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Anchor 5


Caitlin M.S. Buxbaum

Safe as Houses

a frankenpo

There must be something somewhere,
something we cannot see—
a trifecta of headwinds
perpetuating the crisis.
These and other factors form a storm
that continues to sideline many.


I’m talking about dark stuff—
confusion and heartbreak,
the stuff you try to keep hidden.


It’s hard to imagine
conditions improving
anytime soon.

Suddenly, the door is kicked in, cracking the hinges.
A lightbulb goes on:
the mansion bedroom
is just a ratty apartment
with a crappy little table.

Don't be discouraged.

Flip the script and focus on

the signs, entering a new phase—

the recovery has not taken place, 

but the decline is over.

There’s no need

to look back.

Source & Method

The frankenpo is a form invented by Kenji C. Liu that pulls from multiple, often disparate sources, especially related to current events and pop culture, to create something that can "complexify meaning." 


This poem combines text from the script for Buffy’s “Enemies” (Season 3, Episode 17) and “Housing Market Predictions For 2023: When Will Home Prices Be Affordable Again?” by Robin Rothstein & Chris Jennings in Forbes, accessed online August 17, 2023.

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Caitlin M.S. Buxbaum is a writer and teacher from Wasilla, Alaska. She runs Red Sweater Press and studies poetry and screenwriting at Antioch University L.A. Read more about her and her work at

Elizabeth Porter

I Sang

Unappeasable woolen lover—
I was trying to open the day
to the world but the hard bed
grows empty.

A sycamore grows
(on Henry's side) & survives
on the land as it might or ought.
And I see his point.


I was glad and I pried
the thought. Thereafter
nothing fell & I was
strong for all the world to see.


And I sang out
in wonder.

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Source & Method


This poem is composed only of words cut and re-configured from John Berryman’s “Dream Song 1.” I used the sycamore image to root this poem in a waking moment of wonder.

Elizabeth Porter is a poet, educator, and frequent hiker in south-central Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared in Trampoline Journal, Moria Literary magazine, Dunes Review, and elsewhere. She is working toward an MFA in Poetry at Lindenwood University.

Dagne Forrest

Cento of Unbecoming and Becoming

Sometimes she's a stranger in my home because I hadn't imagined her.
A shape already inside a shape,
she took a breath

(I am not what I asked for.)
That's the hardest part,
where, some days, it hurts. Get up, get dressed,
The world asks, as it asks daily:
Suffering is alchemy, change is God
when prayer doesn’t work:      dance, fly, fire

All her wishing and wanting and needing
the knife
her steps into a new life.
my daughter would be
everything while glowing more whole.

Unbecoming Cento

Whatever it is the trees know
green, greener and paler than bluebird
unfolds      like a firefly’s flicker.     I know
everything is liable to explode. Many times
like doors, the lid ready to come undone,
I have come to wish I had done things differently --
undoing would be undone.

Yes, it’s hard to stand still, hour after hour,
when the worry of this undone song unsung so long
seeps into clover and the brown,
my finger tracing the words on the page
as precise as a bird’s breath,
leaf-vein to artery, leaf to flesh.

Here in the garden
the grasses blazing coolly electric, sun
fire upon leaf
how surprising the relief.
I      am       becoming     weather.

Source & Method

The lines in "Cento of Unbecoming and Becoming" are from: “The Daughter”, Carmen Giménez Smith; “Fishing in Winter”, Ralph Burns; “Mother Mary Comes to Be”, Katie Manning; “Fast”, Jorie Graham; “I wanted to write you a love poem”, Nick Twemlow; “Your Shadow Invents You Every Time Light Fails to Pass Through You”, Michael Wasson; “Counting, This New Year’s Morning, What Powers Yet Remain To Me”, Jane Hirshfield; “Peony”, Marilyn Chin; “a note on the body”, Danez Smith; “I Wish I Want I Need”, Gail Mazur; “Song, by the same”, Stacy Doris; “For a Daughter Who Leaves”, Janice Mirikitani; “Looking Forth”, Mary Kinzie; “Did You See the Sky”, Rachel Jamison Webster.

