741 Chapters
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Medium 9781574415384

In These Times the Home Is a Tired Place

Jessica Hollander University of North Texas Press ePub

In These Times the Home Is a Tired Place

PART ONE

1. Only one dream the mother remembered: driving, dead bodies on the road, the word PAPER large and black on a billboard. Sometimes she made up different dreams when she woke panicked in the gray morning, imagining an airport chase, a lake drowning—but they weren’t really hers, only dreams she believed she should have instead of always the one: driving through death and the urge to pull over.

2. The girl spent a Saturday morning cutting snowflakes from a pile of paper she’d found on her mother’s desk. The snowflakes were peppered with sliced negotiations, diamond-pierced words like child and property and alimony, and when the girl finished she strung the flakes together and hung them from her window so they trailed to the berry bush and flapped in the stirred summer wind.

3. Screamed in the kitchen one night. Too many cooks in the saucepan. Too little wine. Granite counters crusted with crushed tomato, sea salt, sausage casing, but no food besides the steaming meal bleeding over the bin. The girl sent to her room—Now. The father’s recipes stacked and chopped to pieces and confettied across the tile. Division always makes less unless one was a fraction to begin with. “Divide by me,” the father said. “Then we both come out ahead.”

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Medium 9781574415650

Grip

Becky Adnot-Haynes University of North Texas Press PDF

Grip

I love the pole vault because it is a professor’s sport. One must not only run and jump, but one must think. Which pole to use, which height to jump [. . .] I love it because the results are immediate and the strongest is the winner. Everyone knows it. In everyday life that is difficult to prove.

—Sergey Bubka, 1988

W

hen Ewan began pole vaulting again, he did it secretively, furtively, a thing he held inside his chest until it pulsed—like a family secret, or a lie. Lucky for him, it was a sport well-suited to solitude: You didn’t need someone to hit ground balls to you, to rebound missed shots, to return your serves. It had been eight years since his last vault—it was hardly a sport of casual pursuit—and he missed it. Really missed it. Standing at the end of the runway before his first jump, he felt a buildup of energy course through his limbs, the sensation so visceral that he closed his eyes and simply let himself feel the weight of the pole resting in his hands, that lovely feeling of anticipation. It was the day after he and Cora decided, officially, to start trying for a baby, him making a nervous joke as she pulled him to her that it was time to see if his boys could swim.

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Medium 9781574416237

Snell's Law

Matt Cashion University of North Texas Press ePub

When he wasn't working, my father lived on our roof with his telescope and his booze. There were times, late at night, when I heard him dancing up there. He was a licensed psychopharmacologist, but I never knew what that meant. When I asked him once what it meant, he told me it was a title given one who specialized in psychopharmacology. I didn't know what that meant either, but I was embarrassed to tell him so. He expected me to know these things.

He took me to the roof when I was young. I looked down his pointed arm toward the constellations he pointed at for me, but I never saw the first. Not even the Big Dipper. I saw every star, but I never saw an example of what some of them group to form. He stopped pointing the year I turned seven. After that, I snuck to the roof when he wasn't home. I used his telescope to look through our neighbors’ windows at the wives and daughters of my dad's friends.

My mother was a painter, and we were very much alike, except that I couldn't paint. She painted for happiness, but if it worked, she kept it to herself. When I enrolled in the local community college (instead of leaving home for college as she'd wanted), she stopped talking. She wrote a note to us then that said, “I can't speak without crying, so I'm talking only to my paintings for awhile.” My father said she'd suffered a breakdown “of an all-too-common-sort.” She didn't ask for help, and he didn't offer any. He said she might get better and she might not; we'd have to keep watching. He asked if I had questions. I could not, just then, think of any.

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Medium 9780253220042

8. The Plan

Elsa Marston Indiana University Press ePub

A STORY FROM A PALESTINIAN REFUGEE CAMP IN LEBANON

 

The moment the new art teacher walked into Rami’s classroom, he and every other boy bounced up straight in their seats. With her cheerful smile and green eyes, her shiny brown hair and pink smock that said “You Gotta Have Art,” she looked like all the flowers of springtime.

