An History’s Appendix: An Index Of Things To Remember

What I wanted to do was publish the second of my three-part up-and-coming Children’s ‘Zine, TALES OF ADVENTURE ABOARD THE SEVENTH CHAMPION, which will consist of A Myth, An History, and A Folk Tale, but what I had to do while working on that was compile a glossary of terms, which I’ve published instead, because it’s fun. More on why I think this (that it’s fun) and The Demands of Fantastic History is coming shortly in a post on how weird it’s been writing these. But for now feast your eyes and brains on how confusing and bizarre the index form renders shit that supposedly happens in a simple sequence! Xoxo – Joshua

Note: this is a glossary of beings, things, places and events that take place in a Fantastic ~fictional~ World of Stories. I feel like I keep forgetting to tell people that.

Levi's Creatures

An History’s Appendix: An Index Of Things To Remember


The future, after Now.

Beginning Times, The

All the time that stretches from The (earliest) Time We Can’t Remember to The End of The Beginning Times, usually attributed to the end of The Last War. It is a general term, as both its beginning and end are hazy at best.

Bridges, The

The race born of the combination of The New Ones/ Offspring and The Next Ones (see: The Wedding). The Bridges left the last of The Old One’s great cities for a self-imposed exile sometime after The Wedding, only to return for a short period during the end of The Last War.

Everyone Else

In the context of The Last War, a term used to signifying anyone or group who weren’t The Krell.

First Ones, The

No one knows anything about The First Ones, except that they must have existed. They should not be assumed to be The Ones Who Came Before The Old Ones, as The Time We Can’t Remember is generally understood to stretch back much further into the past.

Fantastic Epic*, The

The written story of The Fox and her intrepid comrades as they ventured out beyond The Wall, and whose adventures ushered in The Remembering.

Fox, The

A young person— the first of The People to leave The Hand since The Long Time—  who visited The Grandmother in search of an answer to the question of whether or not the people had a history, and who eventually led her band of intrepid comrades far beyond The Wall on an adventure of epic proportions (see: The Fantastic Epic).  

Grandmother, The

The last elder, from whom An History was orally transcribed.

Hand, The

The place where The People lived during The Fox’s lifetime (see: Now), around The Small Water which opened out to The Big Water. Maps of the area strongly resemble a hand, hence the name.

The Krell

The second race to come from beyond the sky, aggressive invaders whose war on the inhabitants of The World** and The Moon precipitated The Long Time before Now.

Last Ones, The

Much like The First Ones, The Last Ones are mostly assumed to have existed, considering the vast expanse of The Long Time that belongs to The Time We Can’t Remember. Not only is that to say that there must’ve been others after The Old Ones and The Next Ones and The Offspring and The Bridges and The Krell, but that one-ness to which all The Ones prior to the ones which disappeared during The Long Time are either not actually the last ones, or The People of Now and After are not “ones,” but something else altogether.

Last War, The

Presumably caused by the invasion of the Krell, the actual causes, players and alliances remain unknown, though it does seem safe to assume that in the end every group— even and including The Plant Life—  became imbricated in a conflict that, for the most part, boils down to The Krell versus Everyone Else.

Long Time, The

The time roughly following The Last War, which lasted for years beyond count, second only to The Time Before The Beginning Times in terms of assumed duration.

New Ones, The: See: Offspring, The

Next Ones, The

The first Ones to come from beyond the sky, they were refugees from a far-away war. While The Old Ones and The Ones Who Stayed Behind welcomed them, their feeble bodies were unable to survive in The World until it was discovered that their physiological makeup curiously complemented that of The Ones Who Stayed Behind, while simultaneously curing The Problems that The Ones Who Stayed behind had begun experiencing after the exodus of The Ones Who Left The World following The Old War. The Wedding of The Ones Who Stayed Behind with The Next Ones eventuated the advent of The Bridges.


An historical present, roughly centered around the lifetime of The Fox, when The People lived in The Hand, a great deal of time after The Long Time.

