The Japanese Don’t Have Souls

That’s the title of this short film by Hungarian poet and film-maker Lili Kemény. And that’s me on one seriously freezing New Year’s eve dawn on Budapest’s beautiful Margít Bridge, feeding the seagulls.

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Where The Starbucks Used To Be

“This was a new ruthless breed of clerk,
more focused on globalized expansion than point of purchase
satisfaction, with moods more attuned to the fluctuations of
Capo Family Coffee stock price than with the customers’
expectations. These clerks exhibited the sort of malice that
rejoiced when a less predatory, mom-and-pop café nearby
closed down due to the ever-expanding Capo Coffee saturation.
It was rumored that they were even trained in handto-
hand combat to deflect stick-ups and keep overanxious
customers at bay.

It was not long before the larger, more accessible store ate
away at the smaller one’s profits and customer base, so like
a rat eating its own brood. Even stalwart regulars defected,
and it was soon announced in a store get-together (the Reg
breaking the news over deep-dish pizzas) that their modest
Wells Street outfit would be closing. Discarded like an
outgrown shoe.”  – from Keeping Bedlam At Bay In The Prague Cafe

Or, more succinctly, “There’s a Starbucks Where the Starbucks Used to Be”:

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Found Poetry, Re-Found!

The first issue of Pilvax, the literary review I co-founded, will have come out ten years ago from February.  Below is some found poetry from The Patriot Act I published under the pseudonym Mabel Sternly. Pilvax is no more, Ms. Sternly has disappeared into the ether of time, but The Patriot Act still lingers.

Presidential Authority

at the end
the terms directed by the President

liquidated, sold, or otherwise

Authority To Share

this rule
may disclose a violation
or other grave hostile acts

a United States person
actual or potential
is amended by striking
and inserting

end the following
by any means

Physical Search

a physical search
a foreign power
may be for a period
not to exceed 1 year

Authority To Share II

the defendant
whether or not
a United States person
is amended
by striking
by striking
by inserting
a foreign power
or an agent of a foreign power

Sec 411

the alien’s position of prominence
in an individual capacity
or as a member of an organization—
or other things of value

incite to commit an intention
by amending
an act that the actor knows

any individual who the actor knows
can demonstrate
in his sole unrevi
ewable discretion
without regard to the date

Notwithstanding by reason
The amendments
Can prevent an alien
on the ground
the first place it appears;
pro tempore

Sense of Congress

Congress makes the following:
Arab Americans
Muslim Americans
Americans from South Asia
nothing less

wrongdoing is sacrosanct
acts of violence
are perceived to be
so fearful

dress to avoid

414 Visa Integrity and Security

light of the terrorist
is the sense

ports of entry and exit
deliberate speed
with the Secretary

implement the system

and detain
in this section

individuals who pose
after the date
shall submit

414 # 2 Machine Readable Passports

Beginning one year after the date
and every year thereafter
the Secretary
shall submit
and inserting
at the end
with respect
if the Secretary
is making progress

Section 358

before the period at the end the following
the conduct of
shall be available
to protect

records of reports are exempt

Congress finds that
institutions have a high degree
of the Nation on and after
other reproductions
of the identity

such records may also have
a high degree of usefulness

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Out Today!

The twice Pushcart Prize nominated, Kirkus Best Fiction nominated, PEN Best Translation nominated collection of short stories Devil is a Black Dog is out today in the US. There is much more to say, but we are typing on a broken finger, and under multiple deadlines, so this brief message and best wishes for the holidays will have to suffice.

You can find The Devil is a Black Dog’s Amazon page here.

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Devil is a Black Dog Week at B o d y Literature

This week B O D Y Literature, an ambitious on-line literary review out of Prague, published three of my translations from Sándor Jászberényi’s short story collection The Devil is a Black Dog. Spanning Gaza, Sudan, and Yemen, you can find the stories here, here, and here.

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A Guide to Slaying Giants

Shockingly good news: The Devil is a Black Dog is among Kirkus Review’s nominees for their Best Fiction prize. All we have to do is beat out the likes of Ha Jin and Alice Munro. Yup, should be a cinch.

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