WHAT KIND OF PERSON

What kind of atom string, wrapped around what kind of carbon core, what kind of beating brain and nebulous heart, what kind of moral code, what kind of mantelpiece photograph, what kind of flower in the desert, what kind of desert in flower, what kind of person are you? I’m the kind that can’t be […]

Laundry List

This is my sense of self-worth: A dog in the wintertime, skinny, sitting squat on the side of a country road. A dog, alone, cold, still and wide-eyed as the snow comes down. This is my pride: An arrow, honed for hunting. An arrow, sharp, laying underneath the last layer of skin, straight, alert, at […]

Fine & Crude

During the ceremony of Mahākāla, Lama spreads his fingers slowly and makes a circular motion with his hands, finishing the movement by resting the pads of his thumbs against his forefingers. I’m reminded the film I watched last year, alone in my college dorm room, about Japanese funeral rituals; I remember Daigo, the young protagonist, […]

Vivid, luminous, and clear

Cymbals and then a green gong, and Lama’s voice at the end of each verse is low and full; his is the sound a mountain would make, if mountains sang. The day after, at lunch, I tell him how nice it was and he smiles a little and says really? and I think of how […]

Eulogy for this body

I’m in Romulus, Michigan’s cheapest hotel, sitting cross-legged on a queen-size bed in a too-small tank top and old underwear. It’s my last night in America. The past eight months have been forming a callous of iron and red mercury around my shoulders, melting and dripping down my back, straight as an arrow, like a […]

Cut your hair

I examine my body in mirrors. In a year’s time, my hair has grown longer than it’s ever been; near the ends it feels like old hay, thick and unhealthy. I run my hands through it and think: this is Medusa’s hair, when she is cleaning herself in seawater at night, running across the white […]

雨降って地固まる

There’s honey in her hair, and, on the corner 0f her mouth, sea salt. She stretches like a tiger, when she wakes in the mornings. Her smile is a knife, bitter and tragic; her smile is a slab of butter, warm and fragrant, dissolving. Her hands are villains on the run; her hands are suns […]

MISTER COUNSELOR

A week ago I went to talk to my school counselor. Getting help, any kind of help, is something I’d been considering for years. Often I would fantasize about confiding in a woman sitting next to me on the high-speed train to Madrid, the gentleman in the supermarket check-out line, a little-known writer of Sunday […]

PLEASE TEACH ME TO BE STRONG

I am slitting city guides with a kitchen knife. I am cutting out pictures of my hometown, Valencia (Latin valentia, meaning strength, courage). The photographs of my selection depict a reality of beauty: beach side restaurants, the inside of a gentleman’s hat store, town square in the summer. They lie in piles on the counter […]

COUNTER-EARTH, OR, WHAT I HAVE WANTED TO WRITE FOR A LONG TIME

Parties are always a strange experience for me. A few Sundays ago I attended the going-away party of a lovely girl. For six hours, approximately thirty youngsters aged sixteen to seventeen congregated and diverted themselves inside a suburban home some ten miles away from the city. We wiped down chairs wet from the previous night’s […]