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Aimee Mackovic


In each issue, the editors choose a writer they would like to bring
to the readers' attention.

In this issue, poet Aimee Mackovic is highlighted.

Aimee Mackovic’s poems map out the strange territories of relationships. “…my heart / simply craves a good splat…” she writes.  And does so in a singular and humorous tone that often arrives on the other side of a tight-rope: “Seems I like the yet better than / the doing, or the after.” When addressing a city, New York City in this case, Mackovic balances the humorous and the serious as she makes her way to poem’s fierce end: “…New York, I don’t miss how you stained / me with your ink. How can blood be missed by the vein?” Tight-rope walking, let’s watch Mackovic’s poems as they make it to the other side.  

Confessions of a Love Junky

Happy Diary

Self-Portrait, circa the late '80s

Principles of the Universe

Picture of Tulip in Snow

What I Like and Don't Like

What I Wanted to Say

Nostalgia: NYC

Bolt of Lightning


Confessions of a Love Junky

           My heart is a whorish beast
roaming dark.

Slick thief, it lives to flex
                                     for the spark

of engagement, loves to curl
itself around smooth

                          words, wanton eyes,

the deliciously barbed pangs
             of soured memories
that liquidate and roll unchecked

down the scoffing cheek. Hoarder
                        of compliments, my heart
                                      simply craves a good splat,

so bullheaded in the insistence
             of riding the edge. An over-ripe

             pomegranate, split open, so
frivolous with the scattering,

the offering
of its treasured seeds.

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Happy Diary

my nephew’s peanut butter-covered fingers, his awkward high
five that misses my hand but not my heart. * apple pie

and my tongue and ice cream mixed just right *
the warm, drizzled swatch of sunlight

draped lightly over my sleeping dog’s stomach and thighs *
letting the ocean air and water cleanse me, fry and dry

my hair to a delicious crisp * a fight
that binds * Christmas lights puncturing a twilight

so quietly everything shatters * a summer night
overflowing with heat and moon * a neatly tied bow ties,

one undone by passion * wind chimes * the white
and absolute black of a poem on a page * the wink of eye

that takes all my chinks of broken pieces inside
me and puts them together again quick, on the fly

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Self-Portrait, circa the late '80s

defiler of red converse high-top sneakers
            with ancient adolescent hieroglyphics; paint pen

graffiti artist; mailer of now obsolete post cards and letters;
            food court connoisseur; beneficiary of summer vacations

that spanned lifetimes; brazen spinner of empty bottles
            and cinnamon Binaca aficionado; puddle dancer;

roller-skating expert and frequenter of malls, school dances
            that were our universe; star and moon hungry;

human turnstile of crushes and friendships; passer of notes
            written in pink ink; dotter of the letter i with hearts;

possessor of a 5 speed I rode helmet-free; soldier in the war
            of uniqueness versus the latest fad; girl band guru;

pounder of typewriter keys that spelled out dreams that stained
            and smudged worse than ink; smuggler of contraband

cassette tapes; lyric memorizer and addict; temporary inhabitant
            of the kingdom of clean slates and do-overs.

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Principles of the Universe

Fact: the principles of Biology state a drop
of blood, such as the ones you left
on the road, contain the all of us.

Biochemistry teaches us alcohol mixed
with a thumping base beat mixed with sweat
equals twilight plus flesh, like the chunks

of flesh the gravel caught yards away
from the mangled bike. Fact: Thermodynamics
is the principle that allows my car to overtake

the big rigs on the highway, quick to break
in your driveway. Fact: Chemistry demands
two chemicals that touch must not

stay the same. Fact: you wanted me to stay.
Attraction and Reciprocation: the taking off
of my shoes to do so. These are the principles.

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Picture of Tulip in Snow

    ~for Beth

Fuck, you say, I’ll just donate my body
     to science. 300,000 dollar spine and all.
          I try some stupid words

that cover you like flimsy cheesecloth.
     New Hampshire. March. Outside, a budding tulip
          is daring the winter to take it down.

