Short Story of the Day: “Crocodile Teeth” by Donna Lee Miele

Nine more days till the Redwood City Library online reading for ms. aligned volume 3! (Thursday, Feb. 25, 5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. PST) Much thanks to the library outreach staff, who gave us the slot and prepared beautiful flyers. And much thanks to series editor Pat Matsueda for coming up with the idea of a series focused on women writing about men.

Super-excited. Register here.

One of the readers on Feb. 25 is Donna Lee Miele. Self has just finished re-reading her fantastic story, “Crocodile Teeth.” From her Contributor Bio in ms. aligned 3:

  • Donna Lee Miele plays with characters, settings, and conflicts that evoke her mixed heritage and her parents’ experiences of war. While she also writes historical fiction, she finds greater freedom to explore (and greater fun) in stories with less concise settings, which was her intention with “Crocodile Teeth.”

An excerpt:

I was scared of Edward’s sister. After Edward’s parents got lost looking for work upriver, she took over their grandma’s house like she’d just been waiting for the chance. She bullied Edward, she bullied their grandma, and she even bullied the guys that started hanging around, who offered everything from repairs to the wornout old house to actual money for the chance to date her. They thought she’d be easy because she and Edward were orphans. She didn’t even pretend to be nice to them. She had a look so cold she could make the bag shrivel between your legs.

If you were one of those guys, and you tried to come up on her grandma’s veranda, she would stand on its edge, look down on you, and say something like, “Take yourself to the beach and remember me to your family,” meaning Last Beach, though even she wouldn’t say that right out. Last Beach is full of whores of every kind; and every one of them, of course, is someone’s family.

Editor’s Note, ms. aligned 3

There’s still almost an hour before the game begins, so self can squeeze in a few more things. Self’s quote of the day is from Rebecca Thomas, Editor of ms. aligned 3: women writing about men. (Published by El Leon Literary Arts of Berkeley and Manoa Books)

For the past nine years, I have been teaching composition at West Virginia University. I primarily teach freshmen, and one of their first papers is a narrative. In so many of the narratives, students — of all genders — explore issues connected to masculinity, in particular the effects of toxic masculinity. I receive papers about abusive relationships in high school, peer pressure to act a certain way, loneliness in emotionally connecting with peers, and the very real risk and fallout from coming out. My students are young, so it’s natural that they write about their childhood, the childhood moments where they begin to construct their identity. In our class discussions and in their reflections, I see so many grappling with the concept of masculinity. How did it shape their life? How will it shape their life as they journey into adulthood?

In this Me Too era, it’s hard not to think about masculinity and how it can be toxic. Working on a college campus, I know that many of my students have been assaulted. I know that many of them are trying to find the space to talk about it, and I know that many of them are starting to test the waters of self-acceptance, to see if it’s safe to be who they are. Since I am the mother of two young boys, toxic masculinity is something that I have to consider constantly: how do we raise our children in this environment? What conversations do I need to have with my kids?

Contributors to ms. aligned 3, and series editor Pat Matsueda, will be on-hand at an online event hosted by Redwood City Library. Register here.

Angela Nishimoto’s “Sex Education: A Tragicomedy, Part II” in ms aligned 3, edited by Rebecca Thomas

ms aligned 3 is a collaboration between El Léon Literary Arts (Berkeley, CA) and Manoa Books, Hawai’i. More information can be found here.

Upcoming Online Event: Redwood City Library Reading, Thursday, Feb. 25, 5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. Register here.

“Daniel attempted to lead me; I tried to lead him. We struggled. I pushed him on the shoulder; he pushed me back. I kicked him in the shin. Hunching, he grabbed my right hand in both of his and bit me hard.”

