Culled from the past decade's Pushcart Prize selections, a collection for those who like their tales of love light on sentimentality and with a twist. Some of the best work features strong voices from people of color. In ``Crazy Life'' by Lou Mathews, Chuey's girlfriend gets him off the hook for a murder rap, but Chuey abandons his partner to a prison term and the East LA community makes life miserable for him. Lorna Goodison's ``By Love Possessed,'' set in Jamaica, details the affair of Dottie and Frenchie, who is ``probably better looking than Ricardo Montalban'' but unemployed. Dottie looks like Olive Oyl but can support Frenchie. The tenuous trade of different currencies ends disastrously. Likewise, Joyce Carol Oates's ``The Hair'' tells of one rather ordinary couple's friendship with a pair of socialites. The first couple's efforts to hold on to their status-lending friends threaten to compromise their own marriage. Incest is a frequent theme or subplot in the collection. ``Lawns'' by Mona Simpson portrays an abusive situation and its damaging effects on the daughter in later life. ``Hush Hush'' by Steven Barthelme presents a more off-beat, yet compelling incestuous scenario. If there is a flaw in this collection, it's that it takes itself too seriously. The book could use more entries such as ``Tell Me Everything'' by Leonard Michaels--perhaps the most well- crafted and playful of the lot, featuring an epic novel embedded within the story. ``Yukon'' by Carol Emshwiller likewise provides a refreshing perspective. A north woods woman leaves her bearish, north woods man and shacks up with an actual bear in a cave. She's happier with the bear, for a while. Many of ``the rest of us'' will be pleased with this thoughtful collection of intelligent romances. However, it fails to include a number of topics: safe sex, cybersex, etc. Also, the focus is overwhelmingly heterosexual.