archives fall 2007



How the West Disintegrated into Soundlessness

As the night sky, transparent against calamity, drew its curtains,
the cinematic landscape, a nation’s industrialized pastoral rusting
behind the ears, flaked into a pile of iron oxide.

There may have been a message lost when distilling the past into
earthenware.  There may even have been a mix-up at the
crematorium.  But the drone did not submit under an obscured midnight.

            Cathedral organs simulate grandeur in the pantry
            where suburban women, sheltering their brood, check expiration
            dates on perishables & count the miles between themselves & danger.

It was the transference, from one form to another, which made
the ashen sunset memorable.  At least the first few days.  Afterwards,
it was the absence of all the things they thought they had.  But didn’t.

            To reclaim the three-piece suit, long ago set aside for more
            fashionable garb, becomes his latest crusade.  Those finely tailored seams
            are everything he dreams of in a Rockwell reproduction.  & a pipe.

From reel to reel, establishing epitaphs to childhood,
forgotten secrets encompassed the playground & broken vignettes of yesterday
lay waxen behind the façade of digital sunrises.

Sooner or later, they had all known it was coming, but stubbornness
let them imagine it would be their grandchildren’s problem.
All those analog loops were set afire in the blaze.  Smoking like tinder.


Upon Reading Richard Rorty’s Online
Curriculum Vitae

                                 —for Hausman at dinner parties

If Rorty’s CV is not a mirror that reflects a storied academic & philosophical career, not a glassy essence that contains objective realities of a mind espousing cultural pragmatism, not a metaphor for aluminum covered in glass so as to reflect the light which strikes its surface in an effort to tangibly chronicle mimesis, not a chemical reaction between silver nitrate, distilled water & ammonia, then what is one to make of the series of 0s & 1s digitally engineered into a sign system that contains the truncated tale of a New York-born leftist who traveled to Chicago & then to Princeton, donned olive green to serve a nation, & traipsed through tomes & lecture halls in search of a steady paycheck? Bookmarked next to free pornography, robust search engines, saturation from the blogosphere, & log-in pages for email accounts, we can sigh in unison with a digital lung when we envision the link to, & subsequent text of, Rorty’s CV as a matter of conversation and of social practice, rather than . . . an attempt to mirror nature, an instance of explaining rationality and epistemic authority by reference to what society lets us say.  & if a possible society lets us possibly say that a possible institution bestowed a possible honor, possibly entitled Doctor honoris causa, upon a possible individual, then such a myth should possibly exist if it is in accordance with that which best possibly serves another possible individual when negotiating the possible world of cultural politics & possibly singing sweet lullabies to metaphysics & epistemology as they fall to sleep, possibly, forever.  


Joshua A Ware lives in Denver, where he teaches writing at the University of Colorado at Denver; he will enter the PhD program at the University of Nebraska this fall.  His work has appeared recently in the Cimarron Review, Harpur Palate, and Mobius, and is forthcoming in Past Simple, Sonora Review, and Word For/Word.