blueprint Volume 14 Issue 2 September 2014
Behind the Masquerade
VOLUME 14 ISSUE 2 SEPTEMBER 2014
There is a face beneath this mask, but it isn’t me. I’m no more that face than I am the muscles beneath it, or the bones beneath that. Steve moore (V for vendetta)
There’s More To Me
What Does the Fawkes Say?
Not in Love
For the Goalie
The Figment of Fondness
Reserves for Joy Jeremy Marks
Put On My Business Clothes
Looks Like Rain Today
Forest of Ponder
My Cloaked Lady
The Carnival Approaches
Pedant, Meet Philistine
The Full Blue
Love Letter Under the Open Sun
It’s Such A Beautiful Day
Welcome to the Masquerade
Karl Caminski Ashley Hind
Brittany Bennett BRendan Fardy
Moyosore Arewa Wayéto Moore
Rebecca allison Alexis Castrogiovanni
Amanda Scheifele Korrine Tuck
CARINA RAMPELT jessica Groom
Rachael Hargan Sara Rodgers
Behind The Masquerade
Editor-in-Chief Jessica Groom firstname.lastname@example.org
Production Manager Virginia Tremaine
Why do people wear masks?
Literary Editor Joseph Brannan email@example.com
Art/Photography Manager Carina Rampelt firstname.lastname@example.org
Promotions Manager Rachael Hargan email@example.com
Web Editor Roxanne Nicolussi
Is it to put on a good face for the people that are in front of us, no matter what may lie beneath? Is it because we are vulnerable and seek to protect ourselves? Do we just want to show others what they want to see? No matter the reason, every single person wears at least one mask on a daily basis.
Brantford Manager Brittany Bennett firstname.lastname@example.org
Radio Manager Hiring Interns Breanna Kettles
CONTRIBUTORS Sara Rana, Matthew Ariatnam, Jeremy Marks, Amanda Scheifele, Donnique Williams, Karl Caminski, Korrin Tuck, Ashley Hind, Mitchell Kooh, Brendan Fardy, Marie Brooks, Karly Rath, Moyosore Arewa, Wayéto Moore, Riley Sullivan, Jeff Fleming, Amara Ngozi, Teak Watters, Sara Rodgers, Rebecca Fletcher, Rebecca Allison, Alexi Castrogiovanni, Will Huang, Annie Brough, Matt Smith, Kasia Czarski-Jachimowicz, Alex Hanson, Cody Hoffman, Osheen Chubber, Kelli Boogemans
ADMINISTRATION President, Publisher & Chair Dani Saad Executive Director Bryn Ossington Advertising Manager Tammy Rowe Vice Chair Abdiasis Issa Treasurer John Pehar Director Taylor Berzins Director Shelby Blackley Director Angela Foster Director Fred Kuntz Director Neha Soni Corporate Secretary Laura Buck
CONTACT Blueprint Magazine 75 University Ave W Waterloo ON N2L 3C5 p 519.884.0710 x3564 blueprintmagazine.ca Advertise email@example.com blueprintmagazine.ca/advertise Contribute firstname.lastname@example.org blueprintmagazine.ca/contribute
COLOPHON Blueprint is the official student magazine of the Wilfrid Laurier University community. Founded in 2002, Blueprint is an editorially independent magazine published by Wilfrid Laurier University Student Publications, Waterloo, a corporation without share capital. WLUSP is governed by its board of directors. Content appearing in Blueprint bears the copyright expressly of their creator(s) and may not be used without written consent.
This could be an actual mask for a costume all the way to a metaphorical mask that projects an image of ourselves that we want everyone to see. These masks can change in the blink of an eye, or they can be maintained over a longer period of time, which makes one wonder: do we eventually become the mask that we wear, if we wear it often enough? Does it become a part of us? If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound? If we are alone, do our masks fall, revealing what is beneath? Or are we never really alone? Throughout this issue, we wrestle with the ultimate question—exactly what happens when our masquerades finally end? What is beneath?
Jessica Groom Editor-in-Chief
COVER The Winnowing by HEIDI BRANNAN This piece explores a portrait with various layers that question identity and authenticity. The outer shell of porcelain which may appear ordinary and skin-like is in the process of cracking off to reveal a darker underside. The inner layers of glass indicate a vulnerable, fragile and glistening truth about the individual. This process is reminiscent of winnowing chaff from wheat as what is valuable is revealed from under that which is not necessary. To see more of Heidi’s work: www.etherworks.net
Blueprint reserves the right to re-publish submissions in print or online. Opinions in Blueprint are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Blueprint’s management, Blueprint, WLUSP, WLU or CanWeb Printing Inc. Blueprint is created using Macintosh computers running Mac OS X 10.5 using Adobe Creative Suite 4. The circulation for a normal issue of Blueprint is 3000. Subscription rates are $20.00 per year for addresses in Canada.
NEXT ISSUE The Meta Issue On stands January 28th 2014
Secrets Sara Rana
Unfamiliar and strung along. Alone, you are dwindling. And yet, you face the world, head held high. Youâ€™re right there, but no one sees you. Hidden and abandoned. Nothing is clear. You are plummeting. Your heart falls, but so effortlessly you soar.
You let your faĂ§ade win every time. No one is real anymore. Not even you.
