Letter from the Editor

June 18, 2018 in Letter from the editor, Uncategorized by aogunmok

Dear Reader,

I am at a loss for where to begin this letter when our theme this issue is dedicated to such a powerful abstraction as love/(un)love. Luckily, we’ve been gifted with art and literature that not only speaks these words but stretches into the beyond. In these unsavory times, we have decided to dedicate this summer issue of Alchemy to love and all its power. I’ve been privileged to work with an editorial board that never ceased to bring their compassionate and hardworking selves to every meeting to put this special issue together. Jointly, we’ve selected work to bring curiosity to your heart’s mind.

For the first time, Alchemy has included a video among our contributions! Our cover artwork is accompanied by a translation from Tamil to Spanish by Sindhu Thirumalaisamy. The video, “Cada flor tiene”, can be accessed by clicking the link on our website as well as this link, here. Thirumalaisamy describes this as “the unfolding of a conversation between the artist and her grandmother. Moving associatively through different sonic and verbal cues, the flowers unfold what, in the film are noted as ‘a myriad intimacies, largely unknown’: Parkinson’s, work, nerves, air, honey, language, memory.”

Our enthusiasm of this poetry-focused issue continues with Maria Bartlett’s translation of “Poema cotidiano”, an alluring depiction of hair-washing and self-care. E. Rose’s translation of “El Ensueño” reveals a yearning, ceaseless heart; one that mirrors the pain of Lorena Espinoza’s translation of “Un Perrro Ha Muerto”. The frothier section of contributions in this issue includes Azura FairChild’s translation of “You and Thou”, Joel G. Burke’s translation of “Ode to ‘Oranges’”, and Janie N. Paz’s translation of “Amor de Colibrí”.

We’re proud to unveil this issue of Alchemy. We hope you enjoy and find a little love in this too.

 

Many thanks for reading,

AAO

 

“Petrushka”

March 29, 2018 in Uncategorized by aogunmok

translated, from the Spanish, by Ayden LeRoux

Like an therld sailor, he scans the horizon with his binoculars. He doesn’t look at the blue horizon line though; his eyes follow the serpentine sketch of the road that crosses through the hills that lay in front of his house. The red Volkswagen weaves by.

Although his binoculars are the strongest from the market, he cannot discern who drives the car. He only sees the car, but that doesn’t matter. He knows that in seconds he won’t be able to see the car anymore; it will disappear from his field of vision until another day, or perhaps forever. Two more curves and the tunnel will have swallowed the car. One more curve before the succession of tunnels that cross the hills of the coast, a curve that meant a saved life, carved out by men who were “lucky” to be spared by war, but then forced to dig the tunnels nearly with their nails. That tunnel had nothing special to differentiate it from the rest of the 20 tunnels that he knew so well. Each minute, each second, a car crossed the road and disappeared below the earth. The strange thing would be not seeing a car on that road that was so well travelled. But the expectation was there, waiting for the red Volkswagen to slowly come closer, until being devoured by the tunnel.

This morning the red Volkswagen arrives fifteen minutes late, but travelling at the same speed as always. If all went the same, it would slow down a little bit before entering the tunnel and then disappear. It seemed strange that the Volkswagen didn’t accelerate even though it was fifteen minutes late. If the car didn’t try to hurry, without a doubt it would arrive late to wherever it wanted to go.

From the first moment that the binoculars focused on the vehicle, it was clear that the car was driven by a woman, or he desired it to be that way. Frankly, it was a pleasant surprise that the Volkswagen came back a second day, and even more delightful that it came back on the third day…at first he examined every last detail of the car, trying to convince himself that it really was the same one. Once he became convinced, that car became his motive to set the alarm clock at the same time each night before going to sleep, like he had a destination to return to each morning, like that red Volkswagen.

It was all ritual. He got up an hour before, showered, shaved and got dressed as if he had a date with someone he wanted to impress. After breakfast, when he had drained the last of the coffee from his cup, he noted the excitement of the moment, the uncertainty it gave his life. He unsheathed the binoculars. Slowly and carefully he cleaned the lenses, hung them around his neck and went out onto the terrace. He sat in one of the wicker chairs with his elbows on the table and focused on the road. And so he waited.

