Experience is not linear. It zigzags, leaps, regresses than spurts forward, tosses frays delays surprises. Narrative revises manifestation in countless iterations recounted since the Big Bang of birth-death-rebirth. Machinations of living breathing striving to make meaning from days and nights of existence. Morning provides for itself.
Breathe Free Press is a place for the essay in every imaginable, inventive form, cross-genre—flash—critical—experimental—travel in particular the lyric essay.
Narratives are a metronome to mark time: This happened, it happened often and repeatedly with some variations on different backdrops. Most often it happened on the planet earth. Once and only once did it happened on the moon. Einstein’s space-time theory challenges our belief in the illusion of past, present, and future. The illusion, Jean Baudrillard cautions against in Simulacra and Simulation, is the normalization of empty signs of representation.
Breathe Free Press delights in essays testing patterns of perception. We appreciate attentiveness to language and cultural associations. Essays which transform and transgress metanarratives of authority and power structures. Essays to subvert imposed constraints of genre conventions.
Some man, at some time, dominates the human psyche with his emotional ignorance. It is almost as if fate colludes with tyrants to taunt our complacency into action.
Breathe Free Press challenges the normalization of regressive tropes of renascent authoritarian, illiberal, nationalist power threatening to reverse social gains. We publish essays that allude, intimate, insinuate, attempt, analyze, critique, express through compassion and awareness.
No weapon was ever lifted, no peace ever made, no society ever founded without words. Liberal and illiberal movements form on the page. Modernism repurposed and reinvented representation on the ashes of the material, human, spiritual devastation of two world wars.
Breathe Free Press is an online journal of literary resistance for essays that channel the spirit penned in dog-eared spiral notebooks, in smoky subterranean basements. Nietzsche and Buddha conscious narratives composed to the rhythm of protest that lit the fuse for epochal cultural change.
Breathe Free Press, a literary magazine of essaysim: Essays of resistance, imagination, and social awareness. The personal made global, and the global made personal.
FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE EDITOR:
Deborah Di Bari writes essay – fiction and flash fiction seasoned with a mirepoix of multi-genre. Her essays query the silencing of polyphonic voices in recurring dominant metanarratives.
Upon graduation from The Fashion Institute of Technology, Deborah began her twenty-year career in New York’s Garment center as print textile and fashion designer. Her frequent business travel to Europe, and her Italian immigrant roots enticed to live in Rome. Personal events led to her first creative writing class. Deborah holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing awarded her by CCNY.
She founded – published – edited and designed breathfreepress.org.
Her work has appeared in various literary journals – including Promethean and Ragzine.
A STRANGER IN MY HOME by Kira Rice-Christianson
I guess I should have known three months isn’t long enough to really know someone. It isn’t long enough to trust someone with the home between your thighs that you’ve kept safe and clean your whole life. But I let you in anyways. Every night, like clockwork. You would lay beside me, skin to skin,Continue reading “A STRANGER IN MY HOME by Kira Rice-Christianson”
Dear Dad You Remind Me of Trump by Diane Payne
We all have skeletons in our closets. Hell, I’ve been dead nine years. Ain’t that enough? After years of being relatively free of you, I am sinking into a dark depression, a depression I didn’t know was possible. I never wanted to leave my daughter with you. Ever. And then one day you were onContinue reading “Dear Dad You Remind Me of Trump by Diane Payne”
YOUR WORDS, NOT HIS by CHELSEY CLAMMER