There’s More to Me
the three faces of shame - Will Huang
Paint whatever picture you want of me The truth will rest within what they see Chipped and faded Lines Blankets of dust at the corners and sides It’s not what it seems There’s more to me Don’t try to manipulate Don’t try to instigate Don’t try to lie I know what’s beneath your colourful lines It’s not what is seems There’s more to me I know I’m starting to rust Chipped coat and cracking crust I’m fading I’m fading out In your mind I’ll fade right out
The Arrangement Amanda scheifele
The butler’s white head poked through the door after a smart tap, “Your wife wishes an audience m’lord.” The man put down his pen and moved in his chair, motioning for the butler to allow her in. He had been meaning to see her since he came home from his trip and he felt a little guilty that it had been left to her to come to him. As she entered, he reached into his desk drawer and pulled out a little present. When he looked back up, his eyes relaxed as he saw his beautiful wife, dressed and ready to go to the opera, verily dripping furs and pearls and her soft brown hair done back in puffs of waves. Her appleblossom lips curved up delicately as she curtsied, glad to see his handsome face as well. He stood and kissed her hand and she said sweetly in her hushed voice, “My lord.” He suddenly remembered the present and he fumbled for a moment as he reached around and handed it to her, “I-I found while I was on exploration on the islands and thought of you.” and he handed her the large spiral sea shell. She turned it in her small hands and felt its rough exterior and twisted frame, “It reminded you of me?” she asked, though her smile never changed. The man grinned back brightly and was glad she liked it. He stood straighter and she fingered the shell, the pause in conversation stretching. It had been necessary, she reminded herself, necessary. And both were devoted to duty and thought the other lovely and sweet and noble and kind and... and kind... “I was wondering if Your Grace would like to accompany me to the opera?” She asked as she always did, her eyes liquid and looking up. He bit back his immediate decline this time. He disliked opera and theatre and still she asked for his company faithfully every time she went. It had almost become a game of sorts. Every time she asked, he would decline with a kiss to her hand, which he did so now, but answered instead with “I would be honoured.” Her eyes lit in surprise, but she just curtsied, “Then I shall see you there, my lord.” From the balcony, the singers on the stage looked like light on water, as the audience glittered in glass and gemstone. The singing was so fluid and magnificent, like the wind, and brought tears to her eyes. He watched her from her side and smiled, realizing how the tears from her eyes hung on her lashes, glinting in the candlelight before they shone down her cheek in smooth lines. Without thinking too much about it, he slipped his hands into hers. She almost started, looking down suddenly, causing tears to drop like diamonds on to his hands. Staring at the hands, she blinked slowly as if squeezing away the rest of the tears, and looked back to the stage, contently listening to the music as it grew to a crescendo.
Not in Love
The faces on the ceiling disappear when you blink The feelings you are feeling disappear when you think So they tell me not to cut my palms ‘til they’re red So they tell me there’s a place to go when I’m dead They tell me I’m behaving bad They tell me that I’m like my dad They tell me that I’m not in love They tell me that I’m not in love The faces on the ceiling lie to you when they smile Smells like home, haven’t been there in a while Time for hibernating, It’s getting too late for this world Time for hibernating, No more talking with the girls They tell me I’m behaving bad They tell me that I’m like my dad They tell me that I’m not in love They tell me that I’m not in love I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love, I’m not in love,
MATT SMITH MARIE BROOKS
Epitaph Charade JOSEPH BRANNAN
A burnout, a banker, day-weary dogwalker, grimhanded pub bouncer, baleful postgraduate, carefree cafĂŠ lurker, smirker, steeled street worker, withering parliamentarian, yeoman farmer, blessed photographer, basement dwelling denizen. These but guises, thievesâ€™ dull garb skins on skins to hide us scarce shed unless to change, to age, trade in for a shroud. But the crowd calls, wants your title, a label to frame you, a name for your being. Your bone-house hobbies fall away, hollow This flesh-form withers, whether rich or poor, the dust will eat you; will you dare think beyond the masque, the maudlin theatre, pride, piety, and pity perish with your fads. What shall last then, beyond the crumbling skin? What will you leave when all is ruin Where be your trophies, where is the glory, What brave fairy-story shall outlast you, what dawns the day you rise no more? An epitaph charade is a poor resolution.
The Figment of Fondness DONNIQUE WILLIAMS
I’m in love with a foreign memory, a phantom, a figure I’ve only known in glimpses whose existence is not certain. Only alive in her gifted memories, in the memories of another can you live on. But in my soul, I’ve known you. We’ve lived a thousand years, a thousand lives and I die a little every time because I know it will never be more than in my mind. Across enemy lines all I see is destruction and my heart screams to leave these feelings behind. But her memory reminds and I’m thrust back into hopeless longing. It doesn’t help that you’ve drawn me so close. I call out for release that never comes because I know I want to see. So I venture into No-Man’s-Land I step across the boundaries and leave myself vulnerable to your debilitating attacks. I’m drunk with the idea of peace. And you taunt me. With invisible glances quickened touches and then retreat just as quickly, like the chameleon’s tongue. The chameleon, you’re ever-changing, stealthy, aloof. Looking this way, that way trying to find a way in or a way out. Yes, you always walk alone your back to the wall, blending with background but standing out farther than you know. But you know. Because you’ve put yourself there. Always. Always upstage, away, but always centre, always seen always acknowledged. So here you stand a statue with many faces a Mona Lisa smile hiding the secrets of your lost world. Only visible through the glimpses the cracks the phantom movements of your hopelessness and fear.
12 1 121
But still you draw me with your intelligent pain, your quiet bitterness. Because inside, you know I have the tools and you know I love to use them. But you won’t let me assess the damage. Those true deep cracks what’s behind the smile your faces your chameleon nature your aloof charm, what is your true brokenness? Or do I want to see it? Can I only love the foreign memories? And live with those veiled glimpses? The mysteries in that smile? The war-torn wallflower tendencies? Can I remain sane in that hopeful uncertainty? Or do I press on passed the bloody barbed wire and rotting hearts from battles won and lost? Press on with no shield, no weapons just love and hopes of peace? I will. I will I press on because through the rosy glasses I don I know the truth. I know that you hide with your camouflage, your secret smiles, and your silent screaming. I know that even as you retreat in pride you call out just the same for me to cross the lines and save you from your war within. I know that behind your broken soul is your broken heart. And I know I have the tools. But will you let me use them?
