December 18, 2010

December 18th: Carmen Giménez Smith


An agitator holds her sign up asking are you feeling equal, so you and your sisters deride her because she's so public about Injustice, so second-wave. Your sisters gather around her with collective scorn and sully her earnest nature It’s thanks but no thanks. I can vote, walk into the pharmacy for my Plan B, and wear a chain wallet. One sister throws an apple into the melee and the unfazed agitator bites it. Her straight block-teeth break the fruit apart which shocks your sisters, but when they’ve abandoned their mockery for the lure of a choice bazaar: earrings, Ugg boots, removable tramp stamps, a Sex and the City marathon, you're hot for the agitator. The crowd clears and you kiss her sweaty neck and use her agitating sign as a bed. You scrawl her agitating words onto your belly and stand naked against her muscle memory. Not just the cause, the impulse, the result, but the buzz of lack. You’d like to consume it right out of her, that humming electric dissatisfaction. Then you’d like to put it out of your body in the form of a Louise Bourgeois sculpture, milky, blobbing, love the star-fuckery of doing it with her and to her, then the sticky pulling apart, the eternal production of polyurethane eggs wrapped in yarn.
 Carmen Giménez Smith is the publisher of  Noemi Press and the Editor-in-Chief of  Puerto del Sol.  Her website can be found here:

December 17, 2010

December 17th: Danielle Pafunda

The Dead Girls Speak in Unison

Hush, now. 
In a house like ours,
stay quiet. 

Keep moist
or your skin will split
and spill your secrets
across the carpet,
one stupid bagworm
after another.

Hush.  Do not disturb
our needles,
squalling thread. 

We’re stitching up
all your fancy mistakes.

We’re stitching up
your mother’s face.

We’re going to stitch you a new one.

We’re going to take our time.
 Danielle Pafunda is author of Iatrogenic: Their Testimonies (Noemi Press 2010), My Zorba (Bloof Books), Pretty Young Thing (Soft Skull Press), and the forthcoming Manhater (Dusie Press Books). She's an assistant professor of Gender & Women's studies and English at the University of Wyoming.

December 16, 2010

December 16th: Leigh Stein


I finally have enough socks so that I only have
to do my laundry twice a month, the guy said,
on the plane, but still, does that mean
my girlfriend shouldn't have to call and wish
me a Happy Hanukkah? I said I wasn't Jewish
when he asked, but did I know about the candles?
Everyone knows about the candles, he said.
That's true, I said. All the towns
in the morning were below us, with
their snow-covered cul de sacs and
snow-covered hills for kings, their water
towers and windmills and kitchen
islands at which people fell out of love
every day, and even gas station parking
lots snow-colored before the first cars
arrived at dawn, the car wash lights bright
enough to make someone decide to live
through the holidays. My name's Seth,
the guy said. I'm a financial planner
and I'm not saying I make a ton of money,
but I make a ton of money. When Seth told me
his girlfriend was a dancer, it made me think of you,
how you asked me if I was a dancer, the first night
we met, back when I still had a chance to forget you, but
I think once I saw you pick that lock with my library card
I would have followed you anywhere. The necklace
I got her for Hanukkah? I'm getting ready for work
and I hear this crash and her go oh my God, and
what did she do? Dropped and broke it all over the floor.
Just clean it up before I get home, I told her, Seth said,
and I'll get you a new one. Honestly, I can't wear any
of the necklaces I have, because they were all given to me
by people I try not to call in the middle of the night.
Honestly, Seth, I never went to sleep yesterday
because I was trying to hold onto my youth.
There are lines around my eyes. No one else
can see them, but I know they're there
because I know myself the best. Guess what.
In the new year, I won't sleep ever. I'll become
younger. I'll never call you at 1am again.
I'll be eleven, I'll be twelve. I'll tape songs off the radio
and they'll all be about you, but I won't know that.
I won't know you or what you'll do. I'll wear pink
and I'll be good at math and I'll be twelve.
And in the movie, we'll play ourselves.

Leigh Stein is the author of the chapbooks How to Mend a Broken Heart with Vengeance (Dancing Girl Press), Least Inhabited Island II (h-ngm-n), and Summer in Paris (Mondo Bummer). She lives in Brooklyn.

