AmLit Spring 1987

Page 1

Spring 1987 American Literary Magazine Attitude Problem erty proper You2s0decorubehave st peoplehow tobehave tour here in an orderty way you hum."Arechildrengotoffthetrain ) beha anoutra y ~motety -diate Amvedir Moscovite. fe bereYougo eu the quiet do o000 a
Spring 1987 and Arts Journal of the American
american literary magazine, copyright 1987. all ighs revet to arbsts upon oublicaon,vol, ,
Front and back cover designs by Raimondo Briata. David Peterson


Party supplies

Special discount for advance orders

Known nationwide for quality selection of domestic and imported wine, beer & liquors

Connecticut Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20008 Literature Humanities History Poetry – universityand smalpressbookswe special order-
Monday - Saturday 10 am 11 pm Sunday noon 9 pm
(202) 364-0111
Washington For Over 50 years
Macomb Liquors Fine Wine and Spirits Domestic & Imported Wine, Cold Beer & Liquors
THE coldest beer in town
SPECIAL DISCOUNT FOR STUDENTS WTH THIS AD OPEN Mon,-Thurs. 9 am--9 pm 9 am-10 pm 9 am-10:30 pm Fri. Sat. 3703 Macomb St In front of Zebra Room Wisconsin and Macomb St. 966-4122 Macomb St.

ếry few peoor but has now e unsspectingand with great insistence ént, etc.. That is to say, fala-la-ing across the grassy d spit it out of the mud with its and white petals fluttering about n completeabandon, the ink still moist on its leaves, and now i's asking you to snuffle up to it and get a hearty whif. Therefore, it is my responsibility to caution you, reckless reader, to exercize your sense of propriety and discretion in your perusal of this publication by following a

If, however, you choose to be swayed by that lascivious abandon which this sordid litle booklet so rampantly exherts, neither myself nor anyone connected with this issue of amlit is in any way responsible for either physical, mental, or emotional side effects

And that includes walking into trees, moving vehicles, hot dog vendors, etc., while blisfully prancing about with your nose snorting up

few general rules. which may occur. some poem or God knows what.

Let me be perfectly clear about this. The material before you, if ingested into your system raw, i.e., uncooked, unclean, as a slab of filthy old red muscular tissue, is most certainly toxic and possibly fatal. If prepared as according to specifications, however, it will prove to be a most delightful cocktail snack, or even a light dinner for two. The speifications are as

Remove the extraneous sheath of skin from the magazine's extenor,incluing the cover, pages, ink from the texts, etc., until you reach the entrails and the spine. Feed these to your dog. Take the edible section which you have dismantled from the rest of the whole and set aside. Boil two quarts of water with a tablespoon of oil to prevent the materials from sticking together, and add the magazine. Lower the heat to a steady simmer and continue in this manner for twenty two minutes until the remaining imagistic persuasions, onamatapoeic devices, and hythmic delusions have evaporated. To insure complete purity, simmer the water for fourty eight hours after this until it has completely disappeared. Look at the bottom of the pot and note the sticky membrane which has glued itself to the teflon. Scrape this off with a spatula and beat with two egg whites and a bit of salt, according to taste. It should have the odor and flavor of mayonaise. Spread the cooled mixture on a liverwurst sandwich with tomato and disregard any flatulation difficulties, as it probably has more to do with the liverwurst than the magazine. Belch. Enjoy.

The Staff


Julie Otten follows:

Poetry Editor

Mark Peters

Photography Editor

Derek McNally

Art and Photography Assistant

Betzy Reisinger

Boy Wonder

Russell Atwood

Editorial Artsy-Fartsies and Wise


Carl Hanni

Lara Heyman

Gregory Ticehurst

Rich O'Brien

Comic Relief

Adrian Marin

Special thanks to Linda Way and Madeline Coppola for their extra time in production, and to Kamel Abdallah for free publicity and relentless inquisition.

Jim Manzano


13-17 fo TheExorcistStairsAy First Love-Dinner at Gramma and Grampa's 26-27 Poetry 30 22 Risa Bauman -Tight End Jamie Brown -UntitledKeith Eaton -Wonder How Mother Likes Lile Alone - 20 Troy Elliot -Marital Aid Elizabeth Flint -ExistentialistYsella Fulton -By Way of ExplanationCarl Hanni -AlienationJanice Lynch -After The FluJames Mitchell -FlagsJulie Otten -Blood SausageDavid Peck -Duck HuntingMark Peters -HorsesGail Ranadive -On the EveRonit Rosen -Met Two MenMoira Shea -Shakespeare KnewCeresta Smith -My FriendsInside Are CrazyChannah Springer -Demo Crises19 6 5 21 8 29 11 28 7 25 23 10 31 24
3,15,17,24 Raimondo Briata -Pen and Ink DrawingsElaine Goldberg -WoodcutsJim Larson -PhotographAngela Majluf -PhotographJim Manzano -PhotographAlex Newhall -Multi-Media CompositionDawn Perlmutter -Drawings David Peterson -PhotographBetzy Reisinger -PhotographsCereste Smith -DrawingLeslie Socol -PhotographDenise SusSsek -MonotypesSoonhee, Won -PrintJuan Carlos Merino -PhotographJennifer Thacker -PhotographScott Edwards -PhotographMaria Yap -WoodcutPaul Yelesias -Photograph 18 4,32 22,30 9,25,29 23 25 12,20,21 7 13 14 17 15 22 Elaine Gokdberg ENSVANAz 3
Dawn Perimutter

WBy Way of Explanation

Socrates said that a poet had no idea what he was talking about, something just flowed into him through the crevices of his fingerprints through the small wrinkles of his eyes.

Do I then lose you in translation-when my words become flares on a quiet highway as I remember one of the last times I saw you. Boarding the plane I turned around.

Tell me how it isI know that the history of our lives continues like the parallels: those imaginary lines encircling the earth, moving in the same direction but separated always by the same distance.

I know a poet who thinks in metaphor. Who walks home on a busy street after weeks of snow and sees a map of our sins on the sidewalk. Rare

snow spattered with mud, stained with soot and hard as ice. When talking to you I yearn to push through phone holes to live arteries that connect us.

Who knows why constant images fill our hearts, crows descending upon dead trees or green grass secretly growing under snow. All | can see is ink discoloring fingers.

Ralmondo Briata
Ysella Fulton


When I was young and all I knew of nothing was the moan of a late afternoon plane, I thought I could go on forever, playing in timeless woods, humming, trusting my attention to the small details of earth: a bird's nest, acorns buried in the soil, a flagging barbed-wire fence, darting salamanders. I have learned now by rote how we must construct a living life. Set goals and people to meet, decide on a couse, and yet cary in our weight the enormity of weightlessness.

Like the hummingbird we survive on our own busy movement. And if not, buildings and cars and people will fall away until only a silent burial ground remains, a desert of far-off places. And if you should look down hoping to find a lizard, you will catch only a human foot-print left like a fosil in cement. And only the slow obtuse clouds to understand, or care.

Jim Larson Elizabeth Flint
Angela Majluf

Soonhce, Won

HOtses EDr Wnnates eyes

araloph hroughho ibaty o woui

that we chooe bltlosdonekod keepGreyhne n paca ttesoundo asas


AEUght aogdorce andeaahd baween Wodes ptse

to teieeaof you ofceuhe loveofyoU to icelheoicioyou

ths miantgods

Mark Peers

After the Flu


Someone wished the crowd a laughable death. No one manages this, not even the fat man fallen through the shower who died, half-in his neighbor's while the firemen looked on.

Everywhere, everyone is dying and I pray: not in this bathroom, not in this underwear.

Raimondo Briata
Janice Lynch

MY First love

ois owedasste ShonlálhervardsweweredaynaspendngeveryaternoonholGinghandsinliepank nbblinson exottfoodseandisenjovingeacholher company A(anynonhslarersheinoued nwhme Wesnarstruy darigien sbelhadatoS VRadsjoSanalie wasnesebale Untotunateyaherúndleloillshorthateahat, andhehad to pend nany nithtshssde BiShe laayscamabac and shelmetomaketg brcakastandikdserveher thbedAew

Ssdierhende sosckhetoldmeshgoddntnndlavoisthg orahl wasdong welat myieand coultk SUPporMljetywochS-Thi alowetiet o pen herday tesokunleand wheoshasohomeoteO20setomias

onUDsčayisyassotn themornng:Sheyasnot hom yet enoihung myselinthekrchen withanentensont cams tnendswnehanging all grebuetn the yellw Kchenancktughed.Sheawhe empybotleowhiskegand chilleckhth sweanng chatftererotank herbooz gain,shedtlB:Vene

She cunedowa ae, andládirnybodyonthe loor Shepred. oytrozen e apartandjumpedonmyabiom oytntGeeLWAmhghs onmysonachassheipped nyshitand an hersharpnal,acosthe tlis oonyetest sie sappedmy helesnesstothelying oomturniture.oncemoreand fo he firsttimewanted to tell herthatdidta ie Wanted toel herthatihalcelberand ha ve 1Rugno,pleasureinher pan.

hjghahahesyindowIseenow iured byteasandbladesAwbitelabcoattusheovelo ne a yeoiyon bedlhstaps me down, TcoemyeyesanexpectationwishingthatKcouckaeam, Shescoiogto harensttAn.


shakespeare Kne

In Troilus and Cressida

There are No heroes (Thersites could never qualify despite his big mouth) Achilles

Only wants PatrocluUS To nibble His nipples. And Hector wonders if she's really Worth it Watching her stuff the face That sank a thousand Bodies. The gods are truly Şilent forever Aere in The Age Of Reason.

Moira Shea
Raimondo Briata

Blood Sausage

No one invented the blood sausage.

Rain swarmed. Moss devoured wagons in yards.

One pig remained, potato, some flour.

Children ran rings around the storm. Leeches clung to clapboard. Ashes.

Two hands knead the gentle, hoary throat of the hog before a siphon.

Julie Otten
NIIAuUIVTmgTnn" 11
Raimondo Briata
Denise Sussek

siding with Mrs. Niilsford in amy argument. She doesn't necessarily mind going, the stairs are tucked away, out of sight. She's surprised Gross even knows about the spooky steps, certainly he's never seen the movie. His mother would never allow it and they always watch television together. But he would know about them, because they are spooky and so is he, at times breaking through her professional vest of indifference and shaking her up, like when his eyes constrict and his pupils shiver as if they're trying to squirt out information.

Five minutes later, 20% more cavity-fighting power in eight-outoften children tested blares at Zim's fortress and she slaps the clock-radio, twice, hard. She is No, she doesn't mind. Today she wants to keep close watch on Gross, on him just being himself, on what can happen, on what possible reason there might be for him.

up, over the line.

Whack! It all comes back to her, like the solid breath the drowning man takes after momentarily hallucinating air. The panic passes under the covers; in the dark, her ace aches as it assumes unusual expressions of despair.

Don't stop for a moment. Keep busy, the mind off

Despite last night's forecasts of showers, seven-thirty a.m. Tuesday morning is only partially cloudy with 40% chance of rain. IT.

Zim slaps her dock-radio into silence and drills down deep into the warmth of her blankets, calculates with large colorful numbers in her head the amount of time irll take her to get to work, drifts.

Her day is laid out for her and shell have to wear it Yesterday she'd given in and promised Gross that if it didn't rain, they'd go to "The Exorcist" stairs. She doesn't have to follow-through; she's cetain his mother would object, but Zim cannot picture herself


A relatively ordinary chain of events produced Grosvenor Niilsford. Two months into her pregnancy Mrs. Nilsford became ill, one thing after another, including an assault of pneumonia for four months. During her recovery, Mr. Niilsford was shot and killed interrupting a robbery at a self-seve gas station in Maryland. Mrs. Nilsford went into shock. A itle

sorcist Stairs
Juan Carlos Merin

over a month later, on December 27, she gave birth to her son prematurely.

