Harp & Altar
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.  
The Darkness
Leopoldine Core

She is so awake. She drank coffee in the middle of the day and now it’s 3:46am and she's staring into darkness. Her mind is swirling with things people said, clothes they were wearing, scenes from tv shows. Her dogs are sleeping on either side of her. There’s a little streetlight coming through the window, enough to see that they are awake too. She stares and they stare back. She realizes that they never sleep throughout the night. They just wait in the dark, she thinks and turns toward their shining eyes. This is a special thing about dogs, she thinks. A cat waits for no one. She almost cries suddenly, thinking of them awake all night, full of desire. Waiting to eat. Waiting to go outside. She thinks that she is like a dog this way, waiting in the dark for her pleasure. Not only now in bed but her whole life. Waiting to be liked. Waiting to be an adult. Or to at least have money, she thinks. Enough to pay all her bills without borrowing from her parents, who are also broke.

The shadows in the room are still when she fixates on them. But when she looks away they move subtly in the corner of her eye. They’re breathing, she thinks and closes her eyes, then opens them an instant later. The pulsing darkness beats down on her, stirring like a forest. She has pictured killers and rapists emerging from the grainy blackness. But tonight the darkness is it’s own animal. It alone is scary.

That isn’t true though. Because she’s also afraid of all the money she owes her landlord. She counts the job interviews she went on this month. One. And she didn’t even want the job. “That’s part of the problem,” she imagines her mother would say. It’s true that April is the cruelest month, she thinks. It’s the most beautiful time of year and all your hope is being pushed into a mud puddle.

She thinks of the last woman she slept with, a woman who didn’t love her or even really like her. She feels sure of this. But after some strained reasoning, she decides that the woman did in fact love her. The woman was a bunch of women. She had about seventeen selves. And one of them loved me, she thinks, putting her hand on a dog’s head. The love I get will always be this way, quick and ecstatic. The love of maniacs and liars, she thinks.

One of her dogs sighs and she wonders if it means the same thing it means when a human sighs, that they’re bored. She decides yes.

She still misses the woman with seventeen selves but she sort of enjoys all the longing. She thinks that if all the woman’s seventeen selves had loved her, it would have been frightening, like being eaten by wolves. But there’s a chance that she would like that. She doesn’t let herself consider this for very long.

She remembers the woman smoking in bed naked, her long dark hair over her breasts. She didn’t conjure the picture, it just sprang up like a frog. It was morning and sunlight fluttered on the woman’s broad face. Then she threw her cigarette out the window and smiled. It is such an uneventful memory and yet she knows it will replay itself in her thoughts for a while, maybe forever. She remembers ordering breakfast for the woman and paying for it. She wonders if the woman knew how poor she was. She thinks not as she watches the woman in bed, eating eggs from a foil take-out container. The memory is so bright that she has forgotten about the darkness. It’s just a blackness swarming around a vibrant tank of dreams. And she enters it gently, with greed.