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JUNE 2019 | in the dry valley heat


fiction | jennifer todhunter | blue

That's how I got these scars, she says displaying the criss-cross lines covering her arms, her torso, her thighs. I’ve been bucked by the biggest bulls, tamed the largest beasts.

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The Floor is Respecting Black Women | The Spoils of Summertime | There Was That One Summer None of Us Realized the Proud Family Was Cancelled | The Amistad's Cargo Shames the Devil

I have found myself trying to find the joy in all the darkness. Not to seek the easy & unattainable proverbial light but to procure a profound understanding of the euphoria of hope. The wisdom gleaned from living under the pervasive thumb of political & cultural oppression never comes without wounds or scars. Whether that be spiritual, mental, or physical scars—marginalized people never come out of their lives unscathed by their societies. That can permanently crack, perhaps even shatter, the lens of joy that every human is intrinsically born with. Add in such factors as historical trauma & harmful, dehumanizing societal constructs & it suddenly becomes quite clear why black folx are easily perceived as a sorrowful people.

But that is not the narrative we as a people deserve to inhabit at all times. I’m a staunch believer of the fact that joy lives in hope & hope only dies if we seek to mine it from the sources our violent societies guide us to. 

I am reclaiming my joy in all the ways it comes. In my rage. In my urges for revenge. In my pining for love & affection. In my horniness. Most importantly, in my catharsis. I am reclaiming my hope in all the messiness of my struggles, while staying convicted in the notion that I do not need to permanently inhabit the muck that claws at my knees. Life is suffering, but suffering is not life. I’m reclaiming my humanity in as many ways I can. The Most High created us to withstand the night & the day. We cannot beckon a light closer to us that is only given to the jurisdictions of time & fate. We can only prepare for ourselves to stand in the sun when it comes, & stay warm when it retreats.

poetry | jill mcdonough | room for party

They advertise ROOM 
FOR PARTY, which we take in, co-opt, say I have 
room for party, you? You always have room 
for party. I think I have a little room left for party.  
I’m tired. No room for party. Get a room, let’s party.

ESSAYS | d.m. dunn | how to cook a pot of chili: a speculation

A good friend of ours once Sharpied You’ll always have a home in the pasta cross the dashboard of his car. For us, this is only true if we go back far enough. Pre-1996. Before the incident. Before we made our pot of chili.

film | sean woodardi | Finding the Sacred Among the Profane: The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Today, a person would not be surprised to see a headline about the Catholic Church in the newspaper or posted over social media. With the Vatican’s handling of the clergy sexual abuse scandals (especially in this post-Spotlight era), many of the faithful are calling for reform and justice. In many ways the Church has avoided being the center of attention; a person would sometimes encounter difficulty in finding any news that the Church didn’t want published. This includes exorcism cases.



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