arne torneck- helen lea fowler- skuld- yolanda mora- dena rash guzman- soenART
Continuum of Shame by Arne Torneck I feel ashamed for what I am about to write – thrice dark and thrice unknowable – yet while accepting heart-full responsibility for that shame, I am not solely responsible for it. I was ten or eleven, and traveled one winter’s night to the wrestling matches at The Gardens with some friends (in the days when wrestling was wrestling and you still wondered whether the sport was fixed or not - the degree of doubt for which a waning belief in Santa Claus was once an entry level experience). In one particular bout, I remember only one of the two warriors – a magnificently built ebony apparition billed as Bobo Brazil. The other man was white, generic, obviously forgettable. I was squeezed (in the cheap seats) between my buddies to my left (four or five of us who regularly attended these Thursday night events) and two guys, our seniors by three or four years (an inestimable gulf at that age) on my other side. As the wrestlers grappled about, the white man growing sweaty and pink in his mounting fury, the black man oozing a calm patina of slick moisture that made his body look like polished granite in the rain; the stranger to my immediate right sneered boldly to his companion: “Oooo, how can he touch him,” as if laying hands on the black man were the most repulsive thing a man could do. I cannot say for certain, but I think I remember the Yiddish pejorative shvartze being employed in the ensuing defamation. Strangely, I didn’t afterwards discuss the matter with my buddies – I wonder why I didn’t? I will, however, admit to this: I have never since touched a black man without being selfconsciously aware that I was touching a black man! Indeed, it was
one of the most puzzling experiences of my young life – the wrestling affair – though it should not have surprised me as it did, having been prepared for it by a sister occurrence, a half-dozen years earlier:
I was crossing the street on a green light at the intersection where I lived. A Negro (for that is what I was taught was a polite term in the early 40s for people of colour) passed opposite me, cradling in lockstep a blonde white girl. They joked along their way, and laughed, and the boy in passing flashed me an ivory grin, since he knew who I was – his father ran a shoeshine on the first floor of the two-story in which we lived. Crossing the road in the same direction I was going, yet with longer strides, so that I heard him as he passed me, a man craned back his head to glare at the young pair and mumbled: “Disgusting!” I never discussed much of anything with my folks, and in this there was not an exception. Puzzled, I kept mum, I wonder why? I will, however, admit to this: never have I passed by a couple of mixed colour without an impulse to turn towards them and gawk. I will describe briefly a third event germane to my shame. Within a year or two of the first mentioned episode, the wrestling match incident, I shared an experience with a young black boy – for that is what I presently call people of colour. (I will not go for AfricanAmerican since I cannot for certain say who is American and have less a notion as to who may be African.) In grade 8, Blair Schenk and I failed to advance to high school and were required to repeat our curricula. Failed! – the shame of that absolute and lonesome exile wherein one’s mates leap ahead and you die alone behind in the shaming. Failed, it was decreed, because “we had not learned
all of our lessons,” and because “we were so young (the two youngest in our class as a matter of fact, years younger than some of the hooligans who had failed three or four times already) that it wouldn’t be such a terrible thing!” The tacit sub-text was that in an overtly bigoted education system, Blair was a Negro, and I was a Jew. (At least I thought I was a Jew, but that’s another story.) I never discussed the shame and disappointment I felt in my failure with anyone – not with my parents, not with my friends, not with my … well, with no one. Nor did I discuss the pain, fear and personal guilt I experienced, then and forever more, as a result of the inculcated patterns I experienced in the other two incidents described above. Why, I wonder?
Epilogue There is a universal tendency to blame our predecessors for the foibles we inherit. Said another way, " we are not responsible for the prejudices we incur ... they are simply learned patterns that we unconsciously absorb; but, I think that kind of reasoning has gone by the boards and is no longer viable. Some years ago, Buffy Ste. Marie wrote a song - (I should say, Anthem), in which she deflected the culpability of the Commandersin-Chief and their generals, of the horrors of war, and placed the blame squarely on the foot-soldiers of the war theatres."
He's the universal soldier, and he really is to blam e, his orders cam e from far aw ay, no m ore They com e from here and there, and you and m e and brothers, can't you see, this is not the w ay w e put the end to w ar. Racism is a dynamic phenomena, changing this way and that over the ages and epochs. Some of us, though, are always trying to balance the pans of merit and liability with a humane tongue of decree. (C) 2012 arne torneck all rights reserved
Fur labels poetry feeling toBlack fur or black hairy chest I love to tangle-up my fingers And around them, the worms. Fur. Labels: poetry lists Lista, pero ¡qué lista eres! While he´s sitting at his computer/my computer I bare his feet i lick i bite Nunca le había visto jadear tanto como aquella noche, puerta cerrada, hotel-like mother´s house for my Dad didn´t save a penny. Didn´t deserve love-making.
