Hey folks: welcome to the third issue of Distance Yearning, an online lit mag & interactive quaranzine. Time continues its endless march; but against all odds our endless March has come to an end. Our quarantine hasn’t, though, and so we’re still putting out Distance Yearning each week!
April may be the cruelest month, but it’s also my birth month + national poetry month. What a lucky alignment of things, considering what things I’m into! It’s fun to imagine an alternate timeline where I’m passionate about financial literacy or jazz.
Give this issue a read, then check back tomorrow morning (actually this time!) for next week’s theme; you can also follow us on Twitter or Instagram & we’ll (actually this time!) be sharing art from this & previous issue on social media over the next several days.
& now for this week’s theme:
“Losing time. How minutes blend into hours blend into days. Only drinking on days that end in -y, and every day ends in why. How the only thing demarcating your weeks is new episodes of Westworld. Watching tv, or your Twitter feed, or a single cloud drift lazily across a blue sky. These violent delights have violent ends.”
Melody Cheikhali: “M-F”, “Time After Time”, “No Human Allowed”
What day is it again?
Because we normally order out Fridays,
And our favorite show is on Sundays,
And the trash pickup is on Thursdays,
And what about that package we ordered?
Am I still your woman crush on Wednesdays?
We stopped marking the calendar,
Or maybe it was the calendar that stopped marking us
As everyday seems to blend into the next
And I can’t drink these blended smoothies anymore.
Can we try Day Light Savings again?
Something needs to change the time,
Before we stop moving at all.
Time After Time
I stacked my watch on top of every clock in my apartment.
I want to collect minutes and build a pyramid of months
Locking in my memories like mummies.
I want to be the wealthiest woman on earth,
A bank account filled with days and hours,
Times an infinity because that it was I have,
Infinite time times another infinite.
I am drowning in this ocean of occasions.
I am made of a ticking time-bomb,
A couple of ticks away from being set off
Sending splinters of seconds that will only create more time,
Keeping me rich even after I’m gone.
No Humans Allowed
The clocks stopped moving today
So I ripped the arms off and
Wrapped them around me for comfort.
My mind doesn’t speak time anymore,
Only in days and nights
Which have everything in common now.
I look out the window hoping to see someone I know,
But the trees have taken over
And the dogs are walking themselves.
Melody Cheikhali is a Brooklyn-based writer who’s been spending her quarantine writing, painting, puzzling, movie watching, and checking in on all her loved ones. Once this is over, she hopes to hug all her friends and lay on grass in every park.
York Chen: “Cycle”
reading, and loving, and consuming,
i have done them all far enough to become
accustomed—to drinking quietly small sips
that eat at, in between Big Gulp big gulps,
an undeniable eating at of my insides.
when the pixels flicker and screen cuts to black to
hunched shoulders and my every-o’clock shadow,
i track to dappled panes of reflectful rainbeads
and defocus my eyes. in the drops
i think i can see inside and out.
i review the water cycle, and remember it is
the same water: in any lake, at every time.
that has somehow everywhere always been so.
i want to learn to convince myself: either that it is true, or not.
York Chen (he/him) is learning medicine and also how to do other good and meaningful things, because quarantine or not what we have to have is each other.
Lori Fagerholm: “Apogee”, “when we were ten”
I can’t say aloud that I
don’t miss the noise the dead made
when they were living.
Except for some nights,
those left living
are mostly silent,
just a quiet panting
like crouching prey
that has barely escaped.
A child has no word for construct,
I knew only a feeling
like sitting on the moon
looking the long distance down.
The construct called time
was thin as a layer of makeup.
Now, the face wiped clean,
starlight plays on the skin
and in the skin,
and all the way down
to the moonwhite bones.
when we were ten
we read the painting of the melted clocks
like a horoscope.
in their faces, an impatient latency
like the prickle beneath the skin
of the longing to be grown
you forgot but i remembered
that a clock is as likely as not to stop,
bulbs of glass to shatter,
sand to pour from the cracks
friend: i’ve waited here for you
like an island
for which the river parts
finally, the world
measures time as we did:
the growing moon,
the tulip falling open,
Lori Fagerholm is a graphic designer and writer trying, and mostly failing, to do something more productive than staring at Nashville Zoo's binturong kit cam. It's just, he's so fluffy, and so very small.
Michael Hedrick: three photographs
Mike Hedrick is an artist and photographer in Boulder, CO. He’d love to get out more but for now he’s stuck inside.
Collin Knopp-Schwyn: “They’re letting you retake kindergarten”
Not just kindergarten, but the last two decades. They bop you right back to age five.
Fuck yeah, you think, this is great. This time, I’m gonna do it right.
I’m gonna speedrun kindergarten.
I’m gonna kick first grade’s butt.
I’m gonna stay friends with Jessica Benson-Kruger and not get suspended for punching Bethany Beale when we do our World Foods Day presentations.
I’m gonna remember where the Chukchi Sea is.
I’m gonna write such a good book report on Because of Winn-Dixie.
I’m gonna know why I can’t stop thinking about the school picture that Shonti Adams gives me.
I’m gonna learn Spanish for real this time, even vosotros.
I’m gonna get a Facebook before anyone else at school does.
I’m gonna join robotics club and student government first thing freshman year and not bother with yearbook.
I’m gonna say no when Jonah Peters asks me to the pasta benefit dance.
I’m gonna say yes when Tati Simondet asks if I like girls.
I’m gonna be subversive and clever in my early decision admissions essay and not bother with any of the others since I won’t need to.
I’m gonna impress my hall with all the vegetarian recipes I know.
I’m gonna be Professor Watts-Adler’s research assistant and coauthor that paper on legacy filetype migration strategies with him.
I’m gonna end things with Tati sooner.
I’m gonna apply to more internships and move to the city before housing prices go up in the fall.
I’m gonna spend more time with my grandma before she dies.
I’m gonna live with only good roommates.
I’m gonna get a dog and let her sleep in my bed and when I get a girlfriend, dancing somewhere in the warehouse district, the dog will sleep between us.
You are 25 again.
Well, now what?
One hot night, you wake and untangle yourself from the bed that hurts your back and the dog who snores and slobbers and the girl who loves you more than you know you’ll ever love her back in the home that costs more than you can afford.
You open your computer and fill out the form.
It’s easier than you recall.
Collin Knopp-Schwyn was born in Minneapolis but may die anywhere.
Richard LeDue: “No More Complaints About Promised Sunshine”, “Another Day Lost”
No More Complaints About Promised Sunshine
Now, even the alarm clocks sound different.
Days spend in front of computers,
missing Monday mornings
when there was never enough coffee.
Undress, shower, dress
felt like steps in a death march
except no one was yelling directions,
just silent moments hinting at
everyone's true destination.
No more complaints
about promised sunshine,
each drop of rain a lie
we took too seriously.
Mouths dry as we pretended
to smile, thinking of bills,
how they haunted mailboxes
once a month- maybe the best evidence
of our own existence.
Another Day Lost
My sister told me she won't walk
her dog along again
because there were too many men
driving around by themselves,
and I thought, she's right,
this is the time that the worse
will remind us cruelty is immune
to pandemics, while the police are busy
telling a retired accountant and his wife,
back from Florida,
that they need to stay home for two weeks,
escorting them (six feet away)
from the grocery store.
Richard LeDue was born in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada, but currently lives in Norway House, Manitoba with his wife and son. His poems have appeared in various publications throughout 2019, and more work is forthcoming throughout 2020, including a chapbook from Kelsey Books.