Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Chuck Coker
February 18th, 2015 | 10:30am

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Chuck Coker

The proper term is “government facility,” but it feels like an old university most of the time. Asbestos in the ceilings, paint fresh from 1979. Fluorescent lighting, emergency signage, old handset telephones on the wall in every floor. My role here, in a place where the best of the best tackle noble, courageous goals—the taking of soil samples from Mars and the landing of spacecrafts on comets—is comparatively small. The comforting routine of support, set-up, clean-up; prepare, take care.

Photo by author
February 16th, 2015 | 7:00am

Photo by author

Around this table we’d gather, cover it with food. In the end: scattered drippings and crumbs, bottles and glasses emptied or abandoned. A cat scavenging the remains.

Photo by author
February 13th, 2015 | 7:00am

Photo by author

1. Seocho via Gangnam

My family and I are struggling along Teheran Road in Seocho-dong, Seoul, and it is my fault. I should have conducted us one stop farther to Gangnam Station, where the number ten exit would have deposited us in front of our destination, but we are disoriented by the city’s newness and haven’t yet learned the subway stations, nor do we know the banks and stores and restaurants piled atop each other in metallic high-rises footnoted by cafés and tea rooms and dessert shops. It is late May, nearly summer, when people punctuate meals with shaved ice covered with red bean jelly, rice cakes, diced fruit, grain powder, green tea, condensed milk, and ice cream for more richness.

O

February 12th, 2015 | 7:00am


Peter Filkins reads his poem, “O,” from Issue 06.

 

reviewed by Julia Lichtblau
February 9th, 2015 | 7:00am

De Guatemala a Guatepeor. (From Guate-bad to Guate-worse.) The acid Spanish pun captures the reflexive pessimism this beautiful, tormented Central American country evokes. The central event of modern Guatemalan history, a 1954 CIA-backed coup that halted land reform, precipitated a 36-year civil war, during which 200,000 people, many indigenous, were killed or disappeared. The repercussions still play out, de mal a peor, in poverty, drug violence, corruption, and impunity.