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 Contemporary writing from Canada and around the world  in
JVAJ international  in
JUL
international
Editor-in-Chief
Mike Peddie
Managing Editor
Catherine Burke
Fiction Editor
Jennifer Mitton
Poetry Editor
Susan Hamilton
Advisory Editor
George McWhirter
Art Advisor
Doug Munday
Publicity Manager
Shayne Morrow
Editorial Assistants
Ross Gatley
Diane Haynes
Editorial Board
Lesley-Anne Bourne
Mary Cameron
Lee Gowan
Leo McKay
Janis McKenzie
Donald Pieper
Norman Sacuta
Dania Stachiw-Zajcew PRISM international, a magazine of contemporary writing, is published four times per year
at the Department of Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver,
B.C. V6T 1W5. Microfilm editions are available from Xerox University Microfilms, Ann
Arbor, Michigan, and reprints from the Kraus Reprint Corporation, New York, N.Y.
Contents Copyright © 1988 PRISM international for the authors.
Cover artwork and design: Doug Munday
One-year individual subscriptions $12.00, two-year subscriptions $20.00, Library and institution subscriptions $18.00, two-year subscriptions $24.00, Sample copy $4.00.
All manuscripts should be sent to the Editors at the above address. Manuscripts must be
accompanied by a self-addressed envelope with Canadian stamps or International Reply
Coupons. Manuscripts with insufficient postage will be held for six months and then discarded.
Payment to contributors is $25.00 per page plus a one-year subscription. PRISM international purchases First North American Serial Rights only.
Our gratitude to the Canada Council, Dean Will and the University of British Columbia.
Also financially assisted by the Government of British Columbia through the British
Columbia Cultural Fund and Lottery Revenues.
Second Class Mail Registration No. 5496. January, 1988. Contents
Vol. 26, No. 2    Winter 1988
Fiction
Knud Sonderby
Translated by Anni Whissen
Marion Douglas
Marco Denevi
Translated by Clark M. Zlotchew
Holley Ballard Rubinsky
Morning Stroll    8
Life of Lidya   28
A Scolding for Luisilda who Went out
in 1945 without her Glasses
on   49
The Other Room   68
Chris Wind
Yoshida Issui
Translated by Steven Forth
Steven Heighton
Melita Schaum
Pia Tafdrup
Translated by Monique M. Kennedy
Poetry
Woman with Broom   7
Mist   13
Snow
Park   14
Tempest
Fishing Song   15
Delphinus
Poem   16
Lines from the Spider's House   17
Train to Canton   19
Patphong Road (#1)   20
Dawn on the Beijing Mail    21
Evening       with       the       Shadow
Puppets    22
The Death of the Ventriloquist   24
Cinderella   27
The Moon   35
Correspondence
Same Glance   36 Mikiro Sasaki
Translated by William I. Elliott
and Kazuo Kawamura
Mark Frutkin
P.K. Page
Dayv James-French
Kerry Slavens
Jeff Worley
Conrad Spoke
Ana Hatherly
Translated by Jean R. Longland
Nancy Mattson
Goran Sonnevi
Translated by Rika Lesser
Daniel Nadezhdin
John Castlebury
Francis Jammes
Translated by Dennis Tool
Looking Back   37
Briars in Bloom   38
Elegy for a Persimmon   39
Villa-Lobos Lugs his Cello through
the Amazon Jungle   41
Conversation   42
At the Bird Feeder   43
Underground   44
Settlement   46
Your New Texture   58
Sky Asking   59
Tisanas 11    60
Tisanas 29
Tisanes, 61   61
Tietaja: One who Knows
62
64
You sense the light's ...
Chop   66
House of Words of   74
Prayer to go to Paradise with the
Donkeys   76
Contributors
77 Chris Wind
Woman with Broom
in time, the rock of Sisyphus eroded—
now slowly she walks
all along that barren beach
sweeping the sand back into the water Morning Stroll
Knud Syfnderby
Translated from the Danish by Anni Whissen
I am not an early riser. If once in a blue moon I happen to get up before ten o'clock, I don't feel too good. The other day the alarm went
off at six-thirty, and I felt I was at death's door. The night before I
had said to myself, "Now, you're not going to do anything tonight, but instead you'll get up early in the morning, jump out of bed as soon as the
alarm goes off, take a cold shower, go for a brisk walk, and then you'll be
all set to get things done. There'll be nothing to it."
But then suddenly the alarm went off.
I didn't have the energy to reach out an arm to stop it. I was aware that
now all the other occupants of the house would be awake, but that
couldn't be helped. They are healthy, robust people who would get over
it in time. I, on the other hand, was very ill, my only chance of making it
was to have absolute quiet, to get absolute rest, and lots and lots of
sleep.
Then the alarm finally stopped.
I lay there waiting to jump out of bed. After all, that was the idea. For
a moment I even believed that I had gotten up, that I was groping for my
slippers and my robe, and that now I was in the bathroom turning on the
shower.
Then I realized that I was still in bed.
Okay, now! Take it easy! I'll get there!
Frankly, I'm not one of these people who go on about how they love a
cold shower, adore an ice-cold bath (and themselves), and emerge from
the bathroom reborn. To me a cold shower is just one more insult to add
to all the other misery—it's merely endured without any reverberating
arias on my part but rather in silence and with gritted teeth.
Then I walked out into the God-forsaken world. The sunshine hurt my
eyes. In the beginning I kept behind a man who was shuffling along in
rubber boots. I pondered the problem of pneumatics. Every time his
boots hit the pavement, the compressed air whistled around his feet. If
he had not gotten mad, I would have followed him drowsily till the end of the earth. I walked four paces behind him. When he turned around for
the third time, looking angrily at me, I figured something was wrong. I
stopped and looked into a garden and pretended that nothing was the
matter. I could hear the man move on and felt that he kept looking back
at me. I dutifully remained where I was till the last sound of his
pneumatics had died away.
Actually it was a pretty garden. Closely populated beds of yellow,
long-stemmed tulips in a myriad of forget-me-nots, beds of short-
stemmed, fiery-red tulips of the double kind, yellow forsythias, a magnolia with vigorous, pale-pink blossoms. A juicy-green lawn stretched
up around a red-painted house with white garden furniture in front of it.
The blinds were drawn, in the garden walk a coloured toy bucket was asleep, with Prince Pilfinger and the King on its sides asleep, too, in the
knowledge of their momentary uselessness. Everything was asleep in
this quiet morning hour, grass and flowers, everything was lost as in another world, the house was sleeping, a little boy was sleeping in there
and all his toys and the story of Little Red Riding Hood, some man who
owned the house was also lost in sleep, and his briefcase, which he
would put under his arm in a few hours, was asleep some place or other
in there. Only gradually would all of it become real and ordinary again. A
blackbird silently swooped down over the hedgerow, hopping softly
around on the lawn, the only living being except for me, and once it
looked at me yellow and scrutinizing as it came to a stop in the middle of
this storybook world of grass and flowers and quiet to see if I had indeed
been invited to be part of this fairy tale.
I walked on. The man in front of me had disappeared. There was no
one to be seen, only me, and there was silence all around. The flagstones on the sidewalk were wet after an early morning rain, and the
hedges glistened with raindrops. I realized that you wake up in several
stages. First you wake up to the light. That is one kind of awakening.
When you get out the door, all the fragrances envelop you. That's a new
awakening and just as surprising to the senses. Perhaps you're most
awake, though, when you're not quite awake yet, as long as the light, a
stranger, a bed of tulips, a blackbird, raindrops on the leaves, and the
earth's mild fragrances are still surprising revelations to you. You can
walk along a suburban street early in the morning, when no one else is
around and you're not duty bound to be awake, and feel the breezes from
the trees and flowers in the gardens like a revelation of life's deepest
secrets. Never discuss this with anyone! You rest in deep silence while
things speak inside you. The apple trees stretch their blossoms toward
the pale morning sky, blue and white lilacs can barely be seen in the
dimness behind a hedge, cool, still heavy with moisture like after a bath in morning dew, virginally luxuriant, those, too, you watch in secret
with sudden tenderness. It's like when as a child you were deeply in love
with a girl and only you knew about it, but everything she said and every
one of her movements was noticed and took on the meaning of great
wonders.
I turned down a road leading to the ocean, and the road was like a
river of gold in the early morning sun. So the sunshine, too, lived a different life in the morning! It glistened in the leftover puddles, ricocheted
down across the sidewalks, sparkled in hundreds of window panes,
flooded the whole room with rays of golden warmth, and rested mildly
on cheeks and eyelids.
I had walked down that road a hundred times, but I had never seen it
with the same eyes. What is it with you? I thought. Just what kind of life
have you been living? I felt as if I could wander down that golden road
into a better and happier life where all good intentions would be carried
out automatically. And when I reached the ocean, that, too, was a
strange experience. After the fragrant stillness between the suburban
gardens, there was suddenly a great view and a breeze that swept in
with the freshness of the sea in it and lots of memories. That smell of
seaweed and salt water, that was familiar. Sniffing it made you take life
itself by surprise. And that sound of the suctioning splash of the water
between the large rocks, this hollow gurgling as if from under a well
cover, and the girlish movements of the seaweed, its supple swaying
and weaving in the maelstrom.
I climbed down onto the large rocks, and my unaccustomed movements seemed strangely familiar. The water adjusted itself to my new
point of view, coming closer, the surface of the ocean stretching up toward me now instead of over toward Sweden. The swells hit the coast
obliquely. As they came across the vertical beams of the bulwark, it
seemed as if they were testing the register of an organ. The suctioning
between the rocks, the gently swaying of the seaweed, the sticklebacks
that you had suddenly gotten so close to again. You had suddenly come
close to your own childhood. You met yourself as a boy this morning—as
a boy when you sat by the sea with sun-burned body and wet, tousled
hair, letting yourself bake in the sun like a seal and being one with both
elements like it. In those days you saw the water in the same way, in
those days the ocean surface was also on its way toward you, a broad
river of life, and the swells gave the same resonance Or as a child
when you went to the beach with your parents by the North Sea. The
large salt-water puddles in the sand at ebbtide that you were let loose in
with your pants rolled up and a little red wooden boat. The good Lord
over a giant ocean. You would make fleets out of the sharp leaves of
10 lyme grass, and they would sail to the end of the earth while you went
wading afterwards in the tepid water. The sand, the water, and the almighty light. The ripping of the wind in the dunes. The everlasting day.
In those days you were just as close to things as now, you felt the same
happiness within you, the same overwhelming feeling of joy making
noises in your throat like unborn words.
I sat on the rocks by the sea. At one point, the world intruded. A car
could be heard from far away to the north as it approached with increasing noise till it passed with its motor howling and its tires whipping
across the concrete surface of the highway. Then it was quiet again. The
gurgling of the water started up, and the stillness spread with its great
rhythm. The morning with its revelation was spread out again before
me. The sticklebacks were still swimming around between the rocks.
Where have you been all these years? I thought.
How did it all begin? Was it the craving for ice cream cones that first
led you astray? Led you into a blind alley of ever increasing and never-
ending foolish desires so that the essential things were forgotten?
Happiness, but that's the way things are right now! Recaptured joy. A
complete cleansing of any desire. That's the way to live. That way a
bunch of lilacs is worth more than all the excitement in the world. Then
it speaks to you, then each minuscule thing will take on meaning for all
things, then you'll find yourself again, a thousand honest workdays will
lie ahead of you, and you don't need to be on the run any more.
I went over my weaknesses one by one. Arrogantly I thought about
my temptations, making them as attractive as possible, but they didn't
lure me any longer. I felt only surprise that they had ever seemed tempting to me or to others.
Hold on to this, I thought. Never let go of this!
I heard a bicycle coming by up on the road, but I didn't even turn around
to look. It might be the most wonderful girl in the world, but I wasn't
looking. Maybe it was the daughter of a millionaire, or maybe it was an
actress, and if I turned around she might even think what an interesting
fellow, I'd give anything to meet him—but there was no way I was going
to look! Farther north there was a restaurant. I thought about how much
time I had wasted there. Billiards! That anyone would feel like it! Now
that was over. That as well as everything else. This was worth more.
Don't get waylaid. Today you'll start a new life. You'll stick to your guns
and do your work. When others hurry by in droves in pursuit of foolish
pleasures, escaping from themselves and chasing after something they
don't even know what, then you're no longer one of them.
11 Thank God for this morning. Thank God I got up. Thank God I went
out.
I got up and started for home.
Two men had arrived on bicycle on their way to the city. When one of
them was right by me, he had a flat. He cursed loudly, turned his bicycle
upside down, and began fixing it. Now he would be late for the office.
