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The Illusions Issue Volume 19, Issue 4, March 2020



We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality.

IRIS MURDOCH (1919- 1999)




13 Time

4 No One Tried

18 On the Airplane

17 The Wedding

7 Illusion

20 Solid Ground

25 Anni Annihiliation

8 Too good to be true

21 Ode to Venus


28-29 Blue






10 Mermaidian Nights

27 Shadows

31 House of Mirrors

12 Lucid Dreams

34 Penning Down History

32 Happy Place

14 Goddess Magic

35 Paranoia










33 The Mask of Rebirth 15 Artemisia @ANDIANDCO


36-37 Footsteps


38 Greg


ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY 5, 12, 30 6 9, 20, 21 11, 14, 15 22 ad 2/3, 23, 34



Front Cover ZHIJUN XU

16 19, 26, 27 22 ad 1 13, 24 24


28 32 33 35 37 39


Inside Back ZHIJUN XU

The Illusions Issue EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Stephanie Silva

People are the world’s greatest illusions.


Production Manager Camille Dehghan productionmanager@blueprintmagazine.ca

Literary Editor Rachel Panico literaryeditor@blueprintmagazine.ca

Art/Photography Manager Kelly Xu artmanager@blueprintmagazine.ca

Promotions Manager Desiree Streef promotionsmanager@blueprintmagazine.ca

Events Manager Diane Taylor


Web Editor Arman Aryanpour web.editor@blueprintmagazine.ca

Interns Isabella Andrade, Alicia Lavigne, Kiara Yllescas, Emma McVicar


Stephanie Silva, Isabella Andrade, Rachel Panico, Zhijung Xu, Tyra Forde, Harrison Edgar, Kiara Yllescas, Domenique Barbaro, Camille Dehghan, Desiree Streef, Thya Dragon


Throughout our lives, we’re taught to put up false fronts and tell people that we’re doing just fine. We’re taught to speak, act and dress in ways that make others think we have everything figured out. Sometimes, the person that we really are becomes lost. Sometimes, if we’re not careful, our true identity is slowly wiped away until all that remains is a reflection of what other people want us to be. People are Mirrors and we live in a society where few are brave enough to be Glass. This is why I thank the world for art every day. Painting, drawing, photographing and writing all turn Mirrors transparent. Through their work, artists invite us to glance past their reflected personas and see the hopes and fears that hide beneath the surface. Thank you to everyone who submitted to this issue. It has been a privilege to shatter your illusions and discover the person waiting on the other side.

Amanda Leger, Natalie Very B, Winter Willow Meave, James Silk, Niyoshi Sumera, Daniel Steele, Larissa Hauck, Maria Sayde, Amichai Abraham, Levi Warren, Manaal Azhar, Bukunmi Oyewole, Deborah L. Jones, Lauren Itkin, Olivia Barbaro, Owain Davies, Charlotte Bourdon, @ANDIANDCO, Grace Maguire, Joe Lethbridge

Stephanie Silva Editor-in-Chief

ADMINISTRATION President, Publisher, & Chair Aaron Hagey Executive Director Lakyn Barton HR Manager Maneesha Suresh Finance Manager Randy Moore Advertising Manager Kurtis Rideout Web Manager Sam Nabi Director Alyssa Di Sabatino Community Director Emily Crump, Rosalind Horne, Arshy Mann

CONTACT Blueprint Magazine 75 University Ave W Waterloo ON N2L 3C5 p 519.884.0710 x3564 blueprintmagazine.ca Advertise kurtis.rideout@wlusp.com blueprintmagazine.ca/advertise Contribute submissions@blueprintmagazine.ca blueprintmagazine.ca/contribute

COLOPHON Blueprint is the official student magazine of the Wilfrid Laurier University community.

Enchantress by ZhiJun Xu I’m a believer that there is a little bit of magic in every day, that everyone has encountered or possessed magic at some point in their lives. I created the painting “Enchantress” with that in mind. Sometimes, our ideas, our thoughts, our kindness can become powerful, beautiful, magical things. Magic may just be an illusion, just a way of expression, but that doesn’t make it any less real. If you live life fully as the real you, you might just see that magic. Follow my other artwork on Instagram at @achxu as I delve into different subconscious thoughts and explore them through my paintings.

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. Blueprint reserves the right to re-publish submissions in print or online. Opinions in Blueprint are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Blueprint’s management, Blueprint, WLUSP, or WLU. Blueprint is created using Macintosh computers running Adobe Creative Suite.



