October Issue

Numéro Cinq at the Movies | What I Make of Movies, and What They Make of Me: Rosebud --- Julie Trimingham
Chemistry: Fiction --- Benjamin Woodard
Carnival for the Gods: Fiction & Paintings --- Gladys Swan
From A Tabby-cat's Tale: Fiction --- Han Dong
Talking With Animals/Speech Without Words: Review of Han Dong's A Tabby-cat's Tale --- Melissa Armstrong
Hand in Glove: The Poetic Collaborations of Kim Maltman & Roo Borson --- Ann Ireland
Ensnared in the Riddle of Their Doubleness: Review of <em>F</em> by Daniel Kehlmann --- Jason DeYoung
Back Spin: Fiction --- Timothy Dugdale
No Consequence: A Poem For Goran Simić --- Sydney Lea
All We Have Left: A Bosnian Journey --- Thomas Simpson
Wind in the Straitjacket: Poem Translated from the Bosnian — Goran Simić
Plato, Heidegger, Kant & Habermas Play Pass the Parcel: Poiesis and the Philosophy of Art-Creation | Essay --- Samuel  Stolton
Postmodern Has-beens and Gail Scott’s Will Have Beens: Reading The Obituary —  Natalie Helberg
What Is The Storyteller Going To Tell you? | Andrew Salgado: Art & Interview --- JC Olsthoorn
<em>Fishing Poems</em>: Memoir & Poems --- Karen Mulhallen
Wind in the Birch Trees: Review of Haruki Murakami's <em>Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage</em> --- Steven Axelrod
Uimhir a Cúig |Like A Rolling Stone: Irish Language Literature and Art in a Modern Cultural Context --- Liam Carson
Nights in the Tractorbeam: Short Story ---  Andrew F. Sullivan
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Beyond Words --- The Numéro Cinq October Issue Preview
Numéro Cinq at the Movies | What I Make of Movies, and What They Make of Me: Rosebud --- Julie Trimingham

Numéro Cinq at the Movies | What I Make of Movies, and What They Make of Me: Rosebud — Julie Trimingham

In François Truffaut’s film, a toddler climbs onto the sill of an open window several stories up, entranced by a cat just out of reach. The toddler slips, plummets. The neighborhood gasps. The camera pans down, an agonizing moment of anticipating a smashed skull, blood on the sidewalk. But there the baby is, sitting up, laughing. A moment of astonishment, resilience and delight that I have held onto, now for decades. —Julie Trimingham

Chemistry: Fiction --- Benjamin Woodard

Chemistry: Fiction — Benjamin Woodard

Red Carnation gently runs his fingers over the baby’s wisps of hair. He is about to ask her why she’s giving up the child. The inquiry hovers in the air, like a radio wave. Daisy inhales a mouthful of cheeseburger. “We don’t have much of a connection, I guess,” she says as she swallows. “He’s not good at reading my mind. And there isn’t a daddy.” “He’ll be very happy with us,” Red Carnation says. —Benjamin Woodard

Carnival for the Gods: Fiction & Paintings --- Gladys Swan

Carnival for the Gods: Fiction & Paintings — Gladys Swan

Carnival for the Gods follows the adventures of a small ragtag circus/carnival traveling through the legendary Seven Cities of Cibola, located somewhere between Mexico and the U.S. Most of the acts have deserted the show except for Dusty and Alta, aging trapeze artists; Curran, a midget; Donovan, a giant out of Rabelais; Amazing Grace, who dances with snakes; the Kid, who doesn’t talk, but aspires to be a magician; and Billy Bigelow, a magician-cum-handyman and electrician.

From A Tabby-cat's Tale: Fiction --- Han Dong

From A Tabby-cat’s Tale: Fiction — Han Dong

Warning: I burst out giggling every time I stick my nose in the following excerpt from Chapter 2 of Han Dong’s A Tabby-cat’s Tale. It’s a perfect example of how the author uses irony to inspire laughter. As you read this excerpt, it’ll be hard to focus on anything besides the hero, an anti-social, flea-ridden, incontinent cat called Tabby, but try and pay a little attention to this Chinese family’s reaction to the cat’s quirkiness. Tabby’s eccentricities don’t diminish their love, but intensify it. —Melissa Armstrong

Talking With Animals/Speech Without Words: Review of Han Dong's A Tabby-cat's Tale --- Melissa Armstrong

Talking With Animals/Speech Without Words: Review of Han Dong’s A Tabby-cat’s Tale — Melissa Armstrong

