Harp & Altar
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Tom Andes’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in News from the Republic of Letters, Santa Clara Review, Housefire, Spork, Mantis, Bateau, 3:AM Magazine, elimae, Pif, Everyday Genius, and The Rumpus, among other publications. A hand-sewn chapbook, Life Before the Storm and Other Stories, appeared in a limited run from Cannibal Books in 2010. His story “The Hit,” which first appeared in Xavier Review, was recently anthologized in Best American Mystery Stories 2012.  He lives in New Orleans.

Jessica Baran is the author of the ekphrastic poetry collection Remains to Be Used (Apostrophe Books, 2010); the chapbook Late and Soon, Getting and Spending (All Along Press, 2011); and the forthcoming poetry collection Equivalents (Lost Roads Press, 2013), which won the inaugural Besmilr Brigham Women Writers Award. Her art writing has appeared in Art in America, BOMB, Art Papers, the Riverfront Times and the Village Voice. She lives in St. Louis.  

Leopoldine Core was born and raised in Manhattan. Her poems and fiction have appeared in Open City, The Literarian, Drunken Boat, The Brooklyn Rail, Agriculture Reader, Death Hums, No, Dear, and others. She is a 2012 fellow at The Center for Fiction and the Fine Arts Work Center.

Ian Dreiblatt is a poet, musician, legal commentator, and translator. He lives in Brooklyn with Anna and is the New York Manager for Dalkey Archive Press. “Mandelstam Variations” is an ongoing project that will, someday soon, exist as a manuscript.  

Matthew Klane is co-editor and founder of Flim Forum Press. He is the author of Che (Stockport Flats, 2013), B____ Meditations (Stockport Flats, 2008), and My (Fence eBooks, forthcoming 2014). Currently, he lives and writes in Albany, NY, where he co-curates the Yes! Poetry and Performance Series and teaches at The Sage Colleges. See: www.matthewklane.blogspot.com.

Jesse Lichtenstein’s poems have appeared in
Denver Quarterly, Paris Review, Gulf Coast, Boston Review, Octopus, and Harp & Altar. His essays and journalism have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, The New Yorker, Tin House, Wired, and Slate. He co-directs the Loggernaut Reading Series.  

Eugene Lim’s novel The Strangers is forthcoming from Black Square Editions. His first novel Fog & Car was published in 2008 by Ellipsis Press. He is editor at large for Harp & Altar.  

Michael Newton’s gallery reviews have appeared regularly in Harp & Altar. He also conducts tours of New York’s contemporary art galleries; find him online at www.loculis.com.

Linnea Ogden has published work in journals like Conduit and Ploughshares, and her chapbook Long Weekend, Short Leash can be obtained from Tap Root Editions. She makes bread, watches birds, and teaches high school English in San Francisco.  

Jennifer Pilch is the author of Profil Perdu (Greying Ghost Press, 2011), Bulb-Setting (dancing girl press, 2012), and Mother Color (Konundrum Engine Editions, 2012). Her poems have appeared in such journals as American Letters & Commentary, Denver Quarterly, Drunken Boat, Fence, Horse Less Review, The Iowa Review, and New American Writing. She is editor of the upcoming journal La Vague.

Michael Rerick is the author of In Ways Impossible to Fold (Marsh Hawk Press), X-Ray (Flying Guillotine Press), and morefrom (alice blue books, Shotgun Wedding series). Poems appear or are forthcoming in and/or, Coconut, Moria, and Spiral Orb. He teaches and lives in Tucson.

Jason Snyder is the founding editor of Sidebrow. His fiction has appeared in American Letters & Commentary, Five Fingers Review, Fourteen Hills, and The New York Tyrant. Family Album is a novel manuscript about personality disorder and adoption.

Adam Stolorow is an environmental attorney and a former member of the band Miracles, whose records featured his collage work. He is a graduate of NYU Law and Brown University, where he co-founded the poetry and art project Cartilage. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter and poodle.

Bianca Stone is the author of several poetry chapbooks, as well as an ongoing poetry-comic series from Factory Hollow Press. She is the illustrator of Antigonick, a collaboration with Anne Carson (New Directions, 2012), and her poems have appeared in journals such as Tin House, APR, and Crazyhorse. Her first full-length collection of poetry Someone Else’s Wedding Vows is forthcoming from Tin House/Octopus Books. She lives in Brooklyn.  

Donna Stonecipher is the author of three books of poems, most recently The Cosmopolitan, which won the National Poetry Series and was published by Coffee House in 2008. She lives in Berlin.

Sally Van Doren is the author of two poetry collections, Possessive (LSU Press, 2012) and Sex at Noon Taxes (LSU Press, 2008), which received the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. She is a curator for the St. Louis Poetry Center and lives in St. Louis and New York. Her website is www.sallyvandoren.com.