No One Tried AMANDA LEGER A star went out the other night, and all the while I cried. It suddenly flickered out of sight, and to help it, no one tried. For just a second's pause, the galaxies stopped singing. I heard it scream in evil’s claws, heaven echoed with its ringing. Then the angels flew about, and birthed a brand-new star. "It's not the same!" I tried to shout, but the heavens were too far.







Illusion suffering again tantalizing cycle how long will you try to fight it why won’t you let me in home trust safe your arms around me energy between us look into my eyes intensity between us is ďŹ re then you disappear where do you go are you running from me Us time is what you ask for what about what i need are you and i Just an illusion WINTER WILLOW MEAVE


Too good to be true And yet not entirely unattainable Far far far Across an avenue of stars One can spy the silhouette of the city A city of hues and starlight Selavir, it is named. A place, perfectly balanced Blanketed in peace Soothing and rich scents float by Within its streets and its gulleys Extraordinary views, That can entice you into capturing itKeep the image within you, around you forever The city emanating beauty all round, In varying degrees Its lord and lady no further away from its description Thoughtful and kind, Yet powerful and protective ’Tis a dream cities across the multiverse aim to achieve, A level of energy full of laughter and riot, And quiet warmth Inspiring and mind numbing, Its ways are animated A theory made reality, In sense and activity. Seems so distant and unachievable, The simple values and tasks A theory made reality, Cherished by all who know of it A people with such balance of warmth and protection Ready and equipped. A community which will offer you a spot, Where you can belong and express as you wish, To your desire A theory made reality, Unbelievable and mystical To have experienced it, Is as lucky as you can be. Safe travels!

To those who can make the journey





Mermaidian Nights TYRA FORDE

Two then one harbour side sea king and queen swimming. Seconds, minutes es cape obscure limbs ad here hours. Sweat clings to spent bo dies the gale sings plea sure past. The daybreak larks de light in the mourning lovers. The nightingale’s har money is near price less now. A river of dis tense to restart jour knees weak. Different lives, a point meant, last time un known now. Until they meet a gain not soon forgot ten nights. One then two harbour side tales sail from a fair past. Still current.




Lucid Dream DOMINEQUE BARBARO Moonlight seeped through the shutters While shadows swallowed me whole The air was thick and silent The sky was black as coal I rose and walked to the window I pulled on the long satin drapes I fell and my scream did not echo A tunnel I couldn’t escape I spun through the air. I was falling Gravity kept me in flight A vortex of symbols and spirals A whirlwind of colours and light I finally fell to the bottom I landed right back in my bed Sunlight seeped through the shutters Shadows danced in my head



Time DESIREE STREEF Time is a relative word. It’s just a measurement of how we spend our life, keeping us in a cycle of the same routine, over and over again until we die. The routine is continued by a younger you because, let’s face it, we’re all dolls controlled by Time. I don’t want to be measured by Time Feel as if I’m running out of Time I have all the Time in the world. Society doesn’t want you or anyone to see that, no. From ages 0-4, you’re a baby getting away with anything, ages 4-18, you’re a student; the young student, the middle school student, the high school student. From ages 19-25, you’re the young adult that’s expected to have your life figured out. You’re to be successful and become a slave to society until you die. This thing called Time; we’re all slaves to it. We live our lives by it. Year after year. It’s all the same. What most people don’t see is it’s killing us all slowly with the pressure of life; with the expectations that everyone wants us to live up to. It’s unbearable. Either you fake your way through it or you don’t, and you give up. I tried my hardest and you damn well know I gave it all I had, but I’m so incredibly tired. I want to sleep and not wake up. I want to feel alive instead of just living, floating through life as if it’s the only way to survive. Hey, maybe it is. Maybe there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe it’s all an illusion. I like to swim because I know that I’m floating and if I want to, I can stop Time underwater. I can scream as loud as I can and no one will hear me, though that’s what it’s like in life. I scream and scream and scream, and no one can hear me. They all watch me drown, right in front of their eyes, and no one can help. They can try to understand as much as they want but they can’t help. They can’t make it stop. They can dry the tears, but my cheeks are permanently wet. They can drug me, but my insides are rotted. They can make me wear the mask of happiness, but underneath, it’s always a frown. When I float, I feel myself drifting away. Slowly. Inch by inch. I know that I can never get that part of myself back. Why? Because Well, because Time took it – and when Time takes what it wants, good luck trying to get it back.



goddess magic MARIA SAYDE

they want us to stop dreaming to stop believing they try to convince us that the stories of our ancestors are long tales created by short men

the goddesses do not carry magic they shout as their voices shake behind the lies but little do they know we are the goddesses we carry the magic we tell the stories because we are the stories





First Night

The distant drum pounds MANAAL AZHAR to the rhythm of my heart The woods, they call me with their sounds The city life I depart As I go searching for those starry skies That will guide me to her As I acknowledge the ties To our mother Driving me deeper into the shroud The swell in my chest making me feel proud Knowing now there’s nothing worth fearing Invoking her name as the moon hits the clearing Artemis. Artemis. Artemis. The drums, not so distant now Swell to a fortissimo And I know I’ll never be the same again.





The Wedding

Everyone in the room seems more confused than ever. The priest is shivering with excitement. He reminds AusAMICHAI ABRAHAM tin of a dog with rabies. “This church, the altar, all the benches with your so-called family and friends, you two and your Walking down the aisle is a blur. Austin looks around the ‘love,’ myself. It’s all a farce, a great sham. Even me exposing church at all of his friends and family. “It’s like a beautiful fairy all of this information has been meticulously planned for the tale,” says the priest. Austin smiles and looks outside. Not a enjoyment of the reader. This? It’s all just a story, part of the cloud or sun in the sky. It’s perfect. Then she comes. The room game.” rises. The organ sings. Thinking of her as an angel is no longer “Father, have you taken your proper medication?” metaphorical. She really does look like she belongs in heaven. Austin asks. Austin takes the time to reminisce on his luck once again. Him? “Alright Austin, you’re so sure you’re a real person? With a girl like her? Never in his wildest dreams. As much as he You’re so sure that I’m bonkers? Some loony? Well, perhaps can’t believe it, Hilda loves him just as he does her. Their love is you’re right. Just please tell me, how did you arrive at the as real as anything else in their lives. She comes down the aisle. church today?” To Austin, she looks like she’s floating. It’s almost like she isn’t “Father, please! I beg you to stop. You are ruining my there at all. The priest snickers. Austin is about to ask what’s so wedding!” funny when Hilda arrives. Her wide blue eyes stare at Austin’s “Sure, sure,” says the priest, “Just tell me, how do you dark brown ones with endless glee. The organ finishes its set remember coming to church today? What color car were you and the audience sits down. The priest shuffles his notes until he in? Or were you in a limousine? Motorcycle? Maybe rode your finds where he’s supposed to start. bike?” Austin pauses, he can’t remember anything. Not the “We are gathered here today to bear witness to the vehicle he arrived in or if he has ever ridden in a vehicle. He blessed marriage of Austin Altman and Hilda Stevenson.” The can’t recall who he is, what the world is and what events led couple smirk at each other. He loves her so much. Austin didn’t him directly to this point. “You see, you don’t remember. You know it was possible to love someone this much. The priest goes can’t recall anything that happened before you were getting on. “They shall be blessed in this union to have and-” The priest ready to go down that aisle.” Austin is speechless. begins chuckling. Austin and Hilda chuckle along. It’s a happy A concerned Hilda holds Austin’s hand. “Are you ok, day. “Sorry.” The priest stammers, returning to his standard Austin?” Tears run down her face. Austin runs down the aisle composure. “Yes, in sickness and-” The priest can’t hold it in to the grand church doors and flings them open. He looks anymore. He bursts out laughing like some sort of deranged outside. There’s no road or trees, or grass or earth, anything. clown. He has to hold onto Austin just to avoid falling over. There’s nothing, empty blue void. The church begins crumAustin keeps laughing awkwardly. It’s not so funny to Hilda bling. The family and friends have disappeared as the story anymore. His eyes are bulging, his face now resembles a cherry begins to fall apart. The priest is running for one of the newly tomato. He’s howling so much that he has begun to cry. “None formed holes in the wall just as Hilda calls out “Wait!” The of it is real!” The priest blurts. priest stops. “What do we do?!” she sobs. “What the hell is he saying?” an annoyed Hilda ex The priest gives that Cheshire cat smile again. “You claims. only have half a paragraph left. The story can only be two “None of it is real!” The priest yelps. He gets uncompages total, after all. I’d advise you to enjoy your ‘wedding.’” fortably close to Hilda’s face and grabs her by the shoulders. “It’s Austin comes running back as the priest jumps out of the all make-believe, a complete fantasy!” story. Enraged, Austin pulls the priest by his thin white collar In the ruins of the church, Austin and Hilda look at off of Hilda. “Are you trying to say something about my mareach other with tears in their eyes. They both shout, “Reader!” riage?” Austin elaborates. “Only you can save us, Reader! Put the The accusation is met with more laughter. “What marstory down! Let us exist, please!” His words fall on deaf ears as riage?! This is just a short story for some Canadian university the church continues to crumble. literary journal! I think it’s called Redmint or some-” “Please, Reader!” Hilda begs and cries. “Why do “He’s crazy!” Hilda announces to the crowd. “Someone you want to kill us?! Why don’t you care?!” Still, the church call 911.” crumbled around them. You know how this ends. Why keep “Oh, I’m just as well off as the rest of you, scum,” the reading? Am I really the cruel one? There’s no room for a priest interjects with a changing of complexion. The snickering happy ending. Still reading? Well, if you insist. continues, he just can’t help it. “You all don’t get it!” The priest Austin and Hilda stare at each other and kiss. Debris tries to explain now to the whole church. “We’re all characters in is falling everywhere and will soon kill them and end this a story, a fictitious tale!” horrible tale. Austin stares deeply into Hilda’s wet blue eyes because he’s sure what he’s about to say is ‘true’ no matter what: “I love-”


