Managing Editor’s Pick


Michael Shea

Michael Martin Shea was born in Maryland and raised in Florida. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in jubilat, Pleiades, Colorado Review, Indiana Review, Best New Poets 2012, and elsewhere. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, where he edits Yalobusha Review.

In The Burgeoning Field Of Mary-Kate Olsen Studies

In the burgeoning field of Mary-Kate Olsen studies
you’ve got all the right moves & I am totally
fucked, Mary-Kate, I’m driving with sticky hands,
I’m not cleaning my plate. Once I was your gaffer,
your key grip, your list of quickly-scrolling names
in the credits, but I spent my last dollar-fifty on
a cup of coffee I hated & now I miss those quarters
terribly, I’m all out of tokens & you don’t have any change
for your best boy, do you, so what I want to know is—
do you remember our first days? Did you love me?
Were you taken with my soft hands, the delicious way
I read your body, highlighted your ribs one-by-one,
color-marked your face? I’m coming up on the end
of my reign as your chief professor, where dark moons
wait to take me away. Come with me. We can stay
in my softly tilting mouth & read up on how to best
circumnavigate the spheres, how to take the absolute
circumference of your delicate brain. In the long run,
I’ll be a footnote in a dangerous term paper about
how you were the dark window where the sky tried
to swallow us whole, but for now, I’ll hide behind
the bookshelves, wait for the café to empty out &
when it does, I’ll be there with my favorite pencil,
writing your autobiography & signing my name.


From Sketchbook

Engaged in the creation of a legitimate minoritarian position & overruling the body’s multiple sexual needs.

Grace to live with such people.

The wind socks, the second-hand organs, the body protectant, the cow with its eyes turned out, the thief, the fresh baby, the pizza.

The daily self filled with ritual and fanaticism, gone to with the diligence of a man who holds certain antiquate notions not mitigated by the terrible ungoodness of the larger natural world & its various way to end our bodies & piss upon them.

Elsewhere the cities are raising their bridges, the fly’s gone out, the wiring is filled with penis pumps & deer skins.

Drunk mothers & punching through fabric. Superconductors & cold old news.

We have eaten our nightmares, there’s nothing left to scare us anymore—we think & repeat & internalize & tap-dance & fish with & giggle.

Only—the coffee mugs, the washing machines that break down, the dreams about babies, throwing our cell phones, all fifty states.

We want a truck with no gas mileage to speak of & a final haircut & music that glows, the ability to dictate the terms of our surrender, a little time with each other, a softness, a blanket, a tune.

For our gods to come down from the attic & stick their little noses in our business.

That my person will depart from this earth & not swallow the children. That you will not hate me for what you don’t understand.

Malachi, I’m coming. Professor, I’m coming.

Thought to be proven. Perfect perforation of grace.


E Pluribus Mary-Kate Olsen

Yours is the attic I’d most like to haunt
with my gut self, caught up in the drawstring
of your venetian blinds, & if you wreathe me
in ball-peens & gossamer, I will rattle
my chains at your suitors, your fan club
numbers will dwindle to one, but I can’t
pretend not to exhaust your various possibilities,
festooned as I am in garlands of finest crude,
playing Who’s The Ghost In Your Panty Drawer?
Can’t you see beneath the surface, Mary-Kate?
Inside my heart is another, smaller heart
that’s slowly starving to death. You will grow
stately & gnarled under my hands & my toes
will anchor your mattress from distant fields
where you’re the blue poppy that goes on
running & stains the whole sky, but your future
is one thing I can’t undress with my teeth,
stuck on the clasps of your garters,
clattering like hammers on rusty pipes.


From Sketchbook

Turn out the vagrants was the order, the annexation hurtling toward us. Amelioration of the static divine.

Anal bleeding especially pronounced today.

He got this durn spell. He put that spell on you turn your insides out.

Dormant for so long but recently exhibiting signs of growth.
Allow me for the time being to perforate the visible, to poke holes in your prostate, to deflate the “moral majority.” I’ve come this far without a pack.

At least we have music & a little time with each other, & code that cannot be translated.

Give it to me discreet, uh huh.

All us happy aliens.

Grace to live with such people as these.


Fifth Prophecy Concerning Mary-Kate Olsen

I have gobbled up all of the oracles
you left behind but you don’t care
that I’m hungry, in your soft-walled
palace where sparrows lilt on the crusts
of your toasted hair & I would climb
to the peak of your bread-basket
if you’d promise not to drown me
in butter & raspberry jam, but you’ve
set up camp in the kitchen & you’re
invading all my notions of self. Last week,
I was out in your cornfield, drinking gin
& talking shit—I know you caught it
on tape—but let me tell you about
this dream I’ve been having: you’re wearing
a floral-print dress, baking the sparrows
alive, & as soon as you open the oven,
I spin out the horrible thrumming
of wings to stand in your bedchamber,
naked & covered in pie crumbs, ready
to pull off the blue belt of your apron,
my fingers geared up for the dancing,
your insight swaddled in dirty sheets.


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