by

A Symbolic Story

May 15, 2017 in Fiction, Uncategorized by

Author’s note on sigils:

The practice of sigil writing has been prevalent in witchcraft societies for hundreds of years. However, when I first began practicing witchcraft nine years ago, hardly any witch made them. Within the last few years, sigil writing has exploded; you can find thousands of sigils just by googling them.

So what is a sigil? A sigil is a symbol formed from a sentence or phrase. The phrase must include the witches intent: it is what the witch hopes will manifest. A common technique to sigil-making is to cross out any repeating letters, and form a shape out of the remaining lines and curves. Anyone write sigils anytime, anywhere, on anything from paper to pie crusts to lotion on the skin. Common sigils, such as the sigil of Solomon, have become commonly recognized, making sigil writing its own unique language.

The following is a fictional story written entirely of translated sigils. I decided to write it to display the popularity of sigils, as well as a snapshot of modern witchcraft. I hope you enjoy.

A Symbolic Story

The following are a series of sigils: a method of witchcraft in which one writes their intent in a phrase or sentence, removes repeating letters, and forms a symbol manifesting their intent. These sigils were all written by the same person, listed in chronological order, for study. Translations will be provided.

“My friends have friendly conversations.”

“Others’ opinions do not affect me.”

“I can speak painlessly.”

“I am heard.”

“I breathe regularly.”

“No awkwardness with my friends.”

“I am heard,” repeated.

“I hear no accusations.”

“I am accepted.”

“I do not cry.”

“I am invisible.”

“Invisible.”


Yunan L. Kirkbride is a poet and short-story writer earning her BA in Writing at the University of California, San Diego. Having published since she was eighteen, Kirkbride currently publishes satire as Design Editor for The Muir Quarterly. She also runs an advice blog on modern witchcraft and NeoPaganism. Her work focuses on fantasy realism, horror, and underground cultural societies. In her free time, you can find her watching videos of rabbits or communicating with the dead. She lives in San Diego.

by

Expensive Nights

May 15, 2017 in Fiction, Spanish by

This Friday night doesn’t look like a party night. It’s almost eleven. After a couple of ineffective calls to my friends it seems that I have to go to bed early. A couple of beers in the bar nearby and I’ll hit the sack. I moved in here a little while back. I live with a friend in an apartment in La Merced, an old neighborhood of English houses, most of them decaying, turned into car dealers, into tidy fronts of insurance companies, into rubble. The La Merced that I walk surrounds the southern side of el Parque Nacional. That park is a route for all types of cruelty that necessity and trends oblige: prostitution, drug-addiction, athletics. Organ trafficking.

The building we just moved into is a beauty. An Italian architect built it in the fifties. Thanks to a stroke of luck, number 410 of this masterwork of space is our new abode. Just a while ago an acquaintance asked me to stop calling it a masterwork of space. I guess I’ll listen to him. But to stop calling it abode, on the other hand, is going to take much more time. Many of the chicks that have been hanging around here have been dazzled. After the courtesy tour ends, they repeat with insistence how fascinating they would find it to live in a place like this. I’m not, of course, part of the plan. Not for now, I quietly comfort myself.

I go out to play my beery part. In the corridor that goes to the elevator I meet Felipe, who’s accompanied by a beauty that I’ve never seen before in my life. Felipe is the friend I moved in with. We’ve known each other since kindergarten. On rigorous alcoholic nights, I observe him, and even though this might sound exaggerated, I remember the little brat that had snacks with me, and who celebrated piñatas and birthdays—the ones with surprises and clowns. He is tall and thick, although I wouldn’t say he’s strong. More than ten years ago, when we were little—and even then he was two heads taller than me—Felipe arranged his fist into my face. I can’t recall the reason—my fault for sure. My right cheek turned slightly red, but I felt no pain. That episode doesn’t prove his weakness; it proves the spirit of his friendship.

Once we know each other’s immediate plans, Felipe and his friend invite me back to the apartment to join them for a bottle of wine. The offer makes me uncomfortable. I don’t know why they’re asking, since everything suggests this is a romantic evening. Anyways, I accept.

Both of them sit on the bit of furniture we own while I take charge of the glasses and the bottle opener. Once they are served, I take little part in the conversation. I nod, move my head, offer an occasional opinion here and there; the minimum not to appear rude. I focus on her figure and her gestures. She has mentioned her name. I don’t remember it. Her hair looks like an image out of Ian Fleming. I wait for the right moment and announce my departure to the bar nearby. I do that while getting up, just to give it a sense of urgency, but they seem attracted by the idea and want to join me.

What’s best about this building we moved into recently is the elevator—despite its inutility; nonetheless. We are lucky, because for whatever reason it’s working. Sometimes, when I get in, I feel sad that it is not retired yet—I don’t know, placed somewhere where it can be admired only.

We get off and walk out of the building. Four steps and we’re in the bar. Two acquaintances are in the place—one of them with his girlfriend. What a surprise. The greetings are effusive. I think there are good vibes here.  Though we’ve been in the building already for a couple of days, this is our first visit. The place is called Gabinete, and I would dare say that Felipe and I are very happy about feeling great in a bar so close to home. Compared to a lot of the things that happen in Bogotá’s bars, this closeness could result in a not-insignificant advantage. I try to imagine one of those things and its associated advantage, but the truth is, besides a big fight with a quick exit, I can’t think of any. Perhaps all the things that I think happen in the bars of Bogotá don’t happen. Felipe offers me the first beer. I take him by the arm, say thanks and make that happy-to-see-you face.

We are all set: Felipe and his friend; the two we ran into; and the girlfriend of one of them. The conversation goes back and forth: our arrival to the building, the upcoming presidential elections, a pain in the rib of the acquaintance’s girlfriend, the death of the father of a person they know and whom I barely have heard of. Everyone seems to get mournful at this point. It’s not exactly death. They are afflicted by the memory of the words of the deceased’s son. Very painful ones, they say. The words made everyone laugh during the mass, but they were painful. Something about the comedy that life is, and the way his father had taught them that, and how, then, one shouldn’t respond with something that drifts too far from the aesthetics, too far from the comical.  So the son asked for applause instead of weeping, and everyone clapped vigorously, but they also cried, cried a lot, because his act had ended. I was terrified at the beginning. Then I got distracted.

I start losing interest in being here. I get up and walk around the bar. It’s a big house, full of separated rooms united by the music and décor— predominately wood. I think more than a bar for dancing it’s an elegant place to pass sorrows. There’s another floor. I’ve seen people go up many times and never come down. At least not by the same stairs. More than curiosity, which I don’t have, what drives me up is boredom. It’s not them or their company. They are friends and acquaintances, and their conversation is fine. It’s the night itself, its tepidness, its indecision. Nights without character bother me. What bothers me the most is not being able to give them one. Before I ascend I decide to get another drink to justify the effort of having my shoes on. A move from beer to something stronger will be necessary. Gin, Bretaña, and lemon, please, I say.

