Fall 1990 • Vol. XII No. 4 Poetry |

Los Angeles, Fin de siècle

Delirium in the downtown mall today:   Burt Reynolds! All the henna-haired girls     sneer, while their mothers, enthralled, say, "I saw you in this, I saw you in that:   you were mahvelous, simply mahvelous."     Outside, evening lies down flat, like a Hindu fakir, on its bed of nails.   Smog homogenizes the golden air     as clouds slide by on black sails. Under freeway columns homeless men   warm their dirty hands over rusty flames;     a radio's sputter, an ancient condom, an eyeless doll's head skip-roll past   into a gutter, to become flotsam and jetsam     upon a river of oil-slicked trash. And across town the reactor hums to itself.   What song does it sing? Something     about confusion and fission, or else it mimics the melody of high officials:   full of electronic divinity, double-talk.     It is a monolithic nightmare; still, it's beloved by the masses, as is

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Photo of Maurya Simon
Maurya Simon’s eleventh volume of poems, La Sirena: A Novella in Verse, has recently been published by Cloudbank Books. Her earlier volume, The Wilderness: New and Selected Poems, 1980–2016 (Red Hen Press, 2018), was awarded the 2019 Gold Medal in Poetry by the Independent Book Publishers Association. Simon’s other awards include a Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship (Bangalore, South India), an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, and the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award and Cecil Hemley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. She currently serves as Professor Emerita and Professor of the Graduate Division at the University of California, Riverside, and lives in the Angeles National Forest in Southern California.

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Delirium in the downtown mall today:   Burt Reynolds! All the henna-haired girls     sneer, while their mothers, enthralled, say, "I saw you in this, I saw you in that:   you were […]

The Spiral Pilgrimage

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Delirium in the downtown mall today:   Burt Reynolds! All the henna-haired girls     sneer, while their mothers, enthralled, say, "I saw you in this, I saw you in that:   you were […]

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