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sparkle + blink 3.8 2012 Quiet Lightning ISBN 978-1-105-86817-7 cover photographs Steven Gray edited by Evan Karp book design by j. brandon loberg set in Absara Promotional rights only. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission from individual authors. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the internet or any other means without the permission of the author(s) is illegal. Your support is crucial and appreciated.
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featured artist Steven Zack Haber karen Penley MariaMa lockington aaron DiFranco Valerie cHaVeZ Zoe breZsny

Man and Story Romance and I Hate People Dear Lover Mission Renga Tenderloin Portraits Untitled The Green Night To Be An Earthman OM Ivys Song from Expat Diaries Love Poem Musings in a Cemetery $ Chapter 18

MattHew rogers

Max toMlinson

Joe case Maureen blennerHassett

cHris carosi brian Hart cybele ZuFolo saMantHa rubenstein casey McalDuFF

Ocean Sounds in New York 71 Chamber Music Urban Burger 81 85

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Quiet Lightning
A 501(c)3, the primary objective and purpose of Quiet Lightning is to foster a community based on literary expression and to provide an arena for said expression. QL produces a monthly, submissionbased reading series on the first Monday of every month, of which these books (sparkle + blink) are verbatim transcripts. Formed as a nonprofit in July 2011, the board of QL is currently: Meghan Thornton secretary Chris Cole vice treasurer Charles Kruger chairman Evan Karp founder + president Josey Duncan Nicole McFeely Brandon Loberg Kristen Kramer public relations outreach design treasurer

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M a n a n d st o r y
A man decided to story. He took out a pen and a world was born. But the word tree wasnt a tree. And the word river wasnt a river. And the world wasnt words. But the words were worlds. He opened the notebook but he couldnt step inside. He only exists as he writes.



a n d i h ate p e o p L e
I am a winter princess from the North with thick gold hair cascading to my shoulders. My dress fits snug and it has fur at the collar and wrists. Fur combed from the plants of the thistlebush of course, caught in its little barbs as animals run through safe and unharmed of course. I am from the North but I am warm and kind. I look out of the double paned crystal windows at the top of my castle and watch snow falling. The train on my dress goes long on the slate flagstones of the castle floor and my slippers are soft burnished gold. I am a princess. I have always been a princess. 1 2 3 4 5. I clamber back into the heavy gilt and wood chair draped with thick red woolen and gold needlepointed tapestries. Im not going to call my friends back. I want to torture them a little. I want them to feel bad that Im not calling them back. I want them to think about their behaviour and like how maybe they werent being so great. to me.

r o ManCe

I have like so many feelings inside of me. Like really magical feelings. I do. Like, I dont know, like feelings full of pathos and longing. Like beautiful feelings, like the feelings of a princess. Like my feelings are like gold, peacock blue, crimson. Those are like the kinds of feelings I have. Those colors. Shut up and you dont even know. I spend a lot of my days like lying around and having feelings. I like it. Its fun. And it sure makes me feel magical. Like Julie Reid, were sitting across from each other in the Russian restaurant and she just had this beatific look on her face like shes so peaceful like now that shes in alanon and shes facing up to her shit and like dont get caught up in the shit you know dont get caught up in your shit in his shit like when she was talking about me with this guy, its like youre still engaged well of course Im still engaged, because I loved him and hes this person in my life, why does everyone have to be so fucking disconnected like they aspire to this disconnection like shes afraid to be close to me because I might taint her. And Ill have a muff like Julie Christie in Dr. Zhivago and run to the window and be tortured, oh when will he come? when will he come? And then at last, hell come, striding in and Ill cling to him, almost dissolved, unraveling. And then hell scoop me up in his strong brown arms with his moustache head and in the summer, I will wear thin white cotton dresses with tiny pleats and ruffles and big sleeves that cover

my hands. And Ill run to him in my bare feet. And hell lift me up and twirl me and then well both kiss in this twirling extinguishing haze. And its like no one understands what is happening to us we dont even understand it ourselves and we are lost in a world of not our knowing.

Ka re n P e nle y



dear Lo ver


i let you paint a target on my breast. stopped darting behind trees like a spooked hare. a woman tired of needing no one. you aimed and then put down your arms. i saw you naked without your ego your judgement. a man worth slowing down for. you painted red love letters down my side. a sacred ritual. cherish. i allowed my fur to decorate the trap of your rib cage. slept for days in your arms as if they were lair. for you i was ready. to be. opened. for you. i was ready to. surrender. now. i have left the memory of us on the smear of your bed sheets. only the oakland sun setting like a cartoon in the frame of your window will remember us fused. before your arms became machete. before my body became sugar cane. we were clay. muddy river. red bone brown and deep. the two of us gripping silt spinning on a potters wheel. our communion bowl-like a gathering of velvet where our bellies met. before. you. became enemy. we were sculpture. carvings of each others softest parts.

the floodlit wheel. rushing rushing rushing through the quiet of dusk. so this is what man and woman can make when they abandon edges. so this. this is what i have to pray for. bless your pillar like heart and the morals you remain crucified upon. bless your intolerance. bless your father and the lies he told you about loose women. bless your mother for having dinner on the table each night. bless the women who came before me. the ones who will come after. bless your tongue that so quickly erased my pleasure with whipping words. bless your words. they do what nooses do to necks. bless them. bless you. lover. look what youve done. a mess of us. bless your bloody hands. wash them clean of my mine. bless. bless. bless. i have only incantations left for you. or perhaps what i really mean is watch. watch yourself. pay attention. how fast the fields grew between us. sun gone down. a smothering darkness. mine mine mine all mine. you chanted into my ear. that night after i told you my truth. this is my pussy now. you kept chanting as if my words meant nothing. youre not queer if youre with me watch. master surveying his land from the porch of the moon. watch us become. two niggers in the field fucking. a slight disturbance among the stoic cane. your arms growing sharper by the moment. my curves turned stalk-like. how easy it was. to get back to plantation. to turn my skin

commodity. how fast a fear a word an orientation can turn freedom sour. watch. yourself. we wanted the same thing lover. until you. you wanted to kill the unshackled parts of me. mine. im mine. i will not be what the master chuckles at from his porch as he lights a cigar and counts his profit. i will not be a pelt you wrap yourself in to feel safe and warm in the dark. a vessel for your stolen manhood. i will not be your mirror or seven years of your own bad luck. i will not be your mule your blank canvas your lifeboat your spoon your hunger your sunrise your razor your dream your mother your sister your dainty your trophy your revolution. your sugar. your cane. your whipping post. yours. yours. yours. youre mine, woman. mine. this is how you remove the sweetness (quick) from my back my hips my mine. after the cutting down. the get back woman. no man will ever love you wholly if you love women, too after your whipping words. no one wants to love a whore. after the massacre strewn from your mouth. lay your machetes down. lover. walk away. back to your shrinking quarters. lie on your straw tick. kick up your feet. let your dreams become a boiling house. cook whats left. suck the fluid out. the dirty white undefined sweet of me. add the cleansing lime. simmer. sift. harden me into the shape of your fantasy. this is how. you keep me. teach me. savor whats left of us. fine powder on your
Ma ri a Ma locKi ngt on

tongue. swallow. a loose (beautiful) woman. this is how. watch yourself. im gone. to pray for. clay. earthen movement. what a man and a woman can make when they abandon edges. the wheel. rushing. rushing. so this is what i will hold. my mine. my queer self. my own. only the sun will remember us fused. i will not carry your blades. lover. i will not slice you in half. ask you to choose between fruit and rind. take all your ridged parts. build yourself a factory. hide among the shadows until you see someone you want. the ideal prey. stalk her. stalk her good. draw your weapons. stand firm upon your misguided manhood. bless your misfire. see what you catch with that fear.






M i s si o n r e n g a
M ission R e nga : Drow sy wake
this drowsy wake of morning dreams, what woke there first sleepful tumult of synapse the Mission opens a protected lee between Twin Peaks ridge, the Bay what human need do I need to meet today sleep? acceptance? water? sunlight on sidewalk summer city, boys hair slick style, sly, trying to catch an eye beautiful girl on a bicycle standing on her pedals, hair swept coasts the street slope smiling horn honking hello the driver waves to the man in the crosswalk

stretching toward reason and light the tree dropping leaves, an hourglass growing simply in the sun he carries a lamp from the thrift store, half price to hang in his corner of darkness statuesque tranny square jawed, shoulders broader than any mans hey looker, what you say? table and chairs carried to the street they drink, play cards call to neighbors riding by the silhouette curve her skirt sways as she hops off the bus and walks into the sunset 5 oclock market the bustle, the close touch 2 tomatoes, quart of milk, salt I will see them all again I see them everyday, though they change faces everyday I am unconcerned with things larger than understanding have enough today


Mission R e nga : Flirt y st reet

at every pub a beautiful woman lures me like a guppy she moves to go I remember to kiss her remember the feel of nipple in my hand revision is a skill I am good atI am not a slut, but a lover my girls are all asleep all only music and the waxing half moon keep me company wake them, wake the smiling lips them, the trembling lips I am alone, tired pale slender legs, Im a sucker for them wrapped around my neck flirty street take a drag of my cigar this is not a tryst

a a ron Di F ranco


I love you. you dont seem to care. whatever. theres your fucking haiku I write alone because I am not socialized I perform for a living more than this? what do you want? a utopia: a bed, heavy breathing yes that night, her asleep, my bed the sheets are clean but Im still awake woman or orgasm? the wet spot off center in the sheets I crowd the beds left edge another day, circumscribed by circumstance under her sleepy smile do you remember my name?

Mission R e nga : Much MaD ness

no inspiration and no anxiety hangover Monday viernes, sabado, domingo, nunca dormer,

todos vida, vive I feel alright, though I have lost feeling in one finger is it really mine now? when I am myself is my spirit mine or does it belong to the Mission? whats my name? you tell me-- I know myself without names of course I wont forget my curse, though I wont remember exactly as you what end does not begin the beginning of the end of the beginning the more a man regards everything as divine...the more the gods will be pleased with him unaccomplished life I will get to you soon really, promise I sit in the red pool
a a ron Di F ranco


I lay back in its waters I light the red lantern night dark already? where does the music play tonight? walk and listen done with this song done with the edge, done with the dull red slice of flesh


te n d erL



oin p o rt r ai ts
LiLia n

When I get drunk enough at the Geary Club, I start to flirt with Lilian. I tell her things like I did on this night, things like: I really love how you did your eyes. Lilians the bartender. She has a dry, clumsy smile and always seems one drink shy of not being able to hold her head up. Shes full of sass and floats between serving you the wrong drink and delivering incomprehensible rants under her breath. On this particular night, being equally as wasted, I ended up in the bathroom with Lilian offering me key bumps and applying eyeliner to every part of my eye. With a voice like wet sandpaper, she instructed, Its easy honey, like this. You can only imagine the precision she could have had with one eye closed and her head bobbing unpredictably like a buoy at sea. All I know is I escaped from the jaws of an eyelash curler after my boyfriend swung open the bathroom door to find me cornered with a 51 cocaine-cosmetologist attached to my eyelid. With black tears dripping down my cheeks and swollen

eyes, I managed to feel my way out of the bar, and surface onto the Tenderloin streets for safety. By this time, I looked like a doll whose automatic open-close eyes were on the fritz and had settled into crazed mess of lashes and eyeballs: unsuitable to be looked at any longer, and so tossed into the Goodwill pile on Geary Street.

T uT u
Tutu stays in Oakland but he makes his living sitting at the corner of Geary and Leavenworth. His real name is Samuel Grant, hes handicapped and on welfare, and once he mentioned that his girl was beaten by the police in Oakland. I didnt ask whether he meant his daughter or his girlfriend; both seemed just as tragic. Either way, hes alone now. When I ask him about his past he just trails off, Oh, I dont know too much. He believes his mom and dad are in heaven, and he believes people shouldnt come here from other towns and act like they run peoples neighborhoods. We have to be good or bad, he says, Im trying to do the good things. Maybe hes got the right idea. On the corner he told me Were all a family, were all the same, you know what I mean, we gotta get together. But when I asked him what his favorite things were, he said Being alone. Having my privacy. And scary movies. I love scary movies.

e d BoweRs
Ed Bowers once wrote a play while in his early 60s. Instead of being performed on a stage, several narrators were placed in separate corners of a dark room; a spotlight danced frenetically between them as each spit out lines of poignant brilliance mixed with a good story and things that didnt make sense. I imagine this to be the constant scene in his head. I met Ed after I sat down next to him at the 21 Club, a Tenderloin bar that attracts characters of habit, from poetry to junk. I bought his book from behind the bar for $5. He hosts an open mic there once a month, where hell play the obligatory keyboard accompaniment to your poem. The first conversations I had with Ed were slurred over a cigarette and the slaughtered English that hovers like fog over the intersection of Turk & Taylor. Ive seen Ed stare off into the distance while offering a verbal equivalent of fuck you to someone trying to bum a cigarette off him. Ive seen him drink to handle the dark room and spotlight of his mind. And Ive seen Ed endeavor to read 20 pages of poetry to a bar of patrons who drank their manners and attention spans down with their ice cube filled glasses of High Life. He would read them verses like, Hemingway was afraid of nouns./ Hemingway loved war./ War is full of verbs. And lines like, The Universe is so innocent, it thinks with its dick.
Va le ri e ch aVe z


He was smart, bald, heartbroken, and sitting on the stool next to mine at the Brown Jug. He told me about how he once lost his keys in a Yellow cab, and how attached to those keys was a Swiss army knife. It was the last thing my ex-wife gave me as a gift, and I lost it, he said. The only woman I ever loved. His inverted eyes looked to the past and finally came back full circle. At 19 I lost my virginity, then my hair, and now this. But thats what we do, we just go out there and we lose things.




