The Junction

Page 1

the JUNCTION English Majors' Annual Literary Magazine Volume 11 Spring 2020 Supported in Part with Funds from the Riverrun Club

EDITORS Content Editors

Gina Rivieccio Leila Assif Bren Tawil

Chaya Nachum Mary Seeburger Format Editors

Quentin Felton Kate McGorry Sean Carey

Jack Coleman Nadia Rykova

Leila Assif / “Cotton Candy Sky”

Liz Larsen Carolina Rosa Martínez

Special Thanks to Gina Rivieccio, our Editor-in-Chief. Special Thanks to Quentin Felton & Kate McGorry, our Chiefs-of-Publications. Special Thanks to Quentin Felton for the Editors' Page.

FROM THE EDITORS, In times of uncertainty, the most natural thing to do is gather, our limbs held by neither distance nor disaster. Whether homes burn to the ground, tornados storm through landlocked security, or oceans rise right to our throats, there’s always hope that—sooner or later—we’d comb ourselves from the ruin, making our way into each other’s arms in search of tools to rebuild. We at Riverrun believe that art & life are some of the many tools at our disposal, their wrench constantly intertwined. Like stars to sky, pen to paper, & personal to political, we

understand that all things must be explored in conjunction with one another in order for a proper reality to be mirrored back to us. This power of the referential sweetens the pores of creation: art-making a process meant to encapsulate a wide-range of perspectives, outlooks, & artistic voices. This is what The Junction hopes to do, highlighting the writings & artwork of the Brooklyn College Community as a means of showcasing budding talent, giving ourselves the opportunity to bask in the creations of our peers, their words pulled on the heels of a fever dream. Still, we’re told this dream becomes more & more elusive once our ability to gather throws itself into the fire, the foreseeable future muffled by clouds of smoke. It’s true, this is what we’ve been told, but this reality fails to quiet with ease. Instead, it wrestles within us, hardens beside our skeletal, bubbles beneath the very tongue we’re taught could douse any flame. The making, in turn, becomes the very act of creation, leading us to fasten our personal credos to the talons of a stork, standing strong & still on a nearby windowsill, our hopes, fears, & dreams now clawed a creature we know to birth beautiful things. We like to think our something beautiful lies in the pages of The Junction , a collective proof of our undeniable resistance. This year, our publication is one of remembrance, remembering those we’ve lost, those still fighting to stay alive, & those still standing near windowsills, itching for outside flames to surrender to wind. Our magazine would be nothing without these seekers, the inspiring talent & strength of all who submitted work. For this, we thank you & hope to do you justice. With Love, Riverrun English Major's Counseling Office Follow us on Facebook or Instagram @thejunctionbc


TABLE OF CONTENTS "Campus Stroll" "Tara" "Corner Store Men" "Sometimes" "Self-Simulator 1.0" "Just One More Cigarette" "One Last Time" "Colors in Dialogue" "The Song No Longer Remains the Same" "Maya Kumbachinska" "Post-OP From a Painter's POV" "Self-Portrait" "4 A.M." "The Bard" "Garlic Tongue" "Lift Off" "Mister Gary Winogrand" "Fruit Loopery" "varo" "Handmade Compensation" "Shadows in Sleeping" "A Portrait of a Lady in the Park" "Him" "Rest Part II" "Tales of a Dark-skinned Girl" "The Skeptical Countryman" "The 2 Train" "Transit Consumption" "Out is Through" "Untitled" "Your Grade School 4 Self-Identity Poem"

Jerome Brown Jack Coleman Fahtima Abbas Basya Fukesman Leila Assif Carolina Rosa Martínez Ching Wah Wong Kate McGorry



"Icarus" "For the Wingless" "dreamscape.mp3" "Between Hungry Jacks and Harry Potter" "Crimson Lake" "Lake Placid" "A Conversation with Myself" "Youth"

B. Ayurveda Nadia Rykova


"Hey Dad, Can We Have


One Last Car Ride Together" "Discrimination" "Berrinche Sin Fin" "My Blackness' Manifesto"

Liz Larsen Quentin Felton Bethany Weniger Matthew Cummins Melissa Morales Xarena Pagan Jack Coleman Pamela Hammond Bren Tawil Carolina Rosa Martínez Jhame Yoss Jack Coleman Liz Larsen Angela Rapp C Nadia Rykova Shannon Addonizio Kate McGorry Leila Assif Allyce Hanely Melissa Morales

7 8 10 11 12 13

18 19 20 23 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 37 38 39

"Quiet People Have the Loudest Minds" "Turner Hill" "Temporary" "Worth" "Jamaica" "Komodo" "Writer's Circle Poem Mosaic: Ravens" "Beach Scum" "Sacraments of Spring" "It's Sunny in California" "Supernova" "It's a bit mysterious..."

40 42

"Sonnet About My Cats"


"The MoMa" 44 44 45 45

"Ritual" "Ita" "Catfish" "I Took the Shards"

Gina Rivieccio Quentin Felton Bren Tawil


Jhame Yoss Kali Norris Gina Rivieccio Fatema Islam Mary Lou Ciabattoni


Fahtima Abbas Mariam Esa Luisa Alarcón Carolina Rosa Martínez


Jet Mariam Esa Tia McIntyre Chaya Nachum Jet Scarf


Writer's Circle


Luke Madey Areeba Zanub Nadia Rykova Gina Rivieccio Leah-Lyuba Livshits Owen Rodda Jonathan Nunez Mary Lou Ciabattoni Jonathan Nunez Kali Norris Liz Larsen Chaya Nachum


48 50

54 55 56 58

61 62 64

66 68 69 70 72

75 76 77 78 80 80 81 81 82 83 84

FEATURED ARTISTS Chaya Nachum - (6) Kate McGorry - (7) (10-11) (14-15) (18) (34-35) (39) (47)(60) (62-63) (66) (80) Leah-Lyuba Livshits / L.L.L - (26-27) (42) (54) (78) Carolina Rosa Martínez - (5) (53) (67) (70) (76) Serena Gezmer - (9) (32) (45) Bren Tawil - (17) (50) (71) (77) Jose Casillas - (19) (36) (37) (61) (82) Quentin Felton- (29) (59) Liz Larsen - (20) (25) (57) (65) (83) Shirley Zheng - (24) Xiaoxuan Ruan - (12-13) (40) Areeba Zanub - (84-85) Nadia Rykova - (23) (38) (46) Charlie Penney - (30-31) Leila Assif - (72) (73) (75) Sean Carey - (73) Raisa Alexis N. Santos - (81) Gina Rivieccio - (55)

Carolina Rosa Martínez / “Swings”

Special Thanks to Adana Harris for the cover, "Humanity" Special Thanks to Kate McGorry for the back cover, "Sky Breakers"


Chaya Nachum / "Fall Reflection"

CAMPUS STROLL Jerome Brown I blush at Boylan’s big oak doors heck I don’t know they could be pine I just see wood they dazzle the eye as season rays reflect on, no off them yellowish-brown n’ golden stains. I pass her there soaking in the big warm orb concentrating, note taking leg crossed stretched across campus ground opposite her in autumn shade someone lies licking ice-cream huh; no shade, but ice n’ shade I’m sure it must be menopause. Wrought-iron gates keep nothing out keep intellectuals slurping snow on brisk fall days 6

and philosophers who concentrate well contained. Autumn leaves and hairdos like caps don’t do nothin’ for officer gloomy Jack mounted at the sentinel shack defending grounds and pristine lawn waiting to clock out he checks out lovers who pretend to be… enthusiasts who lunch beneath what could be oak heck I don’t know might be elm for all I know I just see trees and her and slush guzzler, officer gloomy and pristine lawn, wrought-iron gates and big gold doors lovers who knot in courtliness, and autumns shrubbery alluring in October’s last glow.

TARA Jack Coleman

Imparted to paper, these pastel articulations sing viscous and fluid, and boldly running like fire on water, which bear a weighty resemblance to those dried lilacs which still bloom lavender grays and blues.

resounding. What you captured here captured you, too. But how could you have known that in your leave we are stuck, fixed in this mystic insisting on more?

Kate McGorry / "Lilac Mist"

Hues, which forever insist on more stories, new and retold resounding you.

These unmistakable blues, like a hand gently maternal, frequent and firm, resting on our shoulders,



This one’s for all the corner store men that Let me take pregnancy tests in the bathroom Told me “habibti don’t cry, children are Allah’s blessing” That let me pay them back later because They knew money for us came from dark, empty places and This wasn’t easy That people slept inside their food trucks, in between customers, Stuck between wishing business would be dry for one, quick, nap And needing business to be busy so their children can have dinner, knowing Someday their children would grow up to call them uneducated, then Leave for something more This one’s for all the times I wanted to die The time I almost did die, overdose The times I did die, inside The time my father died, five years ago For my uncle who told me my poems needed to be more “happy” because they were just too sad Because I am just too sad Always a man listing the ways in which my existence is problematic I wonder if my father was just as bad— This one’s for my mother Who wasn’t ready to be a widow Who taught me that women come out of everything, bloody yet alive and that’s all that matters but Being women means pretending to search inside your purse for something so the corner of your eye Can see if the man behind you is following you Because this is survival New York women are prodigies at avoiding rape They cry and shout and argue into the steering wheels of their Civics, their Camrys, their Rovers—7:30 in the morning And then they wipe the tears, lower their voices And go to work


Serena Gezmer /"OL Goddesses"


Basya Fukesman

Sometimes you feel this big something Sitting on your chest And sometimes it feels As if this big something Is crushing the life out of you

Can be defeated Or maybe it just wants a name Maybe it just wants you to look Maybe it just wants you to understand Why it is sitting there

Like an olive press On your chest And sometimes Maybe it knows You just wish this big something You need to greet it Could just go away Give it a purpose But without a name Know it The big something And once you know Remains there What this big something is Untouchable and untouched Maybe Till it almost becomes unbearable Just maybe And then It will become You sometimes take up your phone A friend And start to type That lets you know And type When you have taken on too much And type Fought too hard And type And it is time Until that big something For you to rest Starts to get a name And let Starts to reveal a shape The big something And you suddenly realize Go That you've known all along what the big something was What the big something is doing Sitting on your chest Making it hard to take in breaths And you start to think Maybe this big something


Kate McGorry / "Rocky Mist"


SELF SIMULATOR 1.0 Leila Assif

jellyfish missiles illuminate gelatin tinsel forty-seven minutes into this edible and I’m seeing life in 240p pixel chunks of space separated by separate entanglements of tangled bits me, myself, and I see reality glitch

Kate McGorry / "Dolly"

fiery pink punches the purple blue gels with green in forests’ shadows earth jams with sky sitting in hearts’ hallows encapsulated orbs of heavenly beams two hours since the first color change my mind climbs the jellybean chain glistening blushed artichokes listening to art but flushed from choking

soft focus to showcase the chosen suspended petals of peony water jewels scattered the marine prairie sends sonic meltdowns across cosmic fairies sixteen seconds of climactic relaxing let REM mode fly you home neon’s bloom in the catastrophic dream zone stimulating salted seaweed shoots out dopamine on the roller rink rolling my eyes to suggestive jellyfish winks the magic pixels hum and vibrate a squish and a splat my mind splits while my heart remains intact


JUST ONE MORE CIGARETTE Carolina Rosa Martínez


n Italy cigarettes were sweet. I didn't mind the smell or the taste after smoking. Over there, cigarettes are candy for adults. When we are young, thinking about yellow teeth and diurnal lungs isn’t a thing. Death seems far away, to the point of being unreachable with our sights, and we have a false sense of power. Ironically, our vitality makes us feel like immortals and is often what leads us to our end. We just smoke because we feel good, and we ask ourselves, why not? Everyone did it, like fireplaces, and I wanted to see why. After a week I was a smoker, like everyone else. One with the coffee, one after class while drinking a healthy smoothie, one while talking with the friends, one while watching the sunset. I felt cool, I wanted to be a “rebel” and finally do something forbidden. Then when my time there was over, I came back to New York and realized that being a smoker wasn't that cool anymore. Here I am a minor, I live with my parents and I'm supposed to be this well-behaved girl who does only good. However, I continued smoking, but it wasn't the same, it wasn’t pleasant. Here I didn't have the freedom, nor the friends,


and the cigarettes were not sweet. Instead I had loneliness, that sense of guilt and sour cigarettes with an unpleasant odor that permeated my skin, my thoughts, and, overall, my lips. However, I continued smoking…I clung to it like a child to his mom. I wanted the memories to stay, the nostalgia became as addictive as the nicotine. One day, after several months of smoking a lot to "relax," I started to feel dizzy and weak. I tried to stop it, I didn't want to smoke anymore, but after two hours I couldn't help it. It became a habit. I told myself, I will finish this packet and that's it, again and again. Here comes the fun part; my parents, who always tell me every single detail since I was born didn't mention that I had a cardiac and details. All children get sick, don’t they? With all the care they gave me, I had never relapsed until now. This time I got so sick that I couldn't be by myself anymore. They had to hospitalize me, I had to confess that I smoked and that's why I got so bad, so fast. My parents couldn't believe it. I wasn't so perfect after all. I got depressed, so depressed that I didn't even want to eat. Now, me not eating, that's pretty serious. After a while in treatments I got much better, and

ONE LAST TIME Ching Wah Wong

I used to wake up to a fragrant smell every morning before eight. My alarm would not have rung yet, and I’d just lie there and wait. I would hear a pan and spatula clacking, hot oil jumping and popping, eggshells cracking and breaking, bacon sizzling and smoking. The smell of coffee would bring me to my feet. I’d stagger down the hall, still half asleep. My father would be in the kitchen already plating my breakfast meticulously. The crispy bacon sat next to a sun. I could cut it and the yolk would run. Keeping my face from crashing on the table, And trying to sit up as straight as I am able, I would peck repeatedly at my plate. All was seasoned for delectable taste. He’d laugh and say I looked funny. He’d jest that I had swallowed a bug, but then I’d turn to him and just shrug. I grew accustomed to this routine until one day I woke up to see his shrine and found myself yearning for his cooking one last time.

Xiaoxuan Ruan/ "Inside Out"

I finally returned home. I felt like a stranger in my own home with my own family. That's what I deserved, I guess. When I was there, I regretted smoking so much! I was paying for my own murder, buying the gun, and pulling the trigger myself. That slight dizziness and that sense of "calmness" were not worth it. The pain, the endless cough, my mother's worried face. It wasn't worth it at all. Something good about being in the hospital for weeks was that I started writing. Not just my journal entries, but stories and poems. I even thought that I could write something good one day. If I didn't die before, of course. I tried my best to regain that status of being a good girl. Damn, it was hard! Nearly impossible, but I didn't want to give up. I broke the glass of trust so why trust me again? Well, I knew I could do it! I started to work harder and study much more than before. Everything was "fine" until my boyfriend, who lived far away, decided he wanted to date someone else, someone who wasn't a polite robot that was busy almost all day. I saw it coming, I knew he might not be the one, but after being "together" five years I couldn't just end it with a snap. I got anxious. I felt as if the sun burned my soul. I felt as if I was constantly drowning and watching flashes of all the things I regret in my life, without being able to finally die. I was so used to the idea of having him. I was proud of belonging to someone. Now, when I needed him the most, he just leaves me. I was alone. This was the cherry on the top of the ice cream—all I needed to collapse like a Jenga tower. I let myself fall again in despair, and while I cried and tasted my own tears. Ah! That reminds me of something. When I was in Italy, cigarettes were sweet. I needed candy for adults in these sour times. I smoked, I smoked just one more cigarette.



Kate McGorry / “Eye Series”

Kate McGorry


#780: “The red glass exhibits a bright landscape in so dreadful a hue as to inspire sentiments of awe.”

screen. I see a single orange flower submerged in the black backdrop, gloomy.

Red captivates the circuits of my mind running laps around associations of red firetrucks who paint “F” and 4 in monochromatic pigmentation. Christmas is also red so Christmas must be the 24th (and not the 25th which is green because of the 5 train).

#85: “Candle-light at twilight acts powerfully as a yellow light.”

Yellow is a taxicab speeding under the web of urban luminescence. Yellow wisps past its boxy form into a gesture of color for the sake of time and money. #764: “The colours on the plus side are yellow, red yellow It is a greedy color that enlivens our city with light. (orange), yellow-red (minium, cinnabar). The feelings they excite are quick, lively, aspiring.” #823: “A surface covered with narrow blue and yellow stripes appears green at a certain distance.” Orange is painted bricks and tiger lilies. The name insights images of tigers torn through black stripes Green is the imagined color of my eyes. On a running wild on the highway. These images were winter morning I sit at the table with Baby William. grown in a child’s mind. The stripes now flood the My friend and I have a great contention in our

relationship, and that contention is the color of my eyes. On this morning Baby William set out to solve this dispute…(but failed miserably). “Yous eyes is gween.” “You sure about that, bud?” He takes a closer look while I secretly pray that he doesn’t sneeze on my open eyeball (but the dispute must be settled). With the pause of a philosopher the judge concludes: “De gween…?” #781: “But as we readily follow an agreeable object that flies from us, so we love to contemplate blue, not because it advances to us, but because it draws us after it.” Blue is the East River I saw through the cracks of the Brooklyn Bridge. Blue taunted me with its depth. Don’t look down, I told myself, but the color drew me. My stomach sank in terrified excitement watching the current crash in the sunlight. Blue is a mystery. I imagined the creatures below, the events that would bring us to its depth, the crash—and then the walk was over. I returned to solid ground leaving blue behind. #789: “In a very attenuated state, this colour is known to us under the name of lila; but even in this degree it has a something lively without gladness.” Purple is a dream state when I close my eyes in the dark. It is the Halloween sky in the backdrop of a black silhouetted skyscape. When I close my eyes at night I see purple in flickers between grey and white static. When I stir my Trix (in childhood, ‘cause ‘Trix are for kids’) I see periwinkle. Periwinkle, like a “Wrinkle in Time,” floats across the sky dreaming up new realities in the night. It is somber comfort stomping through the darkness. Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von., and Charles Lock. Eastlake. Goethe’s Theory of Colours: Translated from the German. Murray, 1840. 1





t starts off as merely irritating, then transforms into something else entirely; the rules are changed in the middle of the game, leaving the players scrambling; the words are different, the tune changed; the song no longer remains the same. First it is little things, like things my older brother will no longer touch, because they are tainted; tainted like my sister’s hands are tainted, stained yellow from the nicotine in her white cigarettes; so white, so enticing, even whiter than the small heaps of powder my sister collects on the table and snorts with a credit card, not a straw, because I hid the straws, not because I knew she was smoking coke, but because I wanted to annoy her. Then it becomes worse; my brother does not touch me, or anything I have touched. I understand the ugliness of the word segregation, the word meaning that you are separate because you are considered lesser, unworthy, or dirty; I think of the word when I am no longer allowed to use the upstairs bathroom in my own home, to go upstairs at all, but instead am confined to the

sex; they told me I would go downstairs, to the hot fiery place that I wasn’t allowed to talk about. I’m downstairs, always downstairs with the TV blaring; at first I fear the fire that will consume me, but I soon become accustomed to the scorching flames and learn to enjoy them, rather than embrace the alternative: the emptiness; and my parents’ bank accounts are swallowed by the emptiness, so there are no more birthday presents or snowball fights in the powdery white snow: soft white powder like the powder my sister collects on the table in little mounds, and snorts with her friends. So many of my sister’s friends have committed suicide; my teachers told us that killing yourself means you don’t go to heaven, so don’t kill yourselves, they said, for there is nothing worse than missing out on the world to come, the Garden of Eden; but Maya was hurting so much, and tried so hard to stay clean, my sister told us, and she went to rehab, and she relapsed and relapsed and relapsed again, and my sister stays by her hospital bed watching the monitors

cramped quarters in the basement, forced to use a bathroom spattered with foul smelling chunks of my sister’s vomit; I am downstairs, always downstairs; I’m always downstairs; I’m taking my little brother downstairs when the men come in cars with flashing lights to take our older brother away. I understand the ugliness of the word segregation, the word that makes a difference between us and them; makes a unit be divided in two for superficial reasons; my teachers in school frowned upon superficiality and materialism; they said it was practically idol worship to watch movies or talk to members of the opposite

showing zero brain activity; and she’s upset that her friend tried to kill herself but she doesn’t blame her, and cannot be angry, because she dies a few weeks later after her body slowly shuts down; my brother’s radar never shuts down; he always knows if someone sat on his couch, if someone touched his things, if someone went into his room. I feel bad that I am happy when he leaves, but not too bad, because whenever he comes back I am downstairs. I understand the ugliness of the word segregation, and I am downstairs, always downstairs, and the song no longer remains the same.

Bren Tawil / " egress"



aya Kumbachinska lived in a white room by the railroad leading to Moscow. A thunderous sound shredded through suburban life each time a train passed. Light would pierce into her bedroom, but she refused to close the shutters. It made her feel alive, she would say. Every night she walked as close as she dared to the rails and stared out into the darkness. I joined her once. “Why do you do it?” I asked. “It is my way home,” Maya said. “Do you miss it?” “When snow settles like sugar dust onto the city, it binds a sleeping spell. The capital falls silent, careful not to disturb the fresh white veil. It lasts barely an hour.” As Maya talked, she methodically chipped her pale pink nail polish. I watched as the little flakes caught in the crevices of her sweater. “Must be beautiful.” “Yes.” I looked back at the grim building we came from. Red lights flickered from the top floor. “Curfew is in ten minutes. We should go inside.” Maya’s fingers worked faster. “I’ve never had a personal caretaker before. What a strange thing. I

don’t know why my brother thinks you’ll be different than the nurses.” Brilliantly sharp eyes trained on me, Maya stepped closer. “Do you think like them too? Am I troubled?” Caught off guard by the question, I stayed silent. “Tell me,” she pressed on. “You’re standing barefoot, with no coat on. It can’t be more than two celsius right now. You visit the same spot by the rails every night. You scream whenever it rains. It’s...” I paused, scrambling for the right word. “Odd?” Maya asked. “Different.” A train sounded in the distance. “I do miss it,” Maya said after a while. We both knew she would never be allowed to go back to the capital, not with the new diagnosis. And so, we stood by the rails, just as it began to snow.


POST-OP FROM A PAINTER'S POV Liz Larsen There is a Van Gough on my chest purple and blue

There is a Van Gough on my chest yellow and green

There is a Van Gough on my chest red and brown

There is a Van Gough on my chest black and white

puckering at my pectorals flesh flayed & flaking off in blood-dried paintchips, please peel me out of my skin

violence atop vulnerability branded jaundiced skin, vile & hideously visceral

a sutured-up scarecrow sewn into an iodine stained subterranean silhouette

sticky gauze, sanitized seams, & psychiatric services

beaten, bruised, & bilaterally botched

black ink blotches, trivial Rorschach tests “What do you see?� disfigurement

Kate McGorry /"Loch ness"


“SELF-PORTRAIT” Quentin Felton

he’ll never love you like a woman no matter the number of limbs you dress in clay gowns spun in seismic silk for the half-swallowed half-conjured child your own mother knows nothing of barely understanding how easy it is to swaddle myth mistaken for summer rain for who wants to be touched all the time? lips weaving hymnals with headbands stretched as slingshots your bare-boned reflection aimed at unwanted masochisms bleeding constellations from god to grave the gravel you house stacked upon forgotten mudslides waves weeping for lack of a name & so, you name her after her daddy pouring histories of folk down her throat spoon-feeding grandfathers, great-grandfathers & great great-grandmothers in succession jives bubbling across the amniotic shorelines, sugars & sirens coughed up like the night that gathers your fractures for wholeness sake

Jose Casillas / "Tower"

her cries read more as howls a million tongues rippled at the root as you lie in wait of a new lover his lightning a sprout that blooms the same garden your mother told tales of kneeling her decades beside growing pains & rusting shoulders recounting fruits her eve never cared to love never caring to love you either


4 A.M. Bethany Weniger

Liz Larsen / "Neon Sunset"

“I don’t want you to go.” He laid his head on my shoulder. I rested my head on top of his. “I don’t want to go either.” The night air teased the palm leaves on the trees around us. We gazed at the moon, luminous and shrouded in wisps of clouds, like a silver coin wrapped in gossamer. “I’m going to miss you.” My heart ached.

There’s something beautiful and poetic and magical about 4 a.m. conversations—the ones that happen as midnight bleeds into dawn, as the sugary stars in the silky sky dissolve into whispers and the world slowly lifts its sleepy head and wakes, wondering and ready to wander wildly into a new day. But before that, before the moon fades and the sun bursts, when it’s dark and quiet and still, that is when every syllable seems sweet, every anecdote absolutely enchanting, every vocal inflection a song of its own. When you and him feel like the only two people on the earth, the only hearts that are beating. When the chaos is replaced by calm. When sitting next to him feels like home in a way that nothing else ever has.

… … 20

“Here.” He handed me a Sharpie and extended his bare arm.

after another. So I felt validated, justified in my apprehension, my anxious breaths, my hesitation, my fear.

I uncapped the marker and began writing on his Until him. forearm, just like I had during all our previous 1, 2, 3, and 4 a.m. conversations. We soaked in the … silence of our solitude, feeling the pressure in the air, the definitive finality of our last night. “I don’t trust many people.” His dark eyes met mine. Turning his arm over, I moved onto a new design on “Neither do I.” his wrist. He laughed when he saw what I had done, the design that I had marked him with. I held out “But I trust you.” A note of confusion in his voice. my hand, gesturing for his other arm. He shifted so he was closer, and I focused on the third homemade “I trust you too.” Foreign words on my tongue. tattoo. Curiously, he asked: “Why do you … trust me?”


I’m afraid of permanence. At the mention of commitment, my heart beats frantic, my lungs pause in panic, and my mind becomes manic.

I'm afraid of permanence.

