Kimberly Lyons


Between 2nd and 3rd Sunday a crucible

before birth, a way of being stretched

so that the derma unfolds

perineum expands & umbilicus relents.

All the work of capillaries like red trucks

rush to the aorta on fire with their dousing.

And when you walk outside the inside is dragged

along in the cold cradle

rocked like a fetus in its saline bath

not knowing its duration, endurance or limits.

What is this inside mongrel

a dog or a girl

or a hag or a rag

something with branches

and a kind of sap

that adheres to wood and words

and anything that rushes by

without definition and therefore is loosely possible.

I’ll wait for 4th Sunday then

all the pleated interval of it is raw silk

which is what the mulberry moth makes

with threads of spit

and if the thorax feels external and imposed

a hardened shell of mucilage

then touch someone’s throat

set on fire the twigs set aside.

Tend to the cells that postulate honey

the vestigial reddened coating

I wear on my hands.


Emily Dickinson's House

With a finger across the mouth

she forbade us to go upstairs.

a slap that tingles like 19th Century Massachusetts cold.

Aromatic as pines across a bedroom window

which I try and stare into like an x-ray.

Crossed with refractory shadows

bound as a book it resists

penetrations or speculations.

I feel like an old blackish skeleton

from a daguerreotype

a man in a brown suit who

pauses in the midst of obligations

to assess an enigma.

Feel an apprehension

as though I were the worm

crawling through the apple

you let fall to the ground.


In Degrees

The evidence that is the shard of my position

emerges as a floating density, a habitation for one foot

pulled back, the sheer malleable substance of a

protective interface, the wrappings of a polar explorer

and desert farmer wafts in the crawl space.

What is revealed aquafies the larger experiment

what is hidden subtracts from the wedge that is home

as though a dress or a veil were a letter in an envelope

something that slides away as it is extracted

disappears as it comes in to the hand.


What's Early

On any Wednesday now the dark comes early

though whose to say anymore what’s early

anything green that remains.

Lurid as gasoline, a lit Xmas bulb’s curved broken horizon.

Apparently each day of the week

is a projected shine, inked plate and letter-pressed page

a muddy book found on the ground by a foraging foot

that kicks open the day’s dictionary

in which outrance, dice, and divine of the sky are found.

Words like black passages, each a tight ball

you stand in a dream and try to call

until Wednesday flies over, it’s morning now.

Something cranks, yields, our albino corn experiment has grown

outside, surprise, it’s nearly white today

and early is late in relation to the utter

lost, last moonlit lavender ray.



The tapestry of this purple mash calls

into its swirled mesh as a shapeless ball

that hangs in air, an explosive packet

testicular, filled to the brim, a lacy bracket.

She takes from it

an instrument: her very own kit

but as everyone knows, it’s a kit no one can own.

It’s only a loan.

Meanwhile, I write with a restless hand

take up one pen, then another as each a leaky gland.

Actually, I’d like to cry.

Come play with us

someone, a voice, says somewhere, invisible as dust.

I’ll play, okay,

as tears become protozoa then sperm

then burn

tendrils of a fire that flicks

on a stranger’s psychedelic discarded bag of tricks.



In exchange for a small action

manifest yet unrealized, shapeless

as a black velvet scarf

a snake without a spine

a vertical shadow inside a shadow.

The night that the snow evaporated,

reduced incrementally

glows under a dead tree

encrusted in the cement, ledges and pipes.

A gesture retracted

and being withheld

increased its divisions.

The particles of a scenario

in an alternate perceptual manifesto.

The locked pieces of afternoon

are grisaille and cool to the touch.

Movement at the end of the night

in exchange for a conversation’s lit edges

and the usual surfaces cannot recognize their extensions

not yet ready to cohere.

Sleep is like the worn curled lamb’s fur

of a crumpled jacket found on the sidewalk

and an animal walks skinned and venous.

I rub its silk lining

hungry for a seamed coating.

Come back to sleep these things call.

the grimy underside of the snow is

something pronounced as a name

and just as unattached, a peeling

which allows me to

exchange its syllables for

all the other acts I’ve done.


Inhabited Nothingness Chair

.......For Charlotte Mandell

In the white square of my notebook

girded by blue lines so faint I wonder

if they are a color of a ghost

the structure of a moving hand

tries to stuff a letter in each box

as though it were a demented shadow

who pushes mail through a grate

into slots that imperceptibility tighten.

I am going to write of silence.

as the poet wrote:

To unite with nothingness, nothing engenders


Like a baby who sees a rustle in the air

a scattering now, nothing withdraws.

I sense its waking hush

an extraction

its coldest self abstract as a frozen gray washrag

fluffiness all over the air.

Five letters, second letter R says a disembodied voice.

in my nothingness. Where do you get that H from, sky?

Who are these mad oracles from the beyond.

I’m filling in my boxes girls

I want to cry, don’t interfere.

The perpetual emptiness of writing

he wrote, I write.

through a collage of spatters

and gush of foam froths

and the suck of an opening door occur

there’s also a gray plastic bucket in the light

there are five orange chairs that face away.

The chairs are empty, oh God.

with no one here the room is full.

The coffee in the cup is present in the throat

and when I look at the inhabited nothingness chair

I see you, absent


The chest is a box that inhales, holds its measure

then throws away the vapor like light to film where it defuses as a chemical

organized into a human being

into a pool of refractions

something shiny and flat

that has a spool, sprockets and forelegs

to which attached are hinges, flaps and pockets.

And the thinnest of counter chemicals

sounds of a word that slide on to air

wrap around the other words that hang as persistent particles

and together fall downward after drifting.

