Author: Cincinnati Review

“My Beast Made of Gold is My Vocation,” by G. C. Waldrep

My beast made of gold is my vocation; it walks with me and makes a peaceable sound. It has no wings and it has no clay. I never touch it, if I can help it—though sometimes, knocked roughly, I brush it by accident. That is when the pain comes and the great poems cover their famished faces. Which is the true prison: the church, the garden, the body, or the mind? My beast doesn’t answer, but I detect a slight modulation in its earthy hum. I cannot leave it and it, evidently, will not leave me. I wish I had a cord with which to bind it up. Bless the rain, which washes the eye clear and remembers nothing but what we have discarded in the skies. It wraps my golden beast in its wet hands. I want to return the earth’s broad phylacteries, which it left in my care. This is the furthest I will get from love and love’s children, adrift in the blue-eyed grass. My beast prepares a place for me. It is not the place I wanted, but I recognize myself in its contagious mysteries. Oh beast surrender I call into the night’s tight coin. It remains beside me, unblinking. It is a beast, and I am a man. Together we make our worship.     See more poems from Issue 14.2 by purchasing it...

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“Rail,” by Andrea Cohen

By the time we’d built the hand- rail, the hand had vanished— but still there was a sky to rail at.     See more poems from Andrea Cohen by purchasing Issue 14.2 in our online store. Digital copies only...

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excerpt from Sonja Livingston’s “Miracle of the Eyes”

In 1985 statues across Ireland began to move. On Valentine’s Day, in the village of Asdee, seven-year-old Elizabeth Flynn was saying Hail Marys when a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus beckoned her with a curled finger. The Blessed Mother followed suit. When Elizabeth called to her sisters to tell them what she’d seen, other children flooded into the church. Yes, they said, we see it too. A few weeks later two girls in Ballydesmond reported a statue moving in Saint Patrick’s Church. A woman from the village fainted after witnessing the same but refused to talk about it, saying: If there’s a message, it will come again and more than me will see it. In the seaside town of Courtmacsharry a group of tourists saw a statue move. Another in a grotto on the Waterford-to-Kilkenny road was said to breathe, her hands moving from center to right. In Waterford two boys reported a statue shifting her eyes outside the Mercy Convent School, while back in Asdee an eighty-year-old farmer saw the statue of the Virgin blink three times. In Cork city three children said a statue rocked so hard they feared she’d topple. In Rathdangan Mrs. Haddie Doyle observed Our Lady smile. In Kilfinane Geraldine O’Grady noticed the throat of the Blessed Mother’s statue move while Oliver Herbert witnessed her veil fall away to reveal a girl...

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excerpt from Matthew Ferrence’s “In the Cancer Center Waiting Room”

A wailing begins at the registration window, a high-pitched adult voice, male, the elemental timbre an unmistakable keening of fear and pain. Even before I see him, I think of the purity of a baby’s cry and, also, that it is unfair to compare a man to a baby. I think too how rare it is to hear anything beyond hushes in this place. No one really wants to be here, even if the nurses are friendly, and the blood draws mostly painless, and the doctors kind, and the furniture clean and new, and the piano sometimes played by a volunteer, and the coffee free. The wailing cannot be ignored. It is loud, unrelenting, a declaration of memory and desire. We distract ourselves, one man working the puzzle on the table, another staring at the morning talk show on the television. Two doctors on the show are discussing water bottles. Don’t be alarmed, one says, but mold and fungus can grow inside. When the wailing man arrives, I see he is confined to a complicated wheelchair. He has white hair over a mostly bald head, smooth skin that has seen little sunlight, limbs bent beyond his control. It’s possible he’s older than he looks. It’s possible he’s younger. The woman who wheels him into the waiting room offers quiet shushing, tones of great love and patience. Her eyes are...

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excerpt from Yxta Maya Murray’s “YouTube Comment 2 to Video of I Like America and America Likes Me by Joseph Beuys”

I had hoped that I could make art after having a baby but now understand the temporary impossibility of this goal. My eight-month-old son Mauricio lies before me in his crib, finally sleeping following the “fade” method, a questionable aid. The scent of milk perfumes my life. My mind fills with visions of his infinitesimal hands and his furious Nixonian face. I am in love with my son. I love him. I don’t think it’s very good for my work. My work might be dead. As I stand over Mauricio’s bassinet and breathe him into me (I am thumb-typing this Comment on my phone), I can feel my formerly stringent aesthetic standards crumble. I used to spend my days worrying about Wittgenstein and curatorial ethics and art-world economics and faux-art institutional point-of-viewlessness. Today I entertain mostly globular thoughts, framed by threadbare conceits like don’t die, exhaustion, and love. I am a performance artist, or I was. Right now I am a single mother. A single mother does not make art by loving in a frenzy, cleaning up shit, and going to work. Does she? A single mother does not make art by freaking out about childcare and sore breasts and pumping breasts and cracked nipples. A single mother does not make art by surviving the wail-struck darkness. Right? Instead, she walks into her office with the haircut she hacked...

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excerpt from Lindsey Drager’s “The Two-Body Problem”

I accept the position in spring. When they call, they tell me I was the unanimous vote. It was you or no one, the department chair says. And no one didn’t want the position, she adds, and laughs. Okay, I say, then sign the papers, graduate with my doctorate, move across the country. Okay, I say, and then it is autumn and I find myself on campus, the newest member of the Department of Longing: Assistant Professor of Grief.   Because I am small in stature—I am young, a woman—they give me a tiny office that is full of someone else’s things. Are you sure this office isn’t occupied? I ask, reading the notes that adorn the desk and wall. FAILING BODIES CONFERENCE IN JUNE, one says. LEARNING TO UNREAD CLASS PROPOSAL, says another. TALK ON GHOSTS. DEFINE NARRATIVE NEGATION. No, says the department chair. Nope—it’s unoccupied. Just try to work around all this. That’s sort of our motto—don’t overwork, work around. She stares at me and I blink a few times. Right! she says and tries to smile. I get the sense she wants to touch me, perhaps to show support. She looks at my shoulder as though she is requesting to land a hand there. Right, she says nodding. She sighs loudly and then she leaves, so that I am left alone except for everything that occupies...

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Ana Blandiana Receives Griffin Trust Lifetime Recognition Award

Congratulations to Ana Blandiana, a Romanian poet whose poems (translated by Viorica Patea and Paul Scott Derrick) appeared in our Issue 10.2—she’s won the very prestigious Lifetime Recognition Award from the Griffin Trust. The prize, which in the past has been awarded to Frank Bidart, Seamus Heaney, Adrienne Rich, Tomas Tranströmer, and Derek Walcott, “pay[s] tribute to the work and achievements of international artists working in poetry.” The Griffin Trust, founded in 2000, also awards two books the Griffin Prize for Poetry each year, one written by a Canadian citizen and another by an international writer. Blandiana will receive...

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In Memory of Naira Kuzmich

We’re very sorry to announce the death of one of our contributors, Naira Kuzmich, whose essay “Dances for Armenian Women” appeared in Issue 13.2 about this time last year. (Read an excerpt below.) Naira was born in Armenia and raised in the Los Angeles enclave of Little Armenia. Her fiction and nonfiction appeared in journals such as the Threepenny Review, Massachusetts Review, Ecotone, SmokeLong Quarterly, West Branch, Salamander, Blackbird, The Rumpus, and Guernica, as well as in our pages, and her story “The Kingsley Drive Chorus” was chosen for The O. Henry Prize Stories 2015. She was 29 when...

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miCRo: Michael Alessi’s “A Small, Silent Assurance”

  Assistant Editor Molly Reid: Michael Alessi’s “A Small, Silent Assurance” raises more questions than it answers—what happened to this marriage? What is the nature of this man’s condition? And those poor turtles, why???—but these questions lead us on a treasure hunt that rewards with strange, surprising images (“a snake’s nest of stethoscopes,” hands “skittering over surfaces like two bald tarantulas”). This story reminds us that even our afflictions and losses contain beauty, and that sometimes the urge to connect, to commune with another living being, makes us do desperate things (maybe, even, grope starfish). To hear Michael read...

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