On the Airplane MANAAL AZHAR

A shadow on the airplane; he says his name is Peace; He hums cheerfully, while I open my eyes from sleep. The stars on top of us glint in the darkness of the cabin, They start to flicker; they’ll fade soon. The cabin shakes against the cold air of the sky, I clutch the armrest, and hold on to Peace for a bit. I watch a film in shaky darkness, the woman next to me breathes Loudly. Finding peace in the sky is far too grim. Eleven hours and stuck in a warring world, My mind is clouded; it imagines another place. The airplane shakes one last time; Peace holds on to me And tells me to shut my eyes. I become still, and … Darkness in the sky, the stars don’t fade yet. I look over; Peace is gone, and so am I.




solid ground


When you smile the world doesn’t stop. I’m spinning around on a carousel of it-doesn’t-really-matter and I’m watching you laugh but it’s not in slow motion. When you kiss me from the horse you chose to sit on (brown, with a black tail and sky-blue saddle) you taste like gum and barbeque sauce and I shy away from the sticky sensation. If I’m dizzy later it’s from the up and down and up and down of that horse while my mind runs circles around you your windswept hair looking wild and messy your sweater that doesn’t fit quite right around the sleeves and not because you swept me off my feet. But I love you with each up and each down not halfway but fully. In real-time, on solid ground your rough and calloused hand in mine in the fairground of our lives where you’ll lose me in the crowd sometimes but turn around to find me waiting by that horse (brown, with a black tail and sky-blue saddle) smiling as the world bustles on around me.



Beholden to this lotus eating planet abetted the love I give. Sweltering, hellish granite without a derivative.

The tarot priest’s prophecy; venusian energy manifests itself preying on adoration and beauty. So, Venus I thank thee; heart was closed and hidden on a shelf. My water’s fixed, and the twins I see.

















My girls. Think of my girls. Float back home to my girls. I relax. I’ll watch over them their whole lives. I’ll

Anni Annihilation DEBORAH L. JONES “I’m the only one making an effort here, Anni,” he states, bluntly. He’s wrong. I am trying really hard. I’m just failing. Dazed, I crawl into bed – willing unconsciousness, longing for annihilation. It does not come. Annihilation. Is it possible? an·ni·hi·la·tion


1. complete destruction or obliteration. 2. PHYSICS the conversion of matter into energy, especially the mutual conversion of a particle and an antiparticle into electromagnetic radiation. It even contains my name. Anni Annihilation. Sounds like a super-hero. Or an anti-hero. My Self and my antiSelf playing chicken – running at full speed right into one another; colliding, and exploding in a burst of electromagnetic radiation that rocks reality. Flame to Flame. Ashes to Ashes. Dust to Dust. Particle to antiParticle. Matter to antiMatter. Beautiful oBlitzeration. The stuff comic books are made of. Perhaps that’s my big idea. But, what about the energy that’s released? Where does it go? Where, indeed. My eyelids close. Dark dreams. Like the sleepwalker I am, I head across our dark backyard. An orange extension cord drapes over my arm. The weight of a concrete block strains my shoulders. At the deep end of our pool, I sit down crosslegged, deftly securing the cord to the block and my ankle.

