The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

www.ralphmag.org

  Number 241

Early Fall 2013

TWENTY GREAT POEMS
Since the very beginning
back there in the computer
dark ages (1995!)
in each issue, we've featured
what we think of as
the most noteworthy poems.
Here are twenty we feel to be
the best of the best.

NEW TITLES
Equilateral
"The denizens of Mars not only knew
how to draw water from
the two poles by means of the canali,
they were growing kale and broccoli and
spinach and perhaps Martian artichokes
to baste with canal-flavored lemon butter.
A civilization with gourmet tastes equal to our own! "

Miss Lonelyhearts
"Miss Lonelyhearts is in
the paradoxical position of needing a
Miss Lonelyhearts to help him
with the pain of being a helper
in a world in which
there is no help at all for
Broken-hearted, Sick-of-it-all,
Disillusioned-with-tubercular-husband. "

Vulgar Remedies
"the boy from down the street who often begged
to suck my eyeball. My pupil
rolled under his tongue, the one
whose scent was clove smoke and a soft brie
winging after a blinding light,
I must've singed the buds
in his tongue to desert thistles ---
left a taste like a saint's
charred footprint."

Refugee Hotels
"He had never seen snow
before he arrived in North Dakota.
'When we went outside, we thought someone had
thrown salt on the ground,
but when we tried to grab it,
it was freezing cold.'"

People, Parasites, and Plowshares
"It is estimated that
over 25 percent of what
the less developed world eats
each day goes to feeding intestinal parasites."

The Dark Path
"For me, God is in that darkness.
He's not a devil,
or a tree, or a wood sprite.
He's the Lord,
he just happens
to be in darkness."

The California Driving Handbook
"It's about as odd a novel
as I've ever read.
The hero is a Goody
Two-Shoes named Typical Driver
who faithfully follows all laws
having to do with locomotion."


Great Reviews of the Past
Broken Land
Poems of Brooklyn
"Kasdorf and Turell
have collected with wisdom and grace.
And some of the writing is so poignant
that you have to lay it aside
to rest it for awhile.
Such a poignant mix;
Enid Dame, for example,
with her memories of
a virulent past joined in a dream
of the present."


LETTERS
Bach Transcriptions

MORE LETTERS
Karin Fossum
Don't Look Now
EVEN MORE LETTERS
Letters We Never Finished Reading
Improving RALPH's Business Image
YET EVEN MORE LETTERS
Mysterious Letters from the East
She Said That You Are Death


ARTICLES
Studying Russian
"Who knew that incendiaries
dropped by American bombers
on Tokyo
burned eighty thousand people alive?
The fire was so fierce
it destroyed some of the bombers above."

Studying Russians
"Did Peter decide that
Russia needed a city
at the mouth of the Neva?
Simple: draft 100,000 peasants
to leave their bones
in the swamp building the city,
and then order the nobility to move there."

Great Articles from the Past
Lie, Lie, Lie
"While we were staying in a shotgun apartment
in Butte, Montana,I began to write again.
In our neighborhood,
guns went off with such regularity
that the Fourth of July was anticlimactic.
Our upstairs neighbors,
a chubby rent-a-cop and his little brother,
kept dropping something
that sounded like a bowling ball on the floor.
When I complained, they confessed
that it was a bowling ball. "


READINGS
The Red Star
"They both see it rising,
our most beguiling planetary neighbor,
red like a pomegranate seed,
red like a blood spot on an egg,
red like a ladybug,
bred like a ruby or more specifically a red beryl,
red like coral,
red like an unripe cherry,
bred like a Hindu lady's bindi,
red like the eye of a nocturnal predator."

The Hot Air Balloon
"My Lord Jesus,
Look what we've brought off!
This is the greatest mark of
man's hand upon the Earth.
Ballard, you've earned your place in history."

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts
"I am kind of ashamed to write you
because a man like me don't take stock
in things like that but my wife told me
you were a man and not some dopey woman
so I thought I would write to you
after reading your answer to Disillusioned."


POETRY
Sea Hag
"Your new wife lands noisily on the tiny mast of your boat.
She's got an amazing rack, wings, and a beak.
She pecks your eyes out and carries you over the water.
You tell yourself it's a relief not to see."

Great Poems from the Past
The Coming of Age in Palo Alto
"In the wind, my hair was like fire or cotton candy.
I lay stoned in a field of stars.
Deer came out of the forest and destroyed our gold tomatoes.
Dinner was never on time.
I lay stoned in a field of stars.
I crashed the car.
Dinner was never on time.
Sex was painful but obligatory."

OUR NEW BOOK
(Hot Off the Press)

The Noisiest Book Review in the Known World
has just been published.
It contains 200 or so of what we believe
to be the best articles, readings, reviews and poems
from this magazine from our first issue in 1995.
Here you will find all necessary information
on ordering this two-volume set
which one critic called "magic."


THE OFFICIAL RALPH
Paradox-of-the-Month


GENERAL INDEX
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.


A PITHY SAMPLE
of our most notorious reviews
as collected in the hard-copy
"FOLIO"


SUBSCRIBE
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T H E  F A C T S
Submitting Books
The best way to get books to RALPH for review.
Submitting Reviews
Suggestions for would-be reviewers --- and payment schedule.
History
RALPH didn't spring full-blown from the brows of the gods:
     We've been around (in different guises) for over thirty years.     
The Fessenden Fund
Describing the good works of RALPH's official godparent
Behind the Scenes

The Faces of Those Who Make Up the Face of RALPH
Copyright Notice
The Reginald A. Fessenden Educational Fund, Inc.

Lolita Lark, Editor-In-Chief
Post Office Box 16719
San Diego CA 92176

lolitalark@yahoo.com


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