Monday, October 20, 2014

Poet Grant Tarbard Imagines Kiefer, Malevich, and Galileo

Grant Tarbard lives in Essex, England. He has worn many hats as a journalist and currently serves as chief editor at The Screech Owl, a UK literary journal ( His poems have been widely published; WK Press will release his first collection, Yellow Wolf, later this year.

The Body Climbs a Ladder
inspired by Seraphim by Anselm Kiefer

When all that is war has taken all landscape
but insomniac miles of stone and bone

under cracked pigments of fawn
simmering with violence.

The body climbs a ladder that ends
with an eternity of Brownshirts

and a hint of an angel's wing,
hope from hopelessness.

And the sky is a seed of a uniform,
this is what the toppling body found;

the walls are painted with soil
trapped by stares and dark straw

that seem to have a physicality,
an emotional charge

that amplifies the experience
of the body's unhorsing.

The quiet leaves riot,
and the earth that runs through this land

is a body, at the bottom, head rolled away
accusingly as if the body is to say "too little, too late".

What Lies Behind A Closed Door
inspired by Black Square by Kazimir Malevich

Embrace logics absence,
beyond feeling there is void,

and what lies behind a closed door?
All objects are an abstraction

exploding in a texture
of ebony parchment,

what lies deep in this burnt paper world
within a throaty loss of gravity.

A blacked out city's light
orbits in white omission.

Kino of the geometric blur
decreased boxlike intertwining

with infinity floating in equilibrium,
a galaxy funnelled.

What lies beyond the frame?
All objects are an abstraction.


inspired by Galileo's 1616 drawings of the Moon

Dimples beholden to light,
a reflection of orange peel.

I can almost make out the face

the peak of the nose,

the shadow of the right eye
a crest of lip, a sunburnt forehead.

A gravitational monograph
within the vividness of the midnight oil,

six spherical bites, an apple that's about to fall
on the sunless grassland of a patchwork Eden.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Icebergs, Movies, and Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling

Drawing by Takashi Murakami/
Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

by Matthew Dickman

Diane and I sitting in the dark

like sitting in a death you actually want,

a death you have

always wished for, looking toward

the lights of Hollywood, the long legs

of swimmers, cocktails and rum made out of water

and iodine. Earlier that day

something like twelve city blocks crumbled inside me

every time I thought of you

and how walking toward her always felt perfect

like a silver key with a red ribbon announcing

its specialness and how I would suddenly burn away
like a shot of whiskey some bride-to-be dropped

a match into. Somewhere Johnny Depp is sleeping

or turning to his right because a woman is there

and has touched his elbow with the soft cloud of her fingers,

or he’s facing the mirror and listening to all the gods

inside him begin to rage; the god of childhood and the god

of his mother, his father. Diane and I are standing

on a street corner together

in the world, after the credits, in the crushed-ice rain,

looking westward toward the dark-sunglass-

Coppertone-white-beach-heaven that waits for us and us alone.

Woman with Flowered Hat,
Roy Lichtenstein, 1963

by Cathy Park Hong

Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling
in their spandex regalia parade the Vegas suburbs,

among spider cottoned smoke trees and foreclosed one-tracts,
half-full whirlpools spiraling
a confetti
 of limbless G.I. Joes;
the sun is at high lament, and Mountain

Fiji is barefoot, and cuts her toe on a Sudafed foil.

Mountain Fiji, you ate too many hamburguesas!

Now you have the diabetes and tonight you must

body-slam Vallerie Vendetta. Look at how

Ebony and Habana with their bedazzled eyelashes

laugh at you. You hate them.

They smoke reefers in the Tiki ballroom where sheets

of moonlit rain pour whenever Lala sings Blue Moon,

but the moon never comes, though sadness always does,

like Palestina in her hijab and her ammo camo bikini.

She’s always supposed to lose to Hadar the Brain,

who is the Good one. When you made love to Palestina,
a sob was stuck in your throat and that sob remained

in your throat, an itching nest that threatened your sinus.

You need a good cry like a good sneeze, and you keep shuddering
your face to make it come. Bahama Mama lends you sunscreen
and you smear it on your broad nose and you wave at hooting boys
whose features seem not quite formed, like God started

pinching out their noses and eyes and then left,

because he got distracted. You shrink to the size

of Thumbelina on a TV in La Jolla. She never wins.

It never comes. I am always waiting.

“Untitled” by Julie Mehretu, 2013.
Watercolor, ink, spit bite and etching on paper.

by Jean Valentine

In blue-green air & water God
you have come back for us,

to our fiberglass boat.

You have come back for us, & I’m afraid.
(But you never left.)

Great sadness at harms.

But nothing that comes now, after,
can be like before.

Even when the icebergs are gone, and the millions of suns

have burnt themselves out of your arms,

your arms of burnt air,
you are with us
whoever we are then.