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Editorsâ€™ Notes Michael Pinsky, The Lost O Greta Holt, To Do J.J. McCracken, Hunger Project Eileen Favorite, Three to Six Months In Whole Foods Market Magnification Another Moon Poem Bonnie Fortune, Living Structures Dana Sonnenschein, Cold Front Regina Frank, zero Vincent Poturica, The Poet Contributors
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YoYo As we put together this first issue, we discovered unexpected associations and interesting tangents--just as one does in the best discussions. And, just as in those discussions, not everyone sees things from the same angle. Different takes on a topic form productive tensions that contribute to lively debate. In this first YO, we hope we've provided you with things to applaud, things you'd argue with, and things you are surprised to find yourself thinking about. With each read, we are led to unexpected places: Bonnie Fortune's creative response to the challenge of her new domestic space reminded us how we all must decide what to keep or leave behind and how to integrate art in daily life. Regina Frank's images brought to mind T.S. Eliot's line about drowned sailors with pearls for eyes, which in turn led us to Shakespeare's The Tempest. J.J. McCracken taught us the meaning of geophagy and Michael Pinsky made us think of all the times we've driven in circles. Both Dana Sonnenschein and Vincent Poturica take us, with their narrators, on visits to mental institutions, a fitting response to the theme At Zero, and one we didn't see coming. On the other hand, perhaps the themes of birth and death, addressed in Eileen Favorite's work, were to be expected--but her poems astonished and moved us with the clarity of their emotional truths and the perfect specificity of their imagery. And despite differences of culture, years, and continents, the struggles of Greta Holt's embattled school administrator in 1980's Botswana made us smile with recognition. We think this first YO is the opening of a great conversation. Join us. Amber, Kristin, Rebecca
The Lost O Michael Pinsky
Michael Pinsky's practice encompasses urban planning, activism, artmaking, creative research and social commentary. The "Lost O" was a public project commemorating the moment when a small city in England changed its ring road (the "O") into a more pedestrian friendly space. Pinsky harvested the traffic signs as they were removed from the road and re-positioning them. He says, "As the project progressively thins out the signage, street and traffic lights around Ashford, they will find a new home as a sculptural form. The sculpture will not be defined through construction, but through displacement." The first location for the repositioned signs was criticized because of fear they would cause collisions. In response, the signs were subject to a double displacement and moved again. The incongruity of the displaced signs and their oddly eerie presence remains intact even in their new home, in the shadow of a huge concrete office building.
The "Lost O" received extensive press in everything from design journals to the BBC to the daily tabloids.
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To Do Greta Holt
To Do February 11, 1981 Delta Secondary School, Botswana Jason Stevens, Headmaster Monday Contact: Form V girls: No one is making them dance bare breasted at Talent Show. If they want to do the traditional dances, they can decide how to dress. Greg Shipville: Get lorry ready for Agriculture Club Fair in Serowe next week. Attend to: Re : Headmistress -- ready Quadrant III bachelor’s quarters for M. Nxecu (history replacement) Students Segobsebe and Alidi (Form IVA) complaining about anniversary celebration – no Setswana translation, say parents treated badly/low social position, etc. -- think through. Send notes to Board. D. Degwa gone -- where? (Cover his classes.) Misc: Get antacid: goat’s brains on menu at volleyball party tonight. Tuesday Contact: Board, home churches, etc: Need color photos and cards for “My Personal Album’s -- only black and white here. (Ask Ann: use our own money?)
Attend to: Students -- high pass agriculture: let them sell leeks in the village (one time) for own spending money. Not G. Leeme - caught stealing lemons. D. Degwa -- where? (Cover classes.) Misc: Scores up in social sciences, Form III. Get S. Zampo the beakers he wants. Didn’t have to eat eyeballs this time. Goal: Write some goals. Wednesday Contact: Greg Shipville: Send on overnight (maybe two if can get coverage) to Francistown to pick up softball equipment ordered five months ago. Use extra tires for Fr’town. Let him take G. Kamogelo (English) for help. 1. Watch for kudu -- can’t get the dents out. 2. No talking to vagrant kids when changing tires -- last year’s theft of masonry tools -- can’t replace. 3. Get two days’ coverage for G. Kamogelo’s classes -- who’s left? Attend to: Benjamin Sento (religious ed) -- drunk again: get K. Kamimba to cover his classes. Board: They cannot take three Form IV and V teachers to other schools to be Deputy Headmasters, when I don’t even have my own deputy -- trying to compliment me into it. (Suggest they take Benjamin Sento.) D. Degwa -- still gone. (Get coverage!) Goal: Thursday Contact: Caroline Hensley-Royce: (beg, grovel) Ask to add one religious ed class to her schedule. Benjamin Sento forgets to go to class.
Gaborone: phones on! See when new chairs coming for Form IV - this year, next year? Make sure red ones ordered. Get art club to paint scratched up desks. (Ask Ann: use own money for paint again?) Division heads: Send third memo requesting them to state specific needs so budget can be submitted to Board. Tell them I’ll make my own budget if they won’t commit. Board: Must have Deputy Headmaster -- aren’t I supposed to be training someone? Attend to: Agriculture club -- needs both lorries and one car next week for Serowe – any vehicles left for here? C. Forest says nobody wants to ride with G. Nleya’s pea and bean molds -- stink -- can’t scrap, important project. Problem: if both lorries are gone, visual arts club doesn’t go on Moremi trip. Monitor intramural football game (Crocs and Cubs) -- K. Tsabang and Duke Dilebanye may not play -- bad grades in geography. Caroline Hensley-Royce hanging tough on this. Misc: Forget Quadrant III bachelor’s quarters for M. Nxecu -- arrived last night with sick wife and child. (Living in infirmary until can make arrangements.) Scores up in mathematics, Forms II and IV. Mr.’s Sprunger and Masaya doing the job, always on point. Check out D. Degwa ritual murder rumor (??) Goal: Friday Benjamin Sento late for evening assembly again. Found him behind religious ed. building in the clinch with Janice Shipville (Greg S.’s wife -- mission worker). Yelled at them to get out of there. Letter to Board -fire B. Sento, get him another post, deport him -- and stop sending young marrieds -- damn useless, sad -- Greg Shipville, good kid. Write letter to Board immediately to outline incident. Knowing B. Sento’s political tactics, probably hell to pay for me. Ask visual arts club advisor and wife to dinner: convince him to change Moremi trip to another month -- offer him anything. Write Board for supplies, etc.
