Everything, Issue 55, Poetry

SPECTROSCOPY by Elane Kim

I have told you this before.There are no beginningsto be found here. Here,there are only reflectionsof birdsong in passing wind,only layers of ash in place ofsky. Should your body unravel,it will do so in layers.Be sure to catch the bonesas they fall. Stop waiting for signs.That is to say, stop listeningfor blood. You must understandthat […]

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Everything, Issue 54, review, WHAT WE THINK ABOUT

In Review: Requisite by Tanya Holtland

Tanya Holtland’s debut poetry collection, Requisite, opens with a preface that softly urges the importance of spiritual ecology, which seizes my attention immediately. She advocates for the harmony and healing of nature, and caring for the earth as an extension of ourselves. She stages a lyrical political battleground of environmental crisis and the draining of […]

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Everything, Issue 54, review, WHAT WE THINK ABOUT

In Review: Cut Woman by DENA IGUSTI

Cut Woman, from small-press Game Over Books in Boston, is Dena Igusti’s debut collection. Their work is at its best in its play with space. Engaging with the trauma of female genital mutilation, the loss of her people, desire, and patriarchy, Igusti’s poems are varied in form but often united in their modes of fragmentation—apt, […]

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Everything, Issue 54, WHAT WE THINK ABOUT

Favorite Things 2020

It’s been such a difficult year. As it comes to an end, the VCL team wanted to highlight some of the art, writing, and other things that brought us some joy and comfort this year. Clémence Chouteau, Art Editor 5 Things That Made 2020 Kind Of Okay   1. FUNNY WEATHER: ART IN AN EMERGENCY BY […]

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Everything, Issue 54, WHAT WE THINK ABOUT

Pushcart Nominations 2020

The VCL team is thrilled to announce our nominations for the 2020 Pushcart Prizes! Creative Nonfiction: – Girls and Other People by L Scully– Homegrown by Iris Yu Poetry: – Reverend K.F. Lord Reveals The Spectre Of Newby Church, 1963 by Cassandra de Alba– Unremembering by Kavi Kshiraj– Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104 by Esther Sun– nightmares […]

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Everything

Meritocracy by May Hathaway

I have a recurring nightmare in which I never grow up. Every day I am further away from being a child. Sometimes I do not sleep because it saves time and sometimes I do not sleep because I can avoid nightmares. This, I think, is self-sufficiency. In my recurring nightmare, I take two hours to […]

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Everything, Issue 54, Poetry

chasm by Ariel Horton

her home-bleached hair, the strong smallness of her,the slippage of her soft walk in the rain,today this girl reminded me of you—the thrumming weight of how I wounded yousomehow inside the curve her shoulders made.I watched her blue shoes stir up limpid poolsof cloud-water, and my expired want  for you mixed itself in, gasping and soaked.last […]

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Everything, Issue 54, Opportunities for Artists & Writers

Opportunities for Artists & Writers | December 2020

Adroit Journal Gregory Djanikian Scholarship: “We annually recognize six emerging student or non-student poets as Gregory Djanikian Scholars. All emerging writers who have not published full-length collections are eligible (regardless of age, geographic location, or educational status), and are encouraged to submit. Writers with forthcoming debut full-length collections are eligible so long as collections won’t […]

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Everything, Issue 54, Poetry

The Good Kind by Blake Z. Rong

I ain’t the good kind of Asian. I’m the onewho disappoints you. I see it in your eyes when we go out for sushi and I forget what nigiri is. I feel it across your tattoos I’ll kiss someday:  koi fish samurai and fisherman’s wiveswide-eyed cats with claws outstretched characters faded indecipherable, strewn like wreckageacross your […]

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Everything, Issue 54, Poetry

Bitter Pastoral by Gabrielle Grace Hogan

next thought—isolation is a beautiful syringe. next thought—when i went to Chicago that summer i took the train.  Illinois is a whole lot of nothing. neutered landscapes in a lilting breeze. grain silos round as asses.  Midwestern topographies are bargain-bin paintings everyone wants hung in their bathroom, which is to say  something, probably. maybe i like to be […]

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Everything, Issue 54, Poetry

Fentanyl by Zachary Bond

            for Ryan Home in timeto watch a drunksun stumbling. It flashes its pink ass & jetslike little crucifixescross the sky: I know such audacity, the needto burn & then beburnished, the urge to vanish: I’ve drivenoff the road with darkintent. It’s just my hands that spared me.It’s scary, being so closeto the mirror you […]

