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GAGGED BY GOLDWATER by Bandy X. Lee

As I write this at the turn of the year, hospitals are overflowing, and our medical system is about to collapse. Yet the approaching loss of a half million lives in the United States from COVID-19 was entirely preventable. For me, the disastrous mismanagement of the pandemic was always more a mental health issue—of the head of state. So is the reckless discrediting of a normal election, the violence in the streets that have now flowed into the Capitol, and the near destruction of our democracy. This was all foreseen by mental health experts and may have been prevented had the discussion about the president’s dangerous psychology not been quashed by a single mental health organization: the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

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A SEARCH FOR BELONGING by David Stromberg

Growing up in America with immigrant parents, you’re often on your own navigating your future, and so institutions like elementary school become more than just places of study. They become agents of social advancement. One day, in fifth grade, someone came to class and told us about magnet schools, explaining that you could apply to study a particular subject at a particular school. Getting into the program was connected to the category you’d been assigned in tests you’d taken, and there was a mysterious point system that helped you get into this or that school.

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BETWEEN TWO HOMES by Tuba Tokgoz

Just before arriving in New York as a graduate student, I was consumed by Harry Potter novels, which describe a boy seizing his chance at a life in an alternate universe with its own realities and its own customs and history. What is valued in the old world is not necessarily appreciated in the new world, and vice versa. Novels such as The Hobbit, His Dark Materials, Chronicles of Narnia, and Coraline, in which characters travel to imaginary worlds where time and reality flow differently, resonate with me, perhaps because moving to another country involves bold changes in every aspect of life—geography, climate, architecture, customs, language, and even time.

Artwork by Jehyun Sung

MY EYES ARE STILL BROWN by Tareq Yaqub

The physician is becoming increasingly frustrated and, now, nervous. Fearing a negative outcome, the physician presents my mother with a waiver stating she is declining the C-section. My mother apprehensively, yet confidently, signs it. This is my signal. Amid the screams of my mother, my head decides to finally make an appearance. I am welcomed into the world with a blue body and noose around my neck. My mother declares her victory over “modern” medicine. Within minutes, she is holding me in her arms, and our brown eyes meet for the first time.

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NONE OF THE ABOVE by Paula Coomer

I am in the not-unique position of coming from mixed heritage. Like many of us who hail from the Kentucky and Tennessee Appalachians (we pronounce it apple-ate-cha, not apple-atsha), my family is a mix of African, Native, and Scottish. Except for the white boy who raped my fifteen-year-old Cree/Cherokee grandmother to make my mother. We don’t really know what he was, other than the obvious. In old photos of my family, we look like a checkerboard. The young ones are towheaded and fair-skinned, the grandparents wonderfully burnished, the between generation coffee and cream.

Artwork by Luca Bravo

QUARANTINE IN VENICE by Luca Caldironi

The title of the last Venice Biennale Art exhibition was “May You Live in Interesting Times,” and the title of the next Architectural Biennale exhibition is “How Will We Live Together?” I found these two topics not only extremely interesting and provocative but also particularly pertinent to the reality we are experiencing right now. Let’s start with the first. What times are we living now?

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CYTOKINE STORM by Bartosz Puk

Bion said that when two people meet, an emotional storm is created. What are the possible cytokine-emotional storms when two people cannot meet? Can they be felt in mutuality still without an individual breakdown?

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LOVE POEM IN THE SHAPE OF A DREAM by Bobby Martinez

Bobby Martinez, half Mexican and half Portuguese, is an architect who lives in San Francisco and writes poems when he doesn’t feel any alternative. For the last fifteen years, he has enjoyed reading his poetry at Billy and Radical Faerie Gatherings, as well as at the retreats of his sangha. His poems have appeared in Christopher Street and in an anthology of contemporary Luso-American literature.