Our private life in bone, covered in keratin and camouflage feather the prickly pear the sudden violent storm the Saint Vitus dance Chemical tapestry gathering dust a labyrinth of 3 am calls, medicine in neat white tubes, psoriasis under favorite t, earthworms split in two, burning witch hymn, drawn blinds, granite on granite, do wrong for a living live in the dark spider-bite under rolled up pant leg black sweatshirt flecked with paint

You wish you were King Diamond Long hair, long gun Exult in funeral song Self-destruct in teenage bedroom Flightless cormorant slick ebony wings under the sheets


the green night

The green night nag champa soft genitalia epsom salt bath; your feet elevated I trust in you at last and read to you as the steam rises pine tar soap, half-healed skin, a saint on a chain, a cup of apple juice, a manhood in the water I dont believe in the downward spiral. You are crying, I am reading. I think of Kristin in her wheelchair I think of bruises and sacrificial lambs and traits passed down from father to son Ill be here with you for a while. I know this when I stroke your ears,
zoe Bre zsny


leaning over the smooth and unrelenting marble rim; a moon-like texture, salmon pink ashamed, foreign wounds under my sudden-girl-fingers When Im with you, a twelve-year-old boy craves sweetness, a hari krishna sings a sacred hymn a nomad neither loves nor hates the desert sand but lives for oily dates and a silver canteen I watch you over the book Hunter S. Thompson narrated for you and isolation in one sip of juice sucked from a straw on a Friday night in December Nakedness helps us a prescribed cream helps you coconut butter helps you (sometimes) lying in the dimly lit room helps me

Alice Coltrane and her organ helps me You are too tired for dinner or Seinfeld or the touch stone can only put a hand on my belly after a two hour soak and a recitation of words A new kind of romance in this unbearable closeness Your body stiff from pain; damp and still and egoless under a powder blue comforter Your need for me beside you The shift and cry of weighed down boughs against the window in the rain wide leaves and black wombs the sound of walnut shells breaking on the sidewalk, rot and goodness in their dark interiors, help us

zoe Bre zsny


t o b e an earth M a n
All the mystic seven surrounded me and in unison asked me, What do you mean by your existence? and I, a bit dumbfounded and ashamed and confused by the question, could pronounce no statement, other than, Um Um Um, but this seemed to satisfy them and in their golden splendor, that is light, that is escapism of our thinking minds, the darkness and what is more the womb we came from, the earth and the forever cosmic sky, like the lens to heaven at night, seem wide open wide stars, a rhythmic colliding as the whole cosmos comes alive and dances to a tune, that nobody knows or hears on Earth, until they die and realize that it was all for nothing, and that everything was contained in our eyes all along, and in the laughter of a child, and in a childs smile on a hot, raw, May day, under a tree, of which the kind does not matter, as long as it is green and has branches that reach out and expand and seek the light that we see fade and disappear beyond the sea and the horizon now goneour sleepour Earth where we came from the dream of infinity and the 7 muses came to me




and said, We liked your answer, the Um Um Ums, declared to us, the uncertainty of time, and it was humble and soft and calm and we appreciated your coming, so, for exchange for your advice and seeing us, we will erase your memory and send you back to Earth where you can be an Earthman and be confused by the sparkling liquidity of night, and the spiraling nothingness of stars, so you can go back to the Earth and look up at the sky and wonder why(?) I did not realize it at the time, because I had forgotten them and my answer, but I was happy to return and be an Earthman, fumbling and feeling my way through life, rising and falling and always looking up at the sky and wondering why(?) that everything should be contained in the heart, the heart that is love, and not the thing that beats, and that at least on this plane, this sphere of existing, fears and rattled with emotions and toil and boredom, that we should be so removed from this thing that has no existence, because all we focus on are those things that we know for certain are there, and I think that is why the mystic seven, should let me return to being an Earthman, because they knew that I knew that nothing else mattered, that nothing was knowable and that, this should be our greatest relief, our riotous laughter, our first flower of spring, and that all we know for certain is what we cannot know

and that when asked by the 7 muses, as to the meaning of our existence the best answer would always be, Um Um Um or at least some kind of essence of the meaning, I do not know.

Mat t h e w roge rs


Sueededeyeelah ratatat tatata that golden orb over there is about to warm up the whole world and the new age of hobos will come out, out of their wine stricken stupor dreaming of dawn, hating their dreams, their dreams that are nightmares of American realities of too little money and always hungry, tortured by sidewalks and empty hands and no one noticing you, as you plea and cry for help in front of the corner liquor store, while all you were trying to do was exist, as a little boy passes by and says, mama? what is that? gesturing to the man, and the little boys mom says, that would be a hobo and so the little boy dreams of being a hobo and later that night, gathered around a quaint glass table as a father takes a big knife and slices into a juicy meatloaf, the little boy cries out to the entire world, when I grow up I wanna be a hobo! and so that was how everything was born, in this matrix, this web of ideas floating out into space

upon this little blue ball rotating around trying to fill some enormous void, that is the universe, so dark and cold, truly needing the light of love that guides the way for all the little children of the earth who need a little self acknowledgment, to be told I love you, and to be held like little baby lambs bahhing in the hay fields of the stable of the place where little baby Jesus cried for the first time, as Sirius, the star, came out and shined and just said, Wowee! what a little miracle for the world, another one, and another one, always marveling at the way in which life is born, shining out there, Sirius, in the milky way, shin, shining, whining, whirling, pin, pining, looking for a space in the sky, in the day, but cannot as the moon is out but cannot be seen, in a night as black as a pen bursting upon a page, from the poets soft gentle hand, screaming out into the world a song, that goes out like this, love is so beautiful, love is so kind, love is all there is, so lets all be kind, but then he realizes that the black ink is really
Mat t h e w roge rs


his blood, his blood inside his body as black as the pocket of Jupiter, endless and ephemeral, understanding the tiniest murmur, the jib jabbing nothingness of it all, the bliss, the missing ingredient, the one time and only forever moment, always gone before it is there, fleeting, living within a moment in time, never free, because we are always changing, and once a battle is won, a new one emerges, sueededeyeelah ratatat tatata OM.




i v y s s o n g
The radio was playing Ivys Song. It became a song about his sister that day in 1974, with the raw cold air starting up over the wetlands. Peter was a boy of ten, sitting on the patio in shorts and T-shirt. Up high, over the mountains, fast-moving streaks of grey scored the fading blue skies. The hackberry trees shifted forcefully in the wind, confirming the end of summer. Peters teeth chattered; yet he refused to go inside the house. He turned up the radio in defiance. The syrupy chords and sweet lyrics were a balm, even as the tune slipped in and out of the shifting breeze. Yesterday they brought Ivy home from the hospital. No, it was Annies Song; that was the title. He still got it wrong, even after all these years. As a teenager, Peter recalled his therapist pointing it out, before he realized it himself. He couldnt remember the doctors name. The paramedics had set up a hospital bed in the house with the hackberry trees and oxygen hissed out of a tube under Ivys nose.

