Vol. 4, Issue 3

In honor of Black History Month, our third issue of Volume 4 explores stories from Black writers and artists, often posing the question, “What does it mean to be Black in America?”

In “The Pain Eater,” DW McKinney’s final short fiction of her web residency with TNSF, main character Frankie experiences mysterious pains as she tries to swallow her sorrow over the murder of Black Americans.

Rochelle Spencer’s flash fiction, “But I Like Hell,” gives us a snapshot of a young Black aspiring architect’s experience in an almost all White classroom.

Britnie Walston’s two abstract art pieces, “Earth in Distress” and “Beautiful Treasure” remind us of our interconnectedness, how, ultimately, whatever mess or beauty we create, we are all in this together.

In “If God Permitted Pirates on the Mississippi,” Matthew Johnson uses rhythmic language to evoke a sense of equal destitution in the face of unyielding oppression from the powerful.

Lastly, Carmin Wong’s poem, “Black:” is a love letter to Blackness, a triumphant song of who and what and all the myriad things that Black is and can be.

Black: | Poetry

Black: | Poetry

Editor’s note: due to its special line-spacing, this poem has been published as an image. For optimal viewing, we recommend reading on a computer or tablet screen. A graduate of Howard University, Carmin Wong is a Guyanese-born poet, playwright, and scholar of...
The Pain Eater | Fiction

The Pain Eater | Fiction

Frankie’s fingers ran the length of the colonial style piano. There was not a speck of dust on the Honduran mahogany. The picture frames and artifacts resting atop its surface reflected across the gleaming wood, which despite its cleanliness, Frankie would polish...
But I Like Hell | Fiction

But I Like Hell | Fiction

Dana, Florida, 1996 Some days you wait for people to say something interesting. People talk in loops, and you want to hula hoop their words; you want movement and speed, shaking hips, energy. Your brain feels like every conversation’s been pre-recorded and when...
Two Abstract Paintings | Visual Art

Two Abstract Paintings | Visual Art

Earth in Distress Earth in Distress is an abstract fluid painting that I created, in order to symbolically emphasize the impact we have on our earth such as nature, wildlife, the gradual decrease in resources, as well as the relationships with each other as human...