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From the April 2018 Print Edition

“Death is king, and Vivat Rex!”—Alfred, Lord Tennyson He wields the scepter mortals must obey:The magistrate and thief, the saint and whore,The millionaire and pauper, wit and bore,Philosopher and dolt—his royal sayUndoes them all.  His conquered foes give wayBeneath an awful . . . . Continue Reading »


From the February 2018 Print Edition

“I only desire to find out knowledge . . . which may instruct me how to die well and how to live well.”—Michel de Montaigne “Life Skills”—the mindless high-school class that knocksInto our callow heads the way to doThe forms we face whenever something newRequires our consent: a . . . . Continue Reading »

Bad Advice

From the January 2016 Print Edition

“Do not go gentle into that good night” —Dylan ThomasNot gentle, I went mad, as that good nightEnveloped me. What did you hope I’d gain, My son, by perishing in rage? Less pain? Bravado in the dying of the light? You must have known I could not win that fight. I cursed the darkness; then I . . . . Continue Reading »

Gated Community

From the April 2015 Print Edition

The buyer signed the contract smugly sure The guarded walls he’d bought would keep away The street-game children, noisy in their play; The beggars, hungry, hideous, and poor; The Bible salesmen coming door to door; Annoying relatives, who’d overstay; Do-gooder activists, with things to say. . . . . Continue Reading »


From the October 2013 Print Edition

You’re with us still, your names engraved in stone, ?Inscribed in bronze, recited every May. ?Fresh flowers”mums, carnations, roses”say ?The pain’s still fresh: our grieving’s never done. ?Your serried graveyard markers”though you’re gone” ?Compel . . . . Continue Reading »


From the January 2012 Print Edition

The women knew their effort was in vain: No box of unguent, myrrh, or aloes could Prevent the corpse from rotting; muscles would ”with bones and sinews”turn to dust again. The body, pierced and bruised, had two nights lain Entombed behind a massive stone that stood Between these women . . . . Continue Reading »

Ultimate Grammar

From the December 2010 Print Edition

Our is , our are , our am ”all melt away To was and were , the markers of a grave. The sweet infinitives we hope to save” To sing , to cheer , to love , to kiss , to play ” Prove finite: for to die will end their stay. Carousing , feasting ”gerunds that we crave” . . . . Continue Reading »

Bayside Immortals

From the October 2008 Print Edition

San Francisco has not allowed burials within its city limits for over a century. Please come to Mount Parnassus for the view: The winding streets, the flowered hills, the dock, The cable cars, the Ferry Tower clock, The Golden Gate against Pacific blue. Select a play, or cabaret”a new . . . . Continue Reading »