Exclamations in Earnest

Paul Killebrew

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We seem to be
surrounded. We
go straight into
the undependable
air. Movies
about us, the mush
in my mouth,
how I love
to braid our arms
around narrow trees
in a snow-drenched
painting. I added
a red line that
ruined it,
or it was just the thing,
I don’t know.
Green smears
on the trees
vibrated across
the windshield.
The day flaked
off the stars
in chunks.
Monday is all
Monday, air
overwhelmed into wind.
Did enough happen?
Did anything?
A day happens
inside the mind
and part of it
becomes a law,
but that’s later.
For now
the indiscretion on which
rule-making accrues
just sits there,
a frightening
thingness, a small
red ball that
drags across the days
like a buoy
dividing the water
on its way out.
Some aspirations
are so cashed
of poise that
they’re felt only
as a series
of bland
There aren’t
any windows, or
it’s only windows—
all of my intentions
are genuine.
I am a genuine,
honest person,
a person who
takes care
to rest each gesture
on tufts of charm
and good humor.
You should
think of me
as yourself,
the same
incoherence of ethical imperative,
the same
dark compromises,
but with
minor adjustments—
adjustments that
you yourself
would make,
if you could—
in the direction of
general improvement,
exercising more,
never spending
too much money.
Neither of us
can help
the position
I’m in, here,
between the lamp
and the mosquito.
I intend
the cadences of my speech
to evoke the soft,
reassuring clicks
that high-quality
stereo knobs make
as they’re turned.
I am here
to tell you
that you are not
dying. You are
already dead.
You are not shrinking.
You have disappeared.
Your reputation
isn’t waning. You
are unknown.
You began
as a psychological telescope.
You ended as
scotch tape
on a window
sending weird
to a curtain.


ART: Jenn Brehm, Jason Polan,
Grant Willing

FICTION: Kirby Johnson, Anjali Sachdeva, Chad Simpson, S. E. Smith

NONFICTION: Laura E. Davis, Aaron Gilbreath, Alexandra Kimball, Elena Passarello, Alison Stine

POETRY:Samuel Amadon, Will Arbery, Elizabeth Arnold, Melissa Broder, Kara Candito, John Lee Clark, Graham Foust, Kit Frick, Paul Killebrew, Kyle McCord, Shane McCrae, Geoffrey G. O'Brien, Sandra Simonds, Bruce Smith

ET CETERA: Flannery O'Connor Soundboard, Poetry Bingo

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