Check out this poem and more from Paul Christiansen in the second volume of Structural Damage. Also, keep an eye out for an interview with him next month.
Human history with respect to life on Earth is as deep as the displacement of the smallest seabird floating on top of a wave over the deepest part of the ocean.
- Caspar Henderson
Perched on the Atlantic’s immense back,
the storm petrel, a tiny bundle of black feathers,
weightless, imperceptible mole.
I cut the engines, drift close,
extend a steady arm over the swells
and hurl a weighted net, pinning its wingflaps to the surface.
Back on land, garlic snaps and whimpers
alongside salt and onions in a pan of melting butter,
while I pull feather from skin, bone from flesh.
I pour a glass of camauro-colored wine,
spoils from our ancient conquest of wild grapes,
and take my meal to a table overlooking the ocean.
Listening to the sea dismantle itself against the stony shore,
I consume the bird in four careful bites, and recline in my chair,
while out there, beyond the influence of air or light,
trillions of krill punctuate the depths,
bioluminescent organs enflaming their fragile bodies,
each like a Library of Alexandria burning through the night.
Paul Christiansen received his BA at St. Olaf College and his MFA at Florida International University where he worked as editor-in-chief of Gulf Stream Magazine and assisted with Jai-Alai Magazine. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Atlanta Review, Pleiades, Quarter After Eight, Threepenny Review, Zone Three and elsewhere. A former Fulbright Fellow and winner of two Academy of American Poetry awards, he currently resides in Saigon. www.paulchristiansen.net
Nina Savage was published in our inaugural issue. Her poems will be featured again, in our next issue coming out on December 14th.
the word sorry
in the long grass
next to the gravel road
at the edge of town
I lay a blanket down
in the fading light
of another day
the last I heard
for some thing or another
I did not do
and in the growing stillness
settling over the field
lining the road
the place I taught my mouth
the word sorry
and my body
the word wrong,
I forgave myself.
Nina Savage, pronounced nine-uh savage, has lived in Portland, OR, for the last three years but will soon be in South America without address. She is in the process of applying to grad school and surviving one major transition after another until she finds out if and where she is accepted into grad school and whether or not she can afford to go. She is 27 years old, and things like gayness, non-whiteness, and humanness concern her greatly. Also, she is determined to become a writer.
Rory Elliott was first published in our inaugural issue. Be sure to check out our next issue to see more of their work.
Glimpsing these moments of silence/
Only it’s the kind of happiness that cannot
Be transferred through the more brittle
The happiness gifted, warmed, guided,
Tree trunks leaned upon, silly eyes laughing at the warmth, posture, certainty
The freedom to walk about
caressing the breeze.
Lamenting those dispelling thoughts. Actions.
Every night could be spent splayed out beneath
The warmed trunk
Rory Elliott lives on the corner of a crossroads in Portland, OR, where they write, read, water their plants, play music, write songs, use the bathroom, drink tea, shower and eat. They attend PCC, where they are hoping to develop the skills and credits to major in plant biology. As a poet they have had work published in The Bridge, as a musician their band was in the most recent ABC Portland compilation. They are slowly bringing out into the open their other projects. They aspire to be more like Mary Poppins each passing day.
To Build a Fire
We used to drive out at dark with flood lights
sinking the night through the desert,
cracking the dirt to collect firewood
by flashlight under the tall ponderosa pines.
We hit a deer and it spun,
digging like a throwing star down the side of the truck
before it kicked and ran back into the brush,
and I’ve been hit before, the swelling delays.
We poured gasoline over the wet wood,
lit a match, and the flames grew so high
I imagined they touched heaven,
burning back for everything we lost.
My cousin and I dug holes
to shit in the earth like dogs
calling something their own.
We bathed in cold creeks, the current
stealing the soap from our skin,
naked and measuring up to the rocks.
It snowed one night and the first light was white,
a neoprene sunrise through the tent top.
I could hear deer breaking through to pure
dirt as morning tore open like a zipper.
On growing up