tintin in tibet

by Jamie Weil | Poetry | Fall 2020

Nell Beck, four faces

now only, i 

am listening to “tintin in tibet.”
it’s autumn, and cooler than it was,
and phil elverum says, “you don’t exist / 
i sing to you, though.” 

he’s singing this to his wife, geneviève, 
who passed a few years ago,
just after their daughter was born.

phil’s songs are great missives
often written to his wife, or to the ether, 
or helios, or raven’s feathers;
he’ll skirt around the point,
but never quite arrive at it,
such that his ideas leak
in a sort of scattered melancholy. 

… it’s autumn. in the song, too, i think. 

now only, you 

are probably not thinking of me 
and certainly not singing
to me, or to anyone else.
maybe to yourself. 

the air is drier, and i
keep sneezing into my mask. 
can i write that so nonchalantly?

this is a moment i think we’ll remember,
which is a small devastation
like when i touch the place
where you kissed my neck, not intending to cry, 
or when i realize i’ll never 
quite discern between certain blues. 
“tintin in tibet” plays on loop, 

and now i’m aware it isn’t autumn after all.  

now only, we 

should have known; the lawns are free 
of leaves, and the date is apparent
to anyone with a fair grasp of things.
i sit on my stoop and share a look

with a black bird in our maple tree. phil sings, 
“standing in the front yard like an open 
wound / repeating ‘i love you,’ to who?”

and i get the sudden sense
that he’s somehow read my psyche,
or at least my poems, and then
i feel stupid for associating my loss with his. 

and then i just feel sorrow. 

behind me, the sun sets
in blankets of glare, falling
from a distant windowpane.
i don’t notice the sky change color;
blue, to blue, to blue.
can you live in the moment
when the moment is just begging 

to be passed through?
like this weather,
like each small devastation 
breaking across my neck; 
like each aching moment of 
“tintin in tibet,” and yet
i listen. 

i listen. 


… according to john

by Jamie Weil | Poetry | Fall 2020

Lucy Kaminsky, Time is not a clock

i don’t believe in divinity.
this much you should know, not just
because you always ​know,
but because i often laugh
about sunday school
and how quick the gospels
became cyclical and dull.

                if you will forgive my hypocrisy,
i had a moment today
when i did believe
in something somewhat otherworldly.

it was late afternoon, and your hands were shaking
from the little rest you allow;
                from mixed blessings and turns of silence.

in concern i reached across the table
to hold your shaking hand in mine, and,
as i did, a light—from your screen
                or from the ceiling—caught my eye,
                                and then caught yours,
                                                and i fell in.

                what i am saying is,
i’ve been here before,
i’ve had my fits of faith,
but never so well-phrased,
so evangelical:

                and it will fade
                ever impermanent,
                                and it will return,
                 and i will fall again, into that pool
                 of delicate waves:
                                the lightlike water.

Extramural Affairs

Grocery Run

by Aidan Walker and Jacob Hall | Extramural Affairs | Web Exclusive

Wilder Voice’s inaugural Extramural Affairs piece, a hypertext poem.

Oberlin is a literary community unto itself. But we exist in a larger constellation of collegiate authors, editors, and publications; Wilder Voice’s new “Extramural Affairs” series is intended to cultivate this inter-institutional network of writers. In this web-exclusive department, we will be sharing an eclectic mix of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry from peers at other colleges. After all, why wait to discover your new favorite writer until after they’ve graduated?

—The Editors


Grocery Run is a hypertext poem made out of 18 original parts and eight excerpts taken from texts found around the internet. You can navigate between the different parts by clicking the links—there are hundreds of ways to read the poem.  

This piece is just one part of, a project we have been working on for two years. There are 44 hypertext pieces up so far, each experimenting with different aspects of the webpage as a visual and verbal space. They are coded using HTML, Javascript, and CSS.  

Read Grocery Run here.

—Aidan and Jacob

Aidan Walker is a senior at Reed College. Jacob Hall is a junior at William & Mary. They both hope you are doing well and thank you for taking the time to read this.  



by Gillian Ferguson | Poetry | Spring 2020

Image by Eva Sturm-Gross

I miss my home.
The familiar sound of the trains
Who lulled me to sleep.
The perennial blue eyes of my best friend
Who I almost fell in love with.

It was never that way growing up, of course.
From preschool to graduation,
Dreaming on the corner of 9th and Summer,
Sitting together after school, near the bus stop.

One night.
After we came home from college
She fell asleep
After five hours of catching up
She was beautiful
And I wanted to kiss her.
My startling love for her
Expanding beyond friendship
Tumbling into the soft light of her living room
Strung out like a juicy secret
Momentarily perennial.

But I already knew
I would never be her type.
Then the sound of a train
Made her lashes flutter open.
And I still miss her.


The Bittersweetness

by Jamie Weil | Poetry | Fall 2019

Jack Spector-Bishop, Dog Days

take that tranquility, there,  
                 that heat before the clothes are folded 
                                  that makes the cold air sweeter.

take it into your arms unfurled take me 
into your arms, that tranquility 
               that weakness upon waking, 
      not knowing where you are, 
                        but knowing

that heat before you touch the floor, before 
             you are unfolded, recklessly, 
                        in a rush to make amends with the morning. 

             into your arms again
             and again 
             that weakness upon waking from a dream 
                          of folding clothes early in winter. 

