Monday, March 23, 2009

Reimagining Place - Currently an Installation

You have reached Reimagining Place, an online literary journal and companion to Ecotone, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington's national literary magazine.

From 2007-2008, under the managing editorship of David Harris-Gershon, Reimagining Place published prize-winning authors alongside emerging writers.

This site is currently an installation, showcasing some of the best lyrical writing to be found online. In the future, under the direction of future editors, we hope it will live again.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Addiction as Ecotone - Part 17 - Kathleen Flenniken

- Kathleen Flenniken

It wasn’t just the way he ate his toast
..................................................................changed lanes
or squeezed between
two women
on the elevator
He looked too often toward the sky
........................................................and talked too much
with his hands
At meetings
.......................the space between executive heads
...............................................................................asked to be filled
with the world
caving in
At lunch
.......................birds swooped down
...........................................................on his crumbs
the way he’d trained them

He was a doomsday prophet

He was up to his eyeballs
...................................................with everything fallen
....................................................................................or falling
and try as he might
he couldn’t
find space
for it

It made him sad
when the women stepped away

Kathleen Flenniken's poems have appeared in Poetry, The Iowa Review, The Southern Review, Mid-American Review, Farm Pulp, Prairie Schooner, and Poetry Daily. She is the recipient of a 2005 Literary Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a 2003 Literary Fellowship from Artist Trust, along with grants from Artist Trust and Seattle Office of Arts and Culture. Her first collection of poems, Famous, winner of the 2005 Prairie Schooner Prize, was released by University of Nebraska Press in 2006, and has been named a Notable Book of the Year by the American Library Association (ALA)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Addiction as Ecotone - Part 16 - Sam Rasnake

- Sam Rasnake

And if this morning is a dream,
how deep the water? how dark the closet?
I've invested the grackles of winter
to a field, sloped, untended,
with its brown almost angry stubble,
a fierce resistance to the new.
My only certainty is this window,
and not the life pitched against the glass.


Sam's poetry has appeared in journals such as MiPOesias, Pebble Lake Review, and Boxcar Poetry Review. He is the author of one chapbook, Religions of the Blood (Pudding House), and one collection, Necessary Motions (Sow's Ear Press). He edits Blue Fifth Review, an online poetry journal.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Addiction as Ecotone - Part 15 - Dave Bonta

Lines - Dave Bonta

Just as I'm about to take a freight train up my nose,
I stop with my head halfway to the rails:
a small spider is descending past my face.
I'm struck by the precise choreography of it,
her two pairs of forelegs moving in circles
like the arms of a swimmer, the next pair
sticking straight out like oars at the ready
& the hindmost pair paying out the line.
Not here, I say, giving it a nudge
to keep her off the tray's smooth lake.
She reels herself in, heading for my finger.
I push the thread a little farther & she severs
her connection. Sorry, sister, I mutter
as she drops to the floor — a chaos of newspapers —
touching down without incident among the headlines.


Dave blogs at Via Negativa and helps curate the online literary magazine qarrtsiluni,
which is currently seeking submissions for an Ecotone-compatable theme
"Nature in the Cracks."

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Addiction as Ecotone - Part 14 - Stephanie Goehring

I'm probably lying
- Stephanie Goehring

but I first overdosed to understand
your addiction to injury, your obsession with chainsaws.
After the butterfly flew backward (the thrum of its wings so white)
and the bees confessed their immortality, I forgot you,
remembering how god created the world from nothing
but a scythe and the way his declaration of light
fell on a field of beans.

I overdosed again and found forgiveness was a man
walking through the lack of rain, wet to his bones.
He was wearing your clothes and said, "History is like cedar:
Get some nails for your palms or burn it for warmth,"
so I let the kerosene lick my throat.