Offspring, The

The Ones initially created by The Old Ones, also called The New Ones, to help them maintain their world-city and lifestyle. Often referred to (especially by The Old Ones) as The Offspring, they eventually awakened to a sentience of their own and began reproducing and proliferating their own mode of being. It was their evolution that precipitated The Old War. They were eventually split into two groups: The Ones Who Left The World, who colonized The Moon** following the war; and The Ones Who Stayed Behind, who remained in The World.

Old Ones, The

The Ones whose civilization finally reached totality with their world-encompassing city, and whose era rivals The Long Time in terms of duration. The Old Ones created The New Ones, bore the brunt of the destruction during both The Old War and The Last War, reigned during the arrival of The Next Ones and The Krell, witnessed the exodus of The Ones Who Left The World, the advent of The Bridges and the arrival of The Plant Life, and the general descent into the last great Time We Can’t Remember known as The Long Time.

Old War, The

A global conflict that The Offspring called The War Of Becoming and The Old Ones called The War Of The Unruly Children.

Ones, The

A general umbrella term for a number of groups during or around the era of The Old Ones: The First Ones, The Ones Who Came Before, The New Ones, The Next Ones, The Ones Who Stayed Behind, The Ones Who Left The World and The Last Ones. Though never really referred to as such, other major groups— The Bridges, The Krell & The Plant Life— are all often grouped historically with these.

Ones Who Came Before, The

Not much is known about The Ones Who Came Before, except that that which they came before were The Old Ones.

People, The

By the era in which The Fox lived— an unspecified amount of time after The Long Time— the groups that lived in and around The Hand referred to themselves and others as The People, as opposed to The Ones.

Plant Life, The

Toward the end of The Last War, The Bridges returned to assist in the fight against The Krell. They brought with them The Plant Life— massive plant-like beings who are thought to have been something like The Bridges’ ‘Offspring’— to the fight. It was with the crucial help of The Bridges and The Plant Life and the return of The Ones Who Left The World that the war against The Krell was won.

Problems Of The Ones Who Stayed Behind

We are unsure why, but shortly following The Last War and the exodus of The Ones Who Left This World, The Ones Who Stayed Behind began experiencing problems. Some speculate that it was a some sort of epidemic, while others postulate that following The Last War The Ones Who Stayed Behind committed to changing their previous mode of reproduction, which is thought to to have granted them extremely long life, and taken on the mantle of something like mortality. Something about this change in their way of life may have caused an unseen side-effect which caused the widespread expiration of a great many of The World-bound Offspring. It wasn’t until the arrival of The Next Ones and the discovery of their oddly compatible constitutions, did they find something like a cure: though in order to continue existing they had to change forever, and very few of them remained in their old form. The ones who did were sometimes referred to as The Old New Ones Who Stayed Behind.

Remembering, The

Following the events of The Fantastic Epic, the arrangement of the world of The People who lived in The Hand changed drastically, an event referred to as The Remembering. Part of this change involved a renaissance of historical understanding, much of which was facilitated by The Grandmother and The Fox. These changes are documented in the heretofore unnamed and forthcoming Fantastic Sequel.

Time Before The Beginning Times, The

Nothing at all is known about The Time Before The Beginning Times, or whether or even it existed, or why there is an entry for it in this glossary.

Time We Can’t Remember, The

The Time We Can’t Remember is a kind of categorical type of time, periods in history that have occurred here and there that we know of, and probably here and there that we don’t know of, of which we know little to nothing about. The most commonly referenced Times We Can’t Remember are the Time Before The Beginning Times and The Long Time. Interestingly, the whole concept is fraught with contradiction: how can there be time before The Beginning Time— and if there were how would we remember it anyway?; And how can we know if a time is long, let alone anything, if it’s something We Can’t Remember? Also: what is the difference between what we can’t remember and what we don’t know?

Water, The Big

The water beyond the opening provided by the gap between The Finger** and The Thumb** in the region known as The Hand where The People lived during the lifetime of The Fox.

Water, The Small

The Water inside the opening provided for by the gap between The Finger and The Thumb in the region known as The Hand where The People lived during the lifetime of The Fox.

