The Columbia Review Fall 2021

Page 1

THE COLUMBIA REVIEW Vol. 102 | Issue 1 | Fall 2020





fall 2021

An Editors’ Note “...either dreams or swords.” — Amy Lowell

3



vol 103

issue 1

fall 2021

contents Carousel Pantoum

Jessi ca Guzman

6

Mississippi Snow Day

Jessi ca Guzman

7

Sketches of My Father

Ji ho o n Pa rk

8

Ad a m Str a us s

28

“BLACK FEMME FATALE”

C hr i sti na Miles

29

Noor

A r m a a n Ba mzai

31

On the day Barry died

A m y Bo bed a

32

[Monterey Aquarium]

C ha r i ty Ketz

33

Muya ka bi n Haji al-Ghas s aniy

38

from Like

Ngome | The Fort

Self Portrait as Don’t Look

tr. Ri ch a rd Prins

37

K a thr yn C ow les

38

A l yx Ra z

41

Austyn Wo hlers

45

The Transpacific Major Thank-You Hits Connections

La wd enm a rc Decamora

46

Portrait of My Mama as a Butterfly

Jo cel yn C hi n

48

A Selection of Matsuo Basho Haiku (Courtesy of Google Translate)

Li zzi e Buehl e r

49

Sofía in the Storm Adoring Emails to a Dying Artist

5


the columbia review

Carousel Pantoum Jessica Guzman

This is the Kmart that was the bowling alley, what will be the Baptist church by decade’s end. I spin & spin & my mother roots through depths her handbag splits. “You don’t need trust if you have faith,” the Baptist church billboard says. In the end it was the flicker of another girl’s L.A. Gears I couldn’t stand. You don’t need to explain trust or faith to kids, the wants my tongue dripped for the flicker of another girl’s L.A. Gears quenched by the teeter of another day’s wish. Eyes gibbous from the wants my tongue dripped, calliope whistling off-pitch, refrain quenching the totter of another quarter’s clink— what the sermon presumes we either give or hoard. Like the calliope whistling off-pitch, refraining from rigor. My mother cups the swell of the stirrup, what resumes the horse’s trot. We either give or hoard at the bowling alley that is the church that is the Kmart, where my mother cups my wet cheek & we spin & spin & spin & root through debts.

6


fall 2021

Mississippi Snow Day Jessica Guzman There is the tire and there is the rope and there is the oak and there is the snow burdening the branch into a mouth. What sounds distant but collects in the creases of your coat; or, loud as a freight train to fish, physicists claim of the flakes whose trapped air blares underwater. In other words, an account for what they think they know. There is the roundabout and the shout and the shotgun house, lights out. There is the trout souring the skillet flung through the door. Steam sighs from the pores. There is the neighbor on their porch, ear angled towards the rocker’s sudden sway. There is the diminuendo grease splatters just below the windowsill’s display of mosquito dividends. And the silk scaffolding of a cobweb stretched corner to corner—from there a spider spins and plucks, feels the thrown plates’ applause.

7


the columbia review

Sketches of My Father Jihoon Park

The Tape Man Roy Fang’s father, a programmer for Nintendo, ends his career-day presentation by handing out Game Boy Colors to everyone. We cheer. The girls give him kisses on his cheek. Even Jim Hollins, the class bully who has been held back ten years, gives him a pat on the back. My father is up next. “Don’t let yourselves be defined by society,” he shouts. “Be extraordinary!” He stretches out his limbs until they become spiraling strips of tape. He twists his torso around and around. His head coils and spirals, his eyes, nose, and mouth becoming something monstrous. The Tape Man sends his tendrils across the room. My classmates scream and cry. “Live your lives freely, each day is a gift!” The class is in a frenzy, running back and forth trying to avoid the Tape Man’s appendages. Nikki Lim, the girl I have a crush on, tries to jump out the window. Miss Treager barely manages to catch her. Jim Hollins throws me in the trash can. I beg the Tape Man to stop, but he does not listen. “A man must finish what he has started, son,” he says.

