2020 Amuse-Bouche Archive

A Truth Before Truth

History is a border mining town where the immigrant citizen workers were loaded and deported on trains across the line and none of the high school history teachers know about the Bisbee Deportation. None of the history teachers teach the Bisbee Deportation names crushed into dark shafts banished on ghost trains. History knows about systemic indifference and the looting of voices.

My Mama Gives Birth

This is not surgery, but delicate massage, feeling the flour fall into thickening milk, caving into the mix from the sides, birthing like a glacier into that fabulous muck hole, oozing between her fingers as she delicately mixes a quicksand of sorts, widening its territory until the feel is just right. Not too much, not too little.

When My First Cousin’s Husky Puppy Licks My Face / They Say Men Are Always About Looks

but I fell in love over the phone in 1989, his name two low notes shoved out my throat, repeated like a gulf smacking shore rocks in starlight, our letters tucked between issues of Uncanny X-Men because I did not want a willow switch across my back

The Night Before the Snow Day

The hijab had made her feel blessed when she had first been allowed to put it on. She thought she was praising Allah. She knew she was pleasing her father. He had looked at her in a different way that day.[…]

Family Prayers

This was different. This was x-rays, exams, and endless procedures. Like everything in this god-forsaken land, her body seemed to be drying up beneath the unrelenting sun.[…]

Baldilocks

The women from my mother’s generation would have held their hands to their cheeks in shock and dismay. They would have cursed me for acting like a widow when I was fortunate to have a husband, alive and well! They would have whispered darkly about me, the irresponsible married woman who wore the symbol of widowhood so blithely![…]

The War is Still Within: An Interview with Tanya Ko Hong

I think of Korean immigrant writers who lived longer in the United States than I have, writers who wanted to share their stories but died without doing so. And others who did, wrote in Korean and were not translated. Their immigrant experiences are different from mine. That is why I feel compelled to write and share stories on behalf of those voiceless, invisible, powerless women.[…]

Resistance

She has tried opening up about her trauma to people she thought she could trust, but some friends distanced themselves or chided her for not “getting over it” when her story didn’t fit neatly into a survivor narrative. They didn’t want to hear how the twin poisons of abuse and silence seep their way into the body, how even the most processed trauma lies latent.[…]

Spotlight Arts: Dark Art

Shannon’s use of watercolor and India Ink are unforced and create beauty within flaws while crafting an earthy grunge appearance.

On Trying To Guess My Newly-Dead Father’s Computer Password

check under the keyboard because that generation no

try: [my name + sister’s name] he liked me more no

Stage Two/Follow-Up/All Love Stories are Death Stories

You are invasive, like water through stone cracking grey
shimmers inside, like jelly fish in the Pacific swimming,
stuck to legs and arms, stinging skin in the salty brine.

A History

I need to tell the stories of African American people’s history and accomplishments in hope of strengthening and building confidence in the community. I examine the precious moments that have been erased from our timelines and that need to be brought back, such as their backbreaking work and the unforgivable wrongs they endured.[…]

It Takes Twelve (12) Onions to Make My Mom Cry

isn’t it funny how
femininity is shamed even when it’s on women? i find it funny as a man very much in touch with his feminine side just how much of men’s hatred of women gets projected on me.[…]

LitDish: Chen Chen, Poet and Educator

The poetic form has a compressed intensity to it. There’s such a focus. With the essay form, there’s more room to expand upon things. In an essay, I can wander around a little bit more; I can go on a tangent and reconnect with the main focus of the essay later. I like having that room.[…]

Meditations Disrupted By Red Lemon Ghost With Strange Head Knocking Device: Drawings

My drawings incorporate various combinations of paper, crayon, watercolor, ink, and digital embellishments using the Procreate app. Some are all digital. Whatever I’m working on, my goal is to make it new.

LitDish: Joshua Rourke, Publisher and Author

I’m one of those poets who gets the most creative satisfaction out of editing. That said, I don’t think I would enjoy working on a poem or group of poems after more than a few months. I tend to tinker until I make myself sick of it.[…]

Stage Two / Follow-Up / All Love Stories are Death Stories

Stage Two You are invasive, like water through stone cracking grey
shimmers inside, like jelly fish in the Pacific swimming,
stuck to legs and arms, stinging skin in the salty brine.
Dark murmuration, wall of bones and feathers and small
bodies swooping through the sky, blotting out light and time […]

The Holy Trinity / Seen, A Conversation with Josephine Baker

Allen, TX In a stash of nostalgia my parents keep a piece of orange paper. Typed at the top it reads: “What three things are most important to you?” and underneath in neat rounded writing my teacher transcribed my answer: “God, Jesus, and money.”[…]

Call Me Spes #7/ #9 / #11

how often and when to learn significant places significant conversations significant persons to provide personalized experiences relating building memories building navigation assembling itself language feelings to black one binary white zero[…]

Dan Jian, Shunga

Land of Lights

My work explores an inner world of stored images and reflects on the shifting space of landscape, narrative, and memory. In the context of globalization, I am interested in how any image conveys a sense of time and place specific to a personal and cultural history; drawing and painting have been the constants on which I rely to investigate these questions […]

LitDish: Lisa Bunker, Author and American Politician

That radical melding of reader and character is, in my opinion, one of the highest rewards of reading, and I strive to create stories that encourage readers to experience it.[…]

Bad Dreams in America

And this is when fear grips me the tightest. How can I protect them? How can I keep them safe—[…]

Magpie’s Dazzling / The Magpie Draws its Sorrow Line / Don’t Call Me Noo-Noo

Magpie’s Dazzling 
when the magpie comes
he skulks behind his splendor
listen as he mirrors your tongue
careful, your ear, to the mummer

Saba Shahid-Moir, Art Therapist

Chief Smiling Officer of the Art Cart, Saba Shahid-Moir, MS, has made it her mission to help those who can’t smile so easily anymore due to complications from Parkinson’s disease […]

Letter to a Black Girl from her Great, Great Grandmother / Such Strange Fruit / Africa

Women always choose survival over sadness. The story of our constant lack goes like this: in a land, some land, any land, men
stole the beans & rice, fed our bodies to the war, any war […]

Chinedu Chidebe

Art and Emotions

My art was born out the quest for perfection, and in every work that I create, I make a realistic drawing of people, showing the emotions they wish we could see through their eyes, with pencils. […]

Rae Dubow, Business Owner and Speaking Coach

When she visited Antioch University, Los Angeles in December 2019, Rae Dubow hosted a seminar entitled, Writers at Work: Performance Workshop for Writers, where she worked with several students to teach more effective ways for them to read their work in front of the class. […]

The Question / Where It All Began / A Quietness of Magic

It takes an inundation to isolate my isolation. I hope you remember―how a moon flooded fields for yellow spirits to rove, how we hastened through terraces into shrubs of pleasure. You: denuder, I: stony road. […]

À La Carte: Second Wedding

I do not think my family knows how to talk without belligerence behind the lilt of their jaws. We are the kind of people who do not deserve to love. I want to place a bouquet of flowers I cannot name in my mouth […]

Bibliotechnical Sins

Can I find the words I mark electronically without the cluster of stars I draw in margins to show what is important? Can I discover a buried treasure finger-flicking entries on a screen? Can I flip pages for perusal of bright maps on unexpected pages? […]

LitDish: Four Questions with Povi-Tamu Bryant, Activist, Artist, Author

I think the question for writers is what do you want the legacy of your work to be? And how can approaching your work through an inclusive solidarity-driven cultural humility framework actually support the expansiveness of your legacy? I want writers to sit with that, to let that shape their writing […]

Sunless Kiss, 2019, Photography, 24" x 36".

The Natural Skin of Geometry

By definition, the grey area is the mixing of different characteristics or the lack of clearly definable characteristics. In this collection, I have attempted to do both, by merging and mixing three of the things I love most about art. These are: nature, skin tones, and geometry, as a whole, that is found naturally in both. Aesthetically, I have always loved the endlessness of what can be created in the spectrum that is found between black and white.[…]

À La Carte: Trodden

It was dawn when the R.U.F. came. Mama was braiding Hadiah’s hair and Papa was on his way with Hassan to sea to start fishing. We had heard stories about the rebels burning villages to the ground in one swift motion, killing all the elderly, cutting off people’s limbs, taking the young and turning them into soldiers. Every day, families who had been affected by the war would walk through our village telling those stories.

Litdish: Anjali Singh, Literary Agent

Anjali Singh, literary agent with Ayesha Pande Literary (APL), started her career in publishing in 1996 as a literary scout, and later worked as an editor with Simon & Schuster, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Vintage Books, and as Editorial Director at Other Press. She is best known for having championed Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, after stumbling across the original French version on a visit to Paris.[…]

Rhaiah Spooner-Knight

Culture Shock

My work is a reflection of my passions and creative inspirations. I am hugely influenced by urban music, culture, and the political issues and injustices that have been occurring in the United States of America. Being a mixed-race woman myself, I am constantly exploring and learning about the different cultures, races, and struggles that inhabit the population of the US.[…]

Burdens

The biscotti slipped first, falling to the floor through the space of her forearm. Next went the cheese, then the crackers. Agitated, she dropped the rest of the assorted bags and packaging and breathed deeply. She knelt down to restack the boxes, starting with the largest and utilizing every angle of her arms and torso to balance each.[…]

Pradip Kumar Sau, Untitled 2, 2018, Acrylic on canvas, 60x60

Desire

Life is a journey from womb to tomb. During this journey, man is in constant search of the infinite with his finite possibilities. The material aspects of life, like desire, ambition, yearning for name and fame, pull him constantly down to the earth. Yet the search continues. Search for what?[…]

Déjà vu

Nouns drop from their perches,
seeking a less
hate-driven sentence,
aiming for purpose or purchase
or mere acceptance.

Darrell Black, Temple of the Deity, 2018, Pen and Ink, 11 ½” x 8 ½”

Art of Definism

I work in a variety of formats that include pen and ink drawings, acrylic paintings on canvas wood, and mixed media objects. My creative process is a mixture of works on paper, acrylic paint, found objects, and nontoxic hot glue […]

Trace of Nicotine

I think I know why his breaths are slower, shallower. The way he inhales before pushing his body off the couch, first a deep breath, and then how he holds it and propels himself forward in exhale, out onto the porch.

À La Carte: Elegy for Black Barbie

You were the villain at tea parties, attacking the blonde society barbies, with skin pale like fragile porcelain and eyes an unblinking blue sky. You were dark as coffee, an uninvited stain on the white rug I played on. I wanted to love you, being a gift from Grandma.

The Tide Pool

It was the usual things: missing mother, bed-wetting, the problem with the pets. They found a dead rabbit under his bed, strawberry blood seeping floorboards. They found a jar of old beetles hard as quarters. It was only a matter of time.

Litdish: JL Stermer, Literary Agent

She uses every square inch of the stage when she presents. She can navigate New York City through rush hour traffic and subway closures. She knows where to shop and where to connect with whom, especially in the ever-changing venues of social media.