Peter, he heard his father say. Turn that radio off. Your sister isnt well. Your mother is trying to sleep. Mother was always trying to sleep. Cant I hear the rest of it? he said, meaning the song. Turn it off, his father said. Peter twisted in the patio chair. His father stood in the shadows of the sliding glass door. All the lights were off in the house. His father, tall and reedy, wore faded jeans and a plaid shirt. His crew cut needed trimming. He had the look of a man who worked with his hands but he worked in an office and was away much of the time. Peter was uneasy around him. Im not going to ask you again, Peter. Peter reached over, turned the radio dial all the way down. There was silence for a moment, the lapse of man-made noise switching to the wind in the trees. Come inside, his father said, softer now. Its freezing out there. In a minute, he mumbled. His father cleared his throat. Your sister is awake. There was a pause.

Peter? Okay, Peter said. Come say goodnight. I dont want to, Peter said. He hated what had happened. They had been close, even though Ivy wasnt even five. But now she scared him: thin and white, bald and blue-veined. In her white nightgown, her eyes were like Jonseys before his father took the dog out, along with his revolver. Peter, his father said now. Your sister He looked Peter in the eye. He always said you look someone in the eye. Youre old enough to know shes not going to be with us much longer. You do know thatdont you? Peter blinked; then nodded. But he couldnt look his father in the eye anymore. Come say goodnight, his father said. I dont want to, Peter croaked. His father sighed and shook his head. He pulled the sliding door shut and Peter was left with the trees snapping at the sky. ~~~
Max t oMli nson


Many hours later Peter woke up in his bed in the room off the split-level. It was dark, save for the moonlight coming through the window. The cowboys on the wallpaper were riding across the prairie. His father must have scooped him up out of the chair on the porch, and put him to bed. His father could be so silent. Peter thought he heard a noise. Perhaps it was the wind. Or a critter on the roof. Or from the room Ivy was in. He would say goodnight to Ivy. Without his father there. Peter climbed out of bed, still in his blue shorts and the Costa Rica! T-shirt his father had brought back from one of his trips. The whisper of Ivys oxygen drifted down the hall. Peter tiptoed to her roomquietly, so as not to wake his parents. The shag of the carpet brushed the bottoms of his feet. Then he thought he heard something else, coming from Ivys room. A creak of a floorboard? He heard another sound, or lack of it, like when he had turned the radio off earlier that day. The lack of sound.

The fizzing of the tube had stopped. Peter peered around the partially open door. In the minimal light from the window he saw his father bent over Ivy. Red plaid shirttails wrinkled out over his jeans. His father stroked Ivys bald head and stood up. There was no tube under Ivys nose. The tube lay on the floor beside the hospital bed. Ivy was still, not sleeping, more than not sleeping. A small noise escaped his fathers throat. Peter saw the oxygen bottle clearly; he had worried so much about it running out, he knew exactly where it was and what the dial meant. And in the semidarkness he saw the needle, like the radio dial he had turned down, all the way to the left. What are you doing? Peter wanted to say. But couldnt. Perhaps if he didnt say it, it wouldnt be happening. But the truth was, he was scared. And now, almost forty years later, sitting in Golden Gate Park, where he had lived for a while now, he thought he heard a distant radio playing Ivys song. The trees were moving just like those hackberries did
Max t oMli nson


that day. And the primitive landscape; he saw it as he did then, and it made him think of Ivy, and that soft dusk dying.



ex Cer

fro m t h e e x pa t d i a r i e s

p t # 0 (t h e i n t r o )

Like all the great ones before, all the elements are there, but nowadays it is a less urgent, more detached by technology kind of version of the whole thing. The hedonism is still there, the aimlessness, the parade of people from all over, all milling about with no plan but to drink it up and try to keep the dream going as long as possible while not really knowing its a dream. That is the youthful version of it. It is a young mans game. Those who keep going turn into the Henries of the world, those detached souls who decided to ride beauty down to the bottom of the ocean. The other route is you marry in, go legit and live out some sort of My life in Tuscany romanticized travel memoir version of the whole thing. This is usually the female route. The sinking ship of beauty is usually the male version of it. In any case, it is a ripe time and a ripe experience. That is why you get addicted, and that is why all of us expats have such a ridiculously hard time reintegrating if we ever can. We got used to a life of minute-by-minute possibility: adventure can pop up at 8o different times during the day. Even if it is not true possibility or adventure, it feels like it, which is all that really matters. I mean how

many times did you go to a party with an entirely new batch of faces. An entirely new set of sexual possibilities and routes into the future. You pop in, the radio is blaring some new shit off Radio Nova and you are drinking whatever from one of the 12 open bottles on a messy table, you look over and see some shy and stunning blond girl. You learn that she is Norwegian, and that her name is Sophie. A beautiful but strange combination that you have become used to. This situation in Paris, on the expat trail, pulses with actual self-expression, not the cheap meaty American version of this situation. You imagine having sex with her, but not in that vacant American way of thinking about it. This might lead to making love somewhere in Norway; she probably is studying something interesting; she is not just some chick in a bar with a job and no real interests of any kind. The shy Norwegian girl with the French sex kitten name has a look on her face that is the visible top of the proverbial iceberg of conversation topics. She is far away from home, so are you, you both came here, which means you automatically share a certain psychological structure that would be near impossible to find back home where everyone is deluded that they have something in common because they happen to just exist in the same town together and go to the same grocery store. No, this is different. You havent even met her and you already know you have more in common, you know you are compatible in some deep way just by nature of the faraway situation you both find yourself in.

