Issue 13 - Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art

Issue 13 - Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art

Issue 13 - Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art


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around Van Gogh's face

The space around Van Gogh's face had no landlord

when we give up everything we have

when we give everything we have up

we see the profound antidote to poison

right under our feet like plantain

in little tribes around the laundromat—

one can eat junk food

with the bag ladies

but the macrobiotic restaurant

has garbage too

& so does the green grocer

& so does the green grow sir


". . . the dead are not powerless

there iz no death

only a change of worlds." (Chief Seattle, Dwamish, Puget


II. One chorus of the Blues in F very slow on the piano.


Unused Words

by Charles Baxter

A grandfather

loitering in his day-old wrinkled suit

at the abrupt and stony seashore visited

without hope in late cut-rate October,

and a child who clutches

at this quiet and vested man, this screaming

child who will grow up-unlike the restto

go on screaming. The gulls are circling,

but this man, our subject, utters not one word.

There is something patient and empty in the waves,

which his face imitates.

This child, screaming at the waves,

grows up to be someone's mad great uncle

who is appointed to a life of celestial terror

and it's in the rain that one feels the power

of forbearance, in this autumn drizzle

soaking this grave grandparent to the skin,

loving what is damaged and wholly his

and held like a broken pocketwatch

tightly in his hand.


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