Doug Rice and Jordan Okumura ||| Monday, November 21 @ 7:30 pm ||| SPC, 25th St

Monday, November 21 @ 7:30 pm

Sacramento Poetry Center

1719 25th Street (25th & R)

Host: Penny Kline

Free Admission                                          Refreshments

Doug Rice is the author of Here Lies Memory, An Erotics of Seeing, Dream Memoirs of a Fabulist, Between Appear and Disappear, Blood of Mugwump, Skin Prayer, and other works of fiction, photography, and theory. His work has been published in numerous journals and anthologies, including Avant Pop: Fiction for a Daydream Nation, Kiss the Sky, The Dirty Fabulous Anthology, Alice Redux, Phanthoms of Desire, Zyzzyvya, Fiction International, Gargoyle, Discourse, and 580 Split. His work has been translated into five languages, and he was a recipient of a literary residency at the Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany.

Here is a short passage:

Clarence stood on the corner of Pride and Colwell Streets listening to Ai’s voice, looking into her dark eyes. He felt his hands wanting to do something. His feet longing to walk, to make a getaway. Something hot and fierce burned into his lungs and every single bone in his body cracked. Elgin felt his eyes changing, felt a scar forming in those eyes of his, a scar that would never heal. And he heard a voice inside him urging him to clear his throat of his desire for Ai and find other stories, other women, other bodies. But Ai’s beauty paralyzed Clarence. The dark skin of her elbows and the even darker skin of the flesh behind her knees, the insane beauty of her narrow, thin feet, her toes, her hands, the palms of her hands. Clarence could not imagine ever seeing beauty comparable to the quiet beauty just resting in the palms of Ai’s hands. If he could have imagined that such beauty existed somewhere else in the world, perhaps then he could have walked down Colwell Street, could have just walked and walked to some other place where there was some other beauty close to Ai’s beauty, maybe he could have walked down Dinwiddie Street to Fifth Avenue to Red’s Bar and found such beauty there. But those delicate strong lines in the skin of Ai’s palms cut deep into Clarence’s memory, into his heart, into his desire, and kept Clarence standing there. Clarence would never see beauty near the beauty of the palms of Ai’s hands again. Not in this lifetime. That beauty. The way her name felt in his mouth. All this paralyzed Clarence. When he lay beside Ai, when she lay on top of him and he felt the girl weight of her young body on his old body, he forgot the pain of every heartbreak he had ever experienced. The pain of every bone that had ever been broken in his body, the pain of losing his parents, the pain of nearly dying from starvation, all of it just lifted and disappeared into thin air as if none of it, as if nothing bad, had ever happened to him. Ai gave Clarence this. So Clarence stood before her. He stood and waited, unsure of what he was waiting for, of what there was left in the world that a man like him could ever see or know again.

Jordan Okumura is a writer and editor. Her work has been published in Gargoyle, DIRTY:DIRTY (Jaded Ibis Press), Black Rabbitand First Stop FictionJordan lives and works in Sacramento, California where she is an editor for trade news publications in the agricultural industry and is a regular contributor at Enclave/Entropy. Gaijin is her first book.

Excerpt from Gaijin:
I miss you. Miss you so much. I’d eat your ashes. Hold them inside the pit of my Japanese tongue. You
own my skin, Grandpa, the one rich with Portuguese blood. Unnameable. When you wrote your family
after this country denied you, I became your threatening woman.

Half-haunted, half-here.

Grandpa’s words erode skin over the head of a rambling father. A son. Ventriloquist smiling. His veins
reeling out beneath his fingertips. Attached at the ribs of his children. Grandpa, a sheer thin voice over
background pictures. Family sewn under my skin. He tracks his redemption in movement through our
dreams, that I would give him back the tender meat of our tales. Grandma twisting her darning needles.
Chewing the finer threads of skin that Grandpa had left to the women.

When Grandpa’s skin began to sag back towards the earth I tried not to believe that the cancer was karma.
He was denied. Then he denied the skin of his children.

Previous post:

Next post: