Posts tagged "language"
The Sweet and Fleshy Product of a Tree or Other Plant

The Sweet and Fleshy Product of a Tree or Other Plant

My sixth-grade teacher’s grandmother held a grudge against bananas. When she immigrated from Poland, someone at Ellis Island handed her one, but didn’t show her how to eat it. She choked the whole thing down, peel and all.  What kind of fruit makes the best filling for a pie graph? Globally, only 55 percent of...
The First Time I Tell My Son to Fuck Off

The First Time I Tell My Son to Fuck Off

he is thirteen and (let’s be fair) has started testing out fuck the way a few years ago I added a dash of patriarchy to my speech until, finally, the dam broke and now if you can’t hear it, I think you probably have some work to do. He’d said fuck when he stubbed his...
Logophobia

Logophobia

One morning I watched—through our ground-level bedroom window—the steps of his work boots, back not thirty minutes after he had left for a new job in town. Fired. I never knew why, and he claimed not to know. He lumbered around unsettled, rewiring our bedroom or checking mystery switches, wrapped in his tool belt, eyebrows...
Second Language

Second Language

Rarely my mother passed away. Instead my mother died when I was eight. A way to say, this will not be easy. She lay on a pillow of gravel and grass, hands bound behind her back. She stood in the kitchen, a coffee cup from Hershey’s Chocolate World in her hand, and scolded me for...

Write Like a Cow: On Taking Craft Cues from Your Subject

In her chapbook The Cows, Lydia Davis begins with the promise of drama: Each new day, when they come out from the far side of the barn, it is like the next act, or the start of an entirely new play. They amble out from the far side of the barn with their rhythmic, graceful...

S__ __T

“She’s a bitch of the inauthentic; her ego’s in drag.”Lisa Robertson, XEclogue S: Call me “spunky” or “feisty,” and I’ll cut off your arm. We made love in a corn field. T: Are you content with your career? Cold-pressed olive oil from Palestine. S: A fire-agate ring. I loathe swimming and jogging. T: She didn’t need...

A Bilingual Halloween

For thirty-five years she’s been speaking English. At a Korean orphanage, at age nine, she began learning English by memorizing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” learning that in English puppies woof woof, rather than mong mong, and that cats meow rather than yayong. She and her seventy-nine friends sang to the American Marines, sailors, and...

Slowly

I’ve been reading Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books with my six-year old son Will, who loves Ramona because she’s a kindred spirit: bright, creative and frequently misunderstood. While I’m reading, Will often interrupts to ask me questions. Surprisingly, he rarely asks me to explain the action or to gloss words like “Bendix” or “permanent wave” or...