Don’t pause. Don’t think. Don’t consider the temperature of the water. For once in your life, don’t dawdle.

I pick up the block, take a final breath, and drop into the pool, sliding gently past the torn pool cover, down the wall of the deep end. The block sinks. Icy water penetrates my pyjamas, my skin. Shocking cold. Bubbles rise. My eyeballs sting and throb. Dark shapes of detritus hang in the murky water. A tiny bloated frog sprawls in suspension; apparently, it didn’t need a concrete block. Stillness. How long is the space between breaths? A short eternity. Uninvited thoughts. I didn’t leave a note; doesn’t even the most pathetic of suicide committers leave a note? I don’t have a will. I didn’t tell my daughters I love them. I picture the remnants of my bloated, decaying body. Will I ruin the pool? I should have chosen the creek; I could have fed the fishes. Yet again, I prove that I can’t do anything right. I need to get out. I jerk forward, grabbing the cord. My lungs fill with icy water. Bubbles escape my open mouth – little encapsulated screams. My body thrashes convulsively.

protect them. Stay with them forever. I am under the covers, snuggled into the warmth of my daughter’s little body. I am spinning up, high above the trees, toward the stars. I am floating in blackness, in the space between. A mattress materializes under me. My hands stretch out, under a sheet – damp, no, wet. So cold. I grab the corner of my pyjama top and squeeze, feeling water dribble onto my hip. So hot. A voice: “You have a high fever. Just rest.” Days later, I sit up in bed with my laptop open at the ‘funeral preferences’ section of an online will kit. I had considered a ‘green burial’ – bacteria digest your flesh in a vat, disintegrating it down to primordial ooze. Then, they bundle up your bones and plant them under a tree. Now, global warming or not, I choose fire. Burn me. Preferably on a pyre under the stars, while people dance around it. Hell, I’d take burned at the stake over anything that creates little slimy bits, but I’ll settle for a crematorium with a good carbon filter. My husband enters. “What are you doing?” I grit my teeth. “Writing my will.” “We have a will,” he states, perplexed. “You should be resting. The neighbours brought a pot of soup. And they asked if you’d sign their copy.” He smiles sardonically, dropping a soft-covered book onto the bed. I stare at the cover. A female superhero holds a broom and the title, in bold kaboom-like letters: Anni Annihilation. My own name spans the bottom. As if to escape the incomprehensible, I rise to stand at the window overlooking our backyard pool, bleak in the autumn chill. Gone is the flimsy blue tarp, torn at the corner. A taut, dark-green cover spans the entire pool, overlapping the edge by a foot, and secured by heavy stainless-steel fasteners. It looks strong enough to walk across. I stand transfixed. The will. The book. The pool. This is not my life. This is a different reality. Somehow, I jumped to a different timeline. But, how? Love. I thought of my daughters. I willed myself to float back to them. Somehow, I left that pool, that life, for this one. In this timeline, I got out of the pool. No, in this timeline, I never

entered that pool.

Yet, I remember it. I pause. There is a reality in which I drowned in that pool. No, not ‘I’, ‘she.’ She drowned in that pool. I did not. It means that that person, in that timeline – the one who failed at everything – is dead. Matter to antiMatter. I am alive. Energy released. I

am peering into that timeline, watching all evidence of her melt away. Whoever she was, she was not me. Death is her illusion, not mine. All that emotional baggage – those missteps, mistakes, misgivings, were not mine. They died with her. They disintegrated with her. Anni Annihilation. The density lifts. The energy remains. I am reconstructed.




Shadows Even when I walk alone you follow close behind A place that’s far away from you is one I cannot find. Your presence is infallible you’re never out of sight You have a way to create darkness even in the light. Regrets of the mistakes I made still haunt me to this day Standing close behind me you ensure they never stray. I sense your being watching me in everything I do Yet when I turn around I can see everyone but you. It’s only just as evening falls that I begin to dread I lie alone but see your figure right beside my bed.




Blue I’m all about the people, People from the club or the gloryholes. Gloryholes are great places to meet interesting fellas Fellas like David or Mark, real standup men, Men after my heart, smitten by my skills, Skills I flush to talk about when I’m in decent company. Company is hard to come by though sometimes, Sometimes looking at you as if you’re from an alien world. Worldwide it’s all the same, “undecided” some screech, Screech into their phones or at you in the bar. Bar the good people who can look past all of that, That small minority who can see me for who I am.


