Jeff Encke

The Water in Which One Drowns Is Always an Ocean


It is the calm and silence that drown us.

Some people can disturb words
with a mere movement of the teeth.

The pouch of the mouth strewn with roses
…………………………..roofed with lost causes.

Pumpkins and habits have a smell
and breath is its beginning.

The womb carries on its shoulders
a beggar wrapped in earth.

……..Absence washes
away love, taking the tint of all colors.

…………………..From the well of envy
the child teaches us to weep.

………….Every sickness has its herb.

Heaven is dark, yet quiet and limpid.
Shovels of earth cannot quench a mountain.

Scum rises to the top of the heart.

………………………..A bubble on the ocean
a taste the teetotaler will never know.

Do not pour on the strength of a mirage.
Do not torture thirst with shallow water.

A merchant in the rain saves only himself.
A shadow that always follows the body.

When your cheeks beg for fever
……………….you are halfway there.

Habit is the shirt we wear for a midday nap.

Gray hairs its blossoms.

Hope a pearl worthless in its shell.

Death answers: I have a lot to say
.………………….but my mouth is full.

Those destined to drown
…………will drown in a spoonful.

The tears of strangers are only water.


“The Water in Which One Drowns Is Always an Ocean” is reprinted from Starting Today: 100 Poems for Obama’s First 100 Days.


Jeff Encke taught writing and criticism at Columbia University for several years, serving as writer-in-residence for the Program in Narrative Medicine while completing his PhD in English in 2002. He now teaches at Richard Hugo House. His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Barrow Street, Boston Review, Colorado Review, Fence, Kenyon Review Online, Salt Hill, and Tarpaulin Sky. In 2004, he published Most Wanted: A Gamble in Verse, a series of love poems addressed to Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi war criminals printed on a deck of playing cards. For the past six years, Jeff has hosted a biweekly social group of poets, journalists, translators, playwrights, and other writers. The group currently alternates Sundays afternoons between Brouwer’s in Fremont and The Pine Box on Capitol Hill (for more information, or to add yourself to the mailing list, visit the Seattle Poets Gathering blog).

Sarah Mangold

She has a gilt complex and a poison pen
………………….The night was like a moment added to the day. Signing his

name and forgetting his friends   like years going backwards to

the beginning of ambient textuality.

…………………Endless couplets and in the brilliant sunshine

the unchanging things began again. Non-pressure modalities.

The characters of the story were always tiresome. The administrative and

problematic heavy industry publications.

………………..The ideas   the wonderful quotations   if you looked closely

metadata containers   everybody knew. I’m reading a novel   I’m on an

architectural space. Dear Eve   Shakespeare is a sound.

………………….He was secretly interested in adventurers and adventuresses

the book in durational energy. Paid for does it make dinner

an uncomfortable domestic container. Before she finished the chapter

Miriam knew the position of each piece of furniture.

…………………The information on the surface was romantic and modular.

Every page a discrete unit absorbed in a massive amount of footnotes.


Sarah Mangold live in Edmonds, WA and is the recipient of 2013 NEA Poetry fellowship. Her first book, Household Mechanics (New Issues, 2002) was selected by C. D. Wright for the New Issues Poetry Prize. Her second book, Electrical Theories of Femininity (forthcoming, Pavement Saw Press) was selected for the Transcontinental Poetry Award. Her most recent chapbooks included Cupcake Royale (above/ground press), I Meant To Be Transparent (LRL e-edtions) and An Antenna Called the Body (Little Red Leaves Textile Editions). From 2002-2009 she edited Bird Dog, a print journal of innovative writing and art.


Larry Laurence

for J.W.


Three angels manifest themselves at a bar. They make it known
to the mind of the bartender, This day is our birthday.

No. Three baleen whales, a gray, a blue, & a humpback,
swim into a bar. They sing in high-pitched vocalizations & clicks,
This day is our birthday.

No. Three rocks, an igneous, a metamorphic, & a sedimentary,
roll into a bar. In Morse code they knock against themselves
to the bartender, Today is our birthday.

