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.

Monday, April 30, 2012

No News Today - Guest Post - Lauren Wallach

Dear R—

You said: First it was me, then it was you, then it was both of us. It seemed important to make the distinctions, of whose fault it was first, and whose fault second. Important to blame each of us almost equally, and then to tie it up neatly in the end. Though it is not the end.

Last night we spoke again. You agreed with me about the male writers—certain ones—their “misogyny” we agreed to call it. With Thais over brunch, coffee and Bloody Mary, against dark wood benches and cold winter sun, we inquired about where you stand, R. We were talking about you. Thais said, your eyes, (or was it your head?) must be clear to see that thing in others, causing you to not be one yourself. How can he be when he can see it in others? At the very least, he is aware. Awareness, Thais and I always agree, is the key. Awareness is also a form of denial. As long as you are aware, that is the first step. As long as you are aware, accept yourself, the rest will follow, or it won’t. Must we worry? Be aware and forget. It’s like the morning. They say, do it in the morning, then you don’t have to worry again until tomorrow. Can it all be done in the morning? Tell me R, can it all be done in the morning?

I told you about the poetry book I’ve been carrying around with me like a bible, and you told me that writer is a sexist. This was ironic because the book, in my mind, opposed a man (a writer) who I thought was the sexist. And this book proved that sexist wrong. But now this man was a sexist too. Were they all? Were they all? R—I looked into your eyes for the answer, but they were looking over at someone else. I watched her go by. Red lips lighting up the room as red lips do.

You told me you didn’t write every day, that psychologist who wrote that article was wrong, it’s not the only way, and you eased me, in that moment, I was glad to have gone out, amidst the rain and the cold of the night. You asked me where I had been earlier, why I had missed the entire event, and this time I had a good reason, but wouldn’t tell you—now I will tell you. I was putting my make up on in the psychologist’s bathroom. And let me tell you how exhilarating that was. It felt like I was really about to step out into the world and would find some people who would want me too much, I’d have to push them away, and then give in. Like I’d go with someone. Like one of those nights I used to have. Nights that only feel like you’re really living in retrospect. How wild of me! you’ll recall. It wasn’t one of those nights, but I shouldn’t have to say. We all watched all of us exit the van at our respective homes, like a class trip, like we couldn’t take care of ourselves, like we only knew about a very small part of the city, and of course, each other.

Sometimes we don’t need to distinguish between the two. But I’ll be distinguished when I say: once there were two types of nights. They came together in one evening, or on different days. Then I carried a particular book of poetry around with me like a bible. It was always a way to know.

Lauren Wallach is a writer from Brooklyn. She is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at Sarah Lawrence College, where she is the creative director of LUMINA, the graduate literary journal. Her work has appeared in The Collagist.

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