In Mid-world — Jesse Mockrin

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In Mid-world, 2017 by Jesse Mockrin (b. 1981)

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Encounter (detail) — Remedios Varo

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Encounter (detail), 1959 by Remedios Varo (1908-1963)

Posted in Art

Dredger — George Boorujy

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Dredger, 2017 by George Boorujy.

Read “The Lover,” a short story by Joy Williams

“The Lover”

by

Joy Williams


THE girl is twenty-five. It has not been very long since her divorce but she cannot remember the man who used to be her husband. He was probably nice. She will tell the child this, at any rate. Once he lost a fifty-dollar pair of sunglasses while surf casting off Gay Head and felt badly about it for days. He did like kidneys, that was one thing. He loved kidneys for weekend lunch. She would voyage through the supermarkets, her stomach sweetly sloped, her hair in a twist, searching for fresh kidneys for this young man, her husband. When he kissed her, his kisses, or so she imagined, would have the faint odor of urine. Understandably, she did not want to think about this. It hardly seemed that the same problem would arise again, that is, with another man. Nothing could possibly be gained from such an experience! The child cannot remember him, this man, this daddy, and she cannot remember him. He had been with her when she gave birth to the child. Not beside her, but close by, in the corridor. He had left his work and come to the hospital. As they wheeled her by, he said, “Now you are going to have to learn how to love something, you wicked woman.” It is difficult for her to believe he said such a thing.

The girl does not sleep well and recently has acquired the habit of listening all night to the radio. It is a weak, not very good radio and at night she can only get one station. From midnight until four she listens to Action Line. People call the station and make comments on the world and their community and they ask questions. Music is played and a brand of beef and beans is advertised. A woman calls up and says, “Could you tell me why the filling in my lemon meringue pie is runny?” These people have obscene materials in their mailboxes. They want to know where they can purchase small flags suitable for waving on Armed Forces Day. There is a man on the air who answers these questions right away. Another woman calls. She says, “Can you get us a report on the progress of the collection of Betty Crocker coupons for the lung machine?” The man can and does. He answers the woman’s question. Astonishingly, he complies with her request. The girl thinks such a talent is bleak and wonderful. She thinks this man can help her.

The girl wants to be in love. Her face is thin with the thinness of a failed lover. It is so difficult! Love is concentration, she feels, but she can remember nothing. She tries to recollect two things a day. In the morning with her coffee, she tries to remember and in the evening, with her first bourbon and water, she tries to remember as well. She has been trying to remember the birth of her child now for several days. Nothing returns to her. Life is so intrusive! Everyone was talking. There was too much conversation! The doctor was above her, waiting for the pains. “No, I still can’t play tennis,” the doctor said. “I haven’t been able to play for two months. I have spurs on both heels and it’s just about wrecked our marriage. Air conditioning and concrete floors is what does it. Murder on your feet.” A few minutes later, the nurse had said, “Isn’t it wonderful to work with Teflon? I mean for those arterial repairs? I just love it.” The girl wished that they would stop talking. She wished that they would turn the radio on instead and be still. The baby inside her was hard and glossy as an ear of corn. She wanted to say something witty or charming so that they would know she was fine and would stop talking. While she was thinking of something perfectly balanced and amusing to say, the baby was born. They fastened a plastic identification bracelet around her wrist and the baby’s wrist. Three days later, after they had come home, her husband sawed off the bracelets with a grapefruit knife. The girl had wanted to make it an occasion. She yelled, “I have a lovely pair of tiny silver scissors that belonged to my grandmother and you have used a grapefruit knife!” Her husband was flushed and nervous but he smiled at her as he always did. “You are insecure,” she said tearfully. “You are insecure because you had mumps when you were eight.” Their divorce was one year and two months away. “It was not mumps,” he said carefully. “Once I broke my arm while swimming is all.” Continue reading “Read “The Lover,” a short story by Joy Williams”

To Catch a Unicorn — Betye Saar

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To Catch a Unicorn, 1960 by Betye Saar (b. 1926)

“Cross” — Langston Hughes

“Cross”

by

Langston Hughes

My old man’s a white old man
And my old mother’s black.
If ever I cursed my white old man
I take my curses back.
If ever I cursed my black old mother
And wished she were in hell,
I’m sorry for that evil wish
And now I wish her well
My old man died in a fine big house.
My ma died in a shack.
I wonder where I’m going to die,
Being neither white nor black?

A map of Rohan, Gondor and Mordor with plot notes for The Lord of the Rings — J.R.R. Tolkien

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A map of Rohan, Gondor and Mordor with plot notes for The Lord of the Rings, Book V, 1944, by J.R.R. Tolkien (1892–1973).

From The Morgan Library & Museum’s exhibition “Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth.”

Kiss with Honda — Alex Colville

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Kiss with Honda, 1989 by Alex Colville (1920-2013)

The Kiss — Jean Cocteau

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The Kiss, 1955 by Jean Cocteau (1889-1963)

The Kiss — Richard Lindner

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The Kiss, 1971 by Richard Lindner (1901-1978)

The Kiss — Clarence White

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The Kiss, 1904 by Clarence White (1871-1925)

The Kiss — Odd Nerdrum

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The Kiss, 2002 by Odd Nerdrum (b. 1944)

Barad-dûr: The Fortress of Sauron — J.R.R. Tolkien

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Barad-dûr: The Fortress of Sauron, c. 1944 by J.R.R. Tolkien (1892–1973).

From The Morgan Library & Museum’s exhibition “Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth.”

Anchises Lost — F. Scott Hess

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Anchises Lost, 2009 by F. Scott Hess (b. 1955)

 

Judith sees the Head of the Lion — Thomas Theodor Heine

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Judith sees the Head of the Lion, 1908 by Thomas Theodor Heine (1867-1948)

Birmingham Totem — Charles White

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Birmingham Totem, 1964 by Charles White (1918-1979)

Divine State — Jia Aili

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Divine State, 2012 by Jia Aili (b. 1979)