“We are very fortunate, boys,” announced the principal in his best speech-making Arabic, “to have Miss Nuha Trabulsi to teach you art for the rest of the term. Of course, she has to go to other schools in the camp as well, and therefore she can come here only one day a week, on Thursday. But she will make you learn many things about art—how to draw and how to paint, and maybe other things.” He glanced at Miss Trabulsi for confirmation.

She smiled. “Definitely,” she said.

Rami thought, only one hour a week? And he’d have to share Miss Trabulsi with more than a thousand other boys?

Others might have been discouraged by such odds, but not Rami. After one good look at Miss Trabulsi, he decided on his life’s mission—for the next three months, at least.

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Medium 9781574412406

13. Words to Live By

Aimee La Brie University of North Texas Press PDF

Wo rd s t o L i v e B y

135

something so funny you almost peed your pants. Remember when you studied together at the Café Gourmet and you pretended to read The Color Purple and he was so beautiful, looking down at his book, his hand resting on his cheek, writing in the crooked left-handed way of his. He admired your Bettie

Page poster.

He says your name before he comes. He’s affectionate after.

You both love Woody Allen films, making fun of stupid movies, sushi, Indian food. You agree you’re not sure what happens when you die, but the two of you verge on hopeful atheism. He said you are the sexiest woman he’d ever met. He did the dishes without you asking. He’s not bad in bed. If only he would read something besides Nietzsche or Jack Kerouac.

He’s in medical, dental, law, graduate school, trying to finish his dissertation on Chaucer. He can’t leave Maggie, his golden retriever, overnight. He once had major surgery. He doesn’t realize he’s homosexual. They moved around a lot when he was a kid.

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Medium 9780253203175

Bogdanov’s Inner Message

Alexander Bogdanov Indiana University Press ePub

Loren R. Graham

 

Alexander Bogdanov’s novels Red Star and Engineer Menni were popular illustrations of his theories of politics and philosophy.1 Red Star portrayed developed socialism on the planet Mars and it opposed socialist humanity and cooperation to capitalist cruelty and individualism. The hero, Leonid, held out the hope that socialism could soon be created in Russia. Published almost ten years before the Russian Revolution of 1917, the book was popular among Russian radicals both before and after that date. Engineer Menni, published five years later, in 1913, was based on the success of the earlier work and portrayed the history of Mars during the period of capitalism that preceded the events narrated in Red Star. Let us look more closely at these novels, first Red Star and then Engineer Menni, in an attempt to understand more fully Bogdanov’s intentions.

The primary ideological goal of Red Star, the encouragement of revolution, is clear. However, the novel contains a secondary message which has not been noticed, yet which is striking and prescient. Indeed, the novel is an example of how the readers of a utopia may consider it a success yet not understand what the author meant when he wrote it.

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Medium 9780253006837

30: Abdo-Julien

Abdourahman A. Waberi Indiana University Press ePub

30

ABDO-JULIEN

FALL 1892. They were exhibiting Ka'lina Amerindians from French Guyana completely naked in a Parisian park at the same time as our grandfathers in traditional dress, gathered in a flimsy hut indicating their generic name—Somalis—in the Zoological Garden of Acclimation. Take the Chemins de fer de l'Ouest, the Western Railroad, and get off at Porte Maillot station, said the poster announcing the attraction in all the French newspapers. All that memory is available with one little click. Thanks, Internet. To think that Grandpa served as a soldier whose assignment was to watch the borders for the Republic that had put his grandfather in a cage of a zoo open to the winds. And what do I have to with all this? Now that I think about it, I'm closely connected to that past, that colonial memory not always the color of the pink panther. That's why I sometimes reject that shared memory, and at the same time reject myself, reject my maternal side and my skin, which in fact isn't all that light. Repress my whole being, express myself loudly too, and shout from the rooftops: “Do not call me a mulatto, a métis. Metis was the first wife of Zeus, king of the Olympian gods. She died horribly.” But people here don't know that, either. So? So, don't breathe a word of it.

