Online Exclusives

12.04.00
From Others’ Work
You arrive in a small seaside town where the installations of a little-known artist are currently on view. As you step out a train pipes somewhere up the coast, out of sight. [...]
11.16.00
What Is Missing
Take, for example, the phone call. Her father had used pasted-together phrases like “alleged suspicions,” “supposedly missing team member,” and “questioning process,” but then put more emphasis on such remarks as “your help and support,” and “ridiculous, out to get the coach,” and “so you know what’s happening.” [...]
08.09.00
The Temple Birds Love Incense
Angel Trumpets grow on the north end of the compound … on the far end near the entrance. They blossom in early spring and last until September. [...]
07.30.00
From Fin
… The subject is quieted when the object ceases.
         In the first act, she will be dressed in faded gardening clothes, a
         scarf around her head. She will be a comfortable and lively woman. [...]
06.30.00
Your Lips Testify against You
I withdrew yet farther into my shell, snug as a meadow louse in a weedy mausoleum. I survived on porridge and my own brand of boosterism, which had me pacing the room and inciting imaginary riots in support of my seclusion:  [...]
06.20.00
Light Carried on Air Moves Less
In a lavender twilight, on the west side of an abandoned pasture gone to hay in the greenest part of our state, a mendicant, a scarved pale beauty with silver bell earrings, curled to sleep on kinked metal filings on the floor of a windowless farm shed gone to rot. [...]
06.11.00
Four Prose Poems
The memory theater burned, and in its ruins I could remember only portions of scripture, commentary, history, poetry, biographies of notable men, successful recipes, homeopathy, botany, and the classification of animals. [...]
06.09.00
Once Confined
Strata of chanting vertebrae           west of the Côte d’Ivoire,

late beside the Niger,        land of cliffs and chockstones 

you have blown through. [...]
05.08.00
Bump and Grind
This is how we begin: a little paint here; a little dab there. Pointilism is the favored method. [...]
04.19.00
Portraits and Repetition
(picture) of cloud body above line of ridge, position itself
being an event on a surface which can’t otherwise be seen [...]
03.28.00
Five Poems
A depiction complains of whose casual hand that made it?
Every figure in the picture is dressed in paper, fading. [...]
03.05.00
Three Exhibits
by Weldon Kees
edited by James Reidel
The houses were identical all up and down the block. One-story bungalows, oatmeal-colored stucco, with red-shingled roofs and copies of the evening paper folded in triangles on the porches. [...]
02.15.00
Outside: Postcards from Abroad
Here I am in Geneva. The Swiss have the second-largest standing army in the world. They can mobilize their entire force in less than thirty minutes. [...]
02.09.00
The Liquidators
Everything flows, the Greek said from the river bank. Barging down the interstate, we tell you everything fails. [...]
01.19.00
Musée Mécanique
Herman Godfrey lay, not yet breathing, in an empty sitting room, said Godmother Drosselmeier. Empty, that is, except for a grandfather clock and a tall cabinet with a bust of Nefertiti on top of it. [...]

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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.