Saturday, December 12, 2015


Notes Towards Touch

Air abdicating from the wind blows open the door, admits
nothing—my eyes light on the doorknob, fall into the faint lines
of a fingerprint, as if to live there, the brain extending into the
world as the rhythm of the eyes becoming a skin becomes
perceptible. The rhythm, having gained dimension, displaces
the sky: the tumbled clouds, humming, the sticky sun,

I’m trying to write you of the whole body—the brain touching
itself and attaching us to life, the curve at the edge of hearing,
the netting of nerve and thought girding the stomach—

This kind of touch, this attachment to life, means only what the
pulse does—this ‘this’ (beat, beat), almost unseen. (Julie Joosten)

I’m always pleased to see a new issue of COUGH, an occasional journal that appears through a small collective of writers in Toronto. Unfortunately, with the distraction of toddler, I’m only realizing now that I haven’t seen an issue in a while [see my review of COUGH #3 here]. Guest-edited (“this turn”) by Dominique Russell, COUGH #7 [see a video of the October launch of such here] features new writing by regulars and irregulars alike, including Joanne Kyger, Julie Joosten, David Peter Clark, Beatriz Hausner, Michael Boughn, Jonathan Pappo, Oliver Cusimano, Dale Smith, Enrique Enriquez, Android Spit, Emily Izsak, Tyler Crick, Laine Bourassa, Victor Coleman, Jacklyn Pidiuk and Dominique Russell, as well as illustrations by Rob Kenter, Emma Russell-Trione, Luca Russell-Trione and Bruno Russell-Trione. As always, part of the appeal of COUGH is in the variety and delight of the work included, from the expansive sketch-poems of Oliver Cusimano [see my recent review of his chapbook here], the lyric sentences of irregular member Julie Joosten, Android Spit’s accumulative “Shrinkrap” and the sequential precisions of Jaclyn Pidiuk, to the casual meditations of such an established guest-poet such as Joanne Kyger. The issue includes drawings, visuals, experimental pieces, prose, lyric poems and other works, in a wonderfully playful, inclusive and expansive jumble, collected in such a way that each issue feels less “all over the place” than a cohesive whole. Apart from Joosten’s prose pieces, some of the work that really jumped out at me included the excerpt from Dale Smith’s sequence “Dogstar,” Emily Izsak’s playful lyrics and the two short pieces by Laine Bourassa:

Berlin, 2200 hours

faces here so fresh your own swells and wrinkles
newborn in an old land
happy outbreaks

someone brought rope and hung
from rafters to dip Berlin
in liquid bandaid words

a door in the closed wall
heaves of coal black locks above ground

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