By: LJ Pemberton and Tye Pemberton

You do not have to be call-your-wife-mom good.
You do not have to walk on your knees in Guantanamo or
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting (as Weezer’s Africa cover
plays on repeat.)
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what Madison Avenue tells it to love.
Tell me about political despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on in a climate-denying march towards human extinction.
Meanwhile the sun and the acid pebbles of the rain
are moving across the dying landscapes,
over the fracked up prairies and the lost deep trees,
the mined mountains and the polluted rivers.
Meanwhile the last wild geese, high in the unclean, blue-ish air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how very lonely,
the ad world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like those last wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your temporary place
in the family of things.


people making art | music | change | fun

Yvonne Woon, Atlanta-based author of Dead Beautiful and other killer fictions
Blackmarket Boo, Sydney-based photographer and queen of my heart
Joshua Liebowitz, New York-based sound artist and favorite enigma

Current obsession: Princess Nokia, Brujas
Androgyne Eliot Sumner, Dead Arms & Dead Legs
Out of Line interactive music video

WASTED RITA: God’s Only Mistake
BEHIND YOU: A series of nightmare children’s illustrations

17 essays and stories about how we ended up in Trump’s America
A map of two Americas
Women take up encryption post-election
How to call your Congressional Representatives when you have social anxiety
via Mary South: George Orwell’s Notes on Nationalism

Shit Sindhi parents say
One of the worst jobs in 19th century New York City
The Rock as Flex Kavana in the USWA Memphis wrestling scene, 1996
Pet bobcat really loves to snuggle

Image Credit
Pro-tip: email subscribers click title for sweet pic of Princess Nokia


Kate McKinnon plays the piano and sings a tearful Hallelujah as Hillary Clinton (and makes me cry)
Williamsburg, Brooklyn voted for Trump
Judith Butler on Trump, Germany’s Willkommenskultur, and radical Democracy
16 writers on Trump’s America

“The earliest record of an Indian traveling to the USA is that of a young Indian man from Madras who may have visited Massachusetts in 1790. As Salem developed its trade with India during the next decade, young Indians worked on the India wharves at Crownshield and Derby, two of the larger shipyards. In 1851, six Indians marched in the Salem Fourth of July parade under the banner of the “East India Marine Society”. Most of these men are believed to have married American women of African origin and integrated themselves into that community.”

Autocracy: Rules for Survival
How to encrypt your entire life in less than an hour

This Land is Your Land
The story of Ella and Louis (one of the greatest albums of all time), 60 years later
Kulning demonstration (watch to the end)
The “I was not a Nazi” Polka

Wancy Young Cho on racism in the male gay community
A list of pro-woman, anti-bigotry, pro-earth, pro-immigrant organizations that need your help

A street dog gets adopted, become L.A. foodie cutey
Start your week (every week) with a map!
Hong Kong’s unflappable Starbucks uncle is the hero we all need

Image credit
Pro-Tip: email subscribers click title for “I Want a President” by Zoe Leonard, 1992

From Sea to Shining Sea


America The Beautiful
The trial of Susan B. Anthony and the ratification of the 19th Amendment
A stunning map of America’s rivers
1600s American Colonial song of complaints about New England
The Georgia food truck that serves up gourmet coffee and jobs for refugees
To be both Midwestern and Hmong
Gay rights in the U.S., state by state
Daughters of the American Revolution manual for citizenship
The National Parks: America’s Best Idea
Eyes on the Prize, a 14-part history of the Civil Rights Movement
The Federalist Papers
Portraits of 70s and 80s Chola culture in Southern Californi

Shirtless male models with cats
Portraits by Stephen O’Donnell

Famous artworks ruined with design by committee
The original emoji set has been acquired by MOMA
Marlow Moss, the female Constructivist artist you’ve never heard of
This year’s best art related Halloween costumes

The secret behind Italy’s rarest pasta
British Man adopts stray dog than ran beside him through Gobi Desert Marathon
Profile of Alexandra Ansanelli, the ballerina who gave it all up at 28

Image credit
Pro-tip: email subscribers click header for inspiring pic of hella dignified suffragette


How to choose a non-racist Halloween costume
The racist and sexist history of keeping birth control side effects a secret
AFROPUNK’s White person’s guide to Black neighborhoods

Cahokia: the enormous, pre-Columbian city you’ve never heard of
This lake in Montana is full of colored pebbles
Ansel Adams’ photos of life in American internment camps for Japanese-American citizens and immigrants
Body ritual among the Nacirema

