Winnie’s 350-square foot studio that she called home resembled a submarine, she liked to say to strangers, to offer them a quick image of what it was like to live in small spaces. A submarine was dark and hollow, challenged by gravity. Her apartment was on the top floor of a walk-up tenement building in downtown Manhattan, and got afternoon light. But at night she could squint and conjure the resemblance. Not that she’d ever set foot inside of a submarine.
The image evoked by the title, The Fire Lit & Nearing (Indolent Press, 2018) is both micro (a match flame inching towards your fingers), and macro (a forest fire jumping the fireline). It also summons the spark that lights up when we are about to fall in love. You know you can’t stop it; you know it will damage you; and there’s not a thing you can do about it. Like folks who rebuild on fire-prone land, this is not the first time you have been burnt and won’t be the last. So why? Perhaps it is so we can make art of it.
It is believed that the arrow that caused Ötzi the Iceman to bleed out on a mountain in the Alps had been used to kill two other people, probably by Ötzi himself since there’s murderous evidence on his knife as well, and I’m sure there’s a moral here or a handy metaphor, but what really fascinates me are his 61 tattoos. CT scans have shown he must have suffered physical pain, and the black line tattoos were an early form of acupuncture and meant to treat his ailments, ashes of old fires turned to ink that could draw his pain to the surface of his skin.
Not long ago, I wrote an essay reflecting on the many forms delusions can take that included some snippets from my childhood that I’d more or less suppressed for years. When I shared the essay with some other writers, I knew they would tell me that it was great. That I was great. But they didn’t. Nearly all of them wrote in the margin by the passage about my father, “this isn’t enough, go deeper.” I knew it wasn’t enough, hence the suppressing. But their pointing it out meant I had to do something about it or bury it for good.
Today Cecile and I did yoga, then jogged as pilgrims in a 10K. We drank wine, the conversations moving to how she couldn’t believe I didn’t have a sex toy.
GMR will sponsor and judge an exciting–and FREE!–summer flash fiction contest. Submit up to three original unpublished works of fiction of 1000 words or less. The winner will be published in GMR and be invited to read at the Brattleboro Literary Festival in October!
MARK CONWAY has written two books of poetry, Dreaming Man, Face Down, and Any Holy City. These poems are from a new manuscript with the working title Fuse. Additional sections from in the white house appeared in The Iowa Review; one stanza is repeated in altered form.
A Complex and Dynamic Ecosystem of Poetry: On The Ecopoetry Anthology by Ann-Fischer-Wirth and Laura Gray-Street, eds.
Reading a recent review by Ange Mlinko’s for The Nation, I was made aware of the fact that the term anthology at root refers to a collection of flowers. Nowhere does this etymology seem more embodied than in the The Ecopoetry Anthology (Eds. Fisher-Wirth and...
Steve Langan is the author of Meet Me at the Happy Bar, Notes on Exile and Other Poems, and Freezing. He lives in Omaha and on Cliff Island, Maine.
and that’s how she got herself pregnant. We weren’t trying to conceive, and in fact, to ensure we’d stay childless, we took every precaution: I stayed on top, no kissing, no prayer before or after, and I made sure I lasted less than a minute; personally, I’d done everything right.
. . . Martin’s father went upstairs and swallowed a bottle of pills, landing him later that night in the local intensive care unit. He came out of his coma and confronted Martin, once he’d arrived at his father’s bedside, with two astonishing confessions. First, when Martin’s father was a young boy, his father had sexually abused him over the course of ten years, between the ages four and fourteen. When Martin tried to comfort him, his father said, “I’m not done.”
JEFFREY HARRISON is the author of four full-length books of poems—most recently Incomplete Knowledge (Four Way Books), which was runner-up for the Poets’ Prize in 2008—as well as of The Names of Things (2006), a selection published by the Waywiser Press in the U.K.