crag, spike, sand-skin,
day goes by and the root in your side,
deeper than skin, grows thorns from below.
as a god intended,
aching sides of smooth skin
untethered, unburst, unseen.
no eyes see black,
no ears hear the sand, no hands feel the thorns,
no minds feel the roots, embedded,
in the bowel of wrongdoing, sketching doors,
doors to smooth sun-skin.
and pull sand-skin smooth and sunny,
By Victoria Hummer
Open Love Letter to Marijuana
I come home. I leave. I return. I leave. I come home. I travel. I am still. I travel. I come home. I return. I travel to somewhere new. I travel to somewhere I’ve been before. This time, in a new way. I fly to the UK. I fly with my family. My parents, my sister. I fly to Spain. We travel to Portugal. We return. I come home. I leave. I travel again. Alone. I sip red wine above the clouds. Or among them. I come home.
Marijuana: like the sun, like eyes, like a soul, a plant with a soul, a plant that gives us soul, eyes, skills and troubles, remembrances, also forgetfulness or replaced focus, aperture, widener, like the sun’s eyes, like the soul’s eyes shinning, glowing.
The intimacy. Making love to a plant. Intercourse with the mouth. Sleeves slowly becoming arms and soft experience. Light.
On the format of Dale
I’ve been thinking a lot about Dale. Without an editor, we are allowed many creative opportunities. I think editors are great and often very appropriate, perhaps even necessary (I’ve done some editing and it can be as rewarding for the editor as it is for the contributor), but it’s fun to write and create completely unencumbered. I think for some of us, this freedom breeds caution and hesitancy—it is stressful to invent without limitation. But for me, it’s an opportunity to exercise my mysticism. I love academia. I know some of us do not and have much to say against it, but I thrive in institution and adore structure. This being said, I do find that constant scrutiny of self and attention to the diction of my actions can be exhausting. I realize this is why whenever I paint it’s typically quite far from realism; when I write it’s often absurd. Having our space, our Dale, our quiet forest of our own weird, lets me (us) breath a different air. Writing becomes an act of faith (what is revision?), I reach out and embarrass my self and learn from it. One word that comes up a lot, at least in my work, is ‘naked’. It’s so amusing to me how much this offends people—not the actual word, but the act of using the word, the frequency. Doesn’t he know, nudity is for the bedroom and we’re not supposed to write about it? What if an employer sees? Who does he think he is? He’s not living in Berkley, it’s not the sixties, wake up already. They don’t realize I have these thoughts too. We are all so exposed on the Dale (if we chose to be, which we do). We are all becoming artists and inviting others, literally anyone, to watch. Perhaps this makes our readers uncomfortable. They cringe when we trip over ourselves and wonder what’s possessed us to be so frivolous and strange. I remember someone asking me and Jeune why all of our writing is about sex. Why not? Isn’t sex our humanity? Isn’t love incredible and complex? We’re learning about it; that’s why. We’re children and we’re being playful. I think that embarrasses people as well—naivety and curiosity. Perhaps the actual product of the Dale is not the words and the poems, it’s the environment: this luminous mass of intoxicated youth strumbling through the internet; clumsy and delighted. I am delighted. I often wonder about what we’re doing here. How are we spending our time? Are we making a meaningful contribution? Yes.
By Matt Leece
Three separate voices, catapult of sound, retarded growth of monotony and grey time, this converts this to that and that becomes something quite toxic, simplicity produces no heat, only music which sometimes sounds nice.
By Matt Leece
The skirt as a wearable pastoral.
It’s not one thing, it’s five simultaneous things.
Many, many poems in two years.
By Matt Leece
Leavers, let her lay back and
toss cups of water and tomato sauce into the air.
Let her attitude show strange patterns,
strange colours and sounds. Leavers,
collapsed on the sand, then known to
the world. It’s not the words, it’s the ideas.
Leavers, take and put away. Flying over
the Ukraine and dropping doves. White and
plastic. What does it mean?
They all hit the ground and confuse the protesters.
