Refusal and Dis/Embodiment in Art and Literature

2018 Contributor List


Julian Talamantez Brolaski・Alan Chazaro・Sandra Chen・Brandon French・Clifton Gachagua・Jonathan Gardenhire・Katya Grokhovsky・Maren Gunning・Jane Hertenstein・Mary Ellen IatropoulosTobias Klein・Farisa Khalid・Abigail Licad・Molly LiebermanImani LoveCannupa Hanska LugerNathaniel MackeyJay Pabarue・Logan Perkes・Brad Phillips・Anand Prahlad・Andy Robert・Austin RodenbikerM. Sharkey・Danie Shokoohi・Emma Sulkowicz・Mickalene ThomasEngram Wilkinson

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Paige Carlson・Anaïs Duplan・Faith Holland・M Lamar・Nick Montfort・Ariane Savoie・Lu Yang

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Facially Neutral

Engram Wilkinson

Not as the other guests do it: dimples
knocking each eye forward, capable
postures. Each smile is the result of
being supervised. In the photograph
I see a few fingertips, my own head
rolling away from the passersby who
notice I must laugh in order to smile.
Is it still so obvious what I forgot back
there, what happened along the pond’s
margin, if it can be said that, anywhere
else, light diffuses evenly across any
body enjoined by the hands it, as they’re
doing it, conceals. Every description
is directive: Notice. Please. Do. I feel
now I’ve been digested by a reclusive
miracle but the placard only explains
we should walk across the gallery. After
mimesis but sometime before the old-
fashioneds, the plate of macarons I ate
standing, I thought you would let each
gesture stay in place but it has never
been that easy. I taped my mouth shut
to stop apologizing, and still each kiss
remains a rapprochement of typical
empathies. When I started law school
everyone warned me Con Law would
be my hardest class, but those cases
are what my professor calls the “law of
the land.” As I do it, reading resembles
shame, but by contrast the field of tort
law is vibrant, with conflictual notions
across jurisdictions of who can recover
for what kinds of loss. A friend leads
you into the only open exhibit: Louise
Bourgeois’ SpidersBourgeois created
the first of her darkly compelling sculptures
in the mid-1990s, when she was in her
 They are inside the biography,
or the biography is my home, which is
only to say there is a certain bilateralism
that’s formed between the knuckles
I’ve let my discounted hand soap crack
and the voices gusseting this conceit
which, let’s face it, was never exactly
interested in the first years or our hands,
but that one’s spinneret? There is no
waiting for tomorrow to study the face’s
agenda. I want to show you which question
I let emulsify in the pooling light but you
are looking up. I opened my jacket’s
pocket to put away my glasses and
found another monument built, this
time, without the surprise’s materials.
Forgive each pause for crispening. An
adjacent moment broadens my shoulders.
Come over. A napkin dabs over the old
dispositions. I will never wear them again.

Vessels of Vanitas II, 2016

Anuncio’s Thirteenth Last Love Song

Nathaniel Mackey

—“mu” two hundred tenth part—

Toward the end we lived a bodiless life.
Anuncia kept sorrow at bay as I lay
busted up. I was feeling more alive than
even so, more alive albeit or because
life had grown strange, what was left of
bodily life gone waftless, no musk floated
our way… I lay observing a lilac’s routine
cle, opening as it did, seeming to say, of
all things, it would never die. Anuncia
turned and walked away. I noticed the lengthen-
ing sag of her buttocks, bodiless though we
were, the far side of bodily draw. A certain
something I saw words would not accrue to
I also noticed, something I took to be seeming
self, a certain something seeming nothing or
nothing in particular, the potential to seem, noth-
ing more… New terror attacks were on the TV
the foot of the bed, the world busted up it seemed.
Seeming’s attack on seeming I said let’s call it,
more to myself than to Anuncia though she heard it,
iless though we continued to be. What manner of
realm were we in we couldn’t help wondering, love’s
evident flight merely one of its provocations, what
ner and what put us there… An intergalactic dust
intervened I thought, no sooner thought than saw
it so clearly I rubbed my eyes and looked again,
ry kiss of late a kiss good-bye

Excerpted here, available in full in print.

M. Sharkey, Mars, 2013

Julian Talamantez Brolaski, “give everything to poetry”

My Ass in Love

Jay Pabarue

with a line from Tomaž Šalamun

My ass is going to the polls
My asss is vaulting on the poles
My assss is questioning the polls
My asssss is grass or the high watermark
My asssssss is conscious of its cheeks
My assssssss is taking my ass seriously
My asssssssss is taking my ass back to botany school
My assssssssss is gonna grow all my food
My asssssssssss is gonna split out these genes
My assssssssssss, soft as my head is hard
My asssssssssssss is staying in to learn its own history
My assssssssssssss is staying healthy this winter
My asssssssssssssss is staying healthy this spring
My assssssssssssssss in summer is such a mediterranean rock, you could broil a steak on it
My asssssssssssssssss rolls up sorrowful & late again for tuba practice
My assssssssssssssssss spilled the news about who’s dating who
My asssssssssssssssssss is sorry, a sorry ass
My assssssssssssssssssss needs somebody, quick, and so
my asssssssssssssssssssss gazes into rocky spaces and
my assssssssssssssssssssss sees new life clattering up
and my asssssssssssssssssssssss steps gingerly around a line of berry-ferrying ants
My assssssssssssssssssssssss is more than figment
My asssssssssssssssssssssssss is on pins and needles
but my assssssssssssssssssssssssss isn’t sleeping, it’s in love
Oh my asssssssssssssssssssssssssss will wake up early for your ass
My asssssssssssssssssssssssssssss gets kissed under the lamplight, kisses back

Mirror Shield Project, 2016

Who Are Your People

Imani Love

My big mama got a pearl handle pistol
my gran got an abalone file
both my grandmas got shotgun tongues

All I got is their smile

My mama got a bashful bite
And open arms

My mema got a trunk
Took all her stuff across country
Migration mama tucked a baby
under her breast and the steering wheel
We all leave harming men behind
All I know is flight

And ceiling


And kneeling

My gran got a baptist switch
A candle wick a gulluh witch
My mema got a runaway ride
Fleeing bride
Big mama got a white face
The greenest eye
Both my grandmas carry phoenix tears
Never seen em cry
Seen em cuss cut you out tho
Seen em tap dance in a cast iron skillet
Never seen em die
Seen em sleep in a casket,
Seen em fly tho Never sink, only baptize, swim, survive

My big mama got a pearl handle pistol
my gran got an abalone file
Both my grandmas got shotgun tongues
All I got is their smile