Being an expat is like a prescreening. All the people you meet are seekers, those looking to drink a more exotic and rare vintage and are willing to burn the bridges behind them to go a little further. Sacrifice is part of the makeup. It is letting go of the dock, and trusting, hoping that those resources will be out there. This is why most people can never do it; they just cant let go of the dock, of the steady supply of cheap things that will reassure them of who they are. The expat is the explorer. The psychonaught if you will. Whereas the explorers of mountains have rivers, streams, rocks, and peaks, the expat has bedrooms, bars, bottles, breasts, and river quais at dawn. Both are seeking some kind of meaning, but the expats takes place in the land of the living, the swirl of burning to be alive. But that at times ends in the ash smelling, sticky floor, wine stained morning. Because this foreign land of experience, for you, is the everyday home you left behind to everyone else around you. In the end you are an outsider, the same as you were back home. And herein rests the crux of being an expat: you dont belong anywhere. You left because you felt like an outsider at home, and you will feel the same way if you go back. But when the euphoria dies down you are an outsider here too. And eventually the circus dies down. Sophie disappears back to Norway to continue her studies and will probably not come back to Paris. Everyone starts to disappear, everyone starts to get on with their lives and you are stuck
Joe case


with the choice to hold on or let go. The problem is that letting go feels like giving up, and that is not something you want to do. You came here in search of something, and though you found it many times over it burned off with the morning sun. You could never really hold on to it. You want to go legit; you want to live it everyday. But there is the core of the problem: you are allergic to going legit. You fooled yourself into thinking that you were allergic to home, to your culture, so you ran away to find another one. But you finally realize that you are allergic to belonging. You are allergic to there not being a bright new horizon around every corner. You are the optimistic dreamer who cant settle anywhere. Going legit and settling into this new culture is some deluded reason you gave to up and leaving before, some justification for your choices, and for the critics of your lifestyle. Do you ride the beauty ship down or do you admit that you were wrong about the whole thing? Both are a kind of death. Neither you want to do. You feel stuck, the opposite of what this whole thing was about. It wasnt about feeling trapped; it was about feeling liberated. But now you are stuck. You are broke, financially, emotionally, socially. The reserves that you always trusted were coming at some point to pay you for your sacrifices, pay you for your dedication to the lifestyle, pay you for your allegiance to the idealthey havent shown up. You realize that they dont exist. Your dedication to the

moment has severed you from the past, and left the future blank. Everyone else moved on, they got out. And now you are standing alone, with a broken and split identity, faced with what is in your pockets and your next move, which seems like a double loss. You closed out the party, and now you are alone.

Joe case






a Love poeM
a love poem


you should know I should have known i will grow tired you grew tired without notice without notice i will you take another lover i took another lover you lie lied upon a foreign mattress that day crying but ill try but ill try really hard really hard to forget to forget you are special i left first maybe maybe youre not that special you are true love maybe maybe you are true love maybe isnt gospel ill get over it you should know i will be sorry once and again i will tell you i hate sorry i should have known im sorry for the past all the things i never told you sorry i wasnt too convincing

inspires weakness but truthfully, i am sorry for my weaknesses you should learn how to speak in veiled tongues that i love you means i expect you to save me that i cant do this anymore means chase me, run harder

but truthfully, i am weak and sorry you couldnt see i will learn how to live near your body far from your heart where i love you is naked and shivering outside on cold foggy street corner surely you will make me see we cant do this anymore


Musings in a CeMetery
I am quiet like a crow in a cemetery an oxidized tombstone an overgrown carpet of clovers I am quiet like thunder the bust of an old colonel the black cross without decoration You are loud like the folds of an angels stone dress a stray cat drinking stagnant rainwater a wrought iron fence forced open You are loud like a brick among a wall of cement the solitary carpenter ant scaling fallen pine needles the crumbling yellow petals left by a mourning son We are an old man sitting vigil over the bones of his mistress We are a mausoleum missing an epitaph What are you thinking about? que pensas? I am spanish and you are my tongue soy espaol y sos mi lengua You are saint jude and I am a lost cause

Mau re e n Ble nne rh asse t t


Our story will be told in stubbed out cigarette butts strewn upon the broken concrete of this city It will be written in footsteps half erased by sand Our ballad will be sung through the dead leaves as they fall and hit the ground Once youre gone Ill scream all of my questions into a freshly dug grave in spanish, in english por qu nunca me preguntas alguna duda? Ill scream until I forget your arms pulling me tighter after I leaned too far off the lighthouse Ill scream until I forget that even in my dreams you dont respect me I didnt mean to write you a love poem, I only wanted to capture you inside a spiderweb of platitudes strung up between dueling metaphors Because somewhere inside me I like the way you make me hurt I cant stop peeling the scab back from new flesh I wear it as a martyrs last words One day Ill laugh at the shrine I created for you

The pedestal you once stood upon will be rusted and the pigeons will have shit all over it The butterflies attacking my insides will have shed their colors until they are gnats just hovering Once you called me butterfly One day my flesh wont remember yours Ill find faults in my memories as they distort and eventually blur into the bloody canvas I painted for you This side of America One day Ill write you a letter A candle in a cemetery cant compensate for failing to pay the electricity bill Thats all it will say Yet you might understand me a bit more than you do now

Mau re e n Ble nne rh asse t t




Dont fall in love with this face
Lorine Niedecker

$ the aperture tries the diorama packed in there the sun is the word sunset now surface is the dream of a name with our heels against the moon say we ask why the answer is three letters long why must we unwind the thing to hold our lips around an annunciation what kind of pen is that that writes nothing but stresses with these commas are the end of the sun how old is the arm what clause is unnecessary


$ just some coins and some panthers a palm and a dish and a noose that grows on trees I tell you I love you I did not come here looking for you I am the chest that breathed a fresh gulf of faces, mouthing light I am the last great steamboat, I am like a policeman at the gate in the deep mean blue I cared for a deaf animal far from the trees and I was its only friend and I have your wristwatch you never had a wristwatch dont forget me when Im young

$ how you lose it is by sinking a glimpse into the fire by telling it it is consumed calming a body in the shower say the kid holds a sentence say he can hold it and he says it again by measuring the delay

light that sneaks past him listen to this number I conceal as threshold to the cash I am 26-years-old with no career what do you want from me, 27 $ no, no, the delusion could be an emotion actually a figure is an open space a candle in a glass between heading out foolishly staying put staying up the tickle of smoke turns a dial and solves the sound passes behind a country square tangoes silently like little proud faces in the dark seek perfection under the paper every corporeal pen every sketch-size of trust damn too

ch ri s ca rosi


$ why you work why do you work you are the silent percentile the blooming hand high over the ocean roaring a simplistic fare I think about it too much, isnt it? carry up the work is never the same as myths Well Im sorry you think about it ever gone blinking like a beauty winged warm small season jealous of every natural thing thank yourself $ Im sitting in for another man but he thinks Im a boy so you think Im a man am I a man whats a man to you? is this stealing if I say this? I feel like a boy and a man my nose is in the dirt

