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, January 4, 2012

No news today - Guest Post - Polly Bresnick


She hears a warm voice say, "That seat is available. You're welcome to sit." Over the clunk and whoosh of the train slamming around on its tracks, he sounds handsome. The accent is the square-jawed drawl of Southern California. She is good at placing voices. He sounds tan, with salt-and-pepper hair. He sounds like he might know he's handsome. He sounds kind. He is a backlit shadow mingling in front of her.

He can see that she is blind, and he thinks of himself as a helpful person. He stares at her wandering eyes. "How are you today?"

She smiles. "Oh, just fine. Thank you for asking." She keeps smiling, her face turned up towards his voice. She asks him back and he answers.

He smiles, then realizes he doesn't have to, then thinks she can probably hear a smile in a person's voice, wonders about all sorts of subtle things that seeing people can't hear. He folds his newspaper and folds his hands and lets it all rest in his lap. He looks out the window. Maybe their conversation is over.

"Beautiful view out the window, isn't it?" He turns to her, surprised. She laughs and slaps her knee. "That was a joke. It's polite to laugh when a stranger makes a joke." He smiles and lets out a generous chuckle with the breath he'd been holding in. She reminds him of a female actor who always plays the funny roles, only she, the blind woman, is quite pretty.

"Don't worry," she says. "I won't ask you to explain to me what cathedrals are by moving my hand to draw the picture." He frowns. He can't tell if this is another joke.

"Sorry?" He means it in all kinds of ways.

"No need to be. I'm not." She keeps smiling towards him, while her dull eyes wander all over the place. She's fastidiously dressed. He thinks someone must dress her, or assist her. "I'm OK with sitting on a train with someone who doesn't read, as long as you're OK with sitting on a train with someone who's blind as a bat." Her smile is completely still.

He nods, his face friendly. Then remembers he should say something, "OK."

She sticks her hand out towards him, "Kate. Kate Brandt."

He hesitates, looks around even, then leans forward to take her hand in his, "I'm George Clooney."

His hand feels firm and warm and, she senses, honest. There is hair on the knuckles but not a vulgar amount. His hand feels clean. He smells like a man who dresses well. He does not, however, smell like the famous actor, George Clooney. "Well, what do you know! It's a real pleasure to meet you, Mr. Clooney." She asks him to do a few of his characters. He does pretty well. They move together through space while sitting perfectly still.

Polly Bresnick writes about accidents, loves Moby Dick, and hosts a monthly reading series with a conceptually palindromic name. You can find her writing in The Brooklyn Rail, Weave Magazine, The Boogie Woogie Flu, decomP magazinE, monkeybicycle, and here: http://sayingitjustright.tumblr.com/.

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