The lines in "Unbecoming Cento" are from: “Learning From Trees”, Grace Butcher; “Three Trees”, Mary Jo Bang; "Inside Yayoi Kusama’s 'You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies'", Laura Villareal; “Sleeping Trees”, Fady Joudah; “What Was Given”, Richard Foerster; “The Blue Door”, Ann Lauterbach; “Unday”, Fanny Howe; “Becoming a Redwood”, Dana Gioia; “Undone Song at Neap Tide”, Kathryn Starbuck; “The Breathing Field”, Wyatt Townley; “The Path”, Emily Fragos; “Flux”, Afaa Michael Weaver; “These Green-Going-to-Yellow”, Marvin Bell; “Espaliered Pear Trees”, Linda Pastan; “Landscape After Charles Burchfield”, Susan Kelly DeWitt; “Sea Poppies”, H.D.; “winter solstice”, R. Erica Doyle; “Becoming Weather, 21”, Chris Martin.

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Dagne Forrest is a Canadian poet and essayist whose work has appeared in journals in Canada, the US, and the UK. In 2023 she won first prize in the Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest. She belongs to Painted Bride Quarterly's editorial and podcast teams.

Amy Marques

Everything Delicate




Source & Method

The words for the poems in this collection were sourced from my personal correspondence. The handwritten words are from old letters and the typed words are torn from loose pages of an old poetry book sent by a friend. Most of the words are from the book Immortal Poems of the English Language, 1983 edition, pages around 610-620.

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Amy Marques has been known to call books friends and is on a first name basis with many fictional characters. She has been nominated for multiple awards and has visual art, poetry, and prose published in journals such as Streetcake MagazineSouth Florida Poetry JournalMoonPark ReviewBending GenresGhost ParachuteChicago Quarterly Review, and Gone Lawn. More at

MJ Mello

Source & Method

First image is a collage with source material books, Audubon and Smithsonian magazines. Postcards: I collage old postcards and find poems in erasure and cut-up text from magazines. 

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MJ Mello, a New England writer and collagist, has poems published in Heron’s Nest, Modern Haiku, and Snapshot Press among others.

Richard L. Matta

Resilience Cento

Once a break emerges, it will become a chasm.
Tragedies happen, people get hurt.
The psychiatrist telling you that one day you would see.

For all I know, maybe everyone is screaming.
Some days I do this again and again,
being turned into a shambles too large to deal with.

And a vibration starts up again vague, and insistent
like an inner wind or one-thousand volt alternating current.
It is the law of my voice I shall investigate

like an old tracker and followed the tracks deep into myself.
Come out into the open, into a clearing;
I will listen to what you say.

When he spoke to me there were chills all over my body.
What I thought was an end turned out to be a middle.
And I sing amid despair and isolation.

Respectfully, joy is always waiting.
And the world will keep flooding in.
Then I tiptoe away.

All the Yesterdays (A Cento)

In perpetual uncertainty
all day I think about what to do with the day.

A body is a conundrum of betrayals.
What do we do when we hate our bodies?

From the imagination finding
as you might have expected

I arrive and open the door of his prison;
characters came and went, costumes changed.

I could be a statue or a pine tree—
here were only the sounds of pigeons and sparrows.

And a hall of mirrors. Everything looks taller and thinner.
When I look at myself, I see a stranger.

Now I carry those days in a tiny box.
How quickly we’re skimming through time.

Explanation at the Estuary: A Cento

You tell me you are not to blame for the way things are.
Yet why not say what happened?

Drink what the rivers bring. Things die.
To whoever is not listening to the sea,

time to understand the meaning.
I tell you; something went wrong there a while back

and somewhere in the white space
of cleanliness, the democracy of truth,

a recognition that we have reached
the place where nothing hopeful goes.

Rereading what I have just written, I now believe
we trekked and picked until the cans were full.

