The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded ~ poems ~ Molly McCully Brown

The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded
poems, Molly McCully Brown
Persea Books, 2017


As a child, I worried that if those around me lived longer and longer, and that if those I didn’t know remained healthy, then the ghosts I so badly wanted to see would get lonely. Or, as a child, I worried about ghosts. I mention this, here, as I’ve recently read Molly McCully Brown’s The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded, a firsthand recreation that doubles origin, and any actual age seems now an exit for distance. These poems, patient and unsparing, do not give voice to, nor take voice from, but instead listen so accurately as to safely carry sound in its ear-shaped cradle from the ruins of its temporary past while opening for touch its unreachable window. Thankful and serious, this narrative drowning, this new air, is an act of rehomed balance and of outside faith. Brown is a caller, a clearer of place, and honors not only the accidental locale, but also the toll such calling takes on the summoned. What a held note. What brutal kindness.


reflection by Barton Smock


book is here:

{ 3/11/19 }

3/11/19 NOTE:

am placing submissions on hold, point forward, for the moment as I step away from this endeavor for a month or two in order to get caught up in general, and to get previous volumes mailed while compiling volume sixth.

upon returning, there will be some changes to what {isacoustic*} puts into the world, and to how it goes about doing so.




person Jules Elleo, one poem

Jules Elleo is working on his first full-length manuscript of poems in Brussels, Belgium.


Last Miles to the Highway

A landscape dresses in a yellow-green rhapsody.
Memories of salt as spring settles in,
but splashes of snow remain
on the side of the road.
Such miraculous mutiny.

The earth no longer holds her breath.
Clouds and cattle leave the ground
on their slow march uphill
to the point where wind turbines change
the shape of the horizon.

Eyes like black birds
extract diamond dust
from forsaken sheaves.
Ancient hectares – bold, bellied, vital.
we must take it all in.

A family of four carries sacks and logs
house to house on a donkey-drawn cart.
Their story is yet to be written.
A group of men in silent overalls
is waiting by the curb. A local farmer,
mason or carpenter
has yet to give meaning to their limbs.

Have you seen that lonely tree
tethered to a horse?
How its branches reexamine the poetry
of a pelican landing
on the Danube delta?

I slow down the car and pray
for the engine to die.
Bucharest can wait. Bucharest
& her neons & her asphalt & her lights.
A savage symmetry
we call progress.

Tell me:
how can I ever be
my mother’s son again
when here, at land’s end,
I am my own gospel?


person GJ Hart, one poem

GJ Hart currently lives and works in London and has had stories published in The Molotov Cocktail, The Jersey Devil Press, The Harpoon Review and others. He can be found arguing with himself over @gj_hart.


Where No Meaning Lives

Weight – I longed only
For levity, had no wish
For my unplanned act
To become
Like sacrament,
But steady hymns
Of wind And the slow
Drawing on
Of winter’s vestures
Made it seem so.

Tall, my father,
With fingers thick
As hickory shanks,
I bore him now in a box
Smaller than an infant,
Quietly past the ruined abbey
And down to the peat
Black river, its oils and chromes
Idling as if paused
For me.

Busy village
Of clod
And colour, I joined
Crowds of phlox,
Watched the banks
Musterings beneath limbs
Taught and cast and hauled
Whisky from my pocket –
His drink, preferring its flickering
Heart to wine’s
Stuck blood

I toasted the day’s filament,
Its carving deck,
Its pistons sweeping
At the black ash wire,
And as water’s
Doors opened,
I lifted you light as sand
Cleared hours into lake’s
Train and waved until
My goodbyes
Closed at the line.


person Lee Patterson, one poem

Lee Patterson is a poet living in the northeast.


a dialect, a draw

you let ohio keep its fireflies so they can see their lovers’ skin even as the power flickers. I watch a deer with a bum leg hobble across one of the dakotas. somehow, georgia got most of new hampshire sunburnt while colorado drunkenly stumbled across a time zone no one’s ever heard of before. I drove through alabama once & was asked to never do it again. mississippi is one large billboard with a plastic fetus glued to it. I am always reaching for a new pack of cigarettes. the midwest is tornado’s tomorrow. look up. every cloud is a boombox held over my head. look around. you can find wilderness everywhere. or is it anywhere? is anywhere everywhere if the sun eventually finds it? the clock blinks eights. the bathroom smells like green soap. a sticky note on my computer screen reads a bomb is falling & I know exactly where.


