Features

The New Day

Enters in the heroic mode, feathered

And helmeted, muscle-bound

 

For glory, smelling of scorch. Raise

That sword a little higher

 

If you can lift it and buckle your straps

Tight. Insert fanfare. . . .

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Sk8r

June, 1985

If it had been night, the neighbors wouldn’t have stared at Ilsa in the back of the squad car. In darkness, the blue and red lights overhead might strobe her mother and Harold into sight, but Ilsa would have remained invisible. The fight was between those two anyway; . . .

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Mad Pieces

1.

In 1392, King Charles VI of France suffered the first of forty-four recorded psychotic episodes, turning on his soldiers and killing four before he was subdued. During subsequent bouts of insanity, he forgot he was king or thought he was Saint George, failed to recognize his wife, . . .

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Smoking with the Dead and Wounded

For many years, I practiced the art of dying. During my enlistment as an active duty infantryman in the U.S. Army, I died more times than I can remember. I was blown up by a simulated hand grenade inside a mock village at Camp Rilea, on the Oregon coast. A sniper killed me as the snow fell in Fort Drum, . . .

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Wabi Sabi

侘寂 

 

To love a thing

whose demise

you can foresee:

a swallow flying

through a windstorm, 

a teapot cracked.

 

A lopsided house,

stone roof off

center, . . .

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Cloud Study

Clouds, come down to sleep in the treetops— 

if you’ve seen the pines’ wide boughs 

 

cradle the snow, even from a distance, 

you know they can hold you. Or float 

 

yourself into a roofless, falling-down barn 

and lie in the moldering hay. . . .

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The Pool

The MacEvoys had the pool dug out of their backyard in April of 1983. For three straight Saturdays in March, Bob Cobb and Dan Gray and Lee MacEvoy, in dungarees and sweatshirts, put their backs into saws and shovels and wheelbarrows. They dug up the lilac bushes along the north side of the property. . . .

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Stamp Fever

Father’s latest gift to his 14-year-old son was in a box on which was printed THE GOLDEN GALLEON OF STAMPS, a cornucopia that guaranteed more than a thousand stamps from around the world. And accompanying it, an album, every page with a checkerboard design, arranged alphabetically by the name of a country. . . .

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Gary Ferguson & Alexis de Tocqueville Sit Down with Some of Earth’s Enemies

Let’s face it: the nexus of American nature writing resides in the mountains. To have hiked at a mile high—at least, but preferably twice that—and written about it is almost a required endeavor. Gary Ferguson has done this and more. He’s bona fide; he’ll make a good spokesperson. His trail-essay books come out of the tradition of an author-guide leading readers into wild areas for delight and instruction. . . .

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