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Source & Method

I read many poems from many sources, Poetry Foundation being one of them. I had some favorite lines in many of them and wrote these down. In time, I could see lines naturally following others forming a theme. It's an enjoyable discovery.

Resilience Cento: “Boundary Issues” by John Ashbery; “The Way It Is” by William Stafford; “Surface Tension” by Marti Irving; “Don’t Tell Anyone” by Tony Hoagland; “Remembering” by William Stafford; “Amid Mounting Evidence” by John Ashbery; “The Poet’s Obligation” by Pablo Neruda; “Essential Tremor” by Donald Platt; “Homosexuality” by Frank O’Hara; “Who Understands Me But Me” by Jimmy Santiago Baca; “And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name” by John Ashbery; “Ask Me” by William Stafford; “Divine Hours” by Kwame Opoku-Duku; “A Color of the Sky” by Tony Hoagland; “A Blessing in Disguise” by John Ashbery;“That One Time I Stayed Up All Night Making Excuses to Talk to Danger” by Tarfia Faizullah; “Worm” by Tracy Fuad; “Ticking and Tocking” by Ron Padgett.

All the Yesterdays: “We Who Are Your Closest Friends,” Phillip Lopate; “Present Moment,” Charif Shanahan; “After the Biopsy,” Kwame Davis; “Mirror, Mirror,” Tom Healy; “Everything that Acts is Actual,” Denise Levertov; “The New You,” David Orr; “Poet’s Obligation," Pablo Neruda; “Afterward,” Louise Gluck; “The Other Love,”Henri Cole; “Divine Hours,” Kwame Opoku-Duku; “Anxiety is a Mother,” Melanie Branton; “Three Sonnets,” Alvardo de Campos translated by M.J. Costa and P. Ferrari; “Remembering,” William Stafford; “Winter Vacations,” Margaret Atwood.


Explanation at the Estuary“A Handful of Earth, That Is All I Am,” Jimmy Santiago Baca; “Epilogue,” Robert Lowell; “Consolations,” William Stafford; “The Poet’s Obligation,” Pablo Neruda; “Silver Water Tower,” Jimmy Santiago Baca; “Crossroads in the Past,” John Ashbery; “Horns,” Kwame Dawes; “Ode to the Clothesline,” Kwame Dawes; “There Is No Word,” Tony Hoagland; “The New You,” David Orr; “Afterward,” Louse Gluck; “Blackberry Picking,” Seamus Heaney.

Richard L. Matta lives in San Diego, California with his golden-doodle dog. Some of his work is in New Verse News, San Pedro River Review, Dewdrop, and Healing Muse.

Jeffrey G. Moss

228 Stops

For Suna Karaby

“Please let me be
patient,” she said.

          The road ahead – the snow capped peaks

“Let me be
generous and kind.”

          The rearview mirror – the high rises of the city

Her father said
humanity was like a single
body of water.
This was her ocean.

She loved
her passengers built
relationships with her regulars:
          Ethiopian women
          who cleaned offices,
          elementary school children
          who wrote her thank you notes,
          Honduran day labors
          who taught her Spanish,
          medical students
          who asked about her heart ailment.

But then the pandemic …

The job was
to drive and keep driving
no matter what
else was happening.

Deep indentations
of her fingers
on the wheel.

She counted
her breaths, burned
sage incense, drank
herbal tea …

Along Colfax: Billings Street … Havana … Dayton … Broadway…

228 stops.

She’d been spit on, hit
with a toolbox, threatened
with a knife, chased
into a restroom.

Her windshield


One day a 57-year-old woman jumped
in front and pushed
her way aboard
pacing and cursing.


A man twice her size
punched her, stomped
hard on her chest, flung
her off the bus to die
on the sidewalk.


She (Suna) called and said,
“I used to be an extrovert,
but now I’m exhausted
by people.”

Said, “This job now
is like being
a human stress ball.”

