AmLit Fall 1984

Page 1

i a Literary resurrection edition fall 1984
The Grand Jllusion the Media CenTer at maryGraydon Center usie and lighting to make your nexl party L-an event MEDIA CENTER Dauid Skalka 85-204O 299-6710 THE AMRICANUNIVERSITY WASHINGTON DC We at The American University are pleased to welcome the new r a Literary to our community Gongratulations on a successful beginning and bestuvisbes for the coming year! -The University Administration 4*44***********************x
i
congratulates The American Literary Magazine on the rekindling of a great American tradition
THE STUDENT CONFEDERATICON
OUR CONGRATULATIONS Charley's Place is in its príme. to USDAYOU're inthe prime USDA atCharley'sPlace. A merican Literary Magazine PRME Weserveonly USDA Prime'steaks. Firmer, better "A savage, after all, is simply a human organisım that has not received enough news from the human race. Literature is one most fundamental part of that news. tasting, and juicier. 4110 Wisconsin Avenue, NW. 363-7244 John Ciardi CHAREY'S Best Wishes for a Bright Future PLACE The prime lace foesomething pecal: The Division of Student Life Communications Students WANTED REWARDS -develop new skills The Student Union Board to enjoy benefits & oyportunities af a professional association special opportunitles to meet other students && professionals in your & related fields bringing quality Cinema & Concerts -receive PRO/COMM & other useful publications -and morel contact: Conni Goocwill MOrse MGC 300 885-2078 fo qpplications Wegenhcotions. Ino. AU chapter TODAY to A.YOU.

"Spring Valley'sFrenchBistro with affordableprices!" KaCounutrvin

Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner--Monday-Saturday Sunday Brunch--11:30-3:00 pm

Free Glass of Wine* to American Literary Readers with any Entree, Monday-Thursday

(Just mention that you're an American Literary Fan!) 4849 Massachusetts Avenue 966-8200

Just 7 blocks up Massachusetts Avenue from Au

'offer expires 12/31/84

1985 Talon Photography Contest

Color and Black & White Categories - Pictures should be of D.C. or AU

Deadline for submissions: Friday, November 2

Winners in both categories will be awarded prizes and the pictures will be printed in the 1985 Talon. All pictures submitted will be considered for publication. Prints will not be returned. Questions? Stop by the Talon office in 328 MGC, Or call 885-1420.

1985 Talon A Yearbook for the University Community

sinee we

features

an interview with ann beattie: chronicler of the clinicallydepressed

McHester Street: a cartoon by andrew schoengod

poetry

mark baechtel: vignette..untitled

jd. smith: things to do around dc (aparody)

david oleshansky: first grade farming

elinor c. hiller: jogging to the chateau

jameshmitchel: what the watch sid

randall mars: and god took spanish for me

tara kelley: who is bubbles?

jüm faye: not enough of looking at the moon...coming from amsterdam

visuals

patricia jackson: five dravings

john quale: two infrared photographs

valerie fuchs: two infrared photographs

els van der goot: oil painting (reproduced in black and white)

andrew schoengold: ink drawing

ray gesumaria: ink draving

june shadoan: watercolor (reproduced in black and vwhite)

edward dubinski: photograph

ashley pound: photograph

lina wafa: two infrared photographs

fiction

tracy o'shaughnessy: a time

russell atwood: air

Mail
a m e r i c a n
Literary
kk if ppur is sawe kin ag
phstbs the most rtiking white ppr is neo
For tent ffl gloty.-dennThempson--
VOLUMEI a biannual maçazine published bg students of the american university 16 26
editorial staf
8 laura cruger creative director russell atwOod editor-in-chief, fiction 14 15 įd.smith 22 23 23 associate editor, poetry 24 business staff laura cruger business manager pat ludwig advertising representative nancyedelstein advertising representative 30
6, 7, 8, 23, 31 9, 14 10, 11 13 Covers ink drawings by raygesumaria 15 21 22 24 copyrightO 1984 american Literary all rights reserved all rights revert to artists upon publication love and kisses 00XXIN 25 32
american Literary the american university massachusets and nebraska avenues. nw washington dc 20016 (202) 8856414 12 20
6

a few words from the editors

We did it. Despite a thicket of financial difficulties, despite the clash of diametricaly opposed intellects, despite a year and a half of paper shuftling. despite our own lack of experience, despite "other" timeconsuming commitments, despite that green-eyed monster called skepticism, despite the long silences, despite the fact that none of us smoke. the magazine is reSurrected. We did it and we loved it.