Fur labels poetry I feared mostly his vacation- you bastard! Selfish! Machista macho gorilla. Grrl. Just a girl, Chan, oh Lo que desearía dar marcha atrás en el tiempo. En el College estaba cuidada, era pequeña, 6 años y daba reportes a mi mamá como una niña de 6 años. Grabado. Todo grabado en mi cabeza, no salgo de ahí. I thought his bed was a shelter. I go into the children library: RUNAS, it reads. Magic. Fantasy. Anne of Green Gables (Megan Follows) i can´t find, i can´t find. A woman of my age called me Madam. Not Girl. Ha! I´ve just cooked some crêpes avec chocolat. The hurricane blows the trees upside down ( the chocolate). Siempre veo el mismo árbol en mi ventana. Shh, nunca es el mismo árbol. Las células cambian. Filosofía. He said Philosophy is … magic too? It´s nonsense. Chan again, no puedo obligarla a que dibuje otra vez. Volver atrás, antes del Paro (unemployed both), del Barómetro, heart attacks, panic, PANIC. Chan eats her crêpes. Él me habla de Li yin. Can´t help it. Y las fotos de Araki. ¿Por qué demonios no se compra ya el libro? Él quiere ser Araki. Cords. Nudes. Torturelike. Photos. He wants sex after all these years lost and gone, years of growing up. Mature feeling. Now he urges. Come on, come on, come on. He cumplido un año más. Tengo 7. This is the Death Book of Nonsense. Death Book of Stuff and Nonsense. El poder de unas gafas oscuras y una cazadora negra.
Who´s fucking with me? He (he?) wears a mask. Who am I? For i´m wearing a mask on too. What is he doing? I´m frightened. Yet i´m so excited i can´t tell how excited i am with him, when i see him this excited. The two of us naked, alone, in this bedroom.
He´s panting like a dog, a lion. I moan just like a woman. Every woman. Hilarious. I actually laugh, cry, giggle. I am a head of Ironies. Ironic, my whole life a perverted irony. And Chan is quiet. And he´s silent now. Unwanting. But buys nude postcards and secretly desires Li Yin. I, naked of course, stand and watch the tree with its firsts buds; and the dry buds from last spring, brown and frozen- and look like his balls. I want to smash them with my palm open sky upward looking forward to being in my 8th birthday (bitch day i was to say, or Chan corrects) and go backwards at the same time. When there was a garden, and many books on a brown shelf, and Chan could read, yes, Chan COULD read. And there were a father, a mother, a grandfather, a granny. And a sister full of need. I wish i could reach 9 this time. And kick that ass, that boy who said all those things to me: writing reports to my mom about everything we (I) were doing. A bbq. lack of meat, they devoured the meat. She sat far from us. I couldn´t eat burnt meat, and bleeding at the same time. I watched him, that... midget! (and i, a giant), hippielike band of nonsense. Looking at him meant something. Animals. Eating, starving, tearing off, out or whatever that meat (lamb? Don´t remember)CANINO, i don´t want to go back there! Chan (Shawn) stares at me, starving, craving crêpes, more chocolate. And i´ve quit drinking or thinking, who cares-
helen lea fowler
Friday the Thirteenth And my Templar Man is raging Sins go all around this time. And though the sun's on my arms The skulldaggers are still dancing Revenge on my unfortunate neurons. Absolutiation There's no confessional For these two broken machines. Redlines, broken bones I don't want to have a deathwish But there it is Like the note Like the daggers Like the mother Like the daughter I live in graves Without the rest
Without the rain on my face Without the shadowland Without answers or solace Just this And years and years of worse And the traitors And the vultures And the leeches And the liars And the others Others' others But not mine But I see the web I see the net I see the dew Pendulous and swinging I see the honey-colored light Flowing thick on my body I feel my cells fly away I hear the sudden quiet I see the sacred patterns Nodding to the lessons
The heart of God is everywhere (Corner-of-your-eye faith: Don't want to wear a veil) In the mountains On the prairie In the desert I am breathing I am living I am reaching I am growing I am daggers I am chalice I am cthonic I am eternal I see the parallels This sacrament This sacrament This sacrament
Born in Seattle, Washington to parents from Montana and Texas, Helen Lea Fowler has made a mission of depicting, analyzing, and synthesizing contradictions. While also a visual and musical artist, it is her love of language that creates the most satisfaction for her, and is her primary form of expression and activism. Currently at work researching her first novel, Ms. Fowler continues to write poetry, blogs, essays, short stories, and the occasional press release for progressive and artistic causes.
