A M E R C L
G L g nim L 1 9 8 Samsara Edition 7
R A R Y F A
CALLIOPE BOOKSHOP 3424 Connecticut Avenuc, NW Washington, D.C. 20008 Literature Humanities History Poetry universityandsmallpressbookswespecialorder(202) 364-0111 Monday - Saturday 10 am - 11 pm Sundaynoon -9 pm L d.c. space CABARET NIGHTCLUB BAR ORIGINAL ROCK JAZZ + REGGAE onthe FILMS + POETRYPotomac THEATRE ARAnes RESTAURANT GANERY 347-4960 7th &Gnw o "Soho nerican t1987 all,nghts
er one of these things rolls by in the wind, rustles in the mysterious passer-by, and the /inks are not safe and secure
A the covers of the magazine. Oh no; S not that simple to escape the thoughts of the person sitting next to you: ' Did they write thatł' you think, ' and that photo..." Look around you: anmericanliterary does not begin when you pick it up, that would be too easy. Certainly, you can understand that the trafﬁc of concepts, thoughts, images cannot be tucked into a hard winter ground, like acorns for storage. Art lives; we are, in a sense, its burial ground, a paper morgue; we are, in a sense, past tense, the net that caught the ﬁsh out of water, the hard fact of soft networking. The artists are here, but they are also right here now. Your friend thinks; the stranger paints slowly a green vine, trellises a red rose lightly up her sweating arm; where
did the magazine go?
This semester has seen some interesting changes within amlit. In addition to the continuing growth of submissions, which we welcome, keep it coming, we are well on our way to a permanent staff of editors and associates. Although the names change, and I will be a ghost as of next semester, the full-time part-time staff have levelled out to a working group of about 10-15, who really work at bringing out this repast for your semesterly delectation. Each semester the staff sift hundreds of poems, no kidding. much much less ﬁction, we really need more, times have been when our choice has been limited by no submissions at all, photos galore, and some semesters more sketches/paintings/woodcuts, and some semesters none, which is a crying shame since we have an artschool. In fact, I would like to
make a plea for more artwork. Please, please more Artwork! Having done the seiving and bickering, the whole magazine is shot and laid out at the S.O.C., now you know what I mean about the deads' last rights, by the amlit staff. Nights and Days are the stuff these dreams are made of, and the printer wraps it up, about 2000 semesterly. We begin at the beginning of the semester, and end at the end, and anything we didn't shoot and use is still fair game. You are invited to continue contributing, both by way of art, and also by way of helping carry the bodies home. We are the ﬁnal resting place.
the american university
massachusetts and nebraska avenues, nw washington, dc 20016 (202)885-6414
Art Editor and Good Guy
Publicity and Promotions, Backhanders Etc.
Some other changes have been that we have instituted an amlit award with the assistance of our beniﬁcient pulitzerwinner Dr. Henry Taylor, entitled The Henry Taylor Poetry Prize. It is to be a semesterly judgement of what's best amongst the poetry submissions, as long as we, and Dr. Taylor, have tenure. This issue, Darcy Cleaver recieves our warm commendation, as does Carl Hanni for being the snivelling runner-up. Secondly, we have tried to re-fomat the magazine somewhat, so that when absorbed in the mystical atmosphere of a poem, your eyes will not stray onto photographs, sketches toons, etc. We hope the idea of sectioning it up appeals to you, and welcome any further comments you may have on the magazines' structure.
Anyway, what makes a great funeral roper 102 great is the greatness of the one who has died. What I'm trying to say with this tedious running metaphor, is that You are the ones that arbitrate the wonder that someone will feel when picking up this magazine. So enjoy it, and lets have your work inthe next issue.
Kermit Moyer-Our Advisor
The S.C. for Jingling Silver
Judge Henry Taylor
DC for Tones and Type
All Contributors-too numerous to name Poet Lore Journal for publication of the Henry Taylor Poetry Prize Winner in the Winter 1987 edition
Sona Hacherian Thanks
Amer mericanLitera CONTENTS Literary Fall 1987 tures 16-18 Interview with B Stanley Fiction Tali Abbady -One SentenceProse Chuck Harwood - We Kics Mike Kentoff - Adultery Jenni Myers - Lovesick 24 27 20-21 23 Poetry 9 11 Risa Bauman - The Gift Jamie Brown - Untitled Tina Buker - Amtrak and Bob's Kids Darcy Cleaver - Ropeburn Troy Elliot - Miles to the Inch Carl Hanni - Street Deep Jennifer Karp-Food for Thought Mike Kentoff- A Guide to Sleep Raymond Loczak-Programming Curses Gail Ranadive- Descent 15 13 6 10 7 11 Visuals 19,28 12,29,26 2,29 3 14 27 e co Gl Harod 932
4 . .-
( a7 19 4
my open window and hangs in the screen. I swallow hard. It's only the splitting of old wounds. October wind cracks the scar and blows the nightmare under my loose clothing. Black swaying pendulum. Eyes bulged out, like Judas. Grey lips wet with spit. Bloodless hands cold as this fall morning, reminding me of knotted boots swinging two feet above your mother's carpet.
Darcy Jane Cleaver
* Winner Henry Taylor Poetry Prize-Fall 1987.