Tom Whalen’s latest novel is The President in Her Towers (Ellipsis Press). He teaches film and literature in Germany.  
Jessica Baran

1. Here are a few things you might not notice: a thin wire bent and pressed to the wall, resembling a pencil mark. A wine stain. A house key. You were sick, and a fever raged and broke twice in the night. In the morning: coffee again, mixed with cream and sugar. No more hotels, no more sensate planets. The still-life, instead, depicted lunch. And you held your chin in your hand like that, glancing out the window, pretending not to hear when your name was called.


2. The picture just wants to be kissed; it’s not interested in your feelings. See it bulging from the TV set—balloon-like, glossy lipped. The kind of adult who, after work, mixes a cocktail, retires to the darkroom. He takes artful pictures of what he sees in his life, what he’d like to kiss, maybe. A large black cat, the new gift shop employee. Remember the picture in the museum, the one considered by the protagonist of the last novel you read. It was hanging in the Prado in Madrid. You’ve been to Madrid but you don’t remember visiting the Prado. You did, though, visit your museum in town. There, an exhibit of pictures making real life look like a series of theater sets. You’d taken a picture that looked like one of the pictures in the show, but less massive, less dramatic. It was a picture of your real life, which has nothing to do with museums. Where you’re from looks like a place to be driven through irritably; this is how you see it. Light on gravel, light on a window sill. Light lends an abstract quality, and abstraction feels pacific. Downstairs, in the living room, you hear the channels change, and the wind roars like a zoo panther.


3. A woman died in a bed next to yours. Starved herself in the night. The next morning, slowly trudging limp circles around a gymnasium, we tried our best not to over-exert ourselves. You watched as they penciled in a regimen. Not for her but for you. Comedy hour – a pile of noontime sitcoms on VHS. Everyone gets together to watch. Approved normalcy, like the smell of medicinal swabs, wiped-down stainless steel. Pet the therapy dog, hand-make moccasins. There are right and wrong kinds of abrasion. You take a moment to consider where to place yourself.


4. Important life event; emotional rupture. Documenting vs. fabricating our stories. You heard it on the radio: “The perfect directive for our times: self-curate or vanish.” Fabrication can come in the form of organization and selection: pile all of your stuff together in a massive heap and then sort it into more stylish parts. Red bricks with red helmets; yellow cups with yellow kerchiefs. Shit with merde. As you read this, someone is curating their bedside table. Someone is curating their lunch. Someone had something terrible happen to them, once, or twice, in childhood. It provokes little scrutiny until it’s placed in the right pile and looks good next to blue. Blue book with blue drawer with big blue watery bottle, like a planet rendered plastic and inflatable and floating lightly across your floor. It and something terrible goes with the twelve other globes.


5. You once worked at a celebrity hotel. Red couches, white linens, native flourishes. Loft-style Japanese minimalism in decor. Remember those times as good: mojitos and sashimi, Paris Hilton stooping to tie her stiletto, Harrison Ford worrying over the rescue of every wife. One day. Crossing police barricades to enter; your manager wearing a cloth mask. How can I help you? The British director offered a limo ride. The Canadian  watched from the reception alcove. 10 p.m., 21 years old. The sound of ice clinking on crystal is a kind of alarm clock other people listen for.


6. Coming-of-age is a film staring Germany. The blond actor zips up his letterman jacket, aligns his collar with his chin. Walking slowly on the highway outlining the valley's ridge, construction crews can be heard devouring the hillside. He thinks; he says very little. Industry encroaches on nature – a great Modernist trope. You don't disagree. This is the 70s. He arches his eyebrows, and you always say too much. This makes you resemble a great character less. Growing-up happened over three decades ago, sometime before you were born.


7. Your autobiography is less interesting than when you read or hear about similar life-events taking place in other peoples’ lives. You see it in a coloring book. You see it in a flea market photo album. You see it on the movie screen and it strikes you as authentic. That never happened to you. The color of the sky was raw. You wandered beneath it, on the shell-strewn beach, at the ridge of a high bluff, looking for no one in the unrelenting Mediterranean sun of the Antonioni film. It makes for a palpable memory – that empty sunburn, that cinematic light.


8. Decades collapse. The wall of VHS cassette tapes does something similar: it leans into hope.  Somewhere, a piece of A/V equipment is buried, one that plays all the old media and can still attach to your TV. Does this really matter? City buses choke past your window; a group of kids pantomime hard-core club dancing in a mirror-glass storefront window. Sirens, sounding like big toys, twirl in the distance.


9. Q-tips and dental floss, your files of old Post-It notes, trivial likes and even less consequential dislikes. You track the disposal habits of squirrels; charts analyze the rate of exchange of vinyl for digital. Someone's terribly ill: you discovered it in the dataset. Consumption levels are off, but there's faith in that desire for quantification: you are what you consolidate. You read yourself in a list.


10. Change is good. The new electrons are looming. A launch is planned this weekend. Legal services are a burden, but it's a burden to be shared by taxpayers. Do you know anything about the loan system? Stop and frisk. Realism is for realists. Fundamentalism comes in many colors. Influence is an industry you're fortunately not qualified for. You're encouraged by the headlines. There is a cure for this, this hurt. The private sector now has space to retire to. Like a small crying animal, these slacks should be taken in.