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                                                            The Literary Review
                                                                      Issue 8

Page 5

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With what was left of
her inheritance money
she opened a gift shop
on the High Street.
Stuffed animals
from Germany.
Dolls. Antiques.
Watches. What we
call Bric-a-brac. The vicar
came to see her once.
There was a cat
by the window
and that was that.
Dust settles easily
in a place where
nothing grows or
changes -- local women
sweep past without a glance
the tourists know better than to
come in (may as well hang a sign
in the window saying ‘stay away’)
and the children, who understand
these matters more than most and pull
no punches, said it best -- the place was haunted.
That was all right with her, that shop wasn't
meant for any of them anyhow --
'Audrey's Dream Fulfillment
Centre" she called it and at 5 pm
she shut the place up tight,
went home to cook her meal
& sharpened her nails by the fire.
She took little pills, too
to kill the pain that
lives just below
the surface of the world,
that membrane of the body
where the soul resides.
It was not something
she did out of weakness
(Her people were too strong
for weaknesses, stronger than
loneliness, stronger than God,
stronger even than her
father, who was
stern with her
and called her
'a wilful thing'
when she acted
like him). 'She's her
Father's Child all right'
said her mother, 'cut from
the same cloth,' and walked
out on the both of them.
It was all one to her:
customers, family,
church. Men, and their
vulgar stupidities. All of
a piece! Like sunlight --
too much of a good
thing hurt her eyes.
She preferred night,
when the streets were
empty, like heaven.

  George Wallace__



He's beautiful sd
the gypsy (come to
buy and sell livestock
along the River Eden
but took an intense
liking to the lad) & the
die was cast; O he has
the look about him sd
the traveller (squinting
at a fence post with his
one good eye) he belongs
to the gods (& therefore to
America) & with those words
the young fellow came into
possession of a form of
pride no longer suited to the
confines of Westmoreland (it
emanates from the boy sd the
horsetrader sizing him up like
roses or Dionysus), poor mortal
child of England that he was,
raised in the muck, amenable,
15 (he was a manageable child
til they began putting ideas into
his head sd mum); commenced to
calling himself Tzigane -- dad sd
nothing but he & the missus
clearly weren't having any of it --
but the blinders were off he
could not see what was what
& in a snap he shed his former
shyness (there is always one
hero among the farm animals),
scrubbed the sheep shit & lanolin
from his straw-colored hair (forgot
the neighbor girl) & became a man
of the world, bold with it (see how
his eyes churned, like butter) (like
blackspiders in a hot skillet in
spring) to be short he was on his
way, out the door & in a hurry (his
very nose flares too wide, don't it,
not like one of our'n) intent on LA
(he settled for New York) six hours
over the Atlantic was enough even
for a sturdy northern lad such as he
(& he was all that); a man on a mission
could bluff his way past customs in
those days and he did (it was nighttime
in the city of lights when he arrived,
he threw his bags on the floor & his
redolent torso on a mattress) 'so this
is Soho' he sd staring at the walls &
ceiling like bloody Brando -- it was the
70s he could not sleep he was empty of
desire he smoked unfiltered cigarettes
til dawn -- when he woke up sunlight
poured out all over America like maple
syrup (a pigeon coo'd a motorcycle
barked the world was changed)

A taxicab full of All-American mobsters made it down Seventh Ave., all the lights turned green

Yes! it was a new morning --
he laid out his underwear
& set out to conquer the world

  George Wallace __


whenever spring
is about to return
to the land of milk
and honey I roam
at large and think
of the wrongfully
accused, the un-
repentant, the mad
ones who stood up
to the authorities;
who refused to obey
or join in on the evil
when called upon
by evil men; the ones
who stepped in the way
of tanks and tear gas,
were trampled to earth
by mobs of men, or
silenced in the dead
of night with a fist or
the butt-end of a
paramilitary rifle;
I roam out and think
about the greening
paths of spring,
I listen and I hear the
alchemy of the defiant
hearts, their resurrection
in every flower in bloom --
crocuses by the woodpile,
snowdrops in the shadows,
hanging their sorrowful heads;
jonquil, hyacinth, daffodil, stiff
with new life; witch hazel, forsythia --
thousand-eyed forsythia, more
plentiful than gold (which flower
is yours); their song made plain,
stronger than hate, their power
to liberate made larger than the
law (which flower is yours, a
jonquil for your thoughts)

(thank God these flowers are so small, i hear the tyrants say, otherwise the people would weaponize them)

A single flower to pick a lock;
A single branch to blind a tyrant's eye;
A thousand swords to empty prisons;
Ten thousand spears to liberate nations.

Lead me to the field where the wildflowers grow
I am a clutch of wrinkled violets
gathered in a child's hand

  George Wallace __



The stars are fresh
the wind is stiff
it is winter
I yearn for
the stars
some god
is leaning on
his celestial
plow, massive
Olympian oaf,
shoulder to plow
stubborn and muscular ox
made from the stuff of stars –
rude, black, sooty, bold, strong
and bush-browed, putting his
back into it, whetted with God-sweat;
the progress of hoof and furrow Is
slow as time in star territory, sd
god (the ox) to man the fool
(following hurriedly behind
his god-master) carrying
a basket of seed potatoes,
singing praise songs re:
his legendary relationship
with his legendary god, (who
is intent on the legendary
path of his plow, not men,
crushing stars into rock,
rock into soil, furrow by
furrow) -- this sad ritual
of self-negation before
a silly He-God expressing
sexual hotheadedness on
earth (as it is in heaven,
with a dull knife); all hail
the leading edge of
human ingenuity,
fired by lightning
His sweat
His brow
His cock
His brain
like a yoke
of leather
and oak,
ivy and bone,
while the
so recently cut
from forests, sings
its anglo saxon
reverences, in
bonfires far
and wide,
to sullen

  George Wallace__


Ladies &
over on your
right the Land of
Liberty yes
the sun is
rolling over
on its back --
I guess --
it's summer,
nap time
in America
in a tin can
In a guinea-t
Brooklyn runs
hot as pizza
this time of year
Walk/Don't Walk
Touch/Don't Touch
but all the colors
of Manahatta run
together that's right,
Jack, no divisions
on Division Street
everybody making it
with everybody --
I sweat concrete
you sweat concrete --
What about that?
Who roots for the Dodgers
Who thumbed his nose
at LaGuardia (twice)
Who built the Verazzano
and all the other bridges --
Me! (& by the way
all my friends black
brown yellow red white
& green when we wasn't
beating the shit out of
the fascists built them too)
& we will do it again because
my country tis of bridges (not walls)
tall ones narrow ones long ones fat ones --
fuck you Donald & call me Walt --
i sing of bridges all day long, all day
long, & at night I pray
like my mother
taught me

our father who art in Brooklyn hallowed be thy Holy Handshake

brother to brother
son to son
daughter to daughter
shore to shore
and if California
shakes we will
just build us
more bridges
over every canyon
over every coast
out of ribbons of steel
Bridges! generation
by generation of
them (& every one
of us) bringing
us together,

No! do not tell me about walls.

This is no
in retrograde

  George Wallace __

© Susan Weiman: IMG_4604

© Susan Weiman: IMG_4604