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I'm about to go read everything here another five times. Hope you'll join me.


"You will never win this land war.
Run and fuck and run and fuck
and call it making love,

but I know you and I know me
and neither of us is Russia,
you cunt."

I'm very excited to publish the below essay by Jessica Suzanne Reidy, which looks at a Romani poem about the apparition of a witch, a traditional character in Romani folkore. In the interest of readers fully understanding the culture that this poem (and this essay) come from, I would like to provide a brief introduction and some context. Romani denotes the ethnic group more commonly referred to as Gypsies. Dr. Ian Hancock, Romani linguist and scholar, explains in Roads of the Roma that the first Romani were likely many groups of people in Northern India, from low-caste Indians to African migrants, sent to fight an invading Muslim army, around the 11th century C.E. After the war was lost, most of the enormous army moved with their families through the mountains and [...]


"To an outsider, Choxani stealing away the eyes and heart of the speaker might sound like a brutal punishment. . . . However, Choxani’s action is a literal expression of Romani idioms about love. Delia Grigore, Lecturer of Rromani Language and Literature Chair of the Oriental Languages Department, writes that, “[t]he colloquial greeting ‘te xav tirre jakha’ (‘let me eat your eyes’) is a sign of affection and of the need for protection.” And Sarah Carmona, a leading Romani historian of Roma in Europe, explains that “…[i]n Romani when you tell someone that you love him you might say, ‘I eat your heart’ or ‘I eat your belly.’” So taking the speaker’s heart and eyes could be read as returning, even protecting her love. Compounding this, the eyes and heart are invoked in spells, and they are body parts most commonly affected by magic. Love is the itch, love is the magic, and love is the change she wields."


  Note: The Hesperides are divine nymphs in Greek myth who tend a blissful garden in some idyllic corner of the Western world, and are associated with the golden light of sunset.       Patty Hyland is a freelance illustrator in the NYC metropolitan area. She is currently working on her first webcomic, Tri-UMPH!, a humorous seafaring adventure epic. You may find more of her work on her Facebook and Tumblr pages.

Jen Ashburn

The Flight Home                                                                  En Route to Louisville Remember the laundry that hangs on bamboo fences, on the edges of corrugated tin, on the rafters next to fishing nets that clump together and billow like 18th-century petticoats. Remember the blue jeans, the yellow t-shirts, the thick-hooded sweatshirts. Remember the slender brown legs that slide into the jeans, the fat lips of the toddler who sat on your lap, the hands of the man who, while working his day job as a security guard in front of an ATM, tied the knots that made the nets. Remember the brown waters [...]

"What unites these pieces is the way in which they take themes of the familiar, of that which should comfort -- family, home, partnerships, natural rhythms and life cycles -- and exposes them for the harrowing, challenging terrain they really are. How do we navigate these everyday experiences? How does something as simple as water or the brush of a familiar hand have the ability, in the right measure, to utterly baffle or transform us? To bring tremendous relief, or cause us nearly unbearable suffering or fear?

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I try not to be angry but inside my chest is yelling where is he. /A fountain sparkles so we ask the kids playing there if they’ve seen him seen anything. /Someone is wearing a necklace of teeth. I am swinging my flashlight into the water but it sees nothing. /This is when the dogs begin barking downstairs. /I wake up and my arm is slung over my son like a seatbelt.


If humans are the part of nature that goes against nature's grain, it might also be said that nature is an aspect of humanity and human existence with which we cannot ultimately argue.

kristina marie darling

"The self-referential quality in this book manifests through the litany of literary devices and tropes the narrator mentions here-- the poem is reminding us that we are reading a poem, by talking about various aspects of poetry. Reading this, we see that poetry serves as a way to document and memorialize failure. Maybe metaphor is a way for us to make ourselves into something we are not."

"Dear Madison, I was told of your death
over dinner. You were, they said, struck

by hot brass from your mother’s new
AR-15 with custom scope."


"In the weeks following her death,
When my mind was not fit to live in
I stayed in a small hotel
On the outskirts of my consciousness
As a baby resides in its own bliss
While its mind is being constructed.
But when I tried to use the facilities
There was no running water."


"and could you sell me this instance what is the last pornography that engaged you
can you talk about your research into the unsolvable how would you
write to a diverse audience is a reader a client did customers occur to you
as an outcome what are three positive strains in you does discontent
drive you into the market does blunder drive you into the capital"


sabers over the plain’s grass so green
round those barracks haunted by ghosts,
the boys the marching men remembering a kiss."


"He bends, takes into his arms a limp child's body.
We wonder how he keeps singing as he carries her.
How slack and white she is, like wet moth wings."


"It's not about the pain, she says. It's about the commitment."