We’re all very proud of the current volume of CLOCKHOUSE, and we’re happy to offer a few excerpts here. You’ll find ordering information for Volume Six and past volumes, as well as submission information for 2019’s Volume Seven, below.
Excerpts from Volume Six, 2018
from Soma Mei Sheng Frazier’s Tiger by the Toe:
Aromas of hong shao rou—red braised pork, anise, rice wine—assail Farmer at the door. Three months of vegetarianism have obliterated her tolerance for meat, just as decades of barbarous honesty have obliterated her mother’s tact. Her aunties, at least, pretend ignorance: “What? Vegetarianism mean even beef? Okay. You eat the meat this time and next time I get it right.” But not Mama.
“Your friends don’t eat meat, make sense.” Mama sets the plate before her with finality. “But you can’t cook to save your butt. So for you, vegetarian is stupid.” Eeny meeny miny mo. Catch a tiger by the toe. But no, her mother is not that kind of Asian woman; isn’t a tiger, doesn’t have claws, never withheld love or enforced stringent discipline. In twenty-three years, Farmer has never once doubted her mother’s kindness. Mama’s just very, very candid.
from Emily Shearer’s Kuebiko:
A state of exhaustion inspired by acts of senseless violence.
with a nod to “Song After Sadness” by Katie Ford
Most days, when radio cuts into sleep, I straighten what was bent,
root to the covered floorboards and raise
a hymn to morning, to simple
sandpipers skitter-beaked peeking for periwinkles,
to the tempering—coffee its milk, doubt its mitigation.
Most mornings usher frankly in a wholeness,
taking note of the small debt they owe to nightfall.
Usually, I palm a lemon. All that yellow, inviolate
before my knife, which I do not blame for my desire:
the acid on my tongue, the sunburst flesh.
But when that Monday broke, lives having been wrapped in shrouds and laid on plains,
it remained servant to the hold, barricaded by despair
hemlocked on the shadow strip, scattershot, pockmarked, exhausted and afraid to rest.
I couldn’t sing.
Roaming through corridors of news stories and outright rage
a country waited the way a parent does, at the hospital,
throwing questions for God against the walls, succumbing to fear.
One father stood bedside,
his daughter shot in the crowd.
Her injuries were not fatal; he grieved for something, though not her unlived life.
In laying the bullet of his blame on a “godless society,”
he absolved the gunman.
This exhibit of his willingness to forgive
the man who would kill his child,
was evidence enough to me
of a mercy beyond the arc of my good reason’s beacon,
evidence that something akin to grace unfurls
itself and blankets us all,
whether we believe its weighted guidance
gleaned from monsters or from heroes,
whether we smother underneath it,
from Robert Joe Stout’s Memorial Service:
In Mexico, Human Rights Advocates Are Assassinated
Decision: simple and not Catholic-Evangelical-Zapoteca. No crosses, no artifacts. Food? Yes, well, Bety would approve. Mescal? Why not? It’s Oaxaca. It’s on all the altars of Day of the Dead. If she were here she’d approve. That’s the way she was. Bursting with life. Bursting with goodness.Private ceremony? No, but not publicized. Not official. For those of us whose lives she affected—not her family or those with whom she was most intimately involved but admirers, believers, workers towards the same goals. Invite who we want but not advertise.
Guidelines: we all know how she died. There were bullet holes in the van. The stranger—the Finn with the difficult name to pronounce—dead beside her. An ambush. They were on a mission of mercy, taking food, blankets to the people in the blockaded village. They were told not to go, but they went anyway—the people in the village were desperate, starving, unable to leave. It was on the news, on television, we know how it happened but we don’t want to go there. We want to keep politics out of it. Leave hate out of it, accusations. This is about her, how we feel about her, how much she meant to us.Memories keep her alive. Photographs. Things she said. Without superlatives, without propaganda. As though she were here among us, laughing, joking, criticizing. Sharing as she always shared with others.
John F. Buckleys’ Roll Call for Our Somebody Else:
Here I am, not not any Other. American
pride without reflection. The red, white, and
black: blood, teeth, and cosmos.
Waterboarded, longtime resident with
questionable documents, coexisting with
cries of the outraged, with slick native neckties.
Here, coffee, kombucha, wheatgrass, and water
at daybreak, on the porch, under the bridge.
Maker and taker of mountains of historical
anguish. Here I am, that word and
its modifiers: ice, sand, prairie.
Bricks in the air and a shotgun with beanbags.
Here I am, too far Oriental, too far Occidental.
Here I am, forsythia in the wilderness. Here,
scant body hair at a delousing station.
Grandspawn of Hegel, a dialectic in unity.
Here I am, with truth, in truth, of truth,
not an outgrowth, but the cool side of the trunk.
Here, baklava after bratwurst and ramen.
Here, the whistle commanding police dogs.
Two hundred pounds pulled behind
a pickup truck. Here I am, praying sincerely,
praying all wrong from the vantage of
slapstick voices, slotted eyes. Working for
fractions of marbles. Here, the skin, here,
the flesh, here, corps with ambiguous phalanges.
Sewing the fists to designer gloves, watching
my fingers bleed. Here I am, holding a hand
that I may not, holding a hand out,
withholding. Here, history cleaving
tongues, history cleaving to tongues,
axe and the solder of centuries,
rust on the lips, dirt on the palate.