Reserved for Joy JEREMY MARKS Brittle limbs unaccustomed to being petards of anger Stones calcified memories passing
through tight personal space Children are told must be reserved for joy.
Put on My Business Clothes KARL CAMINSKI In the conference room we wear silk shirts and shiny pants Silver belt buckles too Slick purple vests Doughy desk chair stomachs Recycled business colloquialisms Forced laughs We wear these things I used to only wear my business clothes until 5 Then I’d change into something more casual But I don’t bother changing anymore I lie around in the clothes Like some kind of business sloth I lie around in them for so long I forget I’m wearing them The sweat and the stink stick them to my body And they become like a second skin I leave them on for months Sleeping in them Eating in them Showering in them Passersby say, “Man, that business guy was made to wear those business clothes!” And I don’t disagree And I especially don’t say that now, when I take them off, I feel like I’m still wearing them.
Forest of Ponder KORRINE TUCK Soft whispers moan from willows along patches of broken dreams. Silent voices shimmering from beneath the sunlight. Memories of many shape the eerie in the air. For with time, they will all be forgotten. The moments can only linger. Cut down and lost, slowly decaying with time. Nobody will know they happened. Ever. Isn’t that such a terrifying thought? What if everything you remembered, your best memories, your worst memories, what if nobody knew they existed along with you? Everything you experienced, gone. Never spoken of again. Never heard of again. Buried along with you. How many memories replay beneath these trees? Perhaps first loves, first kisses, first heart breaks. Maybe first bee stings, first star gazings, first friends, first drawings in the dirt, first sights of a woodpecker. Whose ghosts dance with shadows alongside the fireflies at dusk? Who stalks the thick morning air, shifting wearily with the first drops of dew? Whose voices have long since faded? Whose giggling still rolls in like waves at just the right moment? Whose shrieks still stain the moonlit fog? Who will never forget the moment we’ll never know existed? What makes these thoughts so enticing is the imagination, however, imagination also proves most sinister. Curiosity never escapes. Always wondering all the things that may have happened, here, in this exact spot, but of all the possibilities, all the chances, you’ll probably never really know. Curious, isn’t it? But perhaps that’s what makes the thought so beautiful. You’ll only be able to envision them. You’ll never know. You can only stroll through the thick brush of your mind and wonder. Just simply wonder.
Looks Like Rain Today ASHLEY HIND
“You’re probably wondering why I’m wearing sun glasses” My neighbour says me to me In the way she looks away from my eyes She knows I am the one who calls the cops She has too Who else would? Who else can hear the thuds of her body against the floor of their apartment? The tears loudly sobbed The silent screaming whimpers that travel down the radiator pipes to my bathroom “I’m getting sick of supporting your pathetic ass, you stupid bitch” She has to know it’s me “It is just too bright out today” I say in the way I hold the door open for her When we both move our lips Only an awkward “Hi” comes out
Being Rosalind Carina Rampelt
We’re in Venice and I’m eavesdropping on German tourists. There’s eight of us in a shop that’s tiny even by Venetian standards. The shop-keeper-slash-mask-maker, a greying Italian in a black apron smudged here and there with gold sparkles; two middle-aged German women; my family and me. Clumped together in a corner so we’re almost touching, my siblings and I admire a wall of masks. A sun-face, a moon-face and a star-face beam down on us. A cello-woman gazes lovingly at a saxophone-man. A cat and a dog hang unblinkingly side by side. Each one is carefully crafted and unique. It’s breathtaking, but I’m only half-absorbed. The other part of me is listening in on the conversation between the German women. They admire the masks, discuss their itinerary, disapprove of the disorder of the Italians in general. It’s funny, and strangely comforting. I mean no harm. Having lived in Germany the past eleven months I can hardly help but understand what they’re saying. I feel like I’m undercover: playing the Canadian while hiding the part of me that can masquerade as a German. A disguise over my disguise. I’m Rosalind playing Ganymede playing Rosalind. It’s not that I was in any way ashamed of my Canadian identity, but not drawing attention to it was just easier while I was abroad. People treat you differently if they know you’re foreign. One of my housemates came to me once, asking if I had a hair-dryer. I paused briefly, trying to think of the words to respond and she continued impatiently, Hairdryer? You know…hairdryer? and mimed drying her hair complete with sound effects. I had understood her fine. It just took me a moment to figure out what to say. I’m not stupid, I wanted to shout, just give me the chance to answer you! Other people think it’s hilarious to make fun of your home country. Hey, isn’t Canada just basically the 51st state? Or how about this gem: You know what Canada sounds like? Keiner da!* It’s true, right? There’s, like, no one there. My disguise was almost a way of marking my progress. If people were surprised when I told them I was Canadian, it meant my German was getting better—that my ac-cent was less noticeable, or I was culturally adept enough to pass as a native. It felt like success. And when you’re culturally confounded, feeling like you’re stumbling around in a dark that everyone else has no trouble navigating, those tiny moments of validation are the bits of light that keep you going. You might not understand everything. You might not always feel like you’re understood. But you know you’re getting closer. Now, with my family again, I feel foreign. My English comes slowly, difficultly. I didn’t believe it was possible of my mother tongue. I construct sentences backwards, used to German grammar. I forget words. It’s not the same language it was a year ago…I have to learn new slang and cultural nuances. I have no idea what a ‘selfie’
is. I’m with the people who should make me feel most at home in the world, but I’ve never felt so alone. I’m Rosalind pretending to be Rosalind, and I’m not even sure who that is any more. I turn around to leave the shop. Entschuldigen Sie, bitte. I tell the German women, as I scoot around them. Ex-cuse me, please. Their eyes widen in surprise, but they smile with the unexpected de-light of stumbling across someone who speaks their native language. It gives me hope. Maybe I can learn to reconcile my two identities. Maybe I don’t have to pick one or the other. Maybe I can be both Rosalind and Ganymede and still be Carina. So tell me, I ask my sister as we depart, what exactly is a selfie? *German for ‘no one there’
My Cloaked Lady brittany bennett
This here is my love, Or shall I assume. She whispers From above, So my heart can resume. The thoughts In my head Scream loud and absurd. I lay here On top my bed Wished I could be cured. You arrive With a smile, A pen and a pad. You coax right on through My petty denial. You act as if glad, that I speak Of her again. I try to show you, you cross your chest And mumble amen. She is not new, she stands here Beside me. You nod your head, and jot down your note and then flee. I come out of my bed, and run To the door, Look back at my love, and look Down to the floor. My sweet morning dove, they will never Get to grasp How real you are, as long as you Wear that mask. I look at how far, you are down That hall. And wish that once soon, this locked Door will fall.