Some days when the red Volkswagen appeared, the morning sun motivated him to get out of bed as it blinded him, hitting the windshield. The car swallowed the road until it arrived at the tunnel and when it disappeared beneath the hillside Spanish Firs, he was left with only the day and its slow hours.

He walked on the beach to the town. He walked slowly because he knew even if he hurried to the newsstand it would be too early for it to be open. Two kilometers going there slowly, two others returning much more quickly. If he spent too much time away from the house he would have an anxiety attack. Four kilometers alone, in silence.

He turns the key in the lock of the door twice and returns to his home, he pauses a few seconds in front of the calendar that hangs in one of the corners of the entrance. On the calendar, a man speaks with another in a small café. The other man quietly lights a pipe, on the table lays a crystal glass on a little plate and a book without a title. It’s the 20s. The images of period cars are painted across a revolving door, bearing witness to a time that is no more, a reminder of the car he sees each morning. At the bottom of the calendar beneath the photo, it reads “November 1992”.

He will leaf through the newspaper, review the names in the obituaries and at mid-morning, when sounds of the screams of children who play at the beach and the music of cars that stop at the plaza swell up with the sea to his balcony, then he will close the window and he will wish with all of his strength for the end of the day and this damn month. On top of the television, a calendar much smaller than the one in the entrance of his house indicated with red letters that the other lied, that its time had already passed and should be thrown out. “August, 2003”.

He will look for another box and entertain the hours that remain until evening by reviewing papers, scavenging in that past including the “November” of the old calendar. He will do anything to stay awake. Before, he was spying on the people at the beach with his binoculars, observing their gestures, their behaviors, inventing their lives, imagining that maybe one day he too would have a day like them and someone would observe him from a hidden corner and fabricate his life. They might even look at him with envy, with desire. But now he couldn’t even think of another use for the binoculars that was not in the morning finding his red Volkswagen winding rapidly to the tunnel.

At 11 PM on the dot he went to bed and before shutting off the light, he set up the alarm to go off at 7:05. Another day had passed, now he was left only with falling asleep and waiting for morning.

The pale face of a middle-aged woman came close to his face. She had long black hair that fell on her shoulders. Her eyes were slanted and she had a great smile. She held his cheeks with both hands and lowered her face until her lips could kiss him. He pressed his lips to keep the warm sweet flavor of her mouth. When his head reacts and lucidity returns to him, he becomes conscious that this was impossible because he is alone and it is night and that he was sleeping. Even before he presses the light switch, he senses someone else has gotten up, the mattress rising as it becomes freed from the weight of another. A thousandth, a second until he turns on the light and confirms that everything has been a happy dream—though his lips still seem to have the essence of a distinct flavor, different from all other flavors.

The needles of the watch mark 8:05. A few rays of light are cast through the slats of the shutters. In a jump he rises to the balcony and on his way knocks aside the aspidistra with the magazine rack and the stool he usually uses as a footrest. Without changing speed or direction, he extends his left arm and, from the kitchen counter, pulls the leather strap of the binoculars. He feels pain in his legs with each stride, but he knows that it is impossible to stop to look at the damage he caused—in the room and in his own body. As he opens the glass doors of the balcony, the fresh breeze of the morning hits his chest forcefully and he realizes that he is not dressed. It is too early and the contrast between the heat of the bed and the cold of the outdoors is very strong. Today there is no ritual, there is no dust cloth to clean the lenses. He jams the binoculars to his face and, hardly having focused the binoculars, crazily scans the road. His heart beats strongly against his chest, a lump in his throat chokes him and the cold and the damp of the sea scrapes his bones. But there it is, worth the trouble, able to arrive on time to see how the hill engulfs the back of his red Volkswagen.

