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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

“Mba'eichapa neko’ê?” or “How did you wake up?”

By: M. Shayne Bell

Even in this cheap hotel—

you voices.

No, for the fourth time today,

I will not jump off a cliff

despite your threats;

despite your put-downs;

despite how you fight

amongst yourselves,

though in whispers,

whispers, whispers:

despite your incessant whisperings,

despite even those;

despite that this room

proved no escape from you,

no refuge—

despite even that.

All I want, right now, 

is a plate of bacon and eggs,

and for all of you to shut up.

Yes, that would be me

with yet another fantasy

in two parts:

(1) silence,

(2) breakfast—

OK, make it a fantasy

in three parts:

(3) a house in the interior of Brasil

where I will speak only Portuguese,

never English,

never again English

to you voices.

If you learn Portuguese,

I will take up Tupi-Guarani;

in fact, I’ve already started.

I can say, for example,

Cheko’e pora, ha nde,

(I’m having a good afternoon,

as well), and I will say that to you.

I will serve you little cakes.

Maybe we can come

to an arrangement.

We must, I think, find

common ground besides scree

at the bottom of a cliff.

Then, if somebody asks me:

Mba'eichapa neko’ê?

(How did you wake up?),

it will be, simply,

because larks,

barn swallows, and robins

have begun to sing.


M. SHAYNE BELL received a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (1991). His poem, “One Hundred Years of Russian Revolution," was a finalist for the Rhysling Award (1989). His poetry has been published in The Fibonacci Review, The Ghazal Page, Shot Glass Journal, Typishly, Dialogue, Sunstone, Amazing Stories, Asimov’s, etc. His haiku have been published in Modern Haiku, The Heron's Nest, Tinywords, Sunstone, and Mainichi Japan.

Bell also publishes science fiction and fantasy. His story “Mrs. Lincoln’s China” was a finalist for the Hugo Award (1995). His story “The Pagodas of Ciboure” was a finalist for the Nebula Award (2002). He received a first place Writers of the Future Award (1990) for his story “Jacob’s Ladder." His works include the novel Nicoji, the anthology Washed by a Wave of Wind: Science Fiction from the Corridor (for which he received an Award for Editorial Excellence from the Association for Mormon Letters [1994]), and the story collection How We Play the Game in Salt Lake. His nearly 100 published stories have appeared in Asimov’s,The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Tomorrow, Analog, Amazing Stories, etc.; inThe Year's Best Fantasy and Horror (2003); and in three editions (2000, 2001, 2004) of The Year’s Best Science Fiction. His story, "If on a Moonlit Night," was nominated for a Gaylactic Spectrum Award (2002). He has written stories for both Star Wars and Star Trek.

Bell holds Bachelor’s (1982) and Master’s (1985) degrees in English Literature from Brigham Young University.

In 1993, Bell backpacked through Haleakala Volcano on Maui, from the summit to the sea, retracing an expedition Jack London went on in 1911. In 1996, Bell was part of an eight-day expedition to the summit of Kilimanjaro. Bell’s long-time companion, Drew Staffanson (a foreign correspondent who had been stationed at various posts in the Middle East), died in 2002. Bell grew up on a ranch outside of Rexburg, Idaho (USA); he and his six cats live in Rexburg.

Bell’s works in progress include A Year for Music, an autobiography told through encounters with music (see; Apple Blossoms Falling, a book-length collection of original haiku; and Salt Lake in Tulips, Bell’s decade’s-worth of photographs of that city’s spring flowers.


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