Because tomorrow morning, it starts all over again

The Tides


Vol.57 Issue 01

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When there was nobody to care or to know, this gigantic effort on the part of an insignificant little moth, against a power of such magnitude, to retain what no one else valued or desired to keep, moved one strangely. again, somehow, one saw life, a pure beat. I lifted the pencil again, useless though I knew it to be.
-Virginia Woolf, “The Death of the Moth”

EDITOR’S NOTE
Jena Salon

When I think of Virginia Woolf, the picture that springs to mind is a woman in a large dress, wading slowly into a river, her pockets laden with stones so that she will be sure never to surface again. The image is always romantic and never fraught with the realities of drowning, gasping for breath, thrashing as your body struggles to reverse the process.

Of course, that does a kind of disservice: Woolf is one of my favorite writers and it seems unfair to think first of the way she killed herself and then of her work—but it also seems so fitting. Water represents cleansing and the cycle of life—ponds and oceans and rivers evaporated into the atmosphere, rained down once again—and the absence of breath. In her work she always ruminates on death and time passing. The first time I read To the Lighthouse I watched all of World War I—a tragic event marked with the loss of thousands of lives—pass in ten pages. And then my understanding of historical events and their effects on us changed irreversibly. Death is rarely about the one dying—especially in narratives. Death is so often just the beginning of the story and the rest of the story belongs to those left in death’s wake.

The pieces collected within this issue celebrate the minute details of life as it happens, and the way in which the large historical moments—like war and death and separation—are often not as potent as those little everyday instances. And they acknowledge that because Death is trapped within this “everyday,” when it is removed from the greater romantic notion and let linger in reality, it is—just like much of our lives—inconvenient. We become selfish in death’s midst. Someone dies and then, we are mourning, we are grieving, our hearts are breaking; and on top of that, there are all the logistical nightmares.

The stories and poems here are not just ruminations on the death and loss of people, but on ways of life, the ebb and flow of coexistence. Many of these pieces are tucked on the edge of seaside communities, where the tide pulls at the earth, eating away at it, changing it, and also returning it to a pristine blank slate over and over again. Nothing new, these pieces tell us, can come into existence without extinguishing something that has been. It’s both obvious and something we seem to forget every time we want something new.

There are birds and fish everywhere in these pages—and even as those images and symbols call to mind Jesus and baptism, there is for the most part a rejection of religion as “something to believe.” These symbols are undeniably carved into our Jungian subconscious; they creep in, haunt us, as we think about death. Which is maybe why that picture of tortured and brilliant Virginia Woolf loading her pockets with stones, is so comforting despite the horror.

As I was writing this note, my ninety-year-old grandmother was dying. She was admitted to hospice and the news didn’t strike me, particularly, as being sad—considering she’d lived a long life and we were expecting it. But when I called her for the first time after the diagnosis, and I asked, habitually, “How are you?” it struck me that she was sitting on the other end of the line, knowing she was going to die in no more than a couple of weeks. I have had my own death scare (cancer) and I know there is a kind of peace that comes with believing you are going to die, but I know too of the fighting spirit that hits you, sometime in the middle of the night after you’ve accepted the peace of the situation. I thought of that, and for the first time I felt sad for her, for the prescience that comes with seeing the tide rise.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ESSAY
Christine Schutt
Country: A Mix Tape

 

FICTION
Kate Brody
Help Wanted

Carlin Twedt
The Standpipes

Brazil
Ferreira Gullar
Minofagasta; Zinuk
Translated by Anne Freeland

Molly Jean Reid
Dog Story

Justin Kramon
What People Do in Their Apartments

John Kinsella
A Seaside Burial

Madeleine Walker
Windmills

Katherine Zlabek
Love Me, and the World Is Mine

H.E. Francis
The Way Back

 

POETRY
Clay Matthews
Friday Night Lights
Evening Aubade

Eric Paul
The Visit
Wider
Riot

Bethany Goch
In a Typical Gesture of the Period, She Cut Off Her Hair and Sent It to Him
At the Biker Bar
Response to Your Letter Regarding Lottie Williams, the Only Person Known to Have Been Hit by Space Debris

Romania
Ana Blandiana
The Hidden Light
Stairway
Seed of Darkness
Translated by Paul Scott Derrick and Viorica Patea

Amy Meng
Song
Self-Portrait with Questions

Diane Mehta
Brooklyn Sonnets I, IV, V

Korea
Kim Kyung Ju
Manhole
Translated by Jake Levine and Jung Hi-Yeon

Jesse Nathan
Ideas
Ice at Mile 
Marker 255

Adam Scheffler
My Body

France
Matthieu Baumier
#1; #2; #3
Translated by Elizabeth Brunazzi

Nikolai von Keller
Miraflores
Ghosts
Lydia Minier’s Heart Gives Out While Playing Hide-and-Go-Seek at a Dinner Party

Stephen Massimilla
Her Sacrifice

Matt Rasmussen
Canal
Blurb for a Book of Poems by Deoxygenated Water

Scott Withiam
Massive Efforts
Agendas

Daniel Wolff
Untitled
Untitled

Terrance Owens
The Night Shift