458 Slices
Medium 9781927068304

The Champion

Lloyd Ratzlaff Thistledown Press ePub


First let me get the devilry out of the way. He was a formidable six-year-old obstacle, a runny-nosed waif with dark, suspicious eyes and something weasel-like in his face, who drove his first-grade teacher to distraction. He whined and snarled, he pestered and annoyed, he fought and he lied. Many times a day he flopped out of his desk and crawled on the floor among the legs of kids who were working obediently. He picked his nose and rolled the snot into a ball and flicked it at the teacher, then sat silently as she disintegrated, looking up through big eyes from under a growth of wiry unkempt hair. He fantasized excessively, or lied (often nobody knew which), he ate erasers, he threw things around the room and tantrums at the teacher. And once in awhile he worked a little.

There was more; but let’s just say he was an impedance to the flow of all educational currents. He was so exceptional at so young an age, that no official labels had yet been hung on him — TMH, ADHD, LD, BD, ED, and no DSM diagnosis either. He was Kent (an invented name), an exception to many rules, somewhere out near the first or ninety-ninth percentile of things, and something in me found that appealing.

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Medium 9781938901249

26. Cooking with Capers

Susan Spano Roaring Forties Press ePub



That’s it, I thought, emptying a plastic bag of capers, the last of the little hoard I’d brought home from Lipari. I put one in my mouth and rolled it around. Its flavor was earthier and more intense than an olive, and its essence took me back to the island flung into the middle of the Tyrrhenian Sea, where the parched, volcanic soil yields little but capers and where my Italian grandfather was born.

In The Odyssey, Lipari was the domain of Aeolus, king of the winds. Capital of a seven-island archipelago north of Sicily called the Lipari, or Aeolian, Islands, it was the source of shiny, black obsidian for the Mediterranean basin in the neolithic age; a Greek colony; the scene of naval battles between Rome and Carthage during the Punic Wars and plunder for North African pirates; and a place of exile for opponents of Mussolini in the 1920s.

That’s about the gist of what can be said of Lipari. Just 13 square miles, with a population of 13,000, it isn’t Tuscany or Rome. And it isn’t easy to get to. There’s no airport, which means you must take a ferry or hydrofoil from Naples, Sicily, or Reggio di Calabria, at the toe of the Italian boot. My family and I left from Naples, having spent a week on the Amalfi coast, a long-needed reunion for the dispersed remnants of the little clan.

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Medium 9781743603604

Wonder Train

Berendt, John Lonely Planet Publications ePub

‘Nothing I understand haunts me. Only the things I do not understand have that power over me.’

– Mary Ruefle, Madness, Rack and Honey

There was one street and one kind of car cruised down it: pick-up trucks with full-tint windows, norteña music blaring behind their sealed blackness. Everywhere, men we could not see were scoping us, and at the same slow float, as though making sure we knew: nobody wanted us in Batopilas.

A poet from Mexico City and a gringa writing a travel story: in no way did we belong. I was tackling my first big assignment, to report on the thirteen-hour rail journey through the canyons of northern Mexico, a wild backcountry of red rock gorges that rendered the Grand Canyon a shorty. I’d scanned the map for towns to decamp and spend the night along the Copper Canyon rail route, but got easily distracted by a lone dot of a town, off in the mountains, a full day’s journey from the train tracks.

Reaching Batopilas required a true detour, horizontal and vertical, cutting through four of the Sierra Madre’s major canyons, and plunging, in the process, some 6000 feet.

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Medium 9781743603604


Berendt, John Lonely Planet Publications ePub

The voice was booming, packed with obscenities, and deep – almost supernaturally deep. It was unlike any sound my lungs had ever produced. But there was no time for contemplation. It was 2am in Busan, South Korea, and an intruder was in my living room.

The instant I unlocked my front door and spotted him crouched behind the sofa, the primal, deep-voice response activated. Then, after one suspended moment, he launched himself at me. I sprang back flat against the wall, and he was in front of me. Korean, lanky, wearing a black nylon jacket and baggy pants. I braced for the attack, but he ricocheted against my body, shot into the hall, and tumbled two long flights of steps to the street. I slammed and dead-bolted the door, my hands shaking. Then I heard his feet slapping the pavement outside.

I flipped open my cell phone and stared at it. My hangul wasn’t fluent enough to explain anything to the police tonight, and it was too late to call my Korean friends. My French boyfriend lived across the world in New Mexico, and we were in a fight anyway – edging toward a breakup. Finally I dialed Marnie. I had put her in a cab ten minutes before, and she lived clear across Busan, near our university; she wouldn’t be home yet. I heard her ask the driver to turn around.

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Medium 9780253018571

The Staccato Master of the World

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

AMIRI BARAKA, A brilliant light that shined brightest when in the middle of battling for his people’s rights, has taken the eternal sleep. His manifest destiny was to make racial criminals and political thugs angry and uncomfortable with a staccato style that imitated jazz music in its isolation of certain notes that appeared to be detached and of a shortened duration. This is why the poems he wrote agitated the establishment and made him a righteous defender of human freedom; they were poems with words that actualized energy and power and, more than most poets, he was a student of sound like the old bald-headed Egyptian priests who knew that articulation of the voice was the chief miracle of human mystery. He was a free man and, in that freedom, he was free to be bold, to be wrong, to be strong and to be adventurous, and to be right at times. He knew that freedom came with a price but that price was never too costly for one’s sense of purpose. Always capable of self-correction, Baraka’s ability to take the dagger of his words and strike the blow for truth as he saw it was uncanny and a part of his genius. We will miss him and his poems and plays and essays that provoked a generation to be better humans, to unleash hell on those whose fat bellies snuffed out the souls of the poor. Despite his detractors, or those who believed that he was merely this-or-that, he was a socialist, feminist, womanist, nationalist, and culturalist who sought to bring equality and justices to the world. Nothing anti-African passed him without a comment and nothing was so close to him as his battle with his own intellect. A great spirit has passed this way!

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