Queer Arts Show Fall 2020

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The American Literary Magazine, affectionately known as AmLit, is American University’s semesterly publication of students’ creative works - including art, photography, poetry, and prose. AmLit comes together each semester to share our love for the creative arts, host events, and design our publication. Visible is American University’s LGBTQ+ publication. Visible includes numerous types of work primarily covering art, news, and culture. Visible was founded in 2018 in an effort to continue building safe spaces and inclusivity at AU. The Queer Arts Show aims to highlight the voices and works of queer students at American Univeristy. All copyrights belong to the artists.

Dear Reader,

November 10, 2020

Art is more than a string of words or an image on a page. Art is a powerful expression and an intimate experience. In this first ever and much awaited edition of the Queer Arts Show resides the beautiful work of some of AU’s most incredible queer artists. We would like to thank them for allowing us to share their immense talent through these pages. Beyond the power that art has to inspire, we believe it can bring people together. This collaboration of AmLit and Visible was spurred by an urge to showcase the work of queer artists in our community and to continue building a community of creators, in a safe space where queer and trans individuals may share their intimate stories and pieces. In a world that has so much division, it is important to continue supporting LGBTQ+ friends and loved ones, in hopes of building a more inclusive community at AU. The line drawings found across these pages each represent a different aspect of intimacy. From a lovers embrace to a cup of coffee, this vision was brought to life by AmLit’s Co-Creative Director, Katie Meyerson. At a time where many of us are miles apart, we hope that this collection of art can act as a way of connecting everyone flipping through its pages. This zine would not have been possible without the collective effort of everyone involved. We are eternally grateful for the dedication and commitment of those for whom this zine is a labor of love. <3 Sheer, Riddhi, & Rumi


The Juxtaposition of the Sun by Emma Geer / 10 Eden by Hannah Kibler / 12 Pucker and Bloat by Annie Dempsey / 14 Dissociating by Emma Geer / 18 Intrusion by Emma Geer / 26

Cascading Beauty by Emma Geer / 5 fickle and maybe fragile by Sami Pye / 8 grind culture (series) by Rumi Zai / 17 please tolerate me part 1 by Sami Pye / 21 please tolerate me part 2 by Sami Pye / 21 truthfully i’m lying to you by Sami Pye / 24 ethereal spirits (series) by Kait Caffrey / 28-29

Mulan Without the War by Hiruni Herat / 6 I Went to the Sky and Back by Grace Hasson / 7 March-April 2020 by Emily Coneybeare / 8 I Half-Love You by Grace Hasson / 9 Heaven’s Hell by Grace Hasson / 11 Sunday Buddha by Anonymous / 13 Who Goes to Starbucks on Christmas Eve? by Emily Coneybeare / 15 When Does it Stop? by Emily Coneybeare / 16 Would You Mind? by Emma Lovato / 19 love’s labor by Shelby Rose / 20 In The Morning by Emma Lovato / 22 Home With You by Emily Coneybeare / 23 10:30 Curfews by Hiruni Herat / 25 Inconvenient Truths by Emma Lovato / 27



Strings of black ink falling falling falling Reborn again! Or perhaps a death? He or she or they or what. Chubby hands, unkempt eyebrows, a jawline softened by gentle lovers; lovers who loved the idea of a woman. A woman? Perhaps. Who is to say. Lips soft - used, worn leather. Stings of black ink - hair cut short. Chest tied tight, light-headed breaths. Who does my reflection show? A lady? No, a lover. Falling falling falling


The Sun and Moon were of the same Heavenly flesh. Cut from each other, weathered lovers sewn together, but ripped apart by the Red Sky’s envy. They walked hot coal clouds, barefoot and bare-hearted. The Sky is a lonely Hell. You can ask anyone who has been there, but no one knows more than the wives of broken skies, who loved with silk atmospheres for centuries. That was before people came and built The Sky—built to burn. Envy is not green. It’s more red than liberated blood.


Last week my professor’s mother died I wasn’t sure of what to say so I googled it I said the people we love never leave us, not really She said it was one of the most beautiful condolences she had received What did everyone else write? I got it off the internet I hug my dad a little tighter since he’s been drawing up his will A year ago someone said my poetry was heavy-handed and I haven’t written any since Now’s as good a time as any to start again Every day I’m on the verge of tears but never quite get there


I could only be a half-hearted prophet and a half-empty poet, but I’m halfway mad enough to tell her those hands could rebuild my atmosphere. I could only be an over-eager lover and a writer with never-ending hunger, but I’m halfway glad she’s so far away. Because she could take the splinters out of me and by now I’m too accustomed to how they bleed



Artist Statement: This piece is supposed to symbolically represent how dynamic positive emotions can be. The sun, typically depicting happiness, aids in portraying one designate emotion however the carrying colors represent emotions that may not be associated with this.

when the moon was separated from the sun her flesh ripped like seams and she bled silver dust onto her lover when the sun turned away from her queen she found the sky is even more empty than hell one womb into two one heart split like an apple, its core something you wouldn’t ever want to taste but its strength lingers on the tongue



I kneel at the temple before the peaceful statue. Never have I prayed before, yet I pray, pray Pray to whomever the shame I have brought my family, myself, my soul pray pray it disappears. The unadulterated emotion shot down, never to exist I fall to the night before, and all the nights before that with HER The sweet nothings chanted at dusk Her skin warm under my fingertips, sweet under my mouth. A symphony of clouded judgment, a mistake holy to my existence. My soul buried within hers. And I pray that it all disappear, like the twisting strings of incense dissolving into the air. The statue looks down at me, a small gentle smile graces his face and lets me carry on my way