8


fall 2021

9


the columbia review

The Strong Man Currently in second place, the Strong Man needs to beat Goliath “The Hammer” Rushkin’s throw of 2.2 miles to win the tournament. From the sidelines, Goliath gives the Strong Man a death glare and points to the hammers hung from his chain belt. The Strong Man, dressed in a suit and hat, only smiles back. Ready at the throw line, he lifts the ox and anchors it on his shoulder, spins around three times to generate momentum, and launches the ox far into the sky. It takes ten minutes to ride out the length of the tournament field. The ox has splattered into a pile of guts. The judge measures the impact point against the field markers. “2.4 miles, a new record!” he says. The crowd cheers. Goliath screams and runs toward the Strong Man, wielding a hammer in each hand. The Strong Man pulls out his pistol and shoots him in the face. Holding my mother’s hand, I look upon the Strong Man with adoration. “Come my boy!” he says. I run to him and he lifts me on his shoulder. “Launch me!” I say. “Maybe when you’re older and able to survive such an impact.” The judge places a medal around the Strong Man’s neck. “For your first place prize... all our remaining oxen!” “We don’t have space for all those oxen,” my mother says. “We don’t know the first thing about raising livestock.” “We don’t need to raise them,” the Strong Man says. “We’ll eat the meat, tan the hides, polish and carve the horns into admirable scrimshaw.” “Why don’t we donate them?” “No, these oxen are mine. I’ve earned them.”

10


fall 2021

11


the columbia review

The Blacksmith Man “HOLD IT STILL!” the Blacksmith Man yells, both of us sweating under the roaring flame of the forge. The sword refuses to be steady on the anvil under his hammer blows. I brace the hilt with one hand and hold the blade with the other, being careful not to cut myself through the gloves. “Okay, that’s better. Good. Keep it still like that. Okay now flip it over. NOT THAT WAY FLIP IT THE OTHER WAY, HORIZONTALLY! HORIZONTALLY! Is that vertically? Okay, that’s my mistake. Sorry I yelled. Vertically then. That’s good. Good job, my boy. WHY ARE YOU CRYING? STOP THAT OR I’LL GIVE YOU SOMETHING REAL TO CRY ABOUT! WHEN I’M DEAD YOU’LL THANK ME FOR TEACHING YOU ALL THIS!” After three hours we take a short lunch break. We eat gravel sandwiches and drink pig’s blood mixed with river water. Then we return to work, heating and hammering the blade over and over again. “When will it be done?” I ask. “When it is perfect.” “When will it be perfect?” “Possibly never.” After five more hours the Blacksmith Man seems satisfied for the time being. “A fine day’s work. Well done. Tomorrow I will teach you to polish and sharpen the blade. Then I will teach you to cut down your enemies with honor.” He places the sword in my hands. It is beautiful.

12


fall 2021

13


the columbia review

The Whale Man The Whale Man is entertaining his colleagues. My mother is alone in the kitchen, roasting gnomes. “Ah, the scholar has returned,” the Whale Man says, seeing me walk in. “He is studying at the National University, he will become a great man like us one day. Come sit with us and have a drink.” I refill their empty glasses and the Whale Man pours me a beer. He cuts a leg off the gnome. “Have some.” “I’ve never really liked gnome meat.” “Of course you do! You grew up eating gnome.” “I’ve never really liked it.” “Have some. Your poor mother will weep if you don’t have some, she spent all day preparing.” I don’t want my poor mother to weep so I have some gnome. Like all of my mother’s cooking, it tastes delicious. The flesh is seasoned and roasted to perfection. But when my teeth crunch down on the bone I can’t help but grimace. The Whale Man laughs. “One day you will enjoy it. Now, watch this.” The Whale Man grabs the pitcher of beer and gulps it down in one swig. He bloats up and shoots the beer out his blowhole, getting it all over the dining-room curtains. His colleagues laugh and clap. Momo, waking up from his nap, sniffs and chews the curtains. I go to the kitchen to grab another pitcher of beer. My mother weeps as she roasts gnomes. “You’re back,” she says, quickly drying her eyes. “I left you some rice and seaweed stew if you get hungry. I’m going out for some air, we need to start leash-training Momo anyway. Will you take over for a bit?” I am alone in the kitchen, roasting gnomes.

14


fall 2021

15


the columbia review

The Jazz Man I am studying for my thesis exams when I hear the Jazz Man playing his horn out the living room window. My mother knocks at my door. “Taking Momo for a walk,” she says. “Text me when it’s quiet.” I put on my earmuffs but they do little to block the music. Giving up on my studies, I go downstairs to watch the Jazz Man practice. The entire city hears his music. Pretty soon, Georgie “Four-Lips” Hanson barges into our living room with his trombone. “My God, that sounds like three pints of Guinness during lunch on a Tuesday when your boss is out with appendicitis,” he says, accompanying the Jazz Man’s melodies. Next, Fat Cat Brown walks in with his upright bass, along with Hokie Mokie and his two-belled trumpet. “My God, that sounds like discovering your old porno stash under a mossy boulder in the woods behind the church on a humid summer afternoon,” says Fat Cat Brown. “My God, that sounds like driving your grandfather’s oldsmobile with a pig on a spit in the passenger’s seat,” says Hokie Mokie. “All right gang,” says the Jazz Man. “From the top. ‘Song for My Father,’ F minor.” The jam session picks up. Frankie Fast-Hands shows up carrying an entire drum kit in his arms and wearing a cymbal for a hat, followed by Jojo “The Steamtrain” Bonfiglio and his four-octave vibraphone. Behind them, an entire bus full of musicians crashes through our front door. The living room is filled with cacophonous music, the musicians only stopping to drag on their cigarettes and sip their whiskies. “Beautiful, isn’t it?” the Jazz Man calls out to me. “Come play for me, like I taught you.” I squeeze my way through the dense sea of musicians to the piano. The ivories are already covered with sweat and spit from the horns. I can’t distinguish the changes and melodies among the chaos so I play random chords. Momo comes into the room and rests his head on the bass notes of the piano. Nobody notices when I stop playing to pet him. Out the corner of my eye, through the living room window, I see my mother get into a taxicab.

