Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Augury Books’ Category

unnamed

 

In the sequel, things get bloody. Suspense mutates to horror; body counts escalate. The start of Halloween II recaps the climax of Halloween I: Jamie Lee Curtis stabbing her brother Michael Myers with a knitting needle in the neck, wire hanger through the eye. Donald Pleasence, playing the psychiatrist Sam Loomis, shoots Michael six times. He falls backwards off the second story balcony,only for the camera to reveal the imprint of his body on the flattened grass.

Once it starts moving forward, the sequel allows us to witness the illusion of change over time. Despite the promise of closure, events rarely decloud. The neighbors, hearing gunshots, emerge from their suburban homes; terrycloth bathrobes, cordless phone. The father says: “It sounds like the death out here.” Gravely, without a hint of kitsch, Loomis replies: “You don’t know what death is.”

The conclusion of the previous story: my father, desperate for his mother’s whispery absolution, had forcibly removed me from her deathbed. I was furious (on my way out, I ripped a healthy leaf off the ficus in the foyer), but something in me had softened. My father was, for once, human, vulnerable. Despite his conviction that each of life’s mysteries would, if discovered, submit to structuring principles, his heart still held. As grandma died, I sat in the back of Dad’s car, my knees folded up against the passenger seat’s magazine pocket. I popped honeyed peanuts, kept myself busy with a graduate seminar paper due the next week: why, in Night of the Living Dead, George Romero placed so much weight on the zombies’ orgiastic consumption of the flesh they tore from the living.

At some point, I noticed that one of Dad’s onyx cufflinks lay on the floor mat; probably he didn’t know it had fallen. This resparked my resentment. I hated his mad professor routine. Even then, the man ran into doors.

Whatever benediction he received from my grandma didn’t open him. To his credit, he didn’t videotape grandma’s funeral (as he had taped my twin brother’s funeral). Otherwise, he made no further effort to close the gap between us. When I married Yukiko, our gift came right off the registry. He was skeptical, he said, of inter-species relationships. He sneezed at her relatives from Osaka without covering his nose.

As this sequel gets going, some fifteen years after the original, I am resetting the rubber seal inside my coffee maker, which this morning had leaked sizzling black drops onto the stove coils.

My father, I would guess, is sitting on the rollout couch in my sister Linci’s home office, pouring reduced-fat milk out of his tennis shoe.

The behaviors we once called neurotic or flighty now alchemized into disease.

I take my Gaia Organic Blend coffee onto the front porch. I pick up a snail, set it on my palm. It moves a millimeter forward, then stops. It’s dead, killed by the salt of my sweat. Wait: its slimy head just popped out. Thank goodness it’s still alive.

I set it on the ground. Then I step on it.

In the sequel, I am an associate professor at UC Berkeley. Tenured. I am also, until this afternoon, the pre-eminent zombie specialist on the planet. The one who, at the café, substitutes the word “brains” for “beans” in photo-journalistic captions describing the coffee production process. “Once the brains are checked in and graded, they are spread by hand onto drying patios. The brains are baked periodically to ensure even and complete drying.”

And my father? He’s the man who, mealy-eyed, holds court with some form of invasive and irreversible dementia. He’s the one in the McDonald’s, cutting open and emptying packets of mustard onto the tray while I order for him a Diet Fanta and a Quarter Pounder. Which he doesn’t know to unwrap, and, once unwrapped, can’t bring to his mouth.

 

Robert Glick is Assistant Professor of English at the Rochester Institute of Technology and the Senior Prose Editor of Versal. His work can be found in The Gettysburg Review, Denver Quarterly, Black Warrior Review, and The Normal School. In 2013-14, he has won the Summer Literary Seminars Center for Fiction Prize, the New Ohio Review Fiction contest and the Diagram Essay Contest.
The story this excerpt comes from, “Hotel Grand Abyss,” has been previously published in Copper Nickel 15.

Read Full Post »

Jeanne

Every night before bed Clara sat in her nightclothes in front of the old clouded mirror of her dressing table, while her friend, Gussie, stood behind her and brushed Clara’s hair. While Gussie brushed her hair, a velvet drape fell around her, closing out the room, the children, the neighing of wagon horses passing on the street—like the raising of a bridge, with no crossing over. Inside this sheltered space, the brush warmed across Clara’s head and down across her neck, and down. Back and forth, the breath of the brush, warm as the bed on winter mornings, warm with sleep and dreams, warmer like melting chocolate, then hot, hot as steam, but pleasant. Pleasant heat. Heat like running.

