Online Exclusives

12.30.04
Swiss Miss
Lingers now in peace upon the swollen tide,
ruby-throat fallen from sky in the last few hours. [...]
11.16.04
From Draft 59: Flash Back
A half glass carafe,
a choice red ochre chalk,
a felt-blue paper  [...]
10.18.04
From Archicembalo
Ask if this showing will make a better weave. [...]
09.17.04
I know the letters this way
The way I talk is a result of the way I hear her I was told but it took how long to show up in cursive. [...]
08.17.04
Diagramming Here: An Interview
Free verse and the prose poem may have emerged in revolt against the formality inhabiting French language but insofar as New York School poets write imitating the relaxed line that they have read they persuade us of their urbanity and their literariness.  [...]
08.01.04
CLOUD / RIDGE
pale blue white haze in front of the vertical

plane of the ridge in window on left, sunlit

orange flower on green passion-vine covered

fence in right foreground  [...]
07.08.04
Summer Letters
shored up inside still
they speak liturgies over
this valley’s grid [...]
06.01.04
The Skirmish
“… and then I died and went to France.”
Thus, the story of your life wrapped up and pensive. [...]
04.17.04
Two Poems
Play your hand, Madame.
      Black stripe down
your dress, keyhole slit,
      door to a dark room.  [...]
02.26.04
FAQ
I first drew shoes on an animal a long long time ago. [...]
02.17.04
The Library of Seven Readings
Because its material substratum remains transcendental
the freedom of the subject, which the transcendental is designed to rejuvenate,
allows us to inhale and exhale refreshing drafts just as we approach the summit. [...]
01.22.04
Two Poems
It drew in my eyes, a slab, on it a huge white fish
just landed, or beached, a beluga, intact, naked  [...]
01.06.04
From Nets
you               absent in

                              every thing



    the deep vermilion
                  figures
              pattern of

    your shadow [...]

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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.