All posts by Jonah moberg


before there were prints on my fingers
—-or nails to clutch or a
——————name for any of it,
when my hair was still shifting
—-and waiting to hatch from
——————-an uncooked skull,
when i did not have an unbent
—-spine, there was a red and
space between the rows of empty seats
—-and you were coming there and
————————-i grew legs
when you stepped
—————on my feet

the whole world began when
our empty eyes turned
full of each other.

Letter from NY to her, the unbeliever in California

The broken Vs of the too-late geese
leave space for the gone ones which
would have blackened the sky.
This is the season of flight.

I did go to California, you know.
More than once
I walked on warm dirt,
up firm mountains which were neither Greek nor tragic
but were blessed with enough rain to let the grass grow
and the salmon run and the fires eat away the dead.
Each time I left for California
I was skeptical that I would arrive there.
Hasn’t it always been the horizon,
almost visible, always distant?
Riding in strange vehicles with strange men and women
I would consider the myths which had encased it in my mind;
free gold, free land, legendary freedom.
How unlikely, I would think,
and begin to plan my escape back north,
where the fog and the chill
and the lonely streets and the silence
were all very real.
We are different, however,
because when I finally set foot on the shocking red earth there
I believed in its mundane reality, knew I had arrived,
however temporarily, however unfree.

This is the season for learning
to grit the teeth with love.
For remaining joyful while solitude is blowing thru;
for coming together in our God-given loneliness.

In California I was alone with the place
and with my love for it.
My mind was clean and stark,
hopeful, and I thought that when I returned
I could bring some of it back,
like an image from a dream carefully penned upon waking.
But the place where we are will not accept sun or sand
or promises which all seem mythical.

So I am glad for you to be there,
disappointed and not surprised that you can’t send proof of its persistence.
That kind of word doesn’t come here this season,
and right there is the question,
and I don’t know the answer.


my bones fly out around me,

disheveled, pricked by wind, in pain,

and I stand back unshocked.

I read of it in mystic reports,

gossip columns well-known not for veracity,

but for imagination and an odd sense of familiarity.


I have not met my limbs,

but am told of them by

unreliable, unquestionable agents

who circle like missionaries or salesmen,

grinning madly, waving charts written

in a new language which they must teach me,

which I learn, which breaks my body

in new ways around a cruel grammar

of cause, effect, and change.


a dictionary of differences, my body

is an unhappy monument to conflict,

a final scrap of the world before dead peace.

my body will no longer abide the terrible

machinery of discordant striving,

it will grow desperate and unify,

pull parts together across blind space,

it will step beyond organs, single.

it will become alone.


my body will adopt all witnesses

and discover a ruinous temple built beyond praise.

and it will cry out, alarmed, friendless,

and scatter itself abundantly,

once more disunited,

attempting to forget.


all worlds are

smoke hanging

out of sight.

in the swimming pool

i remember in the swimming pool,
feeling my erection press
against her twelve-year-old body.

she wanted me to hold her
and carry her. i was small and weak
but the water made it easy.

so i pulled her lithe and bony
limbs closer, cat eyes blinking,
flat moonpale chest slippery
and dappled in the summer sun.

soft as milk her voice came through my ear
(don’t say she didn’t know what she was doing)
while that arm snaked around my neck
and fingers crawled into my hair.

my cock taut and nervous
as i set her down there
and wondered what she wanted,
kissing her to make it stop.

my mother stomped through the grass
and pressed hands to hips firmly,
shouting: Come on in! It’s time for dinner.

we hopped the fence and ducked the clothesline,
stepped inside to hold hands
under the table.

Watching Footage of the Vietnam War

Soundtrack:  “Beach Baby” by The First Class

Dad went east on ROTC,
August 1964,
Left behind Greenwich Village folklife
and a dissertation on Pound’s war broadcasts.
His back is streaked still
with shrapnel and burns
that show when he’s bent all summer
digging in the garden.

Upstate, 2003,
a breeze smacks the door open.
He hits the floor,
hand to his hip for a gun that isn’t there.
Realizes we are only playing chess,
hand to a highball glass that isn’t there.

—-The Footage
—–God, would you look at these
—–pointed killers streaking down from
—–the helicopters! They’re coming hard!
—–Monks are burning,
—–monks still burn, it is
—–2015, for God’s sake! and
—–maybe dad is in that helicopter
—–on this flickering news reel,
—–looking for Viet Kong…

And this gore flashes,
flashes in the gentle quiet of my
timber-framed dormitory.
Outside, the last snow of April
settles in already fading drifts.
Dad’s sweet peas and hostas win prizes,
and, he assures me, would even in England.


This is a guest post by Fiona Garver Craig. Fiona lives in Brattleboro, Vermont. She studies writing and philosophy at Marlboro College. When not writing and studying, Fiona works as a farmhand and waitress. Fiona lives across from a very old graveyard with a very fat cat named Twig, and likes it that way.



Spacecase cased space
for time just in case
there was placed Spacecases place
in places in space on paths untraced
by other mortal hands and eyes.
Longitudinal and lateral symmetry
that as much as Spacecase tries
can’t be traced through space by eyes.
Tired, tired, burning bright
like twice burning candles in the night.
What Spacecase hand or eye
could trace such fantastic symmetry?
Only unto the place he dies
and closes Spacecase’s tired eyes.
He won’t go gently into that night,
tired candle at both ends
—-____burning bright
in spaces cased untraced.



This is a guest post by Jesse Muse. Part time poet still living in upstate New York. So… Bucket does the Bucket dance.

Bubble, Splash!

To remember this dark thing when I’m
eating an orange and wanting kissing
is dropping a jar of peppermints,
name-dropping a dead friend, like
“oops the sweetness fell on
the old floor I am sorry.”

Because you walked in
with that bad jacket,
looking sad like a rag,
I pitied you tenderly.
What have I done to you,
you poor poor coal in
the lady-burning furnace,
you poor sorry weeper?

Oh how I loathe you.
No, no.
Oh how I love you?
    Yeah, maybe.

I hate to be Christ-like but
I can’t stop trying.
I can’t write a poem.
Ugly word: rape. Can’t say it.
Foggy conditions these days.

Yeah, I am a little burdened fish in a bowl.

bubble bubble bubble. splash!



This is a guest post by Fiona Garver Craig. She lives in Brattleboro, Vermont. She studies writing and philosophy at Marlboro College. When not writing and studying, Fiona works as a farmhand and waitress. Fiona lives across from a very old graveyard with a very fat cat named Twig, and likes it that way.



when i was sixteen she
brought him into my
basement he
was so

she asked my permission
and i asked his then
she took off his
belt and she

after graduation
my parents gave me
dark looks but they
couldn’t talk

one time my father found
the pictures he said
it’s not normal
you should choose
friends your

she said would you please rape
me I will fight back
but you can’t stop
no matter
what I

i said those must be good
cookies then she took
a knife into
the bathroom.
those doors

you have to marry her
(he was desperate)
she’s killing me
he cried. i

her period was late
i said how late she
said three hours.
a funny