Sam Preminger – Nailed Magazine https://nailedmagazine.com Wed, 08 Jul 2020 12:00:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.15 Poetry Suite by Igor Brezhnev https://nailedmagazine.com/poetry/poetry-suite-by-igor-brezhnev-2/ Sat, 04 Jul 2020 12:00:11 +0000 https://nailedmagazine.com/?post_type=poetry&p=18178 Poetry by Igor Brezhnev +++   good morning, america. it’s 2020. good morning, america. you burial ground haunted, you darling riot, you earthquake of a million footsteps, you chopper in our sky, you mama-they-shot-me day after day, you foreign affair, you tongue in my ear, you ragged poet, you lost poem, you make us believe […]

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Poetry by Igor Brezhnev

+++

 

good morning, america. it’s 2020.

good morning, america.
you burial ground haunted,
you darling riot, you earthquake
of a million footsteps, you chopper in
our sky, you mama-they-shot-me day
after day, you foreign affair, you tongue
in my ear, you ragged poet, you lost poem,
you make us believe in the apocalypse
daily, you weigh us for what we are
worth on your market, you billy
club kissing babies, you tear
gassed summer, you dollar
brand shining, you murder
in a stained uniform,
you sexy lie on tv,
you depressed
in my arms.

good morning, america.
you dive bar night wisdom,
you two-week attention span,
you bored cinema on our screens,
you drank too many of us in your
dreams, can you move, america?
you woke up with a hangover
and forgot your first name.
will you gobble us up for
breakfast, do you love
us, do you want us
like we want you, can
you breathe? i learned to
pronounce your name, can
you learn to say mine without
blood on your hands? america,
can you keep your old promise,
can you stop killing your children
on your streets, can we breathe?
america, please. good morning,
america. what will it be, love?


portland, oregon / june-july 2020

+++

 

поэт спрашивает: how many tongues does it take
to get to the heart of america

i claim american english
like pepsi and coke claimed
water around the world. wear it
like levi’s jeans bartered for trees,
blast your sensitive ears with lack of
articles like your troops blast children
in the rest of the world. i’ll throw words
from my other tongues over your adverts,
gevalt my way into the heart of the storm,
sing my кохання in your hamishagos like
i am paying back interest on lend-lease,
like i still belong in my quartered body,
like empires haven’t stolen our voice,
haven’t broken our lands for a cent,
i might’ve been iced, but madness
keeps my syllables flowing until
i lose a fight with myself. look
at how beautiful blooms
your next revolution.
look, your children
might remember
where your
wealth
came
from.


portland, oregon / 06.11.20

+++

Header image courtesy of Tim Okamura. To view his Artist Feature, go here.

Igor Brezhnev is a poet and a book designer, among his other sins. He is the founder of Wordlights poetry reading series (facebook.com/wordligthspoetry & wordlightspoetry.com) and of Lightship Press (lightshippress.com), a small press focused on publishing poetry. Igor has two full length collections of poetry published by Liquid Gravity Publishing, ‘dearest void’ (2016) and ‘america is a dry cookie and other love stories’ (2018), a spoken word album ‘Good Days & Bad Days’ (Lightship Press, 2018, igorbrezhnev.bandcamp.com), as well as a couple of self-published chapbooks in ‘nights since’ series which focuses on emotional landscape of being without a home. You can support Igor at patreon.com/igorbrezhnev and get daily poems & weekly audio recordings. More information about Igor can be found at igorbrezhnev.com.

 

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Distanced: Robert Lashley https://nailedmagazine.com/poetry/distanced-robert-lashley/ Sat, 06 Jun 2020 12:00:57 +0000 https://nailedmagazine.com/?post_type=poetry&p=18144 +++   “Distanced” is designed to connect artists impacted by COVID-19 with potential patrons. To support Robert, we ask that our readership contribute through the following links:   Patreon CashApp: $misterlashley2   +++   The Proud Boy Cop At Freight House Square What blind God promised, his Caesar delivered in codes, torches, and guttings that […]

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+++

 

“Distanced” is designed to connect artists impacted by COVID-19 with potential patrons.
To support Robert, we ask that our readership contribute through the following links:

 

CashApp: $misterlashley2

 

+++

 

The Proud Boy Cop At Freight House Square

What blind God promised, his Caesar delivered
in codes, torches, and guttings that skew
toward oblivion’s convex mirrors.
His Christ is a two-headed hydra that spews
blood, the deluded mistake for angel dusts.
His ropes mistakenly fit as robes
in Puritan troll city sweeps,
his solution for gentrified soils,
his dream of Eden, with a paved over past
and a north star’s too distant sliver.

The hill is not the ladder of divine ascent,
it is the precinct where this bike cop roams.
Ladders and potholes are impostors
in the designed shadows of renewal.
The blue guard imagines only he can imagine
the means and ways to your end.

But where are his black heralds?
Your body that he calls on won’t hide him.
Your blood that he calls, as folks run to their rocks
blurs not slave and free, but his rose cheeks.
His set trips, bends, but can never break.
Our shared bones, bonds and interred uniforms
blind gods deemed expendable
and his Caesar made perversely new.
            “You and I, blood, are both down by that river
            I’ll go, yes, but then they’ll get you.”

+++

 

Storefront Preacher Man’s Last Testament, 11th and Commerce

What is a camel to a donkey
to the defrocked eye.
What is a needle to a bottle
in artisanal streets,
that adapt hard to the resignations of winter.
Its binaries of color mask and accompany,
but defy invisible ice pews.