I awoke coughing blood, pulling splinters
from between my teeth. After the wood turned to dirt,
the dirt turned to beans and the bees turned up dead
on the butterfly's wings, I remembered god
and how she created the world with no memory
of who had ever wronged her.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Addiction as Ecotone - Part 13 - Tamiko Beyer

Mrs. Wu Ping is Interviewed - Tamiko Beyer

_____The scene: Chongqing, China. A modest house teeters on a huge mound of red
_____dirt. All around, excavated clay earth. In the distance, huge metal claws dig into
_____roofs, knock down buildings, one wall to the next

everything that I love:
my books my broken things
my photographs my dinner
plates. ridiculous vigorous
plants on windowsills. myth,
minutia, canisters of green tea,
fish sauce bottles, ovaltine

what, if not a life?

I dig in and the pile
drivers have at it
all around
loose roof loose wall loose the nails on the nail house

they'll not be taking this away
without tearing their pants

did you get your quote, mister
the story right? I've got to get on
I have a home to be protecting

_____oh sure, I suppose they'll win
_____someday they'll win,

windows blowing
out with a sound like calving
glaciers __not

that I've ever heard such
a sound, but I read
I do read, mister

well, look at me run my mouth

______still a body's got to do what a body's, etc., etc.

you know, mister

like a joke when you forget the punch-line
or a sweet you find in your pocket covered
with bits of torn receipts

Tamiko Beyer's work has recently appeared in the Best of the 'Net 2007 Anthology, The Progressive and Crab Orchard Review. Tamiko says regarding this piece: Constantly in my work, I return home – to the concept of, desire for, loss. Seeing this amazing picture and reading the accompanying article, how could I not attempt to sneak into Mrs. Wu Ping's stubborn, tenacious, and terribly pragmatic voice?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Addiction as Ecotone - Part 12 - Neil Aitken

In the Long Dream of Exile - Neil Aitken

You are counting the dark exit of crows
in the rear view mirror, or from the top of an overpass
looking back into the last flames of cloud.
Your car, steel to the world of flint, rests listless
with its windows wide, the stars slipping in
and settling down for the night.

Now, what you could not leave rides in boxes
heavy with numbers and places you've already
turned into poems. There is nothing left
in your pockets, your clothes worn down
to this list of miles taking you out of the known earth.

Outside your open window, the dark repeats
like the wind in late fall, twisting the names
of familiar back roads into a long rope of sighs.
You could lower yourself down with such longing.
It could be a woman or a young girl, the way the light
clings to that body like a sheet of immaculate heat,
invisible to the eye, but something, you are certain,
something that must be on the verge of love.

Neil Aitken is the author of The Lost Country of Sight, which won the 2007 Philip Levine Prize and is forthcoming this fall from Anhinga Press. His work has been published in Barn Owl Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Drunken Boat, Poetry Southeast, Sou'wester, and elsewhere. He is the founding editor of Boxcar Poetry Review and is currently pursuing a PhD in Literature & Creative Writing at the University of Southern California.
"In the Long Dream of Exile" was first published in The Drunken Boat, and also appears in his first book, The Lost Country of Sight. Neil writes that this poem "grows out of a love of loss gained from countless cross-country moves. Even now whenever I load up my vehicle to begin another move, shedding whatever I think I will not need, I am surprised to discover how deeply entangled I have become with the place I am leaving and how each new place blurs with the one before and the one before that, image upon image, longing after longing, the road the single thread stitching us all together."

Monday, February 18, 2008

Addiction as Ecotone - Part 11 - Karen Weyant

The Bartender Dreams of White Moths
- Karen Weyant

Of flutters pounding in her ears, tissue wings
snagging on loose wires of screen doors, burnt
crisp on streetlights, bent backwards around
the antennae of a car. She wakes up sweating,
thinking of bar napkins tearing on cans of beer,
bar stools, the heels of work boots heavy
with dust. One regular always sports jeans
stained with white paint, another wears
the wings of sweat stains under his arms.
Smoke rests in her mouth, coats her throat,
splits her skin. The jukebox echoes, Garth Brooks
scraping her hips, pinching her thighs.
She remembers all the last calls slipping
through the back door, hoping the night
insects grasping the screen will fly away.
They only cling tighter.

