Famous

This essay is available via the PDF link below.

On the night of November 26, 2008, two men walked into Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai, India, and started shooting and throwing grenades into the crowds of travelers “indiscriminately,” as reported in the official Indian account of the attack. In a railway station that accommodates two million passengers every day, a place where one can hardly stand during peak hours without being swept into a river of people, they couldn’t very well have missed. In minutes the dead and dying lay throughout the concourse, their limbs splayed in grotesque postures, and blood pooled on the station’s concrete floor.

“Famous” by Tom Ireland

What Happens to Heroes

The full text of this essay is not currently available online.

I rolled the glass vial in my hand, back and forth, as if I were rocking the steroids to sleep. Ben had just lifted it from a small box hidden in his bedroom. The box looked like the kind of case gamblers might carry to hold their chips all in a row. I’d watched Ben’s big fingers pry open the latches and raise the lid. Inside, several small vials were lined up neatly, the syringes askew; two of them slanted so that the skinny needles pointed right at me.

Patient

The full text of this essay is not currently available online.

The bus will have to move. I’m under its rear tires on the passenger side, and with the crowd, the driver can’t see me in the mirror. “Can you please tell him to move?” I say to someone leaning over me. It is easy to be calm because I cannot really have been run over by a bus.

A Hive of Mysterious Danger

This essay was a first place winner in the 2010 Editors’ Prize.

The full text of this essay is not currently available online.

If you we re to remove the roof tops from these prisons, you would uncover a world of dramatic intensities, a world of cruelty and faith and madness and perversion and boredom and humor and tragedy and despair. But it is a world almost entirely ignored by the broader taxpaying public….

Obession as Mythmaking: Six Books About Books

Featuring reviews of:

  • The Book of William: How Shakespeare’s First Folio Conquered the World by Paul Collins
  • Anne Frank: The Book, the Life, the Afterlife by Francine Prose
  • Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages by Ammon Shea
  • Stylized: A Slightly Obsessive History of Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style by Mark Garvey
  • U and I by Nicholson Baker
  • Frankenstein: A Cultural History by Susan Hitchcock

Tomorrow in Shanghai

The full text of this story is not currently available online.

Zhang Xiaobing would not have called himself a bad person, should anyone have been given the opportunity to pose such a question to the prisoner. In fact, if you asked anyone other than the court-appointed defense attorney whose main function in the trial was to enter Zhang’s guilty plea, the prosecutor and the panel of three judges, who had found him guilty and sentenced him to death, very few people who knew Zhang would have said he was a bad person—wicked, evil, corrupt, a low-born thing, a turtle’s egg, a nonhuman devil whose crimes would merit the ultimate punishment.

Poetry Feature: Sarah Blackman

Featuring the poems:

  • Baucis and Philemon
  • The Event Horizon
  • Melancholia; a Fantasy
  • A Marriage Poem (featured as Poem of the Week, May 4, 2010)
  • The Distance Between the House and the Barn

 

A Marriage Poem

I am unmarried and do not know

how life is simplified by cruelties.

—Beckian Fritz Goldberg

 

It is the year

I have bartered away all my teeth.

 

My mouth is a lush place,

full of black usury and in return

 

I have a pair of new shoes,

a wheel of soft sheep’s cheese,

 

five of the world’s ten hottest peppers.

Where will I go, my mouth

 

so many wounds, that they

won’t know me by my absent bite?

 

How will I succor you, or the cat

we kept, or the one whose fleas

 

I am popping flat on my thumbnail

even as I reject her winsomeness?

 

Still, I don’t regret.

I am not a wife,

 

but maybe a window. Look

through me is the house,

 

is the water boiling,

a pepper slipped beneath the skin of the pie.

 

Look through me is the carefully arranged plate,

an eye for beauty, a terrible smile

 

all the worse because I mean it

so sincerely, am so happy

 

in these beaten hours

tapping back and forth across the boards.

Poetry Feature: Christina Hutchins

Winner of the 2009 Editors’ Prize in Poetry.

Featuring the poems:

 

Into your pocket

I have slid a bright morning before rain.

Tonight’s concerto is folded into thousands

of paper cranes; their wings were trees, rollicking

restless in the sun. Here’s a loose,

black thread pulled from my hem, tangled

 

to a tiny bundle between my fingers & thumb.

Kelp strands roiled back & forth in the surf

& deposited at high tide, the lost chains

of underseas are knotted, left along the beach.

Here is the warmth of my stride, left in a heap

 

on a rug beside the bed, blue jeans shed

in the shapes of my legs. I, too, have held

the shape of an absence. Quiet in the auditorium.

Who is that, laughing at the back of the room?

Here we are again, leaning against the door,

 

my way to you disclosed by two tongues

spending a sweet moment. The self I become

& the self you become are celestial bodies

entered into, one by another. Tender

release, a wet palate tasting its small

 

flourishes, my love is for taking along.

Like you, I swim a rising, astral surge.

If we are anchored by every spent moment,

the anchors are already rusted to dust

& these chains no heavier than light.

Yukon River

The full text of this story is not currently available online.

It’s 1975, and Len had known about the pipeline. But he thought it would be far away, lost in the immense space of Alaska, a trickle of silver sliding alone silently in the vast slope of snow. As he lay on his bunk in Folsom, he had not thought of it being right here, a fat, ugly snake of greed and pollution; he had not imagined it strangling the little snow-covered log town he had fallen in love with.

Exotic Animal Medicine

The full text of this story is not currently available online.

This story was the first place winner in fiction in the 2010 Editors’ Prize.

“My first vodka as a married woman,” said Sarah. She sat against David and felt the day carry them toward each other. The hours passed at the pub, and they didn’t think of going home, although this was what they looked forward to: the privacy of their bed against smudged windows, its view of small gardens and the beat of trapped bees against glass that shook as the buses moved by.  Their bed was a long way from the colleges and the river, but the bells would still come over the roads and houses, and they would be alone, and married. The day moved them both toward the moment in which they would face each other in their bed, utterly familiar, and see that despite their marriage there was no change, and that this was just what they wanted.

Our 2014 Editors’ Prize is now open for submissions.