Then the other fellow left while the first one cursed even louder. Then
in a panic he gave up fixing his tire and simply walked back and forth on
the sidewalk waiting. Then one of his friends came by. They talked at
the top of their voices. He could catch a train if the other guy would let
him ride on his crossbar. He asked me to move his bike over to the
bicycle stand at the station. I agreed. True, I had not been in contact
with either the sea or the sticklebacks since he had arrived, but in return
he had entrusted me with his bike. So, my disengagement from earthly
desires was still radiating from me, I hoped. Now all I needed was for
someone to swipe that bike and to have him think it was me, I thought. I
passed the restaurant. The bartender was standing outside while someone was delivering a carload of beer. He smiled cordially at me across
the road. But I didn't walk over to him. That would really be too funny. I
reviewed the plans I had made for my future. They no longer seemed to
be quite enough to fulfill my existence. Well, if you get tired of the
lonely woods, you can always find solitude at the Royal Library, I
thought. There you won't be distracted by the trivialities of everyday
life.
On the street where earlier the sunshine and the flowers had been the
only thing around, boys were now delivering milk, and people were
leaving their homes on their way to the city. The garden gates banged
shut behind them. In the garden with the tulips and the toy bucket, a girl
was beating the bedding so that it echoed from the houses. A horse-
drawn wagon rattled by, and the tramcar screeched as it turned the
corner.
With stooped shoulders and filled with dark forebodings, I walked in
my front door. It was as if a third awakening had taken place—an
awakening to ordinary everyday life.
How in the world are you ever going to make time pass in the Royal
Library, I thought.
12 Yoshida Issui
Six Poems translated from the Japanese by Steven Forth
Mist
Animal, that slips silently
Between the trees at night.
Trembling in the delicate white hand
The pure drop measuring a seem in the figure.
I return to distant gaps in mother's thought
Drawing the old night talk in the candle's halo.
Snow
twilight fading on the infant's cheek.
(Long long ago )
The cradle creaks,
As the stove goes out,
The lamp swings idly.
At the end of the night, I will see
Your gentle sister off to a distant place.
13 Park
Water's arpeggio on the bright but fragile basin.
(Oh lizard on the sundial)
Marigold and sunflower spin brilliant threads
Saffron in its extravagant golden hour
A zephyr stirring summer subdued, the verdure stains your finger.
Your face pale, its fragrant illness.
Tempest
Forest.
Silence latent in the woman.
Naked troops rove through the night.
They pass.
Fish.
Foolish festival of the meadows.
14 Fishing Song
My hometown
Battered by waves
In the moonlit night
Bird Tracks Wateredge
Gathering Drift Wood
Roasting Fish Shellfish
Cup Raw Sake
Clamoring Breakers Voice
Foam Reaches Caves
Delphinus
Sky
Gull
Wave
Cape
Lighthouse
(Madonna of the sea)
Cloud
Squall
Trade wind
Tidal rip
The sea draws a circle
(Sol the true god!)
Cramped by the horizon
Water's poverty
The tropics
Driftwood
Shark!
Foam
15 Steven Heigh ton
Six Poems
Poem
In this hired room, my window
gives onto torn sea, insinuates
slats between stanzas of foam,
long lines of breakers, scrolling
slowly into noise.    I can hear them
stamp, erase this littoral, even the breakwater barely holds them (in my dream
1 move outward like a liminal thing
against a wind that is deafening
shore and land; it is a poem I have been
nearing from the first, by instalment
like the tide, at a leased window, giving
onto perpetuity.   And eventually these slats are going
to rust and freeze.    Like lips, sealed
after the words are done.    Like a fastened diary.
Break
through the spaces lean out and scream—)
16 Lines   from   the   Spider's
House
The world is but transitory
The world has no permanence
The world is like a house made by a spider
—translated from the Arabic inscription on the tombstone of Sultan
Mansur Syah, near the old Portuguese cathedral, Malacca
A sultanate also flowered for Dutch sailors' eyes
though it withered as they neared
as vistas will
Hier Onder Leyt Begraven
neatly in the roofless cathedral, a colony
of boys years out from Rotterdam—
How odd the stars, from this scopeless planetarium
no pattern Dutch eyes could sort
or before them Portuguese
before them Arab
For the dead this ceiling of stars
was a chart of undiscovered ports
that no sailors sang of, no nearer we the havens
HIER ONDER LEYT BEGRAVEN
in Catholic plots sown with relics of Mohammed
something more than bones
of Christiann Van Beers and Heer Ogtrop—
Under Islamic shelves the sexton found
tools and the cold fire-
pits of previous inhabitants
but he did not call them natives, no—
17 All the tenable documents concur
that the English replaced the Dutch
and the Chinese and Malays the English
each of them a kind of stratum, stacked volumes
gathering age on a museum shelf
but not altogether forgotten
as you near the exit looking down
on the raked and combed earth, a floorstone
draws you, lines in 18th Century English
HERE UNDER LIES BURIED
an admiral and his children, with facts
and statistics pertaining
a patriot's biography you would almost say
though already you are passing
through the lidless threshold, shoes
tapping on fossiled tongues
Something under you stirs like a legend
You walk on volumes of sleeping words
18 Train to Canton
In China the soil is full of children.
Stare long enough into seemingly void
fields, they begin to resolve
like stars out of sky at evening, scattered
over distant tiers
and moving.    In time
even the bald mountainside reveals
its cache of squatting hovels.
Green, the rainfields green
and everywhere life and its shadows: the naked
scarecrow, birds and rye armies
stooped over growing hay.
Under loads through winter grain
a billion people are passing, the soil
rich with ancestors, suffering, buried
springs and straw farmers
who storey hills with their having been....
Guangzhou
19 Patphong Road (#1)
She comes through the door with tiny numbers
tattooed on her bare arm, I believe Dachau
could have applied them no more neatly
and I wonder
who deals in these figures
some anonymous pinstripe syndicate or maybe
this barker whose blunt face pulses
red under tubes of gas, so hollow
so hollow a part of you wants to fist
and shatter these advertisements
scatter skinthin glass over Patphong Road
though it would shock no one, nothing does
there are a thousand other hollow tubes
and two more Patphong Roads, besides
a part of you would really prefer
to fuck these women whose nights
are numbered, lined like felons behind one-way
glass, put on night like a party mask
in cities where you're unknown, the member
of a larger client; Us, in the black
margins of profit, to the tourist board
that works this street
a number
Bangkok
20 Dawn on the Beijing Mail
(a dream for the journal)
She woke me with her lips
Pointed out a gap in the Great Wall of China
Other passengers expressed surprise
all our maps agreed the site was hours north
in the finest weather invisible from here
But unmistakably there it was
orange with dawn, spined and rolling
like a festival dragon
and gaping between watch-towers where maybe
once, the foreigners had poured in—
With a groan the train leaned sharp
into a bend our maps did not record
and took us south, love, you
will fade that suddenly when we part
even in the heart there are walls
Guangzhou
21 Evening with the Shadow
Puppets
A burning street in Southeast Asia, the traffic
tangled, magical in its seeming immunity to accident.
How do the rickshaw drivers set foot on the black
pavement, barefoot?    Fire-walkers.    I saw some once,
they say the ability's a matter of hypnosis or
religious fanaticism, but it occurred to me they could never have done it—walked on an impossibility—had there
not been an audience there watching.    Screaming, gasping like
fans at a kung-fu picture.    Fanatics.    They danced over
coals glistening red as wounds and all their feeling
was elsewhere.    The sizzle of their skin in the fire
was electric, like sounds from an execution; and we
were the gawking peanut-eating press-corps.   Shoving
in to see.
Something had gone wrong.    The routine-efficient
chaos had lapsed into something far more urgent.    A small
truck had toppled a woman from her scooter.   She lay
stunned on the burning pavement.    Rows of pedestrians
and shopkeepers seemed paralyzed, as if they had been
struck by something as well.    Others shifted instantaneously into roles they had played before in such
situations and would play again in future.    I rushed
forward and helped the shaken woman to her feet, led her
firmly from the road and retrieved her purse.
Sometimes I convince myself I am motivated solely by
immediate sympathy and an uncomplicated animal compassion.
I want to believe in a spontaneous character for which
I was never an understudy.    But the impulse to action
is like a brief dream that scuttles across the mind
an instant before waking—then disappears.    Nothing
left to examine.    There is the philosophical problem
of the soldier throwing himself on the grenade.    In
the street ranks of blank faces regarded me with
approval as I handed back the bulging purse.    Finally
I was aware of the heat radiating up through my sandals.
22 There is a saying in Java: drama is the shadow of life.
Wayang kulit is a shadow puppet, a one-dimensional balsa
figurine that a puppeteer, or dalang, skillfully manipulates behind an illuminated screen.    Often a dozen musicians and singers crowd behind the dalang so that a
large, almost orchestral performance is concentrated
in the two or three figurines the dalang can manipulate
simultaneously.    The action is sporadic.    Often the
shadows remain motionless for five minutes or more as
the music and singing progress in the background.    From
where we are sitting we notice through the almost
transparent screen the dalang lighting cigarette after
cigarette.    For him the performance is fairly routine,
his position is a dignified one, but it is still a chore
that has to be dealt with.    The music rises toward
some kind of crescendo, the blending voices become
strained, sibilant, aroused.   And the performers are
not really aware of us as we move, one by one, into
the shadows beside the screen, an entire audience
crowding furtively into the humid smoky wings.    We examine
the troupe.   They seem dulled by the score's familiarity yet vaguely inspired by its rhythms.    They imagine
we are listening on the far side of the screen, a
parish of mysterious foreigners, mute and
skeptical, distant as America.    We're not there.    The
puppeteer tosses down his cigarette and grips the control-
sticks of his figurines so they begin again to flaunt
and traffic hypnotically across the partition; we file
quietly back to our places.
Jogjakarta
23 Melita Schaum
Two Poems
The Death of the
Ventriloquist
—after Vasko Popa
1.
His mouth is a cipher.
His voice looks back at him,
sizes him up like a wife.
She gathers up his words like
children or washing.
They are no longer his business.
When she gives him someone else's cry
it settles on his tongue like a coin.
His thoughts were never at home.
Now even his echoes
gnaw the bone of someone else's sound.
His voice always carried with it
its own infidelity.
White wind. The red air.
The nakedness of a lover
vanished into his description of them.
What persisted was not part of the arrangement at all,
but out of his reckoning somehow.
24 Like the dream of the dog who laughed at night:
once, he buried two bones
one and then another
they coupled like streetcars
their whiteness grew
muscled by loam
they became the backbone of his desire
correct and pointless and occupied
the words    dog    flesh    laughter
nothing was easier
3.
The wheel of his understanding
overtook itself.
His speech grew tired of reproduction.
His error gave birth
keening, rocking with all its strength from side to side.
These things are beyond discussion.
Sometimes, when he turned quickly
he could see his own glance
hanging eyeless.
25 The story is of a bride standing on a promontory.
She is casting her trouseau
item by item to sea.
When she is naked and the sea is clothed
the arms of his words encircle her
the footfalls of his words
encircle her in the dusk
the sounds of their breathing
surround her and it is dark.
From a distance he feels his voice opening its jaws
and attempts to warn her
but he can no longer control its direction.
His widow is the world
and the sun is in her mouth like a testimony.
His heart is a syllable
which she mispronounces
with care.
He is dreaming that
her hair has consumed his hands
that her throat has swallowed his voice.
He wakes and sets fire to his own breath.
He marvels at the ceremony
that follows his demise.
26 Cinderella
At fifteen, her feet were so delicate
they were almost monstrous.
Like insects that live underground
first lose their pigment, then their eyes,
growing wax-like and spidery, the expensive
glass bones, the five opal tips
could hardly support her.
Her sisters, Grete, Ulrike, good
Schwarzwalder girls,
hid their pity behind ruddy chatter,
set her a bench by the fire,
taught her to stagger her needle
down the cambric flanks of their linen,
whispered to curious neighbors of her rarity.
Stutter of the coals, the lisp
of soot in the chimney flue,
black bread and beer.
Through the casement
summer is mangled
in the big hands of the pines.
Evenings, tired, Father gazes at his porcelain girl,
his little anomaly, hair the colour of milk;
loves her
much as survivors love mischance.
She looks back
diffident, unsmiling
like an apparition.
Nights, when the pumpkin moon
falls through the trees
and Father's new wife
croons in her sleep for laudanum,
her shoulders ache with the solidness of this life.
She alone can feel the legend
building around the house like snow.
27 Life of Lidya
Marion Douglas
Emma took it upon herself to call me. Even though Lidya had never
been mine, even though Lidya was called a property of the state. I
don't think she considered my feelings at all. Emma has worked
at Placide for years. When a resident dies it must be brought to someone's attention.
She phoned on Thursday. Now it is Sunday, Monday morning really,
and I am down by the lake readying myself for work. Such an expanse of
time it has been. If the days could be laid out like maps or sheets I would
not be able to call across them or even see to the edges.
Do you agree that Lidya is a good name?
Lidya was conceived in my parents' barn in the uppermost point of the
straw mow, very close to a window. I can still see things as they were
beyond Eric Ruttan's bare shoulder. It was September. The wind was
blowing across the fields, moving the short little grasses among the
stubble, moving my mother's long hair and the red kerchief on her head
as she carried the basket of eggs. It came in between the cracks in the
barn boards and touched my forehead and I knew at that moment that
something was happening. It did not worry me though. In the autumn,
when you are back at school, there is an expectancy and a confidence, as
if important knowledge might be revealed. Our new woolen sweaters lay
in the straw next to us.