No. Three weeds, a sheep sorrel, a redstem filaree, & a Canada
goldenrod, seed themselves at a bar. Utilizing the slight air
currents available they rustle to the bartender, Today’s. . .

No. Three trees, a Jenny sycamore, a paw paw, & a blossoming pear. . .

An anaconda, a coachwhip, & a Texas blind snake. . .

OK, a swift, a chicken hawk, & a blue jay. . .

OK, OK. Three subnuclear particles appear & do not appear
simultaneously in various unknowable interstices of realities themselves
barely conceivable at the bar & outside the bar. They harmonize

in vibrations at once audible & inaudible to the bartender
in such a way to at last, at long last, prove senseless the dichotomy
of the observer & the observed, Today’s our birthday!

No matter, says the bartender. We, all of us,
gallop terribly against each other’s bodies.



“INCLUSIVE OF HELLO AND GOODBYE” originally appeared in POOL, A Journal of


Larry Laurence lives in Seattle and works as a rehabilitation counselor. Books are Life  of The Bones To Come, Black Heron Press, (a National Poetry Month selection by NACS, National Association Of College Stores) and Scenes Beginning With The Footbridge At The Lake, Brooding Heron Press. Poems appear in the anthologies How Much Earth: The Fresno Poets, Roundhouse Press, Jack Straw Writers, Jack Straw Productions. Awards include grants from Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture and Artist Trust plus a residency at Squaw Valley Community Of Writers. He studied poetry (and growing up) under Philip Levine.

Molly Mac



“home, Please.” previously featured on Paperbag’s blog, and was presented as a video installation at TaRLA in Seattle and The Schoolhouse in Brooklyn, NY.


Molly Mac was born in Portland, grew up in Georgia and then came home to Seattle.  She is a multimedia poet and installation artist with an MFA in combined media from Hunter College, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at The Center for Digital Art and Experimental Media at the University of Washington.  She performs her work in multimedia poetry readings and her multimedia installations have been shown across the US and UK.

Joe Milutis

[ Hear Joe Milutis sing licorice.]



like is like life is like loaf is like kettle is like line is like inert is like link is like ink is like kink is like kick is like lick is like like is like Ike is like psych is like physical is like hysterical is like America is like amorous is like amoral is like amorphous is like Orpheus is like endorphin is like dolphin is like Dolph Lundgren is like Ralph Lauren is like Sophia Loren is like dinosaur is like so are we is like sour tea is like sortee is like sorted is like sordid is like so did is like soda is like Yoda is like ode is like node is like knowed is like now is like snow is like rain is like fog is like hail is like mail is like letter is like litter is like lighter is like lighter and lighter is like ever after is like love is like like is like not-like is like dissimilar is like simile is like metaphor is like analogy is like analog is like digital is like finger in ass is like Fingal’s Cave is like Felix Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture Opus 26  aka Fingal’s Cave is like allusion to another text is like illusion is like ill is like i’ll like all your posts is like aggressive sort of is like like but only sort of is sort of sort of like like or just like like like just as is like like sort of without like is like was is like as like is like so is like not like is as is has have and ‘tis is like forsooth like truth is like truant is like rue is like street is like avenue is like transport is like boxcars moving on the horizon is like a pretty girl is like a melody is like a song like from long ago is like just yesterday is like today is like tomorrow is like tomorrow is like tomorrow is like an island like an islet like Kate Winslet like to let this apartment like your roommates is like room is like moon is like June is like a limpid pool is like the problem with like is like link is like hyperlink is like the demise of analogical thinking is like dot com is like dot org is like dot edu is like dot net is like the blog is like the twitterfeed is like the book club is like the talk show is like chicken is like like “ing” is like liking like is like linking likeably is like wow is like let’s just like everything is like Hitler in reverse is like Hitler still like alive in South America like in that movie in which everything is not like you think like nothing turns out how you’d like is like your worst nightmare is like if this went on and on is like forever is like fever is like river is like reverse is like verse is like poem



Joe Milutis is a writer and media artist, and author of Failure, A Writer’s Life He is the author of many hybrid works including the fiction-performance-installation The Torrent, and various web-based non-fiction experiments.  He teaches in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington-Bothell, and as faculty for Bothell’s new MFA in Cultural Poetics.

