We are a public forum committed to collective reasoning and the imagination of a more just world. Join today to help us keep the discussion of ideas free and open to everyone, and enjoy member benefits like our quarterly books.
Folk songs of sexual violation. Move the furniture around. The knife always hanging there. In this case it’s just a metaphor. Not acting from your higher self. I was old enough to be your very young mother. Asleep in the library. Asleep on the train. You were most interested in the acknowledgements. Other people’s fluids. The mood elevator goes all the way to grateful. But I didn’t know you were that tall. Watching bubbles rise in the seltzer. A warm place for your dick. Placatory in the streets and a bitch in the sheets. Reading Descartes on the train. I turn off the computer at 11. Me and my street harassment haircut. Having feelings. Amirite. How moving there saved your life. I’m making a space for all my friends. Run on the treadmill when you need to elevate. Sticky spot on the subway seat. I was on the bus. I was ornamental. You’ve been standing all day. Said I’m not gonna give you my number because I’m married. Sorry feminists. Sorry self. Walking dictionary of accepted ideas. An indistinct urge to take out the colored pencils. I was lost. It would be ok to frame the photograph. Trees reflected in a laptop screen. Sounds of rage from the bedroom. Friendship never makes me think of death. Trying to be a better kind of self. Sweet little commodity producer. Dang y’all.
Labor turns into money turns into cocktails. Thank you for shutting up. Is going camping a euphemism for sex. Taco time. I don’t know why he was such a dick to you. Go upstairs and be the mummy. Where women fell from factory windows. Was he reaching up my skirt or falling down the stairs. This is a serious question. Filling notebook after notebook. Getting out of your own way. I bought your art before you figured out how much to charge for it. Found the poem on my phone. Man on the subway straddling an antique chair. When you travel it’s nothing but walking and eating. Fennel and more fennel. I could tell from facebook that insecurity made her mean. Wanting to get away unscathed. It’s ok to go home. Living life less consecutively. What kinds of voices do you let in. Asking for a friend. A butterfly clip. Walked through the supermarket with my hood up. Seriously a kind of privilege. Taste bud hallucinations. Her machine in two shades of blue. A little embarrassed by the term you coined. Night face. Game time. What kind of wiggle room is in the contract. Artificial flowers catching on my jeans. Whistle while you work. All I want at night is to be in the studio. Therapeutic walking. All my doubts. I can tell by the tone of voice you’re talking to someone you love. Mocking the train announcement. Baby where you going. We’re going all the way.
I already knew about knowing you from twitter. We marched down Broadway. The problems of having a mom who wears fishnets. Is something burning somewhere nearby. We go to the beach. People mistake my silence for cool. Of course I remember TJ. Some story I once read. Artifacts pulled from the riverbed. I wash the table then sit down to fold the books. That isn’t what a pregnant wife would drink I texted Erin. Unless she was trying to be discreet. Tonight it’s the 1970s. The El and a city of matchsticks. It was because the artists needed the church’s outreach most. I guess if you never pay your own rent. Tenement dreaming. When you get home you see the soles of your shoes crumbled to nothing in three places. How the city eats the things you put on your body. When artist meant lost child. T-shirt longing. Looking out the window at a dirty white wall covered with wires. Let me be your grammar plug-in. They were so poor so sick so ignored. An Inventory of effects. Sarah and her graveyard. Tomatoes out of season. Is wife a life goal and how do I know if I’ve achieved it. Maybe when you die. How my left hip sticks. We sat in the intersection with Houston and cops hovered around us. Morning gut rot rolling over in the bed. Who do you protect. Some people are movie screens some people are projectors. Summer in Chicago. Babies strapped to chests. I rearrange the books then write all night. Because my twenties were snatched from the jaws of maternity. Did I forget to thank you. How the shelves sag and list. Put the needle on a record. This one goes out to everyone I know. An archive of interferences. She says he’s as sick as ever. Then the fog rolled in so thick the parachute jump disappeared. Ian’s poem in midair. Maybe nothing is easy. A midwestern space for privacy and silence. Where we can go to see flowers. They like to sleep that way.
MC Hyland holds MFAs in Poetry and Book Arts from the University of Alabama and is a PhD candidate at New York University. She is a former Director of Adult and Artist Programs at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts and the founding editor of DoubleCross Press. Her poetry has been published in several chapbooks, including the forthcoming THE END PART ONE (Magic Helicopter Press), and the poetry collection Neveragainland (Lowbrow Press), and her reviews have been published in Rain Taxi, Sink Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn.
Vital reading on politics, literature, and more in your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter, Monthly Roundup, and event notifications.
In her new book, Danish poet Olga Ravn writes with open love, pity, and compassion for her strange yet familiar creations.
Draconian individual punishment distracts from systemic change and reinforces the cruelest and most racist system of incarceration on the planet.
Our well-being depends on a better understanding of how the logic of labor has twisted our relationship with pleasure.