Artemisia Gentileschi: more savage than Caravaggio
How to suppress women’s criticism
What Rich Cohen learned from his 3 a.m. calls with Marlon Brando
“Jesus Hasn’t Saved Us:” young black women returning to ancestral religions
When the art department takes over your Citgo commercial

An elephant comes to the rescue
Lin-Manuel Miranda sings Hedwig to his dog

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s ‘Feminist Manifesto’ on how to raise a child
A mom sticks up for her daughter at school

Image Credit
Pro-tip: email subscribers click title for HAWT GIF of KATE MCKINNON WINKING

Words When There Are No Words

No links today. The world is heavy and Audre Lorde is speaking to us through time. —LJ




However the image enters
its force remains within
my eyes
rockstrewn caves where dragonfish evolve
wild for life, relentless and acquisitive
learning to survive
where there is no food
my eyes are always hungry
and remembering
however the image enters
its force remains.
A white woman stands bereft and empty
a black boy hacked into a murderous lesson
recalled in me forever
like a lurch of earth on the edge of sleep
etched into my visions
food for dragonfish that learn
to live upon whatever they must eat
fused images beneath my pain.
The Pearl River floods through the streets of Jackson
A Mississippi summer televised.
Trapped houses kneel like sinners in the rain
a white woman climbs from her roof to a passing boat
her fingers tarry for a moment on the chimney
now awash
tearless and no longer young, she holds
a tattered baby’s blanket in her arms.
In a flickering afterimage of the nightmare rain
a microphone
thrust up against her flat bewildered words
          “we jest come from the bank yestiddy
                   borrowing money to pay the income tax
                   now everything’s gone. I never knew
                   it could be so hard.”
Despair weighs down her voice like Pearl River mud
caked around the edges
her pale eyes scanning the camera for help or explanation
she shifts her search across the watered street, dry-eyed
                   “hard, but not this hard.”
Two tow-headed children hurl themselves against her
hanging upon her coat like mirrors
until a man with ham-like hands pulls her aside
snarling “She ain’t got nothing more to say!”
and that lie hangs in his mouth
like a shred of rotting meat.
I inherited Jackson, Mississippi.
For my majority it gave me Emmett Till
his 15 years puffed out like bruises
on plump boy-cheeks
his only Mississippi summer
whistling a 21 gun salute to Dixie
as a white girl passed him in the street
and he was baptized my son forever
in the midnight waters of the Pearl.
His broken body is the afterimage of my 21st year
when I walked through a northern summer
my eyes averted
from each corner’s photographies
newspapers protest posters magazines
Police Story, Confidential, True
the avid insistence of detail
pretending insight or information
the length of gash across the dead boy’s loins
his grieving mother’s lamentation
the severed lips, how many burns
his gouged out eyes
sewed shut upon the screaming covers
louder than life
all over
the veiled warning, the secret relish
of a black child’s mutilated body
fingered by street-corner eyes
bruise upon livid bruise
and wherever I looked that summer
I learned to be at home with children’s blood
with savored violence
with pictures of black broken flesh
used, crumpled, and discarded
lying amid the sidewalk refuse
like a raped woman’s face.
A black boy from Chicago
whistled on the streets of Jackson, Mississippi
testing what he’d been taught was a manly thing to do
his teachers
ripped his eyes out his sex his tongue
and flung him to the Pearl weighted with stone
in the name of white womanhood
they took their aroused honor
back to Jackson
and celebrated in a whorehouse
the double ritual of white manhood
    “If earth and air and water do not judge them who are
      we to refuse a crust of bread?”
Emmett Till rides the crest of the Pearl, whistling
24 years his ghost lay like the shade of a raped woman
and a white girl has grown older in costly honor
(what did she pay to never know its price?)
now the Pearl River speaks its muddy judgment
and I can withhold my pity and my bread.
            “Hard, but not this hard.”
Her face is flat with resignation and despair
with ancient and familiar sorrows
a woman surveying her crumpled future
as the white girl besmirched by Emmett’s whistle
never allowed her own tongue
without power or conclusion
she stands adrift in the ruins of her honor
and a man with an executioner’s face
pulls her away.
Within my eyes
the flickering afterimages of a nightmare rain
a woman wrings her hands
beneath the weight of agonies remembered
I wade through summer ghosts
betrayed by vision
hers and my own
becoming dragonfish to survive
the horrors we are living
with tortured lungs
adapting to breathe blood.
A woman measures her life’s damage
my eyes are caves, chunks of etched rock
tied to the ghost of a black boy
crying and frightened
her tow-headed children cluster
like little mirrors of despair
their father’s hands upon them
and soundlessly
a woman begins to weep.

Image Credit