Milutis will be launching his new book Failure at Elliott Bay Book Company in a launch event with Amaranth Borsuk on January 25 at 7.

He will also be reading a new experimental translation of a German translation of Robert Creeley’s number poems (which emerged from a collaboration with Robert Indiana) as part of the Henry Gallery’s Now Here is also No Where show.  The reading will be on Feb 28 at 7 pm, and will be followed by a discussion on collaboration in the work of Frank O’ Hara and Willem de Kooning.  He will be joined by Gregory Laynor.


Rachel Kessler


Parade of Fences


Donkey Fence. Brown Corduroy Suit Holiday High-jumping Fence. Cyclops’ Golden Grasses Fence. Spying Bushes Fence. Teenage Angst and Loneliness Fence. Tangerine Bikini Fence. Masking Tape and Wrath in Shared Bedroom Fence. Ancient Stone Fence. Family Religion Fence. Electric Fence. No Fooling Barbed Wire Fence. Angry Bull On the Other Side of This Fence Fence. Creaky Chainlink Gate Leading to Unplanned Pregnancy Fence. Falling Down Fence. Fence for Napping. Fence Without Hope. Wet Phone Books Fence. Garden Hose Wielded as Weapon Fence. Hedge Full of Surprising Thorns Fence. Invisible Fence. Useless Deer-proof Netting Fence. Bad Dog Barking Fence. Idealistic Fabric Hung By Hopeful Young Mother Trying to Be a Writer Fence. Small Children Hanging from Mother’s Limbs (Including Accidental Labial Grab) Fence. Horrible Grin Fence.



Rachel Kessler is a poet of the everyday.  She is a founding member of the Typing Explosion and Vis-à-Vis Society. For the past ten years, these critically acclaimed groups have been writing collaborative poetry and presenting their work in the form of text-based art installations, interactive multi-media shows, and collaboratively written handmade books.  Her collaborative poems have appeared in Tin House, TATE, and USA Today. She recently launched her “Public Health Poems” interactive hand-washing installation in public restrooms throughout the city of Seattle.

Vis-a-Vis Society will present their work at The Frye Art Museum, Sunday, January 6, 3:30PM – FREE!

Rachel Kessler will read at Cheap Wine & Poetry at the Hugo House on Thursday, Jan 17, 7:00 pm.


Greg Bem

talking out loud to yourself in the age of the common house terabyte


hey * hey * hey * hey
the sitteneth duckletto
beneath my belied-to belly
a bully, a block party?
or a cool whip tup mug shut?
hey * hey * hey * hey *
except the jello ain’t on
and the ear ain’t here there,
there, there, eggplant faceman
and the moon’s ant arcticking
slick hey * boom parade, kay,
and K blasting cod oil
oogle boa on Jackson goal
more foil ownering olly up
to the hay field barrel roll
double sided slickened OO
single split bit dough coil
fly mingle bubble treaty boy
made to move in circle list
F * O * R * M * A * T


Greg Bem is a Seattle poet and one of the Breadline Reading Series organizers. He’s also an organizer and ring leader at SPLAB with Paul Nelson and he works hard publicizing poetry events all over Seattle. His work appears in Elective Affinities.


Rauan Klassnik

from Holy Land

I’m on a cloud floating by and I’ve gone mad but madness flows away in a tall shining work of Art and I’m standing in front of a fountain and the world’s ringing down through me and there are no fields of migrants mixing hair and bone into concrete. Trucks lined up and ready. Cups of cold coffee, a Rolex and a crucifix. A girl on a payphone begging.


This excerpt from Holy Land originally appeared in DMQ Review.

