Posts tagged "imagery"
On Going (Back)

On Going (Back)

Some beer-soaked dance floor in a bar outside Boulder. I’m twenty-eight or twenty-nine, wild inside a pocket of bodies and an I’ve-gone-away mind, lifting a sweaty bottle of two-buck beer above my head like a lantern. He’s watching from the crowd’s edge. Since he moved in months ago, I devise ways to disentangle, disappear. Distance...
Steering into Winter

Steering into Winter

The last day of the year is barren. Trees long stripped, branches stark against the grey sky. The New England forest reveals the cages of its body, limbs tangling together, weighed down by ice and debris. From a distance the forest looks like a hundred men stooped from age and the harshness of living through...
Let the Coconut Be His Head

Let the Coconut Be His Head

Step 1: Go see Martha the psychic because the man you fell for doesn’t return your calls. Papa Legba, a stuffed doll, sits on Martha’s mantel waiting for the gifts of bourbon and cigarettes. You sit across from Martha, in front of Papa, at the little round table in her living room. Scarves drape over...
The Red Cane

The Red Cane

I’m in a different period now. Different from the time I wore that striped bikini and frequented the hot springs bubbling greenly out of rock just inside Yellowstone Park. I would undress beside the van. In front of God and bighorn sheep, we used to say. Different from the time four girlfriends with their bikes...
Whenever Men Think I’m Smiling

Whenever Men Think I’m Smiling

I’m on the elevator alone for one floor before the man gets on.  He stands in one corner, staring at his phone. I drink my coffee. At the next floor, two more men get on. They flank me, laughing and talking about some game somewhere. I pull my arms in at my sides, try to...
Two Septembers

Two Septembers

1. Blink We forgot to drop off the gas bill until 4 am, but that was just an excuse. Really, we drove out because we wanted to be in the storm. The usual thunderstorm things happened: rain blowing in on us, which was a refreshment at first, then a call to close the car windows;...
Three Angels

Three Angels

I. The first angel arrives dressed in yellow. I can’t stop looking at her face. She rises from the sidewalk at the crest of Sacramento and Buchanan grinning, mouth cracked open, upturned to the sky. She’s around my age, it looks like, which means she is more old than young. Not old enough, however. Never...
Dance Me to the End

Dance Me to the End

Four o’clock on a Friday afternoon. My grandmother slumps against the arm of the sofa, eyes half-closed, sinking down, down, down. The tips of her fingers graze the floor, and she moves them about, grasping at some hidden thing she keeps secret. Today is no different. She has just turned ninety. The dementia, the vision...
Sardina and the Dream

Sardina and the Dream

My brother was in a motorcycle accident. I learned about it in a dream. I tried to change it to a car because he’d just learned to drive, and it would have made more sense, but the dream wouldn’t budge. It was so intense that I woke up and went to the kitchen to tell...
Boiled Sugar

Boiled Sugar

Santa Ana, Costa Rica, smells of boiled sugar. Mangoes drop like heavy bells and rot along the streets. The city is fermenting. Brahman cows collect on one corner, eating dirt. Their ribs ripple beneath their skin. I buy coffee and chocolate and cheap earrings at the corner store to take home, tin bells clanging as...

What and So What: Loyalties

Childhood offers most of us ample trauma and exuberance and discovery for several lifetimes of writing. Folks say that Gabriel García Márquez told his friend Mario Vargas Llosa, “Everything I have written I knew or I had heard before I was eight years old.” (We will assume that his awareness of sex perhaps showed up...
The Lunch Lady and Her Three-Headed Dogs

The Lunch Lady and Her Three-Headed Dogs

I raise my arm to write on the chalkboard, and the skin draped over bone and muscle swings in contrapuntal melody. I am ashamed to be caught in the act of living in skin. I hope my students are not hypnotized by the distracting motion. I hope no one sees this hammock of flesh and...
Letter to Jim Harrison

Letter to Jim Harrison

So here’s this semester’s news: I jump the fence and run the track madly at night, in some fear of university police. The bushes and trees sigh in the wind. Inky blurred figures. At the pond, in the glow of streetlight, I see a grass carp the size of a watermelon, and many bass, and...
Like This

Like This

“That’s the sound,” Lucie says. “Like this.” She makes her hand thin and rigid in the white-blue computer glow. She stares at the hand, vibrates it in a stiff palsy before her face. Lucie’s on the far side of the couch, half-reclined on the oversized throw pillow an ex-girlfriend made for me long ago. The...
Blood

Blood

1. In summer, I count the scratches on my arms. Seventeen. Twenty-four. Nine. I don’t know where they come from, then or now. Perhaps my bike, or the leprous bark of the hickory at the corner of Pitman and Coffin. Once, as I stand on the pedals, my bike skids out from under me and...
Snapshot

Snapshot

I still cannot descend a steep flight of stairs or sit while someone leaves the table to fetch a camera without thinking of that Christmas fifty years ago, right after Great Uncle Earl had said the blessing in his Baptist deacon’s voice, when Great Aunt Velma (seventy-two at the time, my mother’s mother’s sister) got...
Extinctions

Extinctions

Theresa’s mother is crossing the street, carrying two stuffed animals in her arms, and this is the most apocalyptic thing my mom has ever seen. Theresa was born with gummy lungs. After a while, her lungs got too gummy, and she died. Now Theresa’s mom is coming over to give my sister and me two...

Lag Time

It doesn’t thunderstorm in California. Not like those from my memory of home. I listen for them at night when the sky half-promises, but it rarely delivers the noise I need. This I know: If you count the time it takes between the flash of a Kansas lightning bolt and the crack before the roll...