The Wonderland Issue
Volume 17, Issue 2, October 2017
VOLUME 17 ISSUE 2 OCTOBER 2017
The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper. W.B. YEATS (1865-1939)
Gathering The Naiads
i am that i am
The Green Man On The Sealing
When Alice fell down the Wishing Well
What a Glorious Day
Rhinos Can Surf on Kites
You are a garden...
The Girl Who Drank The Stars
AMANDA SCHEIFELE HARRISON EDGAR MANREET LACHHAR
JOHN GARFIELD MCMORRAN A.J. ACEY
JOHN GARFIELD MCMORRAN CORA VANESSA HAVEN STEPHANIE SILVA
SHYENNE MACDONALD STEPHANIE SILVA
Welcome to Wonderland
Remember that You Will Always Love Me
MADELINE MCINNIS ELIZA HEENEY B.K. MÉNARD
Beware the Jubjub Bird
We Have Dreamt of UFOs for One Hundred Fifty Million Years
JOVANA DJERMANOVIC REBECCA ALLISON
Valice Dressed in Vantablack
Stardust: A Tangent
Where Do You Want To Go?
KIMBERLY CHUNG KOURTNEY REICH
EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Manreet Lachhar email@example.com
Production Manager Camille Dehghan firstname.lastname@example.org
Literary Editor Stephanie Silva email@example.com
Art/Photography Manager Madeline McInnis firstname.lastname@example.org
Promotions Manager Sophia Grande-Lawlor email@example.com
Web Editor Judy Barazi
Intern Kimberly Chung
Brantford Manager Alexandria Clément firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca Allison, Kimberly Chung, Alexandria Clément, Jonathan Collie, Camille Dehghan, Eliza Heeney, Manreet Lachhar, Madeline McInnis, John Garfield McMorran, Victoria Parker, Amanda Scheifele, Stephanie Silva, Adina Turkonje, ZhiJun Xu
A.J. Acey, Caroline Alpert, Jovana Djermanovic, Harrison Edgar, Cora Vanessa Haven, B.K. Ménard, Shyenne MacDonald, Farhad Omarzad, Kourtney Reich, Emily Sharma, Miles Smith, Preye T.A., Thiranga W.
The Wonderland Issue We’re all a little lost, aren’t we? I certainly am. Every time someone asks me what I’m doing when I finish school, I freeze up. I’m a fifth-year who could’ve (and, some would say, should’ve) graduated last year. I didn’t, because I realized I didn’t really know what I wanted anymore. It was a difficult moment, considering I always saw myself as the person who knew exactly what she wanted. This past summer, still dealing with the fallout of this decision, I was working with a family friend. We were talking, and she was telling me about the idea of saying “yes” to everything — even the things that scared you — and it really struck me. Yes, everyone has limits, and we all need to be respectful of those limits. But this issue is also about trying to test those boundaries. Venturing out into the unknown and taking a chance. Because, really, how else are you going to figure out where you’re going? Believe me, there will be days when the journey surprises you. So I encourage you, don’t be afraid to get lost. Don’t be afraid to say “yes” to the unexpected and to the unexplored. The world is strange and scary, but it is also brilliant and beautiful. Look around. Smell the roses. Fall down that rabbit hole. And dear reader, let’s get lost together. The result, I’m sure, will be wonderful.
ADMINISTRATION President, Publisher, & Chair Andreas Patsiaouros Executive Director Lakyn Barton HR Manager Paige Bush Finance Manager Randy Moore Advertising Manager Care Lucas Web Manager Sam Nabi Treasurer John Pehar Vice Chair Lisa Irimescu Corporate Secretary/ Director Noa Salamon Director Benjamin Cooke Director Alan Li Community Director Rosalind Horne Community Director Hayley H.G. Watson
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
Manreet Lachhar Editor-in-Chief
by VICTORIA PARKER
“Wonderland” has always inspired me to think of worlds that exist beyond the limits of reality. It makes me homesick for places I’ve never been, and hungry for adventure in lands that don’t exist. I’d like to think that the woman in this piece is thinking exactly the same thing, searching for her own Wonderland, far from the comforts of where she came from.
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. 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.
