BANG! authors are showcased individually here online for a month. Each author installment is made up of three pieces in any combination: poetry shorts (20 lines) or fiction or nonfiction (500 words each) for a month. All work on must be previously unpublished. Submission period runs all year round. BANG! pieces are not published in The New Guard. Work should be very short: flash-short. Pieces on BANG! are meant to serve as a kind of calling card for the author. :: Our next installment will be posted on July 26, 2017. ::
Our June/July BANG! author is Lola Rainey. Lola is a BANG! invited writer.
Lola Rainey is a poet and storyteller from Arizona. Her poems and works of flash fiction have been published in several literary journals and anthologies, including TheNewEngagement.com, 82 Review, Jasmaya and ThisGreatSociety.com. Rainey also published a children’s book, Sad Sam Glad Sam, a novel, Havasu Means Blue Water, and a poetry chapbook, The Rainy Season under her pseudonym, Ivory Simone. Her website, “Her Eyes Open” offers up her writing and art, and she contributes essays and feature articles to The Good Men Project, among other sites. She is currently working on a poetry manuscript tentatively entitled Darkness in the Margins.
Rainey earned an undergraduate degree in journalism but took a detour from the writing life; she attended law school and spent nearly two decades practicing law. Now retired, she is a community organizer engaged in social justice advocacy. She grew up in the multicultural borderlands of Southern Arizona and now resides in Tucson.
BY lola rainey
I be East Texas switch cane. Long and lean. Choctaw blowpipe. Don’t mess with me.
You be Indiana milkmaid. Freckled and plain. Grease monkey girl. Hard to catch, harder to hold. You collect things. Sick kittens, kite string, stink beetles, bowleg black girls. My family got two daughters. Don’t need a third. I kick up graveyard dust. Wherever I go. Want something bad to happen.
You wait for me everyday. Follow me around school. Get on my nerves. I call you freckle-face white girl! You give me candy. Say you like my fried bologna sandwiches. When Janey Ray call me tar baby. You sock her good. I grab your hand. Pull you away. The sunflowers in your face make me forget. About the graves I been digging.
We build a tree fort. Out in the desert. Got your Daddy’s binoculars. Up in the branches. Looking for spies. I spy Gabriel Valdez! He and Beth Ann’s big sister in the park. Ooh we! He got his hands down her pants. All the girls like him. I spy your brother Jimmy. Smoking a cigarette in the back yard. He so mean.
Your mama a nurse. Your daddy a truck driver. They always gone. We both orphans. Your brother Jimmy hate you. He don’t like me neither. Get a pinched face. Like he smelling dog doo doo. When he see me. Jimmy got hammer hands. Go around smashing things. Pounding on girls. Smaller than him. My daddy pound on my mother. All the time.
Digging a grave for my daddy. One for Jimmy, too.
Papi. The club is popping. Horns scream. Congas thunder. Hips pump. Hips grind.
Bodies glisten. Sticky. Wet. Tito Puente. Aztec feathered priest. Shows no mercy.
Throws down. Vicious beats. Heart pounding--so fast. It may jump. Out my chest.
Close your eyes. Papi. Smell the jungle. In my hair. Salt sea air. On my breath.
I cannot forget. Your red-fire-beard. Your kiss. Filled me with caterpillars.
Blue like the waves that carried you here. When I say your name: Quetzalcoatl.
Standing in clear water. Butterflies fly out my mouth.
Empty eyes say. You don’t remember. Hungry hands say. I am only a mulata.
Whose melon. Ass. And mango. Tits. You want to squeeze. It’s okay. ¡Pinche gringo!
Our first dance. Was long ago. Give me. $20. I will show you. The golden mound.
Where the sun. Comes. To rest. Each night.
Gasoline baby hear. I calling.
Suicide ash. Strong juju magic.
Us shift shapes. In lightmoon.
I old. Fat comfort woman.
You rot bone. Skeleton man.
Got we. Molotov cocktail.
Burning pyre turnt. Bridal bed.
Rebirth us. Flame wing moths.
Hammer dead knell. Coffin shut.
Gasoline drop. Drip liquid skin.
Sandpaper lips spark. Fire wick.
Melt we down. Passion’s doll.
Push stickpin. In rootworm heart.
Kerosene world wait. On we.
Smoldering rage. Dry kindling wood.
Pick us teeth. Cities blaze.
Mourning sky. Pour confetti rain
Gasoline baby. Hear I calling.
Suicide ash. Strong juju magic.
Poetry © Lola Rainey, 2017. All rights reserved by the author.
Previous authors with appearances on BANG! are: Patricia Smith, Jose Padua, Pete Follansbee, Jillian Brenner, Susanna Baird, Alexandra Oliver, Kerri Quinn, Mike Heppner, Marc Mewshaw, Timothy Dyke, Marcia Popp, Quenton Baker, Joshua Graber, Charles Wyatt, Julio Duggan, V. Hansmann, Scarlett S. Diaz, Erica Vega, Amy M. Alvarez, Jonathan Segol, Lissa Kiernan, Roger Bonair-Agard, James Kimbrell, Bridget Boland, E.G. Cunningham, Melissa Goode, Mark Wagstaff, Carla Stern, Sarah Glass, Jennifer Amell, Zakia R. Khwaja, Julie Poitras Santos, Lyall Harris and Amy Nash.