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Dear Reader,

 

You may have noticed the number in the upper left corner of our site change recently from 11 to 9. This is our countdown ticker of the number of years left we have as a publication, and it has felt a little bit like we lost a year somewhere. We are not alone in this feeling. Time alternately feels like it’s standing still, and then like it’s moving faster than can be recorded. 

 

There are fossilized clams that have preserved the rhythms of day and night 70 million years ago so precisely in the accretions that make up their shells that we can tell a cretaceous day was 29 minutes shorter than the one we endure today. Confirmation that the days are indeed getting longer in tiny increments. 

 

We have done our best to continue to fill those days, and will keep doing so for the 9 years left to us. This sixth issue brings with it the first of our “artifacts”: audio, printed matter, and ephemera that will act as a record of what this journal was, some of which you’ll be able to purchase to support us. Our first artifacts are Brian Dang’s recording of their long poem “this time (a chorus of femmes)”, as well as a broadside coming in June of Catherine Kim’s Diviner from her story “The Infinite Forest”, printed in partnership with Meanwhile . . . Letterpress. I’ve begun thinking about publishing as the creation and distribution of artifacts, not just to those who read us now, but to those in the future-culture who will wonder who was thinking clearly about the Now, and how they showed it. 

 

Here is the work that shows us the Now in this sixth issue:

 

a man imprisoned in Islamabad for an act of love and lust

a sweeping epic poem of femmes and the universe

a mystical device that allows a trans woman to travel across time and space

a foreigner musing on her desire for bottom surgery while wandering the ruins of Berlin’s Institut für Sexualwissenschaft 

water as poetic archaeology of the self

experiments in inhabiting a city instead of a body


All touch in one way or another on what it means to learn to live with loss, grief, and the wish that things had been another way. The experience of building and publishing this journal while also thinking daily about its extinction has been a lot like living. Breathing life into smoke and mold with the writers and editors who make it possible continues to be my biggest source of hope for the future. To all those who continue to send us their writing even in the face of loss, thank you. This would not be possible without you, and we hope you’ll join us for a raucous extinction party in 2031.

          -- Cal Angus, Managing Editor

 issue 6 

  Spring 2022 

smoke
and mold

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