Thursday, January 17, 2019

Open Hands

AND THIS IS OPEN. There is nothing legal here, just humor and a clean slate (like a Mangyan clearing) for everyone to mark on and tweak into whatever they like.

Who Burns for the Perfection of Paper
Martín Espada

At sixteen, I worked after high school hours
at a printing plant
that manufactured legal pads:
Yellow paper
stacked seven feet high
and leaning
as I slipped cardboard
between the pages,
then brushed red glue
up and down the stack.
No gloves: fingertips required
for the perfection of paper,
smoothing the exact rectangle.
Sluggish by 9 PM, the hands
would slide along suddenly sharp paper,
and gather slits thinner than the crevices
of the skin, hidden.
Then the glue would sting,
hands oozing
till both palms burned
at the punchclock.

Ten years later, in law school,
I knew that every legal pad
was glued with the sting of hidden cuts,
that every open lawbook
was a pair of hands
upturned and burning.

Saturday, January 12, 2019


I LIKE AMBROSE BIERCE for his sardonic humor and macabre stories, written before he vanished in Mexico in 1913 after joining Pancho Villa's revolution. Here is one from my $1 copy of The Moonlit Road and Other Ghost and Horror Stories from Dover Thrift, narrated by homeless Canadian Otis Jiry, to pass this ear-gnawing winter, pay freeze and unknown end to the government agency shutdown. Nonetheless, let's give no money for the wall, only the board for the window of the Congress House!