I’m not proud of this aversion, this flaw, this instinctive gut reaction that nudges me to immediately seek out an escape route, but it seems to be etched into my bones, braided into the very fabric of my being, coursing through my veins like a drug in my blood that I can’t quite seem to flush out. And I always thought that maybe this fear would fade with time or that I would meet someone who made me want to stay, who made me want to conquer it, and then I’d be able to finally breathe easy at the mention of lingering for longer. But then I met people and they proved me wrong, one right

“I don’t know.” I really didn’t. “Why do you trust me?” “I don’t know.”

We reached an impasse. I could see him trying to untangle the puzzle in his mind, turning it over and inspecting every angle and potentially plausible theory. … The wonder and woe of human nature is that it has the ability to surprise us. Sometimes things don’t make sense, and they are ineffable, unexplainable, illogical. Yet they exist and persist and insist that they are some form of a truth whether or not they are pretty. And it is in this tremulous state drifting between the tensions of 21

chaos and calm, recklessness and reason, peace and pandemonium that we find ourselves, constantly struggling against some ebbing and flowing tide that keeps us guessing and gasping for air. … We said goodbye in the morning.

make you think, make you laugh, make you want to stay for longer than you normally do. People who you could spend hours upon hours with and not get bored. People who can sit in silence that never feels awkward. People who are smart and strong and sweet and sincere. People who let you be yourself— who make you feel more like yourself than you ever have before.

He hugged me, holding me in his arms while I And these are the people you fight desperately to fought back an unusual urge to cry. keep. With a fierce tenacity and an endless obstinacy, you fight to keep them, and you thank God every “I’m going to miss you.” He repeated his words day that you get to have them in your life. from a few hours earlier, but this time with deeper despondency, greater weight. … “You can always text me, you know.” A feeble offering.

It was almost midnight when I landed in New York.

“It’s not the same.”

My phone lit up. I glanced down and smiled. It was a text. It wasn’t the same, but it was something.

I pulled him a little closer. “I know.”

“Hopefully your flight was peaceful. See you soon.”

An hour later, I sat in the airport at my gate, waiting See you soon. to board, a deep sadness weighing down my soul. The space next to me felt empty, hollow, vacuous Not a question—a statement. Three words full of without him in it. hope and longing and wishful thinking with just a hint of confidence and certainty. Three words I … hope come true. Sometimes we are lucky, blessed, fortunate enough to meet incredible people. People who will sit outside at 4 a.m. telling you stories about their childhood and the hopes they have for the future. People who ask good questions and actually care about the answers. People who


Because my heart has a new crack, and his name is written in Sharpie right above it.

THE BARD Matthew Cummins

i. my potion vending machine cherry electric philters and cool blue elixirs the color of good health ii. god’s quarter reaches down filing us from the earth like the foil of a losing lottery ticket iii. operator operator i’m invoking but the checker man only tells me things I already know iv. silver life and golden death libations of your ablution spilt everything good about you taken from somewhere else v. she’s falling through crystal skies and frozen mists just as she hits the campfire i wake up

Nadia Rykova / “Dead Flowers”


GARLIC TONGUE Melissa Morales Unto the bated breath and tongue in cheek piquancies under the roof of my teeth. Taste of oblivion stings my lips As moonlight spills on my skin Flesh against flesh, hushed lips and roving eyes, a reminiscing that I— A drawing of a green-eyed monster sits on my bed stool. Someone told me a lady named Medusa gave it to me when I was younger. They tell me she’s a myth, nothing but a viridescent fantasy. Images flash in my mind Like shards of glass pricking my skin Thorns of roses fall to the floor Drops of ichor forming rivulets on the varnished wood. Soft kisses trailing into a tributary Of worships and skies burn into fires burn into yearning the color of poisoned envy This is the witching hour. Smooth hands curl into gnarled fingers And my skin goes hot flickering red Eyes blaze green and hair slithers in sin Mouth smoldering from the heat of this hex that is of my own undoing.

Shirley Zheng / "Youkai" 24

Liz Larsen / “Idol”


LIFT OFF Xarena Pagan As we shoot off into the sky I feel euphoria I feel the thirst for adventure driving me Begging the plane to go faster, faster But as we level in the sky I realize that you are not here I realize I am surrounded by strangers That as families sit on this flight going home or Going to find an adventure of their own I sit on this flight alone I have no one to share this adventure with No partner No person No lover No one Just alone You have no name that I know You have no face that I recognize


ButIImiss miss you you But Someone II have have not not even even met met yet yet Someone

Someone IIdo do not not even even love love yet yet Someone You have have no no name, name,no noface facefor forme metotoimagine imagine You ButIImiss miss you you But Because as the plane levels But I miss youand I leave the

Loneliness wanting to and turnI to youthe and Because as from the plane levels leave Show someone the cloudtothat like a Loneliness from wanting turnlooks to you and

Dinosaur or show you the where Show someone the cloud thatpoint looks like a The Dinosaur clouds meet the pink sky I realize I am alone or show you the point where

I don’t know how can miss no Ione, I The clouds meet theI pink sky Iyou, realize am but alone andknow everyhow night, every letter, thought IDo don’t I can miss you, every no one, but I Is somehow written forevery you thought Do and every night, every letter, SoIsassomehow I descendwritten I let myfortears you slip

Of finding you

L.L.L "At Sunset" Sunset" L.L.L / / "At

And wish that theSo days I willI no miss as when I descend let longer my tears slipyou will come faster Thethat days that I know come miss as fast as will this come plane faster And wish the days whenyour I willname no longer you That day your you will have a face thatasI will The days thatone I know name come as fast this plane Know every inch of by heart That one day you will have a face that I will As we descend I lookinch out of thebywindow Know every heart as I had Looked away from it to with as theI same As we descend I look outfind theyou window had Yearnaway to befrom one itstep, oneyou day,with one the second Looked to find same Closer to you Yearn to be one step, one day, one second You, mytopartner Closer you You, my person You, my partner You,my myperson friend You, You,my myfriend lover You, One adventure to my final one You,closer my lover Of finding One adventure closer toyou my final one


MISTER GARY WINOGRAND Jack Coleman Maybe it’s because these photos entice, that a liminality ensues, a state which I cannot tell, is simply represented, or two-fold, (here and on the wall, as I sit, grin-smacked and afloat, at the men in their suits, on the beach and on the street women cinched and sharp shouldered, all of them smoking, strolling, fulfilling their place in the places which allow them to do so. And I in mine, in the long dark room, lit only by their presence, as presented) thanks to Mister Winogrand, and us as well. And us as well. This is where he grounds us, in the long dark room. Somehow Coney Island crowds, gravel lots, the still lives of donuts and condiments, greetings on tarmac, fathers embracing, children, lovers, friends, the hurried noises of midtown, uptown, and so on, is not so far off from the hushed air of southwest god-country, football games and that confounding couple, holding their pet chimps right there, outside on the street; right outside, there. The glow of each slide, as projected onto the wall slips right by nostalgia, getting to something closer to, simply: an irresistible flood of light through the highway wind-caught hair. Just a taste of: basking in the sun wet candid contrapposto, a free flow of all that historical virility (inescapable from homo-something-or-other pretenses) in their tight speedos. All right out there. Apparently you still have thousands of undeveloped rolls, waiting, in their darkness, to be woken by the light. Instead they are suspended. How many hours can I waste (if wasting is what it is) in that long dark room—can I sleep in that daze, let the American days go by—while America, as seen by us as given to us by us, By way of Mister Winogrand, continues to shape, in all the ugly-sublime ways, in all the need for looking which looking portends— Can I sit, as those undeveloped rolls, and wait for light? 28

Quentin Felton / “Parachute”


FRUIT LOOPERY Pamela Hammond


heresa spent this past summer on the steel worm coined ‘J’ by city officials and locals alike. Not the conventional relaxation location of the warmer months, but it sufficed for her purposes of surviving, not living. Surviving should be perceived with loose application, since all steel worms lack provision in the safety and security departments. Materialistic human body protection housed in typically black vinyl containers were frequently swiped from the steel worm’s main feature: public curved resting additions that accommodated all residential needs. Not the conventional relaxation location. Not that Theresa was relaxing either, because she wasn’t. What was she supposed to do? Get upset? A waste of energy she could not afford to replace with edible fuel for sustainment. She was better off practically molding herself into the steel worm, becoming another one of its components. This way of thinking she had developed over the course of her time on the steel worm, an unattractive figure best to remain ambiguous, temporarily shifted to a more optimistic outlook, one which is urged upon the youth, like our Theresa, typically to avoid the dark side of the steel worm. It was a remarkable shift in cognition and personal ethical standards that set dear Theresa on a mental wild goose chase through the steel worm tunnels, contorting themselves around, under, and through each other, moving at such high speeds that in juxtaposition with Theresa’s lack of bodily movement made for an interesting cosmic paradox. Not the conventional relaxation location. But, Theresa wasn’t there to relax. She was neither settled nor unhinged, which allowed her to stay in an infinite uncomfortable medium of the two without actually being in the middle


result of cooked brain delusion, supplied by yours truly (the relentless weather), and she straightened out her thinking at once. It was probably from a shift in heat degree, though we will never know, because at the core of dear Theresa lay the simple fact that although at not a conventional relaxation location, she certainly was no fruit loop.

Charlie Penney / “Worms”

of anything at all. She was just as restless as the poor, abused steel worms that got overworked with very little rest and upkeep. So at least she shared something similar with her habitat: a painful cosmic joke. Regardless, she felt a glimmer of hope during the peak intensities of heat present. Her mind was being oven baked with shiny, crumply baking assistance laid overtop the thick, transparent heat friendly tool that met in pinches around the border. Not necessarily happy thoughts—that was still quite far-fetched—she began to imagine successes in planes a little too close to reality for comfort. Things of the educational nature, as well as other natures: professional, residential, financial, social. She was one busy bee on that steel worm, zooming dozens of feet below actual work—actual progress— that others found the footing for to partake in such luxuries. Not the conventional relaxation location. Then again, it wasn’t relaxation; it was menial, monotonous mental gymnastics spreading like a disease to every crease in her brain. Every function up there was compromised by illusions of normalcy. The heat trudged on, stretching weeks to years, the steel worm no safer from its pest. Not the conventional relaxation location. But then again, how could it be? It wasn’t the nice, dry heat that the body soaked up and rejuvenated. No. This heat was the sweaty, sticky kind. The nauseated, mixed with malnourishment, flirting with death kind that made poor Theresa’s bones ache and legs swell from the lack of circulation. The steel worm’s artificial illumination of the fluorescent kind made it hard for her glassy vision perceiving mechanisms and droopy vision perceiving mechanism protectants to stay aware of her habitat. And so, she figured these intrusions of one-sided mental conversation, which she at this time still believed to be rational in some capacity (much, MUCH more limited than she knew) were a good source of entertainment. However, she realized her new outlook was the


VARO Bren Tawil

it was our only night; we were in iowa. i stare up at him & he breathes smoke into my camera, tells me, “i wish so many things were different” & with all of the sadness in brooklyn i smile into his chest. he lifts my hair, mumbles into it, “i’m falling in love with you.” tucks it behind my ear.

Serena Gezmer / “Flower Bath Vol 1”

i laugh—“no, you’re not.”


he peers at me through time & space & repeats it & all i tell him is “i wish i could photograph you” but i know i cannot, so i collect him into my canonic jar & mail it to the mountains. he tells me, “if the apocalypse happens, will you run away with me?” we lose each other at a bus stop.

he is my tremor & my tumor. curled on his couch on a carpet i whisper, “in another life we are together, or in another dimension.” he agrees. i tell him, “they are so happy somewhere,” & he

murmurs back, “how could they not be?” i left my soul on his bedside table that day. my tears do not percolate on his tongue but they salt my wounded fate & cigarette burns. i slip through a vent through the plaster & he follows his lady macbeth & we sway scarlet like corpses in their coffins. heaven is soil & i know this because i can see it under the curtain of rain under my lashes, globed by his tourmaline irises.

i hear they are turning people away from hospitals. this crimson is the blush of an anonymous pyre, how the streets look on fire when he tells me, “it’s going to be a rough spring.” like lavender, like the way the floor is just another wall, like serpentine shadows only down the block, around the corner, infatuated and across town, i was not braced for that nocturne, too steep a staircase, the rouge of my eyes when i wept so immediately in atlantic city.

i crawl into the moon wishing so many things were different.

he was right—you can never hold back spring, & i am not approaching eden, i am deserting it. his baseball cap is on backward like a crescendo & his goodbye glints in the sunlight. he turns back before he crosses the street & tells me, “the world is ending.”

i stand there for a moment after he leaves. later a friend tells me about the setting of a book he is writing. though i am distracted i can hear him repeating, “it’s not our world. it’s not our fucking world.” i look at him, disoriented, because i do not inhabit a world. he interprets this as bewilderment, tells me,

this world is not our world—



The small clouds of smoke shatter before my face, The lights are dim and I barely see them disappear, Will I ever find ease? I feel trapped in own thoughts, There is a labyrinth of memories that torment and entertain me, There is no escape, there is no end to the remorse What ifs invade my self-consolations, what if I was free? I cry my frustration out, I lose the tension that imprisons my temple, Each cry has a name attached to it, as if they were conscient and alive, I suffer the unavoidable pain of reality, I think, I think too much of the past letting my future melt


I try to build the perfect world in my head, Don’t we all feel we play the main role in our lives’ movie? Handmade compensation she says, yes, but it is out of my hands, Sadness clings to my soul and I run in circles coming back to… You, oh melancholy of my days, I wish I loved you instead Sun rays pierce my darkness, my smoke clouds, The dim lights of the room seem so natural to me, I taste the blood in my mouth and the burning passion Consuming myself like time consumes our existence, The severe coldness of my thought releases in its fog my sourness El Concierto de Aranjuez plays for the second time, My tears run down my checks, I can’t stop them this time, I am not heartless, you see, I am here, I am present, I am happy even during this gloomy discourse, My cigarette is a witness, you, my beloved friend, are a reason She says “I hold you,” but I am in an endless fall, Gravity vanishes when I am imprisoned in hopelessness and hope, The universe within my head is healing, I am burning my open wounds with my ashes, Maybe it is true that we cannot save who does not want to be saved, She holds my hand, but I let it go and fall in the infinite void of the abyss

Kate McGorry / " Faces"

Dear, this is the cure to my emptiness, to my controversial being, We hug death by ourselves, we kiss the poison and swallow it, We, my dear, were never supposed to die, but now we Waste our breath fighting for a life that is destined to fade away, Handmade compensation she says, it is, indeed it is.




y shadow has grown. Grown so much to hold all of me, only releasing and

I’m feeding you to keep me empty, to keep me strong, or the shadow of what that means.

reconnecting in my sleep, in my dreams.

