The Monster of Donna Lake

From The Seed: Stories from the River’s Edge (Absey & Co., 2011) News of the latest deaths spread like wildfire throughout the student body of W.A. Todd Ninth-Grade Campus. Text messages were forwarded frantically; beneath desks, hundreds of fingers flailed away at diminutive keys, while misty eyes risked casual glances…

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TOP SHELF: Crossing Blades to Protect Peace

In my latest column, I review K.J. Parker’s Sharps. Visit The Monitor’s website to check it out.  

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Where Songs Begin

From my volume of Mesoamerican verse, Flower, Song, Dance: Aztec and Mayan Poetry (Lamar University Press 2013). This poem is the first in a collection of Nahuatl songs known as the “Cantares Mexicanos” or Songs of Mexico written down by indigenous scholars in the 16th century. The original title of…

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The Labyrinth (Jorge Luis Borges)

The Labyrinth Zeus could never untangle the nets of stone that surround me. I have forgotten the men I once was; I follow the hateful path of monotonous walls which is my destiny. Straight galleries which curve in secret circles as the years wear on. Parapets cracked by the usury…

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Rhyme LII (Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer)

Rhyme LII Giant waves that braying break upon remote, deserted beaches, wrapped in your sheets of foam, take me with you! Hurricane blasts that rip away from the towering woods their withered leaves, dragged along in your blind whirlwind, take me with you! Tempest clouds that the sunbeam breaks and…

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In the Wilds There Is a Dead Doe

From the Shi Jing or Holy Book of Songs, a collection of ancient Chinese poetry written between 1600 and 600 B.C.E. (the collection may have been edited down to its present 305 pieces by Kung Fu-Tzu [Confucius]): 23. In the wilds there is a dead doe In the wilds there…

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Ode 1.5 (Horace)

Ode 1.5 What slender boy bathed in a flowing smell Courts you, Pyrrha, on roses Within some pleasant cave? Whom do you braid that golden hair for, Simple and neat? Ah, how often He’ll weep at how faith and gods change, And he’ll marvel, unaccustomed, At this rough sea that’s…

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XLII (Catullus)

Here’s a put-down poem by one of my favorites, Catullus, one of a group of young Roman poets who revolutionized poetry in the 1st century BCE: XLII Come, Hendecasyllables, come one and all, From everywhere, as many as you may be, For an ugly, skanky slut thinks I’m a joke…

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A Prayer to Aphrodite (Sappho)

A Prayer to Aphrodite On your dappled throne, Aphrodite—deathless, Ruse-devising daughter of Zeus: O Lady Never crush my spirit with pain and needless Sorrow, I beg you. Rather come—if ever some moment, years past, Hearing from afar my despairing voice, you Listened, left your father’s great golden halls, and Came…

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The Fall of Bagdad

The Fall of Bagdad[1] Don Pedro wakes this autumn day, Descends the stairs to his bar, And wiping down the rough-hewn wood, Prepares to pour the drinks. For years his cantina thrived on gold That cotton transport culled From slaves that Texas cruelly worked Throughout the Civil War. In fact,…

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