He fucks you in second-person, pays for your objectivity. You are his editor, after all, and that’s what an editor is paid to do; be unbiased, attentive to the actual words. His words. Yet every “you,” sounds personal. How not to think they’re your holes he creatively fucks, are the things he wants to stuffContinue reading “YOUR WORDS, NOT HIS by CHELSEY CLAMMER”
INTERVIEW UNDER CAUTION by Nicole Yurcaba
In due course, we’d have caught you anyway. This time, you can’t snap another tear-stained selfie, can’t post it to Twitter bearing the hashtag#bitchyoudidthistome Arrested.Threatened with another trip to her Majesty’s prison—a six-month course:The Consequences of Violating One’s Police Information Notice. Do you scream the f-word?The investigation room is no place for you to Facebook-smear it followedContinue reading “INTERVIEW UNDER CAUTION by Nicole Yurcaba”
SYNTAX by Samuel Cole
As a boy, I listened carefully to my parents who talked openly in the kitchen about everything. I was rarely the topic of conversation: a face seated at the table; a vexation with a big appetite; a house pet who wore my father’s ski-slope nose and my mother’s bottom-heavy ass; a creaky fulcrum on whichContinue reading “SYNTAX by Samuel Cole”
TARGET by Anna Keeler
My world was colored with odd numbers and sickled blood cells; for the life of me, I could never make it stop. The rest of me compartmentalized in maladaptive bones too lumpy for my arms and a brain produced milk for a lanky ovary. A brain that is repeatedly told that it is artistic, thatContinue reading “TARGET by Anna Keeler”
THE SIGNS IN 100 WORDS by Alaina Symanovich
Aries, the pontificator Be hypocrisy. Be the dark whispered from the roofs. I tell you, my friends: kill. You have no place to be merry. God demanded your life, your body, your splendor—you! Set your heart on worry, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you to the thief. Be ready forContinue reading “THE SIGNS IN 100 WORDS by Alaina Symanovich”
A STUDY OF THE BLASTULATION OF PURPLE by Tamlin Thomas
1. All people start out as a blastula. The root of blastula is Greek for to bud or to sprout. Some sprouts are green but humans begin at purple. Blastulation starts with the number two, but our cells expand at multiples of four until the molecules add up to human. All life is divisible byContinue reading “A STUDY OF THE BLASTULATION OF PURPLE by Tamlin Thomas”
Breathe Free Press Inaugural Issue: Spring 2017
Table of Contents: A Study of the Blastulation of Purple by Tamlin Thomas – The Signs in 100 Words by Alaina Symanovich – Target by Anna Keeler – Syntax by Samuel Cole – Interview Under Caution by Nicole Yurcaba Dear – Dad, You Remind Me of Trump by Diane Payne – Your Words, Not His.Continue reading “Breathe Free Press Inaugural Issue: Spring 2017”
Brian Turner’s Act of Habib by Mary Pacific Curtis
When a poet goes to war…. When a poet goes to war he has chosen immersion in the things of war, destruction, death, splintered families, unfamiliar landscapes, languages and customs. The volunteer soldier has chosen, for reasons known only to him, the great incongruity of facing each day knowing that if a bullet doesn’t findContinue reading “Brian Turner’s Act of Habib by Mary Pacific Curtis”
RECIPE: TO ANSWER A LINGERING QUESTION by Joshua Hun Baker
Serves: 2 plus1 uninvited guest Cook time: 8 days Ingredients: ½ cup of context – one naive suburban childhood sprinkle heavily with TV dinners One question crawling beneath the lid of the amygdala Full pint of small town political arguments delving into immigration and gun violence One handgun – caliber optional Medium sized hand-held mirror, shatteredContinue reading “RECIPE: TO ANSWER A LINGERING QUESTION by Joshua Hun Baker”
A Didactic List of Ghosts by Joseph Reich
Ghosts come in many different shapes and forms when all that grieving and loss and guilt and conflict and maddening injustice is just way beyond our control and comprehension They come when it’s just too painful to go back reminiscing They come when they take over the identity They come in the form of long-lost visualContinue reading “A Didactic List of Ghosts by Joseph Reich”