My encounter with the upstairs turns out to be up to the gin’s standards: official-sized foosball in a fancy room. An official-sized foosball, close to home, and with reasonably-priced beers? The night is getting better. The neighborhood is opening its arms to me. I feel a tiny bliss: maybe other things will improve too. Maybe it’s not that late for partying. I go downstairs two at a time to tell Felipe about my find. I control the childish agitation that fills me and say: There’s an official-sized foosball in the bar next to our house! Felipe shares my excitement, takes his beer and suggests that we go and try it.

We play for a good while. It’s so big that normally it has to be used in pairs. There’s a certain amount of people and we take turns. I wish they’d go away. Especially the first couple we play against. I don’t think they do anything other than play foosball. They are masters of the technique, which lets them play more because whoever wins stays, like any idle thing in life. We order a couple of gins and I start to plan my training hours. To be sincere, the calculations are not encouraging. Reaching a competitive level could take me up to three months.

About an hour must have passed. Felipe and his friend have returned to the bar table. They got bored, I guess. I too start to feel dizzy and I don’t feel like keeping my eyes on the freaking little ball anymore. Coming back to the table is embracing the end of the night, and the capability for that kind of thing is what I lack. I think about it twice. I come back and it’s like time is being stolen from me. I look one way and fifteen minutes; I look the other, and twenty more. Another drink, and with each more time is stolen. I think I’m getting drunk. I think I’m feeling well. Like when I discovered the foosball. Overthinking gets into me and I’d like to go upstairs and keep playing, but my legs are not obeying anymore. Besides, I’m on my way out. I’ve been on my way out for a while.

What do my eyes see! This Friday night keeps its surprises. Just when I decide to call it quits with this tepidity and go back to throw myself on my mattress, these women with pretty cheeks appear. To see them as women of pretty cheeks is, to this point, an image that could only occur to a drunk or a naïve observer, so I’m ashamed at the glimpse of consciousness that I get from both. The women appear as though they’ve existed for centuries and own the bar. They are Carolina and her two long-time friends: Catalina and Piedad. They sit and say hello. Know that they are the center of attention. Beautiful women, or the ones that put in the work to be, take advantage of that circumstance as though the existence of all living beings within a mile depended on it. That is why, it occurs to me, the perception of beauty is not a question of circumstance, and it is better not to combine one of these circumstances with a glimpse of love. Because when you fall in love like that, like I’m falling in love now (I’m exaggerating, it’s clear), with their elemental gesture, bringing their glasses to their mouths, when you fall in love like that, with that circumstantial beauty, you are lost. Fully and ruthlessly in love. Because you will keep looking for that gesture in her and in every other girl, and you will not understand, until a lot of sorrows have passed, that it wasn’t her or her gesture, but the circumstances, the cruel and unrepeatable circumstances. (Shit, the things one is capable of saying.) I gulp another one, long just to shake the overthinking, and I come back to the table that moves between the greetings and hugs of the new company.

Felipe and I have known Carolina for a long time. We went to the same school. We saw each other grow up. For me, she was always a distant figure, surely more Felipe’s friend. Catalina and Piedad are the closest intimates of her wanderings. I don’t think I can remember a single recent time in which the three of them weren’t together—the type of squad that you keep running into here and there, any day, any party; something like what’s happening tonight: pure sidewalk coincidence.

All sit at the table. Felipe starts to discuss things he knows I’m interested in and on which I could speak the entire night without stopping. He wants me to get into the conversation. He’s giving me space to outshine myself because he sees I’m moved by Catalina’s presence. But I must look more like a plant waiting for water than a normal person, so my tireless friend tries to make me notice how guevón, how idiotic I am. I look at him and I’m grateful—I’m so grateful that I feel like standing up and hugging him. Fortunately I contain myself and avoid a next-morning joke or an immediate one. Catalina realizes Felipe and I are looking at each other and that there’s something going on between us. Catalina discovers, I’m afraid, that I am drunk, that I don’t talk and, moreover, that I have these quiet urges to hug my friend. Hope she doesn’t find out that I’m nervous. Hope she doesn’t think of speaking a word to me because I’d have to leave the table and go to the bathroom.

What’s up, Augusto, how’s everything? Catalina says, like nothing is happening, like we’ve spent an entire life together. And she’s beside me, in the chair that someone suddenly freed without even giving me the chance to speculate about this torture. Those lips move for me. Again she moves them: Augusto, are you okay? Woman of fair cheeks and fleshy lips, how dare you ask me if I’m okay, haven’t you seen my legs cross from side to side seven times in the last fifteen seconds since you arrived? But I compose myself and tell her: Ah? Yeah, fine, I’m fine… and yourself? How’s everything?

From here on things get hairy. Felipe sneakily makes fun. He’s happy for me—for the possibilities he wants to glimpse. He’s happy because he must be tired of having Sunday breakfast with any of his girlfriends and Augusto, the violin, plus his solitude. I think of her face on a morning of drowsiness and nonchalance. Her face on my pillow giving meaning to the act of opening one’s eyes. And those eyes, deep hazel eyes, disturbing, capable of upsetting the quietest men. I talk but actually I focus on her way of talking, on the impetuous ease with which she combines Medem’s poetics, his last movie—which I watched yesterday with my friend Piedad—and my upset stomach, which for some reason I mention and about which she kindly cares: Do you feel better? No, Catalina, I don’t feel better. The fact that soon you will leave fucks me up. I take a lot of water for those kinds of illnesses. Water, of course, you pure organisms fix things with simplicity. Come on, that must be psychosomatic. Here the only psychosomatic thing is you. But yeah, the speech never makes it out of my mouth. If I’ve learned anything when I get drunk, it’s to remain silent.

The bar is about to close. In a movement generated by Felipe, his drunken intonation and his enthusiasm, all of us agreed to come to the apartment to finish the night, to not let it die early. It’s an obligation to start taking advantage of adjacent entrances—an advantage that in my current state I’m thankful for and use with serenity. In the first elevator round, the most euphoric and loud of the two that seem necessary, go Felipe, his gorgeous companion, the two acquaintances from early in the evening (one is called Eduardo, I finally recall), one of their girlfriends, and Carolina. I wait with Catalina, Piedad, and two more characters that are clearly going to our house but whom I’ve never seen in my life. I think they are friends of one of our acquaintances. I can’t remember the moment they appeared. The elevator’s way back feels like an eternity. I don’t feel like saying anything. Those silences in building corridors at two in the morning seem obligatory, and we respect them. Every one of us that is here.