Sometimes I fall into you, in the arms of sleep

My shadow has grown beyond me, attached to my

and I hold myself very still. I sink into you and my

very toes as I dance away from all it holds. My shadow

ears tingle and my hands clench and my, how you’ve

started to grow down and away because I asked it

grown! I’m grateful for your depth and ashamed of

to. The body above couldn’t hold it all, please won’t

my needing it. You, holding so much for me because

you save me? Help me present my smiles and my

I asked you to.

open eyes and un-tremble my hands? Can you hold these moments for me? I’m only fifteen, the thing I fear most won’t happen until a few weeks after my 18th birthday, please, shadow, grow long and grow

I sink in and sleep. The shadow footsteps start to grow into the heartbeats I wish were real. With my eyes closed, in the safety of nightmares and dreams, of the unreal, I’m 18 and after.

deep, to hold me when I can’t ask anything else to.

I let myself remember. I let myself go from blonde

I hear shadows of footsteps up the staircase next

to black, and I fill myself with the smoke I’ve asked

to my bed in the home I no longer live in, in the bed

you to hold. It’s not all bad; it’s just everything the

I no longer sleep in, in the room that still feels like

daylight doesn’t allow.

every room every room every room and the shadows

I sink. I breathe you in and sink.

of footsteps are like heartbeats.

It’s okay — no one’s looking, not even the sun.

Can you eat this feeling for me? Shadow, full, stuffed, and bursting of everything I can’t be. 36

Jose Casillas / “I see shadows”


“So as to choose,” A fleeting prospect, liquidating to real on my walk to and from his room. Forget the stranger, whose strut and eyes erupt erotic across the avenues, providing shelter, built on “whether or nots” and truths more grave, like pesticides, renal failure, trees losing their bark and names no longer called with a smile from the way I see it: truth never cares for the careless, and choices still lead to a mound. So wild and blue, this carnival this cruise all giggles, a dance party– last night they over baked croissants the barbers’ scissors went dull

Jose Casillas / “Mexico”

every cut tugging at the feeling you were so close to wiggling away– they smelt their feet, cried vomit until it all stared back so crisp, the blue, until it cracked and with it, nothing new.


HIM Liz Larsen

Poetry inflamed with the voices of man and child drifted like a music note. Traveling from village to village in a wheelbarrow of words, mashed together by a boyish hand. This masterful song of peculiarity buried within his lips & in turn invaded his body. The man sensitive & straightforward whispered, each word as if it were a religion. Resting them heavily along his side.

Nadia Rykova / “When in Soho”

His appetite for change resonated breath by breath. Shaking, like a wet dog he turned & ran into the distance.


Arguments of faith sharp & addictive, shook his shoulders with violence & raised hands. Yet, a secret child-ness arose. A joy during periods of remorse. Electric, attracting to him a current of zeal & secret sin masked within the adult ‘him.’ Temptation became clouds became words. Full of light & quiet nature.

REST PART II Angela Rapp

An attempt to digress, I lay in the inviting darkness. The comfort between these crisp, cool sheets. Warmth between my compressed thighs tight to my belly. Sources of yellow tinted light from this device cupped between my palms. A blue hue emitting through those sheer curtains where I lay. Rain continues to patter on the pavement, just outside my world. While voices continue in my mind. Thoughts never given enough attention to write. As darkness welcomes to swallow me whole. As I attempt to digress, As I attempt to rest. They’ll forever continue.

Kate McGorry / “Vacant Road”



Xiaoxuan Ruan / "Inside Out"



I am who I am, And I am uncompromising in who I am. Who I am isn’t a phase, Or a facade, Or a concept construed of ideas of who anyone wanted me to be. I am simply me, Unapologetic, Black, Articulate, Femme. I am sensual like the earth, With the depth of the sea, With a sky that acts as an introduction to a mind that is part of a vast imagination of ever expanding galaxies. My hair grows free like the luxurious trees that cover the ground. I’ve lived through gentrification. Each of my footsteps glitter like gold down the path I walk leaving shame behind me. How do you define the undefinable? You can’t. Each thought, Every interpretation,

I’m not defined by it. I am who I am, And who I am isn’t small, Nor insignificant, But celestial, Mysterious, A combination of divine masculine and feminine energy that walks the earth with my inner child hand in hand. I am a healer, I’ve been hurt & have hurt others. From my pain roses grew, From my stress cacti emerged, From my sweat was the manifestation of my soul tribe. When my wings were ripped outta my back each feather became a tool, Nurturing the helpless. For everyone I’ve hurt I carry their mask, These masks are the garden of Stonehenge. My garden grows gorgeous fruits for others to consume, Eat up, star children, Eat, swell, and heal. My personality is a labyrinth, Every turn is an adventure, So let’s get into the tea as we explore each other. You can walk by my side as my equal, For the road I walk isn’t for the faint of heart nor is it devoid of fun. But as we explore each other’s hidden depths, Remember to leave the judgement at home. For I am who I am, And while I am uncompromising in who I am, I will handle you with care. Just be sure to do the same for me, Cause I’m delicate. And remember that for every slither of gossip, Misusing my name, Or painting me out as the devil, takes away from who I am. I know I’m the shit without society’s mask of conformity. If you cannot appreciate me in my entirety then I never truly existed as me in the fabric of your mind to begin with. I am who I am, And my blueprint is perfection in my own eyes. 41




asked, noting the rough calluses on the man’s hands. “Farmer.” The receptionist slid a key across the desk. “A Room 61 then, for the skeptical countryman. Enjoy your stay.” The skeptical countryman settled into his room. The night went, and in the morning he woke up to a bright sun. His only complaint was the thin mattress and the thin walls. For that, he blamed inadequate construction. His stay was otherwise uneventful. In fact, our fellow left the hotel in good spirits, still confident that the supernatural was all bogus nonsense sold to hapless chaps. Perhaps the sentiment was thought too soon. Or maybe it wasn’t fully formed yet, for a racing cab came flying down St. Marks Place, carrying a woman late for her New Jersey train, that’s all it was, and before the countryman even crossed the street, he was run over, to instant death. The news that followed contained many speculations and people developed their own theories. The receptionist was interviewed. The hotel was surveyed. But one thing stood out to folks the most, and that was the simple sign hanging on the wall, visible upon entry, that read: “Room 61, try your luck today!

L.L.L / “Untitled”

he piss tinted exterior of the St. Mark’s Hotel squatted heavily above the red neon of Ray’s Pizza, although the Hair Mates and two random souvenir shops fit right in under the hotel’s gloom. Small, unexceptional windows lined the walls of the hotel like tiny protrusions into what was New York City’s “hottest beacon for all things supernatural!” At least that’s what the latest papers said. It attracted some and expelled others, but its momentum grew nonetheless. The fellow crossing Third Ave did not care for the opinions of blue-blazered city press. He needed the cheapest stay. And so, he walked towards the entrance with hunched shoulders. Whether that was his ever-present condition or an attempt to fight the early chill of winter, passersby did not know. All they saw was a middle-aged man and his vintage luggage banging unhappily against his knee. A chirpy receptionist (the hotel only had one), greeted him. Our fellow was less enthusiastic. “Our only available room is number 61, on the third floor.” The receptionist directed the man’s gaze towards the sign hanging behind the desk. “It’s not for everyone, but if you’re a thrill-seeker and an out-of-towner, might just be for you.” The man hardly looked at the paper. “How much?” The receptionist named the price. “I’ll take it.” “Don’t believe in superstition do you?” asked the receptionist. “No.” “Ah, it’s alright. You wouldn’t be our first skeptic,” the receptionist said with a smile. He counted the man’s bills. “You one of those factory workers?” he

THE 2 TRAIN Shannon Addonizio

A drunk man gets on the 2 train at Nevins St Holding his phone backwards to his ear He blasts the same Cardi B clip over and over At Barclays Center he realizes he’s gotten on the wrong train Spins around And leans against the closing doors before Spitting a puddle of spit onto the floor of the subway Next to a high school couple Causing the girl to squeeze closer to the boy in disgust Nobody pays any mind when that same couple move Later on to the opposite side of the train Right across from me The girl is visibly upset while the boy tries to console her And a few minutes later the drunk man comes Cardi B still stuck on repeat as he walks Up to the boy, shakes his hand, and says he’s sorry That he got on the wrong stop The girl hides her face in her curly hair While the drunk man whispers in the boy’s ear for what seems like too long Before getting off the train at Sterling St And I just stare straight ahead Ignoring the text from my boyfriend that says To come to his place Because outside the window there’s an Advertisement for free Shakespeare during a summer That already passed And I can’t help but think, Doesn’t everyone know that Shakespeare was a hack? While silently wishing I had gone to see the performances



elevated height stalkers transcend the five toed splinters under summer sizzled electrodes

let them in!

goo gory foam festered bowels absorb the sidewalk glitter glinting samples for labrador zombies blinded by an upward gaze

invisible but heard

gum chewed and bolted bottoms give the sound of

clack clack clack

walking past to present displaced from left to right to turn themselves to time capsules wearable for the blind hydra


Leila Assif drip, drip, drop. I refuse to sit plopped down next to Rasi in a sewage system chilling with the rodent posse. Wet slime slicked on rust pipes smiles sinisterly in the moonlight. Rasi sees my agitation, yet gives no indication of discomfort in the garbage nation. Exploring Milan’s backroads, looking for an adventure, to escape the harsh truth of parental savages. Mom and pop, mother and father swinging verbal swords so close to our faces nearly sliced cheeks, threats of the hospital. We are safer in this rank haven with scaled water dragons, as heaven’s highest rank couldn’t stop our blood demons. They flop to the drip drop and sing groans to let us know our only way out is through their stomach so we keep our distance and medicate our time with the alligator, locking eyes with the exit gate humming nursery rhymes.


Who am I? Can you define me? My name contains 7 letters Allyce Hanley but I’m really only at the beginning. I am a beautiful poem and a terrible catastrophe. I am a sunken treasure at the bottom of the sea. I am the hushed "what-ifs" and things I don't say but think. I ventured out into the woods I am a ghost tangled amid silk sheets. To see if that would do my soul any good I am the sweetest nightmare and darkest daydream. I am the crushed shards that lay at your feet. I tripped over rocks and I tripped over branches I am the fire that ignited my own heart and As I picked myself up, I touched the earth’s ashes the sea that doused it all out. I am the painter and the work of art. I reached the top of the peak I am the writer and the story. Hoping that in this journey I’d find what I seek I am everything and nothing, all at once. But really, who am I? At the edge of the peak, I stood firmly I am limitless— My feet did not tremble, I did not worry


I wanted to cleanse my mind of all the anguish I’ve let it tear over the years And for once in my life, I didn’t hold back my tears. I felt reborn, I felt anew I was free

Serena Gezmer / “The Green Ribbon"

On that peak I let out a scream A scream I’ve only let out in my dreams


ICARUS Gina Rivieccio

Nadia Rykova / “Sunset in Belarus"

Or do you think the wax melted but he was fine? I’ve always wondered how Icarus died. This is a story of faith, after all. See, the myth says he flew too close to the sun: So for argument’s sake the heat melted the wax that held together the feathers, let’s just say the wax melted, and he plummeted into the sea. and he’s free falling.


Unscathed? Or did the heat of the sun set his entire body ablaze? Did he fall from the sky like a shooting star? Melting flesh mingled with waxen feathers? Golden and hot to the touch Like his insides? Saccharine gold Thick like honey Swirling and swirling and Too late to pray, already dead?