Karen J. Weyant, a 2007 NYFA Fellow in poetry, teaches at Jamestown Community College
in Jamestown, New York. Her recent poems have been published in Slipstream, The Comstock
, Anti- and the minnesota review.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Addiction as Ecotone - Part 10 - Lyz Lenz

Spotless - Lyz Lenz

If he wanted their daughter, my parents figured he should take their
God. They hoped it would help him stop drinking so much. So he grabbed
them both with his broad, fat hands grasped together in prayer and
brought them to his apartment in the lower level of a split-level house
only three blocks away.

When I walk into the apartment, pushing open the door against the
past-due bills, Weight Watchers report cards, fishing lures, and shoes
that gather behind it, I know neither my sister nor God are really
here. There's no room.

Dishes pile on the counters, rings of brown residue, beans, and hard
kernels of rice cling to bowls and plates. The cable, the electricity,
and the phone go on and off, oscillating between function and

In a corner of the kitchen, the linoleum peels up like a page in a
book revealing the next chapter—tacky floorboards squiggled with
glue. I press the page of linoleum back. Lining their shoes over it to keep
it from turning. I fill the sink with soap and scrub the kidney beans
out of the bowls. I vacuum the rugs. Straighten the ratty Afghans on
the couch. I spray disinfectant in the bathroom and scrub the tub with

"You don't have to," my sister says. "It's not worth it, it's just
gonna go back to how it was."

But I wear rubber gloves and dust off the television. I straighten the
coats in the closet and stack the games in neat piles on the shelves,
starting with Clue and ending with Yahtzee. Crayons are lined up by
color in their box. Books are made to stand up straight, their spines
even. DVDs alphabetized. I even install a program to clean up the
naked women, bent over in high heels, who pop up in little banner ads
and groan with pleasure. I pick up the keyboard, hold it upside down
and shake until dust, pieces of food, and chewed up finger nails come
out. I shake it harder. More dust falls out. It rattles in my hands
and my throat is tight. My sister tells me to stop, stop before I break

I open the windows, even in the bitter cold, letting the sharp clean
wind slice through the thick heavy air.

Then I dust and vacuum until everything is gone and the house smells
clean and the baseboards no longer carry the residue of the lives
lived in this apartment. Until there is enough room to open the door.

My sister sits on the couch. "Why do you do this? It's not like I

I smile, "I just want to help you."

"You've done enough."

The door slams. I turn and see a new stack of bills, now crooked in
their basket holder. Not organized by due date and size. He must be
home. I leave. I can't see it go back to the way it really is. But I
come back the next week, this time with my own assortment of sprays
and disinfectants marshaled together in a sturdy blue bucket. This
time I clean better. This time I move the couch and hear metallic
pinging as I vacuum dirt, buttons, and paper clips from behind it.
This time I clean the dark wood under the linoleum, using my finger
nails to pick up the dried fragments of cheese, kernels of rice, and
hard gray pieces of dirt that have wedged themselves between the
linoleum and the wood. I scrub it with hot water that burns my hands.
This time I don't wear gloves. The linoleum feels pliable and I press
it down on the floorboards again. On top of it I put shoes, purses,
and a wayward umbrella. I stand there with the neat pile of heavy
things holding down the linoleum, hoping my weight will remind it that
it needs to be in its place. It needs to be clean.

One night, I dream my hands press gently against the surface of my
sister's once white walls, now marked with black scuffs, the dried
tears of an unknown brown liquid, and several deep red splatters. I
dip my toothbrush in a blue bucket filled with bleach and I scrub,
taking away every mess. Cleaning every stain.

