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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Used Goods
by Mark Polanzak

I needed a lot more than what I had managed to cram in the back of my Subaru for the move. It was a hasty job, which wasn't philosophically conceived—I simply hadn't thought the move through enough. But I recast my anxiety about leaving things behind into a dream of starting over. I took my clothes. Some books. A few lamps. My computer and guitar, but left almost everything else on the curb with a sign reading: "It's All Yours Now!"

Right across the street from my new apartment there was a Used Goods store. Perfect, I thought. What do I need? I made a quick list, and I promised myself I would only get what I wrote down. I was only going to get what I needed this time. No more clutter. Mattress. Sheets. Desk. Chair. Table. Kitchen stuff. Some posters?

But you never know what you need until you are faced with all the things you want. Nearly everything on my list was in the first room of the store, so I told the nice people working there that I would be buying these things and coming back periodically to cart them away. Then, like a fool, I browsed.

I like stores like this. It's like an antiques store or thrift shop, the kind of place where you might find a gleaming set of silverware in a mahogany box for hundreds of dollars on the same shelf as a tape deck missing the rewind button. You can find a bargain, or an item no longer being manufactured, or a toy from your youth that you yourself had thrown away. Maybe it's the one you played with. It sure looks and feels like it. I like that the stuff has stories, like someone may have used the desk over a hundred years ago. I don't get too into it, but I wonder or hope sometimes that something lives in the material.

The first room housed cardboard boxes of VHS and cassette tapes, VCRs and radios, standing lamps, night stands—actually I needed a night stand and forgot to jot it down—shelves upon shelves of old novels, glassware, cookware, paintings, armchairs, jewelry in glass display cases, magnifying glasses, large standing brass ashtrays, rotary phones, vinyl records, and dusty turntables. Useful but mostly unnecessary.

The second room contained much the same as the first, although these particular items, on closer inspection, were damaged. A desk missing a drawer. An upright piano with only black keys. I suppose one could take this stuff home and fix it, but I am no good at repairing anything.

The next room looked like an old general store. Aisles of cereal and soup cans. Refrigerators of milk, juice, cartons of eggs. Brown bottles of beer in six packs. I deserved it, I thought, and opened the glass door for a sixer. When I grabbed and lifted the handle, I nearly fell forward. It was light. The bottles were empty. Caps sealed to the tops. Empty. I replaced it and grabbed another. Light as the first. It felt good to hold the six-pack of empty bottles. It felt so manageable. I felt strong. I carried it around the store and thought to inform the cashier when I was through.

On the other side of the registers were long tables with games laid out. A Scrabble board with words spelled out—STRETCH perpendicular to HIRE perpendicular to EXIT. A notebook rested next to the game with initials on top and scores going down in columns. V. S. had beat out W. M. and R. P by 20 points. Two tiles lay in the tiny wooden rack on one side of the board and one tile in the rack facing me: "M" (three points subtracted from W. M.'s score). I picked up the board and notebook.

At the impulse buy section on the counter, I saw ball jars of Bic pens without caps. Blue. Black. One red. And yellow Stick-It pads filled up with words like: TO DO: Laundry, Take Kate to dentist. Some words were scratched out. I withdrew a blue pen and tried crossing off "Laundry" because I had actually done it. But the pen was inkless.

After waiting for the old man in front of me to pay for a box of cigarettes, open it, and tap out just one filter into his palm, I bought the six-pack, Scrabble game, yellow pad, and two pens.

I told the nice people that worked there that I would come back for all the furniture just as soon as I corraled a friend to help me. But if I couldn't, I would be willing to throw one of them a few bucks for an extra set of hands.

When I came home to my new place, satisfied that I had got what I needed and just a few small gifts to myself, I put the finished Scrabble game in the middle of the living room floor, tossed the light six-pack in the fridge, and began reading over a To Do list with my dry pen in hand. At some point, I cracked an empty beer and looked out the window, thinking that I was maybe going to be OK in this new place. Then there was a knock on the door, but whoever it was was already leaving.

Mark Polanzak's stories have appeared in Third Coast, The American Scholar, and The Southern Review, among others. He is a founding editor for draft: the journal of process. He teaches writing and literature at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Check out his web site: DraftJournal.com.

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