Do you think as he dropped dropped dropped dropped dropped to the sea below he had enough time to panic? For his heart to rise in his throat? To get one last look at his father, who warned him? Do you think he prayed then and there?

Or do you think he drowned? He survived the heat of the sun and the height of the fall, but he simply couldn’t swim? He was locked up in a labyrinth for his entire life, after all. Do you think he prayed then? As his lungs b u r s t and the oxygen t.r.i.c.k.l.e.d out of his brain, the tide of briney water used to crashing against the rocks now crashing against his tonsils...

Kate McGorry / “Saturated Blue”

As he fell out of the sky, do you think he frantically prayed to Zeus? To Poseidon? To anyone who would listen? What kind of impact does hitting the water leave on a body that falls from such a height? How far deep did he plunge with such force?

Do you think Icarus had sunshine in his veins? Or do you think his body was too waterlogged to tell?


FOR THE WINGLESS Quentin Felton & as u free fall thru parting exhales realize there is no skyline in Clinton Hill only abstracts separating roof from atmosphere only clouds of neighbored inanimates blocking the sun its linearities erect along the martyr’s monument, this glued granite an acceptable history of prisons ships & gravesites opposite the playground. u lay on ur chest counting the times lungs lactate to mummified sailors & suffocate for men whose bones crack like militia, ur clavicle a genocide forever attached to twisted tendons, vessels in verse that belt, that cinch ever tried to survive it? the subway stations pillaged ponds pickled thumbs mansions courtyards charred flesh fountains parks projects sex shops sugar daddies cat cafes autographed urinals u shouldn’t breathe u aren’t supposed to unless marrow’s minced to molasses mulch filleted onto sheets of stone or 48

shrapnel anything good enough to secrete we grow sprouts leaning knuckles ingrown in praise consider shaking hands with a priest from the rival congregation all huddling hellfire u’ve learned to appreciate on bedsheets his sermon sextape stained by spirit see strokes & rims that’d make even forgotten floods weep u walk down promenades god’s groupie giddy for armageddon u bathe in Bronner for fee a froth foretold in biblical bubbles from head-to-fold shower sweat swooning from skin past scum cologne rectal regret the scars parked ribside his palm the broken meter u never use ur vitruvian vortex vying for affection only the softest parts of u can give surprise this is new, has it always been? he holds u distracted by the mole on ur pelvis before submerged into thighs slow danced to swimming pools liquid lawns with two shallow

ends lay back arms out eyes shut tuck him btwn body & disappearance no place like bodily disappearance like voids devoured in drag till throats thrust matter never formed fever dreams u sometimes catch urself in lonesome sabotage coring cushions of hookups & pullouts sifting thru bull & expectation instead of thru the poem u’ve also been fisting for the last couple weeks what else is a boy to do when limbs refuse to listen isn’t it sad wanting these words to love me despite the mess i’ve made chaos crafted as fingers unbraid another trauma another frankenstein another monster it’s tiring cutting skin to spite blood flow convincing others my time isn’t worth investing this podcast told me to treat myself like someone i’m responsible for still sirens seeped thru headphones the message lost i swear my body is real my body is real my body is real not theory so don’t tell me

i’m a person not a door no tell me i could be both for fuck’s sake shoulders slicked in WD-40 hush the creaks shouldn’t be too jarring to say i wanna change however violent placebos unprescribed to the sun-dried self its raisin cooled beneath a pigeon’s underbelly some days i lie there denim snug as a sewer hips feigning possibility

bulge bundled attention spans in search of some greater purpose promise the last thing u need is consistency overrated partnerships the cause of woeful warming love another corporation of night terrors where cocks share ribs with oil spills where owners are owned plastic poems framing our shores

remember taking me home how can steel never seen change our childhoods parents weaving anxiety into baby’s teeth the bedrock bloodied for an entire generation of 20-somethings names he guards in need of security my father says i don’t kiss the ground as often as i should pebbles

as thoughts scurry past pleather soles i cry in the prettiest places lilied lagoons gardenias guillotines & remember how i said there’s cobblestone in Clinton Hill well i lied there are only commas threatened to commit only sky smog once revised sky soil re-blended but don’t worry once i jump i won’t expect it to save me the wreck i’ve been tossed into a whole world suspended its lungs engulfed by industry as branches ash whiplash wringing neck from bone this bodice dragged thru the underground where odes mistake wounds for wonder without hesitation curved metal gropes gutted graffiti near the window seat that taught ur back to bend time capsules express ur kink while joggers stretch emergency breaks their

labor a language u were forced into plz don’t expect to be compensated for even Strand sells used urns as narrative the writer gone enough merely pricks profit plucks plaque from gums gurgling air pockets of inverted seams sunsets strumming the heads of bald black men who mirror ur father more than necessary their nods notes on outreach ripped jaw lines stubble beards forests forged in financial debris we ran as soon as it happened imagine vertical thunder in slews screaming down battery before noon my father leaped thru blizzards of soot practiced an embrace soon wrapped around his son no matter the distance my firsts fell with the towers his watch the only god i

laced with legacy i try not to mourn the juggernauts i’ve swallowed my spleen a tongue essex workshops winding assotto’s pen further down my rabbit hole i swear even if we stayed till the sun’s plummet it’d still be too late for anything to recover the clock monsoons his notepad as time fries the therapist’s chicken-scratch now he needs me to take this more seriously my stories crossed & careless beanbags sacked by clientele this well meaning white guy completely unaware of the many ways my body burns trying his best to extinguish the empties reasoning with i’s & u’s he’s never met a cliff like me my crumblings broken records no one thought could exist.


DREAMSCAPE.MP3 Bren Tawil i guess it must’ve been morris with the first guitar. my calloused fingertips are not from the curse of my syrian surname, a primeval priest that is now morris. they are for john, the freckles on his shoulders and the blemishes on mine.

“i don’t know,” i had answered. “then you haven’t.” he tells me about a dream he had. “i ran through sandy to get you, and they were waiting for me with knives and machetes. but we ran.”

yesterday john told me, “i’m getting worried that “where did we go?” i’m losing you,” so today i tell him that he is my muse. i tell him to call me if he needs to hear my he thinks about it. “god only wants a few people to voice. my phone rings from the countertop. make it through the gauntlet.” he tells me he’s jaded. i don’t know why, i say, but i think that is beautiful so i write it down. i tell him i’ve always loved that word. we are both silent until that tomorrow we could fall through the ceiling. he whispers, “god, just listening to you breathe…” there might exist nothing but the present. maybe blue is orange, but he is colorblind, so he laughs at a few months ago he had asked me if i had ever had me. my heart broken. 50

Bren Tawil / “prague”

he says, “johanna, one plus one does not equal two. one plus one equals two because we invented the numbers,” and i tell him, “we’re perfect, then,” because i could not agree more. he sighs. “god ain’t it true.” he says that he is deeply arachnophobic, that when he was a kid his mom would get mad because he would shoot the spiders with his bb gun. “when i was a kid,” i say, “i used to play with the ants in my bathroom. in new jersey. i thought i was adopted.” he tells me about a dream he had: “there was absolutely no way for me to get to you…. the cosmos ain’t kind.” john reminds me of the countryside some days, even though he tells me he’s a city boy. i hear him take a sip so i say, “are you drinking water?” because i realize i am thirsty.

visions of johanna. he tells me he thinks his dream was apocryphal, and i say, “god, i hope not,” but secretly i agree because neither of us is blonde, and this is the apocalypse. it’s been eons since i saw him last. i tell him that. the last time was the last time. he tells me what he shouldn’t and we are quiet again. i almost tell him that i don’t think i am myself, but i am afraid i will worry him. instead, i say: “i don’t know if there could’ve been another way. i need to know you’re real. gen z kids, we’re so damn apathetic. we can’t believe in something greater.” he chuckles. “that a spin on anselm?—” the phone cuts out, we walk to woodstock—“johnna. i’m real. i’m here.” i do not know if i believe him. so i say, i’m sorry, i have work. i can tell he aches like i do.

i hear his amusement through the phone. “am i allowed to?”

he says, go. i smile through the speaker and ask, “what would talk later. you do if i told you that you weren’t allowed to we’ve got nothing but time. drink water?” but it’s not true, we haven’t had time since he pushed immediately, “i would get very dehydrated.” his mouth to my forehead on the second story, “i love you. i’m sorry.” i am on a train but really i am inverted on my bed, my hair natural again, sprawled under a quilt my the cosmos ain’t kind. john was right to be worried. great-grandmother had knitted in panama. i watch i don’t make it through the gauntlet, jaded johanna, the moon with weary eyes. dreamless and broken-hearted, graceless girl of a godless generation. john breathes softly into my ear. “your heart is not natural in the world.” jaded, he tells me about his




feel lucky, when I think back to my childhood. The spaces where I found myself safe enough to read, to play, or to imagine, dream and become someone else—I never had to do this alone. I was almost never alone as a child. The youngest of three, I was spoiled by my parents and siblings. Not with things, but with their time. They indulged my fantasy worlds in ways that I am only now grateful for as I look back and wonder at their patience and joy at living in my imagination with me. I remember the back seats of my family’s Toyota Sienna Minivan. It was part maroon, part filth, with a sliding door my brother accidently smashed one morning as he was dropped off at the trailhead that led to our primary school. It was dusty and clunky and often my home. We traveled in it so much that sometimes my sister and I preferred to sleep in the crooked backs of its balding seats instead of our twin beds hiding inside our house. We would gather our blankets, our stuffed animals—all of which were named in such a fashion that the whole family knew each character—and we would camp out in this musty cavern of caked and baked dirt with dried ketchup masterpieces smooshed on windows from boredom induced finger paintings after a quick drive through Hungry Jacks on our endless series of road trips. It was a mobile box balancing boredom and wonder, with tires that once melted to the ground after a shade-less day of driving in the Outback. I remember the stench of melting rubber soaking the skin inside my nostrils, making the hairs it found within tingle. I was never scared,


or I don’t remember being so, though everything in the Australian Outback should scare anyone. The sturdy seats carried me as my parents carried me, and I trusted them both implicitly. I wonder if we ever named her. The car, I mean. I was so sure of naming everything else—I still do. We spent nights on the side of the road, far from Perth but not too far into the Outback, and cowboy camped with a blanket of stars above illuminating the way for Jurassic-sized ants to play labyrinth games over our sleeping bags. We would cut them in half and stick different parts together in a child’s game of Frankenstein where our monsters would struggle around before falling apart. Little torturers we became next to this dusty caravan that had brought us here so far from home, but my parents only laughed and made us sloppy joes. I had spent so many nights like this, in this dry empty paradise, that I didn’t know to pay attention. I didn’t know it would be something I would want to remember. It felt like forever out there; why would this ever change? I didn’t know that it was something special, something I was being gifted. It was a world that was as bizarre as a young girl could imagine, and I didn’t have to. As we would drive in-between these moments of pure pleasure, my mother, risking car sickness, would read to us. This is how we all came to know and love the stories of Harry Potter. When the reality of reading in the passenger sear of a moving vehicle became too much for my poor mum, my siblings and I would play. Mommy Lamby (my favoite stuffed

animal, gifted to me upon my birth? It is how I think of her at least) would come alive in the hands of my brother. Her body, made of mismatched colours— battle scars of being my constant companion as my mum often had to play surgeon and fix her body up with whatever fabrics we had available—would transform into a crazed grandmother character in constant need of medication in order to stop her from becoming Spocky Lam by. This switch between the two personalities could be swift or magnificently prolonged, depending on my brother’s mood or how far we had already driven; but soon enough the fantastically crazed Spocky Lamby would emerge as soon as my brother or sister would turn her ears inside-out in imitation of the character Spock from Star Trek—a TV show I had never watched but was somehow aware of. It was a character of my brother’s creation; to pass the time and indulge me in my endless need for stories and attention. It was also a type of play that only existed in this space between these four wheels. To this day he is the only one who can do the voice he created for her character; it’s rounded, high-pitched, and holds a wobbly tremor that explodes when her ears turn

inside out. I was completely enamored with this play and even now, when my brother surprises me with this impression, though I cannot remember the last time he has, I am instantly his baby sister again. In the background of these moments, the same sun-bleached grey seats belonging to that minivan are always there. It was my one constant space in my childhood, as we moved so often. Even when we travelled across an ocean to find ourselves in California, we bought the same exact car—a testament to the faith my family had in its structure, but also to our attachment to it as a piece of our family. But the clone felt empty—empty of the life we had melted into the carpets, smudged onto the windows, and left behind in between the folds of its seat cushions. We would breathe new life into it, stranger than even the depths of the Australian wilderness could provide. A life where we grew up and apart. One where I often found myself alone in this space that had once acted as the vehicle that brought my family together, but would now enable us to be far and apart.

Carolina Rosa Martínez / “Vintage Car” 53

CRIMSON LAKE Kali Norris Heat lightning, like Helen of Troy. Serpent as invocation, as yoke. I see a sapling and I stamp it out. There’s no time for mercy here. Blackthorn heart. The clatter of all the metal in the universe.