One night, a slight bead of sweat slipped between Clara’s breasts from this pleasant heat, enough heat to want to slip off her heavy robe, and pull up the cotton night dress, up and up, sliding out the right arm, and then the left, and then pulling it, in a flutter of fabric, over the hair. Enough to want the brush to hold its breath while Gussie stepped out of her skirt leaving it in a pattern on the floor matching the circle of her waist. Enough to want to stand there unaware of time, looking at Gussie clothed in skin the color of the candle flame, drinking in the shape of her, noting how smooth her revealed skin was compared to her weathered face, loving that weathered face, observing her left breast slightly smaller than the right, remarking how her nipples stood, shiny as if already wet, and then Clara, bending her head to suck, finding the taste of peaches in her mouth.

But wanting wasn’t doing.

Wanting wasn’t doing.

So Clara, shocked by her thoughts, said nothing to Gussie and the brush kept brushing the same, brushing Clara’s hair. When she finished, like every night before, Gussie set the brush on the dresser and went away alone to her room.

When Gussie left and the door thumped into its frame, the latch clicked into the jam, and the flame smothered out, its smoke slithering up into the night air, Clara shook off her night dress and went to bed with the brush. Lying in the dark, she touched the brush to her naked skin, sliding its soft hairs across her breasts, pressing the side of the ivory handle into her belly. Then she moved the brush down and crushed the brush between her legs. She rubbed the brush against her again and again. She bit her lip bloody, holding in her scream.

Afterward, she drew the brush up toward her mouth and put her lips on the brush—as if the brush were a living thing, someone to fold your hand around, make love to, love.

“Snow Jewel [5:1] 2014.”

Jeanne Althouse lives in Palo Alto, California. Her flash fiction and longer stories have appeared in various literary journals, including Shenandoah, Pif Magazine, Pindeldyboz , Flash, The International Short Story Magazine, Madison Review, Redlands Review, So to Speak, Porter Gulch Review, Red Rock Review, The MacGuffin, and others. Her story, “Goran Holds his Breath” was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. “Children Left Breathing” is her first novel.

Read Full Post »

photo-6

Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 8.23.33 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 8.23.43 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 8.23.53 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 8.24.07 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 8.24.20 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 8.24.33 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 8.25.18 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 8.25.26 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 8.25.42 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 8.26.05 PM

Thomas Cook lives in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, where he’s completing a dissertation on the novels of David Foster Wallace and editing the latest issue of Tammy.

Read Full Post »

 

The preppy hombre
ferried the sunlight on his shoulder
but didn’t speak to it
trotting through the wrestling
signatures of such and such
I have been his age
legible in the rorschach
insensible to the provenance
of flourish or giant
absence of giant Nightingale
with a tweed lid in a cedar
closet The dollar
vans are singing of home
on the Fulton Mall
The world has been resurrected
through its furnishings
I will have added
dogwoods leaning over the fence
with some foolishness and the sycamores
in the sky in their rapture

 

Ben Gantcher’s recently completed manuscript of poems, Snow Farmer, was a finalist in the 2014 Omnidawn Open book contest. His first chapbook, Strings of Math and Custom, was published in 2013 by Beard of Bees Press. If a Lettuce, his first manuscript of poems, was a finalist in the National Poetry Series and Bright Hill Press contests. His poems have appeared in many journals, including Tin House, Slate, Guernica and The Brooklyn Rail. He is a 2014-15 fellow at LABA. He was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, a resident at Ucross and Omi, a correspondent with the Hyde Park Review of Books and a poetry editor of the online journal failbetter. He teaches math, Language Structures and an interdisciplinary writing and visual art studio course at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn, NY, where he lives with his wife and three children.

Read Full Post »

Detail of Le Sortie de l’opéra en l’an 2000, by Albert Robida. Courtesy of Public Domain Review

This coming Saturday, October 25th, Augury editor Kimberly Steele will be featured on the next P&W LIVE panel, held at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.

Poets & Writers LIVE, developed by Poets & Writers magazine, aims to connect the independent literary community through a series of group panels featuring upcoming and established editors, publishers, and authors.

Other publishing companies represented will include Graywolf Press, Algonquin Books, New Directions, Black Balloon Publishing, Rose Metal Press, and Gival Press, as well as a featured reading by Charles D’Ambrosio.

Steele will be sharing her experiences as an editor of Augury Books at the Indie Editor Roundtable at 1:30. For more information about the day’s events, as well as P&W LIVE and how to register, head over to their site.

