ISSUE TWO: July, 2019



How then does light return to the world after the eclipse of the sun? Miraculously. Frailly. In thin stripes. It hangs like a glass cage.

Virginia Woolf, The Waves


on a road that felt like a half slack bridge:
about to fall away: were two
               people: one asking
                         the other if a person
                  is like a laugh        

track: or maybe if
a laugh track       
                     is like a fake candle:
                                            like if
maybe it’s the point that there’s light                     

but no heat: who wants
to get burned anyway:                                     

and if it’s like that I’d rather be
the biggest fakest laugh: the kind
                    you can’t mistake
                    as honest: maybe nervous:
                                    maybe flirty:
but neither one is really the point of the fake laugh: 

one says to the other:
                                  if it’s like that maybe
                                  I’ll be a real candle
when I’m 80: almost dead: at that age
                                                    you can be
                                                    a real candle with an honest flicker:  

                                          but for now: I’m trying not
to drive us off the edge: one says:
                                                    you’re my broken candle:
                                                    my nervous cough:
and the other says: yeah:
                                                    yeah I guess I am:
just trying to make light
without the heat:  

                          my laugh
turns on and off: and it’s                      
unbalanced: now too much, too little,
                           at the wrong time altogether:  

and to slip is just to make
                  a kind of portrait: walk
                  on down the road:
                                 not to fall the whole way:
                                         just a bit:       
and see how we all catch
                                 ourselves: a hand
                                                   upon the rail:
one foot slightly back:
                                  or sacrifice         
                                a briefcase to the mud:                                                              

is a lost umbrella worth the time it takes
                            to wash my pants:  

one says to the other: he fell & I just had to laugh:                                 

and that’s what makes disaster funny:                      

                                  it’s those little honesties
                                  that give off light: the other says:  

I try not to make light of things
like that: the other
other says: I know: the car
                      on its headlights: & we strain                                                

to see the night
past all its night:  

one says: I can’t stop
                thinking: & the other says: I know:
                you think so fast it hurts:  

I want to tell you what I’m thinking but I can’t:
                                   one says: 

the other then: give it a rest: it’s always angels with you:  

it’s true: implicit always
                                  is the question of angels:
                                     how many are there:
                                        how do they move
                                         their hands: and once they have them do they pride
                                             themselves on having wings: &     
                                              do they wonder
                                                   at flying like the first men
                                                      felt when they first flew:
                                                         or is it ordinary: anybody’s guess:
             the angels make a kind of line:
                 a small applause:  the beginning
            of a piano nocturne: asking
      those at night: how do you feel about light:  

                                       tonight I am only concerned with light:  

                                 how it is seen:
                       what power the eye has
         to open it: its phrasal disintegration
        over the small wash of cones and rods:
                                         the eye is the center
                                                       of perception:
                                                               in this way
                                                     it is the hole of light:
                                     I tried a while to avoid the vision
                                                                   in the visionary:
                                         like there wasn’t something normal
                                                      in disaster: something boring
                                                                              to the sky: & so
                                the eye collects our light: the edge of blankness:
                                                      a long thin visionary line that breaks
                                                                                          across the dark:
                                                                              to have been denied light
                                                                                    is to forget those things:
                                                                   and to have been denied light wholly
                                                                                  is to have no memory at all:
                                                                                because you can’t remember
                                                               the dark: you can’t remember absence:
                                                                                  you remember the thing
                                                                                                 that’s absent,
                                                                                 not the hole it makes:
                                                                                                  you can’t
                                                                                  even feel the hole,
                                                                                      just the edges
                                                                        it has: the other says:
                                                                                 that isn’t right
                                                          for absence is a thing itself
                                                                    & nothing as small
                                                                      as this: this this:
                                                                          is available
                                                                     to the angels:
                                   in heaven even streetlamps hang
                                                                   like angels
                                      of the lord: the sacred dead
                                                         stretched out 
                               on side streets, main streets,
                   everywhere: a fucking confluence
                             of angels: thick with light
                             remembering the light 

                    and what I have to know is this:                         

                                                       what of the wings
                                                     that carried them in life:
                                                  how wide were they: how many
                                               feathers burnished on the amber sky:
                                             how far up
                                          is heaven’s whole:
                                       is the flight long: & do they tire:
                                    for the weight of their wings cannot
                                 be separated from them:
                              for to weigh
                           nothing is to be unable to fly:
                        an impressive nothingness,
                    sure, but accomplishing nothing:
                 I am sitting in a yellow
              bar: it’s dirty & a song comes
               on the speaker system
                sadder than I was
                  prepared for:
                    a young tom waits
                      is crooning halfway
                         to brokenness: how is it
                            that a young man can have
                               such capacity for nostalgia:
                                    no one’s sadness matches
                                      the melancholy drunk: sure
                                                there are deeper images
                             of loss: the death of loved ones: family
                          members gone: but now the barman fades,
                                    devolves in an aging light: the image of
                                  a man slumped over at the bar grows wide:
                                                   the man whose light is lost already:
                                                          found in amber carriages of glass:
                                                      his is that beside the light: the shadow
                                                                    or the bulb: the song is over:   
                                          and the moment breaks: I have never been
                                                                           so wrong: imagery’s
                                                              blank narcissism overtakes
                                                                        the world: but god
                                                       the world is large & so I try
                                      to say as many words
                                              as possible before time takes
                        me onward & I have to go: I want to say
                    hello: but do the right thing, & shut up:
                                 I tell myself I have to get on:
                                            if only for a while: 