At home things feel nice. They are our first spontaneous guests and we take care of them, showing them the corridors and rooms. We take care of the drinks, of listening to their suggestions on matters of decoration, and answering with the story of what work it was being there, freshly out of the mother pouch, shitting ourselves before the imminence of independence, in the face of the anxiety of running out of Fab.

I look for Catalina. Her armor remains firm. The constant presence of her friends intimidates me. Actually, it doesn’t intimidate me, just decelerates me. I down another drink and then I get closer and offer her a whisky. She’s drinking little because of the innumerable excuses her street minions back up. I, however, get more lost. All I’m thinking of—brain-dead thinking—is the possibility of behaving like an asshole. I don’t want to talk too much, but at the same time I’ve got the guts and feel that it’s now or never. Catalina must know now, not tomorrow, that I could go crazy for her (I’m not exaggerating, that’s clear).

Meanwhile, people go back and forth, screaming and talking and dancing, and it’s Felipe that opens the bathroom door and others that close it. The bathroom becomes the center: we go and come from there when suddenly, zuas, a bad memory comes up: once, I lost something important in the bathroom. I can’t verbalize its name; whatever it was, I want to remember it as stupid and vulgar, although I don’t understand why. My memory and my stomach plot against my less noble organs and it seems they want to throw me on the floor. But just now she takes me by the arm and offers to keep the conversation going. She’s early by seconds, and gets me out of the pain of the memory because she seems to still have some words for me—confusing, encouraging, indifferent words: this is a clear-cut city, her face, her lips, the downtown, she says. The fold of your left brow, I say—she missed that. In silence, staggering, I thank her for taking me by the arm. I listen to her, delighted, not wanting to imagine what’s to come and paying attention, at the same time, to the salsa verse of Ismael Rivera that rumbles in our living room turned now into a dance floor: cuándo yo saldré/ de esta prisión/ que me tortura/ me tortura el corazón/

A couple hours after Rivera’s chorus and with the same poise conserved throughout the night, with the same smile that, I imagine, has burst into tears the several men and women fucked up in her wake, Catalina says her goodbyes, gives me a kiss on the cheek, and disappears along with her friends, through the corridor that goes from the immense white door of my apartment to the elevator. In that moment, a neurotic neighbor, who, I discover, lives in the apartment across, opens his door and starts to yell. Somebody behind me (I’m almost sure it’s Eduardo the Courageous) shouts at him to take a Valium, while I choose to close the door and feel like I was left here, solely, with the problems that this presence has created. Catalina’s presence, not my neighbor’s. I remain dazed and calm, thinking that I will need a plumber to unclog the toilet.

All the people, as though assuming Catalina was the flame that fueled the night, decide to depart as well. Suddenly, the living room becomes a great silence, like a monster that got tired of shooing and lay down to sleep. I raise my head and find Felipe lying in a corner with the appearance of a serene drunk detached from the world. There’s no trace of the chick that he came home with. Probably he told her about the mystery of the zygote reproduction. I move him over and feel the weight of an obelisk. The effort to take him to his bed, and accommodate him in such way that he can throw up without choking, wipes out the little thing Catalina left in me, so I leave his room to look for mine and the mattress that I insist on calling bed. Before lying down, I look through the window and undress. The hills are covered. I could say fog wraps them up, but the truth is they are indifferent to that volatile plumb. Lying down, I let my eyes sink while one of those certainties gets stuck between my chin and my shoulders: Catalina will never be mine. My house’s, maybe; mine, not ever. It’s not that bad. It’s dawn, and everything starts to fall apart.


Juan Álvarez holds an MFA in Bilingual literary creation from the University of Texas at El Paso and PhD from the Department of Latin American and Iberian cultures at Columbia University, New York. In 2010, his essay about the insult and offense as political instruments in the crisis of independence in Colombia obtained the Premio de Ensayo Revista Iberoamericana by the Ibero-American Institute of Berlin. He has published the novel Dead Candidates (Candidatos muertos, Planeta 2016 c2011; Sudaquia NY, 2014). Juan has been part of several anthologies in Colombia, México and Spain. In 2011 he was elected “One of Latin America’s 25 Best-kept Secrets” by the Guadalajara International Book Fair. From 2010 to 2012 he was part of the development team of urtak.com. From 2008 to 2011 he was editor of the literary magazine ‘El perro’. Juan is currently writing his new novel which has been already acquired by Seix Barral Colombia. @_JuanAlvarez_


Valentina Calvache is a bilingual writer concerned with the liminal intersections between fiction, fashion and cultural production. Her work has been published, among others, in Exclama, Don Juan, Revista Antioquia, Bacánika, Antología de cuento Instituto Caro y Cuervo, Idartes. She is currently an MFA candidate in writing at UCSD.

Pensamientos en español

March 14, 2016 in Fiction by mjdelgad

The time is 3:14 AM, and now its 3:15 AM.

Mi Cumpleaños es el quince de marzo: 3/15.

I’m lying awake on my bed, though my eyes are closed by mind wanders and acts more awake than most afternoons. It’s one of those sleepless nights, ones with little movement and little rest. I am used to these by now, irregular nights have become a norm, it’s hard to trust fall into unconsciousness.

Tal vez si me esfuerzo a parar de pensar, si nada más pienso en nada, y mantengo mi mente en negro… My mind goes blank for a few minutes, it is a fake darkness, an attempt to cover sunlight with a thin curtain. As I lose interest, my bed becomes a river, then a rock, then the back of large feathered snake.

Si no paras no podrás dormir.

Pero ¿para qué quiero dormir?

¿Por qué razón te levantes en la mañana y trabajas?

Eso toca el meollo de la situación, la pregunta en cuestión, el estado de mentalidad sin dirigida posición. En mi cabeza tengo un entendimiento, un conocimiento del mundo afuera de mi cuerpo. Hecho y creado por experiencias vividas y acciones recontadas.

I open my eyes, just a little. And I see the white ceiling, to my left soft black curtains, and to my right a brown, wooden nightstand and then another bed with a snoring, sleeping mound of blankets. 

Son las tres y media de la madrugada y todavía no puedo dormir

O mejor dicho, no encuentro la motivación para dormir. 

Si dijera no tener la intención ni la incentiva para trabajar, me llamarán un flojo.