I sit and react like a dog to an innocent trick: that skyscraper and that one and that one is lying down but it is not asleep

ch ri s ca rosi



fro m C h a p t e r 1 8 2 versio n s o f w h at b e C a M e o y

f the gin gerbread bo

note: At this point in the story, the characters are on board a bridge cruise ship. But beware! Pirate Blue will soon be taking to the high seas too! The Captain continues his study of physics, now concentrating on the laws of optics. The 2 narrators, Muscles the Clown and the (dying) spinosaur, remain trapped inside a play. Though they differ in their interpretations as to whether the Gingerbread Boy is dying or about to begin life, both agree that the Gingerbread Boy will be re-joining his old lost friend Stevie Bingo on the backgammon board. Part 4 - BRidge CRuise on The high seas <Will we be boarding with the others? Shorty asks the young girl. Oh, no! the young girl says. Well be taking our own ships!> <But theres only one library, says Shorty. Hmmm, says the young girl, stumped. Shorty realizes the little girl is stuck. Perhaps mirrors! Shorty offers. HAHAHAHA. Yes! says the young girl with glee. Shorty Gates to the rescue! She runs into the library to ask Mrs.

Winchester if there are any mirrors around!> [Act 18. Scene 1. The spinosaur said, There are as many l-l-legends about the Gingerbread Boy as there are s-s-storytellers and young ones and s-s-stars in the sky! Much of what we know that happened came s-sstraight from the mouth of the bigmouth sleeper.] [Scene 2. Muscles said, A lot came from the recollections by way of sea logs left behind by First Mate Clarence Checkeredfish XXXII that indicate the Gingerbread Boy was born in the oven of a ship] [Scene 3. The spinosaur continued, from the s-s-scientists Universe] [Scene 4. Muscles continued, at a time when seas were filled with happy-go-lucky pirates and battles were fought using chocolate.] <Shorty comes back with a funny kind of mirror. She hands it to the young girl. HAHAHA! The young girl cant stop laughing looking at her ponytail! HAHAHA! The library, it looks like a little horse shoe! she says to Shorty.> The Captain, he was there, on deck! Saw it all for himself! Couldnt believe his eyes! 1. Folk o Cal. port t paint! The head-n o th Sleep Sisters ghost Gondola incredible are inbound t give a row-boat to fast! Shorty Gates takes a couple of the Sleep Sisters t cruise offerin ginger58

bread pasta t the bridge-ship around: THE deluxe o HORSE SHOE! the Sleep Sisters say to Mrs. Winchester, Roll ova em the pasta into a boy! Blow a kiss into im. North side deschallengeswheresart istregos o THE philosophical HORSE SHOE! Give em the dough! Simpla THE magnt dude o HORSE SHOE pic! Mean! While yo ht! nah! pele! continue suncomuputerroomrisin eh! t in a everyone-escape-theylives behind smalla n smala! Taka t dinna. Anima food enigma shrink rock closa in to The dear me, o Sleep Sisters ghost Godola. Now see! Back THE bet ya savins on HORSE SHOE! Ways fro th Ex! Caliba o rock father away, down t th ocean-ringBri an h a rt


stream o mid age thought. yo ht! nah! pele! stampin eh! t get fonda n fatha fa The lala by Sleep Sisters ghost Gondola, but pull it! Put on prepperoni fo getting it al yen test right at The saucy Sleep Sisters ghost Gondola. First Mate Clarence Checkeredfish XXXII up on deck holdin on to hi pot of the bigmouth sleeper! Shorty Gates to Pirate Blue, Shes with whale! Comes and holds up her pot of the dory next to his. The two bewildered fish stare at one another. yo ht! nah! pele! kicks eh! t Get t at em Jus away o attractin. By The order o Sleep Sisters ghost Gondola ready be mo off dozen. I goin Swiss have yella holes in em, loop


I salut t

The hoblongobblok goo-dlee-gop gal o Th Leap. Thi. Th. T er ghotht Gondola! o th A.M. Looka State: :X o dara prof ets a tytter pa e viscits or cad rah re w snai.: tha s:I.e. w t ya lamb da alam b dah wopalo jewel o pal am b dauwaf.: spino oar tiptoein up thar on tha wire! <Shorty gives the young girl another kind of mirror. HOHOHOHOHOHO! The library, it looks like a big elephant! she says. Ahoy!> 2. Fo Cole Porta! A la The out range o Cupcake Sisters Common Carrier away! Pirate Blue! Shoot em! Can on. Some more chocolate chips! Sing! Oh, sing!

Bri an h a rt


t yay! o lambed as as crazy yo a! Movin closa in on The cupboard o th Cupcake Sisters Common Carrier away. Lesson twice th voguell distant t! Bud still grade o then vocal, dis den. THE buff m ear o Watt ELEPHANT HOY on retreat! THE alpha-boy ELEPHANT HOY rot ate moon in pongoas.lo.t.eachariotias axis! Gotta give gold w stole back t the Americans. Silver mine, Pirate Blue says, chimin in. Munch, nothin but silence, yellin! t yay! o lambed as as is this yo a! Up the sails The contoured Cupcake Sisters Common Carrier away goin hurray fo the peal LOVE AND BE HAPPY. The swords o th Cupcake Sisters Common Carrier away though, Pirate Blue, 9 pirates, well, they Dont fence.

E! OH! SE! SR! OH! year o EH! T. Shoot 5 more to the bridge ship, says Pirate Blue. 3 buttons o a coat and 2 shoes! XY! For the boys! Lo! Way fo hoy! tubydala book deposit eh? t now be in! Not t be honey sucka id who drunk th martin unda the pretty yellow keel o The cinema tedious Cupcake Sisters Common Carrier away. Up the flag The 60s Cupcake Sisters Common Carrier away goes th pull WE LOVE JOHN LENNON.

the illustrious horse shoe in between. O then o the fake L paint o. The factual Cupcake Sisters Common Carrier away. Yes, th pool girls o ox, phone in sayin its Y! OH! T! N A HPE! LE Francaise E HT, meltin out o th steamy picture, behind Pirate Blue virtual. Shoot em 2 more o that good chocolate taste!
Bri an h a rt