But, enough about all of that. Now, all about my nights, Nights spent cruising around in all my best, Best shirt, best shoes, best attitude. Attitude is hard to have sometimes especially after... After a tough night with a guy who kicks you out when he’s done, Done using what he wanted. It makes me sick. Sick bro, you got us in! That’s the gig, Giggling and grinning along throughout the night, keeping it real, show the depth, Depth hidden by all that brazen attitude outside. Outside I usually bum a smoke or get bummed but again, Against that deep little tick, I just keep on going. Going for the whole exciting night.

Out here, I’m bathed in electric mercury light, Light that really makes my blue eyes pop. Popping blueberry bubblegum is a good way to get attention, Attention in a place like this is important because it helps, Helps you stand out from a crowd and gives you a childish naughty edge. Edges are often one of my favorite places, helps to signal to guys, Guys interested that is, that I am too, as we lock eyes, Eyes that are somewhat accentuated by the cocking of an eyebrow, Eyebrows so expressive and black that draw them in, In close and around that brick corner to change that gum for something. Sometimes it’s sweet, sometimes sour but it always smells different than smokes, Smoke used to obscure the act or gum to freshen up for the next one.

Inside the space, it’s a roaring jungle of sounds, Sounds accentuated by all the feet and shouts and cries. Crying is something you can’t do here, not even in the bathrooms, Rooms are always occupied in some way. So, I never do it, not here anyway. Ways to get noticed in the jumping, beat-drop obsessed crowd? Damn man, Man, it’s hard sometimes to even catch a glance in that thriving jungle. Jungles, real ones I mean, at least have animals making mating calls, Calls here are all a mess and sounding over each other with the beat Beating down everything else. But yes, the jungle, the vines of hair, Hairy arms as branches or the grasping hands of tree monkeys. Monkeying around is possible, even in this crowd and the little thrill, Thriller playing, is enough to rip me back into the spirit.

I’m all about the people, old, young and new, New to this, me, and my world. Because, when daylight comes, Comes hard and fast sometimes, it’s often back to the same old grind. Grindr usually lights up my phone by interested parties but that all dies, Dies hard when I tell them just what I’m like. Ah well. Well is something I’m not though most mornings, looking at these texts. Texts which assume, which make me question what I do when… When I like girls too. But, I just need to be social in my own way. Ways that some find odd but others are attracted to, Too often sometimes but I get out of all that with ease. Easy there, calm down is what I tell myself, God made you, You are you and nothing should change that. HARRISON EDGAR




House of Mirrors The shadows in the house of mirrors know who you are. Who you love, who you hate, who you admire, who you relate to, who you lust for, who you pray to push off the precipice. That’s who you are at every angle. The shadows in the house of mirrors know what you did. Dizzily dreaming in the daytime. Sighing shyly in the secret shade. Toppling trickery in the twilight. Fantasizing phantoms in the gloom shrooms. Deceiving in the dark dusk of dead rooms. That’s what you see when you look at yourself. The shadows in the house of mirrors know when it’s time. Time to trust, time to manifest, time to listen, time to nurture, time to lead, time to teach, time to love, time to move, time to control, time to seek, time to flow, time to detach, time to observe, time to release, time to balance, time to master, time to rebuild, time to heal, time to confront, time to shine, time to blossom, time to embrace. That’s when you start tapping the glass. The shadows in the house of mirrors know where it’s at. Just east of the emptiness. South of the solitude. West of the walls. North of the nothingness. Central to the insanity. That’s where you start to panic. The shadows in the house of mirrors know why you’re here. Why you breathe for the wrong reasons and bleed for the wrong people, and scrape your bones to pledge mercy and burn your soul for the unworthy. Why you turn corners of yourself to hide the parts of you no one wants to see and then you collect the bits of yourself even you don’t like, and toss them into the back of your mind like they don’t matter and continue to fall into the same toxic pattern.

