Boone’s genius was to recognize the difficulty as neither material nor political but one purely moral and aesthetic.
—William Carlos Williams,
“The Discovery of Kentucky”
Narrator is unmanageable. Demonstrates a disregard for form bordering on the paranoid. Questioned closely, he declares himself the open enemy of conventional narrative categories. . . . Read more
It is black. Black and rearing up; rounded points, pointy points. Black and matted together; plates and plains, lines and radiant circles. Black on black. Black on black on black.
Is this a mountain? Mountains? Is this the ocean—all those rearing points, that shifting? . . . Read more
Part One. Before Getting to My Desk
Before getting to my desk this morning I’ve woken to the back of Luke’s spine in blue light and understood for the first time that is the image I have been dreaming of after working the “I” entirely out of a poem that didn’t need it. . . . Read more
I think everyone’s glad I’m dead, said the stripper
with the caved-in face. Her fingers were bone with no
sinew. She flapped her arms at the two wrens
caught up in the rafters and staring down
on the empty dance hall at the Möbius Strip Club
of Grief. . . .
Notebooks stood in a rack, straight and tightly shut beside a ruckus of birthday cards. Their colors drew my eye as I went past. I am overly susceptible to colors, even though so much of the world seems best in black and white. The first notebook had a pale blue cover, . . . Read more
I am perfectly fine here: ice-choked,
thin as an eyelash. The bootprints on
my headboard are getting darker.
The chimney: clogged with fish eyes
and sea glass. Somewhere my enemies
are singing to the food on their plates.
As a boy watching movies with my father, . . .
Summer camp. The Connecticut hills. Cumulous oaks and maples surround the glassy surface of the lake. At a distance the water looks black. Beneath my small hands, paddling forward, cupping down and pulling back, it sparkles, mica specks drifting in the sunlit water. Transparent minnows scatter below me. I can see clear to the bottom: gold and tawny sand, . . . Read more
He absolutely killed me: ravished.
Their mother loved idioms, coaxed life back into the dead slang of generations past; cool beans, groovy daddy-o, and douche bag all had a place at the table, the breakfast table where she often discussed termite tracks along with her nightly rendezvous. . . . Read more
My cultural legacy has revealed itself to me in unexpected ways. As a child of immigrants who came from a community of once-immigrants, I picked up some family mythologies via after-dinner stories, and some traditions through our special occasion activities. Being Saiyed meant being more than Indian and Muslim, not only descended from Persian missionaries to the subcontinent, . . . Read more
I first knew Coleman Barks in 1970 when I took his class on writers of American realism at the University of Georgia. We read Flaubert and Turgenev in that class because Coleman believed you couldn’t understand the American realists without the French and Russian authors as examples. Students thought of him as a nonconformist, . . . Read more