Now the only problem is keeping the magazine alive. Without interested, willing contributors and staff members, and especially without continued and increased financial Support, the magazine will fade into the past as it did in 1976.

We would like to thank the Student Confederation for their founding contribution. CAS Dean Frank Turaj for emotional and financial support. Ann Beattie for her confidence and inspiration. UPPO for technical quidance, all of our advertisers, our contributors to whom this magazine offers a creative outlet, and you, our reader.

We invite you to read on, hoping it vill be as much fun for you as it has been for us. al,

a.it
7

the eyes in lined papers my lips – such books

The windows weep my tears until I stoop to my dags - likefishes to eat. to breath.

These walls, my rooms my hands - a portly chair as rest within a scholar's scope the bed hokds trial put close my face. draw out like loves. lbke lessons to cleave this air

Ah. these rooms - mỹ soul a desk

M chest theplasterwalls

My watercolor

Mufled mill sounds. the streetlight

My face. mỹ soft night breath

Here. I dwel here

(untitled)

Somewhere. begond time.

A sitver music plays

The sound of running feet.

The sacred. wet embrace.

A dancer spins alone

With darkened. hidden face:

Somevhere. begond time

A siver music plags.

Somevwhere. near the edge

Of what can be perceived.

The dancer lifts an arm

And places careful feet.

The runner paces on:

The lovers fuse in heat

Somewhere, near the edge

Of what can be perceived.

Somewhere-locuslost -

The broken two are whole:

Piroueting body.

The pirouetting soul.

Impossibleand real-

Pure light held in a bovl.

Somewhere- locuslost -

Thebroken to are whole. ,

viğ
nette
mark baechtel
8
patricia jackson
john
9
quale
valerie fuchs 11

a time

see it in the first innocent, playful notes of chance to see Dad. Dad.

I stood on the other side of the room and watched her. She just kept on crying. I was eight years old.

"Dadd's gone." she said. streaking her hand acrOSs her face. The Way We Were." The way the notes dance on the end of the keyboard: gouthful. fresh. I can almost hear the erratic sputer of my uncle's sixteen-millimeter film. I hear the music. I see the film. I lay back. and remember.

It was 196S and I was six years old. It was the time when moie cameras reached the masses and everybody wanted to be Frank Capra. My uncle just wanted to be Alan Funt. Tht's how he must have taken these pictures. I can see us in the backyard-my dad. Jim. a mutt we named Major. and me. At the edge of the screen I see the skunk cabbage that each gear inched farther out of the woods and toward the patio. The stuff stunk like mad. and if sou got it on gou. gou'd have to take a bath in Tide to smell like a human

being again.

Dad was throuing us into the skunk cabbage. into the compost pile. over the tree stump. or angwhere his left fielder's arm would have us land. He called it roughhousing. Jim. the dog and I would crash into his stomach. muss up his dippety-do pompadour and pull on his faded jeans. Nothing seemed to faze him. The guy was a rock.

I can seemyself in the film with the same disçusted look at six I carry at wenty one. I'm siting in the mud. arms crossed. all bruised up. defjing tears to fall. waiting for Daddy to notice lI'm hurt. But he never did. He was too busy with my brother and the stupid dog. d have cried if I thought it would help. but Daddy said Irishmen don't cry. We're t0o tough. We let evergbody wear their hearts on their sleeves and we just bite the bullet and show the vworld vwe can take it.

The film flutters over the reel and I rememberedvwhenm mother entered my ovn cinematic menory for the first time. tvo years later. It was fal. my favorite túme of the gear. and I awoke early to a crisp. urging wind. I remember seing her shoulders shaking from the back of the Ethan Allen colonial divan we used to have. I had never seen my mother cry before. I had never seen m mother as angthing but mother before. I was

Scared.

The next morning. I entered the hollow silence of St. Brigid's and knelt at the altar. i looked at the buming candle encased in red glass that stood under the portrait of the Blessed Virgin. They alvays kept the flame lit. When our CCD. class vwent on a tour of the altar. theg told us the flame was kept lit to spmbolize the eternal presence of Jesus Christ. I stared at it. and stared at it. and

after all that time.

I remember stretching my neck over the dashboard of the 68 Chevy Impala and wondering vhy the trip to Grandma's was taking so long. "What's wrong with the car. Mom? I asked. but she just looked straight

ahead.

We finally reached the big gray twofamity house in the section of Arlington they call the Heights. I ran up the brown linoleum steps: tro at a time. then three. as fast as my leçs could ake me. I didn't even look at his face. I just nushed into his arms and held him tight. He held me as tight as he could. but it was almost as if he didn't want me near. I was slared at it.

I didn't see my father at all that fall. Mg mother made up some excuse about a business trip. My father worked as a newspaper typographer. Where the hell could he go?

Funng. but when you're at that age. October to December doesn't mean months. it means minutes. it means hours. It means empty mornings you wait for the second hand to hit twelve to show it's ten o'clock. Sometimes I'd feel like flinging open the bed room door and beating the dog to the bed to wake up Dad. To shake him up when I knew he already might be awake. just waiting to

tickle me to death.

Kind of dumb. the love a daughter has for her father. When I got to college and took my first Intro to Psych class I found out there was a rational. clinical reason for it. I wrote it down with the rest of the 120 freshmen in the class. and vwhen the question came up on the exam. I circled B and got a check beside the

afraid again.

I needed my father's strength that şear. I needed it more than anything Eversbody else was wimpin' out on me. All Mom did was cry. AI I wanted was for thinçs to be like they used to be. AIl I wanted was to re member to put Daddg's white bread on the supper table when eveybody else forgot. to go to a Sherwin Williams paint store on Saturdag with Dad and play with the water cooler while he talked about the Sox. All I wanted was to annoy him while he dug up bushes. watered down lawns and shoveled snow off our two and a half lot cape in sub-

urbia. That's all.

I was siting at Grandma's feet when he opened his present. He opened it slowły. and I hought I saw his hands shaking. but it must have been the wrapping paper. He looked into the frame. looked at each one of his children playing in the leaves. He ran his callused hands over the walnut and kept staring number ten.

Someime in November of that very long fall. my mother took the three of us to this park and had a photographer take candid shots of us plaging in the leaves. We glued the pictures inside a walnut 12"x 18" frame

and wrapped them in red holiday paper.

But we barely got angthing for Christmas that gear. My mother was working as a secrelarg at some high-tech firm on Route 128 and made $2.65 an hour. The only gift we really got that year. the only thing that made the Christmas carols so sweet. was the

into the frame.

I smiled. I waited. Why didn't he say angthing? Did I do something wrong

Then I saw it. slow at first. like out of a dream. something verg unreal. Water built in his hazel iris so much like mine. filled the edge of his eye. and fell slowiy down his

windburned face.

And at that exact moment. as the tear melted silently into the vingl cushion below. a litle girl and her father vanished into al memory.

12
painting by els van der goot

thingsto do around-dc(parody:ofGary

Ston un ka for đsplayin aidba bio knowledeof.onentalia

BSking benghángup iiFreetGallety

Find đstraçtngnevOiénsiveays to ordspissand sbity

Eatingsilkneed'mityecd seae sicd pickkdrotingkinchee, umps oEhumpingbuffalosoosed ooşe with shạrt mea bearmeatequats sihstrasberries = one kolo itbarkdogwoodhsigs bs, i oz.equals, sea cucumberon ryehokdmayo ne sip of Coke isbether or not it's tbamboo shoos uider fngernail = 4 Oregonians equals three Ariźonans ghoeor take aJerseyite. fnd out wty shíft ke onlyisorks halftimę Go bgWashinggonMonumenten route: to making banalstátement at ietnain memorial and imáke no phallic remárks Likethis.

Going tó Congress saying nord isn't part of u.s. bioreion gettingbrainfriedwondrng why' Theybored me persişting tospeak.ínkóans.

,d. smith photobgjöhn.quale

A

first grade farming

Beans grOw well in eg carton depressions shaped like an ear. I decided to plant next to mş hearing a slippery kidney and see what sprouted. One less hole in my head and l'd be balanced but whenIwanted it out the more I pulled the further in it pushed.

I sat quietş waiting to leave. Steve Klinsky told the teacher I had tears in mỹ eges.

david oleshansky

At Beaumont Hospital the Korean emerçenc resident probed. I screamed. He told mg mother to leave. the nurse to wrap me in a green sheet. He strapped me to the table. caught the bean's end in forceps. I labored. screamed my five year od ears off and the sprout out.

He gave me the bean and said to plant it.

"All the little beans will have that blood. a birthmark on the tip." Ineverfarmedbeans no more.

15
drawing by andrew schoengold

ann beattie: chronicler of the clinically depressed

Ann Beattie lires on the top floor of a Chesca townhouse. which is an historical ste built in the 1805 and ow cOsting her an out rags rnt to lire in Out front s a rrcty ofmaple tre that sup posdy cant grow in N.IC Ie hortiuluristscome ty oxe a year and take a photograph of it.

