by Michael Sheriff
The submission period for this issue began with a necessary structural change at Gulf Stream Magazine: We added a no-fee submission option for BIPOC writers and artists. Removing the barrier of cost for people who have been systematically oppressed created an opportunity for our staff and future as a literary magazine. Through this open entry, we read pieces and saw images that drew us far past the gate we keep. And, when we returned, we found the gate closed, so we took it off its hinges. We heard many new voices—voices that need to be heard—and we invited them in.
Issue 28 is a collection of work that tries to reach the unfathomable depths at which we’ve struggled through this young decade. Simultaneously, it looks to the sublime that is visible in everything. Our cover image “gods of nature”—a hybrid poem/watercolor by Dr. Deidra Suwanee Dees—witnesses what can’t be taught about the cosmos, nature, our ancestors, and our own existence. Sayuri Ayers’s essay “At the Edge of Water” ignites with rage against yet another scapegoat narrative and its real effects, inspiring a revision of systematic power. Edith Magak’s story “The Trouble of Aketch Nyar Sewe” shows an individual born into a collective struggling with what must be done to retain membership. Wendy Thompson Taiwo’s poem “Gentrify” accounts for what a specific community has lost under an avalanche of gentrification.
Every piece in this issue understands the volatility of power, then captures its effects for our reflection. I hope you read this issue and think about the gates you may have the privilege of keeping, then open them.
Michael Sheriff writes fiction, poetry, essays, and he also annotates text for computer scientists working with AI. As a human being, he wants to offer insights and understanding for language to projects that make the world more pleasurable, livable, memorable, identifiable, or ponderable for at least one other person.
Qrcky’s work explores the relationship between diaspora sensibilities and urban spaces. Their influences are Kara Walker and Basquiat, new synergies are crafted from both constructed and discovered layers. They’re interested in the sensation of moving, the deconstruction and reassembly of surfaces, and of forgetting and remembering what has come before.
Marissa Ahmadkhani is a Best of the Net nominee and her work has been published or is forthcoming in Southern Indiana Review, the minnesota review, MacGuffin, Radar Poetry, Cosmonauts Avenue, The West Review, and poets.org, where she received the Academy of American Poets Prize in 2015 and 2017.