a calm & normal heart, by chelsea t. hicks

treaties are for settlers, too.

in which i succeed in naming three (3) emotions

I’m sad she’s dead, for the usual human and parasocial reasons.

I’m genuinely curious if also worried about what comes next.

And I’m angry, I am so so angry, about the British empire.

As a white Australian I exist because of what Britain saw as surplus population it could send to administer its stolen wealth. The ways in which my life was predetermined, the ways in which I was raised and educated to be a colonial bureaucrat, were callous and calculating and fundamentally genocidal, and have left me traumatized.

The thing about Elizabeth. The thing! That I managed to grope towards just now, is that she was a human sacrifice to empire. She had no choice and no escape. She had to do her duty.

And she did her duty flawlessly. She was incredible at it. A genuinely awe-inspiring triumph of will.

And she shouldn’t have done that. For two reasons. One (the most important) is because the Empire is a death cult that murdered millions on her watch. The other is that her performance of that duty is and always will be forced on the rest of us as the standard we will inevitably fail to meet.

I admire her. But I will not seek to emulate her. Her indulgence of powerful men and her racism were ruinous even in her immediate family, and catastrophic for the world. What she did so amazingly well is a thing that should never have been done.

Which loops back to sorrow. Those glimpses of the woman she could’ve been: the 18yo ambulance driver, the rider galloping her own racehorse.

What a fucking waste and betrayal of all her strength and integrity, to pour it out in the service of maintaining a corrupt status quo.

What a waste of mine.

virology, by joseph osmundson

The nuclear family is a construct that both renders affairs of the family unit private and makes labor forces more “flexible.” Economists say frictionless.

vera kelly: lost and found, by rosalie knecht

I didn’t know how a child was supposed to grieve, and no one told me.

roads trip

From Barcelona through Chris’s community in Vidalia and over the Pyrenees to Villerouge-la-Cremade, and back again. Cathar castles and Montserrat and the Med.

Even more beautiful: from San Francisco to Redding and up and over the Cascade Range and along the Rogue River Valley to Reed College in Portland. The State of Jefferson, the high desert where my wild horse Lenny was born.

how to read now, by elaine castillo

I’m more interested in solidarity, even if I don’t quite yet know myself what I mean by it, just the feeling I get from it—the startling, quenching relief of it; the force of its surprise, like being loved.

uncertain glory, by joan sales

who’d have thought that explosion of joy would end five years later in the most absurd butchery . . .

brother in ice, by alicia kopf

At my high school there was a sign that said: “The world belongs to those who read.” That’s a lie, I thought, a lie, a lie, a lie.

the years, by annie ernaux

she copies down sentences that tell one how to live, which have the undeniable weight of truth because they come from books

customs, by solmaz sharif

They say willingness is what one needs to succeed. They say one needs to succeed.

homage to catalonia, by george orwell

Human beings were trying to behave as human beings and not as cogs in the capitalist machine.

bless the daughter raised by a voice in her head, by warsan shire

The poem can start with him walking backwards into a room. He takes off his jacket and sits down for the rest of his life, that’s how we bring Dad back.

thresh & hold, by marlanda dekine

I care for Henrietta Lacks and all the names whispered in my ear by the live oak trees. I don’t care about the father of modern gynecology, honored on South Carolina’s golf course capitol.

time is a mother, by ocean vuong

Because this mess I made I made with love. Because they came into my life, these ghosts, like something poured. Because crying, believe it or not, did wonders.

happy birthday to this blog

I have been blogging for twenty years. How about that.

monkey grip, by helen garner

I wished to trust, and so I trusted. When events did not please me, my dreams reworked them.

ongoingness, by sarah manguso

I wanted to know how to inhabit time in a way that wasn’t a character flaw.

best barbarian, by roger reeves

E, for empire—a thing to impale, kill, break

dreaming of you, a novel in verse, by melissa lozada-oliva

I crave a ferry to San Francisco and a dead phone full of messages.

the grief of stones, by katherine addison

I could not lay down the grief I carried, but I could name it for what it was, and by naming it ease the burden…