Tuesday, August 01, 2017

P-QUEUE #14 : Revenge

Are we too bold to present this city, Sanctuary?

[17 January 2017, 2 days after MLK Jr day,
3 days before Inauguration of the Tyrant.]

Am I entitled to my father’s whiteness? Did I believe?
in his return, every scotomizing son to every MacArthur,
pipe and drape, pomp and puddle, replenishing from
boat, leap you from that leak, or lack and muddle,
white liberals here visa hack no safe return nor
safe passage, between venues, or famished strip tease,
adopt to basic frights, and you still want muster to
head of line privilege no white wants against garrison,
a garish rubber bullet, give me a recruiting narrative,
I can believe, in gush we trust, but tarry malevolence
so it does not factfire, your disguise as vacant homily
to rule of law, how to not flirt in white spcaes,
because collaborating sheriffs need not explanation
ache to book private prison, promise me reading
material for my vagrancy, service one white master
for another, and isn’t that what my master[s] is good for,
here chaw like covenant, I’ve returned. Agsubliac Pay!
is so much fun, to jig a brown dance on milky stage,

let’s do it twice,
let’s do it thrice? (Sean Labrador Y Manzano, “REBLANCHEMENT”)

Buffalo poet Allison Cardon’s first issue of P-QUEUE as editor is #14 (2017). For anyone paying attention, P-QUEUE has long been one of my favourite American literary journals [see my reviews of #10-13; #7-8; #5 here], and it appears annually through the Poetics Program and the English Department at SUNY Buffalo. Edited and produced by students as part of the program, it’s comparable to Concordia’s annual headlight anthology; unlike headlight, which attempts to focus on immediate students and graduates, bringing their work out into the world, P-QUEUE has always been more of a mix, allowing students and more established writers to meet and mix within its pages. Subtitled “Revenge,” Cardon ends her introduction to the issue offering that:

It should be clear that revenge is not the only thread weaving this issue together. And yet all of the pieces here do take up a related interest in reckoning: approaches that distinguish structural, historical, and personal accounts from the kinds of bookkeeping in which sunk losses are only to be forsaken, ignored, or forgotten.

The new issue features a wide array of writing and artwork by Sean Labrador Y Manzano, Stacey Tran, Laura Henriksen, Shayna S. Israel, Eric Sneathen & Daniel Case, Woogee Bae, Jocelyn Saidenberg, Brandon Shimoda and Adam Mitts. Highlights abound: I’m always fascinated by the work of Brandon Shimoda (despite being very behind on his work), and am curious about the forthcoming debut chapbook that Laura Henriksen has with Imp. The author of numerous poetry titles, and founding editor of KRUPSKAYA Books, Jocelyn Saidenberg is a wonderful discovery; a poet I hadn’t even heard of before this (which is my failing, obviously). Her poems included here, “from KITH & KIN,” meander and flow in the most incredible ways, writing out loops and twirls and line-breaks that somehow seem both straightforward and disjunctive simultaneously. I’m very keen to see the full project emerges, most likely as a full-length collection (I would suspect) down the road.


fewer birds are bolder coming closer
as curiosity’s companion for light
to a dream place in that used to be &
is no longer a self interloped & poaching

            I did repair the hole in the rug
with the tools she’d given me
I did repair the breach with Bob
when horrible things happen
the smallest lapse an insult felt

but when intensity
lessens which is worse
to pause to remember to remember

            reading word disorder for order
humiliation for friendship for what
guarantor what author for Martial
making a book makes the book a debt
for its maker & that’s literal when
what costs grow augmented
or not towards the growers
of what may be matter
then I look with solicitude
& console the impossible

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