That was grade eleven. Eric and I broke up. He was scared. I was a
solemn and reckless kind of teenager, constantly testing for signs of a
god. "I'll keep the baby myself," I said to Eric in his father's Oldsmobile
Cutlass.
When Emma phoned it was early in the morning. My eyes buzzed
from the light like two small radios.
"It's Emma, Joanne. I'm calling to tell you that Lidya died this morning. We'll take care of the arrangements, but I thought you would like to
know."
Hearing Lidya's name was like a blind opening. A very wide blind covering a very wide window. It zipped open and flap, flap, flapped around
at the top, startling me the way blinds will, especially at night. There
28 was that view that I only saw from time to time. It was white and full of
beds.
The first time I went to see Lidya was almost three years after she
was born. I was in university then and one day I decided to leave after a
physiological psychology class. The professor had been discussing congenital anomalies, errors of metabolic functioning. There were countless syndromes and we wrote them all down. Afterwards, I went to the
Greyhound depot and took the bus home to Milestone. Emma worked at
Placide even then. She had dropped out of school at the beginning of
grade twelve and changed into her pastel-coloured uniforms and her cardigan with the pin that read Emma Rand.
It was spring then, late afternoon, and I caught Emma on her way
home. She took me back inside and down a corridor. There were five
wings and their names were Michigan, Erie, Huron, Ontario and Superior. I wondered if the smartest ones were in Superior. Lidya was in
Erie.
There were sixty beds in that room and the sound when we entered
was like machinery breaking down, accidents occuring, injuries of the
skin. There was clanking and moaning. "Lidya's a sweety," Emma said.
She did not appear to be nervous at all.
Lidya was sleeping on her back. Her head was small. The powder in
the air collected on her skin. She was that still. Not even her fingers
opened and closed the way a child's will in sleep. The skin beneath her
fingernails was pink and I took that to be a sign of health. I watched her
breathe and examined the beating of her temples. Emma said "Pick her
up, pick her up," in an exuberant kind, of way but I didn't.
That was the day that I saw Lidya's file. It was sitting on the window
sill near her cot. I happened to pick it up and took a glance at the history
section. It was one page. The first sentence read "Lidya was born without trauma to an unwed Caucasian woman." And then there were the
comments about minimal hearing, minimal vision, minimal cortex.
Now, eleven years later, I am a wed Caucasian woman. My husband's
name is Ted. I have never told Ted about Lidya.
A couple of years later I returned to Placide. That summer I was
working as a cocktail waitress at a little bar in Milestone, right down at
the water's edge. One night, a very small man, a dwarf, came into the
bar. He drank some beer and said he was staying at a cottage down the
beach. He told me that he was interested in weight-lifting. He said that
there were so many June bugs banging on his window the night before
that he couldn't sleep. Then he told me a joke. I pretended to listen and
used the time to study closely the shape of his head and the shortness of
29 his arms. He was smoking Sportsman cigarettes. I laughed when he got
to the end of the joke.
The next day I went back to Placide. Because it was summer, Erie
was a little more pleasant. The windows were open and there was a
warm breeze blowing over Lidya's cot. The curtains were a kind of institutional muslin, but they sailed out like they might have in any other
bedroom. Emma came along and asked, "Have I told you I don't think
she's blind at all?" She took a penlight out of her pocket and shone it
close to Lidya's eyes and she opened them. Emma moved the light back
and forth and Lidya watched it. Her eyes were brown like mine. I remember thinking what this would be like for Lidya. I imagined it would
be like a car's headlight at night, far away though, swooping across a
snow-covered field or a lake. I thought maybe that was the most interesting sight she had ever seen.
Since that visit I have gone to see Lidya a few times, usually on her
birthday, or at least some day in June. If it was a workday, I would call in
sick.
At first I brought presents, but these generally were destroyed by
some of the residents who would get out of their beds and grab things.
So I stopped. I always took a penlight though, and shone it back and forth
for Lidya to watch. Lidya liked it. Her eyes would move and her arms
and legs jerked. She made me think of a battery-operated doll I once had.
Emma took a special interest in Lidya. Because of me, I guess. Because we were in school together when it happened, and because Emma
had just started working at Placide when Lidya arrived. She always got
Lidya a card for her birthday. It was Lidya's eighth birthday when I
picked her up; I can recall the card. It said "Happy Birthday 8 Year Old"
and there was a picture of a majorette in yellow marching boots. I was
looking at this card when a commotion began at the far end of the room.
There was a boy who was always very loud. He had white hair that stood
straight up, and he hit himself and everyone else. He liked to run up and
down the aisles. Emma said that he had to be sedated often. On that day
he ran to Lidya's bed and he shook and shook it. I said "Stop, help!" but
Emma was nowhere in sight. Lidya began to cry so I picked her up. I had
never done that before. I held her and her body was very stiff and light. I
was reminded of the fish skeletons that lie on the beach, occasionally
even blow in the wind. Lidya cried and for the first time I observed that
she had teeth. That was the one time that I picked her up.
I really don't think Emma should have phoned.
I have dived down onto the underside of the past few days. Things
have been going on when Ted was out of the house or in bed. When I've
30 been with Ted, I have had the feeling there was an unusual expression
on my face. As if I were just watching, waiting perhaps for a polaroid
photograph to develop. I suggested activities that Ted might do. "Why
don't you go and find some willows to cut so you can finish that chair?" I
said one day.
I called in sick on Friday. I wanted to get Lidya's file. It was easy
enough. I am a psychologist with the school board so I have a card. I said
that I was doing some consulting at Placide. I asked for Lidya's file.
They gave it to me. I thought it might at least have been taken from one
drawer for the living and put into another for the dead, but not yet.
There was a picture of Lidya stapled to the inside front cover. It showed
primarily the round side of her head.
The file was very thin but I looked forward to reading it. In some way
I must have thought it would be like a report card.
Even the basement was hot that night. I sat on the bottom step and
read the file. I began with the part about me, the unwed Caucasian. I
read that three times, remembering myself in the Milestone Hospital,
sitting up, the fat maternity pad bunched up between my legs, remembering the doctor explaining about the very little cortical tissue, the not
much more than a brainstem. And I had pictured a stem, a jack-in-the-
pulpit with its basket-shaped blossom as Dr. Gnay continued to talk.
The file went on. Neurologists had been interested in Lydia. Four had
travelled to Placide to examine her small head. "Remarkable," one had
said. There were notes on convulsions and medication and the foods
Lydia would take from a spoon. I leaned against the basement wall.
There was no activity in my mind. Just the ironing board upside down on
my retinas, criss-crossing and eventually righting itself somewhere. I
sensed it all, step by step, like a gymnastics routine.
Ted was sleeping. I went downstairs and watched t.v. with the remote control. It sat beside me providing a form of electronic companionship. At 4:00 a.m. there was a Rhoda rerun. I watched it, then
The Beverley Hillbillies, wondering about the people who make laugh
tracks. They always manage to have one voice laugh longer and louder
than the rest. This lends genuineness to the sound, I concluded.
I slept in on Saturday. Phrases from the Rhoda show were circulating
in my mind in an unmanageable way. It was as if they had got caught up
in my bloodstream on little cue cards. Outside, Ted was in the garden. I
stood in the kitchen, then decided to drive somewhere.
Eric Ruttan is still in the area. Lydia and Eric and I all stayed right
here in Milestone. Eric is a teacher. A couple of times we have been on
committees together. Once we were on a committee to improve relations between the teaching staff and the support staff. Eric had an idea to
31 have each person assigned a secret friend called an Ebian. The Ebian
would give gifts or do favours, maybe stick a card under your windshield
wiper that read "For your birthday, if you could only sink to my level,
we could have a wonderful time together." That was if your Ebian was
somewhat coarse. Eric had an end of the year party at his house when all
of the Ebians' identities were revealed. That's how I know where he
lives.
I drove up to his house and parked, wearing my clip-on sunglasses. I
was a strangely vacant person. My mind was a silent auditorium with
nothing in the way of people or even bleachers. Eric's house is white,
stucco, not very well-kept. There was a nest of bicycles on the lawn and
on the sidewalk, a toddler's riding toy with a smiling duck's head. No action, but I pictured a late breakfast, bread toasting and movement around
the fridge. I drove away.
Then I had an idea. I decided to go to the Bay to buy Lydia a dress for
her funeral service.
It was Saturday and there were hundreds of people in shorts and tube
tops and sandals. The mood was one of contented marketing. I moved
very slowly among the small groups of people, attaching myself to a family of five, then an elderly couple, then a trio of pregnant women. Everyone smiled good-naturedly. I think it was possibly because of the Bay
bucks.
I found a dress, very pretty, green velvet, size six. It turned out to be
a bit big; Lydia was more like a frail four-year-old. The dress was $35,
so I received $3.50 in Bay bucks, valid only for that day, June 20th. This
was troublesome. I followed along in the direction of everyone else. It
was like a country dance, the way people join arms and circle the floor
between numbers. There was a push to go in one direction. I found some
batteries and paid for them entirely with the Bay currency, receiving
$.35 in coupons. I wondered how infinitesimally fractioned these exchanges could become. I stood in the t.v. section and watched a rock
video. People eddied around me. On the screen, martini glasses were
being broken and cars were driven by women with heavy lubricated lips.
I left the store.
When I arrived home, Ted was out, but I knew he would be back soon.
I tried to freshen my frame of mind. I stood in the bathroom and rehearsed what I could say. "I got a good deal on some batteries this afternoon," I said to the mirror in ten or more different styles. I selected the
best for use later.
Ted did come home. We ate dinner and went to a movie. I waited for
bedtime so that I could carry on with these events.
At 2:30 in the morning I went to the kitchen, took the batteries out of
32 my purse and put them into the little penlight. I still had it. I switched it
on and off. I closed my eyes and held it close to my face and turned it on.
Then off. Then on. Then off. I wondered about the funeral service.
On television it becomes Sunday morning very early. When I tuned in,
the screen bore the message "Prayer counsellors are standing by," with
a telephone number. The volume was very low. A woman was talking
and crying. Black mascara-filled tears were running down her cheeks.
She appeared to be trying to be valiant. Then she held up a recording
entitled/esMS is Precious. There was more talk. She became what would
seem triumphant. One tear fell from her chin and onto her bosom. I
pushed the mute button so that there was absolutely no sound. I wanted
to think about the prayer counsellors waiting in a room somewhere, perhaps a large and splendid tabernacle, with hundreds of pale gold telephones.
I went back to bed. When I got up, I told Ted another of the several
lies I have told him since Thursday. I said, "I'm going out for brunch
with Gloria." Then I drove to the chapel at Placide. It is very old and no
doubt filled with misshapen ghosts.
I had the file with me and gave it to Emma. She and I were the only
guests. Reverend Halliday was officiating. He is a reverend without a
congregation. He did have the United Church but he was asked to leave.
He is a liar. He builds intricate and extremely fragile structures composed entirely of lies. It seems to be a creative release for him.
Things began to fall apart for Reverend Halliday when the various
units of the United Church Women began comparing notes on the stories
he had told them. They did not mesh well. They were never single, individual lies. They were serial lies, lies in progression. He had a series
about the Qu'Appelle Valley, a village where he said he had had a congregation for twelve years. My Aunt Louise lives in that very village.
She told my mother over the phone that she had never heard of a
Reverend Halliday. The Qu'Appelle Valley lies were the ones that finished him off. Now Reverend Halliday does freelance work, such as the
services at Placide.
Before he began, I looked at Lydia for the last time. She was the
same. Just a little more still. I set the penlight inside the casket and
touched the middle knuckle on her left hand.
The service was short. I did not go along for the burial, fearing that
Ted might drive by the graveyard and see me there. I did help Emma
and Reverend Halliday load Lydia into the hearse. Reverend Halliday
talked continuously about the struggle he had had in the Qu'Appelle Valley to have the little Methodist church there proclaimed a historical
sight. Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont had spent a night there. There
33 were bullet holes in the vestry door. Emma and Reverend Halliday
drove off together, Emma listening the same way she had years ago in
mathematics class when Mr. Hurley discussed logarithms.
I decided to stay for a while, sit, in my blue and white dress. I was like
some kind of effortless life at the base of a geranium plant. The last time
I had worn that dress had been at a family reunion. I had played baseball
that day. This was altogether different. I sat. That's when I decided to
stay up this one last night. I wanted to take in those pointless and baffling hours again, enjoy the time filled with reruns and other oddities. I
did. Then later, I drove down here to the lake and pointed the car lights
out onto the water. It was a good enough idea, a brief, skittering eulogy.
Soon, I will put the car into gear and head off to work. It will be nice to
be the first one there.
