Bruce Bond

2018, Poetry


after Picasso

From a studio apartment, downtown,
across the rise and fall of monuments

and fortune, you just might see a ball
come crashing through an old façade

and think, what better place to hang
a portrait, and what better art than this:

this girl and her mandolin, her abstract
flesh pulling at the manhole, her hand

gloved in the hand from another point
of view, her figure, as the painter saw her,

heard her, broke her into orphaned
bolts and pieces, a girl exhumed, plotted,

diagramed, scored to the ashen drone
of trucks that feed the warehouse district,

where painters pitch their lofts and work
among the toxins.  Eyesores of the new

dark age, they need us to redeem them,
as desire needs its dissonance to fade

and fading needs its music and mallets
need a good job to beat their fractured

measures through the alley. Call them
instrumental then, each deafening ping

a world apart, a world, and thus, a part,
so when the past collapses at your door,

you will not turn away. You will hear
the chime of random metal in the drawer

you closed long ago, when you were small
and progress was a glorious colossus,

when every blackened engine was an angel,
and with a little care, it hummed. It sang.

Bruce Bond is the author of twenty books including, most recently, Sacrum (Four Way Books, 2017), Blackout Starlight: New and Selected Poems 1997-2015 (L.E. Phillabaum Award, LSU, 2017), Rise and Fall of the Lesser Sun Gods (Elixir Book Prize, Elixir Press, 2018), and Dear Reader (Free Verse Editions, 2018). Three books are forthcoming: Frankenstein’s Children (Lost Horse Press), Scar (Etruscan Press), and Words Written Against the Walls of the City (LSU.) Presently he is a Regents Professor of English at University of North Texas.

Michelle Patton

Fall 2013, Poetry


This is not about the smell of trees.
I will not mention the names of flowers
or loam. Loam will not appear in this poem.
There is no frost on the barn, no soft snow falling.
It never snows in this poem. Only consider
an empty field in a neighborhood of tract houses.
A field, as you know, suggests waiting and
the accidents of history. Consider the tires
and floral loveseats in this field, and the girl
in the one gnarled fig tree, book open on her lap,
book she’s about to drop in the dust, dust in this valley
of no snow and little rain. Now, imagine something
as real as a plate of spaghetti hurled against the wall,
in the middle of a dinner no one asked for,
in the middle of a family stunned into silence
by the accidents of their lives, by the fact
of a red stain left on the kitchen wall.


When I was six I let the neighbor kid
rub butter on me in the hot Marin sun.
He was in love with something he saw on TV
or heard on his mother’s lonely radio.
His mother with her rings and loose laugh
listened in once on the bedroom phone
as Sean told me a new thing we could try,
something he saw her do with one of her boyfriends.
We’d wander around the dry fields and yellow hills,
playing at love. He pulled me in a red wagon,
picked cattails for me, taught me to whistle.
When he told me take my shirt off, I did it.
Like some kind of strange insect, we rubbed
our naked chests together in the bright afternoon
near the hill all the kids slid down on cardboard boxes
for that thrill, that thrill that sometimes caught fire
and burned those yellow hills.

Michelle Patton‘s poems have previously been published in Southern Poetry Review, Atlanta Review, and Crab Creek Review. 

Alex Greenberg

Fall 2013, Poetry


I once spent an entire summer afternoon
outside my house on the bay.
While the roses were tying knots
on the foot­trail
and the moss on the ground
had begun to form their own islands,

I was behind a place mat
at my dining room table,
contemplating how a teenager
is a lot like a red balloon
caught to the flagpole of a school
or the spokes of a ramshackle bike.

The way the two grapple
day in and day out
with an adversary unfit to listen,
too rugged to feel their pull.
The way they hold air inside of them
as if to prepare for a great outcry,
their lungs filling like the stuffing
in a toy bear.

But what I really think about
is how they both rise
the instant you let them go.
Head­butted by the wind,
continuing because of an
energy inside of them
that knows only upward.

I look at the knife on my napkin.
I think about how the only way
to bring them down
is to puncture them.
I think of how their red
will spatter everywhere.

Alex Greenberg is a 14 year old aspiring poet. His work can be found  in recent or upcoming issues of The Louisville Review, Literary BohemianCuckoo Quarterly, Spinning Jenny, and as runners-up in challenges 1 and 2 of the Cape Farewell Poetry Competition. He recently won a gold key in the Scholastic Arts and Writings Awards and was named a Foyle Young Poet of 2012.