Me dirían vagabundo por vivir sin casa y sin propósito. Y de medida definitiva, lo fuera. Pero el punto de mi argumento y mi desconocimiento es: ¿por qué es tan importante mi trabajo? De no levantarme en la mañana, ponerme la ropa, lavarme los dientes, comer el desayuno (que, por si acaso, es la comida mas importante del día), e ir a una oficina para hacer lo que tenga que hacer, ¿se caería el universo? ¿Se quemarán los edificios y parará de haber comida para toda la gente del mundo? 

No creo que mi esfuerzo es tan importante o que tales cosas pasarían.

The room had become a fabrication and I could no longer distinguish between the corporeal and its reflection. I became aware of the ticking of the clock overlooking the room a top my head. Tick-Tock the Croc became my nemesis too, it was the scathing tether that tied me to reality.

En mi experiencia, cuando una máquina tiene un diente de rueda que es un poco despacio o que se rompe y para de trabajar como debiera, empieza a ser canceroso para el resto de la colección. 

Tomando eso en cuenta, mi falta de esfuerzo sería una infección para la sociedad capitalista. El sueño Norte Americano es del derecho al trabajo, el derecho de conseguir dinero, a desear más. Pero ¿qué pasa si eso ya no es mi sueño? ¿Si ya no es la meta de cual mi vista no se despega?

Earlier that day I had seen a homeless woman asking for money outside the McDonald’s next to my house. She looked into my eyes and asked me if there was anything I could spare. I gave her ten dollars and walked into the restaurant regretting, chastising myself for giving her too much.

That guilt still stayed with me in that bed, it erupted in me a violent fever, an unabated anger towards myself and my stupidity. Pero para que me enojaba? What had I done wrong? Es porque no me quede el dinero ha mi mismo, o porque yo quería ese dinero? Y si eso fue porque, como puedo ser tan egoísta?

Fui educado desde chico para ser egoísta, para proteger lo que es mío y lo que merece ser mío. Aprendí de mis papás, mis maestros, y mis amigos, las lecciones que me formaron al ser quien soy. And in reality perhaps I do enjoy monetary processions, the physical fruit of labor. Reflexionando a mis propios pensamientos y viéndome como objeto con acción y conciencia I’d go as far as to say that I enjoy the suffering of my fellow person. Es un placer oscuro del capitalista, nacido en un mundo capitalista, programado como capitalista, porque me recuerda que mi situación, tan pobre como es, es mejor que el del otro. The other is my rival.

Es un pensamiento cliché y oscuro, lo se. Pero tal son todas las ideas que tratan sobre la injusticia humana. La clase bourgeois ha hecho que estas ideas suenen ridículas, y tal vez solo un muchachx al punto de dormirse le pusiera interés a estas cosas. Pero la realidad es un mundo ineludible. El mundo existe no como proyección de nuestro entendimiento y conocimiento, sino es interpretado y dado sentido por nuestra conciencia. En esa manera nosotros damos definiciones a el universo a nuestro alrededor. Y cuando se ve ese mundo, tuviera uno que sacarse sus ojos o vender el alma para no poder ver el dolor de la gente y la injusticia causado por el progreso.

¿El progreso de que?

¿De un país?

¿De una ideología?

I begin to hear the chirping of birds outside alongside the sound of motors beginning to run. It must be close to five. I am so close to sleep that to open my eyes would be to waste the time I’ve spent.

Como un ejemplo tomemos la aplicación de las ideologías neoliberales, las que han arruinado a México y Latino America. México ha avanzando el nivel de tecnología y GDP inmensamente en las ultimas décadas, y eso es un orgullo tremendo para la gente. Pero lo que no se habla es sobre la pobreza, la rotas promesas, y la insignificancia del dinero a la definición de una persona. Es un nuevo tipo de colonialismo, uno que hasta el propio Cristóbal Colón se enorgullecería. En el que la gente es saciada por lo normal, y su labor es la única comodidad de valor.

Los países del Oeste se roban las materias primas de sus satélites y dejan a la gente con el sentimiento de enriquecimiento. Pero con los pagos de la luz, la renta, y la comida, parece ser que trabajamos nadamas para el derecho a sobrevivir. ¿Para que más existimos sino para darle mas fruto a la clase alta? Para regarles como un dios omnipotente que merecemos el derecho a vivir.

I turn to the left, towards the window. Slim glimmers of morning light begins to flow from the openings in the curtains. Dawn has moved in quickly and soon another sleepless night will have come and gone. The break of day will take its place.

Si tuviera valor cambiara al ingles, y hablaría sobre quemando edificios, obstruyendo carreteras, y protestas masivas que se volvieran alboroto publico e amotinamiento. Pero no soy valiente. Soy solamente un niño, tratando de dormir. Uso el español porque tengo miedo que si el gobierno Estado Unidense sabe leer mentes – que no me parase ser tan loca la idea – mi única protección fuera que tal vez no han encontrado una manera fija de traducir del español.

What was the point of staying up all night? To show to myself my cowardice. No me molestaría ser exiliado de aquí por pensamientos de traición, pero dudo que tal cosa pasara. Afuera del país no fuera muy útil yo para el gobierno capitalista. Siento que primamente me culparan de un crimen que no cometí, en esa menara me quitaran toda validad a mis ideas, pensamientos, y acciones. Fuera definido pero una acción e institución. Y trabajara por gratis para un tiempo muy largo como prisionero. En prisión fuera reeducado, reformado, por la misericordia de los valores monetarios y las reglas de moralidad religiosa – un miedo al dios gringo.

The sounds of birds chirping is unmistakable now, the sound of cars honking is much louder, and the rays of sun pierce into my eyes even as I have the eyelids closed.

What can I say?

I am tired.

I hear a knock at the door and I wait to see if anyone else will open it. But I hear no one moving to get up.

I am slow to sit up, but as I do I begin to realize the full extent of my thoughts. I am no longer in the realm between reflection and awareness. I have no evidence to prove what I have thought, I think while craning my back, giving myself a small time to stretch. All of this has no evidence what’s so over. I can not claim my thoughts as fact, fact is all that holds validity in our world.

I step on the floor. The carpet feels cold, and my head is light. I stand, walk to the door, and move my hand forward towards the door.

Los pensamientos en español se quedaran con migo, serán mi secreto, y los cultivare para un tiempo en que ya no tenga miedo y no suenen ridículo. Pero hasta ese entonces, serán parte de un sueño. I open the door, a flood of light rushes in, I use my hand to cover my eyes as I peer out to the outside.


