Author: Theresa Smalec


Installment 14, Drew Milne’s “Defeat Devices,” takes up the EPA term for devices installed by Volkswagen and other car manufacturers to disguise the levels of real world emissions produced by their vehicles. Software recognizes lab conditions and changes the fuel regulation to suit, but once back on the road, the NOx and particulates emissions spike and far exceed regulation levels. Milne renders concrete those deadly remains that many prefer to keep out of sight and mind. *** DEFEAT DEVICES there in the software lies a tiger in the tank a cat called catalytics pumping particulates he takes a breather...

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Three Poems by Marilyn Cavicchia

Installment 13 features three poems by Marilyn Cavicchia that take our exploration of cars and remains in new directions. Each piece below is a found poem whose source material were posts in a public Facebook group called “The World’s Most Boring Posts Club.” Each day, Cavicchia visited the group and found a brief phrase to start a poem, then scrolled to find other phrases that joined it in an interesting way. Her novel assemblage of found parts departs from a simple copy-and-paste job, and puts a new spin on the traditional lyric “I”. *** My Peppers Are Still Coming...

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Spring Geography and Columbia Clutch by Fred Wah

Installment 12 brings together a poem from Fred Wah’s So Far (1991), and a new one, “Columbia Clutch” (2018). Both poems enact impending shifts, abrupt unearthings. Matter breathes, reveals, holds our attention. Yet the latter piece also attends to the double-edged amalgam of awe and harnessing at the heart of our interactions with nature: “Roll on Columbia, roll on/ Your power is turning our darkness to dawn.” (Photo credit and copyright: Halcyon Ploss) *** Spring Geography Things appear suddenly not new but as they remain left over from the winter for example. dead logs caught in the brush at all...

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The Red Car by David Cull

This eleventh installment features the work of David Cull, a contributor to and eventual board member of TISH: a poetry newsletter (founded in August 1961). Cull’s poem, “The Red Car,” confirms the cosmic complexities of any good anagram. Tish happens–even to cars and their accidental hosts.  *** the red car rots beside the entrance driveway 15 years of rusted metal, broken glass & plastic into garbage bags I punch holes in the floor boards with a pickaxe so the filthy water drains away no documents and therefore no way autowreckers will remove the junk the engine pulled and dumped at...

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Life in Dallas by Helen Gutowski

This tenth installment features our first poem by a millennial artist, and the first poem that Helen Gutowski publicly performed.  To give you some context, it was written in the summer of 2007; she was 16.  Fiercely precise in its rap-like rhymes and tempo, Gutowski’s poem enacts an era she describes as “youthful reckless abandon.” This poem recalls the pleasures of risk and rebellion, the lucky free falls that propel us into the future.        *** Life in Dallas A red ’91 Toyota Corolla, four door With more character than I could ever hope to have. Dallas,...

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