I’m still waiting for the visions
of angels: flaming: protective: born
in a taxi cab: weeping
elegies to the god who drives
them: stopping on another
avenue: emerging
fully grown in form: but still
unformed in mind:
where what will soon emerge is somehow blocked:
it is 9pm in New York City:
35th avenue: & I am waiting
to be let in to my girlfriend’s
apartment by her roommate:
she is not there: she has been
missing for 3 hours:
I waited in the bus
terminal from upstate New York:
where it is somehow cold
& stuffy at the same time: she is out
drinking with her coworkers: I should
have gone home then: I almost broke  

it off: but I stayed: I am let in 
by her roommate: she comes
home later: & we go to sleep
without talking: a candle flickers
in the window: she can’t sleep
without it: in her small bed I roll
over: staring at the wall: I tell her:
it’s okay: of course it’s not okay:
I don’t realize at the time:
that she was out with another man:
I assume that she was drunk:
and maybe she was: 
the smoke of machines rises: 
New York rumbles impossibly outside:
I try to shake the memory of it:
but still feel so much shame:
that was 2 years ago
& only now I am figuring out
what happened: connections
never made before: there are no angels:
we know that:
but in the distance some horn wails: 
someone yells:
                      we all just want to sleep:
                         one says: I guess
                                I’m sitting on the elegy
                                    of my beliefs:
                                        the other turns & says: when can I be done
                                            with this: it isn’t possible to be
                          religious in this century:
                             we know too much: god’s greatest strength
                                was answers: but the questions
                                  make no sense these days          
                                                            one says: half my life
                                                             is all in order: a smooth
                                                             unbroken line:      
                                                            the image of a stable self
                                                         & what’s half true is true enough:
                                                       my line is getting long,
                                                   if rough: the other half
                                              of me hangs lowly: just
                  another shape that’s shaped
              by unseen hands:                         
                                  my boredom is a legend with no book: the mind’s
                              a jagged thing & I collect        
                          a set of lamps
                     to see the shadows that it casts:
                 it’s broke
          but not yet broken:
despite all this I like my life:
I try to tell you this: instead
I make a joke about the blues: I type: lol:
                                                 into my phone:
                                                 to text you: I stumble
in my mouth and haven’t
                                               said a word: but it’s
a real laugh: a laugh, out loud, for once:
                                                                 one turns
                                                 on the radio & says
to the other, pointing to the dash: everything
      these days
                              is always on:
and with a symbol
                             to make sure
                 I know it’s on: a tiny
         light: as though the sound
                       were not enough
the other says: and don’t forget the phone,
the printer, television, comp: or hell,
         the fridge itself
               feels some strange need
to let me know it’s on:
                                        if certainty could change: I’d make
a full epistemology of tiny lights:
those things we curate, charge:              
at this hour my mind’s electric: I hold
my brain in my left hand
& count three mirrors in the car
                        as you drive on: if we’re honest, one admits:
I hate light—I like the winter better, and prefer
a small lamp to the sun:                                        
it’s why I drive at night: the drive
is over: but we’re never done:
I’m always up: the other
                                        says: I’m talking
to myself: is there no work
or word
                                        to get me though
this time: the brightness of the streetlamp roars:
the brain is chattel: static: flipping through:
            it’s just that you’re
my favorite channel:   
I’m sitting at a cafe now:
                                        strange lights
surface through the glass that spreads outside:
how artificial brightness is at night:
          yet we need light:  my people
now make moments                    
           in the night: we live strangely
out of sync with earth’s
diurnal course: I feel most
           at home at 3am:     as earth’s large shadow wraps
                           like angel wings about
            the time we ought to sleep
                           but all this talk of angels
                        smacks of neglect: we talk of light
                          like there isn’t something else
                             that light creates
                               beside the light:
                                  there is another one
                                     who floats on wings
                                        throughout these histories:
                                           of course, the image of his wings
                                             is overwrought:
                                                  they say he is not one
                                                    of those with light: I think
                                                   they’re lying            
                                                when they say his place is darkness:
         you were mine & when we came
      here it was always
                                       disruption with you:
                                    a crooked soul:
                                 an emblematic cloudbreak
                             in the rain:                   
                         we met light like freezing rain 
                      meets barren ground
                  before it’s full of ice:
              our principle was change,
       so in this great city
   I cite your arms,
 like lines, against
  the presumption
    of evil in all men:
      I sought the moon
        in all things          
          & all things
              in your hands
    today, it is 3:24am & I steal what I can (everything) from the angels
                                                             yes, even individual letters:
                                                                     moments like this:
                                                                     it is the moment
                                                           of your resurrection
                                                               from the dead:
                                                       you are blind
                                                you cannot see
                                       how frail you are
                                          in this frame
                        the shot is composed
                  with you just right
                  of the center
              the melancholy
        ardor of a birch
       wood in winter
     surrounds you:
       there are so few
      leaves left after this
             the first
             light snow:
                   only here
                      and there
                      a small yellow
                         shows through:
                              at this point,
                             the cancer
                          is already
                           in you:
                        your smile
                     seems like
                    an error
                 but the camera takes
                    it all

