Outside Language as We Know It

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In Chiem’s book, being a “private person” can happen when alone with someone who somehow speaks the same language as you, it can happen as a result of a joint smoked alone in an empty hallway, or it can happen when dancing to a Broken Social Scene song that plays over and over. It’s an intimacy all on its own. Continue Reading

Letter from the Managing Editor

You hear a ding and reach for your pocket. It’s a text or an email. Or perhaps a notification from Facebook telling you that someone “liked” something you wrote. It might be an Instagram photo from a vacationing friend, awash in golden light and sipping an early morning mimosa. It might even be your spouse, reminding you to pick up pet food on the way home.

This ding reaches you everywhere—messages, alerts, and texts floating into the palm of your hand at random. They interrupt thoughts, conversations, and musings—always tearing you back to a world that demands your response. Such is life in the 21st century, where everyone is only a thumb’s tap away. Continue Reading

Essay on Politics

Politics is remote. I want to reach it, but I can’t see it. I can’t see where it goes on. I do hear of it. And when I do, I hear Greeks talking, saying the same things, saying them more beautifully. Kalon. Beautiful and fair. “Last of all comes the tyrannical man; about whom we have once more to ask, how is he formed out of the democratical? and how does he live, in happiness or in misery?” Continue Reading

Writing “Above Nerve”: A Collage of Persona & the Personal

An Interview with Susan J. Erickson

Susan J. Erickson’s debut full-length collection of poems, “Lauren Bacall Shares a Limousine”, reflects her view of the world as an unpredictable mix of the serious and humorous. Erickson received a B.S. and M.S. from the University of Minnesota. Susan now lives in Bellingham, Washington, where she helped to establish the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Walk and Contest. Her poems appear in “Crab Creek Review”, “Verse Daily”, “Sliver of Stone”, “The Fourth River”, “The Tishman Review”, and numerous anthologies. Continue Reading

Ice

Sunlight, shadows, wind. Strangely, no birds.

Out there, ice caps, cold as knives.

Steam from her mouth, his mouth, none from the boy who lay between them. She cradling the boy’s face but he knowing what.

She knowing what but not able to bear it. Continue Reading

The Immortal Cough

If you ever had your Bach, Beethoven, Bartók or Britten on 33 RPM vinyl or 78 RPM shellac, you will have heard my Great Aunt Tilda—even if you’ve never heard of her.

She appeared on every prestigious classical-music label—Deutsche Grammophon, Archiv Produktion, Philips, RCA Red Label, CBS Masterworks—from the late 1930s to the mid-1970s. (She did not, fortunately, live long into the 1980s, by which time, thanks to the digital re-mastering of recordings from the vault, her legacy had been all but obliterated.) Continue Reading

American Classroom

Something broke the spell. It was either a student’s question or an answer to one already suspended in air. It prompted our professor, a tall white man with the kindest voice and bluest eyes, to start talking about Vietnam. He gripped the sides of his chair, his words trembled, and his sobs, loud and full of sorrow filled up what had been until then just another regular classroom of my life. Continue Reading

3 Bodies, 1 Year: A Numbers Tale

At drift log #38 you had jogged 457 strides. That’s an average of about 12 strides per log, which you recall was a low stride/log ratio. It must have been a stormy winter to deposit all those logs, you surmised. At log #78 you noticed a group of seagulls flocking around what would be log #83. At log #80, log #83 looked less like a log. At log #82, log #83 looked more like a body. At stride 975 you confirmed log #83 was a human corpse. Continue Reading