You wouldn’t believe
the emergencies I’ve walked past –
I’ve refused change to beggars
with leftovers burning a hole in my bag,
I have snarled at fat men
who called me beautiful,
feigned sick in lieu of the birthdays –
too far on the train, too far – felt lust
crackle in a subway car: hands touching
on the pole; I let them, I let them –
I have plugged my ears, shoved tourists
& given the dirtiest of looks:
oh you who eat tuna on the train,
oh you holder-of-doors, the god-sized
width of your strollers, I am sorry, I was wrathful;
I have eyeballed the shoes of countless
handsome women & let a competition
grow in me, I have stolen from the lost
& found & picked flowers
I did not grow
& as for the woman
whose headscarf bobbed with Christ
has risen – I bowed my head
& went back to my book

Katie Byrum

They watch you

April 26, 2018

tree 2

And the trees do not like strangers. They watch you. They are usually content merely to watch you, as long as daylight lasts, and don’t do much. Occasionally the most unfriendly ones may drop a branch, or stick a root out, or grasp at you with a long trailer. But at night things can be most alarming, or so I am told. I have only once or twice been in here after dark, and then only near the hedge. I thought all the trees were whispering to each other, passing news and plots along in an unintelligible language; and the branches swayed and groped without any wind. They do say the trees do actually move, and can surround strangers and hem them in. In fact long ago they attacked the Hedge: they came and planted themselves right by it, and leaned over it.

J R R Tolkien
The Fellowship of the Ring


When I first started writing, I was very traditional. Much of what I wrote was autobiographical. Failed relationships, Missouri, and the suburbs were almost always my chosen subjects. Reading other poets was what helped me incorporate more variety in my writing. I read everything I could get my hands on, which ranged from Gary Snyder to Joshua Clover and even The Maximus Poems. I started to understand that the poet isn’t always the speaker of the poem, but rather, poets can experiment with the techniques of fiction writing. I’d have to say that reading, and being exposed to many ideas outside of my own comfort zone, taught me the importance of innovation, experimentation, and risk-taking in poetry. It’s fine to write from one’s lived experience, but one shouldn’t be afraid to take liberties with both form and content when writing from autobiography.

Kristina Marie Darling
An Interview with J. Scott Bugher
Split lip magazine

tied together

In the years that have elapsed since [the Holocaust], the fallacy of these arguments has become apparent. We have been compelled to recognize that millions in Germany were as eager to surrender their freedom as their fathers were to fight for it; that instead of wanting freedom, they sought for ways of escape from it; that other millions were indifferent and did not believe the defence of freedom to be worth fighting and dying for. We also recognize that the crisis of democracy is not a peculiarly Italian or German problem, but one confronting every modern state. Nor does it matter which symbols the enemies of human freedom choose: freedom is not less endangered if attacked in the name of anti-Fascism than in that of outright Fascism.

Erich Fromm
Escape From Freedom

the illusionist Loran at the Festival de magie de Québec

Magic calls for real suspension of disbelief, except when you do mentalism, which is what I’ve done the last few years more than other things. That you can do with women, too, because you get them to believe you are reading their minds and all that. It’s straight charlatanism, you know. Precognition and all that sort of stuff: they’ll believe anything if you give them a spiel about that. But magic to me is a very special kind of thing. It’s just what Robert Houdin, who was the greatest magician of all time, defined a magician as being: ‘A great actor playing the part of a magician.’ I don’t recognise magic as a style that can be applied to the theatre or movies. Maybe it’s true of my work, but I don’t see it. To me, magic begins and ends with the figure of the magician who asks the audience, for a moment, to believe that the lady is floating in the air. In other words, be eight years old for a minute. And that has no connection with movies or the theatre, I think.

Orson Welles
Interview with Peter Bogdanovich for This Is Orson Welles