16


fall 2021

17


the columbia review

The Dice Man I sit across from the woman I love at the best Italian restaurant in town when the Dice Man shows up. In his majestic Suit of Chances, he sticks the Artichoke of Fortune in my face as I am trying to eat. “Test your luck!” he says. “Not now,” I say. This is a special dinner and I can’t have the Dice Man ruin it. I try getting a forkful of pasta to my mouth, but the Dice Man keeps blocking it with his artichoke. “Very well, what about the lady?” The Dice Man sticks the artichoke in front of my girlfriend’s face, knocking over her wine. “Sounds fun, I’ll test my luck,” she says. “No, don’t,” I say. But it is too late. The Dice Man somersaults back and forth across the restaurant, knocking over tables, shattering glasses and plates, before tackling our waiter to the ground. He lands on the floor next to our table, arms and legs splayed out. “11,946! Better luck next time.” “What number were we hoping for?” she asks. “I don’t know. I never know,” I say. The engagement ring feels heavy in my coat pocket.

18


fall 2021

19


the columbia review

The Turnip Man I am back home for the holidays, helping my mother plant sesames in the backyard. I dig in the dirt while she nests each plant in the ground. Momo, tired from running laps around us, naps under our persimmon tree. “Go wake your father,” my mother says. I go to the patch of dirt next to the sesames and pull out the Turnip Man by his leaves. His face is somber and still, and I worry for a moment that he is dead. Momo comes and sniffs the Turnip Man before licking his face. “Leave me alone,” the Turnip Man says. “You’ve been napping for hours, why don’t you do something productive?” my mother says. “There’s nothing worth doing.” “Why don’t you take Momo for a walk?” “No energy.” “Why don’t you watch The Walking Dead? Then you’ll have something to talk about with the Kims when they visit.” “Episodes are too long. Also, the Kims are your friends, not mine. Don’t like talking to them.” “Okay, why don’t you go back in the ground and die there.” “Sounds good.” The Turnip Man feels hollow and light in my hands. I sprinkle in some fertilizer before burying him. I look up at the clear blue sky. “Looks like a hard rain’s coming,” I say. “That’s the spirit,” my mother says.

20


fall 2021

21


the columbia review

The Suffering Man The Suffering Man is chained to the rocky steep of the mountain. Jagged stones pummel down upon him, and yet the Suffering Man’s thousand homunculi, muscled and tormented, hold strong together to keep his humanity from falling apart. “Why won’t you let go?” I ask. “Let go and be free, Suffering Man.” “Because of you. I suffer for you.” I try to intercept the falling stones, but he pushes me away. “I must suffer alone,” he says. “But why?” “One day you will be completely alone in this world, then you will understand.”

22


fall 2021

23


the columbia review

The Aether Man I have followed the map precisely. I have sailed across the Gulf of Dense Lessons, found the Isle of Almost Relevant, slayed the Knight of Bare Hands, bribed the Witch of Don’t Do That!, climbed the Mountain of What Have I Done, and sacrificed Momo at the Altar of Forgotten Days. The Aether Man descends on a beam of holy light. “I accept your sacrifice. Ask thy questions three,” he says. “Tell me about your childhood. What experiences shaped your life?” “Yes, childhoods are important. A good childhood leads to a good life. Next question.” “I never knew my grandparents. What were they like?” “A good lady and a good man. Raised me well. I miss them. Next question.” “How does one live a meaningful life?” “Don’t ever stay at work past five o’clock. Try to find a nice wife. Find a fun hobby, maybe building model cars or playing the trombone.” “You haven’t really answered my questions.” “Unfortunately our meeting is adjourned.” The Aether Man slowly fades from existence. “I hope to see you again one day, but alas, I must take my leave.” “If you leave now I won’t visit again.” “Maybe. But maybe not. One never knows these things. Be a good boy.” The light fades and I am alone.

