A Journal of poetry and kindred prose

Corey Mesler

is the owner of Burke’s Book Store in Memphis, Tennessee, one of the country’s oldest (1875) and best independent bookstores.

He has published poetry and fiction in numerous journals including Rattle, Thema, Mars Hill Review, Adirondack Review, Poet Lore and others. He has also been a book reviewer for The Memphis Commercial Appeal and Memphis Flyer. A short story of his was chosen for the 2002 edition of New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best, published by Algonquin Books. Talk, his first novel, appeared in 2002. His new novel, We Are Billion-Year-Old Carbon, came out in January 2006.


His latest poetry chapbooks are Short Story and Other Short Stories (2006), The Hole in Sleep (2006), The Lita Conversation (2006) and The Agoraphobe’s Pandiculations (2006). His poem, Sweet Annie Divine, was chosen for Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac. He also claims to have written Gitarzan. Most importantly, he is Toby’s and Chloe’s dad and Cheryl’s husband.  Website.

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The Thomas Pynchon Tower “[H]e found in entropy or the measure of disorganization for a closed system
 an adequate metaphor to apply to a certain phenomena in his own world.”

You can stand next to it.
Its shade is not comfortable.
Its stories, too many to count,
a nonfixable number,
are stacked one on another.
Except when they’re not.
You can enter at any time.
You can go to any floor.
But, listen: if you are timid and
you think the past is more
fixed than the future
The Thomas Pynchon Tower
may not be the place for you.
And the face, up there in
one of the opaque windows,
that’s the face of Dali’s watch.
There are few places as exciting
as the TPT. Ask anyone.
The man there talking into his
lapel. He knows some of the
answers and none of the questions.
Yet he is a familiar in the Tower.
He’s as familiar as the talking
dog, as the Christ Child
and his warm-up band. Now, you
feel like one of the denizens.
Now, you feel welcome.
This is as good as it gets here at
The Thomas Pynchon Tower.
You get to sit next to the cloud.


On Fly, On her Mortality “There isn’t a human being in the world worthy of any dog’s welcome.”
—Richard Powers

Self-conscious Fly,
eager-to-please Fly,
ten-year-old Fly,
still runs like
a lit fuse,
still chases the old demon,
Age, still
can make of your heart
a fizgig.
Though slowed once by
a stroke,
though stiff in her
legs, she still can wake
from dark sleep
into full gallop. And one
thing more
about Fly:
she is my daughter’s best
and, for that, dear reader,
Fly is,
Fly must be, immortal.