By the Number 3 by Mark Bibbins

Ad Marginum by Paul Klee


We are very happy to present this new poem by Mark Bibbins.


By the Number 3

Can we back up and read
that sign again, the one

trying to tell us about a band
playing on a beach lined

with pine trees, very old.
If the internet doesn’t work

there you have to build
your own. Let’s rewrite

the constellations
so they read as all kinds

of fruits: here we see
the Grape Cluster reclining

just above the indigo treetops;
Can of Lychees keeps tampering

with my weekly horoscope
but I don’t know how.

Thus magic shuffles reluctantly
toward us and if you claim

you can organize it you should
be making a joke. Look

at a 3 the wrong way
and all you see is your own

wretchedness. If you look at 3
in a different way you might

see a fortunate mouth getting
ready to kiss. You used to

feel like you were always
going to the same place

but it didn’t hurt and other
times the ocean glowed

so blue it broke
half your bones.


Mark Bibbins is the author of The Dance of No Hard Feelings (Copper Canyon Press, 2009) and the Lambda Award-winning Sky Lounge. He teaches at The New School and Columbia University, and edits the poetry section of The Awl.

Talks About Nothing Series featured on The Economist

The Economist recently wrote an insightful article on the Rubin Museum‘s Talks About Nothing series which featured novelist Rick Moody and physicist Melissa Franklin! Including our event on January 26th, there are still several others left in this series before it ends in late January. You can find tickets here.


Also, to refresh your memory, here is the official press release for Poems About Nothing:




Wednesday, January 26
$12/$10.80 for RMA Members/$5 student/ advance available by phone
Admission includes access to the galleries from 5pm-7pm.
Buy tickets here.

Himalayan Happy Hour and live music in the café from 5-7pm prior to the reading.

“if there’s nowhere to rest at the end how can I get lost along the way?”–Ikkyu

Poets Kimiko Hahn, Saskia Hamilton, Noelle Kocot, David Lehman, Ben Lerner, Brenda Shaughnessy, and Stacy Szymaszek read poems by themselves and others on the themes of absence, emptiness, and…nothing.

Presented in association with Augury Books

150 WEST  17TH STREET, NEW YORK CITY   212.620.5000 x344

This performance informs the exhibition
Grain of Emptiness
Buddhism-Inspired Contemporary Art
Grain of Emptiness features five contemporary artists—Sanford Biggers, Theaster Gates, Atta Kim, Wolfgang Laib, and Charmion von Wiegand—all inspired by the Buddhist notions of emptiness and impermanence and Buddhist ritual practice. These artists are from disparate backgrounds and explore a range of artistic mediums, but all have inherited the practice of incorporating Eastern religious beliefs into their works. The exhibition’s paintings, photographs, videos, and installations will be complemented by performance art. For more information on the series relating to the exhibition please visit

2 New Poems by Ben Mirov

Dear Veterans

you are proof of many things
worth remembering, among them
that war is a cloud of smoke

and guts hungry enough
to claim thousands of villages,
horses,  unborn geniuses, even entire

libraries, but not everything.
I have never understood
clutching a flag to my chest

or what an enemy is
but we can both agree
that your being a veteran

and not wedged beneath a block
of stone or worse, lost in a pile
of unknowns, is a wonderful thing.

You wander into a diner in Crabtown,
Pennsylvania, drink some coffee
and eat a lime-green wedge of pie.

Maude the waitress approaches
with her golden hair in a bun.
This poem has no end

For the Faint of Heart

When you return from the asylum
be sure to gaze at the trees
covered in snow. When the train

enters the forest, ask the waiter
for tea with milk. In the dark
take seriously the lesson

of fluttering hands. If it is offered
take the class they call Ornithography,
for it will surely teach you something

about love. On the subject of love
I have only a single observation—
if you love a grapefruit you cut it open

and eat its flesh. Take my advice.
Take it home to the ghost you love.
Slip into bed. Snuff out the lights.


Ben Mirov grew up in Northern California. He is the author of GhostMachine (Caketrian, 2010) and the chapbooks Vortexts (SUPERMACHINE, 2011), I is to Vorticism (New Michigan Press, 2010) and Collected Ghost (H_NGM_N, 2010).


CHERIMOYA by Brandon Downing

Galactic, it steps through.
Party room walls
Streaked with saturated aquatic green colors,
Steps of bronze, and you.
By the popping diamond raindrop seeds,
My will dividing the trays,
Into steel boats that go straight down,
Where our lad will tower.
He blows it out his eyeballs
In weather furious about issues,
The night my husband gets clipped.
“I didn’t like all those triangles on their gauges.”
But I’m saying, What’s up with leather?
Rain can turn some leathers super sad,
Like vibrator skin. Even after calibrating,
All you can then do is stand around during the song.


Brandon Downing is a poet and visual artist originally from California. His books of poetry include The Shirt Weapon (Germ Monographs, 2002) and Dark Brandon (Faux Press, 2005), while a monograph of his collages from 1996-2008, Lake Antiquity, was released by Fence Books in 2010. In 2007 he released a feature-length collection of digital shorts, Dark Brandon: Eternal Classics, with a 2nd volume forthcoming in 2011. A longtime member of the Flarf Collective, He lives in New York City, where he co-curates the Poetry Time Reading Series at SpaceSpace.