The fligts of sais up. from bond aT door. a dogscratches and yipesas her k fts üntothe kck. "Will" s ina frenz overher absence. though se's anby ben gone ten miutes Wily is not Ann's but the dog of an etiorfnernd who has keft hin with her while he's in Calijomia Willg kooks like the RCANctOr dog. He scuries around hi front paws baret touching the floor boards as if dancing a ballkt.

Ann is a collector of photographs of friends (the enomous Mr. B. haT nolongrhusband David swüning in he water. sharing a stick with hT nokongriring dog Rus) and wrilers (Don Delilo. her hro. ad an old photo of Sanud Bckett),Thereare ako plnts by the windos:. borks of wine and tos (the larg wolf mask. scary nubby monsers windp mahanisms and a tiy baty dol.

Sthehas just boughr a ner typernier. an Obynpia that does pra ticalj ereryhing isetf, It sits on the dining table besideher old ypx uriCT. The dy bgjore she had lugged the now one home fourbloxcks and up thre flighıs of sais and she s stil delighued mystified at how ü woks (l just psh this andit erasseverythingandyoucan't even se it "2

She wears pirstripe jeans, a whie shün that looks like it's been splashed with blue paint, and moxCOsİs. AI thirty six. she weas the sane cxpression she had at nine and at nreniy when she studied at AU: skepy ges sķ grin-onby her firgemails are a lot longer (usu ally talon lergth she has filked them down as she prepares lo go Ny to Venont for nvo months and wrie her next novel on dadline)

In 68 at A.U. she wTOte for the Eagle and was the editor of the Ameican magazine. She was devotcd to the magazine. She was Dean Frark Turaj's star pupil and friend She spent very little tine with campus activities, though She had her own car and spent most of her tine driving around too fast and geting tickets "all the tine" (she still speds still getstickets, but "s worth i." shesays).

She wrote for the magazine, but she did not start submitting her SRoris until her grad school days Since then she has published three collections of short stories, Distortions. Secrets and Surprises. The Buming House (most appearing originaly in the New Yorker) and vO nores, Chilly Scenes of Winter and Falling in Place. She writes about chaos. Her storis are wity. beautiful. but as serious as they are sad You can't walk awag from an Ann Beattie story without the fecling that somethirg vital has just gone on. though it's hard to pu gour firger on jst what.

She sits baxk. drinkinga sugarfree Canada Dry. She is still just recovering from the rigors of her New York State driver's license test. She wams that you should never take the test in New Pork ("the manual is this thick." she says. spreadirg her fingers tvo inches) But she did get her license and she looks relieved

16

What was your childhood like in D.C.?

It was a very nice chilhood. extremely nice in a lot of ways. read a lot. particulariy when I was young. I stopped reading when I was in junior high scheol and high school just because it wasn't cool. And lso because l'd become a zombie and I forgot vehat to do. I forgot there were books. I wTote some. but I don't think it probably was clear to angone that I was a little budding writer. If it was. l'd be surprised.

Is it true that in junior high school, you were thought to be retarded? 90 6

vlil vWhIntottthAknțthlbirhyflass-+really is arexagyera tion to saş underachiever: the word achievement stopS pertaining in those circumstances. I ahwags found it dificult to work with a lot of people around me. and there is simply nothing you can do when gou're in school and gou have gour reading group and there are wenty people in it. I never performed my best. It wasn't easy for me to associate with other people. And for whatever pspchological reason. I didn't. I was extremely unhappy. I was extremel lost in ahe shufle. And I just gave up. I mean it was like beingsent to-prise-

When did gou start writing?

I guess I wrote bad poetry when I was thirteen years old. the way everybody wrote bad poetry. I've alwags been quite a correspondent. and I'm really surprised when I read the statistics that the averaçe humanoid in the United States receives an average of three personal letters a gear. I mean. I et three personal letters a day. I quess that's a little unusual., but that is a form of writing. and I get very good letters from friends and I think that I werite them amusing letters: so on that level, ike in a lot of wags that I don't often think of. I awvags have trusted the written word and enjoged the written word.

What guided gour decision to go to A.u.?

Mỹ parents told me I had to ço to college. and I didn't want to go to college and I didn't have the courage to fight them vhen it came right down to it. And it was the only school I applied to. so I went to A.U. and I did very well. As a student. I was very diliçent about the things that truly interested me. and I think I was known and noticed in most of my classes. II got faitly good grades.