Curtain Call jessica Groom
Sarah Jane sat down at her makeup chair after the last show of the day and grabbed the makeup remover wipes, sliding the box towards her. She had been looking forward to this for weeks and weeks, so much so that she had barely been able to contain her excitement about performing in a headlining play as an up-and-coming actress. But now that the first week was over, the reality had set in. Caking on the show makeup eight times and then going out on the brightly lit stage to perform in front of hundreds of people was hard. Putting on a mask each time, vanishing beneath it, and transforming herself into a completely unrecognizable person was exhausting. Sarah Jane closed her eyes to the harsh light of the lights in her dressing room and wiped the left side of her face with the wipe in her hand. She had to do that a couple times to make sure that every bit of the makeup, or her mask, was gone. Opening her eyes for a moment, Sarah-Jane saw the immense difference of her face when it was bare. With makeup, her skin was flawless and her eyes popped with colour from the smoky eye shadow that lay on her lids. Her lips were a beautiful red, almost the exact colour of the perfect ruby, and her cheeks had the right amount of colour. Without this mask that she wore during the play, Sarah Jane was not perfect. Her skin had some imperfections and the occasional blemish, and her eyes were not enhanced by the eye shadow. Her lips faded from ruby red to a light dusty rose and on the left side of her face there was a faint scar on her cheek. Without the makeup, Sarah Jane was not the doll that the audience saw her as when she stepped on stage, but yet that was okay with her. When she looked in the mirror in the privacy of her apartment and saw her face free of everything, Sarah Jane saw a young woman with life experience. She saw the tears cried over broken hearts, but also the smiles and laughter that came when the pieces were put back together. She saw the friends and the family that made her who she was. She saw the videos of musicals and Shakespeare plays put on repeat so she could memorize the lines and practice for countless auditions. In the mirror, she saw life in her eyes. She saw good things as well as bad things, but all the same she was happy. ***
A few weeks later after the last show of the week, Sarah Jane was once again sitting at her makeup chair. Tonight, unlike some other nights, was going to be different. She was taking off the makeup that she wore on stage, but immediately afterwards she began to paint her face once again to form a new mask. There were people waiting in lines at stage door this night, she knew, and Sarah Jane felt like she needed to present a good face for them. It was not stage level, to be sure, but Sarah Jane knew that they still wanted to see this doll, this person held to almost unnaturally high standards, not the one who was imperfect. Once she was finished, Sarah Jane looked in the mirror and took a deep breath before standing up and going to meet the lines of fans that were waiting outside the stage door for her to come out. She was not out there for long, but Sarah Jane still had to focus on keeping the bright smile on her face as she signed programs and took photos with the people standing in the line. “WE LOVE YOU!” Sarah Jane smiled to herself as she waved at the people, before walking away from the theatre, a security guard trailing behind her until she was far enough away from the lines of people. They loved her, and that was good, but sometimes she wondered if they would love the person that was underneath the mask of makeup, bright lights, and paparazzi shots in magazines. *** Months later, Sarah Jane was sitting in the back of a town car after the final night of her first headlining play. It was hard work for her, looking back on those months of blisters on her feet and blurry eyes from reading lines late into the night, not to mention a hoarse voice from the gruelling schedule of eight shows per week. She did not have another job lined up at the moment, but that we okay with her. She had people to get back to and spend some quality time with. Just as Sarah Jane was thinking about this, her phone went off, signalling a text message had arrived. Congratulations darling, cannot wait until you get home. Sarah Jane smiled to herself, completely free of any worries. She could be herself, without any outside forces dictating her actions, for a little while at least. To be continued in the Meta Issue...