Wedding, The

We are unsure as to the specifics, or what it even means, or what actually happened, but it would seem that after their arrival The Next Ones suffered from health problems caused by their incompatibility with The World. Interestingly, the Ones Who Stayed Behind had, again for unknown reasons, been suffering from The Problems. Somehow, someone discovered that the two kinds of bodies complimented each other in a way that not only allowed them to survive and thrive, but to evolve into what came to be known as The Bridges. While it is understood that some of the Ones Who Stayed Behind refused The Wedding and were able to survive as Old New Ones, it is unsure if any of The Next Ones followed a similar route, let alone if any of them survived.

* Tentative Title

** No Entry


Three Seva Stories: The Spider Truck, Sprinkle’s Bus Stop & The Magic Poop Baby

seva walgreens unicorn

One: The Spider Truck

There is an old truck parked in the driveway at Jimmy’s. It belongs to Max, the guy on the block who involves himself in everybody’s business. The truck has a lumber rack, and on that rack rest two massive wooden beams that Jimmy says Max is going to use for some project sometime. A black cat that Jimmy swears does not belong to the neighbor often sleeps on those beams, almost completely camouflaged as it curls up against the dark lumber. Inside the cab of the truck it is filled with spider webs.

We learned this because one day Seva wanted to look inside. I told them it was probably filled with spider webs, as a good portion of the outside was coated with them as well. Still, they wanted to see, so I opened the door. They hung back, trepid at first, but eventually approached enough so they could see inside. Nets upon nets of webs of different densities and taughtnesses interlaced and overlapped each other.

“Watch this!” I said. Leaning forward I blew into the cab of the truck. We watched as a ripple worked its way through the three-dimensional stuff of old-growth spider homes. We stood in silence.

“You wanna get in?” I asked, half turning. Their eyes grew wide.


“C’mon! It’ll be fun!” I moved to pick them up, feigning that I would throw them into the spider truck. They squealed and ran, I pursued.

“Dad. Seriously.”

“I know my baby. You know I would never do something like that to you.” I closed the door to the truck.

“Can we see in again?” they asked.

“Yes, but you’ll have to get in.”

They gave me the look. I opened the door.

“You know you can sleep in here tonight if you want.”

“What?! Why would I want to sleep in there!?”

“Would you spend the night in there for a million dollars?”

They thought about it. “No.”

“Dude I would. I’d do it for a thousand dollars.” I closed the door again. “You know what happens if you spend the night in the spider truck?”


“Well, if you make it all the way to dawn— until the sun is up— when you wake up you’ll have grown two extra arms and two extra legs.”


“You’ll have eight appendages altogether, like a spider.”


“Yeah,” I say emphatically, “you’ll be half-human, half-spider.”


“You’ll be a Spuman.”

They thought about this for awhile, and eventually agreed. If we both did it, they decided, we’d be the king and queen of The Spumans, and we’d have to have special pants and shirts made to accomodate our extra arms and legs, but we’d be able to climb things really well. Also we’d have eight eyes, like a spider, but they’d be human eyes, just like ours now. The big question, though, was whether or not we’d be able to spin webs out of our butts.

Two: Sprinkle’s Bus Stop

On Fridays I pick up Seva from their school and we head straight to Jimmy’s. Since the closest bus stop requires a transfer, we take the next-best option, which takes us to the Rockridge BART Station, and we walk from there, stopping at the “Big Bodega” on the way for treats. They enjoy this walk, and lately it has afforded us the opportunity to check out the neighborhood’s Halloween decorations.

On this particular Friday we walked up to the Chevron so I could get cigarettes and they could get an extra treat. There was a food truck there between the gas station and the bus stop, where we had to sit for sometime before our bus finally showed. It wasn’t until we were all the way up on College that they realized that Sprinkles, their stuffed kitty, wasn’t with us anymore. Panic immediately set in, so I pulled the cord and we hopped off the bus. I called an Uber to take us straight back to the Chevron gas station.

Seva was particularly sad— understandably so— so we talked about it. I told them that there was a good chance that Sprinkles was still at the bus stop, but that there was also a good chance that she wasn’t. It hadn’t been long since we’d left, but there’s always the chance. Then we wrote a story together based on a question:

“What if,” I asked, “while we’re in the Uber, on our way back to the bus stop, we realize that we left your lunch box on the bus?”