At his sermon on the frost, people move around him,
kindreds who cannot wait
for frozen altars
and the stretching of burnt blue-black hand
for something to carry him,
for a ladder to roll with the fallen sky,
for a golden stair to bless his sacrifice
of a dream colored boy and his nature.

Unions and successions dissipated in death,
reappear as metaphors in his tongues,
reappear as the countenance of dead lambs
on uphill buses
that vanish when vehicles are gone,
that vanish with the harbor sounds light break
as city lights stop their constellations,
as last turtledoves below old new lamps
make their wobbly transits.
Winter birds and buzzards, infirmed and aged
make their wobbly transits.
The last standing deacon could not find his wings
so he lowered his hands in the snow.

+++

 

Hillside Terrace Memorial Commencement Poem

The double Dutch crew runs in the late day.
They kick it and take off briskly.
They elude the potholes in the changing same
of this amazon suburban trap.

In the morning, when we rise.

They fly past upturned and upturned lands.
They fly as the soil is flexed from the hill
where the adults left are men,
the men left are boys
and the children were already dead
before new buildings got sided.

In the morning, when we rise.

They fly past the block’s starless air.
They fly as the men set trip and fall
below shadows of stone crosses.
Below the road is a mirage of the riverbanks
with gilded stars and ill cast buckets,
ritual stones that pave all progeny.

In the morning, when we rise.

They fly and become the redlined gourd,
an end and beginning in aspirant ground
where children are parents to trap gods,
where Cops push hoods to the side of the road
for the path of gangster soccer dads,
where Emcees pose then pop their white collars
then make mixes from bones to milly rock to
where Reenactors troll and patrol
then Crip waltz for imagined lands.

In the morning, when we rise.

They rise over the set trip meridian
circling trains, treaties and generations
of blood calls.
                                                  Gonna rise, fabulous
                                                  Gonna rise over this
                                                  Gonna rise, sanctified
                                                 We don’t die, we multiply
                                                 We don’t die, we multiply
                                                 When we rise

 

+++

 

Missing LL, Walking from People’s Park to Althemier Church, 5:30 AM

In the mourning park, from wrung out eyes
boombox sambas reverberate walls.
Spins paint light from black blue dawns,
refracted day-to-day from the unseen.
Refracted needles and lines are rings
as I turn in the burnt blue to see us:
the hoodlum and the goth nerd mama,
the bullet gown and the brown ragged suit
hissing at those who hissed,
creating spun sundials over black hats
In a two-step kingdom from memory.

Light breaks in opposition to the heart,
in unduly lights, in shocking stints
in uneasy shadows of neon church fronts
that bloom to homie ghosts.
Children who were parents to hoods
and homies who had their time drawn here.
The heaven and hell of the actual
is in the proximity of the gas can,
is in the proximity of the strewn visions
of street shepherd and lambs’
and piper men’s strolls from humanity.

Resurrections illuminate repainted walls.
Niggas and nightmare dream of nymphs
are refurbished by the taggers eye
              and the ragamuffin MC
spitting in tandem with the stale gospeller.
In the morning, sight is a turned-young dream
              of love engulfed by flames
L-dawg,
                sis money,
                                    OG lily of the valley.
My song could not raise you from these flames.
My ladder could not bring you above the door
and my back broke in 90 proofed hives.
My song could not bring you or us from hell,
I sing just to know I am alive now.

+++

 

“Say Bobby, How Will the Apocalypse Come”

True believer, look for the detention salts.
And the barren morning cages with the final seal.
And soot a river that washes away the swills
that took the place of the water.

Look for the sun as it collapses into dirt licks,
sprinkles into hail over compounds and fences.
The steelhead and trail will be gone in the gateway.
The raven will ride the coyote to deliver
their kinfolk in the quays tossed and burned.

There will be burning arcs with no sign
                                              of the covenant,
a covenant with no sign of the spirits.
Alms once against a sea of troubles
open furnaces below the children’s tents.
Moons transform all homes, tidings and kinfolk.
in the blinding, nothing sky.
The unseen will deliver what our id once denied
in the peril of what has been visible.
All ships will have sailed in spite of their journey.
Blue ferryman will toil in new lit lakes.
Looks will pass as vision for unseen eyes
and fences will give boards but no shelter.

The sea will be filthy. The sea will be burning.
The beast will move in buildings above the dirt
in the captured hour come at last.
The beasts will inhabit the image of man
that circuits and troubles all sight.
The last shall be the first in that final seal night.
This is how the deniers will die.

+++

Robert Lashley is a 2016 Jack Straw Fellow, Artist Trust Fellow, and nominee for a Stranger Genius Award. Robert Lashley has had work published in The Seattle Review of Books, NAILED,  Poetry Northwest, McSweeney’s, and The Cascadia Review. His poetry was also featured in such anthologies as Many Trails to The SummittFoot Bridge Above The Falls, Get Lit,  Make It True, and It Was Written. His previous books include THE HOMEBOY SONGS (Small Doggies Press, 2014), and UP SOUTH (Small Doggies Press, 2017).  His next book THE GREEN RIVER VALLEY,  will be published by Blue Cactus Press in 2021.