$ 1
17

You used to skip classes while you worked as the American eđitor?

Yes. it's true. It really was a big job. It was like a very serious parttime job. I mean even if I had to do that todas, I would find it hard to get my other commitments done. And I'm really proud of the way all of us did that: I mean I'm proud of all of us skipping classes and doing what ve did. by the way. On the other hand. we devoted a great deal of time to the coursevork in the long run. It got taken care of. I've ahvays been ery bad at proportioning my time. It's nothing I've ever been able to learn. The thing that saves me is that I just do have more energy than a lot of people. I physicallş can type for eighteen hours a day. So if I haven't fiqured out as well as other people might how to do this. that and the other thing. I mean. if I behave particularty stupidly there. the other truth of it is I will not be exhausted and fall over at the typewriter at four a.m. Il just keep typing. So that's pretty much the way my life was handled at A.U.

Did gou submit stories in college?

Not at all.

When were gou first published?

It was either 71 or '72. I don't remember. It was in a small magazine called the Western Humanities Review. I might have çotten a hundred dollars. It was called "A ROse on Judy Garland's Casket. I remember that title because it is so unlike me nov with my oneword titles.

It was about an alienated couple, I'm afraid. the thing that people avags throw in my face. It was juvenilia about the things that I later became clinically depressed about. I don't remember it well.

What about the claim that gour stories are clinicaly depressing?

I keep saying, and of course I don't have ang ability to persuade people to my viewpoint. the reason that I like to give public readings is that when I do. audiences laugh at the appropriate point. do think there is a great deal of humor in the work. or at least I'm trying to put it there. I would certainly define myself as a writer about serious issues who tries to be somewhat amusing.

I don't think that my chaacters are just downbeat, nowhere, hopeless people. I just can't read the stories that way. / think that what I'm doing is writüing about people who perhaps don't have a world of possibilities open to them, but who are coping. So that mabes me look at the stories ith a positive emphasis, almost. Given that hings are dificult. here are people who are. to some extent. coping. I mean. things do get done in the stories: if people are stoned vhen they do them. nevertheless they still get done. It's really not vhat the critics present. which is a bunch of people Iying around in a stupor staring at the ceiling. I keep rereading these stories and. no. they are not about that.

. 18

When vwere gou first published in the New Yorker?

"73. Theg had actually written me a dozen rejection letters at that point.

You must've been very productive at the time?

Extremely productive. I mean. that's the truth of it. It was quantity more than quality in those days with me. and that a writer trying to get into the New Yorker might get trenty rejections. but that would be three or four years work. you know. For me. it was a tvelve-month period in which I wTote twenty stories and got tventy rejections. Because I had nothing to do. I was bored to death. I was liing in he woods of New England. I hated it. I was in graduate school. I hated it. I ived with people that. to put it mildly. I was not very simpatico with. And I was just nowhere near a metropolitan city. I was cut off from all of my friends. I was cut off from my family. I made $s.500 a pear for which I was wildly ex ploited. And. gou know. party not to think and partly as a complete lack of what else to do in this world. I started writing.

What are gour writing habits like, if you have any?

Wriúng ficion is terribly unpredictable. Sometimes I get frus trated. you know, and I sas. well. if I had a more reasonable life. ií l just plain had more energs. I might hare more inspiration. And that troubles me. but I don't force myself to write. so I end up writing when inspiration suikes. One of the hardest things for me to learn to have done is to be patient with myself. I realized abso lutely that with fiction I can't force mgself to create if there is no momentum there. And it is just plain very boring if gou ço six months without a thought in your head. and it's very frustrating and it's not the best thing for gour bankbook. but that's liíe. And | really do mean that. It took me years to realize that that was the game I was plaging. and I had to learn to live with the price that had to be paid. And I have learned to Ive with it.

Do gou recognize that inspiration or do you start to write and it comes?

No. I recognize it. Sometimes I recognize it and lI'm driving along the Westside Highway. and by the ime I get home and pick up the laundry. that's that. But thar's more or less the vway it happens.

Do

gou still get

rejections?

Sure. I would say that the New Yorker rejects maybe as much as fifty percent of everything I write. I's not pleasing. You do doubı gourself. I think very highly of the New Yorker. I don't think they are ineitably right. but. particularly when I rack up three or four rejections in a row, even though I know perfecily well that they might accept the next No or even three consecutive stories. it shakes my confidence a little.

What would you do if gou weren't a writer?

Bog. I really don't know. I mean as far as I'm concerned there are no jobs in the United Slates. I really can't imagine what I woukd do. I thinkI would be lost somewhere in the shufle. I think would be a secretary. I can type well.