Blood red petals smearing the surrounding snow
     in fury, in bravery, in stunning defiance.
          The kind of act that prompts

a picture, a picture that will remain
     after the roots have been choked dry,
          the pedals have given up,

a picture I imagine framed, like any great moment,
     on your nightstand, next to
          the mess of medicine bottles

that tether your tender flesh, a picture that has
     the blazing audacity to outlast

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What I Like and Don't Like

I like being appropriate
but not all of the time.
                              ~Philip Schultz

I love the divine possibility masked in a tube
of nude lip gloss, the high of coating my lips

before a date but not using lip liner. Never
liked having to stay within any line. I like

the music of an autumn night storm, turning off
the lights, then tilting the blinds just so,

so that I can watch the hard splish-splash
of the fat raindrops on the concrete, little martyrs

illuminated by street lights as they fall. I like
to see without looking directly. l admire the harsh

bite of a truth that frees, though salving my wounds
I do not. This is why I do not eat ice cream

after a breakup. I like to throw myself
all gawk and raw edges, into the tiniest smidge

of love, just to see if I will fit, see if I can stretch
it out of shape. I usually don't fit -- that I don't like.

I thrill at a haberdashery, like running amok in things
yet to be built -- the fabrics, the zippers, the pins,

the paper patterns. Seems I like the yet better than
the doing, or the after. I no longer like to sew

by machine or by hand. I like a good, thick milkshake
in summertime, one with lumps that ruin

the straw. I would like to be that straw. What's not to like
in being sacrificed to such sweet and naïve forces?

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What I Wanted to Say

You: {eyes dagger blue, swallow
me} so, what's your story? Me: {bones

howl, volcano heart} words, words
strike us like invisible lightning, hot

charge gone, and never gone.

my compass, my mercurial lens.
you are my story, my every line

smudged ugly with ink I scrawl
on thirsty, sacrificed paper.

you have ruined every star fire
that does not
taste of our lips grasping, does

not reek of our reckless
wanton limbs always, does not
rip me thoroughly

with your lush dynamite whispers.

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Nostalgia: NYC

No, I don't ache for New York City at all,
ambition and discipline thick in air gut

punching you daily. I don’t miss the shrill calls
of the sirens at night, how the sunset would strut

in, rupture itself upon the skyscrapers, light up
the windows, in the fire and ice. No, I don’t miss

hanging out on my fire escape balcony, Dixie cup
full of cheap wine, talking with best friends, blissed

by nothing and everything, the anxious GW Bridge
chiming in, all flutter and surge, I don’t miss nights

lost to the dive bars of the Village, flitting like a midge
in skin sewn from a drowsy underground fighting

to extinguish itself. New York, I don’t miss how you stained
me with your ink. How can blood be missed by the vein?

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Bolt of Lightning

             ~for John Z., dating again

              She drinks Johnnie Walker Black neat,
and is from New Jersey
                           for god’s sake, you write, we met

in our loss of spouse support group.

              They say the odds of getting struck
by lightning are one I three thousand,

                           and you got struck
twice in a lifetime.

               In my century,
one grapples to find and hold on to love

                as a child thinks
it can hold on to a fist full of sand, watching
the sand slip though naïve fingers,

                leaving a rough grain or two,
the child looking on, wondering

why the sand won’t stay.

Your giddiness is like a plague. She and I
                  have been struck.

                              Can’t stand to be apart, you write.

                  Like the way the ocean can’t stand
to be away from the shore,

the way a bolt of lightning
can’t stand to be so close
to the ground and not


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            ~”I became a criminal when I fell in love.” Louise Gluck

I like wrapping your name around my tongue,
taking it everywhere with me

against your will.        I soak up your touch
like a droughted plain devours

the unsuspecting rain so painfully
it feels divine.             Once you were sleeping—

eyelids dream-heavy, lips taut and plump—
my corneas stole you to the back of my brain,
locked you up,            no no no you will never
be let out of that sweet prison.
You made

a criminal of me. Your love I wear

like a poised noose, like a needle plunders
a vein, like a pistol kissing temple, life

sentence from which I desire no chance
of parole.

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Aimee Mackovic earned her BA from Wake Forest University and her MFA from Spalding University. Her work has appeared in Elephant Journal, Main Street Rag, Blood Lotus, and The Cresset, among others. She has poems in two anthologies: Bigger Than They Appear (Accents Press) and di-verse-city (Austin International Poetry Festival). Her chapbook, A Sentenced Woman, was published by Finishing Line Press. She lives in Austin, TX with her three-legged rescue chihuahua.

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