"congrats on your freedom"*

Issue 41


Full contact culture… or something
A. Ortiz-Duarte

It is with a greater openness that we meet ourselves
where we are
for now

Much like Love and such,
let us chalk it up to instinct, maturity and a greater need

Something more down to earth as it were, that can be said of this piece. My partner and I are in the throes of packing up our lives and moving away from a home of 11 years. Being both creatives and manual artists, our tools and particular ways in which we find our selves and thus solace, have been put into boxes and away it goes.. funny how we can do that! Send our stuff out as scout, to help carve a metaphorical path for our arrival. It's charming to give it such an anthropomorphic power... but how else would I imagine it, as it becomes such wondrous fare. Thinking of it all on it's own journey, picking up steam and stories...

But I digress, in the fingering and hunting through the collection that has become ours I found that I am much more squirrel than I have ever given myself credit for. Amongst the papers there was a cute little credit card sized manila envelope...Inside was a bevy of imagery, all fastidiously cut and biding its time...till it can become some prophetic telling of some inner need to say thing.

Reflection is warranted and I'll get back to you on that.


I bend my knees
S. Miller

A warrior without a war

lives in my house

imagining into overweight harm

a pattern from some other house, life.

I arrange myself accordingly,

as I have always done in such matters—

with Fibonacci sequences

of peacock feathers in repose,

layers of my energy trailing behind me,

a long deep cape that I pulled out of the earth

from its resting place upon the glittering mantle,

all to assure you that you’re safe.

I tell myself, I am free

yet splinters—hearty falsehoods­—

work their way in.

Language puts me into

a trance of forgetfulness.

I bend my knees.


Rick’s quilt: a rock and roll quilt finished after he died
G. LaPlante

It was hard to line up the pieces. I have a friend who was amazed at my process because she grew up having to follow a lot of rules. I’m not good at following recipes or patterns. It’s just not how I work. I like quilting because it presents me with my imperfections. My quilts are all a little wonky.


“…unpredictable encounters transform us…”*
C. Hudak


He asked if he could try my bed and I said yes and he asked if I’d get in with him and I said yes and he asked if he could kiss me and I said, I’m scared, but yes. Seasons later, I am alone, in a different bed, thinking about possibility, impossibility, and Ross Gay, who says Anna Tsing helped him understand that “joy is evidence of our entanglement.”1 I notice the nouns. Joy. Evidence. Entanglement.


You got rid of 180 pounds,

she says, as I hand her thirty bucks for the privilege
and I want to say: Lady,
you don't know the half of it.
This may be my first time at this dump
but I have spent my life clearing trash
others left behind.


Lucky and I are both having a hard time. We commiserate and offer each other ideas. I say Rick Rubin suggests meditating on the threes.2 Every 3:00, 6:00, 9:00, and 12:00 you’re awake, meditate for one minute. We agree to give it a try.

Meditating on the threes becomes like a faulty metronome in my day. Easy to do, easy to forget, and easy to do.



There is a knot,

in this skein I'm winding.
A knot means a choice:
wind it in or cut it out.
I pull, and the thread breaks
where it was weak.
Where there was one,
now there are two.
I wind both, separately,
and knit them together
into sleeves on a sweater,
so I'll remember.


The long, clean row of Kierkegaards on a high shelf in a used bookstore in the French Quarter makes me think a professor must have died. I want them all but the owner was also schooled by Jesuits so knows what he has - I can afford only one. I choose the blue Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses.

Pages 331-332:

There is a profound and inscrutable meaning
in existence, an agreement
entered into from eternity
regarding the earthly and the moment
of the heavenly, a marvelous correlation
between what belongs together:
sorrow and comfort.


Diastole is the moment the heart pauses,

lets go, fills up.
It was da Vinci who first noticed
eddy currents of the heart
enable life. This pause
is not effortless. It requires strength
to draw back,

Leonardo da Vinci, Studies of Blood in an Aortic Valve and a Glass Model of the Neck of an Aorta, Windsor Castle, Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019


Been drinking at my neighborhood anarchist bar,

when a man named Mack takes me aback
with a country song of conversation.

Recently divorced.

Been dating?
A lot. I've gone out with men
from 24 to 64.

How's that been?
Mack, lately I've been sad.

With that face?
Seems no matter the decade,
men are broken.

Baby, that face does not deserve to be sad.
I'll always be nice to you
no matter our status.

The stranger with the hazel eyes and his hand on mine
gave me something, then, that I decided to carry with me.


I am a third-generation single mother. I cannot recall any mothers in my family who loved their daughters, and certainly no daughters who loved their mothers, so when my daughter graduates from college and asks to celebrate by taking a road trip with me, her mother, I marvel for more than 6000 miles.

I am in the driver’s seat the whole way. At the Badlands, even though she’s scared, I make her hang out the sunroof for a new view on how to take it all in as we go.


When Jennifer and I talk about rivers she says I might be the least stagnant person she knows, which is funny because I eddied for a decade. I hate thinking about that time until I learn: on a river, eddies are formed by obstructions. Kayakers perfect entering and exiting because “eddies are the only place on the river to scout, portage, or to just take a break.”3

On First Avenue, a stranger, also named Jennifer, tells me she doesn’t usually talk to people like this, but where she comes from, we are the river and the river is love. We talk for almost an hour and before we part, right there on a Friday night sidewalk, this new Jennifer takes me in her arms and holds me. My face is in her hair when she whispers:

Don’t worry so much.

Remember what I said.

You are love.

*From Anna Tsing’s book, The Mushroom at the End of the World

[missing video]

Mono Lake, California, April 2023.

The title of Issue 41 is from a note A. Ortiz-Duarte gave to C. Hudak on the occasion of her divorce. The note also quoted Bjork.

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