Food for Thought
and I can see the children restrained in fetters of written propaganda
which drop from the U.S. airplane like snow ﬂakes onto their small heads sunken cheeks sCrawny arms
and slide off their distended abdomens to bare feet and the barren earth dusty and hard
Now and yes they are submerged like small snowmen from tip to toe in white ﬂiers
shackled by shiny badges of hunger and povety they stare blankly at the opaque cloud of western principles
their amber cracked faces sprinkled with gimy wrinkles lower
little carbon eyes from the sun which drains all moisture from the soil
it melts the paper snow and the american squiggles slip to their feet
the children play with the squiggles and eat the ground
listen to me when i say )INPUT: expect bytes for thought. and when you see )READ, better check out the friday night specials next to your data statements.
if i say )FLASH better blink your eye at me, not at the girl behind me. and if i say GOTO 10 that's your next stopover. )LIST: you must bare your soul.
)REM ignore me
you'll never know what i wrote now: i snicker behind your disk drives.
)REM Screw you cuz you know nothing about me
)RESTORE brings me to one squared. icatalog you and you are just a routine program with no ﬂeshy feelings. you scuttle back into your place-
how come you never hide )SYNTAX ERROR IN 30 when i say i hate you?
Raymond Luczak 7
Amtrack and Bob's Kids
It's one A.M. and as I immerse myself into the gut of this seat
Bob's over against the train window, snorting dreams, and his four kids are still twirling songs like a baton, songs like "My Girl", reliced in antique burlap they now rap as their own.
And Bob's wife, Mary, slides a ﬁnger across the seat to Bob, and rests her hand and mind in the crevice of his elbow. This ride so far ain't been so smooth, and yet all of econo-class is asleep-A mediocre range of passengers, fat and somehow content.
Yet here I am. traveling through plastic suburbia, recording the Hollow Men's travels, and kissing away my friends, as this train bleeds down my back, from one state to another.
Tina M. Buker
She lies on the bed naked, exposed dreams scattered on fresh linen, strewn carelessly the way one tosses aside emotions but does not disregard them.
And when he falls to his knees at the side of the bed, he does not brush the dreams aside to make room for him, but instead gathers them in his large, soft hands, and presents them to her.
A Guide to Sleep
Finally, you and your woman, Noreen, holed up for panting that would melt the alabaster off of lamps or something that would keep you awake together, get a signal, not really clear, but deﬁnitely a signal all the same.
Sure: Elaine leaves her shiny olive kitchen to share with Bobby another quiet, unhurried, just one last beer, but Bobby is sprawled out, ﬁghting for breath over countless Pretzelﬁsh, warbling, "Princess.."
You and her, you listen to the soft, pampered whimpering of the woman, whatsername, as the man, Bobi, makes a singsongy smiling sound and you're thinking it almost sounds kind of sad. You listen like the belly of summertime.
Like a snake, having eaten a large animal, sheep, calf, fawn, a baby boy, will lie in a digestive stupor like a drunk, the evening collapses on the earth, passes out with a whiskey sunset on its breath.
On the 31st of October, a calendar comes with no note enclosed, only the silence of a young grl leaving school dressed in black cape, chalkwhite face, silver sickle slung over her shoulder reﬂecting the afternoon's going over to darkness. I'll descend through our silence. Tomorrow Jack's lantern will smash, spill pumpkin seeds over concrete. I must memorize the shapes, shades of leaves before they're gone. Before I go.
Johnny Jewel rides the corner with the crew, singing mohawk madrigals and spilling time, beating drums and playing the odds that the street will swallow some left over tourist on the left side of lost, Johnny's corner like a disease on the street, black leather spike heels mohawk picture postcard, but don't play cute, Mr. liberal lost tourist, time
is on their side, and their time will cost you plenty, your left over ideals are playing cards for the gentlemen on the corner, your immediate demise mohawk shop talk on Johnny's street.
Ruby Redlips sifts the street with the girls, ﬁngering time and watching for stray mohawk on the half shell, she left all her blues for this corner in the city, where they play all night dance up, they play do the do in the street, she built a leather castle corner where Ruby's girls split time like the last hair left after the great mohawk
revolution, she sees a mohawk in the White House, she plays "anarchy's what's left," she drops diamonds in the street then Ruby street cleans time into the gutter on her corner.
Johnny's left on the corner while Ruby plays mohawk courier, moving time uptown to stainless streets.
Runner-Up Henry Taylor Poety Prize-fall 1987.
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It's a living room, exept everything's wrong: lazy boys behind tvs, lamps on couches, bookcases nailed to ceilings, etc. Light lands in litle boxes on her thighs and she checks them off carefully, one by one. This is her job: clouds, the night, headlights scuttling across her walls, every morning a list at her window, slightly altered.
Walking to New Orleans. Walking the ﬂoor. Walking in the sand.
It could be the water, the wetness in things, car windows clouded on country roads, the couple in back, and the white mucous connecting streets to driveways, follicles to teeth, main characters to extras in malls and factories.
Nowhere to run. Running through the jungle. Runaway.
