Prime Decimal

my poem "Subject: Please Be Sympathetic to My Cry" is up at Prime Number


Halloween Cento (Cento from Horse Less Review 8, part 2)

Everything smells like wet lawns & burned charcoal
in a suburban backyard. Their sweaty palms make etchings of the dirt ........on
long fences of night.
Or you come to the grass
the other side of a cattle fence;
stay longer, count the day's keloidal cells.


This is the house we have always lived in.

Eyes rimmed red,
dusted skin,
can you see that I am transparent? I pretend otherwise.
Who crushed the brain with numerals?
Who are you to talk politics? I know
the simple morality of a gun under your pillow --
bookended in sheaves of leaves, cotton --
in this country, left to right, top to bottom.


You've been mastering the dream; you conjured our whole ........neighborhood!
They knifed you & scooped out the bad
drills & cranes & trains & planes & automobiles
at night. At ten o'clock, the metal screeches down.
I'm scared to go to the party with you. It's my party:
a graveyard receiving bodies:
storage of the unappealing & inedible.


At the exact same moment
(that flat wide blade slung over your shoulder),
behind a velvet curtain in the foyer of the art gallery, a boy punched ........the,
the mirror, a window behind which
I have carried a torch
in the unperishable past. I function, at the time of telling you this ........story,
fine. Another trance upon us, then.

Or lullaby & goodnight. The fate of a nation,
whether or not to be savage
by these few simple rules. Their book deals with disappearances, ........& the
negation, to the deepest blue. But it's hard to get the blue of this ........sky. They
entangled like vines in summertime. Between skin & clothes
I dreamed I carried a snake.


When you see us burn things, read the smoke
like a god to me. Let be be
air for sale.

Am I losing you? The white marble
on your forehead
lets go her balloon. We will do
some sugar cane & melon. Barely
caused a scene.

The sunset shifts;
the black sky
reeks of progress.
Locks click
still like that
bag full of headlines
you're supposed to live.


& if we're really here
I was born for this, just as you were born
of its hairs, those along the back,
with more thought, more flesh.


Listen to raccoons clawing through the gutters
without us knowing. Remember
& smile more. Say something that will follow me
right now. The ducks are not ducks anymore. They're the center of ........the pond.


horse less review 8


Cento from Horse Less Review 8 (part 1)

Out of the unexpected
my shoes will disintegrate. My shoes are full of
which of the ways I had come?

Unite once more toward some common goal
on the other side of the lake, in another time.

We looked up & saw only the things that
cut the lines out 0f bread dough.
Sitting on the earth, half immersed

upon her breasts. Once I went higher up, once only.
The way old men in shirtsleeves come out:

really suffering within. & without his head
rushing back after all these years to consult more doctors
(this was a very sick man, one might even say dangerous)

appealing turned into appalling.
Hair hard to swallow without strangling.

Like odd rats scurrying in & out of debris, laughing,
you try to console me. I will snap your neck
& a Darth Vader figurine as well as many other toys. On a shelf across .........the

the tub are seven pink loofahs & seven half-empty bottles of .........Victoria's
ghosts. To know them, I stole photographs from Giotto.

There is this feather
strips me raw in an icy racket of wind.
Changing the vocabulary of the forest

might rediscover a new life, lived in miniature.
Every line is wrong, we are told

& I'm glad. Nobody calls me in the center of the night
that I keep from veering apart
at the end of the most amazing year.

horse less review #8


a review without horses

some poems are up here: Horse Less Review #8
by these people:

Graeme Bezanson, Jessica Bozek, Christophe Casamassima, Juliet Cook, Tyler Flynn Dorholt, Kate Durbin, Richard Froude, Nathan Hauke, Michael Hennessey, Brian Howe, Russell Jaffe, Kirsten Jorgenson, Megan Kaminski, Mary Kasimor, Kirk Keen, Becca Klaver, Krystal Languell, Dolly Lemke, Rebecca Loudon, Erin McNellis, Monica Mody, Danielle Pafunda, Andrea Rexilius, Susan Scarlata, Chad Scheel, Mike Sikkema, Dan Louis Singer, Jordan Stempleman, Maureen Thorson, Megan Volpert, Joshua Ware, Samuel Day Wharton, and Joseph Wood.

also thanks to scott abels, for this: country music
you should really think about submitting.


