X. Welcome to the tenth issue of CAGIBI’s online literary journal.
There was Before and then, After.
Before March 2020, we were happily minding our business, which for us consists of reading submissions and doing what we always do, which is to look for and discover the very best fiction, essay, and poetry that will fill the next issue of Cagibi.
In that Before time, we knew Issue X was going live in April, and most pieces had been selected for publication. We had, for example, an essay about couch surfing: before, you see, a writer could make his way through Finland couch surfing. But couch surfing, a relatively new mode of travel, is now (already!) a reminder of how things were before. Does this mean this essay on couch surfing isn’t relevant anymore, now that half the planet is sheltering in place and no one will look at travel the same way again? Absolutely not. Art is essential because it is at its best when it reflects, documents, and re-imagines the moment in time it emerges from. Art is essential when it asks, what was it like? What was normal, in that time and place?
Not surprisingly then, when re-reading the stories that made us say yes in that Before time, we find that they are absolutely, and at times eerily, holding up to this After time we now all live in. One story is about travelers stuck in place and time in a train station somewhere in Germany. Another takes us on an endless subway ride that turns into a surrealist tale exploring the fear of needles. There is yet another story of a couple on a honeymoon in Los Angeles who buy a diorama-in-a-bottle in which the artist offers to create and preserve any memory they wish. The one they choose will haunt their relationship until death do them apart. There is a story of social isolation and distancing following a traumatic mugging, and the possibility of hope that only feline and canine companions can offer.
Dogs and cats make an appearance in almost each story we chose Before. Could it be because dogs and cats are essential to any story of human love?
In “Epidemic,” a story by Colombian writer Luis Enao Uribe (translated from the Spanish by Charlotte Gartenberg), what is most essential, love, is the virus itself. This is a story that came to us After. Also, the essay “A Painted Cliff: The Necessity of Play in Times of Chaos.”
In the After time we shall all be living in, we must remember what is essential. What is essential besides love, dogs, and cats? Service workers who happen to be low-wages earners are essential. Let’s not forget them. And also the value these writers offer here, which is in some form or other unpaid labor, is essential. The labor our editorial team put in each week, even in the midst of such social upheaval, is essential. Small literary journals are essential. Small nonprofit art organizations are essential. If ever in the future anyone ever tells you that art isn’t essential, that artists aren’t essential, just ask, what did you do during the pandemic of 2020? Did you read any books and magazines, listen to any music? How many streamed operas and concerts did you watch? How many countless hours of movies and television series?
Art, like cats, dogs, service workers, and love, is essential. Let’s remember it.
- Did You Also Get Lost? - by Giulia Moriconi
- In Translation: Epidemic // Epidemia - by Luis Henao Uribe, trans. Charlotte Gartenberg
- Trypanophobia - by Paul Van Sickle
- Fish in Hiding - by Ryne Walker
- The Goodbye Dog - by Sam Gridley
- City of Angels - by Wynne Hungerford
- Sex Here, Sex There, Sex Everywhere - by Carroll Sandel
- A Painted Cliff: The Necessity of Play in Times of Chaos - by Colm O'Shea
- Sleeping With Strangers - by Robert Klose
- The Body of Work: Darcey Steinke - by Carissa Chesanek, an interview with Darcey Steinke on her book Flash Count Diary: Menopause and the Vindication of Natural Life
- Going Rogue: Deb Olin Unferth - by LaVonne Elaine Roberts, an interview with Deb Olin Unferth on her book Barn 8
- On Writing, God, and Friendship: Antonia Pozzi’s letters to Tullio Gadenz and Dino Formaggio - by Antonia Pozzi, trans. Amy Newman
- What Makes a Poem Hot - by Ellery Akers
- Three Poems About Eve - by Carolyn Oliver
- TV Crush: Agnes Moorehead - by Christie Towers
- The Concept of Motion on Lake Okeechobee - by Dargan Ware
- Postpartum - by Elsa Bell
- La Casa de los Azulejos - by George Franklin
- Exurbia - by Greg Friedmann
- Greeting a Neighbor in the First Hour of Light - by Jennifer Brown
- Take the 4 Train (Solitary Freestyle) - by Jordan E. Franklin
- Two Sizes Too Small - by Meg Yardley
“City Behind Glass” —Photograph by Christopher X. Shade
ISSN 2643-3273. Copyright © Cagibi Literary LLC.
Features from Cagibi Express
- I’ll plaice a fish in your lap (Thursday, July 9, 2020) - by kerry rawlinson
- Shelter (Tuesday, June 23, 2020) - by Diana Sperrazza
- What We Did Before: Postcard from the Cliffs of Moher (Tuesday, June 16, 2020) - by Kendall Poe
CAGIBI publishes four digital issues a year. Submissions are open, and editors are reading.