First of all, I have to say that I’m not sure if Gemini Magazine has a web version or not, but the layout was perfect for mobile reading. I had no problem reading the entire issue from the comfort of my bed and my iPhone. I even had a chance to finish up reading the issue while sitting at a restaurant, awkwardly waiting for my friends to arrive.
The piece that stood out the most to me in this issue was Jack King’s “The Train Doesn’t Stop Here.” In it, the main character, who is a junkie, gets an unexpected visitor whom he doesn’t seem to want around. His cousin calls to say he is in town and is ready to meet “all them hot chicks” that the main character has been talking about. But the narrator makes it clear that nobody in his family seems to really listen or understand him:
I only ever mentioned my boss, Helen, and she has the beauty of a dried prune. My family assumed I’d been screwing her, and no amount of insisting would sway them. Eventually one woman became many until I started receiving letters from cousins asking me how the women in Hollywood are (I live in San Francisco), and if they’re easy (which I wouldn’t know), and if I can send pictures (which I didn’t); except my father, who kept asking if I was gay (which I’m not).
In the end, though, his addiction isn’t any better. If anything, it’s worse.
Mel Fawcett’s “Rats” tells the story of Michael, a man who gets mugged by two “youth” on the train:
Reeling from the shock and pain, he put his hands to his mouth and tasted blood. His eyes had shut in reflex to the pain - and he kept them shut. It was the only way he could deal with what was happening. He was aware of hands searching his clothes. They were like rats running over his body, scurrying under his clothing, diving into his pockets. His whole body was shuddering in fear and disgust. It was all he could do not to whimper.
And although they got away with his wallet and his phone, they left him with something with more weight—humiliation.
The best parts of Angel Propps’s poem “Schoolgirls, Broken” come in the form of small details, how when the narrator is knocked to the ground she “saw green grass stuck to his white sneaker.” The details of the last line are my favorite: “Blood in my teeth, gravel in her cheek.”
There is more poetry from Michael Shorb, Jack Vian, and Susan McDonough-Hintz as well as memoirs by Cal Lewis and Randy DeVillez. So should you choose to read Gemini Magazine on your phone (so easy!) or on your laptop, just make sure you read it.