Ann Arbor Review


Alan Britt
Shutta Crum
Jumoke Verissimo
Las Slomovits
Richard Kurtz
Lyn Lifshin
Duane Locke
Serena Wilcox
Jerry Blanton
Dami Ajayi
Odimegwu Onwumere
Joanie Freeman
Dike Okoro
Amit Parmessur
Paul B. Roth
Divya Rajan
Kim Keith
Fred Wolven
C. Derick Vann
Al Ortolani
Steve Barfield
Jim Davis
Chris Lord
Jennifer Burd
Will Swanson
Isabel Kestner

Lisa Schmidt
Running Cub
Tolu Ogunlesi



The sky this night is cobalt blue, is
Cloud tinted
To appear tent shaped.

Its cone top pushed in to flatten and have
Muscular shoulders, board
Like heated balloons over Bohemia.
An opaqueness hides a billion stars,
The tiny specks and sparks are the
The fireflies self-illuminations.

We have unraveled ourselves from the rococo rooms.
The rococo rooms
Where high heels roam alone in search for lost glass slippers with buckles woven from newspapers.
The dancing was voodoo.

We left the angel with long blonde hair, peacock wings,
A dress of silver flat in front who came to make the annunciation
Standing alone in the rococo room, holding
A lily whose petal tips turned brown and wilted.
The angel, feeling futile, would ally with anti-matter.

Outside, in spite of an illusory tent, it was as cold
As Keats' St. Agnes eve here in Los Angeles.
We warmed each other with our knees,
Felt we were laurel trees, aboriginal in Australia,
Dreamtime was a damask rose, pink velvet.



We sat in a diner, a replica, a guessed-at appearances
Of past railroad days.  Once railroad tracks outside, now
Concrete with its noise pollution of automobiles.
We sat still, the scenery outside moved, sent out fumes.
We were protected by machines cleaning the machine-attacked air.
Yesterday, she and I had eaten in a simulated Italian Ristorante
That had a tall Irish man playing a tiny Swiss accordion
And a green-card short old visitor from Sicily simulating
A tenore grazie and singing high notes falsetto
About his years-ago youth's primo amore.
We, today, were discussing the inscrutability of qualia.
We wondered, questioned, if the Cuban bread
Dipped in olive oil with seeds tasted the same to both of us.
We wanted to believe, have faith, the taste
Of stiff Cuban bread soaked in olive oil
Had the same taste for the both of us, but how could we know.
How could we ever know how what sensations
The taste buds on the tongue of the other felt.
I looked at her.  She looked at me.  We both know
We would never know how the taste
Of Cuban bread soaked in olive oil tasted to the other.


His all-absorbing love
Was a thread abstraction,
A reductive, gold-woven carnation
He also revered Jules La Forgue harlequins,
He played a mandolin,
Wore an assertive hat, sharp
Pointed in front, unraveled straw at back,
But like Jules La Forgue lovers
Could never make the premier pas.
As a child from cotton field, he undonned his overalls
To wear a harlequin costume
With blue and white striped silk pantaloons,
And imagined he drunk champagne
From a glass tilted to his lips
By a girl whose bald head
Was hid under a vermilion wig
And had on her orange scarf
A drop of Paris perfume.
Sometimes her eyes hazel,
Sometimes a pale emerald green.
His lover, the only one not daydreamed,
Was a carnation of threads,
Embossed gold on a ground of gray
Upon a Georgia bedspread
Bought at a Tybee Island garage sale.


She was distant from the lawyer-office hostess desk,
Spread out on a towel with dyed threads
Depicting a stereotype of a turtle,
Green with large gold sentimental eyes
That suggested the turtle loves you.
She was the only one on this isolated part
Of the beach where the sea oats were abundant
And skimmers rested from skimming
Except for the skinny man wearing
A straw hat with the straw unraveling on the brim
That send out the advertisement
The wearer was a bum of some type
Of stereotype.  She had come to this
Rarely visited part of the beach to watch
The least terns flying with a fish,
Flashing silver from their beck, sending out
Silver rays in all directions through the atmosphere
As the least terns returned to their nest
To feed their young.  She was excited.
The man in the straw hat with the tattered brim
Had come to practice a boxer's feet movements,
How to step back to soften the blow or
Make the aggressor miss.  He was somewhat paranoid,
And always expected someone would try to hit him,
An old bum, an old beggar
As he strolled down the Tampa Streets.
He had read newspaper story after newspaper story
About old men being beat up on the streets
By vandals just for the fun of it.
The man knew nothing about boxing,
And was practicing these protective foot movements
From a textbook on fisticuffs.  He was afraid.
The two loners never met.


Yes, you are astute in observing that the first
Decade of the twenty-first century might be
Classified as the Age of the Intellectual Plateau.
Intellectuality has not fallen as low as it did
In the Counter-Culture of the Sixties, or gone as high
As it did the post-period after American Revolution.
Do you remember when we were together
In Northwest Italy, where economists have
Verified that more blonde hair dry is sold
Than in any other location on the Italian peninsula.
Your white gold hair was natural,
And you were looked at as if a miracle.
We were in Trento where once like at Woodstock
A counter-culture revolution was centered.
Remember all the painting that documented
The counter-reformation, instead of torn
Body shirts and dresses with slits from the armpits
Past the thighs to the top of the knees, worn
By girls or boys as paraded at Woodstock,
There were red skull caps, long white beards,
And habits of scarlet.  St. Ignatius of Loyola
Was the hero, not Allen Ginsberg.  The Council
Of Trent, circa 1600.  Is by historians said to have
Turned the direction of art to Baroque.  The women's
Breasts were enlarged, see Bernini, and in spite
Of being much heavier than the Rococo Adolescent
Who spent her time prone on silk couch or in a swing.
These overweight Baroque women, floated in air
And never walked on the ground to have their bare feet
Touch the dirt of the earth--most of these girls
Were angels and had to have larger wings
To support larger bodies.  Parmigianino came
Somewhere in between when he painted St. Catherine
And her wheel, not as a saint, but as beauty queen,
Exposed her most beautiful breasts, breasts more
Beautiful than any of current, prevalent, high-priced centerfolds.
Now, the counter-culture of the sixties hated
Any form of beauty, a woman's body, of the lyricism
Of a poet like Chaucer, Marvell, Spenser, or Shakespeare.
Our second decade of the twenty-first century
About to begin is still victimized by being slave mentalities
To the Sixties counter-culture and has become
An "Age of Stillborn Poetry," and neo-kitsch.
Kitsch was excessively sentimental beauty,
Insincerely emotional, faked prettiness;
Neo-kitsch, that dominates 21st poetry is
Excessively sentimental ugliness.
Critical rumors has circulated that if a poet
Today does not use the word "vomit"
At least once every third line
He is rejected by our graduate student editors
As being over-prettified and an unrealistic
Since postmodern life is mostly vomiting.
Lind, no matter what period in history life
Is observed, life has always been absurd.
Out of the Council of Trent came the
Art of the Sacred Parody, such as in the poet
Richard Crenshaw, and many of others,
The slave mentalities of the Seventeen Century,
In this art of the Sacred Parody, sex is desexed
To have metaphors to praise an otherworldly God.
Out of Woodstock, the sixties counter-culture revolution,
Came the Art of Profane Parody where life
Was defiled to use as metaphors to apotheosize
Crack cocaine and rock music.  Well, Lind, I heard the phone
In the next room ringing, and according to
The time it is my weekly call from my stock
Broker so I must cease writing this letter.



Duane Locke, Tampa


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