The safety catch should always be locked in place. Clouds ﬂoat by her room in perfect random shapes. She records the sound of cars crashing, alters it, reshapes it, rounds it off. She aims the speakers at the sky. The spaces between the clouds become random, the clouds identical. She has had nothing to do with this.
Burning love. Something's burning. Burning down the house.
Very tall glass buildings hold a pitch contain it and sing it back at the fourth or ﬁfth harmonic up, a spacious apartment looking out on the street and little main characters now moving in groups, occluded fronts now meeting in restaraunts and bars, numbers on napkins white and square as light on thighs. This loses iself, never mind it. Forget this. Leave it.
I can't explain. I can't help myself. I can't stand the rain. I can't stop loving you. l can't get started. I cant explain.
Miles to the
Interview with B Stanley
Conducted by Mark Peters
Actor, directo, and founder of both the Jarry performance theatre and the Javarama coffee club, 8 Stanley, was born in Alamance County, North Carolina. Ater attending school in the Chapel Hill area he went on to the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, where he enrolled in the actingldirecting department. While he was there he became increasingly more involved in experimental theatre, studying the works of Constantine Stanislawsky and lerzi Grotowsky. In addition to this, he also picked up an earful of popular musicals and ribaldry, making him today the master of the obscure son& a reat afforded attendees of the Improv Jam, the monthly open stage at the Javarama. It is upwards of six years since he moved to the area, a time which has seen the birh of the Theatre du lour, a roupe composed of Ceorge Kaperonis and B himself, and its productions of ' Bigger Than Life'Co, and' Blindness From Looking to Hard at the Sun. " In this interview he discusses his roots, woks, and visions. We are sitting in the Javarama on a quiet morning, a stage empty of debacles and successes, drinking cappucinos to loosen the tongue.
| Photos by Carl Hanni
MP: Tell me about your early theatrical history.
BS: Well, I was about 10 years old when I began becoming a performer. I started out by doing things like leading the devotions at school in the moning before class. They were always very animated and articulate, and people hated for me to do them, because they knew that something was really coming. I would just downright preach to them whatever sermon fourth grade I started organizing litle plays of things we were learning in school; we would pefom them for our class, sometimes after recess. God knows what they were about now.
Well, then I went to the Univerity of North Carolina at Greensboro, where I did very straight ahead Stanislawsky. In fact, by the time I got there, I had already done most of his work. In the 2nd year I started doing only experimental work, mainly in the studio, doing off-beat things, supporting myself by working in the dinner theatre. I slept there, ate there, commuted from there to school, which was very close. I was living the high life in those
had heard on Sunday. Then in
MP: So it was something you really wanted to do?
It was in high school that I began
In my last year I started sitting in on graduate courses. That is where I got a lot of my formal treaining in dramatic theory and criticism: in 600-level courses that never showed up on anybody's papers. I recall asking an instructor one day wether you can't,you're asophomore!" " Well, "I said, " I'll be out of school next year and then I won't be able to, " but he still said " you can't do it. " So I asked him the next day, but he still said " no. " So I said, " what if l get approval from somebody? " but he still said I couldn't do it. So ﬁnally I asked him, " Well, if I dress up like a janitor and sweep the ﬂoor while you're having the class, will you throw me out?" He had to concede that iﬂ was sweeping the ﬂoor he wouldn't throw me out...So I started going, though I never swept the ﬂoor. He wouldn't grade my papers
I could take his class and he said taking acting classes. I'd split up with my mother and father when I was ﬁfteen, and I went to theatre as my main focuS. An instructor took special interest in me, telling me the right books to read. By the end of my junior year in high school, I had read all of Constantine Stanislawsky's work, and had also begun work on erzi Grotowsky's " Towards a Poor Theatre." In between classes I went to a lot of workshops. So I ended up with alot of background: straight theatre, experimental theatre, and also musicals.., a very wel-rounded study. thoh ca l didn't urito snu
BS: Yeah, and he was a pretty good guy too. I got a good education. However, that year I didn't go back to college. I went and did a year with the Prince Georges Children's Theatre, touring all over Prince Georges County, and eamed my living from that. During the next year, we did a children's adaptation of Moliere. It was during my second year of being with them that I also started working with " Hungry Foetus, " an experimental theatre company here in Washington. That was Seth Kahn's group. We use to meet at the Church of the Immaculate Conception on 16th and Newton Streets. We did about three or four productions, the best by far being " Stretch, " with Kevin Kilgore and Richard Gaylord; Donald Davidson (the painter) wrote a lot of poetry for that. However, that eventually fell apart, and I ended up directing my own production of a Gunter Grass play here in town, which was fair. Then George Kaperonis (the second member of Theatre du Jou) came up. I'd been talking to him the past winter as the season for the Children's Theatre was drawing to a close, trying to get him to move up here and do some sort of work. Well, soon after that, " Theatre du Jour " was formed, and we got our ﬁrst
nan Life) underway. He n the summer, and by Oc. dd our ﬁrst perfomance ready it down to Atlanta,where we oed at the Alternate Roots Festival. then indeed we were the " Theatre S Jour " and have been till now. Since then we have also done a play called " Go ", and one called " Blindness from Look-
ing So Hard at the Sun, "
become a sort of coffee house cabaret, lobbyesque kind of thing, and you would enter the )arry by a side door. If we had ever bought the building, we were going to put them together and make one large space. Anyway, the Jarry went (it was gutted for ofﬁce space in 1986), and the Javarama became a combination performance space, rehearsal studio, and workshop.
that I'm getting from what you are saying is sensationalism, something that keeps your attention. Yet it can leave deep impressions...