What to do about H. & G. Shipville -- can’t spare teachers. Saturday Received letter from Board; says to stop sending so many letters. Contact: Safari West: Negotiate purchase of used bushbuggy. Make them sign guarantee it won’t turn over per incident in ‘79. Maybe take visiting South African ministers into Moremi with art club -- bushbuggy too dangerous?? Got to have more transport. Attend to: Note from English and religion divisions saying I’m not giving them enough time to collaborate and I’m pushing them to come up with phantom budget and I’m ‘ruining the school’, etc. (hidden in education-eze). Smell Benjamin Sento’s foul breath. Sic Caroline Hensley-Royce on him. Misc: D. Degwa back! Went into the bush. Says cousin told him he was blamed for bewitching sick neighbor in Chobe. E. Shomani (good, solid teacher) says danger to Degwa was real. Degwa paid somebody off -- says he’s okay now. (Look into.) Take D. Degwa to Safari House for beer. Damn fine teacher. Goal:
Hunger Project: Philadelphia A Project in Three Phases J.J. McCracken
Hunger, Philadelphia used geophagy (clay eating) as a launching point for a visual poem about need. Geophagia occurs worldwide and is practiced for a variety of reasons, from medicinal to traditional. J.J. McCracken explored Philadelphia's grassroots response to hunger by volunteering at food distribution sites and homeless shelters. For the exhibition, vegetables from local urban farms were cast in clay and eaten during the opening performance.
Images from 2010 installation/performance, The Painted Bride, Philadelphia Courtesy of J.J. McCracken, Andrew O'Donnell, Janine Parziale.
The upper level of the gallery featured a thriving garden, offering mature fruits and vegetables for visitors to eat and reflecting Philadelphiaâ€™s very active urban farming movement. At the close of the exhibition, the garden was donated to Stenton Manor, a homeless shelter for families in a blighted Philadelphia neighborhood.
Geophagy is problematic only where people suffer severe food crisis, when clay becomes a substitute for food. While otherwise valued for its toxin-binding capabilities, clay can also absorb nutrients, flushing them from the body and rapidly advancing malnutrition.
Following the exhibition, the artist recycled materials and cycled them back into the Philadelpia community - particularly the two tons of clay dug from the local region specifically for the project (donated by Emlyn Stancill Whitin and Terry Stancill of Stancillâ€™s quarry). The clay took various forms: some was used to build a bread oven at Stenton Manor, while some was made into dinnerware to serve/eat food. J.J. McCracken held workshops for shelter children in which they made drawings about food on plates. These were sold online and during an exhibition/fundraiser at The Clay Studio entitled Earth To Table. All proceeds will be used to build a greenhouse at Stenton, allowing residents grow food year round.
Image courtsey of Jeff Guido This is a 2-year project to date with two exhibitions. Hunger, Philadelphia-the exhibition at the Painted Bride, and Earth To Table-the fundraiser at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia together with an artist residency.
Four Poems Eileen Favorite
Three to Six Months Picture a tree with monarch wings instead of leaves. Then picture it gone. Compare powdery monarch wings to stained glass. Such windows exhaust my dowry. Who feels worthy of Chartres? My brother is dying. Or maybe he’s not. Maybe he’ll outlast the oncological ouija. Maybe I will lay a finger between a sleeping monarch’s wings. Letting go should be that delicate.
In Whole Foods Market We fill our shopping cart with apples, snow peas, dusty loaves of bread. A woman bends for a jar of Spanish olives and shows her black thong underwear. A bald drunk frightens customers, yelling, Whereâ€™s the Holsum bread? My birds are gonna go hungry! The bakery girl shrugs and flicks a crumb. Tibetan monks in saffron robes study chocolate bars in aisle three. You check the eggs for cracks. I sample the humus twice. Between abundant shelves, faith comes back. In the lot the monks sit in a Taurus. One holds a golden apple danish before his face, bows his head, gives thanks. Appeared in Poetry East, No. 48
Magnification At first I turn away. I don’t want to watch the video of an embryo, unfurling like a shrimp, black-eyed and veiny. Buds become limbs, digits undulate, the tail is lost. But, the narrator says, at eight weeks the human embryo is only one inch long. If I could hold to that image, tiny bundle of cells, one-twelfth of a ruler, then I wouldn’t see the full-blown babies rolling by in carriages, as having anything to do with you. I wouldn’t have to pray. I could extract a sample of my sorrow, slip it between microscope slides, and watch the mitochondria of grief swim in the unflappable light. Appeared in Calliope Vol. 21
Another Moon Poem I waited all winter for the windows to arrive, for the trees to leaf, for my father to die, and now it’s May and they’re in and they have he has. I take Lulu upstairs to show her the moon, bolder than we’ve ever seen, framed by the big new window, tangled in the maple branches. Even when it ducks behind a cloud, the light’s a wonder, but Lulu tucks her head in my shoulder, says, I’m too tired for the moon. And I know the feeling, wince at the naked symbolism of moon, mother, daughter. The cycle motif’s just a pretext. The moon’s no substitute father. It’s the solitary roving of the moon I crave, linked to the earth, the stars The whole messy universe, but from a cool, perfect distance.
Living Structures Bonnie Fortune
Ken Isaacs wrote How to Build Your Own Living Structures in 1974. Today, I live in one in Copenhagen, Denmark. Let me explain.
A Living Structure is an organizational system and an idea designed by Ken Isaacs, a retired architect and design educator. I am an artist and recent transplant to Denmark by way of Illinois. I moved here with my husband and our dog.
Isaacs built the first Living Structure in Peoria, Illinois in 1949. Thereafter, he continued to develop his ideas through teaching and research at various design schools, including the Rhode Island School of Design and Illinois Institute of Technology. Isaac is a self-described survivalist "concerned with the survival of all people.â€? Though he no longer teaches, he was and is interested in inspiring people, especially students, to think differently about how they impact and relate to the world around them. The Living Structure is one of several different designs that Isaacâ€™s created within his modular Matrix system. It can be made from off-the-shelf materials like wood, steel piping or bamboo. Matrix designs can be quickly framed up to make indoor and outdoor Living Structures. The system is based on interlocking cubes that rest on each other for support.
