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  • Eclogue, and: Scale, and: Round and Round, and: Elegy with Boardwalk, and: There Are No Words, and: When the Detectives Arrived Sunday Morning, and: The New Beautiful
  • John W. Evans (bio)
  • Eclogue
  • John W. Evans

Twenty-two Months

Rent in the neighborhood is dropping.Rent everywhere is dropping. Can you sparea little CHANGE,asks the sign where my bank,merging with the bank across the street,fails. I want to own land in my country.I want to make my place in this city certain.The fish in the bar next to the laundromat:do they know the limits of their translucent world?When my wife died I thought,All within us praise his holy name,His power and glory ever more proclaimed.Even then I knew that life didn't really end,that it would fissure into two places,inside and out. The woman I love nowdistinguishes absence from loss.When there is no fog on a nearby hillwe walk through her old neighborhoodto the city's highest point. [End Page 48]

  • Scale
  • John W. Evans

Nineteen Months

That spring I pursued the other side of anxiety.I measured exact distances wherever I went:days since your death, weeks until your birthday,how many steps it took to cross the interstate parkwhere every three weeks the billboard changeduntil Oscar season. How I missed being in love.How I wanted to explain: I miss being in love.The night your brother stopped talking to his wifeI knew it meant I'd have to choose sides.I sat dumb and silent, smiling weakly at everything.At the climbing gym he got faster up the hard-candy steps,his fingertips smooth and dull. Your nephewand I registered online an animatronic vulturewhose virtual home contained separate roomsfor each family member. The week he finallyblew out his back your brother slept on the sofa.He said he didn't want to wake the kids.Each time he hobbled to the medicine cabinetthe television drowned out his sighs and moans.I sat in my room listening carefully to musicI knew would make me weep.Sleeping pills erased the dark room.Through the window his truck engine turned over four timesbefore it began its morning loop around the city. [End Page 49]

  • Round and Round
  • John W. Evans

Twenty-three Months

I'll tell you something-I fucking hate the '90s.

-Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Even the beautiful are mismatched improbably on the big screen.No one finds love. Everyone accepts as dogma the unitary potentialof music from the decade after their birth. Heartacherattles the varnish like someone dropping a quarter through it.There is no bar down the street where Cait and I will shoot poolafter a big fight. There will be no big fight. I want simple,simple love. When the wrestler leans away from the stripper,he becomes for an instant Mickey Rourke insisting,It's me, America. I'm all better now.I won't ever make you sit through Angel Heart again.The conditional only works if the corollary is plausible.Walter Matthau said the difference betweenwinning an Oscar and not winning an Oscar is that they carve"He Won an Oscar" on your gravestone. When I was sevenmy dad and I tossed a baseball. Now he won't put down the phone.I'm terrified of small children eager to throw hard objects.Use your words. That's what Cait's older sister told her youngestas he screamed and pointed at the plate of cold spaghetti.Everyone agrees the movie about the illiterate Nazi masochistnurse will win this year's Oscar. There's a menace in affection,a mendacity in the elegant repetition of simple actions,is what I tell myself I'm thinking as Marisa Tomeibends low to the ground, backward, to receive dollar bills. [End Page 50]

  • Elegy with Boardwalk
  • John W. Evans

A man picks up his bicycle from the shop and decides to leave town.Eight new teeth grip three gears on the back wheel.The handlebars are yellow, wrapped in blue and orange...


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