The Mobros : Loose Fit

mobro-test

When I asked Kelly Morris how long he and his brother, Patrick, have been in a band, he replied, “Since birth.”  I noted no irony in his answer…understandably, since there are stories of the two boys, diaper-clad, atop a toy box, using cooking utensils and vacuum cleaner parts as instruments for their precocious performances. The Morris brothers officially began their musical career with a public presentation of their talents at Cardinal Newman High School, at a talent show, no less. Kelly was a freshman and Pat was still in middle school.  Penning a song the night before that they called “Shake,” The Mobros were on their way. Their first bassist was their Drama teacher…seriously.  The three wound up playing music before and after their classes.  [...]

Dancing Barefoot in Atlanta

For Juan Méndez, UN Special Envoy for the Prevention of Genocide Tonight, for many reasons, I think of my friend from Buenos Aires who survived such horrific torture that even now after all these years I cannot write about it, although he told me everything. I remember his lost shoes at a crowded party where we danced for hours only with each other. I think of his soft scarred hands, his voice quietly speaking into my ear, his small body holding onto me. And though we never fell in love and he was old enough to be my father when I think about my life’s most extraordinary moments I am dancing, barefoot in Atlanta, Georgia, in the arms of the bravest man I will ever [...]

Kambujan Eulogy

Cambodia, 1980 Above the graves at Tonle Sap pagodas crumble and blend into earth. Water drips from the bronze genie of the sky. Four faces stare from the shadows: eight arms, each one holding carved moons, birds, children. A chipped sun in the palm of the highest upturned palm pushes though curling ferns like an offering. This is where the monks return to pray. −From The Endless Repetition of an Ordinary Miracle, © 2010 by Marjory Heath Wentworth

Despite Gravity

They come from France, Sweden, Mexico and Maine. Designers and engineers cradling blueprints and calculations in their arms; ironworkers wearing hard hats and steel-toed boots, sledgehammers grasped in the grip of their gloved hands. With scars and sweat drying on their skin, they come with memories of the sea and gorges sliced between mountains; rivers with forgotten names moving beneath them, time rushing overhead, and the knowledge of birds flowing in their blood. On a boat before dawn they cross the water. Starlight washes over them. The air is moist and cool. And they are silent. They are grateful for the silence. All day it stays with them, as they work at the edge of the sky. They come, because a bridge is like a [...]

The Rapture

The 1992 Nissan Sentra sat idling at the stoplight, a slight knocking sound coming from beneath the hood. The windows were rolled down, and an undersized spare tire was attached to the left rear wheel, making the car sag a little in that direction. Gene Hawkins was soaked in sweat, his white T-shirt sticking to the driver’s side bucket. He shifted into neutral, revved the motor, and the knocking knocked faster. “Sounds like I need to get the valves adjusted, Teddy,” he said. The big junkyard dog sitting in the passenger’s seat turned and gave Gene a slobbering grin of agreement, then poked his head back out the window. Gene knew nothing about valves or how to adjust them. It was just something he’d heard [...]

Samson and Meliza

Without heat pump, air-conditioner or swamp-cooler, Meliza Humbert Baker’s house was comfortable even in the summer. The surrounding trees cooled the breezes and the cement slab radiated a coolness Meliza could feel inside her thin feet-bones when she stood still. Her relatives, also aware of the comforts of the old beach house, showed up unannounced. “We thought we could stay this week,” they’d say as they placed a cake, protected by an aluminum dome, on the kitchen table. Meliza’s grandmother had baked many poundcakes, establishing them as the family’s edible semaphore: let me stay at your house because it used to be mine or at least my daddy’s anyway. Technically, Meliza was the only resident of the five bedroom spread. She had inherited it from [...]

Young

At thirty-five, Mary Beth looked younger than she was by about seven years, the same number of years as the age of her son, Ben, now in second grade at Lincoln Elementary School.  When Ben was younger, when Mary Beth used to stay home with him all day, she secretly thought that being around him had caused a kind of magic spell to fall over her so that she looked as young as he did as she built towers with him in his room or splashed water at him at the neighborhood pool or read stories to him for a whole hour in her bed each afternoon. The spell was broken on Ben’s first day of kindergarten, when her best friend, Naomi, who was not [...]

Ways to Skin a Cat – by Kat Coffee

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re wondering why anyone should bother to skin a cat at all – troubling to select a method from the rumored myriad at our disposal – when there are so many dogs in the world that need killing and so precious little time? Scandalized?  Spare me.  Monday morning, the day my “crime” began, I was struggling to tune out a shrill staccato yip, and an ensuing plea of a yelp, then a deep tormented ruff, seven days and four uncracked study-aid tomes before the bar exam. First, let’s be clear: I HAVE A DOG. You could even call me a dog lover. I was one of those little girls who hoped to become a veterinarian … just before surrendering that [...]

Café Americano

She reads an article on Zimbabwe’s drought and famine, including personal stories like the farmer’s: he walks two miles to get the sack of corn rationed by the U.N. for his family- the corn, meant to last a month, lasts two weeks because he shares it with the villagers.  She reads about the two thousand AIDS deaths there.  GRANDE SKIM NO FOAM LATTE. Her lover remains in her thoughts.  She thinks of his difficult marriage, of his adoration of her.  She envisions transplanting the poor of Zimbabwe into America, to give them choices, and she savors the knowledge that she is her lover’s choice.  TALL SPICE LATTE. He has told her the decision is hers, assured her his marriage is doomed regardless of her choice.  Her [...]

Lincoln’s Head

“Remember the color red,” she said. “When you see the Pyramids, remind yourself that they were once covered with earthy communist ochre. When you hear about Dorian columns and pantheons of human-formed gods, recognize that they were originally vermilion. Read about the Coliseum flooded with wide-open pink Republican mouths shouting down heaven-sent cries of praise heaped upon them by the half-eaten Christians who stood drowning in the blood of those who went before them. After you’ve read Dante, know that Aristotle was both teacher and slave. Would he have been any less of an artist if he had been less of a woman?” A small amount of crusted dry saliva required dabbling. “Picture Picasso’s triangles outlined and erased. Hear my voice telling you that if [...]