GLORY GOES AND GETS SOME
stories by EMILY CARTER
Coffee House Press, $20.95
Review by Katherine Arnoldi
Then watch what happens. Watch yourself, while riding on the train or walking across
But things aren't different, My friend is dead. In fact, more than one friend is dead and Glory B., the character I have come to love is HIV Positive at age 27.
Glory B., though, despite what she says she wants, does not seem to be going gentle into any night. She starts out in "East on Houston" twitching down the street in a sea of Baby-this and Baby-that heading she says for nothing good "in a borrowed red dress that was as red as stoplights, the stoplights gleaming in the black air like costume jewelry from a sunken Spanish galleon, gleaming from the bottom of the sea: the night on Houston like a black tropical shipwreck ocean, fathoms deep and full of trinkets for a young girl like yours-ever-true."
And so begins my travels with Glory B.
Where we are going is down. We start on
When Glory finally thuds flat smack down on her bottom, she does a miraculous thing: she asks for help and help comes in Minneapolis at the rehab center and within the recovery community. Now the question: how does a person with AIDS, a recovering addict, find love and work and meaning? Glory B. does. Glory B. does. I do not want to tell you how. I feel like I'd be giving away the end of a great movie. You got to find out for yourself.
This book is full of flat out, hard strokes of truth, the kind, you know, that users often throw out at you to cut your legs out from under you, to better knock you over, to get control, get one over. This is tough, brutal and endearing writing. When faced with her diagnosis, Glory B. says, "My T-count was low enough to qualify me as a PWA (stands for Person With Aids) which, while not quite as Glamourous and tragic as being a POW, had a shiny, grant-getting gleam about it."
I guess you could tell by the way we started out on this journey, at night in the red dress and all that, that this was going to be a sexy story, too. In "My Big Red Heart" Glory B is confronted with that irresistible of all sex objects, the guy who used his "last girlfriend's flesh in an upholstery experiment," the one whose eyes say "Help me with your breasts and hips and sweet, sweet pussy stronger than a thousand sacred vows of justice."
Spasms of undulating mellifluidity, that's Emily Carter.
And she's got heart, too. And love. Of her husband, she says, "So the strength I relied on was illusory, so what? It was still massive and permanent as a monument. The most beautiful back, the most beautiful cock, stone-solid, like the rest of him."
So now Emily Carter's voice is a part of me. Like the people I have loved that are with me, still and always, I feel myself talking with her, wondering what she would think of this or that concern of mine, this or that idea.
I wish there were more stories like "Ask Amelio," that question the horrible inequalities, the retched realities of living in an economic system in which some people think that they have more because they "deserve it" or that they "earned it" or that it was the "luck" of their birth, or just like "one of those things."
In truth, though, I am thankful for every story here, because Emily Carter, by telling of Glory B's disease, has filled me with love and concern, and you know how healing that is. I want to hold Glory B, cradle her, because, you know, when one of us is sick, we all suffer. By telling the story of Glory B's courage, I feel a little more courageous myself, and by making something out of nothing, by making art, and this is art, Emily Carter has made her world "shine like eyes filled with religion."