Editor's Note: Jordan Smith

"Strange things happening every day," (Sister Rosetta Tharpe: YouTube) was the line that kept coming to me. I was rereading Marvin Bell's Vertigo, his most recent collection of poems in which The Dead Man speaks his mind, but the voice of Bell's dead guy, our constant companion—impassioned, meditative, seriously and eccentrically learned, furious, marooned right in the middle our call-in-show culture, crackling electrically like Whitman with the joy of cheering the downtrodden and horrifying their oppressors, tracking the etchings of truth, however acid, on the sedimentary, sentimental denials of morality, mortality—isn't the strangeness the book made me see. What's strange is that anyone might see all this and not respond. So I looked to writers and musicians, whose privilege it is to inhabit the intersection between personal desire (of which truth is one object, among others more obvious, equally compelling) and public presence. Here's what I found, verse and prose, sound and sculpture. I'm very grateful to John Spalding, the editor of Inertia, and to the contributors who agreed to share their work.