Infinite Jawn

Infinite Jawn

Article by Jason Edelstein; art by Wayan Buschman

I fell victim to a linguistic virus during my sophomore year of college. It ate away at my vocabulary and left me and the people I interacted with in a hazy state of ambiguity, never knowing exactly what I was saying. Due to the severity of the virus, my memory of this period in my life is disordered and vague. But, having since recovered, I’ll try my best to describe how this jawn happened. 

Write How You Want To

Write How You Want To

Article by David Andrews; art by Isabel Aurichio

Nicanor Parra can’t hear shit. The long white hairs growing out of his ears don’t help the situation. At 103 years old, he is gaunt, deaf, and permanently hunched. He spends most of his days wrapped in blankets, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. He’s physically withering away, but the Chilean poet retains the same sharp intellect that destroyed, lampooned, and then reenvisioned South American poetry during his 60-plus year career.

Put Down Your Phone

Put Down Your Phone

Article by Rachel Frizell; art by Jessie Sheldon

When I was 14, a couple of friends and I entered a subway station in lower Manhattan and were greeted by a half-naked man holding a rubber chicken. A crowd had already surrounded him on the platform, taking pictures of his tattered cardboard sign, which read, “Matthew Silver: The Great Performer.” The man extended his arm to me, squawked, and invited the three of us to “chicken dance” with him.

The Stone Girl

The Stone Girl

Story by Kendal McGinnis; art by Alex Confer

He was soft because I conditioned him every Thursday night in the bathtub. He was soft as rosemary. Or, rosemary from dad’s garden on lamb chops in the winter. He smelled the way the kitchen smells after lamb chops in the winter, with mint sauce. Soft as rainwater. Dart was at once deep and shallow. Intense and blithe. Bouts of neuroses and self-loathing.

On Punching Nazis

On Punching Nazis

Article by Catherine Sinow; art by Caroline Li

Swastikas and rainbow flags don’t usually go together. But at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ rights rally this past July, a swastika-sporting man almost flew under the radar. The man, in a green hat with a Reichsadler pin, was scribbling on a notepad and taking photos as transgender activists proudly took the stand at City Hall—he was “taking down names and descriptions,” said Gabe Palcic, Chair of the Colorado Springs Socialists, a group present at the rally. “And if it’s a person wearing a swastika, obviously that’s going to be [used for] something malevolent.”

The Brotherhood of Luigi and the Bad CGI Rats

The Brotherhood of Luigi and the Bad CGI Rats

Article by Catherine Sinow; art by Caroline Li

You have probably heard of the 2007 Pixar hit “Ratatouille.” However, you have probably not heard of its Brazilian rip-off, “Ratatoing.” It features terrifyingly awful CGI, ear-grating voice acting, repeated footage just to eat up time, and the kind of dialogue you’d only expect to hear in a beginning fiction workshop. Being the kind of person I am, I have not only heard of this movie, but I have seen it twice.

The Price of Progress

The Price of Progress

Article by Montana Bass; art by Valerie Hanna

I spent this past summer at a job that doubled as a climate change crash course. I went in cautiously concerned, became alarmed by day three, and was absolutely terrified by the end of June. By the time I met Peter Fiekowsky in mid-July, I was frequently waking up in the middle of the night in the throes of climate calamity nightmares.

A Practiced Disrespect

A Practiced Disrespect

Article by Sonya Padden; art by Isabel Aurichio

"I can't kiss you now," he said after coming in my mouth. “I think I’m going to go smoke… what are you going to do now?” As if it should have been obvious that nothing else was going to happen in that bedroom. I put on my clothes and left. 

That night I felt a complicated type of pain. It hurt not just because I felt disrespected (that wasn’t the first or last time), but because I’d blatantly disrespected myself.

Jared Polis' Pink Ceiling

Jared Polis' Pink Ceiling

Article by Nathan Makela; art by Wayan Buschman

I discovered Congressman Jared Polis one afternoon while I was on the prowl—not for hookups, but for gay role models. As a gay man myself, with a disappointingly small amount of high-profile gay people to look up to, I find myself prowling quite often. Polis was brought into my periphery because he is the representative from Colorado’s 2nd congressional district. I have only lived in the state for about three years, but it’s good to know there are more of us out there. 

Letter from the Editor

Dear Reader,

I’d like to begin this letter with a hypothetical but familiar story. There’s a girl we probably all know. Let’s call her Sally. Sally is shy, demure, and would never step on anyone’s toes. You’ve never known her to be even the least bit confrontational, let alone shocking. Then, one day, in the middle of a casual conversation, Sally says something like, “Fuck that asshole.”

