Kamby Bolongo Mean River named one of 25 Important Books of the 2000s by HTML Giant

KBMR was named one of 25 Important Books of the decade by HTML Giant. And was a Page One selection of New & Noteworthy Books by Poets & Writers Magazine.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

No news today - Guest Post - Vesper T. Woods


On my fortieth birthday, when the lights went, my wife Sitchie said, “Sweetheart, my heart. It’s stopped.” Mine had gone too.
The news didn’t care where we were this time. They would say three lightning strikes did us in, three power lines gave up on New York, and a generator named Ravenswood 3 finally died and took the rest of us with it. That’s about all I remember them telling us.
Sitchie was never afraid of it, that pitch-black kind of love. In fact, she preferred it, wished on it, called after its shape: suspense love, a medieval kind of loving. She had them all ready: candles, cassettes, dusting bottles of wine above the fridge, forgotten till they were old enough to be worth it. But outside our apartment, the world was ending, and that night I said, “How could anyone have a beating heart in all this mess?” Then she left.

Nine months later, a million babies were born. I think we both knew it would happen that way. Those who weren’t running for their lives, or smashing up glass, or pointing at the stars for the very first look, or silenced in Shea Stadium, or stealing back what should have been theirs in the first place, or whispering holy vespers, or tagging the 2 train with spray painted love letters, or lighting their anger ablaze, or bleaching their hair for the Son of Sam, or strapping bra straps around bruised arms, were all probably fucking for humanity instead. We had seen the couple across the way fall to their bed, strip each other clean, the shadows of their bodies kicking like a pulse. And really, we knew it would all happen that way.

We had also tried to make a baby in that year of ‘77. But Sitchie had problems on the inside. My Sitchie, Sydelle to those who knew her better. She ate all the right foods for an easier conception, studied the moon so our son would be a Virgo. His name came from the tallest tombstones in Queen’s Calvary cemetery. Sydelle, oh Sydelle, who peeled away the skin of her lips when the Doctor said, “I’m sorry.” My wife, who had said: “I bet he would have had your eyes, anyway.”

I sat on a stool by our window that night. I listened to the melody of sirens, stolen cars booming through storefront windows. The night guards with their nightsticks. The organist at the Mets game, Here is your music to die by. I listened to my wife twisting open the wine, her voice saying, No better occasion, and my own, No thanks. She had a sing-song pitch when she was sad, my Sitchie. I’ll tell you about it sometime.

My heart really had begun to quit earlier that summer. I lost my job and my head. I found girlfriends. I thought about their sex-wet stomachs when I went to sleep. I dreamed dreams of Howard Hughes and Hollywood. I sold everything sacred or shiny in the crash. My watch was the last to go. A man named Freddie at East River Pawn pinched it between his hangnails, dropped it into the mouth of a cigar box, said, “Even without timing, you’re still a man.”

Nine years later, I left New York. A woman named Dolly brought over a casserole when I arrived in the country. It was too dry to eat. Everything about her bored me. I married her. I have a cat and an analyst these days. I live down low and watch my face disappear on hubcaps. My new wife cries at night. She says, “Tell me about her.” The news says, “Where were you the summer of ’77?”

I think I’ll write to them:

There once was a boy and a girl who played telephone with a cup and a string. A boy and a girl who played spin the bottle with a hairbrush and only each other. There was a boy who got gone at 18 years old but sent his sweetheart postcards from around the country, a girl who had answered the door in one sock when the boy came knocking and said, “Well, well. If it isn’t you.” A boy who became a man when he asked the girl’s dying father for her hand in marriage. A man and his woman who moved to the city of no sleep three years before the world was ending. The young woman who gave up smoking and red meat and long-distance running in hopes of a new boy or girl. The young man who never gave a damn thing. A bottle of wine unpacked from their wedding day, saved for the next best occasion. A suitcase snapped shut by a woman fumbling blind for her things. And a slamming door, on a fortieth birthday, when both their hearts had stopped.

Vesper T. Woods is currently an MFA candidate in fiction at Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has appeared in 12th Street Journal, Conveyor Magazine, and received an Honorable Mention for Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award. She is the coordinator of a creative writing workshop for women inmates at the Valhalla Correctional Facility in Valhalla, NY. She is currently the Fiction Editor of LUMINA magazine. On the weekdays, she is T Kira Madden.

No comments:

Post a Comment