• Address 720 East Locust Street | Milwaukee, WI 53212
  • Phone 414.263.5001
  • Hours Tue-Fri 11-8pm | Sat-Sun 12-5pm | Closed Mon
  • Hours Tue-Fri 11-8pm, Sat-Sun 12-5pm, Closed Mon
Event Calendar
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performances
October 22

Alternating Currents Live: Tom Rainey & Devin Drobka Percussion Duo

readings & workshops
October 25

Poetry Reading: Stephen Anderson & Erik Richardson

readings & workshops
October 26

Urban Echo Poets

special events
November 3

Join us on Friday, November 3rd for our 37th Annual Anniversary Gala!

 

Archived readings & workshops
Dec 17 Saturday, December 17
5:30pm, RECEPTION & PROGRAM: $80 INDIVIDUAL | $150 COUPLE; PROGRAM ONLY: $25 ADVANCE | $30 DOOR

 

Join us as we welcome poet Rodrigo Toscano for a program guest curated by Roberto Harrison.

 

Rodrigo Toscano’s newest book of poetry, Explosion Rocks Springfield, is just out from Fence Books. His previous books include, Deck of Deeds, Collapsible Poetics Theater (National Poetry Series selection), To Leveling Swerve, Platform, Partisans, and The Disparities. His poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies, including Voices Without Borders, Diasporic Avant Gardes, Angels of the Americlypse, Imagined Theatres, In the Criminal’s Cabinet, Earth Bound, and Best American Poetry. Toscano has received a New York State Fellowship in Poetry He works for the Labor Institute in conjunction with the United Steelworkers and the National Institute for Environmental Health Science. Toscano lives in the Bayou Saint John Faubourg of New Orleans.


 

The Friday evening gas explosion in Springfield leveled a strip club next to a day care.

 

I remember the breeze right before…

Burs of—was it willow—slant-falling.

The gray sidewalk, schist granules, scattering.

A brown dumpster lid smushing its green plastic, sandwich meat.

A rat made its debut, but for a moment.

 

I remember an awning string’s knotted tip soft-thudding a windowpane

—tympani’s uneven beat.

The rustle of stray trash—bass strings, almost rising

—but never.

And the chopper, the chopper—spittletatootling, spittletatootling—

A proud boot landing on obedient asphalt.

The stern, uncrying chrome.

The flighty flames decorative gas tank.

 

I can’t forget the beryllium blue sunshades

—orange hued at a glance.

And the stars and bars, starched, pressed, bandana.

Nation Idol Gorge

But for a moment

Then

Boom.  



The Friday evening gas explosion in Springfield leveled a strip club next to a day care.

 

Spartacus sprinklers (top rail)

Serial no. 21809A

Inspector 480F

Jiangxi Quality Products

Night Hawk Importers, San Bruno, CA

Roman Roads Distributors, Phoenix, AZ

Port of entry, Tacoma, WA

Tankard 10179.03

Inspector 4201

ILO quarterly report:

Case study 1142

Tingting Liu, 23, female

I.D. 41732

Platform 12, line 8, station 4

Muscular skeletal paralysis

3rd metatarsal taped to 2nd   phalangeal

4th proximal splinted to 5th distal

OSHA Region 1 final report:

Incident 2267, explosion (gas)

Inspector 505F

Sprinklers inoperable

Logic Tree branch 20

System of Safety failure

Mitigation device

16 drill holes stoppered

Weld burs not filed

Citation: 29CFR.1910.159(c)(12)

Notes: inspector 505F on leave

DOL budget sequestered

PUB.L. 112-25

District 2, 112th Congress

United States of America



The Friday evening gas explosion in Springfield leveled a strip club next to a day care.

 

I remember the plume right after…

Orbs of—was it cinnamon—black-rising.

Vapor gray whitening shingle powder rain.

A dumpster lid sheered off a gravestone’s angel face.

A hawk’s claws claimed the stump.


 

I remember two spouts of thin flame, blue, making an X

—mind’s waking dream.

The hissing of gurgling plastic, supplicant—sick

—stomach’s inner eyeball.

And the bathtub, the bathtub—sittin’ pretty—sittin’ pretty—

The hysteric roof flopping on an unfazed floor.

The wise, ever-wakeful steel beams.

The cheery glass—beaming—everywhere.

 

I can’t forget that purple doorknob

—horny at a glance.

And the plump couch stuffing foam, blazing, angry.

City’s Final Chorus

But for a moment

Then

Shsh.

 

 

—Rodrigo Toscano, from Explosion Rocks Springfield (Fence Books, 2016)


Made possible with generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts