R  A  L  P H
  The Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy and the Humanities

Volume XXIV, Number 4

Mid-Spring 2001


My War Gone By, I Miss It So
"He's a reporter's reporter ---
or better, the kind of person you and I
would want having around to report on our war,
if we happened to be in the middle of one."

The Little Ice Age
"The cold cycle began in the 14th Century,
which was followed by the 15th Century and then
the 16th Century, although accounts differ. The cycle was at its worst
during the 18th Century where you could find your granny's
false teeth in the glass, at the side of the bed, chattering away
to no one in particular --- and finally freezing over."

Wall-to-Wall America
Post Office Murals in the Great Depression

"In abstract fashion, it shows
not only floating postcards and bottles and
scissors and an Uncle Sam figure in a fedora, but, too,
a local lunatic named "Belle Fontaine," two area physicians
who were known to wear shawls in preference to topcoats,
and a hippopotamus."

Without Vodka
Adventures in Wartime Russia

"The guards were often as hungry and as ragged
as the prisoners. Whenever there was a forced march,
the same lines were intoned: A step to the left, a step to the right,
counts as an escape. The convoy will make use
of their weapons without warning. March!"

Great Reviews of the Past
Ha Gin
"Much of the tale takes place shortly after
the Great Leap forward, in a medical facility
in the wilds of Muji, China. That's Muji as in moo-gee.
We might think of it as a post-Maoist (or post-partum)
version of General Hospital, but not as sprightly.
Nor as interesting."

Making Friends with Death,
The Steamboat and Stagecoach Era,
Alberto Moravia's The Time of Indifference

A Geezer in Paradise
Part I: King Carlos II
"These children have a way about them, don't they?
When I first met Carlos he certainly wasn't much to look at
all in a heap wrapped up in a dirty blanket, so listless and wan
that I figured that we'd have to lay him in the grave by nightfall.
Now look at him. He touched my heart then;
he owns it complete now."

Part II: The Ahora Market
"There is nothing more sensual for us Mexicophiles
than the first hot tortilla of the day. Biting into it
is not unlike biting into the skin of a sweet young thing.
Your teeth meet a very slight resistance, and ---
as you rip off a piece, there floats up a heady flowery smell:
protein-rich, fecund, filled with warm lust."

Tarquin's Lorve
"Tarquin is running barefooted on the scorched Cretan rocks,
while the dark-eyed shepherd is allowing himself to be overtaken,
to be gathered up, covered in kisses. Instead of his
gaunt stringy body he should really have a fine lithe trunk.
And a sheepskin. Not to mention a flute."

Muslims and Serbs
"They were southern Slav brothers,
pitted in conflict by the rising phoenix of long-dead banners
raised by men whose only wish was power,
and in so doing had created a self-perpetuating cycle
of fear and death."

Saturn Rings about The Alambra
"I slept next to you atop a thousand
thousand lilies-of-the-valley blowing;
There was a festive explosion of monsoons
And volcanoes along my various fault-lines."

A Frozen Hell and the South Bronx,
Yet another letter on Anorexia, and
Hey babaree bear
said the little wee bear


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Lolita Lark, Editor-In-Chief
Post Office Box 7272, San Diego CA 92167

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