What is real?
Our cover for this winter issue is one of Nancy Hightower’s photographs from a series entitled Urban Reflections. With this ongoing series, Hightower (a past contributor) invites you to wander through the streets of New York City and catch many of its familiar cityscapes and landmarks through the mirrored images she captures in puddles of rain or melted snow. Angles are slightly deformed, edges are rippled, perspectives warped; a dead leaf, insignificant as it floats in a puddle New Yorkers are busy striding over, is alive again, magnified in all its beauty against the glass buildings and chunks of skies that frame our urban strolls.
As we wandered through the series, we were reminded of la passante (or its more updated translation, la flaneuse), the urban stroller Marcel Proust imagined as the female counterpart to Baudelaire’s flaneur, the passionate spectator who wandered through the streets of nineteenth century Paris, acutely observing while keeping his own presence elusive.
“The photographer,” Susan Sontag writes in her seminal book On Photography, “is an armed version of the solitary walker reconnoitering, stalking, cruising the urban inferno, the voyeuristic stroller who discovers the city as a landscape of voluptuous extremes. Adept of the joys of watching, connoisseur of empathy, the flaneur finds the world ‘picturesque.’”
One might argue that in the age of phone cameras, so ubiquitous they’ve become extensions of our bodies, with hundreds or even thousands of images shared to us every minute of our days, and the seemingly endless scrolling through the vacuous desert of our social media, we have all become a darker and more melancholy flaneur. How refreshing this is, then, to be reminded of the possibilities of strolling, of slowing down enough to notice the mirrored images under our footsteps.
If we stay present as the world comes to us, nothing is what it seems, and this is what delights.
We hope you enjoy your promenade through this issue in that same spirit.
- Cataract Canyon - by Adele Oliveira
- The Sun Will Love Us - by Ankur Razdan
- To Eat Only Pulp - by Garth Miró
- The First Hard Fight - by Gordon Haber
- Ferry - by Hadley Franklin
- Tall Grass - by Tom O'Keefe
- Short-Term Business - by Brent Livingood
- Celebration - by David Franke
- In the Meadow - by Summer Hammond
- Landscrape - by Aimee Wright Clow
- Memory Care - by Emmy Newman
- A Few Admissions and Disclosures - by James Kelly Quigley
- the harvester - by Lauren Swift
- You’re the Animal - by Mara Jebsen
- Two Poems by Mistee St. Clair - Addiction // The Summer I Read Anne Sexton and Audre Lorde
- Late Mercies - by Scott Dalgarno
“Mirror Image” by Nancy Hightower.
ISSN 2643-3273. Copyright © Cagibi Literary LLC.
Cover image licensed under Picfair E&PL.
CAGIBI publishes four digital issues a year. Submissions are open, and editors are reading.