Grosvenor is not aware this is a bad date for a birthday, that he gets gypped on presents. Being so close to Christmas, he can anticipate its coming: the trees glow with lights, the sun does not give heat, Rudolphe the Red-Nosed Reindeer is on TV. One day he'll just pronounce it, "Decemmer twenny-sevimí," out of the blue, and you know he's thinking about it in his own way.

Zim thinks about the three transfers she must take from Anacostia to where Mrs. Nilsford and Gross live. Still lying in bed, she uncovers herself and looks at her feet and at how ugly they are, nasty not-toes-butgerkins. A horrrible feature for genes to affx to a child. She showers, but there is nothing at this time in the morning she can do about her hair. It sticks up like black barbed wire. Not that Gross would care. He can't care responsibly. But he does. About the stairs at least. Something she couldn't care less about. They are different in many ways.

Gross is a whie, rich man. Zim is a black, comparatively poor woman. He is twenty-seven. She is nineteen. Gross cannot think in words. Zim can. Gross' physical handicap is visible. Zim's is not yet apparent to anyone but Zim (she knows, knew the very second, will know forever, feel this way forever, for as long as she's awake). Gross' spindly insect hands are cold when her hands are warm, and warm when her hands are cold. Lying flat, Gross is 68". Zim is 5'6".

Her mother is in the kitchen. Caught up in looking natural and unchanged, Zim does nothing out of the ordinary. Fluffy. golden, blueberry-specked pancakes go down Zim's throat like bits of slate. Nothing must show; she wolís down her breakfast as if she is hungry. Her mother talks to the stove, to Zim, yells out into the hallway that time is precious, washes a pan, never meets her daughter's eyes, hollers out into the hallway that five minutes have passed since she last hollered, and takes a deep breath.

"Peaches, it's a cold day, wear your heavy coat," she says looking out the window, her eyes fogged by grey light. The lines on her mother's face are dry cuts; they slice her features up into a jumble of shapes. The deepest lines make her mouth a frowning half-oval threatening to become dislodged.

Once in Zim's stomach, her breakfast sheds its disguise and swells into a coiled boa (if only this pain were her period coming on, but these wishes are beyond her now). She thanks her mother, kisses her neck, intensely watches her profile; emotions affect her face, revealing other faces, hostile, aggrieved, suspicious, silly, rarely placcid, never neutral. All through life, whenever she tells her mother a secret that hurts, Zim has tried to anticipate what face will be provoked. It is eardy but even her look of weariness is ferociously alive.

ming and Zim used to help get her sluggish bulk into her bathing suit. The suit was decorated with ripe stalks of corn ready for harvest and, in the side, had a small tear out of which would burst a bulb of DiDi's flesh. Zim used to feel bad about feeling good about her own body next to DiDi's, her own life next to DiDi's. She'd leave the hospital feeling lithe as a French model, delicate as a charcoal drawing, and go to Derek's, elated, and love him for being bright enough to know she was a good catch, the right one to be in his arms, tasting his ears.

The advantages of DiDi's life are dear to her now. DiDi has already paid her debt and is being taken care of

On the back of the seat in front of Zim is scrawled DEREK BKA QUIK-DRAW MCGRAW of S.E. His "D'" is a bloated half moon, his " an arched eyebrow over his leering "e." Derek has let his magic mark on every bus, traveling to places he doesn't particulariy want to go, just in order to autograph the transportation. He doesn't ownma car, but she loves him anyway.

On the ripped-open red vinyl seat beside her is printed: DENYS plus SHANE, SHANE plus DENYS 4ever. What woukd she write, in long elegant letters while the bus was stopped at lights, if she had a magic



ZIM plus DEREK plus-NO!

ZIM plus PLUS equals ZIM minus DEREK

ZIM minus DEREK equals ZIM minus ZIM Minus ZIM plus PLUS-NO! Minus PLUS 4ever. "Goodbye, Mama.

At the hospital where Zim trained to become a medical technician (amounting to less than a nurse, more than a babysitter) and at the camp where she worked for the past two summers, most of the handicapped people were white awkward sons and daughters of those who could afford special care, who knew the right people to squeeze in order to sidestep waiting lists. There was one black girl, DiDi, at the hospital; her favorite thing to do was to run off from the rest and hide in the cafeteria, lying flat against the wide, level linoleum floor under a round table studded with spent chewing gum. DiDi also enjoyed swim-

The words in Grosvenor's mind are independent agents; floating free of syntax, he has no language. His pronouncements benefit no one, they lack motive; he voids in his pants poker-faced and cries soundlessly as it goes cold. Yet he voices observations: "grass" (when smelling his sperm-damp sheet after a wet dream), "chockylite" (when he met Zim for the first time), "wretna" (unexplained)

No way has been found to coax him into speaking., his bouts with language are as unheralded as inspiration, uttering three words in one day and then not a

ler Thacker

Like many things about him, Zim is still mystified by how he picked up "Exorcist" and connected it with "Stairs" (a word he's always known). Grosvenor is a strange case.

"Grosvenor! l am going now," Mrs. Niisford blows from the dull marble foyer, her throat wiggling. a vexa-

tion to behold, "Zimmy is here."

Zim and Mrs. Niisford hear a rumble of a chair, a Scream across the linoleum, and in a couple of seconds, Grosvenor fights his way out of the kitchen.

"Be a saint today honey," Mrs. Nilsford says, adjusting a veil of yellow starfish mesh over her wide, pink face. She hands Zim a ten dollar bill folded three times and two dollars in quarters, "Here. Don't forget

Zim is having her doubts about where they are going. Did Gross actually say "Exorcist stairs" as she first assumed? No. Gross pronounced, "Eggs oh sis stirs," but what does that mean? At the ime they were at lunch in McDonakd's, maybe he just wanted an Egg MCMufin and a trawberry shake. Zim made her assumption based on Gross' past interest in stairs. it, for years before that he'd never been out of the house. He knows the crumbling, pebbly part, the two smooth white squares following it, the place where the sidewalk opens like a drawbridge over swelling tree roots, the mended section which retains fossils of fallen leaves, the slate tile path in front of the green fire hydrant, the sharp edge of the cub, and the gutter. Since Zim has been working with him, his scope has grown.

