From The Autobiography of Jean Foos by Jessica Grim & Melanie Neilson

BOMB 134 Winter 2016
Bomb 134 cover

I scrape the snow or shovel the driveway before I go
casual flip of car on lawn spats abut fender’s sis
this sinner usta be a winner such a shame oh poetry
if I grew up in this country little by little
upstate is tough; able to resist unreal drift of mythmaking chaos

Or all at once held in place by dull topos
next to me a new face again read her with her
body or face framed kinesthetic junket hopping train outta here
against depression incandescently delivering hours of wisply presence clouds point
floats a scrim a mechanism enabled by my will to

Take rebel aim now and layer nature, living research, harmonize
just lungs to take in art world flocks ‘tween times
in light meant written room so changing is the house
born same as the child the generalized bedrock geology of NY
write zombie-slapped while outside grows older still thinking “you?”


Solvent as cure, proteins suspend in air the house surrounds
the story begins in the middle part with an honest start
who has seen the wind Flossie never knew storming through
maybe we woke up in Niagara Falls with a hangover
creature moon on the hood throwing rainbows’ slickering mists

The naive belief that it will all be so great
as if cadence or pigment could lift the unholy terror
my dear still sky high at 7 a.m. sci-fi fields of OH
fades and flattens slouching south an other west not without
pen chants, pines, for shine the dominion wide mouth special

Winter curvature greens memory, the lake, shuttered in ice
unmask diligent collaboration with co-feeling the “we” of we must think
and in thinking a life we must feel naturally whole
sad clown+mother stands out against the sky, hidden behind foliage
silence in the eye at street-level gravel norm implores

Foos Jean 01 Bomb 134

Jean Foos, Morphology 101, 2014, black and silver metallic Sharpie on postcard, 4 × 6 inches. Reprinted with permission from the book Canonball Lagoon published by Ragged Sky Press, 2014.

Activating the call, touchingly unasked, she is born in San Francisco
scalene angles map birthplace erosion—landlocked, marine, or limnologic
transcribe this undraped delight dissolve here new stow hinge mind
hasp lock as transducer pantomime against eerie sky in grays
and now this heart and crane—what is it? Our own

Woke up in Rome without my lines fearless young American
summer’s play thoughtless hand brush away gurl recalculated postcard hue
code acts to primp garden exposures all fonts off
made with words and not be anaconda patriarchy eaten alive
square off gendered stroke for shapes piled alone inked spine

Mark the text dreamspace around midnight musically into the streets
blue impala rumbles up la strada forged icon impugns
Dear Translator, painter and her poets won’t workpose bleak candy
cobblestone turbulence tips head toward home oh longing she said
reader atoms open, form boiling salted water ready for elbows


My paints tender prey hobble brush, rags, city of memes
three women glean a field they stray question abundant distance
down stairs past statues a sight line queues for parity
sunlight smear backup or delete until death ray work part
fragile solstice mix with tints to pull forward our agenda

Spry at gravest moment I slip through myself below or up
our platform our penury our palette our heads under the bus
simultaneously hack this drive and fish with stat-sucked bones
frankly tinctures of the dead betrayal of our normative exist
lame debt martyr peons arrive at dawn to work until nightfall

Or peonies, heads bent, bounded fragrance steady on the tongue
draft of dates around ankles, mysterious alley of the Moon
canvas-stretched dark plotted my path void of regional harness
autobiography is an impala, it switches between grazing and browsing
returning the them in us to the roadside cum savannah

Jessica Grim has published several books of poetry, including Vexed (/Ubu Editions), Fray (O Books), and Locale (Potes & Poets Press). She lives and works in Oberlin, OH.

Melanie Neilson’s new full-length collection, Palmyra Pieces, is out this winter from theenk Books. She lives in New York City.

Grim and Neilson cofounded and coedited Big Allis, a journal published from 1989–2000 that focused on innovative writing by women.

Fanny's Lament (More Experimental Animals) by Thalia Field
Alan Reid’s Warm Equations by Ted Dodson
218016356 12202016 Alan Reid Warm Equations Bomb 01

The basic conceit of Warm Equations is that a book can abstract the space of conversation typically delimited in front of paintings, that the thematics of a painter’s practice, in this case Alan Reid’s, can be constellated through a chorus of related texts.

Reading a Garden by Maya Lin & Tan Lin
67 Lin 01 Body

I am collaborating with a writer, Tan Lin, to create a space/garden that can be read.

Compass Poems by Allison Parrish
BOMB Magazine Issue 154 folded open to showcase Allison Parrish's Compass poems, printed in black text on hot pink paper.

To create her compass poems, poet and programmer Allison Parrish trained a machine learning model with two parts: one spells words based on how they sound, and the other sounds out words based on how they’re spelled.

Originally published in

BOMB 134, Winter 2016

Featuring interviews with Jem Cohen, Tom Burr, Maylis de Karengal, Portia Zvavahera, SO - IL, Sarah Ruden, Michael St. John, Stephen Collier, Mayo Thompson.

Read the issue
Bomb 134 cover