Last Friday we published “gem water is real and it’s good for you” by Zach Blackwood. Blackwood is transfixed by, and yearning for, transformation—transformation of the body, of language, of nature. The poem could be as much an unrequited love letter, as it could also be a letter of creative intent. Blackwood is calling out to the reader, making whatever shift is necessary for connection: “every fortune said: run the sword of you / through me so i can feel you / & release you.”
Yesterday, Peach published s.g. maldonado-vélez’s “i cross the holocene with matches in my pocket.” maldonado-vélez uses light and time to communicate the destructive powers of distance, both physical and abstract: “still i walk catching / sparks on the / tip of my fingernails / as storm clouds / over anthills because / i like to think of myself / as benevolent.” Their language is careful and unhurried, like the slow closing of a fist, as it produces images that devolve into purely primal feeling. “even / asleep you are / in motion,” they write, “amongst / all this pine / bark at the / shadows it’s / intimidating / knowing you / never have / to stop.”
flash fiction by Sebastian Castillo
Bottlecap Press (2017)
Sebastian Castillo’s 49 Venezuelan Novels is a surreal metropolis; a series of shrinking alleyways joyfully devouring tourists. Each of the titular novels is never much longer than a paragraph, but Castillo is able to deftly reshape the tool of language and reality itself in each microscopic volume, “I write little poems on eviction notices. They’re taped to the front of my neighbors’ gated doors, and they’re pink, the color of language. I believe it’s assisted them with their legal problems. That explains all the flowers on my doorstep.” There isn’t necessarily a greater plot at work in the collection, but the unifying moods of muted horror and gentle melancholy held throughout 49 Venezuelan Novels present a singular world, a continent where everything dreams and everything is subject to the pain of the human condition, “The moon keeps a line by Ryokan on the nature of suffering in his back pocket. He feels cold from one side always.” The uncanny otherworld of 49 Venezuelan Novels suggests that our need to create and communicate will always be at the mercy of those that would exploit or misunderstand the intent of the creator. But, as the outside world grows ever more cruel and absurd, something simple and lasting is possible in this strange landscape, if the reader is willing to just let go: “Go outside. Pick flowers. Stroke a guitar. Kiss an ugly, dying, diseased stranger. Never read another word again.”
“Peach Picks” is a column of literary news and recommendations written by the editors of Peach Mag, an online literary magazine based in Buffalo. For inquiries, contact the editors at firstname.lastname@example.org.