The Daily Work of Caretaking and Witness Part V. by Lena Ziegler
On the day I was born, I sprouted seed in a bed of magma, tore through bedrock and ascended, blistered, through the ocean floor, floated weightless to the top, and ambled into being. Years later, miles away, I was pushed through floorboards, unfurled through a spool of carpet fiber, and resurrected a pulsing wound, namingContinue reading “The Daily Work of Caretaking and Witness Part V. by Lena Ziegler”
Lacuna: Who We Leave Out and the Empty Spaces Where We Find Ourselves by Abby Pullen
Lacuna: Who We Leave Out and the Empty Spaces Where We Find Ourselves by Abby PullenI found myself in the holes. The ones men don’t understand. They’re turned on by the idea of friction, but nothing confuses them more. My favorite poet, Sarah Kay, write she gave the first love of her life… a shoulder, anContinue reading “Lacuna: Who We Leave Out and the Empty Spaces Where We Find Ourselves by Abby Pullen”
O After O by Robert Vivian
O After O To know you have been written on years ago by someone else’s hand, someone else’s heart, to feel the words coming for me as one of their forlorn own, to hear the ink deep inside me stir and try to say, try to utter, oh, the most amazing and beautiful things, OContinue reading “O After O by Robert Vivian”
Broken, Wandering Scavenger (for B, my 17-year-old non-verbal autistic son) by Rosemarie Dombrowski
You were always broken, at least according to Gray’s Anatomy and the DSM-5. So they patched you with Gortex and string, sewed a tiny wetsuit into the ventricles of your heart. They played piano on the floor of our living room for months, desperate for you to sing. They made you ride horses despite your inability to sitContinue reading “Broken, Wandering Scavenger (for B, my 17-year-old non-verbal autistic son) by Rosemarie Dombrowski”
LIP by Cleo Aukland
She’s looking at me from across the aisle. I can never tell how old they are, kids – seven, five? How do you tell the difference? All gap-toothed smiles and bouncing hair and unabashed gazes. This girl is particularly brazen, staring at me in full force while the train rocks back and forth, her eyesContinue reading “LIP by Cleo Aukland”
ISSUE TWO-SUMMER 2017
Table of Contents: Lip by Cleo Aukland – Broken Wandering Scavenger by Rosemarie Dombrowski – O After O by Robert Vivian – Lacuna: Who We Leave Out and the Empty Spaces Where We Find Ourselves by Abby Pullen – The Daily Work of Caretaking and Witness–Part V by Continue reading “ISSUE TWO-SUMMER 2017”
A Shenandoah Quilt and My Boy, Running by Alex Checkovich
…see once again how that horizon, a vast valley-bulked background beckoning benevolent beyond the contoured swathe of derelict chain-link, foul pole to fowl pull, linear mosaic curvaceous as Walt Whitman himself, undulates its gentle broccoli-head mountains. Our drive out, as spectacular – spectacle, oracular – as ever, put me to awe. It’s a dusty Saturday in early July. AContinue reading “A Shenandoah Quilt and My Boy, Running by Alex Checkovich”
BY HER SIDE by GAIL PECK
We bring the outside in—the smell of lilacs fills the room. When my mother lies down to nap she pulls the cover to her chin, her dark hair across the pillow. This is how she sleeps after the wash is done. The ringer machine squeezes water out of everything. You must use both your hands,Continue reading “BY HER SIDE by GAIL PECK”
THE BIRDS IS COMING by FRANCIS RAVEN
The Birds Is Coming already suggests poetry with its ungrammatical syntax. It suggests that these individuals have become a singularity; finally, something unified: a movie. But poetry is wrong; movies are wrong. Each bird is particular, suggests its own reasons. “It’s funny because my mom wasn’t allowed to see it because her mom said it would giveContinue reading “THE BIRDS IS COMING by FRANCIS RAVEN”
RUNNING WITH TONI MORRISON by HILLARY MOSES MOHAUPT
