Issue #13

Winter/Spring 2015

Table of Contents

3 Letter from the Editor

4 Contributors

5 Events

6 Poetry – “Even these weeds panic” by Simon Perchik

7 Poetry – “You hold this stone to your cheek” by Simon Perchik

8 Poetry – “A ritual spray – two fingers” by Simon Perchik

9 Poetry – “You single out this bottle” by Simon Perchik

10 Poetry – “It’s what you do, the mirror” by Simon Perchik

11 Poetry – “Erstwhile” by C. Wade Bentley

12 Poetry – “Trans” by Calvin Payne-Taylor

Letter from the Editor

Dear Friends,

This is where I write something nice about time flying or months passing into seasons or being lucky enough to have so much work to do or that unfortunate feeling of our literary lives being such a luxury, of the spaces we manage to squeeze it into sometimes shrinking, the ebb and flow of productivity, about being able to see the light and not being able to see clearly, about things being translucent, about the brightness of winter snow, our windows letting the glare shine through as we hole up inside, perhaps, setting about doing the work, these important beautiful things we aspire to do, and whatever that is is all that matters.  Warmest,

– Christina Phelps



  1. Wade Bentleylives, teaches, and writes in Salt Lake City.  For a good time, he enjoys wandering the Wasatch Mountains and playing with his four grandsons.  His poems have appeared or will soon be published inGreen Mountains ReviewCimarron Review, Best New Poets, Western Humanities Review, Subtropics, Rattle, Chicago Quarterly Review, Innisfree Poetry JournalIthacaLit, Raleigh Review, and Reunion: The Dallas Review, among others.  A chapbook of his poems, Askew, was published in 2013, by Red Ochre Press.  A full-length collection is due from Aldrich Press in March 2015.

Graphic artist and painter Allen Forrest was born in Canada and bred in the U.S. He has created cover art and illustrations for literary publications and books. He is the winner of the Leslie Jacoby Honor for Art at San Jose State University’s Reed Magazine and his Bel Red painting series is part of the Bellevue College Foundation’s permanent art collection. Forrest’s expressive drawing and painting style is a mix of avant-garde expressionism and post-Impressionist elements reminiscent of van Gogh, creating emotion on canvas.

Calvin Payne-Taylor is a dual-degree undergraduate at Mount Holyoke College and the University of Oxford, and prospective graduate student of early modern European theological history. I am extremely short of stature, and find myself overwhelmed with happiness about starting testosterone this winter. I harbor an aspiration to become a monk later in life. I always drive too fast, not just as a poetic device.

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan ReviewThe NationPoetryThe New Yorker, and elsewhere. His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013). For more information, free e-books, and his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at


2.23.2015 – trans lit mag begins transmitting issue #13, “translucent.”



by Simon Perchik


Even these weeds panic

circle around your fingertips

as if the stream they fasten on

knows only one direction – the dead

still fold their arms, dare you

to raise your hand, ask for salt

clear the ground before the no! no!

stops and in the silence makes room

for flowers and your mouth

sweetened by the warm breath

it still remembers as sunlight

struggling and the pull up! pull up!


You hold this stone to your cheek

as if you hear the bed

widening and a second pillow

keeping the other half warm

though its bell-scented blanket

is filled with driftwood and snow

covering the Earth each night

with the arm you sleep on

– she wanted the room cold

calling out from a corner

the way your shadow turns

still faces the wall to remember

where by holding on to stop!

stop it! just stop it! it’s the window

that’s open and breathing.


A ritual spray – two fingers

dripping from a small cup

to pull it closer

– you need more emptiness

though it’s the leaves

squeezing their prey underwater

the way your fever

feeds on shoreline and foam

from an enormous moon

leaving the sea still naked

– drop by drop what’s left

is struggling on the floor

kept wet for its cry

swallowed whole as driftwood

scented with night after night.


You single out this bottle

the way each wish starts

as emptiness and place to place

alone, uncertain she will become

night skies and mountainside

broken open for the river that’s late

still drifting along in your chest

and its longing for rain

–you are listening for water

from the 40s, defenseless

not yet the glass bringing you closer

washing over her, making it happen.


It’s what you do, the mirror

becomes a sheet, the bed

is in there somewhere –you squint

and under this frost the glass

is warmed, covers your eyes

even more than tomorrow

–you end each day inside a hill

on its way to this sink

where without any hope the faucet

holds your hand and all the time

pulls the mist back in

as skies and kisses clouding over

flowing into an empty dress

worn only at night

lets you breathe again

–without a blanket, without a pillow

you barely see the silence

covering a mouth with your lips.




by C. Wade Bentley

He sat where he always sits,

at the time of day it always is

when he sits there, but this time,

when he opened his mouth,

nothing came out.  He tried it

again, his mouth gaping open

and shut like koi in a pond,

but nothing.  There had never

been nothing, before—folderol

and malarkey and puffery

a-plenty, but this time

it was like he had attached

a balloon to the end of the open

spigot and the latex only hung

there, limp. After the surprise

had worn off—like

when his mother told him

she was leaving his father

the bastard but still loved him

(the nine-year-old boy)

very much and he realized

he already knew all of that, maybe

before she did—people

remembered vividly seeing him

just stand up and button all

but the bottom button

of his cardigan and just take

his coffee outside where

a taxicab stopped for him

but was waved off, and then

he could be seen just briskly

walking the seven blocks

to the park like it was something

people just did.



by Calvin Payne-Taylor

I have measured this nation

under the tires of a car I drove alone

mile by mile

san francisco to boston

I belted it, cinched it tight

and left it behind

I have measured this nation

by the width of a texas parking lot

in which I was almost killed by two men

in hats brimmed too low to see their eyes

by the glow of an oklahoma motel from the road

I have tasted this nation

with the sharpslick tongue of an arizona straightaway

where I drove a hundred miles an hour for the first time

to nowhere at all

I have seen this nation

in the dulcet barren desert

cacophony of silent sound, exploding into barren birth

I have felt this nation in the ache of the headlights passing by

away from me all too soon

not fast enough

I know this nation

I have touched its supreme court stone and the soil that fell through my fingers

at my lightest touch

in the worn black leather of a man’s wallet

I bought for myself at sixteen

in the driver’s side of the American throne

in the space between here and gone

I have loved this nation

in the archetype of my father, failed entrepreneur

ecce homo, mashed potatoes on the table

laundry on the line

and I drive alone

the American man, with all he has left

recorded in the papers of his life

with an immutable F

but I, American man, so long to die

somewhere across the embattled frontline

of an immutable I

I drive.