ANMLY #28 :: Poetry


What is seen and what isn’t seen?

This week, we’ve seen a black hole for the first time. And we’ve seen Bret Easton Ellis be an asshole, surely not for the last time.

This collection of poetry is for everyone who has been made to question their reality, the world around them. These poems evoke the multiverse, what is made visible and what is concealed, and what is demanded by the brutal concept of objectivity.

Yongyu Chen’s “Call Me” speaks to reality of those knowledgeable of contemporary literary criticism, those that must quite literally hold space for lived realities obfuscated by mainstream lit crit that Others while refusing to see that it’s Othering.

“I left this space for you to leave a trace in I left this page in the hole of the page for you to survive in Glue something here Until the police finds us” —Yongyu Chen

Aeon Ginsberg challenges the meaning of “brunch” one year before economists predict the US will enter a recession, while Millennials suffer under the burden of student debt and the gig economy. The stratification of multiply marginalized creatives is something conspicuously absent from mainstream narratives of our alleged avocado toasts.

“we decided that breakfast could be called something different
when 9-to-5’ers aren’t 9-to-5’ing, and so maybe all
food service workers are in someway mystics for bearing
the burn of a decision hubris created.” —Aeon Ginsberg

These poets write in a way that captures the tributaries of the past that lead us to the present that is witnessed so differently by so many different people, concluding in an uncertain but multifarious future.

So many things that can happen, that will happen, that we have an inkling about.

In Janelle Tan’s “After The Third Bottle of Peroxide,” she interrogates the politics of race and hair, self expression, and anti-assimilationism. Her poem converses with many voices, reclaiming the meaning of her bleached hair from a chorus of unsolicited opinions, contrasted against the interiority of those assured

“as if the most essential part of a salted egg yolk
is not its flavor but its yellow.
as if black hair means rice paddy.
as if whiteness is a country manor with acres
of hedge mazes and i am kissing the iron gates” —Janelle Tan

Kate Schapira captures our lethargic descent into global climate catastrophe, highlighting the eerie monotony of lives we try to lead better even as our lives lead to a future we may have no control over.

”                                                             Stayed
with 2 climatologists and they walked me through
multiple scenarios. All very stark. I won’t
describe for you because I worry what
you’ll do if I do. “—Kate Schapira

Caroline M. Mar, meanwhile, captures the urgency of breathing itself in Cold Shock, her series of erasure poems on death by water.

“against the water’s conductivity, deeper
cells, the cold awakens something,
my certainty that my life has meaning.”—Caroline M. Mar

These are poems that know where they came from, know where they are, and are working to imagine a future, knowing what would happen if we give up on imagining hope and justice. Or at least, the next month’s food budget and what your family might say about your new hairstyle

“We called it a ‘war’ because it was useful, or Alternate Names for
Teargas,” by Jacqui Germain fights to hold space for the reality of the US’s militarization against both Black Americans and people of color overseas. This is a poem that does not negotiate, that betrays the dangers of negotiating meaning toward those in power, toward a sanitization of violence.

“7. America’s presumed mercy—which of course dissipates in the wind, which of course is a choking gratitude in the void of massacre, which of course is our most humble foreign policy”—Jacqui Germain

Moira J. writes intensely in the present, from the past that has brought them there. Moira connects the threads of colonization, gender, health and relationships weaving them into a form that resists rigid taxonomy and superficial identification.

”             how do you explain that your dna
is fortified by braids of anguish? that after so much
              time and attempted assassinations,
                  even the smallest [subatomic] ndn
            knows every wound and how to survive it? “—Moira J.

The poets of Anomaly’s last issue challenged binary between form and identity, and this folio is a continuation and expansion of our interconnected works. These are writings of temporal sensitivity. Located in place and time, authors and speakers balancing the I that they are with the I that has been socially imposed. These are poems that identify that we all write from the self in one way or another, and that identify the many selves we could be or could have been. They employ form and voice to convey intimate interior spaces, inventing new ways of speaking to those who haven’t already decided not to listen. These are poems that refuse permission, refuse universality, and refuse to allow their lyric and literal selves to be extinguished and erased.

“I am adrift in the openness of this new time—there appears no beginning nor end.”—Mia Ayumi Malhotra

Sarah Clark, Editor-in-Chief, Poetry Editor
April 2019


Liz Bowen, Poetry Reader
nicole v. basta, Poetry Reader
Brighde Moffatt, Poetry Reader
Jason N. Rodriguez, Poetry Reader
Ebony Chinn, Assistant Poetry Editor
Ching-In Chen, Assistant Poetry Editor
Sarah Clark, Poetry Editor