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The Tallest Building in America

Mama would say I was going to wind up in the nut house like Daddy Jack. Thirty-five years after that Christmas in Flatbush up pops an email from Jack Nelson. Subject: Family Reunion? My grandmother has left a small bequest for me.

What grandmother? I reply that he might also like to see his two granddaughters. Jack pulls up on schedule in a beat-up VW bug, its back seat piled high with bags and tools. He extracts himself slowly. He has gotten quite fat, his beard and hair white, his cheeks red-veined. He is wearing black pants, a black sweater and beret, and he walks with a cane.

The two girls and Anita hang back shyly while we shake hands and eye each other. I do resemble him physically. I see the ghost of Christmas future, my own belly billowing hugely. In fact, he is a genial, witty fellow. There are gifts in one of the bags for the children, who warm up to Grandpa Jack quickly. He watches them through bifocals with a bemused expression.

They are thin and dark like their mother. Anita brings out dish after dish, and our guest eats it all with relish. We learn that he never remarried but has lived with several women and traveled widely. We stay up late drinking the bottle of cab he brought us and reviewing the past three decades, then on to film, books, politics, art. Our tastes are eerily similar. He likes Italian and French films, Tony Hillerman mysteries. We both have dabbled with painting and sculpture.

He plays mouth harp, and I noodle around on a guitar. Even our voices sound alike. Jack is already in the kitchen drinking coffee, his imposing bulk still swathed in black; hair and beard damp, smelling of soap.

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Everyone else is asleep. He chews on that for a while. Do you even know her name? I wish you could have met her. She was a marvellous woman, and she never stopped asking about you. You had a grandfather, too, of course. He died when I was You have an aunt and uncle, cousins. I stare at him. It was my bad luck, not yours. You turned out fine, as far as I can tell. I nod.

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The pieces have sudden sharp angles, clashing colors, weirdly juxtaposed body parts. The one-eyed bishop is a terror. Jack anticipates my every move and vice-versa. A storm knocked out the power. Ask your mother. You were three or four, whip smart. He stays with us three days. We play several games of chess, without talking much, unless chess is a kind of language.

I want to believe him.


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I tell her Mom was wrong about a lot of things, but not about Jack. He wants another feel-good moment. The blazing, blinding sun pounded my head as daredevil, little grey-green lizards dived under tombstones or into the cool brush before my wheels crunching down white gravel aisles. But now on a cooler, overcast morning, looking from the side, I recognize your name below a worn angel etched in the stone, its bowed head resting in its left hand, its right on a headstone within your own.

I rub your name, nato and morto , with wax onto paper, then photograph the shadowy inscription to obtain a copy of your death certificate at the town hall down the road to send to my American cousins.

Contributor Bios

However, sometimes a good book does have an equally good, appealing cover. Both covers include organic growth reaching upwards. And this is what the poems in their books do. They are poetic journeys toward light and growth. For example, Clark found evidence that contradicts the myth that Chapman was a teetotaller and vegetarian.

Cover lightly with loam. Scarlet Tanger, 2. Now focuses on the study and writing of poetry both free verse and closed forms and has been widely published in Australia, the USA and New Zealand. Favourite areas for poetic exploration include the rural life of the past, nature and the human condition. Elizabeth Austen Spent her teens and twenties working as an actor and director in cities as diverse as London, England and Holland, Michigan.

— “Trevor,” by Ocean Vuong

That book was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. Turiya Autry Published author, teacher, guest speaker and performer, has collaborated with and opened for renowned leaders such as Nikki Giovanni, Angela Davis and Hillary Clinton, delivering messages on personal identity, addressing violence, hip-hop culture and more. As a teaching artist, she has provided assemblies, workshops and residencies to over 50 schools and has created and delivered over a dozen unique university courses. Her work incorporates the arts, pop culture and history along with the issues and struggles that arise in relation to identity, power and privilege.

Jim's poetry has been deeply influenced by the works of the Persian mystical poets Jellaludin Rumi and Hafiz. Jim has shared his poetry in the Puget Sound region as featured poets and at open mikes. Jim is currently writing a book about his experiences in the Army during the Vietnam era. The book, tentatively titled, Hey You! In addition to poetry, Jim is busy with sculpture, drawing and photography projects. Jim's poetry and artwork can be viewed at www.

Jim currently lives in Portland, Oregon. Ian Bage Was born in Sussex, England and spent his youth reading 20th century European literature, smoking French cigarettes and living in obscure bohemian poverty. Ian has also lived in Kyoto, Japan where parts of his novel Desire were written at the big table in Shirakaba, the bar most frequented by the avante garde Butoh community and members of DaiRakudaKan. Ian found more inspiration for Desire in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Ian lives on Whidbey Island in Washington state. Ian has also published two volumes of poetry. The Manifesto of Love is a wide-ranging look at the state of romantic love in the twenty-first century. The third volume of the manifesto, Love Found , will be published soon. If I can help someone else see the world differently and enable them to be more loving then maybe I will have succeeded.

Jeanne Leiby Memorial Chapbook Series

Daughter of Filipino immigrants: career Navyman father and teacher mother. She likes to share views of American life through acting, poetry and playwriting. A section of her first play, Fish , was presented at the Pagdiriwang Filipino Festival in Dick Bakken Founder-director of the revived Bisbee Poetry Festival--as well as of the Portland Poetry Festival, and other national poetry festivals. He began performing his poetry in and has collaborated with dancers in performance and spoken word poetry events. From to he crisscrossed the country giving readings and performances until, during a tour of the Southwest, he settled in Bisbee, Arizona where he still lives.

He is also poetry editor at The Bisbee News. His poetry has been published in over periodicals and anthologies, as well as books, audio cassettes, and video cassettes. He has been a featured poet at universities, art centers and poetry festivals from coast to coast. Earlier publications include Out of the Box from Poetry Around Press in and spread them crimsonsleeves like wings, poems and stories also from Poetry Around Press in Her poems and stories have been published in numerous journals and magazines.

Mary Barnard The distinguished poet, essayist and translator of Sappho died August 25, She was an alumna of Reed College where she studied Greek. She also worked for years with historian Carl Van Doren. In the s at Ezra Pound's instigation, she began to translate Sappho. She did a stint at the Yaddo artist colony and was curator of the University of Buffalo's Poetry Center. Her translation of Sappho has been in print for more than forty years and is reputed to have sold more than , copies.

She opened her own photography studio in Manhattan in Was a cover photographer for New York Magazine for many years, and after a few years as a travel photographer, she became a corporate still-life photographer, working for graphic designers on annual reports for the Fortune Sold stock images through Corbis. Also wrote poetry and did her own fine art photography, both portraits and landscapes. Lives in Maltby, Snohomish County, with her husband of 45 years, Ron.

He is also a distinguished translator of Chinese poetry and literary prose and an editor of literary textbooks.