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Dick Allen


November 01, 2009

Back of the hand

There’s not much of interest here, lumina, fingernails, risen veins, joints, tendons, skin wrinkles, but when you give me it, it’s like the slap of a backhanded compliment, or a sharp rap on the knuckles, and my eyes smart, bad blood rushes between us, it becomes evident there will be no turning your hand around, no new grip of friendship, no open palm, just that flick of wrist telling me I shouldn’t complain, your perfected dismissive gesture of utter disdain.

October 01, 2008

Taking the bull by the horns

When he approaches, it’s best to meet him head on, and grabbing the horns, force that mighty head to bow low before you, putting all your upper body strength into the struggle. If you’ve found the right grasp, the one from above, the horns beneath your palms, it will feel as if you’re gripping two huge vertical handles, pushing on them hard, enclosing them in fists instead of pulling them towards you to open the stubborn cupboard or gate or missile silo doors.

March 01, 1992


Sunflowers grew so tall in the Coshburns’ garden, ten, twelve feet before a night windstorm flattened them, decapitating some (whose heads we found floating in the road, and dangling from the wire mesh of a rabbit warren), they frightened us … as if they were children who become adults too soon, the darkness at their roots sensed by other children—as I remember sensing the coming beauty of Nancy Parker, the death of Billy Meade. The sunflowers grew uglier and uglier, a dozen higher ones with faces descending at us from between invisible shoulders, faces grotesquely swaying on horrible stalks.