The discomfort of the traveler is inbuilt with meter and rhythm. Why else “hit” the road? Vistas, destinations, attractions of all kinds have nothing to recommend them to the true tourist: hers is a life whose stated purpose may be poetry but which expresses itself in prose. Triumphal photos with limitless views are, in the end, prompts, not narratives; they imply the ellipsis that links the pain of getting there to the pain of getting back. “First the cab was late, then the plane was delayed, then they lost our luggage, we got a flat tire, we got motion sickness, there were rats, there were mosquitoes, we got sick on the train, the driver ripped us off. And the coffee was terrible/the tea was weak/the water was brown/the meat was off/there was no bathroom.” The journey is the thing, a picaresque until we reach home again, and unrecognizable as the atmosphere while we are in it.(I do talk about the book, too.) This is a terrific issue, with prose from Joe Aguilar, Jen Bergmark, Kellie Wells, Brian Kubarycz, Angela Stubbs, Rebecca Beachy, Brent Armendinger, Kristen Radke, Greg Gerke, Bipin Aurora, Brian Oliu, Robert Tumas, Rachel Marston, and Claudia Burbank; poetry from Amy Woolard, Denise Leto, Kathleen Balma, Jeffrey Pethybridge, Megan Kaminski, Peter Ramos, Carolyn Guinzio, Oliver de la Paz, Samuel Maio, Roberto Harrison, Mary Biddinger, Suzanne Frischkorn, Michael Flory Ogletree, Joe Fletcher, Natasha Kessler, and Ines Rivera; and reviews from Stefan McKinstray, Chris McClelland, Thomas Baughman, Adam Crittenden, Nate Taylor, Dorine Jeannette, Rae Bryant, and Mike Meginnis. My sincere thanks to Carmen Giménez Smith, Evan Lavender-Smith, Mike Meginnis, and Tracy Bowling for all of their help.
† Due to a rather unfortunate printing error, the previous issue had a doubled page, and thus also a page missing, right in the middle of "A Night at the Opera." Editor Carmen Giménez Smith graciously offered to reprint the story in its entirety.