At night, I’d pray for God to make me a man, though I suspected that this was not something God would do. Something like that would have to be magic.
Almost a year ago, Emily Rapp’s son Ronan passed away from Tay-Sachs disease. At The Rumpus, Rapp discusses her loss and how it affects her current pregnancy. “A boy was born in the world, already doomed by genetics, in March 2010. A girl, if all goes well, will be born in the world in March 2014, and born to do what?”
To my mind, it’s one of the deepest gratifications the poet or fiction writer knows. I mean, the internal stumbling upon some satisfactory answer to the question, What is this like? Or, What does this remind me of? A comparison is laboriously but successfully introduced. You meet your metaphor, and it’s good.
before I likened waking up to a car crash, equated walking to a free fall, working in the yard to grave digging, cooking food for the family to slathering glue on the walls, dotting the glue with beads, with jewels, when I likened weeping to camouflage, opening mail to defusing a bomb, when my wife began to say, “Only if you really want to,” before I developed the habit of pretending I wasn’t looking at her, when the eye was an apology hole, when the face was a piece of wood under the couch, when the couch kept the body from crashing through the floor and beyond
So what I don’t understand, what I refuse to understand, is why this story — one of the oldest and most beautiful in the world — cannot inspire the most compassion, the most open arms, the most justice. Shouldn’t Israel be the most desirable place to be a stranger, not one of the hardest? I say this to Israeli friends, who agree that there is something very wrong going on, but who also remind me that Israel sits on the gateway to Africa. “We cannot just open our gates,” one tells me, “and remain a Jewish State.” There are theories that posit all national narratives are a dangerous fantasy, whose instability can only be remedied by cruelty and violence. I do not want it to be true.
Story I learned my father wouldn’t tell me.
For though he was a man who couldn’t read.
Music, he still found a way to write it, his life.
A short movement composed solely of rests.
Two sons he had two summers far too loud.
Now I am finished with my strings, he says.
Enough hammer, enough sustain, the end.
The rape joke is that you were 19 years old.
The rape joke is that he was your boyfriend.
The rape joke it wore a goatee. A goatee.
I would leave here those beloved and those close to me, everything that touched me, everything that shocked me, fascinated and uplifted me
There’s something familial, deeply comforting in the sound of a pig oinking in the peace and slumber of a summer afternoon.