Deep bone vacuum. I devour like newborn stars, like mutiny against mud. Even cradling chemical fires, my fingers are cold. 54

L.L.L / “Antissipation”

I’m told we were born hungry. I’m told we were born red as the angels’ lake.

LAKE PLACID Gina Rivieccio The water was calm and clear. Lorelei Lahey, an insignificant sixteen year old girl sitting in her tube on the expansive lake, had never seen water so calm or so clear. It felt unnatural. She was overcome with the feeling that she was seeing something false—seeing things the way someone (or something) wanted her to see them. Like if she looked long enough the facade would ripple. She was waiting for that ripple. The sun beat down, and she could distantly hear her friends telling her to hurry up, but she caught hold of a gnarled tree branch and stayed in place, transfixed on a pale brown pebble at the bottom of the lake. For a moment she thought she saw it move. Her eyes widened as she leaned forward, letting go of the branch—and just like that Lorelei Lahey was no longer in her tube. She was in the frigid water, much colder than it should’ve been for such a hot July day, staring into the eyes of the most beautiful boy she’d ever seen. His eyes were green and blue. The colors moved seamlessly in and out of each other, in a hypnotic dance. For a moment Lorelei didn’t notice his razor sharp teeth. Just for a moment. Thrashing in his grip, Lorelei kicked and screamed but the sound garbled in her throat, lost under the surface of the placid water. His touch sent a series of prophetic images flashing through her mind, and she fleetingly wondered if her eyes looked like his. She saw her friends looking back for her and finding an empty tube. She saw the police dragging the lake in search of her body and never finding it—not until this boy wanted them to. Everyone would wonder where she went, and she’d be right there under the water, stuck halfway between alive and dead, swimming against her will, hand in hand with this boy: a faerie circle at the bottom of the lake, a never-ending dance. The boy’s touch loosened. Distantly, Lorelei realized the thoughts she was having shouldn’t be comforting. Yanking her arm out of his grip, Lorelei became invigorated. She fought for her life, but it wasn’t long before he grabbed her again, and the fight went out of her. Lorelei saw her lungs bursting and her skin pruning. She knew the blood vessels in her eyes would dilate and spread their red, spidery-limbs, just as she knew a blue tinge would creep over her mouth before it spread to the rest of her body. Lorelei imagined that when she was no longer prettier than the girls up above, he’d let her go.

Artwork by Gina Rivieccio



It’s cold

Ice settled into bloody veins I’m gone now

A ghost of a shadow Where light spirals out Goodbye Hello again

I’ve come to speak With you again

The monster of my nightmares No you can’t have my sister Have my broken heart instead Eat it Swallow it whole I’ll blame you It’s not my fault I’m heart

less Striking palms with stinging fingers

oh hello again I’ll have that Heart now

oh it was never there

Goodbye Goodbye I can’t seem to say goodbye I don’t want to say hello Bye, Bye No it’s hello I want to sleep shh, shh Sleep away your heartless pains It’s not your fault The monster ate it 56

(it is)

Liz Larsen / “eyes.lips.face”


YOUTH Mary Lou Ciabattoni

Fading Teen age, Like drops On water. My future, Behind me; My past, Before My eyelids. Me, The vestal Virgin You were Looking for. Me, The child You prayed for. Small pink Mouth In the blood Evening.

From the fields Of my Imagination To the land Of dreams The wasteland Of my Memories And the desert Of my heart. Protect My mind, My land, My home, My shelter, My realm, My reign, My empire.


Quentin Felton / “Perspective"


Kate McGorry / “Pit Stop”


I had a dream that your car was parked outside our house again, it was the summer you died, but the presence of your car made it feel like you were here, somewhere breathing in the house For just a split, fleeting second I could close my eyes and imagine you were downstairs watching TV I could not bring myself to spend the money we found in your car that summer Cash and quarters that smelled like you Nobody ever tells me what they did to your car but the Scent of your skin and leather seats is hard to forget Even if your clothes do not smell like you anymore I was sitting in your car, collecting things you’d never use again, your receipts, your CDs, your mark of existing trailed me back to the desperation of trying to alive you, I recently saw the same kind of car parked on campus the other day, it reminded me of how you wouldn’t be here for graduation I had to sit on the concrete to catch my breath again, In my dream it was sunny and I wasn’t very sad I think I was actually kind of happy, like I found closure Like as if I had gotten my chance to say goodbye— I begged you to come in my dream at least one last time, for our final goodbye But you don’t listen, you’re not here You are only existing now through the things you left behind and the memories we still remember.


Jose Casillas / “Campus”

DISCRIMINATION Mariam Esa Directed anger, deliberate and ruthless Ignorance burrowed deep within, the root of all problems Sentencing us to unnecessary scrutinization, Creating divides, sharp and defined by the labels that we are supposedly carrying: Race, ethnicity, religion, class— Important parts of us intended to showcase the vastness and beauty of this world, Made into a criteria of which we are to be judged accordingly Indirectly imposing rules and laws to which we must all abide in order to fit into what is supposedly Normal; right by standards of those that have not ever had to live a life in which their every Action is watched carefully, in which their every word, glance, and appearance is analyzed Trying to see a supposedly hidden truth within, revelations that reveal malicious intent, Irrationally expecting animosity and hostility from those deemed “different” Overlooking the fact that their irrationality, their ignorance, their scrutinization and their discriminatory actions create distressing divides and Narrow down hopes of reconciliation, until one day there will be none. 61



mor colono. No, no fue el espejo por oro, no hubo intercambio. Todas las puertas se encontraban abiertas, por supuesto, el colono entró. Llenó los espacios vacíos con basura. Usó la silla, la lámpara, la guitarra, las cortinas, la cama, las almohadas, se cubrió con el cielo. Se le trajo jabón, crema para afeitar, crema dental. Se le ofrecieron masajes cada noche y ardientes muestras de amor. Al llegar, le esperaba un tejido hecho de lágrimas y pelo, un poncho para cubrir de amor su pecho, y el cielo decorado de estrellas. Pero el colono tiene miedo al futuro brillante que le espera. Desde un balcón en París, teme la cama caliente y fraternal de sus padres a la que siempre puede volver. Teme el doctorado que termina, el historial educacional, y el potencial creativo cultivado en casa, y ensanchado por el mundo, los muchos amigos alrededor, y el amor de tantas. Pobre Colono, tan privilegiado que elige ser pobre. Pobre colono, tan privilegiado que prefiere inestabilidad. El colono se fue a su tierra patria, a su blancura y comodidad. Y desde allí, con todo el miedo que impone el mundo, elige no sufrir. No sufrir, porque recibirlo todo sin el más mínimo esfuerzo, sin necesidad de pedirlo, duele e insulta la capacidad innata, del saqueo y la explotación. Pobre colono, tan perdido en medio del amor. En el cielo hecho pedazos, no se derrama una sola lágrima por el inhabitable. El colono, no, a este colono no se le levanta estatua, y no habrá ni una sola historia que cuente sus cobardes hazañas. Ni siquiera el nombre del colono quedará registrado en la historia de este cuerpo saqueado, violentado, lamido, húmedo, que se usó para derramar semen como inodoro público. De este cuerpo hecho pedazos, se dirá mejor: ¡Mira ve! Una mano saliendo de los escombros escribe estas letras insensatas. Un corazón palpita al millón solo en la cama y un par de piernas quedaron añadidas al culo sentado en la bicicleta que va recorriendo todas las calles que nunca antes se recorrieron. Todos los caminos sin memoria y sin recuerdos que la cabeza en la ventana trata de repasar. No, nunca se visitó ni playa, ni parque, ni isla de ningún colono gobernante, ni esta tormenta en Washington Heights que no para de llorar.




olonist love. love. No, No, itit was was not not the the mirror in exchange for olonist for gold, gold, there there was was no noexchange. exchange. Everysingle single door door was was open, open, of of course, course,the thecolonist colonistentered. entered. Every

Kate McGorry / “Greenwood Kate McGorry / “Greenwood Hills"Fields"

He Hefilled filledallallthe thespaces spaceswith withgarbage. garbage.He Heused usedthe thechair, chair,the thelamp, lamp,the the guitar, guitar, the the curtains, curtains,the thebed, bed,the thepillows. pillows.He He covered covered himself himself with with the the sky. sky. Soap, shaving cream, toothpaste were brought to him. Every nightnight massages and burning love Soap, shaving cream, toothpaste were brought to him. Every massages and burning signs were given to him. love signs were given to him. At At hishis arrival, a knitted poncho made outout of tears andand hairhair waswas waiting for for him. A poncho to arrival, a knitted poncho made of tears waiting him. A poncho cover his his chest, andand the the sky sky decorated withwith stars. to cover chest, decorated stars. ButBut thethe colonist is afraid of the brilliant future thatthat awaits him. From a balcony in Paris, he he is colonist is afraid of the brilliant future awaits him. From a balcony in Paris, afraid of of thethe warm and fraternal bed that hehe can always is afraid warm and fraternal bed that can alwaysreturn returntotoatathome. home.He Heisisafraid afraidofofthe the PhD PhDthat thathe heisisfinishing, finishing,and andthe theeducational educationalbackground, background,the thecreative creativepotential potentialcultivated cultivatedat at home, home,and and widened widenedby bythe theworld, world,the thefriends friendsaround, around,and andthe thelove loveofofmany. many.Poor Poor colonist, colonist,so so privileged privilegedthat thathe hechooses choosestotobe bepoor. poor.Poor Poorcolonist, colonist,so soprivileged privilegedthat thathe heprefers prefersunstability. unstability. The colonist leftleft for for his his homeland, to his whiteness and and comfort. AndAnd fromfrom there, withwith all the The colonist homeland, to his whiteness comfort. there, all fear imposes on him, chooses not to suffer. to suffer, by getting the that fear the thatworld the world imposes onhe him, he chooses not to Not suffer. Not tobecause suffer, because by everything without without putting aputting minimum effort foreffort it, without need the to ask fortoit,ask hurts getting everything a minimum for it, having withoutthe having need for him, and him, insults hisinsults innatehis ability forability loot and it, hurts and innate for exploitation. loot and exploitation. Poor colonist, so so lostlost in between love. Poor colonist, in between love. In In thethe smashed sky,sky, notnot even a single teartear is being spilled for for the the inhabitant. smashed even a single is being spilled inhabitant. The colonist, no,no, thisthis colonist willwill not not havehave a liftaup and there will be notbea not single story The colonist, colonist liftstatue, up statue, and there will a single that cowardly feats. feats. storytells thathis tells his cowardly NotNot even thethe name of ofthe even name thecolonist colonistwill willbeberegistered registeredininthe thehistory historyofofthis thislooted, looted,ravished, ravished, licked, licked,wetted wettedbody, body,that that was was used usedto tospill spillsemen semenlike likeaapublic publictoilet. toilet. From thisthis smashed body, it will better be said: Look! A hand is coming out of and and it’s From smashed body, it will better be said: Look! A hand is coming outdebris of debris writing thesethese meaningless words. A heart beatsbeats a million timestimes per second by itself in bed, it’s writing meaningless words. A heart a million per second by itself in and bed, aand paira of legs to thetoassthe sitting down in the bicycle that goes touring all of the pair of are legsstill areattached still attached ass sitting down in the bicycle that goes touring all streets were never of the that streets that weretoured never before. toured before. AllAll of of thethe roads without memory roads without memoryand andmemories memoriesthat thatthe thehead headatatthe thewindow windowisistrying tryingto togo go over. over. No,No, there was never a visit totoa abeach, there was never a visit beach,ororpark, park,or orisland islandwith withaacolonist colonistruler’s ruler’sname, name,nor nor this this storm stormin inWashington WashingtonHeights Heightsthat thatdoesn’t doesn’tstop stopcrying. crying.


MY BLACKNESS’ MANIFESTO Carolina Rosa Martínez My skin is dark As eyes without hope As the lack of love Within this world My skin is full of marks But it hurts more in the inside I have scars in my soul, I feel guilty of my luck, But I don’t envy the freedom of those Who have a skin of sun I didn’t choose My skin, my language, or my face, I didn’t choose Being hunted by my race But here I am, Being named, being believed in a certain way But here I am, Found guilty of others’ sins Here, I am, proudly carrying my burden My dark skin is my perpetual treasure Beautiful like the universe and its wonders Being black is my cursed pleasure My blackness is as powerful as thunder This is my darkness’ manifesto Screaming loudly its painful joy I won’t conceal what clad my soul My skin is dark I am Dark like the center of our eyes My heart cries, for you, it cries My darkness can’t be silenced


I wear my skin like a divine garment I’m not privileged, but I know that Our blood is red Without social poison We all could be the same.