I am no longer invited over to my sister's house. At Christmas and on
birthdays, I do my best to ignore her yellowing skin, the soft break
in her voice. In return, she never mentions those three months I
tried to make her life spotless.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Addiction as Ecotone - Part 9 - Shin Yu Pai

hals und beinbruch - Shin Yu Pai

in the motherland not
just women and
dwarves who undergo the knife

an up and coming aspirant
in Beijing reports from
the operating table

I need to be at least five
foot nine to achieve what
I want in life

chisel and mallet
taken to the knee
clean snap of bone

heredity, bone stunt or
nanism, overturn a sentence
to new opportunities

in the government
a chance at law school or
to act in film

ugly duckling to
silly goose, the world
a stage break

a leg

Shin Yu Pai is the author of Works on Paper (Convivio Bookworks), Sightings: Selected Works [2000 - 2005] (1913 Press, 2007), The Love Hotel Poems (Press Lorentz, 2006), Unnecessary Roughness (xPress(ed), 2005), Equivalence (La Alameda, 2003), and Ten Thousand Miles of Mountains and Rivers (Third Ear Books, 1998).

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Addiction as Ecotone - Part 8 - Brent Goodman

White Crosses - Brent Goodman

mouthful swallow bitter chalk
not all the pills go down
muffled dusty plastic bottle rattles
tugging off over-handed grunt

not all the pills go down
gravel endless mind spark nausea
tugging off over-handed grunt
neighbors aiming binoculars

gravel endless mind spark nausea
smoke lighting smoke
neighbors aiming binoculars
skin vibrates into invisible

smoke lighting smoke
bleeding-eyed up all night
skin vibrates into invisible
puke-blue birthday cake

bleeding-eyed up all night
stop talking stop talking
puke-blue birthday cake
ingrown splinters under nail

stop talking stop talking
pinhole camera piercing drywall
ingrown splinters under nail
cockring hardon aching

pinhole camera piercing drywall
3 days sleepless 4 nights gone
cockring aching hardon
truck stop teen teller's stares

3 days sleepless 4 nights gone
muffled dusty plastic bottle rattles
truck stop teen teller's stares
mouthful swallow bitter chalk

Brent Goodman lives and writes in northern Wisconsin. Most recently his poems have appeared in Court Green, Anti -, Rattle, Pebble Lake Review and elsewhere.
Regarding "White Crosses," which is a pantoum, Brent says: "White Crosses" was my first attempt to capture the years I spent trapped inside a living pantoum, doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. Instead living in a world of increasing contradictions between ecstasy and exhaustion, paranoia and exhibitionism, desire and impossibility. I think all addictions lead to the ultimate contradiction between life and death, and recovery is the decision to choose to claw your way out of that vortex before it is no longer your own choice.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Addiction as Ecotone - Part 7 - Ron Slate

Light Fingers
- Ron Slate

Feather duster in a child’s grip

swished over bottles of Old Grand-Dad

in my father’s liquor store,

my hand hovering briefly

above rolls of coin in the cash drawer,

other objects stolen from local merchants –

a magnifying glass,

a hi-lo thermometer, an Indian rubber baseball,

novelties, candy, cigarettes:

If you wouldn’t give me what I deserved,

what you seemed to promise,

then I would take it from you.

The splendor of scissors.

The consideration of a rubber stamp

“for your attention.”

At some point, after the accumulation

of the objects of desire,

and later, after they became unforgettable,

beyond understanding and useless,

this is when I looked back and saw the boy

making a daring effort to be part

of the family’s sadness.

All of the grief that preceded me –

war, fire, the destruction of culture,

the powerlessness of parents,

the compensations of shameful inward lives –

this, I perceived, is simply what it means

to be human. So now there is nothing

to wrest into myself,

for myself.

But there is the spirit leaping with dread

and exultation, demanding everything.

And the old cunning.

When Mrs. O’Brien suggested that Joseph,

her son, and I go to see his priest

about our common venal behavior,

my mother, a Holocaust survivor,

threw her out of the house.

I returned to my favorite pastime:

a book of sleight-of-hand tricks,

small objects, all objects, vanishing.

