Five On It: Monica McClure


Monica McClure (in turquoise) and me (in the starry cap) at the launch of Natalie Eilbert’s “Conversation with the Stone Wife,” literally minutes before we first met. Later at a bar we exchanged caps bc hers is much cooler and says “Vogue” and I slipped to the bathroom to make a selfie but the room was too dark :-( I forgot to apologize for the smell of mine, so let me take this opportunity—I’m sorry MM. It was summer and I sweat a lot :-/ When I plopped down next to her and introduced myself and complimented the champagne flute she was holding, she said it looked like a droopy condom and we laughed. Then she turned to Ben Fama and asked if I was the one they have a crush on—and it was kind of surreal bc I’ve had a crush on Monica for awwwwhile… Her poetry is boisterous, confrontational, deft, explosive and freaking hilarious (all of my favorite things). I feel like her work kicks me in the stomach, and it’s my fault I was in it’s way. Her debut poetry collection, Tender Data, will be published by Birds, LLC in 2015. She is the author of the chapbooks “Mood Swing,” from Snacks Press and “Mala,” published by Poor Claudia. Her poems and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in Tin House, Jubilat, Fence, The Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere. She co-curates Gemstones, a girls-mostly collaboration series of new media artists and poets. She has performed at Cage Gallery & Pioneer Works. With Brenda Shaughnessy, she edits an anthology of multiracial American writers. So much to crush on.

1. What’s the last song you listened to?

  • Maybe this is embarrassing. I don’t know. I listened to Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights this morning on the train. I’d somehow never really listened to anything by her, until this weekend when Ben played the Wuthering heights video on our television and we were immediately compelled to spin and leap about our studio. There’s something just so magnificently whimsical and unabashedly corny about the 70’s imagination. Everything is failing, let’s escape into fantasy and hope for the best. Plus, I love all bad Wuthering Heights inspired things, including every mini series. It’s so good as pulp.


2. What did you want to be when you were ten?

  • Speaking of pulp, I wanted to be a fiction writer. I guess I still do. I read a lot of fantasy and period romance novels snuck from my great-grandmother’s closet. I’d comb them for the sex scenes, implicit and explicit. I remember lots of backs arching to receive whatever. In my Precious Moments journal, I would map out these long novels I planned to write next to my notes from church. I was just as devout as I was naughty! They read like soap operas: so-and-so marries and then divorces and then falls in love and is betrayed and gets revenge and makes a career change and gets ill and then falls in love again. The heroine was always a beautiful mixed race woman. I wanted to feel like it was exotic and desirable to be biracial.

3. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

  • I’ve spent almost my entire 20’s fucking around. This isn’t advice (which I tend not to take) but reassurance. An older man I dated when I was 22 said, “Your 20’s are all about figuring out what you don’t want; your 30’s will be about doing what you want.” I’m sure I could have just as easily read that in Elle Magazine, but it felt better to hear it from a reasonably put-together real person.

4. What’s the last thing you were obsessed with?

  • I think I have major and minor obsessions running concurrently through me at all times. My last major obsession was with radical submissiveness and heterosexuality of Lana del Rey. That’s not that fresh, I know. Last week I was obsessed with the word “prig” and used it twice in one poem. My friend Eric Amling drew me a picture of what I thought a prig might look like. It’s too ridiculous to describe. Anyway, I looked at it several times a day and laughed alone at my desk.


5. Give me some poems or poet’s you’ve been taken with recently?

  • UK poets Harry Burke, Sophie Collins and Sam Riviere have all blown my mind while they’ve been here visiting. They’re all brilliant and searing. I love the candor and cutting humor of Laura Marie Marciano’s poems. The poems I’ve seen from Bunny Rogers’ book Cunny have destroyed me. Who did I want to pick up again? Oh, Frederick Seidel. Seems like every fall and spring I read him. Ethan Stebbins sent me this poem the other day with this line I liked a lot:

"But the heart.  Maybe that’s why men in love look like sea monkeys in a champagne tank."

