E.F. Fluff: The Shop that Ran Away (A Fairytale)

Bivalia synthesizers by Swedish craftsman Love Hultén. Source: lovehulten.com

Contrary to popular belief no magical shops or mythical creatures will be appearing in this story.

She slept in a workshop under a giant unfinished surfboard her mother called “the tourist attraction”.

When she was born they named her Esther, but immediately gave out cards saying she was to be called Esty. The other name was for later life, for the times when a young woman had to sound extra officious to implement her will.

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Joanna Pickering: Paradox of Color 

Mark Rothko, No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red), 1951. Source: artscash.com/

It had been a bad morning from the onset. It started with a flood from the bathroom which cracked the lower wall and damaged her one and only painting of any expense. She didn’t have insurance. It was a real shame. 

The painting was The Paradox of Color. It was an original. It was the first original piece of art she’d bought. The gallery shipped it to her and it arrived with a crate of champagne. They knew they’d gone to town with the sale’s close. The adrenalin rush isn’t something she’d forget. 

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Robert Neuwirth: the death of the dove of peace

Yuksel Arslan, Arture 404, L’Homme, XLV, Mélancoliques et Maniaques, 1989. Source: artsy.net

Identification: 13 inches (33.02 cm) from top of head to bottom of tailfeathers. Can be distinguished from the Domestic Pigeon and the Rock Dove (Columba livia) by the white turtleneck tuft on the back of its neck. Plumage: off-white, opaline milky green or purple. Eyes low in head, level with beak. Flies higher than most other pigeons.

Song: can do the familiar coo-roo-coo of other doves, but, in certain urban zones, its call features exuberant, operatic glissandi and trills.

Habitat: urban and peri-urban areas; commonly roosts in cornices of industrial buildings and on masonry outcroppings on commercial structures.

 

Caesar called me to come over.

We sat on his roof in the late November sun. He tucked the bird inside his worn wool vest, donating it a bit of his own heat.

It was the last of its kind. Columba regio civitatis. The Zoning Pigeon.

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Rémy Ngamije: The Sage Of The Six Nigga Paths (or, The Life And Times Of the Five Os)

Chris Steele-Perkins, a black township near Windhoek, Namibia, 1984. Source: magnumphotos.com

Niggathrond And The Path Of Youth And Foolishness

When we were younger there was nothing else for niggas in this Wild Wild Worst town to do but fight. Me, Rinzlo, Cicero, Lindo, and Franco―the Five Os. We were from the same side of town:  torn Millé and Hi-Tech sneakers unworthy of hot-stepping in, out-of-fashion t-shirts from the Pep store with girl-pulling gravity set to zero, and not even a coin between us to spend at the video game arcade. We’d pool our poverty at the mall on weekends waiting for rich kids from Olympia and Ludwigsdorf to give us shifty looks so we could corner them in the parking lot and pound on them.

Anything could set us off.

Some Jordan-wearing dude looking at our cheap kicks funny? Fight.

Rinzlo’s younger brother getting bullied? Fight.

Some random-ass nigga coughing into the west wind while we were coming up from the east?

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Rémy Ngamije: Little Brother (or, Three In The Morning)

Patrick Zachmann, César and his brother, 1984. Source: magnumphotos.com

“Hallo?” I say, voice still sleep-drunk. I sit up in bed.

“It’s me.”

My brother.

I don’t know why he’s calling me from an unknown number. My anger rouses itself and beats me to the mouthpiece. “I know. It’s three in the morning. What the fuck, dude?”

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Madeline Beach Carey: Alternative Therapies

Ferdinando Scianna, Umbria, Melezzole, MESSEGUE’s Beauty farm. Source: magnumphotos.com

Olga was a screamer. It’s nothing you would have guessed about her, at least not at first. Or perhaps some would. Maybe almost anybody could have told me to watch out for a beauty school graduate with a military father. But I was shy, and clueless, and young, excited to be in a new place, excited to date a girl.

We met at the beauty parlor on Calle Numancia, near the main train station in Barcelona. It wasn’t just a beauty parlor, it was a huge complex, three floors, opened from ten am to midnight Monday through Saturday and until three pm on Sundays. You could get anything done there: nails, hair, waxing, electrolysis, Thai massage, California or Swedish massage, Botox injections, fish pedicures. Olga did waxing and I was both the massage guy and the handyman. I fixed broken lamps and collapsing massage tables, dealt with circuit breakers, repaired all sorts of broken nail-clipping tools. The owner, Adele, a French woman who weighed about 45 kilos, hired me the August I arrived from Buenos Aires. She liked that I had long hair, a thick black ponytail. You seem New Age, she said, and asked if I’d be interested in maybe teaching her tai chi.

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Rana Haddad: from “The Unexpected Love Objects of Dunya Noor”

The customers of Café Taba were tapping their feet on the floor, up and down, following the beats of the hakawati’s song.

The hakawati gulped his third glass of tea, and then continued to sing in his alluring voice, which gave his audience goose pimples, making even the stoniest hearted of them almost want to cry.

No one knew why.

None of the audience could take their eyes off him, nor could they stop listening to every word and every syllable he uttered even though they were sure that he knew nothing about love. He was clearly too young and too vain and had never suffered. Even Dunya was sure of it. None of them could fully or even partially understand the theories he was trying to peddle through the vehicle of his songs. How could Fear be the opposite of Love? Wasn’t Hate its eternal enemy and opposite? The hakawati was talking nonsense, trying to be clever, they were sure of that. Even Dunya who thought of herself (relatively speaking) as an expert on the theories of love and its manifold manifestations did not understand. But none of them really cared whether he was right or wrong because what they loved about him most of all were not his stories, or his theories, nor his rhymes—but the voice in which he sang them. Perhaps in Europe or America people could follow their hearts, some of the men reasoned. But here, in the conservative Republic of Syria, Fear was the master. Fear held everything and everyone under its sway, and everyone respectfully bowed their heads to it.

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