Ron Slate founded The Chowder Review in 1973 (where he was joined years later by Floyd Skloot). You can read his Poetry Foundation profile here. "Light Fingers" comes from The Incentive of the Maggot, which was awarded Bread Loaf's Bakeless Prize (judged by Robert Pinsky) and nominated for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle poetry prize.

Ron says about this poem: I dimly perceive a link between poetry and petty thievery's sleight of hand. It cheers me to think there may be a trail of crumbs (or hastily discarded booty) leading from my adolescent hi-jinks to my adult pullings-of-wool-over-this-and-that. My favorite god is Hermes, the trickster, god of the business transaction, too. I must be obsessed with the topic after all, because my new poems include some shady dealings and even a little felony.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Addiction as Ecotone - Part 6 - Sandra Simonds

I am Small - Sandra Simonds

but my life is enormous.
Huge as angels.

Huge as a zookeeper's
heart. Who knows

how large the
zoo is when you take

into account
the surface area of all

the cages. Not to
forget the aorta. Let's get

hitched in the
roomy cage of

the latest newly extinct
species. He's

gone. There's space.
In this country

they make lists (in

of all the unions
that have ever taken place

and all the unions that
will ever take place.

There's no way out of this one, Sam.

That's what they call a nation.
That's when they ask the syringe

and turkey-baster-
holding zookeeper

to sedate
the elephants

and artificially inseminate
the blasé Pandas.


Sandra Simonds has poetry published in countless journals, including Colorado Review, New Orleans Review and No Tell Motel. She's the creator of Wildlife Poetry Magazine, and helps edit the DIY (Do It Yourself) Poetry Publishing Cooperative site. Check out her blog to see her chapbooks, poems and sundry pop-opinions.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Addiction as Ecotone - Part 5 - Collin Kelley

Whipping Boy - Collin Kelley

Tina’s fingers tighten on my arm,
we should go now, she says,
but we don’t, because the main
attraction is about to begin.

It’s Beale Street at millennium’s end,
humidity so thick it coats like oil,
and I have two hands around a bucket
of alcohol, craving blackout.

I lean against a streetlamp, surrounded
by revelers, oblivious of everyone,
until I hear the first crack of leather
and a cheer both derisive and dangerous.

Ken drunk in the street, hands on his knees
being whipped with his own belt,
the one Tina says he took off and handed
to strangers, begging to be beaten.

I lose count of the tourists who take
a whack at him, who giggle and run,
never notice the mounted cop watching
at the corner of S. Lauderdale, waiting.

When the redneck walks up, takes the belt,
his thin lips turn to sneer, he snaps the leather,
Tina’s fingers then, and Ken is smiling
until the belt makes contact and he buckles.

The thwack reverberates in every sweat drop
of dispersing crowd as redneck throws the belt
on Ken’s prone body, fucking faggot,
saunters away, and the cop just grins.

Collin Kelley is the author of the poetry collection Better To Travel, the spoken word CD HalfLife Crisis, and the chapbook Slow To Burn (2006, MetroMania Press). Kelley, a Georgia Author of the Year Award-winner and Pushcart Prize nominee, is also co-editor of the Java Monkey Speaks Poetry Anthology series from Poetry Atlanta Press. A chapbook of new work, After the Poison, is forthcoming in 2008 from Finishing Line Press.
Colin writes regarding this poem:
"Whipping Boy" was the first poem I thought of when I saw the theme [for this series]. This poem is true. I was in a strange city with my lover, who was an alcoholic, and I was starting to fall back on my tendency to self-medicate to deal with our crumbling relationship. The fact that I stood there, recognizing the danger, but did nothing reverberates today...The gay community in Atlanta is, to a degree, insulated against homophobia because there is such a large gay population. The incident in Memphis was an eye-opening experience -- the open homophobia, the police allowing the situation to escalate. Talk about stepping outside your ecosystem.