Today the world is in reverse. This morning he doesn’t feel like making French Toast or pancakes. He doesn’t feel like getting dressed in his usual fashion to impress the driver if he has already gone out to the balcony half-naked. Now he only was left with going in to town and picking up the paper. He picked the aspidistra up from the floor and caressed the leaves carefully removing the soil that had fallen on them. He asked himself if it was possible that the plant would even live. Later he drank his coffee quickly, dressed himself in a careless manner and began the walk to the town.

He walks near the shore. He walks erect and it seems the sea itself doesn’t want to get his white shoes wet. It would seem that the waves were dodging his feet and not the other way around. He looks at the stones on the shore and from time to time he stops to pick one up. One thought occupies his mind today: almost not arriving on time to see the red Volkswagen.

On his way home he removes his jacket—the sun is already high and it is getting hotter. Each day there are more people in the town. It is afternoon and he has the feeling that he will not hurry on the two kilometers on his way back again. At the altitude of the path and with the morning the motorcycles passing noisily and families are settling their lives in a patch of sand for the day, it all would have provoked an attack of anxiety in him.  But in that moment, his head was occupied with coming up with a way to not stay sleeping at 7:05 in the morning.

The old calendar is the first to receive him as always when he enters the house. And he, already from the elevator, anticipates the image of the drawing. One time, upon putting the key in the lock, he had the sensation that when he opened the door there would only be a hole where the calendar had been before. At times it was such a real feeling, so strong, that it frightened him and he entered the hall almost without lifting his gaze from the ground because he was scared that it would have actually happened.

He prepares his strategy for the night. He heats a large cup of coffee and browses the bookshelves looking for something to read.  He has everything very calculated. He will listen to the radio until two when one of the night programs that interests him finishes. Meanwhile, so that sleep doesn’t win him over, he will organize the three remaining boxes. He doesn’t know why he never finishes looking through them. After he will start the book of his choosing, he will drink more coffee and wait for the light of day to prepare a succulent breakfast and be ready for the arrival of his car. Red was always his favorite color. That will be, starting today, his new routine, his new schedule. After, when the car has gone, he will lie down and sleep while the people bear the heat of August in the dirty waters. He rubs his hands, smiles and sits in front of his desk, willing to fulfill his new schedule.

“Petrushka”! He knew that “Petrushka” was the piece playing on the radio. The sound had occupied the space in his house so many times that he stopped hating Stravinski. He wanted to think that the piece was not playing as a coincidence, that somewhere they were specially dedicating it to him. He turned up the volume on the radio and closed his eyes and the friendly face that had snatched sleep from him the night before returned to mind.

There was no reading that night, there was no more radio, nor was there more coffee. He didn’t need anything to keep himself awake. After ten years he finally got through the last three boxes that were left and when he finished with the last, the day was already dawning. He had complied with the schedule.

While he showered he felt a strange restlessness, a pressure in his chest, an inner nervousness and worry that could be ascribed to the coffee at breakfast or maybe to the fact that he hadn’t slept all night…he was prepared. In front of the mirror he said to himself, “Sharp as a button” and he didn’t like his deep voice, mature, echoing in that room.

In the room, a disaster of empty boxes scattered between the furniture received him at exactly the right time. He was well dressed, had eaten breakfast and even put on cologne. He stood still in the middle of the room, ready to take his binoculars and go out into the cold morning, he threw a last look at the boxes devoid of ten years of doubts, of silence and fear, and he realized the origin of his strange restlessness. All the boxes were already empty.

Above the last roof, in the last line of white houses, farther than the neon signs of the gas station, behind the last curve and just before the tunnel, at 8:05 AM on the dot, the flashing yellow light of ambulances entered the lenses of the binoculars.

Ayden LeRoux

Ayden LeRoux is an artist, critic, educator, and the author of Isolation & Amazement (Samsara Press, 2012) and Odyssey Works (Princeton Architectural Press, 2016). LeRoux’ photography, performance, video, and installations have been presented in solo exhibitions at IDIO Gallery, Flux Factory, and the Institute for American Art (IFAA), as well as in group shows at chashama and the International Photography Festival, among others. She is a contributor to Glasstireand her work has been published by or is forthcoming from Electric Literature, Cosmonauts Avenue, Public Books, edibleManhattan, and Works & Conversationsamong othersShe is an MFA candidate in Cross-Genre Writing at UCSD.

