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Robert Desnos
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Biography
Robert Desnos (1900–1945) was one of the most important members of the Surrealists. His principal collections of poetry include Corps et biens: poèms 1919–1929Fortunes, and Contée. Active during World War II as a member of the Resistance, he was arrested by the Gestapo in 1944 and died shortly after liberation from a German concentration camp in Czechoslovakia.

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Vol. 79
Onword
Fall 2022
Edited by Bradford Morrow

Online

March 22, 2023
To survive sadly is still. 
At a boat’s bottom, allegedly a boat. 
Allegedly an anchor. Allegations of a law. 
Oh splinters that split us, oh those who spit on our black gaberdine. 
The skin rolls the water off. That is what ash is, actually. 
Accumulation of spittoons and the water’s detritus. 

Hump day is a whale, freer than us even in capture, even in tallow. 
No one said: this isn’t a whale, even as they strung it up to cut its meat. 
No one said: this is something tbd. They said: mammal, leviathan, child of god, named by Adam. 

We got a new name. Something made up. We managed to live. In that hole name.
March 15, 2023
He’s been coming around a lot but I’ve only recently started calling the dog Jesus because if Jesus were to return, this is how he would do it. In this shape, in this form, in these times. I’m sure of it. My best and only friend, Holy Amy, who thinks of herself as a kind of very powerful and sexually budding nun, disagrees. She says Jesus would return in the form of a handsome kisser, not some ugly mutt. Someone with a beautiful face, so we would know it was him. I say he’s not ugly. She says I am “vexed,” “cursed,” and that I am doomed to repeat the mistakes of those before me, though I’m not sure whom she’s talking about. All I know is it’s true: he’s not ugly. The dog suit he wears isn’t even a dog suit. 
March 8, 2023
When the Reverend Houston was seventy he was retired from the ministry with a pension, paid by the national church organization, that was slightly in excess of the salary he had been receiving for nearly fifty years from his parish at New Babylon, Missouri. There were no strings attached to this pension. He could do with it and with himself, thereafter, practically anything that pleased his rational fancy. Naturally enough, he quit preaching. He had been preaching for nearly fifty years and he was getting just as tired of it as his congregation was. One Sunday morning during the summer of his seventieth year he shook hands with his successor, a vigorous young man who would attract plenty of spinsters to the Sunday-school faculty, walked calmly out of the church and never returned.