Wherever they walk and encourter ten steps or more, they must sidetrack and climb them before Gross will advance another inch. When descending to or ascending from the Metro, his choice is always the inactive escalator in the center. What vicarious thrill he gains is a mystery. His favorite places to visit because of this are monuments and museums; after the white marble climb, the interiors are anti-climactic for him.

Yes, it made sense then, which is why she doubts it now (Gross rarely makes sense). f she read a particular meaning into his sounds, then isn't it her own sound for two weeks. Clearly, he preters hearing to being heard.

They stand beside the bus stop. Gross grips the metal pole and the red-white andblue flag waves. desire that is leading them to the stais?

Rising from the road like bread the bus approaches, a Greek column on wheels.

Gross climbs-his hands going pale with tension, his knees battering the open double doors-onto the bus. Zim follows him and they walk to the middle of the bus as it grinds and bumps to the left, over the curbing, promptly seating Gross.

Where are we going? Zim has often asked herself in other circumstances. If she knew, she could prepare herself by making the right decisions As things stand right now, she believes life is nohing but chains in the making. She, her mother, her grandmothers, her great-grandmothers, are links to greater links, somewhere all onnected into an iron net. One, huge, sprung trap. She tries, but cannot suppress this feeling that she's a circle closing in on herself. She

wants to break this chain.

At Tenleytown, Gross and Zim exit the bus thru the back door. They wait at the intersection for the crosswalk signal to blink WALK" in bright white spots, "WALK."

"Come on, we can cross now," Zim says puling on the big guy's sleeve. He's as thin as a gnawed-on bone, but she can't budge him. his pill."

As the door closes, Zim and the big guy look at each other. His face is an uncluttered canvas; eyes high in his smooth forehead and set apart from a dwarfed nose. His jaws are bearded; wiry srands, tangled and

knotted, shadow his Adam's apple.

She can tell by the frenzied, crucified expression on his face that he has not forgotten.

You want to go see the Matisse exhibit?"

He stares. Stais.

Gross leans his head against the window and watches through a clear patch. He imagines he is actually outside the bus, in view of himself, able to speed dangerously parallel to the bus, not riding a motorcycle, but endowed with the same dynamics. His eyes dart and seek and find openings to skirt through; he jumps every obstacle (hedges, garbage cans, parked cars, a moving van, a telephone repair truck) but one, the side of an overpass tunnel. He crashes and disintegrates-darkness--only to reappear on the other side, unhurt miraculously. Sometimes his eyes roll and he rides the waves of the telephone wires, or close and he drops into a manhole, burrowing deep beneath the frost line.

"l said, come on."

His attention span is as wide s a silent river; his gaze is caught on a Xeroxed poster glued to the one tree on the block. It reads, The Batlecats in concert, appearing at the Black Crow Bar & Microwave Oven on November 14th, with WE-X-0." It is the picture which has caught him, a collage of unrelated magazine cut-outs: two gloved hands set apart as if they're holding a lounging head, framing a face contrived of two olives with tears dropping from them, a goat's nose, and a white and black golfshoe tongue. It looks like a crazy face, which explains his fascination

would be beautiful.

Zim leaves him stooped at the front door. She wanders through the houUse. If she owned this place it She'd have opal vases on pedestals, a cut-glss bowl on the ebony-finished coffee table, jade and marble statues you could sit in the corner with and run your fingers over for hours. The rooms lack fragile articles of grace. The upholstered chairs are hard as stone. The entire house resists liying. She circles all the rooms unil she's back in the foyer. Gross is waiting at the door, his jacket on

if not his empathy.

Zim reaches up and grabs hold of a splotch of bristly beard, tugs. His eyes shift and see her.

"We're crossing the street," she says. A soggy Cheerio comes off in her hand. "I bet I know what you had for breaktast

She wipes her hand on her white-uniform slacks, then loops her arm in his and steps off the curb as the sign starts blinking Halloween orange, "DONT inside out.

Rolling her eyes up and down, Zim says, "Ill go get WALK, DONT WALK," but they do. your boots."

Arm in arm, Gross and Zim leave the house. Her steps are shortened by the unpredictability of his long legs, and Zim takes time to notice the neighborhood so unlike her own. There is green grass, and trees, and blank walls, and the ground is clea, not covered by ribbons of broken beer botle or charred boards with rusted nails. This beautiful area seems desened. Zim would like to shou, "Here, over here," as if she has located an oasis and is calling out to those she wants to save. Ifany came running they would find what she

Gross is not the fastest walker in the world, his legs extend like squigsly lines, whipping haphazardly. Zim keeps hold of him, always walking on his right, his stronger side. She's been taking care of him so long that her left am is noticeably more muscular. Derek once pointed this out to her, as they lay exhausted in bed.

"Hell woman, that fruithead's makin' you lopsided. Ah, he's deformin' you," he said and sang low and twangy behind her ear like wam electricity, The freaks come out-tat nite, the freaks come out-tat..." cannot touch, a mirage.

The sidewalk in front of his house is Grosvenor's best know territory. For years he never passed beyond

Derek has never met Gross, so he is jealous of him, "A man is a man," he used to say, as if bodies would procreate without minds and Gross was just a loaded gun with a hair-trigger. As it tumed out, Derek was

Goldberg 15

month, three weeks, ány minutes ago, Derek olew her period away.

Ament in the basement of his ded on four layers of sleeping ying the sameside ofa Jimmy Cliff dagain. They were taking their time. han an hour into it, he exploded off her as a blanketedgrenade.

kost" he sad, dribbəling and shooting lvory dish oing liquid in two directions, "lust in time," he

This world she accuses the people and cars in Georgetown geting in and out of each other's way, what kind of world is this to live in, let alone populate? Ang, too happily to reassure her.