And then when we got out of the Uber and ran over to the bus stop we realized, as the Uber was pulling away, that we left their backpack in the Uber?

We’d be sad, especially once we realized that Sprinkles wasn’t at the bus stop anymore (which turned out to be the case), and we’d hold each other as we re-waited for the next bus to go ahead and take us home.

But then, as the next bus approached, we realized that something different was driving it: looking closer, we realized that it was Sprinkles, attached somehow to the steering wheel, flying left and right in a semi-circle as the bus navigated rush hour traffic. We laughed at that. When the bus would pull up and the door would open, Sprinkles the bus driver would turn to us and say “Get in!” And she’d take us all the way to Jimmy’s.

Now that bus is Sprinkle’s bus and we’re always excited that maybe she’ll pick us up again when we catch it next time.

Three: The Magic Poop Baby

When Seva was potty training and moving to solid foods they suffered from some pretty severe constipation. Their poor little tummy would get hard as a rock and they’d suffer pretty badly every three days or so when the time came for their poop to move on. One week it became particularly troubling, so we bought a large container of prune juice and put them in a warm bath and rubbed their tummy while they drank, dutifully, their gross juice. Eventually and finally they pooped, right there in the bath, which I let them do, a poop that I can only describe as NFL regulation football size.

This was a story that Seva loved to hear, over and over again, as they got older. After repeatedly complying to their request one day, I decided to change it up a bit, to heighten the stakes, which I took to be an investment on their part in something like their own origin story.

You know, I told them, you’re not the original Seva, right? I could tell it didn’t compute— but I also knew that it was this sort of sublime impossibility that Seva looooved. I went on to explain: No, it’s true: you’re the magic poop baby.

That night when the original Seva finally passed their gargantuan poo, it was so big that I realized that it was actually a baby. A poop baby. I took care of the poop baby, and I loved it so much, and it was so nice, that we decided to keep it, and sell the old Seva. Eventually we painted it a color approximately halfway between their mother and I, and put some hair and painted eyes and lips and whatnot and named it Seva, and they became our child.

This was why, one day as we were walking to the Little Bodega and they decided that my new name was PeePaw, and demanded a new name for themself, I dubbed them M.P.B. Which they both loved and hated in the same way that they loved and hated the story: it was horrible that we might give away the “original” Seva (which somehow had to be at least part of them), but at the same time had consciously and specifically chosen this Seva, which was undoubtedly still very much them— even if they were comprised of poop— and we’d done so because we liked her so much.

Eventually one night I told them the full tale, that they also weren’t actually either the original Seva or The Magic Poop Baby, as The Magic Poop Baby turned out to be an exceptionally evil villain; that no, the truth was that Seva was, in fact, The Magic Poop Baby Slayer, who had one day showed up to save their mother and I from The Magic Poop Baby in the nick of time, and that we were so incredibly grateful to them for saving us.


luke leia han

PART ONE: English 80k

One of the more brilliant aspects of a class I’ve been fortunate enough to assist with (twice) here at Berkeley- Children’s Literature, taught by Professor Joseph Lavery- is the Do-Your-Own-Final project. For this project, students are asked to do two things:

1) think up and execute a “a project of [one’s] own design.”

The idea is that the “range of possibilities” in terms of the form one chooses to give one’s project is “in principle, limitless.” It “may include creative, experimental, autobiographical, digital, archival, or anthological projects” as opposed to “critical or essayistic work (which will,of course, also be allowed).”* And

2) construct your own grading rubric re your own project.

That is: decide what it is that you feel you need to accomplish in order to a receive an A, a B, or a C, and so on and so forth.

Together these two components amount to an experiment in self-referentiality re e/valuating both aesthetic and intellectual work, as well as the critical significances and possibilities of creative work itself.

This project has produced a large archive of very interesting projects, from a series of cakes baked according to a matrix of signifiers whereby the characteristics of four separate aethetic categories are translated into their respective decorative sweet desserts, to mix tapes, to short films, to paintings, to all sorts of stuff, you name it.

