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A magazine of poetry and related arts straight from L.A.






John Allman


Vachel Lindsay and the Whales of California


Forget that he ended it all with a slug of Lysol.
Or threatened his wife and children as if they spumed off his
coast, the cost, the frost, the inexplicable rising in
his gorge nothing like the sound of jazz-birds or flip-flopping
sea-stars. Trombone, saxophone, xylophone, "the whales roar in
perfect tune and time." What music pickled his "weary eyes,"
shook him with sighs, beat through the clouds, fed the memory of
dates, figs, sweet potatoes, rutabagas, while giant swans

nested on the Golden Gate, the rhyme of heaven only
a syllable away, that boomlay-boom of surf and gold-
flecked skin the error of lost love? What is the color of
moth and worm in starlight? How brittle a wife's impious
speech. Here's "Heartache's Cure," west of the west of western shore,
the whale's great tongue, if it has a tongue, uncurling its song.



John Allman's most recent books of poetry are Loew's Triboro (2004) and Lowcountry (2007) (both from New Directions). He recently completed Older Than Our Fathers, the title poem appearing in New York Quarterly, and Algorithms (prose poems), the title poem appearing in the Winter 2011 issue of Kenyon Review Online (KRO).

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Speechless Spring 2011
Copyright 2011 Published by
Tebot Bach