Nothing Like the Sun | Poetry

Daniel Poppick

This is a sonnet about clarity. Some poets say clarity consists of An image they see. Scarlet tanager Rioting on the little branch. Some say It’s what they think. Fuck the fucking police. Others still say it’s a sound. Ding. Drop drip. Who cooks for you. Others want to capture Reality’s fleet disorder, proxy For whatever they believe that to be. I’ll love you forever. Our time is up. I...

bye | Poetry

Charles Rybak

​​we eke the temp    we feed the temp    we peel           ethyl & methyl & thyml & phytyl & heptyl & hexyl      we eke the temp    we heeze the ppm    we bp          we exx mc    we bhp ltd           elegy the elk      elegy the ewe      the teetee ...

The Complete | Fiction

Gabriel Smith

It was the no-summer summer. Nobody had to work so we ate and drank in the streets. We shared stories and videos of mob violence, food shortages, burning buildings, black men beaten or shot to death. The climate changed in faraway places. The Americans ended the endless war. A sleepwalking woman attempted her former commute and stepped in front of a high-speed train. At the Empty Olympics in Tokyo, athletes...

If Only Someone Would Get Aquinas in Here | Fiction

Missouri Williams

The schoolmaster leaned over, a puff of black robes, and read to them from the dusty book on the desk in front of him. Today the world was weaker: a milky sun hung in the sky and wanted nothing to do with the earth. What seeped through the cracked glass of the window behind him was a thin, soupy light that washed the schoolroom a bleached yellow, and this meant...

A History of Pigs in America | Fiction

Hannah Kauders

Again, a naked woman in the living room. This one is pantless, diminutive, with a lavender bob cut just below the ears. I know she sees me because she scurries from the bathroom across the hall into Jorge’s room, pulling the open sides of his hoodie around her.  I never felt weird about meeting Jorge’s conquests when Rafael was here. It seemed natural to bear accidental witness to our roommate’s...

Untranslatability | Fiction

James Yeh

1. It’s an old story. Two people together, simple, straightforward. She’s a translator; he is, I am sorry to say, a writer. Emily’s more successful, Charles more embittered. He hadn’t meant to end up like this — who does? But that’s life sometimes.  Let’s say they’re in their early thirties, have been together a while, weathered the storms to emerge more or less intact, stronger even, when Emily receives a...

College Debt | USC and the Problem of the Private University

Piper French

Mark Ridley-Thomas had a plan. He also had an accomplice: University of Southern California dean Marilyn Flynn. The problem was that the plan was no good — totally baffling, in fact, like a Coen brothers plot rejected for implausibility. Its central character seemed too bumbling, too ready to risk it all, to be believable for a man of Ridley-Thomas’s position: a giant of Los Angeles politics, then representing two million...

Vibe, Mood, Energy | Or, Bust-Time Reenchantment

Mitch Therieau

The products of mass culture have learned to speak a new language: the language of the occult. Come in, an app pleads, and listen to an algorithmically curated playlist of songs that “fit the vibe.” “We caught a vibe!” yelps a voice in one of those songs; it isn’t immediately clear whether this means caught as in brass ring or caught as in disease. It’s hard, a marketing email laments,...

Stuffing Ourselves | Amazon, the Postal Service, and the Tyranny of Logistics

Jake Bittle

There is a delivery service that employs around half a million people in the United States. It delivers billions of packages per year to tens of millions of addresses. It has hundreds of warehouses and sorting facilities, and its packages travel on thousands of identical trucks and vans. The delivery service has the extraordinary ability to get a box from one side of the country to another in just a...

Truth and Consequences | Documentaries and the Art of Manipulation

Blair McClendon

The best way to begin is with a gun. We don’t need to see it, but we need to know it’s there. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to convince an American that one is nearby. Start with murky fragments of a city skyline, lights piercing the falling night. Then a disembodied voice speaks as if the story has already begun, providing basic exposition: Dallas, October, Thursday night. A blue-eyed man,...

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