Raft Magazine Issue 1

Raft, a new spoken-word literary journal, is now online, at:


Issue 1 features new work from:

Scott Abels
Niamh Bagnell
Susan Powers Bourne
Ric Carfagna
Jan Carson
Joel Chace
Arkava Das
Mark DuCharme
Iris Jamahl Dunkle
Bonnie Emerick
Michael Farrell
Adam Fieled
Thomas Fink
Vernon Frazer
R. Jess Lavolette
David Mohan
Debrah Morkun
Paul Nelson
Francis Raven
Chad Scheel
Sam Schild
Brian Seabolt
Adam Strauss
Mark Stricker
Samuel Day Wharton
Karena Youtz



check out the new sawbuck here:


Adam Shlager | A.M. Brant | Charles Springer
Dean Faulwell | Emma Bolden
Kiely Sweatt | Lisa Cole | Mark Neely
Rebecca Mertz | Scott Abels


Cento from Versal 8

As long as the court listens,
you still lack a function. Do not fear -- function
softens the suture
we called home. If I lived there for a year, it was
your permission to move away
that bangs inside the mouth. The scarlet ink packet
that the sun drops, wrapped in smoke, towards the east.
To begin the allergic game,
each draws out the sword carefully stored
until the 1980s.
Humming a German folk tune & smiling
despite not understanding enough of the what
that later followed,
I came upon an arrow or a spear poking skyward,
running right to the margins.
A sleazy siren, decked in white,
let me stay in the morning. & I'll read you the backs of cereal boxes
once. He was a pair of fins, a rogue. & tidal
changes, tiny & secret as a warning,
made me look like a whore.
This will stand as your apology,
without opening the body.

Versal 8 is out now.



somebody, somewhere, had google translate Sawbuck 4.1 into magyar:




myna birds

is up!!!!

(i have a poem up there)




Cento from The Concher #2

We are all upstream, relics of our counsel.,
the horizon melodramatically

fumbling through the dust-grounds
full of cobs. We keep wedding dresses out,

claw-footed, hand-held, the heart-like
moon cantos awash with

more, you know, fucking than
a field shot-up with poppies.

Like a kerchief full of ether when the phone rings
all of our chests outside today heaving the beautiful everyone

darkly away -- O bewailing & pitted America -- staring
made a hole I can see through.

Unsubdued as the season itself,
this house, a dark swallow

unmoved, turned to your supple lips.
Each blue self not quite

enough to measure their height in my teeth.
They weren't always. All the places

not present here,
where the strongman hits the bell again & the sky opens;

all the horizon in handcuffs of color, & the morning
light soaked up by mindfulness.

Say & say what is before us.
Even with me holding the door shut, I'm awake

for foul & fair, against the lichen-covered knolls.
They dance so hard the trees fall down inside them.

You refused to fall with them. Monitors
with no shade. Yellow tattered palm fronds.


SAWBUCK!! 3.4!! WINTER!! 2009/2010!!

winter is here (though it may not feel like it in CA) & a new sawbuck is so ready!

read poems from:

\\ Allan Peterson //
// Becca Klaver \\
\\ Daniel Borzutsky //
// George Kalamaras \\
\\ Ian Ganassi //
// Kathleen Rooney \\
\\ Lisa Ciccarello //
// Martha Silano \\
\\ Robert Lietz //
// Sandy Longhorn \\
before they read poems from you!


