Paul Otremba: Sentences (Künstlerroman) & The Extra Welcomes You to Sunnydale


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Not red not a line but spots in a book and “L”
was for “Lion” so you get the idea

for your ideas somewhere.

Unremarkable really was the coterie of nails
for the tires of the rocks through the windows or the tag

now you’re it—now show me

your room with the lights out.

A shed more like it for the spin and the kiss the smell
of gasoline and grass and look how strong how big

how the branch breaks.

And if the lovers get had what then I’ll tell you
this dirty little fetch you a drink.

And what are they doing there a game there a circus
wheels around her laugh performed for him—

“Are they for cereal?”

So the couples all glint all bleached-out tooth thigh-gleam
uncrossing under table that white dress short

conjures up the ice pick.

I didn’t see first that flash that flesh open it was a deck
of cards and his cock so big two hands

and he could take it.

That bird that cat box of rabbits hematoma like a brain
ballooning tufts of deer fur caught in the side panel

it wasn’t the drugs that ruined Easter.

You want to come to hand she was kind
once her hands let you finish.

It will hurt yes like swiveling an arm like a shoulder
popped that bone on the plate shows the mechanism.

Your brother’s face he’d done it “I’ve ruined it”
you’d passed that mess by the roadside.

And when I’ve said it what then what liquor and a bicycle
in the rain after watching the actors’ frenzied dance

on the screen then back inside to fuck there?

In the stories I read in my childhood basement how it happens
over centuries you get a spear through the chest through

the back through the face you get a bag for the cat
for the river where your love goes.

When the Lion returns the man who didn’t know better
but was decent gets to walk outside see things

as they are yet wanders friendless—

I wanted to burn down the tent for his sake.

And if I say horse and you say horse and what I picture
is not what you picture so my moral thinking went.

I don’t really miss it it was sad mostly it was petty
the hand always groping intimations of show me yours.

He said it was to knock out horses knock a hole where
your head went mush I never found much beyond

the hum though.

The premise was a sea captain picks her up overboard
all business-like so the ride makes sense makes clothes

chart the floor I can watch she said for ten more minutes.

Does that do it for you you can say it we can tell
on us now all hands on ears on deck.

The Extra Welcomes
You to Sunnydale

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I had to be two minds, all day, all
                night repeating: You are dead.
You are dead, yet you live. I had
                to be one among many
who gathered for fights in alleyways,
                where lost families from any-

where suburban California came
                to be terrified. I
saw only maps and estuaries inside them. “Why?
                Because it’s you or me.”
And in the mirror I pictured the kiss release
                twin flames at the neck, streams

I knew as desire, that called to my thirst—
                deep, atavistic, life
itself, the without-which-nothing fire
                igniting every part
only the sun—a greater fire—could burst
                to ash, empty this heart.


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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