Something in the Way

By Nicholas Olson

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It started with you knocking on the door. Steam filling up the mirror, the air. Stale. Collecting the suds under my armpits and letting the hot water sear my skin. Telling you I’m in here. Taking a shower. I hadn’t locked the door, hadn’t thought to, rubbing shampoo in and whistling Something in the Way. You opened the door, slipped your hand in. Flipped the light off and on, off and on. Epileptic flashes as I reached for the bar of soap, told you to cut it out. You left the light off. I heard the door shut behind you, and the way the faint light filtered in, through the shower curtain, soap in my eyes so I couldn’t see it all the way.…

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Mike Stoller Hears Paul Robeson Sing at Zionist Summer Camp, July 1941

By Benjamin Goluboff

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The camp’s directors were thrilled,
of course, that Mr. Robeson
would perform for the children.
They had reservations only about
the program the great baritone intended.

To mix Hebrew folk songs
with Negro spirituals was one thing;
to sing to the young people
in Yiddish was quite another.
Yiddish was the language of exile,
of the ghetto, galut—
not what this generation
of young Jews should be hearing.

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Cover to Cover with . . . Justin Grimbol

By Jordan Blum & Justin Grimbol

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Justin Grimbol

Justin Grimbol’s parents were Presbyterian Ministers. They raised him on the east end of Long Island in a town called Sag Harbor. He attended Green Mountain College in Vermont where he wrote for the school paper. After dropping out, he moved into his girlfriend Heather’s dorm room where he wrote his first book, Drinking Until Morning. He and Heather eventually moved around the country together. They lived in Astoria (Oregon), Portland (Maine), Racine (Wisconsin), Oneonta (New York), and are now back in Vermont, where they met. He has published some books. His most recent is Mud Season, which was published by ATLATL Press.

In this episode, Editor-in-Chief Jordan Blum shoots the breeze with Grimbol regarding Mud Season, writing in general, nature, horror, punk and metal music, and much more. Check it out!

 

Justin Grimbol

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Vespers for the Old World Sparrow

By  Jim Zola

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In the high court of sparrows
I plead my wants, turn on
every light switch, gather twigs
build a nest of sorrow

in the high nest of wants
I build sparrows, gather light,
court twigs of sorrow
plead every switch to turn

in the twigged light of nests
I court the plea of sparrows,
build high my wants, my sorrow,
turn, gather the switch

to strike the sparrow, to empty
the high nest, to gather fallen twigs,
to touch the still feather,
to plead my guilt in the court of sorrow

– Jim Zola

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Deacon Auntrell Smith

By Margie Shaheed

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“Be wat chu is
cuz if ya be wat chu ain’t
then ya ain’t wat chu is”

He sings the gospel
in a low down dirty bass
as he glides in the bar
on a yellow paper airplane

He places his bible
on the table
and orders a drink
of vodka and juice

He’s a retiree
with a pension trickling in
from Ford Motor Company
but he never has money
because it’s swallowed up
by his young wife
who has alligator teeth
and a large appetite
for crack cocaine

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