A Letter from the Editor

June 21st 2014

Dear Reader,

Welcome to Issue Thirteen.

It perhaps takes the submission of some truly unusual writing to make us recognise the malleable boundaries of the walking narrative. Reading Arturo Rubio’s “a bad day to die” did just that. His short story charts the final steps of a man walking with a knife buried in his back. At first, the piece made me think of Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Mugging” where the urban walker falls victim to an attack by thugs. For me, this poem in particular emphasises the perilous visibility of the walker in the modern day metropolis. The nineteenth century flâneur always appeared to ghost through the city – at the very centre of the world, but unseen of the world, to paraphrase Baudelaire. The contemporary walker, conversely, always appears to be visible and therefore vulnerable to the feral elements of the city. Rubio’s short story also reminded me of Tom Waits’s “Romeo is Bleeding“, a gritty ballad about a revered street tough who succeeds in maintaining his macho bravado while concealing a bullet wound to the chest. What is fascinating about “a bad day to die” is that the author conceals the motive for the stabbing. Was the walker an innocent victim, as in Ginsberg’s poem, or was he the target of some violent gangland retribution? The world spins around this wounded wanderer, and we share in witnessing the crowd’s mixed reactions to his horrific injury.

Issue thirteen opens with this thought provoking and darkly humorous piece, followed by Jen Marshall Lagedrost’s “War Play”, a poem set in San Diego’s Presidio Park. Next is Myron Michael’s “Weather Ball Blue”, a walk through Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Amy Schreibman Walter’s “Lower East Side, July 4th”, a prose poem marking one emotional moment in Manhattan. Susi Lovell’s effervescent “Montreal – In Passing” perpetuates StepAway Magazine’s ever growing infatuation with Quebec’s Metropolis, while Maria Pianelli’s “The Morning After” captures a moment of quiet reflection on the street. “Walking in Zamalek” by Kathleen Saville and “Historic Newberry” by Alice Baldys guide us through two contrasting neighborhoods, the first in Cairo, Egypt, the second in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, “Afternoon here” and “Life in a seashell” are two poems from a series by Bill Buege in which he writes from the perspective of a young woman taking a writing class at a minor New York college. The issue closes with Laura Glenn’s “Part Conversation” which captures a blissful compulsion to walk.

Our cover art comes courtesy of Philip Barlow, an artist who lives in Noordhoek Cape Town, South Africa. He says of his painting:

“Although I work within a long tradition of landscape painting, my depiction of the ‘seen’ landscape is simply a vehicle through which I navigate territory of another nature. A landscape less ordinary; where the line between the physical and the spiritual realm has seemingly been removed. However, these scenes are not intended to be of a surreal nature, hopefully they will seem curiously familiar and convincingly real. The figures in the landscape serve as carriers and reflectors of the light, bathed in the luminosity, it is my hope that they would become more beautiful. To me, light is the ultimate subject because it embodies the pinnacle of all reality”.

I was immediately taken by Mr. Barlow’s effortless ability to capture the most elusive sensations of street life – light, mood, temperature, and movement – somehow seem to ghost their way onto the canvas.

I hope you agree that Issue Thirteen has a magnificent lineup, and I look forward to catching up with you all in September with the publication of our Fitzrovia Atlas project.

Yours faithfully,

Darren Richard Carlaw