Evergreen Review founder Barney Rosset was working on the Evergreen Review ceaselessly. He died in March 2012, and this selection was among the work he selected for future publication.

“Man is a microcosm, a little cosmos”


We play host to a ghostly small world in us,
mostly unseen guests and systems,
but prick a finger and blood runs with wanderlust—
now place it on a slide, then into envelope,
later we will compare this cell to other cells,
make note it’s the DNA, not a birthday horoscope,
when one blooms wallflower and another bombshell.
The double helix is the twisted ladder and the tight rope.
Mapping streets and alleys in the body, ink and scalpel
doctors know them like vagabonds know Manhattan,
drawing a small camera falling like a diving bell
through the veins past all the names in Latin.
Title this: All universes die and go round the carousel,
our matter breaks down, and dances but cannot spit farewell.

We gaze into night for signs of life in stars,
sight a blinking pulsar and for fame claim its little green men
with a beacon leading us to them; Morse Code, map, seminar
on light speed travel between us and our new friends.
So far this radiation beams from an empty lighthouse, unmanned
by the lizard men, pod people or women with three eyes.
We’ll send Captain Kirk on one more one-night stand
with canned music, laugh track, and revolution’s televised.
Hold out for your jet pack,
remember the comets’ impact ambers, tar-trapped dinosaurs
and man rising from carbon, just like a branch of lilac.

Billions of years ago there was bang, ash, and dust
and like the atoms, we are made of that star stuff.

Jason Braun edits Sou’wester, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s national literary magazine. He also hosts “Literature for the Halibut” which is a weekly hour-long literary radio program on 88.1 KDHX in St. Louis. He has edited an online anthology of poets influenced by Beat, Slam, and Black Arts Movements called “The Fusion” at BigBridge.org.  He has published poetry in Drumvoices Revue, and was chosen twice by River Styx for their Hungry Young Poets Series. He has released music as “Jason and the Beast”.