{ Poetry Against All ~ a diary ~ Johannes Göransson }

Poetry Against All
a diary
Johannes Göransson
Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2020


I am no expert and have little idea what to say about impossible books. Johannes Göransson’s Poetry Against All is one such book. Is many such books. Little idea does not mean I can be quiet. What is impossible? A safe child. A coroner who disappears to plan simple kidnappings for the elaborately still. I continue. I stop. Göransson keeps this diary alive. Fossil porn. A more exact resurfacing. Some things poke through; holes in movies, a mask thrown from a moving dream, a photograph taken by a hand. I don’t know how this draws, but know I am drawn. But am also, surrounded. Held and carried. I might have it backward. Some prenatal eternity, some austere intercourse, some uprooted sickness ghosted by certain immunities unique to the tourist’s stunt double. I have only recently forgotten how to write. If I am nostalgic, let me be so in the center of this secret as someone specifically somewhere who can’t live on resurrection alone but longs to witness a fire being set on fire.  Gone, then here.


reflection by Barton Smock


book is here

person Mary Ann Dimand, two poems

Mary Ann Dimand was born in Southern Illinois where Union North met Confederate South, and her work is shaped by kinships and conflicts: economics and theology, farming and feminism and history. Dimand holds an MA in economics from Carleton University, an MPhil from Yale University, and an MDiv from Iliff School of Theology. Some of her previous publication credits include: The History of Game Theory Volume I: From the Beginnings to 1945; The Foundations of Game Theory; and Women of Value: Feminist Essays on the History of Women in Economics, among others. Her work is published or forthcoming in The Birds We Piled Loosely, Bitterzoet Magazine, The Borfski Press, The Broken Plate, Chapter House Journal, Euphony Journal, Faultline, FRiGG Magazine, Green Hills Literary Lantern, The Hungry Chimera, The MacGuffin, Mantis, Misfit Magazine, Penumbra, Scarlet Leaf Review, Slab, Sweet Tree Review, and Tulane Review.



Sometimes the wave comes
when you thought you’d tamed
it. You don’t know
what’s in it—broken things
you meant to mend, seeds
unplanted, bones that hector
and remind you of the things
you’ve slain, words that rush
to throttle you, foaming, furious.
It hardly matters. What you’ve been pushing
not to know is what deep forces
press the water. It is their only voice
to tell you, “Look! Remember!
You can turn your head, you can float
and call me solid ground, but
you can’t forget me long.”



Stop. Consider
the black cattle
grazing so quietly
on rain-fattened grass.
Breathe with them. If
you can, snuff
the clover sweetness
of their inspiration.
Sure, you’re shaken
by the cries for slaughter,
the surge toward corpse-paved
stillness. Time to remember
the black cattle, beloved
of Annwn, just cattle,
moving forth and back
between the realm of death
and ours. Just two countries
side by side, entwined.


person Fatima Ijaz, one poem

Fatima Ijaz is a contributing editor at Pandemonium Journal. She graduated in English from York University and Eastern Michigan University and has taught English Composition and Speech Communication at IBA. She won first prize at the McLaughlin Poetry Contest in Toronto (2007). She participated in artistic collaborations, which were featured at Music Mela 2019, Art Baithak 2019, and Taseer Art Gallery 2020. Her poetry and prose has been published in New Asian Writing, Kitaab, Rigorous, Zau, Praxis, The Write Launch, Red Fez, Whirlwind and Naya Daur. She is currently collaborating with designer Sadaf Malaterre for an art project titled ‘Whimsical’.



So you think dying in the arms of hyacinth,
You can still decipher the moon’s crevice on your bone.
And when the darling light of the street lamp, guttural
With fancy, oozes onto the pavement
You can start braiding Freudian dreams in your hair.

So you think the gush of wounds is simple hysteria.
Don’t you think, it takes the time out of Dali’s memory
And an empty painting burns into normal rooms?
I ask, as I forgive the other, because I friction fainted
And by the translucence, as I recovered, I began to see.

The bird-cage inside of you, knocking heart-beat,
Incessant rhythmic rain of a question
Should I confess to the unknown?
Should I hold the voluptuous hand of the sea,
Should I too march along the three-faced moon?


person Sue Allison, story

Sue Allison was a reporter for Life Magazine; her writing has also been published or is forthcoming in Best American Essays, Antioch Review, Harvard Review, New South, Streetlight Magazine, Threepenny Review, Fourth Genre, The Diagram, River Teeth, and a Pushcart Prize collection. She holds a BA in English from McGill University and an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.



        Every time he came home, he found the duck in a different place. It was a small, painted wooden duck his wife had picked up someplace, maybe even before he knew her; it just always seemed to have been part of their lives, and he knew he hadn’t given it to her, and she hadn’t bought it as a souvenir of a trip they’d been on. He didn’t like it much (he was into finer stuff), but it got his interest when it began to migrate. Sometimes, when he came home, he would see that it would be on the mantel, sometimes on an end table, sometimes on the other end table or on the kitchen counter, the bureau in the bedroom, her bedside table, his bedside table. What was with the duck? he wondered, but he was a little afraid to ask, so he didn’t, and after a while he found he couldn’t settle down for the evening until he had found the duck’s new resting place. He even used to think about it on his way home, imagining where it was going to be, what new spot to put it she had thought of, and he wondered what it meant that it was in the kitchen, say, or the hat shelf or on the magazine stack or the TV stand; he wondered sometimes what it was thinking. But he still never said anything, nothing at all, and neither did his wife. When, years later, someone asked him what the secret to his long marriage was, he didn’t say so, but he couldn’t help thinking: It was the duck.


