Magazine | October 3, 2011, Issue



. . . grips a tapered wine glass, nearly drained,

Beneath a gold band and engagement gem;

Ham-fisted, left-hand fingers round the stem,

Forefinger lifted, fattened with the strain.

The symptoms of her sloe-eyed pose are pained,

Her lips pulled wide and reddened.  Under them,

The edges of her V-dart collar hem

Conceal, almost, the goblet. Golden-veined

In theme, the lavish suite behind her speaks

Of debts and delegations fit for kings,

Troubadour orchestras, prime execution,

Absolute power and official leaks.

The velvet of its jetty panels sings

Of coups d’état, Rousseau and revolution.

And here, in this, she wears true blue, couture

In polished rayon, modernist in flair

And line; the padded shoulders — broad and square –

Fall through long arms, thigh-level, too obscure

For fair description — lowered in demure,

Meek relaxation. Glossed and dense, her hair

Falls to the bijou throat’s transcendence, bare

Of ornament: off-parted, insecure.

She seems anatomy immune to force:

Before her, ceremony and applause,

Behind and after nothing, barren space.

Be gratified, but warned, Self: In due course,

These hues will clash and die, those classic jaws,

The tongue that teased for hours a lover’s face.

But even death, her ghost, won’t bring you ease.

Some cranny of the house, some corner room,

Will be conscripted as a waking tomb

In which her soul is stored and made to freeze

Or swell by disproportionate degrees:

Initialed stationery — each assume

Precedence to your flawed, impassioned flesh;

A mothball take on mystical allure

Where you will be the spider in a welt

Above her bookshelf, spinning out your mesh

In mortal coiling, cloistered and impure,

Your webbing clogged with pastry cloth and felt.

In This Issue



Politics & Policy

Patently Absurd

In 1994, Claudio Ballard was an unemployed computer programmer with a great idea: a system to scan paper financial documents and store them on a secure server. Ballard built a ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

A Long Red Sunset

One of the hardy staples of American history is the question of what happened to American socialism. As the only industrialized nation in the world in which avowedly socialist or ...
Politics & Policy

Going Viral

Some of the scariest material that Stephen King has ever written — scarier, in its way, than anything in The Shining or ’Salem’s Lot or Pet Sematary — is contained ...
Politics & Policy

Bless the Beasts

Some virtues are by accidents of history associated with utopianism, hostility to private property, anti-clericalism, and other core beliefs of the Left. I can scandalize a yoga instructor anywhere in ...


Politics & Policy


The Ron Paul Movement Rides On It is not surprising that with the polls ranking him third nationally, Ron Paul would finally make the cover of National Review (“Ron Paul’s Last ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Bad news for the Democrats: It turns out some of those people who cling bitterly to their religion are Orthodox Jews in Queens. ‐ The great strength of the conservative ...
The Bent Pin

Terminal Eloquence

This column was supposed to be about presidential personality problems. I should have started writing it sooner to give myself plenty of time but I was irresistibly distracted by a ...

Proper Aim

Ask any employer, and you’ll hear the same lament: We’d love to hire people, but we need an inexplicable modification of the tax code exquisitely calibrated to provide a tiny ...
Politics & Policy


IN THESE PHOTOGRAPHS, MY RIVAL . . . grips a tapered wine glass, nearly drained, Beneath a gold band and engagement gem; Ham-fisted, left-hand fingers round the stem, Forefinger lifted, fattened with the strain. The ...
Happy Warrior


At the start of the summer, I attended a graduation ceremony in Vermont, for which a bigshot speaker had been flown up from New York. “Your world is changing so ...

Most Popular


Holy Week with Saint Paul

Just the other day, I ordered a replacement copy of The Passion of the Christ -- it can be so impactful for Holy Week meditation. In the years since its release, it’s become something of required Lenten viewing for me. But this year, there is a new movie to help with prayer, Paul, Apostle of Christ, released ... Read More

Heckuva Job, Paul and Mitch

As Thursday's editorial makes clear, the omnibus spending bill is a disgrace. That may be why about 40 percent of Republicans (and 40 percent of Democrats) voted against it. Apart from the absence of a DACA/Dream amnesty, the immigration portions represent a comprehensive victory by the anti-enforcement crowd. ... Read More
White House

Bill Clinton Redux

Stormy Daniels could have stepped right out of the 1990s. She would have been a natural in a Bill Clinton scandal, and, in fact, all the same means would have been used against her. Donald Trump’s tactics in these cases are almost indistinguishable from the Clintons’. The effort to shut down the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

California’s Pro-Nuclear Renegade

If California’s upcoming gubernatorial race gets decided solely by money, Michael Shellenberger doesn’t have a chance. The latest campaign filings show that Shellenberger, an environmentalist from Berkeley, has about $37,000 in cash on hand. The frontrunner in the June 5 California primary, Lieutenant ... Read More

Encouraging Signs in Iraq

Last year, relations between the Iraqi central government and the Kurds reached what was possibly an all-time low when the Kurds held an independence referendum in which 93 percent of voters opted to secede. The timing was no coincidence: Iraqi forces had retreated from Kurdish territory in 2014 as the Islamic ... Read More