Online Exclusive

Three Poems 
The Notion of Originality

Hey the warp
hey the warp is the graded chunk
that pulls you deftly—

wax on the batter of the moon
and the tumble-down
tumble-down old 
            random old wall

from the garden
the garden where the slice 
of the melon grows to pulse
and droning

on to drown:
stuck to the water
and to die along it—both
the pull and the body

as if it were not water
as if it were not sound,
            light feet picking up
from the road as if
coming loose,
as if once and for all

Love Song Variations


So twice the morning falls
into chinked key-spaces windows placid
gray of buildings opening New York
quiet and humble like the night was not before.

Here curtain-edges 
palely dawning in swiveled motions
appeal to ambulatory innovation
laid out in fanned space—

the wild rumpled shirt of day
and its echoes: like two pianists echoing
and trilling one another, each at his own
well-tuned and black piano, that glares like a sleek

groomed buffalo, shaking off
crystal trinkets of water that a wooden concert hall
is made to thirst for and ponder dissolving.


Brittle as the fool’s gold
                                                              in your speed
                                              the apartment, not invited

                                                        drifts of paper bags
like ore.

Now to clang awake
                                              with hotel bathroom glass
door, light
                                                                    and London;

I won’t go home to the ground floor
            so here

it’s all over listen no motives done
                                              with my stupid optimism

in the dark
                                                    put on my glasses.


Like the camera lens there are no pictures just the flushing
water sound of the cool waiting and the wild optimistic plans.

4th of July where the restricted bay makes fireworks expand the sense
of place and small time well paid for, and I left and sought you

stringing together haphazard idea after idea in the amphitheater
where we agreed on Brecht and walked in circles around

the rainy night to prove there could be no obstacle
and with weight of description approximated something sincere.


On the grass experimenting

abstraction of the drummers’ faces
wrongly switched

bodies arcing round the music
strongly taken, breaking in the

robes of black the war
of frame

in the grace of the measure
the march is

needling outward
nostalgia of the intrepid decades
chaos churning and fixing
the daft present of forms

and Conrad’s double wakes next to him
in his bed and jumps back
into the sea

The Real and Unreal Mind

is an action intricately
So I waver

an unsubstantiated
avalanche of extras
to assuage

all split apart in this wind
still brisk enough to
separate from the skin

I scatter

and it moves 
sharp, not biting
as in the pine needles 

as in the engine 
it makes
a different sound,

and also cloudy 
like the shell of an ear
directing us inwards—I
as drips 
reach near-constant 

the outer flowing
in a whine 
of wires and all the wind chimes

making this negative 
space of tap 
and slipping, 

all this while 
my hands hammering

the block of ice 

Kate Monaghan lives in New York and Oaxaca. She holds a PhD in classical Chinese literature and her writing has appeared in the American Poetry Review, Colorado Review, Yale Review, and elsewhere.