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Meditations on the California North Coast

By Eliott Coyle

For one day it rained
curtains and sheets,
permeating the hillside.
Effortless it came,
effortless it changed.
Roads eroded,
soil moved to mud
and took trees with it.

Water is soft
until everything
becomes likewise.

That evening
I ran the faucet,
filled my cup,
and drank from the sky.

Beneath soil
sustenance, fertility.
On the surface,
of stone and wood.

When the rain settles,
I go out into the forest,
hoping to find
what I’m looking for.

A grove of redwood,
an organic sky-rise.
I always climb them barefoot.
They are the changing of perception.

When the sun sets
in the mountains,
I throw pine needles
in the fire.

This digestive force
transforms trees to ash,
water to steam.
It is alchemy and magic,
unseen, a streaming of gases.

In the blue black sky,
a […]

Meditations on the California North Coast2019-01-14T00:06:51+00:00

Ride on the Magic Mushroom

By Ivan Espinosa

Recently, I went to the famed Union Square Greenmarket for the first time and was blown away (albeit shoved aside several times) by the sheer grandness of the place. I somehow managed to wobble my way through the thousands of market shoppers and hundreds of farm stands to a quaint mushroom vendor towards the middle of the square. Portobello, crimini, shiitake, white button, oyster — the fresh bounty was more than enough to make any shroom aficionado drool. I ended up buying a pound of each.

Since childhood, mushrooms have worked their magic on me. I practically lived on […]

Ride on the Magic Mushroom2018-05-07T21:27:29+00:00

The End – Montauk

By Jessica Stilling

At the beach, near the ocean, she can only bring herself to eat shellfish.

And the techno music, the Hamptonites, they are not her scene.

“Women are always talking about it, going into the sea. You know, like The Awakening.” She teaches English at a college on Long Island.

“Oh yeah”, he says. “The Awakening. Yeah. Right, women going into the sea. Hordes of them.” He shakes his head and smiles. She’s not sure […]

The End – Montauk2018-05-07T21:35:51+00:00

The Camaraderie of the House Fire

By Megan Maloof

Your oven has been on all day,
Scarlet embers from your cigarette fall into the recycling bin
The curling iron is curling the plastic of your countertops-
Whatever it is, 

Your house is on fire.

Family photos and garbage burn the same way.

Faces peak from between curtains to look down on you-
Vultures for gossip.
The more active neighbors
Are standing in the middle of the road,
Bathrobes unfurl in the wind,
Like depressed Supermen.
They’re taking videos,
“For insurance,” they nod.
“You can thank me later.”

As they look and stare at your mistakes,
They ask you how it could’ve happened,
Not out […]

The Camaraderie of the House Fire2018-05-07T21:30:50+00:00


By Dan Murage

On December 1st, we wake up in the early hours of the morning and trek to the polling stations. While we wait for the polling personnel to arrive, we regale each other with stories of a new country, a new democracy again. Some hail this moment as “The New Gambia” and have with them banners to publicize their creed. We stand in line for thirty minutes, after which everyone starts getting impatient: women begin singing victory songs, men beat their drums and children cheer, sneaking in […]


Connecting Acts of Oppression: Applying Practice Theory to White Supremacy

By Ian Kennedy

Contemporary popular debates about race and racism are caught in a difference of assumptions. On the one hand, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ article “The First White President” in the October 2017 issue of The Atlantic exemplifies the systemic view: white supremacy and racism are perpetrated by all members who share a particular identification, leveling racist violence on all members who share a different identification. To varying degrees, all white people contribute to white supremacy, and all non-white people are victims of this violence. For Coates, a pervasive identity of whiteness unites Trump […]

Connecting Acts of Oppression: Applying Practice Theory to White Supremacy2018-05-07T21:39:05+00:00


By Sophie Dess

This was when I’d lie transfixed by the light that only came on Sundays, with my small body wrapped in a quilt cocoon, my head pressed against the pillow and eyes open and eager. I’d study the pale green of my walls, lit in that tender, rustic way. Lit in a light so delicious that my nails would itch to scrape it off the wall and taste it, to capture its green warmth in a jar and let it glow, perennially, in a darkened room where maybe I’d take a peek at it for […]


A Reflection on Uncle Leonard

By Ian Thompson

If one had asked you why
your career in the arts
never flourished, you would
have shrugged perplexedly.
the stub on your right foot—
what remained of a toe
you’d sheared off to avoid
being drafted—a sign of
the madness that all geniuses must possess.

Today, I read about
a sculptor who achieved fame
for ingesting a lethal combination
of psychedelics and amphetamines,
then stapling his testicles
to a park bench in broad daylight,

and I couldn’t help but think
that maybe you could’ve tried harder.


Ian Thompson is currently working to receive his graduate degree in Literature at California State University Long Beach. He has published poetry in the literary journals Cadence […]

A Reflection on Uncle Leonard2018-05-07T21:49:25+00:00

Editor’s Note to Caustic Frolic’s Subversion issue

Lovely readers,

Welcome to the Subversion issue of the graduate student journal Caustic Frolic, housed in NYU’s Draper MA program in the Humanities and Social Thought. Subversion is the first Caustic Frolic issue in history, we previously published as Anamesa Journal. Thank you for being part of the journey.

Subversion is our reaction to the current political situation. It is a way of being graduate students in the humanities when racism, misogyny, transphobia, and so many other thoughts and feelings of destruction rule. The current US […]

Editor’s Note to Caustic Frolic’s Subversion issue2017-11-28T18:14:19+00:00

editor’s note

The term “glass ceiling” refers to the income gap between men and women, touted by white feminists with the following statistic: women make 77¢ for every $1 a man makes. However, it is not that simple. The disparity becomes starker when one considers race and ethnicity. According to a study published in July 2016 by the Pew Research Center, for every dollar a white male worker makes, black women make 65¢, Hispanic and Latina women make 58¢, white women make 82¢, and Asian women make 87¢. These statistics show that the problem has to do with more than just gender.

Glass […]

editor’s note2017-11-28T18:14:19+00:00
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