Luis González I am currently a third year political science (public law) and ethnic studies double major working towards my Bachelor’s Degree at UC San Diego. My hometown is Temecula, in Southern California but I was born in San Jose, Northern California. Both my parents are from Tlacolula de Matamoros, in Oaxaca, Mexico. Even though I was born in the U.S. I spent the early years of my childhood in Mexico under the care of my parents and extended family. As a result I did not learn how to speak English well until my twilight years in US public Elementary School. My mother always made it a strong point that we learn to speak Spanish as perfectly as possible. But even though I spoke Spanish regularly at home, it was a rarity that I found time and opportunity to write or read in Spanish. I have felt firsthand, how the US uses public schools to force Spanish-speaking students to assimilate to US culture through language, making Spanish a matter of the private sphere and making English a ticket to the public sphere of market and upwards mobility. As a result, my linguistic Spanish skills were nurtured far less. Writing this piece was very difficult in that I had to start over many times and in the end decided to challenge myself by writing a piece that was mostly in Spanish. I used this piece as an exercise to prove to myself that I could express my ideas first through an understandable and aesthetic denotative way, and secondly able to compactly and effectively instill in my writing a connotation of greater meaning. In my piece I write about someone who attempts to fall asleep, but in this effort is caught up in search of their own opinion and understanding. It took me several days to try to understand what I wanted to convey and how the best way to convey that would be. Because all that I have ever read in Spanish can be reduced to just a couple bible verses, one or two books, and the occasional news article, my vocabulary was limited. I had to use Google to translate words, and to make sure I spelled words correctly that I had only spoken or heard of but had never seen in print. If I learned one thing from this experience it is how difficult it is to make sentences in Spanish both make sense and sound as cohesive and intelligible as in English. I really hope I get an opportunity to write in Spanish again, I will read and continue to write in both languages so I can improve the large areas of my writing ability that still need to improve.

The lighthouse

March 14, 2016 in Fiction by mjdelgad

Agahlo built the lighthouse in 1924 in an old city outside of a province, which has since

been named too often, really, to withstand another naming here. The force of its impression has less

to do with its now debilitated structure and more with its sheer stint of survival. Aghalo has written

volumes about its construction and reconstruction, there in the library.

By 2024, the man who visits the ruins of the lighthouse does not read the language of this country,

of course. The most integral volumes on the way that its spiral staircase is navigated (a staircase,

more now, like the arthritic hand of an elderly mother swinging the man from one side to the other)

are wasted on him. Still, it would have profited the man, who now stood shovel deep in sand trying

to dig himself out, to have visited the library more than once.

Inside the lighthouse there are the common compartments; the glass lantern atop it and the bedroom

for the caretaker, the kitchen and the store at the bottom floor that never sold a single book. Aghalo

also fancied himself a historian but the language of his country had fled him as a child, and then this

language, which he’d rejected as an adult, was not adequate to describe the landscapes that birthed

him. The manuscripts, instead, became his memories of home, recreated, as it were, from the stories

he was told as they fled. It was no longer clear whether the lighthouse was built before he

chronicled his countries tales, or whether those tales were not simply a misreading of his mother’s

desperate bedtime stories in the years of famine and drought; he wrote as he had always written,

himself into his country and his country into existence. Even his name, Agahlo, one he liked to

pretend was a hand-me-down from centuries of blood, was what his wife called a silly string of

letters, all falling one after the other.

Outside of the lighthouse, there are no identifiable characteristics that separate it from any other. In

fact, if there had been a lighthouse in the near vicinity, there may have been

motivation to give it a peculiar personality, to stripe it with garish red and white. The truth is that

the lighthouse was built after mountains divided the lands and the people that belonged to those

mountains had lost the blue of the ocean over the divides of the canyons. And even before the

people had lost other common links, like the roll of the r and their stomach for spices and their

resolve (so that crossing each other in the street they’d hardly whisper a hello, as if the entire

business of being forgotten was a new import) Aghalo watched from a distance until he could no

longer tell the difference between the deaths that brought them here and their chosen extinction.

Aghalo had built the lighthouse because he believed if they no longer wished to return to the sea,

the lighthouse would call the sea back to them; but being that there is no other in a hundred mile

radius, this particular lighthouse is of no consequence to anyone except the man who built it and the

man who wishes to wake it up a hundred years later.

IMG_1232

Rebecca Seaberry

 

*

It is difficult, perhaps, to empathize with the man who walked into a lighthouse, a hundred years

after it was built, with no prior experience in waking one up. For a while, Gogo’s

countrymen were touched by the novelty of a lighthouse built in a landlocked country and had been

drawn to the impossible. There were writers and revolutionaries present for the first few months, all

with the common purpose of chronicling the moment that Gogo realized his folly. This was the way

of the people now, just as Aghalo had imagined it would be; they were a localized community of

thieves, stealing the suffering of their own and using it as an emblem of a lost dream.

When interviewed, Gogo would lift his shovel from deep within the ground and tell them that he

knew how to make the lantern turn. The problem, of course, was that no one knew where the heart

of the lighthouse had been buried. It was an old wives tale that brought him there to

begin with, one that revolved around the moons reflection hitting the glass of the lantern in such a

way, in such a precise way, that the ghost of her would rise up and point to the place that she could

be resurrected.

Soon, however, the people, who had long forgotten their own ghosts, grew tired of chasing this one

and left the poor, crazy man to his longings.

And so he dug. He dug that way for ten years. He dug underneath the staircase until it detached

from the floor and lifted up into the ceiling, he dug underneath the filaments, and he dug underneath

the cellar. He climbed the rungs on the sides and pushed and prodded each brick for a secret

entrance. He dug in search of the foundation, and then underneath that in search of the place that he

thought was essential for the structure of the lighthouse to keep standing despite his digging; it

could not be as the journalists had mocked, as it had said in the broken language of the library

books that, once, as a young man, he’d mistaken for fact. It could not be that the lighthouse was just

a brick structure around a spiral staircase on which there were an odd number of steps so that he

was never in the center.

He dug this way until the last day of the ninth year; until he realized he was too tired. He looked up

into the kaleidoscope moonlight, in and out between the iron steps of the staircase. He had not been

digging her heart out but burying his heart in. There was no other way but down. He climbed up the

rungs on the side and sat on the last step, his legs swinging like silly string letters, one after the

other. He had not been digging her heart out but burying his heart in. He looked as far as he could

see into the one man hole he’d buried himself in, with no throbbing heart and no ghostly apparition

to tell him that there was something else underneath the structures that had held him captive,

underneath the ribcage of his animal carcass that had held him captive. There was no way but down.

There was no way but down.

And then the flood came.

