cover photo Rainer
Werner Fassbinder/Hannah Schygulla
publication date 10/13/1985

Table of Contents


Toby Barlow 
• Four Literary Magazines

Mitch Cohen 
• 1984 in Berlin

Kenneth Funsten 
• Allergies: A Commentary on American Poetry

Bob Halliday 
• Randolph Stow: An Australian Original

George Myers Jr. 
• Culture & Anarchy (John Sokol)

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


Henry Allen

Idyll #6

I want to live in a country
where things get torn apart at the seams
and they have to pay people to get them to sing
the national anthem, which is called “The Brunt.”
Here, nobody sleeps—the words
for “sleep” and “ratchet” are the same—
but it’s like in a dream when you dream
that 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 things
like “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.

Todd Baron

a wave in which

a room imagined or a room entombed.
in a picture the first person to be studied.
a tender mix of soft wool & flannel
by the sea. a bed by the wayside a cat
in the undertone. windows lined with face
about to be drawn & broken. it happens to be
day or a day or it’s night & you dream
on the white couch by the open air.
a uniform by the door by the polished floors. and.
intrusion of a name. outside
you gather wind. stalks of liberty. a
flag by the ocean must be rain or a recording
of hand-claps. one of those faces.
then glow from matches a series of shots
of the dark. then the weather gets cold. you
picture 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 music
just goes on. “love is good for anything
that ails you . . .” it must be spring or winter.
there is no name.

James Bertolino 
Five Views of the New History

Patrick Bizzaro 

In the Niagara River

I would spend my days
rolling to my back, entering
a damp coffin. The water
closed around me like cool
silk, the heavy of cushion.
Closing my eyes I imagined
the seeping water to be
cold worms sticking to
my cheeks and chin. 

The current spread its breath
around me where I floated
seven miles above the falls.
Tiretubes were poised life
guards every fifty feet. 

Missing one, there was always
another tube to grab
like the soft limb
a young boy slips to
when he falls from a tree
toward a hole
where his life waits,
shrunken and wrinkled
as a swimmer’s hands.

Nancy Harris Calman<

Orchids when the moon

The male sends
on invisible roads
to the female
purple, raw

this ruffle
soundless around the stem

and then
it takes years to know:
the male forgets, is pressed
between the pages of a book
or carried down the aisle on a satin arm.

And she sits, knowing
something happened:
petals swell: colors
like fireworks, expensive and fast.

Then the petals fall into a little pile.
The moon opens.
The petals shine.

Ann Downer 

Practical Holiness

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 pigs
dreaming 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 grimaces
by mother’s arm, or the stroller’s.
Amid these limboed babies one who has been weaned
reclines 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,
promised us at St. Aldate’s Sunday at ten.
It is the rain that redeems,
settling the dust and heat,
returning us to memory
as to the sea.

Roger Finch 

Incerezza del Poeta

• Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978)

It is not
    merely not knowing which to portray,
        a headless female torso
or a bunch of bananas, each velvety spot
    on their leopard-yellow skin miming
        some small fleck of corruption
beneath her pearly husk; the poet must say

who he is
    today, old or young, woman or man,
        wise or feeble-minded. Words
require 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 tracks
of other poets stand, entering the pains

of slayer
    and slain: both are statuary still,
        angel’s wings salt-bright in flight
or 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

Dan Johnson 

The Road I See

for Henry Taylor

A man who worked on a silo once
Lost himself and fell the whole way

Landing feet first in the light rain
Starting then. He was not alone,

He lived, and I’ve seen him since—walking
And driving a car. And I see his friends

Lifting him with tenderness, and a certain
Workmanlike resolve, into the bed

Of a pickup for the ride to Leesburg
15 miles off. I see him make his slow way

Up the steps to Meeting, wearing his new
Dark suit Sunday after Sunday,

And Henry’s father’s rusted truck
junked in the 50s in a gully

Near the railroad embankment:
The block consumed by a nest

Of brush, weed-choked, and vines
Reaching through the blank sockets

Of the dashboard, ignition wires dribbling
loose, and perhaps this same pickup

Easing forward one day years before
With the rain, a man sitting upright

Squinting through the flyspecked windshield
To find whatever smoothness there was

Left in that road, turning out
Past all the neighboring farms.

Beth Joselow

Playing the Magician

Orson Welles is trying to make
an elephant disappear.

All that rearranging of furniture,
deciding who gets the TV, and the children
hiding in doorways to hear what they think
the adults don’t want them to know.

All of the trucks and garbage bags,
pots and pans, books, recordings
of the music
we won’t listen to anymore.

The photographs split down the middle,
even the ones of the bright-eyed
wedding party in their morning coats
and taffeta dresses.

Nailholes in the walls,
bare floors, windows locked,
keys given away.

The elephant won’t disappear
although Orson Welles is squinting in
concentration. “Please,” he says, “please.

It ought to be easier.

William Meyer

Turquoise Shrouds Are Floating in the Hay Fresco Oles

                 Danee lifted her white feet and hung
and licked the teeth
of the masculine day, auf dem Bay.

Suzanne Rhodenbaugh 

Scrub Palmetto

the thrill of flat roads in flat country,
the exquisite child
counting the record number of mosquito bites
on skin still hot under calamine.

Tongue wants to say
scrub palmetto,
as if coming out of it
were an accomplishment.
How many times I’ve told a Yankee
Royal Palms aren’t common,
that most of the land

is scrub palmetto.
They think I’ve survived
rattlers and cottonmouths,
especially when I add one grandfather dead
from Okefenokee Swamp yellow fever.
Such salty mystery I give these Yankees!

I give green tomato pickle
on 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 them
to work up their own
redneck apparitions.
Oh the thrill
of flat roads in flat country.

Melissa Ridge 

Fou, Fou Beauty

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

Dieter Weslowski 

If the Bahamas

Mortal, I shall enter the shadow,
cry my several farewells, wave
only once to the cypresses and pines,
then good-bye everything, except

that hour when you threw
back your black hair into the shade
of the bright mimosa,
that I take with me.

Eugenio Montale
• After a Motet by 

Thaddeus Ziolkowski 

The North American Wrass

         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-dwelling
specimen, the child quivered like a tuning fork struck an
irregular 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