This coffee shop is surprisingly full For 7pm on Christmas Eve An ambulance lit up in the parking lot Next to the Christmas trees Stacked up like the first of December Where do these trees go when the Christmas rush is over? I would imagine they are allowed time off to celebrate with their families I could write a story about everyone here Velvet dresses, suits, and sweaters come and go And those like me- who and what they’re avoiding At a coffee shop on Christmas Eve But I am selfish so I only write about me There is a girl here who looks familiar She calls to ask her parents if they wanted anything before ordering There is a girl sitting playing a computer game on her laptop Customizing an avatar to look nothing like her There is a dad sitting with his 2 kids He’s on his phone Maybe waiting for their mother to pick them up to celebrate Christmas It’s a sad kind of divorce to see people meet in the middle like that, like they can’t even bear to be in the other’s space This coffee shop is a meeting place for a lot of those


Everywhere I go A card from you falls from the pages of a book A letter here, a memento there I try to place it- year one, two, or three? Through others we slip into the pages of each other’s books Only to fall out at the most inopportune time You want me to tell you I love you? Is that what you want? You want the upper hand over me? I suppose I owe that to you, at least once But I can’t bring myself to say it He sleeps next to me, she sleeps next to you, I sleep next to her, you sleep next to him Yet we turn over at night and think only of one another We are pulled time after time into each other And the shock hurts more than the yearning I would rather watch you from afar and think about what it would be like if it was different And dream of your hands and my thighs Than plunge into the cold reality of who and what we are now Emerge gasping Only to fall in again and again and again and again and again




Spending our languid summers under the gazebo, drinking grocery store Moscato, and dreaming up ways to get out of this town. Would you mind? Sitting on the counter while I cook us dinner, singing songs that are too sad for the occasion, and sticking around to clean up the mess. Please tell me you wouldn’t mind, if my departure marks the fall. If phone calls and flowers begin to replace long car rides and coffee dates. Would you mind? Sticking through it for just a moment longer.


love’s labor is never lost she found it once, a fallen star wrapped in dirty, dank earth another, picked it carefully as it stuck it’s weedy shoots through cracks in concrete once, it was under her bed and she held it reverently, blew off dust bunnies as a child wishes on dandelion peach fuzz and she chose it once, then again, then again and this labor, this burden, this onus of a heart thanks her



I told my mother that you sent the flowers on my nightstand, even though you didn’t. You complained that she never liked you, so I’m preparing beforehand just in case you’re back in my arms for Thanksgiving. For you, I’d always fly back to Denver. Forever, my reckless endeavor. But this time, I’m sitting on the opposite coast, trying to disrupt the fog that settled since you left. Numb and alone, four feet from me is the table we argued at in March. The same chill in the air. They were tearing down the ice rink then, now, they’re putting it back up. An inconvenient reminder of how much time has passed. Love continually postpones its own punishment. I beg for it to come while I’m in New York without you. But when the familiar ache settles in my chest, I know it won’t be this morning. I guess I’ll go back home.


Is home the smoke from the chimney on a cool cloudy night in October? Or the afternoon haze spilling into your bedroom as you lazily awaken? Or the murmur of noise and laughter rolling up the stairs? Or can it be the sound of someone’s voice? Their hand on yours? The scent of their skin? And suddenly Home is anywhere



Dull lights of the storefront bleed in gentle through the window illuminating your cheekbones. The leather seat sticks to my arms, ghosts of passing strangers waltz around. We build universes in this car, in this town, built on naivety and hopes of a forever. Your hands are made to touch me. Or are they? I can’t remember anymore. You don’t have to love me! Just be, exist, look in my direction. Remind me what good I have done in the world, in return I make you feel held, adored. Right now, the idea of love or another tomorrow are miles away, crashing on the interstate. You are so much more, a monumental space limited only by my fears. In the dull lights of the street lamp your eyes, an oracle of my past. I am fearless. Torn in two and sewn back together by your humble hands (made to touch me). You don’t have to love me, you already have.



Your West End high-rise towers over me. We search for something divine, yet our lips meet inconveniently. My heart aches for a first love, and ten unreturned phone calls. Yours, for the expectation of someone else’s body when you wake up. Our disappointment is mutual in the morning. For us, playing God is part of the fun, but we’ll never answer each other’s prayers.


Artist’s Statement: i used long-exposure to encapsulate the essence, the aura, and the movement of these moments. As humans, we are not only physical; we are an energetic force, constantly flowing and experiencing everything all at once. Expression of self is endless.




Kait Caffrey believes she was a bioluminescent mushroom in a past life. She enjoys listening to Willow, expanding her mind, and spending time with ginko trees. Emily Coneybeare romanticizes everything. Annie Dempsey is happy to be anywhere. Emma Geer enjoys life’s small pleasures, as long as there’s coffee involved. Grace Hasson is an author, poet, and lover of words.


Hiruni Herat is just waiting to meet their soulmate while buying celery at a Whole Foods. Hannah Kibler is struggling to find time for art during the school year. Emma Lovato got told she had “good vibes” the other day which is a tremendous accolade, all things considered. Sami Pye wants you to know she won the yearbook superlative “most likely to tag you in a meme” in high school. Shelby Rose is a a literature major at AU and your resident source of lesbian book recommendations.


Editors in Chief - American Literary Magazine Sheer Figman Riddhi Setty President - Visible Rumi Zai Copy Editor Stephanie Mirah Design Team Björkstén Emma Lovato Katie Meyerson Elon Middleton Skylar Smith Outreach & Social Media Team Henri Brink Kaitlyn Hamer Clay Fowler Review Team Rory Hayes Shelby Rose










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