Online Exclusives

12.17.05
Between Tongues: An Interview
I vividly recall my first bus ride on arriving in this country, from New York to Michigan. The feeling of SPACE, of relatively wild space, of woods going on and on was overwhelming to me.  [...]
12.17.05
Five Poems
Impossible. Without the idea of counting. To imagine numbers. Repeating an identical act, a particular mark. Over and over.  [...]
10.21.05
Two Poems
The programmer with his grim black bag brings no cure for encaged, gates shut, companions grimy. Spoonful of laughter, spoonful of lust, skill so droll that dolls call slaves to come and open the wall where I go so young again. Was it better when we used playthings? [...]
09.24.05
Arc XX: Paterfamilia
Of surrender or denial, surrender and denial
what voice will you offer to the dead
what alphabet to the suffering.  [...]
09.09.05
Three Poems
Finally, how to carry the sky
at twilight? A rose so cool [...]
08.26.05
Responsibilities of the Champagne Flutes
A day of awnings and fruitless steps. Pause. Something glinting and apparent and political in what she slices. [...]
08.11.05
Three Poems
It starts with examining our shores. An elastic shove 
could inch the edges out, said those who loved greatest 
and with massive breakers. [...]
07.27.05
The Book of Beginnings & Endings
And if it were possible to pursue the bleeding heart dove to her nest, what then? [...]
07.03.05
The Castle’s Origin
by Can Xue
translated by Rong Cai
Because there is no reason to live, he invents one to fill the void; with purity and vacuity the invented rationale fights the filth and congestion of reality. [...]
06.12.05
Storm, lustral
Blue as already the shoreline
is breaking, are you a
lakefront the question is
lacking  [...]
05.31.05
Nine Poems
You walk above in the light,
     Soulful genius, on a yielding floor! 
         God’s shining breezes
            Gently touch you  [...]
05.21.05
The Exotic Moods of Les Baxter
Memory of silt and blush.
A no-touch Ikebana arranges the river’s first thought.
This is how the Jade Fable ends.  [...]
05.07.05
Robert Creeley: In Memoriam
May 21, 1926–March 30, 2005
Lots of laughter
Before and after. Every meeting
Rhymed and fluttered into meter.
The beat was the message. [...]
04.27.05
Three Poems
I leave with that voice? In Austria the alps are blowing 
with bedsheets. The innkeeper sings my child, my child [...]
04.15.05
From Quandaries
imprisoned on the fissure the figure considers 
the fossils in the rock between the figure and the arrested  [...]
03.10.05
Four Poems
an eternity of New Wave 
Fridays, of the one perfect 

airplane haunting the tinsel 
town machinery undone  [...]
02.23.05
how human nouns
gone unnoticed the inevitable protagonists accrue 

fragile centipede working rot into unreliable endnotes  [...]
02.11.05
Scavenger’s Daughter
I would walk a tightrope for you

enter on entropy the balled up  [...]
01.13.05
Stations
 First, Audrey is in the garden. She will be there in the end. [...]
01.05.05
IS EE YO UA RE
Ibak is my name.

It doesn’t mean anything. [...]

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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.