Remember heroic Buck from Jack London’s Call of the Wild or Lassie in Elizabeth Gaskell’s heart-wrenching short story “The Half-Brothers?” In Han Dong’s lean forty-three-page novella, A Tabby- cat’s Tale, we meet another unforgettable animal, but unlike Buck or Lassie, Tabby could never be classified as courageous. In fact the very opposite is true: Tabby’s unruly behavior is the basis of a wonderful comedy about a Chinese family’s obsession with their “morbidly” antisocial cat. —Melissa Armstrong

Hand in Glove: The Poetic Collaborations of Kim Maltman & Roo Borson --- Ann Ireland

Hand in Glove: The Poetic Collaborations of Kim Maltman & Roo Borson — Ann Ireland

‘We have no interest in the primacy of the individual voice,’ says poet/physicist Kim Maltman. We are sitting at the dining table in a Toronto house that he shares with poet and life partner, Roo Borson. ‘I remember reading a review of Roo’s that singled out a line as being ‘classic Roo Borson’ – but I’d written it.’

Ensnared in the Riddle of Their Doubleness: Review of <em>F</em> by Daniel Kehlmann --- Jason DeYoung

Ensnared in the Riddle of Their Doubleness: Review of F by Daniel Kehlmann — Jason DeYoung

Brisk, utterly readable, yet with philosophical drifts drawing from Zeno to Kant to Baudrillard, F is a powerful, unassuming novel exploring the contours of absence and the hallucination of truth, while refreshing the family novel with wonderfully drawn characters and plots awash in humor and irony. It is an unusual novel with familiar faces. —Jason DeYoung

Back Spin: Fiction --- Timothy Dugdale

Back Spin: Fiction — Timothy Dugdale

One day, Nieves was driving back from the city with him. They had gone to the market to sell produce and on the way home, his father stopped at a bar. Nieves plugged the jukebox while his old man threw back rum, that was his drink. By the time they left, it was dark. His father should have seen the deer charging out of the woods but he didn’t and the deer took out the right fender before rolling into the ditch. Nieves remembered his old man pulling onto the shoulder. “Come on,” he said. “Let’s have a look.” —Timothy Dugdale from “Back Spin”

No Consequence: A Poem For Goran Simić --- Sydney Lea

No Consequence: A Poem For Goran Simić — Sydney Lea

Though I think how my friend beheld the brain / Of his brother splayed against / A wall in a town so picturesque / It all but beggars the mind. —Sydney Lea, from his poem “No Consequence” written in honor of his Bosnian-Canadian poet friend Goran Simić. This is the third in our three-part Bosnian segment, including Goran’s poem “Wind in the Straitjacket” and Tom Simpson’s memoir “All We Have Left.”

All We Have Left: A Bosnian Journey --- Thomas Simpson

All We Have Left: A Bosnian Journey — Thomas Simpson

You say this is how you got fast, running this hill in the siege, your wheelbarrow shuttling jugs of water up from the brewery below. Sweating, heart pounding, flashing in and out of the sniper’s sights. His comrade’s shrapnel had already lodged in you, that first October, inches from your spine. The time you were in a neighbor’s field, snaking just to glean a few potatoes or pears that might have secretly come to term. —Thomas Simpson

Wind in the Straitjacket: Poem Translated from the Bosnian — Goran Simić

Wind in the Straitjacket: Poem Translated from the Bosnian — Goran Simić

I got tired of victimizing myself. / Empty perfume bottles overgrow / The pile of my mistakes
And a gigantic pen with its lame heart overpowers / My simple need to record/ My little self.

I got tired of punishing myself, / Of apologies because the pigment of my skin can stand / Only moonlight, / Tired of myself looking like a dog, / Howling like a wolf, / Hidden in an immigrant services file. —Goran Simić

Plato, Heidegger, Kant & Habermas Play Pass the Parcel: Poiesis and the Philosophy of Art-Creation | Essay --- Samuel  Stolton

Plato, Heidegger, Kant & Habermas Play Pass the Parcel: Poiesis and the Philosophy of Art-Creation | Essay — Samuel Stolton

The most coarse analogy which I can beckon to represent this is a worldwide, objective game of ‘pass the parcel’, except that everyone receives some form of a gift from the undertaking. This gift, although germinating as a mere potentiality, upon its possible actuation, is ‘used up’ as Vattimo said, but is vitally not weakened, but in fact strengthened upon a translation that conditions the essence of what Aristotle referred to as entelechy. That is the “inner urge” to be fully realized through various processes of natural design. —Samuel Stolton

Postmodern Has-beens and Gail Scott’s Will Have Beens: Reading The Obituary —  Natalie Helberg

Postmodern Has-beens and Gail Scott’s Will Have Beens: Reading The Obituary — Natalie Helberg

The first time I read this book, about two years ago by now, I read it quickly, and not for meaning at all: it was poetry, sound, weird, refreshing language I was after. My particular reading here has depended on many other essays and creative pieces I was reading while encountering the novel for a second time: encountering it as a reader hoping, also, to write an essay—hoping to lock myself into a deeper kind of engagement with the work, hoping even, maybe, to ‘get something’). The Obituary absorbed these other texts, but it is not limited by them. It is forever a work that will have been. You must read it now. And forget everything this essay claims.

