In that Part of The World
My wife’s father used to beat her regularly as a child
and from what she told me it didn’t take much to set him off.
One of nine sisters and brothers growing up in one of the poorest
countries in Africa they all got beaten regularly and her father
would also abuse them verbally, especially taking out his anger
and frustration on the boys. And yet, my wife idolized her father
and still misses him these five years later and wishes she had gone
there when he was sick because she feels she could have advocated
for him in ways that the rest of the family didn’t. She’s told me
on numerous occasions that her father taught her to be strong,
and I have no doubt that he was, supporting a family of nine
children on a salary of two hundred and fifty dollars per month,
which is considered middle class in that part of the world . . .
By The Way
for Tom Cuson
Since you died I haven’t been able to talk to you the same way.
Now it’s mostly simple ideas, simple commentary like, “You
would have enjoyed the Afro-Cuban jazz concert I saw the other night.
Top notch conga, timbale, and bongo players in the group.”
Or, “Wandered into an art exhibit recently that you would have
appreciated. Guy had an interesting style of painting with lots of color
and humorous scenes.” And so that’s how it goes. I have a hard time
imagining what it’s like where you are, and most of the time I try not
to think about it. I prefer to imagine that you’re still living in Germany
with your German wife, translating films from English into German,
doing Capoeira, and writing some of your fine surrealistic poetry.
Anyway, there’s not much else to say other than I hope you’ll surprise me
one day and show up at my door like you did the last time I saw you. . .
Jeffrey Zable is a teacher and conga drummer who plays Afro-Cuban Folkloric music for dance classes and Rumbas around the San Francisco Bay Area. His poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and anthologies beginning in the mid 70’s. His most recent publications include Kairos, Sick Lit, Revolution John, Tigershark, Vending Machine Press, Corvus, Dead King, Ink In Thirds, DogPlotz, Serving House Journal, Beachwood Review, Unscooped Bagel and many others. His writing is dedicated to two of his favorite poets who recently passed away: Mark Strand and Russell Edson.