2 eyes, a nose and one glove! Wait! Isnt there a 2nd glove missin sum wear? Up the Pirate Blue pole The sloganeering Cupcake Sisters Common Carrier away high up bounce pool 12x13 MAKE LOVE NOT WAR. in th sat light P.M. Way-away, they go way singing! [Scene 5. The spinosaur continued, M-M-Moment of s-s-silence for h-h-hear what it all comes to. H-H-Hungrier and h-h-hungrier.] (Spring t ya feet, Gingerbread Boy, run away!) Chase him! Quick! The Bar Point, the Ace of Diamonds! Sequailofiftyi nto jail anotha farma playmoutherobmugshot usecrooc


k as ches decoy. (Run t the star o the board Gingerbread Boy!) Scape from the holds o up the goat get t th mast! Run, run! Coax th Gingerbread Boy hoax! (Keep runnin pot side!) e natural desk mate t save is a swan likely t dive to th sea n turn pi t a powerful belly flop. Hay-ron-eemooo! Ink circus shark-shock flat out laughin at th crash o food in th imaginin water be sharp! Summer assaultin quadruple th sky o gravity down! Not here! [Scene 6. Muscles gives Version 1, First Mate Clarence Checkeredfish XXXII puts his pot down and jumps to the ocean top for a hero catch dont go overboard. One arm, then another, he swings the Gingerbread Boy over to his back to cling to, and swims im to the shoreline safely without getting him wet once! Not once! First Mate Clarence Checkeredfish XXXII took him over to the schoolhouse and
Bri an h a rt


mom hid him in the cloak-room in a lunchbox that had stars all over it. Whereupon Stevie Bingo luckily discovered him, from whence the two pals would later hop the train out of Mobile] [Scene 7. The spinosaur told a different version: Version 2. This time with a bitta ending! First Mate C-C-Clarence Checkeredfish XXXII had a water m-m-motorcycle onboard, gets it onto the sea, and says, Folk! Im g-g-onna g-g-go in N.Y. harbor hitchfirst for a s-s-star s-s-statue o a not that E-Z o a chase. (Mork l-l-laughs, and asks, Ch-ch-chall we invite Jello to th d-d-dance?) (Mindy, d-d-daydreaming about P-p-paris, answers, Oui! On joue au thtre! Taka shsh-shance!) Whereupon the poor Gingerbread Boy gets dragged b-b-back in t on board for all o


the sea crew t rip off. H-H-His arms, his l-l-legs, we crummy crew members ate him, ff-face it. and th-th-this is h-h-how the Gingerbread Boy came to b eaten. He continued, All aboard cheer, S-S-See ya l-l-later, Gingerbread Boy. Its time now to search the wild c-c-constellations for ya own universal shoreline! Its all yours now for the singing! Yes, yes, yes! D ya see the town of Springfield yet? L-L-Look! There you be! See, see see! Ya f-f-friend Stevie Bingo waitin fo ya happily on the b-bbackgammon b-b-board! C-C-Congratulations!] [Scene 8. Muscles added, Theres somethin up here in Springfield waitin to be told, Gingerbread Boy, and were getting all ready for you and your pal Stevie Bingo. Yes, everyone gets a turn at bat! Be sure to hurry along!
Bri an h a rt


Come quick!] And this is how the Gingerbread Boys glove came to be lost [Scene 9. Muscles said, It was recorded by First Mate Clarence Checkeredfish XXXII that the Gingerbread Boy lost one of his chocolater chip buttons on the high seas, while holding on tight for the long swim to Alabama...] [Scene 10. The spinosaur said, The bigmouth sleeper told us that, after the Gingerbread Boys capture by First Mate Clarence Checkeredfish XXXII, on the s-sswim back to the b-b-boat, the glove got lost and was recovered by P-P-Pirate Blue.] To the edge of the horizon goes Pirate Blue with all of th pirates, singing, singing, but wouldnt ya know it before disappearin like ghosts in a Houdini show, Pirate Blues pirates get off one final chocolate chip from their canon for good treasure!

It arcs across the sky and hits the bridge cruisin ship with almost the speed of a comet. So it is. Inescapable fate sets in! Only the King and the Queen who happen to be playin backgammon blow deck right away notice that the glove-shot has plugged a hole in the wall of the bridge-boat enough for... uh-oh Dont ya know it! This cruise ships going down, down! Maybe, well maybe, theres enough time left for one hand of bridge!

Bri an h a rt





n sounds in new york:

7 po eMs

1 . inCo ngRuenCy
Envelopes and old letters spiral a double helix Your face floats past my window Unhinging of time and meaning Sheets of metal to sleep on And so sleep will bring you back This is a deafening procedure Severing jagged landscape of day into night A brick wall to project my life scenes in spray paint Urban grey buildings hide their meaning Like a teapot bubbling too long to scream The grafting of a cryptic existence amid roaring zooms and blinding lights Your smoke finds me in the dead of night Singes beneath black silk that Im wearing To the sly smirk on my lips Past the neon air and bleak density The rain is glass that cuts clean and smooth upon these streets Filling a reservoir for hydraulic power

My running grows numb to a pulsating buzz Into an unacknowledged place Where gravity betrays us The mathematics of feeling The proof of humanity The solvency of us all If you reach symbiosis You will solve our conundrum

2 . V e R da nT windows
Wild twisting heartland Vines of true and deep intent Tropical tundra Your green plumage Labyrinthine flora surrounds this scintillating fauna Shapes of Echeresque proportions Like antique epigraphs that linger into night You haunt and flirt with us Orchids erupt and carve the space Charting a map of horticultural fascination Green becomes a state of mind A way of perceiving the world through your verdant windows I rush to this fractal structure of velvet skin to solve the proof of maddening beauty


You grew this equation for me to solve Swimming light pools woven through guava leaves Bed of tundral chanting in a terrestrial oasis I linger through papaya leaves to find you In a rising haze Vortex hidden deep within The stamen is ready Unanswered questions as to the nature and purpose of things Embedded in the nucleus, your zenith Night drips over the city as the orchids writhe in a struggle for meaning Nakedness lends a theory of cross-pollination While your arms hold me in a brave new embrace I want to cultivate the evolution of the orchids, give them food and water. Beneath the interconnectedness of this natural wonder is the marrow that draws me to you.

3. Th e B uRgeo ning Ba ss
(T he s T Ra d i Va R i u s )

Lymph nodes grip the subconscious You are made of flesh and blood The heat forces me to plunge and scan my days for meaning Deciphering that which is undecipherable The wall in front of me soon comes down brick by brick
cyBe le zu F olo


And we are all the same humans now Too bright demystification of a bygone era My life is circling my house and chasing me out the door My eye grows dim yet burns with radiance inside this cage Born a woman grown into a girl Turned thinking feeling breathing thing Born from a circle of illusion transcended to a mosaic of possibility A moaning became a song Falling evolved into a dance Entering the world fully grown then unripening back to the seed His landscape was Ma Jolie and Guerrenica etched in Rodin In me he saw The Dance and Les DEmoiselles DAvignon We merged like two rivers into Les Nympheas at Giverny We were firebirds igniting an incendiary masterpiece burning us under You were infinite white space to throw painted dreams on.