Read Full Post »

Bio Pic

Photo: Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Dear Lxxxx,

We script our lives on reaction rather than action, meaning our daily life is always in response to, or a reply to, a command or demand. The world uses us in that way—we are the backsided-brainwash of society’s failure—the aftersound of oppression, but we know this maxim, and yet become willing participants to our own commodification. The world does this to us—holds us down. Then too, I’ve been thinking about the question you pose with regards to women and believing. Perhaps images and how we nurture young women as a society creates this insecurity. The American Dream chokes little girl’s dreams insomuch as not all of them will be able to live up to ideal beauty as constructed by benefactors of the dominant narrative, or those who dictate the ebb and flow of how we live. Beauty is a dangerous thing, and understand, Brown and Black women historically bear the weight of civilization, in addition to their own weight, which, at times, can be daunting. But more than that, the male plays a role in this insecurity, especially in these so-called streets, by his rejection of the woman as equal counterpart and anything other than “sexual object.” We just wanna love and have some warm body love us back—objectification is a delicate balance.

In other words, I saw it play out often with men who dominated women to the point they broke their spirit and stole their sound. The women couldn’t speak of their own oppression because they had no language to express the unimaginable, reminding me of Pudding and Sunshine who prostituted. Pudding was her abuser wrapped in a six-foot frame complete with a gold tooth. Sunshine adored Pudding so much she strolled around Logan Circle in DC every night selling the one commodity she knew well, and that was her[self]. Here’s the oxymoron: Sunshine never saw the light. Darkness choked her to death. She never got to understand we are the shadows in the dark novelist Toni Morrison talks about. We play between histories. Our sound originates from the breaking of sound—and then again. Like life, language is only the beginning and perhaps in its death, too, comes a new beginning, a new language.

At any moment I am inside your peripheral vision, imagining with exact description, the six by nine cell you sleep in, in all its isolation because this is, indeed, something I can reinvent from memory. The gray cinderblock serving as the prison’s architectural foundation is always already present. The dull silver ambiance from the metal toilet emits a lackluster glow. Blue could be the sky’s temperament on a November day when the fading brown leaves, that once seemed verdant, swirl from trees nowhere in sight as you struggle to breathe free air. Lxxxx, I have been thinking long and hard with regards to confinement, and the bordering of color, and how we as a society have imprisoned ourselves within the complexity of skin, as if human survival depends on this one specific thing.

Of course, I could make a conscious effort to avoid color or not invade your personal space trying to make a parallelism, but history can be unforgiving in how the past (re)constructs the future, whether we acknowledge it or not. For some reason, I feel our histories and futures intersect insomuch as we come from the same memory. In other words, I have inhabited the cell door clang, and I can’t ever escape that stagnant image of the pinstripe inmate constructed. There it is again, that word: construct or construction, which is another word for confinement on someone else’s term, a sort of deliberate scaffolding of a misguided structure. If I could go back to that initial moment after the formulation of earth—I’m talking about the first glorious sunrise after the Big Bang. Have you ever wondered what that feeling could have been like? If only someone could have been present after the bang—the explosion of particle-antiparticle into space-universal—suspended liquefied darkness. In the beginning a delayed oceanic swirl lacked blue, foliage lacked green—: construction had not begun. If only someone could have stopped progress at that precise moment. To see something neoteric and novel coming off the horizon must’ve been glory hallelujah.

Randall Horton is the recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, the Bea Gonzalez Poetry Award and most recently a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Literature. Randall is a Cave Canem Fellow, a member of the Affrilachian Poets and a member of The Symphony: The House that Etheridge Built. Randall is Assistant Professor of English at the University of New Haven. An excerpt from his memoir titled Roxbury is published by Kattywompus Press. Triquarterly/Northwestern University Press is the publisher of his latest poetry collection Pitch Dark Anarchy.

Read Full Post »

Joe-Pan-bw

 

DC

Green shoots on one side
of a January branch—
half choose hope

Congress—the mighty chambers—
a heart? a stomach?—two dogs
wrestling over street meat

The South 

Crawfish, a hundred perhaps, boiling
in a pot—a lava of spooning hoards—
we’ll suck the juices from their heads
& sex ourselves to sleep.

Thousands led to a stadium’s
mouth—the stadium
is fed better

Pecos River, Texas

My hand upon a man’s hand
blown red with paint dust
ten thousand years ago

 

Joe Pan’s first collection, Autobiomythography & Gallery, was named “Best First Book of the Year” by Coldfront. He is the founding editor & publisher of Brooklyn Arts Press & serves as the poetry editor for the arts magazine Hyperallergic. His work has appeared in such places as Boston Review, Brooklyn Rail, Cimarron Review, Denver Quarterly, Glimmer Train, H_ngm_n, Phoebe, & has been excerpted in The New York Times. He grew up along the Space Coast of Florida and now lives in Brooklyn.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 216 other followers