That’s why you keep running. Left, right, forward, backward. Haven’t you been here before? Up, down, in and around but you’re still stuck in the smoky house of mirrors, where all of you blocks you, locks you in, clocks you on the head and knocks you down again. When the light refracts, you’re fragmented. Can you ever get you back? The shadows in the house of mirrors know how you feel. Sad, isolated, helpless, hopeless, afraid, strong, lonely, lustful, stagnant, dedicated, passionate, joyful, stable, anxious, defensive, exhausted, regretful. That’s why they keep chasing. When you run into another mirror and they almost touch you, that’s when they’re winning. When you get in your own way, that’s when you’re losing. The shadows in the house of mirrors know what you think about. Breaking from bad bedmates. Determining death’s door. Expecting endless evil. Flirting with friendly faces. Guessing at guaranteed goodness. Loving lustful liaisons. Mourning the morning after. Realizing ripping remorse. Seeing someone’s secret taking its toll. Telling thoughtful truths. Understanding underappreciation. Think about how the shadows catch and consume you. How the mirrors become clogged with your own breath until you can’t see yourself. How the shadows grab you in fog and wrap you in mist until you can’t smell freedom. How they clog you in smoke and reach into your throat until you choke on your own voice. How they fill your mouth with blood and wine until you can’t taste anything but fire. How they buzz in your ears in whispers until you can’t hear anything but their static. How they pull and push at you, and rip at your skin until you can’t feel anything but pins and needles. Are you going to shatter the glass? RACHEL PANICO



They entered the mountain caves, determined to find the dragon. It was one of the last of its kind and its death would make all the members of the team into legends. They spent hours walking through the damp darkness, and then the dry darkness before finally, the cold darkness. They gripped staffs, swords and polearms in hand, led by magical light generated by the most skilled mages among their party. They felt the weight of this place, the sheer power of the stone above their heads, but they were supreme. They were infinite. They would prevail. Then, they came to a chasm, so wide and deep their lights did not seem to help them. From the darkness far above came a twinkling. Lights moved to seek it out but the winking sliver in the darkness faded as quickly as they had seen it. So, they made the bold choice to snuff their lights and wait within the crushing dark.

The circle above their heads paused and then smirking laughter filled the vast space, filling their ears and minds before there was a massive surge of pure white energy, and everyone was blinded with a cry. When each awoke, they were in light, home in bed, tended to by beloved wives, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, parents. The breeze was sweet. The sun was just rising. All was pure and fine. Food was had, or some stayed within their beds. Games were played, or some went out to walk their grand estates. All was right and fun, all was pure and joyous, all was just a dream. Far above, Ulls’riss watched her latest toys, ensnared in illusions of light and pleasure she knew would leave them vulnerable to be led away to their deaths throughout her vast system of caves. She had been around for so very long, and yet, she never tired of it. “Feuuen!” she suddenly heard, and she turned only to find her gleaming body blasted with a deep heat.

She gave a shriek and retreated, for she was formidable, but her Minutes passed. The silver appeared again, alongside others, silver scales were weak. and slowly a long, shimmering form slipped down from the ceiling toward the party, lacking proper form but appearing “How?? How did you escape??” she angrily demanded as around like a serpent. her, from her horde of wealth, shards of splintered glass and crystalline reflections emerged and began to whirl as she prepared “You seek silver majesty...yet are you prepared to find tarherself for battle. nished trash?” came a slippery, whispered voice. The shape from the ceiling now encircled them in the air above their The mage before her smirked and she could feel the answer before heads, a slowly coalescing circle of glinting light. he said it. “Because I desire none of the purity you gave to them...I “Come out beast...your illusions do not frighten us!” came the arrogant shout from one mage within the party.

only desire the shadows~.”

I spun through the air. I was falling



THE MASK OF REBIRTH @ANDIANDCO How does it feel to grieve your own death? It’s no different than taking your first breath. For the cry of a newborn bears the pain of exile, Expulsion from the motherland, into a world cold and hostile. The first of a lifetime of separations we did not concede to, The seed of an endless longing for a home to recede to. But the line is a wheel, a perpetual spiral, And an end only marks the beginning of a new cycle. The beginning of a new era, a new world and existence, In exchange for old skin, the old ways of fear and resistance. So don’t let those empty sockets beguile, Because it’s Life parading behind that mischievous, bony smile.



Penning Down History NIYOSHI SUMERA You want me to rely on those fragile ink patterns, That lead in the making – of a loathed syllabus. All over the world, that is shifting in its shape. Its colors, inducing mirage-like trance.


Their reign will end as bitterly as the sun’s It being wielded unjustly, on the poor and worthy. For crying out loud, these marks own a shroud.

