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Articles from No. 90, Spring

After the Church Reading against the War
It was Galway kept talking about the sidewalkand how it was made of stone and not cementand what a great wonder it was to him,but there was old snow piled up and I had towalk in the street against the cars mostlyspeeding cabs and I would have stood my...
Everyday Poem
ILand surveyed, glad to be done with that job,exactly the right activity.Someone thinks like a Prussian,punishes his wife, the kids.She removes her earringwhen he takes her measure,who's had practice doing so.Feelings enter poems-a bit of illumination...
Every Girl Is an Experimental Girl
In Sun Bank lobby the palest girl knitsa heavy blue thing. You could say nature is winning.She knows seven palms and seven peoplein the city where an alligator is a grocery cart.Coming back, she'd wanted lichen in her lobby, expected greensnakes, vines....
Fact and Form, Blood and Love
A. Van Jordan, The Cinéaste (Norton, 2013)Shane McCrae, Blood (Noemi Press, 2013)The documentary imagination is alive and well in American poetry-particularly in African American poetry, and particularly as that poetry addresses history (though the same...
"Here Is a Happiness"
"HERE IS A HAPPINESS" Donald Revell, Tantivy (Alice James Books, 2012)For the past few years, everywhere I've traveled, I've taken Donald Revell's The Bitter Withy along. The book has been to Glen Lake, Michigan, and Oahu; to Charlottesville and Palm...
Holy Songs Presented on Chipped Plates
HOLY SONGS PRESENTED ON CHIPPED PLATES Jennifer Atkinson, Canticle of the Night Path (Parlor Press, 2013)With lyrical fluency reminiscent of Gerard Manley Hopkins', with diction and anaphora reminiscent of the New Testament, with dignity of tone and...
"I Simply Came Back to Work"
"I SIMPLY CAME BACK TO WORK" Pablo Neruda, All the Odes, edited by lian Stavans (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013)Sometimes, excess must be welcomed and embraced. Here is a book of 225 poems in Spanish and English, with eighteen different translators....
Learning to Swim in the Public Pool
to our son JohnYou died, a few days old, in an isolette,but all your supposed childhood, I take youout & concentrate until you flickerbriefly in specifics. I take you outcold-water days, acid-rock radio orcountry music drained away by wind,&...
Lilac Horses
Short horses are mules who still do some workbut ATV's have taken over the business of mostof what the horses used to do. Horses are nowlong-legged cows hanging out by the edgeof the road looking over the edge of the fencenot quite knowing if they're...
Midwest Blues Leave Me Shining
Blue streetlight on the snow-limned trees like butaned rocksalt,on the post office & bar, on the red brick buildingswith plywood lidded over their windows,& lightless houses with letters nailedto their doors-the doors like bulletin boards, making...
Oaxaca
Call it the bus they used to carry workersand thieves alike both going to work or Godknows what or ten hands reaching down to pull youup so you could hang on to the slatsand feel your upper teeth going into your brainas first you slowed going up to give...
Palace of Illusion
for Rusty LevensonI take a sledge to the bust of Berkeley,a box cutter to half a dozen portraitsof empiricists in important wigs.I open a water main and wash awaythe treasures of ancient Japan.I pull all the fake Franz Klines off the wall.The real ones...
Tableaux Vivants
1. The Living Room"Charlotte Corday," Paul Jacques Aimé Baudre, 1860Mannequin-still, his bodystretches the sofa's narrow length.A dying man. A bathtub.Its water twilled rust-red.Scrap of green throw blanketinghis feet. Her feet won't work.She should...
The Day an Officer Shows Up Who Looks Exactly like the Actor Gary Oldman
Not when he played a one-eyed pimpwith a gold grille, long opaque nails,and a scythe scarred around his cheekbone.Not the gay playwright done in by his lover.Not the crooked cop in a white suit who blaststhrough an apartment door and everyoneinside as...
The Good Pig
Might have been the books we read as children,our confusion about human protocol. Who calls whom.What to do now, etc. All those animals dressedin human clothes. The kid with the animal snout andbeaver teeth, fur all over his body but dressedin blue overalls....
You're Back
1.You went away and they went onwithout you. When you reappearedwith kids and an ironic beardthe ticket carousel was full.They'd finally stopped taking ordersfrom east of Dougal and redrawnthe map's eccentric ballpoint borders.The dough hook dervished...
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