34 Via Tafdrup
Three Poems translated from the Danish by Monique M. Kennedy
The Moon
It is true
that the course of the moon
the ovum in my body
is more than an event
in the language
that the invisible
makes everything more visible.
Correspondence
The semantic moon
corresponds
with left ovary
the coldness a white hand
which attacks
blindly, but surely
the coldness a white hand
which closes and opens
in darkness
an ash-pearl
expelled into the night
listening to the sea that rises.
35 Same Glance
From grey-black clouds
the moon enters
with its cold light
blindly seeing
among living
and dead
same glance
as a drowning bird observes
the flock in the sky
36 Mikiro Sasaki
Three Poems translated from the Japanese by
William I. Elliott & Kazuo Kawamura
Looking Back
From what vantage do you look at the water's surface?
—People killed in the war said, 'Look at the water's surface.'
When I looked back a civil servant on the bank was looking
at a floating human head and shouting,
'Look! Look at that terrible thing!'
A fine rain fell on the water's surface.
A spent soul floated in the rain,
a courtesan once beheaded on a ship on charges of disappointing the
king's love for her,
her head dancing, a gaudy poison ball,
its blood rusted black in a shower of sadness.
Swift stars soon
skimmed the water's surface
and everyone built a shrine on the bank.
(Why enshroud a corpse?)
(Why is a corpse loath to be nude?)
(Well, of course! Because the renewed sorrow would cause
bloodshed.)
Left behind, a water bird said, 'Look at the water's surface.'
From what vantage?
Bridge? Bank? Shore? Ship?
Or while swimming? Submerging?
I looked back: once we used to be
the wind-ruffled surface of the water;
I looked back: once we used to be
a ship with a hull fashioned of fitted planks;
I looked back: once we used to be
muck sinking through water, a glib despot.
From what vantage do you look at the water's surface?
Today a journeyman painter astride a bridge rail
elegantly mixed paint the color of water
as though blending the souls of fish.
37 Briars in Bloom
Leaving my house, my inner thunderstorm subsides,
leaving anger behind on a blue chair.
Toothless, I scorn myself.
Agony loses its edge.
My independence sinks to the bottom of cold sake
held in a shadowy cup in my hand,
and burns, floating on a dark dream.
I light a cigarette, wet on my raw tongue.
I run smack into the bright light of my childhood
and an innocent-looking run-down barn.
The evening sun throws a rainbow across a spider's web
and I grow ill—a velvety feeling,
blooming like a poisonous flower.
Mid-summer pulls the groaning, sweating wagon along,
and I still long for the shoes
I wore as a child.
Near the mouth of the river where the loitering fishes grow old,
evening fireworks scatter their conspiracy.
Why do I keep on walking drunken,
absorbing all the gunpowder of anxiety,
flinging sake and flowers up to the sky?
Why do I keep on walking drunken
with the anxious hand of a fisherman?
Punished by my former oaths and slogans,
I shut my pallid eyes.
Both hands scorched by my broken life,
where am I carried in my dejection,
in the midst of this insane festival,
this sorry blooming mass of briars?
38 Elegy for a Persimmon
—Prompted by the sound of the word 'kaki,' which means 'persimmon,'
'writing,' etc.
The persimmon is impossible
and rude;
shameless, the persimmon,
and disquieting.
At midnight the persimmon
quietly stores up the colour of blood
and intensely
listens to its own core crumbling.
The persimmon is impermissible.
I can't do it a favour.
How irresponsible the persimmon-
how ignorant!
When fruit was in season
I sat under a tree;
started and ended a meal
with persimmon.
Brazen persimmons about to burst
stifled their laughter.
They reflected sunlight
and they were stubborn.
Persimmons deserve their peeling.
Though they yearn on their branches to be round,
not a single one wholly succeeds,
thanks to their pig-headedness!   Well, let them keep trying.
39 Peeled and polyhedron,
they remain persimmon-coloured
and have no name for it
but plain persimmon.
Needless to say, they are cold
when smashed in the mouth.
They shrug their shoulders
and knock up against each other.
I've been witness to their treachery—
they're continuously treacherous;
and while pretending to be ripe
they capriciously change their minds.
They fall all over each other.
Their code of behavior teaches them
to break the law deliberately,
to break their given shape nonchalantly.
People who love like persimmons,
hate like persimmons,
or are ambitious like persimmons—
let them be hanged from persimmon branches!
Envious and jealous of one another,
persimmons will be left hanging forlorn in the cold sky,
till finally only one, looking like a chunk of round candy,
will keep on giving off its peculiar odour.
A persimmon sinks into itself,
shrivels into a hanging cuticle
and pukes dark bile—
a sacred emblem of its shining silence.
40 Mark Frutkin
Villa-Lobos Lugs his Cello
through the Amazon Jungle
Villa-Lobos lugs his cello
through the Amazon jungle.
Where he started out is unimportant.
Where he is headed is untrackable.
No path threads the jungle together,
but when he rests and plays
each leaf takes its perfect place,
the brown and green river
bends and bends and never breaks.
Birds like shattered stained-glass windows
drawn to the quivering sound,
blink their green eyes
and sharpen their yellow beaks
hoping to compete with the cello's
music in the cool of evening.
At night the musician lays his body
down inside the cello
and he feels hollow and trembly
in his vine-draped dreams.
The veins of his wrists are like strings.
He dreams an entire orchestra of night
that by morning will be nothing but dew
its music lingering in the triple fan of leaves
in the breathing of umbrella trees.
41 P.K. Page
Conversation
"We were set in the green enamel of Brazil.
You—monumental—an old-testament prophet caught
mid-stride and speaking in utterances:
'Thou shalt.    Thou shalt not.'"
"But—we were laughing.    Have you forgotten?
I was high—higher than Corcovado on the light,
the color, the sharp smell of turps,
and the little jewel of a canvas we had made—
insects, of all things, winged and crawling, bright
irridescent bodies, hexagonal eyes
and the absolute stamp of air
in the gauze of their wings.
No 'shalt'.    No 'shalt not'".
"I was laughing—true.   Not up to utterances.
Able only to slosh and slosh my brush
in the paint your old-testament hand had mixed
with such assurance.    Additive color.    Paint like light.
When under its sudden weight my hand collapsed.
Each cell grew heavy.    My arm fell.
"It was then you put the fire in the canvas,
flame in the wings.    Made little phoenixes of the simple flies.
Spun, on the ball of your foot."
42 Dayv fames-French
At the Bird Feeder
Imagine, having a fingernail for a nose,
head a knuckle.    No bird larger than my fist,
the flock forms a hand with purpose.
Each nugget of grain is picked over,
each seed scrutinized, deliberate
as a Manhattan woman at Carder's counter
displaying birthstones: for September,
a chilly saphire; October is marked
by the treacherous opal.    Remember
when women's earrings clipped on,
and one was removed
in answering the telephone?
The gesture had the simple grace of flight
or song.    Redemption grows from these rituals;
connections are made between birds, and hands,
and women.    I fill the feeder each night.
43 Kerry Slovens
Underground
In the underground
coal carts move like worms
through the earth.
Lanterns flicker and rock sweats,
and you are hunched beneath a ledge
chipping the rock for coal.
Your headlamp glares, the eye of the cyclops,
bouncing back and forth from pick to shovel.
On the wall hangs a cage, your sacred canary,
yellow as a beacon, singing softly
in the near dark.
You feel no fear while the bird sings,
and the cage continues its steady sway
with the motion of small wings
flapping and fanning the warm, damp air.
It is not as they said, your father and uncles,
men who knew the underground
like the inside of a woman.
It is new to you, a body unexplored,
and blisters burn on your hands,
breaking open anew with each swing of the pick.
You hear the lift moving up and down
and long to be on it, ascending to daylight
where each mouthful of air
is the taste of freedom.
When you hear the lunch whistle
you search for the others, for the sound
of lunchboxes clashing, of bodies pressing
closer than fucking, closer than close,
men with eyes tattooed black, who hold the Union
higher than Christ.
44 And you search for Christ in the maze of tunnels
that lead you deeper and deeper into Hell,
finding His voice only
in the singing of your caged canary,
whose life is yours,
whose death is yours.
You reach your hand into the cage,
feel at first the soft body,
then the heart beating quickly in the chest.
Your headlamp, like the sun,
shines into the opaque eyes
of the blind bird
who has seen light once and forgotten,
who has flown once and been trapped.
You release the bird like a lover's hand,
slowly, tentatively,
your own hand unfolding like a flower.
Then quickly you complete the motion,
releasing the bird into the tunnel
where its wings beat frantically,
caught in the beam of your headlamp.
And it flies wild, a prisoner drunk
with the freedom of escape,
blindly smashing against the rocks.
You hear wings brushing stone,
and then nothing but the cage
creaking on the hanger.
The body makes no sound as it falls
on the wet floor in the underground.
45 Jeff Worley
Settlement
You're all dressed up.
I like that.
And the way your headlights
pull you toward him,
the warm hum of your body's
engine turning left
at the church,
the late autumn moon
balanced perfectly on the spire:
a pike hoisting a skull.
So I dial your number,
my finger breathless,
anticipating the silence
the house has learned
to live with: Nobody home.
And the Ottawas next door
gone for the week-end—
the one thin howl
from their caged whippet
unwinding across pools of shadow
as the crowbar cracks
a quiet spray of splinters
from the back door
and I come in.
I'm smart.    I pull surgeons'
gloves over my fingers—
the prophylactic snap of rubber
and I'm safe.
46 Now that I've come,
I love this moment more
than anything love
has meant to you, alone
in the hollow dark,
the voltage in my brain
shocking open my eyes
to all possibility.    I
could laugh at the blue
clockface ticking under glass,
keeping perfect time,
the refrigerator's labored hum,
the sink spotless, expectant.
Light leaps from my fingers.
The cats scatter
from their nests.
I know where to find the good
stuff.    In the dining room, behind
fake stained glass, Hummels—
ugly urchins simple as song.
The one with his worldly goods
tied to a stick, the Merry
Wanderer, is mine.    The Barnyard
Hero, Goose Girl, the Bird
Watcher, are mine.    Sensitive
Hunter, School Girls, mine.
I fold them into the dark
medical kit, snap the head
from the Watchful Angel,
and place its smile backwards
on the cracked neck.
47 Into the study, desk drawers
offer up to me their secrets—
letters, bills, appointments,
recent postcard from Marseille,
and, finally,
the bundle to pay for it all—
tens and twenties and fifties:
an old medley we shared
that sets my blood singing.
I throw the rest.
Carve someone else's initials
into the desktop with my
scalpel, cut a figure of myself
in the maroon drapes, and leave
the work of a burglar behind.
The tall darkness
swallows every trace of me.
But the seeds I've planted
will grow.
48 A Scolding for
Luisilda who Went
out in 1945 without
her Glasses on
Marco Denevi
Translated from the Spanish by Clark M. Zlotchew
But for heaven's sake, Luisilda, how can you go out without your
eyeglasses on? Your mother told you and now I'm telling you and
anyone with any sense at all would tell you this. Never mind how
it's going to be when you're out in the street, in the sunlight: sunlight
corrects your poor vision, I know all that. But later, when you take the
subway, aren't you afraid you'll trip and fall? And what are you going to
do in the tea room, in a tea room you've never been in before? And anyway, he's going to figure it out, so I don't know what good it will do you
to act so crazy. Even if he doesn't figure it out today, sooner or later he
will, so the best thing would be for him to know about it right from the
start. Now don't be stubborn, Luisilda. If he really loves you, he'll love
you in glasses too. And if he doesn't love you with your glasses on, then
he doesn't really love you at all.
Listen to me: at least carry them with you in your purse or in your
pocket, just in case. Okay? And why not, may I ask? Let's see. Because
you're afraid you'll put them on at the first sign of a problem and then you
won't have the courage to take them off again. Besides, you must have
noticed that when you take your glasses off after you've been wearing
them a while, your eyes look ugly, your eyelids swell up, you look horrible. On the other hand, this way, without your glasses to begin with,
you look nice. Right? The very idea! I have no intention of arguing with
you, since you're obviously being pig-headed. Hmph! Very shy, very
shy, but just because he told you what he told you, now there's no one in
49 the world who can get that nonsense out of your head about going out
without your glasses on. You'll be sorry.
It's your girlfriends who are to blame. And that idea of the four of you
going with the same costumes and—as if that weren't enough—wearing
masks. A bunch of flamenco dancers from Spain... Don't make me
laugh. More like Gypsies from Egypt. And just because the others made
up their minds to wear masks, you went along with it. A bad move. You
should have told them you couldn't wear a mask. How were you going to
put the mask on? On top of your glasses? Oh, you would've really looked
cute, wouldn't you? Or the mask first and then the glasses on top of it?
Better yet. You didn't give them any argument and now you're paying
the price. Well, you have it coming because you're not independent
enough. I would like to have seen you show a little of this stubbornness
that you're displaying now. What did you say? You're fed up with wearing glasses and you're never going to wear them again? Luisilda, you've
gone completely out of your mind.
