Then Creole stepped forward [on the bass] to remind them that what they were playing was the blues. . . . He began to tell us what the blues were all about. They were not about anything very new. He …Read More
Soon after he came home to Arkansas,
mother’s cousin Larry became a stone on a hill.
She tells of the monkey leashed
and taught to ride his shoulder
as he walked the couple blocks to Main
when they were young, …
It’s Like This I Told the Archangel
who can’t swim—
crazy crowded under great waters
two hours from shore and so misleading dull vast gray not even blue if you
look from the boat a great nothing really except …Read More
Xī’ān Nocturne with Jasmine and Pears
I call my mother to tell her about a rare dream
in the first language:
the fruit vendor’s miniature green pears
the soft juice I crave
she pays but gets the wrong …Read More
“Joe, I gotta tell you something.”
“It’s about something I just saw. Are you awake?”
“No, Nancy,” Joe says.
Joe doesn’t move and neither does Nancy. With his eyes closed, he can more easily focus on her voice, not …Read More
Kenny avoided prison after school.
“It’s a horrible little planet,” he said.
The drugs were hidden inside a hollowed-out copy of William James’s Principles of Psychology (unabridged). Carlos stole the book. Carlos was interested in psychology. He threw away the …Read More
I arranged ten desks in a circle in preparation for students the first day of my undergraduate poetry workshop. It was fall 2011—my first semester teaching in the English department at the University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa. The students filed in, …Read More
What do you do—as a critic—when you encounter a writer so gladdeningly cajoling, so sweetly weird that you’re convinced anyone who read him deeply and carefully would be delighted; but who also, stylistically, can be studiously bizarre in a way …Read More
We were in the last year of college. My younger brother was in the first year. All my free time went in going around the bazaar. It had become a habit. I quite enjoyed it. In college, in the evening, …Read More