On Springsteen and Other Fathers
by Rax King
My father dies towards the beginning of a year that ends with the release of Springsteen on Broadway on Netflix. He loved the Boss, the E Street Band, and especially Clarence Clemons, so this is just one more thing that he would have really liked…would have. But he’s never going to see it, just like he’ll never see a post-Trump America or the end of Game of Thrones.
by Lisa Calcasola
Sometimes I forget that for the vast majority of my life, I hated my eyes. It was a powerful kind of hate, subtle, yet all-encompassing. I did not have to consciously think the words: I hate my eyes, I hate how small they are, too skinny and slanted, just like they say, no eyelashes, no heavy eyelids, can I even convey expression through these eyes that are so, so small? Rarely would these thoughts cross my mind in such a steady stream. Rather, they were part of the jumbled, incohesive messaging that constructed my inner dialogue, which informed my very being, whatever small perceptions I held of myself as an adolescent.
Peaceful, The World Lets Me Down
by Eva Dunsky
The constant sunshine in my hometown of Los Angeles is where I’ll start. The further you get from the beach, the higher the temperature climbs, and when I was thirteen, spring called for shorts, t-shirts, and keds, the year being 2009 and the style icon being Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong. Your clothes were important — either you were cool and you subscribed to the trends, or you were uncool and dragged your backpack around on wheels. Or maybe, if you were like me, you forged an alternative look and hoped for the best. I remember wearing the shorts and tanks I wore every year, the ones I had inherited from older cousins or purchased at the thrift store near my house.
A Track List for Piercing Tongues
by Dorothy Bendel
“Big Mouth Strikes Again” (The Smiths)
He opened his mouth so I could inspect his tongue, thick and squirming like Jabba the Hutt’s. I aimed the needle at the sweet spot: dead-center, between two purple veins in a pond of saliva. I knew to avoid veins like I knew to avoid earnest declarations of love, which only bring trouble. I can’t remember his name. I’ll call him The Mark.
by Nate Waggoner
When he was a boy, Roy Sullivan was out in the fields, hacking away at grain with a scythe. Picture a turn of the 20th century kid, maybe in overalls, sweating, buzz cut, diligent, serious. An expansive field lies in every direction around him. This grim tool in his hand, the tool of a psychopomp, the last tool you ever see. The way Death might show up with it one day and attack you crossing the street, or might wait around in your room with you for months, checking his phone. Little Roy cut and cut in the Southern sun, and the sun went away and clouds crept out, and a bolt of lightning struck his blade, bounced off it and sets the crops on fire.
My Father’s Face
by Alex DiFrancesco
I am scrolling mindlessly through Facebook when an article jumps out at me. In the accompanying picture, a woman has a thought bubble with nothing in it. The headline says the article is about people who cannot see pictures in their mind.
Chasing Uncle Park
by Jonathan Warner
He was a renaissance man of all things cool – bush pilot, motorcyclist, electric guitarist, pool shark, gymnast, mechanical genius, high-diver, general bad boy, and smooth ladies man – he even built a race car for Paul Newman. All the fantastic stories about him that seemed exaggerated were straight true, but that didn’t stop him from growing even more mythic in my young boy mind.
Tell Me How Much You Love It
by N. Michelle AuBuchon
Your friends own an apartment in Park Slope a few blocks from your house. It’s modern and homey: plants on a terrace that faces a quiet street, all the pots and pans, a nice stove, and proper wine glasses.
They ask you to house sit for a week—water the plants, feed the cats. You live in a nice apartment with two other roommates, but it has never been a home. You are a cook, and you never cook there. The kitchen does not feel like yours. Your knives and cast iron gather dust. Your cookbooks sit on the shelf above the microwave—a reminder of your former life—when you knew how to prepare meals, take care of yourself, boil an egg, bake a cake, and roast a chicken every now and then. When you lived in Astoria, you taught yourself to cook. You read cookbooks and scoured every market in the neighborhood to make new recipes every night. Your favorites were the recipes that had ingredients you’d never tasted before—the whole experience a kind of adventure—a thrill.