Online Exclusives

06.25.19
Three Poems
In the language of carbon wealth I sang myself into shape. May the pieces fall in accordance with natural law, I thought, and the world will slide into place. Complicity was as capital in the vernacular of the times, so my counsel sold to blight-ridden conifers desperate to restart life. [...]
06.18.19
Earthrise Tango
After Giantess declared her love, and conditions were set by Moon—build me a silver body, attire me, hinder my roll through space to attach the silvery limbs
—the two outliers danced until lightfall, where, on Venus, each day is longer than an Earth’s year. And dance on and on they did. [...]
06.11.19
Five Laments for Our Good Earth
“I wanted ours to be a perfect
union,” he tells us at the table in the back, candle out.

“I wanted every desire to be balanced, exactly,
by generosity. And stasis to be a form

of flight. But I was yammering
in my sleep. [...]
06.04.19
From Nothing but Objects
After Rosmarie Waldrop
Sometimes I see a transparent profile, shadow-self with its thready tendrils turning to face the absence of a face framed by the window opposite. Selflessness is a complicated structure in that it doesn’t exist. The speaker ever-hovers just outside the door, listening. She went whichaway, grinding her teeth to shadow. [...]
05.28.19
Five Poems
I have in common with old window glass
a pleasant warping
of whatever forces through

In this sickly light the defanged
dogs slurp their sludges. I intone as taught
“Here no mystery is” [...]
05.21.19
Quiver’s Longing (AM Locus)
An Excerpt from Trafik
AM Locus has a fabricated atmosphere, humid and breathable, unexpectedly dense in the organic compounds of living things once there in profusion, but now long gone. Of the landscape, all that remains are deep creases and ridges gyring in all directions, with barely a trace of biological activity. [...]
05.16.19
In the Next Night
A Selected Text from Conjunctions:72, Nocturnals
In agitation along sleep’s surface

dreams the monster, the angular, the slimy, the anything goes, the corpse

who strokes the tigers with rather weak jaws

in a jump cut, on an icy blue couch, red queen

on mute–– [...]
05.14.19
Three Poems
Though no one is watching, an opening in the hedges reveals a gap where entry is possible.
Inside, an entity multiplies, but how can I know this. The broodself is invisible and smells like
before, which is the only way to know that it happened. It crawls out in unknown ways on
unknown legs, identical because there is no other form or sound. [...]
05.09.19
Walking in the Dark
A Selected Text from Conjunctions:72, Nocturnals
What they had in common was they were smokers; everyone was a smoker then. Those three, though, they smoked to live. Cigarettes! There the cigarette would be, raised to the lips. The lips opening, only a little. The smoke drifting across the roof of the mouth. The lungs filling—this is how they recognized one another, in the green sea, green as grass, by streams of water green as glass. [...]
05.07.19
Everything Appears Rimmed or Studded with Gold
An Excerpt from The Color Inside a Melon
Here at the top of an abandoned palazzo, they’d set up a club for the night. Risto’s assailant was one of the bouncers. Up here, at penthouse level, the building had only two apartments, and now Risto found himself pinned against the railing of a terrazzo, and the rawboned creep who held him, just five, ten minutes earlier, had stood collecting the cover charge outside the apartment door. [...]
05.02.19
A Nightmare
A Selected Text from Conjunctions:72, Nocturnals
Even though I knew that this was impossible—even though I recognized, in my rational mind, my waking or my daylight mind, that the shopping carts had to have been gathered from a grocery store this century—I could not shake the impression of a far architect, or fathom any contemporary consciousness that could have constructed this. [...]
04.25.19
Haunt
A Selected Text from Conjunctions:72, Nocturnals
Two months into my time as Fred and Elsie’s ghost, they wake up in the middle of the night to find me at the kitchen table, staring at the Ouija board unfolded over the unfinished pine. I didn’t mean to be staring at the board when they came down the stairs. I’d snuck down after they’d gone to bed to skim from their leftovers and it was already there, waiting. [...]
04.23.19
Matters of Conception
Reproducing the Unknowable
Our wombs are for many of us unknowable until inhabited, made knowable by the inside taps at the doors and walls of our bodies, our centers of gravity shifted, our balance of weight and even of power redistributed, disturbed, sleep-deprived, and pushed up against furniture we used to slide easily by. [...]
04.18.19
Twelve Hours
A Selected Text from Conjunctions:72, Nocturnals
The first time I crossed the equator, I stopped for a photo. People usually do. I had come to work in a small clinic in a coffee-farming village in southwestern Uganda, just to the south of the world’s belt. I grew up in the midlatitudes: long summer days and long winter nights, the swing of light and dark like a rocking hammock. I thought of the equator as a human idea—a line on a spinning globe. Its tyranny was a shock. [...]
04.16.19
Two Poems
In the first dream, the dog is disguised as a cat.

In the second dream, when I pet him, the dog turns into chocolate.

