All posts tagged: October 2020

Nobody Goes to Mértola

By OONA PATRICK

 

The Alentejo is the landscape of heartbreak. Or at least it was to me. Even its trees are clearly loners, set apart from each other at distant intervals across miles of sere brown fields. The Alentejo is all about waiting, from its numbered cork trees, with their skinned underbellies between harvest years, to the fabled, and perhaps fictional, nun Mariana, writing from Beja to a lover who will never come back. The Letters of a Portuguese Nun have been awaiting an author, an answer, for three and a half centuries now. Once celebrated for sparking a revolution in the European epistolary novel, now considered out of fashion even in Portugal, they remain a literary enigma, the country’s Mona Lisa

Nobody Goes to Mértola
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Amblyopia

By ANANDA LIMA

I close my right eye meu olho direito
and see everything tudo                    que
my mother my father meus pais              no meu país    
didn’t                                                              
know                                                            não sabiam 
to do                                                tudo
            then                               que fazer?
                                                                      e hoje, minha vista cansada

Amblyopia
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Playing Proctor

By STEVEN LEYVA

 

“… and there is promise in such sweat.”
      —John Proctor, from The Crucible, by Arthur Miller

Given this ruddy, straightened wig no one could place
my face on a spectral scale of “ethnic.” I slid

on and off stage. I spoke plain. I didn’t name names. Some 
audiences mistook me for Muscogee Creek. I spoke

in first person. Under that wig I wore cornrows 
in Oklahoma’s emaciated winter.

Playing Proctor
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The Mermaids’ Cry

By LEONARDO TONUS
Translated by CAROLYNE WRIGHT

they say that the most impressive of all crossings
is not thirst 
or the fear
afterwards.
The humiliation
no longer wounds
what does not exist
                        they say 
bodies in a boat 
of bodies 
veins 
eyes 
skin 
penis 
nails
vagina

The Mermaids’ Cry
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Enter Different Electronics (II)

By RODNEY A. BROWN 

 

35 Enter inhale. Enter time. Enter inheritance. 
Enter or else. Enter doors with handles,
without handles, manually manipulated. Enter alone 
feelings. Enter tension. Struggle entering 
bitterness enter. Love turning towards lust enter. 
Historic languages enter. Human conditions of
oppression enter. Enter roadside assistance. Enter 
talented man killed too soon. Gravemarker write 
L.O.W. Enter near Dayton settlement but 
specifically at Englewood location. Enter chirping 
bird sounds out of the ceiling again. Enter your 
own music mixing up into the chirps of birds. Enter 
memory again. Enter thought again. Enter more and 
more gunshots. Enter yelling. Enter empathy and
critical engagement.

Enter Different Electronics (II)
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Kikawa

By LANDA WO

“Grief is never more than a house being rebuilt.”
Ntolle Mbuyi1

Little Cabindan history 
All the Cabindan strategies were there
To mount the portrait of a free Cabinda. 

The historic chief discoursed on education
The Cabindan earth sketched a faint smile.

Kikawa
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Maria, I’m Going to War

By JOSÉ PINTO DE SÁ
Translated by JETHRO SOUTAR

Papá announced, “Maria, I’m going to war,” and stubbed his cigarette out in the ashtray. Mamã, clearing the table, gave her usual start. She stood stranded in the kitchen doorway, a dirty plate in each hand.

Going to war meant going out in the dead of night to David’s bar, playing hide-and-seek with military patrols. Our lot’s supporters gathered there after hours, drank a few beers, exchanged questionable information and reliable rumors. It had been the same every night for the last three weeks, since their lot retook the city.

After dinner, Papá would say, “Maria, I’m going to war,” and Mamã would give a start, try to talk him out of it, remind him of martial law and the curfew. 

Then, out of desperation, she’d say, “At least wait for the shooting to die down.”

Maria, I’m Going to War
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Gródek

By BRUCE BOND 

 

When the smoke cleared and took with it the sirens
        and the uniforms strung across our sofas, 

what remained were rivers, mist, whisper as a habit,
        red dawn in the eyes of the sleep-deprived.

In the brush, here and there, beside the highway,
        the revenant scent of metal and decay.

Gródek
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The Jews of Kaifeng

By ADRIENNE SU 

 

When the exhibit went up at Peachtree Center,
the Chinese of Atlanta flocked downtown.
Jews had been in Henan so close to forever,
they weren’t seen as foreign. And we had found
an exhibit on China that wasn’t old vases.
Jews were Chinese in more ways than food.
Migration was not always out of the places
our families had fled; it had once been to.
Our pantries were “ethnic” not just for the shrimp chips
and wood ears, but as well for the matzah.
Maybe, when asked, Do you celebrate Christmas?,
we were not being checked for Zen or the Buddha.
We didn’t say it in so many words.
The line between Asia and Europe had blurred.

The Jews of Kaifeng
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