Online Exclusives

12.28.10
Book Three: Romance
All life sets itself upon us like a dull, iron-colored grief,

and the discipline is

to realize that we haven’t died

yet.  [...]
12.21.10
Still Life with Nixon on the Beach
The boat came close to the shore, its sails silent, but we could hear the hissing of water against its fiberglass hull. I told Nixon I want to be away from here. No more following the season, island to island. He may have heard me, I’m not sure. [...]
12.07.10
Our Latitude, Our Longitude
The story of how I came to drift so aimlessly, my airship pendulant and high above this wrung-out earth, begins long ago, during that period of uneasy calm before the weather turned so foul. [...]
11.26.10
Habit
O. is really suffering 
and I do not believe
that she is suffering
fog ruins the moth
how could O. suffer [...]
11.05.10
The Crossing
There is singularity 
and there is the enclosed shell of the singular. 
A long way from home the shelled pieces 
shell-shocked you could say. How can anyone  [...]
10.29.10
Two Stories
They were the first, in fact, to make up stories. Others before them had told tales, of course, had lied, had imagined things, but these were the first to rely strictly on language, its symbols, its logic, its effects. [...]
10.21.10
Three Poems
Dozens of beds burrowing in the yard.
The saddest time is remembering names
& shivers. You have resonating cloud lots.  [...]
10.14.10
The Wentworth Hotel and Ballroom
Why is it that when I cross the final street before the Wentworth Hotel my eye is drawn to the weave of electric bus lines bolted with cables to the stuccoed buttresses of the retaining walls, to the concrete-based streetlamps where I have never failed, and do not fail tonight, to see the house painters in their white uniforms? [...]
10.07.10
Five Poems
the opening. that joinery is alarming. ulna, radius, elbow, humerus, shoulder joint that brings sight to the edge of this and other half-born worlds. [...]
09.30.10
Three Poems
I hear liquor and lather 
and wood. I press my ear 

to the bottom, and I hear 
the steel, the concrete [...]
09.22.10
Five Poems
by Carlos Pardo
translated by Elizabeth Zuba
And everything has a presexual air. 
The sea stinks of hormone-replaced
waves [...]
09.15.10
From No T(h)ere
Men complicate women’s desires, mother tells me. Finishing with, there are women who wish to take yours away. Her smile shifts into something more human, more woman, like fibers reaching across.  [...]
09.07.10
Five Poems
O inside the O

breadth of the mountain

and water beneath

sky a cipher [...]
08.31.10
From Think Tank
In the soft folds of derivation, 

the spheres ring out, but muffled. [...]
08.24.10
Three Poems
She recalled the general pleasantness of the atmospheres during those last moments before she became for them a kind of monster [...]
08.17.10
Three Poems
tiny bell rant coincident near curve 

wet sunlight negotiating sill and 

chipped-paint ceiling a lesson by hint 

and degree I’ll tell you why and there [...]
08.10.10
Love, an Index
Fate, about which Breton and Eluard asked in an issue of Minotaur:
              What was the most significant moment
              of your life, and did you recognize it at the time? [...]
08.03.10
The Broken Cup
Talking about Trotsky who appeared as a character in a book you are reading, you set an empty wine glass on a thick tile coaster. [...]
07.27.10
Three Poems
Today, in passing, I grew sick of the world
of author’s ideas. I crossed a street
and arrived into rubble. [...]
07.20.10
Six Poems
The codes were suspended there, 
in a place discovered later, 
when we found out about the rain. [...]
07.12.10
The Delicate Architecture of Our Galaxy
My mother lived in a mason jar. Twice daily, I took the lid off. She said it was to allow her to breathe, but she only seemed to dive deeper. [...]
07.05.10
René Renée
The story is about a woman who is dreaming she is dreaming, and who in the dream’s dream wakes herself up because she knows she is frightened of dreaming. [...]
06.28.10
Teratology
Teratology, the study of human monsters, is a young science, one that is desperate for respect, or, at least, attention. [...]
06.20.10
The Father’s Tale
The world was once pure: animals tilted their perfectly formed heads to listen to the workings of the great clock, the sky-blue waters churning over the sunlit rocks. All was well. Then a twig snapped. Something was coming. It was I. I was traveling in my characteristic way: lumbering, unstoppable, crashing through the fragile woods. [...]
06.13.10
Three Poems
The knife glints in the crosshairs of stars 

