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

Number 146

Mid-Spring 2006

Blue Days, Black Nights
"The medical resident's eyes widened.
I realized I might be
sounding delusional.
'It's true. I'm a
Hollywood screenwriter.
I know everyone
claims to be a
screenwriter these days.
I bet you're
working on a screenplay.'"

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
"Unlike lupus, or beri-beri, or
dengue fever, or syphilis,
CFS doesn't exist
for most of the medical profession.
One can traipse around for years to
different doctors' offices,
only to be told that one's
tests are 'negative' ---
which is doctor-speak for
You're OK, you just
think you're sick."

Beasts of No Nation
"He is bringing his hand to his head,
but it is not helping because
his head is cracking and the blood
is spilling out like milk from coconut.
I am hearing laughing all around me
even as I am watching him
trying to hold his head together."

Shooting Star
"While the rest of us
were deploring the antics of Joe McCarthy,
we now realize that it was mostly a sideshow.
The true ruinators were
operating in the shadows."

Conversations on Consciousness
"I wonder what
the maximum value of p is,
where p is the population of
'recognized immortals.' 1000? 10,000?
When Elvis Presley finds his seat,
does this force Dietrich Buxtehude out?
That's the only sort of life after death,
and it is in short supply."

My Fundamentalist Education
Part I
"She said that
it didn't matter if
her savings account had nothing in it,
because the Holy Spirit
had told her that the rapture
would happen very soon,
so all of her debts would
never need to be paid."

Part II
"One of their sports at
summer camp was basketball.
The Lady Crusaders --- her team ---
was encouraged to 'Dribble for Jesus.'
One of her friends, Manuel,
learned a song about Christ,
which was set to the tune of 'BINGO' ---
There is a Savior in my heart and
Jesus is his name-o!
J-e-s-u-s, J-e-s-u-s and
Jesus is his name-o."

Great Reviews of the Past
"Onward Chartered Soldiers, on to heathen lands,
Prayer books in your pockets, rifles in your hands.
Take the glorious tidings where trade can be done,
Spread the peaceful gospel --- with a Maxim gun.
Tell the wretched natives, sinful are their hearts,
Turn their heathen temples into spirit marts.
And if to your teaching they will not succumb,
Give them another sermon with the Maxim gun."

Leonard Wood
George Shearing
The Making of an Ink-Stained Wretch

Mother Meera
Beauty and Schizophrenia

Route 66
My Bloody Life

Even More
Reymundo Sanchez
My Bloody Life

"'You've really never done this before?'
'No, never,' I say.
The undertaker smiles,
a warm and genuine smile.
'You could do this for a living.'
I'm not so sure what to do
with the compliment.
'Thanks,' I say, imagining myself
as an undertaker."

Great Articles of the Past
The Tijuana Titanic
"How glorious it would be
to sail past San Diego and
Long Beach and Dana Point ---
all bright lights and music,
forging ahead
into the foggy darkness,
racing along at twenty-five knots,
to collide, finally and inevitably,
with an errant ice-cube calved by the
Santa Barbara Yacht Club
Cocktail Lounge."

"It makes you aware of the fact
that any time --- when you're
walking across the street --- some little thing
might happen in your brain to completely
deprive you of your dignity for
the rest of your life, and turn you
into one big suffering confused mess.
We are very fragile beings."

Suicide and the Emergency Room
"I planned to leave,
with or without a doctor's discharge.
'What about those I.V. lines?'
Larene was skeptical.
'You expect me to follow you down the street,
pushing that stand?'
'I'll pull them out.'
'You gonna pull out that tube?'
I wrapped both hands around it and tugged.
Immediately I began to gag and surrendered.
Larene left the room laughing."

Talking with the Governor

"I've been appointed poet laureate of my state.
Granted, it's the least populated state in the union
and one which many Americans can't place on a map.
Still, I could receive no greater honor.
But I offer few thanks and seem, I'm afraid,
not quite present. The fact is, I've been babysitting
a friend's dog while she's away in Denver
getting some culture."

Chicken Pig
"It's like being lost
in the forest, hungry, with a
plump live chicken in your cradling
arms: you want to savage the bird,
but you also want the eggs.
You go weak on your legs."

The Mutilated World
"You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You've seen the refugees heading nowhere,
you've heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world."


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