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Everything

Join the Vagabond City Team — Call for Interviews Editor

We have a new opening for one volunteer position: Interviews Editor. See below for application details. Interviews Editor: We’d looking to add an Interviews Editor to our team. The position would be extremely flexible, with the general responsibility of pitching, conducting, and writing interviews with poets and writers. We’d like to publish interviews as often […]

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Art, Everything, Issue 53

Featured Artist: Jade Delmage

This month’s featured artist, Jade Delmage, is an emerging British artist recently graduated from the University of Brighton. Jade’s work exists in a multitude of forms that all have in common a kind of playfulness, from her “weird videos” (as she herself describes them) reminiscent of David Lynch’s early short films, to her colorful paintings […]

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Everything, Issue 53, Poetry

Aubade by Aiden Heung

The arch of the sky keeps pulling; no forecast of rain;Over us clouds undeveloped into silk chaining east to west. Above the tedious skyline the early sun brings colorsbrings news of a warm day. But we’ve become too lazy to imagine better days than this,both you and I, perched on the park bench,watching the brittle shadow […]

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Everything, Issue 53, Poetry

potassium to water by Sal

do you want to see a magic trick?would you like to try swallowing me whole?have you ever peeled open a tangerine?it’s like that, only you keep going, until there’s nothing leftbut infernos, do you see?can i ask you one more question?will you still kiss me when i look different?will you? will you? will you? how […]

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Everything, Issue 53, Poetry

Coventry by Eliza Browning

Summer again like a switchblade in my throat. We were girls then, gamboling in glades thick  and honey-sweet with clover. All of it belonged to us: the dusky purple scent of the tobacco fields,  the cicadas buzzing in the chest-high grass, the sleepless meadows only our feet tread.  We rinse the lake water from our hair and dream long […]

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Everything, Issue 53, review, WHAT WE THINK ABOUT

In Review: Dogteeth by Levi Cain

Your body is a temple; so sayeth the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians. In Boston-poet Levi Cain’s first chapbook Dogteeth, now on its second printing via Ursus Americanus Press, the body is more prismatic: it’s “a house / with newly washed floors,” “a pool to drink from,” or “an apartment / condemned by god.” This […]

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Everything, Issue 52, Poetry

a shallowing by Janelle Cordero

maybe death isn’t deep and wet and cloying like / a well maybe death is /a shallowing a / drying up / think of the pond that forms / in the valleyfrom snowmelt in the spring think of how / it shrinks with each hot /summer day by august / it’s gone maybe our lives […]

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Everything, Issue 52, Poetry

the same god who told me being gay was a sin when i was eight sold me t on the down low ten years later by Em J Parsley

tell me it was gentle,             like when my mother brushedthe hair from my forehead and said,                         if God wanted you to fly, He would have calledyou Icarus                                                 and with her feverish           fingertips                                                running through my roots I asked,                                                         do you want to be                                             Daedalus?  [name added to “when I transition” list: Icarus]  —  I wanted to give […]

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Everything, Issue 52, Poetry

when you gave my name to the cops by L. R. Bird

what did you think would happen? did you imagine my arrest as a movie?            cheering spectators? cuffs conveniently jangled? hands blooming victory-sign?instead, i’ve just got all this hard-won anger. before you gave my name to the cops,            did you flashback on our white-lie crimes? our teenaged beach-streak? smirkingbehind salt-rimmed drinks in whichever bar was too […]

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Art, Everything, interview, Issue 52

Featured Artist: Weronika Marianna

Weronika Marianna is a Polish artist and designer based in Amsterdam. Her paintings and animations of abstract female figures in pastel colors have attracted clients such as Netflix or Elle Magazine, and she has co-created Szajn, an online space promoting art by women. Weronika discussed her work, her inspirations, and the importance of change with […]

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Creative Nonfiction, Everything, Issue 52

Girls and Other People by L Scully

One sends you a flower when your grandmother dies. A single yellow rose. For companionship. Red is for passion which wouldn’t have been appropriate. One invites you into her dorm room to eat cereal when you think you are bisexual. You imagine kissing her, small-town lips in this big city night. One wears a dress […]

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Art, Everything, issue 51

Anna Wanda Gogusey

Qui est-tu? Comment est-tu devenue illustratrice? Quel a été ton parcours?  J’ai toujours dessiné, et au moment où tout le monde s’arrête, en primaire ou au collège, j’ai continué. C’est ce que j’ai toujours voulu faire, même si on a essayé de m’en décourager en me répétant que ce n’était pas un vrai métier. Après […]

