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A cat sat on his bed like a small disheveled black Sphinx. As Ziad drew near it, it turned to face him. “No!” it shrieked. It jumped around his bedroom, and he chased after its violent “No’s.” When Ziad got close enough to pet it, a stroke of its fur set the cat alight, and it exploded. Ziad woke up. He wasn’t too startled. It wasn’t the first time he’d chased resistant detonating cats around in his dreams. He’d dreamt of that cat over three times that month. The first time around, he woke up panting, guilt tingling his throat. But

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by Georg Johannessen, translated from the Norwegian by Rana Issa This short story was written in 1968 by Georg Johannessen, the Norwegian professor of rhetoric, artist, and public intellectual. The story was published in the same year as Kassandra, a scandalous play in the revisionist tradition in vogue in early postmodernity, which takes Troy as the form from which to attack post-World War II Norwegian society; the play brought Johannessen great controversy. Like Kassandra, “Prince and Princess: A Satirical Porno Fable,” (Prins og Prinsesse: en satirsk pornoeventyr), foretells of the general state of false piety that plagued Norwegian society in the

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When you tell me that your father died last week, you wrap it in between a Merry Christmas, and apologies for the delay. It is a systematic calculation: four lines, sandwich-stacked and pressed. You are careful not to let it breathe too wide. I remember asking Death to come inside. The first time, he was careful not to wake the house, knocked his marble knuckles only on my window. All I wanted was to crawl back into bed — hazy like a toddler after napping on the sofa. The second time, he made a point of nail screeching, car alarm howling, racket-and-bang smashing every pot onto the cold white

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maybe I should kill my mother. to forget her thick hands her fat laughing fingers the stubborn ring that remains even after the letters had been burnt. to forget her voice in the morning as she makes coffee talks to the kitchen cupboard and the cat. to forget the sound of her footsteps as she gets up for a cigarette at 2 in the morning eyes half-open and the body somnolent dragging itself across our dark corridor. maybe I should kill the cat. I can imagine her looking for him in the streets at dawn heavy knees bending, palms pressed to the asphalt she will not find him under cars or on our sooted rooftop by the

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Three months of intensive training, twelve hours a day, seven days a week, and still, your right shoulder cramps now under the weight of the backpack. You had been far too nervous to remember to rub in some pain relief ointment there this morning. You could use some of its heat in the below-zero cold of the Syrian winter morning. Your abaya’s thin syn-thetic silk offers little insulation against the frosty wind that licks your exposed face. Shaking your head, you look around in an effort to remind yourself of why you are here. Your sheila, fastened around your face

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Ever since Shaden Fakih first owned the Cliffhangers storytelling stage in May of this year, with what has become her signature mélange of bawdy humor and unapologetic candor, she has had us collectively gasping for breath between raucous fits of laughter. Shaden is belovedly known for improvising characters and comic scenarios which make a mockery of polite society’s cherished ideals, using humor as her foremost weapon in her hilarious war against hypocrisy. Simply being a female storyteller in the male-dominated world of comedy deviates from the script ‒ one that demands that women be seen and not heard. Her music

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The debris       rose from the fire the air thickened with the name of God I missed it      by a mile or two far out where the land had begun to expire. I rode    my family’s last surviving vehicle And all my belongings    traded for board with my mother’s three thousand     lulls our memories thrashing around in the water, cold. They catch you      on the streets of Izmir We will catch a cold in this    downpour       they know you by the chains you drag here    and even there they don’t know if we’ll survive the White night Forty swollen eyes in a twelve-seat bus, blackened windows Fifty-four on a flimsy rubber

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Deemed as “Mexico’s greatest novelist,” writer Yuri Herrera presents his readers with an incredibly multilayered, fantastical, yet oddly-realistic narrative of border-jumping in his 2015 novel, Signs Preceding the End of the World. A necessary read in current times, Herrera’s text accurately transmits the complexities behind the relationship between the U.S. and Mexican border towns, and in doing so, brilliantly reproduces geopolitical tensions found between both regions. Set as a conduit character between the two locations, the novel’s protagonist, Makina, all-too-realistically foreshadows the dawn of a tragic, slightly horrific new world, where the notion of an “authentic” Mexican border identity becomes

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By Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin and Translated from the Amharic by Nafkote Tamirat The English translation of Yekermo Sew was developed, in part, through a collaboration with Masrah Ensemble in Beirut, Lebanon, in 2014. Masrah Ensemble is a nonprofit theatre company and organization that makes, develops, and fosters research and criticism of theatre with a focus on the Arab stage. Based in Beirut, Lebanon, the Ensemble aims to reconfigure audiences and to encourage transcendent, riveting theatre. ACT I The town of Gola is in the belly button of Addis Ababa. Moges after paying for water and electricity has rented a kitchen-sized, one-room hut for thirteen birr, pasted

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  to the Assy family: to my family, which means that one day, when my vital organs fail me or when karma decides it is no longer interested, in trying to counterbalance gains and losses I will be put to the ground, and buried alongside others whom I have had the serendipity of encountering these past few years. Although they would be tempted to, the earthworms will not segregate — "this is my grave, that is your tombstone"; we will all wither wickedly away just the same, and decay decadently just the same, irreverently irrespective, of any interjections issued up, by our DNA that flails its tentacles shamelessly shunning out misfits and miscreants that it so conveniently dubs, diverting blame to all those who happen to be hampered by missing members. I belong to a gravesite — one

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