741 Chapters
Medium 9780253019813

Elbow

Zachary Tyler Vickers Break Away Book Club Edition ePub

Ian’s mother warned him about jumping on the mattress.

“You’ll hurt your head,” she sighed. “I’ve had enough hurt heads in my life.”

She was too tired to scold him. His father had been the stern one, a housepainter with spattered jeans and fingers stinking of turpentine. If Ian disobeyed, he did the spanking. Then the doctors found a white splotch on his brain. So now Ian tucked his hands beneath his armpits and flapped and clucked and jumped on the bed.

His mother took him to the petting farm the week after the funeral. “For fresh air,” she said. It was warm out but she hugged herself. Chickens flapped, hovering just above the ground. Ian asked why chickens couldn’t fly. What was wrong with them?

“Nothing,” she said. “They’re just too heavy. They’re carrying too much weight.”

Trails of old tears overlapped his mother’s cheeks for days at a time. She never wiped them off. Why bother? It was like making his bed, Ian thought. Why would he make his bed if he was just going to sleep in it again later?

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253006837

17: Abdo-Julien

Abdourahman A. Waberi Indiana University Press ePub

17

ABDO-JULIEN

IF WE ARE TO BELIEVE Grandfather, the Moon is even rounder in the neighbor's sky, the grass always cooler in the field next door. Be that as it may, you mustn't run the risk of getting your throat cut by the sabers of the madmen who belch out their sayings and skim the city. They have forgotten the injunction the Angel gave the Prophet in a cave on Mount Hira. It said: “Iqrah! Recite!” From this verb comes the word Koran, recitation. At that time, reading, or recitation, was something very different from the present droning of the Word weakened by narrow minds, often bearded. Iqrah, recite and think by yourself, expand your knowledge; seek, in the bottom of your heart, the path that leads to The Unique. According to Muslim tradition, the revelation of the Koran by the archangel Djibril was a long ordeal—they seem to have forgotten that these days—constant, but painful and fragmented, scaled up over more than twenty-three stations with new additions, adjustments, and successive corrections. That long quest, the goal of a whole life, bears its beginnings and endings within it. “Here, Adam remembers the dust of his clay,” says the poet Mahmoud Darwish. Who, better than the poet, can rise to the divine? Certainly not the shouters who claim that monopoly for themselves. “As for poets, they are followed only by those who have lost their way. Seest thou not that they stray distracted in every valley? And that they say what they do not do?” (the Koran).

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253008183

3 Townie

Jason L Brown Quarry Books ePub

Roderic Crooks

AT THE DEADWOOD INN, THE WOMAN on the bar stool to my right whistles when I tell her I’m from New York City, then starts in on a long, rambling spiel about the five seasons of Iowa that leaves me unclear as to what constitutes the extra season. A football game is playing on a set above rows of multi-colored bottles lit from underneath, but this woman cannot keep her eyes off of me. She says, “So you visiting then?” She points her drunk, glassy eyes at me while the guy at the seat on my left mumbles about the ineptitude of whatever franchise is on the television. I can’t tell which side is ours or if they are winning.

I tell her that I live here now, that I’ve taken a job in town and wait for her to turn her attention back to the game, or to the man on my left, or anywhere but at me. She keeps her chin turned up and her gaze locked, so I add, “At the university museum.” I hope this helpful detail will satisfy her curiosity and send her back to whatever she was doing before she told me I didn’t look local.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781574412017

her hollywood

Michael Hyde University of North Texas Press PDF

2

what are you afraid of ?

and I’d just come home from school and there Mom was bawling her eyes out. Her make-up wasn’t smeared so I figured she hadn’t been crying long. “Always the pretty ones that die,” she was saying over and over, and she didn’t have to say anything else because I know she was thinking I was safe as could be. Plain Jane she liked to call me, teasing me to hear me shout that my name was Constance, Connie, not stupid Jane. She got a big kick out of it and laughed like it was the joke of the century. Even when she’d let me sit down beside her at the vanity she’d start comparing our faces, hers with mine, and she’d always throw in “You can thank your father for that nose.” The way she said it I knew I didn’t need to be thanking anybody.

When Mom was crying about Mary Alice, Wade and I tried to give her a hug because that’s what I thought she was expecting but she pushed us out of the way and started walking around the kitchen—her head bent a little bit to the side—moving like a statue would move if it could. I don’t need to tell you that my mother was an actress at the community theater. She taught me and Wade from the very start about drama, which she said translated into English as meaning “larger than life.” Thanks to her,

See All Chapters
Medium 9781574412406

6. Runaway

Aimee La Brie University of North Texas Press PDF

64

WONDERFUL GIRL

threw up cotton candy after riding the Tilt-A-Whirl and Michael bought me another T-shirt to wear, one that read, “I’m with

Stupid” in neon orange letters. His report cards, junior high folders, his physics books, and his yellow pencil box. Two rolls of undeveloped film still in their black canisters and an old silver

Kodak camera with a broken flash, most of his clothes, his

Nebraska Cornhuskers football-shaped pillow. Every dog-eared paperback book he owned, including the one he stole from the library in Springfield, Illinois. A quartz rock collection my grandmother gave him that he always hated. His microscope, his magic kit, his train set, his baseball glove that he fake-signed with Reggie Jackson’s signature, a paint-by-numbers Clydesdale horse picture I made for him. A bottle of our dad’s Old Spice, his bicycle, the woolen striped Indian blanket that was folded on the end of his bed for as long as I can remember. His photo album— the square pictures from Grandma’s with the white frames around them, the ends curled up from age. An Easter picture of him holding me on the front steps, Michael smiling widely, my face scrunched in a toothless grin, our mother’s tall shadow across the bottom of the photo. A picture of our German Shepherd, Oscar, on his chain by the barn, tongue hanging out and ears back in anticipation of being petted. Our mother’s black-and-white high school photograph, a serious-looking picture of her with tight brown curls and just a touch of lipstick. All of his records including Johnny Cash, Pink Floyd, and Elvis Presley. His record player with the broken needle, his scratched up collapsible desk, Oscar’s red dog collar. Our grandma’s blue rosary and family Bible with our names written in her neat, cursive hand-writing, the pages thin and yellowing. A broken umbrella, his green plastic snow boots, his brown dress shoes, his leather belt, his Oakland A’s baseball hat with the rim bent by his hands.

See All Chapters

See All Chapters