All posts tagged: October

Past and Future on Rapa Nui

By JULIA COOKE

Image of fields and rocks on Rapa Nui.

The morning was clear and the colors vivid: yellow brush, white ocean froth against cobalt sky. In front of me, dense gray volcanic stone appeared to consume the light. I stood in salty mist before an altar on the north coast of Rapa Nui, Easter Island. A single toppled moai lay in violent chunks on the ground. At 9:00 a.m. the sun still hovered tight at the horizon. Rapa Nui, which is part of Chile 2,300 miles away, is kept closer to mainland time than by geographical rights it should be. The sun rises gray and sticky at 8:30 in the morning, and sets late, too. This is not the only disorienting thing about Rapa Nui, but rather the most objective example. 

Past and Future on Rapa Nui
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Dey

Winner of the 2021 DISQUIET Prize for Poetry

By STEPHANIE DINSAE

 

The pidgin form of ‘to be’1 

A young child, I was privy to hearing this word
in my household, around my uncle and his friends 
reminiscent of his schoolboy youth.
A part of a pidgin I could never participate in
for fear that the broken English might
have too much of an essence, might
tarnish my own English.
They would not let me code switch
thinking the pidgin would overtake me

Dey
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Dispellations: Manomaya Kosha

By ANNA MARIA HONG

 

You can’t defeat nature, you can only
work with it. Just as speculating
                           on a perpetrator’s motives                                 —sex as
                           power, power as hard exercise
                           of a phantom sense 
                           of impotence,
                           blah, blah, blah—is trackless, so too is
asking what does it want,                  it wants
far less than you or I could 
ever envision
                            in our least released 
                            lives. It means no harm. 
                            It needs a warm
                            host. We invoke genre to accommodate 
                            events terrible and intimate,
          to give fleshly narrative to cataclysms
          of globular dimension—                            private/public,                        macro/micro
          —samskara, samskara, these fictions sizzling through 
                                                                            the World Wide Gap,
                                                                            racist, replicant, and species-specific.

Dispellations: Manomaya Kosha
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Fixation

By HALA ALYAN

 

It’s like knowing there’s
a house on fire and only
you  have  the  key,  but
there’s  no  address,  the
streets   keep   changing
numbers,   and   if   you
don’t  make  it  in  time,
everybody   inside   dies.
Even   the   houseplants.
You  never  make  it  in
time.    I still   like   my
brain.    This    feels   as
impossible   as    crown
shyness, but it’s true—I
feel  its  lure flash like a
camera bulb sometimes,
the magic  and the grief
like two  rivers  necking
where they meet.

 

Fixation
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Opulence

By RICHIE HOFMANN 

 

The night river calms me with its slow dirty movements.
I walk home briskly, in a black baseball cap.
I work at the fringes of the day. I write poetry in bed
and criticism in the bath.
Among my friends here, I have a man
who calls me love names
in four languages. Once, in a moment, I thought I wanted to die
of his pleasure, but that was a wound
speaking. The history of this place
abounds with wounds.
Mobs of vandals have ransacked the villas.
A very rich man on his deathbed
from a corrupt family who loves the arts
was fed a medicine of powdered pearls.

Opulence
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Delete/Recover

By AKWE AMOSU

Image of a protest on the Brooklyn Bridge in NYC, with someone holding up a sign saying "No Justice, No Peace." 
New York City

After Kenosha, Wisconsin, 26 August 2020

1. Erasure

I went to the         for water, 
although I had no thirst, again 
unable to find           Not sleeping, 
roaming restless, hunting 
at 2am for             on my phone, 
no rabbit hole too deep, however 
dull, aching tired as though 
I had been              
Only three days into this, 
asked how my              was 
going, I launched into a tense             
            that the question even 
deserved              and saw how hard, 
again, I was trying not to            the 
plain fact that right in front of us,
again, the cop had emptied 
his          into a human, 
now                  yet shackled 
to his hospital bed.  That again, a 
young          had taken down a human 
with a military grade             yet 
          away from the scene unhindered. 
And that, again, we were being asked
to choke off              thoughts, stifle 
any            sound, stave and belt 
the chest to                our agitation, 
keep breathing because, again,
we
      

Delete/Recover
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Review: All Morning the Crows by Meg Kearney

Book by MEG KEARNEY

Review by HOWARD LEVY

All Morning the Crows
There are books of poems that in their creation seem, for the poet, to rise out of a sheaf like an oasis, something unknown, unmapped, to be discovered in all its vivifying magic. Then there are books of poems that the poet always seemed to know the map to, where a central insight or trope allowed the book to unscroll itself in the poet’s tongue and brain and heart.

Review: All Morning the Crows by Meg Kearney
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Podcast: Ricardo Wilson on “nigrescence”

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Ricardo Wilson speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about his poem, “nigrescence,” which appears in The Common’s spring issue. In this conversation, Ricardo talks about his new collection Apparent Horizon and Other Stories, winner of the PANK Book Contest in fiction. The collection includes several short poetic fragments scattered amongst stories and novellas, with both historic and contemporary storylines. He discusses his process for writing from historical research, and what it’s like writing creative and critical work at the same time. Ricardo also talks about Outpost, a fully-funded residency in Vermont for creative writers of color from the US and Latin America.

Image of Ricardo Wilson's headshot and the Issue 21 cover.

Podcast: Ricardo Wilson on “nigrescence”
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Amplifying Black Voices on TC Online IV

This is the fourth installment of an online series highlighting work by Black authors published in The Common. To read  The Common’s statement in support of the nationwide protests against anti-Black racism, white supremacy, and police brutality, click here.

 

Amplifying Black Voices on TC Online IV
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