Nothing Very Sudden Happens Here, from Lynx House Press, September, 2013, is a recent collection of poems by Alan Basting.

Copies of the book are available from Lynx House Press at , and distributed by the University of Washington Press at the folowing link:
Copies are also available at

Copies of the cover art, a painting by Evan Howell, titled simply, Table and Chairs, can be purchased by navigating to his website:  .

Evan Howell began drawing at age two.  Since, like other autistic people, Evan finds social situations difficult, he has made art his principal means of expressing himself and connecting with the world.  His original works are available at the website noted above.  Now in his early twenties, he lives in Spokane, Washington.

Here are a few poems from the book:


Motoring roads
Through palmetto,

Tobacco, and trucks
With terrible labels

Like: Technical
Animal Fat, the

Of a little old town

Cuckoos with church spires.
But the evening's light

Paints and calms;
Sheets of clouds

Flatten under its
Soothing hands.

A history of cock fights and
Smoldering crosses

Swallowed up
In the silken body

Of the planet, laid out
Like Marilyn.

"Nothing very sudden
happens here," she lies.


Even though you say
You've done all that

You can, you know
Your heart

Where the vine grows up
Has lied.

You could've paid
Another hundred bucks

To see the disease
Run its course.

Instead you left
The terrier, the present

Your kids prized more
Than hope

In the vet's cage
At the back of the building,

Near the autopsy table.


An auger churns a hole through humus
From a distance, a river flows into the sky

Standing in the current, a priest raises
Both hands overhead, shaking imaginary stones

A snarl of crows swoops low in the smoke
Of a well-fueled bonfire.  Moths flutter like ashes

A pack of young hyenas breaks cover
Lopes away through crackling grass

Red-eyed, a ring-necked pheasant does the
Head-bob, head-bob.  A lecturer calls out in tongues

The key to his room hung on the hook
Of a saxophone, its soul a shriek of lightning.


Each of us orders the world a little
Differently, she spoke, setting her

Teacup in a saucer.
You shovel snow, mow grass, plant

Lines of well-pruned euonymus.
Always grooming, aren't we,

The face of this bloody planet.
Me, I use an old violin, long legs,

And a soft little nest between them.
I also blend this excellent tea.

Fanning pages of the phone book
Lying on the table, a bare knee

Slipped from under her robe.
What do you think? She asked.

Want to hear my etude?


Hell yes
It pissed me off.
My mom said we

Could not afford them,
Dance lessons,
An excuse for the elite

To mingle with each other
And touch. I grew jealous

Of the confidence I saw

Rising in their faces,
The sound of their fathers' money
Shuffling in the background.

I would have broken her
Partner's legs
Muscling myself

Into their circle of smugness,
The influence dance lessons
Bought them.

I was certain they'd marry each other
And pity the unschooled ones
Like me. 

        --for Adam Hammer

Odd boys in a league
Full of deer hunters

We fell in love with a name
And played like a circus of dust devils.

When we won which wasn't 

The opposition would spit
And finger us.

Ecstatic, we
Zoomed over their robust machismo.

Swallowing pride
And the fish hook of hate

They would come to us later
Like lovers

Begging for another chance
To play.

We knew in their hearts
They wanted to kill us.

      --for Pete

I hear the finches first
Each morning

Shortly after five.
Their songs begin

As if they were running

Sound checks,
Tuning before the morning

Concert. I know this
Because I'm awake,

Thinking of you
Asleep three time zones

From Ohio.
Cones from native cedars

Fall through your dreams
Of the West: 

Climbing carved and ragged
Formations in the Badlands

With your sister,
Her laughter crawling up

Behind you.
You were ten;

Your heart was bold
As a fox-tailed

Indian, sun at your back
Atop a wind-carved outcropping.

As your father
Squinting into the sun

From below, I worried more
About the business of falling

(throughout your life)
Than what was actually

Good for you; more about
Schooled refinements

Than putting the brass
Of confidence

In your pockets.
If anyone tells you

To act more
Like your father,

Stare straight through them,
As if they didn't exist.

     --for Chris Howell, poet, friend, and ballplayer

Knowing it could not stop
The dead from passing

Or the leaves from drifting,
Morphing into banks 

Of deep snow against the gray
&  sullen barns of February,

I bought
A catcher's mitt--

Comforting as mashed potatoes
Steaming with my favorite 

Gravy. By the time I have
Conditioned it with Neatsfoot,

Perfumed it with sweat,
There will be finches and

Baseballs in the air.
And I, Magic Al, will have

Escaped the cloaked cell
Of winter depression

Using only
A ball and glove...

Just in time, again,
To play some catch with a friend.


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