Confusion, leavers, let her lay back and
be this or that. It’s not the letters, it’s
the numbers, it’s the attitude. A wealthy
black woman bathing alone with all of her
clothes still on. Greasy hair, black, dark
skin. Strange colours making patterns in
the water. Let her imagine poems, alone,
reciting them to herself until they stick.
Repetition, leavers, zen, wrote on the
water, oil, fat, the caloric mean of a text,
virtue and no concern for what others think.
By M. Leece
Love Poem for Tim
Your music is your beard,
Like a tree, fractalled and jutting;
Toes squiggle and lips drink.
Poems, wrote, clouds,
wrote, box, yellow paint
like a peach.
By Matt Leece
A Loss of Pride
When I think of you
(when i think of us)
We were lions
(we were a pact)
Eating raw meat
(our blood dripping roars)
I think of how we grew
(oh how we grew)
(how easily we could glide)
Until we were lost
(we were lost children)
And we were gone
By Elaine Rasnake
Orcacle Cyphoming Dystopess
Strange colours and odes to Dr. Larina Kase, who saved my life.
One way to view
distresses is to simply view them—
or in other words,
cut through the non-realities,
dead-ends, and illusions and
open your throat to sing.
Chipped away, these contextual buffers
do little, starve, and dissolve into the soil.
One other way to view
distresses is to
consider their rote, their effect, their usefulness—(we
don’t really understand that word).
consider this second method the
dominant, more effective, most rational method—(another word
often misplaced and abused).
Citing reason and all of the holy conclusions
drawn and labeled as empirically persuasive we
open our throats to sing when
consider this the more
By M. Leece
Three Ramsey and Two Not Ramsey
What does living
mean to those living?
Stainless steel spoons
dropped from a plane to
feed the poor.
as the name of a
Develop the ideas—
keep developing the ideas—
they haven’t been fully developed—
don’t stop developing the ideas—
develop the ideas—
have you tried alternate spellings?—
Keep working don’t—
The snow all across town
paints the red cars (especially)
as bright commodores;
I get stoned.
By M. Leece
other lives behaving
strangely in old houses
babies unfamiliar black
and young crying
they smile when you say hello
then continue crying.
It’s been thirty
months thirty new
containers of dreams
and other lives actually
with old friends
white and young
their crying is quieter
and more unsure.
Joy as form
the strange form of joy
the great woman
ready for change
kept at a distance
By M. Leece
Late Response to Maggie’s Mother
About the night we all went camping. I left the circle before it was my turn to answer.
I am a deeply passionate, emotional person. I am also a very timid, shy person, and despite what some people think I am in fact extremely self aware, and indeed already “awake”.
This combination can cause problems. Someone may get to know me as a quiet, reserved person who doesn’t have much to say, and as I grow more comfortable with that individual I become more open, more talkative, and it becomes apparent that I actually have a lot to say.
When a topic comes up in conversation that I have a strong emotional connection to, I become excited and immediately try to share with those around me the significance of this issue: this is beautiful to me because of X and I want you to understand X so that it can be as beautiful to you as it is to me. This is, I think, how my mind tries to connect with people.
So here is my answer:
Don’t mistake my passion and confusion and excitement for something perhaps much worse.
By Matt Leece
Slacklining in the Woodland Trail branch of Fischer’s Park, Lansdale, PA. Shot by Tim Leslie.
Banjo Improvisation, M. Leece
There is an amusement park reserved exclusively for lovers,
known to few, kept in whispers of backseats and word of mouth.
I found out about through a friend, who knew a friend.
I thought of you, instantly.
We’d been talking a lot and I thought, maybe,
we had this thing going on and I couldn’t let the opportunity pass;
it was just too perfect and well, you are too.
I asked you to go with me while we were at a coffeeshop.
I was nervous my words wouldn’t work write and I’d be left the fool.
But to my surprise, you agreed.
I nearly spilled my coffee during my victory dance.
I must’ve looked much like the fool I feared.
You just smiled and laughed, and I couldn’t help but join you.
I remember when you looked at me over the coffee’s steam,
hand slightly outstretched so I took it and smiled,
(I won’t lie, my heart was in my ears.)
then we left on our grand adventure.
