As a fairly new indie journal whose merit and potential are communicated largely via online posts and the occasional bout of word-of-mouth communication, I believe that TRACK//FOUR can only benefit from acknowledging magazines and booklets of similar status and/or motive. That is why I've compiled a brief list of collected and individual works that I've been reading as of this week that can be slotted into that category. With so much stellar art by and for people of color going unnoticed because of bigoted publishing practices and the general scrutiny that seems to tail marginalized people in every aspect of daily life, there can never be a bad time to acknowledge and uplift our work.
I'll preface this by saying that I’m not embarrassed to admit that even over a month since Donald Trump’s election win, I still find myself reeling from the shock of it all. I don't cry, not anymore, but I wish I could. In hard times tears are their own sort of amnesty, and it is a strange thing to feel chained to your own body as a direct result of the bigotry of others, overcome by a strange fear: the fear, slow-crawling and inescapable, that every time I stand in a room full of white people I will experience a sudden bout of synaesthetic paranoia and hear that 58%, bleeding through the fraudulent concern in their voices.
Blame it on our hopeless optimism, maybe even our naivete, but many people, particularly people of color and queer people and disabled people, genuinely believed that America would do the right thing. Make the right decision. We hoped, and though we were awestruck when the antithesis of that hope hit us like a double decker bus, we managed to right ourselves and keep walking, even when it meant we had to wander through the haze of anxiety and indecision for weeks. Quite a few people coped in the aftermath of the Trumpist tumult by doing what they always did: making brilliant, breathtaking art. But I’m also not embarrassed to admit that I couldn’t bring myself to be one of them.
But, because I couldn’t write, I read. I devoured thinkpiece after ridiculous thinkpiece, and marvelled at the ability of my peers to counter the election’s unbridled bigotry with scathing critiques and brutal grace, and asked myself what it meant that my coming of age would be characterized by a presidency that had the potential to ruin my life as a queer Black person. There was no answer, obviously, and after a while, the half-assed lambastes of identity politics coming from the liberal left started wearing on my nerves; I suppose it was convenient enough that in my time of darkness, the book I picked up just so happened to be the Holy Grail.
(content warning: mild nudity)