Grethel Ramos

Hope by Jenean McBrearty

“The Creative Process” 

1.Wanted to be the next great American writer. 2. Only had talent for playing dominoes. 3. Heard that pedophile punchlines get people’s attention even if the rest is bad. 4. Checked out the Masters. 5. Quiroga. 6. Such a tragic life! Had suicide news for lunch. 7. Rulfo. 8. Impossible to emulate. 9. Vallejo. 10. Takes happiness out of everybody with his negativity. 11. Borges. 12. An intellectual snob. Makes everyone’s writing look like crap .13. Voynich. 14. Never shed tears as thick as when reading The Gadfly. 15. Went to bench press. 16. Came back. 17. Missed the sunset’s vanishing light echoed on parking meters. 18. Put on a tuxedo and a tutu. 19. Looked good. 20. Chubby early moon. 21. In the sky. 22. Above men full of noses and qualities and imperfections. 23. Lit a cigarette. 24. Put on some music. 25. Opened a bottle of rum. 26. Frosty excitable breeze singed her skin. 27. Thought about boundaries. 28. No stories about love or porcupines. 29. Thought about identity. 30. A human in the world. 31. Thought about style. 32. Inability to write about spoiled boys with magic wands. 33. Thought about voice. 34. Bad because of a cold. 35. Thought about settings. 36. Virtual reality, a possessed plain in Peru, a Buddhist monastery in Indonesia, Alaska. 37. Thought about areas of interest. 38. Race, oppression, privilege, indoctrination, pedantry, misogyny, sex, cucumbers, eclipses, customer service, any word with the consonant “p”, violence against the disadvantaged or anyone whatsoever living under the sun. 39. Thought about gender. 40. A woman trapped in a woman’s body who loves both women and men of either biological sex. 41. Thought about plot summaries. 42. Gregor gradually turned into a cockroach. Because we treated each other the one treats a parrot, I took my toothpaste and disappeared from your life. Little girls don’t believe in fairy tales anymore because high-quality shoes are so expensive than women would never take the risk of losing a good shoe to find a husband. I killed him because he was majoring in psychiatry. 43. Started writing. 44. With burning words. 45. In steel plates. 46. For words not stamped in steel plates can ever be rewarded as critical. 47. Wrote a footnote for Pala Josses, Pala Josses late. 48. Wrote one page. 49. Noticed that the footnote was better than the text. 50. Collapsed from exhaustion on the couch. 51. Corpulent snow cluttered on stone pavements. 52. Realized she was alone with herself, a bad poem, some cigarette butts, and Fabuloso to clean the floor. 53. Thought about the craft. 54. Decided to fly to Paris to shop for muses along Montmartre under the rain because everything tastes better under the rain and the most beautiful lines are always the wettest. 55. Went to bed. 56. Cried all night to the pillow thinking about The Gadfly, morning the fates of the main characters. 57. Hawkish wind dried her tears. 58. Got out of bed at noon. 59. Thought
about the craft. 60. Cleaned the floor.

“The Cut”

I own a collection of knives.
I have knives that I got in fires and knives that I got in riots.
I have knives that I bought in those places where
nothing pious happens—uncanny holistic battles,
the office of a Cuban surgeon who gets paid in vegetables,
vinyl-clad dive bars with darts, 70’s dad rock, low-stakes gambling
for the poor & Long Island Iced Tea as a perennial favorite.
I have knives that I bought from a gaucho lost in a castle
filled with the absence of fluorouracil.
I have knives that I got in civic crucial spaces
where they talk about disquieting astonishment & holy dread—
and when it’s pinkish outside, the beauty is tangible.
I have knives that I bought from people
with brutish Roman accents during a poker match.
I was losing the game, so I flipped the table
and we started again.
I have knives that performed efficaciously,
bringing felicities of every kind.
I have Wüsthof knives, single-edged knives from the Bronze age,
titanium knives, hunting knives & Turkana wrist knives
from indigenous tribes in Africa.

I have a machete that is ridiculously perfect.
Knives just show up at my house, like the pollen of
flowers show up in the nose of a chronic asthmatic.
I can start a cult knife movement, but I have a mild
obsession with avocado.
I can write a television pilot for a cooking show about knives,
but my moral blind spots would get into the sugar bowl.
I can sew my knives together to showcase them
in an art gallery, but neither my feet
nor my hands have confirmed my desire to be an artist.
I can teach a master class about knives,
but I weep an eternity of broken dreams & junk-food cravings
every time I have anything to do with academics.
I can use a knife to get rid of myself,
but on this particular day, I’m spectacularly happy.
I can use a knife to kill the people who harmed me,
but they died already when they saw me gleeful,
my collection of knives covered by dust
and boredom. I’m the one to blame
for the deaths from my happiness
only if the knife is the one to blame for the stabbing.

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