Here are some of our favorite snippets of prose and poetry from 2014.
They’re sentences and stanzas from all around the universe.
Thanks to Barrett Warner, Carol Ciavonne, John Pluecker, Feliz Lucia Molina, Bud Smith, William Lessard, Quincy Rhoads, Gina Abelkop, Gabino Iglesias, Dennis James Sweeney, Alex Kalamaroff, Peter Tieryas, and Janice Lee for contributing.
The Future, Option A
“It’s like the Internet but better, much better, because it’s an Internet you can live inside.” –Adam Sternbergh, Shovel Ready
“revolutionaries, bohemians, masturbators protesting with coffee cups, this is your hour!” –Carina Finn, from Invisible Reveille
On Writing, #1
“All novels lack something or someone. In this novel there’s no one. No one except a ghost that I used to see sometimes in the subway.” –Valeria Luiselli, Faces in the Crowd
“When you enter a new belief system, tiny lines are crossed and crossed and crossed—it may look from the outside that you’ve made a huge leap—but from the inside there are all these incremental … steps .. and you have no idea how you went from sociologist sent to study an extraterrestrial cult … to standing outside in the snow with your fellow believers, clad only in plastic and polyester, eager for Ro of Varna to appear from the sky.” –Dodie Bellamy, The TV Sutras
A Betraying Countenance
“I didn’t say anything but my face must have.” –Catherine Lacey, Nobody is Ever Missing
“This wall of ill, won’t you view it with me?” –William T. Vollman, Last Stories and Other Stories
“The shark is a murderer, but it’s an honest one. It is killing you, or you are alive. The human can kill you a million times in its imagination while pouring you a glass of water.” –Brian Carr, Motherfucking Sharks
What did I love about killing the chickens? Let me start
with the drive to the farm as darkness
was sinking back into the earth
–Ellen Bass, from Like a Beggar
“The blood cannot be seen on the red leaves and the yellow leaves float in the crimson puddles like little toy boats.” –Sergey Kuznetsov, Butterfly Skin
On Writing, #2
I wrote you a poem
My lips stained
the last stanza.
–Loren Kleinman, “I’ll Never Leave You”
On Heart Break
I break my heart all by myself.
–Claudia Keelan, from O Heart
Good (Or Sort of Good?) Times
“It was the beginning of another long night of shithead feelings and circular, pointless conversations. Another night getting drunk with his best friend and a dude dressed as a leprechaun, but in a few days, the biggest night of his life would be behind him.” –Cameron Pierce, Adam Cesare, Shane McKenzie, Leprechaun in the Hood: A Musical
Of These Memories
slices of carefully
flash before the
visitors and beginning
with no endings…
–Robert Vaughan, “In the Suburbs”
The Future, Option B
“Rust bloomed and streaked.
No more countries, all borders unmanned.” –Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven
The Future, Option C
“Pythagorean pizza is the opiate of the middle class!” –Rachel Cantor, A Highly Unlikely Scenario, Or A Neetsa Pizza Employee’s Guide to Saving the World
Another Toast to Good (Or Sort of Good?) Times
“Let us drink,” I shouted, “to the success of Lucille Bonnery. May she live long and prosper in her new status as Queen of the Corporate Raiders.”
Dinky found the strength to burble “Hear! Hear!” while Basil sat up with “I’ll drink to that—hell, I’ll drink to anything!” They emptied their glasses with a single draught, Hickory and Lucille, too. “A toast!” they said, and drank.
–D. Foy, Made to Break
a game known as
–Ernest Meister, from Wallless Space
The Future, Option D (aka a favorite neologism of 2014)
“Codemotion” –Franco Bifo Berardi
Thinking / Feeling
“My thoughts come from painting even if I don’t paint.” –Tan Lin
Some flowers make us feel like our
fingernail’s been scraped by a paperclip
and some flowers make us feel
–Jasmine Dreame Wagner, “Favor is an arbitrary seed.”
almost as an object
to those slow to grasp
It is, however,
never, ever ending
flowing and fleeing.
THINK IT EXACT.
consumes itself as time,
does not ask.
–Ernest Meister, from Wallless Space
there is too much for it to mean
it is just a feeling
all those memories on top of each other
stacking up to flood the dam.
–Mike Bushnell, “Collapstrophe”
how do you hear the music of snow falling
how does the sound of snow enter your skin
–Kazim Ali, “Monochromatic”
“Sorry I know you less than the ice does.” –Joshua Marie Wilkinson, The Courier’s Archive & Hymnal
Under the simulated
of the fuselage
the snow was falling.
–Bianca Stone, “Reading a Science Article on the Airplane to JFK”
These Days, Afternoons, and Nights
“These days I’m on a need-to-know basis with myself.” –Jeff Jackson, Mira Corpora
the devil and the neighbors
and traffic along market street: all go silent
and all he has given me he takes back.
–D.A. Powell, from Repast: Tea, Lunch, and Cocktails
“Goodnight self, my goddess is dimming.” –Christine Shan Shan Hou, “Community Garden for Lonely Girls”
I am carving through my slimy body
When it breaks The Great floods in
–Melissa Broder, “The Great”
“I look like the abortion of Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra.” –Violet LeVoit, I’ll Fuck Anything that Moves and Stephen Hawking
To be a mound of meat
At the table of the living
–Dorothea Lasky, from “The Amethyst”
And if the man with the choke-hold pulls the
standing man down
Why does he live and if the dead man is
gone why does he rise and
Why is there a clicking sound the sound the
soul makes when it leaves
–Juan Felipe Herrera
On Sorrow / Heart Break
“And as yet I do not understand how my own sorrow has turned into my brothers’ hearts.” –Claudia Rankine, from Citizen
The World & Me
Once I walked out and the world
rushed to my side.
–Mark Wunderlich, from The Earth Avails