lips were fat because Lani was fat. She didn’t want to
dance because it was hard to move when her body was so fat.
Sometimes we had to get up and dance and she sat by the window
and bobbed her head from side to side.....
Nigerians arrived on a cold wet day in November. They each
carried a brown leather case containing a suit, striped pyjamas,
a pipe and slippers. They seemingly had to shake everyone’s
Low Will Do
lives on the roof. She sits hawklike in her chair, watching the
swish of traffic far below. She really ought to move to a lower
floor—it would be so much more convenient. The stairs are
dark and there are so many of them. ....
Everybody’s Nice as You Are
steamy July day welcomes the carnival to town. Trucks transform
into tiny-tot roller coasters, Tilt-a-Whirls and mega-slides.
Unshaven carnies mechanically unfold a multitude of metal parts,
ashes falling off cigarettes that never leave their lips....
her father arrived home from his wanderings down between the
expressway and the river, and after she had thanked the Misses
Johnson and Jackson—the retired correctional officers who
lived next door—for finding him, Martha decided to take
advantage of the high mid-day sun by trimming the lawn and
finally planting those marigolds in the front bushes....
could feel Mama’s eyes on her from that window as she
picked her way across the hardened dirt that was their yard. To
heck with Mama, to hell with Mama, to final, effing hell with
this whole place. That was awful of her. . ...
Adelaide B. Shaw
young woman, perhaps 25, 26 years old, wearing a form fitting,
strapless gold lamé dress, with a matching filmy scarf of
gold silk draped across her shoulders, walked–no, not
walked–the maitre de who led her to table #7...
mysteries began in their garage. Walking in from the gravel
drive, I would first pass a dust-covered work bench affixed to
the left-hand wall, a lamp bathing the rough wood in a soft glow,
illuminating the surface like a cozy office desktop. The bench
was always covered in a musty veneer of dead skin, dirt....
Dog Eater (December 24, 2006)
Brian nor I want to go into Manhattan. It's a Sunday, it's
Christmas Eve. He wants to sleep late, leaving the day to
happenstance. I want to rest, being tired of rushing around for
the holidays. He came up from Maryland with Paul and Kristin, who
were married in October…
a Romantic Notion
school today an esteemed member of my department said his
grandfather, at age 18, “ran off” to join a circus. I
thought: Why do people say it like that? Anyone who ever joined a
circus seems to have run away to do it. My colleague is a poet, a
wordsmith, a teacher of language, trained to be precise and
accurate. I asked him why he said ran off. “Was your
grandfather a runaway? A fugitive of some kind?”...
Road to the Deep North of Japan
had to get lost to find my way to the north of Japan.
Deliberately and thoroughly lost among the vertiginous buildings
of downtown Tokyo. It was at night, when the air between the
gigantic buildings hung still, caught in the second between
inhaling and exhaling, the city catching its breath. Dust motes
froze, lit in cadaverous white pillars by the advertising screens
and strobe lights that threw images of soap bars, coke bottles
and cherry trees twenty stories up into the sky....
The Now of Jellyfish,
Finds My Hometown,
Moths into Butterflies,
Girl in the Moon
Folded into Submission
The Black Caravan and the Rope,
After the Shot
Above The Desert
Freda Kahlo’s Cry,
Lord Byron Gets the
Oaxaca, Not Wyoming,