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

Volume XXV, Number 1

Late Spring 2001


Unholy Ghost: Writers on Depression
Part I

"Maud Casey's mother told her,
If you commit suicide, I'll kill you.
And William Styron quotes Baudelaire,
I have felt the wind of the wing of madness."

Part II
"One of my psychotherapists
was involved in treating older survivors of Auschwitz.
He told me that for many if not all of them
there has to be a conscious decision, on a daily basis,
as to whether they wanted to continue living or not."

Tinkering with Eden
A Natural History of Exotics in America

"The speed at which the lampreys did their work
is breathtaking. By the mid-1940s, only twenty years
after they first slithered in, no one could ignore the effects.
Fishermen on Lake Huron, used to pulling in
1,720,000 pounds of trout, watched their haul dwindle
to about 4,000 pounds in the course of
twelve years."

The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd
"She is, in brief, like you and me:
another of those American worry-warts caught in despair
at where our country is going (jet-skis and happy faces a special bane)
all the while wondering if there are other cultures
that have something to lead us out of the morass."

Great Reviews of the Past
We're All Doing Time
"The Bureau of Prisons,
if it had any sense, would be ordering these books by the gross,
handing them out to their wards. For, after all, the message is
one of peace, and acceptance --- or at least tolerance ---
and non-violence."

Heart Advice for Difficult Times
My Two Wars,
Canyons of the Southwest

A Geezer in Paradise
Part I
"I came to understand
that schools here have no local tax base;
they are dependent for operating expenses on
whatever they can wheedle from the state.
Gringoes who live in the school's territory
are expected to give what they call una cooperación."

Part II
"Somewhere near the meat-and-fly department
of the public market is a run-off area ---
a runnel of dark, ominous liquids, made up of
blood, rotten exudates, upchuck, stool,
and dead baby --- all collected together
into a thick and loathsome puddle."

Great Articles From the Past
King Karl the Potato
"Alas, during the past 30 years
a large contingent of my brain cells have gone off-line.
I can tell when each one goes: it announces
this is grey cell #6,956,590,483, signing off,
then it plays the national anthem, followed by dead air."

Without Vodka
Part I

"I would divide each drawing into several parts,
shuffle them around, and combine the tsarist and
current drawings into one, using my imagination
about how to link the lines to form an integral design.
That work could take a few days, maybe weeks,
before anybody would discover my total ignorance
of the subject."

Part II
"Facing the solemn figure of the white-hatted chef,
he lifted the hem of his greatcoat and fashioned from his coattails
a creditable imitation of a tureen. Without blinking an eye
the chef poured the prescribed two ladles of millet soup into it
and turned to the next in line. He had seen it all before."

The Wife of Bath
"But, dear God, when I remember being young,
and having such a time, and having my world
in my own way and in my own time ---
it still tickles me. Even now it gives my heart
such a boot. "

Life Is Fine
"I took the elevator / Sixteen floors above the ground.
I thought about my baby / And thought I would jump down.
I stood there and I hollered! / I stood there and I cried!
If it hadn't a-been so high / I might've jumped and died."

Great Meanings of the Past
The Meaning of Life
Voice:What is madness?
Yudhishthira:A forgotten way.
Voice:And revolt? Why do men revolt?
Yudhishthira:To find beauty, either in life or in death.
Voice:What for each of us is inevitable?

RALPH and Gay Love


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Post Office Box 7272, San Diego CA 92167

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