Pablo García Lopez
Artwork by Featured Artist Pablo Garcia-Lopez

I love writing. To capture the beat and pulse of a sentence that runs on comet heat; to find a tasty word that sings on my tongue like an orange and falls as sweetly on the page as a pineapple slice on a white plate; to hear a long and lyrical line that makes me want to break out into sweaty salsa steps beneath a burst of tropical lights: how could I not love that which makes me feel so close to the skin of the world? When I’m in the depths of a writing project I become a sponge: every strobe and vibe electrifies my pores. Life becomes poetry: in the night sky the moon wears a cloudy beard and a snowy vest, a fat and grinning gambler showcasing his deck. My fingers begin to groove and the words blot the page like gunpowder art. The tides rush through my body, the sun explodes in my head, and my spirit is dancing dancing dancing: dancing through the traffic on the bleating streets, dancing past trash barrels and the juddering concrete, dancing the bad blood right out of my veins, and opening my throat to catch the falling rain. To write is to shout a resounding YES to life!

In every issue of The Match Factory the talented students at SVA unleash their passionate expressions, and affirm that this life is certainly worth living (even though it can be a heartache and a sadness to know that we are currently living under the thumb of a man who does not just worship the god Mammon but Cloacine, the goddess of the sewer—how else to explain the putridity that has flowed out of the White House?). We soldier on even when life is at its grimmest, because we know that art is on our side. And besides, if we are not at all familiar with the bad, how can we truly express the beautiful and the good with genuine feeling?

The students who are published in our new issue understand this all too well and have deigned to share with us their agonies and their joys. If you are looking to be moved, read the personal essay by the young Mexican Fabian Palacios, in which he demonstrates his remarkable heroism on the eve of Mexico’s devastating earthquake in 2017 (which reportedly killed 361 people), and endures the loss of a dear friend that resonates to this day. In “Fly Low So You Can See Better,” Leo Zhang struggles to connect with his father in Morocco in a touching and searing portrayal of a tense relationship. Brendan Letizia repents his misbehavior in the humorous “Sunday School,” while Ashley McLean explores Edwin Markham’s terrific ekphrastic poem, “The Man With the Hoe,” based on a painting by Jean-Francois Millet.

Swati Sharma contemplates the difficulties of being a POC in Trump’s America in her biting poem, and in “A Sonnet for James Baldwin,” Todd “Das” Fuerst offers up a loving praise-song for the illustrious African-American writer. Chap Newton casts a magisterial eye upon the stone sentinels of a cultural past, while Kylie Mitchell weaves a lyrical appreciation of her beloved in “Ode to Blue.” Pretha Prabhakar’s devastating poem looks unflinchingly at a future in which parents reach the autumn of their years, and the narrator of this poem must face their inevitable decline alone.

If you wish to read longer works, then dip into “Rules To Follow” by Elizaveta Vozneskenskaia, an entertaining excursion into the waterlogged world of a pirate in denial. ‘Mushroom and Wysteria” by Alex Leeds presents the adventures of a young Mushroom within the halls of the Black Magic Academy, where she meets the engimatic Wysteria. And if you are a dog lover, then you will adore Sam Lee’s “A Story From the Sidewalk.”

Editor Edwin Rivera offers up his take on Under the Silver Lake, a neo-noir written and directed by David Robert Mitchell, and SVA Humanities instructor Alison Armstrong gifts us with a hilarious cartoon that is sure to tickle the spine of any cat owners.

The talented and exciting featured artist of this issue is none other than artist and Humanities instructor Pablo Garcia-Lopez, whose work obliterates all your ideas concerning what constitutes great art. If you want your mind blown to smithereens, then give your eyeballs over to his masterfully controlled chaos.

Finally, congratulations to all of the contest winners of the Seventh Annual Writing Contest! The dedication you devote to the craft of writing is emboldening for any instructor of the written arts, and I am particularly struck by the breadth of imagination and wisdom falling away from such young minds.

Thank you to Colin Goldberg, for his aesthetic expertise, and his kind patience as he waits for me to churn out what I hope is worthwhile prose. Thank you as well to Maryhelen Hendricks, acting chair of the Humanities & Sciences Department at SVA, for trusting me with the keys to this golden vehicle, and Laurie Johenning and Susan Kim, without whom no task finds it completion at SVA. And, lastly, appreciation must be expressed for the judges of the Seventh Annual Writing Contest, whose critical acumen and open-heartedness made for an interesting selection of winners.

Have a great summer everyone! See you when the leaves fall!