Tammy Ho Lai-ming
Task At Hand
Corrina Bain, Jul 05, 2009
The men look at each other across the womanís back
like acquaintances in a supermarket aisle
who do not quite know each other well enough to say hello
they blink, then shift their gaze back to the task at hand
the man with his cock in the womanís mouth grunts rhythmically
one hand in her hair, the other shoulder thrown theatrically back
pulling his hip out of the cameraís way
converging himself, isosceles, into her soft mouth.
His skin, like a baked chicken, crinkles and gleams
his abdomen self-consciously flexed
the man on the pussy is more voluble
through his drooping bikerís moustache, he praises its quality, breathless,
the verbiage a chainlink fence between himself and the moment.
The girl, meanwhile, is perfect
how empathy slides off her aquatint skin
how unimaginable it is that I could be that body
the hiccough of flesh that appears as she forces the throat over the cock
I wonder if she ever thinks of me
the lonely rider in the dark, if she ever imagines me a woman
does she know Iím too lazy to shave my legs?
The torpid sweatpants still padding out my ankles as I do my dirty work
watching the shaft press into her cheek
knowing the ivory buds of her teeth must be pressed smooth against the skin
I know that I do not want what I want when I put my mind to wanting
that no weighty constellation of Californian flesh
could make a space that fit me
still, the sweat, the fake tans
the mirrored sunglasses resting on the bleachy hedgehog of his little head
these are not the things that nearly ruin it
rather, itís the terrible certainty
the lack of question, so unlike anything I feel when I bring it home
the way my body fills with question
with blood and trash as I visit this, on my own person
grasping at where my skin comes loose, free hand pressed into my throat
until I see dark clouds, sparks of light
on the screen, the turgid box of skin
the scene changes, now the girl, astride one of the men
first yells a little as the man shoves his cock up into it, a greedy engine, furious
the other man circles out of the cameraís view
the girl lowers her body over the man she is fucking
her heavy breasts crushed across him
and the other man, as though he has just arrived
walks into the frame, spreads her ass with one hand
this is when it happens for me. Reliably
this is when the dark feathers of it spread down the insides of my legs
when the world outside and time and my horrible body all go, for a moment, far away
I know women, serious women of grave pleasures
who believe pornography is a death of the spirit
when I know, that if I have a spirit, it is completely called to this, to witness
despite how different the spectacle of my fingerstumps
working this seeping thing like a shallow wound
compared to what unfolds like an octopus across that over-lit taupe loveseat
the men transfixed upon the soft, silicone-bald gleam of the stretched out-vulva
the filthless asshole that gives and gives, unhesitating, resplendent
if the pornography could see me, I have no doubt, it would grow legs and walk away
the way, if I could look into the heart of the girl
there is some good chance I couldnít watch her anymore
the contrived waterfall of hair she slips between us
this is how I know itís true, how I know I am alone
the cavernous distance between wanting and what lets you sleep at night
how I understand the rapist, the enemy, the monster
how they must feel exactly like this, singular, trapped
a victim of their skin
Corrina Bain was born on September 18, 1983, and began performing her poetry about fourteen years
later. A former member of three New England slam teams, she has shared stages as a featured reader with legends
as diverse as Buddy Wakefield, Jim Carroll and Patricia Smith. In life, she has worked as a nurseís aide in a
detox ward, a community educator on the HIV/AIDS crisis in Mozambique, and a health care assistant in an abortion
clinic. She is upcoming in the online journal Danse Macabre.