Zim knew that very second, long before she bought and used the e.p.t kit, but said nothing. She constructed her front and suffers alone.

Zim and Gross are in the middle of the road when the light tums green and cars start coming. Zim keeps walking. Someone beeps his hom. Zim settles a gun powder black stare on a silver luury mobile with diplomatic plates, a tan hand extended over a tinted

window, waving to shoo them. Zim stops. handicapped. So fuck you."

"Hey man. You think we're on a date! This man is

While everyone else on the sidewalk is mimicking the flow of traffic in the street-staying on the right side, passing on the left-Gross uses the whole sidewalk, really occupying his space, and people get out of his path, jumping into doorways, hugging NO PARKING signs, colliding with newspaper dispensers.

blouse, cummerbund) smiles with traight, white-out teeth and seems not to miss his absent lower torso.

A man waits posed on the comer beside a cutch.

Six TV sets display the same picture the Cookie Monster-with six different hues; he is blue, he is grey, he is aquamarine, he is green, he is purple, he is

Finally, Zim and Gross make it acoss and a number dissolving into a spectrum of snow.

30 bus stops and opens its doors to them.

The bus driver has black, glistening, curly hair and too much rouge accenting the high heek bones of her dark brown face. She smiles at Zim and says, good moming, and Zim thinks she's beautiul even if her

Zim and Gross take a seat up front.

Someone has let behind a Washington Post, folded and tucked down between the seat cushion and the wall. Zim pulls it out and read, Tuesday, November 11, 1986, FINAL. She fips through looking for news about South Afia, but either reports have been choked back or yesterday was calm. The way she's been feeling today, she's afraid something dreadtul is happening there right now, a mutilation, one death, two deaths, a bombing: and she can do nohing about it but tomomow read about it or witness tehnicolor seconds this evening on TV. Her breakfast leaps

halfway up her throat and she can taste acid.

She reads an article about a pill that can induce a miscarriage and may one day replace abortions. It will be available in the U.S.A. in two yeas. Zim can't wait

that long. She's been sentenced.

Zim's options are limited.

The average person's options are 1) go to a dinic and get rid of IT, 2) get married and have T, 3) have, keep, and raise IT alone, 4) give IT to someone who wants IT, and 5) don't make up your mind at all.

Zim has been oasting along on the last option and knows it must end. The others seem impossible to her because so many things coukd go wrong, and she is woking on an option of her own. She knows sudden, rough, physical movement can cause a miscariage. She drops the newspaper on the floor and a color ad supplement spreads open between her feet and covers a wide area. Meat on sale.

The bus driver hums and dee dee da's a melody Zim has never heard, and then sings softly, "if eyyYye could just touch the hem of his garment I know eyyyYye l be made whole ight now." Zim coses her eyes and gratefully lets the woman's voice become her thoughts, filling memory, fear, desire, all the parts of her mind.

Someone else pulls the stop-request cord for Georgetown, "Ding-ding."

"Back of. People coming down," the driver says as Gross propels himsef forward, "Easy now." Zim thanks her.

The woman holds Zim's eyes within her gaze, says, "Cod bless you, child," and embarrasses Zim.

What a thing to say, Zim thinks, latching onto Gross and pointing him in the right diredion. Zim believes in God and believes He is a Fool. She can understand how everyone alive before her could love and respect Him, but feels time has finally revealed Him to be a Poor Planner and only human.

It is funny that Gross and Derek have never met because looking at him now, Zim detects a similarity: the way Gross walks is the way Derek dances; out of control, Derek becomes a meter of the music, registering eratic chord changes and percusion solos like some kind of seisnograph. She'll miss dancing with Derek when she's.lumpy, when-say it, say IT, what's the use-when the baby begins to grow in her like a fattening leech, living in her, off her, until one day it'll live outside of her, off her. She'll never go anywhere, see anything, be anyone ever. She can't

Businesses die off as they approach the area of the stairs. The closest store, Dixie Liquor, is two blocks away; its parking area has a sign that reads: THOU

SHALT BE TOWED. front teeth do tum in on each other.

stand having this inside of her. No more, no how.

M street atacks Grosvenor's senses. He smells French fries splatering, then urine off a jumbo pile of clothes sleeping open-mouthed in a doorway. In one window an alligator is surrounded by slick, bejewelled cowboy boots, in the next a young man fastened in black leather, a scrub-brush of platinum hair on his head, eats a bagel. Neon lines sizzle. Beyond a dark doorway a banjo struts its song side by side with a bass drum's bonk. A pale pink female with isosceles triangle breasts, turquoise underwea accenting each sharp edge, stares glumly without blinking from a wide window. A man in formal attire (bow tie, frilled

Zim is a litle disappointed. She should've realized the stairs would look nothing like they did in the movie. Though they appear only briefly at the end of the film as the possessed priest tumbles down them, she left the theater, after the images had passed, with a strong sense of how the steps looked: black, brooding. slick with drizzle like motor oil, and 90 degrees straight up; only good for quick descents. The movie was poweful in this way. She recalls how people were terrified, but at the same time joyful, as if the film's establishment of the devil was irrefutable proof of God's existence. But as Zim kept telling herself during it, scrunched up in her seat, hand over her eyes, "I's only a movie, it's only a movie

Camera angles had something to do with it, but also the steps have seen better days. Set back from the road, past a boardedup gas station, the steps are as wide as an alley and situated between a black granite wall on the left and a red brick building on the right both seventy-five feet high. A shet metal chute, blemished with ust, runs down the side of the brick building juts out above and before the steps and ends hovering over a long rectangular dumpster filled with broken-up pine crates. The top of the granite wall is lined by a black wrought-iron fence embedded in sparkling grey granite. The grey granite reaches out and connects the wall and the red brick building by an

arch high above the botom steps.

The edges of the stone steps are wom and blunted and not razor sharp as she'd hoped.