Have gou ever had hard times?

Well. geah. When I first started voriting I did live on $3.500 a gear. for something like four or five straight gears. And that's not geat money and we're talking about 1975. That's not that far ago.

But now gou're incorporated, you're Irong & Pity Inc.-the name borrowed from The Sun Also Rises gour stories no longer gounpublished -it seemspeople would ratherhave a second-rate"Ann Beattie" story than a first-rate irst-time writer's story-so do gou find gourself getting too busy. swept up byeverythingelse?

Yes. I deal with it by just being arbitrary sometimes. Sometimes I just won't pick up the phone because if I don't then nobody can demand one other thing. Sometimes I go through a period of sasing no no no no no to everything. until I çet tired of being so neg ative that I can't stand to hear my own voice. And a lot of the time I capitulate or compromise or whatever

Being a "famous writer," do you get a lot of weird things in the mail?

From time to time. Maybe not so weird as strange. People do nice things. get you can't imagine why they do it. Someone vill send me theit collection of penguin photographs. which I'm sure is meant to be thoughtul and amusing: and get. I can't tell you what it does to my day when I open a manila envelope-Ann Beattie clo New Yorker-and there are 300 Sx 10 glossies oft penguins with very little explanation. Then. as everybody dos who is a writer. I get a fair number of letters telling me to meet some man on the corner of Bleecker St. and here's what he'll do to me. I get letters from prisoners. I get letters from people who think I'm writing about them when I'm not. I get desperate ktters I get funny letters. I also get some very intelligent letters Im amazed by the number of people l've really moved with ny wurk. and people whove understood it. It's great.

Ann Beattie did finish her thid novel. It is about a txurtc1 J kt unemployed soap opera star who vaationS wih aT Alut luay' un Vemmont.Lucy is a latterday Miss Lonhurts CU Ciau. wt writesfor"CountryDaze"magazi: whT' hu n NEM hi tionship with the editor. Random HoN À NuẠ w n ta spring. al

huerviewconductedby Rusl ANd a 19

M ythegrandsonbackyard:LeoinJr. a is holeup four to hisfeetneckdeep. in

only his head pokes out from the earth.

"Gramma." he sags.COOS.

He has dug the hole with a garden spade. making it wide enough for onty himself to fit in and just barely. He jumped in-hands at

his sides-burying himsetf. To scare me.

l am tanning I am in mỹ bathing suit. my brand nev bathing suit. It fits poorty over my body of jutting bones and receding flesh. My skin is wrinkled: naked I look like Leo Jr. when he dresses up in his father's ckothes.

My bathing suit-vhich I bought off the rack. reluctant to work mỹ way out of my clothes in the store's thin-walled dressing room-has bright. ild colors, lime green

storm clouds in a daşlo pink sky.

My daughter and her husband have an inground swimming pool which I refuse to go in. When he is not in dirt. Leo Jr. is alwags in the pool swimming like a frog. The water looks blue. but only because the lining is blue. I cannot understand how oceans can look so blue.

my late husband's name. though I never called him by it. Instead vwe had niknames. To him I vas Air (my name is Clair) and he was my Water (his middle name having been Walter). Dead of a heart attack at the açe of forty-tuo. I have a few pictures of him still. but they are no comfort. My mind retains no images of him in motion. only posed. I know he used to work in the gard on hot dayssweat and dirt flying as he tilled our small reçetable garden-but I cannot focus on a thing, It is hard to believe it was so long aço. but I do believe it.

It must be like having no husband at all. no one, magbe. probably. worse. When Water died I lost myself in Becka. my only child: she was my life. The time I didn't spend waitressing. I spent vith her. I made her help me in the çarden. I kept her from her friends. She kept me from doing angthing drastic.

She should lose herselí in Leo Jr. Or take up gardening. There is no garden in Becka's backyard. though there is plenty of empty space. She claims mg having forced her to help me has nothing to do with it. Leo Sr. is leaving the space open for a tennis court he hopes to put in next year. One more thing to worry about.

"Gramma! Ga Gra-Mal"

His arms at his sides in the tight-fiing hole. Leo Jr. cannot move. He is trapped. His red face is trembling. His frantic coice çets higher and higher until it vanishes into a silent wail. I jump up. barely rising an inch off the chaise lounge and fall back. forçeting like I ahvays do. When I try again. my legs slowiy ease themselves off the side. and I push myself up. hands grasping the armrest. I lean forward and the momentum starts me walk ing. My right bathing suit strap slips off my shoulder. For a second my breast is visible. a dry tea bag. I cover myself. His vision blurred

l am here today to look after Leo Jr. while my daughter is off with her lover. someplace. She tels me she goes to Figures & Fitness. but retums sweaty and refreshed vhile her leotards are dry and smell coolly clean. by trickling tears. Leo Jr. sees nothing.

