From my window, I look out at Montpelier’s empty streets, trying to tune out the COVID-19 news updates that ping and bing on my phone, asking myself why this all feels so eerily familiar. I know this jumble of emotions. Fear, helplessness, despair, and also the sense that we’re all in this together.
Surrealism is a flight against Oblivion. Taking to the winds of Memory on the magical wings of the supra-real. Reality through an extraordinary idea of Reality. What creates memory and what creates forgetfulness, surrealism asks us to ask ourselves.
A visit to the hair salon every seven or eight weeks for me is the emotional equivalent of attending a high school reunion, the kind where two popular girls, naturally both cheerleaders, rush you in the restroom line, singsong, “Are you married yet? We didn’t think so,” and whizz off in a confetti of giggles.
In the San Francisco
of my twenties, we were like trees
pressed against each other, larger
than what we longed for.
I join a bereavement group
But I last for one session
Marriages over fifty years
Long battle with cancer
I am the only one
Who isn’t crying
You touched my chest with your fingertips
as I lay next to you trying to sleep.
“Try to rest,” you said, by which you meant,
Gird your loins, my love, and prepare your heart,
for tomorrow I may leave you.
Outside, crowded maple trees
soften themselves and glisten.
Weeping, they unroll their leaves.
On the subject of serial killers, poet Ruth Danon writes that they “leave notes, write in code.” They “grow increasingly impatient.”
“They hate the dark,” she muses. “They want to be found.”
So do poets. And Danon’s latest collection, Word Has It (Nirala Publications, 2018) reads like a series of notes dispatched from the brink of an apocalypse. Birds fall from the sky. Red-eyed people weep. There is blood. Dark, ominous omens of all shapes and sizes rain down.
It was six o’clock on a steamy January evening in Sao Paulo when Roland saw the toad. He was walking home along Alameda Santos with his ancient Nikon at the ready, searching for photographs. This was his pleasure after a sweaty day teaching English to...
In a time of deepfakes and alternative facts, we often ask ourselves what is real anymore, how can we trust our own eyes? Chris Campanioni chimes in on our collective existential crisis with his latest book of hybrid works, the Internet is for real in which he proposes, as the title indicates, perhaps the most sure thing in our world is that which is simultaneously everywhere and nowhere. As if cutting and pasting a Pinterest of poetry, memoir, and essays, Campanioni invites us to join him through a pastiche of pop, pulp, and philosophy as he analyzes the internet and its impact on intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships, as well as identity within individual and cultural contexts.
*Notable Essay Best American Essays and Literary Nonfiction of 2018 The dolls never slept. They stayed wide eyed and unblinking on their shelf in my small, overheated room, watching me watch the man and woman in the apartment across the way. As a...