Aren't you satisfied with the spectacle you made of yourself the other
night at the club dance? Remember? Just because you weren't able to see
anyone clearly, because the people around you were nothing more than
vague silhouettes with no recognizable features, you committed a
tremendous error of judgement: you felt that no one could see you
clearly either, that you were some kind of phantom. And then you lost all
restraint. Yes, you who are usually so quiet... That night you carried
on as though you had a screw loose, if you'll pardon my language. You
were giving these little whoops, running from one place to the other,
jumping up and down, breaking into people's conversations. In other
words, you were the invisible woman, weren't you? And everyone else,
just figments of your imagination. So all of a sudden, slam bang, you said
to hell with your shyness, your complexes, your decency, I dare say.
Thank goodness, at least the ballroom was well-lighted and you know it
like the palm of your hand, because I still don't know how you didn't run
into a column or fall on your face on that uneven section of the floor. Still
and all, you made some pretty ridiculous mistakes. Keep that in mind.
For example, throwing confetti at a manikin you thought was someone
with a mask.
Even your girlfriends were looking at you and couldn't believe their
eyes. Naturally. At first they took it as a joke, but then they began to
worry. "What's happening to her?", they were thinking. "Could she be
high on something?" What didn't enter their minds were the glasses.
And you, meanwhile, jumping up and down, letting out these little
screams and acting like a clown. Can you imagine if someone, at that
very moment, were to set that pair of glasses on your nose? Can you
50 imagine the embarrassment, the shame, when you saw you were surrounded, not by strangers, but by people from the neighborhood, for
heaven's sake, people who were looking at you either in shock or dying
of laughter? Because, you know, in spite of the costume and the mask,
everybody recognized you and were making comments, believe you me:
"Would you take a look at Luisilda"; "She broke out of her cocoon
tonight"; "So this is the real Luisilda." And things like that.
And then that boy came up to you, took you in his arms, and the two of
you began to dance. With your faces close together you were able to
make out his features. A very good-looking boy, according to you: tall,
well-dressed. But are you sure? Is it possible you saw him... You
know, kind of all blurred, so that he might have looked better to you than
he actually was? Your left hand, Luisilda, was resting on the boy's
shoulder. Your fingertips brushed against fine fabric and, later, when
your hand slipped toward his back, you became aware of his muscles, his
spine, the hair at the nape of his neck. The boy smelled of lavender, of
tobacco and—go on and say it—he smelled like a man. A young, clean,
healthy man. He had a pair of hard, firm arms which he wrapped around
you so delicately, as though you were a little child he had lifted in his
arms to guide, to protect. You let him lead you. You, incredibly,
anticipated his every move—his steps, every twist and turn of his
body—and you danced as though you had never done anything in your
life but dance. Where did you ever learn to dance like that, would you
tell me? Obviously, without your glasses on, you're a different woman.
Your mother is right: the tango is indecent. Because just look at how
the two of you danced pressed against each other, and just look at how
the two of you had your legs intertwined, and your breasts, Luisilda, you
were crushing them against the young man's chest, and he was breathing
in your ear, and there was even a moment when your pelvises actually
touched and his thigh slipped in between yours, Luisilda. And you didn't
resist. Of course, you weren't yourself. You were someone else, a
phantom, the invisible woman. And as for him, let's forget about possible errors of judgement. He was real, all right, flesh and blood. But he
wasn't from the neighborhood. So you felt free on two counts. More than
free: irresponsible. In other words: wild.
You didn't speak while you were dancing the first numbers. Of course.
How could you talk if he was busy panting and you were busy sighing and
smiling like an idiot. Later, taking advantage of a short intermission, you
began a pretty silly conversation—tell the truth now—because you were
determined to make the boy think you were from Spain. Can you imagine, just off the boat from the sunny South of Spain, land of guitars and
castanets. Did you think you were Carmen? You were putting on that
51 Spanish accent and the only thing you accomplished was to look ridiculous. But he went along with it. Carnival time is an excuse for everything.
At midnight everyone took off their masks. And so did you. You
looked him right in the eye, as though showing him your uncovered face
were some kind of challenge or some kind of big favor you were doing
him. And right then he started in with that line about your eyes. Your
eyes this, your eyes that, the most beautiful eyes in the world, the
softest eyes ... A whole string of worn-out nonsense, just the limit. But
you were flattered, so flattered that if there was a shred of timidity left
in you, it just disappeared. And from that moment on you put on some
airs, my dear, that turned you into a grade-A flirt, with a brazenness and
a self-assurance that anyone would have thought was the real you. But
no, of course not; it wasn't you at all. What happened was that between
the disguise, the astigmatism, the myopia and your happiness—because
at last a man was buzzing around you—, you were transformed into a
sort of actress. A half-drugged actress, to boot. A disgrace.
Then you and he went to the club tea room, sat at a table—he led you
by the arm so you were able to walk around without fear of getting
lost—, you had a few soft drinks and talked, talked, talked, until it was
coming out of your ears. And you, of all people, who in any kind of social
gathering usually just sit there behind those enormous eyeglasses and
keep your mouth shut, constantly staring at everyone else with that gaze
that makes you look like you're having hallucinations, because of those
magnifying lenses. But that night you were looking at him, only at him,
while all around you the tea room was a circle of vague images. You
were gazing at him, showing off the most beautiful eyes in the world.
You had completely forgotten about the Spanish accent, and you were
chattering like a parrot and you were telling him a whole bunch of things
that you'd have to have courage to tell him. And he, charmed out of his
wits, dazzled, hung on to every word you uttered.
What was it that he asked you out of the clear sky? Remember? He
said, "Are you nearsighted?"
How quickly, or rather, how brazenly, you answered him in that offhanded way, with that mocking, provocative smile: "I've been blind from
birth." And then, right away, as though it didn't mean a thing to you:
"Yes, I have a slight astigmatism."
Tell the truth now, he hurt you, didn't he? When he said, "Please don't
go and hide those eyes of yours behind a horrible pair of old maid
glasses."
You both laughed. But you suddenly stopped laughing and felt sad.
Then the boy looked at you in a way he hadn't looked at you all night,
52 took your hand and pressed it between his own. What do you suppose,
Luisilda? Was that when he really started to fall in love with you? Could
be. The point is that he made a date with you for today at six o'clock, to
meet at the Wind Mill Tea Room, and he insisted on that date so
urgently and even with that worried look on his face—as though he were
asking too much and he were afraid you would turn him down—so that
he ended up convincing you that he was really and truly interested in
you. So that now that you're going to meet him, you'd let yourself be
killed rather than show up with your eyes hidden behind those "horrible
old maid glasses," behind those ring-shaped chunks of glass that turn
your gaze into a stupid stare and spreads that idiotic look, that you yourself can't stand, all over the rest of your face. All right, let's not argue
any more. You must have read, in one of those cheap romantic novels
you're so fond of, that a nearsighted person has, as he said about you, a
peculiarly tender gaze. And just so long as you can hold onto that tender
gaze you're going to practically grope your way halfway across the city.
All right, all right. But be careful, Luisilda. Be careful, because life is
not one of those romantic novels you like to read so much.
Now run along. Your poor mother will walk you to the door, worried
sick because you've got the nerve to go out without your glasses on. Say
goodbye fast and walk the two blocks to the subway entrance. No problem? Don't get overconfident, Luisilda. The sun is out, and you're so familiar with these two blocks you could walk them with your eyes closed.
Now walk down the staircase slowly. Be careful! What did I tell you ... ?
No sooner do you leave the sunlight than you take your first stumble.
You thought it was the last step and it wasn't the last one, it was the next
to last one, and you almost lost your balance. Now hug the station wall
as you walk (you do it every day; there's no way you can make a mistake). And now go over to the turnstiles. Will you be able to place the
coin in the slot? Yes? You were lucky.
The platform is in semi-darkness. It doesn't matter. Don't you move,
stay right there next to that lady. A couple of minutes more and out of
the darkness shoots that wreath of lights and noises. Wait for it to come
to a stop. Then, staying right next to the lady, get on the train. You see?
Once inside the train your vision is better. But keep standing close to
the door, just in case. Remember: you have to get off at the sixth stop.
Every time the train stops at a station, a savage horde of passengers
drags you toward the interior of the car. You try to stand your ground,
you grab tightly one of those metal columns that connect the ceiling with
the floor, but it's no use: the tide sweeps you along with no consideration at all.
What's the matter with you now? You lost count of the stations and
53 don't know whether you're passing the fourth or the fifth? Ask one of the
passengers how many more stations till you get to Callao Avenue. Look
at that, will you. You're asking exactly the same lady you were with before. She must think you're some nut who's following her, and she answers you in a nasty tone of voice.
"It's the one that comes right after Pasteur."
Now, that's a great help to you, isn't it. And how on earth would you
know which is the Pasteur Station? Every time the train stops, you try to
make out the name of the station. Impossible. Until finally the lady,
seeing that you are some kind of retard or that you don't know how to
read and that even though you've arrived at Callao Avenue you're not
moving, jabs you with her elbow and tells you dryly: "Callao."
Hurry up, Luisilda. Hurry before the doors slam shut and the train
starts again. Say excuse me, shove your way through that compact mass
of sweaty bodies; scream, if you have to. The important thing is to get
out. Forget about your clothes and your hairdo for now. Push, shove, jab
with your elbows right and left. You made it, finally. You feel ashamed,
humiliated? Your nice little linen dress is all wrinkled? Your hair's a
mess? Don't worry. You'll have time to straighten yourself out. Right
now just make sure you don't get separated from the slow caravan that is
leading you—up dark stairways, through enormous vestibules, up more
stairways—back to the street, toward the light of day.
Moving along Callao Avenue it's four blocks to the comer where he's
waiting for you at the tea room. First, stop and fix your clothes and your
hair a bit. Now get moving. Before you cross the intersection wait for
someone else to start crossing. Then walk at the same rate of speed as
the stranger and cross the street. Now, wouldn't you just know it? At
Bartolome Mitre Street the stranger turns out to be some reckless
young kid who runs right out in front of the cars and dodges bumpers,
looking disdainfully at the cars as though they were bulls and he were a
toreador. So you, terrified, have to run too. One of those bumpers actually hits you, and there are shouts and horns blowing all over the
place, a real uproar. You see, Luisilda? You came that close to dying under the wheels of an automobile. Were we right or were we not, your
mother and I?
You're frightened, your heart is beating rapidly, you're perspiring. All
right, take it easy. It's only one more block until you get to the corner
where the tea room is. He's probably there already and will walk toward
you to greet you as soon as he sees you coming. There are a lot of
people standing on the corner, quite a few men. One of them has to be
him. But you move closer and closer and you don't see him, no one steps
forward to greet you. What are you going to do, Luisilda? Will you keep
54 on walking? Will you take a turn around the block? No, there he is. Yes,
it is him. You smile, you're safe now. Yes, he's the one with the blue
suit, the one who's smoking, leaning against the wall, looking in the
other direction. Walk right up to him, without saying a word, just smiling, that's all. Place yourself in a position so that he can see you. My
God, Luisilda, what a mistake! It's not him! It's this middle-aged man
who looks at you strangely.
Keep walking. Keep walking, I tell you. Fast. It doesn't matter in
what direction, damn it, but put some distance between you and that
man because he must think you're some kind of prostitute. That's right,
dash into the tea room so nobody thinks you're street-walking. I'm warning you: everyone is looking at you, so hurry up and go inside and, for
God's sake, Luisilda, wipe that smile off your face; it's frozen on your
face. Keep going, get behind those women. Keep on walking. Yes, it's
the section where the tables are. Now sit down at a table. Do as I say.
There's one that's unoccupied, in a corner against the wall. Go ahead and
sit down already! People are going to wonder if you're some kind of
tramp.
The waiter in the white jacket leans over the table and, as he passes a
cloth over it, asks you, "What would you like to order?"
Well, answer him. Order something. Don't just sit there like a
dummy.
"Tea with milk."
"Is that all?"
"Some cookies too."
Much better. Now just calm down. I hope you realize that your hands
are trembling and you have such a frightened look on your face that if you
don't do something about it, people are going to start staring. I realize
that you both agreed to meet outside, on the sidewalk. Never mind.
Look at the clock on the wall. You can't see what time it is? It's eight
minutes after six. So you still have time. You just drink your tea with
milk and then you go out and he'll be right there, waiting for you.
No, Luisilda, the waiter is not taking forever to come back with your
order. He's just taking the amount of time that's necessary. Five
minutes, tops. Here he comes now. And of course, he requires some
time to place on the table the teapot, the pitcher of milk, the sugar bowl,
the little glass of water, the teacup, the plate, the silverware, the napkin, the cookie platter. How could the waiter know you're in a hurry.
And now, watch out, before you begin. Narrow your eyes and make sure
you look carefully to see what each one of those metal things is, so you
don't create a disaster.
