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ISSUE NO. 6: LIONHEART

July 2021

 

This issue of Pearl Press features work from:

Pierce Sapper
Niko Krivanek
Loren Toney
Jack Trego
Diana Guerra
Alanis Santiago-Rodriguez
Laura Chen
Molly Peters
Jamie Riva
Jenica Heintzelman
Victor Isaac Alvarez
Patrick Carew
Justin Mills
Jinwoo Hwon Lee 
이훤
Sarah Pfohl

Cover image: Molly Peters

Curated by: Delilah Twersky

Download the PDF below.

David: Pierce Sapper

David: Pierce Sapper

Bombing: Pierce Sapper

Bombing: Pierce Sapper

Dear Sally, Love Mom series: Niko Krivanek

Dear Sally, Love Mom series: Niko Krivanek

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Brian: A Portrait of my Dear Friend: Loren Toney

LYING HEARTS

For Fernand Pages (1929 - 2021) and Jacqueline Pages (1936 - Present)

My final tethers are fraying.

 

A full drop’s nothing thud shatters 
the gloss of a global grey; unequal  
tensions, imbalanced responsibilities.

 

Beyond the page, my penultimate tether 
now beckons and rustles, rowdy as he was in life,

 

and my final tether finds herself alone in this now 
emptier, now fuller space —

maintaining herself 
despite all else.

 

But if only you could have seen them before.

 

But if only I could have seen them before,

 

in the grand lights of their youth,  
in their delicate balance of passionate man

and proud woman, 
in their journey from French village life 

to American city life. 

If only.

My spirit formed just as theirs

began to wane and settle into the low

crackling coda of their grand tour:  

compelled into existence by him,  

unexpected but perfectly accepted by her. 

Small beginnings to full lives,  
like a funnel opening unto the cosmos —

 

Witnesses to their own triumphs 
and despairs, witnesses also to 
the world’s, they grew old 
together in this room, bickering  

and needling,  

 

but in the end, their lying hearts betrayed their love. For:  

each other

their daughter

their family

their life 
me 

In the end, their lying hearts 
showed that everything they did 
extended out from their  

love for each other.

 

Stories, photos, remembrances and other  

remnants of two lives intertwined 
rustle in the winds of their shared chronicle:

tales of dukes, of singers, of  

diplomats and their wives, of

bewildering travel agents. 

My birthright is to steady these disparate

elements, arrange them to track  
the thread sown through the heart of each, 

but as I start my joyful duty, a sliver of my own heart splinters and out seeps 
my soul, drop by drop,

 

my eyes closing and I see them 
there, together again, their outlines

shimmering and evanescent.

 

I grasp her hand firmly as his figure untethers, generating a gentle rocking of the 
cosmic cradle I’ve grown within,

 

the cradle they crafted through their 
perfect power of will — not forcefully, 
but gently, like the gradual smoothing of 
a rock in a stream: 

what is unseen in this calm stream’s

flowing continuity is the power 
it derives from its source,  
a great, faraway river — 

the deep power of a life yearned for and chosen and crafted and lived and, eventually, 

perfected in its imperfection 

Jack Trego

This Will Also Fade, 27 Days: Diana Guerra

This Will Also Fade, 27 Days: Diana Guerra

El Vaivén series: Alanis Santiago-Rodriguez

El Vaivén series: Alanis Santiago-Rodriguez

El Vaivén series: Alanis Santiago-Rodriguez

El Vaivén series: Alanis Santiago-Rodriguez

Dutch Dunes: Laura Chen

Dutch Dunes: Laura Chen

Ellen, 2017: Molly Peters

Ellen, 2017: Molly Peters

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A Scar and a Smile: Jamie Riva

A BRANCH OFF THE TREE

I broke my branch off the family tree by the hum of the highway. Scraping against asphalt, whittling down to a point. The branch directs me “Go east for three days and what a vision you will behold.” The reflection of the Great Salt Lake shimmering, shrinking pale as it thirsts for rain, rusted reflection in the silver station covered wagon. My foot hard pressed on the gas pedal, sacred groves of quaking aspens slowly, leaf by leaf transforming into sweet, sugary maples. Thirty-two hours of solo driving, crisscrossing plans, thinking, not thinking of next steps. New words of wisdom etched into soft bark. Tangled roots dug up and a family forsaken. Every mile further away from families are forever. Every gas station fueling the hellfire and brimstone of a certain damnation. 

Since childhood, the mimosa tree blossomed red in the yard, blushing from the men that entered the house, heads bowed down. God’s house filled with secret handshakes and the bright green fig leaf from Adam and Eve, white and delightsome fruit. Accountable to everyone’s raised eyebrows. Subsumed into the whole, the self vanishing, raised from the dead by twelve brazen oxen, a defensive circle. The priesthood omnipotent does no wrong but there are shadows and long faces, the laying on of hands. With your dreams of mother and fears of whore, I would become neither, faceless in the crowd. No hopeful submission of obedient, modest, sealed for eternity. The weight of other branches, creaking and cracking, barely holding on. 

I cut myself off that tree slowly at first but then feverishly, giddy with delight. The tree lurches, uneasy from the drop, an inversion of growth. And it came to pass, a cloud of darkness overcame me. Stumbling alone, dwindling down, a half-colored laminate daring to leave the fold. Reality hits like ice cold water in the font. With the celestial kingdom gone I started to fear death. But I won’t go back. My new empire surrounded by water, rootless blades dance with the tide. Move underneath the sparkling, obsidian waters without horizon. A branch off the tree turns to floating driftwood washed clean, bright and burning free at last on the shore. 

Jenica Heintzelman

Billy, 2013: Molly Peters

Billy, 2013: Molly Peters

Red Bird: Pierce Sapper

Red Bird: Pierce Sapper

Prelude, to Battle: Victor Isaac Alvarez

Prelude, to Battle: Victor Isaac Alvarez

Janet, After Becoming a World Champion: Victor Isaac Alvarez

Janet, After Becoming a World Champion: Victor Isaac Alvarez

hope you know i'm in love with you too Series: Savannah Hardman

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Dad II: Patrick Carew

HER/HYMN/THEIR

When I was sixteen, I took razorblades
and peeled away my boyish skin.

 

I had just slipped into the sundress,
when I heard thunder in the distance.

What could I have said
to halt those crashing, callused hands?

 

When I was nineteen, I threw out my razorblades,

and grew my beard as long and thin and wiry as it went.

My skin fit like a wetsuit, tight,
but not uncomfortable,

 

despite that nagging feeling

I might be suited for the shallows.

 

When I was twenty three, I turned into a willow tree,

and weeping by the river’s path, I learned to grow.

 

I am learning the language of water.
I am learning to pray without faith.

 

When the stars fall, when the moon bleeds,
when the great and terrible day comes, I will be me.

Justin Mills

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Larry Fink, Los Angeles, 2017: Molly Peters

Larry Fink, Los Angeles, 2017: Molly Peters

Evan: A Portrait of my Nephew: Loren Toney

Home Is Everywhere and Often Nowhere series: Jinwoo Hwon Lee 이훤

Home Is Everywhere and Often Nowhere series: Jinwoo Hwon Lee 이훤

After Digging: Sarah Pfohl

After Digging: Sarah Pfohl

hope you know i'm in love with you too Series: Savannah Hardman

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Sam: Pierce Sapper

Thank you for reading.

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Delilah Twersky

Pearl Press

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