At the time that he was conducting research and writing, Isaacs would have been part of a small network of young professionals loosely termed 'urban nomads'. 'Urban nomads' were concerned with design ingenuity and making the most of post-industrial materials to better facilitate a mobile contemporary lifestyle. Books like Nomadic Furniture and Nomadic Furniture 2 fit into this genre.
Isaacs was a radical among this group, not wholly concerned with lifestyle design, although this was certainly part of his research, he ultimately hoped to change the way people learned, processed information and generated ideas. He called this â€œbreaking culture.â€? Isaacs thought that architecture, design and ideas in general could be aids to help people break out of their everyday ways of seeing and thinking about the world, spurring them to act.
Isaacs made large things based on the Matrix cube system like the Knowledge Box: a space for submerging people in images, words and sounds for a new way of imparting and absorbing information. He also made small structures like the Quiet Cube, which is just the right size for a child to sleep and play in. The Quiet Cube grows with the child, giving her an autonomous space that can be used for sleeping, playing, storage and a changing table. Like all the different Matrix cube systems, it can be added to or subtracted from to shape each new Living Structure.
My husband Brett and I are both artists. From 2006 - 2010, we organized a project called the Library of Radiant Optimism for Let’s Re-make the World. How to Build Your Own Living Structures was one of the first books we selected for this project. The books we chose for the library were written predominantly to impart skills like “how to build your own living structure” or “how to make a chair out of cardboard” or “how to shoot a video and transmit it through television networks.” Most were published in the 1960s and 70s. Isaac’s writing style is typical of the other books in the Library, conversational and direct, based on lived experience. We chose two of his books to be included in the project. Isaacs and other authors we chose to add to the Library were looking for solutions to problems that are still present today, such as environmental distress, economic collapse and an ongoing war. As collaborators, we were struck by the authors’ optimism and the willingness to experiment with new ideas and ways of living in the face of difficult global challenges.
For each book we added to the Library, we wrote a review and sometimes scanned the book to make it more widely accessible on the Internet. We spent time with each book before adding it to the library. Through the collection, we learned about radical architecture, design and philosophy but also about working together on building a creative and sustainable life.
While we were putting together the Library project, we lived in Chicago, IL, Copenhagen, Denmark and Urbana, IL. We have now returned to Copenhagen. We have lived in several apartments, as well as a house with chickens. We are living in two rooms in an old military barracks near the sea. In Copenhagen living space is at a premium, with high rent and limited options, especially for a couple with a dog. We were lucky to find our two rooms.
We began the Library project to organize information and ideas from the counterculture, to find solutions for life in our present world. Now we felt like it was time to act on the information we gathered. We would shift our role from archivists to actually living with the ideas. This was the time to try and build our own version of the Living Structure. Isaacs once built a version of the Living Structure while living in a tiny two room Chicago apartment.
We don’t have a car in Denmark. So, we walked the wood on our shoulders from the Green Hall, a hippie materials re-use center about a mile away from our house. We tried to make ours with the square board recommended by Isaacs. Unfortunately, the Green Hall is an 'everyday is different' sort of place, and the boards they were selling were not perfectly square. We had to make do with slightly rectangular boards carrying on as best as we could with the rest of the instructions. We drilled holes at regular intervals along each board. In Isaacs’s design, this makes the frame flexible in case you want to change the position of shelves or ladders at a latter time. Bolts hold the system together framing places for sleeping, storage, work and living in general.
Now our Living Structure turns our two rooms in to four. We have framed up offices, a bedroom and dining room for two people and a dog. The two meter by two meter by two meter Living Structure forms a literal and symbolic framework for our lives here. Everyday or so we re-tighten the bolts, just as we tweak and adjust our relationship with each other as partners and collaborators going through a challenging transition. We, of course, miss our friends and family but we also miss the connection to place that we had cultivated with long walks, gardens and local organizing projects back in Illinois. Here, we often feel marginalized culturally and economically. We are sometimes unsure about how to move forward. This does not stop our desire to create and live with curiosity and passion. We left the library we started with How to Build Your Own Living Structures, back in the U.S., a practical decision that has now become symbolic for our life in transition. Here, instead of the book, we made the Living Structure and it is now the frame, shelter and shape for our lives as we “break” multiple kinds of culture.
Cold Front Dana Sonnenschein
“What do I want again?” “Three of a kind or three in a row,” David said. “Well, that’s the least; you could get all four of a kind or a run that goes ace, two, three, four …” The rules sounded simple enough. The farmer dealt one card to David, one to me. Then one to the redheaded boy. After a pause, one to himself. Around and around. He seemed distracted. Behind him, patients wandered through the lounge and sat in the turquoise plastic and chrome chairs; with a winter storm on the way, there were no other visitors. When he set the deck in the center of the table, I swirled my cards together, picked them up and fanned them out. The only time I’d played rummy before was camping with cousins, but I had a flash of that summer and said, “You can put them on the table as you go or save up and lay down your whole hand at once and go out, right?” “Yeah,” David said, “And you can draw off the deck or from the discard pile.” He turned up the jack of diamonds, took it, replaced it with a three of clubs. Then I realized what was different and looked back at the farmer, “I thought you wore glasses.” I was supposed to
call him Allen; that was what he’d said when he shook my hand. But he was older than my father, and I couldn’t imagine calling him by his first name. Even though I was finally twenty-one. Even though I knew he got electro-shock treatments for his depression. Maybe especially not because I knew. David said he wasn’t getting any better, either—he didn’t talk the day he’d had a treatment, and he seemed to be taking longer and longer to come back to words.
Allen smiled at me without open-
ing his mouth, his eyes crinkled up, and I imagined him looking bemusedly across a kitchen or sliding his stoneware coffee cup across the counter for a refill. Then he pushed his lank, graying hair back over his ears, and said slowly, “I do wear glasses. But I set them on the bedside table this morning, and the orderly broke them when he was making my bed. Tried taping them together, but it just didn’t work. I’ll have to get a new pair.” He sighed. Ace 2 2 5 6 8 9 Queen Queen King. I was afraid it had been a bad thing to bring up, but no, Allen had looked back to his hand and was pulling a card out here, pushing it back in in another spot. Squinting, interested. Apparently not worried about when or how or how much new glasses would cost. His memory knocked out as if a circuitbreaker flipped over, everything coming
back out of focus, snowy. I looked over at David, who was nodding sympathetically, wearing glasses because he couldn’t manage his contacts in here. Dark brown hair long on the top and cut close on the sides, big brown eyes, eyelashes any girl would envy, high cheekbones, delicate mouth, narrow chin. Beautiful as the first time I saw him in the pizzeria and every time he came in after that. He always sat at the same booth in my section, spreading a newspaper across half the table but watching me when I was up at the register or leaning on the counter. Too shy to say much beyond please and thank you. So one day I got off early, not long after he’d paid, and left through the side door instead of going out the front—just so I could bump into him—and before we’d walked a block, he asked me out. We spent the next 48 hours within arm’s reach of each other, kissing, spooning, wearing his tee shirts and our underwear, waking and talking and sleeping again.