Said she was done driving
for the day–
that was 11 hours and 203 stops ago-
stood up…
and walked
off the bus

The snow-capped peaks: the high-rises of the city
counted her breaths.

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Source & Method

Saslow, Eli, "Anger and Heartbreak on Bus No. 15," The Washington Post, 6/6/22.

Jeffrey G. Moss spent 32 years guiding 13- and 14-year-olds in crafting worlds and found poems. His creative nonfiction has appeared in Cagibi, Hunger Mountain, Under the Gum Tree, Hippocampus, and elsewhere. This is his first published found poem. Find him on IG @jeffgm.

Danielle McMahon

Gatsby 451

he flicked the igniter & the fiery smile 
gripped something in 

his fists & his eyes 
all orange flame 
spitting, venomous
& his hands were the hands 
of what came next :


things blackened & changed
this blue lawn & his dream, 
the dark fields he did not know

// it was a pleasure to burn
in that enchanted moment, to see 
kerosene upon the world

// it was a special pleasure :
the wind turned dark with burning, 
with green light & the sprawled, moving glow


of the boats against the current, 
of all the symphonies blazing & burning


& the blood pounded his head in 
a gorging fire that burned red 
& yellow & black,


the tatters & charcoal ruins 
ceaselessly flapping, pigeon-winged & 

the houses began to melt away

in sparkling whirls & 


it was a pleasure //

The Beach ( The Place

big changes take me there
back to the black 
womb & the death-wish—

a quiet, secret Place where 
soul-shivers can abate (I don't mind that




along the shore, along 
the edge, there are lights
from the dark 


a smile 
of mystery on my Mary’s lips)


& a tide of children playing at statues
& dying of laughter
& myself asleep 


lowered in-
to that secret cave, 
out of the wind, to wonder( 


whether all men have a
Place, or need a Place, or want one 
and have none?)


& all those good people, they 
have to go somewhere

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Source & Method


“Gatsby 451” is a cut-and-paste mash-up using the first page of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 (1953) and the last page of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925).


“The Beach ( The Place” is a cut-and-paste poem using pages 44-45 of John Steinbeck’s The Winter of Our Discontent (25th Printing, Penguin, 1961).

Danielle McMahon is a mom of two and occasional poet. Her work has appeared in journals such as Rogue Agent, Storm Cellar, and F Word.

Sonja Boon

salt the page

salt the page
the rain
the world –

eat memories of bone.

this blood, a waiting
this blood, a gaze
this blood, strange ink

wound disobedient memories
the objects
the story –

stitch the ocean strange.

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Source & Method


The poem is crafted from words in the titles of books on my bookshelf (fiction, non-fiction, poetry). Stitched Memories by Tilly Rosem, Disobedient Objects edited by Catherine Flood and Gavin Grindon, Knitting for Good: Creating Change, Stitch by Stitch by Betsy Greer, A Grandmother Begins the Story by Michelle Porter, Waiting for the Rain by Lamees Al Ethari, This Wound is a World by Billy-Ray Belcourt, page as bone – ink as blood by Jónína Kirton, and Eat Salt | Gaze at the Ocean by Junie Désil.

Sonja Boon is a writer, researcher, teacher, and flutist currently living in Kjipuktuk (Halifax), Canada. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, including Riddle Fence, Geist, ROOM, and The Ethnic Aisle, as well as in anthologies. Her memoir, What the Oceans Remember: Searching for Belonging and Home, appeared in 2019.

Karen Greenbaum-Maya


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Karen Greenbaum-Maya is a retired psychologist, former German major and reviewer of restaurants, and, two-time Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee. Poems about her late husband, The Beautiful Leaves, was published in 2023 by Bamboo Dart Press.

Unlost #32: The world mostly gone

Unlost is edited by Dale Wisely, Ken Chau, Howie Good, and Tom Fugalli. Roo Black is founding editor emeritus. Our staff podiatrist/epistemologist is the Reverend Captain Burgund Hootie, Ph.D. Our thanks to the contributors to this issue and all who submitted their work. 

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