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]]> Poetry Suite by Teow Lim Goh https://nailedmagazine.com/poetry/poetry-suite-by-teow-lim-goh/ Wed, 20 May 2020 12:00:06 +0000 https://nailedmagazine.com/?post_type=poetry&p=18122 Excerpts from China Mary by Teow Lim Goh +++ An Introduction From The Poet Five years ago, I went to desert basins of southwestern Wyoming to research the story of the Chinese Massacre in Rock Springs. On September 2, 1885, a fight in the coal mines about the right to work in a particular room […]

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Excerpts from China Mary by Teow Lim Goh

+++

An Introduction From The Poet

Five years ago, I went to desert basins of southwestern Wyoming to research the story of the Chinese Massacre in Rock Springs. On September 2, 1885, a fight in the coal mines about the right to work in a particular room escalated into a deadly riot in which the white men drove the Chinese out of town at gunpoint. Many of the Chinese who survived fled to Evanston, the next town a hundred miles west, following the railroad tracks until Union Pacific sent trains to pick them up.

I visited Evanston to learn more about the Chinese community that once lived there. At the Chinese Joss House Museum, I found the story of a Chinese prostitute who moved to town with the arrival of the railroad and later helped many of the men who fled Rock Springs on that cold September night. She did not tell anyone her real name and was known, like many Chinese prostitutes of the time, as China Mary.

What fascinated me most about China Mary is that she survived as an independent woman, without madam or man, which was rare for a Chinese woman during that time. She even lived to over 100 years old; many Chinese prostitutes died young of illness or suicide.

Not surprisingly, there are not many records of her life. And the few writings that I found about her tend to sensationalize her story. I started writing poems in her voice. I drew on both scholarly research into 19th century Chinese prostitution as well as the few known details of her life to create a complex portrait of a woman who fought to survive in a society that denied her agency.

I thought I was writing history. But as the story of Robert Kraft’s arrest demonstrates, the trafficking of Chinese women is not safely confined to the past.

+++

From China Mary

 

San Francisco, 1855

 

During her time
girls were not shipped to America
in crates labeled Dishware

Ah, Madame.

Six years ago, she
arrived in America alone, joined
the only profession
open to Chinese women.

She saved her money
and bought this parlor house.

And she is a great beauty.

Men line up around the block
and pay an ounce of gold
just for the chance to look at her.

The city inspector is her lover.
He shields us from the vice squads.

She tells us all this
as if we could do it too,
if we worked hard enough –

 

~

The other day she said I stole
her purse, found it at the bottom
of my things. Maybe
another girl had stuck it there.

Who does she think she is – only
a madam in this outpost of the world.

She made me pay
from the wages I have yet
to make: four years I must work
to pay for this passage

I did not choose to take.

 

~

I walk down to the sea alone, away from the fury of the house, away from the crowds and the narrow, steep streets. The water is cold, but I take off my slippers and let the waves stroke my feet. Sand gathers in the creases of my toes. I watch fog burn off a peak on the other side of the bay. There, the hills are golden. I watch the water rise and ebb toward the ocean, the great Pacific, the way home. I try to remember home, the village square, the rice fields, the muddy waters of the Pearl River, but it already seems so far away.

 

 

~

 

In the day I sew
under her hovering eye, each mistake
a reminder

how much I cost her.
She makes me keep my room
unlocked, rifles

through my things.
Already she beat me for what
I write.

I cannot go out
alone. When I ran away, walked
an hour a free woman,

a merchant’s wife
told the police on me, accused me
of indecency.

They dragged me
back into this cage, watched
as her fist

slammed into my cheek.

 

~

 

                                      In the next room,
Lily is howling as the girls help her
bring her child into this world. No one knows
who is the father – maybe

                        he is the merchant
who comes on Saturdays and splurges
on wine. Or maybe he is one of the men

from the mountains, always
on the prowl for something better.

A girl! It’s a girl!             I close my eyes –

                        another girl
to cook and clean until she turns thirteen,

when Madame will dress her
in the finest silks and teach her to pose
in the parlor

and that night when she sings
in a voice that has yet to take wing

the man with the highest offer
will seal her lips
with his kiss.

 

+++

 

                            Evanston, Wyoming, 1869.

 

I didn’t talk for years after I left the house – I see now
I had to swallow so much just to survive that place

I no longer knew who I was or if anyone would
believe me. I kept walking into things – furniture,

sidewalks, thankfully not a stove – I couldn’t even see
in front of me. In San Francisco, a man said he loved me

and paid my bond and after we were married he said
let’s go to Virginia City and get ourselves a lode

of silver. He didn’t want to believe that machines had
taken over the mines and he had to work for wages

and still he dreamed that one day he would find silver
on the banks of a river. After work, he went to the bars

and when he stumbled home I had to feed him dinner
already turned cold, spooning morsels of gravy and rice

into his mouth. He wasn’t a bad man, he just liked to drink
himself into silence. In the day I had our room

to myself – I wandered among its walls, trying to find
the words I needed to tell myself I was still alive.

 

~

 

Last winter the first train arrived in town and a few
            days later, the railroad moved
its terminal to Wasatch. Now the station is coming
                        back to Evanston and the town

is bustling again. I go down to Front Street and watch
            people get off the trains, their eyes
fixed on the horizon, as if they’re still dreaming
                        of faraway lands. I stand

in the shade, shield my eyes from the glint of the sun
            in the steel. I can’t tell if
these people see me, an errant woman without madam
                        or man. I know it won’t last

but I like this obscurity – without a name I can make
            my own story and invent
a destiny. I look up      my head starts to spin
                        my heart races, I just –

The world has nothing to offer you.


~

 

A man from San Francisco
tells me the house is gone – Madame
closed it and disappeared. Some say
gangs ran her out of town
and she moved back
to China, married a merchant, and now
she sells goods from America.

I suppose
she was doing what she could
when her husband died on the ship
and she arrived in a foreign land
without money or family, only
her body. I just wish
she had believed me when I told the truth.

Why don’t you go back to San Francisco?
Your people are there.