Thanksgiving Cento (from Rod Smith)

to the house & sunlight, we become intelligible because the egret
didn't get through water, its
opulence isn't allowed, so to
the good part of the house
& to some birds, the birds right now

the police came & went
to many -- & to many there was no
behind the kitchen cabinet nobody
tripping, the house kneads the flower

half of it, for love
becomes blatant in its strength

into the long night, dreams
are votive, based on
house & holographic, pastoral
calligraphy, camp, &
is at an angle, for the good

the clothes on the floor arouse
to the swart angles
we house, actually we are housed

in the mania of inaction, a still, unbuilt shining thing where
the water is not good unless it is clear
it does not matter if we trust

& the year's angles bid
to the ratio of need -- wisdom
blade-shaped, bending
if no one pretended
like a scythe, well-oiled, fervent
suffering & bold

not unforced, not unburied, the
Sierra Nevada, screaming
for what is good hurts too

renewal, self-denial, &

it is quite a spectacle


new journal -- LEVELER

friends, i am very happy to point you to:

We (Jennifer H. Fortin, P.J. Gallo, Evan Glasson, Yotam Hadass) are happy to announce that LEVELER is officially up and running. Please check out the site at levelerpoetry.com. Every Sunday we will post a new poem, accompanied by a brief entry called levelheaded that aims to shed light on the poem and our editorial process. If you have comments on any of the present or future content, please join in on the conversation by writing us at levelwithus@levelerpoetry.com.


Cento from Dorothea Lasky part II

In Brighton, MA I cannot lie, I felt the hope
in the summer sun.

"Now this is the truth" we all thought.
Scratch its head. It is holy.

So says you & you know nothing.
This is a world where there are monsters

which in bright red
lived a lot of different kinds of lives.

Inside my heart, there is a rat who
for your your kind of love

in the middle of the night I wake & I am cold all over.
Like a small business

I eat the world lovingly, too.
I hate language & yes, I hate you

with my bloody mouth.
The great event which is beauty

melting the things in the room
& I, in the light of the candles

is lost forever & replaced by the unreal.
I had almost forgotten I was a poet.

I was a philosopher:
follow me, I know everything.

We kissed each other lovingly for the very first time.


Cento from Dorothea Lasky Part I

My soul was a man & like a man
I make a toast to me, my friend.
& now when you see a man six feet tall,
& he sits there in a heap in front of me thinking of suicide

with a handsome boy who wants to hold me all night,
I understand, I want to kill myself now.
Some have described
the real self

growing ever so slightly from his forehead.
There is shit on my hands;
this is how it feels when you talk to me.
The flowers scattered themselves everywhere.

Now there is something between me &
the heart of me, bursting within itself!
Don't you think that is sad, that here
is noisy with light. The blackbirds are

so in love with anyone --
perhaps it is chemistry that
was bright & blue & plastic.
& death was untuned to them & he made them an unlikely hole

of a great eternity, too large to even be
unlikely & mean.
I mean to say
a serious mistake: the universe is unlikely.


Cento Before Dinner (from Jack Spicer) II

& so we walked, uneasy, wondering
enough to want to start backward.
I think I'm going to be sick.
The hands unclench, the trembling legs go loose --
what wasn't, what undoes, what will not happen
lost somewhere between Hell & Texas.
Under a sun bright like a broken promise,
the boxers face each other. They pretend
we fell unloved, like frozen fields of snow.
The word is slow & rigid in its pace.
I closed my lying heart against his lips
& sometimes I can almost see
the citizens come out to help the strangers.
What have I lost? The trees were full of birds.
I turn & place my hand upon your groin.
I hear the seagulls call. They're going west;
that gleam like God's own candles in the sun. Nothing
lets beautiful black fingers snap the last one
when I poke my fingers into her. I can see it
from the middle distance of another room:
the dancer that puts birthdays in motion.


Cento Before Dinner (from Jack Spicer)

We waited & the blue skies writhed awhile
to keep the time in. But the songs are mine.

Men & women have weddings & funerals.
I watch, as others watched, but cannot stand

around, around, a convoluting day
draped loosely in my bed.

An angel pacing down Hollywood, wings folded
as ink on paper: it will be no picture, no tourist postcard

will find its rest
while the heart twists.

You want to web the rivers of the world.
You have picked the wrong flower.

We find that eyes in kissing stammer
& so we walked, uneasy, wondering.


Cento from Chris Tonelli

Each introduction
is strong -- a simple mask. I am
in the objectless air.

There are so few ways
to escape, no
telling the truth.

