In “Watching Dad’s Porn on the VCR,” a poem about girlhood, the speaker of the poem searches for her identity in the images reflected back at her from the television screen “…Mouth of a prophet, tongue of a poet….” Her sense of self is tangled up in what she believes to be the definition of a man—the one for whom the women on the screen carry out their performances.
“Watching Dad’s Porn on the VCR.” The Minnesota Review (Virginia Tech, Duke University Press), Durham, NC, Issue No. 90, Spring 2018, pp. 15. Publishing contemporary poetry and fiction as well as reviews, critical commentary, and interviews of leading intellectual figures, The Minnesota Review curates smart, accessible collections of progressive new work.
The child rides on the backseat of the family’s bicycle and takes stock of Vietnam’s ravaged countryside after the revolution—its people and animals, its landscape and violent history. “The Way to Cái Răng Floating Market” captures the complicated adult world through the eyes of a child—the humming poverty and hunger, the trembling of the land. Geography is destiny, and this fact becomes the child’s identity. She sees her future, and it is the product of a past that she did not help to create.
A stuck sensation—the way fish
bones dig at the throat—
the old woman sings water-buffalo-
herding songs and breaks
the topsoil with a hoe: a rusty tin turns
upside down, a clump
of clay drops to the ground. […]
“The Way to Cái Răng Floating Market” is published in Issue No. 68 of Bayou Magazine, Winter 2018, pp. 86-87. Founded in 2002, Bayou Magazine is a biannual, national literary magazine published by The University of New Orleans. Writing that first appeared in this journal has been short-listed for the Pushcart Prize and named in the notable essays list in Best American Essays.
I’m happy to announce that my poems “Last Bar in Okinawa” and “Home from College” have been selected for publication in the 2017 issue of Two Thirds North. To read the online version, please click here.
“Last Bar in Okinawa” and “Home from College” is also be included in the 2017 print issue of Two Thirds North, available for purchase.
A man, with pockets stuffed with stones to insure that he’ll sink when he steps into the water, stops at bar for his last drink while outside the ocean waits for him. This poem was inspired by a photo a friend had taken of a bar in Okinawa. I was reading about suicides in Japan at the time, and the idea for the poem came together quite spontaneously… and then months of edits followed.
“Bar in Okinawa” photo by William Karstens
I originally structured this as a long narrative poem. I built an entire life for the man to explain how he’d come to be in this bar; but through the revision process, I decided to discard the narrative and keep only the emotions. The months of trying to whittle this poem down to the essential truth led me to conclude that it no longer mattered to the man how he had arrived at this moment in his life, it only mattered that he was there and how he felt. [read poem, page 40]
This poem is about twin brothers, home from college, finding their old bedroom transformed into a gift-wrapping room. Perhaps it’s the newness of a familiar place, perhaps it’s because they’ve been apart and have missed the closeness they once shared, but events unfold with the older brother taking his twin’s virginity. The younger twin feels that he’s “made” into a man by this act and surrenders to the pleasure. [read poem, page 65]
About Two Thirds North
Two Thirds North is a high-quality, annual print magazine produced by the Master Class in Creative Writing and Editing at the Department of English, Stockholm University. Issues are $10 each. [visit website]
Thank you Quatrain.Fish for publishing “Six Year Old Boy with Lost Tricycle Looking at Mural on Museum Wall.” To read the poem online, please click here.
About “Six Year Old Boy with Lost Tricycle Looking at Mural on Museum Wall”
For this poem, I wanted to capture the abstraction of the mural art in language form, and I was thrilled when the editor of Quatrain.Fish pointed out that I had succeeded at it in his acceptance letter.
This short poem with a long title was inspired by a workshop exercise given by Matthew Woodman at the 2016 Central Coast Writers Conference and the mural outside the Harold J. Miossi Art Gallery at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, California. [read poem]
Quatrain.Fish publishes small poems, poetry of four lines or less. [visit website]
I’m honored that my poem “Reeducation” has been selected for publication in the spring/summer 2017 issue of Pamplemousse. To read the online version, please click here.
“Reeducation” will also be included in the spring/summer 2017 print issue of Pamplemousse, which will be available May 2017.
The speaker in the poem is a war veteran trying to reenter civilian life. Having lost the language of the civilized world, he’s “wordless” and sees everyday objects through a distortion caused by prolonged exposure to violence. He drifts from place to place, carrying the images and smells of war with him—violence has a way of burrowing in and laying eggs. My father fought in the Vietnam War and spent a few years in a reeducation camp. I never heard his stories, but his silence is my inspiration for this poem. I hope you’ll enjoy it, and that it’ll spark a dialog on the subject of returning vets and their families. [read poem]
Pamplemousse, published biannually, was founded in the fall of 2001 by the BFA program at Johnson State College. The magazine publishes high quality, forward thinking, innovative, and well-crafted writing in a variety of genres and styles. Issues are $7 each. [visit website]