MP: How did your own performance spaces, the Javarama and Jarry come to
MP: What kind of philosophy doe the Theatre du Jour have? be?
BS: There are two seperate philosophies. Anything that is written, anything you hear spoken other than guttural moans is going to be from the playwright, so anything that is read into that is George's work. The direction is where I fall into it. mance space. My own theory behind the way
BS: The Jary came ﬁrst, in 1982, after the Theatre du Jour had been in existence for two years. We founded it with a ﬁve year plan in mind, which would culminate in us having our own pefor-
The idea was, instead of getting a building and trying to create theatre to ﬁll it up, to create theatre and develop an audience for it. We hadn't quite developed the audience that we'd like to but the deal was offered so we took it. We needed it oretty badly. When the space next door, now the Javarama, also became available, I took a lease on that myself, as I had a pretty well-paid job at the time; it sort of became my pet project. I worked on it, cleaned it out, made it up. Then with the Javarama going it was supposed to
BS: Well, I wouldn't use the word' deep ". 'd probably use the term ' layers'. It's this event that's actually pulling in people to watch it. I look at' Blindness' as an event' but within it, it would be fruitless to deny that l'm not working towards something; I'm using the movement, the repetition, towards something which is within the things that go on in the play: the visions, the sights, the sounds, the words, the actions, and the little scenes. I want these to simply rest, so that the events become a memory away from intellectualization; so that one day, when someone is driving to New York or the beach, with nothing to think they will come back in mind. And then when they're thinking about that, they will open out. I believe in "superconscious" activity, where thinking about those kind of things sets you into a mode of, " havesomewhereto think now". That's what I try to tap into as a performer and director: to become a channel to that superconscious energy, and that's the key.
own ' doesn't
If you're "onto the energy that everybody's open "onto'", of course you're going to be hip.
MP: So, in a sense, certain things in your
plays are symbols to "awaken'" people?
BS: Not so much symbols, as I don't
There are things, though, which could be here. I am not unaware that they are
there. I do not put them there to be that, I think about those things. I don't make a just show them what I have seen. This is peared to me. I have a very vivid reading
In a novel, everybody is walking around So that's how I create Javarama: the songs, your work as im-
work at the Theatre du Jour as a director, although calling it my mean its new. Artaud certainly brings it out, is what I call the Palate of Event.'I strive to use whatever is given as a structure, be it to use George's words, as a way of presenting an event, something that you just see. An event similar to that of people who will gather around a police car stopped to arrest a guy. In this, there's nothing going on; theres no theme. You could analyze it but that would be trite. They're going to arrest this guy: he's going to kick, he's going to scream, and people love it! Oh Boy! A whole crowd will gather. Its an event in a boring day. People will stop, look, intent on it. So my objective in presentation is to present something just that way, so that you have create anything to be directly one thing. to watch, because god knows what's going on! And I choose things that don't lend taken as symbols. There are a lot of things themselves to interpretation, because you'll never know the story of the guy being arrested. Was he wrong or right? just put them there to put you in a mind to These psychological questions have no bearing on the event itself; it's like wat- pretense of telling anybody anything. ching a stomach digest: no right or wrong, just something going on. What makes it the way direct, in the way that it aptheatre is its ability to hold your interest, and for you to enjoy watching it. I don't style. Whenever I read, I see everybody. know why people enjoy watching a guy get arrested, but they do. I'm not trying to doing things. judge that. Ive cottoned on to that and theatre. that's what l'm trying to present. That is what makes theatre different from ﬁlm. In ﬁlm we know what we're going to see, but MP: How about your work at the in theatre, it's live. At any point it can break off from the rehearsed performance presario, as puppeteer? What are their and be live. This is why people enjoy origins? barn-storming acrobatics, they want to see if someone gets killed. There's no intellec- BS: The songs. Well, a lot of them I get tualization of that. There's no critics.
from Groucho Marx. Some of them I get from bluegrass, and some are old showMP: Yes, it ties in with a question I tunes. One song I sing by lving Berlin is a wanted to ask you about altruism. The protest song about W.W.l. Groucho Marx performers and acts you have at the used to sing it. There's a funny story Javarama are certainly 'events'and I was behind that, because Iving Berlin said to wondering about that. The impression Groucho, "every time you get a real urge
ars not to sing it".
all me and I'll give you He be just expelled. Im all for that. So ing off literature the more itll fail to be philosophy? I don't know. I can't do it theatre and it will lead to "theatre of lies," forever; so l won't do it forever.
"dead theatre." And, the "theatre for the living'" will go on for the living; the peoadmit that he wrote this sing it too.
A (the puppet) is a creation of jarry. The plays about Ubu brought
tof his book. I feel a great afﬁnity for dbu and Albert Jarry. I've had the puppet six years now, from before "Theatre du Jour'". He's made appearances all over.
MP: You really do embrace a lot of things that don't necessarily need to be embraced. Which brings me back to the question of altruism. You allow all sorts of diverse things to take place.
