R  A  L  P  H
   The Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy and the Humanities
Volume XV, Number 4 ---Late Winter, 1999

Biographies that have been sent to us
within the last few months, including the lives of
Louis Pasteur, Huey Long,
and John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
What a bunch, eh?

Presence in the Flesh: The Body in Medicine
As he touches her breast, the doctor asks,
"How's your legal battles?"
As he touches her vulva, another question:
"Still riding your horse?"
And as he inserts his hand into her vagina,
"When were you in South Africa?"

Seeing Like a State
"His Hall of Fame of 'high modernist' figures
are those who are the universally accepted villains
of ruination and statism, including Le Corbusier, Robert McNamara,
Robert Moses, Vladimir I. Lenin, David Lilienthal,
Walter Rathenau, and Julius Nyerere."

The Lost Tomb
"With your permit, you have to take along an official,
the often sleepy Egyptian Government bureaucrat who will certify your operations;
you have handle testy, often ill-paid workers;
you have to deal with German and American tourists asking stupid questions..."

The Word on the Street
"Indeed, the irony today is that the Russians, the French
and other people in foreign countries possess Shakespeare
to a much greater extent than we do, for the simple reason that
unlike us, they get to enjoy Shakespeare in the language that they speak. "

The Antarctic and South Georgia Island,
Paul Bowles and North Africa, and
Lord Byron's Last Days in Greece.

The American Civil War and Robert E. Lee,
Perfect Storms, American Poetry and Karl Shapiro, and
The Destruction of the American West.

Whigs 'N' Prigs
Boswell: "It may be of use, Sir, to have a Dictionary to ascertain the pronunciation."
Johnson: "Why, Sir, my Dictionary shows you the accent of words,
if you can but remember them."
Boswell: "But, Sir, we want marks to ascertain the pronunciation of the vowels.
Sheridan, I believe, has finished such a work."

Memoirs of a Man Who Lost His Memory
"The knot-holes in the walls of the house began to speak to me.
Captain Marvel flew out the window. An army of marching Chinese
came through the living room, shuffling through,
on their way out the door, into eternity
(for all I know, they are still there, shuffling through)."

Some Thoughts on Internet 'zines
"When our hits soar above 50,000 a month, the bill from our local server goes up.
The word is 'megabytes.' It puts one in mind of a very hungry duck.
When we achieve the success of a million hits a month,
we'll be literally nibbled to death by bytes."

The Return of the Duck
"T. S. Eliot said that we measure out our days
in coffee-spoons. Me? In the last few years
I've been measuring out my life in Fruti jars."

The Poet in India
"Kali had three eyes, she stood on Siva, who lies supine on the thousand-petaled silver lotus.
He would write a poem about it. Kali was the saint's darling.
"If you compare that Mother with the Christian Mother of God," the poet said to his companion,
"you can see that the Indians have more imagination."

The Birth of a Poem
"Lost in thought, he taps his knee with his wandlike pencil,
and at the same instant a car (New York license plate) passes along the road,
a child bangs the screen door of a neighboring porch,
an old man yawns in a misty Turkestan orchard, a granule of cinder-gray sand is rolled by the wind on Venus..."

"First the bottle had to be
emptied, and then the three boys
had to empty themselves of all
they had so painfully taken in
and by means even more painful..."

Five Men
"What did the five talk of
the night before the execution
of prophetic dreams
of an escapade in a brothel
of automobile parts
of a sea voyage..."

On Anorexia

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