Glen Armstrong, Wild West

Sleight of Hand, Duncan Moon


Wild West


Dreamers intrude. The blue sky carries on, knowing that misinterpretation both distorts and protects its mission. Below, a red salmon flings itself from the river wearing the face of an adolescent boy. This is sexual? Surreal? A heartfelt attempt to understand another creature? Yes and no.

Outlaws ride into town and make a mess of things. The sheriff’s daughter wears her hair in ringlets, as is the fashion. A giant crow blots out the sun and then lands in its own shadow. The elastic loosens, and the crow’s boy-mask flies off toward the horizon, but the giant bird’s majesty still hides behind the threadbare smock upon which the boy lives on as a hero, running and smiling. The silk-screened image makes it so.

Glen Armstrong


Review by Laurinda Lind

I can understand a poem like this best if I don’t try so hard to understand it, and let the images roll like cinema. The title turns out to be ironic, and the intruding dreamers it mentions are animals that (by contrast) highlight artifice.

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