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Phillip Lopate describes the shape of Manhattan Island as‘a luxury liner, permanently docked, going nowhere’. This feeling of being tethered to the land, unable to get to sea, was a feature of New York life for much of the twentieth century. New York was an island without a coast. The West Side piers that once welcomed the Lusitania spent most of the twentieth century crumbling or behind barbed wire, while the East Side’s coves and points were cut off from pedestrians by six lanes of the Robert Moses-designed Franklin Delano Roosevelt Drive. It wasn’t much easier to reach the shores of Brooklyn, Queens or the Bronx, either: with a few exceptions, they were largely reserved for municipal or industrial use, and easiest to see from the Staten Island Ferry (en route to the borough with the most beaches). Now, slowly, the city is reclaiming its shoreline, with some spectacular results.

Nothing Can Hurt Me by Molly Rose Quinn


WATER WATER EVERYWHERE my doll, my decapitation

 

is very political. My ass burns

 

on the roof of a Cadillac. My ele-

 

phantine limbs are basically done for.

Her shuttering lids kiss my pointer when I worry the lashes,

 

jerk her dull body up hard then down hard BIPOLAR WHATEVER

I discovered beer that year. I was Alexander I so discovered the world.

 

In my loot: the good erotics of hypoallergenic rubber. I keep feeling evil.

A core (detected) of fat girls and B.O. Can I continue being evil?

 

Can I continue being evil if the geography between my legs

 

is a holeless plain OOH SHE’S GOT IT BAD.

One girl (“jane doe”) wields a weapon.

One girl (“jane doe”) gives head.

One girl (“jane doe”) gums puny lacquered revolvers slung round her neck.

 

Its glint fulfills LOVE IS NOT A CONSOLATION

 

a heading via Simone Weil. I never do find it, so I have longed

 

to be consoled. The mystics holding their peculiar court,

salutations abreast, a groovy reckoning, white stallion, etc.

FOR THE TIME BEING I could not even bear myself

 

in any light. Henry and William and other Scholars,

 

I bow my own little crackled head at their sorry fantasies. And you

do nothing. How many shitty little kids will die before we finish, depends

on the rewards of girl-on-girl. OUTLAW don’t start WON’T YOU

 

she ends with a psalm of her own miraculous design: but now

in my very young age I’ve known little I shy away from much

all I’ve know so far of love is death which is a great deal to know

but not enough



Molly Rose Quinn was raised in Memphis, Tennessee. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, Everyday Genius, Coconut, Two Serious Ladies, No, dear, Four Way Review, The Fiddleback, Singing Saw Press' Parallax, and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn. She works for the literary programs at Symphony Space in Manhattan, and also with the Brooklyn Book Festival, the Moby-Dick Marathon NYC, and The Atlas Review.

Asymmetrical Kicking by Steve Mentz

OBJECTBaby Doll Leg

BODY OF WATERDead Horse Bay 


baby doll leg.jpg

I knew she’d miss me.

Points of fingers digging slightly,

Varying pressure across my unfeeling thigh,

Holding whatever was around us.

Touch binds emotion to dead things.

It skates along filaments to sinews,

Plastic to skin to salt.

She brought me to the beach, into the surf, out here:

That was her mistake.

 

Beneath the surface flows another world.

Sideways I kick inside it,

Detached,

Solitary.

Lashing out, I move

Asymmetrically.

No longer attached to body or world or girl,

I swim alone.

The salt burns and trickles inside me,

Filling me up.

A dark motion holds me for a long time.

 

Returning is another leaving.

Never stepping twice onto the same sand,

Out of the same salt water, alongside the same

Dead things.

Air feels empty after so much water.

Now when I kick nothing moves.


Steve Mentz is Professor of English at St John's where he teaches Shakespeare, oceanic literature, and literary theory. He's written two scholarly books, including most recently *At the Bottom of Shakespeare's Ocean* (2009), edited two more academic volumes, and also published many articles on literary culture and the maritime environment. His works in progress, performance reviews, and swimming autobiography can be found on his blog, The Bookfish (www.stevementz.com)