2 poems by Ivana Kilibarda

Franz Kline, New York, New York, 1953

Sunday afternoon

An insect gentle accepts
a verbal repellant, to which
I turn a cheek. No red.
Oh yes, confidence!
A stroll in December. A skip to July.
Rosehip tea for guests in wool socks.
A rest by fire, as the city mocks me
with voices and sirens.
I see-saw for hours
by myself
unable to unplug the sounds.


All it takes
is a little
smoke on
the Staten Island Ferry.

The seagull stops
circling. The wind
doesn’t know where
to add force but up, up, up!

Fifteen minutes from Manhattan
a noiseless stir of water:
a wake. The clouds
compose above

the bridges. Steam irons the night.
How I wish
we had a light
and that bottle we almost brought

with us. Instead we drink
his cozy lies–
A harbor of warm
baths and masts.


Born in the former Yugoslavia, Ivana Kilibarda currently lives and works in New York City.

Photos from our Event!

Once again, we truly want to thank everyone who braved the snow last month for our Poems About Nothing event at the Rubin Museum of Art. Whether you were there in actuality or just in spirit, hopefully you will enjoy a selection of photos from the evening.

Poems About Nothing at the Rubin

Brenda Shaughnessy

Our lovely host for the evening.

Our Editor

Post-event crowd


Enduring the snow



3 & 12 by Simone Muench

3: the arsonist

(starring brandi h)

Her calendar charm kick-starts men’s lips while her wrists drip with doorbells. When the doctor gazed at her, a nurse parade passed in his head. Thread of alizarin through her hair. She revs her engine with stars and white thigh-highs, while choirboys chant holy, holy in the burlesque of her hip swing. Though she was born at a roadblock, her legato knees open for the congregation. Murmur of campfire under her hair.  Murmur of bass notes, rubber gloves. Sugar, she says, my lips are firebrands that’ll make your gold cross vibrato. The boys saw in prescribed light, her thorned orbit. Her breath full of footprints and soporific ruin. Her arm an empty room.


12: the bestiary

(starring jackie w)

In a tongue-snap sky, waxwings unspool over the plains. He was a whisper, she was Nebraska. Her hands pepperweed, pebble, pearl to pearl, so tone-smooth.  Her mouth speaks, a red canary to a dime cigar.  Spittle sheen. There are worse things than being a pretty Catholic girl without any guilt.

She gives herself over to the music, embracing the Phoenician sailor and swearing beneath the cinema screen. Under the ostinato, under the train’s rustle, she goes down.  With her topaz neck and her bestiary lure. With her coloratura and vixen gene, she goes down. Into the musk and hum and howl.

O lady of the bossa nova.  O girl born of semaphores.  Into the moss and phosphorous. Into the salt marsh and subjunctive silence.  With currants in her mouth, a yellow scarf around her neck, she goes.

Simone Muench is the author of four poetry books: The Air Lost in Breathing (Marianne Moore Prize for Poetry; Helicon Nine, 2000); Lampblack & Ash (Kathryn A. Morton Prize for Poetry; Sarabande, 2005); Orange Crush (Sarabande, 2010); and Disappearing Address co-written with Philip Jenks (BlazeVOX, 2010). She received her Ph.D from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and now directs the Writing Program at Lewis University where she teaches creative writing and film studies. Additionally, she serves on the advisory boards of Switchback Books and UniVerse: A United Nations of Poetry, and is an editor for Sharkforum.