I don’t know what to say. All these years
in the desert – I learned to live
for myself, no longer

a mannequin for someone else.

~

 

In the Comstock, I left a man for another. My first husband
drank away his paychecks and I had to go back to work,

and I went back to the only job I knew to do. He drank more
and pushed me away, saying I was lucky he didn’t try

to hit me. I didn’t want to join the slave houses in Chinatown
and with a white husband the white brothels didn’t know

what to make of me. I fell in love with a customer, a man
from my country whose wife died of fever and he only knew

when the letter came months later. He asked to marry me
and I left my husband, who went to the bars, chugged a jug

of whiskey, tried to dance with all the girls and challenged
the men to a losing game of cards. That same month,

Julia Bulette was found strangled in her room, her jewels
missing, and no one knew who did it or if he would target

the rest of us too. The men loved her. She nursed them
when they fell ill from dirty water and they made her queen

of the Virginia Engine Company Number 1. She helped me
when I needed work – when she died, we knew we had to leave.

 

~

 

Our early months in Park City were difficult.

I cried all the time and when he was even a minute
late home from the mine, I imagined
the worst and let dinner burn on the stove.

He held my head to his chest and asked,
what’s wrong, my dear?

I couldn’t answer. Each time I tried to speak
my words came out garbled and I just
sobbed more. I accused him

of being distant and he would throw up
his hands and eat the charred bits from the bottom
of the pot

in silence. I crawled into bed
and waited for him to come to me.

Outside, snow kept falling, a soft blanket
on the cracks in the land.

 

+++

Header image courtesy of Meggan Joy. To see more of her work, go here.

Teow Lim Goh is the author of Islanders (Conundrum Press, 2016), a volume of poems on the history of Chinese exclusion at the Angel Island Immigration Station. Her work has been featured in Tin House, Catapult, PBS NewsHour, Colorado Public Radio, and The New Yorker. She lives in Denver.

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Distanced: Bella https://nailedmagazine.com/poetry/distanced-bella/ Thu, 14 May 2020 12:00:23 +0000 https://nailedmagazine.com/?post_type=poetry&p=18113 +++   “Distanced” is designed to connect artists impacted by COVID-19 with potential patrons. To support Bella, we ask that our readership contribute by purchasing her full-length poetry collection (featuring the illustration of Shannon Christie) here:   Side Effects of Remembering the Little Things     +++ I think I want to hang curtains on […]

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+++

 

“Distanced” is designed to connect artists impacted by COVID-19 with potential patrons.
To support Bella, we ask that our readership contribute by purchasing her full-length poetry collection (featuring the illustration of Shannon Christie) here:

 

 
 
+++

I think I want to hang curtains on all the windows in my apartment to remind myself that sometimes it’s okay
to let a little light in. I think
I want to fill the place with pictures of past me smiling to remind myself that I can still do that.
I think I want to fill my bookshelf with a lifetime of words to remind myself that there is always a beginning
to something else after the end
– be it tragic or beautiful –
I think I want to curl up on my couch in a room of silence to remind me that I’m still here.
How relieving it is to still breathe.
I think I want to leave the cracks on the wall in this small apartment to remind myself that we
all don’t break the same
– yet we all do break  –
I think I want to stumble into this space and leave my baggage wherever it lands.
Let it be embraced by these safe hands.
I’m home.

 

+++

Sometimes I dream of going in the most beautiful way possible –
                like baby blue Volkswagen van and nothing but rolling hills ahead of me.
                like in a pink dress and all the kinds of flowers that don’t need to be rooted in the ground to bloom.
                like right at sunset when the sky is just as on fire as I ever was.
                like eating apple pie right before.
                like cleaning my entire apartment til it’s spotless.
                like you’ll never think I could’ve gone.
                like I’ll even think I’m coming back.
                like all the bright things I could find I’ll plaster on the door so no one will even worry that much.
                like “I’m sure she’s okay.”

I dream I’ll leave everything picture perfect,
                so you won’t even think to open the door to check on me.

 
 

+++

Before we give up

can we run
and keep running
                like wild?
                like free?
like did you see that too?

Wasn’t it beautiful?

And can we breathe
the deepest breath
                like weight lifted?
                like no worries?
                like crisp air?
like did you feel that?

Wasn’t it a rush?

And then,
can we hold on?
                Because we’re almost there.
                Because I need you to see this.
                I need you to feel this
with me
too.

 

+++


Bella is a Southern California grown writer who resides in Portland, Oregon. She is the 2019 Portland Poetry Grand Slam Champion, and has performed at various events such as the WeMake Disrupt Conference, Invisible Spectrums and Intersect Fest. Her poem Joy will be featured in Black Arts Tables Anthology set to release in spring 2020. Bella’s  poetry centers around her experiences being a woman of color, her eating disorder, abusive relationships, and the hope between it all. Side Effects of Remembering the Little Things is her debut book with Lightship Press (www.lightshippress.com). Through her work she hopes to create connection, conversation, and understanding so we all feel a little less alone. You can pre-order Bella’s book and find about more about Bella at bellapoetry.com.

 

Learn more about “Distanced: Artists Under Quarantine” here.
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Distanced: Julia Gaskill https://nailedmagazine.com/poetry/distanced-julia-gaskill/ Thu, 30 Apr 2020 12:00:42 +0000 https://nailedmagazine.com/?post_type=poetry&p=18091 +++   “Distanced” is designed to connect artists impacted by COVID-19 with potential patrons. To support Julia, we ask that our readership contribute by making a purchase or donation through the following links:   Bandcamp Etsy Paypal Venmo: @JGask728 CashApp: $JGask728 +++   April 1st. I saw this coming a good week before any friends […]

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+++

 

“Distanced” is designed to connect artists impacted by COVID-19 with potential patrons.
To support Julia, we ask that our readership contribute by making a purchase or donation through the following links:

 

Venmo: @JGask728
CashApp: $JGask728

+++

 

April 1st.

