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Month: January 2013

Happy New Year, 2013!

Happy New Year, 2013!

We have new fiction from Lara Dolphin and Donal Mahoney, an essay by Robert Mueller, and new poetry by John Saunders. 2013 is off to a very good start.

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 Watched a flawed by still interesting movie last year, “The Words.” It’s about a writer’s dilemma upon discovering a truly brilliant novel, in an old briefcase. He reads the novel and is stunned. His own writing career has hit a wall, and he’s on the edge of desperation. No one will publish his own novel, though editors have nice things to say about it. The consensus among them is it’s just not marketable.  Too “interior.”
 
He takes the found novel to a publisher without telling him he didn’t write it. It’s published and becomes a huge best seller and critical success.
 
So, what would you do? Would you make the found novel your own? Would you take it to a publisher but tell them that someone … Click to continue . . .

Robert Mueller: Anna Shukeylo’s Urban Diaries

Robert Mueller: Anna Shukeylo’s Urban Diaries

How to Do Urban, by New Yorker of Choice

 

Two young women, art students, funnel into the bleak and lead-like dreary light of the subway car grasping in their hands, by the frames on which they have been crafted, smallish paintings (maybe 12 by 16).  Apparitions they are, the young artists, and holdings of the imagination, their finished images that I may never have the opportunity to observe again.

In New York City one can still think of opportunities not as tearless moments to rebuild upon destruction and demolition, but rather as the unexpected and normal continuance of spirit, (perhaps still) unlike any emanation of spirit anywhere else in the world.  An assertion of this kind cries out hotly to be contested, but it more or less stands, if the current exhibition of Anna Shukeylo’s Urban Diaries, at the Morningside Heights Branch of the New York Public Library through January 3, 2013, gives its indication.

Special people like … Click to continue . . .

Donal Mahoney: Coal Mountain

Donal Mahoney: Coal Mountain

We Were Irish, Don’tcha Know

 

In 1948 Booger McNulty’s coal yard stirred constant gossip among the citizens who lived in the little bungalows on the narrow blocks in my far corner of Chicago. That was more than 60 years ago, a time when families took Sunday walks and went back home in time to hear Jack Benny on the radio.  A Sunday walk didn’t cost a cent, a price my parents could afford.

My sister and I always had to tag along when my parents took their Sunday walk, and every time we’d pass Booger’s place, I’d hear my mother ask my father what could possibly be on the other side of Booger’s 10-foot fence. Hoping to avoid a conversation, my father would always say he didn’t know but he believed it couldn’t just be coal.

Back then, every kid in the neighborhood wanted to climb that fence and look around. But Booger didn’t tolerate visitors. According to the … Click to continue . . .

Lara Dolphin: House Hunting Through Space and Time

Lara Dolphin: House Hunting Through Space and Time

 House Hunting Through Space and Time with Rhonda Hillap

 

In the Yed Posterior system, the widely loathed planet DSM-IX gave rise to a race of lumpy beings known as Quacksalvers whose uncommon penchant for diagnosing their neighbors’ maladies drove everyone mad. (Yed Posterior should not nor could not be reasonably confused with Yed Prior, the commonly hailed region known for inventing naps.) At first, folks thought the case studies would lead to helpful therapies. Then, the Quacksalvers began peddling an emetic/laxative combo pill under the label Insta-Sane. As if retching and running to the commode were not enough, there was another appalling side effect. Namely, the drug actually worked. Surprised that their supposed placebo, in fact, produced a cure for all mental illness, the Quacksalvers promptly fired the pill’s inventor and pulled the drug from the market. Subsequently, the beings from Yed Posterior lived in floridly psychotic bliss and blatantly ignored attempts at treatment giving rise to the beleaguered … Click to continue . . .

John Saunders: Reading Berryman

John Saunders: Reading Berryman

Symphony

 

Imagine a room fall into itself,
one full of children without history.
The wall paint peels and mocks,
on the rooftop a thousand crows marshal,
their homing instinct primed,
the journey of their lives already mapped,
accidents and foul play accounted for,
in ledgers of molten wax.

Notice the tracery of soft flock,
untouched, unscarred,
while the bombardiers line up targets,
off load into the basement
where her ghost dressed in silk
lifts the piano lid, fingers each key,
prepares to play the Symphony of the Dead,
in minor keys – imagine the stillness.

 

Reading Berryman

 

“The dew is drying fast, a last drop glistens
white on a damaged leaf not far from me”,
you wrote at the height of your arc,
a secant through this circular life.
Buttoned up starchy preppie, bearded
gesticulator, out of control pharmacological
centrifuge, you lit the great man’s cigarette,
became poet, scholar, teacher, depressive,
drunkard, victim, knew failure before and … Click to continue . . .