Features

Afternoon Sun at the End of Summer

 

The children wade naked and thigh-deep

in stone-colored water. They duck under

and come up flinging drops from their hair.

Wind raises gooseflesh on their arms.

Touch is the miracle, wrote Whitman.

Touch is the earth’s language and the children

speak it. . . .

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Hellion

“Y’all put that gator right back where you found him or I’ll pepper your asses with 177s.”

I aimed my Daisy right at Butch, the more chicken-shit of the pair. 

Mitch held Dragon by the jaws while Butch tried to steady his lashing tail. 

“Feeding him Atomic Fireballs again, . . .

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The Book of the Dead Man (Dylan’s Names)

Live as if you were already dead.
                           —Zen admonition

All I can do is be me, whoever that is.
                           —Bob Dylan

 

 1. About the Dead Man and Dylan’s Names

  . . .

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I Came Here to Be Alone

I paced back and forth in my art studio, not taking my eyes off the drawing on my long white desk. I ’d just finished penciling in the eyebrows of a third African tribesman. A group of them stood on an above-ground subway platform, looking solemnly at men in suits who sat on the stopped train, . . .

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Studies in Darkness

“There’s something about black,” said Georgia O’Keeffe. “You feel hidden away in it.” Louise Nevelson said she fell in love with black: “You can be quiet and it can contain the whole thing.” Somehow this is true for me, but it is also true that the first time I ever felt afraid looking at art was when I stood in front of Francisco de Goya’s Black Paintings. . . .

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Love in the Time of PrEP

 

To see more clearly,

             we climbed the shifting sands

                             of the volcano. We read

in the guidebook that we might

             be haunted if the mist & the light

 

were just right. Sure enough, . . .

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Hammer & File

The January that William fell down—1968—his father had plugged Christmas lights one strand into the next and laid them circular-wise around the banks of the skating pond immediately behind their house. The bulbed string haloed William as he lay on the ice with dilated pupils. The blanched sky, three figures on his vision’s fringe, . . .

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Harm’s Way

1.

For years I said nothing.

Silent, I paid close attention to the words that others used.

I heard writers of nonfiction quote the opening sentence of Joan Didion’s essay “The White Album”: “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”

I heard writers and readers of all genres say that stories foster empathy. . . .

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