Friday, 7 December 2018

Sudden Prose Reprints: "What Did the Orange Gain" by Anna Reckin

What did the orange gain

                                           when it lost its 'n'? Orotundity and foreignness--an orange is rounder than a naranja. It announces its roundness at the very beginning, out loud in black type: O.

But the 'n' didn't just drop off and fall away, a curl of peel. It slid across into negative space, no-man's land, the indefinite article. There it is, in the middle: empty vessel without so much as an outline around it. 

You can't throw a circle off-balance, but a painting needs a tipping movement. Something to set the eye rolling, ball on a see-saw. Teeter-totter, the clatter of utensils. Cutting board, and the knife's an indicator. Spin it like a needle, and see whose heart it points to. 

Not many murder stories happen in kitchens, despite all the knives, the opportunities. Or maybe they're disembodied--the murders, I mean. Acid, or the ones that slowly boil away until the pan runs dry. Spices whose oils evanesce into the atmosphere...

                                                            the vanishing's the point.

Anna Reckin
Line to Curve (Shearsman, 2018)


Friday, 30 November 2018

Sudden Prose Reprints: "Pancake" by Lila Matsumoto


Oh! The horror vacui of the crevice between refrigerator and wall. I call my reliable caulker, and she arrives after lunchtime with an armful of smooshable foodstuffs, eventually electing pancakes as her most preferred medium.

Lila Matsumoto
Urn & Drum (Shearsman, 2018)

Friday, 23 November 2018

Sudden Prose Reprints: "Fish" by Anna Reckin


A few hours after dawn, under a bridge in the middle of the city, a wooden rowing-boat, with two fishermen in it. Downstream is the outlet from the printworks, where the swans gather in a rush of warm water; upstream the corrugated cardboard factory, a choking smell of damp paper. Along here, the river's shut in, with straight-sided banks and paved paths, squared off like a canal. I would never expect fish to be here. I would think that they would stay in the greener shady places where the river edges what were once water-meadows (sand and gravel still), now playing-fields.

That night I dream of the fish in the river. The river's course has straightened, blocked off into a long narrow pool: a tank in a Mughal miniature. The city walls are smooth and high, fortified, with watchtowers, and the buildings crowd up against them: towers, domes and minarets. It's after dark, and a single fish hangs in the water, gleaming in the night-time stone.

Anna Reckin
Line to Curve (Shearsman, 2018)

Monday, 19 November 2018

Sudden Prose Reprints: "Fondant Cake" by Lila Matsumoto

Fondant Cake

This fondant cake is here for you. A crisp, almost brittle crust, and a rich and dark crumb. Also this grief bacon.

Lila Matsumoto
Urn & Drum (Shearsman, 2018)

Friday, 30 March 2018

Sudden Prose Reprints: 'You Always Wished the Animals Would Leave' by Maya Catherine Popa

You Always Wished the Animals Would Leave

after the 2015 Tbilisi flood

Half the zoo mislaid, the reporter calls them residents, as though they lived in a gracious, gated community. Twelve Georgian men push one perplexed hippo: no Russell Crowe as Noah, no sidekick with a checklist. How to convince a lion to return to its cage when it's seen the Narikala lit at night? The things you wished you would happen in this life have you caught in old affection, fresh confusion. In your version, the animals were never hungry or afraid. They climbed the trees of Tbilisi for a better view. The wolves returned to forests in the Trialeti Mountains. The fate of birds was ambiguous as the founding legend of King Gorgasali who, huntin, shot a pheasant that fell into a spring, cooked or healed, accounts differ. So the literal king named the place "Tpili" meaning warm. Three brown bears lie limp in mud as police, in the ultimate video game sequence, big-game hunt the square at night. Your wish, succumbed to its alterations. At mass, the priest reminds the congregation that bells and crosses melted down by communists became the bars of cages, the ticket operator's chair. You always wished the animals would leave, their problem-solving spirits put to use, lifting fruits from markets, befriending lonely citizens. But time twists your childhood dream until it's nothing but a game of telephone, just as the bird, or was it a deer, or the king himself, fell into the waters and was spared.

Maya Catherine Popa
You Always Wished the Animals Would Leave (New Michigan Press, 2018)

Friday, 23 March 2018

Sudden Prose Reprints: 'Long Distance' by Mary Jean Chan

I read this poem by Mary Jean Chan in PN Review and at once asked if I could reprint it in this series. 

Long Distance

You are running on the rain-dark pavement through Sutton Park. Where I am, all the dehumidifers are on in the house. No fireplaces. Some seas are colder than others, some bodies warmer. I am drinking Iron-Buddha, a cup of tea leaves waiting to blossom. It is too Spring here for my own good, too much green in the salad bowl. Too many stories of salvation; earlier, blue beyond belief. The moon is lying on its back in my dreams. What a smile looks like. A toothbrush touches my lips. Asian steamed sea bass for dinner, with white rice. Polar bears have black skin. Victoria Harbor was named after your Queen. How many hearts in a deck of cards shuffled across two continents? I am catching a plane tonight--thinking about the delicate map of your neck. Roaming. 

Mary Jean Chan

Friday, 2 February 2018

An interview with Lucy Hamilton on her book of prose poetry, Stalker

Ian Seed interviews Lucy Hamilton on her first collection of prose poems, Stalker, here: