cover photo Rainer Werner Fassbinder/Hannah Schygullapublication date 10/13/1985
Toby Barlow • Four Literary Magazines
Mitch Cohen • 1984 in Berlin
• Rita Dove Interview
• Tina Fulker Interview
Kenneth Funsten • Allergies: A Commentary on American Poetry
Bob Halliday • Randolph Stow: An Australian Original
• Crad Kilodney Interview
George Myers Jr. • Culture & Anarchy (John Sokol)
• Carlo Parcelli Interview
Richard Peabody • Notes from the Bell Tower (editorial)
Robert Peters • The Blood Beneath the Leaf: Todd Moore’s Poetry
James Phillips • The German Scene: Unknown Hermetic Poets
David Sheridan • George and Mary Oppen: Lives Intertwined
• Scott Sommer Interview
I want to live in a countrywhere things get torn apart at the seamsand they have to pay people to get them to singthe national anthem, which is called “The Brunt.”Here, nobody sleeps—the wordsfor “sleep” and “ratchet” are the same—but it’s like in a dream when you dreamthat you’ve had this dream before, that feeling;or like gritting your teeth when you pet the dog.Everything is crisp and salty.Everything is self-inflicted.The Negroes are all electronic, here,and things make a noise like leather creaking,but you wish, you keep on wishing . . .and people keep saying thingslike “Now you’re talking,” or “Did I win anything?”It’s like waiting to have your picture taken,that feeling, or wishing you were really a policeman.
a room imagined or a room entombed.in a picture the first person to be studied.a tender mix of soft wool & flannelby the sea. a bed by the wayside a catin the undertone. windows lined with faceabout to be drawn & broken. it happens to beday or a day or it’s night & you dreamon the white couch by the open air.a uniform by the door by the polished floors. and.intrusion of a name. outsideyou gather wind. stalks of liberty. aflag by the ocean must be rain or a recordingof hand-claps. one of those faces.then glow from matches a series of shotsof the dark. then the weather gets cold. youpicture the dream. it signifies you. grey gloves,grey leather gloves lined with fleece.the wool nap break of cuff against shoe.white shirt with pearl buttons. the musicjust goes on. “love is good for anythingthat ails you . . .” it must be spring or winter.there is no name.
James Bertolino • Five Views of the New History
I would spend my daysrolling to my back, enteringa damp coffin. The waterclosed around me like coolsilk, the heavy of cushion.Closing my eyes I imaginedthe seeping water to becold worms sticking tomy cheeks and chin.
The current spread its breatharound me where I floatedseven miles above the falls.Tiretubes were poised lifeguards every fifty feet.
Missing one, there was alwaysanother tube to grablike the soft limba young boy slips towhen he falls from a treetoward a holewhere his life waits,shrunken and wrinkledas a swimmer’s hands.
The male sendson invisible roadsto the femalepurple, raw
this rufflesoundless around the stem
and thenit takes years to know:the male forgets, is pressedbetween the pages of a bookor carried down the aisle on a satin arm.
And she sits, knowingsomething happened:petals swell: colorslike fireworks, expensive and fast.
Then the petals fall into a little pile.The moon opens.The petals shine.
The women are airing the babies,but they are not revived,these lotus-eaters fastened to the lotus of the breast,the strange flower of the nipple.
Fat, forgetful, swollen, seamless,like the milk-white pigsdreaming from their hooks in the truck,unzipped by the knife and relieved of their pearly entrails,waiting to be blessed by the butcher’s one sharp gesture.
Stunned, stupefied,their features are pressed into grimacesby mother’s arm, or the stroller’s.Amid these limboed babies one who has been weanedreclines in his mother’s arms,having found peace,that absolute center of gravity.
In a shop window,coals of colored glass give forth no heat,no omen.A young man passes,a flower tattoo around his neck like a garland.
It is not the sacrifice,the garlanded calf,that wins us grace,nor even the sermon,“PRACTICAL HOLINESS,”promised us at St. Aldate’s Sunday at ten.It is the rain that redeems,settling the dust and heat,returning us to memoryas to the sea.
• Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978)
It is not merely not knowing which to portray, a headless female torsoor a bunch of bananas, each velvety spot on their leopard-yellow skin miming some small fleck of corruptionbeneath her pearly husk; the poet must say
who he is today, old or young, woman or man, wise or feeble-minded. Wordsrequire a transformation. Mirrors are his, holding in their icy walls a face that did not exist before;he must mask his own with their quicksilver plan,
moulding clay, if he can, from his features–lines, planes, softened-by-sorrow contours.The hunter learns to fear as he walks the way of tigers, sniffing in the fragrant spoor. So poets in the dropped tracksof other poets stand, entering the pains
of slayer and slain: both are statuary still, angel’s wings salt-bright in flightor else stiffened in that pose imposed by air. The poet sees his own live parchments draw such nightly luminescence,the spirit of what he may write, if he will.