My daughter Rebecca paşs me to babysit Leo Jr. I do not need this hush moneg: at eighty-four I have few expenses and usually never buy new things with the exXception of

my new. ugly bathing suit.

"Gramma!"

The hooks pinch me in the back, below my shoulders where the straps crosS. and it itches right betvween mg"-Gramma!" Leo Jr. yels.

He is smiling. His head bobs up and dovm like a coffee pot perking. He wants to give me a jolt. tO Start me gelling. However, it has the opposite effect. I am calm regarding my

grandson. the tree.

"Becka's lover's name is Frank. Her husband's name is Leo Sr. I hate the name eo and loathed it being tagged on my grandson. I could not protest because it had also been

Frank is built as Water vwas. Arms and legs of cement. but to both of them as light as bee's wings. Becka met Frank during a grudging visit to my house. where Frank often came to help with the garden. He lives a few blocks away. I used to pay him ten dollars to mow my lawn. prune my bushes. transplant my roses before a heavy chill. He did not have a job or angthing better to do. so he was by nearly everyday. I would lie avake niçhs thinking of things that had to be done and. finally dozing. dream of Frank doing them. Then one day he stopped and 'Becka began asking me to babysit. For this chore I çet ten dollars. I awags check the tendollar bill for traces of dirt, recognizable markings. a glint in Alexander Hamilton's ege. There is never anything concrete. though. Undoubtedly the money comes. not from Frank but from 'Becka's twentyfour hour automatic bank teller. If nothing else. Leo Sr. at least gives her enough money. Leo Sr. is an assistant consulting psychiatrist for a big corporation. He tells his boss. vwho tells the boss. whether or not the workers are becoming irritable., unpredictable. whether their dreams are symbolic of union takeovers: do they see organized

worms strangling the early bird. He is so worried about this and making the final payments on the swimming pool that I doubt he has a clue to Becka's affair. On the contrary. when he comes home. his eyes rol and he tells her how good she looks because of her exercise class. He tells her to keep it

My hands around his neck. I pull hard. He doesn't budge. There is a bucket nearby. and for a second I think it might just be easier to conceal him unul his father comes home. Instead I start digging around the edges. carefully. In an instant I see the imaçe of Frank. in motion. gently uprooting my roses. and it thrills me. Bending doesn't hurt. I want him back. I want Frank back in m garden. I will tell Leo Sr. about 'Becka and Frank and it will be stopped. He'll return and I will pay him more. give him all I have saved. and he won't even have to work. He will sit and to gether we will rest in the cool shade of a

towering tree.

.hahhh. I don't know what l'm thinking of up.

air
20

Leo Jr.'s arm sprouts from the ground and we vrork the rest of him out. He is in his black bathing suit. Unearthed. excacated. his pale freckled body is dirtcovered and as cold as a

I put my arms around him quickły and suddenty we both are shaking. I walk him to the pool. The water is warm. heated. filtered. Together we walk in. He sheds the dirt and

begins to dogpaddle around the shallow end. I wade into the deep end up to my neck. Hot tears are making my cheeks we. so I ço in deeper. My mouth. my nose. my ears. I can hear my pulse. faint like an imag ined voice. Eye level with the water. my breath is tight in my lungs. A tippy-4oed step and then another and I am underwater. My feet are flat on the blue bottom.

Water. who ever thought I would go on for

this much longer. Oh God. oh. dear.

Eyes open to the sting of chkorine. I look up to the surface and through crooked rays of sunlight I see a leaf-halí geen. half brovm-íallfrom and land above me. Ripples block of ice.

spread out. fill the sky.

Autumn is nearly here. I am counting the a. seconds

ray gesumaria 21

Everyday I set out at noon.

The neighbors wait.

Magbe thes postpone lunch to watch.

As I come running up the cobbled street.

They sa to me.

"I's not warm today. Madame."

"Certainly not." I assure each one in turn.

And so we meet.

They crane patiently as I approach the corner.

Wondering when to ask the question.

Stare as I turm onto the road

That leads to the chateau:

Five kliks everyday

Past the house of Monsieur René.

