Everything, WHAT WE THINK ABOUT

Black Lives Matter | June 2020

To our readers, The Vagabond City Lit staff stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and all those protesting against police brutaality and anti-Black violence. We condemn the police murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Tony McDade as well as the murder of Ahmaud Arbery and the many more Black lives ended […]

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Everything, Issue 48, Poetry

nightmares of my father dying by Liam Strong

you tell me ice wants to be warm. a television screen, spastic with tiny spines,warm from my fingerprint smeared across its face. i do this to you, but i am not pricked. before work, a bundle of coriander stripped by the night’s wind on the porch-step.once, when little, i constructed a fence from the broken […]

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Everything, Issue 48, Poetry

Purple Devil Emoji by Trevor Eichenberger

HornyTopNow proposes a sexorcism            in your DMs when he writes: let me fuck the hell out of you He must think his penis is God’s            gift if he can save you from damnation, but you don’t believe him.            You’re atheist & to you, angels are just            a slutty Halloween costume. If there is a devil, […]

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Art, Everything, interview, Issue 48

Featured Artist: Georgie Wileman

Georgie Wileman, born in 1988, is a British photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. Her photographic projects document intimate experiences of pain and social injustice: with THIS IS ENDOMETRIOSIS, she demystifies a still misunderstood illness which she’s suffered from her entire life, while To Thy Own Self Be True denounces the dehumanization of transgender people […]

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Everything, interview, Issue 48, WHAT WE THINK ABOUT

Interview: George Abraham

George Abraham spoke with VCL’s Michelle Betters in early May about their first full-length collection of poems, BIRTHRIGHT. In the words of Naomi Shihab Nye, this is a “sizzling, flaring” book that merits multiple readings. But it’s also, as George explains below, a hot mess of prose, traditional poetry forms, erasure, and ekphrasis. In other […]

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Art, Everything, Issue 47

Featured Artist: Augusto BM

This month’s featured artist, Augusto BM, is a Brazilian illustrator with a talent for creating entire aesthetic universes with only a pen and paper, or through the otherworldly collages that compose his Instagram stories. Influenced by the art of ancient civilizations, which he discovered while studying History, Augusto’s artwork explores the relationship between nature and […]

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Everything, Issue 47, Poetry

Will / Inherit by Ben Kline

Suddenly / late summer / shirtless in the loft / he watches me / surmount the top rung / Soft timothy exhaling June / The twine breaks / spreading blue / purple florets on which we lie / about men / the Virgin / glistening skin / senators and welfare / other things we cannot […]

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Everything, Issue 47, Poetry

Holding Pattern by Cliff Saunders

I. It’s tough to admit, but I can’t stopbaby-talking to the guillotinein my closet. I can’t stop wearing orangeand clicking like a house in the sun.I just want to find love, testifyto the power of pedestrian walkwaysthrough the minefields of early death.No reason for me to be inconclusive,circus-like in my heart. I belongto the ice […]

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Everything, Issue 47, Poetry

Untitled Fear of Intimacy: Celibacy by Ashley Taylor

Three days after swearing off sex, I message an old tinder date. We talk about coming home to ourselves, recovery, and tarot. She asks me, in what ways do you want to be more grounded?  And I want to tell her about Yayoi Kusama’s Narcissus Garden, how fifteen hundred steel spheres lay on the ground, and reflect via convex—how the viewer […]

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Everything, Issue 47, Poetry

Untitled Mise-en-abyme by Ashley Taylor

The incapacity to name is a symptom of disturbance. Operator / Operator, I could not join the troupe of myselfobserved by the lens. The windowpane and the landscape make it very difficult to focus. In order to “see”Myself / beloved “myself” / which is light, divideddoesn’t hold still, giggling in my jar. We all have our secret […]

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Art, Everything, Issue 46

Featured Artist: Hannah Rae Powell

Hannah Rae Powell began illustrating to distract herself from her career, and she did it so well that it became almost like a second one. Her playful, colorful illustrations evoke Matisse’s La Danse adorned with floral patterns. They have seduced thousands of followers on Instagram, as well as gallerists and fashion brands. Hannah lives in […]

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Everything, Issue 46, review

In Review: Repetition Nineteen by Mónica de la Torre

Mónica de la Torre’s marvelous work of art and language, Repetition Nineteen, weaves its way into the world this month to make our lives a little brighter. A vivid and thoughtful bilingual book, this work inspires readers to consider the misunderstandings and reliability of translating and code-switching, and gives us permission to fill in the […]