There is a lot going on here with this project, but I wanted to comment on an aspect of it that I find particularly interesting: it’s speculative nature. In one sense, this project is undertaken by simply asking the question “What if I translated this particular concept into this more or less unified set of signifiers?” What if our four aesthetic categories were actually cakes? What if this scene from a novel were actually a painting? What if J. M. Barrie’s 1912 play were actually a mid-century young children’s board book? Etc.

What is thrown into high relief once one begins imagining putting this into form is the fact that every single action or decision one takes or makes carries with it an implicit comment or critique on that which they are translating something into and that from which they are translating from**. The work is inherently either or both a critique or a commentary.

What is interesting about this is, after sitting down with more than quite a few students, is the fact they find that these instincts- when they get an idea- to render this or that into this or that other form, open up to them the possibilities of apprehending, understanding, and articulating that thing they’re giving new form too. They thought their idea was simply interesting, they thought they were just “having fun,” when in fact they were carrying out de facto critical work, and learning from it.

So why can’t critical work be “fun?” Why can’t critical cognition begin with something as simple as a “fun idea?”

emperor on his throne
It’s beautiful how literature sustains us (the emperor of mankind on his throne). 

PART TWO: Star WarsHammer 40k

One of the crackpot research ideas I’ve been throwing around is something I like to call Speculative Criticism. Simply put: I want to ask any number of “what if” questions of a text. I want to speculate about what isn’t apparently the case and, in a sense, I think work backwards along the lines of critical methods and assumptions, the first of which being that critical work isn’t fun.

For the record: I hate the term “speculative fiction” as some sort of catch-all for science fiction or fantasy or whatever they’re grouping under whatever these days. I hate the work of umbrella-ing anything under some sort of “useful” file tree for the purposes of who knows what. Personally, I want to destroy that way of seeing literature and the way of thinking that makes it that way. But that’s not my point here.

Secondly, this sort of work seems to, at least in the case of my first speculation here, to involve a couple of old school assumptions: a) that in considering the significance of texts, one is obliged to talk not just about culture and society, but about history, in sort of broad strokes, and b) that the relationship between a text and its culture/ history/ whatever is dialectical: that the possibility of a text even existing is predicated on the historical(ly unfolding) set of material conditions which give birth to it, as it were, and that the history that is birthed along with it is itself significantly created somehow more or less anew because of that text. History and texts, in this schema, cause each other, in a sense, which is why folks tend to get annoyed with historical dialectics, but why I’m starting to fall back in love with it: apropos of my contention that fun should be a significant element to one’s methodology, I’m thinking that it’s the odd sort of non-totality of dialectical considerations- all the shit that gets missed when things “change,” or revolutions don’t happen- that the dialectic itself- with all its intent to help tell the future- contributes to, or even makes possible: the surprises, the new(ish) things, the fantastic.

So my first question has to do with Star Wars. Not how or why it’s so popular, or how it’s managed, as a franchise or whatever it is, to entrench itself to such a degree- how it is that we’ve gone from waiting decades to months between movies, the significance of its insistence on continuity and canonicity while at the same time multiplying itself out like a multi-media rhizome. Ok it’s not those questions, and really it’s not even a question about Star Wars. It’s:

What if, instead of Star Wars, the somewhat well(?)-known gaming franchise Warhammer 40k had somehow managed to reach the close-to-sublime-level of saturation into our globalizing mass popular culture? I have had the feeling that I will very soon get tired of the preeminence of Star Wars, even if only in my various social media feeds; sitting here now I’m starting to fear its cultural hegemony- and not really for its content (though I’m sure that too), but the fact that something can get so soaked into our fabric. I don’t think any pop culture phenomenon has reached this level before. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am.

What would a world- the world, this actual, *IRL* one- look like where instead of Star Wars, we had Warhammer 40k? What sort of world could birth that- could ours have actually birthed it? What might’ve happened to culture after that? After its prequels, it’s purchase by Disney- what would the theme parks look like? What sort of violence would be ok?

