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Issue #23, Spring 2005
Writing, painting, sculpting, putting together a literary magazine—you have to be a little obsessive, or maybe a lot obsessive to pull it off. Coming on the heels of Christo's Gates—twenty-four miles of orange banners marching through New York's Central Park—we can't help but think that the best works of art are born out of obsession. Andrew Hultkrans writes of his year-long all-consuming obsession with surveillance in America. Celebrated artisanal perfumer Mandy Atfel confesses her one true passion—the unearthly essence of jasmine. Pinckney Benedict's mesmerizing story "Mudman" tracks the fortunes of a jealous farmer whose rage conjures a monster. In "A Forest Path," Bill Gaston's narrator, "Lava," is completely consumed with Malcolm Lowry, who may or may not be his father. And the always remarkable Frank Bidart remembers a decades-old glimpse of flesh over which he still smolders in "Phenomenology of the Prick."
Amanda Gersh, Pinckney Benedict, Bill Gaston, Lucia Nevai, Robert Arellano, Kevin Canty, Sergei Nosov
STALK ME GENTLY • In a way all I ever wanted was for someone to stalk me—gently of course—but a little stalking is a lovely thing
MUDMAN • 'Leave her alone,' Snedegar told the mudman. The mudman chortled, a sound like water spattering in hot fat. A wasp crawled from its mouth, and the mudman sucked it soundlessly back in again.
A FOREST PATH • It is said taht Lowry's first shack, containing his only complete draft of Volcano, all his possessions, etc., was accidentally consumed by fire.
END OF MESSAGES • Maybe it's me, but a funeral seems like the worst occasion to sell anyone a grand piano, let alone the bereaved.
THE TWO STEVENS • Let me tell you about me axe. It has an 11-and-1/2-inch blade with a paper-thin edge. But I use it not to chop so much as to bludgeon.
THEY WERE EXPENDABLE • I could not, without hurting their feelings, tell them that, really, they were making things worse for me, making me feel and think and talk.
NABOB: A WRITER'S TALE, TRANSLATED BY D. GEORGEOLIANI AND MARK HALPERIN • Never in my life had I written on a toilet wall. Me, on a toilet wall? Hard to imagine. Nevertheless, I took the pencil and went. List of obsessions?
Frank Bidart, Erin Belieu, D.A. Powell, Darcie Dennigan
PNENOMENOLOGY OF THE PRICK
IN THE RED DRESS I WEAR TO YOUR FUNERAL #6
IN THE RED DRESS I WEAR TO YOUR FUNERAL #8
CITY OF GOD'S
THE DEPARTMENT OF TENDERNESS
Salvador Plascencia—Fiction, Tiffany Noelle Fung—Poetry
POLLINATING INSECTS • He watched as the bee threaded its way through Cameroon's hair, emerging on her stomach. He lifted the bee by its wings and pressed it into his arm.
A PERIMETER OF MERCURY
THE ODDITY PROBLEM
Andrew Hultkrans, Montana Wojczuk, Mandy Aftel, Chris Beha, Albert Mobilio
UNRELIABLE HOMUNCULI AND OTHER IMPEDIMENTS • The little man stalking the author really, really wants the author to finish his long-overdue book proposal.
THE MAN WHO COULDN'T GROW UP • J.M. Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, love of children and hatred of war.
PERFUMED OBSESSION • A professional perfumer's true love: jasmine.
A BRIEF SAMPLING OF OBSESSIVE WEB SITES
A LIST OF MANIAS
OFF THE MAP: THE WAY OF SOME WORLDS Maps and destinations; gridded representations of life and death.
Lost & Found:
Jill Koenigsdorf, Susan Daitch, Nathan Alling Long, Rachel Cline
ON JAMES THURBER'S The Last Flower
SAMUEL R. DELANY'S The Motion of Light in Water
ON JESSAMYN WEST'S Cress Delahanty
MY SOUL UPON THE GRILL • The ultimate grilled chicken—all others are pretenders.
THE GREEN FAIRY • A slave to absinthe, the seductive, dangerous muse of Van Gogh, Rimbaud, and Picasso.
The Last Word:
A LETTER TO THE POST OFFICE