One of our six Pushcart nominations, Ocean Vuong’s “Self-Portrait with Exit Wounds,” has won a Pushcart Prize and will be featured in the next Pushcart anthology. The poem first appeared in ASSARACUS ISSUE 08. Congratulations, Ocean!
By Jane Cassady:
Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): Dear mentor and friend, it’s been a long time since I’ve updated you. I hope the heat isn’t too bad where you live, and that you and the dogs are happy. Here, its time for editing, and for a little break from writing paragraphs about all the things I am not doing, at least for a little while.
Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): Don’t be surprised if some old friends arrive at your holiday door with ridiculously-decorated cookies and Marcel the Shell’s new book. Here’s to a year of doing whatever Jenny Slate tells us to, to the oversize Christmas lights around your door, to the pretty woods you live in.
Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): If it shocks you sometimes what’s missing, write it all down, please—what you’ve traded in for the things you really needed, the new rooms in your house like in a dream, the adorable faces calling you “family,” and the warmth, oh, the warmth.
Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): Find as many versions of “It’s Cold Outside” as you can. I like the She and Him version and of course the one from Glee—listen to them all through the day and night, until your life is a marathon of festive seduction.
Aries (March 21-April 18): Hit on the girl and/or boy you like at the company Christmas party—there’s something about tinsel, isn’t there, about colored lights warming boozy cheeks. Get a little (but not too) Mad Men about it, and don’t do anything the stars wouldn’t do.
Taurus (April 19-May 18): “Yeah, you really got me now. You got me so I don’t know what I’m doin’. (The Kinks) Oh Taurus, just grab on tight to whatever distracting you. When you do, everyone will be grateful, and cheerful, and spent, purring with something like grace.
Gemini (May 19-June 21): To my sister, posting the Christmas Picture of the Day every day this month-what would we do without you to document us, and open you home to us, and let us watch a million hours of Big Bang Theory on your couch. Gemini, you are the kindest and best.
Cancer (June 22-July 23): On the most recent season of Bored to Death, the fictional version of Jonathan Ames went on a quest for his biological father and it went horribly awry. Your quest isn’t like that. Whatever you’re looking for, it’ll find you, and it’ll open you like flowers.
Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): Though we may in fact be too old for poetry shows in unheated artists’ studios, you make the best of it—drink hot chocolate, snuggle under a blanket, get a little warmth onstage. Soon enough, you’ll be home and warm, watching long spates of sitcoms.
Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): “More than a mere weariness, it implies the feeling of having been used, of being raw. It involves a sort of nakedness of mind, and, ultimately, of soul; a feeling of being reduced to the bedrock of consciousness. In short, it means being undramatically pushed up against the wall of oneself.” (John Clellon Holmes)
Libra (Sept 24-Oct 21): “Charlie Brown is a blockhead, but he did get a pretty nice tree!” (Lucy Van Pelt in A Charlie Brown Christmas) Whatever modest thing you and your friends can find, wrap a blanket around it, dress it up nice, and sing around it. You’ll always know how to make a whole lot from a little.
Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): Relax. Anyone near you is lucky to have you near, you don’t have to worry. Take a look at your beautiful face in the mirror. Think of some wishes that you would like granted, and the stars will do their very best.