Hal Y. Zhang, AMNESIA

new publication by former contributor Hal Y. Zhang:

from Newfound:

After nearly forgetting her first language, Hal Y. Zhang discovered a jagged hole that could not be filled by a second. “AMNESIA,” her debut poetry chapbook, grasps at the echoes of her mother and sister tongues, 中文 and English. In both subject and form, these poems excavate the personal and the linguistic and map profound shifts in identity to the shape of words and radicals. Find their buried skins, their bitter unfurling, and divine the root forms of their leaves.

get the book, here:




Hal Y. Zhang’s work in {isacoustic*}:


person Despy Boutris, two poems

Despy Boutris has writing published or forthcoming in American Poetry Review, American Literary Review, Southern Indiana Review, Copper Nickel, Colorado Review, The Adroit Journal, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. Currently, she teaches at the University of Houston, works as Assistant Poetry Editor for Gulf Coast, and serves as Editor-in-Chief of The West Review.



It’s the first time you’ve seen the sky
look like this: a clear cerulean, cloudless

and beaming light onto the hills.
The past is done with. The clouds hover

within you, a vulture for every heartbeat,
in search of the dead. And you’ve always

found a home in language,
but there’s so much you don’t know

how to say: how to describe the color
of this sky—something more than cerulean

now, as day begins to morph
its way toward night. Like the flood you feel

in your lungs, well on its way to overflowing.
So find a home in the flowing creek,

the one where you watch striders walk
on water, feel the wetness against your feet.

Find a home in this sky, all the colors
of an iris. Find a home in this body,

the only thing you can hope to hold onto.



We learned what it is to love—
only to find out that it demands ruin.

Lovers inevitably turn to corpses,
corpses turn to mush, bodies

liquidate—food for carrion
and blowflies. Or else they turn to ash.

We learned that to want someone
is to feel yourself fall apart.

Or maybe just fall. But love
is also birdcalls, the way you lift

your hands to your lips
and manage to make a song

of your mouth, of your steepled hands,
the way the songbird’s response

sets your eyes alight, its chirp
coming from one of the trees

that nearly burned down last fall.
This is love, too: not just the ash,

but something that lives on.


person Jane Attanucci, two poems

Jane Attanucci grew up one of eight children in Pittsburgh. Her poems are published in Mom Egg Review, Off the Coast, Pittsburgh Poetry Review and Right Hand Pointing among others. She received the New England Poetry Club’s Barbara Bradley Award in 2014. Her chapbook, First Mud, was published by Finishing Line Press, 2015. Her first full-length book, A River Within Spills Light, is due for release by Turning Point in 2021. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


My Poet’s Eye at Dusk

Driving home from a movie

and early supper, Papa and I

slowed for a shimmery-tailed fox,

steady, confident stride,

crossing Old King’s Highway,

dinner dangling from its mouth.

His, hers, who knows?

Aren’t we all the same,

seekers of sustenance

in this abundant season—

blue bulbous hydrangea,

arching vermillion lilies,

layers and layers of green

as July’s silver light

thins to gray.



Glenn Close, Viola Davis, Bette Midler—
my sister, Jackie, has a long list of celebrities
she’s met in the rush & bustle of her annual trips
to New York City with her husband.
In Takashimaya Midtown, she spotted Meryl Streep
in the first floor garden. As Jackie tells it,
She saw me and looked scared I was going
to approach. Which, of course, I was.
I stopped myself when I saw her face.
She slipped out the revolving door.

I wonder if Jackie sometimes searches
for our mother in crowds, like I do—
Mom on her honeymoon with Dad
in Times Square, Mom smoking alone
as he tries to hail a cab, Mom climbing
the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
If she could come back to life,
for even the briefest moment,
what unexpected terror of recognition,
ache of the light.


person Trivarna Hariharan, two poems

Trivarna Hariharan is a writer and pianist based in India. She has studied English Literature at Delhi University, and the University of Cambridge. Her poetry collection, There Was Once A River Here was published by Les Editions du Zaporogue. A Pushcart-prize nominee, her poems have been published in Entropy, Front Porch, Noble/Gas Quarterly, Right Hand Pointing, and others.


Night Lullaby

From the top
of a two-storeyed house,
a woman hums some
half-darkened song.
She sings it with the fluency
of a soap cloth mopping
the floor. (Round and
round, its fabric unfurls
as flower petals.)
From the window,
her voice cuts the air
like a burnt willow.

Here is a new kind of blues.

A woman washing away
a house’s grief
while cooing her baby
to sleep.



Wind swept leaves––
the memory of mother
combing my hair


person Chella Courington, flash fiction

Chella Courington is a writer and teacher whose poetry and fiction appear or are forthcoming in numerous anthologies and journals including SmokeLong Quarterly, The Collagist, and Fiction Southeast. Her flash novella, Adele and Tom: The Portrait of a Marriage, is available at Breaking Rules Publishing. Courington lives in California.


The Woman Who Dreamed of the Polished Box

She was a girl then. She’d gone to Carlito’s Traveling Show with her mother, a woman who died young. Glossy red with white stars, the box rested on a carpenter’s table. Carlito climbed in. A muscular woman, like her mother, appeared from stage shadows and would pull a saw through the wood. But first came the long aah from the audience.

What did you like best?

The woman who would die young was still there then, gripping the wheel of a blue Pontiac, driving behind a curtain of rain while the girl clutched her yellow slicker. Her head hummed from hearing blades bite the pine. She chewed her thumb until she tasted her own copper blood. She said, the teeth.

You mean the saw.

And she said, yes, the saw that sings in the dark.