This poem is taken from Stand 217, 16(1) March - April 2018.

Howard Wright Five Poems
The Last Modernist

I am old, and youth is wasted on the old.
Art is a lie, but reality is hardly true.
The space under the surface is where I hide
in the grip of a pure and shapely mind.
Beauty is absinthe’s green cuckold.
The fear of love is the love of death.


The night was a monument to the long-called-for peace
from the road trip that was a go-anywhere tour-de-force.

By day, it was the biography of John Wayne.  
We shielded our eyes among the cottonwoods.

The Navajo guide slapped dust from the snake of stitching
on his boots. He knew every film where the valley appeared,

every standpoint and backdrop, and wouldn’t hear
mention of what’s-his-name, a small man

in comparison to all of this. He grabbed a handful of red sand,
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