Just after our one-year anniver-
sary, he told me there was something he had to tell me. He’d gotten quieter over the previous few weeks, wanted to stay home more. So I’d been thinking, too. I was hoping he was going to say something about our moving in together, or maybe he’d ask me what I thought about getting married when he’d finished his journalism degree and gotten a job as an
editor, and I could go to school full-time and waitress part-time, instead of the other way around. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in. Maybe English, maybe math. I pictured myself as a librarian. Then teaching grade school, writing columns of numbers on a blackboard, showing little kids how an abacus worked. I could total a meal tab and figure the tax in my head, but I’d gotten a D in algebra in high school. David dragged on his cigarette and leaned his head back into the hollow spot on my Goodwill sofa, watching me instead of the music videos.
so happy with you. You probably think this is just the way I am.” “It is the way you are.” I turned and pulled my foot up behind my knee, so I was sitting sideways, holding my ankle, my back against the sofa armrest. “But I wasn’t always, I didn’t even think I could be. When I was in high school, I wanted to kill myself. My folks took me to the doctor, and he tried, well, he prescribed these pills. I took them for years.” “Back when you used to come in and get a small cheese with Canadian bacon and onion?” Before us, I meant. “The whole time.” He took a drag. “But now that I’m so happy, I know I don’t need them any more. In fact, I stopped taking them. Now I’m just myself. Isn’t it great?”
I don’t remember what I said. Just that I knew he’d worked out this little speech, all cool and nonchalant on the surface but calculated so I had to say “great” or nod, no matter what I felt.
That was four months ago. Two
months ago he’d checked himself into the psych hospital, explaining he was starting to think about suicide again. He wasn’t any better now, but the new pill they’d switched him to might be working—he said the doctors never knew which kind of med would work best for which person, you just had to try it and see what you felt like. When I first came to see him, he informed me we were only allowed to sit on the bed. The door had to be cracked. A male nurse came in and went through the day: Eat all your meals? Take your pills? Have a bowel movement? How you feeling now? I stared at the wall. There were no windows, but I knew it was snowing outside, big downy flakes flying and finally settling on streets and buildings and bare trees like an endless flock of white birds. Now he was telling me in detail how he felt every time we talked on the phone or when I came by the hospital after work. Not how he felt about me, about us. About how he felt in relation to zero, how negative today or how nothing, but he wanted to feel positive again. I wasn’t asking. I wasn’t really answering either, but he didn’t seem to notice.
One night I stretched out on his hospital bed and he lay down beside me. The nurses didn’t say anything when they made their checks. We lay on our sides, facing each other, almost three hours, frozen in place except when one of us reached out and stroked the other’s hand or cheek.
Turned out he’d been in a psych
hospital before, he’d had electro-shock therapy for depression. He said it was like just going blank first thing in the morning and there’d be only flashes of memory of the whole rest of the day. He knew how the pills came in a little paper cup and how the nurse watched you to make sure you took them. And he knew about special occasions. “What do you want to do on New Year’s Eve?” he’d said. “Plastic flutes of sparkling grape juice? Cupcakes in the patient lounge?” Him being a college boy and all, I wondered why he hadn’t known enough to stay on his antidepressants in the first place, and why he hadn’t started taking them again when the days turned into white space on a calendar, why he’d waited to tell me about that part of his past until he’d started rolling the present into a ball shaped just like it and there wasn’t anything I could do but watch. David moved the cards he had left around like he had a lot of choices. Meaning he had nothing. Allen and the boy and I held onto our cards. Although it was between
holidays, the laminate tables had been decorated with paper tablecloths, and refreshments would be served at eight o’clock. I drew the jack of hearts, discarded one of the queens. Winter was depressing, but the lounge was worse. I couldn’t decide if what made me sad was everyone acting like this was life or if it was that this was life. And what would their lives be like afterward, outside? When the snow blinded David or Allen or the red-headed boy, he’d veer off and instead of being on his way home suddenly he’d be on a bridge above a river, the snowflakes melting as they hit the dark water. Or he’d be in a neighborhood he’d dreamed about, on a street almost like the one he lived on, but he’d know he didn’t belong. After nights like tonight, I thought, you’d feel crystallized, like you could feel the edges of yourself, absolutely separate from everything else.
Refreshments turned out to
be giant cookies, apple cider, and those little cartons of milk like you get in the lunch line. The big teenager sitting between me and Allen kept getting up and getting me another cookie. I’d smile and thank him, and he’d sit down and play for a few minutes, then get up and get me another cookie. He was new, and I’d missed his name when David introduced him. He had deep cigarette burns up and down his pale forearms, and I felt so badly for him, I couldn’t tell him I
didn’t want any more cookies. I wondered what they were giving him that he didn’t register the half dozen already stacked on napkins by my place. Sitting there behind blue and white fans of cards, David and Allen just nodded and tipped their milk cartons, drew, discarded. We took turns until the deck ran out then flipped the discard stack over and started again. I changed my mind about what I was collecting more times than I could count and finally began to think about whether I was hoping to gin or giving up. Then I remembered there was another option: you could knock and go out with a card or two left, figuring you’d be okay if they were subtracted from your score. I kept thinking about that. Knocking. Going out. Not coming back. No more tapping the sliding window for the security guard to sign me into the building. No more thunk of the steel door. No more thinking about how David and I turned out to have been playing a game for weeks and weeks now, going through the motions with nothing underneath—or, rather, the nothing that is something, the absence of feeling depression slips toward, whether it begins with some kind of chemical imbalance or with an event. That’s how the nurses and doctors and David talked about despair. Clinically.