We walked towards the park, hand-in-hand, talking, laughing,
content with watching the ebb and flow of the town’s traffic
move steadily on their path as we walked one our very own.
We arrived just before sundown as the lights were blinking on
one by one, filling the fairgrounds with blinking lights.
Fun carnival music wafting over the breeze,
mingled with the familiar scents of homemade pretzels and sweets.
I spied, from across the crowd, games of chance and skill,
so I led you over, thinking I could impress you with a new stuffed animal.
You know, something soft, cuddly and cute you could keep.
It may have taken a few games and a partially dislocated shoulder;
but I won you that teddy bear. And if I may reveal a secret,
I’ve never been prouder of any victory in my entire life.
As we made our way along the midway, happily sharing stories,
it was impossible to not get lost in the lights, sounds and movements
of the many games and attractions as far as the eye could all .
We rode the Tilt-a Whirl, spinning madly, twisting this way and that,
nearly avoiding oblivion at every turn; we laughed as we held each other.
Couples filling the seats were pressed together: some screaming,
some shouting laughter, some with eyes shut tightly while lost in the moment.
We then boarded the large pirate ship pretending to be pirates as we playfully told the other to walk planks and have at thee, before the gentle swaying back and forth,
swinging higher and higher, gaining speed and altitude,
then the moment of weightlessness, suspended in midair we locked eyes.
We were the thrillseekers with their hands raised in the aether,
waiting for the cool wave of adrenaline to break over us as the ship fell back to earth.
Our legs were jiggling lumps of jelly attatched to our hips
so we used it as an excuse to walk a little bit closer to each other
arm in arm, secretly snuggling, growing bold through comfort.
We walked along the path, admiring the wares for sale:
odd trinkets and baubles, exotic designs covering fabrics of all nature,
food of all kind; we shared some cotton candy and a caramel apple.
We pointed out our favorite constellations, visible overhead,
before our eyes returned to the park and its various patrons walking around us.
We passed the Hall of Mirrors, distorting shapes into funny charicatures
of everyday life, tricking lovers into the right wrong turns;
we discussed going inside, but then something caught your eye
and you darted off but not before taking my hand.
It didn’t take me long to figure it out, where we were running,
for in bright, pink letters scrawled in eloquent calligraphy, a sign read
Tunnel of Love
and I hadn’t thought my smile could get wider; I was wrong, of course.
We waited in line, holding our tickets and our breath
as we stood patiently, all right, not quite so patiently,
until a small boat, made for two, floated along towards us.
We soflty laughed as we settled in and the ride began it’s journey.
As soon as we were in the dark we nuzzled closer together,
holding you in my arms made me feel as if I were king of everything,
and nothing, and all that lay between the two, because it was you.
The stars peaked at us from over the large brick walls,
painted pink and red, decorated with hearts and something else, maybe Cupid.
I can’t really remember; I was lost in your arms, the scent of your hair,
the sound of your voice, and the eternity I found in your eyes.
The ride was over far too soon, as all the good ones are,
but we smiled and we laughed as walked further down the Midway,
glad to have experienced the moment together.
As we walked along, the grand monolith, the jewel of the park,
came into view, massive beams of steel composing it’s collosal frame
slowly, slowly lifting lovers high above the world, holding them in the sky.
It took us a while to get to the top, but the view of the park was well worth it.
From our lofty perch in the clouds, we could see the entierty of the park:
the people passing beneath like ants, the lights and the attractions;
we could even see some of the town that surrounded the park,
lit residential neighborhoods and quiet streets with no traffic, not this late.
The wheel slowly turned and we descended, until our feet were firlmy grounded.
I helped you out of the basket and a voice over the PA system
told us the park would be closing momentarily, so we started towards the exit.
We spent the walk in silence, holding hands but keeping our smiles on our faces
and our words locked tightly behind our lips, and at times we laughed for no reason.
As I walked you home, my head was still buzzing from the electric atmosphere;
spinning slightly from the rush of adrenaline and endorphins and I knew
that it was either now or never, and never was never an option.
So I worked up the courage then waited, and when we reached your front door,
before we said good night to each other and before talks of a second date;
we shared a kiss.