“A Study of Self-Mutilation”

March 1, 2018 in Uncategorized by aogunmok

Note By Translators

 

The incumbent under secretary of education, Dr Choi Yuk-lin, is a figure of controversy in Hong Kong’s political scene. A pro-Beijing figure in the pan-democrat field of education, her nomination for office at the education bureau was regarded as either contempt towards the will of teachers (not an unfounded suspicion for her unsuccessful candidacy at the LegCo functional constituency election for education) or that she carries with her an ulterior agenda, possibly National Education due to her own political leanings. Her eldest son committed suicide recently and the tragedy drew polarised and varied responses from the Internet, social media, and amongst politically-active university students, epitomised by a slogan stapled on a public display board congratulating her loss at a local university. A good portion of fury directed against Dr Choi seems to be founded in frustration against former office holders of the Education holders, including the former Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim and Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun. The media and government officials have generally condemned the Schadenfreude aimed at Dr Choi in the past week.

 

A Study of Self-Mutilation

 

Some people deny the inevitable nihilism that stems from such disillusionment; they insist on being back at the negotiating table and maintaining dialogue with the “Central Government”. These are usually men of age who have lost their sensitivity in life. That is their blessing. The searing reality of the scorched earth under our feet can be too much to bear for some. Those who are too young are spirited and their senses sharp as a blade; they are acutely aware of the situation, unable to lull themselves into self-deception. When one cannot fool oneself, then it all boils down to that critical moment when we ask ourself “to be or not to be”, whether to continue our hollow existence or put it to a sharp halt?

 

Choi Yuk-lin has lost her son. As the elite jump to castigating students for rubbing salt in her wound by congratulating her loss, two more suicides have taken place. One of the victims is twenty four, the other sixteen. Both of them jumped off a building.

 

Since 2015, there has been more than 70 cases of student suicides. Every case has been equally tragic. And yet, the elite have never taken the issue to heart. The deceased are criticized for their fragility, their lack of endurance and their “lack of life-planning”. When the elite make such remarks, the Righteous and the Morally Upright Gentlemen of our society never stand out to comment on their cold-bloodedness; no denouncement at press conferences, nor evisceration in the newspaper.

 

It has been asked: Why do Hong Kong’s youth keep killing themselves? This is a great question indeed![1] Upon finding an explanation, you will see Hong Kong’s “Zeitgeist”. If you want to understand the circumstances Hong Kong’s youth or the majority of Hongkongers are facing, you should go and watch the animated movie Sausage Party.

 

Although the movie is filled with profane jokes, it meditates upon an austere subject — how man faces fear when the mythical powers of legends and paradigms have been extinguished. The main characters of Sausage Party consist of a band of food products, such as hot dog buns, sausages, tacos, chewing gum and so on. They are all waiting at the supermarket to be purchased by their human patrons. These food products believe that they will enter a better world after they have been purchased. Although they do not know what the afterworld is like, nor have food products come back to report on what happened to them, they believe that the future would be bright, and that it holds nothing worrisome in store.

 

Later, a bottle of mustard found out about the “truth.” Human beings would slice them apart, cook them, and digest them in their stomachs. They would be brutally tortured by human beings in the kitchen. And thus the religion of the food products shattered, with them descending into a flight of panic. But of course, the protagonist was a strong-spirited food product. He gathered himself and led his fellow food products in search of the supermarket’s exit, uniting them in a fight against the ruthless humans.

 

This story is postmodern and chthonic — for the food products, human beings are supernatural gods. The food products realize only too late that these gods may not be benevolent — gods too, may be brutal; the humans of the contemporary world too abruptly realize that the laws made by God no longer exist; that everything is but a kangaroo court. The abrupt implosion of their strongly held beliefs can be too much for the average person to bear.

