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Summer 2011

Two Poems

Tools Hammer and hacksaw, vise and screwdriver have the hard gaze and slow heartbeat of reptiles. I am visiting the hardware store with my father. In a wooden drawer stained by dirty fingers a sea of nails rolls back and forth. The bare light bulb burning in the middle of the ceiling cuts deep shadows [...]


Virid is the spring that snakes through our garden   dappled with sun-shade (snake-skin)    surrounded by choked-up laurels and strange purple flowers that waver in the water like reflected nightmares “Let me show you La Fontaine,” I take his hand and lead him up the garden path, deeper, ducking our heads for the wisteria [...]

My father had this girlfriend. Her name was Gemma Fay. She looked like Mia Farrow. I think. I only saw her once and she was naked then. Gemma Fay was my father’s first girlfriend and, therefore, the anti-hero of every cautionary tale he ever told. For years, she represented the myriad horrors that awaited me [...]

That dizzying last summer we explored the one billion possibilities of bumblebee assassination. We learned lacing the curb with Dr. Pepper to lure them under a false pretense of sweetness was easiest, most merciful, for the shadows of our black devil shoe soles were guillotine-swift and double-quick to evict the poor souls from their black [...]

Strange birds

The cloud cleared and the sun broke through. Exotic birds with warm colours, probably from Africa, landed on the back wall, as light as air and yet strong enough to cross deserts and oceans. I’m no ornithologist but I’d say they belong to the tit family. One thing you don’t expect is a vulture to [...]

Single Life #18

Then she says, of e.e. cummings, that when one resorts to numbering poems instead of titling them, it’s clear that each is merely the passage of time between tumblers of whiskey, the most recent version of an old trick for the acquisition of women, and I am cockswollen enough to confess that that is what [...]

Virgin Mary

I am a garden locked up. Listen here. I am not interested in being threaded through a needle or woven into your tapestry. The eye is too fine. My kneecaps are too wide. I am a spring enclosed. Intimacy means being bruised all the time. And someone else’s thumb is pressing pressing pressing watching the [...]

The past is present

The Bird Sisters Rebecca Rasmussen Crown Publishers 2011   When they were teenagers, Milly hoped to marry and have children, while Twiss hoped to stand on the Continental Divide and “to be the world’s most interesting spinster.” Rebecca Rasmussen’s debut novel, The Bird Sisters, opens at least half a century later with Milly and Twiss [...]

The non-expert expert

Otherwise Known As the Human Condition: Selected Essays and Reviews 1989-2010 Geoff Dyer 2011 Graywolf No writer I know occupies as many rooms in the storied compound of arts criticism as Geoff Dyer. In Graywolf’s mix of Dyer’s two British-published anthologies (one in 1999; the other, 2010), the peripatetic author traverses photography, film, music, and [...]