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Issue 2.1

Winter 2022
Luke Image

Lucas Pingel


I began writing poems in this style when my son was very young. Because I no longer had long stretches of uninterrupted time, I started forcing myself to write in short, frenetic bursts that embraced tension and dissonance to a greater degree than I had ever previously written. While these pieces don't address fatherhood directly, the fears contained within them are certainly reflective of my fears about the earth he will inherit. 

from Happy Apocalypse Day


We absorbed every language

Through the flood painted gills on our backs

To assimilate with lost crowds nothing 

More beautiful than a beating future 

You drum wolves into remission

This is a hit song in our new country

Eventually the tears went back 

Into storage you are a sad cellar

All of your bombs have expired

A mirror is a land far away 

We draw a city over it we set

The worst parts on fire

I am wearing all of my favorite disasters

Please accept this as a bad joke I made you

Cannot hear my voice break

We are bodies hurled around a universe

Another day of shadow violence all of us
Chew our apology faces no one looking

It will only hurt until our mouths

Collapse and cover our bad haircuts

This mean engine of history

We can chip away at the icicles

And pretend they are not fingers

We can rename this a nice moment

We can scratch the grave with our teeth




When a thousand icicles grew 

From my scalp you wore

A different pose inside each one

I tore their roots spiked them

Across the blacktop those were

All of the poems I had for you

Those were all of the gasoline 

Rainbows holding my sleeve

As a fuse made me a bad dancer

If I could pull just one cloud

From my head hang it on the wall

So our children could know it

They were trying to deliver 

The message when the poetry died

No mouth could stretch so wide

The final words leapt from their skin

We hummed something familiar we
Buried our shovels deep in the world

Look at this calendar of puddles

Right next to the outlets please

Don’t take a single step further


Lucas's Book Recommendations

Kelli Russell Agodon: Dialogues With Rising Tides. 
Ross Gay: Be Holding. 
Douglas Kearney: Sho. 
Lauren Russell: Descent.

Lucas Pingel lives in the Twin Cities, where he teaches at St. Catherine University. He is the author of three chapbooks, and has work recently published or forthcoming in The Cafe Review, North Dakota Quarterly, and Notre Dame Review, among others. With Haley Lasche, he is a

co-curator of the Talking Image Connection, a reading series that seeks to build bridges between the visual arts and literary communities.

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