Online Exclusives

11.28.98
Tangier Days: Conversations with Paul Bowles, 1984–1988
I don’t know why, for example, one should strive to invent new language. You’re attempting to get across certain ideas. Experimentation should not become a hindrance. [...]
10.14.98
Paul and Peter
Christmas Night lies bitter cold and silent over the capital, and all life seems frozen. Even the wind is still, and the stars flicker like minuscule fires that strive to keep life going.  [...]
10.03.98
White Mouth
Who does not judge each heart by halving it from the top instead of scoring delicately around the girth? [...]
09.23.98
Clerestory
When he bent his right arm up and around his head like a piece of drainpipe, he discovered he could focus on the fraction of a second between the green and white lights of each plane. [...]
09.01.98
Song of the Little Road
 Bamboo birds and girls in gardens

Oil, salt, chilies stolen from the kitchen


like a fork in the road
[...]
08.22.98
Box
by Tan Lin
Nota:   number refer to discrete sheets 
            sheets are numerical, housed in three volumetrically equal boxes  [...]
08.12.98
Woof
I was born covered with hair. My father joked he would have to save up for electrolosis. After a few weeks, the hair fell off, and the wolf went inside.  [...]
08.10.98
From Nineteen Italian Days: An Essay
Cellini was the Norman Mailer of the Italian Renaissance. He punches Michelangelo in the nose. He jumps out a window to attack a rival with a dinner knife. He admits to the assassination of at least three innocent men. [...]
08.02.98
From A Tomb for Anatole
an infant dies to
us both—de
monstrates our
ideal, child-man [...]
08.01.98
Two Stories
by Peter Handke
translated by Scott Abbott
A possible minor epic: of the various head coverings of the passersby in large cities, as, for example, in Skopje in Macedonia/Yugoslavia on December 10, 1987 [...]
07.15.98
Two Portraits
This is the same archaic vista as the next with the inside and outside of the city reversed. A draft on the wall shows houses floating on water: “Water,” he says, “makes it comprehensible to us.”  [...]
07.09.98
Statuary
All that remains is a lamp with green
at its steepled crown,

a room in which she did not belong
and knew it. [...]
06.09.98
Hole
My father and my father’s father were coal miners. Their father’s fathers were coal miners back to Adam, who was a dug lump of clay. [...]
05.18.98
Two Poems
 Down your river of arm, a torrent. Blood, bone
            muscle, skin, nerve, nail, 
                        tendon, marrow, cartilage, 
ligament, fate. [...]
05.11.98
Nose 
Noses give the father in the girl away. [...]
05.03.98
The Thirty Days
In fury—haggard—flailing—weary. Thus were his energies depleted. There was confusion of a bipolar nature. He could not choose an extreme, and both claimed him. [...]
04.26.98
Demons: A Story in Nineteen Volumes
Of course as soon as the word got out that there were demons, real demons, closer to the Earth than the Earth is to the moon, all the demon-worshippers were very happy. [...]
03.31.98
Shadow, Tin, Shadow 
I married my husband because I was afraid of sleep’s eclipse: the eye’s planet rolling to oblivion behind its shadow of lid; I left him because I had a dream his mouth tasted of tin: All our reasons, if they are pure, move us like heavy animals being led in sleep. [...]
03.16.98
Herisau: Four Poems
by Jean Frémon
translated by Cole Swensen
The passion to serve. To be another. To disrespect the first-comer. To reach no conclusion.To dig up the garden. To sort peas, spin thread, put together paper bags. [...]
01.21.98
Charley Horse Nagasaki Palatine
Charley horse    pretension slip    mutton chop und-unbekanntë-Méer
advocate proceed forbidden    áufgebaut    substantive-necéssity [...]
01.16.98
Opium Traffic 
by Antonin Artaud
translated by Richard Grossman
It is my intention to respond with sincerity, so that once and for all we shall no longer be assaulted with warnings about the so-called danger of drugs. [...]

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In Print

Vol. 79
Onword
Fall 2022
Edited by Bradford Morrow

Online

January 25, 2023
The birth of color begins in the entanglement
of water. Color is the birth of light.

Low clouds morning visitation, the words are
forming separable from their origins. Stars

crease the heavens. I have been moving
into their stream, heavenly bodies, the architecture

loose and ungainly. I’m not one but two, the occupancy
of a system, here in the apparel of another’s

light, to come down these stairs, dawn
weighted with silver, a perimeter that hooks

sky, bleeds our nights into day. There is this
sanctuary, intricate respite, cut-out, here on the floor
January 18, 2023
A second-growth forest is not the same as a first, and a third is not the same as a second. Those old dying oak and chestnut trees saved a century ago from axe and saw to shade the grazing livestock are surrounded now by all the wrong progeny—birches and popple in one case, pine trees in the other. Absent a mature overstory’s broad canopy, the understory receives too much unfiltered light, and low thickets and dense copses of trees and shrubs all the same age spring up.
     In ancient times a carpet of fallen leaves and ferny ground cover was lit by long beams of sunlight descending from openings in the treetops as if from the clerestory windows of a great cathedral. Humans and other animals walked easily among the tall, straight trunks and had unobstructed views from glen to vernal pond and stream to the glacial moraine beyond. That was a forest, not a woods. But the forest was not replaced by itself. It was displaced and replaced by these woods, which is a different and lesser thing.
     My dog darted through the brush ahead of me, tracing the lingering spoor of a deer or bear or coyote, led by his nose instead of our man-made trail. And as I walked I remembered again a story from the village, part of which I saw, part of which I heard from witnesses, and part of which I imagined.
January 11, 2023
A brick-shaped piece of architectural rubbish. A brick of someone’s missing place. My brick, but only because I’ve taken it as my own, to collect, among my menageries, set alongside small shoes made of mottled glass and rusted railway spikes and silver-clad icons sold to me by aging nuns in old-world churches I’ve visited. I have shelves full of this stuff, little artifacts of the beautiful/not beautiful city. I collect glass and tarnished things. I collect memories too, all kinds, some that might fall into the category of demolition garbage, what might be too sharp and embarrassing to keep out in the light.
     I learned in AA to call these kinds of inmost collections my inventory. I haven’t been to AA recently, but when I used to go every week I loved the inventory step meetings. Step Four is to make “a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” Step Ten is to continue “to take personal inventory” and when we are wrong to promptly admit. My inventory/my me-ventory/our we-ventory, one might say—an everyday assessment of the invisible collections residing beneath and within.
     I don’t believe in the Christian version of God but I do believe in the spiritual wonder located in material presence. Like my brick. Any cubic space in the world is a brick of multiple histories. I interrogate all of what feels like mine.