24


fall 2021

25


the columbia review

The Ghost Man The Ghost Man stands looming and giant among the crashing waves of the maelstrom, his featureless head high up among the storm clouds. The mast of my ship has been torn off by the gales. My friends have all fallen overboard. I throw the anchor down but the force of the waves tears the rope. “Let me be!” I yell, loading powder into the cannon. But before I can aim it at the Ghost Man, it rips loose from the ropes and nearly crushes me before falling into the sea. The Ghost Man continues to stare at me in silence. My ship capsizes and splits in two. I feel myself being pulled into the dark depths with the debris. Seawater floods my lungs. I want to let go, to reminisce on the brighter moments of my life and the love that I have known, to die like a great man, but all I feel is agony. Suddenly, something pushes me back up to the surface. The gigantic wooden Momo, who has long since guarded the bow of my ship, carries me on his back away from the wreckage. We fall into the maelstrom’s torrents, the Ghost Man staring down at us, following us with his tremendous eyes as we slowly spiral closer to him.

26


fall 2021

27


the columbia review

from Like Adam Strauss

Could you and

could stones

Close this wind, and could Stones close your mind. Yes to the heck. To the hecatomb. I would close mine thews that halt. Halt an else, salt a rappels Till he streaks like fat striates bacon. If I could I would call this persuasion. Then kernel, then abrasion. So how do They make rice in Carcassonne. How do they cook potatoes on the banks of the Somme. I know you know; and I know When you have bad dreams they’ll get snow In Alsace as he walks to buy quince.

28


fall 2021

“BLACK FEMME FATALE” by Nicki Minaj ft. Nikki Giovanni A cento, of “Ego Tripping” by Nikki G and the album Beam Me Up Scotty by Nicki M Christina Miles

so perfect so divine so Chanel nigga / Admit it, I am bad bitch cold / I stand in the Nile birth pains / Fulla crocodile teeth actin’ like I just came / from another galaxy / I a divine / I a Kill Bill nigga / I turned myself into myself and was uranium / marketed sex and was Barbie Jesus / I did the mother thing / I gave my Malcolm X daughter tears and my thirst / I gave my Hannibal son King pins and drug lords with a suit and tie / I did the wife thing / sowed diamonds in my pussy like I’m a jewel / thief / I fuck good I mean I stay warm I give / you a new forest / burned / I mean I caught a bird / cop a coffin for my divine / body cannot fly in the sky except by your permission Can anybody hear me?

29


the columbia review

Dear God / I am only what you made me / I a rap Men intone / I a bird with birth pains / spit-shine teeth out I came to save a thing called female / Why did you fear that? / Admit it, God, You’s need the bad guy to play so you can be Noah / and I am flood / I am cold / I your Bare Gyal fresh up out the thinned oil / I want, I want all / my fly girl shit, an ark and myself / a rap bitch, a star bitch, a cold bitch / I turned myself into myself and was rap / was one hundred years / was the Devil callin’ me a beautiful woman / a soft summer day under palm trees was honey / Can you hear the yellin’? / I think them girls tellin’ G-O-D / “This is rigged” / “This is big” / “Get down, get down on the ground / Admit it, you can’t catch me.” I can fly,

30


fall 2021

Noor Armaan Bamzai

the smell of loam body, settling and you, on the freeway wondering what would it be like to die in a backyard. or you, in a backyard, wondering what it would be like to die on the freeway. blood smells like clean china. rubbing alcohol. the stars in the basin are dripping, collecting.

31


the columbia review

On the day Barry died Amy Bobe da

her new york times obituary said it’s very rare for a celebrity bird to die in a collision with a park automobile, it is very rare for a celebrity bird to have her obit in the new york times her glassy eyes canvassing the internet hunting prey alongside a token ride from citibike which might get me from bkln to the park if I hurry and if traffic is on my side except for the part that on the day barry died I’m in Colorado where a young bald poops outside Walmart before heading northeast for barry’s wake.