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Everything, Issue 46, Poetry

Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104 by Esther Sun

            After Antonín Dvořák Mvt. I: Allegro in / the belly / of / the woods / we toss kindling into a pit // jagged geometry /of combustion // strike matches on our skin //watch the campfire work / its teeth through mountain blackness // & I am incendiary // north windlurching / in from / upper / […]

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Everything, Issue 46, Poetry

LAY ME ON THE TABLE + PUT FLOWERS IN MY MOUTH by Matt Mitchell

                      a hue of hospital neon                       sits above exposed cotton guts                                  of waiting room sofa in the early hours of my procession, morning orange draws a halo            around my pale head.  there’s a field in the midwest where be a man still echoes            off the corners of tick-painted weeds resting atop a cliff overlooking a shallow marsh.  it is too late to go back,                                  one of the […]

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Everything, Issue 46, Poetry

Feral by A. Prevett

                                                     after Anne Sexton’s “Yellow” When I finally feel safety again I’ll work it around in my mouthuntil it’s all balled up, I’ll spit it out, I’ll bury it shallow in a loamy field. I’ll plant a shield of sunflowers around it, I’ll encircle them with apricotpits, I’ll pluck every downy feather in sight, I’ll write a poem called Feral […]

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Art, Everything, issue 45

Featured Artist: Sacrée Frangine

The phrase “sacrée frangine” is so idiomatic to French that it is impossible to translate it into English with exactitude. The word “sacrée” literally translates to “sacred”, but paired with a substantive, it becomes equivalent to the expression “a hell of a”, while “frangine” (informal) means “sister”. A “sacrée frangine” is a “sacred sister” and […]

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Everything, issue 45, Poetry

Think: Honey I Shrunk the Kids, but Sexy by Schuyler Peck

IMAGINE I’M SMALL. IMAGINE I’M SO SMALLYOU COULD POP ME IN YOUR MOUTH & I’D SLEEP UNDER YOUR TONGUE. THINK A CROSS BETWEEN TIC-TACS AND HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS, BUT SEXY. TOGETHER WE’D TALK ABOUT YOUR DAY, ABOUT THE WEATHER. WE’D DREAM OF CAMPFIRES, WHETHER BAGEL BITES ARE REALLY AS GOOD AS WE REMEMBER. IN THIS STORY, I’M SMALL BECAUSE […]

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Everything, issue 45, Poetry

(((A Reminder))) by Erin Kirsh

Erin Kirsh is queer, Jewish writer and performer living in Vancouver. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has been published in The Malahat Review, EVENT, Cosmonauts Avenue, Geist, and The Molotov Cocktail, where she won their Shadow Award for poetry. Visit her at www.erinkirsh.com.

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Everything, issue 45, Poetry

Crossing the US-MX International Border by Luisana Cortez

 everyday we cross     over green water  each step slow and            heavy with stirring  traffic is both ha —    lting and out of breath, here  a suspension nest —    led in the light and  still touching concrete    this walk on the early  hall, each socketed —    morning on our eye —  lids gauze light begins    stubborn opening its  face bit by bit wait […]

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Everything, issue 44, Poetry

LETTERS FROM THE KITCHEN PANTRY by VIVIEN SONG

I renounce rice when I am nine, the way one          might renounce Barbie dolls, or multiplicationsheets, or vocabulary quizzes—unpretentious,          without pomp. Baba continues to serve me braised pork belly and tomatoes with egg, eyes soft like          steamed gingered fish, never once picking at thehaggard bones of autumn: how I unearthed dead          silkworms from the garden, or how I would […]

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Everything, issue 44, Poetry

HORNET JUMPS HIGHER by DAN MCKEON

should i learn pythonshould i buy a praying mantis should i start wearing pendants am i a pendant idiot now am i getting the hang of it or being annoying? is it a nail or a needle in my eye andshould i trap the little ghostliving in the weird room in the basement we never go in or talk […]

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Everything, issue 44, Poetry

UNREMEMBERING by KAVI KSHIRAJ

you slip out the open door of my spine. when i pass you in dim-lit hallways, my fingers brush your wrists, lingering, unbodied. i dream of you – perched in air, eyes strange and diya-limned. my throat is still cupped between your hands.  i do not take it back. i dream of girlhood: unhesitant, unblinking. saying, relentlessly.  – i […]

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Art, Everything, interview, issue 44

