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A Public Space

No. 09

Politics and Pop: Brian T. Edwards on the making and censoring of art in Cairo; Antoine Wilson at Valhalla; Steve Powers's love letters; All the Best Stories Are True: a manifesto by David Shields; new fiction from T. C. Boyle, Danielle Evans, and Richard Powers; and poems by Derek Walcott, Idra Novey, Mary Jo Bang, and others.

Table of Contents


If You See Something

The Failure Bubble: It’s 1998 All Over Again

I hadn’t planned on publishing a novel about the consolations of failure just as the dot-com bubble was inflating and the startup money was beginning to scrub the city stupid block by block.

Benjamin Anastas


If You See Something

More Geese Than Swans: At Play in the Fields of Cinnabar

The American Legion’s club 432 holds a book sale every summer in the Veteran’s Memorial Hall in Cambria.

Gary Amdahl


If You See Something


My father requested a witness cremation.

Antoine Wilson



Of Strange Lands and People

A man rides backward in a packed subway car.

Richard Powers



Someone Ought to Tell Her There’s Nowhere to Go

Georgie knew before he left that Lanae would be fucking Kenny by the time he got back to Virginia.

Danielle Evans



Love Letter

Love Letter is being painted from Forty-fifth Street to Sixty-third Street on the rooftops and walls of Market Street in West Philadelphia—fifty murals, created by Stephen Powers, who has done similar projects in Dublin and  Belfast.

Steve Powers



Two Poems

May my enemy be assuaged by these waves / because they are beautiful even to his evil

Derek Walcott




Through God’s grace / the little drops came down, and the spectacle / of human science blabbered on, just waiting / for something to witness up close.

Joshua Beckman




There are too many cedars here / hiding the sun hovering / over the dead

Maureen N. McLane



Windshield Wipers

Both of them hide something, / That is why they move in such harmony.

​Aleš Šteger



A Equals All of a Sudden

At work one night / A truck driver had a truck / All of a sudden.

Mary Jo Bang



Two Poems

dancing in the dark / just two double-spaced antelopes / falling into the idea that art / is somewhere out there in the woods

Ron Padgett




Stranger, I’ve locked the door / to our ocean room.

Jennifer Chang



In the Barracks: A Found Poem

They had been in the country only for a few days when the hills began pricking into the barracks (which once had been university classrooms) with sniper fire.

Wayne Miller



The Ex-Cárcel of Valparaíso

And so it was agreed  / the empty prison would be reopened  / for festivals

Idra Novey



Lullaby on the Marsh

Slack at the end of the lasso’s loop / before the wrist is snapped / Shape of the wave underneath the wave / before the crescent topples over

Sally Keith



California Poem

What is needed is a recognizable molecule that carries the unstable / promise to the brain.

Joel Craig



A Bird Loose in the House

The frame—a grid—contrives a theater, / The specter of narrative: / A shadow play  / Alive on a curtain alive with wind.

Eric Pankey



The Last Word is Emma’s

The moment the anglers  / pulled their net ashore / it broke, and when we / called you up, the line  / was engaged.

Robb St. Lawrence



Two Poems

I am moved by morning / As the egg is moved / By skillet’s heat

Loren Goodman




The boat left at eight a.m., and that wouldn’t have presented a problem, or not especially, if Damian hadn’t been in town.

T.C. Boyle



Cairo 2010: After Kefaya—Brian T. Edwards Introduces the Next Generation

You are stuck in traffic in downtown Cairo.



Looks Like It’s Falling Apart: An Introduction

I am the son of the generation who got the shock of multimedia in my face after university.

Omar Taher



Beyond Paradise

Selma sat on the balcony of her father’s house reading Márquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera.

Mansoura Ez-Eldin



Bordering the Marvelous

Hilal had two memories of his childhood he could never forget.

Mohamed Al-Fakhrany



Ahmed Alaidy in Conversation with Ibrahim El Batout

Ibrahim El Batout has been shot twice.

Ibrahim El Batout



In the Absolute

Oh dark day…What are all these entangled relationships I find myself in, which each day get more entangled than the day before…

Khalid Kassab



The Parkour War

Morning... Like any filthy morning, people feeding off of other people...

Ahmed Alaidy



Young Lover, New Lover

When she’d been there alone with the cat and it had bit her playfully, a shudder had run through her body.

Muhammad Aladdin



All the Best Stories Are True

These are the facts, my friend, and I must have faith in them.

David Shields

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