I saw this coming a good week before
any friends or family or Facebook acquaintances.
Feels like that week was an eon ago, these days.

How I watched my salary suddenly slip
through my fingers, powerless, and
was left gasping for air while everyone else
still had their heads above water.

How at the end of February I had
a cold, and I worried aloud
          but what if?
and was told to jump to that conclusion
was an absurdity – when I guess it really wasn’t.

While everyone was still going to work
and sipping their morning coffee with content,
my body crafted itself into a panic attack,

and oh how much it hurts to say
that I am so comfortable here.

Feels like senior year
of college again.
Feels like my sexual assailant
in the class I am TA-ing again.
Feels like my mother’s funeral
again, again, again.

My body panics and my brain says,
          good.
I wake up from a nightmare and my brain says,
          we have been here before.
I break down in my car and my brain says,
          this is the price of survival.

I turn my panic into a buoy,
a lifeboat, a lighthouse.

Something to keep me
alive.
Something to keep me
still coming back up
for air.

+++

 

the poet logs 100+ hours of Animal Crossing
and feels the need to justify this act with poetry.

I am worried I will come to resent my villager.
How floral patterns dance around her head
as she chatters with Marina or Derwin, no six
foot requirement necessary in their conversing.
She goes to the store multiple times a day
without even flinching, as if that isn’t in and of
itself a miracle or a health risk. Money is not
even a factor, all she has to do is go fishing,
test her patience, and she walks away with
enough bells to cover my rent for the next
four months. My villager dresses so well. Like,
so so well. Her wardrobe is overflowing with
the brightest colors and raddest styles. In her
shadow I am but a shadow, clad in black
and gray, trailing behind, an afterthought. My
villager owns her own house, did so by day three,
didn’t have to wait thirty plus years to brag of
this achievement. She can assemble so much
furniture, doesn’t have to ask Scrambles or
her boyfriend to hang a picture frame for her,
nope, she can do it all on her own. I named my
villager “Julia” because I am human and want to
see myself in all that I do, but the longer I play,
the more I don’t recognize this virtual entity. How
much she smiles, goes outside, gets shit done. You
wouldn’t catch her on the couch for hours on end,
crying in her car, sleeping in too late. On my villager’s
island, the words “depression” and “pandemic” and
“isolation” do not exist. Why would they? She lives in a
paradise where everything comes simple and flowering.
Hers is a heaven which, even before our reality shifted,
I have never recognized, but in the now I find myself
full of ugly want, hotheaded words. What I would give.
For a world where everything is sugar-sweet ease. A
morn that does not start with the breaking but, instead,
with a wave from a cheery neighbor, who just happens
to be a pink rhinoceros. An eve that is not an endless
rattle of panicked spirals but a chance to wander a
world beautiful and manicured and safe. A life where
I do not envy that which is not even real to begin with.

+++

 

April 6th.

I had to go to the ATM today,
and when I arrived there was
already a man attending to business.

So I did the thing.
I planted my feet,
fostered two Shaq’s worth
of distance between us.
This man saw me at a glance
over his shoulder, nodded, continued.

As I lay in wait,
hands adorned with
cotton candy rubber gloves,
an older man, face wearing
the kind of mask
my dentist tends to prefer,
approached the scene.
Without a word,
he pointed at me, then the ATM’d man.
I nodded. This man nodded.
Then he planted his own feet
just as I had done.
There was what felt like
a mile between us three.

All of us planted firm,
growing patience, blooming
in our understanding
that this is how it is now

and look how we
can still show kindness,
still keep humanity
in our back pockets

by giving each other
more than enough space.

+++

 

April 8th.

 

i.

The woman to my far far right wonders aloud
if we are living through a waking nightmare.
She is sitting astride a maroon bicycle
as the pair of us watch figures clad in hazmat suits
evacuate an ambulance and enter an apartment building.
It is the closest I have felt with another human in weeks.

ii.

I keep rubber gloves the shade of pansies in my Subaru.
I put them on and feel invincible for the first five minutes,
until I touch my face or my phone or my fanny pack
without thinking, and then it becomes all for naught.
This is the epitome of a placebo, how these soiled gloves do
nothing but we all feel better once we slide them on.

iii.

A bag of homemade masks now sits on the desk in my bedroom.
I stare at it and know I will have to bury my face in one tomorrow.
I am scared that my clients might see me and, in return, be scared.

iv.

Three weeks ago, I was walking and saw another human
quickly retrieve their mail while wearing a hazmat suit,
and I laughed out loud at the absurdity.
Last time I checked, I’m no longer laughing.

+++

 

April 8th.
Part 2

i.

The woman to my far far right wonders aloud
if we are living through a waking nightmare .
She is sitting astride a maroon bicycle
as the pair of us watch figures clad in hazmat suit s
evacuate an ambulance and enter an apartment building.
It is the closest I have felt with another human in weeks.

ii.

I keep rubber gloves the shade of pansies in my Subaru.
I put them on and feel invincible for the first five minutes,
until I touch my face or my phone or my fanny pack
without thinking , and then it becomes all for naught.
This is the epitome of a placebo, how these soiled gloves do
nothing but we all feel better once we slide them on.

iii.