Now drink your tea. No? The tea is too hot? Then wait. Wait for it to
55 cool off a little. And meanwhile calm down, I repeat. He's not going to go
away. All men realize, even before they show up, that they're going to
have to stand around cooling their heels for at least a quarter of an hour
because women just aren't ever on time; they like to make men wait for
them. Well, yes ... Drink your darned tea even if it burns your throat.
You're not going to have even one little cookie? No? You have no appetite? I can imagine what the waiter is going to think: that you're crazy.
You order a platter of cookies and then you don't even touch one. Well,
call him over, pay him and get going. It's twenty after six.
It's easy to say, my dear: call the waiter, pay him and leave. But
where is the waiter? You look around and the only thing you can make
out is a chaos of shapes and colors. Lines multiplying all around you into
parallel lines. Diffused and sort of flamelike outlines. Forms that come
apart and fracture just like in a futuristic painting. The lights? The lights
are huge, festooned, openwork globes that expand and contract like a
human heart. Slowly-moving spirals and swarms of transparent points
form along the surface of the glowing circles. And from time to time,
across that undersea landscape, come gliding along the same ghostly silhouettes that sailed through the club dance. But here no one knows you.
Here you're alone, lost, helpless. Don't you have the impression that
even the voices and noises have become incomprehensible? In other
words, Luisilda, in this case it's not like at the Carnival dance, where
the only thing that happened was that you made a fool of yourself. Now
you feel terrified, desperate.
And the minutes keep ticking away, I'm warning you. It's already six-
thirty. It's possible—why not?—it's just possible that the boy hasn't
given up and left. If he's as interested in you as you think he is, he'll hold
onto the idea that you're not standing him up. Okay. Do you intend to sit
there until they close up? Call the waiter over, in a loud voice so he'll
hear you; maybe he'll actually come. No? It embarrasses you? Then
leave the money on the tablecloth. How much? How do I know how
much? Leave him five pesos, just in case. And now get to your feet and
go swiftly in search of your gallant hero, because by now he must be
cursing you mentally.
My goodness, Luisilda, what's the matter now? You don't remember
where the exit is? Walk among the tables at random. Pretend, even
though you don't know what it is you ought to pretend. Walk all around
the room, but with your head high and a frown on your face, as though
you were looking for someone. How warm it must be, Luisilda; you're
soaked with sweat, drops of perspiration are running down your
forehead, along your cheeks. You left your gloves on the table? I don't
imagine you'd want to go back for them now. Keep walking, passing
56 among chairs and people who are seated in them and looking at you as
though you were a sleep-walker, or as though you had escaped from the
insane asylum.
At last. You see? There are fewer tables in this section. There's a
kind of aisle between the display cases. Yes, those are display cases
with cakes and desserts. Go down that aisle. Your path crosses that of
two men in white who are carrying enormous trays on their heads. What
do you think? Did you make a mistake? Are you heading toward the back,
to the kitchen? It wouldn't surprise me in the least. But no: at the end of
the aisle there's something that is turning, revolving. A gust of fresh air
hits you in the face. It's the door, Luisilda. It's the street.
There are very few people on the corner now. It's begun to get dark.
Stay right there in the doorway of the tea room. Don't look at anyone.
Don't move. Calm down. It's still possible for the boy to be there, a pile
of nerves, like you. Perhaps he'll see you, come up to you and, his voice
filled with both anxiety and happiness, say to you, "I thought you
wouldn't come. You don't know how much I've suffered, waiting for
you."
No? No one comes up to you? No one says anything to you? Ask that
old fellow over there what time it is.
"Five to seven."
Luisilda, my dear girl, even the patience of a man in love has its
limits. Better go home, my dear.
Let's forget about that return trip, practically in the dark of night. A
nightmare. It's rush hour and everyone's going home from work. And on
top of that: the heat of the subway, the darkness, the unfamiliar streets
jammed with traffic, the subway like a can of sardines, the smells, the
noises, your pain, Luisilda, your urge to weep. You should have paid attention to us, my dear: your glasses in your pocketbook, just in case. We
told you so.
But enough of all that. You're home now. You know your own house
like the palm of your hand. Your mother hasn't seen you come in. You
grope your way along the walls, like a blind woman. You go to your
room, turn on the light, open the dresser drawer, find the eyeglass case.
Put them on, Luisilda. You'll see how the world instantly arranges itself into a clear and precise geometry in which there are no boys waiting
for you.
57 Conrad Spoke
Two Poems
Your New Texture
What persuaded your cheekbones into their present shape?
Without expecting it daylight makes shadows.
You have surpassed the quota for skin cancer.
Your neck is always apparently yelling.
Today your clothes fit.
Earrings must now be a complimentary shape.
Your chin is the same as always, but now it matches everything else.
If one were to hold the entire earth in one's hands it would feel
much smoother and more uniform than the average small rock.
You treat your hair with four different substances.
There are no blemishes on your nose lately.
When I turn on the light you definitely have ears.
If you were shown a current aerial view of the top of your head,
what would you see?
A baked apple loses part of its nutritional value.
Make-up is superfluous.
The skin beneath your chin is darker than the top of my hand, while
your butt is lighter than the bottoms of my feet.
If one holds certain things under one's nose there is no smell,
but later one will smell it.
You are more lengthwise these days.
There are no more new vegetables to discover.
The skin of your forehead expresses ideas of its own when you talk.
Aren't you worried?
58 Sky Asking
Sky, break off and panic.
Undo the blue complaisance between the endearing white puffs.
Turn yourself over with some of the meanness of the night.
and dirt sucked up from the ground.
Roil yourself and scare me. That's what I want.
Plan to panic.
That's the pleasure of twisted feathers against a sidelong sun,
the cool system eating the rising warmth, fuel for havoc,
nuances of the peaceful composition impelled into hungry motion
and barbed ideas.
Peel yourself from the horizon in a hundred grays and flashes.
Run me! Strike on! I dare ...
Hate the stillness.
Panic.
59 Ana Hatherly
Three Poems translated from the Portuguese by Jean R. Longland
Tisanas 11
I was very peacefully watching my television program when suddenly I
understood that the mission of the creative spirit is the most
transcendent because some day the creative spirit will no longer be
necessary.    From that flows the importance of art and its futility.    My
pig Rosalina shares this opinion with me.    Every Friday she goes to the
beauty parlor to have a set.
Tisanas 29
When I got home my pig Rosalina was typing.    I was much perplexed
and so I asked what are you doing there?    Without lifting her head
Rosalina pointed her hoof at the paper inviting me to read.    The sheet
was blank because Rosalina had taken the ribbon out of the machine and
rolled it around her curly tail which at that moment was happily
waggling.    Rosalina was always what impelled me to plunge into
metaphysics.    So without saying anything I went to the kitchen.    I
opened the silver drawer.    I took the big knife out of the case for the
carving set.    I turned on the gas and started heating the broiler.    I
went back to the study where Rosalina was typing.    I cut some meat off
her loin.    Enough for a delicious meal.    I also cut off a piece of ribbon
to decorate the platter.
60 Tisanes, 61
If life is as so many people say intolerable why do they make so many
and such absurd efforts to prolong it? I was thinking on the way to the
butcher's. Entering the store I see at my left a whole calf, alive and
standing but with no skin at all, with red muscles and with the insertions
of the muscles and tendons perfectly blue. What a way to keep meat
fresh I think looking at the calf. Turning toward the butcher who was
carving some steaks at the moment I see that he too has no skin at all
over his own flesh and that his muscles, like the calf's, are intensely red
and the insertions of the muscles perfectly blue. Later I told my
friends all about this but they said that cannot be.
61 Nancy Mattson
Tietaja: One who Knows
When Paavo, the seasoned lumberman
strikes his foot with an axe
the devil's axe seeking a tree root
finding instead Paavo's ankle
through layers of boot and heavy sock
When Paavo's eyes are swimming
in blood and branches and clouds
his own blood soaking earth and wood
What can he do but send for Maria,
village blood-stopper?
Run, little helper
to the cottage of the tietaja
we all despise her except in distress
now that her husband has left her
Three heavy lumbermen carry Paavo
a log filled with pain
his leg wrapped in sodden shirts
to Maria's kitchen
her children standing around
She unwraps his foot
dips her hands in the stream of blood
seeks out the edges of his wound
presses the slippery flesh together
skin to skin
threads the rivers of blood
vein to vein
lifts her head to Ahto
utters these words:
62 Blood, blood, become a wall
thicken, thicken, like a fence
stay, stay, behind my hands
stop, stop, beneath my thumbs!
Ahto, god of blood and water
let your fingers clasp my fingers
press your thumbs in Paavo's ankle
let the river fill with stones
block the flow of river-blood
behind a wall, behind a dam!
As Maria chants what she knows, chanting softly
the lumberman, Paavo, fearful as a wounded bear
falls quiet under her hands
When the sun falls, his blood sleeps
dries in thick threads and wooden scabs
Maria rises, her hair matted
blood hardened on her dress
congealed on her arms:
a newborn calf covered with blood and straw
63 Goran Sonnevi
Translated from the Swedish by Rika Lesser
You sense the light's fragrance   Soon
you are there, standing there
at the foot of the sea
A human cry sounds, resounds
stretches
over the sea surface
out toward
the horizon's ragged edges
The rocks all around keep silence
resting motionless
The light trembles, dances
Now the tensions
come, like humans
wandering
up from the sea
Strain toward
one another, dig in
their heels   The light froths, rushes
in small waves
on the shore
Look, there's G    Carrying his mother
like a lantern
on his back,
her knees ruined, scraped raw
He could not go on
On his temple, a wound
64 There's H
stomach full of cancer
His mouth speaks of
famine, soldiers, his
Nazi father,
of the Soviet Union's
rescuing Czechoslovakia in '68
Even as he dies
he tries to mold another
in his own image
There's B
his head radiant, eyes
in trance   You come
from the stars
he says    We live
the Resurrection
of all creation   I
drive out devils
Inside his ribcage
his lungs shine bright red
His breathing is light
I am searching for
leaf buds under
the matted yellow grass
In the woods, blue and yellow
flowers
The sun casts my shadow
over the ground
Throw me, like a shadow
among the glass-clear
shadows of death
65 Daniel Nadezhdin
Chop
(Note: S.M. Kirov—one of the Soviet leaders. Shot and killed in 1934.
Stalin used his death as a ground for launching the notorious campaign
against "the enemies of people." In 1956 at the 20th congress of the Communist Party of the USSR, Khrushchev revealed that Kirov was killed on
Stalin's order).
Kirov, killed by the enemies of people, was lying in a coffin. I was lying
on the newspaper and shedding floods of my young-pioneer tears on it.
"Yos'ka's work," my father said. The "Yos'ka" was a derivative of
Josef, Stalin's name. My father did not like Stalin. Often, before falling
asleep, I dreamt that some day my daddy would see how great Stalin was
and would love him.
With time our points of view grew nearer: the father's did not change,
but my love for the Big Leader faded out greatly. Yet my father was optimistic. Looking at my little son, he used to say: "He will not be forced to
lie so much."
But the Lie was not diminishing. It was changing: less and less blind
faith, more and more hypocrisy and cynicism.
Chop—a small railway station.
An emigration point.
A long platform with a lonely lamp.
Squeezed
between an eyeless train
and a blank wall of grey concrete blocks.
Porters' carts are rattling.    Each
porter has two carts:
one to push, another to pull.
Around them—
we are not walking—
we are running:
we are late for the train—
nobody knows the time of departure.
66 Ahead
a bottle falls:
a puddle of milk underfoot.
Women
with children in their arms and by the hand.
Gasping: Skoree! Skoree!
Faster! Faster!
Burning: Schneller! Schneller!
A German voice!—it seems:
there—at the grey wall —
those, with raving chained Alsatians ...
But of all the dogs
only our Lapa is mincing by the cart. She
is kin too of those departing.
Trunks, Lapa, we jumble into a car.
All!—the door clangs shut.
Chop, chop—remotely from the engine.
Schneller, schneller—
the wheels start to knock
and the car walls start to shake ...
In the next compartment
drunken Czechs, going home,
are singing with laughter:
"Za matinku Russiyu ta za batechka Stalina— Hey!"
"For mother Russia and for father Stalin—Hey!"
"We have crossed the border," my son told me. "Haven't you noticed?"
I did not notice. But the border was left behind.
67 The Other Room
Holley Ballard Rubinsky
Tambourines. Tamarinds. Tangelos. The words are said by someone, perhaps the father of the woman who has the baby. The funeral procession winds leftward, down the narrow cobblestoned
road. The casket is transparent; something burnt is inside. Following,
the man who will be the kidnapper makes his appearance.
The baby, newborn with a soft fleshy head, talks. It says, "Why are
you laughing?" It sucked her left nipple, which hurt at first, as it leaned
across and pulled on the breast like a cow's teat until the milk came.
The baby who because it can talk is transformed by the mother's
mindset into adult form and hence not so much attention is paid to it,
says, "You're not wearing the black dress again?" knowing the mother is
being, or intends to be, provocative. It is a wise baby.
