Improvisations: I by Evan Thomas

The donkey in Balthazar was given the motivation of Lee Marvin. Actually there wasn’t any motivation at all. The important thing was to arrive at an absolute simplification, even if such a process incurred the simplification of composition as an accidental byproduct. Like a hallway, all the doors unlocked, linoleum floors, rapid Oxfords. Tearing ass all the way down. Actually it was really unforgettably slow. Due to lack of motivation.

Taxi Driver was originally written by our curé de campagne, or was it Andy Kaufman. I forget, not having seen Taxi Driver. Lee Marvin was slated to play Jodie Foster’s role but obviously backed out when they started filming The Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday. Steven Prince played Andy. There were no parts to learn; the aperture free of single grains of sand as it was. Red, orange, & green all flashing in sixteenth-triplets. Sound & image flickering as they fade out, the print burning up in the projector like a Memphis summer. Everyone said they never thought he had it in him.

I have brought from the outside of my motivation the unknown genre. Taken it deep within my heart. It takes the intolerable & throws it in the ocean. A suitcase full of water. Bicycle gang with popguns. A gun is a complex image. It is different when Lee Marvin brandishes one versus just about anyone else. Fred Ward did not look like Henry Miller, but then again no one really knows what he looked like when he was young anyway. Lee Marvin was a more suitable choice, but he was busy with valley fever. Fireworks on the fourth of July, & the 30th of June, for whatever reason. Buddy, at random.

As Paul Schneider spoke his first lines onscreen, Taxi Driver turned the same age as him. The Doors were born the same day as David Berman. Actually so were you. No motivation for this world. Hide the ideas in plain sight & they'll come out in both directions at once. People slammed the double bill but I couldn’t see how doors wouldn’t open for ideas. Setting the woods on fire, hungover in the backseat & sombreroed. Or was he a winterer who just made bad company, suffering from Friday night fever in Santa Monica.

Buzzed-in, I gave up the bench. Nice shades. Bresson shot his own hand for that scene, then himself in the foot. Moose yelling at each other for a staff-only. It's the one thing I guessed at that doesn't actually appear. What do they even make. Men use, even without an ear lent. He felt beset by the quarry, & came up juicing the terraplane with more days to tack on. Church-going people brandishing a big mace. The final statement was on money. I can’t say where it begins. Questions regarding intent. Hammer down. & tomorrow too. Never to be repeated.

Sower & ewe afield seeding for harvest with only three or four available. Three forty-foot lengths of rope. Rotting barns. Dead wind farms. The purest marriage of sound & image. Fell down the basement steps. I saw the parade. What are they even building. Lee Marvin’s headstone. A dream in four parts across four nights with lost rivers in between. I didn’t retract my hand this take. The ocean will cover over the fields again someday. Absolute lack of human motivation. It only seemed.

3 Poems by Claire Verbeck

Ode to the Valentine Apartment

Before the bedbugs descended

In clean blue walls,
sand-cracked ceilings,
watery hiss of passing traffic:
I smell your ocean waves.



Seedling No. 2

Saturday morning, Union Hill

A sweet smell bends to the street
reverentially to kiss me
in the cornsilk morning



Seedling No. 3

After a panic attack

You writhe and snap like a loose garden
hose until, dodging lashes, I hop
to your valve to shut you down.
You are quiet. Still. I gather
you into my arms. Cradling
your mercurial curves, I wrap myself inside.

Ecce Homo & Brown by Promise

poppyflower sidewalk crag underfoot
below 1920s brick apartments
a baby wails in an un-
airconditioned car
outside bark dogs to inside

turning things over between fingers-
eyes avoided
beetles devour bleeding hunks
of leaf meat
while down-induced youth
nod in heatwarp

in a yellowed t-shirt
& blood drips beaded
across a salty forehead
this is not

san francisco
somewhere near here
you used to hear a saxophone
no exit
in the heat
no exit
in the cold

no period in mourning
when the leaves fall

everyone from the sixth
floor down
wakes in june
& extends shaking arms
to the sun

