In its first run, Middle Gray Magazine is providing a venue to display artists’ and writers’ works. The layout creates a collaboration between pieces and relies on the artwork to influence the mood of the entire journal. It succeeds in giving each artist his or her space with a longer bio and description of the work where appropriate. It’s a small collection of surprising and exciting work.
Sandra Jean-Pierre writes an impressive page and a half all about “Mopping,” but it isn’t really just about mopping, is it? It’s a story of life, of mopping through both the good and the bad. “In all the things that weren’t, mopping made sense,” she writes. “It made more sense than court dates and guardianship papers and dejection and fear. There is a science to it, unlike any other uncertainty in life, that typically ensures that what you put in, you get exponentially more out.”
With just one turn of line, Natasha Hakimi pulled me into her poetry and got my gears spinning. In “Relics,” about the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, she writes how you think of him and think of “terror, death, oppression—the price paid for / order. And though you will not think of love, / he did love.” She brings in the imagery of the Falange and Teresa of Ávila’s right hand. This is certainly a poem deeply rooted in history and is one that can be read and reread to discover its complexities. Her two other contributing poems are equally well-worth the investment.
Make sure also to read Fauso Barrionuevo’s poetry, Jonathan Escoffery’s short story about a space alien that outsmarts his boss on Earth, and Laura Knapp’s photo journey. The magazine is somewhat zine-like because of the layout and design as well as the fact that in addition to the writing, it includes features on a music collaboration and a string quartet as well as link to an etsy page for the magazine’s café.