Volume 2, Number 2

Excerpts

THE MAYAKOVSKY POEMS (an excerpt)

by Ben Berman

Vlad, angle parking

Maria says I am clog-headed.

This is how she introduces me at functions,
formally. I am stubborn as I am good-looking.
We are going to the exhibition.

In the parking lot, Maria is backseat driving.
Keep going, she says. I prefer that I must say I prefer that spot.
We leave the car and walk toward the ferris wheel
which governs like a constellation.

The gilded horses and albino tigers
parade aloft in circuit.
Lift and descend like a mood, their breath
imminent as hot air balloons.

I chance my hand at roulette
for a stuffed rooster and a peck from Maria.
Her mouth is a revolution
that represents at least a thousand words I was not counting on.

5/28

Noel and Tarisai come to my house
after basketball. They have an idea
how to earn school fees that they’d like to discuss.
Please sit, I say. No, we should walk to where
we can make US Dollars. They tell
me to bring my camera. We go for a walk
through the woods. Noel has a plastic ball
and we play pass, pick wild fruits, talk
in Shonglish, share jokes. We stop at a cave
and they ask if I’ll take a photo of
them. Is this how you’ll make money, I say.
Of course not, says Tarisai, zviri fun
chete. I take a few and we continue
on our way. Noel has questions about
America. I want to know is it true
that every one has a water spout
and that they eat dogs in China. He throws
a rock at a tree. A bird flies away. This
is it, Tarisai says. We wanted to show
you this. He points at a young, naked
boy – dirty and covered with flies. Come, take
a photo of this one, he says. Send it
to USA. Tell them to send money – save
a poor, dirty boy’s life. They are having fits
of laughter, slapping each other five.
Send them my name, says Tarisai. No, wait,
first let us go and gather some more flies.
I take a picture of them laughing. Take
one of this half-built hut. Show them how poor
we are. Let’s go, I say. We walk to Noel’s
house and have sadza with his grandmother.
His aunt gives me roasted corn and boiled
groundnuts.



$6-

Shipping included in all prices.


Contributors

Adrienne Ho
Ben Berman
Bill Bogart
Brian Leary
Charles Douthat
Christopher Citro
Christopher Howell
Clint McCown
Dan Manchester
Dariusz Sosnicki
David Hernandez
Estrella del Valle
James Grabill
Jean Compte
Jehanne Dubrow
Joshua Marie Wilkinson
Laurel Synder
Melissa Dickey
Michael Dickman
Rebecca Loudon
Robyn Art
Sam Lohmann
Scott Hartwich
Simon Grotrian
Simon Perchik
Sonia Greenfield
Steve Price