The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

  Number 224

Mid-Spring 2012

Ten Stars
In our General Index
we give stars to the
best new books that have
come to us for review.
Here are several greats from
the last few months.

Barn Owl
"When courting,
the male Barn Owl will
present the light of his life
with a partially-decayed mouselet,
which she will then hold lovingly in her beak
as he does his business with her."

William Quesenbury
Overland Sketches 1850 - 1852
"We have to give full honors
to the University of Oklahoma
for making a glorious silk purse
out of what can only be described as
an excessively crude sow's ear."

"He's an ornery,
profane old bastard,
with a hankering for poker,
lurid stories, and
hootch which he makes himself.
He calls it Death Whisper."

History of a Pleasure Seeker
"Poor lad with innate beauty and
sense of style and
a few talents (and wonderful luck)
makes his way into the world
of the rich and the leisured and
in no time at all is deeply
involved in their lives."

Beside the Sea
"And when you figure out
how she is going to resolve
the whole stinking mess,
you find yourself thinking No.
Not that!
Please: No!"

Comet Scar
"The last time I saw Cary Grant, he was tearing apart bread
at the marina, a cloud of gulls around him. He let me
try on his glasses, those heavy black specs he wore
toward the end, and I bought a pair just like them
though I didn't look like Cary Grant, so I went back to not trying."

Lying in Bed
"And when it comes,
it's a beautiful girl.
It is as though
she has opened a present.
Oh look, she seems to say,
a mother,
just what I wanted."

"I suddenly start to cry, too,
so happy that somewhere else
in the whole dark world, someone,
some adult movie director somewhere,
has been through this before me."

Married But Looking
"She demands her
'hundred and forty bones,'
and Mickey crashes in,
his teeth a row of little rat triangles,
and he pulls the old man
up off his chair.
And the party's over."

Great Reviews of the Past
New Adventures in Engineering
"Whenever you hear a civil engineer
mouthing the not-so-civil word "tame,"
know that it's time to
batten the hatches and
head for the hills."

Bird of Dawning

Apt. 301
Stone-inscriptions with
the Thulth Style of Script

Cryptic Letters of the Month
Your Time on Me
Bad Uncles
The Price of Pleasure

Letters We Never Finished Reading
Bibles for Souls

Appeasing Prince Charles
"'We made a deal,'
Prince Charles said.
'I let him smoke with me at home
as long as he doesn't smoke with
those punks out on the street.'"

Lunch in Romania, 1989
"'Vlad the Impaler
used to slit open the nostrils
of his enemies so they
flapped like rags in the wind,'
said Manea, by way of
putting me at my ease."

Great Readings of the Past
Angel of Death
"'Call an ambulance,'
Ellerbee wheezed through
his broken throat.
'Call one for me.'
'It's too late for you,'
the man said."

"We Started Home, My Son and I
He said each spot of light
was a great land, each span
of darkness the sea. And we
followed his map home
out past the edge of town where night
filled the long blocks between
streetlights with oceans."

Great Poems of the Past
To A Former Mistress
"At times I catch myself
making that loose mouth
old people make,
as if one's teeth don't fit,
without being false.
You're well out of it ---
I tell you this mentally, while shaving
or putting myself to bed, but it's a lie."


All the back-issues of RALPH,
including titles of books under review,
along with author, subject, and publisher,
plus links to readings, articles, and poems
that have appeared on-line
since 1994.

of our most notorious reviews
as collected in the hard-copy

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[The next issue of RALPH will be posted on or about 25 April 2012]