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Home Remedies for Non Life-Threatening Ailments

Boredom (Born from general confusion stemming from lack of clear direction/complete misunderstanding of life’s purpose.) Stay indoors, in a room with bad lighting but many makeshift ashtrays. Arrange and rearrange your comforter into various malleable structures. Stand back and give names to the newly birthed forms. Now it is a manatee. Now it is Abraham Lincoln’s headless body. Now it is a giant nose. Applaud yourself for your mastery, for now you can be fairly certain of the potential you possess as a visual artist.


The war is ongoing. It is unclear what set if off. Very few people want to admit this. They talk as if they know. At dinner I suggest to them, to my people, the people I love and know, that certain things, especially those that are hugely consequential, cannot be grasped in the present; any attempt to do so, I say, will inevitably result in reductive justifications, linear arguments of the cause-and-effect kind.

The Other Couple

Imogen opened a new browser window. The cat jumped onto her lap and settled into a warm loop. She had less than four minutes until Steve finished his exercises (if you could call them that) and came in from the yard. With swift keystrokes, she brought up the first profile, then the second, toggling between tabs to absorb the afternoon’s updates. She clicked through three new photographs, feeling her nervous system lift and settle as each image slid into place. The last picture showed the other couple’s baby, scrunching its red face.


Arriving as the park opens is too late and they’re stuck at the back of the line, directly beneath the sun. A man appears pushing a cooler decorated with pictures of frozen treats. Dawn orders two but can’t find her wallet. Jun has to pay again. The Popsicle vendor likes Dawn.

from Fall

I never thought my friends would go fight in the Gulf War. It seemed simple: we would move to Canada if necessary. The TV screen was mostly dark, there were reporters in red Patagonia jackets under the channel’s graphic, there were streaming lights across the sky and an occasional glow from the ground. “We are live from Baghdad” but our TV screen looked like a video game for which we had no controls.

Two Stories from Portraits and Conversations

You seem different, she might say, or is that what she wished she would say. Do people ever change and if so, how? Go off and join the circus, disappear for a couple of years. Everyone would probably forget about you by then which is why no one does that. Or would it be better to say “you are exactly the same.” Ten years is a long time, long enough for something to have changed.

from Miransù

I see them from the window, seated on their heels in the field in order to make straight rows of the fruit plantings. Michele found the posts and with the hoe widens the holes that two weeks ago they had prepared with an apparatus attached to the tractor. Then it started to rain, and the cherries that I had bought were laid down by the edge under a pile of soil and sand. In the meantime they talked about politics, graying thin hair falling over their brows while a magenta glow swarms in the tangle of woods, among the bundles of pruning.

Joe McVie & the End of the Mayan Calendar

“Joe’s coming to town.” “Junky Joe or Joey Pony?” “Junky Joe.” “Ooh… here we go.” Chris and I smile big, like it’s some inside joke, like we’re suddenly sitting in a cellar waiting for the tornado to hit but kind of happy that it’s going to hit regardless.

Tragic Strip

T. Motley is a core contributor to Cartozia Tales, a fantasy mapjam comic for all ages


The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2015

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