I’ll Build Us a Home – poems – Emily Paige Wilson

I’ll Build Us a Home
poems – Emily Paige Wilson
Finishing Line Press, 2018


I was soft, and my other was vivid. Check my pulse, and I’ll check yours. Oh, these early games. These asks, asked by children, of the wrist and of the hand. Detail is the orphaned builder. Home a framed dislocation. I’ve come to say as such by way of Emily Paige Wilson’s I’ll Build Us a Home, a book of nervous transit, a work that frames the letter sent back twice by the shape that loneliness adopts. In verses deepened by domestic otherness and blessed with handmade hiatuses, Wilson knows shelter as a thing brought inside by one or two spells said by those who’ve chosen to recite passage to hallways while giving space to rooms. This is a worried and inviting art, and captures the wildness in the wanting to be safe not from, but for, another. As outlived as we’ll be, it is root to read the body back to a grain of sand and to feel one has written a note to all selves reminding each to be lived-in.


reflection by Barton Smock


book is here:

person Amy Poague, one poem

Amy Poague holds an M.A. in Creative Writing from Eastern Michigan University. Her work has appeared in The Cabinet of Heed, Anti-Heroin Chic, The Mantle, SWWIM Every Day, Really System, Rockvale Review, and Mojave He[art] Review. She is a contributing editor for Barren Magazine.


Your Posthumous Life in Gradations of Pink
for M.D.

Inside your obituary, I am a hesitant conservator.

In your portrait, you wear a one-shouldered red dress
you never would have chosen.

Whose wedding? Whose smile?

Can I restore you in your swagger, flushed pink,
clenching with the effort to please?

The internet does not remember.

In 2005, we laughed at a car in the Aldi lot
because it was not pink enough.
“Maddening” you said, returning the grocery cart.

We saw the secret of the car: a dapper white button-down
washed with a new red bra.

You manned the van back to work
laden with off-brand groceries, both of us singing along with Yeah Yeah Yeahs–

my voice parallel to your voice
parallel to the secret of the van:
                                                            silence awash with desire.

Riding passenger side, I wore a magenta shirt and rose-colored sunglasses,
smiled slyly at you. Your whole healthy-pink body smiled back,

nearly swerved into the next lane.

Now marooned in 2019, I listen carefully to no voice, no voice
inside me. The sound (of no voice) smiling.

The (sound of no) voice staining my shirt like insistent lingerie.

You are still singing along somewhere along the line, you insistent lingerer.

Another day you brought me a microphone
so I could sing into my four-track tape recorder–
the promise you followed through on.

This promise came in the original packaging,
a bright pink cardboard box.

If I could rewind the tape, I wouldn’t ask much this time, only
to sing our songs in almost-pink, the point before pink
on color’s numberline.

We wouldn’t sort music from color from integers.

We wouldn’t need to decide.

Our hearts effervesced at points beyond pink.

The microphone didn’t work
but I never gave up hoping that it would, one day.

Dear Sir, I wish I’d kept the box
because you touched it once, and now
your body has no corporeal hands.

You’ve gone to the place sound goes
when a microphone won’t record it,

so I wash my white shirt with red socks
to get ready for a night out.

When I find my love returned by another wayfaring voice,
temporarily singing in a warm human throat,
I will know what you–what color–knows.

I will know how it knows
what shade
will be not enough,

how it knows what hue
will be a gift of decisive refracted light.