Of course, I would come back
tomorrow and the night after that, and I
would see him home and started in a new job, and we would drink endless cups of coffee, and we’d cuddle instead of having a sex life, and he would explain how he felt from hour to hour, and I would keep my secret as he’d kept his, until it was too late to go back, and then I would tell him I’d always been planning to go to school full time, but I’d finally got the financial aid paperwork figured out and I’d be moving in the fall. He’d have to be feeling positive about himself again, and then he’d say he was happy for me, and I’d smile. At a quarter of nine, I shuffled my cards, turned them face down and added them to the deck in the middle of the table. The redhead smiled as if I’d made a joke. I looked at the hooks on the wall and remembered stuffing my mittens and scarf inside a sleeve and tossing my coat on David’s bed. “You want me to get your coat?” “Yeah, would you?” As soon as he’d started down the hall, I got up. “Goodnight, dear,” Allen said without looking up. “Night, Allen,” I said, my voice sounding like it was coming from somewhere far away. I looked at the round grease spot and crumbs on his napkin and remembered that I’d had coffee on the way over, nothing else. So I picked up the chocolate chip cookie on top of the stack of peanut butter cookies
by my place, wrapped a couple extra napkins around it. By that time, David was back and holding up my long blue coat for me. Snack into pocket. Mittens and scarf from sleeve. One hand and then the other into the armholes, a shrug, and he was smoothing the collar, patting my arm. All set. We walked past the other card tables, the anorexic girls sitting on the sofa, watching a movie and rigidly avoiding even looking at the refreshment cart, a nurse straightening boxes of games. Since we said goodnight at the door of the ward, we didn’t kiss but paused as if we were going to, and for a moment I felt caught in the TV noise and fluorescent light, unable to speak or move, much less reach for the handle. Then there was a thaw between my shoulders that let me lift my hand, and I touched the side of his face.
As always, I came out facing the
locked ward, turned left and went past the desk, signed out, headed through the heavy double-doors. The sky was still perfectly clear; there were lights and signs and no one else but me in a world drifted with half a winter’s snow. In the corner of the fenced grounds between the east and west wings of the hospital, I discovered three snowmen: huge, with real stick arms and carrots for noses and charcoal briquettes for eyes. I imagined grown-ups out there rolling balls of
snow across the lawn, whooping like little kids cooped up too long and finally let out, laughing, with their breath showing in little puffs they could catch in their mittens to keep warm. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d made a snowman. Maybe that’s why, half a block later, I looked back. At first I couldn’t see them, white on white, then I did. They looked so sad in their borrowed scarves and hats—big, lumpy men caught staring at a pretty girl, their eyes like black holes, their shadows stretching out behind them to the wall.
you began with zero: zero days, zero weight. at some point you were as heavy as three paper clips. when you were zero weeks I counted your days. when you were zero months I counted your weeks, with zero years I counted your months. the days are long but the years are short.
We will conduct the interview in the
mental asylum. “Tea will be provided,” the doctor promises over the phone. I thank him. Tea is always good.
My editor has discovered the whereabouts of the author of On Love and Other Difficulties, a single long poem. The slim volume, no more than eighty pages, received positive reviews in India and the UK a decade before. No small feat for a Sri Lankan writer. My editor wants me to speak with the poet now committed to the asylum in a distant Colombo suburb. “Write anything you like, darling. Now get out,” she doesn’t bother to look up from texting on her cell phone. Another phone buzzes in a circle on her desk. She pouts. She is rich, married to a real estate investor whose political connections secured my residence visa as a foreign journalist in a country famous for deporting them and for murdering their own. It’s why I’m writing about a forgotten poet rather than the sudden arrest of the General suspected of war crimes, whose prominent scars from a suicide bomb he displays in campaign posters, kneeling shirtless before a reclining Lord Buddha. It’s also why I spent last week and my
24th birthday in the waiting room of the Sri Lankan High Commission, a yellow building down a side street in the Maldivean capital of Malé, exchanging my editor’s letters for special press stamps. Two European scuba divers, a Sicilian man with long iron-gray hair and a sunbrown Czech woman had been there too. The Sicilian periodically took stacks of rupees from his wallet, displaying them like a fan against the barred window slit separating the waiting room from the hidden offices. “You see, I have money—I want to spend the money in your country.” He threw up his hands. “What a place, no? What a place that doesn‘t want my money.” The Czech woman, much younger, smiled at these outbursts. I laughed. They bought me Coca-Cola and peanuts when they discovered it was my birthday. We drank the Cokes by the sea, tossing peanuts to the pelicans and watching a group of Muslim girls dive from a concrete wall into the waves, still in their jeans, their heads covered in cream-colored veils. The Czech’s eyes were a similar blue to the sheet of carbon paper underneath the transportation form Rumi the secretary fills in with pencil. Machine copies are too expensive. “See you, Anthony,” Rumi says.
Nisal waits for me in the van. He
is one of my favorite photographers. He grabs my hand and slaps me with it. “You late, Obama-man.” “Sorry, dude,”
I say, handing him the transport sheet. Nisal frowns at the details, “A bit far, no?” I shrug. “Long days, brother.” Nisal shakes his head, “A bit tired, Americabe.” He rubs his eyes. He is thin and wears black slacks and a cheap short-sleeved collared shirt. Today the shirt is navy blue. Tomorrow it will be white then navy blue again the next day with the same black slacks. Nisal stays at a boardinghouse in Maradhana, Colombo 11, sharing barrack-style beds in cramped rooms without fans or mosquito nets. He returns on weekends to his home village, Deniyaya, a five hour bus-ride south, standing—he is too nice not to give up his seat—where he helps his father pick tea and his mother sell coconuts on the road side. They are very proud of him. They told me when I met them on their recent visit to Colombo. They tried to buy my rice and curry. They called me “Sir.” “No,” I said, “Mage nama Anthony.” My name is Anthony. Nisal is also twenty-four and still not married. I
am not married either, but I am from Los Angeles, not Deniyaya. Nisal gels his hair forward, styling it into a peak near his forehead. He spikes the peak after he hands the transport form to the driver reading a Sinhala detective novel. The driver spits a stream of betel juice out the window. His beard is dyed orange. He wears a white Muslim cap, fitted tight around his buzzed head, flat at the top. He raises his eyebrows. “Pisu geya.” Crazy House. I nod. The driver shrugs, smiling with red-stained teeth. He turns up the radio as we merge into traffic, an old Snoop Dawg track, “bow-wow-wow-yipee-yoyipee-yea.” My first attempt to read On Love, I fall asleep. I’d met with computer executives at a conference in the morning for an article about South Asian IT development. One of the men‘s names was Silmy. “Just copy the press release,” was his stubborn response to my questions. It was a Slimy morning. It’s half past two when I wake up. Nisal is sleeping.
