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smoke and mold


"In art, I find the sacred, the prayers, the seeds that help germinate and open myself to myself and others."

issue 9 | fall 2023

Dear Reader,


As a publisher, my goal is to make sure the journal's ethics are not passively trumpeted, but that we make our stand on global issues by providing a platform to the writers speaking truth and humanity within our mission. And yet, it bears repeating:

From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free

Rasha Abdulhadi’s poems, and most especially "Last show at the Sderot Cinema, or, How to IDa Lynch Mob", pull us into the broken hearts of our Palestinian friends and comrades, while reminding us of the long and gruesome history behind October 7. How long, I wonder, would I be able to peacefully watch the people cheering my demise, the demise of everyone I knew and loved? How will we explain this particular kind of madness to another world, another time deep in the future? I don't know these answers. I can get carried away thinking too far ahead, when today we’re still seeing the indiscriminate bombing of Gazan refugee camps, hospitals, schools and ambulances, the homes of journalists and doctors. There is no ceasefire in sight, the United States government appears willing to fund Israel and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in perpetuity. There is no reprieve from the abominable math. I wrote the first draft of this intro weeks ago, and I'm devastated that nothing needs to be changed. 

There's a readiness in the work in Issue 9. Mercy's red boxing gloves and black eyes. Hyesung taking up the Corean shaman's mantle of the tiger. Jody Chan's street medics and their "red tulip" sleeves. In her interview with Alton Melvar M Dapanas, poet Moncho Ollin Alvarado sums up this feeling well: 

"The fear and the silence is not a place I want to live in, nor is it a place I want to write from."

When the writers are getting ready for a fight, you should be paying attention.


This isn't to say there aren't quiet moments here: of re-seeing a thousand-year-old poem as an opportunity for self reinvention; of regrammatizing the body; of taking the orchid fully into oneself and using its scent as a map, rescuing its eroticization from colonial generals. There will always be quiet places of reflection, where the poets and the medics and the fighters can go to rest and be healed. Whichever path you're coming from, may you find what you need here.

One final note: since our first issue in 2019, we've published through Wix, which is Israel's most valuable company. As I've sought alternatives for an editor without much coding experience, I've made a monthly donation to the Palestinian Youth Movement in the same amount as our payments to Wix for the last 2 years (thank you to editor emeritus Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch for encouraging us to fall in line with BDS). This will be our final issue on this website, and with Wix, who has doubled down on perpetuating Israel's victimhood and fired Irish employees for disagreeing with their stance. Next time you read the journal it will be in our new home.

In solidarity,

Cal Angus, Managing Editor

November 14, 2023

The background image on this page is 칠전팔기by sam 정우, which accmpanies the story "The First and Last Tiger of Corea."

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