Prettier Than Heaven

Digital #002

Contributors:  John Schengber, TJ Rinoski

(Good headphones recommended.) It's early summer in Virginia. You are sitting at a glass table on a screened-in porch and the season's first big storm is arriving. You are listening to the wind blow sheets of rain against the porch and the surrounding trees; and the thunder soon joins you in applause. You sit there, listening, for almost an hour, as the storm moves across the state. After a while, the thunder grows distant, and the birds come back. If you listen closely, you can hear the streams bulging with enthusiasm on their way to the Bay.


Prettier Than Heaven 

It’s prettier than heaven here

When I notice the dancing birds

When spring has come and the sun is waiting

I will take every moment I can get 

To come out of abstraction.


To think, if I do anything.

I think: I will do everything.

I feel and will feel and more than

Trust in the summer to save me. 


As the birds and flowers have tried to tell us

In their songs:

You, me, we—

Aren’t we a bit alike?


Alive and brave

Not a thing we do goes unnoticed


All ripples are waves


And that is why we run so fast

Into the ocean. 

Skinny Dipper Magazine 
exists to catalyze self-discovery and human connection through storytelling.

Be bold and act like we’re invited, so that when they open those velvet barriers we walk right in with a nod. Lose sleep over the music we have forgotten, and leave if there is neither beauty nor sadness. Ask questions over dinner that require pencil and paper to answer. Print. Less screens and thicker calluses. Practice our dance while doing the dishes, and stay out there late. Unbutton around corners and fall off the bike, but stay on the ground and admire the mark we made on the street. Full burritos and well-worn maps. Wonder who designs salad dressing labels because we have some ideas. Load our words into a new canon, curse traffic, and show up unannounced because we know our friends. Get a double and see it twice. Fetishisize the past and be aliens together. Find a new way home. Kick ourselves for missing, clap for caring. Go wild with our look because we aren’t there yet. Speak with the flight attendants and hope that the runway below is full so that we can circle above the clouds at golden hour. Remember Ivan Ilyich and the favorite books of our friends. Tug hard on the tension between absolute narcissism and crippling self-doubt and find your dream in the middle. Push through and search abroad to see if this is there too. Go simple, go solo, go now. The world or nothing. Because if just one piece of this works, then this is forever.