Winter/Spring 2019


Common Motivations for Teaching English Abroad, or A Short Physics Lesson

Kelly Morse

I’d bicycle home after teaching, pumping the pedals so hard I hoped the blurred street would crack beneath them. I’d learned early how to leap—from hotel maid to fine dining server, student to teacher, dying desert town to rain-drenched city. So I left. I filled out applications, fielded phone interviews, signed a contract and flew to Hanoi, sight unseen.


Poetry, Fiction, & Nonfiction

Heavy-Headed

Aram Mrjoian

My head often feels filled with concrete. This is not to say congested. If anything, I am rarely sick.

from Waiting for Perec

Mario Meléndez, trans. by Eloisa Amezcua and John Allen Taylor

It was night / Death slept naked / on God’s corpse

Dear Cyntoia Brown

francine j. harris

I wonder when you push at mirrors, if they slip off in your hands. I would / like to hold you, who you were at sixteen with the you I was when I was / sixteen.

Mott Street in July

Xuan Juliana Wang

It did not yet boggle their minds that the insides of those things that fly also look like the insides of those that swim. They had yet to question why the bones of a fish could look like the bones of a kite. They had not known to wonder how far to look back in history for the connection.

Kimchi Daily

Leora Fridman

This is the fantasy of self-sufficiency: healthy in a closed loop, without needing anything from anyone else.

Common Motivations for Teaching English Abroad, or A Short Physics Lesson

Kelly Morse

I’d bicycle home after teaching, pumping the pedals so hard I hoped the blurred street would crack beneath them. I’d learned early how to leap—from hotel maid to fine dining server, student to teacher, dying desert town to rain-drenched city. So I left. I filled out applications, fielded phone interviews, signed a contract and flew to Hanoi, sight unseen.

Dead Matter

Katharine Coles

Not fossil not decay unfurls / A shining ladder and makes / Rescue all. In movies / Lets loose, tears off

Bright Perfection

Nancy Au

The chicken crows at midnight. Crows at four o’clock in the morning. Crows when it rains. Crows when the sun sets. Crows when sirens blare down our street. Only stops crowing to eat.

No Separate Thing Called Nature: An Interview with Richard Powers

Charlotte Wyatt

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author talks to Gulf Coast about trees, the transformative power of storytelling, and how writers might respond—and stay responsive to—the unique demands of this moment in both human- and tree-time.

Taking My Dog to The Opera

Who would have thought he’d sit / so still so long, but he settles right / into our row, props his head on the velvet / armrest basking in the company

The Machine is Trying to Make You Lose

Liam Baranauskas

Pinball takes place in a more liminal environment: those may be your physical fingers hitting flipper buttons and your real voice cussing out Bride of Pin-Bot, but your vision, your concentration—everything about you that’s more consciousness than body—moves outside of yourself and behind a thin layer of glass.

How to Clean a Boy

Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley

Triple check the joist hooked / from your garage ceiling / is rated for at least 97 pounds.

Oh, The Pretty Boys

Shannon Savvas

Their forever never lasts that long. Gone by Christmas.

Reliquary

Alyssa Proujansky

A cupboard is just asking to be opened. A cupboard doesn’t ask a question, but is, by its very nature, an entreaty. A cupboard says it did not ask to be a cupboard, did not ask to be an entreaty, is not, in fact, a cupboard at all.

Playing in the Institute: on Tag at ICA Philadelphia

C. Klockner

It’s still a question of how queer exhibitions can function within certain institutions without assimilating, without petrifying living works in order to propose additions to “the” hegemonic canon, but Tag proposes ways forward that walk indeterminacy with confidence.

The Traveling Coconut

Tashima Thomas

The spindly stalks creep out from the nexus of the composition like arachnid extremities. The pronounced compression of space pushes the roughly hewn roots into the forefront for the beholder’s contemplation. The sharp points and scraggly edges of the root system prevent easy entrance into the scene. Oller creates a kind of coconut Noli me tangere: we may look, but not touch.

By the Light of Other Suns

Janie Paul

We talked about light and dark, how to render it in paintings and drawings, and how it connects to spirit. We talked about Emerson and Thoreau. They connected their faiths to mine, to the pantheism I developed out there in the woods, and to art as faith. As I worked with artists in prison over the next couple of decades, I continued to see this transcendental connection to light and dark through their eyes.

Chicxulub Köçekçe / Pioneer Species

Kenan Ince

Like those jellyfish that swell with future oxygen, / I live into my gender, balloon constantly rising

A Note on "Dear Cyntoia Brown"

francine j. harris

At sixteen, life is supposed to be safe. Things are supposed to be beginning. We are supposed to be weaning from the care and guidance of people who have raised us. We are supposed to be on the brink of our adult lives. We should be taking the reins and figuring out how to care for ourselves, and we should have our most basic needs met so that we can care for others. It’s a volatile, dizzying, restless age. It is not always sweet.

2 Poems

Alyse Bensel

A neighbor assures me not to worry when the dog eats / rabbit flesh flattened on the street. Uncooked bones / are not sharp enough to hurt, turn an animal inside out.

intimate structures: Dorothea Rockburne at Dia:Beacon

Chloe Wyma

At once hermetic and worldly, ethereal and dense, this tightly focused exhibition reflects in its contradictions the difficulties and pleasures of Rockburne’s early career, which spanned from the late 1960s to the early ’70s.

Father and Son

Flavia Company, transl. by Kate Whittemore

The man was his father. How could he be so disgusted by him? His mother, long dead, always told him: your father will outlive us all, but not before he makes us suffer as much as he wants to, and more.


From the Archives

Something I Did Once Which I Thought Might Be Enriching

Tamar Jacobs

and the tour guide said what a shame how awful the heroin in Kensington but we would not be focusing on that today because this was an African American Iconic Hero tour and she smiled beatifically at the Black couple and the Black couple only...

Small Unmanned Aerial Systems

Natalie Scenters-Zapico

With the swivel of a controller / an agent in a room of laced / concrete blocks is haunted / by bovine hitting their bulk // against steel bollards.

Hollow Pockets for Resting

Alicia Mountain

That empty matchbook winter was a new trudge / through short-light afternoons with time to kill.

The Void Wife

Kate Folk

One thing was for sure: Elise couldn't be Robert's void wife. On the day the void was scheduled to hit San Francisco, she hid from him in the ruin of the Sutro Baths. She gazed out at the Pacific while behind her, the void consumed Oakland. The void had appeared six months ago in a slender belt around the globe near the 90th meridian, slicing through Detroit and New Orleans, Bangkok and the Kirov Islands of Russia. Since then it had expanded in both directions on both sides of the planet at the rate of seventy miles a day, like two immense pairs of lids drawing over the eye of the earth.