While she is disheartened, Gross is elated. His eyes bulge as he focuses on a circle of blue sky at the head of the steps, and trembling, he raises his foot and slaps his palm on the ool, paint-chipped handrail. Gross ascends with much dificulty. His foot slips now and then and he often loses and finds his balance. Usually when Gross climbs stairs Zim follows behind and spots him. Today she has other concems and races up the steps past him. Twenty-five steps and she comes to the first landing, twenty-four steps and she comes to the second. On the charred wall to her left someone has painted BLACKOUT in white. Twenty-four more steps and she is a the top looking down at Gross on teps number eight and ten. It is not nearty as steep s she imagined. The priest woukd never have fallen the full length in real life; he would have tumbled down the top twenty-four steps and stopped on the landing, bruised, a lite broken, but

still hopelessly possessed.

The sidewalk at the top is cluttered by crinkly brown leaves, soda bottes, and potato chip bags.

Maria Yap 16

The granite wall leads up to the badk of someone's yard. The iron fence runs all around it keeping people out of a shub garden. The fence is a row of identical black spears; each point looks like a black star rising from a pursed blad rose bud.

She looks down at Gross approaching the first landing, and then out over the granite arch at the Potomac swelling in the distance She follows the arch to the brick wall, then back to the iron fence. At the base of the fence is a ledge. Zim teps up onto it. Grasping the points of the spears, moving hand over

hand, shuffing her feet, she heads for the arch.

At first there is only a short drop beneath her to the steps below, but the next time she looks she's above Gross on the second landing. She moves farther out.

When she gets to the omer of the fence where it tums and traverses the steep granite dif, the freedom of empty air shodks her. She can feel the steady

revolving of the earth.

The traffic inching its way acros the Key Bridge twitches like a serpent. The buikngs beyond are

She shakes her head and hums, "Hmm-mmmmhmm," as her grandmother would on a shadowed and sleety day. The sky has darkened. She sits up, leans back and grabs hold of the fence. She stands and faces Gross. He looks stupid as usual.

"Hmph. My saviour."

Zim inches her way towards him.

Gross' eyes roll back and forth in his head as if he's trailing a spastic gnat. He seems to have goten the impression that this was the way they were going and now he's lost. He tries to move in reverse, but his heel catches in the fence.

hazy and seem made of clouds and fog, not stone. The ground is a spoiled child begging her to come to "No Grossl! Stay"

His arms row back free in the soft open air and he drops out of sight. it now. She mus take this all in frst.

She lets go with one hand, then lets go with the other and drops to her knees on the granite arch. The top is specked with bird shit, the stone is rounded and smooth and her legs slide and she is straddling the


Gross' body, twice, as carefully s she can without moving him. No limbs are broken. His ribs are intact. A hundred things she can't detect and he can't tell her about could be wrong with him though, so she bolts

away to call an ambulance.

The pay phone at the boarded-up gas station has no receiver.

She wishes to say a few words to her mother at this time, explaining she's no longer her litle Peaches, apologizing, comforting, absolving. She was always horrified by the prospect of her parents dying and

Gross' right shoulder hits the thirty-ninth step and all the air escapes from his body. He somersaults soundlessly down, leg foremost, head foremost, butt foremost, he puts up no resistance. His light frame jumps the first landing and slides down the remaining steps like a log riding the rapids.

She tums back to the stairs and gasps.

Gross is on his feet mounting step after step. arch, balancing her weight.

"Gross!" she yells, running to him, "Gross, are you okay?"

No response. At least the fall hasn't knocked any sense into him. There is a red scape on his cheek below his right eye, but otherwise no visible injuries. leaving her alone, now this pain wl be averted. She can't think of the fall. She concentrates only on the sensation of rolling over in bed and going back to She walks behind him up the stairs.

sleep. Such a simple thing.

"HeiyuuuUwwwuummmmmm Gross hollers working his way towards her along the narrow ledge.

"Gross! Co back."

He is ten feet above the steps. Then eleven.

Zim's mind is clear glinting stainless steel. Somehow she makes it down the steps to him without breaking her neck. She crouches and says his name, "Grosvenor, Grosvenor." Her eyes are hot like roasting chestnuts and she bends to the ground and puts his stone cold knuckles to her eyelids.

"Oh now I've done it. Oh God. I've done it now. Oh, Grosvenor. I just thought... elt. tried." She can't remember the words that brought her to this point.

"Stop. God damn you. This is my business. This is His hand opens and closes.

"Gross?" my say-so. Stopl"

Gross doesn't stop. He moves without any of the

care Zim took, yet he advances.

"Shit," Zim says. What's he doing? Does he want to join her? Does he know? Zim can see the sensational headlines now, PG WOMAN KILLS SELF AND DISABLED CHARGE.

l am stupidstupidstupidstupidstupidstupidstupid.

Zim steps back, takes off her coat and slides it under his head. Starting with his right foot, she unlaces his boot and begins to examine him; with both hands she feels his ankle, moving slowly up to his shin, knee, thigh and pelvis. Beginning back at his left foot she repeats her touching search. She feels every part of

A cool speck touches her nose, then her cheek. She touches the sky. It is raining. By the time they reach the top, it is pouing. She huddles close to Gross for shelter, he leans over her. When she tums and looks back, the steps are just like they were in the movie, as ink black and resilient as the flesh of killer whales. She cannot capture her breath for an instant, as if she's facing into a tomado, and shoves Gross on, starts him moving down the sidewalk towards Prospecd

Street, his loose boots clomping.

Russell Atwood

Ứorona Extra bAexandta sh Start 18 Resh

Hints From Heloise

1. Catch it asleep on the sofa after Christmas dinner, mouth open, spit stains on the pillow. Take a picture. Next year the family will laugh at the picture, how life could sleep through anything, how the dog's eyes glowed while your life drifted off.

2. Buy very expensive liquor. Get your life drunk in hopes that it will say something profound or sad. Wait patiently with pen and paper until it throws up on your shoes. Clean carefully with vinegar and warm water.

3. Have the kids make a video for your life. Be sure to include spikes and smoke and dancing girls. Make your life go on talk shows and mouth the words to songs. Have your life die a sudden, violent, tragic death. Sell t-shirts.

