Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user mjaneroy
August 4th, 2014 | 6:00am

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user mjaneroy

I’ve just begun my second week in Baltimore, and already I’ve caught myself with long-term intentions. I’ve hurried through the usual rituals of relocation: I’ve registered my car, and I’ve picked up a driver’s license and library card, an application for a voter registration card, and a collection of guidebooks and maps of the city. But more than that, there’s the way I feel, walking around most nights, slipping into the rhythm of my neighborhood as if I am taking in the details of a stranger who will soon be family, as if it will some day be important for me to know the angles of the fire escapes climbing against red brick buildings or the shape of coiled electrical wires strung along the side of a bridge. It’s an embarrassing feeling—denser and less urgent than infatuation, but shyer and more fragile than love. I’m overeager, ready to attach myself with the guileless certainty of a teenager.

Cikovsky, Nicolai; "The Inlet at Wooley Pond", 1945; Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY
August 1st, 2014 | 6:00am

Cikovsky, Nicolai; "The Inlet at Wooley Pond", 1945; Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY

When a boat dies, you usually have two choices: pay hundreds of dollars to have it hauled away, or let it molder and sink into some secluded corner of the yard. A quick tour of my wife’s parents’ town on the South Shore of Massachusetts, where I moored my boat, would suggest that the latter is the norm: those husks and dark prows entombed in plain sight beside rotting cordwood, abandoned swing-sets. Last year, when I discovered that the oaken keel of my sailboat had rotted irreparably, I embarked on my first experiment with time-lapse photography. I rented for twenty dollars a “reciprocating saw”—the contractor’s principal instrument of demolition—known as a Sawzall. After positioning my iPad on a kitchen chair in the driveway of my in-laws’ home, then unraveling forty yards of extension cord from the garage, I plugged in the nasty tool—part torpedo, part robotic swordfish—and grimly laid into the carapace of the little boat over which I had worried and fussed for almost ten years.

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Medpix
July 30th, 2014 | 6:00am

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Medpix

I’ve come to a club called the Rose Bar with friends. 


The place is perched on an outcropping of rocks overlooking the stormy Atlantic Ocean in Casablanca. On the patio, which opens to the sky, sticky drops of rain fall from the dark and sparkle in the club’s slutty pink and blue lights. Glass retaining walls block the spray from the waves that crash against the rocks below.

My friends and I work as Fulbright scholars and foreign service officers – a group of young ex-pats who wouldn’t belong in a place like this in the United States. The Rose Bar has white leather furniture, security guards with earpieces and suits, Jags and Beemers in the parking lot, and outrageously priced drinks with flagrant, edible garnish.

reviewed by Elisa Mai
July 29th, 2014 | 6:00am

Reading Francine Prose’s new novel is a little like coming across a box of papers in a dusty attic that have been packed up together because they all, somehow, are connected to a certain person, and sifting through them one by one. Prose’s person of interest in Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 is Louisianne (“Lou”) Villars, an athlete and a lesbian, a cabaret club dancer and a racecar driver, a trailblazer for women and a spy, a woman who both aids the Nazis’ invasion of France and tortures members of the Resistance on their behalf. Because of this extraordinary set of exploits, and because Lou has been captured in a very famous photograph, someone is writing a biography of her, and the chapters of this biography form the heart of the novel.

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Matt Bilton
Multiple Authors
July 25th, 2014 | 6:00am

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Matt Bilton

Please welcome three poets who are new to our pages.
 

Upcoming print issues of The Common will feature poems by Will Schutt, Patrick Pritchett, and Kevin C. Stewart.