“Putting on a mask each time, vanishing beneath it, and transforming herself into a completely unrecognizable person was exhausting.” 21
Pedant, Meet Philistine Mitchell Kooh
“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!” I didn’t think it’d make him this angry. Walking lockstep it’s hard to keep up with him when he gets in a mood. “Honestly it’s not that bad. You’re blowing this way out of proportion.” I try my best to be reassuring. It’s really nothing. At least not for a normal person. “This is the third time in four fucking years, did you know that?” The venom of frustration leaks into his loaded question. “Grade twelve and this will be the third fucking masquerade theme at fucking Semi.” “Why does it matter?” I ask. I’ve got rhetorical questions too. “You never go to them. All you do is whine about how shallow dances are, how they’re so tedious and elitist and blah blah blah.” “Do you think I enjoy this? This is my last year in this fucking hell-hole of a high school and I want to fucking spend it right. Not ranting about the same old shit. Not proselytizing to the fucking sheeple. Not fucking talking to you either, no offence. The only thing that fucking sustains me is the knowledge that in six fucking months I can leave this bullshit bourgeois, lame-ass shit-hole of a-” “Christ Tom, could you lay off on the swearing? Just a bit? I mean, it’s getting kind of ridiculous.” Eyes ablaze and thoughts smouldering, seething, he says nothing. “I mean, I know it’s just how you talk and all but I can’t take you seriously when every second word out of your mouth is ‘fuck.’. After a certain point it’s almost comical.” He sighs, losing steam, then smirks and seems to cool off. “And,” I say “offence taken.” Our pace slows as we approach the bus stop, but I know Tom’s not done yet. “Philistine.” He mutters as he takes a seat on the bench by the stop. “Pedant” I offer, sitting next to him. For a while we chatter idly, thrust and topic flitting from movies to school, school to books, books to music, and always somehow circling back to the Leafs. A final discussion of the comparative merits of deltaCorsi and zone entry percentages, one last Carlyle joke, and finally the lazy stream of words falters. He senses the moment. He’s had time to think, prepare a speech, choose his big words of small import: it’s time to rant. “I think the thing that really bothers me,” he begins, “is the hypocrisy. The people who vote for the masquerade are almost like... well, like societal constructs made flesh; they’re meticulously deceptive in all aspects of life. I’m not entirely innocent of it myself. We all present such a manicured facade to some extent I suppose, live such artificial lives, and yet we choose to hide even further through a masquerade theme. We present a particular lie to our parents, a lie to our friends, a lie to our teachers, and what’s the truth? I don’t know. Nobody does. But these people who chose this particular theme, they hide behind masks, masks of their own devising, and they feel trapped. Why? The trap is society: rules and pressures, expectations, arbitrary distinctions of race, gender, all that shit. But it’s us. We made it. And we make it worse by perpetuating the status quo, and without even realizing it we become part of the system.” For a while there is uneasy quiet, but soon noise punctuates the still. I can’t help it. I laugh. Hard. “Man,” I squeeze between fits of laughter, “that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. You are so pretentious sometimes it’s hilarious.” I can barely squeeze the words in between chuckles. “Who the hell talks like that anyways? ‘They hide behind the masks of their own devising?’ Oh man, you should tape yourself sometime!” He snorts a decisive and dismissive ‘hmph.’ “You’re just like them. You lack vision.. You don’t appreciate the thing that’s being destroyed here. Somehow you just don’t see how grotesquely demeaning it is to contort the historically and culturally rich tradition of masquerade into a childish party. Hundreds of years of tradition is lost on them. The dignity, the true class and spirit of the thing, means nothing. I blame fucking Jane Austen and those God damn Disney princesses. People only like masquerade because, like, OMG it’s totally a big princess ball with costumes and dresses! Fucking embarrassing. I think the only thing they know less about than masquerade is Jane Austen, but that’s another issue entirely. They choose this same theme every year because they’ve seen misshapen bastards of the grand tradition in their pop culture trash. Anachronistic, incredibly inaccurate depictions pop up all over the place in whatever crap constitutes art today. Five hundred years ago we had Shakespeare, the Bard of fucking Avon, playwright of all times. High culture was popular culture. Now we have stupid kids who only chose a masquerade theme because they saw one in some blockbuster movie.” I’m quiet for some time, thinking. “Hey, wasn’t there a masquerade or something in Romeo and Juliet?” I ask, knowing full well the answer. “Yeah, I saw it in the movie with Leonardo DeCaprio and that girl from Homeland!” He is quiet for a longer time, thinking. “Ok I guess it’s an alright theme.”
The Carnival Approaches Brendan fardy
The carnival is near, itâ€™s proximal and imminent This time last year, it was two weeks away And again this year, a future fortnight removed Annually, this festival, it rolls into town It burns hot and fierce, then burns out and cools But the flame, while it lasts, is the light of the year By the end it dims out, and is nearly forgotten But each year new memories are rekindled and ignited The carnival remembers them and refuels their glory A cyclical nature, is revealed by the tale Years always go by, but the legend fails to fade The myth, it continues, from previous ashes A little stoking is all, that may be required And again the carnival, combusts with great heat Then leaves for fifty weeks before yet another triumphant return
Disconnect Marie Brooks
My body is my temple. I exercise, eat right, I don’t drink or smoke. I have French manicured nails and glowing skin, blemish free, radiant, they call me. Up until my 21st birthday I never popped anything more than an Advil. But the first time I had to pop a serious pill was after the first time I tried to kill myself. See when your body and mind disconnect your body doesn’t show it yet. I was beautiful on the outside but my inside was a festering, rancid, putrid mess, self-loathing, hating, self-deprecating. All this darkness, and no way to ensnare it. It’s unbearable when the first thing in the morning you think of is “I can’t do this anymore,” But the thing with depression is that it sinks into the core, Makes you do crazy things, as you try to explore the cusps of insanity and sanity. It sinks into the core, burrowing into your marrow, pulsing through your veins until all that’s left is darkness, all this darkness. See, when your body and mind disconnect, your body begins to reflect the inside on the outside as your skin burns down to the ashes you are, and all that’s left of this mighty fortress is that darkness. You may see the light at the end of the tunnel but the track always loops back and we come full circle. So take your ashes and breathe the life back into them. Blow the dust into the wind as your walls return to their power as a barricade, until all that’s left is the hollow feel of the memory of pain. Blow a kiss to the reflection of the kingdom that is your body. You are a temple, I am a temple.