Richard M. Flynn • Defining Gravity
Nigel Hinshelwood • No Bark, Very Little Bite
for Henry Taylor
A man who worked on a silo onceLost himself and fell the whole way
Landing feet first in the light rainStarting then. He was not alone,
He lived, and I’ve seen him since—walkingAnd driving a car. And I see his friends
Lifting him with tenderness, and a certainWorkmanlike resolve, into the bed
Of a pickup for the ride to Leesburg15 miles off. I see him make his slow way
Up the steps to Meeting, wearing his newDark suit Sunday after Sunday,
And Henry’s father’s rusted truckjunked in the 50s in a gully
Near the railroad embankment:The block consumed by a nest
Of brush, weed-choked, and vinesReaching through the blank sockets
Of the dashboard, ignition wires dribblingloose, and perhaps this same pickup
Easing forward one day years beforeWith the rain, a man sitting upright
Squinting through the flyspecked windshieldTo find whatever smoothness there was
Left in that road, turning outPast all the neighboring farms.
Orson Welles is trying to makean elephant disappear.
All that rearranging of furniture,deciding who gets the TV, and the childrenhiding in doorways to hear what they thinkthe adults don’t want them to know.
All of the trucks and garbage bags,pots and pans, books, recordingsof the musicwe won’t listen to anymore.
The photographs split down the middle,even the ones of the bright-eyedwedding party in their morning coatsand taffeta dresses.
Nailholes in the walls,bare floors, windows locked,keys given away.
The elephant won’t disappearalthough Orson Welles is squinting inconcentration. “Please,” he says, “please.
It ought to be easier.
Wayne Kline • Jeffy Liked the Way the Robot Flexed Its Mechanical Claw . . .
Danee lifted her white feet and hungand licked the teethof the masculine day, auf dem Bay.
Swamp,the thrill of flat roads in flat country,the exquisite childcounting the record number of mosquito biteson skin still hot under calamine.
Tongue wants to sayscrub palmetto,as if coming out of itwere an accomplishment.How many times I’ve told a YankeeRoyal Palms aren’t common,that most of the land
is scrub palmetto.They think I’ve survivedrattlers and cottonmouths,especially when I add one grandfather deadfrom Okefenokee Swamp yellow fever.Such salty mystery I give these Yankees!
I give green tomato pickleon heathen laden tables,white pique dresses on sunburned backs,a smidgin of violence-the grandmother’s suicide,the burning of the turpentine still,the fatal appendix of Uncle Ashley—are all good for that,
but mostly I say scrub palmetto,and leave it to themto work up their ownredneck apparitions.Oh the thrillof flat roads in flat country.
Tired of piggies and rog dog doggies,I sank my teeth in a fine, white skin.I drank like a tick till my legs grew bandy,till my bulk broke off and my head stayed in.
With my teeth I tore the yaw brown yammies,I chewed rennets and the poldy pin,but I had no flue, no croft, no belly,no heart, no hands to put them in.
Ron Weber • Slash and Burn
Mortal, I shall enter the shadow,cry my several farewells, waveonly once to the cypresses and pines,then good-bye everything, except
that hour when you threwback your black hair into the shadeof the bright mimosa,that I take with me.
Eugenio Montale• After a Motet by
A child requested that I render, using pen and ink,the likeness of an animal. What kind of animal, I asked.A fish, replied the child. But when I had reproduced,in lush detail, the North American Wrass, a shoal-dwellingspecimen, the child quivered like a tuning fork struck anirregular blow, and did not stop during my entire visit,which extended itself accordingly.
Laurence Gonzales • Tommy
Pamela Gordon • Seat Dancing
Robert Gregory • Why Things Are a Mess
Penny Newbury • Erotica
Eugene Stein • The Reunification of Germany and Other Stories
Cecilia Arnold • 2 photos
Kathy Bell • 2 photos
Jeanne Birdsall • Self-Portrait (photo)
Sy Gresser • Hiroshima II (sculpture)• Limestone Lovers (sculpture)
Wolfgang Jasper • Alice in ’73 (charcoal)• Open House (charcoal)
Jody Mussoff • Blonde Catching Puppy (colored pencil)• Five Women (colored pencil)• Girl Pressing Friend’s Head (colored pencil)
Janet Snell • Red Devil (oil)
Benedict Tisa • Trish’s Bird (photo)• Rosemary’s Butterfly (photo)• Celeste’s Hummingbird (photo)
Book Reviews by Frank Allen, Grace Bauer, Jolie Barbiere, Paula Bonnell, Harry Calhoun, Rose Ciccarelli, Bill Costley, Lindsay E. Edmunds, Richard Flynn, Lisa Forestier, James A. Freeman, Kenneth Funsten, Loss Pequeño Glazier, Nigel Hinshelwood, William D. Hunt, Philip K. Jason, Lane Jennings, Ed Kaitz, Joseph Keppler, Christine Lahey-Dolega, Patricia Lesko, Lenny Lianne, Joe Marusiak, Lois Mathieu, Louis McKee, D. Edmund Miller, Mark Moran, George Myers Jr., A. L. Nielsen, Kurt Nimmo, Michael O’Leary, David Sheridan, Rita Signorelli-Pappas, Robert Peters, S. Ramnath, Steven B. Rogers, Ben Satterfield, Don Skiles, Rod Smith, Jane Somerville, Laurel Speer, Craig Peter Standish, Patricia Stanley, Gregory Stephenson, John Stickney, J.C. Todd, Kenneth Warren, Gail White