BS: Well, yeah. They have to take place.
MP: I know that you're not necessarily making a lot of money here. I wonder if there is a philosophy behind that?
BS: Well, honestly, there's no money in it It's quite strapping. l certainly lose a lot of money to do it. I have to live daybyday to make it all happen.
I don't know... There is a philosophy of "everybody has a right to fail". I lived in Washington for a while when the big cry was "where to perform?" You'd run into someone who was an actor or director and they'd say, " you know B, I can't do it..it's so hard to ﬁnd a place to per- be the way it will go if it works out all form. " And I got tired of that and so opened up the Jarry and got some takers, and then I opened up this place (Javarama) direct in another city,or an opportunity to for it, and here it's a litle more casual, and act with a great companywith whom we get takers and I give them a shot and Ihave always wanted to act. Then maybe see what happens.
So, I'm in the middle of trying to ﬁgure that out, and if that comes to be, then I will have my theatre again. I'll try to do the same kind of lobby as this here, a sort of cabaret place, and that would probably m
right. The other alternative is to get a better offer to perfrom somewhere else, or l'd take that option.
I believe in developingan au-
MP: It's the senses your aiming for, isn't dience. We've been led down a path of 2 dismay by the state of curent modern theatre. Several of my compatriots here, at RS: Oh ves, even the smell. A theatre other theatres, presetn what consider, that doesn't smell isn't a great theatre. It's 'poison theatre'; theatre that's going to verv important. One of the big complaints make the death of theatre. How many Artaud had was, and I still have to agree psychological dreams can we withstand with this, is that most theatre uses words More and more it's very television; you know, plays which require you to to know the theme tune of a beer commercial. You even have to be in the town where that ad is currently playing. And I ask myselt, will this play stand a test of time? I doubt it. This is trite psychological stuf. Is it worth ist on paper. A lot of things have been it? We'll see in a hundred years, I guess.
as a crutch. Without the written word it doesn't exist; it then exists in a much more literary sense than plays really existed. Plays don't exist on paper. The o "framework" of what people saw exists on paper, but the "event" just doesn't exwritten lately about the reasons why not A lot of stuff here you'll also not see much new theatre have become "classic. " Individual companies do great in a hundred years time, but here there is a spectrum. The more to the let the spec trum can swing, the more middle of-the road stuff seems, and it is shown up for what it really is. Then you can say I've really good which I've been moved by, And I've seen really crazy stupid abstract things that I never want to see again and in the middleof-the-road is stuff that should
theatre., but when they stop doing it, it's ne no longer done. Grotowsky's Lab is a case in point; they performed his plays for 13 years, and then they stopped doing it. Now you don't see it anymore. Yet, you can still see Brecht, O'Neill, Becket. People like that seem to me to have a more literary base. The more theatre starts thriv-
energy existing is to reﬂect back onto
other parts of the sphere reﬂecting back onto itself; it doesn't even exist until one
makes theatre. And it doesn't exist in books, or in ﬁlm, although in music there is some. But the "live" thing. That's were it's at. Making it exist!
MP: I was going to ask you about the ple who go there to see it. That's an imfuture. portant thing. When theatre is live, or anything else is live, the people observing to his audience. So l took it straight BS: Well, the future of it lies in the hands it get a chance to takepart in a comof the people who got it started. I didn't munication which is, if you look to the expect to spend the rest of my life here, ideas say, like that behind the Tarot: the that's for cetain. If the building were to idea that part of the purpose of eternal have stayed and the club were to have remained with it, I wouln't have stayed; so- itself. And that's what theatre is. It's just meone would have had to take it over. I've got other things to do. I was in the middle of something else when I took on thing is lung out and it hits something. this project, so the only people who and is reﬂected back. So it becomes an exbeneﬁtted from it were the people who ternal mirror. It is that motion which got to perfrom here, and make any money; and the audience. And me? Personally? Well, meeting a lot of people, geting to taste lots of things, it boned me up in many ways. And then for the future, I have an option now to take a building that has a lot of square footage. It would still be a rent situation, but much more long-term, say ten to twenty years. It's a bigger thing then I have ever tried to do, and investments too, you're talking about raising hundreds of thousands of dollars.
So you asked what do you get out of all these things I do: the Javarama, the puppetry, the songs, the theatre, the acting instruction? Well, the one thing that exists in all of this is that I've been given a great gift; to be able to take that moment and say, we are all now here, and now this is going to live - "Ladies and GentlemenA live thing," and it goes, and there it is. And afterwards everybody goes home. Hopefully the next time you see me, I'll be having another little live item for you.
As Daisy skittered under a bridge, she passed a shiny dark blue sedan that, with daylight, revealed a tag she hadn't noticed earlier and couldn't see underneath the overpass: MARYLAND STATE POLICE
4396. She locked onto the licence plate almost immediately after driving into the light. She was struck, as she was passing the blue car, with the empty feeling that just made some kind of error, so she looked for a sign of that error in her rearview mirror. Nobody who kept a car that well (and she'd noticed earlier the sunlight echoing off its chrome bumper) would buy such a boring piece of shit as the one she passed. The licence plate and the eventual ﬂashing light on the dash backed
her up on that.