4 Stick a bicycle wheel in your life and call it art. Call it theory. Call it art as theory of art. Submit papers about your life for publication in journals. Invent a word for your life and become famous for that word.

5. Use your life as a planter, an earring holder, a lamp, a festive wall hanging. Over the weekend, make your life into a hutch, a coffee table, bunk beds for the kid's room. Cover your life with woodgrain vinyl and nail bronze baby shoes to the top.

6. Sprinkle your life on fish, poultry, or beef. Make a quiche with it that your family will find disgusting. Stuff it down the garbaage disposal. Listen to the grinding, how it has a tone that gets clearer and clearer as your life passes through. Memorize that tone, make it your theme song.


Wonder How Mother Likes Life Alone

When it rained for three days in Canada, we played fifty hands of Gin. During the last four years I've heard your voice over the phone on Sundays, you speak of gardens and the trees. At home I see you crouched in the dirt plucking rocks from the ground. Black flies don't seem to bother you.

Father returns on weekends to find fresh air and vegtables. He enjoys dirt in his salad. He's growing accustomed to your earthy flavors. My friends relax with your quick jokes and a beer. One Christmas you urinated blood for seven days, not telling a soul until your parents left. They had a wonderful time.

Keith Eator 20


Now there will be oil slicks in space, born again mercenaries selling handguns on TV, twelve lane freeways between shopping malls, two computers in every garage, video arcades in the temple, beer cans on the moon, junkmail from God.

Now there is remote control to direct remote control, millions made by shuffling paper, paint by numbers warheads, scratch-n-sniff culture, waterheads for president, deities on the dole, garbage that glows.

Now life seems to be experiencing some technical difficulties, inertia is coopted, red tape is king, McDonald's is a country.

Now there is soft wear cold wars fine print space race statistics less art.

Carl Hanni
21 Jarnie owe
Denise Sussek

As though his arms were broken at the elbows and reset wrong the result of a defect hidden deep in his DNA he cradles the ball with an easy audacity, slings his shots from the oddest angles, into the twine with a satisfying, sizzling swish... grown tall and strong, he stands now on the verge of manhood, and I hear him say the things I thought of saying, but had no capacity for. He revels in sweat and mud, the camaraderie is fine...

I remember how much smaller he had been, how put upon by others for his funny baseball pitch, the intercepted pass, and smile, now, as he lopes across the chalkmarked grass. I look with pride upon my son, and how much, in him, he and I are


David Peterson

Met Two Men

Met a man missing three front teeth, he was shorter than a bar-b-que grill.

Long disheveled hair clamped to his cheeks, we drove on the shoulder (the road was closed)

Flies attached to our silver chrome sides windows rolled tight, the bugs bounced off the transparent shield.

Met another man who trudged into the violent Potomac, suitcase in each hand, black bags resisted by dark blue-green turbulence.

Dressed in an old brown suit, he plunged, and once under, his beard jerked through the churning white foam.

Cereste Smith
Ronit Rosen

Demo Crises

Do not let your shriek

Pierce the night

Just listen for its echo

Appear down the corridor

From Argentina

Which is paved with footsteps

Of mothers looking for sons

In a black night

Though the door knob turns

The rooms are empty and dark.

Channah Springer

Elaine Goldberg

On the Eve

on the equinox first menses call a young daughter out of childhood, the moon sheds its shadow the serpent its skin and Eve is expelled from the garden again.

Rites of passage for this generation take place on the track a baton passed on in a race, her team-sister gives her a rose in the shade of the stain on her sheets: this "messiness" connects her with the Easterm-block athletes at the Munih Olympics beseiging the doctor for whole boxes of pads

then the hostages taken, no way to save them but to try cyanide shot in by a canister if all dropped simultaneously Herr Doctor could rush in, revive with his antidote, his life's research proved if

not the headlines would read: "German Doctor Gasses Jews Again'" instead, in a splatter of blood, the Israeli's pass back into the Garden.

Now this daughter dreams the Olympics and, with the startle of blood, of becoming a mother.

25 Gail Ranadive

Dinner at Gramma-and-Grampa's


my stared at a long grain of brown rice on the tablecloth to make sure it wasn't moving. After all, the farmer Grampa knew in China was killed by a crop of rice that had attacked him after he had chopped it off the tree. Jimmy gritted his teeth and curled his hand into a fist just below the table's edge in case the rice decided to try something.

room table and against the far wall. Jimmy felt much safer now and took a deep breath as he wondered what Gramma had in store for dessert.

Jimmy loved going to his grandparent's house for dinner because he was convinced that Gramma was the best cook in the Sometimes she cooked French food, sometimes Italian, and once she even cooked Greek. Jimmy never quite understood what made which food one nationality or another, nor could he figure out how a woman of Gramma's age could do all the traveling it must have taken to get these various foods badk to her house. But he did know that her hamburgers were at least a hundred times better than McDonald's and tonight's dinner-chicken key-yev, sparagus, noodle google Grampa was a different matter though. Grampa had a habit of burping out loud, he said "Speak up, young man" too much, and some of his stories were a little hard to believe. However, Jimmy had to admit that the one about wild rice being raised in iron cages over in China did make a lot

of sense.

As Gramma cleared the last of the dinner dishes, Grampa rolled a crumb between his thumb and first finger, and Jim-

Jimmy's eyes didn't budge from that single grain of rice until he heard a loud gasping noise came fro his grandfather's mouth. Jimmy glanced over and saw that the old man's was bent forward at a strange angle and his glasses had slipped down to the bottom of his nose. The boy thought about waking him up but decided against it upon recalling that Grampa had mentioned during dinner that he's been practicing hard for the American Legion's annual snoring contest next week. Zeroing in again on the rice, a wave of courage suddenly filled Jimmy and enmpowered him to flick the grain clear off the dining

Gramma emerged from the kitchen carrying a tray with a teapot, honey, a mug, a glass of milk, and a big slice of cheesecake on a plate. Jimmy swung his legs forward and back under the tatble as Gramma placed the milk and cheesecake in front of him.