The Full Blue
I was all bile
I finally grasp your golden mirage All lustre is lost But lifeâ€™s a collage.
Fell into the field and never lifted onto a sweating back
I bloomed no thorns, not reedy but the full blue That dropped here with me.
It’s Such A Beautiful Day Moyosore arewa
It’s such a beautiful day to make groundless assumptions about unsuspecting passers by, like the negro woman and man, both of whom are obviously up to no good and have so much hate within them; or the Jew-looking guy who cares a whole lot about making a profit; or the Asian who is definitely good at math, but nothing else; or the brown guy who, even from a distance, reeks of curry, and is unquestionably the owner of a convenience store; or the Arab who is more of a terrorist than an Arab; or the Hispanic who could be picked up by immigration officers at any time; or perhaps even The White Man who, basked in his privilege, hasn’t had to work a day for anything he owns.
Love Letter Under the Open Sun Wayétu Moore
My eyes were heavy and I could not look at the sun because it was no longer yellow like our picture books with dancing girls and boys who held hands around a world too small for people. It looked orange from where I stood and it burned when I looked up and so I did not. Orange in a white sky made my eyes heavy and since I could not look at the sun, since I could not envision my face in the clouds with purple and orange barrettes, bouncing up and down on a couch I should not have, bouncing up and down was a restless head or popsicles or sunflowers or other things the clouds never made, I stopped. I stopped but they commanded that I keep walking and I did since stopping would mean spending more than three seconds near the rotting carcasses with frozen petrified faces, the boy with the bright blue shirt who had no hand, the refugees who striped the streets and seeded the farm roads with no destination in sight but tears that fell under an open sun we walked and did not know where we were going exasperated by the heat and betrayed by nightly prayers unanswered it seemed and “where we goin’?” I asked and nowhere was their answer though it did not make sense that we were making such a fuss on a journey that was not somewhere. I stopped counting the days forgot what Momma’s voice sounded like they did not know which soldiers were good and which were rebels could not hand us punishments for our whining for fear it would be our last did not know where we were going so I cut my eyes and slowed down and “Come now, chile’, keep up,” is what Ma told me my grandmother acted as though she did not see the bodies or did not smell the
blood, or did not care that I had stopped walking because it hurt to look up at the orange sun and clouds that drew nothing but rain my left shoe fell off and I wanted Ma to notice but she did not so I kicked off my right shoe and it hit her heel in front of me and she turned around but instead of picking up my shoe and demanding the entire caravan to “STOP AT ONCE” walking to this nowhere, she pulled my hand to keep up with her and “Come, ma chile, keep up” sounded like bullets against an abrasive surface of nails and sand as we strolled enveloped by men and women like disassembled lines and shapes, gone to heaven now they told us, under the open sun. They were not drums. My feet were bare and I did not tell my father because I was afraid he would not know what to say or I did not tell Wiande or Kula because I was afraid they would tell my father so I walked— with the caravan of my father and the girls and Ma and Matauma and Brother John and two pastors and a neighbour and some members of our church under an orange sun and clouds to nowhere we were walking, I was barefoot, down this dusty road of trampled bodies, and the boy with the bright blue shirt with no hand, and broken stories and pretending they all and none of them were there. Pastor Brown pointed to something approaching us in the distance—it was a tank, they said, it was a tank—and in one second my frail body was in two places, one was on the road, one was jumping over the bodies gone to heaven now— two and I was—we were off the road and my bare feet were being dragged through a muddy field and (where were my shoes) as Kula cried and I wondered what I did to the sun for it to hate me as it did and
the monstrous stalks were slapped with bullets and talking leaves said run and do not look back and blood poured out of the bottom of my feet as thorns pushed their way in and running and running and running and my father was moving so fast and pulling my hand that the muddy waters were now my pool my baptism into one second past girlhood past innocence past things the clouds never made and my feet lost the ground beneath me so my knees now ran along with my father and water now ran along my face and the lace at the bottom of my dress got left somewhere behind me with my shoes and the tank and my girlhood and the shooting that did not stop but came toward me under the open orange suns and clouds that said nothing more than rain.
“I could not envision my face in the clouds with purple and orange barrettes”
Mrs. Dalloway WayĂŠtu Moore
If she were not born human she would have been a panther with steel paws and brick for flesh she would have licked over them black lips and whiskers when her gut overflowed when a catch beckoned or when she wanted to fuck. If she were not born human she would have been a hunter that shimmied about thickened masses of branches that dug their own roots and a priestess queen of an elegiac jungle where mocking birds fed her songs she swallowed and longed for nothing. But Mrs. Dalloway was born human. Grey with hunched shoulders Mostly wrinkled and drowning Searches the duchessesâ€™ garbage For relics and recognitions Of a past life Haunted silhouettes Dancing gowns Mountainous regrets Tragically unloved.
What is the texture of my skin?
Selective Attention RILEY SULLIVAN I’m not safe. I’m not as safe as I like to believe I am, I like believing I can protect myself from that, from those things. I often wonder if it’s more important that I keep believing, that I avoid peeling off my many, many masks to meet these demons squarely. I’m curious about my face, my plain face unshielded. What is the texture of my skin? I won’t save myself this way.