The maor of twenty five years

Who inherited the post from his uncle:

Past the house of old Madame Marie

Who only waves, does not even say.

fait pas chaud aựourdhui

Past the cows, who. neighborly.

Run with me along the fence:

To the chapel of Ste. Anne (Praş for us").

I turn at the Rue du Chateau

By the house of the farmer vwho lost his wife ("Borijour Madame. jait pas chaud aujourd hui")

Through the woods in the drizzle

By raspberry bushes and singweed.

To the iron grill doors guarded by stone lions.

The swans safely behind in their keeping. And back.

I snub the temptation to stop

Where no one can catch me.

But muddle forward with a dutiful escort of swallows

Whose waterlogged cousins drip along the telephone lines.

Almost back in the villaçe.

A tide of rain courses dovn my cheeks.

My face is aflame from the lash of swollen breaths

And I. laved in the pride of selfinflicted hardship.

Sare back at the farmer

Who has contemplated me in the distance.

Who has now stepped forward into the wind

To ask the question:

"Madame, is this a sport gou do?"

I. something novel for awhile.

Join the throng that has trooped this way

With carts. horses. tractors. bikes, motor cars and on foot.

I am enduring here

As the cobbles laid in semicircles

By a man kneeling

A hundred years ago

Upon a Roman road.

joqqinq o the chatoau linor c. hiler
june shadoan 29

what the watch said

you are not from here said the old man because i am not from here G gave him the time) and we seem to understand each other

jameshmitchell

and god took spanish for me

i waz new and reaching out wit hard times and God took spanish for me for me and He got integrated inside and out He placed wit only a 2.9 average but that didn't matter me and God waz doin' fine 'cause God waz all right wit me and God took spanish for me greçory ricardo deJesus and He waz all right wit me

'cept by now i knew english and so God re-registered and took inside me the acvanced course and He placed number one and graduated top of His class all right all right wit me

...*. HS
23
patricia jackson randall mars

who is bubbles?

The large grey overcoa in the spider-webbed dowmstairs closet became a home for a family of brown field mice. and so I took it out of the closet.

I never believed gou when you said you were faithful: faith was a word out of religion. of fairy tales: a woman's word. an empty masculine consolation. Cleaning the pockets of mice and debris. I found the lipstick covered tissues. found the matchbook vwith her name. and though I never believed gou when gou said gou were faithful. I watched the wallpaper patterns fade into a blur.

The large grey overcoat that hung in the closet is gone now. you managed to take it with you on the last flight into Seattle. Funny: I onder if pou'l realize that Bubbles and her matchbook cover are no more.

I imagine gour surprise when. reaching. gou find instead a small brown field mouse.

tara kelley

ashley pound ►
edwarddubirski
1 co
HOPSKlinnqfanh
e1NIR wey
|

so!meyư'pleas otthat!ohplesce

BUT t strançersawfhe hoe thing. AndheuasSw t anyoÍma) shanger in a pôkadot jome.sut.

o fouT
: 3 Sage

there is no man in the moon it is a woman of unknown ae mute and wishing to speak

in november a distant star follows the moon to her zenith prefering distance and her dark side in space a compass is useless there are hemispheres in the moon while he washed his hands she lay on the bed rememnbering the darkness seeing the moon over his shoulder framed in the window not quilty

smiling acrylic crescents green cheeked cartoon faces pictures of lunar adventure chikdren don't get enough of the moon the remains of an ancient comet rain into the milewide crater dust rises in lazy pillars silence accepts jourmeying ice at its final destination another millenium of timelessness bequn for some time now there has been water on the moon

coming from amsterdam

train vindovs forward images into the moment shutling. shuttering. shuddering light. here we are undering this bridge. Overing this river. where ice is stacked up like scales scraped down the flank of a fish.

time assembles itself here never finishing: somewhere. someone else contributes a wish. a footstep. a voice.

the train seems insistent on oing where it must o. the light persistent in shoving every texture of winter.

i hear the rails receive the train whispering howevers.

but ges but ges...but yes.

and a column of light on the water moves with the ease of a shadow. ight and the absence of light. silent light.

dancing for the eye.

licking up the spaces. wind taking dust to new regions.

not enough of looking at the moon
jim faye o 30
31
patricia jackson
lina wafa 32

You are cordially invited to Quigley's 3301 New Mexico Avenue, N.W. on Friday November 30, 1984 at 9:30 p.m. for aRENAISSANCE Party in support of American Literary Magazine

Dancing, Food, Cash Bar, and More (Donations accepted at the party)

RSVP, x6414

iterary
Tamerican
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.