 

When the food products were told the truth, some were in denial, planning to return to the shelves to be purchased, while others went crazy and mutilated themselves.

 

What young Hongkongers are facing is a battlefield that weaves together the degenerate economy, rapid circulation of information created by the expanding internet and psyches that mature too early. Young Hongkongers will have to face fierce competition from all over the world, and the adults tell them that, should they be able to endure all of this, good will come to them – and perhaps – meaning may even be found in this pursuit.

 

But young Hongkongers do not have to mature into adulthood to understand that this isn’t true. Through various channels, they become aware that the successful endurance of all this merely leads into another hell, perhaps another hell of a deeper layer. When they become entrapped in the fierce struggles created by the educational system, only to realize that what is waiting for them are student debts repayment, routine working hours from nine to five — all of which fails to garner them even a pinpoint of space on which to carve out their livelihoods, that they have no control over their own destiny — then they realise the futility and hollowness of their suffering and endurance today.

 

Like followers of Jesus who endured the jaws of lions, oppression, crucifixion, they endured because they believed that their suffering would end one day, that their suffering meant something, and that they will ultimately be rewarded. Even terrorists who release bombs hold the image of the 72 virgins and that of heaven in mind. But young Hongkongers already know what the future holds for them. Through objective salary figures and prices indices, they are already prescient of what life holds in store for them.

 

Disillusioned, but still caged in our educational system, one is still subject to the endless competition and comparison; they have heard too many examples of corruption between officials and corporations – the myth that you reap what you sow has become bankrupt. The belief that the Chinese is the paradigm of gentility, goodness, respect, modesty, and courtesy, has been extinguished by the implementation of the Individual Visit Scheme (自由行) as well. Hongkongers thought that by settling the dust of their past lives, by acknowledging their ancestors and returning to their roots, by learning to be “Chinese” — they could preserve their own freedom and human rights. And thus the myth that China would grant universal suffrage for the executive and the legislature was shattered too.

 

Some people deny the inevitable nihilism that stems from such disillusionment; they insist on being back at the negotiating table and maintaining dialogue with the “Central Government”. These are usually men of age, who have lost their sensitivity in life. That is their blessing. The searing reality of the scorched earth under our feet can be too much to bear for some. Those who are too young are spirited and their senses sharp as a blade; they are acutely aware of the situation, unable to lull themselves into self-deception. When one cannot fool oneself, then it all boils down to that critical moment when we ask ourself “to be or not to be”, whether to continue our hollow existence or put it to a sharp halt?

 

It is not that young Hongkongers are particularly fragile, it is only that they happen to be on the frontline of the battle, as reflected by the fact of their mass suicides. Hong Kong’s educational reforms led to the collapse of today’s norms, disorientating both students and teachers, eventually rendering the pursuit of life and education pointless. Thus suicidal behavior were most common among them. In comparison, psychological issues and suicidal behavior are absent among those whose interests and norms are not affected by the reforms (such as parents, officials, civil servants) because the paradigms of those with vested interests — the elite — their myths, their psyche, their sense of direction, have remained basically unchallenged in these twenty years.

 

Why have so many local university students been discussing localism and lauding the idea of Hong Kong independence? This is because they are the ones who suffer the most from the dissolution of Hong Kong’s myths and paradigms. Our universities have become swarmed with more and more Chinese people; more classes are now taught in Mandarin; requirements of academic exchanges to mainland China have been implemented; Chinese has been taught in simplified characters; a Mandarin language requisite must be fulfilled for graduation; the elite write off grievances by telling the youth to immigrate, demanding that they find employment in mainland China. University administrators keep a facade of morality whilst consuming and feeding on the oppressed.  This set of actions is a foreign one which is utterly incompatible with the “Hongkongness” that they possess and have always insisted upon in action.

 

The legends of the past have become bankrupt, and thus they need to find other things as their anchor of faith, hoping it will bring them peace of mind. These things may be democracy, independence, student movements, or other forms of “resistance”. Although the reasons for which these 70 people killed themselves may be different, they are drawn against the same backdrop – drastic and sudden changes in society, the absence of guidance and order. When the Ice Age came, all the mammoths died. It was not that mammoths were particularly fragile, but because they could not get used to such drastic changes in climate.

