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Donne Undone

However much traditional standards are leveled in our late democratic society, American theater will persist in challenging putatively oppressive values and the figures who enforce them.  So I concluded after seeing Wit, the play by Margaret Edson that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1999 and is . . . . Continue Reading »

Briefly Noted 20

The First and the Lastby isaiah berlinnew york review books, 141 pages, $19.95 In 1996, two years before he died at the age of eighty-nine, Isaiah Berlin received a request from a professor of philosophy at Wuhan University in China, asking him to offer a précis of his core ideas for a Chinese . . . . Continue Reading »


The Sum of the Insignificant Another molecule, this one deliberate and in the act of forming water. Why does it bother? I consult the wind but learn little. Usually I can count on its salient asides—1989 would be just one example. I was apprenticed to nature then, or so I thought. I wrote of . . . . Continue Reading »

I Am No Lazy Lover

I am no lazy lover with sweeping grandeurs of small talk. Words, you discover are passing; love endures. Proffered is no measured length of the potential soul. Rather, influence of strength, corner-stone, cemented whole. The senses know the form and smile and eyes of love, but the lover’s norm is . . . . Continue Reading »

Ritenuto: With My Daughter at the Lake

The Falls Road northern light was fading gray: a sudden snowfall swept us eastward like a curtain rising at the driveway to the lake. I stopped my car beside the bridge and hiked out to the day’s last scene which starred my strong and happy sons fast racing up along a gravelled path, each to test . . . . Continue Reading »


I hang upsidedown from the roof of your skull sleeping—my wings crossed over me like Pharaoh’s arms, locking in a wisdom millennial sands have leached and buried. We are here by the thousands. Light tilted upwards stirs us in a dark hoodoo: ripples of crepe, eyes like red sequins, fangs that . . . . Continue Reading »

In a Dark Country Night

I see one bumblebee heading over the fence and into the doorway of this shrunken Old Field’s Baptist Church. The trees are tagged with signs of modern advancement: KEEP OUT, BAD DOGS, as out of the big house comes a white-haired man saying he’s Harry Smith, maker of this miniature, and . . . . Continue Reading »


I have walked now for days on end with my eyes closed, thoughts centered at the point of my nose as I imagine a cat’s to be, drawn wink by sleepy wink forward from the brain until the inner resources are pruned purple into a pure moment of insignificance. I walk this way because I see better with . . . . Continue Reading »

Straw Hat

The sun filters through the filigree and sprinkles dot lights upon my face as I draw musky breath: each draught, humid hay, salty, delicious. This straw hat was Dad’s. I had forgotten until I sensed his smell, lifted it, and saw his sweat mark upon the band. The scorching sun fed desperation and . . . . Continue Reading »


I invoke the air in rage, am like a cancer in a cage—only myself to burn, to burn; mere glass and sun on an empty stage. Pick and spade, curse and yearn—agatefulls are struck and turned, one by one and year by year, until the hollow has been earned. Now the reckoning . . . . Continue Reading »

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