In the third dream, the dog is a ball of dirty yarn which I scoop up
and lay over my chest to muffle the sound of my rapidly beating heart. [...]
04.02.19
The Inside Story
by Can Xue
translated by Karen Gernant, Chen Zeping
Jing Street, where I live, is a long, narrow street with many coffee shops and teahouses. Sitting in my third-floor study, I can see inside the “Island” coffee shop across the street. This small shop does a good business; it’s almost always packed. I frequent this shop, too. I secretly call Hoh Dao, its owner, “Mr. Perfect.” [...]
03.26.19
The Gaslighter’s Lament
Keller,

We don’t know each other. Not well. I’ve seen you in your rental body, standing at the windows beyond the cubicles, looking out at the wheat fields. I’ve seen you in the fifth-floor steams. We sat so close that my breath mixed with yours in the wet air. In the lap pool, too, the waves that rippled from my breaststroke rippled over your skin. [...]
03.19.19
In the Permanent Collection
Do this in memory of my mother

and of my mother’s mother

Here is this lacquered box (Fig. 100.5)           inlaid

with their blood [...]
03.12.19
Nietzsche at Night
after collapsing at the plaza fountain in Turin Nietzsche gave up
coherent speech and stayed alive somewhere else for almost twelve years
his unmapped terrain resembled a canvas painted black in successive
luminous opacities of backlit abyss, if he turned on a television
this is what he saw, if he closed his eyes, if he looked out the window
again unshielded night [...]
03.05.19
The Page Turner
For once they all agreed, it would be the concert of the season, the return of the prodigy son. The Jerusalem music scene was in heat—survivors, empty seat fillers, remnants planted on their subscriptions, but from the neck up, in brainpans that went on ticking, still the strictest standards, the highest expectations. [...]
02.26.19
Three Poems
Winter was like my house: I showed

myself—human, bare but for my clothing,
and the blood boiling, the geranium,

and other gifts. Bare but for the objects
that claimed me. [...]
02.19.19
Three Poems
My mother cracked each day open like a gutted fish.
Her hours, a tarp draped over a stranger’s head.
The way grief works:

a mirror the chemical
that ruins the body,
a window, a small blue prayer
gone missing. [...]
02.12.19
Five Poems from Letters to the Alphabet
(I want nothing short of not being brief. It’s a peccadillo. Chickens take longer
Than they did. If I wasn’t kind today, it’s because I am feeling out of sorties like a movie
That ends before anything gets said that might resolve the question
Of why anyone would spend time making or watching a movie, or a bed. [...]
02.05.19
A Room without a Door
I was beginning to sense a pattern. Not that I knew what the pattern was, just that one was coming into view. It had something to do with the babysitter. I didn’t hire her, and refuse to be blamed. Sharon hired the babysitter; I spotted the pattern. [...]
01.29.19
Dream Duets
“I had a problem for you, and you didn’t solve it.” “It was imaginary.” “Not all that appears reappears. It may be only once that you glimpse Pythagoras.” “Did you say Pythagoras?” “Might could be, apparently so.” “Was your problem related to math?” “Of an existential dimension.” “That’s the sort that interested me before my career set in.” [...]
01.22.19
Night Philosophy
The clatter of rain has a personal meaning.
This is the time to meditate or write down your dreams.
But the lover can do neither, can only wander
From room to room trying not to spill what’s so precious. [...]
01.15.19
Wonders of the Invisible World
Outside the stars were fading and the sky was slowly rosying at the edges when we found the skeleton. At first it was visible only as a clutch of white daggers, thickly clotted with spiderwebs, compressed between the plaster wall and the heavy wooden timbers. I don’t know what I expected it to be. [...]
01.08.19
Goat
On the bus, we were told to remember everything, to testify, testify, testify. We’d heard this many times before. Remember and testify, they would say, in order that this or that bad thing does not happen again. I harbored no such faith in remembering. Nor in testimony. I fail to believe in them still. [...]
01.01.19
The Bystander by Gina Berriault
Someone shouted at me to grab a blanket or a coat or something for crissakes, the narrator of The Bystander says, and wrap your old man up, because after assaulting the woman the narrator’s father liked best, and after running out with nothing on but the soap from the bath he’d been taking with her, the narrator’s father is standing on the street, shouting imprecations at her, [...]

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In Print

Vol. 72
Nocturnals
Spring 2019
Edited by Bradford Morrow

Online

June 25, 2019
In the language of carbon wealth I sang myself into shape. May the pieces fall in accordance with natural law, I thought, and the world will slide into place. Complicity was as capital in the vernacular of the times, so my counsel sold to blight-ridden conifers desperate to restart life.
June 18, 2019
After Giantess declared her love, and conditions were set by Moon—build me a silver body, attire me, hinder my roll through space to attach the silvery limbs
—the two outliers danced until lightfall, where, on Venus, each day is longer than an Earth’s year. And dance on and on they did.
June 11, 2019
“I wanted ours to be a perfect
union,” he tells us at the table in the back, candle out.

“I wanted every desire to be balanced, exactly,
by generosity. And stasis to be a form

of flight. But I was yammering
in my sleep.
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Monday, October 28, 2019
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