Luxurious Interiors

Russel Swensen

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1.  There’s a rising action in my in mind. There’s a denouement beneath my tongue. My captive audience chews its hand off at the wrist.

2.  The premier is found strangled in the trunk of his car. The diplomatic attaché clings to his briefcase even in death.

3.  Briefcase with a cracked wing. With a shattered guest wing. With a porcelain feather dangling from the clasp.

4.  The car bomb goes off in my heart.

5.  A dead Albanian diplomat found in my ear drum. His hands are so tiny. His face is dark wax smeared with a hung nail

6.  The dry erase board full of bloody gauze.

7.  “I love your luxurious interior,” I whisper. We’re in the Deer Park, lying broken in the rose colored grass.

8.  Arriving at the castle gates in a peddler’s cart:

9.  A sonnet cycle titled “Reasonable Responses to Civilian Unrest.”

10.  The exterminators were coming in vans like white lilac.

11.  I cleaned up a bit for them I can’t remember anything after that. No one can remember anything after that, it’s impossible.

12.  My costume: the kid in the corner whispering “I wish I’d never been born.”

13.  The hobby horse on its last legs. The single hoof I’ve carried with me. I’ve carried it for far too long.

14.  Shaken awake in business class, I remember that it was hot and that I’d lost my voice in a tumble of roots, have you tried this.

15.  Hold tight. “Hold fast,” I commanded and the spears stood ready (in the dark recess beneath your throat).

16.  There was a single brilliant black feather lying in the grass outside Hyde Park Blvd and I thought it was yours.

17.  Dark hair unspooling from my mouth.

18.  Enter FAILURE:

19.  Enter NIGHT:

20.  “are people really worries”

21.  A head full of crushed red pepper, a thickness, burning like incense.

22.  A boy with a head like exposed brick. A girl with foxes running through her skin. I lie with my mouth full of soil, waiting.

23.  Conversationally: “my spine the spice road and other gestures of contempt.”

24.  I sit with my hands neatly folded.

25. “I think the only thing I’ve ever actually been good at in this life is leaving early.”


ART: Zachary Tate Porter, Jeannie Vanasco

FICTION: Katya Apekina, John Henry Fleming, Lacy Arnett, Claire Harlan Orsi, Chantel Tattoli

NONFICTION: Emily Carr, Nancy Singleton Hachisu, Johanna Stoberock, Steve Wasserman

POETRY: Janelle Adsit, Ryan Bender-Murphy, Monica Berlin & Beth Marzoni, Dan Chelotti, Lisa Ciccarello, Christopher DeWeese, Elisa Gabbert & Kathleen Rooney, Tyler Gobble, Fanny Howe, Lo Kwa Mei-en, Nick Lantz, Matthew Lippman, Aditi Machado, Alice Miller, Marc Paltrineri, Christopher Rey Pérez, Allan Peterson, Jessica Poli, Lynne Potts, Dan Rosenberg, M. C. Rush, Ed Skoog, Cindy St. John, Russel Swensen, Emily Toder, Laurie Saurborn Young