"Oh my GGGA," she gnashed her teeth and exhaled through her tiny nostrils as she pulled over, her heart rumbling nearly out loud. She wasn't really scared, but aware she was probatbly in for a nice long sit, which nobody looks forward to. To be sure, she would more than likely sit here for a while; she didn't have her licence on her (she lost her wallet a few days ago) and, she remembered, she kept her car registration in her wallet. She also knew from the last time she was pulled over that the tags on her car belonged to her husband's car and vice-versa. She'd forgoten
to tell Dennis on the idea (not a fully thought out one) that she'd take care of it before she ran into trouble again. Well, here it was less than three weeks since the last trafﬁc ticket and she was rolling down her window, anticipating the State
Trooper's ﬁrst line.
He was an older man, tall. "Ma'am, you were exceeding the speed limit," he was looking off to both sides of her and, every once in a while, over the car. "Sixty-seven in a ﬁfty-ﬁve mile an hour area. Sign before the bridge said DO NOT PASS; you passed me. Have a licence and a registration for the car please?" He was going to be one of these. He wasn't going to look at her and he was going to take forever. She would answer No to both questions and he'd do whatever it was cops did in their cars when they left you sitting there to become cozy and familiar with the cut of the land around you until you knew that the land you were looking at was mostly wild sidehill with long bolts of dead grass and sorry litle trees that would probably never amount to very much seeing as they were in the constant shade of those larger, older trees. As he -D. INGRAM she read off his breast- walked back toward his car, she lit a cigarette. She stared vacantly beyond the exit ahead to some telephone wires
and tried to think of what the D might stand for. Dwight, probably, or Derwin, these hick State Troopers. Somewhere in between his approaching the police car and his entering it, she whispered, "Don't Screw me over here." He did.
After nearly an hour, he handed her four tickets. "Speeding, forty dollars; illegal passing, thirty dollars; driving without a licence, ten dollars; driving with wrong tags, thirty dollars," introducing each one before handing them over. Then he said something in a slightly different tone of voice. It sounded like advice, "Now be careful," or something, but she sort of tuned him out. She had her four tickets and two points and was starting the engine
when he spoke.
She was agitated for the ﬁst few seconds after she pulled out onto 95; everything she looked at was shaded by Soon, she started to calm down, though, tugging at the neck of her dress, taking in some air before rolling her window back up. Yeah, well, you know, she said to herself. I was tupid about it, passing a car like that. I mean, who the hell, a shiny blue sedan with no stickers..Eventually, it dropped from her mind how she got carried away ﬂying
her anger. down 95 in the ﬁrst place.
Just as well, probably. A woman like
Daisy Hextal, completely in love with and loyal to her husband, wouldn't want to be reminded of how her heart swelled when the square-jawed brunet with the cleft chin and sunglasses passed her in a black German convertible.
She stepped again on the gas, hard, and the car revved, not responding with the speed right away because the air conditioning was on, but s0on locking onto the road, making up lost ground. The LTD was to the right of her as she crept up toward it, both cars travelling well above seventy. He seemed to be speeding up now as though he noticed her catching up to him. She was intially pleased by the
Trafﬁc became thicker as they cam closer to VWashington. Daisy started getting annoyed whenever the LTD pulled away, because it was getting harder and harder to weave through cars and keep up. She said to herself, I've just about had it with this shit, and pulled along side a car carrier ﬁlled with new white golf carts, still watching to make sure she wasn't losing ground.
She held there until she noticed the truck driver signalling to move into her lane. She saw the LTD starting to pull away and she decided she could pull it off: she could blow by the truck and and the LTD with one thrust, her lane clear
before her, their's not. This would be her last effort.
She accelerated but the truck didn't fade behind her. Instead, it began to creep into her lane. She jabbed the horn and instinctively swerved away from the truck, only she cut the swerve too sharp and instead of bobbing brieﬂy into the next lane, probably not even really touching it with her tires, and slowing down, she lunged into the next lane, nailing the brakes only after she hit the back corner of the LTD and sent it sprawling, skimming over the gravel shoulder, full speed, and plunging
straight on into a weedy ditch.
Daisy only saw him headingoff and had no idea if he actually went off or how fast he was going. She grazed the side of the car behind the LTD, forcing it over the shoulder, and lost the steering wheel. It spun her sideways where she was hit on the passenger side by a van. She tried gripping the wheel, but it was locked to one extreme. The movement of the carsideways and backwards-threw her against the door. Her head smashed into the side window. She felt a warm pulsing sensation in her left ear and when she turned lazily toward the window, she saw blood. Lots of it. At least more than she thought she could bleed in such a short time. That half of head went numb and left her with very little ﬁght when the
word came down for her to lose consciousness.
She had managed to slow down enough before she blacked out for the shoulder to stop her from going into the ditch. Half her car was still on the shoulder, half was on the grassy ledge between shoulder and ditch. She sat there sleeping a half mile down from where the driver of the LTD sat slumped over his dash in a fallout of glass and a few strands of twisted chrome.