32


fall 2021

[Monterey Aquarium] Charity Ketz

One can meet the inner horseshoe of tanks as though one made them: case by case gathered the flood-lit waters into denser water, translucence of being, like scraps of lavender or peachtinged lingerie borne on the faintly circulating current. I was “in a relationship” when I saw the exhibit and wanted to carry it all away— jellyfish trundled to one side of the tank, then improbably rising with a single pulse of the whole self—back. The jellies, we were told, ate each other, whatever they touched. Behind me, a man, reading the plaques aloud, glided the heel of his girl’s hand down to a silky demonstration of one’s bulbous back and pressed it there. Soft

33


the columbia review

like you, he said, as she stared at the hairs curling from his forearm or withdrew the hand to see the mauve bulb, looking nothing like the long-frilled tissue drifting sideways or caught in the others’ stings that could of course be broken off since mouth and stomach were everything. Years later, the exhibit, gone along with the one to whom I’d carried the account, so there was no “you” to speak of—at least not to, just one who’d been turning through like those schools we’d watched in their round tanks in San Francisco’s smaller arena. Following some inner magnetic way they slowly made left-hand turns, then fast, fast up to spot-lit bubbles, their sleekly polished sides iridescing as a nervous prayer, then seeking bottom again, as the Mantas in the “touching pool” would dart down fast when a chorus of hands grew and parted the waters above. Yesterday I told a friend repentance might be

34


fall 2021

growing the other face—the eyes needing to be where there looked bone, the mouth, the nose coming to a close, so there was for a while receding being. Among friends at Monterrey, I read out signs describing a fish made male or female by relative lack. We hunted a long space for its black and white body, its blunt and gaveled head. They traveling off then to nose about the mall of space while I, feeling the stet—the nontranscendence along with the distant intercom over the octopus’s tank, the thing gone coral, gone rock in the corner, bunched into its arms like a bat until arm over arm, apelike, it went invisible. Overhead a video played— the caregiver saying goodbye to her previous charge who, recognizing by taste, wrapped itself around her, pressing all those suction cups over that unsuited body, the two strangely entangled in recognizing—before loosening itself like an empty parachute out into Pacific deep.

35


the columbia review

Everywhere around me men and children appeared jabbing at screens and smiling into some far self there. As when, working as a “finisher” at the donut shop, I’d slowly turn up the grams of filling the machine spat from prongs into waiting dough blobs, my torso bending toward its metal self the way I’ve seen birds perched on shell-crusted rocks belched from Pacific nowheres nod: yes, yes, yes, and me. Later I saw a man on the bus pulling the heavy brass rings on his woman’s ears—the earlobe stretching long— then snapping back, while she sat tall, smiled and stared straight ahead.

36


fall 2021

Ngome | The Fort Muyaka bin Haji al-Ghassaniy Translated from the Swahili by Richard Prins

Ngome ni ngome ya mawe na fusi la kufusiza Ngome ni ya matumbwe, na boriti kuikiza Ngome wetwapo sikawe, enda hima na kufuza Ngome imetuumiza, naswi tu mumo ngomeni! The fort is a fort of boulders, covering up the rubble. The fort has mangrove girders, and walls of solid coral. The fort calls, so don’t linger, but hurry up and hustle. The fort has brought us trouble, and we are still in the fort.

37


the columbia review

Self Portrait as Don’t Look (1–3) Eleanor Eleanor (1979– ) Magazine Clippings, cover-ups 2021 Kathr yn Cowles

38


fall 2021

First one then another friend then another one quite suddenly long-gone doornail-dead presumed pushing-up last post stone-cold, so lest you bury your own self in the now-hole, close your eyes get dead-set kick it to the long grass gloss over back-burn see no hear no— honey, death is coming for everyone you love, always already post-script. Doesn’t mean you have always to look it in the eye so.

39


the columbia review

40


fall 2021

Sofía in the Storm Alyx Raz

I’m here slaking our love w/ the desert range ... it’s damming & aging blue-like water is part look the sink is pooling & I mistook my ribcage for yours awled by my mouth to things apart, okay + neon. This morning, I was assured there is sodomy in the afterlife. This is morning, and there is no where I am getting page-like & OK means upstate as the sun feels itself out on the train there is no room left for us means no room between us to dream say there is room if they look the same. Between every room you’ve ever been there’ve been other rooms: rooms need water before space. Bbutt bodies are terrestrial? No — you mean curious. We made it through the crowd.

41


the columbia review

beneath the caution tape. wait. was there a shooting? No. bad accident reverse-a-dream-likea-body-bag rooms: also groves. Rooms go dark the room for intimacy makes room for leaving and outside it’s either raining or roomy. IT IS MORNING ! (me) to make rain I swim in the bathroom: at most: the wind picks up a feeling rooms like wind carry music. ¡ You said I like what you’ve done with the place ! It’s not like I remember. Yet it’s also like every other place you’ll sleep so it happens to be oblique and touching (them). No...can’t say I was the last (1) in the chat. But it was spacious. Fit us both. I dream: I say go (irás) I say in your sleep you’re not sweating and chlorine will eat us clean before long you dream we are swimming and at the end of the room the slowest day of the year trickles ininto Ss-un. For you: my eyes water like the