My second attempt to read On Love, I am in crowded Pettah, Colombo 1,
inside an elevator the poet rides when she plays hooky from school. The elevator has no door and the holes in the floor and the walls are patched with cardboard. The light-bulb flashes as it jerks to the 7th floor where her mother supervises garment manufacturers. The narrator hides in a pile of textile scraps. Rat tails tickle her feet. Her mother finds and beats her in the corridor between the sewing machines. She is eight. Then there are riots. Her brothers are killed with pipes and stones. Her father is crippled. Her house in Watala is burning. She runs back inside to grab her Stevie
Wonder records. She and her sisters are sent to a refugee camp. Her mother stays behind with her father in a government hospital. Four months later he dies. She is fifteen. She has her first kiss underneath a U.N. tarp during a monsoon—“he tasted like/sour rain.” Her mother collects them. They move to Madras. A tree grows from the wall of their basement apartment they share with cousins and aunts. She and her cousins develop an acrobatic routine, weaving long ribbons in the branches and using them as swings. They stage performances, calling themselves ‘Sun Sister Circus’. The men have moved to Jaffna to fight. They call themselves Liberation Tigers. She calls them Angry Kittens. They make her sad. She meets a man from Malaysia. He is ten years older, but promises her a job in Kuala Lumpur if they marry. She is eighteen. She does and moves to KL, working at an ad-agency, drawing cartoons for biscuit and ginger beer packaging—elephants armed with automatic rifles, monks swallowing their own eyes, bodhi trees crowded with laughing yakadevils. The drawings make her laugh. She includes a few sketches between the words. No one else thinks they’re funny. She is fired. They have two children. She is twenty-three. The man beats her. He promises to stop, but doesn’t. She moves with her children to a council estate in South London with her sister. She is twentyfive. She takes ecstasy for the first time at a rave in the moors. She quotes a Prodigy lyric, “always tell your mummy/before you go/off somewhere.” She meets an Irish bus driver. He gives her lots of books and lots of drugs then only books. He is gay, but marries her so she can stay in England. He gives her children free lifts to school. She loves him, but he can’t love her the same way. She works as a waitress at an Indian restaurant, then as a cook. There is a long sing-song section about how spicy she prepares the curry. She wants every mouth to burn. She returns with her children to the man in Kuala Lumpur. She is thirty. He beats her worse now. She describes his hands against her body as a “sharp, sharp knife that cannot find/a clear note.” She moves to New Zealand to live with her other sister. She plays hide-and-seek with her children in the hills between the sheep. They name the sheep after X-Men. She finds a factory job in Auckland making plastic flowers. She rides a creaky elevator every day to her work station. She remembers the broken elevator in Pettah. There is no more school to skip.
We arrive at a high concrete wall,
the top lined with broken glass. A security guard sits barefoot on a crate outside the asylum. He smokes and plays games
on his cell phone. He looks up and lifts his hand slowly to the bell. He turns back to the video game, a bowling simulation. The doctor peeks through a slit in the metal gate. We get out of the car; he
leads us to his office. There is a Gandhi poster behind his desk alongside a Michael Jackson, Thriller-era, print. I point to them, giving the doctor a thumbs-up. “Great men of our time.” He smiles. “No doubt,” I say. The doctor is sweating in a gray t-shirt. His hair is almost white, a military cut. He explains that he has been doing yoga with the residents. He doesn‘t call them patients. A strip of clear scotch tape secures the center of his wire glasses. The House is experimental, rehabilitating forty individuals. He doesn’t call it an asylum. All residents have to be recommended. It’s free. That’s why the poet came.
The poet sits in a battered chair
with a built-in desk, the kind made for school children. She paints a lion with watercolors. She wears headphones and doesn’t hear us. The doctor gently taps her shoulder. She looks up. Burns resembling butterflies or the hands of small children reach across her cheeks. A ridge of tissue, thick as my little finger, crosses her forehead, choppy like the outline of the sea. The scars are the color of coffee stains but brighter. I must look as uneasy as I feel because the poet laughs. “Don’t worry. You don’t have to like them,” she says, tracing the scar on her forehead with a fingernail painted blue. She may be forty. She may be fifty.
He hands me a pamphlet. A daily schedule is detailed inside. 6:30 Wake-Up and 6:45 Bed Tea. There is “Occupational Therapy” and “Group Therapy” and “Art Therapy.” “SNAK TIME” lasts from 17:00 to 18:30. A caption reads, “Gardening,” beside a graphic of a man playing a grand piano. The next hour is reserved for “ENJOI.” There is no description for the image of a smiley face inside a television. 21:15 to 21:30 is, “Prayers and Meditate.” 9:30 is “LIGHTS OFF Good night.” Every Wednesday there is an “OUTING”—“CIMENA, HIKE, DINER OUT, TALENT SHOW”—all to “share happyness.” I like that. Tiny letters in the bottom left corner read, “Printered by Rajapaksa Graphics.” “A little spelling troubles,” the doctor reads my thoughts. He shrugs. “What to do?” He leads me through a courtyard, overgrown with weeds, to the tiled balcony of the second floor of a wood and plaster home.
When she laughs, you see that she had once been pretty. No, that she still is pretty. Not that her laugher reveals fine features beneath the damaged skin, but because there is an openness that transforms the twisted markings like a reverse mask. She is beautiful because
I put out my hand. “Quite the formal engagement, I see,” she is laughing again. She rises and embraces me, kissing both my cheeks. “Thanks,” I say. “We all need hugs,” she says. The doctor hands her a cup of tea. “He‘s a nice chap, this one,” she says. The doctor grins like he’s embarrassed. He places my tea on another battered desk and Nisal’s tea on another. Nisal is very quiet. “You must excuse me,” the doctor says, “There is a birthday party I must attend.” He bows slightly then walks away. “He’s been very good to me,” the poet smiles. I nod. I ask some standard questions. When did she begin writing? She was eight, copying lyrics from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Her own songs came next year, lampoons of teachers she would type secretly at night in her father’s study then hide inside her classmates’ textbooks. “I’ve always been a bother,” she says. Does she still like her book? Some parts are “rubbish,” but most parts, yes, “There‘s a life in the best sections much greater than my own. I don‘t know how I found it.” What had been playing in her headphones? Some free jazz her son sent her, Albert Ayler, “not sure I understand it.” Her son still lives in Auckland and works as a copywriter. He’s twenty-three and lives with his girlfriend and their five-year-old daughter. Her daughter lives in London
and is also a copywriter. They don‘t speak. “Whenever she’s ready, I’m here,” the poet says. She pauses, “Aren‘t you curious about the scars?” I nod, “I didn‘t want to ask.”