Like a plot point. [...]
06.06.10
From An Archive of the Lives of Retired Gunslingers
Oxskin Murphy was born to a poor Oklahoma cattlehand and his wife, and was so legally named Oxskin his father, his mother having died during childbirth. In a squalid cottage on the fringe of the large ranch on which he worked, Mr. Murphy intended to rear his son as a gunslinger, and, indeed, Oxskin’s first revolver and holster were given to him on his sixth birthday. [...]
05.30.10
The Screaming Trees
We became the screaming trees, 
fired and stark, raining down.  [...]
05.23.10
From The Mayflies
A package tied with twine is thrown off the bridge. A leather satchel full of letters is flung into the river. Shirts, sweaters, hats, gloves are tossed off in fits of joy and fall to the river to be taken away the current. [...]
05.16.10
Four Poems
And were you cold last night 
And in dreams somewhat amphibian.  [...]
04.30.10
A Terrible Thing
No one would have disputed it was a terrible thing. It was a terrible thing. A thing that had happened, that frequently happened to very many people they had individually known and some whom they had known together. [...]
04.23.10
Zelda Revisited
Unlike before we start not in the middle of a decision, not in the middle of the egg, but in a house that someone has built. [...]
04.16.10
From The Source
The story is essentially the same: if you are intent on your climb and would never consider cutting back, then balance the sphere of ordinary understanding not in any mere figure of speech, still bent over the shoes you’re mending, but in actual fact loosened from its anchorage to the body. [...]
04.09.10
Five Poems from Mouth of Hell
Strange impatience of horses. Jumbled crossbows, arquebuses. Some luxurious circus or royal company. [...]
03.31.10
The Hollow Leg
Late one night, a father bends over his workbench, removes his daughter’s right femur, and sharpens it into a walking stick. [...]
03.24.10
Three Poems
When I karate chop the world in half, I need you my side. Everything has two pieces and you’ve never tasted an orange so ripe. The seeds are not visible but sonic. [...]
03.17.10
Four Poems
Everyone had a mother then, a working train set, 
and a nearby promenade to daze among flowers
whose names were difficult to pronounce.  [...]
03.10.10
From Sign of Order in the Universe
In the overture a finch caresses a watermelon with its beak. It is a large watermelon and the bird is very small. You are reminded of several images but one or another stands out. [...]
03.03.10
From Rune to Ruin
I can see the sky so white it’s leached of white and branches of winter trees like rude lace. [...]
02.24.10
Soldiers
The soldiers marched off the TV screen in two columns. There were thirty of them dressed in desert fatigues. They barely fit into Frank’s living room. [...]
02.17.10
From Marvels
My heart was a dormitory 
of tiny workers
and their gold-plated forks. [...]
02.10.10
Nine
Nine words per line and nine lines per stanza. [...]
02.03.10
Two Stories
Quietly, covertly, bears have toddled into the name Berlin. [...]
01.27.10
Three Conversation Pieces from Unlucky Lucky People
Despite the soot that tumbles from the sky, our old people look good—the color of milk and veal roast. [...]
01.20.10
Two Poems
—it tastes sweet the map
—she sings well the madele
—they talk all night the brothers [...]
01.13.10
Three Poems
When sanity grew tiresome, I went walking through the ghetto.
I bought kidneys, watched buildings crumble, 
                                                                                      offered no hand, no kind word.  [...]
01.06.10
Four Poems
My robot comes to me in the night afraid of death. [...]

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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.