Issue 1 / Poetry

Poetry by Andrew K. Peterson

Thirty Soul Mates


Today we’ll likely witness the first Norton

Poetry Lecture partially delivered by keytar.

Quiz: considering prior recipients—

(a) Eliot, (b) Hancock, (c) Cage, (d) Kentridge—

who might’ve said,

there are no wrong notes, just better choices?

My point being, recent thinking on the state


of the soul mate has been disproven: the

soul has not one, but thirty souls.


For each soul, thirty soul mates. For

each soul mate, thirty souls. For

each soul mate’s thirty souls,

et cetera.


One soul might argue, “Chameleon

is funkier than Maiden Voyage!”

Another may say the opposite.


One could better believe they’re at one

and the same port of a funky humanitarianism

where all things are essentially—equally—funky.


One might say from a doorway,

cat packed in the crook

of the arm, “My darling, but your theories

are too funky for my little flower spirit.”


One may need to learn to accept

such difference,

such is the discreet motivation to carry a canoe

across the lawn on a so called off-night:


“I’m sorry, if I confess,

I do so not out of apology for what I see,

rather as resolute rejection

of my future as a future

mirror for even the most familiar

to what is most easily passed along.”


Seeking the environment

as a cause

i s a n i l l us i o n


as improbable odds

of one soul fusing to another’s

one sleeping with another’s

neither being

the original soul the other’s begun with


confused about the words elicit and illicit.

I looked them up, they are spelled differently.

One means “evoke or draw out (a response or

fact).” The other means “forbidden by laws or

custom.” Can anything ever be patently

untrue? Somewhere someone’s home

must be equal to the sky, equal to one big yes.


When the on again off again thing

is back on again

you’re on the wrong side of

an ex-twenty-sixth soul mate

who lives two streets

over near where you wait at the

laundromat mornings,

muttering into the machine

that never drains:


“Ah, bummer. Mojo.


Missed it by one.”


Don’t confuse obstacle with tragedy.


I feel like I’m the thirtieth line in your

twenty-nine-line poem.


Doesn’t it have nothing to do

with the gender of my gender,

the gender of your gender,

gender of the gender of our genders?


Dear twenty-eighth soul mate to my unluckiest

soul, I dream a day of circumstances

made clear by the incident after light

lunch at the harbor gazebo. You turn on,


but am I wanted at sea? Oh, forever and

one day of yesterdays,


but of course


the presence of one may suggest its opposite, i.e.


“It’s time to unlearn

what I don’t know

from what I do.”


Where I imagine you not loving

my fourteenth soul mate

because her ring tone is “Another

Bad Creation,” which you scorn,

“We don’t always have to be products of our time.”


The bell is about to ring the door

back open, the phone is about to, too

Blaze up in a hardware store,

among the coffee breaks and mint ladders.


But Iesha, you know I

want you so bad, & I want

to get to know you better.


Prim duck, twelfth or twentieth soul mate,

whom I have found among the cotton fiber nannies

of this neighborhood, twenty-fourth and first,


in needless rows of needless polish of needless sports cars,

Where I’m grown but throw at nothing,

I’m but a tear duct

away from ukulele synth sainthood—

you know the ones, you love them as I do,

as I love a German on the berm in a Book of Miracles,

a stereoscope double vision of drums in the village

of Ikoko on Lake Ntomba bending into Lapland

families, awake in their summer morning

teepee hillsides beyond unnatural curiosity.


Opening a burn—a borrowed book—

you will rediscover

a dedication: Dear Kirkwood,

I love you. — Ana

written by your sixteenth soul’s ninth mate—

suspicions fatally align, fall away, warm

as a deep-sea cognac’s weekday disregard,

as for the redness of fires that leak from

the red dump trucks of your eyes.


Light Muse visited you!

Someone sent you a message!

It begins, “Yes, your conscience is correct…”

ends, “I prefer to drink myself

wildly into an early grave.”


A tell-all of your heartbreak, simple

lemon colicky stamina of the city of

Thank-yous and everyone you pass beneath.


I misread “desire state” as “disaster site,”


holographic yet innocent. I’m learning to unlearn

these rejections, thin streams dividing & inflecting


a thing very close to a bird,

alternating I want with I’d love to,


reverse, revise, confuse

twelve with twenty-one,

forget who said wrote the song

muscular shock

the moving heartbeat

obscuring sound’s

origin, forces on the body,


however calculated or notated,

measures in the rate

& pressures of



or, shattering that wakes me daily

the work at sunrise, powering projects of unseen &


human pyramid vaults

between starlings

of startling, ever starting momenta—

the will’s fuse and shatter unstoppable.


You sit at an office desk in a dream, thirtieth soul or thirtieth

soul mate,

turn kitchen ferns into fairy tales,

laugh and drink to the offers of all your days.


The answer lies unlisted, locked

behind the balance of thank-yous


in the answer





Andrew K. Peterson’s poetry publications include some deer left the yard moving day (BlazeVox, 2013), karaoke lipsync opera (White Sky eBooks, 2012), and Museum of Thrown Objects (BlazeVox, 2010). His chapbook bonjour meriwether and the rabid maps (Fact-Simile Press) was featured in an exhibition on poets’ maps at The University of Arizona’s Poetry Center in 2013. He edits summer stock, an online poetry journal, and lives in the Boston area. Selected by Rochelle Hurt.

This ends issue 1. Read it all over again.