"Wow, Gramma, thanks a million

billion!", said Jimmy.

You're welcome a million billion, Jimmy," Gramma responded. some steaming tea into the mug and shook Grampa by the shoulders a good five or six times before he woke up.

She poured and wild rice -was just swell.

"Here's your tea, dear," she offered before returning to the kitchen to finish washing the dishes.

Jimmy swallowed a big creamy bite of cheesecake then turned toward his grandfather. It wasn't like Grampa to skip dessert.

"Don't you like cheescake,

Grampa?" asked Jimmy.

Grampa rubbed his eyes and pushed his glasses back up to the bridge of his nose.

Leslie Socol

mmy. Used B8 oUT poor OT DUke, he stayed out there and et so much he just tipped over

Even took the weatherman two weeks just to figger out the recipe..." into a cheesebank and went into that great "frigerator in the sky."

really knew what hit em ler quite a while. was hotcake an the placed one of s onthetable and lean-

Jimmy was finishing off the last of his slice now.

Aut thatwasbefore the Grampa was so busy reliving the Great No matter how horrible Grampa's story was, Gramma's cheesecake was still delicious. "So Jim-

Cheesecake that he didn't seem to notice oake of38 furrowed his brow and Gramma come back into the dining room arther forward, leaving no ams mindthatcheesecake

and take her seat at the table. She folded my," Grampa concluded, That's why

her hands and smiled slightly as her hus- don't eat cheesecake."



Jimmy gingerman

k another bite as the old band continued. "By the time the news

All Jimmy could utter was "Oh". The ensuing slence was broken by the soft clink of Gramma putting Grampa's cooled came over the radio we had aa real mess on our hands. The 'nouncer said there dleared his throat like a lion and cond. "Didn'tstartoutas much-just a a or wo in thebackyardround noonime. Grams and I thought it was those Shmuckler boys next door trying to get our blood pressure up. But purty soon that cheesecake was coming down cats and dogs...whole cakes, homemade-like,

was a big cream cheese twister sighted near Crawfordsville, and hospitals was treating some folks for cheesebite. Mayor McCheddar told us not to panic, that he'd have a snow crew out with extra-big spaatulers hooked on their plows. He said they'd clean the streets like they was dessert plates.

mug of tea back on the tray. Jimmy handed her his plate then followed her into the kitchen. Gramma," the boy asked quietly, "Is that really why Grampa doesn't eat cheesecake?"

Gramma. with heaps of fruit topping.

"Of course not, Jimmy," laaughed "Your Grampa can't eat cheesecake because the doctor told him he's getting too fat and his cholesterol is

"Six inches of the stuff fell that first Folks was slipping all over the place. Cars hadda pull over and stop cause their windshields got smeared with graham cracker crust. Most ever'body got smart and scrambled inside quicker than

"But the spoons diddn't do much good anyhow cause come morning, all that cheesecake gone gummed up, kinda like real hard jello. Grams and me couldn't go our fer days without our shoes sticking in that cheesegunk. Matter-a-fact, nobody

hour. too high."

"Oh," replied Jimmy, who promptly shuffled back to the "ining room. "Grampa," he asked, What's kalesterol?"

W.R. Tish

27 Raimondo Briata

You've captured your last enemy soldier and hung him up to die.

You watch now from the kitchen window how the breeze rocks him like a wind chime. You hear your sorrow whistle through him and see his white flag.

Nothing but duty calls you now.

Outside on the clothesline, the sheets and pillowcases wave proudly on slightly wounded trees.

Betzy Reisinger

Tight End

I watch him with ardent interest gaining yardage, trying score, gripping pigskin with every smooth stride. His hard round helmet curves strong sunlight, throwing it back my way.


Risa Bauman

David Peterson
Spandexed legs are squeezed into a wel-knit, gold and red uniform. Stif supple legs move with athletic grace then go rigid at a welldeserved touchdown. He sure knows how to play his position. avio P

Duck Hunting

-By spilling blood you lay open the universe-Ford

The shot fell like heavy rain on autumn leaves. Only a few need pierce the feather mail to bring the mallard down.

I have not been at this sport long enough, or did not lead the bird far enough, but winged it fell Iike a broken vessel through the tree.

I moved awkwardly into the thicket. Fear teemed in me, and I admired the green and blue sheen, holding him in the hollow of my hand.

With half thought revulsion and prayer, clutching the neck, I swung his body round until I felt the bone break. Orange webbed feet kicked out the last life pulse. The duck cooled instantly.

David Peck

Paul Yelesias
0,t. t

Friends Inside Are Crazy

hear the sane filled reggae on the inside of dance studio nine they're playing their psychotherapy my friends inside they're crazy they need the sane filled reggae

valerie in hues of black and white with hands of pen and paper twines around poor doug there is not enough beer to prevent his tears from clouding his çanvas vision and shę writes of the way he painted her face before he saw or knew her he sits in solemn stupor

sharon squats in isolate side shapes carob soaked fingers to pyramid cries and chants in dance of past livíng she knows for, sure in a life before she worked in an eastern brothel in this life of struggle and strife she hardly works at all

moon in her eye holds the desire tọ crawl inside sweet p his abnormal sízed forehead won't let he in to forget her love is dripping he beats a drum watches her run and sweats from her negativity always loving her distantly and says to himself, people like us should'never have babies

jesse goes insidę himself to conquer guerilla activity he front lines all colors of conflic in cause a struggle suppoted by atillery he survives walks out álive and shoots a shot at his painting

dope fiend kenny trips on the scene with plenty of florida muşhrooms talks of tripping organically thręe days three nights nightmares for five and answers a phone that aint ringing dope fiend kenny says there's plenty of mushrooms for everybody

afreeba rub a dubs jah çaressed and bạmbu blessed spliff in lips and inhaling wailing in tradition of rasta premonition repartration mass migration babylon's falling africa's calling africa's calling callíng

hear the sane filled reggae on the inside of dance studio nine they're playing their psychotherapy my friends' inside are crazy they need the sane filled reggae

Cereste Smith 32



Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

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