At first Gogo thought a well had formed from the years of perspiration. The air began to swell with

a ringing hush and the hair at the nape of his neck stood on end with tiny drops of water beginning

to form at the edges. He licked his top lip and it tasted like the way he imagined his homeland must

taste: the salt of the earth before he was ever a part of it. The water began to fill faster and faster,

white foam began to tide back and forth in time with the swinging staircase. Soon Gogo was a few

feet away from soaking his feet, so that his thoughts became less perplexed than frightened and he

had no choice but to climb. I’ve hit her heart, he thought, and she is bleeding. She is bleeding the

blood of my people and I will drown here with them. And so he began to climb the way any man

who drowns in the reflection of his principles must, even when the journalists and revolutionaries

are not there to see him.

Between the third and fourth step, there were sounds of bubbling behind him, between the eighth

and ninth, the slicing of water like a knife through a pear. He only had enough time to look over his

shoulder before the tide was teaming with fish, an octopus, a shark, a whale— suddenly, the

lighthouse was an anemone between the land he’d left and the land he’d buried himself in. She is

releasing the in-between, he realized, as a stingray lapped around his big toe, brushing the surface

like a paper sailboat that will sink at contact.

Rising to the top of the sixtieth stair, half-swept, half-lost, Gogo gasped for air at the juncture in

between the glass and the last rung. The water subsided patiently at his feet; just below him the

octopus wrapped one tentacle around the rung as if in preparation should the water go back to the

place from which it came. All was still. Gogo looked out through the mirrored glass of the

lighthouse and saw the barren land, a land which had not seen rain in months; and past the miles of

barren land, Gogo saw the outlines of rain clouds. And past the

rain clouds, Gogo could see the chance of rain, and past the rain, Gogo could see the clouds were

the sails of boats coming to take them home.

Gogo saw the boats and Gogo saw the lights of the lantern flicker on. Gogo saw the boats and the

lantern and the light that cast his reflection as a woman in the center of the staircase, from beneath

the water, like a mermaid who’d been hiding in the belly of a shark. The shark unhinged its jaw and

the woman climbed out.

He had not dug out her heart but buried his in.

She had not been sleeping but dreaming his way home.


 

Gina Alexandra is an amateur human but an expert wolf.
On Autotranslation: When younger, I learned all the curse words first. Upon meeting someone with a different language set, I’d quickly swap the worst of the words I knew in my own for theirs and giggle at the sacrilege. It was a rite of passage, an unloading of cultural expectation that no one but my new friend and I would be privy to. We’d whisper them passing each other in the hallways of our school, new to me, an implant from a private Armenian academy, suddenly aware of an accent I had not known I had. The worst of the words I knew had to do with mothers: I’ll tell you, I’d say conspiratorially, but you better never say it out loud. What I mean was that when in my language you insult someone’s mother, it is like insulting the country itself, all of its mothers, the language rooted down in so many generations and almost lost in so many wars that to hold it on the tongue is to hold something like a ball of mercury, smooth and lovely but burst, deadly, poisonous. I know the weight of every word in Armenian, and that weight transfers into my native language, English. Someone asked recently if I think first in English or Armenian and I told them that it took me twenty minutes to remember the word buckwheat because I had only ever heard it said in Armenian when learning how to make a family recipe. I don’t translate the language but my own experience in that language to write it. The experience of the language will tell me what words hold the most weight, how, when I encounter a small animal, a child, someone who I love dearly, almost certainly Armenian words will stream out subconsciously before I’ve had the time to think them in English. I used to think that knowing the curse words of any language would show you where that culture hid its most sacred things but now I think not. In any language, first learn the terms of endearment.

The Defendants Are Found to Be Highly Intelligent*

March 14, 2016 in Fiction by mjdelgad

“Red Adidas? Now tell me, who wears red Adidas? No wonder he got killed,” says the one with the pigtails. (Who makes pigtails?! Are you in kindergarten or something? She must think it’s cute, Lolita or something.) One girl looks at her condescendingly, one can see the contempt in her eyes. “You think this has anything to do with the red Adidas, you dimwit?” says one girl’s best friend. The best friend is the smartest boy in the Sharon area, if not in the entire state of Israel. And one girl is also very very smart and pretty, too. One cannot disclose all the information about them here, due to discreteness and modesty. Let’s call them one girl and the curly one.

One girl and the curly one are best friends, ordinary human beings can’t even imagine this kind of friendship. It is friendship ordained from above, by blood, by poetry. They have an understanding, as they say, that goes deep. So deep that an ordinary person could drown. But they haven’t drowned, they’re good swimmers ‘cause they were sent to swimming lessons at a young age at the ‘Brawn Swimming pool’, Kfar-Saba’s public swimming pool. One girl was a bit pitiful, everything was handed to her on a silver platter, a silver platter bought at the nice department store. For others this was a privilege, for her it was a hardship, she wanted to end it all already. The curly one also got everything handed to him on a silver platter, but in a different style. He was like a prisoner in jail, they would leave him the silver platter outside his room door, knock and leave, leaving him alone with the silver platter.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Rebecca Seaberry

Every single day one girl and the curly one met at the mall and they loved and destroyed everything. They set their little city on fire, burned houses under heavy mortgages, air-conditioned shops and huge parking lots. They set on fire public gardens, public toilets, curtain shops and candy stores. They felt great hatred for their city, they feared never being able to get out of there, even though they would always see bus number 149 driving back and forth along Weizmann Street, taking passengers to Tel Aviv, the big city. They never took it. They would go from the mall to Ussishkin woods, from the mall to the ‘Defenders Garden’, from the mall to the Kiryat-Sapir neighborhood. The mall was their meeting place. They’d say, Let’s meet at five by the water fountain. They hated the mall.

One day they had enough. They said, Let’s do something, let’s kill, ‘cause we are kings of the world! They walked and walked around the city. The curly one said, “Who shall we kill, my dear?” One girl answered, “Anyone.” They laughed hard. And then, boom, they met someone else. Someone else says hi to the curly one and they start talking. “Have you seen this movie?”

And the curly one says, “Yes.” “Have you read this book?”And the curly one says, “Yes.”

One girl taps the curly one’s shoulder, signals someone else to wait a moment and they move away. She whispers in his ear, “Let’s kill him okay?” The curly one nods in approval but doesn’t make a sound.

One girl asks, “Do you have anything to smoke?” Someone else takes out a bag with a bud, “This weed is the shit, it grows in my parents’ yard, organic fertilizer.” One girl is impressed and the three take off together to the Rabin High School sports facility. 

Darkness falls on the small city of Kfar Saba, only the white light of urban streetlights brightens the sky. The three sit by the running track, there’s no one in sight. Sometimes, fired up soldiers-to-be practice here, with fire in their eyes and fire in their arms, wanting to puff up their muscles, wanting to kill Arabs, grrr grrr grrr, but today there’s not a soul in sight.