QUIET PEOPLE HAVE THE LOUDEST MINDS Jet Quiet people have the loudest minds. Screaming for a way to get out, Bursts of water pouring out to catch the rain, But a fire keeps drying those tears that you shed in vain. Quiet people have the loudest minds, In a forest of wild expectations, In a sea of sadness and grief, In the sky hoping to escape the feeling of desire. Quiet people have the loudest minds, Traveling to where nymphs have cried, Walking where monsters have bled, A symphony of agony. Quiet people have the loudest minds. Louder it rings, A deafening shriek devours your senses, A broken heart missing multiple pieces, Feelings of regret from head to toe.

Quiet people have the loudest minds‌

Liz Larsen / "Firework"

The paradox of feelings, A world only the quiet one knows, A chain binding them, Hanging them to their deaths,



thoughts” before saying that he thought apathy was worse before elaborating at her request. “I’m assuming you’re referring to sight?” At her nod, he added, “To have never seen at all.” “Why?” her gaze was still fixed on the palette of orange, yellows, and reds, making it look like the sky was up in flames. “Because then they’d never know what they’ve

The corner of Peter’s lips twitched upwards, as he shook his head at the question Hannah had posed, a sense of nostalgia overtaking him already. The questions or statements were always random, both in content and in timing, making it so that he was both surprised and almost expecting it. These questions began when once, just before homeroom, she had turned and asked him if he thought ignorance or apathy was worse. Peter said he didn’t know and asked where this was coming from. Hannah simply shrugged and said she couldn’t sleep and got to thinking about stuff and could he please answer the question. He dubbed this randomness as “three a.m.

lost. If they’ve never had sight, it’ll never be stripped away from them.” He noticed her gaze was unmoving from the sky, and that pang of nostalgia and endings hit him again fiercely. He added, “They’d never have to deal with the pain of the loss.” He expected her to inquire further as she usually did. To bring up counter questions such as “What about all the beauty they’ll never see?” or additional things to consider such as, “But then they’d never know what color was.” Hannah never judged an answer, she just always wanted to be sure that all aspects were considered. It was why he was taken

Kate McGorry / “Vivid Hills”


Is it better to have seen for a little while, or to have never seen at all?”  They were sitting under their maple tree on Turner Hill, watching as the sun shyly made its way down in the near distance. There was nothing new about this; they had been coming here for a long time now, ever since they bumped into it on one of their long walks to nowhere.

Carolina Rosa Martínez / “Argentina 1”

aback when she didn’t respond for a long while. When she finally did, it was quiet, “Do you think there’ll be other Turner Hills?” Now she turned to look at him, her expression reserved for the most part—except for her eyes. Eyes that almost pleaded with him to reassure her that everything would be alright. He faltered for a moment, recalling his way over here when he had passed her house where a never-ending stream of boxes were being loaded into a massive truck. He had run past it, not wanting to see or be reminded of it. But all things revealed themselves under the maple tree on Turner Hill and so this simple question forced him to confront the truth that he’d tried to ignore for so long. “There will be. Some better, some worse, but good ones all the same.” He pulled at the grass, blades coming free of the ground, unsuspecting victims of the anger and sorrow brewing within the young boy. “There’s always more out there,” he offered her with a smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes, “you’ll see.” “But none like this one.” And it was true. He could try and lie and tell her that wasn’t so, that there could be ones out there that provide more comfort and laughs for her. But she’d see right through his lies and so he remained silent. There was nothing more to say that would make any difference and they both knew that. Neither blamed the other for not trying to pretend that everything would be for the better, both content with the fact that there would never be lies between them, especially on Turner Hill. They sat there, comforted by each other’s presence in that moment, watching as the sun disappeared on their last evening together on Turner Hill. They were silent for some time, both drinking up those final fleeting moments, until, “Did you know that you could see an owl’s brain through its ear?”




met Grace smoking my third cigarette on the balcony of the shittiest party I’d ever been dragged to. She made so much noise just wriggling the door open to get out, that I’d wanted to tell her to fuck off before she even asked to bum one. If I wasn’t drunk on tequila and her hair hadn’t been dyed the prettiest shade of pink, I just might have. I gave her a cigarette anyways, and she offered to show me her favorite tattoo in return. “I promise you it’s both the best and worst thing you’ll ever witness,” she said, pulling up the left leg of her tights to reveal a very butchered SpongeBob stick and poke on her thigh. It made me laugh for the first time that entire night, so I wasn’t mad when she lingered beside me. We continued standing in silence, inhaling and exhaling in sync, lost in the clouds of smoke and frost from our breath in the frigid December air. ... The following freezing weeks were spent trying to stay warm. We bar hopped, drunkenly skipped hand-in-hand through vacant streets, and made out in bathrooms of parties until someone banged on the door. I’d usually call an Uber when I noticed it was getting too late and cursed myself for losing track of time knowing I had work in the morning. One Friday night, Grace asked me to sleep over her place instead of rushing home. I was more than happy to, especially after envisioning her space in my head more times than I’d like to admit. When we got into her room, I refrained from asking all the

questions that immediately popped into my head. “Really?” I chuckled, picking up a headless Barbie sitting on her nightstand. She smiled while shrugging and got undressed. Not knowing my place exactly, I wandered around the small bedroom more, observing the music posters and abstract art scattered across her walls. It was exactly what I expected it to be and somehow that made me feel even more excited to be there. “Where’d you get all this?” I asked, sitting on the edge of her bed. “Honestly, most of it is just random shit I found on the sidewalk. Can you not sit on my bed with your outside clothes on please?” “You’re one of those, huh? Sure.” I slowly took off my shirt, looking for something lying around I could slip on. Met with her gaze, I hesitated to kick off my jeans. Grace always had a way with her eyes that made it hard not to feel naked, even with my clothes on. “Are you getting shy on me, princess?” She teased me from her spot underneath the blanket. “No, shut up.” I finished undressing and got into bed beside her. She turned to face me, tracing the shape of my lips with her finger which left me stripped of all thoughts that once bombarded my mind. Mesmerized, I let her mouth and hands travel until we both fell into a deep, silent sleep. ... In the morning, I left with a few hurried kisses. I felt like I’d been floating when from inside the elevator, I caught her waiting for its doors to close

“I promise you it’s both the best and worst thing you’ll ever witness”


before she shut her own. ... I don’t know when it started changing. Maybe I got too comfortable, maybe we both did. We’d fallen into a mindless routine of class, work, each other; built a cocoon away from the world within her four walls. When it started to erode, I noticed her quick nods as answers and the lack of ‘princess’ or ‘angel’ attached to her sentences. I could barely hold her attention for a few hours, but I just expected it to be okay. I believed if we got to the way things were at the beginning, everything would be fine. When my birthday came around, the snow began to melt and the sun stayed up a little later. I spent the day with my friends, blowing out candles and taking too many shots. I wondered when Grace would call, and I checked my phone every minute thinking I’d missed it somehow. Hours of unsuccessful distraction went by, and I found myself foolishly on the way to her apartment. “You weren’t even gonna send a text, were you?” I wasted no time in asking when she opened the door. Without a word, she poured two glasses of wine and sipped hers sparingly. I felt she was delaying a response altogether. So I sipped mine too, rummaging through all the ways we’d end up saying goodbye. She finally cleared her throat. “It slipped my mind. You know I’m bad at these sorts of things.” “Yeah, I guess.” “Besides, you had fun right?” I nodded and tried to tame the growing ball in my throat. When her arms found their place around my waist, I sank into them. ... On my way out, I naturally looked for Grace’s head behind her door frame from the elevator. Faced with the empty hallway as the doors shut, I couldn’t hold in the tears anymore. It was quiet when I stepped outside—everything still, everything unmoving.

WORTH Chaya Nachum

I was a tool for you to hold Clay for you to shape and mold Water to drain, to drink, to pour But I will not be anymore. I saw the world you chose to paint The lines were blurred, uncertain, faint, Your sugar-coated lies I’d swallow You said the word, and I would follow. An equal not, rather a ghost A silent shadow of the host I led a life that wasn’t mine And for a while things were fine. But now the paint’s begun to dry Exposing every little lie, The sweetness has evaporated And will no longer keep me sated. I will not hover at your ear And tell you what you want to hear I won’t stay silent, calm and still, My outline I won’t let you fill. I will not bend, I will not sway I will not let you have your way. My trials have only made me stronger You can’t control me any longer. I have not had a new rebirth I’ve simply realized what I’m worth.



Jamaica, The land of wood and water, Where sunset painted waves dance along the shore, Where coconut trees wave to the ships in the harbor, In the morning the birds wake with a new song, A sign; a signal that the morning has begun, The sun rises from the sea, And it sets in our hearts, The breeze carries a song left by our ancestors, A song of the day and the night, A song of the sweat and the tears our fathers and mothers shed, A song of victory and glory,

Carolina Rosa Martínez / “Nature”

In the evening the waves have slowed, The wind has hushed, So you may hear the drums pounding at the seaside, The maracas and the flute ring out,


Fishermen coming back from a toiling, Barefoot children running with the light, The mothers stirring the soup with the wooden spoon, Another day is slowly coming down,

In the night the waves are crashing against the shore, The winds are howling in anger, The clouds frown at the land, Rain slams itself against the zinc roofs, The rain beating like the sound of applause, So loud that the children’s laughter can’t be heard, So loud that the maracas can’t be heard, The heavy drops like hands to the drum, The cool wind comes flying through the board houses, The warm feeling of the soup lingering behind, The rocking chair is heard from the veranda, Shame lady closes her eyes to rest, The night does not stop then, The music of Jamaica continues, Every drop of water, howling of wind and knocking of pans, They all have one tempo in their rhythm, Every tongue on each day spit this name, Jamaica

Bren Tawil / “hyde park” 71

KOMODO Scarf There’s a fork in the path. It splits three ways and has a good grip. With some gravel and dirt on the tips, I flick my tongue. On closer inspection, underneath the fork was a knife. The ground opened up until the blade. That really cuts deep, I flick my tongue. Both utensils are on the porcelain bottom. When it fills up, they both drop. Watching it really sink in, I flick my tongue. What a wonderful meating. Having the flies baked together makes a delicious loaf. As drool crawls down the jaw, I flick my tongue. After the main meal is the best part. It’s time for the just desserts. Rinse off the tools and sit down for cricket cupcakes, I flick my tongue. Meal’s over and it’s time to push up daisies. Pushing through the ceiling and it dawns on me. The sun is very bright, I flick my tongue. All I do is lie. That means it’s time to stand and walk around. This world really rocks, but that’s okay. Maybe I’ll find water, I flick my tongue. I am finally under a rest. Trotting along became tiring, rolling until exhaustion. This metal shell still lets out smoke, I flick my tongue? No more drag on. This is self mobile no more. Just automobile. I can still flick my tongue, to escape. Run, run, run as fast as I can. They can’t catch me, I’m no gingerbread man. I follow the saliva crumbs home, because I flick my tongue. Holes, holes, easy to spot. The ground is striped with the trails. I can safely flick my tongue now. The end is near, it’s visible now. There’s something on the road, I flick my tongue. It’s a spoon. I really dig this spoon. It may not be the fork in my path that I’m familiar with, but I can finally drag on with getting home. I flick my tongue.

Leila Assif / “Dark Crystals”


WRITER’S CIRCLE POEM MOSAIC: RAVENS Jelly Thompson : Jason Appelbaum : Sean Carey : Leila Assif : Fatema Islam : Asa Varrette : Liz Fahey : Liz Larsen : Sam Merzel : Quentin Felton

Writer’s Circle is a weekly writing workshop run by the interns at the English Majors’ Counseling Office. Join us every Thursday from 12:30-1:30pm in Boylan 2307 for some fun prompts and amazing feedback. Below is a collaborative poem written during one of our meetings.

Sean Carey and Leila Assif / " Edgar, Raven in Residence at The Junction"

I saw her yesterday mom Colors of all fears that i see and taste Wheat field black dotted with blue sky Crunching dead leaves under your crusty feet I’ve never heard you sing Self-marginalization with burning desperation and unsympathetic ferocity And mourn this unkindness done to them Hickory smoke, burning embers, a roasted raven flightless forever She saw the future nobody else saw They called her, and so she came




unny day and a man is lying face down on the sand, head on his arms, and a girl is sitting upright, knee bent, a book resting on her knee.

-You’d think it would’ve washed away by now. -My drawing? No, never. Not in our lifetime. Water comes rushing over the sand, desperately clawing its way over the shore. -There it goes now. The sound is all whitecaps now. The sky is gray and clouds roll steadily over the water, and if you squint you can see it raining way out in the distance blurrily, as it looks when you’re driving through it. -What an exciting feeling. Like the air is electric. Like the clouds should collapse and fall on top of us like heavy weights. -You should put that book away. It shouldn’t get wet. -What would I read then? -Nothing. You could talk with me. About your book if you like. A rat and then snipe then pigeon crawl over the sand at night up and down up and down like the little imprints left there are mountains in the desert. -Why don’t you sing anymore? -I do. I still like to. The man starts walking along a jetty like he’s balancing on a tightrope and Coney Island lights are behind him glowing and glaring softly and loudly like what’s behind a dream when you can see through waking eyes for a moment and then fall back in. 74

-Would you now? -What would I sing? -Whatever you’d like. The man and woman lie on a beach towel on the beach at night both face down as though they were sleeping or dead or pretending to be dead in a movie. -Would you like to smoke? -Could it light? -If I cupped my hands. If they didn’t shake. A man and a woman drink from plastic cups in the sun, something that is cold. Woman laughs and then her face calms and she looks away, wind blowing her hair out of her face. -You can be so cold to me -What a horrible thing to say. How insensitive. -I’m sorry I said it then. Water rolling in at night. “The way some of the people here speak scares me. Like they’re haunted.” “Who do you mean?” “Linda.” Anna is sitting upright looking at the water and Francis is sitting next to her looking at her. “What’d she tell you?” “That she was cheated out of money by her brotherin-law. That she was touched at the hospital. She complained about her daughter staying with her. She said she made a rule that she and her husband could stay if they didn't sleep together. She told me the two snuck out to do it. She offered me the daughter’s jewelry and belongings and some VHS tapes.” “She’s senile. You can tell. Her eyes don’t have any more color left.” “I know. It’s so weird to speak to her. She’s barely there. Like she’s made out of paper.”

