February 1999

Philip Dacey


Henry Taylor

Mark Bibbins
  Sharon Cumberland
Philip Dacey
  Daniela Gioseffi
  Brent Goodman
  Mark Halperin
  Ben Howard
  Stellasue Lee
  Linda Lerner
  John McKernan
  DeWayne Rail
  David Rigsbee
  Peter Robinson
  Terry Savoie
  Joseph Stanton
  Mary Winters

David Grayson

Lloyd Schwartz

Rosa Shand
  Daniela Gioseffi

Philip Dacey Philip Dacey's latest books are the The Deathbed Playboy (East. Wash. U. P., 1999) and The Paramour of the Moving Air (Quarterly Rev. of Lit., 1999). He teaches, usually part-time, at Minnesota State University at Marshall. His work has appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, The Nation, The Hudson Review, and Georgia Review.
Lying in Bed with a Book    Read Along with the Author

The book on top, a lover
staring into my eyes.
The wind outside fails to turn
the pages of this book.
Coffee on a nightstand,
its surface unruffled
by the story of terror in war.
In a great stillness,
the pages under my moving fingers
roll a dessicated thunder
across my sky.
The tree in the bed,
the shade of a disembodied, leafing voice.
I dreamt once of grafting a book,
pulpy extremity of the body,
onto my wrist.
From buried and paginated
heart to hand, from hand to eye,
from eye to brain, from brain to
beating and unsignatured
heart—so goes the bed's song
of a circulating energy,
invisible dust devil
on the Great Plains of the quilt.
Beside the bed, a community of absences
stacked up, waiting to be heard.
Now the linden outside the window leans in,
begging me to read out loud.
When I'm done with each word,
it gets up off the page
and lies down beside me in the bed;
soon I am surrounded by burrowing
words, who fall asleep before I do
and leave me alone under covers
like words in a book myself.
Bury me with books,
all of them cracked wide open.
No satin, only the feel of this legible
dry skin under my cold fingers.
Be sure my head is propped a little,
next to a reading light.



Press Conference    Read Along with the Author
          "Jesus Is Lord Over Redwood Falls "
           —large sign on church grounds at town's edge

What does the mayor say about that?

So when Jesus said he must be about his father's business
he meant running City Hall?

Is he subject to recall?

Is it likely the example of his mother
will do something about the teenage pregnancy rate,
a serious problem in Redwood Falls?

Are the apostles council members?

Is it true he's not much of a coalition builder
and likes to go it alone?

Will Jesus turn the Minnesota river at Redwood Falls into
wine and create a new industry?

Do nearby towns
feel neglected
or relieved
by his choice?

Might his father on earth, not in heaven,
be put to work restoring
some of the town's storefronts?

If a dispute arises between him and the mayor
over jurisdiction,
will Jesus submit himself to the legal system?
Do his dusty feet mean he's eligible
for legal aid?  And how fair is it
he can appeal his case
to a higher authority
than the Supreme Court?

If the Redwood Falls High School football team
goes on to become state champions this year, will it be
a miracle?

Will Jesus balance the budget by means of his usual act,
one arm extended to the right, the other to the left,
feet together?

When can we see
how Miss Redwood Falls looks
in her crown of thorns?



Philip Dacey: Poetry
Copyright 1999 The Cortland Review Issue SixThe Cortland Review