This ritual, for me, used to entail careful cutting, excising the horizontal line over knee and navel, the compass’s V over the right breast, the square’s L over the left, four white rounds of cloth with their holy symbols I’d hold between tweezers and carefully burn over the sink, rinsing down cinders and wiping away scorch marks on porcelain.
Their sacred bits stripped, I ripped the remaining cloth to rags, perfect for soaking up lemon oil polish on the piano and bookshelves.
V — — L
I remember putting them on the first time—I was 21, prepping for …Read article
“There are years that ask questions and years that answer”—Zora Neale Hurston
This is the year that asks questions. It must be, because I have no answers, no answers at all.
I have spent the better part of the past month packing boxes—writing directions with a fat black marker on rectangular white labels: “Put in storage room,” “Put in bedroom,” “Leave in garage.”
I keep thinking that, if I write out enough labels and put them on enough boxes, all the scattered bits of my life will come together like giant jigsaw puzzle pieces to form a new …Read article
Duncan Leeds used to go to my school, but transferred when his dad got a promotion and his mom wanted a house in Wellington Gardens, a house that had an elevator and a trampoline in addition to the standard two stories and a pool for Florida mansions. Wellington was thirty minutes away from where I lived in Boca Raton, and in Florida time, that was a whole other world. He was my first real boyfriend, even though we only saw each other on weekends.
“I love you,” Duncan said on the phone. It was late, past eleven o’clock …Read article
Meghan Joyce Tozer
The most mundane of all things
was the birthing of new small things like ourselves.
Before the fall, things like this happened every day.
The world did not need new things
to unravel and undo things even further.
Yet we grew things in our bodies anyway.
We knew what we were doing.
There is nothing more to say.
Meghan Joyce Tozer is a film music scholar, editor, and activist in the San Francisco bay area. She holds degrees in English and Music from Harvard University (B.A.) and the University of California, Santa Barbara (Ph.D. and …Read article
what He thinks—or if.
a zillion light years wide,
pressed to the fizzy heart
of the universe,
a hydrogen gasbag
folded in on itself
like table napkins
on the Hindenburg,
or a quantum quesadilla.
What we call spiral galaxies,
He calls soup and sandwiches.
What we call supernovas,
He calls shoe polish.
What we call black holes,
He calls a paycheck.
What we call space,
He calls the barstool.
What we call the Big Bang,
He calls Louise.
It’s why the sun’s
and the moon
so matter of fact.…
In the plaza on Howard Street
you’ll find the unlikely fountain
prohibited by iron rails
beneath a walkway encased in bronze glass
and surrounded by red – brick
would – be windows if the concept made it
through the financing,
and tucked up in there like an afterthought is
Benjamin’s Café with one woman serving
through the grim afternoon,
her face a relief map of untreated tumors.
West on Main
Lincoln stands a mute copper witness
to the convergence of afternoon drivers ,
an d further west find the Shrine Auditorium
with soot black colonnades of Corinthian dolor…
The moon, only a half-arc wafer,
and the darkness discordant
with rush hour traffic.
This throng of lonely souls,
in accidental communion with each other,
their heartbreak heavier than night.
Together, we wear a shroud of invisibility
under the same barren stretch of sky,
inching along the same patch of road
amidst the sinusoidal symmetry of hills —
sentinels of many other sorrows.
We’re going home for the holidays in our December issue. But what is home? And how do we get there anyway? Our crop of writers is conflicted about the nostalgia of homecoming and the sometimes dark places the journey can take us.
Winter in the city can be cruel. The writers in this issue expose us to the small and large sadnesses of people we pass in the street, whether it’s a woman wandering, lost in the throes of dementia, or a brutal subway accident that we wish we’d never seen. A bystander exhorts us in one poem, …Read article
At five o’clock on a Tuesday I met my friend Mark at Piccadilly. He’d been in the Scottish Highlands; I’d been in Paris. He still talks about how strange it was to be in another country and to see my young face appearing like an apparition out of the crowds. Under Cupid’s aimed bow and arrow, we stood with our arms around the girls we loved back then, as a polite English punk with spiked blue hair took our snapshot. In the evening a light rain was falling as the four of us walked through SoHo, looking …Read article
At fifteen my mother curled inwards,
dredging up pearl and brine
from the sewer she kept in her stomach.
She painted worlds like liquid skyscrapers
and suckered poems onto her wrists like barnacles.
I was fourteen when I tried to die,
folding school tie into an escape ladder.
Later, I told lies about the hole in my ceiling
I still don’t think she believed.
When my father cried for the first time in years,
his own mother smooth and small in her coffin
the aunts sang their tears
into a hundred paper lanterns
their faces puckered by …