Boxes RACHAEL HARGAN When I was a little girl my father told me to reach for the stars, Grasp at the moon, “The world is your oyster.” I took his advice and ran with it, but didn’t get far. Boxes were blocking me, A box for each star, filled with characteristics, rules, and boundaries. If you want to attain it - you have to embody it. Society is a highly organized, structured machine One that doesn’t take kindly to rebellion, Or slightly opposing characteristics for that matter ‘So don’t let your mind wander. It won’t benefit you.” They said. I obeyed. I was given box E, and the walls of it silenced any divergent individualities that spoke up. I looked back on my father’s sayings for what they were, mere words. As the years passed, the box became worn, dull, and tattered. A hole emerged. One that gave sight to new stars, a whole galaxy of them. And as the hole continued to enlarge, I saw truth to my fathers’ euphemisms, Reach for the stars, Grasp at the moon, “The world is your oyster.” Their fulfillment is only conditional on how you perceive the boxes, As either concrete structures, or as transparent clouds you pass through on your way to new galaxies.
Iâ€™m trapped inside our world called masquerade I only see an identity parade Those people hiding who they are Whose demons are not lurking far in their mind Hiding and trying to deceive us all Waiting for our time to fall Building their circus of lies and true deceit But you and I can see through their cheat My friends and their guidance keeps me reassured I know Iâ€™m safe if those clowns try to lure me Into darkness and realms of hate You keep me safe from that awful fate OSHEEN CHIBBER
What Does the Fawkes Say? AMARA NGOZI
I don this mask in protest, I become anonymous, I hide from tears of liberty dispensed by canister. I am hidden behind the face of the people and I am the face not afraid to be seen. If you can breathe the free air, remember the filter-fed taste of our resistance and the façades we put up to tear down others.
CARINA RAMPELT BRITTANY BENNETT
For the Goalie
See, I can play it cool like a pro. This is just an ordinary day, right? I’ll comment on the weather, make a show Of badmouthing the ref ’s harsh call last night In the game. I’ll act serene; none will know How, when you appear, thought departs and flight (though lacking wings) seems likely. I will sow peace in spite of thrumming heartbeat at your sight. Your smile does that – you, who lights up the room Like a bright café glows on a dark sidewalk. Your easy chat unnerves me; I presume This hidden maelstrom is mine only, locked Beneath benign talk of hockey and rain; This stoic calm belies my silent strain.
Backstage I walk behind the curtain Which mask to don? The villain The friend The hero The rogue Each more defined than the last With each costume change The face behind the mask Fades into oblivion Forgotten But soon the curtains shall tatter And the audiences dwindle What mask will remain?
You’re bleeding, and something’s burning on the stove She’s got something that glows in the dark Carrie, you’ve never looked more beautiful Than when you sang out the word ‘sorry’ On that stage from the pit of your stomach Some words are not born of tongues and teeth A queen shining in someone else’s blood You are the omega and the alpha, Singing delta in the fluorescent light You couldn’t have known the way the world turns to look Each time a girl grows old She’s sucking back smoke and semen Like a vacuum by the time she’s twenty When you reach that final mile It’s nothing but body fluids and breast milk Forget your finery at home Leave your dresses on the tiles in the bathroom In front of the mirror you once called friend Fill the bathtubs with perfume and flower petals There is nothing in this world for the glory-filled For the gory child who grows into a vessel to float on the top of the water Until there’s nothing left to do but to fill her with time and with salt And everything before this was an instrumental track Was a losing battle Though you returned each night unscathed Until the moment your legs were no help Crossed or otherwise Clean your face, or leave the stains Carrie We won’t cry. We are like you. And small broken bird, Gentle gleaming gem, You are no euphemism You can tell the poets to fuck themselves for the fallacy The truth is scary, But Carrie, You can’t wear that white gown like you don’t know the difference Between a virgin and a bride. In some doorways, in some cities In countries you’ve never been to, You can see the mourning family Dresses all in white
Welcome to the ‘I wish for this night to end...’ Blair’s eyes were narrowed as he looked upon the floor, tapping his foot in an aggravated fashion. Arms crossed, Blair stood in front of the main stage of the grand ballroom. He was in the centre of the line up of university professors that stretched across the floor in front of the massive stage. Their job for the night, security. Blair rolled his eyes at the thought. Of course, it was mandatory for professors to attend (to his utter annoyance), and Blair had been waiting for this night for a few weeks with nothing but dread in his heart. The golden chandeliers shone brightly, since the normally unused ballroom had been cleaned for this particular night. Guests consisting of scholars, professors, academics and students alike began to pour into the room. All the professors stood vigilant in their spot, Blair occasionally shaking hands with an unfamiliar figure. Exchanging polite words here and there, Blair kept his defenses high while silently searching for Paul, his teaching assistant. Since the university was short in participants for the talent portion of the night, Blair had been “politely” asked to take part in the events himself. He was not enthusiastic about it at first, until Paul had spoken up about participating alongside Blair. He wondered what the schedule for the night was, since he had not had a chance to take a pamphlet when he arrived (running slightly late because he had to pick up his mask on his way). He held the bright red object in his hand for now, since it was not mandatory to wear until the announcement of the opening ceremony. Adjusting the sleeves of his formal suit, Blair scanned the crowd once more for any sign of Paul (who was sure to be fawning over the academic figureheads somewhere). Finally, he caught a glimpse of blonde hair, the man narrowing his eyes to confirm if it was Paul behind the simple black mask. He wanted to move forward and greet Paul, but he had to remain vigilant until the opening ceremonies. Instead he tried to listen to the conversation Paul was having with one of the academics, but couldn’t hear the pair speak (as they were a decent distance across the large room). Something seemed amiss however, the assistant rubbing his wrists as he only did when he became nervous in front of the class. But before Blair could observe any further, the sound of a familiar (and awful) voice brought him back. “You, yeah you. Trade spots with me!” The rather animated voice pierced Blair’s thoughts, the noise now coming from beside him. ‘Anyone but her...’ the man thought with a roll of his eyes before turning his head to look beside him. The redhead smiled at him through sharper than average canines, Blair looking back to see the line up of disheveled and annoyed professors. Clearly this woman had bulldozed her way through the line in order to stand by Blair. Blair gave the other professor a questioning look, brow rising as he spoke casually. “Doctor Wright, may I help you?” Blair didn’t know what the chemistry professor wanted from him (although it was quite obvious by this point the redhead had some sort of fascination with him.)
