Monday, September 28, 2015

Postcard fiction, three poems, and a novel

My Dad dropped me off in the car and went outside, talking on the phone with my mother.  They are fighting (L !!!!!!!).  Three reasons they're fighting: . . . 
--From "My Daughter's Diary Entry," postcard fiction by Margarita Meklina, First Class Literary Magazine (August 11, 2015).

pressed full-length against the screen unzipping it
for a better grip to help him help himself to the seed and the suet
slung high under the eave . . .
--From "Bear," a poem by Ellen Bryant Voigt, The New Yorker (November 26, 2012), p. 61.

We lived next to an all-boys' high school. 
My uncles wore its uniform before
they put on army fatigues.  I built
toad temples with crushed dandelions and dirt
and the schoolboys kicked them apart . . .  
--From "Raising Children," a poem by Sue Hyon Bae, Spires, Volume 21, Issue 1 (Spring 2011), p. 18.

The announcement arrived during dinner 
and we thought we would have to miss our evening tv shows
but our cab driver, bless his reckless heart, 
had his GPS rigged to our weeklies. . . 
--From "A Distant Relative's Wake," a poem by Sue Hyon Bae, Spires, Volume 20, Issue 2 (Fall 2010), pp. 31-32.

When I was a little girl of six or seven I was always scared when we passed the lions on our way out of town.  I was sure Lucifer felt as I did, for he always put on speed at that very place, and I did not realize until much later it was because my grandfather whipped him up sharply on the way down the gentle slope past the gateway where the lions were, and that was because Grandfather was an impatient man.  It was a well-known fact. 
        The lions were yellow and I sat at the rear of the trap dangling my legs, alone or with my brother Jesper, with my back towards Grandfather, watching the lions diminishing up there.  They turned their heads and stared at me with their yellow eyes.  They were made of stone, as were the plinths they lay on, but all the same their staring made my chest burn and gave me a hollow feeling inside.  I could not take my eyes off them.  Each time I tried to look down at the graveled road instead, I turned dizzy and felt I was falling.
        "They're coming!  They're coming!" shouted my brother, who knew all about those lions, and I looked up again and saw them coming.  They tore themselves free of the stone blocks and grew larger, and I jumped off the trap heedless of the speed, grazed my knees on the gravel and ran out into the nearest field.  There were roe deer and stags in the forest beyond the field, and I thought about that as I ran.  
        "Can't you leave the lass alone!" bellowed my grandfather. . . . 
--From To Siberia [Til Sibir], a novel by Per Petterson, translated from the Norwegian by Anne Born (Graywolf Press, 2008; Picador 2009).

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Red Cherry on a White-tiled Floor by Maram al-Massri and poetry from RHINO

I am the thief
of sweetmeats displayed in your shop.
My fingers became sticky
but I failed
to drop one
into my mouth.
--From A Red Cherry on a White-tiled Floor [Karazah hamra' 'alá balat abyad], a collection of poetry by Maram al-Massri, published in Arabic with an English translation by Khaled Mattawa (Bloodaxe Books, 2004; Copper Canyon Press, 2007).

As I wander alone on the river path of cinders and cigarettes I am afraid, as I am always afraid, when I spot a man on a bench up ahead, drinking.  
--From "Girls in a Skiff," a prose poem by Maureen O'Brien, RHINO (2015).

Mother is gone.  Only her things remain: 
heart locket in 10K gold engraved
w/cursive J; medium-sized Austrian 
crystal brooch
--From "Inventory," a poem by Joe Eldridge, RHINO (2015).

When I met LL Cool J I had just quit Fatburger it was a Saturday morning  & not knowing how I would afford to pay for it I drove my new-used powder blue Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme with my sister to the Sam Goody's off Washington Blvd in South Central adjacent & we met our friend/ex-coworker Squeak who was 17 with glasses & 6 feet tall & nicknamed by the same ex-coworker who nicknamed me Twin 1 & my younger sister Twin 2 . . . 
--From "When I met LL Cool J I had just quit Fatburger," a poem by Khadijah Queen, RHINO (2015).

i'm bent over / the sidewalk weeping / outside the public theatre / you stand above me / horse built from a father's beer cans / you still have that other man's mouth on you / i can taste it / with the back of my hands / it's my fault / always is / i say do what you will / + your will is done / so what i was born drunk + mean with my teeth knocked out . . . 
--From "essay on crying in public," a piece by sam sax, RHINO (2015).