Q by Robert Kaufman

I.

 

In English, Q is unnecessary,

but English isn’t Josh Monette’s native tongue;

it’s the language of oppression used

to muzzle his tribe, the Makah.

Even that word is a lie, Makah.

“Makah” is the word used by those who did not understand

Qʷi·qʷi·diččaq, Josh’s language in his language.

In English, Q is unnecessary, but

English, like all languages, is a river,

serpentine, that transports,

drowns, rolls, forgets, is

never the same as

one moment before, or

later, or

later,

 

II.

 

The Greeks never intended to kill Jews, only Judaism.

B’nei Yisrael could inhale Greece

so long as our exhales sounded sufficiently Grecian.

Devarīm sounded more elegant as Deutoronomy.

Thus, it remained, remains.

Hanukah sounded like an epic myth.

The Greeks did not call us B’nei Yisrael,

what we called each other, but,

instead, Ioudaios, later, Jews.

And the Greeks had a word

for our Temple sacrifices in Jerusalem.

They called it “holocaust.”

 

III.

 

Latin ruled England, but never the English.

Alfred the Great defended Wessex and

their oppressed, nascent English.

The genius of English was

and is its adaptability –

like the Mississippi that starts

as a shallow stream in Minnesota and ends up

teaching Huckleberry Finn and Walt Whitman

what it means to be human.

My great-grandparents didn’t know English

when they sailed to Texas. Today, I translate

Spanish and Norwegian and Hebrew into English,

my native tongue,

my way of happening.

 

IV.

 

Josh has all the answers

to all the questions

no one is asking him.

He smiles when he teaches me qax̌ak,

which is Qʷi·qʷi·diččaq for “dead,”

but it doesn’t mean “dead,”

it means “not feeling.”

That way, Josh never dies

so long as he feels.

And he feels his tribe

in the first person,

as he always is,

as they always have been.

In English, Q is unnecessary, but

in Qʷi·qʷi·diččaq, it can begin and end

Vox Clamantis in Deserto,

קוֹל קוֹרֵאבַּמִּדְבָּר,

the voice of one crying out in the wilderness,

the voice of Josh Monette,

the voice of many rivers.

Solitude is Bliss by Hana Nazir

1.

Warm gusts of wind poach the

grainy sidewalks, plaster and concrete

that have foresuffered all

enacted in this sluggish town of

shrouded secrets and syrupy God bless’s:

honey in an overturned jar.

 

2.

to Them, She is Salome:

soft serpentine curls settled

on chiffon skirts and silk shirts

a divine wine of threat and temptation--

femme fatale.

 

to Her, They are pale whipped cream:

lofty, crème fraîche skins that melt

into sour liquid, fermenting

under the heat of prolonged ignorance--

acridity.

 

3.

They watch Her, moribund vultures

with beady eyes and salty tongues,

hungry for the flesh of her vulnerability,

seeking to derive sustenance from her

Sacrifice.

 

Their gazes form lines, sectioning-off

Her Being,

cutting Her up into

 

pieces,

 

making Her feel

 

exposed

 

4.

A drop of congealed blood on cotton,

A blotch on the fabric of homogeneity,

She at last whispers

 

O Lord Thou pluckest me out

 

and floats away into the wind

seeking

 

solitude.  

 

 

 

One Magical Movement from Keter to Malchut by Anson Clark

I’ve got those blues, if I ain’t got you;

The homicide of lounging and dreaming

Nothing.

 

Here I stand, tall in the shade,

Expressing no color, caught in my

Cabin overlooking the ocean.

 

My dreams vanishing like cigarette

Smoke, and I see archetypes of you

Wandering down the stairs, holding

Vogue in your hands; judging Manolo

Blahnik. And we would then argue.

You see, I ain’t got those blues,

If I ain’t got you.

 

Your life’s journey; one magical movement,

One journey across the melancholy mass,

From Keter to Malchut.

 

Here I am looking at you; you looking

At me. And I just don’t understand.

And the corner of your dress gets caught

On the edge of the table. You float like

A phantom, and when I would start to

Complain, you would place your finger

Over my lips; and I would remember

The red-haired girl riding a bike past those

White wooden Pennsylvanian fences,

As summer stammered its baking hell.

And I would remember smelling the scent of

Freshly baked bread, and then recall the moment

Of collecting sea shells on some faraway shore;

The waves folding like freshly pressed sheets

That my mother used to wash then iron.

 

I remember you wearing an Open-Knit Ballet-Neck

Sweater, smiling like my eyes were some Renaissance

Canvas. You had just beaten me at Twister and we had

Finished a bottle of wine; and I would think of sad love

Songs, as the Cadillac lay half buried in the sand; the chrome

Stained and dripping.

 

The cabin by the ocean is all I have left of you; strumming

Soul with its peculiarities, but the music was more in you

Than in me. This parliament’s on fire, and I now love your

Complaints concerning my hairstyle. I look for you in the shadows

Of the cabin, for not only do the shadows offer shade from the

Stammered sun, but I now do not understand the light.

Anyway, it’s safer than a strange land.

All I can think of to say is “Stay. Do something.”