Summer 2013: Poetry
Lover, Molester, and Maidens (Haibun)
teacher’s question hangs in the drowsy classroom a crow answers
The heat and humidity are stifling and we still have two weeks of classes before summer vacation. At least here at Kyoto Seika College, I can open the windows and get some mountain air. These young women are exhausting with their need to be entertained. Today, feeling nostalgic, I begin rambling about my experiences hitchhiking from Spain to England when I was twenty. How I borrowed a Frenchman’s surfboard in Guethary, got wiped out by the waves, and nearly drowned. Doctors stitched up my forehead, which I’d hit on the fin of the surfboard. My students, who think all Americans are wealthy, are shocked to hear that I was so poor my friend had to take out the stitches instead of a doctor. They all listen today – even ask questions – and I have a good time reminiscing.
In the next Beginner English class, I go back to the textbook and set up a role playing exercise for the students: making a telephone date, then meeting at a restaurant. After I explain the vocabulary and structure of the skit, they ask me for some American men’s names, besides Michael (Jackson) and Tom (Cruise).
on the blackboard I make a list of men’s names – all former lovers
In the more advanced afternoon class, I usually challenge these young women to discuss controversial subjects, such as feminism. Today I bring up the subject of chikan – men who molest women, most often in crowded places where they are helpless to get away. In an overpopulated country where anonymity is the norm, chikan are common. This proves to be a difficult topic for these nineteen-year-old maidens to talk about. Once I get them started by making up an imaginary tale of my own, they all have a story to tell. Most encounters were subtle – an elbow grazing her breast when jostled on the train or a man mashed up against her from behind. But when the man began rubbing up against her, visibly excited, or when the anonymous hand ventured up under her skirt – when the motive became clear – then it became “uncomfortable.” We talk about the emotions they experienced: surprise, fear, embarrassment, anger. They felt all of these, yet not one woman confronted her molester, even verbally. Culturally, I understand that it’s very hard for them to talk to a man in this situation, but I’m exasperated by their stoic endurance of these despicable acts.
I end the class by saying, “Isn’t it time, ladies, that we speak out and embarrass the men, who are really the ones who should be punished?” Some nod, some hang their heads in yet more embarrassment.
the words molester, obscene phone call, pervert left on the blackboard
Rich, strong, poignant, humorous and inspiring. We’ve caught twenty never-before-published poems by sixteen unique voices.
Seven talented women search for themselves in their bodies, their family, themselves.
Established dynamos and aspiring voices add colorful visions to our third issue.
Language leaps off the page in the poetry and prose of five young authors who delight in sensory detail.
Meet the authors and artists who make this Summer 2013 edition a rich, varied and engaging experience.
LETTER FROM THE EDITORS
Abandoned Church by Tanya Jarvik
Commencement by Kelly Running
Depoe Bay by Wendy Thompson
Directive by Cristina White
Hawk Moth by Wendy Thompson
How to Recycle Love Letters by Jennifer Dorner
I Swapped a '74 Mustang for This by Jennifer Fulford
Polaroid of My Mother by Cindy Stewart-Rinier
Lover, Molester, and Maidens (Haibun) by Margaret Chula
Savory by Pat Phillips West
Seascape by Marjorie Power
Suspended by Grace Kuhns
The Hand-Off by Pattie Palmer-Baker
The Ride by Linda Ferguson
The Ticking Shirt by Tricia Knoll
Three Facts about Sperm by Ursula Whitcher
Three True Stories by Penelope Scambly Schott
Today at the Library by Pat Phillips West
Trapped Birds by Grace Kuhns
You, who will be alive and reading after I'm gone by Penelope Scambly Schott
After the World Ends by Kait Heacock
Something Permanent by Ashley-Renée Cribbins
Your Hand at Your Throat by Karen Guth
Black Sharpie by Anne Gudger
Diagnosis by Helen Sinoradzki
For He's a Jolly Good Fellow by Laura Stanfill
Breathing Underwater by Valerie Wagner
Unity by Anne John
Rearguard by Anne John
Speculation by Anne John
Wire by Jocelyn White
Taitian Trio by Nani Chesire
Catch Your Breath by Nani Chesire
We Will Read to You by Rebecca Cleveland-Stout
Strawberry Party by Natalie Lerner
A Young Night by Clara Beaumont
Beach Wanderer by Isabella Waldron
Light and Dark by Colette Au