Show and Tell


“In the actual, from which another life/Is straining to burst, to set out in navigation,/Or be swallowed by demons in the leaves.”

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Smart Fish Don’t Bite

(Gary Metras Fishing)

“One of these days,/the guy with the rod won’t be so kind./This is why we hear about the liars,/hypocrites and crooks like Spiro Agnew,/Richard Nixon, Jimmy Swaggart,/Bernie Madoff, Sam Bankman-Fried…”

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Journey Through Mountains

(“Twelve Views from a Thatched Hut, Detail Two” by Xia Gui (1195-1224)

So many stars and mountains, crests and sky,/Are we not fools to think that we can know/What underlies such intricate designs?”

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My mad uncle had the Burma jungle/In his head—burnt-out tracts of history/He’d stalk in ambush of his sanity”

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Olive Tree Treaty

“Don’t know how long it will take to bloom,/but I want to make a start/tomorrow.”

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Death of the Polar Explorers

Doubt/Never stunned the marrow in their bones/Who rose above the merely physical,/And if they faltered, it was only once—”

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Cycling at Vésinet

Her long hair, the color of her pants,/falls down her back. She has what appears to be a flower tucked behind her left ear.”

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A Taste of Poetry from the Late Tang Dynasty

(Painting of a poet by Wang Wei, from the eighth century)

Insects fall silent amid the sedge and cranes grow restive in the treetops,/Sensing this busy world no longer cares for the sentiments of old.”

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(“The Triumph of Aemilius Paulus” by Carle Vernet (1789))

“You returned to Rome Augustus triumphant./King of defeated nation I trailed behind./To this day the senators can’t tell/which of the two wore the wreath.”

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For Love Nor Money

Every object, rests on its certain devaluation/In the implacable fact of an ending—decay,/Dissolution, death—from which another/New thing and its solicitation emerges.”

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One Little, Two Little, Three Little Indians

There’s also a roadside historical marker/noting the massacre of the Lee family/by ‘an Indian war party’ in 1782.”

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Prima Facie

“‘Sometimes all a man needs is a horizon/in which to vanish,’ I thought.”

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Like Hosea

“Or was it the Living God/Who did do this,/And not Hosea?”

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Dying in Amsterdam

A bicycle in Amsterdam in 2011. (Erich J. Prince)

“What magnificent coordination. A ballet/on wheels. Impossible, but there it was/day after rainy day, not one collision.”

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Un Carro Triste: A Melancholic Car

We must take the language/by surprise;/seal its every utterance/with a kiss or tear…”

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