 

Only in death can one sense the cyclical nature of life. The sensation of purpose and order helps one live on. Without them, any additional moment to life would seem a drag. To feel life is too long for one to live is an excruciating pain.

 

Hong Kong is being colonized. Injustices have been taking place regularly. The moral paradigm of “good and bad” has long since broken down. At the protests against national education, there was a banner that proclaimed, “I was taught to be humane, just, polite and astute when I was small, but then they taught me to bury my conscience when I grew up.” (細個教我仁義禮智,大個要我埋沒良知) When you understand this fact, what is the point in education? Since there is no meaning in education, the pain in going to school becomes even harder to withstand.

 

I cannot pretend to be optimistic. What I can be certain of is that the youth will continue to mutilate themselves, because we are living in a society where the older generation is extremely impatient with the young, where they unite and use society’s resources to eviscerate their own people, impose tyranny upon the young and demand the youth to vacate if they take issue with something. Until we can build a new and dependable order, a new paradigm, a new identity and a new home to which they are willing to commit and find shelter, until they could find a new way to survive in society. When all “movements” have been crushed and shredded to pieces by reality, self-mutilation is perhaps one of the rare opportunities with which Hong Kong people can experience “agency”. Of course there is nothing good about self-mutilation, and yet there is always a story and a mechanism behind each and every case.

 

The meditation of death can bring clairvoyance. And yet, those who step traverse the shadows of death may not have the strength to emerge from them. Should there be survivors, they will be no doubt be twisted by their experiences of death. And thus they will learn to hate, and they will fight for their lives. Forgive them for being primal beings with a survival instinct indeed, they are neither meek, mild, prim nor proper. And yet the animal’s howl of survival is better than many hypocritical mandarins being all “holier-than-thou” in their ivory towers; the vulgar, unforgiving cries of struggling beasts are better than cannibal chiefs who know how to be moralistic, and bloviate about Qian Mu, quote Mandela or whatever, simply because they know how to dine on human flesh with forks and knives.

 

 

Joy Zhu

Article translated by Joy Zhu with the help of the editorial team of Hong Kong Columns Translated. Joy is a recent graduate of Middlebury College. She attends The New Normal, Strelka Institute as of 2018. She translated Lam Wing-kee’s ordeal and her work also appeared in Brooklyn Magazine. Her portfolio can be found here.

 

This article originally appeared in SOS Reader in Chinese. The author of the article is Lewis Loud. Born in 1990, he is one among many Hongkongers who cling tightly to their Hong Kong identities. A popular columnist, Lewis is more commonly known as the “Hall-Master” (堂主) of his blog named “Hall of No Desire” (無待堂).

 

 

[1](大哉問) http://www.cnculture.net/ebook/jing/sishu/lunyu_en/03.html

by

“For a loaf of bread,”

May 21, 2017 in Uncategorized by

به خاطر یک قرص نان
کلاهمان را به احترام دوست و دشمن
از سر برداشتیم.

دوست نیشخندی زد
و دشمن بی اعتنا از کنارمان عبور کرد

در پایان
دست ها و کلاه هایمان
روی هوا معلق ماندند.


Rasool Yoonan, a poet, playwright, novelist, and translator, was born in 1969 in Urmia, Iran. His debut collection of poetry, Good Day My Dear, was published in 1998. Further collections include Concert in Hell, I Was a Bad Boy, Carrying the Piano Down the Stairs of an Icy Hotel, Be Careful; Ants Are Coming, and Skiing on the Housetops. Yoonan’s most recent publications are three chapbooks of micro fiction: You Idiot! We’re Dead; Damn It, Pick Up the Phone; and See You in Hell.
Yoonan’s poetry has also been translated to Armenian and French.


For a loaf of bread,
we took off our hats
in deference to friend and foe.

