Propter Nos is the yearly journal from True Leap Press. It’s a smartly critical read with an eye toward beauty and a better world, and Volume 2—published October 2017 and excerpted here—circles around the idea of political and emotional exhaustion from a resolutely anti-racist, anti-capitalist, anti-patriarchal, and anti-nationalist perspective. True Leap is currently working on their third issue and providing free copies to incarcerated readers; learn more at trueleappress.com
it’s a honey moon
tonight, they say:
when lovers learn
to take leave.
(a rose moon
sweet, wet, full.
earth’s blood mirrored
there in her gleaming)
last night there were six gunshots
outside our bar
& tonight they don’t know
if we hear fire works
or loud play
that will kill our children.
I don’t know what to do
about babies in the street
so I lay my crystals in the
moonlight to be bathed.
I would rather
feel witchy: see
hard earth as clean.
baby a black cat
has a wet rose tongue
too. or did you think
a tense superstition
could roll over
& lay its soft belly
bare for yr light?
for Rekia Boyd & all who loved her
the afternoon your best friend’s
was acquitted of all charges
I was sitting in f******* Starbucks watching
20 or so black boys from the high school
running down State St. w/ the new
exhilaration of a bird gone to flight even at
the price of a fight or a weapon. I froze
& stood feeling the fear break the window as
the cops were called & the white man sat
outside, smirking & sipping on his iced Venti
Whatever chatting w/ the undercover
white cop in her gleaming black car
the boys dispersed, & no one was shot
though I was crying in the bathroom at this
I was wearing thick white & thin lilac,
quartz & rosewood on my wrist
it had felt like a time
you said you loved
seeing yogis squirm
to keep up, their bodies
nearly breaking. I thought
it is easy to love the wrenching or
the obviously tragic it is harder
to love the uncertain the look on
a face when it is deciding whether
to freeze or run or die or kill. it is
harder to love the ambiguity of
forgiveness. your never knowing
if you had to or were right to
& what will come of it
the judge said,
the law said,
it was not reckless manslaughter
but “beyond reckless”
so he could not continue
this is a place for reasoned
decisions & her brother
I was wondering how
on this planet
if it will always revolve around
such a pompous & burning
form of light but it is not as if
we didn’t choose
to be here
shouting at the detail
wailing in ambiguous light
What do I see?
Who the hell am I?
I look in my mirror and wish the person I see could become clearer,
But not even my contacts can fix that.
I fear that maybe I am out of touch myself,
And until I figure out who I am, no one can touch me.
No one will leave trails for me to find.
When I look in my mirror.
No one will part my legs like the sea and make a home out of me,
Because I have not yet built a home for myself.
I don’t like the thought of telling you that I belong to you.
Why does the thought of me being property entice you?
Who do you see?
Who the hell am I to you?
Your eyes swell with greed and desire.
You are not the man I need.
You are someone else.
Stop trying to make your home in me,
Because you know that you wouldn’t even welcome yourself inside.
The taste of the vodka is strong and burning not smooth like the Patron, I had gotten use to. Without it getting through the day would be harder. It seemed like the million dollars flowed as easily and surely as the Dimitri going into my breakfast glass. For the life of me I don’t remember where it all went.
Start here, with Tarnynon Onumonu’s ode to Chicago’s Free Range youth, the ones who might not be welcome in the Loop.
Build Coffee, run by Hannah Nyhart and Bea Malsky—two former South Side Weekly editors—is a coffee shop and bookstore directly next door to the Weekly newsroom in the Experimental Station. When they celebrated the shop’s first birthday last month, we asked them to gift us a collection of their favorites from the past year’s stock, including zines, chapbooks, art books, and comics from over fifty local artists and small presses. They came through: the following pages are a selection of work from Build’s shelves, all published in Chicago in the past year.
The Sick Muse is an ever-evolving homage to Chicago’s various DIY scenes. For issue 10, editors Sasha Tycko, Noah Jones, and Jolene Whatever have grown from their zine roots into a full-size glossy magazine with artist interviews, hip weirdo features, and artfully illustrated lyrics from local bands. It’s all centered on the concept of utopia and a willfully optimistic call to action, including the excerpt featured here: “How to Do Things with Throats” by pt bell. The Sick Muse accepts submissions on a rolling basis at thesickmuse.com
The Broken Nose Collective is an interdisciplinary group of artists making “accessible, regional, and honest-to-goodness works of art that are for, by, and about the Chicago community.” Their latest publication is Tethers, an archive zine of interpersonal memories and musings. BNC are artists on the go—next up is a touring wind quartet performance focused on the idea of “harvest.” The excerpts featured here are illustrated and written by Keara McGraw. Keep track of the Broken Nose Collective at brokennosecollective.org