Call for Submissions! Issue #1: On Censorship

ANTI/\OJOS is currently seeking submissions for its first issue.

DEADLINE: May 18, 2017, by 11:59 PM via email.

ANTI/\OJOS is an online literary and art journal of monads, nomads, and pendululations, dedicated to the promulgation of the intellectual cravings of The Kaki Planter.

The Kaki Planter’s current antojo is censorship, broadly defined.

THEME: Issue #1 of ANTI/\OJOS will showcase writers and artists composing on the topic of censorship. Interpretations of censorship may be literal (as in institutional censorship), personal, and/or anything else under the sun. See where the topic takes you.

Either way, it will be exciting.

If you are a writer/artist of any kind—established or emerging–and if you feel that your work would be best showcased in a publication such as ANTI/\OJOS, The Kaki Planter wants to see your work.

For more information, check out our submission page.

Tirana Tableau: Post-Irony in a Place Called Ruin

Written over a year ago in January 2015, in response to an uncanny moment of clarity in December 2014 while wandering solo through Tirana’s Bllok area in desperate search of self.


Sitting here in a place called Ruin, already over-caffeinated for the day, I ask for a glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice because that’s what I order when the usual combination of “cappuccino/mountain tea/macchiato” has already run its course. Ruin Bar is an inevitable Tirana find—its eclectic array of mismatched couches, faux ivy-ridden walls, holiday lights, its Christmas tree, and its hanging-from-the-ceiling Santa hats. Sitting here, sipping lëng portokalli, I laugh at the bicycle mounted on the wall in front of me and issue a dry “ha” at the English words and bicycle-wheel O’s on that same wall: “I feel gOOd today.”

I’m an Albanian American on a Fulbright research grant, studying contemporary Albanian poetry, and though being here is fortunate, fascinating, and often wonderful, I just don’t feel gOOd today. Yet something about the sign makes me want to consider feeling gOOd, makes me take another gulp of OJ, and think: perhaps I’m once more shuffling between content and listless, fluctuating between two poles. This is common for me, but it’s become more pronounced in Albania, my country of birth. My family and I immigrated to the US when I was a toddler, so I’m in the process of deciding whether coming here is a trip abroad or a trip back home. The feeling of dangling between two choices—extremes, cultures, aspects of self—is excruciatingly apparent today.

Sitting here in a place called Ruin, I feel the return of the dangling sensation and have another “ha” moment. Here I am, consuming lëng portokalli, and all I hear in my head is the theme song from Portokalli—a popular comedy skit show. The song lyrics equate Albania to portokalli—that is, the color orange, as opposed to the fruit. The lyrics indicate the following at the beginning, in Albanian: “Forward, backward, left, and right, we are stuck at the semaphore (i.e. at “orange”—between green and red). Later on the song states: “You’ve remained at a traffic intersection, Albania, oh, Albania. Neither Europe nor Asia, at an orange light.”

Portokalli has it right: since the transition from xenophobic communism to democracy in the early 90s, Albania has found itself at a perpetual intersection, trying to move forward (and definitely doing so at an admirable rate), while realizing that “catching up” to the advances of nations that didn’t experience 46 years of isolation may take an indefinite amount of time.

Sitting here in a place called Ruin, nourishing myself with lëng portokalli, I hum the Portokalli theme song and think: maybe it’s the dangling that makes me a part of this place. I know this is untrue—know that my dangling is double: between America and a nation already on the dangle. However, I anxiously reassure myself that double-dangling still makes me a dangler of sorts and that sometimes—sometimes!—it’s best to say “I feel gOOd today” because that’s all you can do in ruin.


This is not an official Fulbright Program article. The views expressed here are entirely those of the author and do not represent the views of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State, or any of its partner organizations.

AOTD: Ornela Vorpsi, The Country Where No One Ever Dies

“One of these pictures in particular used to fascinate me. It continued to attract my attention even after I’d studied every inch of it–the interplay of light and shade, the way the veil my mother wore was draped around her hair, the palpable excitement of the big day, which seemed to have made her lose her composure.