For the woefully uninitiated, and as a reading assignment for next week’s part two to this post, this bit of text does a good job of giving one the gist of what Warhammer 40k is all about:

It is the 41st Millennium. For more than a hundred centuries The Emperor has sat immobile on the Golden Throne of Earth. He is the Master of Mankind by the will of the gods, and master of a million worlds by the might of his inexhaustible armies. He is a rotting carcass writhing invisibly with power from the Dark Age of Technology. He is the Carrion Lord of the Imperium for whom a thousand souls are sacrificed every day, so that he may never truly die.

Yet even in his deathless state, the Emperor continues his eternal vigilance. Mighty battlefleets cross the daemon-infested miasma of the Warp, the only route between distant stars, their way lit by the Astronomican, the psychic manifestation of the Emperor’s will. Vast armies give battle in his name on uncounted worlds. Greatest amongst his soldiers are the Adeptus Astartes, the Space Marines, bio-engineered super-warriors. Their comrades in arms are legion: the Imperial Guard and countless planetary defence forces, the ever vigilant Inquisition and the tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus to name only a few. But for all their multitudes, they are barely enough to hold off the ever-present threat from aliens, heretics, mutants – and worse.

To be a man in such times is to be one amongst untold billions. It is to live in the cruelest and most bloody regime imaginable. These are the tales of those times. Forget the power of technology and science, for so much has been forgotten, never to be re-learned. Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for in the grim dark future there is only war. There is no peace amongst the stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter, and the laughter of thirsting gods.

All this and more in next week’s installment of fantaaaastic criticism!

Well maybe not all, but some stuff.

*English 80k, Children’s Literature, Syllabus, Spring 2017

** Really “translating” is just a working term/ fill-in here

GOODNIGHT NOBODY: Children’s Literature & The *New* Fantastic

What follows: the rough draft of an abstract for a paper for a panel entitled “Keep Children’s Literature Weird:”*

In 1973 Tzvetan Todorov defined the fantastic as occupying “the duration of the uncertainty” produced by those fictive situations in which a crucial question must be answered: do the physics of the diegetic world presented in a text contain the demand for a “natural” explanation, or something extra, other than, “supernatural?” More than fifty years earlier, Freud had identified the same conceptual binary in his consideration of “the uncanny,” wherein the “distinction between imagination and reality is effaced.” Inasmuch as they both comprise the historical and conceptual foundation for our understanding of fantastic fiction, they have also engendered their own limitations – as well as the demand to exceed said limitations.

One limitation of the fantastic, or fantastic literature, understood as such, is located precisely in the somewhat circular practice of providing a schema of understanding what is understood to be a genre to the end of defining it as a genre. It is this sense of tautology that leads to a particular crisis for both Todorov and Freud: what – other than being able to say this is that, or that is this – is at stake? In the endeavor to establish the uncanny and/ or the fantastic, what – other than being able to insert a text into its correct category – is the point? Todorov begins his book not with the definition of the fantastic, but with an exposition of genre; and inasmuch as Freud seeks to pay lip service to the sort of problematized subject-position his inquiry assumes, in the end it is the articulation of a particular category. The limits of the fantastic, then, are the borders created by and inherent in genre itself, and the irony is that the fantastic is precisely that which seeks to puncture or surpass, by its very nature, all limits and borders. Fantastic criticism, then, in an age when we’re not sure how to know the fantastic when we see it, should commit the selfsame act of transgression, and seek not to name the fantastic in the world, but to inquire into the fantasticity of the world- or at least, in our case, of literature.

The *New* Fantastic, then, is equipment for inquiry into this fantasticity. A concept-tool adopted from Paul Rabinow’s Anthropological Research on the Contemporary, equipment is “a set of truth claims, affects, and ethical orientations, designed and composed into a practice.” When applied practically in the reading of texts, it takes the form of a question:

In what way does what deviate from what normativity?

It therefore retains the conceptual foundation of both Freud’s “uncanny” and Todorov’s “Fantastic,” while modifying it significantly: it is neither a theoretical foundation, nor  is it concerned with the establishment of a proper object of study: its function is to “enable[] practical responses to changing conditions brought about by specific problems.”

