Franz Wright
Jenn Morea
Ted Pelton
Susan M. Schultz
Amanda Nadelberg
Standard Schaefer
Matthew Cooperman
Ed Taylor
Coralie Reed
Gretchen Mattox
Mark Rudman
Ales Debeljak
Simon Perchik

Bendall on Wagner
Schroeder on Mullen
Thompson on Gibson
Minor on Tran
Rippey on Hannah

GRETCHEN MATTOX : some agitation waged, all desires

salt lessons

figuratively speaking this errand of light can’t backfire, body open wound only bleeds by design,

even the saints rebel but they're saints so we hold them to it,
suffering snakes itself around the heart (someone somewhere painted that?)

you're five again, six already betrayed, the marionette’s tangle, the babysitter’s foreign, your parents can't be found

Q:  what is safety; engagement ring made of bakelite but for the wrong finger

A: none

Q: taking it seriously; clouds around the heart like an active volcano

I missed the line drawn in the sand that said do not under any circumstance call me a cunt

aspects of salt


like a bee in a jar

                  some agitation waged, all desires
hands folded on the lap, don’t move during church

absence made you, absence named you; it became its own presence
to be lost in someone else's pull


what the grief weighed brick thick, house of unassembled chaos

heart drenched
ticket to a trip you didn’t want

"We'll give heart a new beat," says the Chinese healer in halting English.

I have no tolerance for healing

wren heart, beat under blanket of storm, lost beat like a song forgotten you once knew by heart

salt block  2

you’ll be done when you’re done      
bougainvillea spills happy cells over the wall

palm trees shaggy as mammoths                 disappointment like a room

self-attack, an off-again on -again ride

you’ll be done when you’re done                      like the tree bough that fell yesterday blocking

the street / no driving

the unexpected detour, green tunnel a walk through twiney vines

I made my body a cave of grief, a bucket buried in sand, a place light could not shine through

in time and space the voice said, you have to be larger than

say what you couldn’t say, say what you couldn’t say and move on

table salt

like the body of the garden snake that writhed headless on the black and white tile

                before the clawless pawing of the cat

some life impulse left as it struggled to die

no more confusing your absence with you, no more frustration

I have climbed the structures of my confusion
its tail whipping, trying to move away

as small as a large worm, blood near her whiskers like a toddler’s spaghetti stain

all innocence and instinct, the way she lightly tapped at each convulsive loop de loop / snake:

headless horseman, chicken with/nothing to get bent about
the thinking source not even necessary

salt block

ear the sofa the tail slipped under a curtain of fringe sliver of dark moon

finally done, the going back and forth back and forth/fears relentless breaking up again

carry tulips up the stairs, stems arc downward crescents
a mirroring of shapes

                petals drop like paper, crumpled notes

leaving the exposed glistening pistines

no salt, please

I put on yellow Rubbermaid gloves to retrieve the piece of snake

                like a hair band snapped open, darker in death
close to black

letting go
the whole slingshot flung

over the rail, in an Acapulco dive to the street below



(c) 2005 Slope. Slope is ISSN # 1536-0164.