The opening title poem of Allison Adair’s collection The Clearing transforms a recognizable fairy tale into a grim story of a man who may be a “prince or woodcutter or brother, now musty with beard,” all familiar tropes of the genre, and who collects teeth that the girl in the story has dropped instead of breadcrumbs.
Your mother dies. Your family members kneel around her bed in the living room, the hospice nurses in the background. You envision this scene as an oil painting by Poussin, Botticelli. Woman at Rest. People say that when a person expires, their spirit can be sensed in the room. You feel nothing.
‘What is Paradise?’ Matthew Vollmer’s unified story collection, Gateway to Paradise begs to explore. With symbols and motifs dating back to Eden, Vollmer aptly juxtaposes verdant beauty with the garish, honky-tonk nature of tourism, thus creating a complex emotional terrain that vacillates between absurdly funny and deeply disturbing as his characters encounter desire.
I get lucky in Virginia and slip through the open window of a Winnebago waiting at a Hardee’s drive-through. A large male human in his mid-sixties drives through the night listening to conspiracy radio.
Father’s job is very important, we think.
When I was growing up in Ireland, magpies had an evil reputation. In contrast to our liking for robins, blackbirds, thrushes, and other common birds, magpies were reviled. They were considered rogues, condemned as the criminal element of the avian world.
As I enter the garage to lift weights, I hear a vicious roar. To my surprise, I find a turquoise jaguar sitting on the washer. I drop my water bottle and run back to the kitchen. I retrieve a birthday cake from the fridge, and throw it to the jaguar.
Warhol & Kafka
Usually I obey the barking & thank an invisible God for invisible fences.
A bad batch of Molly, out of context, sounds so innocent.
What I was going to say is code for before you interrupted.
Back and forth, the waves sloshed in a steady rhythm–a calming musical accompaniment to the day.