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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Betsy Fagin

from Narcissus and Echo
they are stone.
hear viscerally
unruled, displaced.
harboring relentless voice
to bone voice capture.
hidden disgrace,
numb to ice water
for advance if echo.
yet looking just
fired up enough:
so small and worn out.
give back every hour
of corporate want
undone body to voice
machine explanations
that ring throughout
the streets: everybody wins.
the signs, all stolen.
investments crazed
for clear water:
the better
to inspire to heights
to nice and clean
and well-contained.
reluctant space funnelled
sea foam into seat cushions
inflated, the sun
just so. in the heavens.
well behaved. my heart,
trained, secured.
pack leader.
tracked. in love
with experts
across the forests
of Brooklyn and Queens.


how can this be?
sleep increase pressure.
laughing knows why.
garbage heart. thrown out. take to want.
clothed dumpstered consciousness in body
choreograph the hottest blood.
my good eye. seagull crawl, raven thought.
hawk away. geese gone solitary.
pigeon music. sweet starling music.
ace me. serve nothing time still passed.
the plague has patterns of old feeding habits
plunge tides this way, cheapened hope.
you better move. to right it. get to bass-heavy:
any song you want. galactically –––
you mad? we entertain philosophies of flawless sky
reflected in rivers from higher ground.
air fire water crossroads experience
ourselves falling for amazement.
denied weakening. alight. inspired.
worth security down. nailed to apprehension time.
to strive a thing attachments offer too much
burst this eyes whole days for sleep.
my dry well candle spectacle:
free dream food.
never not broken
for Akhilandeshvari
dire beauty fallen
into obligation dark
round true cross quarters
one of the four gates
diving in the way of
letting it all hang out.
tired youth’s lit candle
ritual— passing on nearness
to mysterious forces
we have come, dour,
to make the song world
of disbelief more beauty.
awakened unpretty,
non-decorative power.
agent of decay to roots
& rebirth. ally of
transformative. a living
sensed, asleep.
we don’t normally do
solution. found any
being a light.
arise! dream the occasion.
while the city sleeps
the rest of you, inked, will die.
awaken what years ago
was called love.
we should have each other.
imagination + daring action.
we slip transformed
broken into beauty and joy.


corrected course embodied
decoded place: our social
forms as elaborate stitches:
them partially funded
them happy valley
into fragments dispensed
with myopic clouds and trees
both memorying embroiderment,
navigating necessary
alleviation of alleviation.
endangered stewardship
taken in hand. device
information bloated device
relevant to impertinent
cooperation left space,
such arrogance, such rudeness
on the world inflicted
infinite yoga studios and
bells, wind chimes, bell neem
everywhere, filling cracks in
indian lilac hopes of restoring intimacy.
exile soaked
glorified wild and free but fenced
off body shade field challenge
a healing (transpersonal) leaved body
prolonging attachment’s shallow dismal
and staggering present. injured, ill,
preoccupied with your arms,
with so forth and ceasing.
particularities bond river influence
to snow fronds, vast and opposing
staying—the sea polarized
denial of limitations
soaked with sense of exile.
yarrow stalk oracle

waking magnetic, dashed
from lightning: air behaving as fire.
wolf into dog, intoxicant night blind
to all minor infractions
ruled approach swift, resolute.
deceptively involved form
disengaged, balance debased,
rebalanced to a foundling situation of
irradiated joy. palpable harmony’s raw
obstacle–intricately charged
atmospherics’ central design.
Betsy Fagin is the author of Poverty Rush (Three Sad Tigers, 2011), the science seemed so solid (dusie kollektiv, 2011), Belief Opportunity (Big Game Books Tinyside, 2008), Rosemary Stretch (dusie e/chap, 2006) and For every solution there is a problem (Open 24 Hours, 2003). She received a B.A. in literature from Vassar College and a M.F.A. from Brooklyn College. She is currently a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Writer-in-Residence.


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