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 old poet contemplates the late afternoon
of the Summer river.
Even then it was industrial brown.
There are no chairs in this flowing church.
Water is defined by flash and glisten
on a supple body.

A bell on a distant ship
tolls a lonely hour.

The world is here
in this meandering fractal mirror.
With manifest utility the Hudson
is a grand avenue of commerce.

The poet dips his grandfather beard
into the river.
The sacrament stirs
the sunset colors
on the stained glass surface.



I found this pen in a fever.
No reason to waste
a perfectly valid perspective.

From this angle I can see
statistics is the witchery
of science.

That my calculator
has no positive numbers
and only subtracts.

And that memory is to relationship
as echo is to voice.
But as an echo is a lesser copy
so a memory might lie.

But then who are we?
We are surely lost.

A clown with a painted smile
leans over my fever.
This cheerful merchant of cruelty
delights in the giddy anticipation
of disaster.


The Lakota are gathering on the Plains
With reverence, this grand horse culture
has come to this serious place.

Embers from the night fire
snap and rush into the dark.
It is proof there is magic
in this evening.
The drums are pounding a heartbeat rhythm.
This ancient thunder cannot be resisted.
There is also a constant chunk
of medicine rattle.
This is a primal beat
that reverberates in everything.

The dancers are inducing the spirit animals.
The fire is backlighting
a choreograph of sacred circles.
Here is a natural people
in step with the natural world.
This dance was found
at the far corner
of an antique dream.

Chant singing is voice
at the expense of song.
Serious as survival,
it is a tonal chorus
calling to the stars.
Like the coyote,
it is an organic point
and counter point.
It is a guttural whine
that wants communion
with the Great Spirit.

Based on a Photograph
by Charles Hayes

On the black pond of night
floats an arcane math.
In the half light of a moon
there is a partial reflection of a man.

The Hubble Telescope
is the most expensive thing
that has ever been made
and can only see mystery.

Since Einstein,
mass is time and time is mass.

Here is man as a shadow of time.
This is a relative reflection
that shimmers on the surface.
Knowing all the while
eroding into energy
causes an end to time.


Pray to an uncaring god
or say a sooth.
I could become the prophet
of a really smart god.

One who would understand
man's frailties and doubts.
A god who would celebrate
man's ingenuity and charity.
One who is not avid
for man's attention.
A god who does not need
man's blood.


Steve Barfield, West Palm Beach, Florida




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