Blood Orange Review is a poetry, fiction, essay and art journal with a dark skin and a smooth philosophical center. Enter the orange confines of their most current issue and be exposed to crimson narratives imparting stories of characters and places told with their fascinating and sometimes tragic details (whether the narrative centers on class, a jellyfish or the struggles inherent in the immigrant experience).
In the essay “Mouse Killer” by Bryan Fry, we encounter issues of class, identity and a narrator reflecting on his childhood living in rural Montana, where attending school was a seemingly coarser experience:
Perhaps somewhere in America, in better neighborhoods where students learned to speak well and minded their Ps and Qs, substitutes glided through class like cruise ships sailing over the tranquil waters of the Caribbean: May I please sharpen my pencil . . . Thank you so kindly, Mrs. Smith . . . And I apologize for the disruption . . .
The poem “Jellyfish,” by Sarah J. Sloat, is an exploration of the mysteries of the depths of the ocean that most human beings will never witness:
There are rooms underwater
we can’t imagine, pellucid rooms
we’ll never penetrate, gelid
chambers, fastened by lashes
to the tide. Dark sharpens
their sparkle, a trance of staircases
and chandeliers that traipse
and sway as those on ships
drawn far from shore.
Wade out and they come to you.
In “Shorn,” a story by Semia Harbawi, the hardships and heightened complexities of the immigrant life come to the forefront when the main character is forced to turn his brother over to the authorities.
The judge’s voice was stern and low-keyed: “This court sentences the accused Omar Laârbi Samet to eight months of imprisonment for the physical and moral injuries he inflicted on the plaintiff Sana Samet.” My eyes locked with my brother’s in a staring contest. I refused to flinch and look away. No one had thought I could have had the guts to go to the police and lodge a complaint against my own brother. But I did.
This story will make you jump nervously and take notice, not just because of its controversial subject matter, but because the writing is precise and powerful.
The Blood Orange Review will leave a slightly acidic dark taste in the mouth, but once this wears off, it will smooth out and the energy that comes with the rush of vitamin C will take over. Reading each poem, essay or short story will be like witnessing a crimson sunset for the very first time.