The bowl of black carp that has been described as lovely by the moviegoer is not. The bowl is round and flat, crowded with fish, a few sprigs of
kelp. The fish have been in there multiplying since the baby's birth.
Downstairs in the tall, narrow house there is a party even though the
curtains are ragged and the baby has just been born. There is a movie
projector showing a movie that has been seen by everyone countless
times.
On the buffet in the dining room the baby's picture is missing, the big
one with the chunky gilt frame. Someone comments on it, but no one
picks up what is happening. The kidnapper is already in the house. He
and his sister. The sister is fat, pimply-backed, a pimply pink blonde.
The baby's mother doesn't realize the danger. She acts as though she is
at a party. The dreamer finds it extremely difficult to alert the mother to
danger. When the time came, the dreamer as kidnapper found it difficult
to actually take the baby away.
Stories that start with dreams have bad endings, or shouldn't be told
at all, but this one must begin with a dream because the story is about
June and she is the one dreaming and ruining her life. But like many
simple stories there are complicating factors. Now, for instance, in her
bedroom June awakens, slides out from under the satiny feather-weight
quilt and searches through the three-sided panorama of windows for the
blinking red light on Signal Hill, where the oil wells are. The purpose of
68 the red light is to warn away planes when the fog is in, to protect, for instance, a plane flying in low from the ocean, its pilot not expecting a
solitary hill juxtaposed to the sea, his eyes not paying attention to the
navigation map on the seat beside him (which elucidates elevations in
delicate linear spirals) but to the instruments. In foggy conditions, when
the horizon is lost, sight and inner ear disconnect, and the pilot's brain is
out of balance, topsy-turvy. Fortunately, he is intent on his turn and
bank indicator, in aligning the wings of the miniature plane with the
thread-thin white line of the replicated horizon, in order to keep himself,
embraced within the capsule of the plane in fog, on the straight and
level. Always the goal, this straight and level business. That's what her
husband Karl says, anyway. Karl knows about flying. He knows, she
thinks, about surviving.
The sun has set and left behind a filmy, foaming milk-orange sky.
Through the wisps of gathering fog, June looks and finds the red light
she needs to find. It blinks soothingly, rhythmically machine-like, into
her curtainless windows on the top floor of the old house. It is a fishbowl
of a room, she thinks, and likes so much the thought arriving so unexpectedly, so lucidly on the heels of the dream, that she lifts her long
arms and glides and whirls in the small space between the twin beds.
She is having a good time in her flying between two islands, before she
remembers that Karl took away the double bed after the baby was born.
She makes a noise and sails herself into the open room, to stand, dizzy
and trembling, in its vastness. Her belly is empty, the baby has been
born.
They are trying to keep Laura's dying from her. But her belly is
empty, the skin is still loose. Because she is a blonde, her skin is not
elastic, it's dry and thin, that's what the doctor says, at least that's what
she thinks he says, holding his warm palm on her cold tailbone as she
sits, legs dangling, between the stirrups on the end of the examining
table, while he bends over her and talks about her belly, her light, wispy
pubic hairs curling out above the blue modesty cloth that lies on her
thighs.
June in her movie shakes herself and puts one bare foot in front of the
other until she is down the stairs and in the kitchen. Karl likes his food.
His sister puts her elbow into June's thin side and says, "Karl likes fat in
his food." She winks. There is something lewd about Karl's sister. June
doesn't know what is meant by the wink. Karl's sister, Madeleine, is always hanging around even though she has her own apartment and is supposed to have her own friends. June expects to find her in the kitchen
nook when she turns the corner, but Madeleine isn't there.
.They, Karl, June, Madeleine, never talk about Laura. June imagines
69 things, in the silence of the kitchen nook as she tries to remember how
to set the table without looking at her note taped to it. She lays out
everything from memory, and then like a pre-flight checklist, checks off
the items: salt, forks, serviettes, soup spoons, teaspoons, plates. Now
she will have to think of something to put on the plates. She herself isn't
hungry and is getting spindly. The doctor says she is pining away. At
least she thinks that's what the doctor says. He chews gum when she
goes to see him and is hard to understand.
While opening the heavy oak cupboard doors that Karl made, looking
inside for something, a can to open, she thinks of blasting her brains out
with a shotgun or else taking a butcher knife, the one Karl keeps sharp
to cut his meat with, and plunging it into her throat, the indented part
she thinks would be best because it's soft there and throbs between her
shoulder blades' beginnings. She changes the place of the lightweight
everyday fork beside Karl's empty plate to the right of the lightweight
everyday knife, then moves it back to the left. Her hand shakes, tips the
ceramic rooster pepper shaker and pepper pops out of his back onto the
red checkered vinyl.
Now the table tries to trick her. The room becomes as unreliable as
those funny-house mirrors that she has stood in front of and stuck her
tongue out at, her tongue the size of a mouse tongue and her belly button, the soft kind that protrudes, looking obscene, a penis in the grotesque fatness of her bare middle and her legs sticking out of shorts like
pencils, maybe, or the legs of storks. The table quakes beneath her two
palms. June waits for the clatter of cutlery, the tinkle of dishes behind
their massive doors, but there is no sound other than herself breathing.
Madeleine enters the kitchen. She has her coarse, horse-textured hair
in a ponytail. In her arms she carries a bucket of Kentucky Fried
Chicken. "I thought you might be having trouble getting something together, so here." This is kindness. "You miss Laura, don't you?" This is
meanness. Madeleine's eyes narrow into watchful meanness so quickly
that June starts backwards in time.
She was okay, really, right after Laura was born, and remembers an
antique bassinet newly refinished in white lacquer she painted herself
that lay near the fireplace where Karl made bright flames leap. She
stares into Madeleine's mean, piggy eyes. Watching the flames made
her mind begin its spin. She lost a baby in fire, it was so clear, she was
shoveling her own baby into a brick oven, roasting it.
Then the dream began, with its levels of provocativeness and
obscurity, and became confused with the image of roasting baby, its fingers curling into blackened claws, no meat to cook on those tiny hands.
Not much flesh, not yet fattened. Its potential to consume consumed in
70 infancy. There may be something malevolent in the air that June, as
mother, heeds; June, as mother, begins to look for hidden meaning.
Karl told her to smarten up. Dreams were not life. Madeleine told her
to fatten up. "Your man, he doesn't like a cinder. I should know." June
tried. She invited her friend Abby over for tea and cakes but could not
make out what Abby was saying. Her kids, her cats? And was it Abby
who patted her arm: "Maybe you're pregnant again, June, it would be the
best thing—?"
Laura's sudden death (that night she stole into the baby's room and
found her gone) seems to be the cause of what they're calling her breakdown, but "she always was a dreamer." Some mother said this; it's the
glib sort of thing a mother who knows it all would say to mea non culpa.
Karl discovered June between semesters, reading Lacan and tanning on
a California beach. She was tall and blond enough and Karl, standing
over her blotting out the sun, said, "I like my women with meat on them,
but you will do," and then Madeleine came up behind him, put her
pudgy, beringed fingers on his shoulder and laughed, "Oh, yes, she will
do, you silly man." Maybe that's what Madeleine said. June can't remember.
Is there meaning in that meeting, that she's missing? Is she, perhaps,
the victim of a new German conspiracy? Are they using her as a Lebens-
born breeder and stealing her babies? It's not likely, but the world is uncertain, its signifiers unfixed. June was wobbly before Laura, she has always dreamed. The bedroom upstairs, for example, that she sees as so
small. Once she said, hand-in-hand with Karl when they first stood in the
wide doorway, him grinning (recalling that grin makes the idea of conspiracy unthinkable, ridiculous), "What a beautiful, spacious room!" And
it was, then. June wasn't mistaken. She said that, justifiably, before the
trouble, before Laura died.
As for Laura's birth, June was the happiest mother on the obstetrical
floor. "I know it's a girl," she had smiled at the ceiling scrupulously
white and closed her eyes and hadn't needed to see the baby at all.
Something was wrong though, they were too quiet, the nurses and the
doctor. That she wouldn't look? That the baby was already a cinder?
That she gave birth to air, foul air, her birthing one long fart? Is that
what silenced them? No. It was fantasy, that moment. She heard the cry.
And when the baby was only three hours old, June was skipping through
the hospital corridor, because it was dizzying, it was heady, this business of giving birth, and she was the happiest mother on the floor, anybody could see that. Home, by the fire, dressed in her black dress, Karl
having said: "I want you. Dress for me." The slight stretching of the
stitches hurt her, but he was small, she was tight, it was nice for him,
71 for once. Her blood was wan and pinkish, not burnt-red, and sponged
easily off the carpet with cold water.
June stops her movie; she has seen it countless times. She undoes
herself from the projector of Madeleine's eyes and going to the sink,
squeezes out the dishcloth and returning to the table, wipes up the spilt
pepper. "Would you like to stay for dinner?" she asks, the perfect
hostess, raising her head and showing her teeth in the approximation of
a smile.
At the table there is fast eating, fast chewing, head-bent intentness of
the brother and sister. The coleslaw mashes between their lips, the
Colonel's juicy sauce squishes out the corners of their mouths. They
scrape with knives in the carton of mashed potatoes to insure that none
lingers in the circular crevice of the carton's bottom, and Karl sticks out
his tongue to catch the drops of salty gravy from the carton he holds
above his mouth. It is a joke, this Tom Jones' style of eating. Karl and
Madeleine laugh as they do it. They have said, as they say now. "It's our
parents' fault, this disgraceful eating." They laugh. All the meals of their
growing up, their parents talked of being hungry in Germany after the
war. When the father thought no one was looking, he licked his plate.
"Like a dog," Karl told June at a time when, she thinks now, he still
loved her, "his tongue was long and flat." They are dead now, both
parents, and Karl and Madeleine eat to carry on the tradition.
Maybe because her nap was broken by the dream—or maybe because
of the plump chicken thigh she tried to bite into, to be part of their merriment—but she lowers her face to hide the tears trickling alongside her
nose. "How can you eat when Laura is dead?" she asks.
The film comes to an abrupt end; the reel spins and the film flaps,
slapping the air like a whip. The sound, also, has gone out of the machine. Karl, wiping his mouth with the serviette June so carefully placed
beside his plate for him, starts to relate a dream. In it he is an S.S.
Obensturmfuhrer whose specialty is burning babies. He doesn't mind;
their bodies are so small, they go fast. Their crying, if they are awake,
doesn't last long. Besides, it is innocent crying; they're crying only because they don't like the momentary sensation of weightlessness that
occurs in the space and time between when they leave the long-handled
shovel, before they hit the ash pile. "You have to picture it," he says.
Or, maybe, they don't like the momentary sensation of heat. In any
event, their crying is not informed.
Madeleine places her hands over June's that are splayed on the vinyl.
Madeleine's fingers are greasy; she isn't as careful as Karl. "Oh, poor
June," she blurts, "Laura isn't dead. She's with your mother, remember?
Just until you're better." Karl says, "She's forgotten again. June? June?"
72 Poor liebchen. This one has already lost her mind. She looked too long at
the infant sleeping on the shit-encrusted shovel. She looked too long before she sent her baby flying.
Red light blinking. Her movie going again, June is in their bedroom
with the twin beds. She is lying on one, the satiny quilt pulled over her
belly. Maybe she is lying on Karl's bed, maybe she is lying on her own,
she doesn't know. Maybe she is lying, all in all. Creating a tape for the
fun of it. Or maybe she is just crazy, and it's that simple. Surely a brain,
grey lumpy cells congealed into a discrete, unique anatomical formation,
can't hold memories from one body to the next. As for tambourines and
tamarinds: June believes objects belonging to the other can creep into
tellings, unbidden and without overt meaning.
73 John Castlebury
House of Words
On the floor of the gas station a cat named Zipper dreams
of breakfast made at the standing-room-only fire house.
Gas station butter frees the zipper in one throw.
Nine throw gas station around kitchen, lunch on knees.
Sister, scratch! The shortest porch! Or anything!
You smiled, kicked the automobile with a need to skip
the awful thick hot dog, my friend—A sound came!
Shake the mailman! Catch a shoe! Creep the earth!
Baseball shakes a sandwich! The room stands chewing
on the floor of words sitting by the bathroom door.
Grandpa's bus #6 from the metal hospital, he kicked the wash,
smiled the need of an automobile!
The longest things scratch an automobile.
In a three-dish kitchen, eight shallow buttons around brother.
Draw the ceiling! With ten earths! Scratch working! Skip shoes!
Foot things! Hand your dish! Watch the longest seed beating!
Thick seeds foot the earth! Butter is running!
Baby dream came crying to playground skating the porch.
Seven yelled, "Planet's a mess!", beating dish, shoe, ceiling,
smiled in metal bathroom chewing lips! Oiling wood in brother tongue!
My planets! In hospital, a woman's head! Grandma's sweater!
All her relatives' ankles, ten! A belt the ceiling around it has!
Cousins, planets skate! Three cats after a fox!
Magic sound of leaf on neck and laughing teacher!