4 . i aM Th e feMa Le a RChiT eCT uRe of youR deep-sea dig

Theres an oasis I saw all throughout my life but couldnt name You are the ocean in all its forms, rough, smooth as glass, blue, aquamarine, mysterious, unparalleled beauty. Fresh white caps, sonorous waves riding me up and down Theres radar and sonar deep within The ocean floor is where we meet, dine and hold each other. We are underwater as we kiss, love, laugh, and smile a mirror image. I am the architectural body of your nautical exploration. You dive into me like a new ocean My Jacques Cousteau, swimming around this body and mahogany eyes You find old dishes from a bygone era, you hear music There you are swimming in and out of this steel structure of dreams and hopes An innocent music box with a ballerina and a red garnet ring is peaking out from the sand. There youve almost found the treasure and the flippers jammed into the ocean floor. The eyes of the ship are glowing now and they are
cyBe le zu F olo


speaking words of an ancient language. I see your hair glide past me as your fins and chest gleam bubbles and rays of blue and green. Sea kelp burgeons around picture frames Tropical schools burst onto the scene bringing shimmering flute sounds Ahhhh such radiant echoes of Ode to Joy like antique epigraphs In my sleeping and waking breaths I envision a new frontier Dive into this maritime structure and find the compass, find the map, find the woman deep within.

5. w e w e nT T o Lo ng isLa nd
Ocean sound is cool and our mothers love is enveloping us Fishermans Warf and were young Fishermans Warf and youre still young and beautiful Order anything you like. A Shirley temple and a fruit salad A burger, fries and a coke. Im playing with the spoons, forks and knives. Im drawing with crayons on the paper tablecloth and paper place mat with a map of Long Island on it. Long Island so breezy and young. My smile so breezy and young. Your love and mothering is so breezy and young.


Those glasses on the table are circa 1975. You take your children out to lunch. You let them order whatever they want. You are the pinnacle of our lives. The smell of moth balls in the old Long Island summerhouse. The Jesus picture with eyes that move. That meat slicer that was her fathers. The fireflies outside on an August night. Autumn leaves rustle in the old barn where her father kept a 1950s Chevy. The darkness of the dilapidated house. The antiques of Sunday in New Suffolk. Bacon and eggs of early summer. Brush your teeth and wash your face. Dont forget to set the alarm. Shes scared too but she wont show it. Youre the great mother of us all. Swim where I can see you she said to me. Swim where I can see you. Your very being is the essence of the maternal, a symbol of vitality and music. Her voice is a laugh is a golden ray of darkness. Her voice saying I can order anything I want is an echo, a flower, a skyscraper, a flute and a bird.

6 . B iL L owy dRea MsCa pe

In the soft billowy dreamscape of your mouth I will live. In the mornings sea light you will stand in front of me Lets dance around the fire of our youth our souls our bliss You and me
cyBe le zu F olo


In the sand of your smooth body, the waves and valleys of hot tundra, Ill take your fingers to my lips. I see your glowing orbs in the ocean bedazzle like two fantasy planets In the wakening of mist and the dangerous beauty of the ocean I see you Your face lingers past me in effervescent haze of blue ocean calling In a green blue smoke we are on the balcony. You are smoking and I am gazing at you. There is no innocence in your face. All of a sudden there is a boy in your smile There is Paris in your walk. There is a golden gate under your feet, shaping your back I found you in the ocean The waves are salty and undulate in your hair The waves are tumultuous foam curving around your hips Lets wander through nights of this mysterious heartland.


7 . danCe R s haVe T he gif T o f a n e Te R naL Lif e spRing f Lowing Th R ou g h T heiR Bo dies,

quenching their deepest desires and hydrating realities into a dream. Dancers translate our hopes, fears and passions into the body, so that they can express them to the world. A hundred colors of the human condition are manifested primordially, with arms and legs, feet and hands. These dances and footsteps are the ancient hieroglyphics of the soul. A timeless ritual occurs when the curtain rises to reveal endless fascination and seduction of the many dances. We danced in a theatre on a stage to form a human panorama, a terrestrial document, and the earth establishing its place in the universe. Like a flower to the sun, photosynthesis takes place on stage, and we grow just watching the dancers of the New York City Ballet. Dancers carve through space with their bodies; they attack the space. They make love to it, they provoke it.

cyBe le zu F olo






C h a M ber M usi C


The buds bursts forth young, tender; shooting upward til the heat breaks them in half, or makes them bow down. A new shape emerges: adulthood. Sometimes that shape is never comfortable. Youth hangs on in ways we dont recognize. Grandma used to listen to Tony Bennett and smile this secret smile. It lit her up within. She said Tony understood life better than mostthat he kept her young at heart. She seemed silly. In my eyes a heart could never get old. It was either alive or dead. It was a constant beat, and I would place my hand on my heart and feel reassured that it was still there. In school, we counted the number of times our hearts beat. We learned that our hearts have four chambers; that the aorta is the most important vein and that it goes right through the middle. I loved that the heart matched the rooms of our house. It made sense to me. My home was my heart, and each room contained a person that filled my life, though some rooms were large enough for two. When Mommy told me that my father had an aortic rupture I didnt quite get it.

Thats impossible. Daddys heart needs that. Ms. Luce told us in school,I said, watchingmy mothers head bow down with the weight of her adulthood. From that moment, she beganto take a new shape and only Grandma played music for months. My new mommy slouched and had black-rings that made half-moons beneath her eyes. Daddys goneness echoed through our lives. Each day it beat on and we breathed to that beat. With each breath I knew that my heart went on, despite a constant flood of feelings I didnt quite recognize. Though I was young, adulthood began to tug at me too. I began to smile when I had a bad day at school; and played quietly because bounding through the house shattered the fragile cocoon that we had encased ourselves in. It was after Daddys death that we began to garden. It was a frigid, slushy spring, and every afternoon I would find Mommy wearing her bright yellow boots and this ratty sweater. It had a few small holes, but was incredibly soft. Her hands would be caked in mud and sometimes snow. Grandma always shouted, Hello, my wild thing and gave me a hug when I came home from school. She never had a snack ready. We would slice apples and place them on dough to make apple cakes with cinnamon. She introduced me to kim-chee, which crackled in my mouth.

My favorite was jicama, a white crunchy root. Chomping into it felt like biting something clean. Mommys hands were black, and jicama snapped in half, and Grandma played Tony Bennett, which hummed in and out of the beating that throbbed within us.

sa Mant h a ru Be nst e i n




u r ban bur ge r
On my behalf, the Dragon Builder yells for the bathroom: Hey Button Lady, cant you buzz a girl in? I was born sorry, though uncertain of forgiveness, full streets, how the beggar must also ask for apology. His dragon is made of glittery red tinsel, and its almost April, a caf marvel in ordered air. He was mutely humming, and bobbing his head to rare tunes. I had not been hearing him previously.


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