suspension snapped

a bridge painted the same color

as the sky fears its own lack

of identity, staring down into the dark

water beneath its belly

its steel spine itchy from all the vehicles

that traverse its body

the metal pests rub rubber

against its skin

the bridge loathes its condition

and yet its purpose is clear

and it accepts its position with patience

until an earthquake or whirlwind

snaps its suspension and frees it

haunt memory

an infant’s eyes

and what’s behind

how about when love’s denied

for the first time

the longing for milk

that look of anger

will it haunt memory

at what age will judgement

seize the child

the separation

the absence

the labeled cardboard boxes

filling the otherwise empty room

 

this is the change

that does not come about

 

this is the thought

of forgiveness lost

 

to the void

 

and yet love remains

even if it’s battered and abstract

Letter from the Editor #9

Dear readers, welcome to the 9th issue of Whirlwind Magazine, which is our two year anniversary edition. It’s been a pleasure sharing so many voices with our audience. In the past two years we have published 167 individual writers in print, many of them having never been published before, and many having been published in the most well known literary publications out there. We’ve published local Philadelphia area writers and artists, and dozens of international voices from all of the world, hailing from countries on every inhabited continent, from Africa, Asia, Oceania, Europe, North America, and South America. (We’re still waiting on a submission from Antarctica.)

We’ve published in both English and Spanish. We’ve published artwork in a myriad of mediums. We’ve published with an astounding rate of diversity in each issue, without going out of the way to do so. The 9th issue features 13 women writers and 4 men writers of various cultural backgrounds. This issue focuses on the theme of paralysis. James Joyce incorporated the idea of paralysis throughout his famous short story collection Dubliners, in which it has a clear effect on modern people on both a personal and societal level in 20th century life. That idea still applies to life in the 21st century.

We believe that the idea of globalized paralysis sums up the themes we’ve had for Whirlwind Magazine in the past, whether the focus was on our current catastrophic environmental dilemma (issue #8), or continued neo-colonial mistreatment by governments of indigenous peoples (issue #7), or systemic poverty (issue #5), or the debilitating status of veterans suffering from PTSD (issue #4). In the age of neo-liberal world-wide imperialist rule by the few over the many, paralysis is masked by smoke and mirrors progress. The poems and stories in issue #9 reflect upon paralysis in the context of our previous themes, and come together to form a cohesive conclusion to the past two years of our quarterly publication. Our motive is to look beyond the paralytic veneers that are placed before our collective eyes.

Our aim has been and will be to bear witness. In our very first issue, released in July of 2014, I ended my first letter stating that, “[w]e can only hope that this magazine contributes, in any way, to help us keep our ‘…eyes wide open / like luminous winter stars / sentenced to electric chair deaths…’ which is an excerpt from “Nightwatchmen,” a poem featured in our first issue by our founder, Lamont Steptoe. We are proud to present the contributors you’ll find in the following pages, who, you’ll discover have eyes wide open as well. Thanks so much for reading and supporting Whirlwind Magazine. Enjoy!

CoverIssue9

issue #9 art by Priscilla Boatwright design by Melissa Rothman

 

feeling built into

any human being native to a city

transported to the same space

fifty years before

would be lost

 

an alien world where if they’d stay

they’d never be themselves

 

could it be that structures

influence thoughts

that brick  and mortar

project emotions independent

of any presence

 

that feeling is built

into creation

An Average Urban Journey