First Snow

Photography by Amaya Engleking

Your cradle cap flakes
Downward drift as God’s dandruff ~
First snow of the year
Impression of universe
Illumined by Read More

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Philip F. Clark: The Day I Became a Papi Chulo

It’s coronation day!

Vox Populi

It was my usual walk from work,

in suit and tie, tired from the day.

I approached the ballpark. They came

toward me, laughing—a gang of about five

energized, jeering, laughing young men—

still dressed in their baseball stripes, bats and gloves

in hand, smiles still wide from an obvious win.

As they rushed past, an arm glanced mine and

I heard the words, “Hermoso papi chulo!

From what little Spanish I knew,

it was a compliment.

(But one is never sure).

And thus crowned, I turned to them,

smiled, embarrassed, red.

They spoke other words in Spanish I could

not catch, and the young man then said,

“Mister, do you understand?”

I nodded. I wanted to say something back,

but I didn’t know, or have, the words with

which to crown them in return.


Copyright 2017 Philip F. Clark. FromThe Carnival of Affection(Sibling Rivalry Press). Included…

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Night Rain


“To imagine how the use of our resources depletes someone else’s — unless we develop that capacity personally and nationally, we all die. We must see connections or die. Justice is the ability to see connections and live by them.”

— James Carroll, A Terrible Beauty

The world is my prophet
turning my face to fix my gaze
upon the diaspora of my own cells
the promises that dissolve upon leaving the tongue
the prayers that never left
and the self-intoxication from their potency
and the starved faces for whom they were supposed to have medicated Read More

Namaste

Mahākāla thangka

Third-world wrinkles weigh down eyelids as she bows her head and lifts up her palms for alms for one more red-sky dawn, a most colorful sari to don. “Sorry,” says a face as he shrugs off all sorrows and solutions, the faces of great men will remain safe in his billfold until the automated face at the bank intones, Read More

Shame

Painting by Henry Asencio

Today will soon be the rose-colored past when the worst they did was make art of rape with stolen paint and palette knives, wet with red as bitten tongues. It was easy to execrate the oppressor when
it was someone other than Read More

Lay Low

Photography by Peter Lindbergh

“Lay low awhile.”
Din of grungy mahjong slot machines, smoke thick as port-town smog, slurps of Chongqing hot noodle soup
Watery lager, grease stains, and spit riddled the cement floor,
For the right price she could decipher them too —
“Too many eyes on you and this,”
Boss held up her Read More

two hundred and seven words. 10

God’s promise/natural terror — two sides of the same shifting pennies.

Kvenna ráð

207 Probably the girl’s greatest sin of her youth was her abandonment of imagination in favour of reason; before that betrayal (of herself) she could observe a person the way you would step back from a statue you had just made, fall in crush with it, and kiss it in her daydreams; after that she could see the pure stone, the straight, brown track, the division between rain and sunshine that could refract and make a double bow that a Bible would call God’s promise and she would call a natural terror – the same as leaves of frost on a window pane or the lower of a nimbus; her night-dreams, however, continued to be about flying and about a maze of rooms in a lit house she should know, and she came down from them into a world where you could – and this amazed her, almost took back the…

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