Songbirds by J.I. Kleinberg

 

Source & Method: This visual poem is from an ongoing series of collages built from phrases created unintentionally through the accident of magazine page design. Each chunk of text (roughly the equivalent of a poetic line) is entirely removed from its original sense and syntax. The text is not altered and includes no attributable phrases. The lines are sourced from different magazines.​

Artist, poet, and freelance writer, J.I. Kleinberg is a Puschart nominee and winner of the 2016 Ken Warfel Fellowship. Her found poems have appeared in Diagram, Heavy Feather Review, Rise Up Review, The Tishman Review, Hedgegrow, Otoliths, and elsewhere. She lives in Bellingham, Washington, and blogs most days at thepoetrydeparment.wordpress.com.

 

Every Step by Michael Prihoda

the interval
of anticipation,

of severed
connections.

the identity
so lonely,

the window
intact

in the visible
sliver of losing interest.

maybe thinking
rustled the suitcase

the door locking
above a whisper.

dialogue,
close-ups,

wary to know
every step.

Source: Don DeLillo’s Falling Man.

Michael Prihoda is a poet, editor, and teacher living in central Indiana. He is the editor of After the Pause, an experimental literary magazine and small press. His work has received nominations for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net. He is the author of eight poetry collections, the most recent of which is Years Without Room (Weasel Press, 2018).

 

The Best I Can Say by Mary Ardery

Dad—

It is Saturday morning.
They planted grass seed yesterday.
All good here,
beyond me.
Mom loved reading
the magazines.
We mark time with rituals and pictures—
a mother and father,
three little girls—
though
the real world
is not a straight line progression.
I’m struggling,
but I wake up every morning
and remember
that we are
much more than fine.
You’ve been like that forever—
committed
even in those moments when doubt threatens your faith.
The chaos,
the demons,
are waxing and waning.
The best I can say is
see you soon.

Source: Letters from my dad 2015-2018

Method: Thinking ahead to Father’s Day, I pulled out excerpts from handwritten letters from my dad over the past few years. I rearranged them to create a letter addressed to him, constructed by his own words addressed to me. Each line break represents a change in which letter I pulled the phrase from. The punctuation (and much of the capitalization) is my own.

Mary is from Bloomington, IN. You can find more of her work on Parks & Points, Sweet Tree Review, and right here on Unlost Journal. She is currently pursuing an MFA at Southern Illinois University.

Hesitant Afterlife Shat a Little Sunshine by Aditya Shankar

Sometimes
the scattered Buddha
hung a billion limbs
that flared time
and straitened language.

Under the tree,
Bodhisattva is the invisible forehead
of an underground sky

which rises through the
fast lane of a xylem,
nests with God
to curl as water in the clouds.

The squirrels watch –

Look, gallons of steam
distills in the tender membranes
of sharp worms and hunger,

leaving us with humanure,
and heart sutra.

That living is a rebound experiment
for the burning roots.

That being is the cluttered innards
of a violent ritual.

When you tap inside
the tender detours of animals,
sacrifice is rain.

When you climb
the ladder of a day,
density is blood.

Source: Hidden Light, Wooden Ladder, Bucket of Clay, Pillar of Water by Marco Wilkinson

Method: I randomly marked the list of words as I read down the source text and married them in the order in which they chose their own meaning. 

Aditya Shankar is an Indian poet, flash fiction author, and translator. His poems, fiction, and translations have appeared or is forthcoming in the Unbroken Journal, Modern Literature, The Queen Mob’s Teahouse, The Ghost Parachute, Canada Quarterly, Indian Literature, MoonPark Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, and elsewhere. Books: After Seeing (2006), Party Poopers (2014). His anthology of poems, XXL is forthcoming (Dhauli Books, 2018). He lives in Bangalore, India.  You can reach him @suncave.

 

How to Be Safe by Melissa D. Sullivan

Try not to
wear scarves or
long jewelry
that could be used to
strangle you. If you’re in
a home
with stairs,
try to stay on the first floor. If
violence is unavoidable,
make yourself
a small target. Dive
into a corner
and curl up into a ball
with your face
protected
and arms around
each side of your head.
Don’t run
to where the children are,
as your partner
may hurt
them
as well.

Source: thehotline.org

Method:  In researching how to help in a friend facing a bad situation, I found this website of practical, yet horrifying advice meant to assist victims of domestic violence.  As I read the suggestions, I was struck with how violence was presented as all but inevitable. In creating the poem, I tried to focus on the instructions that made me the smallness I felt when reading that website.  

Melissa D. Sullivan is a writer, attorney and recipient of the 2016 Parent-Writer Fellowship in Fiction from the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing.  Her most recent short story appeared in the Adelaide Literary Magazine. She lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania with her family.

 

Mortality by Mark McKain

A diver squats in a tea cup, a poorly understood benthic mass,
largest Antarctic sponge, slow to grow,

quick to die, extreme longevity,
gang-planked in
experimental gardens,

Diving into zero-degree water, she measures urn-shapes with lasers.
In field notes: A vase

molded by a third grader
or a Japanese ceramics master,
sculpting raw silica beauty.

Lighter than smaller species, its central cavity, a negative capability,
where other life forms, three worms,

husbanded in sym-
biotic policies of
shared data and material.

A hundred sponges collected, a scientific booty/baseline for extinction?
Fallen off the plank, Father’s biomass un-

balanced, tipped off, sunk,
spicules found on bottom.
Cover him with kisses, sponges.


Source: Dayton et al. Recruitment, Growth and Mortality of an Antarctic Hexactinellid Sponge, Anoxycalyx joubini. Plos One. February 2013. Volume 8 Issue 2.

Method: I like to travel to inspire writing and when I return home, I read about where I’ve been.  Through readings in history, geology, archeology, and biology, I am often struck by a passage that resonates emotionally, giving me a visceral sensation that is inexplicable or outside what the text is talking about.  I will copy this passage in my journal and add other material—early memories, recent experiences from my travels, and the death of a loved one.
I organize this material using syllabic lines. Then let the composition go elsewhere answering a different or unexpected question to complete the composition.   

Mark McKain’s work has appeared in The New Republic, Agni, The Journal, Subtropics, Blue Mesa Review, Superstition Review, and elsewhere. His poetry chapbook Blue Sun was published by Aldrich Press in 2015. He teaches creative writing in Orlando, Florida.