Brine Waves



The Vine

By Kate Savage


An old man looked to his left and saw the mountains; looked to his right and saw the raw, new city; and sliced down his shovel blade into the dust.

He pissed into the hole, and threw in some ox dung. And then he placed inside it the stick he’d brought all this way. Just a dry stick in a hole, the dirt tamped back in.

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The Unhaunting of Greta Johson

By Easton Smith

My grandmother Greta Johnson used to sneak spiders into the house. She lived with her parents in the back quarters of a rust colored Victorian mansion. Renters in the dreggy bits of former luxury. The kind of old home that rose from the roots of its trees, pulled itself together in a knot of tension fixed between its decay and its sturdiness, wrestling with its own being. Like it was breathing. And against this breathe her father stacked heavy, modern furniture and her mother scrubbed with chemical solvents. The spiders never lasted long. But Greta would snatch new spiders from the garden or the alleyways, and hold them however she could. Crawling up the arm, in a jar, in a closed fist. Greta would bring them inside quickly, because after all she didn’t like the thought of so many delicate legs tapping at her skin like piano keys, crawling up the moist crevice of her her lips, ears, or armpit. She would run to her room and then shake wildly like a conjuring, flicking the tiny beast to some corner or another.

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Short Stories About a Long Bike Ride

Photo by Parker Feierbach

By Brooke Larsen


7273 B.R.

I am five and my dad runs behind me as I rapidly pedal a hot pink bike that’s too big for me. We loop the Grant Village Campground in Yellowstone National Park. Towering lodgepole pines surround us and the bitter cold Yellowstone Lake glitters through campfire smoke as the sun sets. Normally my training wheels stabilize me, but today we take them off.

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The Insurrection of Cargo

By Kate Savage


Rebecca Hall reads old insurance documents. It’s her way of solving a cold case, follow a paper trail to the unspeakable past. The ‘objects’ insured are slaves and slave ships. When you rip thousands and thousands of people from their home and stack their bodies in boats like cargo, this is the mark left on the record books: an unforeseen incident precluded the proper delivery of cargo. Though we followed best practices, commodities were destroyed.

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On My Dead Cat, and The Beginning of Resistance


By Meili Stokes


When I was eleven I wanted to own something wild. On a humming desktop computer, I discovered the Bengal cat, and set into motion the long torture of my mother. I grew obsessed. These cats were wilderness descendants, sun freckled. In online pictures, they swam. Their owners slipped them into harnesses and walked them on a leash.  They scaled buildings with the elegance of a full-sized jungle cat. A new breed,  collectors found wild Leopard Cats in South East Asia, plucked them from their vanishing habitats, and bred them with house cats until they became slender, half-domesticated hybrids. In other words, Bengals were a Magical Animal Companion like those I read about it books.

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Brine Waves Origins

We write the year 2017, and this day January 9. We are 11 days away from the inauguration of the new president, 187 days since the Eastern Puma was declared extinct, and 284 days since a water protector camp was founded at Standing Rock. Today, the Great Lake is surrounded by snow, a bison is crossing an icy road, and the light is dimming slowly in the early afternoon.

These details may appear unnecessary, but it just so happens that time and place are of some importance in placing this collection of writings. Of course, this is a growing collection and so its breadth and themes must shift and morph, and however we describe it now may not hold true for future iterations. But what we can adequately describe now are its origins: the birth of Brine Waves so to speak.

We are a collection of organisers and activists in the Salt Lake area who have written our fair share of manifestos, op-eds, and press releases. We are well acquainted with the art of polemics, and the hard cut, crystal-sharp lines of thought such creation accompanies. After all, there are some lines in the sand.

But equally true may be that those lines remain hidden, or show themselves only temporarily and in sometimes frightening ways. Much longer hours are spent reckoning, wrestling, wondering about the work we do in the world we live in. This is a space for thinking deep, for feeling, and for asking how to live in these times, which after all, are our times. Writings here come from the ground that inspire them, and from the gut of the writer. They are not intended as abstract theory or opinion pieces crafted to convince. Rather, they are written with sticky fingers and misfiring neurons, recreating the mess of observed living.

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