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Volume I, Number 2 (Summer 2007)
ISSN 1934-4324

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NEW-CUE, Inc. is a non-profit, environmental education organization founded primarily to assist writers and educators who are dedicated to  enhancing  the public's awareness of environmental issues.




Lewis Turco

The author of over forty-five books, chapbooks, and monographs including published A Sheaf of Leaves: Literary Memoirs, The Collected Lyrics of Lewis Turco / Wesli Court 1953-2004, and Fantaseers, A Book of Memories, The Museum of Ordinary People and Other Stories and Fearful Pleasures: The Complete Poems of Lewis Turco.

Read the AR interview with Mr. Turco in this issue.





There are always the attic, the shed

and the barn when you’ve nothing else to do

except gaze out the glass door at the turkeys

feeding in the snow. You’ve given them cracked corn,

and you’ve fed the bluejays their peanuts

in the box hanging from the underside

of the deck. So it’s down to the barn where

the seasons lie ruminating among boards

and boxes, and up the shallow steps

made to be used by the dying grandma

who left before she could use them. Now you’re

nearly old enough to appreciate them

yourself. Upstairs, over your bookshop,

the new part of the building, you begin

to see more recent yesterdays gathering:

the overflow of books, posters still scrolling

among themselves on the floor, and this:

your first computer! An Osborne One left

over from 1982, looking like

a sewing machine in its carrying case.

You know today your watch has more K

than that Osborne had. They called it the first

portable computer -- its four-inch monitor,

built in, could show only a quarter-page at

a time. People got dizzy if they

watched as you worked, scrolling back and forth, up

and down, whipping out the words faster than you

used to be able to type, and that was fast.

As far as you know, the machine still

works…and there’s the file of floppies! All that

deathless verse you had to retype on later

hard drives. You wonder how long it will lie there

snoring against the timbers of the barn.



They call it a lighthouse,

but it’s really a soundhouse,

the voice of its foghorn warning boats

of the breakwater shielding Oswego Harbor

and the mouth of the river.

The sky above it is a blue

crystal containing the sun,

a feathering of clouds and a flight

of gulls assembling and breaking up, landing on

the breakwater, and shrieking.

Gulls at the marina

rock in the wake of a boat

going too fast. That’s what the summer’s

done as well. Winter is waiting to fall out of

blue crystal over the lake.



On a line by Bill Watterson

Stuck under the eaves:

A box of ballpoints,

some without innards,

and all without ink

except one lost by

an old poet with

nothing left to say.



Who is that figure, seen as though through mist,

leaning against the gable-end wall?

I can hardly make him out through the dust

and fly-specks on the glass. He is old,

it would appear, old and perhaps confused.

What did he come upstairs looking for

one step at a time, brushing webs aside?

Surely not this looking-glass, oblong,

curved at either end, in a wooden frame

with acorns and leaves carved here and there

holding in its cell this inmate of time,

holding in its glass this prisoner.

And when I turn to leave, will he remain

peering into the attic shadows

to see into the future or the past

among the forgotten boots, boxes

of recollections now forgotten: clothes

no one will wear on a winter day

filled with bluster, or on a summer night

when the fireflies illuminate

one another in anticipation

of what is to come, of what has come

and gone unnumbered seasons in the past,

seasons to be built on webs and dust?



Three of them in the loft of the barn, ancient, old,

and arthritic: a plastic flying saucer

that Christopher used to whip spinning down the hill

from the cemetery to the field behind

the Adamses’; a Flexible Flyer from the 1940s,

perhaps, the kind that I remember using

on a small town hill, hoping no cars would arrive

at the corner before I got down and past

the stop sign — frame of metal, deck of thin boards,

steerable to a degree, unlike the disc or the antique sled

made of solid wood, pine, I think, except for the cast-iron strips nailed

along the edge of the runners, rust-pitted.

They say that plastic never decays, but that’s not true. The saucer

is cracked, the edges are chipped. If it were used

today it would fall apart. The nylon rope Chris

used to haul it back uphill is frayed and worn

thin as the wind I recall moving over fields

of snow and among the gray stones that lovely day.


Christmas Card collaboration by Lewis Turco and George O’Connell*:




About the "Sleds" artist:

George O'Connell: A contemporary American printmaker and painter, George O'Connell received degrees for his studies at the University of Wisconsin in 1950 and 1951. He then continued his art education at Ohio State University in 1952 and 1953. O'Connell was the recipient of a Fulbright Award which enabled him to conclude his studies at the Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunsten, in Amsterdam (1959-1960). The artist currently resides and works in Oswego, New York where he is Emeritus Professor of Art at the State University of New York College at Oswego.

For the past fifty years the prints and paintings of George O'Connell have been included in major exhibitions both in the United States and abroad. Public collections that today house examples of O'Connell's art include the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution and the National Collection of fine Arts, Washington, DC, the New York Public Library, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the California Legion of Honor, San Francisco, the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Art, the Gemeente Museum Van Schone Kunsten, The Hague, Holland, the Pushkin Museum, Moscow and the British Museum, London.

*A copy of this work is also included in our Art & Photography section.





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