John Estes: Retroactive Continuity

Retroactive Continuity

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One of those days when it’s like the dog ate the grenade
And the children play too close to it
So you wave them off because you expect it to come at any moment
But being children of course they ignore you
And being a dream of sorts of course it keeps not coming
At least if the whole scene is not interrupted
If you’re not pulled away to the couch
Where you must conjecture who the two men in the car
Are and why they sleep there and why
Did it seem as if that was your red car in the first place
Where you’ll be expected to name your dominant archetype
Where the hinge of your being swings on your response to Chagall
Where you keep telling yourself over and over
How we need more materia more verbs and nouns to make
Sense or scenery out of poetic pressures in the frontal
Lobe the way shape and color coalesce into a black madonna
Or a pickup truck crashes against the side of a house
A psyche requires resistance even as you acquiesce to its signs
A hedgefund needs an abyss against which it hedges

You will remember the failed acts of kindness most
Here is a life you do not own that without much effort continues
Day by day like a tank full of eels people gawk at
You will remember times you didn’t take what was offered
Excuses abound if only you can see survival as a kind of long con
You will remember the times sleep overtook you
And the truck its brake forgotten rolled quietly down the hill
A parade is always happening somewhere or about to
Families stream by on their way carrying folded chairs and umbrellas
The son in the lead manages the donut box
The sister carries the cooler but sulks a step behind
The empty-armed mother chats up her phone
The dad in the rear his cap pulled low eats an apple or a pear


ART: Teri Frame, Line Kallmayer

FICTION: Matt Dojny, Jessica Halliday, Corey Zeller

NONFICTION: Brandel France de Bravo, Line Kallmayer, Ben Merriman, Nicole Walker

POETRY: Mary Jo Bang, Sam Cha, Ching-In Chen, Natalie Eilbert, John Estes, Jessica Fjeld, Margaret LeMay, Nina Puro, Lauren Russell, Dara-Lyn Shrager, Donna Stonecipher, Henry Walters, Kerri Webster, Betsy Wheeler

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