Art for Issue 43


Your Body, My Choice

Those who wish to ban legal abortion are not “pro-life”; they are pro-criminalization. Those who wish to protect the right to abortion are not “pro-choice”; they are anti-criminalization. Reframing the conflict in these terms clarifies the stakes. At issue here is not a principled attachment to “life” or to “choice” but the practical question of whether terminating a pregnancy should be considered a crime.

In Kherson

Russian flags fly above the abandoned Security Service building and police headquarters. Curfew is between 8 PM and 6 AM. The lines for ATMs are two hours long. The trolleybuses operate for free. There is no gasoline or natural gas in the city, though some diesel is left. On the third day of the occupation, Russian television channels began to broadcast in Kherson. Viewers whose sets are plugged into the antenna directly, without a cable box, still have access to Ukrainian TV. The city’s own media have more or less stopped their work. Kherson gets its information from Telegram. 

Fighting from Inside

On paper, legislators passed the Prison Litigation Reform Act to halt what congresspeople erroneously called an epidemic of “meritless” prisoner-initiated lawsuits clogging court dockets. But the law’s effect — crushing imprisoned people’s access to the courts and limiting the federal courts’ power to remedy heinous prison conditions, especially via population control orders — was to severely narrow a key terrain of struggle for imprisoned people fighting not only for relief from abusive treatment and inhumane conditions, but also against the expansion of an intensifying regime of racialized mass imprisonment.

In Praise of the Terrorist

He spent his formative years as a worker in Tijuana’s maquiladoras, light-industry sweatshops that bloomed like poisonous mushrooms in the Mexican borderlands after the passage of NAFTA. This is perhaps why so much of Yépez’s critique of the Mexico City literary establishment focuses on money: who gets it, who doesn’t, and who decides who belongs in each category.

Caption Place

I caption home-renovation shows and an educational program for third graders about careers in science. I caption Australian Family Feud and MasterChef Australia and a true crime show that tracks the grisly murder of a beautiful young woman in such detail that I have to periodically step out of the room to scream into my backpack. I caption soap operas and infomercials for revolutionary sprinkler systems and an awards show for innovations in contemporary design and a show called Gardening Australia about gardening in Australia and a show about a crocodile who loves guacamole called Crocamole.

Migizi Will Fly

It felt insane leaving our comrades in the ditch like that. In the hands of the police. In the dry and desecrated earth, under the anger and irritation of the police and the workers and hecklers. Treating us like we’re crazy, and useless, and dangerous, too.

What Happened Wasn’t Fate at All

The scars of war don’t go away. They stay in our souls and our memory. They remain alive in the memory of all those who have experienced war and suffered its destruction, those who have lost their loved ones. You cannot forget the horror of this war or our tragedy simply because the world wants to pull the curtain down over it, to hide the victims and reward the executioners.

Dying but It’s Something Else

And in the moment of me and my father, I see myself, I see my face in a tiny square in the corner of my phone and I’m flushed, I’m this red angry thumbprint listening and trying to think things through and waiting for it to all be over, and he’s in his bed holding the tablet or whatever they gave him at this terrible angle where I just get the underside of his chin and his hair splayed out on either side, it’s like the underside of his chin is a tiny featureless face jutting up out of the hospital gown, some weird eyeless monster, and all I’m hearing is wheeze wheeze crackle crackle. 

The Monique Vaccine

After getting in line at 9 AM and standing under a disgusting fine drizzle for almost three hours, Monique, too, got her shot. Just before nightfall she began to get chills and her temperature went up. After taking one paracetamol tablet and twenty drops of diazepam, she fell asleep.

And had a dream:

Two Poems

If it was too cold you called on Satan.
Satan also had pre-rolled cigarettes;
no one had tobacco in Europe yet
for like 400 years, but Satan did

Museum Pessimism

Recent years have seen the museum, and especially the art museum, highlighted as a key site for protest and a critical space for political struggle. Actors within and beyond the art world have challenged the museum on the grounds that arts institutions perpetrate harm — not just in the galleries, and not only in the workplace, but on local, national, and even global scales.

Live Free or Die

Carver was still going, stylishly and bravely. Her unusual combination of tenacity and clear talent made me curious. (Also, I am always on the lookout for aspirational Lisas.) What did it look like, I wondered, to keep writing into middle age as though the older structures of DIY publishing were still intact or viable? To what extent can you just decide to continue refusing to sell out, even as rents go up everywhere and safety nets disappear? What kinds of writing does that produce?

You’re Wasting My Time, I Love You

After Zahedi called himself the reincarnation of Kafka, an audience member yelled, “This is bullshit! You’re wasting my fucking time!” and stormed out. After the outburst, Zahedi stood silently, looking like a hurt puppy dog, until an audience member (or perhaps crew member) shouted, “We love you Caveh!” At that point he smiled and returned to narrating the play.