Jennifer MacKenzie: Refugee Breathing #2
& Refugee Breathing #3

Refugee Breathing #2

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Refugee breathing as a subject implicated me
since the world then had to be mangled for me
to get any work done. Yes I am working diligently
to rake gills onto your heart or even just insert
the feeling of a stent entering the aorta and the hot
worm-chord of its being pulled quickly

out. Like a chunk of metal hurtling towards me
I stand bereft of greeting. Flowers do not
swallow me nor catch fire from a spur of phosphor
clawing through loose twill of air. O plane descending
dumb tearing angel endearing chaos to disheveled
Einstein humming Eidelweiss, small and white

bearding a photo of a dog sleeping curled up
in dry leaves in a hotel park I tinker into
a grainy wheedling silver sleeper’s lost needle
trill of brine. O plane, votive structure
of any opened throat, fearing each other’s beauty

like the misplaced grappling of four young homeless dogs
we followed down dirt tracks still crumbed with light
night parks we dragged our wave-crash shadows
through public huddles of chrysanthemums
and fountains’ pale gray pulley-shadows
gossiping on the cool of walls, this war, that war

Refugee Breathing #3

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The rain is falling incorrectly God help it
The distant brother is making up stories
about one Natalie who came and went

and is not a thief. In immaterial production
the products are no longer material objects
but new social (interpersonal) relations themselves

Yesterday I cooked beans
There is only French bread here
God is generous

Lots of CATS
the villainous love breathes loudly

The fisherman on the shaking bridge holds the tiny shad
to his chest between finger and thumb like an ace trembling
for a victory portrait diminishing under the choking sky

Someone passes by yelling pushing a grill-cart of sandwiches

But we can never assuage the nagging uncertainty
as to whether or not we are in fact drawing our own eye

All this takes place past the limits of our thought
at which buckle and flake its deadlocks and contradictions
at the same time the antagonisms of objective social reality itself

and we face-down as seaweed
Hello floodlights
withholding the moon
and a palace behind clots of trees

all the cold holiday I miss the proud man cursing
his own saints. Adam-y wound concealed

in the wall behind dark ivies cascading
to the pavement. Dream of beards—dark
proclivities fess up to pyres

O I love this voice so much
because it isn’t mine

I am seaweed
shifted by the tossing sleeper

O third plane to pass over
in a quarter of an hour
do not tear open my heart

Someone waited
through my sickness folding paper
into birds and one failed dragon

like an organ transplant too complex
to manage refugee breathing a subject
in which I was and am complicit

O fourth plane devouring nothing
O fictionalized subjects beginning
your descent by continuing to remain
motionless whose real falling luggage could kill me

I swear Franco “Bifo” Berardi is a pothead
but I aspire to be the trustworthy Natalie

The poets want a kindly vague surprise
all their bobbin lives a little whirring
dynamo of anger trying not to be

mine. Don’t pretend you don’t
want something. Want something


ART: Paul Ferragut, Leo Katunaric, Stefanie Schneider

FICTION: Bridget Apfeld, Jennifer A. Howard, Laura Schadler

NONFICTION: Joy Katz, Shena McAuliffe, Kate Partridge, Rob Schlegel

POETRY: Dan Beachy-Quick, Carrie Fountain, Jules Gibbs, Alen Hamza, H. L. Hix, Anna Maria Hong, Krzysztof Jaworski, Thomas Kane, Eric Kocher, Jennifer MacKenzie, Andrew Nance, Paul Otremba, Kate Partridge, Beth Woodcome Platow, Catie Rosemurgy, Claire Sylvester Smith, Lesley Yalen

ET CETERA: Glenn Shaheen’s
“POET The Game”

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