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Medium 9780253223432

Chapter 20

Jim Cohee Indiana University Press ePub

Chapter 20

Praised be the fathomless universe! And praised be Mom!

We drove west to Terre Haute and shot across the Wabash River, the mighty Wabash, and the waters stood like a heap. We flew like a rocket ship across Illinois, picked up Highway 66—highway of Huckleberry Finn and Sal Paradise—and blazed like a meteor past fields of pale alfalfa, pale soybeans, past sun-skimmed pools of duckweed.

A breaking tidal air fell in the window and mussed my hair. I held tight to Pookie’s baton and looked straight out the passenger window. The wilderness of Shur shuddered there like blurred boxcars.

Purple mountain majesties rolled toward us like knots on a capstan. Anacondas burped in the Amazon. Stormy South Pacific seas lay becalmed today, and the horned beaks of albatrosses smiled at Tuamotu. Cloud shadows ran through clattering Kansas corn while, aloft in prairie skies, Bridey Murphy flew, her red Irish hair streaming in dusk light, her white underpants illuminating whole districts of agricultural endeavor and export and also industry. Bridey pulled Jim Corbett—dazed by American light and blinking with joy—pulled Jim Corbett west with her right hand. The jet stream splayed his feet.

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Medium 9780253016881

Burt Coble, Catman

Edited by Michael Martone and Bryan Furu Break Away Book Club Edition ePub

Burt Coble, Catman

Yeah, I seen your little town at night. It’s usually me and the moon coming up through there about three, four in the morning, boat on the squeaking trailer behind me, still dripping green river water from its bunks, and I notice your Dollar General lit up for safety, pole lights shining down on the empty yellow lines, feral cats slinking around the Dairymart, and one or two cars of high schoolers still hustling split-tail in the parking lot of the school. Used to be every buck wanted his Cutlass jacked up on air shocks. That or a lifted four-by-four. Now about every kid I see gots a foreign job, all lowered so the bumpers scrape pulling into the post office. ’Course, what’s kids today got to mail anyway? But one more thing on them feral cats: more than once, I seen two or three tomcats circling an old mama cat in heat. They say a cat screams like it does when it’s getting mated because a tomcat has a barbed penis. They also tell you a possum has a forked penis, but I don’t even know how something like that would work. But yeah, I seen your houses all dark, everybody inside sleeping away, drooling on pillows. I know which places got them little baby blues, cause I see the light on low in some corner, mama rocking her baby don’t want to sleep. I seen all that and more.

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Medium 9781574412789

Chapter Two

Jane Roberts Wood University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter Two

• 1

R

obert Alexander Moore V, called Cinco by his friends and

Bobby by his family, sits on the back steps of his house. Bobby is seventeen and, even with a lazy eye, can see well enough. He is planning to run away and join the navy. And another thing: He is planning to ask Dixie Balderidge to the Silver Key Gypsy Dance.

He can’t tell his folks about that, either.

The War is driving everybody crazy. Everybody but Dixie’s mother, who was crazy before the Japs bombed Pearl Harbor. Last week after meeting Dixie in the Applebys’ old carriage house—she had to climb out a window to meet him—it was about to storm, so he had cut across the backyards. With Mrs. Appleby real sick in the hospital, real sick, the Appleby house was dark almost all the time, and it was safe to cut across. Mrs. Appleby didn’t like kids cutting across her yard—wearing a trail, she called it. But cutting across, he had seen a dark blue something, like a scrap of night sky, up in a tree. Going close, he saw it was his English teacher! “Hello,

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Medium 9780253012098

11

S. A. An-sky Indiana University Press ePub

THE APARTMENT THAT was referred to as the Ore Miklet was located at the edge of town, in an old half-derelict building that had long stood empty. No one knew exactly who owned the building, and even less by whose permission Elka Rasseyer had settled there. Her reputation in the neighborhood was of the worst sort. By profession, she and her husband, whom the neighbors hardly ever saw, were rag-pickers. But rumors circulated in the neighborhood that Elka’s husband was engaged in “dark affairs,” thievery, if not even robbery.