I am sitting in the windowsill, looking out on the street. There, in the crowd, see him, he is leaving the building. I imagine that he had come to visit me, wanting to talk, wanting to tell me everything was not faling down as hard as I thought. I imagine his heavy feet walking down the long hallway, up the stairs and stopping at my door, afraid, maybe. And I imagine him turning around, walking back down the stairs, back through the long hallway, back out the front door into the street. Why else would he be there, in the street?
He told me that he needed me. What for, I wonder? But that was a long time ago, before he made love to me, be fore he made everything right. After I got pregnant, things went wrong again, like they had always been. Drowning in the vomit of not wanting a baby, I wondered, how could desire do this to me? He was hot and smooth, like a train moving against me, inside me. That was so much me, so much love. And it was so much not me, later, as I lay prostrate, pink and naked, my back glued with sweat to the rough paper of the doctor's table, altar of medecine. Not hot and smooth there, only cold and sharp, poking, sucking, turning me inside out. And this man, doctor, priest, didn't love me anymore than I loved myself. So I became someone else, there, anesthetised from the waist down, and still feeling everything. Someone else heard the word "slut!" shouted out in the street, and turned to look for her accusers. There, on the empty street, someone else was exposed to the stinking night and to God, her only fair judge.
Does this monster named God know that it was not me?
Alone at night, I think I would have loved my daughter. I would have called her Mary, after the virgin. I would have laid with her at night, as she fell asleep, singing to her songs of somewhere else.
I did agoodthing.
I did a bad thing.
A pair of scissors
Drunk with the red blue green gold of the night, she waltzes in front of the mirror, baby in her arms. Mary Mary, to the Waltzing Mathilda hummed invisible in her mind. She is at a dance hall, a Saturday night, and a band plays, slow, fast, on and on forever in one moment. People are all around, smiling, happy, amazed at her beauty, her grace, and then they see the baby, growing under her dress, the rounding of her stomach. They shout "Slut!" and "Whore!" They push her to the ground, kick her like a dog, trample her. She looks up at the faces, laughing, pointing crowd. descends to cut her open.
I am no slut! I am no Hester Prynne! love and I desire. Tell me where is the sin in that? | lie awake in bed, sweating, fearing the wrath of God. My life is an illusion today, a dream and a bad existence. Please, God, let it be a dream. I pray just in case. But it is done.
To love someone, to have them love you, and to kiss them, sticky and hot and sweet, like strawberry jam still in the pot. To lie with someone, moving slowly in unison, faster, faster. To fall deep into the ground, trapped, forced, but oh so good. This is the best thing in the worlid. Split open, falling, ﬂying, naked against naked there's no need to talk. Naked wet warm his face, his skin. Eyes, nose, sticky breath on your body. Pushing hips, arms around you, all over you. Colors kaleidescoping around in the shadows, in the light, barely discernable in the dizziness.
Then dead still. To breathe deep, tangled together, blind in the stillness now, quiet. Too quiet. What now? And you fall again, sotly this time into sleep in the wet of the bedsheets swallowing you whole. Near far here.
In a forest, She dreams again. somewhere she has never ben. It is late afternoon, and the orange ﬁre sun blazes through the trees. She lies down on the moss of the ground, and it is damp and cool and soft and it takes her in, molds around her , under her. Ass, shoulders, head. And the orange spinning with the green of the sky, no the trees, becomes a cat.
God, she calls it. He falls down
toward her, and she realizes that if he comes to0o near, the whole forest will be set on ﬁre. But still she calls him to her. And the trees go up in ﬂames and she is on ﬁre and she thinks as she dies, God is fucking me. And someone calls her Mary, and someone says, "Behdld, thoushalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call him Jesus."
23 Jenni Myers
I did have a relaxing, sedative time in a real home, with fresh food, hot baths, carpeted ﬂoors, sweet privacy and a meeting with Barbara who is a solace and human and beauty and how I thank God (if there is one to address) that we've grown so close and how I can tell Barbara that nostalgia is eating a large black cavity in my gut and stomache and that my spirit feels ill and that I want to swallow all the people I love in big gulps like steak cattle and I do know that Barbara will understand and identify with my words because she knows that I pray to make a connection, if anything, an earthly connection and I pray not to be alone in this transﬁguration of myself into a college person and she knows too, because I do tell her, that some of the girls here are like champagne, bubbly and eventually to be urinated out of one's system, but some are lovable, creative human beings and I too have met a pair of good men, as I told Barbara who knows, because we interrelate well and make a ﬁne weave of conversation, a real fabric, one of which was a painter with whom I ventured on a date and told her he kept scratching a salt, or dandruff I guess, from his head and kept dissecting my face saying "you have a straightforward nose, seductive mouth and playful eyes, a nun's bonestructure so please turn and give me your proﬁle to stare at," so there we were in a tawdry, dark bar listening to blues music and this man is sucking my face, my stiffened countenance, with his awful stare and me praying to an empty, ethereal navy-blue sky that he quit and he staring and staring with his Adam's apple sill as a trapped nut on his throat.
