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Brevity 41: January 2013

Brevity 41: January 2013

We’ve launched another fine new issue of Brevity featuring fifteen brief wonderful essays by writers well-known and less well-known but so very deserving. Our January 2013 issue features Heather Sellers, Sven Birkerts, B.J. Hollars, Nin Andrews, Lee Martin, Brian Doyle, Robin Hemley, David Jauss, Thomas Larson, to name just a few.
Green Light

Green Light

Green lights, as far as I could see, go ahead, go ahead, go ahead…but I had nowhere I wanted to get to, no desire to hit the gas and go tearing up the street, or do anything, and, as always at these times, I couldn’t see that a person would ever want to do anything,...
In Graves with My Student Elizabeth

In Graves with My Student Elizabeth

Friday afternoon at four. From the great light-stained glass windows, through pilgrim people and tulips, translucent-colored shadows in chaos across the green carpeting. I sit under these windows in this cold colored puzzle of light with Liz who weeps in a sleeveless dress. The rest of class rushed out of great Graves Hall into Spring...
Imagining Foxes

Imagining Foxes

One time, many years ago, when the world and I were young, I spent a day in a tiny cedar forest with my sister and brother. This was in the marshlands of an island the first people there called Paumanok. This little cedar forest was twelve city blocks long by two blocks wide, for a...
Bird Watching with James Dickey

Bird Watching with James Dickey

My father disliked poetry, and my mother didn’t care for poets. Why? I asked my mother. She said she’d always admired James Dickey, since way back when, as if that explained everything. Dickey? I asked. James Dickey, my father said, rolling his eyes. The man who wrote a poem about falling out of an airplane....
One Way It Happens

One Way It Happens

That first heart attack, which begins while I’m teaching a writing class, has the virginal peculiarity of my (a) not knowing what a heart attack is since I’ve never had one, which is true; (b) running to the bathroom to crap whatever it is out of my system, which doesn’t work; (c) believing prior to,...
Talk Big

Talk Big

Nights like this—a Friday night at last call after too much Pabst, and Jack, and Wild Turkey, and Seven and Sevens—we talk big. Why wouldn’t we? We know who we are—the lowlifes, the no-accounts, the pissants, the stumblebums. All liquored up. Ten foot tall and bulletproof in a going-nowhere-fast town in southeastern Illinois. This oil...
Tazed

Tazed

When Officer Rodriguez first arrived, Mac was still on Eileen’s couch in the same stained, country overalls he’d come to Vegas in three days before, drinking Pabst and smoking Cigarellos, while he waited for Eileen to sign the unopened divorce papers he’d mailed to her last December when they were both still in Beaumont and...
On the Occurrence of March 20, 1981 and on the Occurrences of Every Night After

On the Occurrence of March 20, 1981 and on the Occurrences of Every Night After

What they did to him they did not do to him, but to his body. I’ll ask you kindly to please avert your eyes. It is 1981—remember this—and we are supposed to be feeling good. Ronald Reagan asks, “Are you better than you were four years ago?” and though Michael Donald isn’t, nobody ever stops...
Hazmat

Hazmat

Vietnam, three marriages, three divorces, a son killed in a car accident, a daughter on crack, bankruptcy, eight months in the state pen for assault, plus a tour of duty—his words—in a psychiatric hospital: I haven’t seen him in two decades, but here he is, pulling up a stool beside me in The Press Box,...
Everything (Except What's Important)

Everything (Except What’s Important)

He answers the door the first time I knock, and I’m not expecting it. Most days, I have to walk to the end of the porch and knock on his bedroom window before he’ll answer. Some days he doesn’t answer at all. Today, he moves the towel covering the window on the door, sees that...
A Tale of Two Berries

A Tale of Two Berries

I once spent an entire summer clearing a hillock of blackberries. The exercise had to do with expiation and with the joys of swinging my pickaxe and finding in my movement a way to still my mind. I have never been able to sit still for long, and yet I know that my mind needs...
The First Time I Had Sex, My Mouth Was Numb

The First Time I Had Sex, My Mouth Was Numb

The first time I had sex, my mouth was numb. I was just back from the dentist where Dr. Stanley Summer had peered at me through his double set of lenses. Six Eyes, we called him, though never to his face. Lord knows what his receptionist called him—something scandalous, perhaps with a blast of air...
This I Am Allowed

This I Am Allowed

I hold my heavy carry-on in front of me so as not to bump people, brushing shoulders and rustling newspapers as I make my way down the narrow aisle.  I’ll be out of the way soon. I see my seat now, row 24, on the aisle. A well-coiffed silver-haired woman is settled in the window...
Pulau Pinang

Pulau Pinang

Movers will come tomorrow with paper and boxes. Movers, moving through piles of what stays and what goes, moving in and out like ants. You’ll be away at farewell lunches, farewell presentations, surprise fare-thee-wells near your desk, you’ll receive e-mails from around the world, saying good job, good work, good luck. I’ll fare well at...
On the Third Day

On the Third Day

On my first day of high school, a good ten minutes after the bell had rung, a new kid came through the door of our Spanish class. As he passed by, Mr. Paez, our teacher, stopped in mid-sentence and stared. We all did. The kid was a good four or five years older than we...

About the Artist / Issue 41

Eleanor Leonne Bennett is an internationally award winning photographer and visual artist. She is the CIWEM Young Environmental Photographer of The Year 2013 and has also won first places with National Geographic,The World Photography Organisation, Nature’s Best Photography and The National Trust to name but a few. Eleanor’s photography has been published in the Telegraph, The Guardian, The...