ModPo & Experimental Poetry
Mike is not my name,
I told you.
I borrowed it from Bible
to roam the land of Uncle Sam.
It’s my tuxedo and pasta,
behind which the I hid and ate,
slept, woke and educated.
swallowed like an esophagus glide,
peppered and festered,
like when he cheated on the red and yellow stripes
with a pure lady of your kind,
and everything will be fine if no one tells, right?
But when the sun goes down at night,
something must’ve been left behind.
You tell me it’s alright.
Girls borrow clothes from mothers
to appear mature for one party night.
Boys borrow advice from fathers
to become good doctors for two lifetimes.
Sod borrows blankets from snow
to cover debris in their plowed skin.
Water borrows momentum from winds
to dance atop sky like an elegant Jackson Mike.
Uncle Sam borrows Earth from everybody
so more borrow titles from that book of Holy.
Your name is Mike.
You want to borrow my language
even if it’s just for a night
so that you can communicate with my heritage.
He tells you it’s alright.
Your white skin, paler than rice paper in his printer,
constitutes the most proper mandarin smoked in my homeland.
Mike Yunxuan Li is a sophomore majoring in neurobiology and minoring in creative writing and Spanish at Cornell University, and loves reading contemporary poems, especially those composed by Yusef Komunyakaa.
to be is to bleed away
fuck off with your words & their good omen of “creative disobedience”/ there on my drowned face the light of your words ripples Ismaelillo / like a hollow-eyed fish in after life i gather my colors to ease the fear of stating a theme across my poems that live against the root of my tongue / let your saxophone solo bring me a saline gale of jazz / the Bay of Pigs howls through the outcroppings of nights as i wonder what could exactly approximate the soaring blood of Marti / i know it's not the poetic acquiescence in metaphor of the blue guttering down the sea / not blue / rather the geological formation of azul as an antithesis to darkness / plenty of heart
silence mottled with holes speaks to my bones as a symphony of spontaneous details / what's that white horse to do in my cloud-scratched souvenirs of Dos Rios for all your testaments Ismaelillo / to stand ones ground is to bleed away / i wonder whether that hoofed beast appears now dark saved among my souvenirs / i could never sing in my words / just passed my life watching from a viewpoint images tolling inside them / the index finger pressed forever / a forever blue atop my horse / i burned like impermanence hanging at an ornithic root / i was a body at first with shackles exempt from the gravity of earth before i could sing you Ismaelillo with lilies in my mouth from the exile /
Ismaelillo / my last deaths triaged out / & Marti's sustaining belief in poetry / laid side by side / radiance always long to burst / go slippery bird / the white crust of Bahia de Cochinos gleams
Debasis Mukhopadhyay is the author of the chapbook kyrie eleison or all robins taken out of context (Finishing Line Press, 2017). His poems have appeared in many journals.
Winged Victory of Samothrace
You feel the flash.
You cannot see it coming. You know it is on its way. The air pushes out. At the same time you feel it pass by. Or rather, pass through you. From back to front. The air breaks. Like at the surface of a still pond. A picture frame. It dislocates in front of you. It pulls you back.
The rush. You feel mazy. Your ears sing silently. You hear the sound, still do. In your memory. It sticks there. The dust just above the road, slightly raised, shudders. It dithers, mid-air.
Such a loud sound, strangely dead. For a second your ears seem remarkably thick. Then wet. Then fluid, rust-red.
You see a woman’s face, wide-opened blue eyes, pursed at the mouth, as if astonished, taken aback. The tanned shoulder, covered with speckles of sweat, miniature inverse bubbles. A brightening red underlines her armpit, vaguely stubbled. A snatched vision, it glances past you.
Then all is quiet. The rush. The tumbling twists of metal. Cubes of windscreen glass crumble mute, drop to the floor in a curious dance. A hissing sibilance of wind and sea. You notice, not a yard in front of you, a hand, three gold bands, one diamonded, only three fingers. It reaches from a sleeve of a cute shirt, torn where an elbow should be.
There is no elbow, no more. The woman’s head, abandoned across the road, looks at you, wide-eyed, still astonished. You meet her stare.
You meet her there.
Martin Porter lives in Whangarei, New Zealand. He is published in New Zealand, USA and UK. He currently sits on the New Zealand National Flash Fiction Competition committee.
becomes scars (becomes
into exhale) imprints
ECLIPSE (OR: S.E. 2010 VII)
Touched by you, I am
Wanton, we gather superficially at the
Center of warm flesh
Decoding one another's fractured forms.
I feel, for all intents and purposes, in a
Self-defeating sense, Desire
Of tidal proportions, an Oceanic
Onrush, only to be drowned in.
JayJay Conrad’s work has been published in both print and online publications, including Breath and Shadow (x2); Counterexample Poetics; Drown in my own Fears; Canopic Jar and Slipstream Press.
Better than Starbucks began wholly as a creation in my mind. Now the wonderful collaboration of six dedicated editors is creating a monthly magazine that I could have only dreamed about when I was starting out as a one person organization.
Having said that, there are no direct connections between U Penn, Al Filreis, KWH (Kelly Writers House), ModPo (Modern & Contemporary American Poetry), or any of the actual affiliated programs to ModPo and this magazine, other than I have been a part of ModPo for several years now. There is, however, a strong spiritual and intellectual connection between BTS and ModPo.
If I had not gotten involved in the larger community of ModPo, I don't think I would have restarted a literary publication. I am certain I would not have added a Formal & Rhyming Page, and probably not a Translations page. I have a pretty narrow preference for poetry, but the course and the people at ModPo have expanded my view of poetry to the point that I decided if I could find good people to help me do it, we would make BTS as broad of a source of styles and genres as possible. We have been fortunate to establish a team of talented editors and are in the process of an ever expanding quest to find poetry wherever it may be.
Thus, it seems fitting that we dedicate a page to my fellow students at ModPo, and/or anyone who wants to share experimental poems. The thing about experiments is, they often fail, but as the point is to learn, not to create perfection, even failed experiments in the lab or on this page, will offer something for us, if we will find it. and when the experiment doesn't fail... well, you will see! - Anthony Watkins
Use these link buttons to visit our other poetry pages, fiction, non-fiction, and the interview!