The house consisted of four rooms; the “landlady” occupied two of them; one was uninhabited because the ceiling had caved in and a large beam was resting on the floor. A former yeshiva student, Tsiporin, rented the fourth and largest room from Elka for one ruble a month. From his very first day there he made his apartment available to any freethinker who was in need of a place to stay. The room was soon turned into a communal apartment with an enormous number of constantly changing residents, and as a result, it acquired the name of the Ore Miklet.

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Medium 9781942496656

Chapter 42

Charlotte Jones Solution Tree Press ePub

As Shira walked back to her living quarters, she could not help but be frustrated with Conrad. Why did he want to leave the guard? Why now? Was it something she had done? Guilt and shame again flooded through her when she remembered what she had said in the dungeons, after he had forced her to surrender. She had not trusted him, even though he had done nothing but prove himself. Maybe that was it. Maybe he was finished with her. He had mentioned what Kaelo accused him of—what had he meant by that? Kaelo had accused him of much, and very little of it was true. Shira sighed and ran her fingers through her hair again. Why the Cloudic borders? He would be hours away from Eleora, from his family. From her. What could possibly drive him that far away?

When Shira walked into her bedroom, Tanwen was rearranging some of the perfumes, ribbons, and other small objects strewn across her bedside table. Tanwen jumped when she heard Shira behind her, and Shira laughed.

“What are you doing?” she said, looking over the girl’s shoulder.

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Medium 9780861967254

Chapter 15

Tony Grey John Libbey Publishing ePub

The wooden palisade, its entire length set alight by the flaming arrows, is receding into charred stumps, and the town that was to be Jir-Jir’s permanent residence is slumping into a shapeless mound that will soon be abandoned to oblivion. A senior officer comes up to the Han Commander in Chief and says,

“Colonel Chen, during the battle we saw something curious outside the gate on the eastern side of the town. It seemed like a giant creature covered in fish scales. When we looked closer, it was a group of soldiers with round eyes like Sogdians but in uniforms we’ve never seen before. They’re there now. I counted them. There’re a hundred and forty-five.

“During the battle they showed a lot of discipline, holding their formation stubbornly against our attacks. They may look odd but they’re impressive soldiers, and big, taller than our men.”

The officer leads Chen and other senior commanders over to the Romans. A detachment including Gan and Kang goes with them. The legionaries are silent and still, holding their shields with the bottoms on the ground and their swords pointing down. They’re passive but ready to defend themselves. They expect to die and intend to charge a high price for their lives. It’s what honour demands.

