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Martin Espada standing next to a mural of Frida Kahlo.

Marshmallow Rice Krispie Treat Machu Picchu

Centuries ago, laborers raised tons of stone without the wheel to build Machu Picchu; Pizarro and his army of conquistadores missed it, leaving the stones untouched. Now, hands snap towers,crack walls, wreck temples, stuffing sticky rubble into mouths. Marshmallow Rice Krispie Treat Machu Picchu lies in ruins.

Invitation to Cross-Pollinate

Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons is sometimes described as a work of “verbal cubism.” Wrote Marcel Proust in a letter: “For several years, Beethoven’s late quartets and Franck’s music have been my primary spiritual nourishment.” You probably know that Karl Ove Knausgård wrote a music column when he was sixteen (covered: Simple Minds, Talking Heads, David Bowie, and Eric Clapton). And you?

I Was a Flower of the Mountain

* Gina Balibrera *

She seemed to have read everything, and thus I imagined that she lived, as Joyce wrote, near to the wild heart of life, in Ireland attending Joyce conferences in her fabulous boots, dipping down to Southern Spain to write in the sun with a bottle of wine and cavort with beautiful intellectuals, writing dazzling papers on international flights, and having her hair deep conditioned and brushed in the meantime. Hers was the life that would be mine in the next decade. In my thirties, I thought to myself, I will have read everything and I will have a chestnut mane. During one of her lectures I made an idle note to read every volume of In Search of Lost Time over the summer.

Tableau Vivant, Part III: Dear Old Bookcase

* Gina Balibrera *

GAYEV: “‘Dear old bookcase! Wonderful old bookcase! I rejoice in your existence. For a hundred years now you have borne the shining ideals of goodness and justice, a hundred years have not dimmed your silent summons to useful labor. To generations of our family (almost in tears) you have offered courage, a belief in a better future, you have instructed us in ideals of goodness and social awareness….’

(Pause.)”