— Excerpt from Angela Nishimoto’s “Sex Education: A Tragicomedy, Part II” in ms aligned 3

Grace Loh Prasad’s “Teddy” in Ms Aligned 3

My whole life I’ve been a model of responsibility and good sense, and you know what? It’s not a recipe for joy. I follow the rules. I never eat more than half a bowl of rice because I’m diabetic, although lately I allow myself a small bowl of red bean soup, or a tiny piece of cheesecake, no bigger than two fingers. I deserve to live a little, don’t I?

— “Teddy” by Grace Loh Prasad, Ms Aligned 3, edited by Rebecca Thomas

Grace Loh Prasad was born in Taiwan and raised in New Jersey and Hong Kong before settling in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College and is an alumna of the VONA Workshop for writers of color along with residencies at Hedgebrook and the Ragdale Foundation. Her piece, “Unfinished Translation,” is in the new issue of Khora.

Grace will be reading with contributors to Ms Aligned in an on-line event hosted by the Redwood City Library on Thursday, Feb. 25 at 5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.

Online Reading for MsAligned 3, Hosted by Redwood City Library: Thursday, 25 February, 5:30 pm

Dear blog readers:

Here’s your chance to listen to some of the contributors to Ms Aligned 3: Women Writing About Men!

Online reading February 25 for the Redwood City Library, 5:30 p.m. – 6:45.

Here are just a few of the lovely authors who will be reading:

Pat Matsueda (Series Editor) * Lillian Howan * Donna Lee Miele * Angela Nishimoto * Cassandra Lane * Jill McCabe Johnson * Rachel King * Ryan Nicole Granados * Grace Loh Prasad

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Citizenship and Its Discontents

Anomaly is an international journal of literature and the arts that provides a platform for works of art that challenge conventions of form and format, of voice and genre.

Deadline for the special issue on Citizenship and Its Discontents:

30 September 2020

Guest Editor: Grace Loh Prasad

Email: citizenshipfolio@gmail.com

Twitter: @GraceLP

LIWANAG Online Workshops

Ah, San Francisco. A city of neighborhoods. Never has she needed your help more than at this moment.

Liwanag is a cultural organization with deep roots in a section of the city historically populated by Filipino residents (not so anymore, but the traces are there).

They’re putting together an anthology (Deadline: Aug. 23, 2020)

Information on submission guidelines, and on two upcoming workshops, are on the website

Liwanag Workshops Flyer.

Poetry Tuesday: Sappho

To An Army Wife in Sardis

Translation by Dianella Gioseffi, from the anthology Women on War (The Feminist Press, 2003)

Some say a cavalry troop,
others say an infantry, and others, still,
will swear that the swift oars

of our sea fleet are the best
sight on dark earth; but I say
that whomever one loves is.

DSCN0195


Sappho, famed lyric poet of ancient Greece, was born on the island of Lesbos (b. circa 610 B.C.E.) and spent some time in exile in Sicily. She was leader of a group of young women devoted to music, poetry, and the goddess Aphrodite. Many of her poems are, like this one, addressed to women, and are characterized by both passion and simplicity.

Photo Montage: 2020 So Far

Poetry Tuesday: Simeon Dumdum Jr.

When Is a Poem Already a Poem

from the Likhaan Book of Poetry and Fiction, edited by Jose Y. Dalisay, Jr. and Ricardo M. de Ungria (University of the Philippines, 1996)

I wasn’t listening when you asked that question.
I was looking out the window, at the boat
That was just then leaving the port of Dumaguete.
One more day and already I imagined
Myself on that boat, slumped in a chair,
Holding a book like a cup of coffee,
Hoping that during the passage across
The strait I could read without spilling
A word, but then I remembered I still
Had to send someone to buy me a ticket,
And there was your question, and how far the boat
Had gone out in the poem of the sea, now
That I wished someone there would think of us.
From the boat someone could see the mountains, but not us.
From the boat someone could see the mountains, but not us.
Already we had become the Cuernos de Negros.


Simeon Dumdum Jr. is a Filipino judge on the island of Cebu, and a well-known poet. We met in 2009, at an International PEN Conference. Have loved his poetry ever since.

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