              with its light

something you would say is like: who has time
for that these days: dying               

is a bore:   can’t we just
           be done with that already:  & the other says:

here’s one thing

 I hate: it’s being damp: you know
that time in each October
or when you forgot

to wear a rainproof coat: you’re not exactly wet
but all of you is cold:
and going
                                                to be cold:

it’s not like you can dry off being damp:
a towel does no good:      

 the damp pervades:  & lingers

                             on new clothes:
one says: do you want to hear
about a good day
that I had the other day
it was almost like nothing: breakfast, clouds:
lunch: & work:
the little details:
            coffee 3, maybe 4 times: toast
                        for breakfast:                
          yogurt, too:

I mean it’s hard to say why it was good:
it was like yesterday:                   
                                    but better: you know what I mean?
something in a Thursday maybe:
another thing you’d say a lot is: fuck it
                 so today I’m saying: fuck it

                 there was once: when you walked in
                    unexpectedly from the night & asked:
                        can I say hello for a moment:
                             I said: sure I’m not working on
                                 anything, just sitting:
                                     you didn’t bother
                                         unbuttoning your coat:  for some reason
                                            this is my favorite memory of you:
                                             you said: I’ll just be
                                             a moment, I saw you
                                           from the window on my way
                                         home and thought I’d say
                                    it is 3:53am, & the snow
                                 looks so strange from this window
                            in the orange light.  
                         and so? I burnish now
                      my shoulders at the door: I asked
                   you if you wanted tea:
                you said no,
             only that you wanted
          to say hi:
        you did,
     and then went out:
   & the other says:
   well here’s the shadow, then:
   & the other says:
   & the other says:
      & the other says:   
        who has time for death these days:
          absence: resurrection: christ & all of that:                 
              I’m bored: what light is lucifer’s
                to let me know he’s on:
                   I hope he’s got bravado left to sell                              
                     because I’m cycling through everyone:
                       in some strange way I think
                           that I might end up liking this:
                              I’m tired though:
                                how long until we don’t wake up:
                                    I’m asking for another: for a
                                        friend, I guess:
                                           I pretend the satellite
                                              that sends my text
                                                  knows god: this lol
                                                     reads like a prayer:
                                                        & there we are again
                                                           at the clover fields
                                                              before the white
                                                                 moon: you said the moon
                                                                    was the one thing
                                                                      that never texted you back:
                                                                       it couldn’t have been
                                                                      otherwise that late:
                                                                    how queer an architecture
                                                                we made of evening,
                                                             pressing out
                                                         into the cold,  it was
                                                    still cold that time
                                                 of year, like some great coat
                                              held up by wind &
                                          turned around,
                                       before settling:
                                   we spoke in acronyms:
                                like everyone we knew:
                            so many different ones
                         for laughter: rofl: lol: smh:
                     I can’t believe you said that irl:
                  the devil’s beautiful:        
              the moon’s on call:
           there’s nothing else can go this way:
        what light is there that intercedes
      in this: I’m told that light       
     is the symbol for what’s best
    in all of us: it lets us know
     we’re on, at least: I’m sick
       of all these symbols now: fuck off: & isn’t
         there a melancholy light:          
           one dim: far dimmer than
             this white light we’re used to
                in the day: it hung
                   above the drunk: it hangs
                      on me: it lights cafes and bars
                        at night: it lights the me
                         that hangs myself, the me that drops,
                 the me that cuts me down:
                                it is the smallness we keep on when sleep
                                 can’t sleep: you wore a blue light:
                                one that proved too bright:
                             & I can’t stand the brightness: if I could
                        have a way of seeing all
                   my own, I might make better use of light:
               the empty New York streets exist
           only seconds at a time:
        it’s 4am: too late
    for work: too early
 for beginnings:
it’s just time:
a time: a color
 of my own


EVELYNN BLACK is a trans writer from Seattle. She received her MFA from Cornell University. Her poems appear in Requited, Peculiars Magazine, Lammergeier Magazine, and other publications