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by Nathan Go
I have to confess I used to avoid going to second-hand stores – not because I’m a snob, but because I’m sort of a hypochondriac. I always imagined those places teeming with viruses and crawling with germs. But my recent move to Ann Arbor as a grad student forced me to evaluate living a more practical lifestyle. It didn’t hurt that the “vintage” fad took some of the stigma out of shopping at thrift stores. But above all, I discovered that millions of germs do indeed lurk behind many of the “re-use” shops – it’s of the strain called fabula ideas.
by Gina Balibrera
On the last day of a month-long research trip that took me all over France and New York City, I filled my flashdrive and notebook with the last phrases and images of discrete data these instruments (and my stacks-woozy mind) could hold, and made my way on several Metro trains, from the Butler Library at Columbia to Rockaway Beach. Early that morning, beneath my white cotton dress, I had thought to put on a bikini.
by Marshall Walker Lee
As opposed to wit, which is often just pedantic cruelty, more ingenious than funny, rarely instructive or heartening, Aphorism is, historically, a manly form, laconic, from the Spartan polis of Laconia. Spartan men were said to hold the rhetoricians and the poets in disdain; the Laconians valued bravery, austerity, and, as anyone who’s seen 300 knows, a direct and very un-pedantic sort of cruelty. The first “Laconisms” come from accounts of the Battle of Thermopylae, the bloody contest that pitted a small band Greeks and Spartans against a superior Persian force. Grotesque, frightening, often hilarious, these early Laconisms make the battle out to be a bloody lark. My favorite: when a Persian envoy sent to Sparta asks for a tribute of “some soil and water,” the Spartans throw him down a well; “Dig it out yourself,” they say.
Elizabeth Alexander on black experimental poetry, Marian Crotty on the borderline lover, Ilan Stavans on immigration and authenticity, James Morrison on Jonathan Strong, Laurence Goldstein on Philip Levine
Fiction by Peter Ho Davies, Massa Makan Diabaté, Janis Hubschman, Lia Silver, Jonathan Strong
Poetry by Randy Blasing, Todd Boss, Martha Collins, Rick Hilles, Patricia Hooper, Joe Wilkins
nonfiction by Joanna Brooks
So there I was: a Mormon girl in Republican Orange County during the Reagan years of the Cold War, watching the jets and helicopters traverse the skies over the orange groves, witnessing with my bodily and spiritual eyes the last hurrah of the Southern California military-industrial complex.
“You see,” my mother would say, standing by the swimming pool, pointing out all the strategic targets within a few miles of our house—south across the groves to El Toro Marine Base, then west across the asparagus and strawberry fields to John Wayne Airport, and the two massive concrete blimp hangars at the Tustin Marine Corps Air Station—“They’ll drop the bombs right on top of us.”
“We’ll be fine,” she says, her eyes on the horizon. “We’ll be gone in the twinkling of an eye.”