Tuesday, June 22, 2010

2 poems by Alan Britt


There could be aliens
under my couch.

Well, just because it’s never happened?

When’s the last time
you vacuumed your couch?

See, I could be an alien falling madly in love with you
this very moment,
and you wouldn’t even notice.


(For Ultra Violet)


Bluewhite clouds,
pipe smoke
trailing the Bride’s dragonfly wings.

The King arrives.

At least we think he’s a King,
though, nowadays,
we keep a tight grip on our senses.

part the curtains
of our amnesia,
and the King enters
lifting arthritic windows,
forcing clouds like oxygen
through the gills of our souls.

2 poems by John Raffetto


Craters of sunken limestone
surround Mayan children and tangled mangroves
where a jaguar lies
waiting for the final footstep
into the rainforests
of Guatemala.

A refugee washes dust from a night bus ride
in a cenote.
Where the sky is born
and the earth breathes.


Empty in an empty greenhouse,
flat concrete bench with
algae stained circles
pots removed,
peeling white paint on vertical metal pipes
grey heat from horizontal metal pipes
below the benches
where an occasional hollow tap from open valves
a dry steam settles on the glass
empty greenhouse.

Book Review: Jeni Olin's Hold Tight

Hold Tight: The Truck Darling Poems
Jeni Olin
Hanging Loose Press
231 Wyckoff Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217
9781934909140, $18.00, www.amazon.com

by Connor Stratman

Jeni Olin, who actually goes by the name Truck Darling, is noted for her visceral, surreal, chaotically allusive poetry. Her first book, Blue Collar Holiday, was praised by John Ashbery as being "wonderfully caustic and vulnerable. Raw and strangely accommodating." That collection saw Olin within the throes of dealing with the death of a lover, the breakdown of youth, and the collision of symbols.

In her new collection, Hold Tight, we see this same crashing, internally hostile world transformed through new eyes by the poetic voice of Truck Darling, a voice that manages to be distinctive yet eerily disembodied at the same time. This time out, we find poetry that aims low and emerges high, a jarring yet coherent aesthetic which challenges readers to make sense of the contradictions of language put in front of them. In "Doll Steak," she writes:

"Do your sinuses itch, little wolf,
like boys in steaming ghettos beaming
handsomely with sinister little dolls,
racked, trembling with nightsweats,
all the coloring books streaked with piss?"

The center of the world is perpetually shaky, uncertain. The voice finds itself in many places at once, able to verbally respond but not so able to comprehend. Language falls away from being a tool of communication and towards a mode of action. The action of language is imperfect but is nevertheless a way of standing still within time, the "swampy terrain" of temporality.

Reading this book is much being on a rollercoaster going too fast, with all the visual world around you spinning so quickly that a dreamlike nausea comes on. This nausea produces an oceanic feeling, unsettling yet reassuring. The poems are based on this seemingly chaotic yet ordered movement, and the pace never lets up until you put the book down. You feel "Drawn & quartered, I'll fuse again,/my spine creamy."

Hold Tight holds up as one of the best books of poetry of the last decade, holding steady ground against many other modern masterworks like Gabriel Gudding's Rhode Island Notebook, Jennifer Moxley's The Sense Record, and Graham Foust's A Mouth in California. I would also say that Jeni Olin/Truck Darling is among the finest living poets in America, and this collection proves that statement. For all her linguistic invention, startling imagery, and wide-ranging allusions, it's difficult to imagine a more truly effective poet working today. Read this book.

5 poems by Felino Soriano

Approbations 242
—after Anthony Braxton’s Four in One

like colored partition
delineating preference within dispositional
attribution; * : understanding

eye, the esurient interpreter
foundling sadness comparable persuasion
where among faceless followers,
mother, father? |displayed| mirrors of
DNA finality.
Various slants
of the eventual embracing
shapes on reticent plateaus, curating
analogies of life and distance, combining
collocational devices, act/reenact
turmoil dissolves
whereas perfection,

Approbations 243
—after John Coltrane’s Mr. Syms

Man of elder comprehension, reasons
with dialectical promise, problem
-solve variants
mathematic veracity, misunderstood
straight-lined desires.
wife now, third of a decade’s 10th anniversary


her masticated name into the winds hollow,
fascinated listening.

Approbations 244
after Roy Hargrove Quintet’s Never Let Me Go

Worn, sound-thin, whispered
woven introspection
viable reconnection, tissue, virtue, apostolate
secondary inspiration. Near
gnarled growths on
an oak’s misshapen exterior, breeze
notches of contemporary noise
resonating between syllables of silent articulation,
the moment retracts into unfolded time of willing moments, hoping
to repeat therapeutic conversations among ensuing sun-risings,
copacetic hoping of all-angled speculation.

Approbations 245
—after Christian Scott’s Re:

spike in ignorant postulations:
|erased existence
cannot delve into reverted warranties, the multidevoted
—catastrophes, these
—soon awakening into breadths of hopeless tongues’
irreconcilable burials.

Approbations 246
—after Joe Lovano’s Left Behind

Spirit’s mantra
stuttering chants
like a dragging chain’s painful clang
tripping break
against the whipping cold
of concrete’s hardened, ambidextrous

of a saddened sense of vocal calling forward,
unheard realism
a not yet shape of ideological rust,
darkened edges of prose’s skeletal slack
bringing forth singular, undetermined

Biography Note:

Felino A. Soriano (b. 1974), is a case manager and advocate for
developmentally and physically disabled adults. He has authored 23
collections of poetry, including “Altered Aesthetics” (ungovernable press,
2009), “Construed Implications” (erbacce-press, 2009), and “Delineated
Functions of Congregated Constructs” (Calliope Nerve Media, 2010). His
poems have appeared at Calliope Nerve, Full of Crow, BlazeVOX, Metazen,
Heavy Bear, and elsewhere. He edits & publishes Counterexample Poetics,
an online journal of experimental artistry, and Differentia Press,
dedicated to publishing e-chapbooks of experimental poetry. Philosophical
studies collocated with his connection to classic and avant-garde jazz
explains motivation for poetic occurrences. His website explains further: