
was found huddled
in the back seat
of the van

Salvador Olguín




a worksong for the apocalypse. living. Elsewhere. Salvador Olguín.

30 Nov

living. Elsewhere

Gradually, a narrative emerges

Movement sequence
someone broke

an excuse to make us leave

public pool
everyone was peeing



Salvador Olguín



a worksong for the apocalypse. Await: Transportation. Salvador Olguín.

28 Nov

Await: Transportation

Some limits
may have escaped
into wooded areas

Corral the animals
Await transportation



Salvador Olguín




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