Issue 9 / December 2023

Apparitions have been on my mind. I just read a book about the 14th century. During that shitty time to be alive, people were forever being moved by visions. They saw saints and devils. Saw fetid corpses come to life and saw their long-dead children bathed in heavenly light. People considered the misery of their world to be porous, capable at any time of producing a miracle. 

The apparitions moved people to create great works of art. It inspired them not to turn away from the world, but to try to understand it and, in many cases, better it. After an epiphany on Mont Ventoux, Petrarch spent the rest of his life trying to redeem himself and the world. Ecstatic visions of Christ drove Catherine of Siena to write influential spiritual treaties and later to try to broker peace between France and Florence. 

Art gave comfort to people bowled over by tragedy. People who had survived the Black Death, which in some areas annihilated 80% of the population within months. An anonymous English poet wrote of seeing his deceased daughter safe within a Heavenly City. His verse is heartbreaking: 

So smooth she was, so small of mold,

Wherever I judged gems glimmering   

I set her apart, her price untold.

Alas, I lost her in earth’s green fold;

The first book in English written by a woman comes from this time. Julian of Norwich transcribed her Marian apparitions in a book still widely read today. One of the most famous passages goes: “He said not ‘Thou shalt not be tempested, thou shalt not be travailed, thou shalt not be diseased’; but he said, ‘Thou shalt not be overcome.” 

In the smug centuries to come — the 18th through 20th — such apparitions were increasingly dismissed as the delusions of morons. The prattling of illiterate chumps who lived in filth and believed whatever came out of a priest’s mouth. To believe was not rational. It could not be measured and produced no profit. Therefore, it was useless. Now we have arrived in the 21st century. 23 years of increasing crisis with no end in sight. It is more apparent to us now that nothing — not art, not belief — that helps us survive is useless. 

Art-making in the 14th century extended far beyond the few individuals mentioned above. Art was for everyone. Theater reached new levels of sophistication. Plays became more complex and sets became elaborate, multi-tiered, and moving. The altarpiece reached its apex as an artistic form — combining scene and object in a way that wouldn’t be replicated for centuries. Even the most rural church had its golden objects. Perhaps those medieval peasants weren’t delusional. They needed something astonishing to appear and it did.

Here is something that has appeared: Whiskey Tit Issue #9 contains new work from 10 ingenious writers. Each one brings a strong vision and many of the pieces contain apparitions — moments when something arrives just when it is needed. Issue #9 also contains doppelgangers, eroticism, odes to surrealists, disastrous dinner parties, and ripe tomatoes. The writing is accompanied by brilliant paintings of bars, a refuge to many, some of which have already disappeared from this too-material world. Enjoy. 

Meagan Masterman

Managing Editor

Issue 9, December 2023

Two Poems

MARSEILLE LIKE IT’S 2001 A half-shadow in a window          calls for the time  to...

Not Working

Everything is expensive. Even things you don’t want. Clorox wipes, figs, sponges. Yes,...

The Bulldog of Kansas City

A mystic once told me in Oklahoma that evil resides not merely in...

Rumination on Tomatoes

~Quietude of the Greenhouse~ Early on at the farm, it became apparent there...

The Painted Bells

As we wander among the tents of the bazaar, the children grow so...

Two Poems

Running the Tables The sharky excuse parading as my old man thinks he’s bad, racking and...

A Dinner Party 

I am at a small dinner party with my wife Jean in the...

Four Poems

April’s Pressure Cooker The ice has meltedinto sidewalk slush, all the more slipperyto...

Two Poems

A Body, A Curse At 3AM I Google“papillary carcinoma”“breast node biopsy process”“gluten-free flour...

Three Poems

I want to love you I want to love you like a deck...

Whiskey Tit Artist Statement

Jon Hammer is a painter living and working in New York City. He...

Whiskey Tit Journal’s Raison D’Être