Gris-Gris is a new online journal featuring poetry, fiction, and art. “We see the gris-gris as a rich symbol of creative cultural borrowing and blending,” write the editors, “an emblem of the unique mix of cultures that have shaped southern Louisiana. The gris-gris shares the root inspiration of the creative arts: the casting and the breaking of the spell.”
Karin C. Davidson’s “One Night, One Afternoon, Sooner or Later” was the first piece in the journal that I read, and it encouraged me to read the rest. This fiction piece gets in the mind of an “in-between girl,” both in between places in life, and in between her two best guy friends: “those boys were waiting, just waiting, to see what I’d do.” And while I didn’t immediately love the story, I was hooked after these two sentences: “The kiss is undeveloped, a precious thing, and I feel it working on me, undoing my spine. And then I realize it’s Micah’s fingers undoing the buttons down the back of my blouse.”
Jennifer A. Kuchta’s “Mosaic” was equally chilling. As a grown woman, the narrator returns to Italy to the place she and her family visited every year, but this year, her sister Lauren does not come—she had previously died in a snowboarding accident. The narrator gives us flash backs of her time here with her younger sister:
Pictures of Lauren and me wrist-deep in the gaping mouth of a large, round, stone visage: the Bocca Della Verita. The Mouth of Truth. Legend says the mouth will close around the hand of the person who doesn’t speak the truth while her hand is in it. Lauren’s face glows with a toothy smile, but I look nervous, as if I know that mouth will suddenly clamp down and never let me go, leaving me exposed for all to see.
She struggles to let her sister go, but her parents do not see things the way she does. She learns she must cope and grieve in her own way, the way she thinks is the best to honor her sister’s memory.
There is a massive sampling of poetry. Sort through it and find the pieces that speak to you. Poets include Jimmy Santiago Baca, Jack Bedell, Nancy Devine, Allison Grayhurst, Ed Hammerli, Robert S. King, Tony Morris, Frederick Pollack, and more.