Hello and Welcome Back!
Since our release of Crooked Teeth’s inaugural issue, “Summer In The City,” we have seen incredible strides toward our goal of forming an artistic community. We held our third live show at the Art House in Berkeley, California. Roughly thirty people gathered for a night of food, poetry, music, and thoughtful appreciation of art. We read poetry of life in the city, genuine struggle, and political awareness. Despite the uncertain times we are living in, there was a feeling of hope and togetherness that is so easily forgotten in the madness of the day.
Unfortunately, that madness has continued to permeate throughout the last few months. There is a resurgence of fear of nuclear war that hasn’t been so powerful since the Cold War. There has been a wave of white supremacist and other extremist hate groups coming to the surface to take advantage of our confusion. Lies in politics are no longer hidden behind a veil of decorum, but rather are blatant. The United States is a country divided by its us-versus-them mentality.
For the majority of these months, I have had the opportunity to view my country from an outside perspective. During the rise of both Senator Bernie Sanders and President Donald Trump in 2015, I watched from afar in Seoul, South Korea. People from other countries asked me, an American citizen, what was happening in my home country. I was asked if I agreed with it, or if I did not agree with it, if I could at least justify or explain it.
That year I learned that while I am not defined by my country, my country is defined by me. While I could choose to distance myself from my home, this would not change the situation. In the minds of those who met me, I was draped in the stars and stripes. This did give me the power to give them a new way of looking at the United States. This gave me a chance to redefine American in their minds.
Over the last few months, I have been viewing the the political upheaval of my country not as an active participant, but as a spectator in the United Kingdom. The experience has been sobering. While living between San Francisco and Orange County it was easy to see daily life in the United States and be reminded that our leadership does not define us. While away, it has been harder to hold onto that concept, as everyday marks another questionable event from the United States on the international stage.
It is with this in mind that we have continued with Crooked Teeth. As we stated in the first edition, we are not a political magazine and have no intention of becoming one. I do not wish to be another name and face taking jabs at our administration to ease our worries of the future with commentary or comedy. While these are important jobs and have their place, Crooked Teeth has a different goal in mind. We hope to be a representation of the times we are living in, a platform of discussion, and a place where voices are heard based solely on the merit of what they have to say and how they choose to say it. While we are not a strictly American magazine, we still hope that we can be evidence of something larger than ourselves. Decades from now they will ask if anyone was paying attention, and we will be an example of that consciousness.
The following works have been gathered from our base theme of city life. Some of them are quiet and simply reflect on small truths such as the comfort of a neighbor's porch light and what it is to love in a digital age. Some of them are loud and touch on themes such as gentrification, the Asian-American experience, and gender transition. It is the coming together of these messages–both loud and quiet–that create a true community. That is the vision of Crooked Teeth.
As you flip through these pages, we hope you allow yourself to be both distracted and reminded. Allow the narratives to draw you in and the poetry to soothe you. Allow the messengers to speak and allow yourself to listen. If there is one thing that I have learned from my time abroad, it is that the world is much larger than we remember at times. It is easy to get anchored down by the twenty-four hour news cycle. It is easy to forget that what happens on the macro-level does not need to ruin life at the micro-level. The United States has been and is a powerful player in the direction of the world, but it is only one country. Sometimes it’s best not to take life too seriously. Sometimes it’s best to be one of the few Americans in the land of the British.
Andrew (Andy) Halsig
Editor-In-Chief and Co-Founder