I was born;
objects exist
where memory

does not exist.
The thing in the air
never happened.

We've evolved beyond
potential love.
This is the goal -- to be

the only thing possible.


Cento from Graham Foust

A new year's clumsy gallows-
word for dead:
something someone would say.

My neighbors cough &
you get the picture.
I move around

the very best places to kill
to this place
I will always never

touch when I so want to. That is,
move. I like the way I'm still.
Compelled to pretend, I get

things when in pain.
There are only ever breaks
for a little rearview mirror

a skin's-width,
Between the street

I never could have made
breathing people in
& that great gospel jest,

a sound somewhere
could know wisdom's cut.
Capacity -- I guess that's just

a whole night's worth.
& other than our memory

of blood,
I've been having
the most difficult beautiful

I do. I do
your new brain
& you can't notice

I am not safe.
You saw me
ashen. Face was knocked

by one hand.
As a mouth
of moon, your smile,

your hand
like a bladder.
Bored totem,

the grass spasms open,
or in a corner
you care for me,

bruised. & doubt lit up
that which hasn't
its own ceremony.

The revolution, too, is sad
like it's a mirror.
The last of

pain, quietly made,
unlocked into air. There.


Cento from Realpoetik & Linebreak

Halved by prisms, the multiple
cacophonies of need, a river, swells, above sound are the

favors of one slight puff, some 30 years his junior.
A jar. Rain & saliva become

snakes. Snakes
suggest ear plugs at night --

New York City
blossoming. O wide wind seers, cirrus-drafts of curving

mea culpa. What was I doing trapped
at the edge of the world? On Maarifa Street, children dream of a new

earth & the earth which forces it to freedom, the tongue of
heels ascending a ladder.


Cento from Realpoetik

Past the grime-caked windows
the sound of a piano
from the briers. Sour, bitter

music. Myron has a stub of charcoal.
Far off, the front door bangs.
He eats his rations, & after,

tea. Wreak after wreck. Month,
one hour, another. The wilderness in you
a country. It stretched its rationality out:

a pitched roof to stop rain ruining, guide our
at first; & then the eyes adjust.

When eternally the earth
up against the window,
alone in a blue vacuum,

curled in hurling its
smog over glass songs,
spills into my skin & paints my veins, even

thoughts stern on the faces of sailors.


in the mail

yesterday, some goodies:
Jill Alexander Essbaum's Necropolis (thanks jill!).

Dan Beachy-Quick's This Nest Swift Passerine
Mark Yakich's The Making of Collateral Beauty


Sawbuck 3.2

is ready to go: www.sawbuckpoetry.blogspot.com

Corey Mesler
David Sewell
Erik Anderson
Gina Abelkop
Jennifer Fortin
Joseph Wood
Kate Schapira
Kristina Marie Darling
Nick Demske
Paul Hostovsky

hope you like!



Cento from Chelsea 81 (part 2)

Where he'd followed his father's work --
randomness & space, smiling in bright light --
Keats had a little slice of the cosmic

lucky. & who'll bet on luck?
Searching in the painting or the mirror
to find, like a blind man turning towards her

house of muscle & breath & violin,
one white stone hidden in the hand, wisteria blooming.
When stillness goes electric,

a hundred pallid fields ignite,
sharp-angled from the earth.
Behind the window, the little boy watches.


Cento from Chelsea 81 (part 1)

These thirty years, revised, destroyed
pools, this island of Guernsey; we stand as
ancestral knots adrift. No remainder
in the glass you just gave me. It was all
what we mistake it to have been.
It is in this exact moment
years sing by. Father, do you recall the time
I broke my strings, spit my teeth
through the story, far off.
At my window, the cold trees opened
the deeds that shone through your sweat.
A lever to raise from ashes the
sounds of splashing water.
How is it that sunlight consoles?
The plan is to spend the light
that makes them bold, your bones,
the facts like bones & the photographs of bones.
A man's blind trunk without arms & legs is
hoary as frost now, your eyes all clouded
in that bickering land that once resounded,
that will not let you breathe. Farewell, my friend.