CURRENT ISSUE: Summer 2017



Introduce me first as a victory

of grain measurement. ‘Here is a man made

well, wheat flour packed without overflow.’

Introduce me next as a miracle.


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Turning About: or the online entanglement of an email sex scam and a Christian romance novelist

There are enough uncertainties here that to do anything other than face them head on would be, at worst, disingenuous and at best, cowardly. This could all be hearsay, sort of. The leveling of voices brought on by the Internet has made it possible to peer across the room and eavesdrop on a conversation between strangers –– only the room is much bigger, and it may turn out that the strangers are estranged even to each other; they may not even know they are talking. This story follows one of those conversations, albeit a conversation in the most literal sense, as in the word’s latinate root, derived from the verb conversari meaning “to live with, to keep company with,” or literally, “turn about with.” This could be hearsay in the sense that it is my account of how two distant stories came to turn about with each other in the far reaches of the web, and that there is little other than the turning in question to go off of. 

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For Another Caregiver, Many Years Ago

cw: immigration issues


What I remember most about Lydia—her skin. Golden-brown, a few shades darker than my mother’s pale yellow, her fingers on the piano keys, legs tucked back beneath the cushioned bench. The way she smelled, like hair salon, like black soap and makeup, semi-sweet and comfortingly Nigerian. Her face was so soft. I reached up, often, to touch it; she would bend down, sending a warm gust of hair-salon-soap-sweet scent into my eyes, and let me pinch her cheeks. I was eight years old and ever-skeptical of her adulthood, marveled aloud at her youth: “You’re such a baby, Lydia, so cute,” was my daily announcement. “You’re so young and adorable.”

Lydia was eleven years older but she put up with me, let me sit on her lap and bat her shiny brown braids, sang Black-Eyed Peas (“Do ‘Where is the Love,’ ” my sister and I demanded, every time), and read us stories. Over the long summer during which she babysat us we took many naps, most of them preceded by either a game or a story. Wedged between my sister and me in my twin bed, she told us about little village girls and forests and tigers and mangoes, her arms in the air like an artist, illustrating scenes with her hands. When she fell asleep she snored. Wide awake beside her, I’d listen for her deep breathing and then sit up in bed, leaf through books on the shelves, look down at her sleeping face and wonder if this is what my mother looked like coming to America at nineteen years old--soft-skinned and babyfaced as Lydia.

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House of the Mountain Goats

If you listen to their tracks on Spotify, lyrics aside, the Mountain Goats (historically) sound almost exactly like a mixture of those names on the “related artists” list; Neutral Milk Hotel, The Thermals, The Magnetic Fields, Okkervil River, etc. Their sound is cohesive, the music comforting in a way NMH or Beirut are, and not to get personal but they were all I listened to freshman year during my first big depressive episode. The band is, to put it simply, relatable and easy to enjoy- even if and maybe because sometimes it’s all blended together in a folk-jazz-indie kombucha mix. But their tour's House of Blues gig last Monday night (led by front man Darnielle and opened by Mothers) absolutely shattered any expectations I had- and only, somehow, in ways that had me wondering why I don’t listen more.

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Jenny O. and The Solars

I’m gonna preface this write-up with a clarification, of sorts; something I’ve been taking for granted but never bothered to articulate (before now). Unless I say otherwise – and it’d take a productive imagination to think up any relevant scenario(s) – these bits are reviewing specific gigs; not the group, band, whatever you want to call it, that’s performing outside of how they present at the gig and how that jives with prior exposure. Before any of the reviews, if I haven’t already, I listen to relevant discographies, but unless I wanna take a God-like stance on “getting” the dynamics of a group from one measly gig (let me assure you I do not, don’t think my rabbi would be down w that anyway) these reviews are just reviews of the gigs they purport to cover. EOM. Having prefaced this then, I have to say that Monday night was not a great gig.

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