DENA RASH GUZMAN
For Jackson, Who Grows Older Seekers of cool, lined in winding array, a theory in chaos, not pushing. The geography of the parlor is crumbling, ancient as an empire. The tabletops are formica, chipped, some adorned in drops like pearls, ice cream melted, pastels, sticky. One girl cries, tiny in pink shoes, "I want cake. I want cake." Her mother ignores, her brother consoles. "It's okay, Jenny." Some cones stacked, waffle, paper on paper, scoop. The teenage girl with a lisp serves little spoons, samples, one woman cleans twelve of them before deciding on mint chip. The primal sway of the line of creatures behind her. The call so calm, so calm: it's not hunger. It's sweet desire. The line is a pattern of want for fat and sugar on the tongue, feast, no famine. I'm very close to the front of the line. I pass on the samples. The teenage server with a lisp takes my order: a bottle of water, vanilla in a cone with sprinkles
for Jackson, who grows older outside in the resting place beneath the awning, eating, pearls of ice cream scattering, finishing, then stretching. Then yawning.
-Dena Rash Guzman Portland, Oregon, USA Contributing Author Managing Director North America H.A.L. Publishing Shanghai, China www.haliterature.com Editor Unshod Quills 702.556.7789 firstname.lastname@example.org
this is not francesca images by yolanda mora
Summer with nubile red shoes
I bought myself a pair of red shoes with no heels, i believed in erotic nubile clothes and shoes, red purple blue, my colors i decided in that stage of my life. I went to the sea with a long purple dress and childlike red shoes. My body would do the rest, i mean, i could no longer hide that i was growing up. Yet inside i was a lost child, even a sweet damn devilish angry hungry sad playful baby. I thought i could hide my body behind that curtain of reds and purples, and my bare feet inside tombs flat and red as my bold spirit was at that age bold and naïve and nauseous. I left everything for him. I went to the mountains for him, he took me to the sea, i took a lot of photographs to catch his mischievous spirit, but he kept playing with me, play play fun: “we are not humans”, he used to say in my ear, “we are lizards. What are all these things?” he meant humans. He used to play with my feet, he´d find them erotic, smell the shoes, come on baby and so on. So the red shoes were erotic. Yes. Everybody or nobody looked at us in the train to the beach, to the north of the peninsula cold weather, didn´t have a sweater just the dress and my brand new shoes. I took photos. He eluded the camera, i saw hate in his eyes: “What are these people?” i hated him but he had just hypnotized me. He was my artist, my mentor, my shaman. He once saved my life with mantras and a hard massage, he almost killed me, and still i kept smiling at him. Oh yes, we reached the beach, he wearing very dark (green) sunglasses, slippery like a lizard, a stranger. He wouldn´t speak to me. He was angry, hungry, skinny, so i gave him all my money, he took off my red shoes and kissed them. Well, i went to a church. I didn´t know the city but it was Sunday, it was Sunday, somebody (we were trying to sell his paintings in the beach, storm, almost nobody, a fresh Seurat painting) we strolled here and there and someone offered us vodka but didn´t buy anything. I got drunk. Us, the artists, Him, He was God for He believed so. Me, the believer the believer again and again, the damn baby artist of shit, the naïve bohemian and He was God. He left me. I was a baby of 6 years old. Back to the train, he left me, back to my “mommy”, Suzanne. That´s why i entered the church, to get some sleep and then bought wine at the train station and got home, the cabin, staggering, climbing raining dirt and blood from my feet my red shoes all slippery and broken, my heart acidy drunk void couldn´t feel the slope of the mountain for i was a lizard and had cold blood cold heart cold feet and mind, and with my broken shoes in one hand dirty feet, mud weeds in the kitchen Suzanne hugged me “I told you so”. I threw my beautiful red shoes away as i drank more and more i thought
about the erotic burden of a nubile pair of shoes, passions would kill me and i kept taking photos of my scared face and Suzanne´s. And drinking more and more and dancing and smoking pot barefoot black soles, leaves of the trees stuck to them, raining raining and fell down down to the floor and i forgot everything even the names of the trees, and then at dawn i got up and my head ached, washed my feet and cried not babyfied anymore... and ... he came back to the cabin two days later we were starving, or must i say two nights later we had been so calm, so quiet, scared when he came back, we should have fed the cats we didn´t cats he loved he hated for he was himself but damn we didn´t want to feed them so he killed us with a lizard-like acetic acid eye or we just died of anorexia like every intelligent stupid girl does.
she is not Francesca wo ist...?
edited by yolanda mora. contact: email@example.com