ISSUE FOUR: Sell A Mystery | first poem ←

In the Basement of the Penal Colony,

Version 2.3, Rimbaud Remembers

Les Kay

When the process began,
An illness flowering was but
An occasional fantasia whispered
Between the yawning students
Cursing the size of their weekly
Allotment of laudanum and seven-
Percent solution. The Bureau
Was                                        even
The ballet of poetry. Doubtless,
Now you can see the allure
Northern Africa had for me,
For us. And then among the
Wars, well after my death,
An investigator in Bordeaux
Noticed the correlation, synthesized
The first precursor to                   

The swallows and the shape of
Small barn owls began to
Bear more import, even, than
The corpses blooming beneath
A scholar's scalpel. Foxes,
Tamed for fur, spotted, lightened,
And we began to sense, though
We still could not know,
The divisibility of our genomics,
And by extension, our potentiality.
Everyone, even                              
Felt the implications, like a slow
Script of one's sins carved
Into the small of one's back.
For a while, I believed I had gills.
That's when I met Marie.
There was something about her,
Aside from the faint glow,
Aside from being dead, aside
From the fact that she smiled
When I called her my evil flower,
Which loosened the tightness
In my calves, my lower back,
My ground-down jaw.
Sitting with her beneath date
Palms                                         , or beneath
The steel-muffled                   
was a rondeau,
A villanelle. I was reminded
Of Valery, his hair floating,
Like jellyfish tentacles
Across what then seemed the
Endless sea of my unshaved
Chest as we slept away
Afternoons with absinthe and
Each other. Perhaps that was
The night                                         

Shouting at the cobblestones
And stained glass: love contained
In the chalice of a single body is
Not hatred enough. I need more
To need. And within an hour,
I'd been returned to Morocco via
The farm where Mother taught
Me my prayers, and nothing
Has been more clear to me,
Though, now I know:               

Les Kay's chapbook, The Bureau, is forthcoming from Sundress Publications in 2015, and his poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Southern Humanities Review, RomComPom, Whiskey Island, Sugar House Review, The White Review, Borderlands, and elsewhere. He holds a PhD from the University of Cincinnati where he is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor.

ISSUE FOUR: Sell A Mystery | first poem ←

ISSUE FOUR: Sell A Mystery

Jesse Nissim
   Entrance and Difference
   There was a bit of dust
      named Alana

Madeline Vardell
   swept up in silver & yellow

   An Imaginarian

Peter J. Greico
   [1401 - 1500]
   [11601 - 11700]
   [16901 - 17000]

KJ Hannah Greenberg
   Initially Thrilled to the Idea
       of Memories

Douglas Luman
   from Star/Formation

Vincent Toro
   MicroGod Schism Song

Rage Hezekiah

Natalya Sukhonos

Laurel Radzieski
   X and Y Axes of Charts
       Made About T's Lover
       (The Incident)

Jonathan Travelstead

Emily Strauss
   White Night Terror

Les Kay
   In the Basement of the Penal
       Colony, Version 2.3,
       Rimbaud Remembers