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cover art by juliet degree

cover art by juliet degree

First issue is out today! Thanks for your patience, friends.
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http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/769692

P.S. Reading period for the fall issue happening now.
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Aside

this website will be visually appealing soon, promise.

The issue is put together. Minor edits to be made before it goes out to you. Thank you for your patience!

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March 28th.

found: “Beirut” by Katie Ford

originally on Blackbird

Ruin is a promise
we make to each other:
I am born the day Saigon falls
and Lebanon takes to its own throat a club.

On that day
southern soldiers tear their uniforms
for the Saigon River to bear
to open water. The lucky are in boats,
their papers burnt into red locusts of no detail,
a swarm of no birth, no party, in flight, in fall
back toward the river of garments
drenched of each frantic gesture
that pointed to the cryptic sea.

For two days my mother lies flat with pain.
The locusts have traveled far into her radio,
their bodies cast with boat-shaped tips
while not even our fingers stay together
to scull us from cities where salt water, years later,
will pour up the neck of each great live oak.

By transistor she hears the fall of Saigon
and Lebanon’s night-coins of bulleted light.

The radio needs almost nothing to pick up the world, she says.

She’ll wake to it, she’ll sleep to it,
she’ll tell it what she wishes.

As a child I’ll watch her turn
the small dome of the dial
in which many lives crowd
to transmit the yellowing conditions
of each country’s eye.

Lebanon of limestone, Lebanon of sheep,
for two days my mother lies flat.
On the third day
the goats of the Lebanese hills
tilt their heads, stop their feed and hear
an ancient city begin to break itself in half—
and half again—
and once more—
until the halves are dust
in which the olives will not fatten.

Only echoes grow from the limestone
as screeching birds carry
what sounds are human
to the white cliff to cry them out.

A human cry lives many lives.
The gulls are that fierceness made flesh.

For thirty years the people of my life lived.
Then thousands around me drowned.

Saigon, Phuket, Beirut, your gulls
flew over America and lent her your name:

If it is as Socrates says,
that locusts were human
until they heard the song of the world
and, so captured, forgot
to eat and drink and died—

and if it’s true the gods
took pity on the dead
enough to resurrect them
into ashen singing things—

then, so too, our songs

will have to be plagues.

Video

found: “Swallow,” by Amy Hammond

“With this piece and the writing within it, I am treading on the fine line between sensations that accompany life experience such as: exhilaration and terror, fragility and strength, and anxiety verses anticipation. Within the videos are various translations of the same poem. By adding the different languages, I am working with the lack of clarity in communication and how that issue fits into the process of building connections and bonds.”

Amy Hammond is studying photography at Art Institute of Boston in Boston, Massachusetts (currently in the process of changing their name to Lesley University College of Art and Design) and working towards her Bachelor of Fine Arts, expected in May of 2015.

found: Inheritance, by Ruth Awad

(originally published in Rattle, #38)

INHERITANCE

Near Zgharta, Lebanon, 1976

My father at fifteen walked the unguarded streets
having learned the cadence of rounds, measuring
the distance between safety and crossfire by sound.

In those days the electricity stuttered
or failed, and water had to be brought
from the reservoir on the edge of town.

He was thankful for his older brother’s absence,
thankful to be the one his mother sent for water
or rice priced like grains of gold.

He walked the streets where the sun
cut glass into sharp glares
and he was thankful for that, too—

he’d drifted around the dark flat too long,
in the caged-lantern light between shut doors,
school off again until the fighting staved.

His father still went every day to his tailor shop
where he met with neighbors and smoked the argileh,
the undraped dress form tied with measuring tape,

paneled mirrors reflecting and multiplying the men
until they were surrounded. Smoke sagged like old news,
the stationary Singer needle hungry for work.

A man asked about the other’s Mercedes.
Then they asked about the tailor’s boy in Romania,
how many Mercedes he’ll buy once he’s a doctor.

My father’s father glanced at the unfinished suit on the worktable,
chalk-marked for his oldest son’s return, but he didn’t say
anything. Instead, he passed the dish of candied garbanzos.

My father ran from blockade to building, making wargames
with his shadow, flattening his back against the brick
and whipping his glance both ways before slinking on.

He slung the water jug on his shoulder like a missile launcher,
knelt to steady his aim. The sun was a crystal ball in the palm of mountains
and he imagined knocking the star from its shelf, the thousand glittering pieces.

He wandered to the next neighborhood, meeting a friend
at the water reserve where in the distance gunfire crackled
and lured them to the overlook above the river,

water chasing the smoke zip-lined overhead.
Their hearts were spools reeling blood to their feet,
roping them there as they watched the bullets volley.

The wind shifted and pealed past their ears, the report
steering toward the ledge where they anchored, so they bowed
and scraped to the stone-wall, elbows plowing the gravel.

It seemed like proof enough that they were invincible
when they stooped in the shade of the barrier, a few stray
shots notching the spot where their bodies had been.

They jogged home in the dirt-kicked light, giddy with
the breath that filled their chests, and lobbed small rocks
at each other. A hit to the gut and my father performed his death,

his hands seizing the invisible pierce then reaching
to clutch his wound’s trajectory. From his hand,
the remaining stones kernelled

the road, sugar-white as the candied chickpeas
his father only brought home for his brother,
and he crumpled to the dust of the empty road,

extremities folded like a paper star,
the pebbles freckled around him
like an inheritance.