Online Exclusives

12.26.06
Trail System
I flush out a bird. It hops along a branch and swivels its head to better accuse me, lash me with its chattery invective, the user says when he first enters Trail System. [...]
12.18.06
Flood
Rain falls like needles, but Carla’s parents’ back porch, sheltered by a lean-to roof and enclosed by a tight green net, keeps us dry. I want to sleep outside, catch cold. [...]
12.11.06
Three Poems
How the entire story is enjambed with color—
            black, white, red & gold: holding existences in near extinction. [...]
12.04.06
Can’t Stand It
I walk on gold.
So says hummingbird. So said the fountain
As it filled with sand one day [...]
11.27.06
Bobcat
I’d just turned thirteen. I was sitting in the hayloft. I liked sitting up there, looking. [...]
11.16.06
The Story of My Accident Is Ours
If I no longer exist, if in fact I may never have existed in the first place, then do I have a name? [...]
11.04.06
Three Poems
by Tomaž Šalamun
translated by Brian Henry
You didn’t satisfy to us, man from Australia, 
in the magnetic field you acted like a she-kale.
Cuba squeezes out the blue snake. We hugged you. [...]
10.09.06
Eight Experiments in Artifice
A barge passing below a bridge is an example of a green horizon free from the expectation of green. [...]
09.29.06
The Art of Comedy
We had all failed by then—failed as husbands, failed as lovers, failed as humanitarians, failed as despots, failed ourselves, failed the people we cared about, failed to remember what we should have remembered, failed to learn what we were expected to learn [...]
09.15.06
Before You Leave La Spezia You Must See the Church
On the night of the couchette I asked her, in the dark whispers of an intimate space shared with strangers, were she sure he hadn’t displayed the least hint of a smile? the barest glint of a knowing tooth?  [...]
09.08.06
To Be Taken
I am going to write a story called “To Be Taken.” It will be about a twenty-year-old girl. It will be ten pages long. [...]
09.01.06
Bather, Alone: An Essay
Some cave naked for fear of contaminating the water they mean to study. [...]
08.23.06
Three Poems
Each day an emerging
                                     Ring of rib, definition   Another pearl scimitar
Sheathed in fawn. The paradise of west is the sun [...]
08.01.06
ZZ’s Sleep-Away Camp for Disordered Dreamers
Emma and I are curled together in the basket of the Insomnia Balloon, our breath coming in soft quick bursts. [...]
07.17.06
Two Poems
If the landscape has a pattern then it begins with your wrist, 

between the radius and the ulna where it finds the will 

to consider the oak and the wheel before inhabiting your pulse [...]
07.03.06
The Book of A
A voice comes to one in the dark.  Her voice or mine. [...]
06.08.06
From The Twenty-Four Words for Snow
Above the Arctic Circle the sun sets and does not rise again for weeks. [...]
05.24.06
From Four selections from COLOR PLATES part 4: Mary Cassatt
From an aperture she has made in the Venetian blinds she watches leaves fall. [...]
05.09.06
Traffic and Weather
it appears powerful
it is seen as powerful
and it will be powerful
but right now it does not change the surface [...]
05.02.06
Five Poems
Back then nostalgia was a doll,
you could swallow.  [...]
04.26.06
Four Poems
Upon the comal crop, winter, I separate what’s mine. Mimic me.  [...]
04.19.06
Two Poems
Thorny sky the possession enjoyment brings suspended in a circle of blue messages.  [...]
04.11.06
Calavera
There are stories handed down through generations, not because children desire and are in need of them, but because their parents now understand them and can remember sitting at the knees of their own parents, listening to the telling. [...]
04.03.06
Two Poems
Take the sentence and divide out:
there were more pink flowers that were not hibiscus [...]
03.15.06
The Green Bird
This is what we should call this sad story. We will return to its origin, if there is anything in this life that has origin. [...]
03.07.06
Zoo Throes
We don’t start then. It’s an hour later, after snakes, after monkeys. Unless you do this and this and this now, now in capitals, I say, so kindly I kind of think. [...]
02.28.06
Three Stories
They were bored, highly irritated by the goings-on of the world, not to mention sick and tired of one another, so they decided to make Texarkana again. [...]
02.21.06
Her Purchase
Children in doorways, a bike in a yard—banana seat—rooms and rooms within each house. Somebody old is out on a lawn—a woman to judge by the shape of the body, but this is a guess. [...]
02.14.06
Five Poems
In the box there was no beginning and no end, but an openness stopped on all sides by the edges. [...]
02.07.06
Three Poems
Here displayed also are my habits:
That stars and men revolve in a cycle,
Judgement [...]
01.31.06
Preamble
The bed recurs as a figure in certain burnings—the torches fixed to boards, for skeletons, and the boiling oil in pots, in urns, in bowls. [...]
01.24.06
Two Poems
Since where pantheonic,
                               then there be a seat.
Put the cursor there.  [...]
01.17.06
Three Poems
As the premiere agent for the Anti-Misunderstanding Foundation, 

I am the first to come ashore. The natives wade out to my skiff [...]
01.09.06
From The Hour Sets
The researcher walks to the nine o’clock station and circles the cube, taking notes and making sketches. He removes a symbol from the cork and folds it neatly, slipping it into his pants pocket. [...]

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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.