It’s the custom in our country for a bride to shed a few tears at her wedding, to show how distraught she is at leaving her mother and father. This is the way we get married: wailing, as we did at birth.

Over time, a brown stain began to appear on the photo, covering my mother’s face from her right eye to her temple, and, eventually, the rest of her. This was from the dampness in the closet. It upset me, because it made Mother look sick and depressed. Every time I thought about it, I’d burst into tears, imagining the day her hair would go gray.”

–Excerpt from Il paese dove non si muore mai by Ornela Vorpsi, 2005. Translated by Robert Elsie and Janice Mathie-Heck as The Country Where No One Ever Dies, Dalkey Archive Press, 2009, page 13.


Junot Díaz on Love: Antojo of the (Almost Valentine’s) Day

This upcoming V-Day, as we sip our heart-shaped cappuccino foam and eagerly unfold the accompanying fortune that not-so-coincidentally reads “Dashuri” (“Love”), let’s also remember our daily dose of JD:

At 14:10–

“So I’m really interested in sort of the long-term consequences of rape. You know? I’m interested in sort of what it means to live in the shadow of a dictatorship. Yeah, I’m interested in stuff like how race and racism and self-hatred organize a sexual economy. I mean, we like to think that like we just fall in love, but people fall in love at pretty predictable terms along the racial economy. And so I’m interested in all this stuff but people don’t ever want to talk about this shit.”

AOTD: Plethora of Pendula

The physical world provides tangible meanings for interior, intangible concepts.

The term pendululation was birthed by the real-world representation above: by the physical manifestation of the self as a plethora of pendula in a café. It emerged through the recognition of the self in a Tirana tableau.

/\ ANTOJO /\ OF /\ THE /\ DAY /\

AOTD: “Februaries shudder and are gone” –Gwendolyn Brooks

Today’s Antojo of the Day is a complex personal favorite from the talented Gwendolyn Brooks. Excerpts from “The Blackstone Rangers” (Part III: “Gang Girls”):


Mary is
a rose in a whiskey glass.

Februaries shudder and are gone. Aprils
fret frankly, lilac hurries on.


Mary! Mary Ann!
Settle for sandwiches! settle for stocking caps!
for sudden blood, aborted carnival,
the props and niceties of non-loneliness—
the rhymes of Leaning.

/\ ANTOJO /\ OF /\ THE /\ DAY /\

AOTD: “Patriots Win” (In Local Context): Skanderbeg, MVP

In honor of the New England Patriots’ suspenseful Super Bowl win last night, I find it fitting to highlight what typically comes to mind when the words “patriot” and “win” combine in a single sentence in these parts:

Gjergj Kastrioti Skenderbeu (A.K.A. Skanderbeg): the revered Albanian national hero, who defended his territories against Ottoman expansion in the 1400s.

Skanderbeg Square in Albania’s capital city of Tirana–and the prominent statue in its center–pay homage to Skanderbeg while also proving his importance in the Albanian national imaginary.

Let’s give it up for Skanderbeg: today’s (and the last six centuries’) real MVP.

AOTD: Something Like Perhaps, Something Like [ ], Something Like a Selvi

Often, one finds oneself missing–pendululating over–what would have, could have, should have been–the what-if –the maybe– the perhaps.

To miss a barely-remembered someone or something or instance is to grant the imagination infinite space to play–run wild–exasperate.

An absence–a lack of matter that should have been there–is devastating. William Faulkner called it a [  ]. That’s probably the most accurate description of all.

Antojo of the Day: From Jerzy Kosinski’s The Painted Bird

In honor of yesterday’s 70-year anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, today’s Antojo of the Day (AOTD) consists of a few lines from Jerzy Kosiński’s 1965 novel, accompanied by an image taken of Berat, Albania’s Mount Tomorri:

“It mattered little if one was mute; people did not understand one another anyway. They collided with or charmed one another, hugged or trampled one another, but everyone knew only himself. His emotions, memory, and senses divided him from others as effectively as thick reeds screen the mainstream from the muddy bank. Like the mountain peaks around us, we looked at one another, separated by valleys, too high to stay unnoticed, too low to touch the heavens.”  ―Jerzy Kosiński, The Painted Bird

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