The friend snickered,
and the foe walked past us with indifference.

In the end,
our hands and hats stayed suspended in the air.


Siavash Saadlou was born and raised in Iran. He is a writer, literary translator, and teacher. Saadlou is the authorized translator of Rasool Yoonan, the minimalist Iranian poet. His translations have appeared in Washington Square Review, Indian Review, Visions International, Blue Lyra Review, Writing Disorder, and Asymptote. He is an MFA creative writing candidate and a teaching fellow at Saint Mary’s College of California.


 

by

“Neither hell,”

May 21, 2017 in Poetry, Uncategorized by

 

نه جهنم،
نه بهشت
مرد فقیر دم مرگ
تنها به بدهی هایش فکر می کند


Rasool Yoonan, a poet, playwright, novelist, and translator, was born in 1969 in Urmia, Iran. His debut collection of poetry, Good Day My Dear, was published in 1998. Further collections include Concert in Hell, I Was a Bad Boy, Carrying the Piano Down the Stairs of an Icy Hotel, Be Careful; Ants Are Coming, and Skiing on the Housetops. Yoonan’s most recent publications are three chapbooks of micro fiction: You Idiot! We’re Dead; Damn It, Pick Up the Phone; and See You in Hell.


Neither hell,
nor heaven.
The poor man thinks
only about his debts at death’s door.


Siavash Saadlou was born and raised in Iran. He is a writer, literary translator, and teacher. Saadlou is the authorized translator of Rasool Yoonan, the minimalist Iranian poet. His translations have appeared in Washington Square Review, Indian Review, Visions International, Blue Lyra Review, Writing Disorder, and Asymptote. He is an MFA creative writing candidate and a teaching fellow at Saint Mary’s College of California.


 

by

Sentimento Latente

May 15, 2017 in Poetry, Spanish, Uncategorized by

SENTIMENTO LATENTE

Sob a luz do luar
Feliz a cantar
Era um sonho que um dia
Ia acabar

Calaram-me
Desaparecimentos iam ocorrer
Logo então
Exilaram-me

Essa tortura logo
Me enlouqueceu
Mas não me esqueceu

Então me lembrei
Que este país
É meu,
É seu,
E eu lutarei.


Gabriela Helena de Oliveira Borges was born on November 25, 2000, in a city in the interior of São Paulo, Brazil, called Franca.  She is the third and youngest child of a fierce and kind couple.  She was educated in private secondary schools and it was in the first of these, Escola de Arte Criativa Toulouse Lautrec, that she discovered the magic of art and developed her charm for writing, always with the support of her family.  For two consecutive years she won first place in the school poetry competition and she never stopped writing.  She currently attends hight school at Novo Colégio, in her home city


LATENT FEELING

Under the moonlight
Happily singing
There was a dream that one day
It would end

They shut me up
Disappearances would occur
Soon after
They exiled me

This torture soon
Made me go crazy
But it didn’t pass me by

Then I remembered
That this country is mine,
Is yours,
And I will fight.


Tucson, Arizona born-and-raised, Shelby London Salemi practices capoeira angola and is earning her MFA in Writing at the University of California San Diego.  Her writing has appeared in the online journal Spiral Orb and the 2016 print anthology The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide.  She is working on her first novel.


 

by

Alma Dubia

May 15, 2017 in Poetry, Spanish, Uncategorized by

ALMA DUBIA

Os raios solares
Que ultrapassam a janela
Até parecem
Partes de mim
Que querem ser libertadas
Não sei de onde vem
Esse desejo
De ser diferente
Mas fazer parte ao mesmo tempo.

Quero ser aqueles raios
Que ultrapassam a janela
E se sobressaem.
Quero ser aquela flor
No meio do deserto.
E mesmo assim,
Continuarei sendo
Uma gota no oceano.


