Lit Mag Roundup Scavenger Hunt: “Along with his goat, he took a large jug of drinking water, a bottle of lavender oil, a pine branch with a bird’s nest on one end and a spindle-shaped seashell on the other…”
The world surrounds the fastest way to chop an onion. Eventually that’s what I thought after I watched this video. Keep in mind this is like the day after someone told me a joke about getting blood in his sangria and nobody showing up to the party anyway. But you have to listen (what do you mean have to? you can’t avoid it) to the honks and shouts and revs and brakes and haggling in the background, and then think about how they’re not in the background of their own lives, laying on the horn like that.
But then you watch how every time before the knife dives back into the onion , there’s the tap of the onion knife against the board, and it’s probably to clean the knife off, but it sounds like a resetting of the rhythm, the kick drum. And I get to thinking about how these routines of pristine concentration come in bundles, the world rejected in favor of an elegant closed loop, the end goal of a vacuum.
But it’s not just that. It’s living inside the possibility of effect, laying on the horn, missing your fingers with the knife, the way the effort of trying to turn yourself into one effect always involves an unnatural angle, a sanded music.
So too with paragraph transitions. I mean so too with online literary magazines! Witness the piles of chopped onions that eventually have to fry their way back into the world, smells rising, landing in places like Ghost Proposal, Waxwing, Alice Blue Review, Velvet Tail, Dreginald, Spoke Too Soon, Cosmonauts Avenue. Do you remember how the Lit Mag Roundup scavenger hunt smells? If I could put it in words, I might put:
Read these magazine issue recaps, which are collaged together from things in pieces that appear in the magazine. The first person to comment on the post with the origins of at least 3 of the lines/images/chunks (from at least 2 different magazines!) will win a free book of their choice from Small Press Distribution, courtesy of Real Pants: Mike’s Bank Account division.
Congratulations to last week’s winner, Nina Puro, who won Julia Cohen’s I Was Not Born! And now, the onions (or the knives, maybe?):
Do ghosts have denim ponytails? Do their rulebooks have a mouthful of wasps? Maybe it’s easier without the machete, but you weren’t supposed to find it after the storm. Some ghosts they call minor mythic re-enactments, and some just remember that country shower curtain. Don’t give up on ghosts, is the proposal. But go for a school of stingrays first.
Twenty-five is a chunky number for things that run in numbers, but Alice Blue Review is modest as ever. Everyone in their town is named Sam. If their arms are wooden, it’s only from the elbows to the hands. You know how sometimes you pretend you’re the only one that cares about something? Like the forty silicon bulbs of oil? That’s when you write with the pomegranate juice.
Now this is something you don’t see every click. Velvet Tail is editor Canese Jarboe’s bimonthly poetry and art zine where poems appear “as mixed-media collage pieced together by the editor [Jarboe].” As the About page explains, “these unique broadsides serve as a physical medium between the poet and the creator.” I’m into having every “page” be a broadside, and lately I was thinking “Is there a poetry journal yet that could be entirely on Instagram in an interesting way?” and here you go. It’s good enough to make you want to hold court at the Dew Drop Inn. Cross your arms for a shield. This is a brand new journal, and certainly one worth dropping your eyes to follow.
Dreginald, meanwhile, is not new, but it is still new-ish and exciting and in that stage where I can guarantee—if you were born on April 28, 1986 in Oroville, CA with the name Michael Young—you are over the moon for everything they do. They’re on issue five, a whole hand of fingers. Coming out of a swatter hollow. They’re living with the great horned owl that can’t understand other girls. They’re breaking their hearts over their own knees. Go ahead and trade flowers for teeth, eat three mints in the doctor’s office, and call Old Hickory, your broker, to tell them you want to put all your money in Dreginald.
Gizzi says “Be radical; have a long thought,” and Leora Fridman and Kelin Loe got so radical they had to go back a whole new website, so now their long poem journal Spoke Too Soon has two websites, which is confusing if you’re doing conventional things like “trying to find their website,” but perfectly acceptable if you’re doing outrageous things like writing long poems in 2015. Or writing about them. The hypnotist always wears black pants. They know about the love that ate the ghost canyon. One species of insect feeds exclusively on how humans say the word no, while another crawls inside your ear and whispers “Aren’t I mere mutilations?” If you win the scavenger hunt with this journal, you’re sort of cheating, because there are only four things to read, but if you don’t find the time to read all four of those things, you are cheating at life in a much sadder way.
This is not an avenue in space, but Cosmonauts Avenue does invite you to take a walk with it along the radiation of circles in the cold. Don’t be surprised when you find the shipwreck. No phone calls or questions. Explain brush fires through a mouthful of oysters. Wait, which word means not to hope but to wait? No, not that language. Not that one, either. To find it you’ll have to abandon the Island of Swallows. There are pressurized bubbles you might never unbreach. There is an avenue that goes out straight to all the space pressing down on it.
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