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Art, Everything, issue 51

Featured Artist: Anna Wanda Gogusey

Anna Wanda Gogusey‘s work probably looks familiar, because it is everywhere. Her colorful illustrations and the white eyes that makes them so unique adorn everything from advertising campaigns and magazine covers to festival posters and feminist podcasts. Aside from being one of the most successful French illustrators today, working with national and international newspapers such […]

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Everything, issue 51, review

In Review: Spectrum of Flight by David Hanlon

In times like these, coping with stress and change and seemingly unavoidable hopelessness, David Hanlon’s Spectrum of Flight is a testament to perserverance. His poems outline his strength and growth as he walks us back through his own life, showcasing many moments when he was knocked down and stood up again, a little taller each […]

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Everything, issue 51, Poetry

Valhalla by Emily M. Goldsmith

My mother remembers teaching herselfhow to draw stars on a foggy windowwhen she was five, fifty-five years ago.Most of us look to the sky for release. My neighbor, at dinner, proposes thatwe are but molecules. That perhaps ouruniverse exists as one fabric weavedinto a shirt and our beyond just wool. Many places are full of […]

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Everything, issue 51, Poetry

singularity by Malcolm Slutzky

i want to devourmy loneliness& throw it upon the page.you told me oncepoems need each otherthe way humans do. that night,the moon was so brightit wrote your shapeon the sidewalk. you had eyesas wide as mercury& i rememberfalling into you,letting your handsclose around melike an atmosphere. in the morning,was the sun.in the morning,you kissed mein […]

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Everything, issue 51, Poetry

Some Fears by Skye Wilson

Cockroaches / getting pregnant / never having children / menstrual cups / hanging upwithout saying I love you seconds before someone dies / my dad crashing on his way topick me up from the station / my train crashing, blood and bones and tangled hair lefton the tracks / sloths and their strange hands / […]

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Creative Nonfiction, Everything, issue 51

Homegrown by Iris Yu

I am thinking about the way 姥姥 dices cucumber. Her skin is thick from bleeding and healing, bleeding and healing, a sinusoidal function acting independent of the moon. She does not fear the knife’s edge and I am thinking, now, about the dark of her hands against mine. Between the two of us, we are […]

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Everything

Best of the Net 2020 Nominees

We’re thrilled to announce our nominees for the 2020 Best of the Net anthology. Nonfiction: How to Have It All by Audrey T. Carroll The First Day of April is a Joke by Jasmine Ledesma Poetry: At the Chapel in the DSW Airport by Chloe N. Clark After Images by Eunice Kim (((A Reminder))) by Erin Kirsh […]

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Everything

Issue 50 | August 2020

To celebrate our 50th issue, we invited former contributors to share video readings of work originally published here in Vagabond City Lit. We’re awfully proud of the artists and writers we’ve published since 2013 and always excited to see the incredible new work we’re sent each month. Thank you to the contributors who helped with […]

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Art, Everything, Issue 49

Featured Artist: Lorena Lohr

Lorena Lohr started taking photographs when she was travelling around the United States at age 20. Her pictures give off a peaceful sense of stillness, contrasting with the ever moving way they were shot. Lorena does not photograph people but objects, traces of people’s existence, from a leftover maraschino cherry on a plate to a […]

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Everything, Issue 49, Poetry

Home Team by Francisca Matos

we still believed in hot lemon water in the morning, still believed in the miracle of breaking out into a dance anywhere, never quieting down, the rookie optimism that our best parts would remain the same no matter where or who we shared them with. now every summer something like grief tears inside our bellies, […]

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Everything, Issue 49, Poetry

Strawberries by jd hegarty

I had a dream about holding yourhand. My skin was hot and I woke—nervous. I had a dreamwhere you kissed me. My hearthovered above my body. Ispent hours trying to recover.I had a dream about strawberries,we were eating strawberries,the sky was blue, birds sang,you knew their names, but mostlyyou were there, and we were eatingstrawberries […]

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Everything, Issue 49, Poetry

Sailing by Nathan Spoon

Today you will reorder yesterday for the sake oftomorrow. Something will bubble and froth behindyour left ear leaving behind a sensation like whenyou first bite into a perfect and juicy apple. I havean eye and a tongue and a soul for juice and so feelbold about this assertion. Even when we are apartmy mind fills […]

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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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