My father was on his long taxi journey when my mother said she might have a crush on someone. “Someone who doesn’t do quixotic things for quick money,” she flounced. In the year before the little shuttle I had been in real love. That boy’s rare blood disease made me overqualified in the matter, . . .Read more
The other day, for no particular reason I can think of, I mentioned to my middle-aged daughter in conversation that I had been cleared for “secret” when I was in the army. Surprised, she commented, “I never knew you had any secrets.” But it is true, sixty plus years ago I was authorized by the government for “Secret Information.”
Why had this happened? . . .Read more
When we asked Christopher Merrill—a portion of whose prose collaboration with Marvin Bell appears in our Winter 2013 issue—to tell us what he had been reading as of late, he gladly agreed, and then surprised us over the holidays when he sent along this single photograph from his cell phone, . . .Read more
—After Gwendolyn Brooks’s “We Real Cool,”
with thanks to Terrance Hayes
My friend said I wasn’t fat but she was, and we
would go on that way, back and forth. She was my first real
. . .
Jell-O Pudding Pops that preserve the wavelike peaked shape of your lips. Little Debbie Fudge Brownies that break in half along a groove in the frosting. Summer sausages like No. 2 pencils, cling-wrapped together on a Styrofoam platter. Strawberry Fruit Wrinkles that scent your fingers if you don’t pour them directly into your mouth. . . .Read more
The Concord Monitor recently ran a two-part interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Maxine Kumin—here are parts one and two—and we were reminded of the wonderful package of photos Maxine sent us to go through when we were preparing to print her essay in our Winter 2012 issue, . . .Read more
Really—I don’t know what the meaning or purpose of life is. But it looks exactly as if something were meant by it.
The Truth will make us miserable, . . .
I miss the grain of Ralph, and the grain
of Ed, and Trixie’s grain, and especially
the grain of Alice, whose pretty, pointed body
would never, ever land on the moon. Alice
was earthbound; Alice was of
the street, . . .
On any afternoon in Stein’s grocery store parking lot in Troy, Montana, a truck—American made, four-wheel drive, dented and dirt-streaked, axles riding high—will pull in and park. A young sawyer will jump from the cab. His beard is trimmed neatly or his face is clean shaven; he wears thick-soled leather boots, . . .Read more
In 2007 I published a political novel. I’d never intended to write it.
Until I was in my late thirties, I kept my political concerns segregated from my creative writing. Of course, they crept in anyway, but always indirectly and never deliberately. On the face of it, I was an apolitical fiction writer, . . .Read more