harp & altar #5 now up!

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harp & altar #5 has new poetry, fiction, and essays for your recurrent, sweet, sad days… including new fiction from joshua cohen, evelyn hampton, lily hoang, peter markus, bryson newhart and some re(-dis)covered robert walser translations. also: poetry by stephanie anderson, jessica baron, julia cohen, claire donato, elizabeth sanger, peter jay shippy, and g.c. waldrep; patrick morrissey on john taggart and matthew henriksen on anywhere; michael newton’s gallery reviews; and artwork by a.l. steiner + robbinschilds…

Robert Walser
From “Oskar”
He began this strange behavior at a very early age by going his own way and finding such evident pleasure in being alone. In later years he recalled very clearly that nobody had made him aware of such things. All by itself the strange need to be alone and apart had appeared, and was there… Even though it was winter, he would have no heating. He did not want any comforts. Everything around him had to be rough, inhospitable, and miserable. He wanted to bear and endure some thing, and ordered himself to do so. And that, nobody had told him either. All alone he had the idea that it would be good for him to order himself to bear hardship and malice in a friendly and good-hearted manner. He considered himself to be at a kind of upper-level school. He went to university there, as a weird and wild student…

Bryson Newhart
from “Paterfamilias”
After compulsory relocation to Hornville, Misery’s family lived in a skyscraper made of living flesh. The building’s eyes served as windows that were barely transparent, and although it was said that the heavens were out there, no one could see them. The people who lived in the building wore internal helmets injected into their ears by the doorman, who was also a skilled surgeon. On any given day, one was either deaf to the world, or everything was painfully amplified, but it was worth it. The human head was indestructible. When people died, the government shot their heads into the sun…

Evelyn Hampton
From “Discomfort”
While I am talking with him I am also walking, and I’ve lost track of where I am by the time our conversation pauses. Curtains get in the way, obstructing light as clutter obstructs movement. He is not someone I have ever been comfortable with—I can’t recall his name—so I am more aware of my body while I’m walking and intonation while I’m talking than I am when with a familiar person, whose ways of judging me won’t surprise me. It doesn’t help that he’s a back-patter and an arm-grabber, likes to touch while conversing…

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