December 15, 2010

December 15th: Cara Benson

Gooseberry Kiss

I, too, am a monster. We
becoming don’t ask words / becoming.

Her lightning face / oh my lovely.
Darling daughter…

Who knows how much of me sleeps / sits alone in the silent?

Some buildings loiter, loiter –
and that is why I have seen suddenly everyone is a rat.

I was that race at that moment.

Skinly suited thing resembled barking blue dogs. Sure.

So out of this barren fuckscape, henceforth I predict.
A bucket with holes on purpose is full of feeling!

I will never steal the result of her own split preoccupations.
Home is other people, (not) lucky meaningless nouns.

While she forever barefoot slick with wanting.
That’s a long fucking time, little lamb.

Goodbye and goodbye bundled in shoe boxes from my poem candy.
Just think about it, “Did I set the living room on fire again, America?”

Language curated by Cara Benson from Advent calendar contributor poems Dec ‘09.

Cara Benson is a poet, educator, sound artist, and activist. Her full length book of interconnected of pre-elegiac prose-poem texts for earth plants humans animals called (made) is now out with BookThug.

December 14, 2010

December 14th: Jenny Gropp Hess

Ornaments of Providence & Welded Water

snowy December
           instead of a hot air balloon
           I have cardinals
                       in melted birdbath water,
           like a well-meaning professor
                       saying morning.


I drink a sunlit whiskey,
        a belt of coal
right through me.

                  at the ice tray,
disrupt a cube.

remembered names,
           like black holes
           folded into hand-passed


O Mailman,
             your thousand boxes
             are spots on a bush
             where berries grow.
                            if someone dies
              or moves away,
                            another berry
        in the same place.


somewhere the parrot
                 and the aloe
                 will outlive me

above, the sky
             slow-churns icily,
             crosses like freezer gin.
a cold pilot light

Jenny Gropp Hess attends the University of Alabama and edits the Black Warrior Review. Her work appears in or is forthcoming from Colorado Review, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, Parcel, Unsaid, Seneca Review, and others.

December 13, 2010

December 13th: Cori A. Winrock

Bioluminescent Christmas Trees

This greening our night
an unhasping-of. Phosphor

-escent nursery. Glasphalted sky.

The saw-song gleams friction,
cuts its own kind of light.

Strapped to our cars, strung
along roadways. An oceanscape

draped across foyers—the trees,

then, afterglow

on the turned-off curves
of television screens.

: : :

Glitter the gold into each needle
until brightness clutters & spills, tinsels

our eyes. Until sick with halo

we swaddle the dazzle
in burlap sacks like statues

wrapped & hauled, wept

out of our houses
into the nearest unfrozen body of

water—afterimages adrift
in our retinas like flashlillies:

contusions of left-over light. 

Cori A. Winrock’s poems have appeared in (or are waiting in the wings of) Black Warrior Review,  Blackbird, Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, Barn Owl Review, Pool & others. She is a recipient of a Barbara Deming Individual Artist Grant as well as being chosen as Editor’s Choice for Mid-American Review’s James Wright Poetry Award. Her manuscript was a finalist for the 2010 Academy of American Poets’ Walt Whitman Award.

December 12, 2010

December 12th: Sarah Rosenthal

from Lizard

She has landed.
She’s in the seat
of bite. She’s
dreaming tails and
thunder. Sound is
what binds her.
Inscrutable, she
whispers, why
would I want that
word? Blues hard
enough, she croons.
All night trades
appetites, all day
seeks cover. Drinks
in the happy hour

Sarah Rosenthal is the editor of A Community Writing Itself: Conversations with Vanguard Writers of the Bay Area (Dalkey Archive) and author of ManhattenHow I Wrote This Story (Margin to Margin), sitings (a+bend), and not-chicago (Melodeon Poetry Systems). She is the recipient of the Leo Litwak Fiction Award and grant-supported writing residencies at Vermont Studio Center, Soul Mountain, and Ragdale. An Affiliate Artist at Headlands Center for the Arts, she has taught creative writing at San Francisco State University and Santa Clara University as well as privately, and writes curricula for the Developmental Studies Center.