7:00pm, Pay What You Can
Join us for a celebration of Bloof Books authors, and new publications with Soham Patel, Daniel Borzutzky & Jennifer L. Knox.
Soham Patel is the author of and nevermind the storm, a chapbook from Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs. Her work has been included in Copper Nickel, eleven eleven journal, Denver Quarterly, and various other places. She is a chapbook editor at Horse Less Press, a Kundiman fellow, and a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee where she also serves as a poetry editor for cream city review.
Daniel Borzutzky’s books and chapbooks include, among others, The Performance of Becoming Human(2016); In the Murmurs of the Rotten Carcass Economy (2015), Bedtime Stories For The End of the World! (2015), Data Bodies (2013),TheBook of Interfering Bodies (2011), and The Ecstasy of Capitulation (2007). He has translated Raúl Zurita’s The Country of Planks (2015) and Song for his Disappeared Love (2010), and Jaime Luis Huenún’s Port Trakl (2008). His work has been supported by the Illinois Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Pen/Heim Translation Fund. He lives in Chicago.
The New York Times Book Review wrote that Jennifer L. Knox’s new book, Days of Shame and Failure, "hits, with deceptive ease, all the poetic marks a reader could want: intellectual curiosity, emotional impact, beautiful language, surprising revelation and arresting imagery." A five-time Milwaukee slam champion, her poems have appeared four times in the Best American Poetry series as well as The New York Times, The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, McSweeney's, and Bomb. She teaches at Iowa State University.
Lake Michigan Merges into the Bay of Valparaiso, Chile
the reasons for which our blood is drawn in the prison camps of Lake Michigan are not communicated to us
the reasons for which we are imprisoned are also not communicated to us
it is often said on the shores of Lake Michigan, which is the bay of Valparaiso, that we will die for reasons we do not understand
we do not understand why we do not understand why we will die
we do not understand why we do not understand why we are imprisoned
we do not understand why we do not understand why we are paid or beaten or loved
we do not understand why last night the authoritative bodies loaded up four ships worth of prisoners and why those boats are half a mile away from the beach, booming dance music, baking in the summer sun
we do not understand why the authoritative bodies don't sweep the carcasses of the dead pets and washed up animals off the beaches on which we walk and sleep
we do not understand our relationship one body to another
at times the authoritative bodies tell us to touch each other
at times they tell us to feed each other
at times they tell us to beat each other
at times they tell us to pay each other
at times they tell us to protect each other
at times they tell us to kiss each other
at times they tell us to probe each other with forceps, needles and wooden skewers
at times they force us to force each other to drink dirty purple milk and to eat rotten bread and vegetables
at times they tell us to stick juicy oranges into each other's mouths
at times they tell us to kick each other and call each other offensive names
at times they tell us to chew and swallow everything
at times they tell us to curse and laugh and hiss
at times they say: pretend you are an immigrant and hiss for us
at times they say: pretend you are not an immigrant and speak as if you are not a communist
or they say: your faces are organs of emotional communication: smile or frown or cry
or they say: pretend you are a machine and that you do not have a soul
or they say: you are nothing more than a piece of data to be aggregated, to be disaggregated, to be sliced and diced into the most minute units so that we can understand how the body and the city and the nation whir and wallow and tick
or they say: you are a human machine and you must explode
there is good money, they say, in emotional responsiveness
and at times they pay us when we laugh or snarl or cry
or they say: there is nothing to be gained from emotional responsiveness
so they beat us when we laugh or snarl or cry
and they say: you have shame in your eyeballs, you have love in our eyeballs, you have pain in your dimples, you have guilt in your mouth, abjection in your lips, joy in your nostrils, anger in your cheekbones, love in the bags under your eyes, passion in your eyebrows, fear in your chin, disgust in your forehead, disaster and promise and despair in the furrows of your face and in the murmuring economies on your rotten carcass tongue
THE STENDHAL-SANTA SYNDROME
Christmas carols eviscerate me.
How the hell do people sing
“Join the triumph of the skies!”
without sobbing? I pulled
an Irish goodbye when they broke out
the tattered songbooks at the office Christmas party,
turned off the road home and bawled ‘til I was empty.
My friend says it’s the same for her when
she holds a baby. Something about
the promise of it: so fat, so happy
to make the scene—a pure manifestation
of love. This occurs to me: the listening chokes
me up, but the singing along overwhelms me.
So the tears begin in my voice
(the call is coming from inside the house!)
when, so moved by its sincerity, I’m
compelled to wade into that
clunky old body of water, open
my mouth, and drown.
—Jennifer L. Knox
like empire interrupted
violence mistakes midsections from my body—
bronze sharp points poke into it and cut
a light changes from red to green: oh what a slow thing!
—the impracticality of: salt never touches our skin
when she stood in the center: she stood against flower and stone—
she stood: a marker under a drone
time stamped in this movement—pitted fruits drop into a spoon
isn’t desire funny?—we take pictures in the mirror and post on timelines for likes
can decay like moth wings in the wind
hold—a gait—hold—a head—there are places
in which a gathering rhymes with family
and industry with go