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Contributors



Kevin Coval

Kevin Coval




eating with avery r. young at milk n honey



we look good
              poor men concerned
                            w/hats n shoes
              fresh dipped in thrift
              belts n sock match stitched
              muthfuckas fall
              out yr mouth  /  like prayers

everywhere you go is church
n this cafe of the inconspicuous
              is sunday morning on tuesday at 2
its jus the cell phone nympho condo
              call po-po peep show on black people
              don't know        it                                                  yet

we are loud n laughin
              mash slappin tables talkin
              tongues

this is your spot
earthtoned n yellow
n what these white folks
know bout space gon grow
this morning, MUTHAFUCKA

this cafe of milk n honey
next to the russian bath house
where holocaust survivors n
jesse jackson n son sweat n
scrub each other with oak leaves
be where we piss in mayor daley
flower beds

              u grew from west side rain
              sistas n neck rolls / bottom poppin
              creased t's on the maddest sons
              saturday nights sweats n spandex

              u'se         the james baldwin of house
                             the james brown of poetics

              no apologies in this bitch land of milk bone

u'se u  /  i'se i
talk tumblin
all morning long



what Tony tells me after a reading in Southern Illinois


Tony is a union man
taper and paint mixer
makes good money to spend
on NASCAR and big screens

Tony lives in Fallon
drives to Edwardsville to drink.
tonight he's helping a buddy
move after divorce.

most his buddies are firemen
they grew up playing together:
firemen, cops, cowboys, ghosts
in the graveyard til supper served

Tony's hands are like blocks
of meat the butcher wd donate
to the alley. Tony has a goatee
looks like a heavy Dan Quisenberry

or Goose Gossage, relief pitchers
in the '80s. relief pitchers are firemen
called to extingush the away teams'
comeback in the top of the ninth inning.

Tony talked about the firemen he knew
how when Black families moved to town
Tony's friends protected the other homes
with a white moat of flame resistant foam

they'd make sure it'd look like arson,
or an insurance scam or electric mishap
or not, cuz the police play on the same team
in a softball league. after the game they drink

circle the bandwagon. uniformed men
trained to hang bottles of Jim Beam upside down
red splotched faces a glow in the pulse of flame,
the ring of fire set in a confederacy of silence.



what it's like to deliver pizzas in your 50's




after Patricia Smith



your ex-wife tells your kids
she saw it coming. your friends
offer to write you a check and won't
return your phone calls. whispers float
from women, who peck their husbands
to cancer, over your premature grave
like kaddish. your family brings full plates
of Sabbath leftovers. you are working
with out a day of rest and they won't
return your phone calls. bosses twenty
years your junior treat you like you are
diseased, lazy, a schmuck down on his
luck, a horse calling for the shotgun.

blistered finger tips, lost addresses, gas station
pee breaks, side streets with tree names, doorbells
14 year old princes answer and never tip. $5/hr
plus a buck a pie. your '84 astro van curling 200,
000 miles. aramis in the glove box, pine fresh
around the rear view, John Denver in the cassette,
a picture of me and e and you, tucked in the sun block
above your head; Colorado, atop a mountain, on skis,
sun reflecting off snow and tinted glasses like Hollywood
planned it.

rushing and receipts, hot cheese in your lap,
men your age glimpse what they fear or
disgust. an alley with a gun in your face
the spasms shooting through your body
as you drive away.



sunrise


it is nearing
6:13 am
in December
and the woman
i love is two time
zones west.

we are still
on the phone
like elementary school
crushes.

her voice,
a hushed arousal,
translated by at&t.
we can't believe
it is this late
or early.

my bed lays
north-south.
my head looks east
if i twist right.

i pull back
curtains and the sky
line is a silhouette.
handcock erect.

the sun
birthing out of lake
michigan's wet mouth,
blushes Chicago a rainbow,
hovering over the forest
of impossible buildings,

crowning the body of lakeshore:
red peaks, orange frosting, lemon
and lime, sky blue teased by indigo. blackness
tugs the color wheel west. covering
the skeleton of the city
with a shawl.

awake are the alleys scribbled with tribal pictures.
awake are the newspaper trucks hauling dead trees.
awake are the waitresses flipping on pots of coffee.
awake are the migrants hoping in the cold.

awake are the mothers still waiting on their sons.
awake are the corner store clerks opening iron gates.
awake are the teachers lesson planning long commutes.
awake are the pigeons circling lonely roof tops.

awake are the factories breathing grey smoke.
awake are the cabbies going home to raise their family.
awake are the stray dogs packed in Humboldt park.

awake are the L trains thundering thru the sky.
awake are the buses rumbling thru the streets.

awake are the fallen risen from lower wacker.
awake are the fishermen older than the water.

awake are the children putting on their uniforms.
awake are the all workers who will greet this sun.
awake is the sky, holding all the city.
awake is the sky, holding all the city.
awake is the sky

awake is the sky
awake is the sky
awake is the sky

awake is the sky
awake is the sky
awake is the sky
awake is the sky