James Belflower is the author of Commuter (Instance Press) and And Also a Fountain, (NeOpepper Press) a collaborative echap with Anne Heide and J. Michael Martinez. He was a finalist for the 2007 National Poetry series and won the 2007 Juked Magazine poetry prize. His work appears, or is forthcoming in: Jacket, EOAGH, Denver Quarterly, Apostrophe Cast, LIT, First Intensity, Konundrum Engine and O&S, among others. He curates PotLatchpoetry.org, a website dedicated to the gifting and exchange of poetry resources.
“is 6.2 megapixel
but that’s not what I wanted to show you
look at this. . .it’s been passed around work lately
a coworker has a friend in Texas who works for the. . . some
government agency. . . emailed him this. . .”
doesn’t terrify me
its grainy, B&W, and the figures don’t scatter
as fast as I would in that schema
is easier to think
they are stupid and deserve
hovers with what must be unconsciousness
because each one sluggishly
a visual spatter
of small B&W geysers.
“The stuff I was holding flew out of my hands.”
Elena Georgiou and Christian Peet are collaborating on a book with various working titles such as “He Bled / She Bled,” “An Improvised Explorative Device,” and “Insurgents in Love.” Georgiou is the author of two poetry collections, Rhapsody of the Naked Immigrants and mercy mercy me, and is co-editor of the anthology, The World in Us: Lesbian and Gay Poetry of the Next Wave. Peet is the author of a forthcoming memoir, No Evidence, No Jury, No Justice: The Story of Jeremy Barney; a collection of postcards, Big American Trip; and two chapbooks in an ongoing cross-genre project, The Nines; and is the publisher for Tarpaulin Sky Press.
from “Time to Kill”
The pianist plays Chopin. On the factory floor there are thirty sewing machines with women sitting at them, not yet working, dipping breadsticks covered in sesame seeds into their tea. Move your arm through first to second. Keep pressing your heels into the floor. A huge wooden counter stretches along an entire wall. Underneath it are giant bolts of fabric. Don’t roll. Above it there are electrical wires that connect to an industrial strength cutting machine. Knees open. The factory owner turns on the heat. Resist: push down as your heels push up.
He waits in the truck. There is nothing else to do. There is the factory and there is class. In either, she is working. He is not. He is listening to the radio. The radio announces things. The sun is setting on the Western Empire. Tomorrow will be sunny, with a chance of rain. He has “time to kill.” He has time to put quotation marks around “words”: “producers” and “consumers”; “men, women, and children.” The radio says “the plan.”
It is so cold that she keeps opening and closing her fingers, making fists, trying to stave the growing numbness taking over her hands. Knees open. The three windows overlooking the street do not close; heat leaks out and cold leaks in. Repeat. Car horns seeps through, accenting the slow growl of machines. Move your feet back to first. Don’t let your feet roll. Check each dress from neckline to hemline and cut off every strand of dangling white thread. Lower your arm back to bras bas.
The radio says the plan has been re-drafted. Entering and exiting doors of places of business, people around him are thinking of places other than businesses, thinking of business in which they are not presently engaged, thinking of some time other than the present, some place other than “there.” He has “all the time in the world,” but he has no business there. The radio says a plan has been re-drafted, following “the erasure.” He imagines her looking over her shoulder at the saffron sunset, the reflections in unshattered windows, imagines her turning again to say “Thanks for being here.” The radio says a plan has been re-drafted following the erasure of “a people,” but he can think only of her.