Five On It: Nalini Abhiraman


OK so I’m having a hard time writing Nalini Abhiraman’s intro bc she means so much to me, and so much to like humanity? So I’ll just start with the basics—she writes in various media, including video, custom software, and GIFs. Her work has appeared in Gigantic, Anomalous Press, NOO Journal, extramural, No, Dear, and Fringe, whose Flash Fiction Contest she won in 2012. Interactive installations have shown at the RISD Museum, the Sorbonne, MC Gallery, and other venues. She lives in Brooklyn and has the same birthday as her mother and her father (bazam). So that’s the bio. My words re: Nalini include—she taught me how to moon walk, we sang karaoke on BBF Wilkes’ bed on my birthday, she drops major theory talk & Warren G in the same breath, she is. I just. Look. Okay. Nalini is the shit and she writes poems that both make me laugh and stop breathing with big feelings and I thank my lucky stars that we’re friends :-) 

1. What’s the last song you listened to?

2. What did you want to be when you were ten?

  • An archaeologist, which I envisioned as one nonstop Indiana Jones thrill-ride, during which I’d also be dressed exactly like Laura Dern in Jurassic Park. I was extremely into Pompeii and the Colossus of Rhodes, thanks to a book my parents kept in the house called A First Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, as well as their decades-spanning collection of National Geographic. I used to carry around a Pompeii-themed issue of NG in my backpack, to read when I was by myself — which was, given everything I’ve just said here, fairly frequent.

3. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

  • In Spring 2012, my friend Catherine’s mother Joyce, who is one of my favorite parents (and people), told me that I wasn’t obligated to spend time with people who made me unhappy. There was no qualifying “shouldn’t feel” or “didn’t have to” in it — she just fixed me with a straight blue Vermonter eye and said “wasn’t obligated,” and it was fucking crystallizing for me, since I’d spent 29 years of my life doing the opposite, feeling bored and sad and shocked and guilty almost all the time. That advice changed my life. I should send her a ham.

4. What’s the last thing you were obsessed with?

  • For about 20 years, I’ve been obsessed with rappers who work in chopper-style — double-time geniuses like Do or Die, Bone Thugs, Twista, and more recently, Freddie Gibbs. All of the artists I just listed are Midwestern; there’s some excellent music writing out there about the history of the device within Midwest hip-hop, and how it traces within and without the region. I won’t provide links, because I believe in human potential.

5. Give me a few poems or poets you’ve been taken with recently?

  • Poets: R. Erica Doyle, Amber Atiya, Stephanie Gray, Dawn Lundy Martin (just finished reading Discipline), Jake Kennedy. I just heard Erica and Amber read last night as part of my favorite reading series, and UNGH, my god, they just have St. Elmo’s fire licking at their contours. Poems: I carry a constant torch for anything by Sarah Tourjee, especially her more recent series, Sam Says, Sam.

PANK Magazine :: 9.10 / October 2014 :: Queer Issue


Our annual queer issue is LIVE!

Our guest editor, Rafe Posey, writes that

"There is no one way to be queer. Likewise, there was no one type of queer writing I wanted. I found translations, I found illustrations, and I found language that knocked me sideways. Sometimes the work I encountered broke my heart. Sometimes I laughed so hard I scared my cat."

Read more about the selection process here.

And check out an excerpt from my book/poem IRL while yr at it :-D

Let’s say I’m coiled by the part in the Al Green song “Love & Happiness” after the toe tap beginning where the guitar twang lifts a musk of pure… mmmmgh… into the air.

Let’s sat you’re talking to me when this happens and your feelings bruise but I literally can’t hear you and in fact put my finger to yr face when you

or that drop in “Mine” by Beyonce where she says “No Rest in the Kingdom”

the feeling of the shreds of Al’s voice

of Bey’s deep

are likes tufts of gauze stuffed in my ears

and I have the vague feeling

like I care what yr saying

and a vague recognition of the fact that yr getting insulted, but literally? Give me

a minute.

I can’t say this. And this absence of reason—but a flood which feels reasonable to me—is this I wonder is this, natural?

or does music turn me into a sociopath?

My roommate Danny once wrote about how music makes you gay, but only some ppl realize this is happening.

Perfect Denim Jacket


(A poem by Tommy Pico heyteebs)

"love" can mean faux fur trim
or the way old cotton wears thin on broad 
shoulders. Think of a biker’s rolled up
mentality—leaning into speed.
I have a crush on a thrift store clerk
whose curly hair bowls when he belly lolz. I don’t
know what that means, “perfect
denim jacket,” just what I’d feel
if I had it.

#poet #poem #TommyPico 


thanks for the bump ary, this is a slice of old teebs <3

An excerpt from my book/poem IRL | [PANK]

My hard won
sense of self surrenders thru
the sieve of yr attention
every time What I mean
is for fifteen years
I give all of myself to every
man I meet, mostly bc
I have nothing worth
holding I want
to get lost, to merge and b
someone else. I look into
the water, a rolling exact
me I promise to find
or make something worth
holding onto. I’m giving
it to you. What I mean
is guard yourself. Erect
fences. Crop a mound
onto the bald land
sing a Beyonce song
at karaoke w/yr friends
Envision consequences n make
decisions loose needles
of light from the dark
tent within