Charge

v.tr.

1. To impose a duty, responsibility or obligation on: Someone to watch over me. 3. To hold financially liable; demand payment from: A pound of flesh. 5. a. To load to capacity; fill: You’re all I think about.  6. To load (a gun or firearm) with a quantity of explosive: See how hot you make me? 9. Accuse or blame: How could you? I would never.10. To put the blame for; attribute or impute: If it weren’t for ____, I would not have  ____.  11. To excite; rouse: Like a sitting duck. 15. To attack violently: Because I love you.

Veronica Castrillon

05. 1.12

Fuck You, William Carlos Williams

I was desperately unhappy but the produce was incredible. Nectarines, apricots, eggplant: last spring I ate them all. Then came fall with pears more piercing than in my wildest dream! I picked a half bushel of apples and ate three a day. Some I covered in caramel, wrapped in plastic, and tied with colored string. Some I sliced up and paired with cheddar cheese. Mostly I ate them whole. I gaped at the price of plums, then bought six at once. But inoculations are short-lived: this year it’s Ritz crackers and margarine. Craving plums, I reach for a tomato.

Li Cornfeld

04.26.12

Reaction Time

Two wheels no four wheels radial subtraction brakes risible each second’s countoff eighty-eight so lucky in clamorous China but not quiet Connecticut not this scapular embankment not the cannonade of gravel the muffler eviscerated the differential unclasped the axles broken one wheel still hugging its hub sprays ditchy muck under roadsign poetry take a break for safety’s sake too late buster you overshot your bigness now sex smells of fuel sex smells of stupidity sex is blue light eyeing the icewoman passenger she is not your wife she sips coffee how could the bitch not have spilled one damn drop.

Geoff Kronik

04.25.12

Terror Teen

Bananas brown wherever she's touched them. Ice cream melts into soup before she's even licked it. Flowers wilt in her presence. Milk curdles. Bread goes moldy. Bike chains rust, paper tatters, and guitars need restringing. And she has a way of making us grow older. We are tired around her! They say that she makes everything live faster because she has knowledge that the end is coming, that she's just doing her part to usher it in, so who can fault her? Besides, we’re all too enchanted by the shapes of her mouth as she says the words "forgive me".

Jessica Chong

04.20.12

Ring My Doorbell

With impressionable infant expecting response, with explanation for escape hatch, with Brooks Brothers suit and white teeth, with destructive judgments, with greased bicycle chain and slapstick joke, with illegal immigrants, with selfish plan for failure, with flawed itinerary and tripped-up perspective, with dried cum on cheek, with tenacious silence and inability to relate, with unworthy tactics, with privileged femme arm-in-arm, with eyes jealous of success, with heavy history and awe-inspiring panic, with uncanny valley, with differentiation but no principle, with humiliating bribe, with massive trust fund yet friendless, with careening obsession, with knack for stealth and force, with secret plague.

j. s. davis

04.17.12

Thirty-Three Thousand Baths

You came to me croaking the breaths of the death rattle, so I gave you a bath. A bath of microwaved wet wipes, as if after a chicken-wing dinner. Ninety-two years of baths and I gave you your last. Tin-tub ice-creek water baths; porcelain baths pressed against your lover’s back; bucket baths in the South Pacific, your rifle leaning against the outhouse door; crying-under-the-running-water-so-your-children-can't-hear-you baths. Every nothing bath was a check mark on your way to me, to your last chicken-wipe bath before I placed you, clean and tidy, in a white nylon bag and sent you on your way.

Anna Volk

04.15.12

The Sinecure

All in pomade, all in the grainy sweetness of a late morning's pear, all in the next hour's opiates, all in negotiations finalized over fish with rice, all in the spectrum of integers caged in columns, all in dash-dot and perforations, all in the glide of wireless propagations, all in spectacles redly ecstatic, all in a dry kiss perfumed with a caipirinha, all in taffeta and imported pigskin, all in flimsy wagers that won't open any reprieve to the enlisted man, all in defeat's luxury appointments, all in anecdotes curdled into aphorisms, all is unified in an encompassed life.

Joe Milazzo

04.14.12

Take Care

to keep things in perspective; not all bites break skin. Consider cause and effect, how each pain is instructive. A mouth wired shut. Another, pursed, in remorse, for a closed-mouth kiss. It’s said that idle hands are the devil’s tools, but the hand that rotates at the wrist is not the hand to mete out justice. (Better that such hands be—in all fairness—cut off at the elbow.) A frayed rope swing, tied loosely to a knotty tree, blows over a wind-whipped lake. Waits for a body. Consider desire’s center: at the root of vulnerability, always a wound. 

Veronica Castrillon

04.12.12

Response

After the harmless black boy was murdered, the mayor relieved all police of nighttime shifts, hiring adjunct professors from the community college. Domestic disputes paralyzed them: She should release that knife. But he threatened her autonomy. Have you worked 12-hour shifts? Have you read existential feminist theory? The dismissed officers created a flag football league, and after games they drank. One night, they broke into a library: Seuss, Sendak, Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret. They devoured lines, stanzas, chapters, discarding pages like droppings until dawn, when they shattered windows with papercut hands and discovered: indistinguishable—beauty, danger, sunlight.

Evan Cleveland

04.10.12

Stream

Iron Mountain breaches the puffing combustion, chiseling electricity out of the sky. Below, groves of chunky Oak burn in conspiracy. Struck by futility, a menagerie of quails flies circles in ash until melting to paste. Crashing hooves spring the Bighorn ewe to the mountain highway’s crumbling crest. It halts, listing clumsily on the vanishing shoulder. Plastic road reflectors weep across double yellow lines, their adhesive liquefying in the storm. The road, cricking in flames, tilts past the angle of repose. The ewe falls into a writhing sky, flocking through smoke, tickled by winking plastic as it’s sluiced from the mountainside.

Daniel Medina

04. 8.12