One Sentence Prose
Soonhee, Won 24
Gale Harold 26
dthere we were, at the corner waiting
Aoid-face Tommy to tell us it was
K tocrossthe empty street. Tommy is safety patrol captain of Huntington lementary and he thinks he's hot-snot in his stupid orange badge and belt. He gOOSesteps Out into the middle of the road and waves his arms like a homo on the looseo after he decides there aren't any cars coming. If you so much as have your toe off the curb the captain Liebersnitz, as Tommy makes us call him, tells on you to Mr. MacKay, who is the meanest old bastard in the world. He was in the army during the civil war and makes us stand if we're bad in front of the room while he tells us how lucky we are to be in a public school without Negroes but that they might as well be here for all the difference it would make because we're such rotten little kids anyway. But getting back to Tommy, we were all just standing on the corner waiting for him to tell us to cross freezing to death because it is about as cold as old puke in the morning when all of a sudden Mr. Winson comes out of his front door and down the walk and heads for Mr. Johnson's house Across the street. Some nameless litle third grader beside me asked Mr. Winson where he was going. "Oh hello kids, my car is in the shop and Mr. Johnson's giving me a lift to work'" he said to us as he stepped over the curb.
We all gasped, terror stricken.
"Cross only at the command and at the corner!"
Tommy screamed furiously.
bulance, Mom packed us kids into the Volvo wagon and drove us to school. We were really excited because we had a cool story to tell to our friends. Once we got there though we were embarassed to learn that not only had most of the others seen the same thing, they also had stuffed the hearts and lungs of their fathers in boxes in the attic for decorations on the tree at Christmas.
unless you counted the vacant lot behind the 7-11 where teenagers drank beer and smoked pot and cussed at us kids when we threw dit clods at them.
But what I remember most were Mr. Honeycutt's summer parties. Everybody in the neighborhood would show up. The adolescents hung-out in a conforming lump in the driveway and sulked because the adults wouldn't let them have any beer. The grown-ups converged in a great mass on the patio and drank gin and tonics and mentally undressed each others' spouses while us kids went batshit trying to "rock the pool" and splash any adult who ventured too near to try and show the other adults how popular and how "cool" they were with us.
Honeycutt, the only man I've only known to remain logically consistent, stood over the barbeque pit oblivious to his environment with an apron labeled EAT MY MEAT and chumed out indistinguishable lumps of brown ﬂesh all coated with his "special sauce'" which was really just Al and ketchup mixed together.
"Im running late kid" was all Mr. Winson replied without even looking at Tommy. Tough titties for him. Tommy puled out his service revolver and pumped three quick shots into Mr. Winson's skull. Later that day at school Tommy had a big head and thought he was really hot snot on a cold platter as he bragged to everybody how he had shot a jay-walker. pretended like it was no big deal but secretly I think we were all pretty impressed.
At breakfast Dad fell over dead from a massive heartattack. He had been reading the Wall Street Journal when the paper slipped from his hands and we couls see that his eyes were really glassy. Without saying anything his head just plopped over into his plate with a cigarette making a little hiss as both it and her were extinguished into his runny yellow eggs. After ﬁnishing our meal and calling an am-
Bobby Tucker had the best parents on the block. After school, all us kids would meet over at Bobby's house where Mrs. Tucker would have juice and cake for us and some type of activity planned. On warm days it would be something like kick-ball or red-rover in the back yard. In the fall it was leaf jumpimg and we would rake all the leaves into a humongous pile and then scatter the thing everywhere; all of us laughing our little heads off. God those were innocent and blissful years. In winter when the weather tumed gray and cold we would go inside and Mrs. Tucker would wheel in her ancient mother and dump her out on newspaper on the ﬂoor so we kids could ﬁnger paint the drolling old woman. Afterwards, Mr. Tucker would arrive from work and after making Us call our parents to see if it was all right, he would drive us to the Dairy Queen for chocalate dips and to see the woman behind the counter who had hair on her arms like a man. While we ate and laughed Mr. Tucker chainsmoked and told us stories about the various genocides which have occurred throughout history.
I remember growing up in my neighborhood in Fox Meadows Estates. It was a new suburban development about forty-ﬁve from the city where, daddy once told me, Negroes lived. They certainly did not live in Fox Meadows nor for that matter nether did foxes. At least I never saw one. There was also no meadow,
But anyway, the best of these parties was the time when Mrs. Klingman and Mrs. Whitehall got in a ﬁght. It started after a whole lot of gin and tonics had become kidney juice and after Mr. Klingman was caught in the poolhouse with his hand inadvertantly down Mrs. Whitehall's pants. Mrs. Klingman went nuts and accused Mrs. Whitehall of sleeping around with the country club council of which Mr. KIingman was a member since she was almost broke and could no longer afford the dues. At that Mrs. Whitehall was righteously indignant and retorted hotly that her sleeping around with the board members had nothing to do with a reduction of her membership fees. A few of the council members at the party who had slept with Mrs. Whitehall concurred and added that it hadn't really been worth ﬁfty cents much less three thousand per year plus court fees.
Whitehall had folded her arms and glared triumphantly at Mrs. Klingman who, through an act of pure genius, redeemed herself in the eyes of her neighbors by hiking up her skirt and revealing a tatoo on her butt of a muscular man with an extraordinarily large penis. The party resumed on a happy note and us kids went back to rocking the pool and wondering if an EXPERIENCE had just been committed, but then again these were the suburbs and when it came to the question of what is reality one could never really be sure.
songs trom s) Part I
Leslie Close 28