Features

Notes from a Domestic Scene

 

I

Notebooks stood in a rack, straight and tightly shut beside a ruckus of birthday cards. Their colors drew my eye as I went past. I am overly susceptible to colors, even though so much of the world seems best in black and white. The first notebook had a pale blue cover, . . .

Read more

Sam & Louis

On or about 12 April 1888, a gaunt Scottish man, recovering from a “sharp attack” of tuberculosis at Saranac Lake, in rural New York state, wrote to his favorite American author, then resident in Connecticut. “I shall be from Thursday next for about a week in the St. Stephen’s Hotel, . . .

Read more

Beautiful Flesh

A bird’s pancreas looks very much like ours does, slim along the intestine. Nearly every creature with a backbone has a pancreas, lungfish and lamprey eels and ray-finned fishes being notable exceptions. In mammals, the organ is always small, shown in anatomical drawings peeping from behind the stomach or duodenum of the lion, . . .

Read more

Portrait of the Alcoholic with Shattered Pelvis

I am perfectly fine here: ice-choked, 

thin as an eyelash. The bootprints on 

my headboard are getting darker.

The chimney: clogged with fish eyes 

and sea glass. Somewhere my enemies 

are singing to the food on their plates.

As a boy watching movies with my father,  . . .

Read more

Coming Home to Earth: What Purse Seines, Pumpjacks, and a Twitter Feed from Space Taught One Worried Citizen about the Beauty of Climate Change in 2016

Summer camp. The Connecticut hills. Cumulous oaks and maples surround the glassy surface of the lake. At a distance the water looks black. Beneath my small hands, paddling forward, cupping down and pulling back, it sparkles, mica specks drifting in the sunlit water. Transparent minnows scatter below me. I can see clear to the bottom: gold and tawny sand, . . .

Read more

Ravished

He absolutely killed me: ravished

Their mother loved idioms, coaxed life back into the dead slang of generations past; cool beans, groovy daddy-o, and douche bag all had a place at the table, the breakfast table where she often discussed termite tracks along with her nightly rendezvous. . . .

Read more

Legacy

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

Coleman Barks: “auroral aliveness, powers, hilarity”

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

Overburden

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

In the Land of Superstition

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, . . .

Read more