What is there to propel

the gelatinous stain of its skin

that coagulates and binds to

something that I cannot see, touch or feel

only taste and smell as an indefinite almond milk,

dirty hot green grass. The black seeds smashed inside a lily.



In “itself” there is only a trace but it is of an effigy

like the distillation of an x-ray

powder that glares.

The debris of a manifestation

magnetic filings that fall in a current.

I can’t discern when 12:30 evades

the axis, the orientation.

Sheds the filaments that make stiff waves of thinking.

A dark red fluid washes through.

Relinquishment is the motion

of alphabetic disarray

emanate as burns on objects

lipstick on cup.

The flashlight imprints a hand’s hovering flag

without any surface or proximity

or primary or secondary

only the thread’s ragged wires

the only straps I can hold.



In the mote, the instant

recognized itself

as thwarted by pigment.

In a fleshly quandary

time resumed its directionless velocity

consuming the replica

the shadow of a going on.

If it were horizontal.

If it were. How removed from the skin

of its use is the fluid.

Embodied rectangle

seems to present itself to the sun

as though pediment and


The signal of something barely identical.

The jar that contains is destroyed.

How mauve fastens the room to its light.

A cube to a theory – a hand to a hand.

To read an emanation

neither vessel or land or tissue

and instead of these.



Later, during the week, she wondered

if the boxes remain

barely fixed in space.

Barely boxes. Indicators, perhaps,

of a possible.

A situation the facts fastened

to by thought and feeling

so that the color of certainty

and origination had become

too vaporous to contain flesh and

mauve, vulnerable to shadow and light, a variant .

The cluster of aspects seemed the ground,

a doubted viewing, improbable.

She was as one who encountered

in the reading a transcription.

A vacillating, discernable

surface that dissembled once one pressed against it.



Today, we wake up

in the aura of strangeness

attended to by the sounds

which you said soothe you and

anoint space with a continuousness.

There is no snow – not yet.

In a few hours says the oracular prototype of fate.

If we had the means to ameliorate

your sentence, to track

the storm’s divergence.

I will resolve that presently Susie says

as an integument

to the flow of expectations.

We agreed on the drapery

of its impermanence

as though snow were a situation

in a play akin to the arrangement of

19th Century sisters who sit

in their father’s library

devising their own flow and text

as they embroider

by piercing the sky

repetitively with the knots

of their fabrication.



I thought I was done

said God I thought

and immediately wrote it

so as to rid

myself of its unnamable name.

I meant to mention neutrinos

unknown as flies

frequent as tears

colorless as everyday

they gather in a swarm

and shapelessly explode

into something shaped like a canoe

at the speed of light.

What a cliché

until you see it

as words encase speed

speed brings light.

Neutrinos seem to rush by

Coagulate madly when one expects

consistency and measure.

Canoe with no one in it

standing across waters

you cannot feel or see or drink.

Good-bye, God.

Thank you for letting me mention you

in a poem. You seem to be

telling me I am a cliché.

A replicant within your chaos

washed in the neutrinos of your tears.


Violetta Raditz

Black curvilinear hooded torso

geometric fractures

a frozen bunch of hair.

I inspect twilight’s

specks of light, with hidden

lavender and mix it with snow.

Skin and encumbrance

dribbles to an edge.

The mesh and accretion

above teeth and branches

stick out from a trunk

dip into a chalice.

A rejoinder, a constant semaphore

a web torn in strips

that flagellates with speckled hail.

White dirty pieces of skin

framed by the night in a field.

The dry inner sleeve

a name I apply the crayon to.

This floating neck

blue as an ox, blue as oxygen blue

that someone carries to and from.

With no coat traverse

a spectrum, a shed

a bulbous cavern and cowl.

Listen for the strings of instruction:

Go to the other end.

Bang on the door.


Sonnet #10

Let this sad interim like the ocean

At Coney Island be

Ambiguous as the opposite shore. Staten Island, Scotland? It feels like green jelly

She brings to our feet tangled hair, hunks of cement and empty can of Yoohoo.

Though a few miles out whales may doze below the surface, hulks of blue.

The carnival offers shadows and blood on the wing of a fly

Sideshows by the Seashore, mirrors swords.

A fortune spit out by a witch with one eye.

Sweet Love Renew thy Force, was printed

In blue ink on paper. Disaster hinted

In something of the brightness too bright to see

To this day I still carry it secretly folded with me.

Yet, when I looked for these words, they aren’t anywhere

As poetry hides in the jangled fair.



The room is emptier then


A poet wrote, or said.

Poets are always saying.

And the opposite is true, of course.

That nothing is fuller than the room. He knows

This but brought in nothing anyway,

Like an invocation, an invitation

Of the nothing outside.

If I went inside

One by one

Every little thing

would swell to it’s possible largest implication

Then snap. The sound is

Metallic as though coming from

The infernal ricochet of a bed or

The rings water makes or

Pleats of a


Dripping out of air.

You might take a rose

From its sisters in the hand

And turn her upside down

Her hair streaming to the ground

Her neck a shadow

And hang her from the door.

It’s hard to be alone.

What I mean is:

It’s joyous to be alone.

And nothing, who stays away, is

the implacable, inviolable bridegroom.


Kimberly Lyons
is the author
Photothérapique (Ketlanche Press/Portable Press, 2008). She recently has had work in Aufgabe, Effing Magazine, Eoagh (online), The Encyclopedia of New York School Poets (Facts on File, 2009) and has work forthcoming in New American Writing. She has been a host of the Zinc Bar's long running series in recent seasons. She lives in Brooklyn.