Window peppers, my mailman: write, Magic!
The seed on your tongue is magic!
The stars read by an elephant of a woman!
Watch her hands working, her sweater! Draw four!
Her teeth laughing buttons! Her wrist a ribbon!
The awful camel stars! The neighbour astronaut's elbow!
A sailor creeps his dream of space!
Catch his thumb number! Thin dinner a penny, baby!
74 It stars me, loud child beating, chewing elbow, neck, knee!
Teeth chasing buttons and things, the neighbour's hand, foot!
At the market: eggs, oil! Grandpa, sing more!
By the wall we wolf breakfast, sing like soldiers, "More ba-cow!"
Sing, sister! Climb the inch! Fox the deep-fighting school!
A pushed wall! Skates shallow fingers crying! Laughing!
Working! Yelling, "Sand-wich!"
The longest door is a ruler six wolves long!
Wash the kiss of the fox!
At the fire house write an inch, write five!
"Kiss!", yelled the mailman.    "A nickle for the biggest climb!"
Crying cheek made a finger, relative sister!
Chasing seven men your teeth like dimes!
In place of fighting can astronaut's dinner number mouse!
Read on bus of ribbon necktie for a dime!
Four climb the biggest bathroom!
A soldier at camel playground throws butter!
Baby in the wood! Teacher, brother, running!
Zipper sound! Need of hospital!
Fingering cheek in grandpa's sitting room,
place anything but wonderful!
My sweater at the juice-belt post office!
Have pepper playing market, child!
To elephant window came the milkman mouse!
Hot dog! Read football, grandma!
Thin creep on floor six shakes ankle at grandma's neighbour!
Playing the belt a man licking pushed his sandwich to me, a leaf!
Fight wooden thinking! Push my lips to the ankle place!
The tallest knee is a ribbon! A nine-lunch school the smallest!
The biggest kiss on your shortest friend's head!
Daddy, how wonderful to draw a post office leaf!
Wash! Have words, child! Chin in your breakfast!
Three walls, dinner for eight, thumbing elbows, awful!
Bacon! Licking space! Nine milkmen! One thumb!
Teacher thinking daddy fight shallow smallest tallest made.
75 Francis Jammes
Translated from the French by Dennis Tool
Prayer to go to Paradise
with the Donkeys
When my time comes, 0 Lord, see to it that it comes
on a day when the countryside is splendid with dust.
And just as I choose my own roads in this world,
let me choose my own road to Paradise,
where stars gleam in the broad daylight.
I'll take my walking stick and set off
down the broad highway, saying to my friends,
the donkeys: "Come on, all you gentle friends of blue sky,
you dearest, shabbiest of creatures whose flicks-of-an-ear
fend off blows, blowflies and bees ..."
Grant, 0 Lord, that I come in the midst of these beasts
whom I love especially as they bow their modest heads just so,
hesitate, shuffle their tiny feet in so endearing a way
as to take Your heart away.
I'll arrive followed by their thousands of ears,
their flanks laden with bundles and baskets,
some trailing Gypsy wagons, circus cages,
peddlers' carts, blacksmiths' drays ...
Some with battered kettles on their backs,
she-donkeys round as wineskins, hooves worn out—
And some with running blue sores we cannot hide
from rampant swarms of hungry flies.
0 Lord, grant that I come in their company.
Grant that the angels escort us in peace
to luxuriant streams bowered in trembling cherries
plump as the jubilant flesh of little children,
and grant that I—bending over the dwelling-place of souls,
over Your divine waters—shall be as the donkeys,
who mirror their bland and humble poverty
in the bottomless pool of eternal love.
76 Contributors
Jim Barnes won a translation prize from Columbia University for his Summons and Sign:
Poems by DagmarNick in 1980. His most recent volumes of poetry are The American Book
of the Dead (Illinois U. Press) and a Season of Loss (Purdue U. Press). He edits The
Chariton Review.
John Castlebury was born in Brooklyn in 1953. Editor of The Windhorse Review. Mac-
Dowell Fellow. Cummington Fellow. Bread Loaf Work-Scholar. His work has appeared or
will be appearing in over a dozen literary magazines. He occasionally sets aside usual
realistic style in favour of a more playful outlook. His manuscript The Eau in Obsession
seeks a publisher.
Marco Denevi's two novels, Rose at Ten O'Clock and Secret Ceremony, have been translated into English. The latter title was made into a motion picture starring Elizabeth
Taylor in the late 1950's and won the Kraft Novel Competition.
Marion Douglas has been writing for a couple of years and her stories have been accepted by various journals. She is currently working on a first novel.
William I. Elliott and Kazuo Kawamura direct the Kanto Poetry Centre, edit Poetry
Kanto, and are chiefly known as the translators of Shuntaro Tanikawa, with whom they appeared at three readings in October, 1987.
Steven Forth has published translations of Japanese poems in a variety of magazines,
most recently Room of One's Own. An essay on the translation of Japanese and some later
poems by Yoshida Issui are scheduled to appear in Writing. One volume of his poetry has
been published, Imitating Flight (TELS Press, Tokyo, 1986), while more recent work is in
Abacus 24 Elmwood (CT, February '87).
Mark Frutkin has published two works of fiction and two books of poetry, most recently
being The Alchemy of Clouds (Goose Lane). His work has been translated into Dutch, Hindi
and Punjabi. He's presently Editor of Art Action Magazine and Associate Editor of Arc
poetry magazine.
Ben Greene works as a Poet-in-the-Schools in South Carolina. His work has appeared recently mDenverQuarterly, BluePitcher, andBlue Light Review. He resides in Aiken, S.C.
Ana Hatherly is a Portuguese poet who has published various books of experimental
poetry. She lived for some years in England, earned her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, and is now living in Lisbon. Tisanas means infusions and Ana Hatherly explains that she is distinguishing the poems from effusions. It is also an English pun on her
name Tis Ana's.
Steven Heighton currently teaches English in Japan. His poetry and short fiction have
been published in a number of publications including Grain, The Fiddlehead, Queen's
Quarterly, The Antigonish Review, Poetry Canada and others.
Yoshida Issui was born and lived most of his life in Furubira, a small coastal town on
Japan's northern island of Hokkaido. His life on this rough coast exposed him to the harsh
beauties of nature in a way quite different from that of metropolitan poets and his experience was formed within a more 'primitive' culture. The poems translated here are from his
first collection of poetry The Rose which was published in 1927.
77 Dayv James-French has been widely published in Canada, The United States and Australia. Stories and poems are forthcoming in The Antioch Review, Canadian Fiction Magazine, Canadian Forum and Quarry. He lives with a psychologist and a rat.
Francis Jammes was born in the Pyrenees of Southern France in 1868 and spent most of
his life in his native province. His poetry—immensely popular during his lifetime and
praised for its lyricism and fidelity to detail by Claudel, Mallarme, Loti and other contemporaries—supports the poet's claim that he belonged to no school but "the school of
the hedgerows, the academy of fields and flowers." "I am water," he said. "I am sky."
Monique M. Kennedy is a Danish physician who translates poetry. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Frank, Paintbrush and elsewhere in the US and Europe.
Rika Lesser (b.1953) is an American poet and translator of Swedish and German literature. Among her publications are Etruscan Things (Poems, Braziller, 1983), Rilke: Between Roots (Princeton, 1986) and Guide to the Underworld by Gunnar Ekelof (U. Mass.
Press, 1980) for which she received the Harold Morton Landon Poetry Translation Prize
from the Academy of American Poets in 1982. Among other things, she is working on a selection of Goran Sonnevi's poetry. She lives in Brooklyn Heights, New York.
Jean R. Longland has won numerous awards for her poetry and translations and her
work has been widely published around the world.
Nancy Mattson, editor and writing consultant in the Department of Educational Administration, University of Alberta, is active in Finnish-Canadian historical and literary studies.
Her poetry has been published in Canadian Forum, CV2, Northward Journal, and NeWest
Review, and broadcast on CBC Radio (Alberta) and FBC (Finland). Her manuscript Maria
Breaks her Silence is a poetic biography loosely based on the life of a 19th Century Finnish
woman who emigrated via Michigan to New Finland, Saskatchewan.
Daniel Nadezhdin was born in a Ukrainian village near Kiev in 1926. In 1977 he
emigrated from the USSR to Canada, where he now lives in Ottawa and works as a
scientist in Chemistry. He has published Russian Poems in the USSR and in Russian
papers and journals in Canada, USA and France. His English poems have appeared in
Anthos, Arc, and Focus. A book of Russian poetry is forthcoming in Anthos Books.
P.K. Page is a writer and artist living in Victoria. Her latest books are The Glass Air
(Poetry) and Brazillian Journal (Prose). A children's book: A Flash of Sea Water is
forthcoming in the Fall of 1988.
Holley Ballard Rubinsky divides her time between Toronto, where she sits on the editorial board of Descant; Banff, where she is a faculty member in the writing program; and
Kaslo, B.C. Her fiction has been published in Canadian Fiction Magazine, Event, Red-
book, Rubicon and other magazines.
Mikiro Sasaki, in his forties and well-established in Japan, is only now beginning to receive overseas attention.
Melita Schaum received her MFA in Creative Writing from Stanford University in 1980
and her Ph.D. in Modern Literature and critical theory from the University of Notre Dame
in 1984. She is currently Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Writing Program at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Her poetry has been published in such journals as The Denver Quarterly and Touchstone. A book-length manuscript entitled The Death
of the Ventriloquist is currently in circulation with publishers.
Kerry Slavens is a poet and fiction writer from the East Kootenays. She is currently
working as a freelance journalist. Her work has been recently accepted by the Malahat
Review.
78 Knud Sflnderby (1909-1966). Danish novelist and playwright. Morning Stroll is taken
from a 1950 anthology of short stories and appears here in English for the first time.
Goran Sonnevi (b. 1939) is one of Sweden's leading lyric poets. He has written eleven
books of poems, assembled four collections, and has translated the poetry of Ezra Pound,
Paul Celan, Osip Mandelstam and others into Swedish. You sense the light's fragrance ... is
iromDikter utan ordning (Poems With No Order), 1983. Sonnevi lives outside Stockholm.
Conrad Spoke has lived in Tucson, Arizona for fourteen years, which is half his life,
which is about enough. His main ambition is to ride his bicycle to Seattle (or maybe Vancouver if he doesn't get tired). This is the first time he has been published.
Pia Tafdrup is one of the most prominent of the younger generation of Danish poets She
has published five collections of her own poems and edited two volumes of contemporary
Danish poetry.
Jean Tardieu is a poet and radio and television director living in Paris. His works include
Accents, Figures, and Monsieur Monsieur. His translations of Goethe are well known.
Dennis Tool's poems and translations have appeared in the Carleton Miscellany, The
Southern Review, Poet Lore and other magazines. He teaches at Clemson University in
South Carolina.
Anni Whissen is Chair of the Department of Modem Languages and Associate Professor
of German at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. She is a native of Denmark and has
translated works by several modern Danish writers, most recently Peter Seeberg's Fugls
Fode (The Impostor), which is being published by the University of Nebraska Press. She is
currently working on a translation of Marie-Luise Kaschnitz' Das Haus der Kindheit (The
House of Childhood).
Clark M. Zlotchew is a Spanish professor at State University of New York—Fredonia.
He has published numerous articles on Spanish and Spanish-American Literature. He was
translator/editor of Sorrentino's Seven Conversations with Jorge Luis Borges (Whitston,
1982). One of a team of translators of Light and Shadows: Selected Poems and prose of Juan
Ramon Jimenez (White Pine Press, 1987). He translates contemporary Argentine and
Uruguayan short stories and has also published original short fiction, in Spanish, in Latin
America.
79 Creative
Non-Fiction
A Contest:
To discover where the poet, essayist, fiction writer and
journalist meet to shape the page
An Invitation:
To submit personal narratives; essays, ideas, commentary;
descriptive sketches; memoirs, journals, narrative
contemplations . . .
Prizes:
Three winners will each receive $500, plus publication in Event
Note:
Previously published material cannot be considered
Maximum length for submission is 5000 words, typed,
double-spaced, sase
Entry Fee:
All submissions must be accompanied by a $10.00 entry
fee—and all entrants will receive the next three issues of
Event free (Those already subscribing will receive a one-year
extension)
DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES: MARCH 1, 1988
Notification: May 1, 1988, with publication in Summer 1988
Preliminary judging by the editors of Event
Address:     Creative Non-Fiction
Event. The Douglas College Review
P.O. Box 2503, New Westminster, British Columbia
Canada V3L 5B2
#
ootiy  WPW^WW"***8*"*'*' 1
1
'///////&
Fiction
Marion Douglas
Poetry
John Castlebury
Mark Frutkin
Steven Heighten
Dayv James-French
Nancy Mattson
P. K. Page
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Conrad Spoke
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In Translation
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Ana Hatherly
Yoshida Issui
Fianci"! Jammer
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(iiiran Sunnevi
Pra Tatdrup
Jeafi    :

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