"Studio Time off the Drawing Room" by Evan Thomas

A dreamt Arabesque from mint sky enlarged the days then, miles voted for in hummer seats. Japanese beetles slowing as they knock the bağlama strings to heated entries. Boreas rounded corners to paper windows of constituents with handclap propaganda. & whereas the footage of jumpers depicted strains of smaller infomercials, the figures themselves fell into great lakes drafted in chromoluminarism with little aftercolour; the faintness belying appearances of diminution. The suite reforested quite nicely. Several marvels erected from wallpaper gave voice to sleigh bells, the windmill hilts damp with corrective action. Noting their silence, the swollen vine of Altoona disrepair coiled all holidays into eluents that got lost in the shuffle of civets dead letter office-adjacent. Emergency wildflowers hatted the treasure maps mezzotinted & rebound the frayed shoreline with fresh cedar. Waterskiers en route to the launching point were soon bewildered by the applause drops of sandpipers, left naught but the terraformed party analytes had already evacuated. Battleships off the tubes of razor clams packaged gouache in unanswered doors. Minor spatterdock orbits ferried bus tours from Augusta to eyelash. &, most significantly, the trumpet's disappearance heralded only the cartwheels of gesso that water unions pasted to the undersides of Pyrex universes. The hand that drew itself reached out to shield itself from the sun & the gladiolus erupted in princely chimes, sugar-water trim, summer themes stated, & the laser-hour of locked grooves unjamming the quiet chives from their mown tug-of-war. It was completely noon in the increasingly french air for at least two months.

3 Poems by Dalton Jones

Francisco of Matrimony

Something happened of the day;
She wept:
I sang her lullabies and “sweet goodbyes.”
She said:
Pour la bonne bouche—you’ve gone
At such a trying time,
She’s got:
Rigel on film,
A funeral procession,
Dedication to sin;
Reaching still; an offer
Rescinded: an offer
pour la fin, while
Goya could have sold “Aquellare
For a single escudo; living
In la Quinta del Sordo… fin



Marianne God

But we are seamen; with wasted eyes
Of salt and brine; O!, by
Which yonder quake shall we end this?


The Bottom of Our Sea

Charlatans! charlatans none,
When of forty
Twenty visions saw it spun.
Count the beheading
As having ended masquerade.
The white flakes mellowed red
As he crowded, through the glade.

3 Poems by Damian Fisher


Moon soaked sands lap the cooing water’s

Staring down the abyss - stumbling
        Slipping to the river bed.
The masquerade’s flailing dance, unseen,
like the unctuously tragic comedy
of a Pennsylvania interstate
             That gorges fluorite peaks,
while naive prisoners rush peacefully


that scattered hue that appears missing anew.
Sun scorched sands reposingly trickle
like the Other, into that river bed.



Reprise of October MMXV

In Texas a languid morning
is bigger, still
a runway demands a departure
demands the seat be filled;
I too am leaving view
only a trace
of your hospital room



(no title)


The kerosene steel makes a ricochet sound oft’
that rubber grip imprints the hands like Babylon
Clay: calloused and dreaming
of parental mornings with maple and butter raising wisps
for shapes of new life, pressed from flour and water whisked
Clay Or the gray grit lined hospital walls wear
their air sterile with hands
forcing remission of absolutes:

l’essence precede l’existence or it continually presents
Exi(s)t(ence) from that Clay crusades of essence comes

the perceiver of Mont Blanc
a camel that shivers at the sight of serpentine scales
raze raining old-new :
                                      a child

slaying starving shackled to the boulder eternally
pushing prying playing with the new construct of god

human, any Other rambling maddening useless delusions
that build castles against the frothing surf that churns
all stone to clay

"sleep cycle, i." by patrick sanders

(from what begun as, and in many ways continues to be, an extended reflection on deakin's 'sleep cycle.')


A mantra is muscle memory, summoning
a synapse path drawing all else
to its coursing stream

&all else melts in its coursing stream
&all else melts in its coursing stream
&all else melts in its coursing stream, becoming
indiscernible, all else
transfers intensity
from the green earth flourishing aside, above,
into yellow rocks parting, painting
the clearwhite stream,

impeding flow, this vessel upon which
water flows must also erode, dissolve,
collapse into the nomadic geography of the stream
until now, as there is no earth, sky must also cease
out and around, no color but clearwhite
that no longer courses but flows, no longer water,

&this flow is all
&this flow is all
&this flow is all
& it extends to no end,
but the vision ascertains its totality;
to no place, from no place, it is its own geography

it no longer flows, but is, and is all,

made full by its lack of any thing   this
   is the soul-ground
   it is all, including you, without you.