What Is The Storyteller Going To Tell you? | Andrew Salgado: Art & Interview --- JC Olsthoorn

What Is The Storyteller Going To Tell you? | Andrew Salgado: Art & Interview — JC Olsthoorn

I feel like, ‘sure, you do one painting, and you do it well, and you’ve done it well for however long….but you’re not advancing.’ In most cases, these artists are getting lazy, moving backwards. I have no time for the one-trick pony…and he is out there, feeling comfortable in his work. I often say that an artist’s worst enemy is a false sense of security in the studio. This is the kiss of death. I have no time to feel comfortable, I crave that feeling of uncertainty and excitement that comes with knowing you’re eking in one something totally new. It’s exhilarating. —Andrew Salgado

<em>Fishing Poems</em>: Memoir & Poems --- Karen Mulhallen

Fishing Poems: Memoir & Poems — Karen Mulhallen

We headed up St Andrew which curves like a comma back to Main at the Water Tower. It was early, the beach mottled from the night rain, the sun rays small. For a moment it clouded over, and the sun shone through an aperture, the narrow band a hot vertical arc light. The tide was coming in, the water flashing diamonds in front of a large white yacht. A small blue sailboat cut across the bay, just behind a coral yacht at anchor. I knew by noon the whole beach would be a quilt, one blanket after another. —Karen Mulhallen

Wind in the Birch Trees: Review of Haruki Murakami's <em>Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage</em> --- Steven Axelrod

Wind in the Birch Trees: Review of Haruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage — Steven Axelrod

Do the auras the pianist sees really exist? Does embracing death really render them visible? Are the dark forest elves real that pursued Shira real or metaphorical? Did Tsukuru actually attack Shira in some somnambulistic fugue state? Did he have sex with his friend Haida, or merely dream it? The author leaves these mysteries unresolved, like the tragic events of Shira’s life and death. But their presence deepens and invigorates the most straightforward and open-hearted book Haruki Murakami has ever written.

Uimhir a Cúig |Like A Rolling Stone: Irish Language Literature and Art in a Modern Cultural Context --- Liam Carson

Uimhir a Cúig |Like A Rolling Stone: Irish Language Literature and Art in a Modern Cultural Context — Liam Carson

Once upon a time…I was a reader, but not a reader of literature in Irish. I was a speaker of Irish, or a kind of Irish, having been brought up speaking the language in Belfast in the 1960s. My father had many books in Irish – the classic Gaeltacht memoirs and novels by writers such as Séamas Ó Grianna and Seosamh Mac Grianna, Maurice O’Sullivan, Peig Sayers, and Tomás Ó Criomhthain. I never read these books. For one, I didn’t feel my Irish was good enough to engage with them.

Nights in the Tractorbeam: Short Story ---  Andrew F. Sullivan

Nights in the Tractorbeam: Short Story — Andrew F. Sullivan

The first time they floated through the ceiling, Abbie Kirkland was naked. Life was full of constraints, obligations and restrictions—sleep was one chance to abandon all of that. Even in the winter months, she hated sleeping in her clothes. Quilts were piled up on the bed, but she and Derek floated right up through them, their skin lit up blue under in a wide circle of light. Derek wore only a ratty t-shirt, the armpits gaping holes. The clock read 3:00 AM…

Top of the Page

Top of the Page

At the Top of the Page this month: essays and reviews, a selection of Jacob Glover’s contributions to the magazine. Jacob Glover has been an accomplice, co-conspirator, helpful presence from the magazine’s inception. He’s contributed essays, reviews, translations, poems, blog posts, and contest entries (in the days when we ran contests), also performed as a singer-songwriter with his brother Jonah, also scouted and curated pieces for the magazine. He’s one of the old guard. Only Rich Farrell has seniority on the current masthead.

Beyond Words --- The Numéro Cinq October Issue Preview

Beyond Words — The Numéro Cinq October Issue Preview

Art is the human/inhuman attempt to get at what is beyond the words, the thing that cannot be expressed, whether love or sadness or joy or awe. Paradox there, I know. If you’re writing words, how can you be trying to get beyond words? But you are. Think about it. In this issue we have storytelling in painting by Andrew Salgado, a brilliant essay about Gail Scott’s syntactic symbolism, freshly translated poems from Goran Simić in Bosnia, stories by Ben Woodard and Andrew Sullivan, and more.

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