Unlikely 2.0


   All the accomplishments of our civilizations, every last work of religion or art or science, has been nothing but a frippery to pass the time away, to keep oneself busy while one was not doing the only thing in which human beings achieve totality: fucking. —Marco Vassi


Editors' Notes

Maria Damon and Michelle Greenblatt
Jim Leftwich and Michelle Greenblatt
Sheila E. Murphy and Michelle Greenblatt

A Visual Conversation on Michelle Greenblatt's ASHES AND SEEDS with Stephen Harrison, Monika Mori | MOO, Jonathan Penton and Michelle Greenblatt

Letters for Michelle: with work by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Jeffrey Side, Larry Goodell, mark hartenbach, Charles J. Butler, Alexandria Bryan and Brian Kovich

Visual Poetry by Reed Altemus
Poetry by Glen Armstrong
Poetry by Lana Bella
A Eulogic Poem by John M. Bennett
Elegic Poetry by John M. Bennett
Poetry by Wendy Taylor Carlisle
A Eulogy by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Joel Chace
A Spoken Word Poem and Visual Art by K.R. Copeland
A Eulogy by Alan Fyfe
Poetry by Win Harms
Poetry by Carolyn Hembree
Poetry by Cindy Hochman
A Eulogy by Steffen Horstmann
A Eulogic Poem by Dylan Krieger
An Elegic Poem by Dylan Krieger
Visual Art by Donna Kuhn
Poetry by Louise Landes Levi
Poetry by Jim Lineberger
Poetry by Dennis Mahagin
Poetry by Peter Marra
A Eulogy by Frankie Metro
A Song by Alexis Moon and Jonathan Penton
Poetry by Jay Passer
A Eulogy by Jonathan Penton
Visual Poetry by Anne Elezabeth Pluto and Bryson Dean-Gauthier
Visual Art by Marthe Reed
A Eulogy by Gabriel Ricard
Poetry by Alison Ross
A Short Movie by Bernd Sauermann
Poetry by Christopher Shipman
A Spoken Word Poem by Larissa Shmailo
A Eulogic Poem by Jay Sizemore
Elegic Poetry by Jay Sizemore
Poetry by Felino A. Soriano
Visual Art by Jamie Stoneman
Poetry by Ray Succre
Poetry by Yuriy Tarnawsky
A Song by Marc Vincenz


Join our Facebook group!

Join our mailing list!


Print this article


Three Poems by Sean Patrick Hill

Carver Country

Economists diagnose these towns
as depressed.

Old mills get new coats
of green paint to blend in,
but one blow and they fold
like cheap suits.

The highway drones on, a politician
full of promises.

It's a fairy tale: each year
another dry spell. Tractors turn
into blackberry briars.

People grow mean,
growling at children in parking lots.

Liquor stores bloom like weeds
without names:
like gospel nailed to trees

one small sign on the highway
is enough

to drive any man to drink.




Prospects

In mining country, the relief map is staked
with hundreds of X's, declaring themselves prospects.

Follow the word to the roots,
the Latin prospectus, you find "distant view,"
and even deeper, "to look forward."

In this country a prospect was something
you could hold in your hand, a lump of lead.
Which means a prospect can also be poison.

A prospect was the way you walked up gulches
carrying a pickaxe, shovel, a placer pan. Which means
a prospect could get you lost.

Sometimes a prospect is something you only expect
to happen, the probability of deposits, something
as intangible as the sky, or the vague fear
the mountains work into you at night.

What you learn up here is sometimes you strike
the mother lode, and sometimes you don't.

You learn ore dries up, creeks go sour. You learn weather
is ultimately indifferent,
that hills wither in the right wind.

You learn, really, it's every man for himself. That only
those who can afford the best tools survive.




In the Big Sky Country

1
No wonder the sky seems wider than the mind.

All the giants fell to earth.
Transmission towers serve as reminders
Of their former place in these mountains,
Skeletal as they are.

Power lines they drag around sag.
The sky is that heavy.

Grass waves like a green river, as if
The whole land might drain in a night.

No wonder they nailed the whole thing down
With fences and poles and stories
No one could believe anymore.

But each time they opened the ground
Black rags of plastic caught on the wind
Fluttered on barbed wire like frantic birds.

2
Living in clefts of hills, maybe you don't feel so small.

They built everything of wood—
This was their first mistake.

The remaining willows lingering on creeks
Sprout like weeds under the open hoods
Of junked cars and farm machines.

That's the trouble with history—
It always seems to be happening
In the wrong direction.

You know, the wind is incapable of distinguishing
Between the walls of a barn or a church.

I imagine on the hilltops they felt
Set adrift on a slow motion storm, directionless,
The town in the lees about to be sucked under.

That's the problem with living
In these hills—
You're always left thinking
You're at the bottom of things.

3
There must have been times they thanked God
For roads more than rain.

When those little garages closed up
There was nowhere left to go
To talk about the changes
In the weather.


E-mail this article

Sean Patrick HillSean says, "I am a travel writer, teacher, husband, and naturalist in Portland, Oregon. I have poems appearing or forthcoming in Exquisite Corpse, The Pedestal Magazine, elimae, Alba, diode, In Posse Review, Willow Springs, and Quarter After Eight."