“Come, don‘t be silly,” she
says. She describes a vision. She saw the world as a series of planes. But the planes didn’t fit together. Everything began to shimmer, especially in the cracks between the planes. She wanted everything smooth, to fill the cracks, even if the light went out. But the cracks didn’t go away. She decided after work one day, drinking in a misty bar, to reach through a stained glass window. It was too bright, the brightest crack between the planes. She threw her plate of crisps through, then stuck out her head. She was still bleeding when she returned home to boil water. She poured the bubbles on her face. “I fancied my eyes would melt.” She bites her lip. “But it was necessary.” “Necessary how?” I ask. “Do you know the story of Milarepa the yogi and his teacher Marpa?” I shake my head. Nisal is staring at a butterfly, very blue against the white railing, when he rises. He waves as he leaves. He has taken enough pictures.
The poet tells the story.
Milarepa’s father dies when he is small. Afterwards, he and his mother and sister are forced to become slaves to an aunt and uncle who steal their land. His mother encourages him to learn from black spirits to take revenge. He studies carefully, late at night, after long days in the paddy fields until one day, during a cousin’s wedding, he summons a storm that kills them all. Afterwards, he is sick with guilt. He longs to die. As a last hope, he seeks Marpa, the hermit translator. Marpa instructs him to build a house shaped like a triangle. Milarepa does. Then Marpa instructs him to tear it down, to return each stone to its proper place and to carry all the earth back to its original hole. Milarepa does this too. Marpa instructs him to build another house, on the same spot, this time shaped like a circle. Milarepa does, but then again must tear it down, replacing all the stones and all the earth. Marpa instructs him to build a third house, still on the same spot, this time shaped like a star with five points. Milarepa does and then tears it down, replacing yet again all the stones and all the earth. Marpa asks him to build still a fourth house, still on the same spot, now a nine-story tower. When Milarepa does, has torn it down, has put back all the stones and all the earth, he is emaciated, barely able to walk, but he is laughing. He has stopped fighting. Marpa takes Milarepa’s hand.
They fly to a mountain peak and sing. “But what made Milarepa suddenly stop fighting?” I ask, remembering a story about a Desert Father, one of the early Christian ascetics in Egypt, who spent his days weaving baskets he would collect and then burn at the end of each year. Then he would start over again, weaving baskets then burning them. He never stopped. “The mystery of this world,” the poet says. She can‘t explain why one day she suddenly forgave it, forgave herself, “why my heart opened like a flower.”
She had been at the asylum
four months. She remembers the day. She had been reddening her lips with paint. Sometimes she turned them bright blue, sometimes an ugly brown, whatever color she was feeling during art therapy. That day she was so angry that she wanted her lips to resemble fire. Then suddenly, watching her reflection in a window painting lips, she understood how wrong she was, how mad with hate. Why? “I saw I had been flying, aiming for the middle of the sun when the middle wasn‘t necessary. We need only a little corner, a small, clean space, not in the sun, just close enough to be warm. I cannot explain this very well.” She scratches at her burns. She tries. Her granddaughter likes lions so she paints her lions. Her granddaughter
likes her paintings even though they’re not very good, hanging them in her room, sometimes adding to the pictures, coloring over the poet’s lines with crayons. Some paintings they send back and forth, grandmother to granddaughter, over and over, adding to the lion until it is so layered with colors you can see only the dim outline of a mane or the blurred curve of a claw. But those paintings make her happiest, those hidden lions. The poet looks away, wiping her eyes, “Do you know what my granddaughter told me on the phone yesterday? ‘Achi, I will give you head massages when you come.’” The poet is returning to Auckland in three months to move in with her son and his family. Her son used to give her head massages when he was small after long days in the factory. She did the same for her father. She pauses, “There aren’t enough ways to say how grateful I am.”
She opens a worn leather wallet
and hands me a picture. There are four shots on the strip taken in a photo booth. Her son has a bleached Mohawk, the hair shaved down to the skin along the sides. In the first, he stares at the camera with a look of forced contemplation, like he wants to be taken very seriously. In the second, his girlfriend appears, a Maori woman with a shaved head, and so does their daughter, so pretty with a
coral bow in her long hair. His girlfriend gives him bunny ears behind his halfsmile. In the third shot, all three stick out their tongues. In the fourth, he smiles openly. I like him best here. He reveals crooked teeth. You can see a heart tattoo, green on his shoulder, MOM written in block letters inside. He holds his daughter very close. “Looks like a good crew,” I say. My voice is shaky. The poet smiles. “Yes,” her voice is shaky too, “Now come. No more questions. There is a party.”
I follow her down the red stone steps
and then across a field. In a courtyard beside a sagging volleyball net, two dozen residents celebrate a birthday. They wave to me and the poet. A woman wearing flowers around her neck shakes my shoulders. She giggles, handing me a party hat. A monkey grins on the hat, hugging a huge banana that reads, “big happy day.” A man mumbles to the ground with his eyes closed then looks up, towards the late afternoon moon, blinking quickly. The leopard on his party hat reaches its claws towards a cloud that reads, “hello.” Another woman smiles and claps, “My party.” She looks older than my mom, but wears her hair in pigtails tied with rainbow ribbons. She tugs at the doctor‘s sleeve
until he picks up two napkins and a long knife. The blade flashes as he cuts thick slices of butter cake. Nisal takes pictures of two pretty nurses. He gives me a thumbs-up. I put on the monkey hat.
At the gate, the poet grabs my arm.
