In the process of creating our newest issue, I witnessed the concept of “sinking city” being turned on its head (err, roof); the sun burst into new blank spurts of land—Sinking City had been named so as rhythmic tribute and reference to the harsh reality of Miami’s physical state, yet has been also used to addressed the ecopoetics our magazine aims to include, highlight and tackle head on.
In each piece from this issue, I felt a certain sense of Surrealist hauntings surging throughout, absurdities which pervaded the more physical and metaphorical spaces we have the opportunity of inhabiting in each work we delve into. “Sinking city” to me, transformed into a phenomenologically unstable yet preserved state of home, like the way in which the speaker in DS Maolalai’s poem most likely ironically reflects on the fact that “it makes me / feel quite good / to see them / build space there.” Where is there?
“What is there to know besides now” (from Celina McManus’ “First Day Revisited”) would be the best line to follow that sort of logic. Or perhaps we are sitting at a bar, conversing with gods (referencing Steven Bergmark’s “Sock and Buskin”), or encountering “a salad bowl filled with cash— / think of an egg, the letter A […]” (from Andrew Gibson and Zebulon Huset’s Exquisite Cento project).
Each line is a door that transports us to different realms altogether, just like Molly Montgomery’s “Firemonger” does, just like the talking gnome in Samuel Shaw’s “The Gnome” does…
The city’s ink spills through the (digital) spread of our spring catalogue. Not only do we have Sara Florian’s cover art, titled “Ink (Naani)”, we also have the ink “from my fingerprints” (Celina McManus), and the more toxic “plastic ghost nets unwilding her breath”, yet still fighting to “echolocate[e] justice” (from Danielle Zipkin’s “Ghost Nets”).
In a more positive light, we bless the city’s stench in Dot Armstrong’s “A Compost Manifesto” and in more intimately in Kate Maxwell’s “Smell a Rat”, which refers to “a deliciously rich, rotten banana in one bag”.
And of course, last but never least, the reminders here of Florida:
Moira Walsh’s poem intimately invites the readers to her own poem, home, with this line:
“never mind the alligator at my doorstep”. In Ryan Pfeffer’s “We Didn’t Know They Could Do That”, Floridians are all too familiar with the strange first “freedoms” felt while staying tucked away at home before a hurricane warning (well, we can now read this doubly, through the contexts of the pandemic as well).
Thank you writers and every reader, for your always love, for imbuing this type of attention to sense, to the environment we struggle to live in, but which also struggles because of us. Thank you for taking the time to sit and read through all the ripe smells, toxicity, and symbioses which have helped create the space of Sinking City. Our team is so grateful.
P.S: I am pleased to pass on this project of love, this baby, to Amanda LaMadrid, Sinking City’s newest Managing Editor!
While reading the pieces submitted to this issue, I was struck by our luck. To be living and breathing, and getting to experience and create art, is the truest, richest fortune. As I’m sure everyone in our lives has been saying and signing off emails with ad infinitum, it has been a strange and difficult year.
For many, we’ve been prompted to reflect on the places we have come from, the places we want to go when we’re through with lockdown limbo. Florida and our very own sinking city are both for me, and I feel their peculiarities, their mystery, their pull in the words of this issue. The art presented across these virtual pages serves as a tap on the shoulder reminding us that we remain – near the sinking city or very far away – always, here.
Thank you to the writers and readers for engaging in this shared creative experience. I’m grateful to be a part of it with all of you.
Clayre Benzadón and Amanda Lamadrid