Virginia Konchan

Dead Metaphor

Fiction can sustain
the hypotactic,
composite phrase,
but I am a poem,
Lord, flyaway
cowlick on the
forehead of
man, singing
Stille, mein wille!
Es kommen die
Stunden, Daß wir
beim Herrn sind ohn’
Wechsel der Zeit . . .
I rise, octopi ink
streaming from
hands, to write you
a letter thanking you
for possessing,
then releasing me,
fish gutted,
to the land.

Dolores Haze Buys an Antique Wurlitzer Jukebox from EBay

The gripper arm claws
Le Merle Noir, Sigur Ros,
The Thievery Corporation,
Nightmares on Wax, and
Kate Maki. I twirl, after
the delivery men depart, before
the control panel, variegated
voices making rococo love
to the statistician in me.
Yielding to Brahms’
Liebeslieder waltz,
cochlea tubing of
my inner ear melding
with the neon console
of capital purchase:
coda of ecstasy.

Mary Shelley

You are the furthest thing
from a pre-Raphaelite painting
I know. Your middle man
a monster, you wake at midnight,
candles ablaze, remembering
the last line you wrote, then
the line that came before.
Your heathen love a creature
standing eight feet tall:
jaundiced skin, steel
piping through his neck.
You spent your life beside
rivers with impossible names—
Thames, Serpentine.
You invented the inventor.
You escaped debtor’s prison.
Suicide is not an option anymore.


Virginia Konchan’s poems have appeared in Best New Poets, The Believer, The New Yorker, and The New Republic, her criticism in Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor, Quarterly Conversation, Barzakh Magazine, and Boston Review, and her fiction in StoryQuarterly and Joyland, among other places. Co-founder of Matter, a journal of poetry and political commentary, Virginia is pursuing her PhD in the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Charlie Clark