Session Four Anthology

MENTOR: Hanif Abdurraqib

Psychic attacks are mainly initiated by humans, but negative/demonic entities can commit them as well. Symptoms vary but may include impaired cognizance, loss of memory/time, or lethargy/fainting.

The little harlequin doll in the antique market is pretty and blue

and wears a feathered crown, and on their arm is a tag across which someone scrawled Arlene, but I doubt this is their real name. My pendulum swings inquiringly: the little harlequin doll is a man. He replies, No, not American. Yes, Turkish. No, lived in the 1900s. No, just until 30. No, not a demon. Just a spirit, but spirits see everything—I don’t bring home the men. Are you a pervert? I prod, and by his will, the pendulum swings, No. Undecided still, I seat him in a white dessert stand by the entrance stairs, and pocket my pendulum, the act of which linguistically severs us once again, though between the chain links of dialect, the little harlequin doll seems pleading. I can’t be certain in this shop firmly stacked, folded, and shelved: mounted buck heads, throbbing clocks, crystal geodes, glass-blown rings, copper frying pans swaying on their hooks, snarl-headed dollies that jut from cabinets of fine oak. Lately, my Intuition has been learning how to walk farther ahead of me. Sometimes, she leads me astray, but mostly our path is harmonious. My Intuition nudges me in the next room about the Brutish. Nearby, she warns. Doll. Demon. In minutes, I find it housed under the kind of polished glass for pricey rings, slyly propped amongst a fossil crowd of porcelain faces & cotton dresses. Her body is orbed to mimic baby fat. Her pink 1800s frock has dulled bluish. An aquatic peach. Kneeling, I observe her blue eyes, and I softly proclaim, Found you, in praise of my Intuition, who deems the glass case between us and the pink doll a stable barrier, and lets me look a little longer at her worn blonde curls and finely painted lashes. I carry on exploring, making a time of lifting tin lids, examining teacups, and unrolling
ancient quilts,    except I don’t know how   many hours have unhinged      in my captivation.

Two? Three? I take guesses during a third trip through one room whose path is rendered serpentine from plate stacks, Christmas ornaments, boxes of puzzle pieces, and a rocking chair that has probably swayed to slumber many generations, that my Intuition notes would feel pretty nice to unwind in for a minute, but I should be leaving and cross an archway in search of the front door, thinking there’s something about quiet rooms packed with antiques that make them all        harden in tenebrous symmetry. History’s dispossessed here.  

I only recognize the room
with the pink doll, whom I pass slowly as a  wayward deer, still peering over leather
chairs for subtle treasures, and in moments, or minutes, I am standing at the

register, the little harlequin warm in my grasp with his blue-feathered crown,
belled costume, golden lips. My pendulum stays pouched, but without it
he’s almost asking to go with me. My Intuition carols
in his favor, so I heed through some    weary mist in me that’s
swelling, maybe, but I put the little harlequin on the counter
before the shop owner, an old lady, who asks found everything?

& i wonder who visits these places with shopping lists as i surrender
five green     grimy petals from my purse. without self-       instruction, I am touching
   the little harlequin’s blue taffeta, his gold porcelain shoes with my dirty finger.
in me rolls a drowsy unrestrained. it might
be shushing my intuition, but i am far from
alarmed, no a breath could cast me off into a hundred dandelion umbrellas right— now the old lady leans in to check my harlequin friend’s price tag.
i remember arlene.
i did not ask for his real name. maybe it is abdullah     or arda i like those.
i am loudly affirming that i need another doll no, no sorry
the old lady is saying I need another doll-       ar i am dripping of course
into my wallet for the fifth crinkly that recoils
on the counter at her whale palm a 50s guy sings from the omni-
     scient speakers       his howl forking hairy static but wait
i cannot find little arda    where did he oh she dropped him in a paper bag
in front of her i restore him to my     hand he fits so well in it
 which i think i just said    aloud & the old lady calls come back or
no actually come back soon & grinning i waft towards the exit gazing
at little arda with weighty lids he looks ex- quisite & bright in my crooked     
   fist & i know
i don’t have a tongue

for turkish but i swear i can hear him in my warm teapot brain

begging me to leave   urging my wagon-

body between the boule- vards of french plates & glossy cera-

mic angels & happy feasts of fake daisies on trays    ever away  

from the room the pink doll who stands in glass under      passing noses

i wonder what         when    she gets to call home recall again her face as

we arrive at the sun- shocked glass door lil arda still

frantic it is silly i am all lilies honey heavy telling him slow

down lil friend you will have a home

but he just keeps pleading in

his turkish lip

go      go  




Jeannine Hiba


like his own father before him at 3 am
my father wakes wanders the house a little pours
his cereal no eggs no bacon my father

doesn’t touch meat
lives softly enough to enter
and leave the world a shadow

a breeze on doorsteps he reads the news
until i wake on the way
to school he’ll talk

about the latest friend
i didn’t get to meet this one
was only 52 and lived

back in kharkov each night they flushed
their throats out with vodka and let evening
make meat of them it took years

to learn the way a body like a hurt
dog holds its history in tight
jaws my father shouts at the car

swerving in its lane
ahead of us then asks have you considered
being vegetarian i say maybe

which we both know means
i don’t want to go to the trouble
of saying no and we’ve pulled up

to the school he hasn’t had a chance
to talk about the news or say
how proud he was to watch

another morning swell up
through the cracks of night i haven’t had
a chance to wish him happy

birthday and anyway
what is there to say but goodbye
my son and goodbye

my father who is my son

my father whose eyes i carry into
any rearview mirror any 3 am drive home
when one car sideswipes another behind me

my father who knows we live in worlds of wheels
all trying to catch us


Daniel Blokh