Ann Arbor Review


Chris Lord
Joseph McNair
Duane Locke
Lazlo Slomovits
Alan Britt
Shutta Crum
Tolu Ogunlesi
Jerry Blanton
Paul B. Roth
Fred Wolven
Felino Soriano
Sharon E. Boyd
Joanie Freeman
Jumoke Verissimo
Running Cub
Jeanpaul Ferro
S. P. Flannery
Kristina Marie Darling
Gary Beck
Dike Okoro
Karyn M. Wolven


I-man slewed over the edge
Just like James Dean's challenger.
It's the fate of the rebels of his generation:
Reject the BS, run close to the edge,
But don't catch your cuff in the door handle.

I remember:
In my asphyxiating hometown,
How the man-boys used to race
Cigarettes hanging off their snarling lips,
The tips fanned by the shearing wind
So they glowed like demons' eyes--
Their jalopies roaring along the two
Lanes to purgatory--
An instant when the gods would laugh
As the man-boys shot across the crossroad highway
Betting their lives and glory
That a sixteen-wheeler barreling
On a late run wouldn't crush them like June bugs
Under a boot on the porch in a summer
Jasmine-scented evening of flickering fireflies.

Some didn't make it across and never ran again.

I remember one gaggle of six:
"Must've been doing 100," said the trooper.
The car had spun and rolled and collapsed,
Tumbling over and over, crunched into a ball, so
The six were encapsulated
Like black-and-blue and rasped flesh-berries inside
A metallic muffin baked for the gods.

But even if they lived beyond the teens,
They ran always close to the edge,
Daring the fall,
Daring the snags
That could grip them
Like the fingers of gods
And hurl them over.


"God is only Nature,"
Thought he in his eye lab.
"All things are one creature."

Growing in a pasture
Viewed from a grassy tab,
God is only Nature.

Atomic essence immature
He ponders there to grab
All things are one creature.

Attributes essential, pure
Develop from one stab--
God is only Nature.

That god in us is sure;
Despite a genetic dab,
All things are one creature.

We can grow; such a lure
Rips us from paternal gab.
God is only Nature--
All things are one creature.



             Needles is the name of the town
And what we feel when the wind ships down.
        Out of the mighty mountains it roars,
  Kicking up clouds with the energy it stores.
             Dust and sand prick our skin--
         No cool breeze this, sweet and thin--
            But a torrent of flowing arid heat
           As if a volcano can breathe a sheet:
            A grim vacuuming broil bakes us,
         Powdering the grime that cakes us.
    Our own breath comes in wheezing rasps
   From parched lips and gritty throats, grasps
         At words that will not broach the air,
         Hacks and coughs to squeeze the bare
            Essentials from the atmosphere--
            The tense yellowed blinding fear,
         The earth, crusty like a prickly cactus,
     The sky scattered with shredded cumulus
             And in the midst of the storm: we,
             Engulfed in the whizzing to the sea
               Of the needling, whirring wind
             Whose dirge howls a wasted wend. 

Jerry Blanton, Homestead, Florida


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