Bill Costley- ESSAYS



Bob Dombrowski: A DELICATE MEMBRANE [The Struggle with Time] (GB Art Co, 805 6th Avenue, NYC, 2001) 4.75x6.5" no price.; 20pp w/18 color illustrations by the author (designed on a MAC; printed on an Epson printer at Dombrowski/Petruska Studios, NYC 20001)

Perfect, Shelleyian poetry once again appears, where & when most acutely needed. This small, green-covered andbook, recently printed less than 5 minutes away from the World Trade Center in New York City, proposes & pleads for an understanding of Time that is, temporarily, for many, still in agonized suspension. Readers will find, buried within it, many clear messages from a clearly necessary future:

Time stands in our eyes,
Like a filtered lens, or a pinhole eyeglass.
We see only in leveled sequence.
In chaos, there is no sequence.
Chaos opens like a view from the sky.

Momentarily unlimited, desperate lungs fill
With the freshness of unmediated sensation.

Self and time - interwoven -
One requiring the creation of the other.
A prisoner pleading for his guard.
A hatred requiring an enemy.
A property requiring a fence.

Always at the brink; at the source.
Yet neither victory nor defeat ever actually occurs.
And always we are participants.

by Michael Basinski. B&W, 8.5x11.5" No price. Wiral-bound, 20pp. Copyright 2001 by Burning Press, Cleveland. Illustrations by Wendy Collin Sorin. {Afour-color waterless lithograph, printed at the Zygote Press, Cleveland, is included in the deluxe edition of 27.} Typography by luigi-bob drake. Cover letterpress by Carolyn Fraser of Idlewild Press, Cleveland. Produced with support from the Ohio Arts Council.

This illustrated poetry chapbook could not have been published at a less auspicious time: its light-grey paper, map-like illustrations of quasi-alien symbols, interspersed with naked male & female human bodies taken from medieval medical texts, surrounded by language-poetry texts, run head-on into a sudden political demand for a new, non-ironic, sober aesthetic supportive of a 'new' wartime to which it will paranoically appear as a cruel parody of the recent images of destruction in NYC. However, like all arterati work, it bears absolutely no responsibility for what was already underway well before 11 SEP 01. Part found-poem, part abstract script, part science-fantasy, it inhabits that layer in which we've mooned since UFOs overtook the popular imagination - in my case, 1949, the peak year for sightings in the USA, when my father & I checked out books by George Adamski & Major Donald F. Kehoe, USAF from our local branch library that would now be re-classified as "Area 51" literature, beginning my exposure to UFOs at the impressionable age of 7. My fully adult reccomendation: read this art-book as though the events of 11 SEP 01 had not yet happened. If you do, the following extracts may console you:


We are ignorant
of further details
the inability to speak
coupled with a lack
of understanding
combined with a
substantial loss of hearing


American freedom
fighters returning from
the future report that
everyone has been

Bill Costley's a poet, playwright & journalist based in Wellesley MA. Born in Salem, raised in Lynn, educated in Boston, his publication history can be found in Contemporary Authors, Who's Who In America 2002, & Ploughshares magazine's website:


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