Mike Boyle, Jul 03, 2009
1- wake at 5-something a.m.
news & weather
bathroom things a shower
maybe shave if seems ripe
make breakfast & lunch
swill mouthwash look out
2- there once was coffee
cut out during company trama
guts all fucked up back all
fucked up head too
there once was weed
before work at bus stop
was amy who called inuit
pulled off panties on
bus scrawled her number
on them with sharpie
then she picks up
with someone not so wrecked
3- the bar life
elbows jukebox & smoke
watch amy run through a series
of men some married she is
insatible I stick with the workers
we lean after long days there
are no decent words
4- sun blinks over horizon
moon rolls across electric
wires huge steel structures scrape the land
during sleep then sit silent daylight
put cell towers on them clean out
bird nests we come from power plant to
feed you we will soon eat you
5- dying battery on forklift smells
rotten egg bindery idiots donít open
dock door for air theyíre conditioned
donít do anything not told push forklift
out on dock hey whatír you doing
you fucking idiots I say bindery super
raises eyebrow goes to talk with production
mgr when he arrives owner walks by some
hours later staring at me stare back
6- girl at beer world pretends to be riding broom
think sheís emotionally disturbed say hey thereís
some movie fest you should come with me you
can bring the broom oh you are one of them she
says I insist Iím not but am she says varoom! &
takes off after monetary exchange imagine
empathy it would take to stalk her like Iím
standing there parking lot 10 p.m.a 51 yr old man
with mohawk car waxed & waxed sides of head
7- oh, & this moment of serenity corpses
piled in the ditch poe in there with ground
hogs & army of skunks andy in there twisting
new wig says uh bridget talks for him sheís
on speed making silkscreens we pile out of
hotel chesea stoned right before famous fire
nico singing the end jim gave her that song
Mike Boyle is the author of a novel, Dollhouse, and several chapbooks of poetry. Poems and
stories in many journals. Look at his blog/siteó
Justin Hamm, Jun 30, 2009
the midwest belches
from its smokestacks
beside the churning river
& all of its fathers stretch
bleary eyed & bitter
about their swollen
& their endless
while a room away
their beardless sons
nurse black eyes
roll out of beds
& into coveralls
into their fathersí skins
& their fathersí troubles
but the black sheep
reads boethius to the spiders
beneath the stairs
weeps for everything
worth weeping for
in a place where weeping
feels himself becoming
in a place where becoming
is also forbiddenó
a place where only
the smokestacks belching
the river churning
& the gentle turning
of son to father
& son to father
have yet to be
Originally from the flatlands of central Illinois, Justin Hamm now lives and writes in Missouri. He
holds an MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and his work has appeared or is forthcoming in
Cream City Review, New York Quarterly, Spoon River Poetry Review, Red Rock Review, and The Brooklyn
Review, among other publications.
Mary Hamrick, Jun 29, 2009
ďWhat spirit is so empty and blind,
that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot
is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful
than the garment with which it is clothed?Ē óMichelangelo
The birth night:
it is jolted from the sea
or from a hut
or from a palace
or from a villa.
It is our feastóour famine.
We quiver within its bungalow of pain,
or we meander blissfully
in our skin-stirring capsules.
It is of rind,
It is nectar-pure and woven straw.
something to hang your gold on
or something to sketch on.
Skin is an ornament
or a thorny citrus tree that we flaunt.
I permit you to touch it.
I deny you the touch.
Now bathe it and wrap it with kisses.
Easily torn, it can be found under the web
of my flimsy dress or pinched,
distorted, under my loverís belt.
And when we make love,
when we are finished,
our skin will smell
like black currant tea.
Primitive and moody,
skin mutates black and blue.
In the end, it twitters, lifeless,
under our boots.
Mary Hamrick was born in New York and moved to Florida when she was a young girl. Her writing often
reflects the contrast between her Northern and Southern upbringing. Current and forthcoming publications include
Arabesques Press, Architecture Ink, Cezanneís Carrot, Coe Review, Howling Dog Press (OMEGA 6), League of
Laboring Poets, Mad Hattersí Review, On the Page Magazine, Pemmican, Poetry Repair Shop, Poems Niederngasse,
Potomac Review, Rosebud, Scholars and Rogues, Tattoo Highway, The Binnacle, The New Verse News, The Subway
Chronicles and others.
Robert Homem, Jun 19, 2009
Iíll build my house in an ashtray
Iíll have cigarette chimneys
And bubble-gum windows.
Iíll have fingernail doors
And pull-ring gates.
With insect wings.
On ash heaped arm chairs
And watch the sunset.
