Written By: Tom Luttrell
About the Author: Tom Luttrell was born in Oakland and lives in San Francisco. He has a BA from UC Berkeley and takes classes at CCSF. “Nyanza” is his first published work.
After I take down the recycling and the compost,
when my hands are free,
I grab my mom’s 1947 Funk & Wagnalls college standard dictionary,
in the garage,
on a shelf,
in a cabinet,
laying sideways between a stack of gilt frames and a VHS of
The back of my nails pass the beige linen cover and like a zither it tingles back, its pomegranate spine still fast and tight.
It says on the side, in gold, on black
A font square and direct, like mesopotamian beards.
It was there, stuck to others, in a celery-green bookcase
in our house in Oakland
Beneath the Hummels and other untouchables
in the room reserved for company.
But NYANZA smells
like his den:
perforated white stucco
attached to the garage
in the backyard.
Pipes and tobacco,
mold and wood.
And DROIKIT too, like that
gold-veined white linoleum covered with brown knotted oval rugs,
then that bathroom
with a never-used shower painted gas-chamber green.
And how is it your presence still gets me,
the way I saved your parole agent fedoras (because of the Brylcreem?)
your calling card between the headband,
behind the bow by the tag with the size (“he’s got a head like a bastard cat”) and
February 9, 1971,
in a Sacramento Inn motel room,
metal door ajar, Ryder truck safe,
the morning sun splitting the black and white screen,
the four of us and one bitter grandma,
standing and watching
other peoples’ earthquakes and
other peoples’ station wagons
hover over freeway cracks and
I knew what proxy meant.
Visual Art Piece By: Kseniia Ha
About the Artist: In the past, I have learned how to draw religious icons, following all the scholastic rules. I have studied perfection in the craft, technique and formula of how to draw the divine face, until I finally came to feel an intangible truth: that all people on Earth already are ideal. We already are what we are searching for. I truly believe that we are the iconic images.