A bag of homemade masks now sits on the desk in my bedroom.
I stare at it and know I willhave to bury my face in one tomorrow.
I am scared that my clients might see me and, in return, be scared .

iv.

Three weeks ago, I was walking and saw another human
quick ly retrieve their mail while wearing a hazmat suit,
and I laughed out loud at the absurdity.
Last time I checked, I’m no longer laughing .

+++

Julia Gaskill (she/her) is a professional daydreamer hailing from Portland, Oregon. She has competed multiple times on national stages with her poetry across the country. Her work has been featured on FreezeRay Poetry, Ink&Nebula, Rising Phoenix Review, Knight’s Library Magazine, Voicemail Poems, and more. Her poem ‘I Will Not Beg For Scraps’ was nominated for Best of the Net in 2015. Julia is the author of four chapbooks, runs the mic Slamlandia, co-founded the Bigfoot Regional Poetry Slam in 2019, and just released her debut spoken word album, Stouthearted Bitch. It goes without saying that she loves Muppets more than you. Find Julia at @geekgirlgrownup or facebook.com/jgaskpoetry

 

Learn more about “Distanced: Artists Under Quarantine” here.
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Distanced: Robyn Bateman & Rob Gray https://nailedmagazine.com/poetry/distanced-robyn-bateman-rob-gray/ Mon, 27 Apr 2020 18:24:38 +0000 https://nailedmagazine.com/?post_type=poetry&p=18097 +++   “Distanced” is designed to connect artists impacted by COVID-19 with potential patrons. To support Robyn and Rob, we ask that our readership contribute using the following information:   Paypal: robyn.bateman@gmail.com  Venmo: @robyn.bateman   You can also support Robyn and Rob by following their work at Lovely Book Club, by checking out Rob’s artist page, […]

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+++

 

“Distanced” is designed to connect artists impacted by COVID-19 with potential patrons.
To support Robyn and Rob, we ask that our readership contribute using the following information:

 

Paypal: robyn.bateman@gmail.com 
Venmo: @robyn.bateman

 

You can also support Robyn and Rob by following their work at Lovely Book Club, by checking out Rob’s artist page, or by following Robyn’s long-running web comic, Failing Haus, right here on NAILED.

 

+++


The Piano is Tipping the House

The piano is tipping the house;
remarkable weight
shifting floorboards over time.
If I knew another way
would I take it?
The alleyway that connects me
to the neighbors is bearing
apples as we speak.
They are filled with promises
like, tomorrow will come after today,
like, the ocean exists when I cannot see it,
like, my dreams are made by my body.
I take a bite from one
and it tastes better than the last,
but worse than the next.
My home is here, right now,
in this expertly designed breeze
nipping my kneecaps,
and I still remember you in it.
Don’t ask me
if we will touch again.
I slip behind the piano
to grab a new face,
then put it on for you:
champagne white
and flushed cheeks.
“Open a window,” shout the birds.
I yell back, “We are all windows!”
The house jilts inwards,
a minor chord struck.  My mother
bent in another kitchen, hand
on her back, asking for ice.
I take a break.
I take ten breaks.
Outside is loud
even though
I can’t hear anything.
People are falling over
all the time.  I am staying in my home
all the time, until it sprouts
its own apples.  I made them myself.
I can make things myself.
One more week like this
and I will tip it over,
both piano and house.
I don’t care.
You will still see me
whether there or not here
or at the tips of your fingers.
My hair, hardly holding on,
for what?

+++

 


Robyn Bateman writes, draws, and cooks stuff in Portland, Oregon. A new episode of their autobiographical comic, Failing Haus, can be found every other week on Nailed Magazine. Robyn is also the author of “Oh,” a book of poetry exploring emotional trauma and recovery. They make books and other rare artifacts with Lovely Book Club, formerly Dimsummer, a small press dedicated to never meeting deadlines.

 
 
 
 

Rob Gray is an artist, musician, and writer in Portland, Oregon.  He is a founding member of Lovely Book Club, which is more like a yacht club really, but also more like a drinking club and also an amateur football club.  He spends most his time working at Full Life, a day program for adults with developmental disabilities.  Rob was born in London, England, grew up in Karlsruhe, Germany, lived in the Bay Area and Santa Barbara, CA before settling in the Pacific Northwest.  He has been living, working, making and sharing art, music, and poetry in Portland since 2009.  

Visit www.robertduncangray.com to see his work.
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Poetry Suite by Yoshika Wason https://nailedmagazine.com/poetry/poetry-suite-by-yoshika-wason/ Wed, 15 Apr 2020 12:00:55 +0000 https://nailedmagazine.com/?post_type=poetry&p=18072 Poetry by Yoshika Wason +++ Book Fair After report card conferences I led my parents to the Scholastic book fair            where I read Ripley’s Believe it or Not! We looked at photos of a woman with fingernails so long they curled like stiff ribbons. I turned the page to a […]

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Poetry by Yoshika Wason

+++

Book Fair

After report card conferences
I led my parents to the Scholastic book fair           
where I read Ripley’s Believe it or Not!
We looked at photos of a woman
with fingernails so long
they curled like stiff ribbons.
I turned the page to a man with tattoos
covering 98% of his body. Then
I saw shrunken heads created
from the enemies of ancient people.

I flipped the page again. A halting “oh”
from my parents came as a response.
Unexpectedly, we had come across
a picture of personal significance:
a photo of my parent’s wedding day.
I wasn’t able to find their young faces                                                  
among the thousands of brides and grooms
that they shared their day with—but I was certain
that they were just beyond the camera’s scope.
I closed the book but the image stayed with me.
I began to wonder if Mom and Dad really
did belong with the strange and the unusual.

 

+++

 

Mother Tongue

If laughter is my second language then lying is my third.    I cut my tongue     on sharp words
as I learn to lie about where I’m going and who I’m seeing.    I cut my hair    when it’s too alive
with tongues    I blame mother   Medusa for stealing my laugh    as if I had no way to stop
the negative space from expanding    until we are no longer    in the same frame.
Now when I start to laugh     my lips move but no sound comes out     my tongue spasms
like a phantom limb. A squid newly beheaded     still remembers     how to dance. 

 

+++


M**nies

Who do you think you are? The question on
my college application says something
else. Religious affiliation:____________?
My dad says leave it blank because if they
know, they’ll change their mind about you, but I still
write “Moonie.” Turns out, he was wrong.

The word invades. This time as a warning
about love bombing from my art teacher.
She cuts m**nies into syllables and
I help abstract it by rearranging
the letters. From m-o-o-n-i-e-s there are new words:
no
                               omens
                                                                some
                                                                                                  noise

                                  ***

Spreading the word of god means ignoring
signs like “no soliciting” in front of
a barbershop where a hairstylist flicks
the word MOONIE to me then points
to the door. I’m stripped of my words and leave,
ashamed.

While packing for college, my parents gift
me a suitcase, camera, and journal
before starting the three hour drive to my dorm.
An hour into I-95, I turn
on the radio. An ad, the weather,
then breaking news: THE LEADER
OF THE MOONIES HAS DIED TODAY.
The meaning of the word is held in limbo:
moonies
                           without
                                                      Reverend
                                                                                    Moon

+++


Light of Glory


First, the lightening of glory
                                        flashes blue-green,
                          the last days are here.

             Next, a kick of thunder
                                        from the inside
                                                      belly church, brings new life.

                            Apocalyptic winds mixed
                                                       with a rain of metalware
                                       flood the earth.
                                                    From the swell
                                                                 new Jesus is born.

                             Write his origin story
               hunched over dim light
                             playing his rebirth
                                           over and over, soaking
                                                        fact with myth
                             until the two bleed,
                mixed into the same color.

                                                         You think your labor is the stuff
                                                                                     of history books,
                                                                                    a museum display,
                                                          at least a family heirloom.
                                                                        Preserving your memory
                                            into a cultural artifact but

                 you don’t know
                               that future anthropologists
                                             born in the time after the last days
                  study your texts to try to answer
                               questions like
                                            how are myths born?
                                                          and
                                                                        who gets to revise history?

                              Your writing gives answers
                to questions that you never delivered.

They fold in on you.
             Who was this new Ezra?
                                        A dedicated follower
                         or unreliable narrator?

             This time you don’t
get to control
             the story.

 

+++

 

                    Ghost Marriage

I think seventeen is too young to    marry    die

but they still gave him a bride after his funeral.

They say dead presidents & Russian ballerinas

& North Korean leaders got a wedding invite.

Congratulations                              Condolences

to the newly wedded couple & widowed bride.

Note: on January 2, 1984, Heung Jin Moon died at age 17 after being in a car accident. On February 20, 1984, Hoon Sook “Julia” Pak married Heung Jin. Members believe that Heung Jin continues his ministry from heaven.

+++

Reversed Moon

2 a.m. search history:

How does a crayfish_
How does a crayfish breathe?
How does a crayfish molt?
How does a crayfish know when it’s time to leave the water?

What I mean is, how do I stop being so yesnoyes?

//

It’s 2 a.m. and my search
history blurs so I cut
the deck in thirds; pick a card,
any card and draw a reversed moon.

//

Tonight I decide to finally leave;
see my shell glisten wet as I claw to shore,
antenna pointing moonward.
Good bye,
             good bye,
                          goodbye.

 

+++

Header image courtesy of Joshua Zirschky. To view his Photographer Feature, go here.

Yoshika Wason is a teacher and writer. She earned her BA in English and secondary education from Boston College, where she was editor-in-chief of ASIAM, an Asian Pacific Islander American literary magazine. Her works have appeared in Ghost City Review, Ricepaper Magazine, Curator Magazine, and others. Yoshika is from Bridgeport, Connecticut and currently resides in Aomori Prefecture (Japan). Learn more at www.yoshikawason.com

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Distanced: Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad https://nailedmagazine.com/poetry/distanced-mehrnoosh-torbatnejad/ Mon, 13 Apr 2020 12:00:43 +0000 https://nailedmagazine.com/?post_type=poetry&p=18065 +++   “Distanced” is designed to connect artists impacted by COVID-19 with potential patrons. Mehrnoosh is a resident of Queens, New York where local hospitals have been overwhelmed by the outbreak. To best support her, you can support her community by giving at:   NYC Food Bank   You can learn more about Mehrnoosh at […]

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+++

 

“Distanced” is designed to connect artists impacted by COVID-19 with potential patrons.
Mehrnoosh is a resident of Queens, New York where local hospitals have been overwhelmed by the outbreak. To best support her, you can support her community by giving at:

 

 

You can learn more about Mehrnoosh at her website.

