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On the Cover: Pin-Up Girl Angela Ryan Kara Walker Art Critique by Solange James Mod Style: Ready, Steady, Go! Photography: Nicholas Routzen

Poetry by Andrea Grant

Vanilla Vodka
I am drinking again. 
Vanilla vodka, so the cops won’t come after me
when I sit in my car on white afternoons
& think of how it’s as though the sun has been extinguished
because I am a windowpane
you’ve been looking through
instead of at
which must mean I’m made of glass,
hard & breakable in the same instant.


Hansel & Gretel
live in Brooklyn
& tear off the tops of fire hydrants in summer
to make vivid sprinklers.
Little terrors stealing packs of gum
from corner stores, tow-headed demons with greedy vacant eyes
craving sugar, sugar to grow taller,
sugar to keep the development at arrest.
Sugar & chemicals
Sugar an acid hallucinogenic.
Hyperactive infidels, they villainize the Stepmother
for her Diet Soda.
New York City skyline
glitters like candy
rock.  When everyone sleeps their dreams whisper fantastic
stories of the city trickle over East River bridges,
infinite glamour.
“The streets are paved with icing,” he said.
“The fire escapes are chocolate,” she said.
There are no wolves or forests in this story.
No exile, no crusts of bread, no gingerbread house.
It’s an urban myth.
There is only the hunger of patronized trust fund kids
surprised to find licorice ropes are mere graffiti
& the Manhattan windows are not sculpted from lemon gelato.
Their witch owned a bakery, read Bukowski
late night and wanted to revolutionize poetry.
Their witch wanted to be left the hell alone
on the Lower East Side
man or not
children or not.
And so the stories twist & curl
against themselves a metaphor for craving
& the pang of longing
city people cannot erase,
the dirty knives that stab deep into
caramel hearts.


Dead Girls
The eighties had a depressing element of missing girls with their hair parted down the middle who would never come home.  Anguished parents.  I had the sort of parents who warned against getting into cars with strange men & wearing cosmetics too young, a come hither odor.  Clifford Olsen a household name in horrific bedtime stories of strangled teens, don’t take candy from anyone, razorblade apples.  The price for being a girl was to always look over one shoulder while riding your bike, to never go in the woods alone.  Photographs of weeping women, shredded clothes & the bloodstain of rape in the air like metal.  I saw their faces in my dreams at night – they whispered, “Be careful.”  I grew eyes in the ridges of my shoulder blades, fine-tuned instinct.  The dead girls gave me a mask of indifference, to hide the adrenaline scent of fear that I might be a crusader.  It has made me hard.  This archetype is dangerous to predators – the cold expression of the huntress before the weapon is fired. 

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