GREENWICH

Greenwich is the initial meridian where the world is split, ends and begins again.
For us, it is our English poetry section, where we want to rescue the most interesting voices of the English language, in order to make them available to the world.

For this issue, publish with us Dana Levin. She is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Banana Palace (2016). Her first book, In the Surgical Theater, was chosen by Louise Glück for the 1999 American Poetry Review / Honickman First Book Prize and went on to receive numerous honors, including the 2003 PEN / Osterweil Award.

Copper Canyon Press brought out her second book, Wedding Day, in 2005, and in 2011 Sky Burial, which The New Yorker called “utterly her own and utterly riveting.” Sky Burial was noted for 2011 year-end honors by The New Yorker, the San Francisco Chronicle, Coldfront, and Library Journal.

Levin’s poetry and essays have appeared in many anthologies and magazines, including Best American Poetry, The New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Boston Review, The American Poetry Review, Poetry, and The Paris Review. Her fellowships and awards include those from the National Endowment for the Arts, PEN, the Witter Bynner Foundation and the Library of Congress, as well as from the Lannan, Rona Jaffe, Whiting and Guggenheim Foundations.

Levin currently serves as Distinguished Writer in Residence at Maryville University in St. Louis, where she lives. http://www.danalevinpoet.com

A skull

is like a house

with a brain inside. Another place

where eating

and thinking

tango and spar—

At night

you lean out, releasing

thought balloons.

On the roof

someone stands ready

with a pin—


Instructions for Stopping

                               Say Stop.

Keep your lips pressed together

after you say the p:

(soon they’ll try

and pry

your breath out—)

                               Whisper it

                               three times in a row:

                               Stop Stop Stop

                               In a hospital bed
                               like a curled up fish, someone’s

                               gulping at air—

                               How should you apply

                               your breath?

                                               —

                               List all of the people

                               you would like

                               to stop.

Who offers love,

no stanza break

who terror—

Write Stop.

                               Put a period at the end.

Decide if it’s a kiss

or a bullet.


According to the Gospel of Yes

It’s a thrill to say No.

The way it smothers

everything that beckons―

Any baby in a crib

will meet No’s palm

on its mouth.

And nothing sweet

can ever happen

               ―

to No―

who holds your tongue captive

behind your teeth, whose breath

whets the edge

               ―

of the guillotine―

N, head of Team Nothing,

and anti-ovum O.

And so the pit can never

engender

               ―

the cherry―

in No, who has drilled a hole                                                                                    no stanza break                 

inside your body―

No.

Say it out loud.

Why do you love the hole

No makes.


from BANANA PALACE (Copper Canyon Press, 2016)

A Debris Field of Apocalypticians―A Murder of Crows

The fact of suffering is not a question of justice.

Belief in God is not a disease.

Our father projections met and disaster ensued.

Earth is our only time machine.

Our mother projections met and disaster ensued.

Everyone is sick from what we made.

He wanted you to ask him how he felt―

he didn’t give a shit about your ümwelt.

But your heartburn, biome, phone bills, research―

your temperature, heartbreak, dust mites, checkbook―

your live ones, loved ones, languishing spider mums―:

they just needed some shit

                                               to make them grow―

The fact of suffering is not a question of justice.

Everyone is sick from what we made.

You watched monks change sand into a Palace of Time,

wheeled through an age of unpardonable crimes.


from BANANA PALACE (Copper Canyon Press, 2016)

At the End of My Hours

I

here I’m here I’m here I’m

here here here here cricket

pulse―the katydidic tick

(and then a pause) tick

(and then a pause) in greening trees―tales

of a gratitude for water, the hollyhock’s

trumpet Yes, Tenderness

her glove and hoe―her bad trip

love/grief, her medic tent

talking me down, kissed fissures

in the world’s despair, what I’d

loved―alive for a while―a day called

Rip and Brood, a day called

Glorious Hour, the long hunt and the worm found

in the battered petunias―every

morning in summer

that last summer

before the bees collapsed and the seas rose up

to say Fuck You

II

perplexed by how it hadn’t been

unfailingly compatible, our

being numerous―how half the time

we couldn’t see the shapes

we were supposed to make

made grave our disasters―a god’s glass

bearing down

to burn the wheat crop―to keep time alive

inside a tomato, splicing

fish into fruit―some

wanted to defy limitation

were offered famine

bric-a-brac townships

virtual cities

where you could stand in market aisles

still expecting cherries

III

his rhythms were your rhythms

Murray the cat―sleeping à deux

draped your length from hip to knee

like a scabbard―unsheathed his yawn

tortured finches for breakfast

yowled and yowled round the ravaged bowl

til you fed him chicken

from your own plate

another mouth

pearling the wheel of appetite, coveting

a bloody mash

to keep it going―such a dumb rondeau

who invented it!

eating to live to kill to eat, even

cat on a stick when fields failed, no

crave for rain against the blasted scape

nor love nor god at the end

of my hours, but

garlic and butter

a splash of cognac

steak frites

IV

and when soil burned and order failed

and dogs then people starved in char I remembered

an extraordinary peace, the privilege

of being left alone with bread to eat

and famous butter “the chefs use,” the venues

of white sleep, cannabis and klonopin

the soma-goods of art and when

my back went up against a blackened wall

for rumored beans in dented cans I forgot

my body―became a future remembering 

how it got that way, some

blah blah blah―about hoarding rivers

and hiding gold, we

died in droves―we killed each other and we

killed ourselves until our bones wore out

their plastic shrouds

V

I couldn’t quite

quit some ideas―trees and chocolate

I couldn’t stop yammering

over the devastated earth

pining for nachos―prescription drugs

and a hint of Spring, though I could see

the new desert―its bumper-crop

of bone and brick

from shipwrecked cities―where now

the sons and daughters of someone tough

are on the hunt for rat―the scent of meat

however mean and a root

sending an antenna up, to consider

greening―what poems built their houses for

once, in a blindered age, teaching us

the forms we felt, in rescue―hoarded-up scraps 

whirling around my cave

trying to conjure peaches