Someone else has black dreadlocks, perfect blow-job lips, and red Adidas. One girl can’t stand it, naturally. The curly one doesn’t care, he can’t stand anything, nothing at all. One girl notices a discarded iron rod behind them, one of the sports facilities had fallen apart and no one cleared the trash. One girl taps the curly one’s shoulder, signals someone else to wait a moment, and they move away. She whispers in his ear, “Kill him with this, okay?” She points at the iron rod. The curly one nods affirmatively but doesn’t make a sound.

One girl goes back and sits down by someone else. The curly one is lagging behind them, pretending to be peeing.

“Where are you from?” she asks.

“From Hadarim,” someone else points westward.

And then, boom! Crash! What happened? Someone else’s forehead suddenly bled and now he’s dead.

“Run, Run!” One girl shouts and they run, just like that, running off from Rabin High School. Luckily, one girl’s house is really close, just a few hundred meters away. They run, skip, go up the stairs and lock themselves in the bathroom until there’s not a drop of blood left on their bodies and their breathing becomes regular. Now they swear, they swear so much. Now it’s real friendship, there’s no such friendship in the whole world.

Someone else’s body is discovered the next morning.

That night his mom was worried, she said to her husband, “Where’s someone else?” The husband said, “Pfff”, they fell asleep and whatever happened, happened.

*Excerpt from the book Kfar Saba 2000, to be published in Hebrew this year by Penn Publishing, Tel Aviv.


Julia Fermentto is a writer and journalist from Tel Aviv, Israel. Her debut novel, “Safari”, was published in Israel in 2011 and became a Bestseller. Her work has been published in newspapers and anthologies in Israel, Germany, and the United States. Her second novel “Kfar-Saba 2000” will be published in Israel in 2016. She’s a first-year graduate student in the Ph.d program and her main research interest is early 20th century Jewish-American literature.

Julia Fermentto on Autotranslation: Hebrew ceased to be a spoken language somewhere between 200 and 400 CE. Modern Hebrew, my mother-tongue was revived in the late 19th century. Being a Hebrew writer I carry this history whether I like it or not. My mouth speaks an ancient language but my life is post-modern; shopping online, eating skittles, getting bored. This tension is a great source of playfulness in my writing. In English however, this tension doesn’t exist. A new tension arose while translating this short excerpt from Hebrew to English. By undressing the Hebrew speech, my characters can be seen more clearly, which allowed me to understand their feelings much better.

by sciston

Androculous and the Lion

May 30, 2015 in Fiction by sciston

In the Circus Maximus a very magnificent hunting spectacle was given to the people. There were many raging beasts, but above all the others, a lion attracted the attention of everyone with its enormous body and its loud and frightful roar. The slave of a man of consular rank had been led in among many others who had been sacrificed to the battle of the beasts; that slave’s name was Androclus. When that lion saw this man in the distance, suddenly it stood still as if admiring Androclus, and then it approached the man gradually and calmly as if he were a friend. Then the lion moved its tail mildly and charmingly, in the manner of flattering dogs, and fastened itself to the body of the man, who was almost already lifeless with fear, and the lion gently caressed his legs and hands with its tongue. Androclus, in the midst of the blandishments of such a ferocious beast, recovered his lost breath, and little by little brought his eyes toward gazing upon the lion. Then, as if with mutual recognition having been made, you might have seen the man and lion rejoicing with each other.

This wonderful event stirred up very great shouts among the people. Androclus was summoned by the emperor, and was asked the reason why that very ferocious lion spared only him. Then Androclus told an amazing and wonderous story. He said “When my master governed an African province with the authority of a proconsul, I was forced to flee on account of his unjust and daily beatings, I went to the flat, sandy wildernesses so that there would be safer places for me to hide from my master, who was the governor of that land; and if I had been lacking food, my plan was to seek death in some way. Then with the midday sun burning fierce, having found a remote cave full of hiding places, I betook myself into that cave and hid myself there. And not much after, this lion came to the same cave with one paw bloody, weakened and uttering groans and murmurs on account of the pain and torture of its wound. And in that cave, indeed, I was terrified and dismayed at the first sight of the approaching lion, but the lion having entered, after he saw me hiding from far away, the beast approached gentle and kind, and it seemed to extend and show to me its disabled paw, as if for the sake of seeking help. Then I tore out the huge stem sticking into the sole of its paw, and I pressed out the pus from the innermost wound, and now without great fear, I thoroughly dried and cleaned the bloody gore. Then, having been relieved by my help, with its paw placed in my hands, the lion reclined and fell asleep.

From that day, for three whole years the lion and I lived in the same cave and ate the same food. The lion brought to the cave the more fatty limbs of the beasts which he had caught for me, which I ate by roasting in the midday sun, not having the capacity to build a fire. But when I became bored by that wild life, when the lion had departed for its hunt, I left the cave and travelled for about three days, but I was seen and caught by soldiers and was brought back from Africa to my master in Rome. He immediately had me be convicted of a capital charge and handed over to the wild beasts. But I understand that this lion was also captured after I had been separated from it, and now is returning the favor to me for my help and medical treatment.

Androclus said these things; and when all those things written and circulated on a tablet were announced to the people, with all the people begging, Androclus was dismissed and set free from the punishment, and the lion was given to him by the votes of the people. Afterwards, Androclus and the lion, tied with a thin leash, went around to the taverns and throughout the entire city; Androclus was given money, the lion was sprinkled with flowers, and all who met them everywhere shouted “This lion is a friend to that man, and this man is the doctor of that lion.”


By Aulus Gellius
Translated from the Latin by Amber Knight


 

Amber Knight is currently a student at the University of California San Diego, where she is a Classical Studies and History double major. Her main interests include Roman religious traditions, classical rhetoric, and the history of Italy. While Latin is her focus, she also enjoys translating Attic and Homeric Greek. She is an intern for Alchemy and will be studying abroad in Rome this fall.

Aulus Gellius (120-180 AD) was a Latin author best known for his book Noctes Atticae (Attic Nights), in which this story appears.

 

by sciston

Survival

December 20, 2014 in Fiction by sciston


While waiting her turn, her mind flashbacked to the time of the separation — a year she will never forget. It was in early June of 2011 when it was announced that the economies of all countries would be collapsing due to…what? She no longer remembered. Besides, did it matter now? She had just turned 18, she had been born here on the northern border…Aha! She thought, 34 years ago. It seemed to be like a disgrace but now it was the only way to live…well, one would say to survive. First began a shortage of everything: of food, of medicine, of governmental services, and of jobs. In less than six months, the structure of life that everyone had known for years or, rather, centuries had disappeared. Ten more years had to pass so that some type of order could be established. Today, the legal intersection, at least in what is left of our continent, is precisely Tijuana, and the only ones allowed to cross over are the ones that rely on dual citizenship, are authorized, and most importantly, are healthy—since those with the slightest sign of illness are terminated. “20451993,” she overheard. She stood before the tracker, her heart beat loudly…then a robotic voice said, “Clean.”