And enough has been said, enough deceit, enough delusion; enough to be afraid of bobbing toward the other side, where the thicket of unknown pleasures and treasures, call upon those who know – no better; no lesser; Of the fangs disguised as elegant columns An enticing & charming welcome

Paranoia EKJYOT SINGH Follow up, don’t let down Wear a smile on this face of frown. Paranoid yet still alive, it stands tall While swiping out of the courtesy call. Deceptive and fake, that’s crystal clear Standing suicidal at the pier. Shake it around, pop up the cork Suck in the soul with a torque. Almost there, yet far away Nothing swings in its fray. Hands out, begging for love Shower some now, it just passes it up. Dawn awaits, for a day newly worn Out of the thoughts, the new one’s born. Waking up by the storm amidst disdain As beautiful as it is, it’s gone again.

It’s a rollercoaster ride, sway around hard Buries its thoughts where they are barred. Wake up, it’s a new day Time to question this life of decay. Lights hit so hard, reflects its shadows Shadows to what lay in the unknown meadows. Creeps around, freaks the soul out Cork pops up, another roundabout. Tick-tock it says, the sound before it explodes Hallucinations all the way, greetings it bestows. Out of breath, out of its mind Let the heat go before it goes blind. Aching stomach and chills throughout Giving in it said, going all out. Pull out the cords, he’s wide awake Paranoid no more, mind’s still at a break.




I awake from a dream, startled. There’s a noise. There’s someone in the house. Someone is breaking in. I can hear their footsteps. I am not alone. His heavy frame sleeps next to mine but the sleeping pills have set in and so I might as well be. Footsteps.  Do they come just to steal or did they come to kill? If I hold my breath, will they think I’m dead? Will they just leave as though someone has already taken me out? In just one moment my life is put into the hands of a stranger. How did they get in? The front or the back door? All the windows are locked. I can hear them.  Footsteps. I press my hand against him and he doesn’t stir. I’m not sure why they give sleeping pills strong enough to sleep through such an invasion. This is going to come down to me. I have to defend. I crabwalk to the end of the bed, put my legs on the floor. I can hear my heartbeat. I sneak off the end and walk quietly to the bedside table. I open the drawer and grab the flashlight. He had put it in the drawer so he could defend and now he sleeps. I turn it on and it blinds me. I wonder if it will do the same to the intruder. I put my hand on the door. This is my fortress, after all. It is my castle. I have no choice. I can fight.  Footsteps.  I put my hand on the door and I start to count, building up the courage to open the door. 1…2…3… - Footsteps.

I can’t do it. I’m too afraid.


You can do this. Count again.

1…2…3… I open the door. I shine my light to the back door. Footsteps. Nothing. Footsteps.

I shine my light to the front door.

Footsteps. Nothing. Footsteps. The house is small. I can see everything but the bathroom and the second bedroom from where I am standing.



I walk to the bathroom door and open it, shining the blinding light into the dark room. Nothing. Footsteps. I walk to the second bedroom and something drips onto my head. I panic. What could be dripping on my head? In the commotion, I don’t realize my sock has found its way into a puddle on the floor. Drip.

There’s a leak.

Drip. A hole in the ceiling with water droplets landing on the floor in a rhythm that sounds like someone walking.

Footsteps turn into drips. It’s weird what a tired mind can turn into footsteps.





We’re sitting underneath the bridge and I’m trying to listen to the cars drive by above. The small body of water that was once an endless sea meekly stretches out around us. When I was younger, this was my oasis. I learned how to swim here. I fell in love here. This was where Greg took me to tell me I was the ugliest girl in our grade. I fucking hate Greg. He was wrong. Why I let the boy who willingly rammed his head into the chalkboard because he didn’t think it would be “that hard” dictate my self-worth is beyond me. I’ve since forgiven Greg because I know he’s just jealous that I won the scholastic decathlon. He was disqualified for farting on the stage and yelling a passionate declaration of his love for gas. We’re sitting underneath the bridge and I’m trying to listen to the cars drive by above. Greg won’t shut up. I gave him some water and kumquat slices, but he’s still complaining. As he screams into the abyss, I can’t hide my smile. No one will hear him.


Profile for Blueprint Magazine

The Illusions Issue  

People are the world’s greatest illusions. This is why Blueprint Magazine believes in the power of art. Through their paintings, drawings,...

The Illusions Issue  

People are the world’s greatest illusions. This is why Blueprint Magazine believes in the power of art. Through their paintings, drawings,...