“The Elephants in the House” by Avra Margariti

The elephant in the room can’t breathe. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson sit around the dinner table with their two teenaged children. They talk, but only empty words drop from their mouths to rise above the clinking of cutlery. How was school? Fine. Pass the salt, please. Thank you. The next day, the elephant in the room has split down the middle, dividing like an amoeba into two identical pachyderms. One hangs from the light fixture while the other hides behind the cream curtains, pressed up against the dining-room bay windows. Every passer-by on Sycamore Street can see the elephant, but … Continue reading “The Elephants in the House” by Avra Margariti

“First as Tragedy, Then as Tragedy: on Christian Petzold’s ‘Transit’” by Oscar Mardell

They say about this land that the projectiles of the last war unearthed the projectiles of the one before. – Anna Seghers, The Seventh Cross (trans. Margot Bettauer Dembo) But war, of course, consists not only of projectiles but of peripatetics: every legion of soldiers produces another of refugees. And few have been more sensitive to this facet of conflict than Seghers herself, whose 1944 novel Transit showed that ‘war’ is not merely ‘Hell’ but Purgatory also, not just ‘The End’ for the deployed but a ghastly intermediary for the displaced – whom it condemns to wander indefinitely, and to … Continue reading “First as Tragedy, Then as Tragedy: on Christian Petzold’s ‘Transit’” by Oscar Mardell

“Arundhati Roy’s ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’: The Worlding of Queer Lives Under Neoliberalism” by Mauve Perle Tahat

“’You’ve already been to my funeral. You’ve already laid flowers at my grave. What more can they do to me? I’m a shadow at high noon. I don’t exist.’The last time she met him he said something to her, casually, jokingly, but with heartbreak in his eyes. It made her blood freeze. ‘These days in Kashmir, you can be killed for surviving.’ In battle, Musa told Tilo, enemies can’t break your spirit, only friends can.” The Ministry of the Utmost Happiness  Chapter 8: The Tenant (273) My curiosity always prompts me to investigate what other people are saying about the … Continue reading “Arundhati Roy’s ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’: The Worlding of Queer Lives Under Neoliberalism” by Mauve Perle Tahat

“On Mothers and Daughters” by Rowan Aubrey Sloane

    My mother grew up moving. The only place she has told me about is Dayton, Ohio. She grew up moving, orbiting Wright-Patterson Air Force base where her father, the colonel, was stationed off and on. She grew up orbiting, but people aren’t satellites, and she doesn’t bring up her past much. The only thing she has told me about her childhood was that she moved around, and one time when she was angry she tied her brother to a tree. I try to imagine this. My mother, who goes to church twice a week, who told me once … Continue reading “On Mothers and Daughters” by Rowan Aubrey Sloane

“Reality’s Shelf-Life” by J.T. Hamilton

She died with a virtual reality headset strapped to her face. Jaw agape, cheeks sunken, polygonal patterns of crystallized sweat stuck to the fabric of her clothes. Her body was splayed out on an undressed mattress. A ceiling fan wobbled above. It was hot. Real hot. Alabama mid-summer-sun-expected-to-implode-this-decade hot. Scattered around the mattress, small plastic appliances vibrated and beeped, each displaying a unique blinking pattern of red-green lights. Tubes and wires wrapped around the woman’s torso, entering all orifices of her body, and exiting back into the machines. One was a feeding tube. Another a catheter. Some were monitors. Most … Continue reading “Reality’s Shelf-Life” by J.T. Hamilton

“Evocatoria or Stories of Grace” by Zeny May D. Recidoro

On paper, she was Carmen but for us, she will always be Mameng. Decades ago, the entire family lived with Mameng in the mansion at Balic-Balic in Manila. It had three levels. The base was made of adobe stone, and served as the garage and granary. The two upper levels were made of kamagong wood later fortified with concrete and steel, and capiz windows later framed with ornate wrought iron. There were twelve rooms, five baths, a kitchen, an out-house in the garden where we kept chickens, a pond where Mameng cultured tilapia, a prayer room and a library. We … Continue reading “Evocatoria or Stories of Grace” by Zeny May D. Recidoro

“Brown Bear” by Bailey Bridgewater

The submissive bulb of the brown Long Island sunset was barely enough to illuminate the silently flailing figure in the water.  The flaming ball stared down at the commotion from beneath its skin of smog, but the girl simply picked the loose sand up in her hands, running the granules through her stubby fingers, fascinated by the way it felt on her palms, but irritated by how it stuck under her bitten nails.  As she dug it out with her tooth, her mother sat up straight, abandoning her usual reclining position and the song she had been singing on the … Continue reading “Brown Bear” by Bailey Bridgewater

“Black Girl Magic, They Really Can’t Stand It” by Vanessa Maki

“Remember when they used to say I look too mannish Black girl magic, y’all can’t stand it” – Janelle Monae Janelle doesn’t just wear many hats in a literal sense but also in a figurative one. In “Django Jane,” she raps about women’s rights – especially black women’s rights, which is undoubtedly a different speed than what we’re used to. Mainstream rap doesn’t always offer this type of truth spitting. While some people just want mindless music – Janelle’s not here to give you that. Just like the whole of Dirty Computer she’s digging deeper and deeper into issues that you might … Continue reading “Black Girl Magic, They Really Can’t Stand It” by Vanessa Maki

“The Place Where You Fell” by Lorraine Wilson

  This is the place where you fell. Your bright swords and old shields faltering. All your angers and all your courage turned the soft earth to mud and the valley must have echoed, it must have echoed to your cries. In the cool dawn, in our houses we can still hear you shouting, and if we come down to the fields, if we listen in the evening, we hear you weeping. When mist lies in the low meadows, we gather our children away and think of risings and despair. Through all the many years, priests have come to cast … Continue reading “The Place Where You Fell” by Lorraine Wilson

“Braving the Days: Spring and the I Ching” by Jordannah Elizabeth

There are five I Ching cards sitting on my bookcase. Out of 64 cards, five jumped out at me…or I should say, they were pulled by a vivacious one year old who was visiting my home with her mother. It was a chilly Saturday morning and we all took a walk to get breakfast and “baby mimosas” (Perrier and orange juice). Once we arrived back to my place to eat, the little girl and her mom took naps while I wrote, daydreamed or worried about one thing or another. Before they rested, we joked about the child being a young … Continue reading “Braving the Days: Spring and the I Ching” by Jordannah Elizabeth