I WOULD LIKE TO BEGIN by saying a word about diversity and about how much I like it. I understand about birds of a feather and such, but I've been living in Texas for the last six months and I can state with confidence that cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic homogeny gives me the heebie-jeebies. Now, I don't have that much control over the state of the world or of the United States or of Texas, but Slush Pile Magazine is my little kingdom and here what I say goes. And while I can't control who reads the magazine or who is submitting to the magazine, at the very least I can state my desires clearly: I want diversity! And I will give special consideration to pieces submitted by persons, or about persons, having American sub-cultural, non-American, or in any other way non-normative experiences. Affirmative action? Heck yeah. I want everybody at this party.
Now that's out of the way, there are a few other pieces of important information that I must impart before introducing the issue. First and foremost, I must ask you to help me congratulate myself on the establishment of a monthly fiction series at Boston's weekly magazine Dig Boston... (read more)
WORD WAS OUT: THAT MORNING, the earth had swallowed up Albert Toovey’s house and all of its contents—his bedroom, his pantry, his plasma TV, his swimming pool, his three iguanas, his old football trophies. I heard the news over breakfast. I was in sixth grade... (read more)
I LEARNED TO LOVE by watching Clara Dahl run. She first appeared to me in accidental glimpses, caught here or there around our suburban California neighborhood after school had ended and the bells quit ringing. I would be ambling toward home, somehow nervous about the empty, sun-drenched hours until supper, sitcoms, and easy math assignments... (read more)
AFTER A YEAR without windows, we pack
up everything between those white walls,
empty the closet, wire hangers like winter
crows, your body wooden, an uneven fence.... (read more)
ASK THE ACTOR no one discovered,
try to get a hold of him, no name,
no listing, no show, no strings.
I will love you like that, he says,
like the dog I am, unconditionally... (read more)
THE MOST COMMON MISTAKE among my clients is that of choice. They tell me when it came time to choosing a partner, they wanted someone who would love them forever. Someone to raise children with. Someone they could talk to. Someone who could make them laugh... (read more)
SO, ALICE, WHERE SHALL we be off to today? The train game, again? Then the train game it shall be. Pick a platform, any platform! I know: I’ll close my eyes and let you sniff it out. What do you smell, Alice, ol’ pup? The sweat of Buenos Aires playboys in the midnight heat? Fruit rotting in the dirt at the bazaar in Istanbul and the musky perfume of the stall-keeper’s son, humming a movie tune, just barely seventeen? The tinny scent of blood at the old butcher shop... (read more)
YOUR FIRST MESSAGE is from some kid who only just gained the right to drink in bars this past November, and what he writes to you is I like older women. Good lord. You log off. The next morning you wake up in your new bedroom in a small town on the New Hampshire border, a place full of peace and quiet and thin middle-aged women who jog around the reservoir by the graveyard. The cold is unbearable...
FAR AWAY IN THESE MOUNTAINS there are times when we know that we live in darkness, and there are times when we know that what feels like darkness is simply the lack of light that rims the forward edge of our planet as it hurtles towards dawn, and on a night in approximately the moment when both of our lives have begun to disintegrate, we sit in the balcony... (read more)
THE NURSE SAYS, “Hold your arms above your head. This will take seven minutes.” My head begins to tick. It’s like talk Muzak, the seven-minute weekly phone call between my brother and me. Made out of habit more than concern. Two aging men, the living remnants of a fractured family, checking in to make sure of what, that we’re alive? I play Solitaire on my phone as I listen to a familiar litany of unmet desire, misunderstanding, regret... (read more)
FOR A LONG TIME I told myself that I was a happy woman. Twenty-four years of marriage, a good career, an harmonious household. Is it necessary to dig up our student years in Brazzaville? Yes, I think so, because that was the time when I first knew you... (read more)
“I OFTEN BASE PAINTINGS on trips I take to places outside the city with interesting flora, such as the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona, or the suburbs of Portland, Oregon, where I grew up. When I can’t leave the city, I go for a walk, drawing inspiration from flowers and trees growing in cemeteries, parks, and my neighbors’ gardens.”