Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts

Issue One: Poetry




Chicken Yard

by Jan Lamberg   It’s August in the Garden State, steamy South Jersey where new in May, my shoes rub at the toe. Farm clod-hoppers thwart ring-worm, rusty nails– for these feet, nightfall’s pond, crickets, can’t sing soon enough. Compost bowl pail clanging, I reach the chicken yard; Every step a dong– their signal-alarm, Indian-file […]

 

The Burning

by N. Scott Momaday   In the numb, numberless days There were disasters in the distance, Strange upheavals. No one understood them. At night the sky was scored with light, For the far planes of the planet buckled and burned. In the dawns were intervals of darkness On the scorched sky, clusters of clouds and […]

 

American Ballad

by N. Scott Momaday   Where do you come from, And where do you go? Where do you come from, My cotton-eye Joe?   Well, I come from the darkness, And I come in despair, I come from the darkness And again will go there.   Black smoke’s arisin’, Yonder comes a train. Winter’s comin’ […]

 

The Passage Between

by N. Scott Momaday   Because it’s there. —G.H.L. Mallory —a passage outside the range of imagination, but within the range of experience. —Isak Dinesen   The sheer face lay opposite, Both over and under him. His lungs burned in the ascent. His eyes congealed in the cold, And at last he could not see. […]

 

The Snow Mare

by N. Scott Momaday   In my dream, a blue mare loping, Pewter on a porcelain field, away. There are bursts of soft commotion Where her hooves drive in the drifts, And as dusk ebbs on the plane of night, She shears the web of winter, And on the far, blind side She is no […]

 

The Middle Distance

by N. Scott Momaday   Imagine the space between here and there. Vision holds upon an aura of the earth, And on that nebulous band a bird appears.   It takes shape in the vagaries of light, Becoming wholly its own definition. It hangs inherently there, opposite the air.   Less the image, more the […]

 

The Lemon Juice Alphabet

by Julie Kane   Every time it was the same: the moment she realized she was holding and reading the page she’d been trying to bring back all her life, it would suddenly catch fire like the secret messages she and her best friend had penned to each other in fifth grade with a watercolor […]

 

Dollhouse

by Julie Kane   She was no longer a child when they gave her the dollhouse she had always coveted in childhood: three stories high, with the front wall shorn off so that she could see into every room at once.  Right away she began furnishing it with tiny books of fairy tales and nursery […]

 

Burgers Fried in Salt

by Julie Kane   Once upon a time there was a wicked Queen who fried hamburger patties in salt: a giant patty for the King; a medium patty for herself; and three eeny-weeny patties for the three princesses. The burgers came out of the pan as black and as hard as lava rocks, because the […]

 

The Voice

by Julie Kane   Walking by the Polish church in Vilnius one Sunday morning, she is arrested by the sound of a male voice, singing over the choir. So deep, so resonant, so mournful: surely it must belong to an opera star. She stands transfixed outside the buttercream stucco façade, then pushes a heavy wooden […]

 

Bone

by Anne Marie Macari     I know what it’s like to dig but not find the bone you are looking for. Buried   deep and tight as a knuckle beneath the garbage and rubble. If the tongue   had a bone, or if breasts had artifacts buried inside, beyond the milk   and ducts. […]

 

Headlamp

by Anne Marie Macari   Carrying little, wearing a weak headlamp, a mile in, stumbling and wet, the cave walls like my own insides and I an animal painted there. Darkness filling in my cartoon lines, my blank self.   Dear Friend, I am inside a hole in the earth, with pots of ochre and […]

 

The Other Side of the Tracks

by Karen Head   What if I chucked it all, began calling myself Candi, (with a heart over the “i”) stopped in at Wal-Mart to buy a jean-skirt, a tank top, and a can of Aqua Net, hitchhiked to a small town just outside Birmingham, AL taking on a part-time waitress gig, mornings at the […]

 

Proximity

by Karen Head   The young possum foraging outside my office window seems unconcerned by my presence— after all, I am the one who’s trapped. I snack on almonds, watch it nibble whatever it finds, and though I am inclined to share, I know that opening the window will change the world.

 

Mid-Autumn’s Eve

by Howie Faerstein   It happens in the dark, reeling under the rotted eaves, staring into blankness. It happens carrying coffee grounds to the compost. What an odd hour to be pressed by love.   It happens when the wind picks up and unseen trees rustle as contradiction takes the place of stars in an […]

 

The Difference Between Two Readings

by Howie Faerstein   Between the time I first climbed the Parabolic Dunes and the next the world shifted but because blue-white Vega remains constant I can make my way home. Because of the gap between who I think I am and who I very well may be, the difference between two readings may resemble […]

 

The Song He Left Behind

by Darrell Bourque   I can’t recall just when the song began to take its shape inside my head. I found myself some nights all alone with nothing but this sound from who knows where, a cape making a place for itself inside a bay. Some little thing I’d done   or heard come back […]

 

Beausoleil Leaves Saint-Domingue

by Darrell Bourque   There was nothing he saw here that he did not love, the way the sea was always near, how in the higher elevations the air thinned and clarified itself, how blooms and fruits of blooms grew everywhere and touched everything, how the ear was filled with a hundred tongues he understood, […]

 

Evangeline Speaks

by Darrell Bourque   That girl you think you see beneath the oak beside the Teche, she is other than the girl I was. I was surely with all those other women forced to leave a life they had grown into, but I was never what they were, never a mother, never even married. When […]

 

How We Became New World People

by Darrell Bourque   Before the world we’d always known became a place we hardly knew at all, we lived at ease with whatever came our way. What had been ours then was ours no more & ships carried us away into a world so new we could not have dreamed it: this land the […]

 

Megan’s Guitar

by Darrell Bourque   for Megan Barra after her textiles Woman with Guitar, I & Woman with Guitar, II  I You’ve curled nearly every line in this piece you made. You live inside a curved world. Within the frame you’ve silked a guitar & its bifurcation holds us to your intent: one half of the […]

 

Turtle Dreams

by Darrell Bourque   I am trying to understand turtles and how they work their way into my dreams. On some nights I am a hermit in a play. A tortoise standing for slowness in an equation about relativity and time has a bigger part than I do. One night I am hand-fishing for turtles […]

 

Standing Water in the Yard on the Feast Day of Saint Medard

by Darrell Bourque   We feared the rain would never come and then it came without relief. The clouds thickened and knitted themselves over windows and doors. It was as if they wanted to come in, to be with us.   We pulled books off the shelves we thought we might never read. We spent […]

 

The Wash House

by Darrell Bourque   Time collapsed in my grandmother’s wash house. In another time there would have been rooms and  even separate houses to bank those things she banked in here. From the rafters hung grasses, dried, and green and purple basil dropping seeds, on the floor, garlic braids hanging next to harnesses. Boxes of […]