The first time I read Beloved I was rollerblading through the suburban Midwestern neighborhood not far from my childhood home, headphones cords flapping behind me as I careened downhill under a canopy of old growth trees. I was sixteen that summer, young enough still to face unknown territory but old enough to set my sights on theContinue reading “RUNNING WITH TONI MORRISON by HILLARY MOSES MOHAUPT”
THIS IS HOW PANTHALASSA DIES: A Study of Neglected Depression by Anastasia Jill
This is a cry for help. No one will hear. Their outline is more than their content. I turned them over on my tongue and in my hands like a prayer, hoping someone puts the echo in a back pocket. I know better – this cry will fall to the ground alongside the woman whoContinue reading “THIS IS HOW PANTHALASSA DIES: A Study of Neglected Depression by Anastasia Jill”
FEAR. NOT. by DEBORAH HANSEN
Life drains me merely from living it. My mind hovers over the idea of dying, a gossamer butterfly searching for nectar, then darts away to a more pleasing place. I have no disease, none but the ticking of the clock we try to mute with noise and movement, the clock that is counting us downContinue reading “FEAR. NOT. by DEBORAH HANSEN”
NATIVE MAGIC by CASSONDRA WINDWALKER
My body mocks me. Empty of life, it pretends at affirmation. I am lactating – ready to nourish, ready to sustain, but there is no child. The creature housed within me that spawned this farce is only a tumor. A grotesque malformation dancing in the guise of fertility has transformed this richest, most primal ofContinue reading “NATIVE MAGIC by CASSONDRA WINDWALKER”
PERSPECTIVES ON LOVING by JERRICE J. BAPTISTE
Keeping the Mind and The Fruit Bowl Full I’m surrounded by coasters with inspirational messages. “Keep life simple! Enjoy the little things! Good things are going to happen!” It’s possible the mind is naturally attracted to positive messages, and buries negative experiences, like when my father begged grandmother to send me to meet him forContinue reading “PERSPECTIVES ON LOVING by JERRICE J. BAPTISTE”
IT WAS DILLARD’S by ED TATO
It was Dillard’s, I think, or maybe Macy’s, but that’s not important now. We only need to know we’re in the mall. It might help if we say the mall is somewhere in Rochester, though something else must come first. This is not the mall you’d expect to find, or maybe want to find, inContinue reading “IT WAS DILLARD’S by ED TATO”
TALLY MY LOVE: A REALITY FICTION by ALEXIA SERETI
On Sunday night, Dylan traces a finger along the tattoo on my left shoulder, leans forward, and kisses it softly. . On Monday morning, he tells me that this girl he’s been casually seeing asked to be exclusive. . I cover my tattoo. . On Monday night, a man I meet outside a bar rollsContinue reading “TALLY MY LOVE: A REALITY FICTION by ALEXIA SERETI”
THINGS YOU TAUGHT ME: by CATHY COOK
The importance of tipping baristas. The work of steam and coffee beans. The grind of grinding, of compacting the grounds, the way you did at home with the cinnamon container, one of three cinnamon containers because when we moved in together with Sean, we all came with our own cinnamon, but none of us withContinue reading “THINGS YOU TAUGHT ME: by CATHY COOK”
RAINY DAYS AND MONDAY AND EVERYTHING ELSE by RACHEL A.G. GILMAN
I signed up for voice lessons when I wanted to learn how to sing in high school, and my mother purchased the Carpenters Anthology. She thought my voice range had the potential to be similar to Karen’s. I think she wanted to hear the music she liked sung around the house. I knew none of theContinue reading “RAINY DAYS AND MONDAY AND EVERYTHING ELSE by RACHEL A.G. GILMAN”
SIZE by RUTH DANDREA
Size Imagine that this essay is a fat lady not obese or enormous but full-breasted and pleasingly plump, curves of flesh every where—zaftig, is the word. Think Reubens. Picture hips wide tummy ringed by a roll or two of pulp-filled skin full-figured an earth mother body meant for babies. Thighs Continue reading “SIZE by RUTH DANDREA”
FIRST YEAR ANNIVERSARY ISSUE – 2018