Letter from the editor - Ego

Dear Reader,

One of the things that makes writing both difficult and worthwhile is the way we all tend to identify with the stories we write. When I’ve worked hard on a piece and someone says something like, “Ethan, you write like a fourth grader,” something in me wants to curl up in a corner and die. And it gets even more complicated because we editors identify not only with our own work, but also with that of our writers. 

Views from Combaté

Photo essay by Leo Turpan

At 1 p.m. last New Year’s Eve I found myself fifty miles outside of Havana following a young Cuban man down an unkempt dirt road leading into the village of Combaté. His name was Johan, and I had met him an hour before agreeing to go. The town to which we were headed consisted of a hundred or so small concrete homes, and we were heading to Johan’s girlfriend’s cousin’s house, where he had assured me I would find authentic scenes of Cuban life.

“Inside the home, on a day of festivities, this is where real Cuban life exists, not out in the streets of crumbling architecture,” he had told me

Inked

Interviews by Eliza Fitz; art by Kat Gentry

Emily Fitzgerald / Tattoo: Five orchid flowers, on her right shoulder

It’s a remembrance of my grandpa. He was an orchid farmer for his whole life, and he died of lung cancer three years ago, and I wanted to have [orchids] on my body forever. My grandpa had one type of orchid that eluded him—these black orchids. He could never plant them, so technically it’s a black orchid on me. It’s a tradition in my family to have an orchid in every room of the house, and we only have this type of orchid in every room. So it makes me think about home, too. You wouldn't understand the tattoo just from seeing it.

"Ute Prayer Trees"

Story by Nathan Goodman; art by Caroline Li

After my first triumphant week of summer research, I started to freak out as I pulled up to the parking lot of the event site. As part of my research on the “Impacts of Public Lands Management on Indigenous Peoples of the Pikes Peak Region,” I was attending the tenth annual “One Nation Walking Together Intertribal Powwow.” It was my first stab at fieldwork. Naturally, I was terrified. What was I—some white, privileged, wannabe social justice warrior—supposed to do at an Indigenous community event?

Tu Hija

Article by Alesandra Tejeda; art by Olathe Antonio & Jia Mei

I am seventeen years old, and my boyfriend, Joe, and I are at the grocery store. We’re going to buy sushi, go back to his house, and watch a movie.

We’ve just reached the refrigerated sushi display and I’m absorbed, chatting away about our options, when I hear Joe’s voice, rushed and caught by surprise, say:

“Ale,” as he grabs my right arm.

I look up and scan my surroundings, confused.

Then my eyes catch my mother’s.

She’s maybe ten feet in front of me. In the hummingbird second it takes for me to internalize her presence, my heart drops to my toes. She’s wearing a familiar outfit: her tennis shoes, sweats, and Louis Vuitton hand bag—arms crossed, her toes face the deli counter as her torso twists to me. Staring at me. Her eyes are dark. 

I wonder what my face looked like before time unfroze. I burst out laughing, and follow Joe out of the store. I still wonder why I laughed. 

That was the first time I’d seen her since the restraining order was issued and the last time I’ve seen her since—at least face to face. I’ll often find myself seeing short, stout blonde women from behind, and my heart suddenly thuds like a drum in my ears as I flee in the other direction. 

"Is it really real, son?"

Article by David Andrews; art by Olive Welsh

As I pulled up next to a faded red Honda Odyssey, I noticed a hand protruding from the driver’s side window. I glanced over and saw a middle-aged Denver dad-type slamming his head into the headrest and rapping along to the beat of Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE:” “Bitch. Sit down, be humble.” 

Stay humble in that Odyssey. Keep making moves. I hope the U-10 soccer league has gotten off to a good start this season, I thought. “DAMN.,” Lamar’s most recent album, is clearly a crossover hit if the dads of our world are rattling their Honda Odysseys with the politically-charged tracks of the most popular rapper in the world. 

Everything Changes

Article by Ethan Cutler; art by Isabel Aurichio

"A distinction that I make is between what I call identity-thinking and activity-thinking. And like you pointed out, an identity is something that stays self-same over time. So you can look at yourself this way, but you can also look at things in the world as remaining self-same over time. Let’s say there’s a tree in your front yard—the tree grows over time, and at some point it will also die and decay. But we look at the tree every day and we think of the tree as self-same. It’s that tree: that maple tree in the front yard."