Robert Homem was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. In a previous life he founded and edited two South
African poetry presses called Something Quarterly and Sun Belly Press. His poetry has appeared in a number of
poetry and literary journals in South Africa and a collection of poetry, Inside My Pocket, was published
by Dye-Hard Press in South Africa in 1994.
Sending You Away
Tammy Ho Lai-ming, Jun 18, 2009
I send you away, tonight, to buy sausages.
The home-made ones, I say,
knowing that you will take the long road
we have walked a thousand times before.
I know even the coarse vendors
will tighten their collars by the river,
into which the sun dives and disappears.
There are things easier
than knitting butterflies with leaves.
You said. You said.
There are scenes more absurd
than old benches rotting in the sun.
You said. You said.
I have heard all this before;
and confess to imagining a different man
with a different rhetoric.
I send you away, awhile, to forget you.
But already, Iím thinking of the foreign tongues
you will encounter, the small dark coins you may drop,
the rugged tips of your shoes on the stone steps.
Your frustrated look at not remembering how many packs
Iíve asked for.
Perhaps, butterflies continue to weave leaves, but
the benches, solemn, also shine in the sun.
Tammy Ho Lai-ming is a Hong Kong-born writer. She is an assistant poetry editor of Sotto Voce
Magazine and a founding co-editor of
Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. More about Ho at
Dave Malone, Jul 02, 2009
my body wears you
carries last night
on thigh and chin
to the undulating
heart beat in your
my fingers softer
than lily pads
on blood-filled skin
my hand inside
the guts of the lake
churn tree roots to the surface
floats in the morning fog
where iím dizzy
in the weeping cloud
birds over water
Dave Maloneís poems have appeared in various journals including Elder Mountain: A Journal of Ozark
Studies, New Millennium Writings, Red Rock Review, and Teaching English in the Two-Year College. He
hails from the Ozarks and retired from full-time jobbing at the age of thirty-six.
DOWN IN THE VALLEY
Brenton Rossow, Jun 02, 2009
down in the valley
where belly buttons talk
corn prick up their ears
spiders jolt their lines
... a snake emerges from a woodpile
and disappears into the mud
a new pair of shoes,
a bleached blonde fringe;
the mute girl
makes the sign
of the crescent moon
moving about the lake,
stars massage my mind,
I keep my nostrils
above the waterline
naked in the forest
such a good idea
I wait for the breeze
to dry my skin
then slide inside
stop for a cigarette
and tie the laces
of my decaying shoes
on the motorbike,
ditches and potholes,
we stand at the doorway
aware of the dust clouds
that have settled
on our clothes
there are no secrets
in the parlour of thieves,
we would rather confuse
Brenton Rossow has been living in his parentsí garage since Nixon resigned. He enjoys comb overs and
expressive leisure wear.
Paintersí Exhalations 67
Felino Soriano, Jun 20, 2009
óafter Brian Alfredís Izu
The sunís smiling lips
recall a sculpture tone still portrait
of a skinny supermodelís pink
uncontrolled kiss, the pucker
positing a protrude towards
an asking, stimulated camera.
Who knows if the crane shaped
plant rubbing scent and color
against airís alabaster skin
belongs to a woman, whose fashion
extends beyond limb and skeleton,
and she, an absolute rendition
of loving the man
climbing the staircase mountains
deep inside the focal pointís distance?
Felino Soriano (b. 1974, California) is a case manager and advocate for developmentally and physically
disabled adults. He is the editor of
Counterexample Poetics, an online
journal of experimental artistry. As a poet, he has authored seven collections of poetry, including Among the
Interrogated (BlazeVOX [books], 2008) Feeling Through Mirages (Shadow Archer Press, 2008), Calling
Toward Clarity (Chippens Press, 2009), Search among the Absent Found (Recycled Karma Press, 2009), and
r (please press, 2009). A mini-chapbook of poems is forthcoming from Wheelhouse Magazine, 2009, as
well as a full-length collection from Calliope Nerve, 2009. The internal collocation of philosophical
studies and love of classic and avant-garde jazz is the explanation for his poetic stimulation. Details are at
his website, felinosoriano.com.