“Thanks again for your time,” I say. She nods, pulling a folded watercolor from her jeans pocket, pressing it into my hand, “You take care.” Then she kisses me on both cheeks, softer this time. On our way back to Colombo, Nisal snaps photos above his bare feet hanging out the window. A brick wall crumbles between palm trees, a stray dog sleeps in tall grass, a boy races his bicycle while another boy sits on the handlebars, a bull rests in a paddy field with two white cranes perched on his flank—Nisal deletes each shot after he shows me the image. “No space,” he explains, tapping the camera‘s memory card. The traffic begins to crowd, slowing almost to a halt. He snaps its picture—too many cars and motor-bikes and three-wheeled taxis hedged between the jungle and the sea—then deletes it. We crawl along the road until a gray hump appears in the distance. As we move closer, I see it is an elephant. Closer still, I see a man beside the animal, very thin in his dirty sarong. He strikes the elephant‘s side with a long wooden pole barbed with a curved metal point. The elephant is limping and spotted with red welts. It
wears a wreath of chains. The metal links clatter against each other as it turns its massive head. Pink freckles scatter between eyes that seem, at first, too dark to read. But then Nisal takes another picture. It may be the angle of the photograph, a trick of light, but the sinking sun reflects what appears to be a film of tears. The tears blur the elephant‘s eyes, like rain on a windowpane, softening the darkness.
Bonnie Fortune Bonnie Fortune is an artist, writer, and educator. She investigates the communication of emotion, social structures and social ecology in her diverse practice. Her work manifests itself as installation, photography, video, performance and printed matter.
Fortune is the recipient of the Nashville Cultural Arts Program Grant for Public Art, and has exhibited her work at the Smart Museum, Chicago; Peacock Gallery, Aberdeen; Charlottenborg, Copenhagen; The Dalton Gallery at Agnes Scott College, Decatur, GA; Sea and Space, Los Angeles; Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville; and Contemporary Artists Center, North Adams, MA among other locations. She currently lives in Copenhagen.
To learn more: //www.bonniefortune.info and http://www.letsremake.info
Dana Sonnenschein Dana Sonnenschein is a full professor at Southern Connecticut State University, where sheâ€™s been teaching writing and literature (from folklore through Shakespeare) since 1994. Her most recent poetry collection, Bear Country, won the 2008 Stevens Manuscript Prize (NFSPS, 2009). Her previous works include another poetry book, Natural Forms (Word Press, 2006) and two prose poem chapbooks, Corvus (winner of the Quentin R. Howard Prize, Wind, 2003) and No Angels But These (Main Street Rag, 2005). Her poetry has appeared recently in Feminist Studies, Epoch, Lumberyard, and Silk Road. Over the last two years, however, sheâ€™s changed genres and written a novel about Lady Macbeth, enabled in part by residencies awarded by the Ragdale Artists Community and Vermont Studio Center.
Eileen Favorite Eileen Favorite’s first novel, The Heroines (Scribner, 2008), was named a best debut novel by the Rocky Mountain News. Her essays, poems, and stories have appeared in many publications, including, Triquarterly, The Chicago Reader, Poetry East and others. She’s received fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council for poetry and for prose. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Greta Holt Greta Holt is the recipient of two Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowships in fiction. She has published stories about Botswana in print journals, a number of them associated with the Mennonite Church. While finishing a collection about Botswana, she has begun to write a connected collection about a family in Cincinnati. Greta has attended a variety of workshops, including Breadloaf, Sewanee, Ropewalk, Southampton, and Antioch. She has worked with such writers as: Elizabeth Strout, Erin McGraw, Francine Prose, Sigrid Nunez, Clark Blaise, CE Poverman, and others. She attributes her continued interest in writing to the professionalism and camaraderie of her writing circle. Its members are from the Cincinnati, Dayton, and Northern Kentucky area. The writers’ group is working on a blogsite, which will be uploaded this spring.
J.J. McCracken J.J. McCracken is an artist working in a studio collective called Red Dirt in southeastern Maryland, where the clay is good. While exploring the badlands one summer several years ago, she began smearing bentoniterich clays on bodies and constructing immersive installations peppered with live bodily activity. J.J. McCracken thinks of these projects as visual poetry. Her most recent installation at The Painted Bride in Philadelphia uses food to construct a forum on hunger.
Michael Pinsky Michael Pinsky creates innovative and challenging projects in galleries and public spaces. Taking the combined roles of artist, urban planner, activist, researcher, and resident, he starts residencies and commissions without a specified agenda, working with local people and resources, allowing the physical, social and political environment to define his working methodology.
He has exhibited extensively in venues such as TATE Britain, Saatchi Gallery, ICA, London; BALTIC, Gateshead; Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow; Modern Art Oxford, Milton Keynes Gallery, Cornerhouse, Manchester; Liverpool Biennial, Archilab, Orleans; CCC, Tours; France, Armory Center of the Arts, Los Angeles and the Rotterdam International Architectural Biennial.
Regina Frank Regina Frank has been exhibiting her installations under the title â€œThe Artist is Presentâ€? internationally in windows, museums and public spaces since 1989. Her works have been displayed at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, Serpentine Gallery in London, Kunsthalle in Berlin, Reina Sofia in Madrid, MOCA in Los Angeles, Spiral Wacoal Art Center in Tokyo, the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. She has participated with performances at the 1999 Venice Biennial, the EXPO 2000 in Hannover, EXIT 2001 in Helsinki, San Diego Museum of Art, Contemporary Art Institute and Sapporo Museum of Modern Art. She taught and lectured at Bauhaus Dessau, Dessau, Germany, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, Academy of Fine Arts, Maastricht, Netherlands, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), School of the Art Institute, Chicago, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fashion Institute, New York.
Vincent Poturica Vincent Poturica is a freelance writer and photographer. He grew up in the South Bay of Los Angeles and received a B.A. from Carleton College. While working as a journalist attached to Wijeya Newsapapers Ltd. in Colombo, Sri Lanka, he began writing fiction daily, a passion he'd given up while pursuing (and subsequently failing to secure) a military career. "The Poet" is his first fiction publication. Punk rock was his first love. He currently lives on a horse farm in southern Minnesota and reports for rural newspapers. There is a cabin a mile away where he writes poems. The trees are particularly talkative there. And so is the snow.
Submission Guidelines: YoYoMagazine welcomes your submissions. We are interested in all kinds of work, including that which can be easily categorized and that which defies labels; we publish art and writing of all stripes and varieties. Our online format allows for creative display of multimedia and visual works. Limits: 2500 word limit for prose. 5 poems. Visuals, art, image essays, etc: Maximum 10 images per submission. If it is documentation of visual art that exists in the physical world, please give us context, include descriptions, media and size so we know what we are looking at. 5 minutes sound or video. Please indicate if you are submitting a section, a spliced sample or a complete work. FOR FULL SUBMISSION CRITERIA GO TO: http://www.yoyomagazine.org/submissions.html Next deadline: April 1, 2011