Online Exclusives

12.12.99
Matter Has Been Blown off the Surface of this V   i   s   i   b   le Star
In my collection of gluons whose color adds up
to white:

a time the universe

was the size of a darkening
string [...]
12.07.99
Horses
by Michael Eastman
introduction by William H. Gass
Everything swims up into its eyes. Its agility, its strength, its swiftness: These qualities soften though they do not lessen as they rise. [...]
11.26.99
Canaan
The news is always of rapture

A plume of dust, the raking of ashes [...]
11.10.99
The Lightning Field (V)
Your mind unkinks itself like carded wool
as one foot steps in front of the other, circling
the five-foot figure-eight infinity loop [...]
10.17.99
HIGH PRESSURE/film shoots
by Kathrin Rögala
translated by W. Martin
and off the mark meadows tipped in in green, which should serve as a pattern here for figures, but the landscape doesn’t know anything, just talk to it, though, and it’ll give in at once. as always [...]
10.08.99
Sappho’s Sparrows
there are so many places to find you   in the endless   white spaces you have left us [...]
09.27.99
Remembering Mr. Gaddis
A memorial tribute was held May 6, 1999, for the late William Gaddis, the esteemed novelist who died in December 1998. [...]
05.19.99
The Raven
Story time done but plenty left over, riches of fishes and fancy comestibles heaped on the table within; a toast, friends, to the slow servant! No master for me. One of the oldest professions, mine, and right honorable, too. [...]
05.17.99
Some Maps
Which it watches, where it waits
In cleft or cavern or crevasse
In dolmen or diluvial boulder-hoard
Not the fissure, not the fosse, a flaw [...]
04.04.99
The Word Laid Bare
Congealed, concertinaed version of “I bet he’s had it,” meaning he has come to grief. [...]
02.27.99
What Happened with Gilbert That Night
Think of our silhouettes lengthening across the bare stage, the creak of the wooden boards beneath our feet, the broken spotlights of gray glass, the dizziness as he twirled me erasing the curtains from my sight, his muscled legs folded in bunched trousers, the actors gone home. [...]
02.12.99
Mechanics
                         Will you
                                      not come again?

                          I will go—
there soon.
                          Will you
                                      not come again?

                          I will cross—
the river twice [...]
01.24.99
A Quiet Poem
My father screamed whenever the phone rang.

My aunt often screamed when she opened the door. [...]
01.03.99
Fog Life
One, two, three, four … strung in a seaward-running necklace each foghorn sounded progressively more distant, a warning that here an island lay. [...]
01.01.99
Paper Head Last Lyrics
They are said to be in the book,
           but there is no book. [...]

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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.