By Kim Ochoa
Translated, from the Spanish, by Pepe Rojo


SObrevivir

 
Pepe Rojo (1968) has published five books and more than 200 texts (short stories, essays and articles dealing with fiction, media and contemporary culture). He cofounded Pellejo/Molleja (with Deyanira Torres and Bernardo Fernández), an indie publishing firm, and edited SUB (sub-genre literature), NUMERO X (media culture) and PULPO COMICS (mex-sf comics anthology) for them. He has produced several interactive stories for Alteraction, and published two collections of Minibúks (Mexican SF and Counter-versions) at UABC, as well as the graphic intervention “Philosophical Dictionary of Tijuana.” He is currently an MFA Candidate in Writing at UCSD.
 

by sciston

Tijuana: Host of the 2044 Olympic Games + Copyright

December 20, 2014 in Fiction by sciston


TIJUANA: Host of the 2044 Olympic Games

Tijuana, B.C.: Juan Pérez is the first Mexican to win a gold medal in the obstacle course. He exclusively tells us, “My main motivation was that they’ve replaced the hurdles with border walls.”

 

TIJUANA: Copyright

The discussion regarding intellectual rights has risen to such absurd extremes that now Tijuana has been charged with plagiarism. Credit to the authors is demanded or Tijuana will be stripped of its status as a city.


By Edgar Hernández
Translated, from the Spanish, by Pepe Rojo


Olimp

 
Pepe Rojo (1968) has published five books and more than 200 texts (short stories, essays and articles dealing with fiction, media and contemporary culture). He cofounded Pellejo/Molleja (with Deyanira Torres and Bernardo Fernández), an indie publishing firm, and edited SUB (sub-genre literature), NUMERO X (media culture) and PULPO COMICS (mex-sf comics anthology) for them. He has produced several interactive stories for Alteraction, and published two collections of Minibúks (Mexican SF and Counter-versions) at UABC, as well as the graphic intervention “Philosophical Dictionary of Tijuana.” He is currently an MFA Candidate in Writing at UCSD.
 
Edgar Hernández is a Communications grad student from UABC, Tijuana.
 

by sciston

Let’s Go to California Island

December 20, 2014 in Fiction by sciston


I’ve always wanted to visit California Island, the new nation founded after the natural phenomenon known as “The Big One” or “El Grande.” The island that goes from Los Angeles to La Paz is now an arsenal safari: the most dangerous place on Earth, “the Big Tijuana,” as it is also known. You can only get in if you have the right contacts. I’ve kept in touch with a cousin who was stranded in Tijuana, and he tells me he’s looking into it. He has insisted I get one of those hi-tech light steel suits and any firearm I can get my hands on. I don’t have that much money, I tell him. Then don’t even think about coming, cousin. Fuck. I’ve gotta come up with something, because the future is waiting for me on that island. I dreamt it: I killed a faceless man, flew the latest Pegaso and a beautiful blonde sucked me as the earthquake kicked in and the island started to drown while an explosion obliterated us. Way better than starving.


By Néstor Robles
Translated, from the Spanish, by Pepe Rojo


California

 
Pepe Rojo (1968) has published five books and more than 200 texts (short stories, essays and articles dealing with fiction, media and contemporary culture). He cofounded Pellejo/Molleja (with Deyanira Torres and Bernardo Fernández), an indie publishing firm, and edited SUB (sub-genre literature), NUMERO X (media culture) and PULPO COMICS (mex-sf comics anthology) for them. He has produced several interactive stories for Alteraction, and published two collections of Minibúks (Mexican SF and Counter-versions) at UABC, as well as the graphic intervention “Philosophical Dictionary of Tijuana.” He is currently an MFA Candidate in Writing at UCSD.
 
Néstor Robles was born in Guadalajara (1985) but lurks the Tijuana streets since he has memory. He always wanted to be an astronaut but he is a writer, editor and librarian. Bachelor in Hispanic American Language and Literature (UABC), he has taught short story and microfiction worshops, and published a bunch of horror and science fiction stories in mexican literary magazines and anthologies. He directs and edits Monomitos Press (formerly El Lobo y el Cordero), an independent publisher dedicated to the speculative fiction. Blogger: nestorobles.blogspot.com / Twitter: @nrobles.
 

by sciston

Wikipedia 2530

December 20, 2014 in Fiction by sciston


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The concept of Neurostate, proposed by French neurobiologist Paul Vagellard, designates a State where all rights, judicial and cultural norms, have been deliberately modified as a result of a collective schizophrenia affecting all of its members. The form of government in Neurostates is known as psychocracy, where leaders function as psychological regulators for the entire population. Such regulation consists of achieving stability through a transformation of all social, economic, and cultural values specifically adjusted to the schizoid cosmovision shared by the human population of the Neurostate. The mere existence of Neurostates creates a parallel reality situation with the other States of the world, and this has caused a reassessment of the multicultural problem in several contemporary philosophical circles. The first Neurostates were consolidated in the USA, England, and France, as well as in isolated spots in Asia and Southern Africa. However, the first attempt to construct a Neurostate was in a Mexican city called Tijuana, and its failure has been the subject of many investigations.

1. Smith, F. (2523) «Introducción a la neuropolítica clásica». Ed. Scyon. Madrid, Spain.
2. Gutiérrez, A. et al. (2515) «El regreso de la locura: La nueva multiculturalidad desde la desaparición de las etnias no-occidentales». Ed. Zona crítica. México State.
3. Mansfield, R. (2450) «Neurpolitical history of the Americas». Ed. St. Ferguson. Oregon, USA.


By Yevi Oceguera
Translated, from the Spanish, by Pepe Rojo


Wikip

 
Pepe Rojo (1968) has published five books and more than 200 texts (short stories, essays and articles dealing with fiction, media and contemporary culture). He cofounded Pellejo/Molleja (with Deyanira Torres and Bernardo Fernández), an indie publishing firm, and edited SUB (sub-genre literature), NUMERO X (media culture) and PULPO COMICS (mex-sf comics anthology) for them. He has produced several interactive stories for Alteraction, and published two collections of Minibúks (Mexican SF and Counter-versions) at UABC, as well as the graphic intervention “Philosophical Dictionary of Tijuana.” He is currently an MFA Candidate in Writing at UCSD.