Areeba Zanub

Primroses, tulips, and jasmines Bundled like a wreath Upon the hyacinth girl’s head. She wears it like Ostara And joins the young girls in The dance of the ancient druids. The young girls circle around The great flaming sword As the dawn breaks in Aries And the time for living among Dying flowers ceases to exist

Leila Assif / “Brighton Beach Rainbow”


It is the same land that was once frozen By the forces of winter. Until the Persian sun tore The dreary violet skies from Boreas’ grip And with his radiant fires I have come to lead you to the other shore— Melted the ice that covered the Tigris. The one that surrounds the Caspian Sea That was the same day The one whose villages hold the eternal flames The Lord made a covenant with man And celebrate the darling buds of March. And the fertile wind blew over the ancient continent. This lustre is divine, and you, if wise, will hold it sacred. Woe are those who do not rejoice on the day of rebirth! Instead they spend the day dwelling and Scouring the desert for the well of immortality. Do they not want the wisdom that comes with age? The one granted in visions to the Chosen King on the hill of the Sun? Or do they forget the prayers of the Righteous General— The one who called upon the Lord For the moon and the sun to stand still? Shall we take their fragile yellow marigolds? And trade them with our red lobelias? Maybe then they’ll remember their glorious path! How blessed is the Light of the Earth! How sublime is the quality of the Sun— And the creation who can relish in The promise of the equal severance of Day and Night— The Promise Of The Vernal Day! 75


Carolina Rosa Martínez / "Fireworks"



t took ten minutes. Somehow, the form was

taking longer. I look under the “Emergency Contact” header, my pen hesitant. It’s a tricky one. I glance behind me at the girl scrolling through her phone, her legs crossed lazily. She looks up, her face telling me to hurry up. I write my name and number down. The lady in the awful bubblegum scrubs takes the clipboard when I’m done. She checks the pages. She’s satisfied. I breathe a little easier. “Here’s the medication from the doc, and this number,” she holds up a post-it, “is for any future questions. It’s a 24/7 line.” I nod and crumble the post-it into my denim pocket. The meds I keep in my hand. “Thanks. And uh, thanks for that too.” I gestured to the clipboard. The lady sighs. “You can’t do it next time.” “Yea, cool.” Karma stands, ready to go, when I leave the desk. “What she say?” “That you’ll be back.” Karma flips off the lady. “Bitch.” She takes the pills and frowns. “This isn’t even the strong stuff.” “How do you feel?” “Weird.” Karma pauses. “You gonna tell your dad?” A funny sound escapes my throat. “Yea, and you’ll be back.”

“I won’t be back.” “Good.” We walk towards the sliding glass doors. It’s a sunny day. “Will you tell him?” “Don’t be stupid Jane. This isn’t reality TV.” “He should pay for it at least.”’ Karma props her sunglasses on her nose in that super effortlessly chic way of hers. The sun illuminates her whole face, her pastel hair especially bright. “I’ll just tell Mom it was for extra tutoring. You know she’ll love that.” I can see her roll her eyes behind the shades. “I’ll figure it out.” She calls an Uber, her shoulders hunched against the chill. “At least the protestors aren’t here, yea?” I match her small smile. “Yea.” We wait for the Uber. The street is quiet; somewhere a dog barks in the distance. There’s a park across the road, its expansive green swallowing never-ending space—a true zen concept. It looks almost picture-perfect. An odd place for a clinic, but I don’t question it. The park makes it better somehow. When the car arrives, Karma looks up at me, thoughtful, but hesitant. I know what she wants to say, but she’s not that kinda girl. So I link my arm with hers. “Let’s get some fro-yo.”

SUPERNOVA Gina Rivieccio I. Anger sizzles on my skin Goosebumps filled with burning oil Hot to the touch Scorching I squeeze them and they explode under my fingertips Lava oozes from my pores Coating my body in hellfire Deep beneath my skin What should be warm blood coursing through my veins Boils instead Bursting the capillaries Melting the arteries My fragmented soul is exorcised from my body Its burning embers ignite strands of my hair Until I am entirely consumed by the blaze II.

One day, when I burn brighter than I ever have, People will tell all sorts of stories about me But I will not be able to refute them. My tongue, having long since been reduced to ash, will fail me My voice will collapse in my throat coated with cinders I ask that when you tell my story, And you will, You do your best imitation of me And say these words with every ounce of sincerity

Whoever told you that the things that burn the brightest don’t last as long never met me.

Bren Tawil / "sister"

In a moment of vanity I wish to see myself before I burn out Blinking away sparks from my eyelashes, I gaze at my reflection But my uncontrollable rage burns brightly And its white hot light blinds me forever




L.L.L / “Detached”

Leah-Lyuba Livshits


It’s a bit mysterious, waking up in the morning to find the front door of your house wide open.1 Your first thought is that someone got inside, not outside. Old neighbor Konstantin, as usual, the first to wake and crawl down the rising stairs towards the benches sitting in front of the entrance. A redroofed grocery store not far away stands on a hill looking over the temporarily barren streets. The vigilant old ladies of the apartment building chatter away about the sins of those they live next to: they nod, they stammer, their judging eyes follow you across the city as you go about your day. The heat simmers inside the atoms of water between the air molecules inside the fog and over my waking face. Breakfast. My mother at the kitchen stove, my brother in his room—communicating through dimensions unknown to me. He—in between those same dimensions unbeknownst to us. Empty drawers underneath the bed, a constant reminder of the blank space he left behind. The solitary socks filled with hard-found money lie in wait atop his mattress. His food left untouched. Breaths racing, pulses screaming, minds a rush of white sound across the TV screen. No response. Taken by a thief in the night. One leg out the door, hand on the doorknob, another—wiping the leaking salty liquid from my eyes. Guilt unasked nestles in-between the shoulder blades behind Sesshu Foster, “City Terrace Field Manual” (p. 144)


the ribs. His name lost inside my trachea. Keys rattling—a scuttle. His hurried footsteps sound across the corridor. A new obsession left forgotten lies beside his excited figure. Relief and shaking hands. A question on my brother’s lips. Exasperation settling in. On days such as the one that day, old black and white framed photographs scatter somewhere between my eyes and forehead. On one, his back turned away, his body—a gargoyle, a silent protector looking over the streets beneath my feet. Not silent at the time. Studying the ant-like figures roaming the space between the park in front of the streaming river and the black road across from our windows. The light striking through his every feature, never frozen in solidarity with my own. Seconds, minutes, hours slip past the thin hairs on our bodies—a quiet day as any other. The dusty apartment enveloping us in its grayness. Over, under, between, away, gone, missing. The beds left unmade in haste or laziness. I sit beside him. His eyes wander below my own. Searching. Not found. Still searching. Another photograph, another memory. His head a bit larger than a tennis ball hidden somewhere beneath the jasmine bushes, my mother’s tilted towards the collapsing sky, mine—exempt from existence, yet my hands remain holding them close by as they try to escape to someplace I can’t follow. Remember our first meeting? Your tired muscles relaxing beneath my ministrations, your whimpers shushed below the fabric of my bag that sits on my lap as the bus drives us towards your new home—my home. The bustle of the blurred people around us, a woman loudly shouting over the cacophony of beings inhabiting the bazaar at this hour; the children tripping into and onto themselves in front of the plastic glass, fighting for a look at the others. And you, lying so close to the ground, stupefied beyond comprehension, probably drugged into submission, looking into that one corner of the box. Your nose wet. Healthy. Not for long. Possessions without a master lay strewn about underneath the dimming light—to be discarded into the black abyss of the night or rather shoved in between the ever-decreasing space of the wardrobe. The moon bleeding into a pale whitish-yellow—veined inside, the same as underneath his skin. The murmuring echo of the morning sun reaching across the winding paths of gold like the years-long-past trees between the edifices and the bridge extended above the river. Words in my ears, fingers in his mouth, in his throat—haunting me. Hands holding him against my chest inside the car near the clinic. His body laid down on the cold metal table. Snow falls in waves around my hunched figure. You vanished—that’s as close to a magician as you are gonna get.


Kate McGorry / “Midwood Cats”

A SONNET ABOUT MY CATS, Written After Reading One of Torquato Tasso’s Sonnets About His Cats Owen Rodda Jonathan Nunez Relying on the stars is out-of-date, When voyaging upon the ocean foam. Like Tasso, I’m inspired at any rate: I have two feline lanterns in my home. My Little Dipper has become quite wide. He curls up often on the floor to sleep. My Greater Bear surveys the world outside, Reviewing tactics for a daring leap. Bright Ursa Major strives to reach her goal: She longs to catch a bird across the way. At least I don’t keep goldfish in a bowl To tempt her like the cat of Thomas Gray. While Ursa Major sizes up the nest, My Little Dipper eats and takes a rest.


as this, the bitter coffee in my cup that does become with cream and sugar sweet so did my lonely life feel out of luck until you did decide on loving me for the affluence of a fool is none when he performs without a witness bear or like the kingship of a king’s lone son that with no queen to love, remains an heir so when, to me, you ask “what if I leave?” and I can not will up the words to say and naked there you lie in wait for me and to my mind, mal thoughts induce a fray know that a forlorn boat, with windward sails would be with loss at sea, were winds to bail

RITUAL Jonathan Nunez

warm winds bring new life pink petals dance with the dead flowers on a tomb

Raisa Alexis N. Santos / “Corridor”

THE MoMA Mary Lou Ciabattoni

I saw a galaxy Of a thousand Fireflies, Shining. I wish I was born In the MoMA.

I saw an island Of lights Coming closer,

A galaxy, An ocean, An island,

Closer. I want to die In the MoMA.

I saw an ocean Of stars, Evanescent And far. I want to live In the MoMA.

I saw a city And its flashlights, Blinding sunlight, Artificial moonlight. I wish I died In the MoMA.

A city. That is what I saw. Now, In my psyche Arises the question, “Should I jump?”



Jose Casillas / “Rose Street”

Kali Norris


I am lying in the fresh grass. It is not dewed because it aware that nothing here is mine. has not been here long enough for dew to form. The sun is a flat disc. Above me, leaves bob apathetically. I carry him fistfuls of fruit, which he takes with idle I am not alone. hands. I watch him eat, and feel nothing. I was only just made. My whole life consists of a short walk I rise, long limbed, dark amber. There is no amber and a few orders. Looking up at nature’s vastness, because there has been no time for sap to dry. The I wonder if this is the whole world. No. In the colors are so bright they burn. distance, gates. I put another fruit in my mouth, bright and sweet. My husband is still in the grass, languid and lean. I am hungry because I have never eaten. The clay “Bring more,” he instructs, hands dyed with juice. below my feet is their same color. My hands are clean. I turn away from my husband and toward the gate. By the time he misses me, I’m “Bring me food,” my husband says. I step away, into long gone. I do not have to push or plead. The doors the jasmine scented shade. There are good, colorful are open for me. Outside is barren desert, and the things to eat. I put one in my mouth, and cannot entire world. The grass beneath my feet is wet with believe the sensation. “Hurry,” he says. I am starkly dew. I step into the wasteland.

CATFISH Liz Larsen

cut me with catfish gills cradle your fish body in my bloodied palms rinsed with pond water bandaged by mud you spasm red and brown handprints mark your grey-green body depart like the ones before you the ones I could not force to stay like them you slide through my hands forcing forward with ferocious desperation bolting under the murky surface lost to expanded eyes hidden until the next time I catch myself a catfish

Liz Larsen / “Fish�



Areeba Zanub / “Struggling To Be Understood”

Chaya Nachum


The shards of glass have left their marks Their scars etched deep into my skin, Though I once pictured them as whole I doubt they’ve ever truly been. I dreamed of castles in the sky Of having all the things that mattered, But, try as I might, every time The castle windows always shattered. I was left outside looking in Barred entry by the shards of glass, Embittered by my broken parts I could not muster the strength to pass. And so I spent all of my days Chasing a life that wasn’t mine, It wasn’t and could never be I slowly realized over time. So rather than pursue perfection I learned to love life for the cracks, I took the shards and made them one And saw myself reflected back.


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