The city at night: I love it at this hour for its movement, rhythms, and peoples. As I walk, I look at the lights lining the buildings of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside— every flicker, every flashing square fading in and out is a story or poem I’d imagine of someone else’s life, transporting me into a rhythm of the city beyond myself.
In this issue, we are honoured to feature commissioned writer, Dr. Yabome Gilpin- Jackson, with her story, “Black Queen.” The bildungsroman, told through the post-mortem perspective of young protagonist, Sukie, unfolds along the strands of a perilous relationship. This story is a relatable one for many, but ultimately ends on an empowering note. In conversation, Lue Palmer interviews Alannah Johnson, co-founder of Hush Harbour Press, about her upcoming collection Belly Skin. Their dialogue centred around memory, diaspora, and Johnson’s process of “remap[ping] the fat, Black body back home,” forges an unforgettable collaboration between two critical and immersive voices.
Just like in the real rhythms of the city, the stories and poems in these pages invoke self-love, intimate and familial love, an ecological awareness, birth and music, as well as narratives of estrangement, sickness, disability, and displacement. Trigger warning: some pieces in this issue contain references to domestic violence, assault, and body horror. We ask that readers take care of themselves. In celebrating the small joys of the everyday, we also want to illuminate the dangers of the city, particularly the precarious, lived experiences of queer, trans, non- binary, and racialized peoples facing racism, micro-aggressions, misogyny, and surveillance.
I am so grateful to have had the support and artistic visions of my assistant editor, Lue Palmer, and shadow editor, Micah Killjoy. Your anchoring presences are a gift to me and this issue.
Lastly, a huge round of felicitations to this year’s contest winners!