2015 Pushcart Nominations!

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It’s that time of year! The time of sleet, flight delays, secret stuffing recipes, the Detroit Lions, Bart Simpson floats, the airing of grievances, Neil Young’s coke booger in The Last Waltz, Hanif’s essay about The Last Waltz, and Pushcart nominations! Now, you already know we’re not a normal lit mag– we don’t put out issues. We print 3-10 pieces a week, for all 52 weeks of the year. That means from hundreds of pieces published this year, we must choose only six.  Not just the best pieces, not just our favorites– but pieces that reflect the high quality, the diversity, the scrappy, dynamic character, and the emotional resonance of our little corner of the literary interwebs. It wasn’t easy, but through our patented lobbying process (“knife fights”), we were able to whittle down a rather sizable field of finalists, to a group of pieces we all agree represents DMC in its strongest, and hopefully truest light.

Without further delay, we present you Drunk In A Midnight Choir’s 2015 Pushcart Nominees:
 
 
On Joy
Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib

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I.

What I most remember about Columbus, Ohio on the Saturday night of George Zimmerman’s acquittal is the heat. Though it was only mid-summer, a late-summer’s blaze set itself on the city. The kind that sits on top of your skin, hungry and unshakeable. It was the kind of day where everyone sits inside next to an air conditioner, or sweats through an old t-shirt walking the three blocks to the store, like I did, right before a friend texted me “He’s not guilty. He’s free.”

My then-girlfriend, Laura, was back home, visiting her family in the small Ohio town where she was raised. About a month earlier, I managed to fly across the country and back in 24 hours to pick up an engagement ring without her knowing about it (a trick that involved more airport running than I will likely ever have to do again in my life). I spent most of my time on the day of Zimmerman’s acquittal inside of our tiny attic apartment, wrestling with a number of anxieties about putting the ring to its proper use (anxieties that I continued to wrestle with until I finally did the deed early in October of that year, much to the relief of family and friends). I had been invited to a game of hide and seek that night in the park down the street from my house. Some revelry after a day of oppressive heat, some praise at the feet of a cool night. After I returned from the store and processed the text about the verdict, I remember sitting under a blanket in the dark, right up against the loud and rattling window air conditioner, shivering.
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Stillness In Four Movements
Shira Erlichman
From Two Poems – Shira Erlichman

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The hospital ceiling. Neon hallway lights. My parents
buzzed in through metal doors. Catatonia. My father’s
hand. Urine in the sheets. A moth clings to the mesh
of the window. A game of backgammon. My father claims
he lets me win. When I lose I blame the pills & he laughs.
Corridors of blue-socked body-draggers. Foggy everything.
Guards that force a screaming teenager to the ground.
A stone the Art Therapist lodges in my hand & tells me to love.
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Where The Shivers Won’t Find You, Or: How St. Vincent Made it OK For Me to Be OK
Dalton Day

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The mythology of a body: a vibration of light until a shape. A fear of being bitten by the air you depend on. I depend on. More often than not I love the vibrating. I glow as a result of it. I glow as a result of most things. Even fear. Even blood. Even weather. What is my shape? I run sometimes & the ground makes the most sense. What do you call the ground? I call it a place to get to another place. I call it a tooth with no mouth. I call it a body. Am I the only one in the only world? & so it is re-written when my hands change. & so I re-write it again.

A room with two windows. One window: a mountain. At the top of that mountain is a dog’s skeleton. I have no way of knowing this, but I do. & I am comforted. Trembling is my most honest word. Tremble to say your name. Cold sweat. & the mountain crumbles completely. Dust can’t live without light. Much like me. Much like this room. Much like this window, if only this window. The dog’s fur comes back. The dog disappears & I feel a burning in my wrists.
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Sin el Fil, Lebanon
Jess Rizkallah

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1.

i asked her to tell me something about the elephants
she told me she used to live in one of their teeth
burrowed into beirut like a forgotten cavity
it’s where her mother had cancer and her dog ran into traffic
the year before she met my grandfather

i asked her about the curve of the tusk at the base
of their home, she said they stood there
huddled, three days, bricks for pillows, sirens
replacing the birds and fingers coming through
the ground for the ankles not yet twisted by the rubble

the next day, they made for america
and thirty years later, the ivory is still in the basement
cocooned by a silk curtain.
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La Malinche is My Next Door Neighbor
Jessica Helen Lopez
From Four Poems – Jessica Helen Lopez

Ruíz, Antonio. El sueño de la Malinche (1939)

for Mariah B.

La Malinche is my next door neighbor.
She sometimes snubs her half-lit cherry-tipped cigarettes in
my rose bushes, wild crimson and tangled green thorns spilling
from my yard along the border of her yard and back again.

I don’t mind. I like the swing of her hair,
her swagger, and when it snows, the way she
walks barefoot in the dusted-over ash-like whiteness

as if she approaches the lip of volcan
a deity sacrificial offering and not just checking
her afternoon mail, as mundane as the rest of us

La Malinche is my next door neighbor
and she left her husband or he left her
who cares, but we’re both glad he’s gone—
conqueror, territorial land-whore, abuser,
whiplash tongue, Eurocentric,
son-of-a-motherless
goat bastard.
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The things I thought of when the doctor told me I had cancer at 37
Ally Malinenko
From Three Poems – Ally Malinenko

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genes
definitely
I mean come on,
why even wonder about anything else
your grandmother
your mother
your father
your sister
except then
the doctor mentions
alcohol
and I think
about
all the scotch
and beer
and wine
and whiskey
that I’ve put back
and then I wonder
what about those
times I stood in
front of the microwave
impatiently waiting
for my leftovers
to reheat at work
or water
bottled water
I watched a
documentary
about bottled water
that shit isn’t regulated
so maybe
microwaved plastic
and bottled water
no genes
definitely genes
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