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  • Isel Garcia

The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon

There is something called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. Our brains highlight information it has recently


Let’s say, today you learned about mangoes. Suddenly, you see

mangoes everywhere. In “How to Cook with Mangoes” cookbooks, mango-flavored lip balm, shoes that look just as


There is the theory of synchronicity. Why we pick up our phones at the exact same


“Funny, I was just thinking about you!” like the universe had

orchestrated it.

There is a term called apophenia. A mental

sickness related to the Baader Meinhof phenomenon. The

brain detects

patterns in a series of meaningless data and

reads too much into it.

It is why some people see faces

in the moon, Jesus in a raisin cookie, the future in dregs of coffee.

I am convinced my brain is apophatic.

I see a man on the train with lightbulb eyes

like yours

traces of

stubble like pencil tips I used to burn

my mouth on.

I believe synchronicity is a cheap fallacy. If it

were real I should have bumped into you

because I thought of you

today when I ate

ripe mangoes, when the soil

of my coffee grounds

evoked something you said about

the future.

Carl Jung said you should have manifested by now. But you


Marie Christelle 'Isel' Garcia was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. She received her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Sarah Lawrence College in 2013, and was part of the staff for the College's journal, Lumina. She has performed her flash nonfiction and flash fiction in various readings in New York City, such as the Lamprophonic Reading Series and LitWrap. She is currently working on a collection of prose poetry about moving to a different country, displacement, and the concept of home. She writes, sleeps, dreams, and drinks too many cups of coffee in New York City.

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