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fade in:


i was doing the rounds in a cement courtyard, they let anyone in, dreadful security—by all means, hire local talent to run the doors, see where it takes you in terms of cumulative shanking

this serious girl with a documentary got me by the arm started walking

listen who should I do my next movie with

dear do you have a next movie, i asked

no ma’am

then why are we having this conversation

besides, mighty wild of you to think so far ahead, are you aware in three to five years society will be collapsing

she went white she said right, the apocalypse


fade out.


now, i’m no particular fan of the “walk with me” set piece

career advice is nothing you can’t fix with a phone call from the comfort of your own block

and yet: sincere children always have to be closing


was i mean to the breaking girl? no, but

i could have played along, not this one see that one, be her diving board one two jump into the nocturnal pit, the shock corridor auntie

i should have passed her a bag of licorice rolls

eat up, vanessa, you must know life is pain interrupted by long stretches where nothing of consequence happens, plus, i do see little to no point in producing material goods in a world about to blow

i wasn’t gonna bang the drums to walk a bright young thing to the abattoir anyway

the catherine woolf dress was blatant false advertising on my end


i could have played the future game

will i be pretty will i be rich, but then again



i summer between 1986 and 2039

it’s nice, it rains.

Barbara Genova (she/her/them) is the pen name of a woman who got stranded in Central Europe during the first of many Covid lockdowns. She writes the column “Dirt City” at Bureau of Complaint. Selected credits include Hobart, Expat Press, Misery Tourism, and IceFloe Press.
Current Issue
29 May 2023

We are touched and encouraged to see an overwhelming response from writers from the Sino diaspora as well as BIPOC creators in various parts of the world. And such diverse and daring takes of wuxia and xianxia, from contemporary to the far reaches of space!
By: L Chan
The air was redolent with machine oil; rich and unctuous, and synthesised alcohol, sharper than a knife on the tongue.
“Leaping Crane don’t want me to tell you this,” Poppy continued, “but I’m the most dangerous thing in the West. We’ll get you to your brother safe before you know it.”
Many eons ago, when the first dawn broke over the newborn mortal world, the children of the Heavenly Realm assembled at the Golden Sky Palace.
Winter storm: lightning flashes old ghosts on my blade.
transplanted from your temple and missing the persimmons in bloom
immigrant daughters dodge sharp barbs thrown in ambush 十面埋伏 from all directions
Many trans and marginalised people in our world can do the exact same things that everyone else has done to overcome challenges and find happiness, only for others to come in and do what they want as Ren Woxing did, and probably, when asked why, they would simply say Xiang Wentian: to ask the heavens. And perhaps we the readers, who are told this story from Linghu Chong’s point of view, should do more to question the actions of people before blindly following along to cause harm.
Before the Occupation, righteousness might have meant taking overt stands against the distant invaders of their ancestral homelands through donating money, labour, or expertise to Chinese wartime efforts. Yet during the Occupation, such behaviour would get one killed or suspected of treason; one might find it better to remain discreet and fade into the background, or leave for safer shores. Could one uphold justice and righteousness quietly, subtly, and effectively within such a world of harshness and deprivation?
Issue 22 May 2023
Issue 15 May 2023
Issue 8 May 2023
Issue 1 May 2023
Issue 24 Apr 2023
Issue 17 Apr 2023
Issue 10 Apr 2023
Issue 3 Apr 2023
Issue 27 Mar 2023
Issue 20 Mar 2023
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