Rauan Klassnik‘s work has appeared in Typo 13, Coconut, Avatar ReviewThe Mississippi ReviewThe Kennessaw ReviewThe North American ReviewNo Tell MotelSentence, CaesuraSleepingfishMiPoesias and others. His first book, The Holy Land, was published by Black Ocean Press.   His second book, The Moon’s Jaw, will appear in December, also from Black Ocean Press. He lives in Kirkland.

Elizabeth J. Colen




It’s an active volcano, the mountain: Shuksan. We live in an earthquake zone, calm north on the ring of fire. The house is on stilts for the waves, and rats eat tea biscuits and leave on suggestion. “We will live forever,” you say, meaning them. And the water looks brilliant from here.

Silver, pellucid, much like the sky.


None of us will notice the sunbathers, the tourists trying to surf, the tourists trying to sail. We won’t see the parade of push-pop wrappers scattered in wet sand, we won’t see the cops or the dog watching,

or the kelp strangling posts of the pier.


“It’s a metaphor,” you say. Sun low, wet rocks roll. Your father never hit you. It was the neighborhood kids who cracked eggs in your hair, it was they who brought rocks, had quick fists. Bullets of blood on your forehead, how the scalp will leech into a collar.

But then this, too, is no longer true.


From one window I can see the water and from the other I can see the mountains. These are not real mountains, this is not real water, these are not real windows. I hold your hand and our upstairs disappears.

I think of particles exploding, coming back together like some physics experiment I don’t know the name for. “Large Hadron Collider,” you say.

But that’s not what I mean.


For a long time when you were a child you thought you didn’t exist if your mother wasn’t with you. What was this called? You were invisible and no one spoke to you and the silence supported the theory, except for the bells ringing in doorways and the tap of your loose shoelace. “But did you pass through walls?” I ask and you say this has nothing to do with perte de vue. You lay under chairs while weight creaked the springs. Your mother’s hand came into the frame—

and you were real again, visible, whole.



Elizabeth J. Colen is the author of poetry collections Money for Sunsets (Steel Toe Books, 2010) and Waiting Up for the End of the World: Conspiracies (forthcoming from Jaded Ibis Press, October 2012, and launching at Hugo House on October 25 at 7:00 pm), as well as flash fiction collection Dear Mother Monster, Dear Daughter Mistake  (Rose Metal Press, 2011). She lives in Seattle and occasionally blogs at

John Burgess

[Ballad of James Acord]


Sometimes alone.
Sometimes in clusters. Sometimes

in parallel but a lifetime apart. Sometimes
sinking. Sometimes afloat. “There are

2 parallel paths on which human beings
seek the truth.” Sometimes tangled

in each other’s hair. Sometimes oblivious.
Sometimes replicas coming off a conveyor

belt upstream. “I wanted to be able to identify
and imagine how everything I saw was made.”

Sometimes punk. Sometimes Li Po
folded into paper boats. “Demonstrate

the ancient link between art and
technology.” Sometimes mammalian

noses just above drowning. Sometimes
a Cold War that never ended. “Science

and art, art and science—they’re
just two spokes going into the center

of the Karma Wheel.” Sometimes a rodeo.
Sometimes a Veteran’s Day parade.

Sometimes loose-cannon protons released
from larger atoms looking to start

a chain reaction. “We have not stolen
anything. We have just learned about it.”

Sometimes long stretches like nothing is
wrong. Sometimes failure takes years. “If

you want to make things, if you want to
create things, everything is hazardous.”


Samples: James Acord as quoted in “Looking for Acord,” The Observer (July 1998) and “James Acord: Atomic Artist,” Nuclear News (November 2002).


JOHN BURGESS grew up in upstate New York, worked on a survey crew in Montana, taught English in Japan and now lives and works in Seattle. He has three books of poetry from Ravenna Press: Punk Poems (2005), A History of Guns in the Family (2008) and Graffito (2011).

John will be reading from Graffito at Elliott Bay Books in Seattle on Friday, July 27, at 7:00, along with Raul Sanchez and Lana Hechtman Ayers.