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Medium 9780253016881

Dale Rumsey

Edited by Michael Martone and Bryan Furu Break Away Book Club Edition ePub

Dale Rumsey

It’s the wife’s family business. We have the concession, pumping the latrines, outhouses, comfort stations, porta-potties, and septic tanks over at the big Henry David Thoreau County Park. The park’s in the floodplain and sprawls along the river’s swampy, scrubby, piney bottomland—many acres where the sun don’t shine. It is a known fact that most of the alien abductions take place here. Or so it seems. It makes sense this is the place where the aliens come to abduct folks. The park is remote and rural with many secluded nooks and crannies and hidden glens surrounded by stands of virgin forest. There is a high percentage of Winesburgians who have reported their live vivisections, endoscopies, anal probes, and invasive explorations. Folks disappear from these woods every day, the fires in the grills still smoldering, only to appear, days later, naked as God made them, staggering through the stands of quaking aspen, swaying birch, and seeding cottonwood. They’re a mess. And in my role as custodian, I have started a collection of alien scat left behind on these occasions, I suspect, when the spaceships jump into hyperdrive or through the wormholes or whatever. The crews do a little light housekeeping, I gather, before they shove off. One day I will have enough such samples to open a museum. I assume the visitors from outer space use the facilities themselves before commencing with their deliberate cathartic probings on us humans. They wash their hands or flippers or tentacles after relieving themselves. The water hereabouts is potable, artesian. The pumping facilities are over near the ruins of the old windmill and water tank that looks, now that I think about it, like some space saucer itself. Back to the scat. The first thing that strikes you (after the wide range of consistencies) is the variety of colors that shade into the blues and violets or are marbled with veins of orange or fluorescent flecks of green, chunked with copper, gold, or silver. Some leavings, years later, still radiate heat that is generated from something more than your normal mechanisms of decomposition. One elongated turd came equipped with what I can only imagine is its own treatment system—alien protozoa that then ingest the crap and excrete their own manure, leaving trails of slime in a kind of woodland forest camouflage pattern impossible to detect unless you are looking for it. Other piles are left behind wrapped in a kind of otherworldly wrapping paper, a frozen ribbon of blood-red urine tying up the package in a neat bow that, over time, subliminally evaporates into rusty ropey smoke. Or the waste is encapsulated in a stonelike outer shell of coprolite, a kind of geode or chocolate bonbon with a gooey soft center. I suspect that like many travelers our visiting anthropologists experience irregularity sparked by their own unfamiliarity with the microbial life they have to ingest while on the road. The liquefied residue, in certain spots, can be prodigious, and often I’ve found that the semisolid piles seem to steam, outgassing helium instead of methane or, even more remarkably, neon, which, when it sees the light of day, becomes excited and illuminates itself into drifting clouds of flickering pastel colors. Many aliens seem to ruminate, and the expectorant is as colorful and interesting as the other excretions, and a number of the extraterrestrials also seem to be coprophagic, like rabbits, expelling, after partial digestion, edible pellets that are then consumed. I have found such pellets with what I only can guess are alien teeth marks left behind in haste, the toilet stumbled upon by an innocent lost terrestrial hiker. Needless to say, I have found this strange poop mixed in with the everyday earthen spoil, as the abductions often include bowel scoping and the local subject must also endure a pre-op purgative enema of the GI tract before the procedure is to begin. I also pump the holding tanks at the outpatient clinics in town where more pedestrian colonoscopies are performed. Heck, I have had that procedure myself, studied with interest the photography of my insides out. Not gutsy so much as I have a professional curiosity. What creeps me out about all this is not the fecal matter but the drugs that seem universally applied by aliens and gastroenterologists alike to wipe clean the memory of the event. When one is under, one is not so much under, but instead says anything and everything, a kind of logorrhea, to the occupied operating staff. Who knows, perhaps the spacemen are much more interested in what comes out of our mouths than our anuses. In my expert opinion no one’s shit don’t stink, even the alien kind. But I have gotten used to it. Still, I have never gotten used to this other odor. The stench of our own stories is so attractive to us—bug-eyed and antenna-twitching carrion-eating creatures that we are.

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Medium 9781574415650

A Natural Progression of Things

Becky Adnot-Haynes University of North Texas Press PDF

A Natural Progression of Things

I

t’s hot. The afternoon is a blaze of sun and slick sweat, the kind Abbott can feel beading up his spine under his shirt as he stands at the edge of the alligator pond, flinging the last chicken sandwich into the water. As he releases it, he lifts his wrist slightly: a small flourish, like a basketball player who has just shot a three-pointer he knows he’s going to sink. Then

Abbott watches in satisfaction as one of the gators bursts forth from the water to chomp at the food, its jaws open and wide and beautiful in movement. Today there are three of them: long and thick-tailed, with skin that is cracked and gray. The two on the left bank are large, probably twelve-footers at least, the third a baby gator: smaller, quicker, ever so slightly less dusty-looking.

A mother and father and their kid, Abbott thinks. A little alligator family. He feels something like a measured affection for the gators. Once, visiting the pond mid-afternoon, he’d seen a couple of redneck kids creeping toward one of the gators with a stick, poking its scaled back, and he’d been glad, actually happy, when the gator made a sudden lunging movement that sent the two boys tripping and scurrying back up the hill.

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