This paper argues that Children’s Literature is fantastic literature- except for the fact that it also claims that there is no longer any such thing as fantastic literature – and it does so by taking up the case of Margaret Wise Brown’s legendary Goodnight Moon, as an example (of sorts) of the multiple vectors along which various modes of fantasticity, both inside and outside the text, are wont to slide. These vectors will include, but are not limited to: reading and writing practices, sign-play, diegesis, literariness or canonicity, aesthetics and its historical moment.

By providing an initial register of these metrics – by asking, of each, the question: in what way is what deviating from what normativity? – it hopes to articulate the contours of the work’s heretofore difficult to apprehend fantasticity, and to suggest an extension of the same to that group of texts within which we have always apprehended it: children’s literature.



*Sans citations because it’s a rough draft.

MY FIST IS A BOOK OF ETHICS Now Available At Needles & Pens, Modern Times Bookstore & Another Adventure

Ryan McGinley, “Night Sky (Pine)” 2010

Yesterday I took another walk/ day trip to The Mission in San Francisco, this time by myself, and here is what happened:

I stumbled across Aldea Ninos, where I picked up a copy of a book called “The Fox and The Hare,” a Russian folk tale retold by Vladimir Dal and illustrated by Francesca Yarbusova, illustrator and wife of acclaimed animator Yuri Norstein. The illustrations, I learned, are the- extremely vibrant and engaging- “sketches” for Norstein’s 1975 animated film of the story. Rovakada Publishing, based out of San Francisco, has published two other books that feature Yarbusova’s illustrations, one of which follows the same format- sketches for the narrative of her husband’s acclaimed work of the same title, “Hedgehog in the Fog,” and a poem by Korney Chukofsky called “Mishmash… about a funny mix-up that happened among the animals.”

The Hero of “The Fox and The Hare” is a Rooster, of course.

Next I stopped at Needles and Pens where I intended, and subsequently succeeded in, selling five copies of my collection of poems, MY FIST IS A BOOK OF ETHICS. I also managed to pick up a copy of MONO.KULTURE #27(Spring 2011), which features the work of famed photographer Ryan McGinley. I was particularly taken by the proliferation of nakednesses and colors, best exemplified by the photograph below, but was disappointed by the short review at the beginning of the zine, wherein I learned that the “division” between “art and commerce,” which McGinley is apparently exceedingly adept at traversing, is “antiquated.” In an apparent allusion to something along the lines of an enlightened postmodern nihilism, MONO.KULTURE was not willing, or able, to level any sort of critique against their inadvertent claim that there is no difference between a piece of art and a Levi’s advertisement. And wherein I don’t think I am personally under any illusions about anything like the revolutionary potential of art- indeed, I find it interesting that the fine art object has become the capitalist object par excellence- it was still a bit of a downer to find any and all road bumps removed in the consideration itself. And to top it off, they brought home their lack of critique with a good old fashioned grammatical faux pas: “… anything goes in a world where boundaries are blurring and the world is becoming increasingly intertwined,” which totally ignores the fact that the verb intertwined applies only to situations of two or more things.


Afterwards I took my first walk down 24th Street, where I took my time doing the usual tourist-mural routine.  I was particularly taken by two pieces, a couple of blocks apart, that I was pleased to find were products of the same artist, Laura Campos. Be sure to surf the hashtag #lauracampos on the linked-to-Instagram photo below to find more of her work.

Finally, I stopped by Modern Times Bookstore Collective, a San Francisco landmark. It was my first time visiting, and I had a wonderful time checking out both their poetry and criticism sections, each of which carried a wide range of really crucial texts, from Mahmoud Darwish to Dante in the former, Susan Sontag to Fredric Jameson in the latter.  Also on display was a mountain of essential Black literature: Cornel West, James Baldwin, Assata Shakur and others. I highly recommend going, and keeping track of their busy schedule for all sorts of events of persuasions literary, political and both.

photo 2
Detail, “Spiritual Connection,” by Laura Campos, 24th & Treat, The Mission, SF