 

+++

 

Listen here:
Ode to the Good Wi-Fi

 

Especially now, this crystal-clear image,
framed by a touchscreen rectangle,
the only portal to his existence
 
I had never watched so intently
the way a laugh originates and executes
its purpose: to offer proof of steady breath
 
Even if his body freezes,
I am still naïve enough to believe
a restart will remedy this glitch
 
Just like how I think the birds
are chirping louder than usual
because they are missing us
 
But there is no echo,
no reflection of our voices
to complain or ponder about
 
And in fact, I see perfectly
his fingers when he adjusts
the tilt of his screen
 
Part of a hand that used to glide
at a soothing pace down my back
when I was falling asleep
 
I write praise so I forget
the shudder, the shattering of my own,
as I witness those fingers open
 
into a palm, a carrier of the unseen,
now, a possible vessel
to a secluded suffering,
 
an unwilling enemy,
conqueror of the safety, and softness,
of its former function

+++

Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad’s poetry has appeared in Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Waxwing among others. She won the 2019 LUMINA La Lengua contest and the 2016 Pinch Literary Prize, and is a Best of the New, Pushcart Prize, and Best New Poets nominee. She lives in New York where she practices law.

 

 

 

Learn more about “Distanced: Artists Under Quarantine” here.
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Distanced: Igor Brezhnev https://nailedmagazine.com/poetry/distanced-igor-brezhnev/ Mon, 06 Apr 2020 12:00:58 +0000 https://nailedmagazine.com/?post_type=poetry&p=18040 +++   “Distanced” is designed to connect artists impacted by COVID-19 with potential patrons. To support Igor, we ask that our readership contribute through the following links:   Patreon  Paypal  Venmo: @IgorBrezhnev   You can also support Igor by contributing to Lightship Press and purchasing a book or album from any of their phenomenal poets   +++ […]

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Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
+++

 

“Distanced” is designed to connect artists impacted by COVID-19 with potential patrons.
To support Igor, we ask that our readership contribute through the following links:

 

Venmo: @IgorBrezhnev

 

You can also support Igor by contributing to Lightship Press and purchasing a book or album from any of their phenomenal poets

 

+++

 

keep being human

the empty shelves in stores
and snaking queues for rations,
place numbers written on our wrists,
this was moscow of early nineties and
here it is again, now in l.a., a flashback,
so i say to you, it will pass, though it is
up to you to keep being human, hard
thing to do in whipped fear, but i do
believe in you. gentle, tender walk
through these times, my friends,
it is better to be hungry than to
become a sharp-edged stone.

+++

a quiet spring

one day you may
call this a quiet spring,
when we drew collective
breath and held it for a time.
then we exhaled, later, empty,
a bit lightheaded, and giddy for
the sun to warm our skin, so ready
to breathe again—steady, dear ones,
steady. move one flower petal at a time.
and if i could i’d hold your hands through
all of it and give you bouquets of dandelions
every morning in mason jars of cold water
from mountain streams. i’d whisper dawn
to every home with pancakes and maple
syrup and fresh peaches cut in slices,
i’d wake you up with chicory coffee
and the kind of blues you dance to.
wake up, wake up and dance, you
are only holding breath for now.
the spring is quiet, but, look
the flowers are blooming.

+++

Igor Brezhnev is a poet and a book designer, among his other sins. He is the founder of Wordlights poetry reading series (facebook.com/wordligthspoetry & wordlightspoetry.com) and of Lightship Press (lightshippress.com), a small press focused on publishing poetry. Igor has two full length collections of poetry published by Liquid Gravity Publishing, ‘dearest void’ (2016) and ‘america is a dry cookie and other love stories’ (2018), a spoken word album ‘Good Days & Bad Days’ (Lightship Press, 2018, igorbrezhnev.bandcamp.com), as well as a couple of self-published chapbooks in ‘nights since’ series which focuses on emotional landscape of being without a home. You can support Igor at patreon.com/igorbrezhnev and get daily poems & weekly audio recordings. More information about Igor can be found at igorbrezhnev.com.

 

Learn more about “Distanced: Artists Under Quarantine” here.
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Introducing “Distanced” – Artists Under Quarantine https://nailedmagazine.com/letters/introducing-distanced-artists-under-quarantine/ Mon, 06 Apr 2020 00:30:02 +0000 https://nailedmagazine.com/?post_type=letters&p=18037 A letter from the editor +++ To our NAILED readers and community – We find ourselves, together, at a moment unprecedented in recent history. Many of us are anxious, fearful, and uncertain as we silo alone or stalk cautiously through our quiet streets. While we cannot predict what the weeks ahead hold, all of us […]

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A letter from the editor

+++

To our NAILED readers and community –

We find ourselves, together, at a moment unprecedented in recent history. Many of us are anxious, fearful, and uncertain as we silo alone or stalk cautiously through our quiet streets. While we cannot predict what the weeks ahead hold, all of us here at NAILED intend to do our best in continuing to publish the passionate and artful content which defines our magazine. We hope this work will offer you moments of connection during these stifling times.

But this is not enough.

As a magazine which has always sought to amplify voices from historically marginalized communities, we recognize that many of our contributors are left vulnerable to both the present pandemic and its economic fallout. Artists the world over are struggling to stay afloat in the absence of readings, markets, and tours while commissions are continually dwindling. And yet now, more than ever, we turn to the arts. In the interest of supporting these essential creators, NAILED is launching a new series of work which we’re calling “Distanced”. Within this series, you’ll discover content beyond our usual scope of publication, content which directly responds to the present crisis, alongside information on how to support these artists. In the spirit of community, of recognizing the value of art, of carrying one another through this, we ask that all those who are able to please step up as patrons – buy books, commission work, invest in artists, and spread the word.

None of us can do this alone, and as long as we support one another, none of us has to.

 

With gratitude,

Sam Preminger

Editor-in-Chief

 

+++

*Header image by Dima Rebus. See more of his paintings here.

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