Gabriela Helena de Oliveira Borges was born on November 25, 2000, in a city in the interior of São Paulo, Brazil, called Franca.  She is the third and youngest child of a fierce and kind couple.  She was educated in private secondary schools and it was in the first of these, Escola de Arte Criativa Toulouse Lautrec, that she discovered the magic of art and developed her charm for writing, always with the support of her family.  For two consecutive years she won first place in the school poetry competition and she never stopped writing.  She currently attends hight school at Novo Colégio, in her home city.


SUSPECT SOUL

The sunbeams
That transcend the window
Almost resemble
Parts of me
That want to be freed
I don’t know from whence it comes
This desire
To be different
But to be a part at the same time.

I want to be those beams
That transcend the window
And that become visible.
I want to be that flower
In the middle of the desert.
Even so,
I will continue being
A drop in the ocean.


Tucson, Arizona born-and-raised, Shelby London Salemi practices capoeira angola and is earning her MFA in Writing at the University of California San Diego.  Her writing has appeared in the online journal Spiral Orb and the 2016 print anthology The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide.  She is working on her first novel.


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“I underestimated your body”

May 15, 2017 in Poetry, Spanish, Uncategorized by

Subestimei seu corpo
Corroído por sua alma.
Subestimei sua mente
Iludida por seu coração
Subestimei até aquilo à minha mão.

Mas não subestimarei
Aqueles que me amam
Porque sem eles
Simplesmente
Não seria
Eu.


Gabriela Helena de Oliveira Borges was born on November 25, 2000, in a city in the interior of São Paulo, Brazil, called Franca.  She is the third and youngest child of a fierce and kind couple.  She was educated in private secondary schools and it was in the first of these, Escola de Arte Criativa Toulouse Lautrec, that she discovered the magic of art and developed her charm for writing, always with the support of her family.  For two consecutive years she won first place in the school poetry competition and she never stopped writing.  She currently attends hight school at Novo Colégio, in her home city.


I underestimated your body
Corroded    by   your    soul.
I underestimated your mind
Deluded      by   your   heart

I underestimated even that within my reach.
But I will not underestimate
Those people that love me
Because without them
I simply wouldn’t
Be
Me.


Tucson, Arizona born-and-raised, Shelby London Salemi practices capoeira angola and is earning her MFA in Writing at the University of California San Diego.  Her writing has appeared in the online journal Spiral Orb and the 2016 print anthology The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide.  She is working on her first novel.

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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.

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Letter from the editor

November 2, 2016 in Letter from the editor, Uncategorized by

Movement defines us, but the action of clashing shapes us.

This issue is dedicated to the savage beauty of encountering the different, the opposite, the paradoxical, and being able to inhabit it in active and dynamic ways. Writing, re-writing, erasing, destroying, and everything that comes between an original and its translation, in the broadest sense of the word, is built within the limits of the encounter with the other person, text, world. This encounter could be an explosion or a junction; could be a sign of change or a prophecy to remain the same. Translating is always transforming both the source and the new creation.

This issue is my first as Alchemy’s incoming 2017-18 editor, and I’ve collaborated on it with last year’s editor in chief, Majo. I would like to extend a special note of thanks to Majo for making this issue possible, a person who has been living and drawing inspiration from clashing cultures, who never hesitated to make me feel that this issue was also my creative project. This feeling of authorial and editorial fluidity is one thing that gives Alchemy its flavor. I’d also like to thank Aia Hawari, Alchemy’s fantastic new assistant editor, for her collaboration in this issue; and to Daniel Lara Cardona, for his striking photography.

As always, we are proud to show groundbreaking works: Daniel Centeno Maldonado y Alfonso J. Gustave deliver an amazing short piece of fiction a about a woman that “is Janis, Aretha, and Edith Piaf all mixed into one” and collides between the limits of beats and sound in Cuba and New York. Daniela Camacho and Majo Delgadillo share a piece of powerful poetry that draws in itself the very beautiful state of grief. Eleanor Hill and anonymous remember the everlasting lucidity of Mallarmé and Verlaine. Izabela Zdun translated a remarkable piece from Michał Paweł Markowski, which states touchingly that the anthropology of literature is “a lovely, really lovely science.”

Enjoy this crossing,

V