                                                    tranquility, take me 
                                                        so that i may know    the bittersweetness 
                                                                                                         in taking.


Organ Pump

by Jamie Weil | Poetry | Fall 2019

Photo by Vu M. Nguyen

a sketch of melody 
perhaps, not quite 
skin and bones.
more like powder
or the tone of the sea 
on a cloudy morning. 
you can’t quite 
grasp it slips through
your fingers
and into your eyes 
like gold flake;
a solar eclipse.



by Liam Hastings | Poetry | Fall 2019

Photo by Vu M. Nguyen 

What moves
Like a wave
That drills
Spinning to nowhere

You’re picking 
At architecture 
And it’s how 
Hole like a scab

I don’t know
How it fits
But each
Word is like 
Another wrapper, 
Evidence that we ate

You who must 
And who does 
Examine its 
Odd pilings 
On the floor

I can see
One way to make it whole

Heal the scabby 
Hole from which
It all falls
Perspective is healing 
Now let’s make
A trade with the
God beyond
The periphery
The god behind my head!


Boston: April 15, 2013

by Samuel Fishman | Poetry | Spring 2019

Image from the Spring 2019 issue

If I ran a marathon,
you say, I would end up
like the guy in the Greek myth.

I would cross the finish line,
rejoice that I’d finished,
then drop dead.

You tighten your grip on the shot glass,
testing its frailty, its resistance to your stress.
know what’s going to happen before you
do, so I ask the bartender for a towel, a
couple of bandaids, rubbing alcohol, and
more alcohol.

I would drop dead, you say, staring at
the front door. When it rattles on its
hinges, you’re so absorbed in its clatter
that you don’t notice your palm as it
splits across the countertop.


Donkey Brains: The Problem Set of Losing Democratic Presidential Candidates Since 1968.

by Samuel Fishman | Poetry | Spring 2019

Image by Enrico Milletti

1968 Problem: The former vice president, and soon-to-be-crook, is leading in the polls. Solution: Allow the presidential convention to take place while a riot is happening outside, and allow the news cameras to film students being sprayed in the mouth with tear gas. Do not refute the soon-to-be-crook’s position as the “law and order candidate.”

1972 Problem: The crook is leading in the polls. Solution: Schedule the nominee, a senator best known for supporting acid, abortion, and amnesty, to give his acceptance speech at three in the morning. When the running mate is revealed to have had depression, support him with 1,000 percent certainty, then drop him.

1980 Problem: The costar of Bedtime for Bonzo is closing in on the president’s lead in the polls. Solution: Keep the president, who was only elected because of the crook, in the Rose Garden, giving speeches about economic malaise and the virtues of wearing sweaters. Appoint the president’s twelve year old daughter as his advisor on the geopolitics of nuclear weapons.

1984 Problem: The costar of She’s Working Her Way Through College is leading in the polls. Solution: Have the nominee, the vice president of the preceding, failed administration who is best known for quoting Wendy’s commercials, confess in his acceptance speech that he will raise taxes. Do not make age an issue of the campaign, while the president is 73.

1988 Problem: The vice-president of the costar of Cattle Queen of Montana is closing in in the polls. Solution: Plop the nominee, a Massachusetts governor whose hobby is writing weekend passes for convicted murderers, in a tank to appeal to veterans. Tell him to smile and point at reporters like he’s a dork trying to impress a prom queen with his performance of “Wonderwall.”

2000 Problem: The former co-owner of the Texas Rangers and the nominee are close in the polls. Solution: Train the nominee, the vice president of the current administration wracked with sex scandals, to act like a disapproving dad from a sitcom during the debates. Have him work in the word, “lockbox,” in all sixteen answers about the federal budget and Medicare reform.

2004 Problem: The misunderestimated Rangers fan and the nominee are close in the polls. Solution: Train the nominee, a Massachusetts senator who has flip-flopped on the Iraq War, to brag about his war record instead of talking about the economy. When Osama bin Laden publishes a videotape, write the nominee a speech saying nothing that the president hasn’t said.

2016 Problem: The second-best host of The Apprentice is doing well nationally.


Direct Flight to Orlando

by Casey Redcay | Poetry | Spring 2019

Image by Clio Schwartz

We go down
into a land of swamp and ruffle

I hide in my middleness
overlookable, a noiseless witness
hanging over families
like a forgotten Mickey Mouse balloon

smiling though no one is paying me to
I am coming home, Orlando
he greets me:

a catcall
from a beat-up truck
snake tongue but slower

a voice that drags
like a stranger’s hand on my back

I will come home to someone
my man is the one
who brings me hotel soap
shiny and papered
until placeless
piling on my shelf
my precious

my lonesome body
made clean
and still alone
but clean

my disaster spreading
like a suburban housing development
eating the land under us

spreading like the terror on his face
the man next to me stiffening
the air getting even staler
the plane rattling between clouds
his face squeezing like an orange
in an invisible fist until we go down and
everything stops.