Posts in Poetry & Prose
Li Sao: A Ghost Story (a chapter of a work in progress, entitled Ge Meng)

It was not a secret that Professor Bai Hua favored our gang of four students over others in the class. On the night of the Lantern Festival, as arranged, Bai Hua waited for us near the bike racks. A dark gloom had overtaken the chilly winter air. “Shall we go to Fuzimiao? I want to show you a flavor of the local Nanjing culture,” he said.

In the southwestern part of the city, Bai Hua bought us each a paper lantern strung on a stick. I lit my lantern, and it glowed a brilliant red. Anya and Bai Hua each had pink ones. When she smiled gleefully, Bai Hua looked at her. My heart twinged, as if I’d developed a small crush.

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LEMONADE

When I was about 12 years old, there was this other black girl selling freshly squeezed lemonade in my neighborhood. She was selling each cup for $1. My dad gave me some money and told me to buy 2 cups of lemonade from her. So I did (even though I wasn’t thirsty, wasn’t particularly fond of any drink aside from water, and it was also rare to see my dad drink lemonade). But I did it. I went up to her stand and bought 2 cups.

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Nkyinkyim

Sometimes, I stop. I know I shouldn’t, I should keep moving, head down, eyes down, back down, hunched, picking and pulling. But sometimes I need to stop. I see you in my mind. Tiny and warm. I remember kissing you on your forehead and holding you tight to my bare breast. I couldn’t give you anything else. There was none I could give except my body.

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Review of Eve Packer, Foss Park: Poems

Eve Packer continues her photojournalistic exploration of New York (and her own emotional interior landscape) in these spare, eloquent poems. Many of the poems have dates, and some are even time-stamped, giving the impression of journal entries. In this way Packer marks events in the news, the seasons, the deaths of friends, and the closing of mom-and-pop businesses with a nod to the passing of time—a reassuring constant when so much else seems to be in flux.

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BUMPO

On June 19, 1986, I was home from college and taking a history class in the summer session at the local junior college in my hometown.  It was around 7:30 p.m. and the instructor was lecturing about the importance of the civil war.  Yada yada yada…  I simply didn’t feel like being there.  So after a few minutes had passed, I got up from my seat and quietly walked out of the room.  I went to my mother’s house, which is where I stayed in the summer awaiting the fall semester to begin.   I arrived at home to find a note on the kitchen table from my mother.

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