A poem by Oni Buchanan

The Occupation


You see, it really is a lot of work
because there is a lot of mud, you see,

especially when it rains so much
like it has and makes mud

upon mud, mud all the way
down, and then it really becomes

quite the occupation to
move all that mud

from one side to the other,
to push all that mud back and forth, to sort

one mud from another mud.
I was an industrious pig.

In my pen I pushed a ball of mud
from one end to the other—

There is so much mud to distribute
and so much works against my

perfect placement of mud,
against all my efforts.  It rains and

my piles of mud are destroyed, are rendered
sloppy, festering pools

where loathsome mosquitoes breed.  At least
I can wallow, but to make progress,

to make any progress at all,
one needs a certain

substance to the mud, a certain texture, a
structural integrity

to the mud to build on it,
to build mud upon mud—

I suppose I am all design, all strategy and design.
All lofty, ephemeral dreaming,

enchantment and charm, unlikeliness—
The sun as a kiln could work for me

if the sun worked at all.
There is no moderation on this earth.

Or maybe that’s just it.
Maybe there is only moderation.


Oni Buchanan is the author of Spring, selected by Mark Doty for the 2007 National Poetry Series, and published by the University of Illinois Press in September 2008. Her first poetry book, What Animal, was published in 2003 by the University of Georgia Press. She is also a concert pianist, has released three solo piano CDs, and actively performs across the U.S. and abroad. She lives in Boston with her husband, the poet Jon Woodward.

From the Archive with Ray DeJesús

From the Archives of the Dancer-cum-Singer-cum-Actress Recreation Project in Progress

as is an undone bow-tie dipped in a well of M.L. Ciccone’s
antiseptic pomade for brunettes
gone blonde genteel.

From the Archives of the Great PotamkinBlowout

The stretched pleather gloves reach to the Peconic of yr
lap like Cadillac


Kindly that she endures
an uproarious Cantiflas


From the Archives of the Case of the State of Florida vs. State of Florida

an argyle


why does the hunter follow with
delta airline


Ray DeJesús was born, raised, and still resides inBrooklyn,NY. A first generation Nuyorican, Ray is a graduate of The New School (MFA, Poetry, May 2010), and he currently teaches writing atSt.FrancisCollege.  He has had the privilege of reading at the following: 169 Bar, Rose Live Music for the Earshot Reading Series, The New School Faculty/Student reading (May 2010), Cornelia Street Café, and Flying Object inHadley,Massachusettswith the fine folk at Maggy Poetry Magazine. His poetry has been published in The Best American Poetry’s Blog, Maggy Poetry Magazine (Issue 2), and Literary Chaos. Poems in G(o)BBet magazine (UK), Gondola Journal, Peaches and Bats Journal, and an essay on Hüsker Dü in Jackie Clark’s Song of the Week are forthcoming. Ray was also guest blogger for Best American Poetry, June 22-28. He can usually be found shielding his ears from the awful, shrill sound of church bells on a daily basis in his neighborhood of Bay Ridge,Brooklyn. Ray is currently working on a collaboration: A chapbook long project with poet Christine Kanownik. In addition, he, along with Jeff T. Johnson and Claire Donato, produce Vampiros Documentos Presents, a video online journal. His current mantra: Sometimes things is just things.