Spiders Are Not People

My long-dead parents’ house is infested with spiders. I’ve spent many sleepless years watching them. They skitter out from under dishes, loose papers, the pillows I kick off the bed in the night. They crouch in corners, tight circles of them, weaving away like old ladies. They swing from the ceiling on shining threads and […]

Hoarders: Oil & Acrylic Paintings

Homeland

Saskia waits for me at the airport, cup of bijela kava in one hand and a cigarette in the other, yet she seems impatient, unsatisfied. Later, in the warmth of her sheets, this image of her still strikes me as troubling, even as I roll out of her bed and take a piss in the […]

Luis J. Rodriguez, Author

Luis J. Rodriguez has emerged as one of the leading Chicano writers in the country with fifteen published books in memoir, fiction, nonfiction, children’s literature, and poetry. Luis’ poetry has won a Poetry Center Book Award, a PEN Josephine Miles Literary Award, and a Paterson Poetry Book Prize, among others. His children’s books—America is Her […]

Unemployment Diary, Day 16

I hold the remote just so, it feels like her indifferent wrist. Television is the oven I rest my head inside. My own tragedy splits in two when the TV star’s fiancée is stolen by his evil twin. (Same actor, but the evil version is somehow more handsome) Our clubbed hero wakes, wanders the new […]

Saved: Ultrachrome Prints & Poetry

Artist Jody Servon and poet Lorene Delany-Ullman collaborated to produce Saved, an ongoing photographic and poetic exploration of the human experience of life, death, and memory. The project considers how memories of the dead become rooted in everyday objects, and how objects convey those memories to the living. All images were made between 2008-2013. Click […]

Catherine M. Wilson, Author of the Trilogy When Women Were Warriors

It’s not often that I write a book review and start it with a food suggestion, but I’m doing it here: begin the When Women Were Warriors trilogy with a mug of the best tea you can find in your city or the thickest stew to be had, something like what Wilson’s young warrior Tamras […]

My Shelf Life

The Bronx is under siege. The smell of sulfur is everywhere. A cherry bomb goes off. And then another. With each mini-bomb, I edge closer to Moises until the noise melts away. But not too close. “This is crazy,” I say. Fear is a funny emotion. It can stop you dead in your tracks, all […]

Dan Smetanka, Editor

Dan Smetanka has worked in publishing for two decades, as an Executive Editor at Ballantine/Random House, and at Maria B. Campbell Associates, an agency that facilitates placement of American authors in international markets. He is currently an Executive Editor for Counterpoint and Soft Skull Press where his recent projects include Rockaway by Tara Ison, All […]

Too Old for War

Old Makatiku looked wearily upon the young Katanuku. A pillar of youth he was, standing more than two meters in height, with broad shoulders, a head full of shiny black hair, skin that was taunt and clear, and muscles that rippled like the palms in a tree. His shadow stretched out on the African earth […]

The Call

Tonight I lie here, mostly awake, sometimes half-asleep, praying the phone doesn’t ring. It’s the early ’90s. In my second year of college, I’m volunteering with the local women’s shelter. Tonight I’m covering the sexual assault help line. I usually cover domestic violence and have received a few calls on that line, but never on […]

Tongues, speaking in

In our house, I wake to the random rolling of R’s in a sing-song voice, mom’s voice, a terse and rapid repetition of th-th-th-th. In our house, for her, this is prayer and if I go to see about breakfast and her eyes are closed and she’s wailing the answer is cereal. Do not worry. […]

Heart of the City

Cliff’s meaty fingers hunt and jab through his report on Arthur Ashe—eyes darting between computer screen and handwritten paper—while Starship’s We Built This City plays on 106.7. “Yes, sir,” Cliff says in his gravelly voice, tapping his foot. He jabs a letter, glances at the screen, jabs another, double-checks to make sure this machine isn’t […]

Nix

the sky rolls by acres & acres of blue wind swept sheets dappled by skeletal wisp teased cotton clouds clumsy footed down here I collect the teeth lost on my last bet never was a good gambler golden days behind me the cold whistles through dark pines brooding on my ass gumming old wounds in […]

A Little Give

Adele buried her nose right below his armpit and inhaled deeply. She never liked someone so much that she wanted to know them by smell, but with James she wanted him in every sense. “Guess what?” he asked her. “What?” “I found a house for us.” As soon as Adele got pregnant, she moved into […]

An Axe to Grind

I held no illusions about my place or function in this world. I relished routine because it was order and order was perfection. Repetition was perfection. Every day I got better and better at what I did. I took comfort in that steady swing—the to and fro in the day-to-day travel from home to the […]

Renaming the Roads

The unit we replaced had named the roads in our AO after porn stars. We enjoyed those first mission briefings probably a little too much: So we’ll turn on Ariel, the lieutenant would say, then go down on Jenna… We came to know every curve and blind spot and pothole of Jasmine, Paige, Britney and […]

Anchor Bright

If only there were more people, you think. There are plenty of people, actually. But they aren’t here. They’re back on the ground, back on Earth. Back where everything used to be; back in the time before. Back where everything is dead, gone—almost forgotten. This is your new home now, you know. *     […]

Up Ahead

Asphalt meets gravel like a mountain birthing a river, an alarm clock. A truck lugs shaking crates, the bed secure as boulders smoothed from running engine parts across three states: mountains, desert, water. The path plays a georgic game, plows mud divots. A recent storm set traps for anyone who slows emboldened into pastures long […]

Halve This

Since a man in a car over a centerline changed what we mean by sister your eyes are ashes in my palm. I can only think of your hair now, the red of our father as a girl I wanted to put my hands in its clouds. That man we shared, half sister you knew […]

birdie fly, birdie stay

when voices hush, the night lies down, tucks itself under a bulky plaid quilt. you’re wrapped in sleep, snoring lightly, as coco saunters in from the rain, meows, disappears behind an armchair. i get up from bed, move hastily about the room like a thief, stuffing a sweater, a scarf, two nectarines into a rucksack. […]

Dear Melody

The stage too can be a disguise. The light catches the glittered bow in your hair and the auditorium is all sparkle, no shadow. But everyone knows that shadow is where the living happens. Where loss cuts its teeth on our lungs. The acupuncturist who lives down the street says our lungs are organs of […]

Translate Me to Another World

“With strangers in your line?” – Marina Tsvetaeva, from “New Year’s Letter” I. Into and across my words must travel, yet they stop, then mix up within each other. I want a spare, clean line – I am so warm and so thirsty. II. You come from a place that is different from my place. […]

On the Road

Through blue highways and heads hung in shame we wisped away and whisked history down the drain with whiskey to make us feel okay, maybe flush us numb until our lips were pale and we couldn’t stop from falling down and our tents were soaked through and through in the morning fried steak and eggs […]

Quiet

[two_third]ТИХО Няма ги нашите майки – излезли да купят нещо вкусно и не се върнали Няма ги нашите бащи – отишли на гробовете на бащите си и там останали Няма ги братята и сестрите ни – хукнали да намерят майките и бащите си и се загубили Няма ги и децата ни – убити на тръгване […]