“At these times I needed to touch him, to break through the plane of his isolation and mine. And so I’d perform the day’s first exercises. I called it taking him to the gym. I’d begin the part-by-part movement of his joints, each finger, the wrist and elbow, the shoulder, gently rotating, extending as far as the IV lines and equipment attached to his neck, arms, and legs would permit. Always glancing at the monitor to make sure the oxygen saturation, blood pressure, and heart rate didn’t move in the wrong directions. This was how I could tell him in a physical way that I loved him.”—Morgan: A Lyric by Boyer Rickel - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics
“Helpful animal, let me borrow you
for waking into a late Tuesday morning.
The popular literature says I got
the right amount of sleep,
but does not say how to return
safely from sleep’s charcoal rot visions.
Enter the morning maladjusted
and be greeted accordingly. Seriously,
can you be hired away from your
ushering the dead to their judgment?
You are a whippoorwill to me,
because I get to choose not
how the waking world takes me in,
but what kind of animal the animal
that doesn’t appear to help me is.”—Psychopomp by Paul Beilstein - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics
“When they see the police checkpoint, their spirits drop to the floor. They know the police have seen them. They know they can’t avoid the checkpoint. They know they can’t turn around, or the police will chase them. This is the border-policing apparatus advancing into the interior of the country, the “elastic border” that make places like Ridgeland, South Carolina, seem like the U.S.-Mexico divide. Criminologist Nancy A. Wonders says that in this new world, “border performances occur in locations that may be far from the actual geographic border” and the day-to-day decisions by government agents, police officers, airport workers, employers, and others “play a critical role in determining where, how, and on whose body a border” will be imposed. María has been living in South Carolina for eighteen years. But looking at the police yelling at them to stop the vehicle, she knows that she has had one too many clashes with this border police state. She has two sons, one daughter, and several grandchildren living here. While through these years there have been many ups and downs, she has never felt so relentlessly targeted by police, so immobilized. What happens next at the checkpoint is a crucial decision. María decides to return to Naco, Sonora, Mexico.”—South Carolina: The Border Control State by Todd Miller - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics
“Women’s sexuality surrounds us, but right beneath that there’s this other standard for women’s desire that’s still informed by uneasiness. It’s linked, ultimately, to the comfort that we all get—men and society as a whole—from this idea that women are somehow less desiring than men. We can still lean on women a little bit to keep society stable. The dichotomy that’s set up is that men are animals and anarchic in their lust and women are civilized and civilizing in their sexuality.”—The Science of Sex, Katherine Rowland interviews Daniel Bergner - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics
“We talk about county fairs, food drives, bake sales, soccer games, potlucks, and picnics. We talk about divorce, unemployment, abortion, bankruptcy, date rape, lay-offs, sexual harassment, lawsuits, incest. We talk about ourselves, our neighbors, our coworkers, our friends, our families, our dead relatives, our crushes, our affairs, our flings, our exes. We fight, we laugh, we argue, we cry, we hug, we slap, we nudge, we kiss, we scream, and we whisper. We remember we are just a bunch of humans put into a room, any room, any bunch of humans. We have everything; we have ourselves.”—The Deer-Vehicle Collision Survivors Support Group by Porochista Khakpour, guest-edited by Claire Messud - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics
“COME TO OUR HOLIDAY LITERARY SPECTACULAR
The Bell House
The online literary and cultural sites Guernica and the Rumpus team up with BuzzFeed Books for seasonal festivities featuring live music by Alina Simone (the author of “Notes to Self” and “You Must Go to Win”), readings by Geoff Dyer and Saeed Jones, comedy by Janine Brito, and d.j. sets by Lincoln Michel and James Yeh (of Gigantic magazine) and Ryan Chapman (of the Atavist). (The Bell House, 149 7th St., Brooklyn. thebellhouseny.com. Dec. 9 at 7.) GET TICKETS”—Current New York Events and Readings : The New Yorker
“There is something insidiously ironic about being American Indian that hits you each fall. It all starts with Columbus Day to mark our “discovery,” then moves right into the “it’s totally not racist to dress up as a hypersexualized Indian” for Halloween parties, and goes out with a bang on Thanksgiving when we celebrate the survival of the Pilgrims and that harmonious, mutually beneficial relationship forged between colonizers and Indigenous peoples everywhere! However romanticized or factually inaccurate, these holidays happen to be the three days when Native peoples actually enter the mass psyche of American culture. I don’t know about you, but I usually spend the autumn months parading around in my Navajo Hipster panties, feather headdress (on loan from model Karlie Kloss and singer Gwen Stefani), Manifest Destiny T-Shirt and knee-high fringed moccasins made in Taiwan while watching a Redskins game, smoking a pack of American Spirits, and eating genetically modified Butter Ball turkey, because I’m just that traditional.”—Sasha Houston Brown: Nothing Says Native American Like White Stars in Headdresses - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics
“The senior police officers guided us along the course that Benazir had taken to enter the parking lot and the back of the platform from where she had addressed the crowd. We went up the wooden steps, and I walked around where the dais would have been located that day. From there I commanded a good view of the entire park and the adjacent buildings. I saw sharpshooters on nearby rooftops who had been posted for our security. A Thai UN policeman in charge of my close protection promptly asked me to leave the platform. “This is not safe. You are too exposed,” he said.”—On the Road to Islamabad by Heraldo Muñoz - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics
What’s going on with my life? I’m writing stories, I wanted to tell you.
But I didn’t.
Perhaps I’ll leave this letter on your table with a stone over it. But then, with the shutters shut and everything closed there will be no breeze, no risk that it will be caught and swept under a piece of furniture—so perhaps there’s no need for stone. Perhaps this story will exist in some invisible web that neither of us can actually see, but feel.
“Upon our arrival in Islamabad in the early hours of Thursday, July 16, the Pakistani government prepared a hospitable reception at our safe house and deployed for us a heavy antiterrorist security detail. Several UN policemen accompanied the commissioners for “close protection.” During our first few hours in Islamabad, I was shocked to learn that our affable non-English-speaking cook at the Sindh House knew in detail our agenda in the Pakistani capital. I complained to our chief of staff and to an aide to the minister of the interior who acted as our contact person in the Pakistani government. No convincing explanation was ever given, except that the cook had to be aware about when we would be around to prepare the daily meals.”—On the Road to Islamabad by Heraldo Muñoz - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics
“The dragon nods its small green head and whines like a scared dog. There’s no room for it in the living room, so I sigh and let it come back to my bedroom and sleep at the foot of my bed. The dragon curls into a tight green ball of scales and sighs contentedly. It takes a good bit of effort for the dragon to breathe fire—it’s not like every stray sneeze or snort catches things on flame—so I’m not too worried. It’s just another thing I’ll have to hide from my landlord.”—Berchta by Teresa Milbrodt - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics
Our new issue is here! Interviews with Bill Ayers and Lore Segal, fiction by Teresa Milbrodt and Mario Alberto Zambrano, poetry by Jaswinder Bolina and Sara J. Grossman, and dispatches from Syria, Israel and Palestine.