Welcome to our second issue.
Time has been on my mind. How much we have. How much we’ve lost. What it means to be on, behind, early, back in, out of. Seasons, holidays, anniversaries, dusks and dawns: we mark time as if we have control over it. Yet regardless of our bullet journals, alerts, calendars and determination, we are subject to the vagaries of time, of unexpected events and unreadable patterns.
Every word I seek to describe our current era—in any language—feels wretchedly inadequate. Even if we are not experiencing these “never agains” individually, we are bearing witness to them all over the world. We are born into bodily vessels as fragile as eggshells, with seasons as brief as cherry blossoms. Regardless of how far-flung we are, I try to hold on tightly to those near and far; to revisit memory as both succor as well as hope for a brighter future, and treasure each moment with loved ones.
I also value beyond measure those who bring beauty into the world, as they remind us of our shared humanity, which we need more than ever. I am honored—another inadequate word!—by the expanse of our contributors, their collective talents and beautiful souls, and immensely proud of what it indicates about our culture and its embrace of the arts, and each other. I am also aware of and humbled by how many more voices and verses there are in the world that aren’t represented in our digital pages—yet.
I hope that this essential spirit of creativity may mitigate some of the anguish so many are experiencing through war, illness, climate disaster, food insecurity and homelessness, as well as inexplicable cruelties and the painful losses of the heart. As I expressed at the outset of this passion project, I hope this will be a chai-khaneh, a resting place full of mohabat, where all are welcome, and love for all people and the art they create is our ethos.
Back to time: be generous with yourselves and all you haven’t yet completed. Be kind about what is not on schedule. Savor the delays as a way to experience more rather than less. May all that you desire come to you in the fullness of time. And may you have all the time in the world to enjoy who and what you love.
Thank you for being here with us.
Mandana / ماندانا
The brilliance of the poet T. De Los Reyes, our designer and dear friend, is on every page of this site. She exemplifies the same spirit and talent as all our beloved contributors, and I simply couldn’t imagine this project without her.
FOREWORD BY MANDANA CHAFFA
Mandana Chaffa is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Nowruz Journal, a periodical of Persian arts and letters, and an Editor-at-Large at Chicago Review of Books. Her criticism, essays and interviews have appeared in numerous publications and anthologies, and she serves on the boards of the National Book Critics Circle and The Flow Chart Foundation. Born in Tehran, Iran, she lives in New York.
AUTHOR PHOTOGRAPH BY Carucha L. Meuse • FEATURED IMAGE BY Kasra Fayyazi VIA UNSPLASH
DESIGN BY T. DE LOS REYES
Poet and designer T. De Los Reyes is the author of Woeman (Hawai’i Review, 2018). She was a finalist for the 2021 Sappho Prize by Palette Poetry. Her poems have previously appeared or are forthcoming in Pleiades, Split Lip Magazine, West Trestle Review, Cordite Poetry Review, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Rabbit Catastrophe Review, The Philippine Free Press, and The Philippine Graphic, among others. She is the designer for Nowruz Journal. She lives and writes in Manila, Philippines.