42


fall 2021

room in a book do you remember what ours smelled like. When we were young. Was it LA or lavender I don’t know but if it’s not like I remember it’s enough. I swear I smelled it is breathing, and crying is how we avoided speaking on the train w/ our tears & our mothers’ tears leaving us. We wanted to see us. We had no room left. Your room looks out into the room you were which is also the room you’ll know. They said this plainly. So I knew when I remembered as much. Immemory the remora to I love a man I’ve forgotten. You’re forgetting also. We fell in love with the questions. We feared not affectation, but the aftereffects. We made room for enough: old muses / definitions / teargas / marigolds / admittance sores / murmurs / upstreamfags / nihilistic currents / vapors / spring kinks / large-scale-investments in

43


the columbia review

rivers and homages to rivers / room / gazing & washing / alone in our intuitions, we dance cause we’re closer to dying & our debts are flirtations w/ love — what’s this, sludge — neither of us are plainly bloody — our nerves are all mouths — since we’ve met we’ve missed each other: I read to you: I said you’ll be safe at end of the room we’ll be swimming. (both).

44


fall 2021

Adoring Emails to a Dying Artist Austyn Wohlers Maria Kon is dying. I’d sent her lots of emails by the time she told me. Usually she never answered. When she did respond, she told me she was dying, the flowers were blooming, and a family of raccoons was living beneath her cabin. Rainbow emoji at the end of the email. When she invited me to the cabin the raccoons were long dead. She had called the exterminator. Goodbye raccoons. We were drinking coffee. As she spoke I silently praised my own bravery. Kon in the flesh. Kon’s country cabin. When I got home I would send more unsolicited emails so I could visit more places. Maria Kon scowled out yard: looking for raccoons. Maria Kon had a wife. “Baby Betsy,” she called her. “Baby Betsy, shut up, we can’t hear the movie.” “Dinner’s over, Baby Betsy, do the dishes.” “Baby Betsy doesn’t know how to live. She’d be lost without me.” “If I was a scientist I’d work with crystals so I could look at pretty things all day,” Ms. Kon told me slyly. “That’s the kind of person I am. A visual person.” Sure, but Maria Kon was a true artist. Note her use of ‘work with,’ as one works with a medium. Not ‘researched’ or even ‘studied.’ “Next year I’ll paint some minerals.” “I thought you were dying.” “I said I couldn’t go on much longer,” said Maria Kon. From the kitchen the clink-clink of the dishes, woosh of running water. “There’s a difference.”

45


the columbia review

The Transpacific Major Thank-You Hits Connections Lawdenmarc Decamora I’ve never done any Technique but I wanted to say thank you for being magically Technique in my eyes as they stare-whip a thank-you

cream that’s all butterscotch and dream

and Technique and from my skin of bones to articulating thank you

in Hispano-Filipino in an informed Technique

time and space and after identifying the many uses of thank you within the Technique creative network and discourse I give Technique the toast as a thank you to everyone paying Technique a major thank you like ¡Gracias! or Salamat! or thank you in Technique English with transpacific major thank-you hits connecting Technique to the lovely communities of thank you such as Terima kasih in Bahasa and as how thank you is expressed by the Vietnamese as Cảm ơn making Technique happy too with a thank you rendered

46


fall 2021

in Tamil as நன் றி and in the Japanese left-hand thank-you

calligraphy of ありがとうございます

but I remember Technique running through the wet grass I thought it’s a person and I thought it’s a place I thought it’s also a language of plural stars swarming a giant thank-you sign I made for Technique tilling nouns like thank you and Technique in exponential notation so I’m happy to be with Technique in Technique and being Technique saying thank you in 30 lines on the 30th day: cento | ode | nocturne | haiku | thank you | Technique triolet | self-portrait | sequence | thank you | Technique code-switch | exponent | found | thank you | Technique tanaga | free verse | concrete | thank you | Technique erasure | ruba’i | confessional | Beat | surrealist sestina | quipu | micro-poetry | thank you | Technique

47


the columbia review

Portrait of My Mama as a Butterfly Jocelyn A. Chin She believe in God. She coulda been an artist. Her oil-on-canvas beauties from Chicago days alight on our walls. In the kitchen, she shakes oblong pills outta hard bottles: each one color of nothin. Adult vitamins, she tell me (in Mandarin). Daily, garden sunlight through the sliding door crawls on her face, concentrated, on arranging 6 pills into the curves of a butterfly: cold & hard over the counter. Grainy matte jewels I’m too young to hold. Mama sculpts her tiny mosaic: wings outta color of nothin. In Taiwan, she tell me (in Mandarin, too) my own mama in school & baba in military. I grew up so, so lonely. So, to you & your sister, I promise: I’ll never leave. Absence: a mosaic, crumbled. Nightly, she lift our P.J.’s like precious raiment, like we Jesus in Luke 8, like she the reaching, grasping, woman of faith with the ceaseless flow. Before bed: a prayer for metamorphosis: Lord rebirth this beating, bleeding life. Across the kitchen counter, she swallow whole the pilled beauty: wings dissolve to nothin. I grow up trusting adults who make art. I believe in God, too.

