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This is bonfire night.

WAITING FOR THE SIGN BY MAZI KAZEMI 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 86

Margot’s dad stopped the car on the shoulder of Route 9, a forest on one side and cornfields on the other side dotted with barns and old New England homes. Down a dirt road a bonfire. “I can walk from here,” Margot said. Her dad reached into the back seat and said, “I have something for you,” and he handed her a six-pack of Yuengling. “Your first beer with, well not with, from your dear old dad. Probably not your first overall, though.” He punched her shoulder playfully.

I woke up to four missed calls from Zed. Before I could throw off the covers the phone rang again. “He’s not picking up, Felipé.” “It’s still early,” I said. “It’s Mother’s Day,” Zed said.

MOTHER’S DAY BY STEPHEN KAHN 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 86

I wanted to nurture the plants.

THOSE PEOPLE! BY WEIYU DU 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 86

There is really no reason why we shouldn’t be happy.

BECALMED AND HAPPY BY OVE HAXTHAUSEN 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 86

I must write this down.

HONEST WORDS BY ROBIN JEFFREY 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 86

The wisdom of unintended consequences.

TEN GOLDEN TRUTHS BY KENNETH D STEPHENS 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 86

Anxiety.

ANXIETY BY ALEXANDER BROWN 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 86

Anxiety is when there is nowhere left to turn.

To be all alone in a storm.

No one can hear the storm inside your head.

But you can hear it just fine.

They want to help but how can you explain it to them?

You want it to go away.

It always does. But it comes back. It always does.


34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 86

WAITING FOR THE SIGN BY MAZI KAZEMI, THOSE PEOPLE! BY WEIYU DU, BECALMED AND HAPPY BY OVE HAXTHAUSEN, MOTHER’S DAY BY STEPHEN KAHN, HONEST WORDS BY ROBIN JEFFREY, ANXIETY BY ALEXANDER BROWN, QUARANTINE AND THE TEN GOLDEN TRUTHS BY KENNETH D STEPHENS.

Words are all we have.


Raymond Federman knew Samuel Beckett not only as a writer but as a friend. Federman, a French-American writer who always spoke with Beckett in French, said: “Each time I would leave him holding on to a few precious words he had given me like a fragile gift.”

The glimpses that we have of the intensely private Beckett from his friends reveal a man, a writer, driven by his commitment to words, not just any words, but words stripped bare, edited, and reduced, as if by doing this he could remove every inconsequential modifier and reveal meaning in its simplest form, the most direct form, without embellishment, without fluff.

This was in contrast to his mentor’s style. Beckett once said of Joyce’s writing: “James Joyce was a synthesizer, trying to bring in as much as he could. I am an analyzer, trying to leave out as much as I can.”

So it is even more moving how Beckett’s words influenced those around him. This writer who was so careful, who wrote in French to prevent himself from attempting to write for style, seemed to say the most poignant things with the fewest words.

When Federman first met Beckett, he told him that he wanted to become a writer. In response, Beckett replied: “Raymond, whatever you write, never compromise, and if you plan to write for money or fame, do something else.” Federman cherished these words and hoped never to betray them.

Nothing I write will ever be finished. 

SERVICE CALL BY GABRIELLE ESPOSITO 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 85

You wore my hat and laughed as we walked home hand in hand and I told you to keep it and you did.

LOVE AND PHILODENDRON BY PATRICK SEAMAN 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 83



I started to see some light in the world.

CUSTOM HEADPHONES BY MATTHEW MEAGHER 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 81

Screw you, screw you. Bitch, bitch, bitch!

INSCREWABLE BY BEN UMAYAM 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 82

She captured the movement in still life.

ARTFUL BY KAREN BREMER MASUDA 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 81

See if God is listening. 

INTERNAL VOICES BY TRAVIS COBB 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 81

Let life happen to you.


Let life happen to you regardless of the pain and so on but with its soaring joy, says Terry McDonell in The Accidental Life. What I am really writing about is the idea of human freedom, human community, the real world. I find the most marvelous things in the everyday, the ordinary, the common, the simple.

Let life happen, a liberating notion. Yeah let it be. And keep a look out for the joy, the glorious stuff. No harm either in trying to make sense of it all. 

I don’t have to be on that bus.

THE ANDROID REBELLION BY NICOLAS GATTIG 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 53


The bus left at 10 in time for tonight’s show in Sacramento. I was walking to Civic Center when I thought about something Steve Drt had once said in an interview. Asked on camera if we would ever do Lollapalooza, he gave a smile full of plant teachers. “You know, 80 per cent of success is not showing up,” he said. “For the bullshit, that is.”  I don’t have to be on that bus, I thought, sitting down at a cafe. I can drop the whole thing, slam cappuccinos till happy hour, then get smashed at a bar.