Table of Contents: SIZE by RUTH DANDREA – THINGS YOU TAUGHT ME: by CATHY COOK – RAINY DAYS AND MONDAY AND EVERYTHING ELSE by RACHEL A.G. GILMAN – IT WAS DILLARD’S by ED TATO – PERSPECTIVES ON LOVING by JERRICE J. BAPTISTE – NATIVE MAGIC by CASSONDRA WINDWALKER – FEAR. NOT. by DEBORAH HANSEN –Continue reading “FIRST YEAR ANNIVERSARY ISSUE – 2018”
The Pregnant Afternoon by Luke Buffini
This afternoon is a premonition. It is a vision of the dark, magnificent story about to be told of an evening and a night. I will watch it through this office window. Slowly inexorably, the furniture of afternoon will loosen to release its grip on me, floating upwards then dropping into the black ocean ofContinue reading “The Pregnant Afternoon by Luke Buffini”
A Brain-Dead Body by Jessica Granger
This small segment of my story is for you, the no one, the nobody, the man, the brother, the father, I was unable to save today. You came in nameless, without a history, or a life. If only I had the chance to speak to you before consciousness slipped away from us as the blood,Continue reading “A Brain-Dead Body by Jessica Granger”
Sherman Alexie and Me by Melanie Nolan
“If one reads enough books one has a fighting chance. Or better, one’s chances of survival increase with each book one read.” I have always been comforted by the written word. It would be dishonest to say that Sherman Alexie alone got me through that terrible, awful thing. His voice was among of chorus of authors andContinue reading “Sherman Alexie and Me by Melanie Nolan”
The Words We Carry by Stephanie Vessely
The Vessely family, like many families, had its own language, its own meanings for things. Words had their own definitions like sex, which meant bad or shame or forbidden or wrong unless it was between a man and his wife. Then it meant beautiful or love or sacred or holy. Other words didn’t make themselvesContinue reading “The Words We Carry by Stephanie Vessely”
In The Middle: On Crots, Markson, Writing & Wine by DS Levy
“Writer is pretty much tempted to quit writing. Writer is weary unto death of making up stories.” So begins David Markson’s This is Not a Novel (Counterpoint Press, 2001). This anti-novel wastes no time with background, exposition, or scene-setting, but rather notes down individual statements of fact about well-known writers, musicians, and artists. Markson locates theseContinue reading “In The Middle: On Crots, Markson, Writing & Wine by DS Levy”
perdido en las luces by Brendan Connolly
this should be more, a more lambent exomologesis of madrid. but this is not complete. if it were the words would be wet to the touch. there would be noise and movement, lights between the letters humming softly. you would smell soapy water on cobblestones in the gaining morning while standing in front of largeContinue reading “perdido en las luces by Brendan Connolly”
The Heart of Poetry by Ai Aida
All words represent things only when there is a perceiver. Put another way; they are nothing until the perceiver shows up to decode and render their meanings. But even then, after the advent of the conscious mind, words are still forever empty. “I” for example, is devoid of content not only because it’s a pronounContinue reading “The Heart of Poetry by Ai Aida”
Alternative Constellations by Julie Lunde
The Astronomical Woman . . . is planetary and huge, looming large, with as many moons as fingers, or stars. Every day she crafts a careful chignon, twisted in on itself like an ampersand, leaking bobby pins. From behind she is always saying yes, and? Orion’s Belt . . . must be heavy on his hips, I think, to carryContinue reading “Alternative Constellations by Julie Lunde”
BREATHE FREE PRESS ARCHIVE
OUR STORY Experience zigzags leaps, regresses then spurts forward, tosses frays delays surprises. Narrative revisits manifestation in countless iterations recounted since the Big Bang. Machinations of living breathing striving to make meaning from days and nights of existence. Morning provides for itself. Breathe Free Press is a place for the essay in every imaginable, inventiveContinue reading “BREATHE FREE PRESS ARCHIVE”