48


fall 2021

A Selection of Matsuo Basho Haiku (Courtesy of Google Translate) Lizzie Buehler 古池や 蛙飛び込む 水の音 old pond Jump into the frog The sound of water

行春や 鳥啼き魚の 目は泪 Yukiharu and Bird squirrel fish Eyes are tears

閑けさや 岩にしみいる 蝉の声 Quiet Saya Staining on the rock Cicada voice

夏草や 兵どもが 夢の跡 Summer grass and The soldiers Traces of dreams

柿くへば 鐘が鳴るなり 法隆寺 Kakikuheba As soon as the bell rings Horyuji Temple

旅に病んで 夢は枯野を かけ廻る I’m sick of traveling Dream is withered field Go around

49


the columbia review

Armaan Bamzai is a freshman at Columbia College whose writing has appeared in Polyphony Lit, Body Without Organs, and others. His obsessions include thinking with disco to create theater, waffle-cut French fries and the body as a site of spectacle. Amy Bobeda holds an MFA from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics where she founded Wisdom Body Collective. Her work can be read in Entropy, Ecotheo Review, TYPO, and elsewhere. She has a few books forthcoming in 2022. @amybobeda on Twitter.

Jocelyn A. Chin is an undergraduate student at Duke University who’s happiest when reading a novel on a hammock flooded with afternoon sunlight. When not at school studying public policy, philosophy, and creative writing, she lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her beautiful family and the best dog in the whole wide world. Her work has appeared in Moist Poetry Journal and a handful of intramural magazines. Jocelyn finds that writing oftentimes leads her back to nature, into lives of others, and closer to home. Natalie Christensen is an award-winning photographer whose focus is ordinary settings, seeking the sublime. She deconstructs to color fields, geometry and shadow. Christensen has exhibited in U.S. and international venues; was a UAE Embassy culture tour delegate; recently was invited as Artist-in-Residence Chateau d’Orquevaux, France; and Setanta Books, London published “007 – Natalie Christensen.” She

50

CONTRIBUTORS

Lizzie Buehler is a PhD student in comparative literature at Harvard University. Her translations from Korean include The Disaster Tourist and Table For One by Yun Ko-eun, and Korean Teachers by Seo Su-jin. Lizzie lives in Cambridge, MA, where she is working on a novel.


fall 2021

has work in permanent collections and her photography has been featured in many noted fine art publications. Kathryn Cowles’s most recent book of poems is Maps and Transcripts of the Ordinary World (Milkweed Editions 2020). Her poems, poem-photographs, and collages have appeared in Best American Experimental Writing, Boston Review, Diagram, Georgia Review, Gulf Coast, New American Writing, Verse, the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, and elsewhere, and she has been awarded the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America for a manuscript in progress, the Larry Levis Academy of American Poets Prize, and the Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Book Prize. She is an associate professor of English at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, where she co-edits the poetry and multi-media art sections of Seneca Review. See more at kathryncowles.com. Lawdenmarc Decamora is a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize–nominated Filipino writer with work published in 23 countries around the world. He is the author of two book-length poetry collections, Love, Air (USA: Atmosphere Press) and TUNNELS (India: Ukiyoto Publishing). His work has appeared or is forthcoming in North Dakota Quarterly, The Common, The Seattle Review, California Quarterly, Welter, AAWW’s The Margins, The Best Asian Poetry (TBAP) Anthology 2021, and elsewhere. Recently, Lawdenmarc’s poetry was long-listed for The Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize 2021 in the UK. He was also an August 2021 alumnus of the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project and was a full-time member of the Asia Pacific Writers & Translators (APWT) based in Australia. Jim Eyre is a London-based photographer trained as an interior architect. His CV features ad agency creative director, designer, filmmaker and artist. Conver-

