Unlikely 2.0

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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

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The Journal of a North American Artifact
by Jon Rentler

From the Desk of President __________
A briefing, an explanation is needed. Here before you are the collected remnants from an unholy fire set by the party whose infamy does not require the mention of his name for this record. It is not his name that's important my countryman. No, it is his origin, the spirit he imbued, the American legend he was. A foolish man who could have continued to contribute to our archaeologists, anthropologists and national interest, but chose to burn much like the empire he hailed from. We all say prayers for his soul as we have done for his fallen fellow citizens. Enjoy the collection and God be with us all:
Johnny Appleseed (2002-2033)

A year ago on Sunday morn (do I have the courage now or ever to detail a narrative near enough or comparable) or shall I trust the others? Put faith in theirs'? I must try they say to articulate. Some throw paint and cast pots of clay. I once wrote a poem about Arbour day for my high school newspaper. After that was found, I was sent a box of paper and a bouquet of pens.

To begin again... A year ago on Sunday morning, the sun rose hesitantly, for when it came to where it expected the conglomerate of 51 highly individualized, fiercely stitched together states with a declaration as their golden thread dipping in and out of the purple mountains of majesty and fruitful plains, it came upon an obstruction. The blackest cloud whichever did dare to roam the skies with breath of brimstone and infant death, with the powder dust of once cities and towns, the sound wave static of half second shrieks...

So unless you were one of those buzzhead kids across the sea with soda fizz minds that were doing their best to drink, clap, fuck, dance away any remaining skull cells, but refuelling their rides under the petrol lights in the dead of night, you missed the vacuum of it. The sudden departure of a nation, their souls ascension in a moment of silence that rippled like heat over pavement across the globe, not leaving one continent untouched. The breath was caught in a moment. Their ears rung. The wind stuttered. The atmosphere flickered. But back to their drinks and dates when they can swallow again with their lungs inflating, a slurred pout-lipped youth mutters, "This place doesn't fit right." Curling his hands up in his coat sleeves. I slept beside them sound and safe across the sea. I slept through our end.

I am encouraged to write letters to my loved ones turned phantoms. I wonder, what is the point of these messages which no carrier pigeon would ever dare take across the sea back to the place where bodies glow green and the ashes of those mingle in the parks at night, swirling in the wind around the cracked fountains and collapsed gazebos?

With the US embassies dismantled for their crown mouldings and firewood, what do you do with the orphans still taking up space across the globe who weren't in their rightful homes? What of these remnants, these relics, North American artifacts? The crumbs of an empire now just becoming a myth, a legend, a golden land once where those from every nation sought liberty... "Heaven?" children inquire, "Do you speak of Paradise?" Too young to understand... "Go to sleep my young ones... go to the place of dreams." And so we become heroes for the children. A Davey Crockett in Poland. Betsy Ross in Russia. Squanto in Zimbabwe. Harriet Tubman of London. And I to be citizen Johnny Appleseed.

I came upon a fellow displaced while on weekend leave. She sat in the shade at a corner cafe. She had cups of coffee, tea and hot chocolate arranged around her delicately. She did not drink, not even a sip. But her fingers played in the steam like a harpist on strings. I asked her name and what state had been her womb, her playground of hopscotch and jacks. She couldn't remember, but she did say, "I had a name, it may have been Cobalt, or Azure or even Cerulean, but now they just call me Blue."

I found out she was The Maid of the Mist. Someone with her whimsical stance would do no good as an Indian princess who sacrifices herself to the falls. The next weekend I went to see her show. I went to the park where her canoe set adrift but was anchored, bolted to the bottom of a man-made lake by a chain. She couldn't sail over the man-made waterfall. I could tell right away it was not she at all. "No," said a man with popcorn in his hands, "This one's from Tennessee. The other had a spill in her bath... pink pills and a blade. This one's much better. This one's blonde."

I see her wrapping herself in the steam, binding to the vapour, the warm molecules rising out the open window to be blown across the sea.

"The climate here is not suitable for apples," I say standing in the city park where I will be forever next to a fibreglass cabin. "The children want to see your apples. They want to see you planting your apple trees." I hang apples by strings to the limbs of trees and untie them when a child is hungry and led on a field trip to this plot. I wear the cast-iron pot on my head and walk in bare feet. Mounds of seeds spill from my hands. Families come and read the placard and call out a name that's not mine, but my head turns automatically now.

And so they would like me to keep this record, an account, data. What will they do with my words? What will I do with my words? They are mine and no one else's. They have provided only paper and pen. Not the mind. This mind is from a time that no longer exists, but lingers in the few who were not there. Even if we'd knocked on the gates it'd be too late, excluded from the Leviathan's lightning fast collapse. Now a graveyard continent where all the bodies glow green and can be seen from the safety of satellites swarming.

To the furnace with all of this and all of me. They'll sweep my ashes away and place them in a tin under glass, wrapped in, at last! The stars and stripes forever...

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Jon RentlerThis has been Jon Rentler.

Comments (closed)

Dasha Sol-Nich-niya
2009-09-13 11:20:04

Hey Dasha,

I hope all is well in your capital home. I will be coming up I think during Fall Break. So here is something I wrote. It'll kill a few minutes. I wrote it while I was Ireland and blue. I hope you enjoy it. I have more. Take care.


Hang in there!
Sladkey Snof