spontaneous memory

I am not the one

to tell you how long

I’ve had to let

the water simmer

even though I put

the pot

on the stove

I am not the one

to know

how to define

the meaningless

now that what isn’t can’t

be symbolized

and yet we try

 

these words are only

morsels of what could be

if only we could properly

listen to our minds

it’s like the wind

and it isn’t

this book is a vessel

like ourselves

the temperature

is a sign like language

on her shoes lie

rain drops and

my eyes are anchors

no longer tethered

and so they wait

at the bottom

of her heart

but only for a moment

as I see the sky

I can’t see the sky

and so we sit

with iron / sideways blushing

 

we’ve gotten too good

at saying what we

never mean and

the letters look tangled

yes there are so many

trees around us

that no longer exist

and did you know

we twitch while

shifting thru time

so that our ancestors

wouldn’t break their

sturdy bones?

 

how fragile we are now

and yet we destroy

everything we touch

so says the dirt under our feet

so say sorry to the dirt underneath

your nails

why do we love

the color blue anyway?

 

i am not the one

to tell you

that amorphous furniture

for the blind

are pipes crafted for human

consumption

i learned to blaspheme

 

at an early age

I learned to blaspheme

of course my God

was money

thru pokemon cards

and plastic cartridges

containing computer chips

crafted by japanese otaku

teaching 6 year old me

my native language

 

to learn english

from my grandfather’s enemies

enemies a half century before

me being born

 

my ancestors fought

what they thought

were monsters

 

to them there was nothing

to justify

a surprise raid

upon a military base

on a colonial occupation

of a pacific island

yet we were just another

empire

 

religion and ideology

looked down upon now

although they survive

in different forms

 

in my prime

I took no part

in battles

I only sat in tents

and occupied

public land

and didn’t strike back

when crushed

by the man

 

I followed a now

forgotten black flag

 

then dropped it

thinking others will pick up the fight

 

the Japanese girl

across from me

on the train crossing

over the river I cross

every day the river

named after an english murderer

of native americans

 

the Japanese girl

across from me

on the rocking train

crossing over a dead murderer

wears a camo jacket

w/ a stars and stripes

patch on her drab sleeve

 

all in the name

of another idol

 

globalization

 

I learned to blaspheme

thru seeping structures

deconstructed

Letter From the Editor #8

Dear readers, thank you for opening up our 8th issue of Whirlwind, which focuses on Mother Earth. This one is personal for me, as my own mother has recently been diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. A combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors are what cause this particularly dangerous form of cancer, but it’s worth noting that Ovarian Cancer is far more prevalent in industrialized countries, implicating that the chemicals (solvents, dyes, herbicides, and talc) that can cause Ovarian Cancer, are indeed significant culprits. This metaphor, of our mothers becoming poisoned by pollution, their genes being mutated in the very organs that gave life to us, is all too profound when applied to Mother Earth. We’re destroying the planet that gave birth to us, human beings, and we’re threatening the massive suicidal extinction of our own species, not to mention the already apparent extinction of too many other animal species.

In this issue, like all of our past issues, we present to you literature and art that bears witness. However, this issue is more pertinent to social justice than any other topic. We can talk about our identities all we want. We can theorize about intertextuality all we want. We can apply irony to art and literature all we want. But if we don’t confront this existential threat, the threat of fossil fuels, the threat of carbon emissions, the threat of multi-national corporations destroying our planet, mowing down rain forests, killing coral reefs, slaughtering endangered animals, ripping a hole into this planet’s atmosphere, our children and our children’s children will all die. Storms and other weather patterns will become more severe. The seas will rise and flood our cities. The summers will become unbearably hot. And some scientists say it’s too late.

Catastrophists say that if we would have done something in the 1960’s, then we could have saved ourselves. They say that individuals can do nothing to stop the irreversible, oncoming tidal wave. But there is still hope. In the contemporary literary and art world, hope is a dirty word. There are too many cynics who want you to give up hope. To go on with your ordinary lives and keep consuming the mass-produced gadgets. To live in the present, and to cast aside true compassion as sentimentality. But we must not give up hope for our planet and for all peoples. And yet with hope comes responsibility and sacrifice. Each of us needs to do our part to put an end to man-made climate change. What other option do we have? Succumb to nihilism?

Our mothers teach us the most important lessons in life. To be caring, to be disciplined, to work hard and be unselfish. Through their womanhood, their willpower and resolve, we must find inspiration to save our collective mother, the planet we all inhabit. We need to speak up against the cranky old men who have a strangle hold on our politicians, the fossil fuel lobbyists, the climate change deniers, the 1% who only care about profits, and speak of “the market” as if it’s some living entity that needs to be endlessly served. It’s as Pope Francis has said, “…worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly human goal.” This golden calf is what’s destroying our Mother Earth. We must cast down this idol and work together to build a sustainable world for our descendants to live in harmony with nature.

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Cover Art by G Scott, Design by Melissa Rothman

at occupy

at occupy
we built
schools, libraries,
kitchens, hospitals,
we held each other
we talked
we sang
we screamed
we drank
we smoked
we danced
we fucked
we fought
we were alive
then they tore it down
and we went back to the smokescreen
they call life preoccupied