FEATURED ARTIST: OCTAVIA TOMYN

Octavia Tomyn describes herself as an extreme extrovert who loves meeting people as part of her work. It also seems like she loves representing people as part of her work. Her Instagram page shows hundreds of human figures, sketched in a single black line, but which still depict a strong individuality and subtle emotion. Octavia […]

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Everything

Favorite Things 2019

To celebrate the end of the year, our team wanted to share some of the things we enjoyed reading most during 2019. Clémence Chouteau, Art Editor: 5 BOOKS I READ IN 2019 THAT I WILL KEEP THINKING ABOUT FOR YEARS 1. THE WATER CURE, SOPHIE MACKINTOSH (2019)  “We hold hands very tightly, so we can […]

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Everything

2019 Pushcart Prize Nominees

We’re thrilled to announce our nominees for the 2019 Pushcart Prize: El Bahr, El Barh, El Bahr by Leena Aboutaleb Gloria In Excesis Dyke by Levi Cain Distilling Discomfort by Hadiyyah Kuma Mom by Heo Su-gyeong translated by So J. Lee Birthright by Natalie Wee One Day I Will Drink the Whole Sky by Cynthia […]

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Art, Issue 43

FEATURED ARTIST: CARISSA POTTER CARLSON

Carissa Potter Carlson‘s work creates a strange, cathartic experience. A feeling of intrusion, as if you were reading a stranger’s thoughts, but also, a feeling of vulnerability, as if at the same time, that stranger were reading yours. Her art relieves loneliness by showing things everyone experiences but no one talks about, from small embarrassments […]

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Everything, Issue 43, Poetry

AFTER IMAGES by EUNICE KIM

split my lip for the innocence i knowlies beneath: i think i almost drownedthis summer & the swimming pool wherei tried is on fire now. this body feelsstrange & hollow, halfway between anexhale & something else. i want sunsets.i want rooftops. i want to be uninhabitable,light falling through an open window. need to be something […]

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Everything, Issue 43, Poetry

BY PROXIMITY by DEON ROBINSON

I would like to believe we live forever, and when I say forever,I mean we live longer than our favorite song.Don’t let anyone tell you forever has to feel so guilty, so strained, a cauterized theory of letting go.I haven’t the language to hope you get home safely,but I have the muscle memory of holding […]

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Everything, Issue 43, Poetry

IN A MOMENT CLOSE TO NOW by E. KRISTIN ANDERSON

after Neko Case When I find the morning I pull it from the groundand whisper an invocation. Across these counties, I’ve left myself motherless, let myself bear the name emergency when I kick up dust. The name ghost when I’m out of breath. But even in this apocalypse every constellation bears your name. And in […]

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Art, Everything, Issue 42

Featured Artist: DANIELLE MORGAN

Danielle Morgan sees things most people don’t see, and turns them into art. Danielle lives in Stockholm, but she was born in a small town in Saskatchewan, Canada, and grew up in Victoria, British Columbia. Her attention to detail brings the light on small, everyday occurrences of beauty : the shape of a hair-tie, arms […]

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Issue 42, Poetry, Translation

BIJAN ELAHI translated by REBECCA RUTH GOULD and KAYVAN TAHMASEBIAN

اما که اما که دید سال– با چند بنفشه به دنیا آمد ؟کی که تشنگی. شیرین بود  : دورم از یاد نمی‌داری – به هدر رفته جوانیمپوستی شگرف – اما ! چسبیده به تو ، جوانی دیگر این‌جا که بسنده بود . چند بنفشه به پوشاندن دهانه چاه And Who? And who saw the yearwas […]

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Issue 42, review, WHAT WE THINK ABOUT

In Review: SPEECH by JILL MAGI

Speech, a reflective and well-timed new work by Jill Magi, is quite possibly the delicate walkthrough of life that so many of us secretly wish we had.  The speaker serves as a flawlessly observant guide on a linguistic journey, giving us both foresight and hindsight as we wander along a path that is at once […]

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Everything, WHAT WE THINK ABOUT

2019 Best of the Net Nominees

We’re thrilled to announce our nominees for the 2019 Best of the Net anthology. Nonfiction: “Fabric Wound and Unwound” by Tasneem Maher “Fear: A Collage” by Ronny Ford Poetry: “Gaslight” by Christian J. Collier “Yolk” by Cris Iacoponi “On Being Read My Miranda Rights in My Own Hallway”by Linette Reeman “At Beiteddine, Summer 2018” by […]

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