A Sentence in Transposition Cuban-American Style

in Harlem a storefront restaurant pouring into a street a mélange of sweet, spicy, intensely fiery pepper, bitter scent pulls me into first, last Chinese-Cuba café, waiter hands over bi-lingual menu, half Mandarin, half Spanish, can’t read either, so randomly point, & in a few minutes appears a massive dish of noodles in black bean sauce, but not ragingly salty Chinese black beans, rather Cuban beans dressed with cumin, possibly cinnamon, taste on tongue some massive signifying of or on Mao and Fidel, that’s superficial tasting, with deeper tasting Paris and Miami exiles playing dominos, halfheartedly, because an elsewhere calls, where a menu coheres within a single cuisine they order from, even knotted translucent bean threads don’t know who to become, Confucian sage sermonizing, or Santeria priest drumming, and after all, its only a curious dish, not as if this lunch has legs and leaves the premises, not knowing whether to head to Havana or Beijing, but within this sentence diced from a 60s memory, set this dish in front of an ancestral altar, neither Cuban nor Confucian, both, with each current discrete, strictly parallel, add a pinch here and there, Russian, Jewish, Jamaican, American, chance making of scents a complex sense, swallow it because this dish declares a future where there’s no better dish to dive into, or die with no fonder memory than this chance occasioned by having to point, speechless



A Sentence Fictionalising Fieldwork

knew every spiritually heavy cool headed drummer, this one did, promise, $200 and he’s leading me to their yard, and he knows I know he’s lying, ordinary drummers, kids with a repertoire no bigger than sucker tourists demand, but since he’s discovering his lie he assures me that we’re actually meeting students of the drummers originally promised, so with that assurance of a no show of mastery, they play at the top of their intelligence, smart enough, but not, about an hour passes, no god gets anywhere near this yard, profaning faker evoke whom, but then another hour passes, bored, yes, but then, they begin playing at the top of their intelligence, and I’m recording, and the tape stops when their drumming begins to fly away, batteries die on command, and now several gods violate their incompetence, and they’re playing beyond all reason, theirs or mine, and I’m writing in a notebook a crude shorthand for this illusion, but absentmindedly, against intention, drawing crosses, cross-hatched, then lightning diagonals, and then its over, and I’m inside one of their drums, pushing against its head, trying to crawl out, I manage emerging a maggot crowned Athena, to become who was there when they played, the no ones multiplying, dividing, its in my notebook, the one lost when I ended up inside a drum, and thought I heard pulsing a lie that was with me at birth change her mind



A Sentence for One Night Only Offering First Nude Model and Jazz Vocalist in Limerick

just a florescent bit of cleavage under a peasant blouse falsely commingling 04 with 64, from that interpenetration of decades a possibility of an expansiveness in the air, in 64, not purified by romantic nostalgia, not that nude cellist playing, was it Bach, or something less mannered, to make cloudier her breasts under photo flash, so if there’s a re-run of 64 in 04 let it be flagrantly erotic enough to burn remembrance as keepsake, instead render it preserving rock salt, as a child tasting it for hell of savor, its grit summarized slut mother doing her Lucille Ball act after her sweet daddy rode rails to suburbs, so nude or naked, being the first nude model in Limerick deserves a stage where she’s stage, struck, model’s name Mary Coughlan, she’s stand-in for my slut mother, progressing from first female street sweeper to being main thoroughfare, then burst artery, finally, with a breathy edge records “Don’t Smoke in Bed,” which slut mother did, but define smoke as prelude to composing, then do nothing but


A Sentence to The Mines

and to black lungs cornering father of a precocious ten year girl who, when handed her a gypsy ballad, fell in love with its castaneted cadences, later discovering her father in his mid 30s dying from black lung, she glowed hearing Lorca even in an English not hers, could mine Lorca’s black and green as fields to skip through, prance like a young colt all unedited promise, perhaps only early intimation of satisfaction raising a daughter could hold, she asked about Spanish gypsies, in that West Virginia purgatory that did have its gypsy ballads, and not conscious of it, but Friday when paid throngs of miners strode to local State store for Jack Daniels, and whether her father was any longer among them unknown, she caught word intoxication, and what became of her, did she get out, get conventionally smart as Lorca or her father never were, and live well past her thirties, perhaps she reads little magazines and will read this, perhaps she possesses a casteneted cadence in her writing or intimate slurred talk, unlikely as that would seem, yet clipped mountain speech can twist into fandango furious stepped speech, and where her rage, or mine, pissed off at her old man’s early death goes translates as a field of blackness and greenness through which, even tho we’re no longer colts, we can run beyond any master’s bloodstreaked


Projected Letters is a literary magazine dedicated to publishing the best new and established writing from around the world.