Issue #245: Joe Cary’s “Disembodied”

Our new issue, “Disembodied” by Joe Cary, is about family, legacy, kindness, generosity, and the possibility of magic. It’s also about fear, rotten luck, and flat-out destitution. For all its admirable qualities—and there are many—it’s the voice of this story that brought me to my knees. The unnamed narrator is a second-generation homeless man living on the streets of New York City. His only agenda is a simple one: get through today so that he can get through tomorrow. He expects to be met with difficulties. He expects to encounter judgmental looks from strangers, suspicious glances from cops, hunger pains, challenges when it comes to looking for a place to sleep or even a safe place to sit down and have a thought. He lives in a world so consistent in its daily unwelcoming of his presence that it’s almost become a dependable place. And then something unexpected begins to happen—something that defies even his college-educated, street-smart mind. Hats off to the author, Joe Cary, who says in our Q&A that while drafting “Disembodied” he read the story aloud so many times (in order to get the voice right) that he “can nearly recite it.” That hard work has paid off, and we’re the lucky readers who get to reap the benefits.

2 thoughts on “Issue #245: Joe Cary’s “Disembodied”

  1. Read this twice with a month in-between readings and appreciated it even more the second time around. Mr. Cary does a great job painting an accurate picture of NYC and what our protagonist is feeling among the landmarks and subway stops he visits. I felt I was alongside the character for the whole ride and enjoyed it. Loved the word choices and phrases the author used. No cliche ideas here. It was very original and I loved the work. Make me laugh, made me think, made me appreciate the character’s journey of self-discovery.

    Makes me want to read the Barry Sanders paper that earned the author the two star sticker honor in 5th grade. Well done sir!

  2. This has been on my reading pile for a few months. It’s the first time I’ve read One Story and what a great way to start. The mixture of magic or even spirituality with the harsh reality of homelessness and anxiety were a great combination. However, Gale Sayers was the best running back to grace the gridiron.

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