Molly Brodak edited Everyday Genius in October and did an amazing job. The work, almost exclusively poetry, was of a subtly unified tone, and if you followed along daily, or if you go back and read them in order, I think you can determine an arc to the month. At least she repeats forms in similar places, and themes recur and intertwine.
So below are all the pieces, in the order that they were published, each with an excerpt. Putting this together, rereading all the work, was itself like a writing exercise. Choosing excerpts in poetry isn’t easy. Like with Weatherhead’s poem, I am not sure that pasting in the climax like that will make any sense. And can you appreciate the snipped from Jenny Drai, so sonically pleasing, so evocative too, without the intricate puzzle it locks into? The hardest was Kimiko Hahn’s, her poem essayistic, but—I think—poetry based on some process, so I chose a line that followed the ones around it nicely.
And doing that, I began to see different threads from poem to poem, less like a rope ladder and more like an atlas. This way, poetry began to leave the page in a way that originally drew me to the form, and which I haven’t remembered viscerally in too long (even during one boozy conversation with Molly, Blake Butler and Amy McDaniel, when they teamed up against me to prove the importance of poetry in a world with good TV shows). The poems this month, taken collectively, are interconnected, and the breadcrumb trail of excerpts I selected highlights one path through them, but there are many more—not just more ways that it could be, but more ways that it actually is.
And by “it,” I mean everything.
And at the end of the story,
Those who love you most will kill you.
Seth Landman, “Waking Up” and “Confront Your Ruins”
Life is living, and who can survive it,
and the winds around your mind torment you.
There’s a quiet sound I’m trying to find.
It’s almost like nothing, but it’s different.
Evan Iresmith, “Stations” and “Like Sunlit Gaps on a Leaf”
… She says
things like that all the time. And:
I’ll get a flu shot if it kills me! In
addition: Emily Dickinson, like
the moon, had Asperger’s. What
the hell are you talking about? is
what Elliot counters …
it’s an honest joy
to be shocked by beauty
in the 21st century
Aubrie Marrin, “Pharmacopoeia”
Think of my heart
like a hose
with too much pressure shooting
Jenny Drai, “Hearst Castle Lullaby II”
air is wet wrung things
Andrew Weatherhead, “New Pants” and “Hell Has Gradations”
I commit to writing
something real. I am
taller than my mom.
Alex is taller than
my mom. I am taller
than Alex and Griff.
John is taller than me.
Pat is taller than John
and Brett is tallest
of my close friends.
None of them
can save me.
Heather Christle, “Disintegration Loop 1.1”
and the warm quadrangles of sun
on the carpet are beautiful too
and red berries on the gray bush
and the mail as long as it lasts
and beauty is what beauty does to you
Movement’s what’s called
the heart palpating.
Kimiko Hahn, “The What-Have-You”
Even for the blue whale
the scant Awareness is mainly green.
Janaka Stucky, “Recreating a Miraculous Object”
In the belly of a great whale
I lived in myself
“She told me I need to have hope. I have nothing but hope.
When you fuck me, we’re definitely
The clouds were busy being men. They corroded the space to fit room for when the eggs hatched and the bodies began fucking. Once the world began the laughter ceased.
Jacqueline Waters, “The Actor”
and you feel
(as an individual) annulled, given a role
of predictable passage
as though you were their weather
Larissa Szporluk, “Wryneck” and “Trance Logic”
Robbers love clouds
because clouds hide their heads
Laura Solomon, “Untitled” and “Untitled”
touches life & death both
my body touches
his or her own
I hate war
Matthew Rohrer, “Greater Forces” and “Night Blooming”
I must to certain
greater forces present myself
at the end of the day.
Serena Chopra, “A Sea-Sick Man”
When I have our home, I will think
of a moment: Let it be, let it die.
When that is a moment.
Matt Anserello, “Skull Cathedral”
… No more bargain-bin
hallelujahs; no more feigned shapes. Simply, an awake.
Emily Rosko, “Test” and “[I play the torturer by small and small]”
(I’m tiger when designated, other
times I clam and shell out
I spoke up
come by wind &
lectured the orchards:
what’s needed is
no longer not so much.
At cookie time we go to the cookie tent get another new ipso facto another.
A hospital bed and ICU equipment was moved into the magazine’s office building, alongside a commercial-grade fragrance machine that spouted puffs of coconut-scented air. “The odor of death is so sour,” she’d often exclaim.
That, class, is how you do it. Huge thanks to Molly Brodak for the amazing month.
Now, November’s issue is being compiled by the editors of Artichoke Haircut, a Baltimore-based literary magazine (named “Best Little Magazine” in 2013) and reading series. They’ll be asking previous contributors to their magazine to send new work for a special month of Everyday Genius: Genius Haircut.
As always, find everything you want at www.everyday-genius.com, a literary journal that is updated everyday, Monday through Friday.