“In Sleep,” by Robert Kotlowitz (1954)

Man Sleeping in Car - Vivian Maier -VM1955W02739 – New York, NY, 1955
Man Sleeping in Car — Vivian Maier, New York City, 1955

In Sleep

What do I see in my sleep?
A steady seepage of life
in dreams
that are of no use
to a practical body.

I awake like you,
sapped by a watchful reality,
defined by a soft-boiled egg.
Today’s newspaper
tucked under my arm,
swats invisible enemies on the fleeing subway.

Time, then, is transformed
from uptown to downtown,
and through its metamorphosis
I move into the material of life.
It catches fast,
holding in its swell
the sweating molecules of the morning,
the darting enzymes of eternity.

I watch, I wonder,
and wondering,
am caught in perpetual bombardments
of anxious demands, urgent moments,
that, like dreams after all,
streak the illumined air
with startling beauty:
the heart’s silhouette
of desire, sorrow and eager mortality.

This poem comes from Discovery no. 3, the third of the brief run of Discovery, a paperback magazine edited by Vance Bourjaily and published by Pocket Books between 1953 and 1955. Although Kotlowitz was, at the time, trying to write a novel, he ended up going into editing and, later and somewhat by accident, public broadcasting. He did, however, write four novels, beginning with Somewhere Else in 1972. His memoir of combat as a U.S. Army rifleman in World War Two, including the skirmish following the D-Day invasion in which virtually his entire platoon was killed—Before Their Time—was published in 1999 and is still in print. His son, Alex, is a journalist who wrote the award-winning account of life in the Chicago projects, There Are No Children Here (1992).

“Conchology,” by Sarah Hoare




Delightful task, to trace the hand,
In the minute as in the grand,
Of sovereign Deity !
   ‘Tis holy exercise of mind,
Most valued by the most refin’d.
And by the heaven-exalted mind
   Enjoy’d with ecstacy.


Behold beneath, around, above,
Proofs of immeasurable love.
   Illimitable powers;
Those powers the host of Heaven illume,
And give the summer’s varied bloom.
Its treasury of sweet perfume,
   Its fascinating flowers.


Still may thy lore, Oh Linne! charm,
Still with the love of science warm
   The young, the gay, the wise,
Still may the treasures of thy page,
Give youth a charm, and solace age.
And oft retirement’s hour engage,
   And sorrows tranquillize.


Cheer’d by th’ amusement they bestow,
I’ve sought the flowers that earliest blow,
   From spring till winter lour’d;
Fresh breezes cool’d my fev’rish vein.
Amusement dissipated pain.
Gay health reviv’d my sinking frame,
   And healing balsam pour’d.


Nor less Testacea have I sought,
With deepest admiration fraught.
   Of all their vivid dyes;
Their well proportion’d spires’ ascent,
Their foliaceous ornament.
Their varied charms, so competent,
   To dazzle and surprise.

from Poems on conchology and botany: with plates and notes, by Sarah Hoare
London: Simpkin & Marshal / Bristol: Wright and Bagnall, 1831

Available on the Internet Archive: Link

This is one in a series of neglected poems taken from the Internet Archive.

“Further Document on the Human Brain,” by W. R. Moses


Further Document on the Human Brain

This is a bit of rope that lies in the street.
And the stuff of oakum, but it is not blood
Out of half-naked seamen, nor the smoke
Grey from gun-mouths over the rough blue water
Where oaken old vessels would battle as they could.

This is waste-paper, flicked by a dust-filled breeze.
And what they make books on, but no feathered pen
In the hand of one who wore a ready dagger.
Wrote thunderous plays, praised his wine and tobacco,
And kept his whores in Queen Elizabeth’s reign.

This is a fringe of a woman’s fine black hair
Just seen past another; it is sheeting, cool
And crisply smooth to sheathe one’s limbs between.
Behind a locked door; and a heart that makes its throbbing
Noticed much more than in class-rooms in a school.

from Trial Balances: An Anthology Of New Poetry, edited by Ann Winslow
New York: The Macmillan Company, 1935

In Trial Balances: An Anthology Of New Poetry, Allen Tate writes:

The feature of Moses’ work that most forcibly strikes me is the conscious control of his material. I believe he must have stated his problem to himself somewhat in these terms: given the desire to achieve all the shock of immediacy so brilliantly achieves in a poem like Crane’s Paraphrase; but given, too, the desire for the greater range of presentation and commentary that is possible only if the poem is removed from its inciting event, is there any way in which they might be combined, so that they actually reinforce and define each other?

In each of Moses’ poems lurks a hidden generalization that we do not merely infer, as we do with all poetry; it is the conscious selector of the material.

You can find this and two other poems by Moses from the The American Review in 1934: link. Moses’ work was the subject of a commemorative issue of the Kansas Quarterly in 1982.