51


the columbia review

sant in multiple media, Jim has created a number of iconic pieces. His “loop table” has permanent residency in both MoMA and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. His “balloon head” window display for British fashion designer Sir Paul Smith is still used globally and inspired the front cover of Paul Smith’s latest book. In 2018, Jim suffered a stroke and now focuses on healing through photo-based art. His work has been exhibited across Europe, North America and East Asia. Jessica Guzman is the author of Adelante (Switchback Books, 2020), selected by Patricia Smith as winner of the 2019 Gatewood Prize. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Shenandoah, jubilat, West Branch Wired, The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day Series, and elsewhere. She teaches at Widener University and lives in Philadelphia. Muyaka bin Haji al-Ghassaniy (1776–1840) was the earliest secular Swahili poet whose identity is known. He was a citizen of Mombasa who has been credited with bringing Swahili verse “out of the mosque and into the marketplace” with his commentary on daily life and Mombasa’s frequent battles defending its independence against the Omani Empire. He was also a pioneer and master of the mashairi quatrain form that serves to this day as the predominant form of Swahili verse. His work would likely have been permanently lost were it not collected and recorded from the memory of elderly Mombasan poets in the late 19th century by the scholars William Ernest Taylor and Mwalimu Sikujua. Charity Ketz’s poems have recently appeared in Carolina Quarterly and Poetry Daily. She has previously published a book of poems, The Narcoleptic Yard (2009), with Black Lawrence Press and holds an MFA from Cornell University and a PhD in English from

52


fall 2021

UC Berkeley (2017). She currently teaches composition and creative writing at Penn State University. Christina Miles is an 18-year-old poet from California, and currently studies anthropology at Brown University. Their work discusses themes of inheritance, cultural displacement, and the tumultuous journey of gender identity. They have been published in the Los Angeles Review, Augment Review, and Rust+Moth Magazine where they have been nominated for Best of Net for their poem “My Sister Sees a Burning Cross.” Jihoon Park’s fiction is forthcoming or published in Split Lip Magazine, Storm Cellar, JMWW, Little Patuxent Review, and elsewhere. He is currently an MFA student at George Mason University where he also teaches. He is from San Jose, California. Richard Prins is a New Yorker who has lived, worked, studied and recorded music in Dar es Salaam. Publications include Gulf Coast, jubilat, Ploughshares, and “Notable” mentions in Best American Essays and Best American Travel Writing. Arrests include criminal trespass (Trump Tower), disorderly conduct (Trump International Hotel), resisting arrest (Republican National Convention), and incommoding the halls of Congress (United States Senate). Alyx Raz earned their BA at Vassar College, MFA at UMass Amherst, and are a PhD candidate at The Graduate Center and Curatorial Associate at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. They have worked at MoMA, the Whitney, Jubilat, and are a founding editor and current editor-at-large of the Vassar Review. They are a recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize, and a finalist for Omnidawn’s 2018 Book Contest and Nightboat Books’ 2020 Book Prize. Adam Strauss lives in Louisville, KY. He adores the

53


the columbia review

poems of George Herbert, Melvin Tolson, and Cole Swensen; and he is obsessed with Marc Chagall’s “I and the Village.” Austyn Wohlers is from Atlanta, Georgia. She has received support for her psychedelic farm novel from the Tin House Summer Workshop. At Notre Dame, she is an MFA candidate, an assistant editor at Action Books, and a graduate affiliate of Literatures of Annihilation, Exile and Resistance. She is also a musician, playing with the experimental pop group Tomato Flower and making ambient music both alone and with others.

54


THE

COLUMBIA

REV IE W

fall 2021

Editors-in-Chief Hanna Andrews, Ryan Daar, Morgan Levine

Managing Editors

Layout Editors

Spencer Grayson Wick Hallos

Udonne Eke-Okoro Anna Lang

Events Managers

Web Editors

Hanna Andrews Morgan Levine

Ilina Logani Sasha Starovoitov

Social Media Editor Cat Luo

Editorial Board Bella Barnes Udonne Eke-Okoro Spencer Grayson Wick Hallos Sam Hyman Malachi Jones Anna Lang Ilina Logani Cat Luo

Matthew Mason Elizabeth Meyer Claire Shang Sasha Starovoitov Panagiota Stoltidou Jonathan Truong Skylar Wu Judy Xie Jeffrey Xiong

Cover Art Natalie Christensen Jim Eyre

The Columbia Review is published twice yearly by the students of Columbia University, New York, with support from the Activities Board at Columbia. This issue is sponsored in part by the Arts Initiative of Columbia University. Enquiries to: Columbia Review, Lerner Hall, 2920 Broadway, New York, NY 10027. Email: thecolumbiareview@gmail.com. Books and media sent for possible review become the property of The Columbia Review.Visit us online at: http://columbiareviewmag.com/. Copyright © 2021 by The Columbia Review. All rights reserved. Reproduction or translation of any part of this work beyond that permitted by Sections 107 and 108 of the US Copyright Law without permission of the publishers is unlawful.

55