Masquerade Sara Rodgers “Oh Blair, I have told you a hundred times that we are on a first name basis. Call me Paris, as in the city of. L-o-v-e!” Paris placed a manicured fingernail up to her lips, scrunching them together with a wink. The man twitched his eyebrow, fathoming all of his possible escape routes and the likelihood of success. “I think I will have to pass, Doctor Wright.” Blair replied simply. This did not seem to faze the chemistry teacher however, since she giggled and shook her head as if she did not believe Blair, continuing to speak in her singsong voice. “Such a lovely night, don’t you agree? I’m rather exited to see the events unfold. Speaking of events…” The redhead pulled out a pamphlet from her jacket pocket, leaning against Blair as she unfolded the slip of paper to scan it through her red-rimmed glasses. “It seems you’re up first. What excitement! So glad I brought my camera!” She licked her smiling lips while looking up at Blair. The expression soon changed however, red eyebrows knitting together in a dramatic pout. “How come you denied me to perform with your teaching assistant? I play the piano just as well as he could! You know Blair, you’ll only find trouble by pushing me away and trying to hide things.” She purred this in a knowing tone, locking gazes with the man. Blair did not have a chance to reply however once the lights dimmed. A single light shone on the stage, the dean walking across the oak flooring to reach the microphone. “Good evening beloved guests, I hope you have all gotten a chance to mingle. For this evening, we have prepared a special selection of the finest entertainment the University has to offer. Please enjoy all of the wonderful food, dancing and talent that had been prepared especially for this night by our hard working students.” She cleared her throat, small smile plastered on her face. “I am honoured to open this ceremony now, as the guests have mostly arrived. So please enjoy the music and dancing to come, the talent show following shortly.” Blair checked his watch, nearly fifteen minutes until he had to find Paul and go backstage. “And I bid you...Welcome to the Masquerade!” The audience roared, clapping loudly at her introductory speech, while the woman bowed before walking off stage. Blair fit his mask over his face as the other teachers did the same, the golden lights resuming their shine. The band began to play music, guests already walking to the dance floor to start the introductory waltz. The long night was about to begin, Blair swearing he heard the rumble of thunder in the distance.
Midnight Rebecca fletcher Masks fall at midnight. That is the only rule given on the gold-embossed invitations for the masquerade ball. Come disguised as whatever you fancy – for deceit is the name of the game – only be prepared to lose your façade just as Cinderella would. In a cocoon of colour and light, the music leads a giddy crowd, drunk on the wine and the general splendour of the night, in their dances. Women dressed as men, men dressed as beasts, and a cacophony of colour in between. A dragon spins by the entrance, laughing in the arms of a weeping clown, when a young trio walks in. Even masks cannot hide that they are the closest of companions as they laugh and chatter, arm in arm. The slender butterfly, draped in emerald and black, is quickly ensnared in a circle of gaily-masked men, all vying to be the first to spin in the fluttering dance. It doesn’t seem to matter to them that the face of their partner is a mystery, veiled by rich green wings. Only a set of deep blue eyes, and full crimson lips are visible, and that is enough for the dancers. Every eye finds the butterfly at some point in the night, flashing either with envy or desire. The sun and moon shared the face of the second youth. A long face, divided by golden rays and a silver glow, she remains at her friend’s side the entire evening, casting wary glances about as if afraid to see some ghost of her past. She turns down several offers to dance, save one. And to this offer, she is already nodding before the question has even escaped the young man’s lips. The sun and moon seem brighter for the smile on her face. The third’s face is enveloped in the roaring face of a blazing lion, and her own voice is nearly as loud as one. Not one inch of the hall goes without being danced upon, not one guest will end the night without hearing her roar. No one is certain if the beast is drunk, or naturally so alive and flashy. When separated from both of her friends, if anything, she becomes wilder. Her feral grin just barely peers out from under the rim of the mask as she falls in with new companions, and burns away the night. *** Midnight calls its presence, and the masks begin to clatter to the floor, or into the hands of the more careful guests. The butterfly is hesitant, dainty fingers dancing around the edges, before finally tearing it away with one decisive motion. Many of the male admirers start at the sight of their fellow sex, turned red at the stares, no longer as friendly. Some laugh at their own expense. Deceit is the name of the game, after all. The onlookers seem amused by the reactions. Few think to take pity on the wilted butterfly, who can barely bring himself to laugh at his own joke. When the sun and moon are removed, the mask splits down the centre, revealing its true nature as a pair, and her dancing partner backs away, enraged by the face of the love he’d once scorned. In scarlet ink on the inside of the sun was delicately penned, ‘for my dearest Ian, the light in my darkness’. With one half in either hand, she wanted to hurl the sun at his sneering face. But she merely laughs, and claims not to have thought it to be him at all. As for the lion, there are no surprises behind her mask. Her demeanour does not change at the stroke of twelve, nor does some magic spell around her break. Her powerful beauty is as expected, and her voice never wavers after the revelation. But on the inside of the golden lion’s face in her hands, lies the grey-brown complexion of a mouse. The side of the mask that only the wearer ever sees before donning their disguise. Though her mask is gone, the facade remains in her boisterous laughter, for deceit is the name of the game. Few notice when her smile vanishes. Perhaps the invitations were not specific enough. Masks fall at midnight... Be sure to wear two.
Volume 14 Issue 2