My cultural legacy has revealed itself to me in unexpected ways. As a child of immigrants who came from a community of once-immigrants, I picked up some family mythologies via after-dinner stories, and some traditions through our special occasion activities. Being Saiyed meant being more than Indian and Muslim, not only descended from Persian missionaries to the subcontinent, . . .Read more
I first knew Coleman Barks in 1970 when I took his class on writers of American realism at the University of Georgia. We read Flaubert and Turgenev in that class because Coleman believed you couldn’t understand the American realists without the French and Russian authors as examples. Students thought of him as a nonconformist, . . .Read more
The story is almost always the same. Every six months or so, I make the trip from Tucson back to my old neighborhood in New York and discover yet another childhood landmark gone. Some landlord or other has forced a beloved store out of business, the rent raised a thousand percent, . . .Read more
It’s where black cats tend to live longer
than their allotted nines, and we avoid
cracks in the sidewalk to ward off whatever
might happen in the whatever places
of our minds. And on certain Fridays
when the thirteenth comes around, . . .
These rooms never have windows. I’m alone
and waiting, still dressed in the incessant blue
of their gowns. Outside this room, my whole life
swallows hard. My husband paces the waiting
. . .
In which I try to decipher
the story it tells,
this syntax of monuments
flanking the old courthouse:
here, a rough outline
like the torso of a woman
great with child—
a steatite boulder from which
the Indians girdled the core
to make of it a bowl, . . .
follow the morning star
Tell yourself it’s only a sliver of sun
burning into your chest, a cap of gold
or radiant halo justly worn by
the righteous at heart—
. . .
In 1516, the Most Serene Republic of Venice confined its Jews to the site of a former foundry. The Venetian word for foundry was geto.
Aubade: The Constitutional
Leone da Modena. The Veneto. . . .
I pressed my face to the car window to see Jackson’s hometown, the place we’d spent all our money moving to after graduation, the place we would be stuck in. It was June, the month of green. Willows everywhere wept over houses and cars and one little girl riding her bicycle. . . .Read more
Walk into my room and come to find one of my Jordan Air Max 360s floating about five foot off the ground. Soon as I see it, my heart kinda go pie-yow! and my neck get hot. Then I smile at my foolish, foolish dumb-ass ass, and I say to myself my brother Ricky had done strung it up from the ceiling. . . .Read more