NEXT ISSUE Limitless On stands January 2018
i am that i am SHYENNE MACDONALD
i am; griped wrists choked screams tears, vile and pain girlhood ripped away A nightmare Kept like a secret i am; a mountain emerging from a broken earth courage, beauty and pride something only patience will see A dream Coming into being
Gathering the Naiads AMANDA SCHEIFELE
All around, the breath of trees. They salute. Breathing in. They dance. Breathing out. Is that a face? Is that a finger? Is that a frown I see? We need them. I think you’ll enjoy this. So many in a forest. It’s all the same. Is that an eyelash? They all look alike. Trunks heap upon roots heap upon leaves heap upon twigs. Unlikely. The most common becomes uncommon. Less chosen becomes most. Is that a face I see? Just a face in a crowd. Tonnes — literally — tonnes of maples on this earth. Usually unlikely and somehow or other small. So much Canada. But what about you? Is that a pulse I see? Incredibly normal. But look! A leaf? Nope. No. No no no! Look, really look and you’ll find a burning. It’s pulsing bright. I choose you. Up up up north we go. Harder to breathe. Shorter. Is that a lock? Is that an ear I see? Not really, but still. Look at them all! Snow on snow on branch on snow on snow. Not so much snow around here. Around its roots. Shelter here. Prickly though. Rude. Evergreens. Great trees yet to be considered good. Is that a face I see? Most debatable of the choices. A bear amongst the bark. Mighty but don’t get too close. They bite. Such handsome features though. Such defiance. Such strength. Such arrogance against windy Greenland. Are they tame? Is that a wink I see? Look, really look and you’ll find a heart beating brawny and true. You sure? Yes. I choose you. Down down down we go. Didn’t even notice did you? Is that a flower? Is that grass? Is that a bud I see? After winter. Right on time. Is that a face? Is that a nose? Is that a foot? A light pink rain falls. Slowly. Mirroring autumn. A natural perfume that defies France. Hyperventilating. Cross your legs a minute. Look. An apple tree? No no no! Really look. Is that a brow I see? You want this one? Let me perceive. Are those drifting petals I see? Are those leaves I see? Is that a bunch of apples? No. Wait. Are those skulls? Tragic. Look. Look inside and you’ll find someone a lot like us. Someone else who tries to hide what others might not want to find. To choose, or not to choose? No question. I choose you. Right right right we go now. Is that muscle I see? Is that a tooth? Is that a limb? Is that a fist? Is that a glare? Friends. Friends. Careful. Eyes fiery. Blood spilt. (Oops.) See how he walks? See the lives on his shoulders? He’s taken so many. Colossal. Let him wander. I dare you to stop him. Look at how he treats the babes. Like they’re made of dandelion fluff. Is that a smile I see? Handsome bloke isn’t he? Oaks am I right? Crazy? Maybe. See him in action. Look at him. Bravado. Dare you to say otherwise. Peak inside and you’ll find a volcano. Dormant. Awakened. Look out. I choose you. Left left left over we go. To marshes to giggling to ponds to chuckling to Mississippi to laughing. Is that a toe? Is that an arm? Is that hips I see? Don’t mess with her. Oh I know, I know. No, really, I got slapped the first time. Willows are like that. She’s supercilious. She’s infuriating. She’s always in your grace. She’s adorable. Wait. What?! No. No way. Never. Nu-uh. You’ll savour her eventually. Bells will chime. Just wait. Too late. Look inside and you’ll find splendour mixed with combustion. Wait. Just wait! I choose — wait! — you. Hard to pick so few. So diverse. Had to choose. You and you and you. Could even choose you. Me? Pf. Look inside and you’ll find an ember. Constant. Lustrous. Guidance. Just wait, who knows when they’ll come to choose.
STEPHANIE SILVA I fell asleep on the verge of tomorrow And found myself in a world where Trees overtake city streets And plow through concrete forests Water drops drip upwards Forming icy crystal towers And apples rise from the ashes That puff out of smokestacks. When I awoke it was 2:17am And in two millennia and seventeen years A flower petalâ€™s kiss has never Returned concrete to dust.
The Green Man on the Sealing HARRISON EDGAR
Then one day, a Green Man came. In truth he was not green of skin, for he had no skin, but green flame ran like blood across his bones. Thus, the thralls looked up at such a man and considered him to be a Green Man. He moved slowly, examining the Sealing as he walked above the thralls. The great black expanse reached out well beyond what he could see, and eventually his eyes would turn back toward his intended target. The white path he travelled snaked across the undulating landscape before vanishing off into the darkness once more. From where he stood, the dark abyss was punctured only by an occasional shifting of the mist that covered the Sealing. These gaps revealed a lone thrall or two, as he walked slowly through the growing fields of depression. Those hugging thralls, clutching at themselves, looked up at the Sealing to see the Green Man walking. He carried with him a familiar blade and slowly, most turned away. But the newcomers were interested and were, for once, silent in their minds as they did watch and wonder what the Green Man was doing. He felt their blank and empty eyes upon him as he moved his clippers to and fro, harvesting the massless depression. One hand pruned while his other collected the wisps of darkness before they slipped upwards through the mist. He carried out this task through the middle of the path, at the peak of the Sealing, until his hands grew still. All the while, his walk continued as any walk would: silent, plotted, careful. Some of the depression escaped his grasp. He knew he couldnâ€™t let it grow too much least the Sealing crumble in. But his hands were not fast enough and it got away from him, curling and flitting downward. Some of the thralls sought to catch it, perhaps thinking the depression a blessing from a creature such as he. But the moment it would touch their milky skin, it shot through their bodies, up into their minds and reduced them to the floor to join their brethren. They would immediately sink down like many eventually did, becoming what they trod upon as silent screams wracked their belittled form. At last the Green Man left, and what little unique light his flaming body brought was lost. All thralls returned to their lives of nothing, and the new ones were taught a lesson the oldest ones learned long ago: never catch the blessings from the Green Man on the Sealing.
When Alice fell down the Wishing Well THIRANGA W. oh Alice, whatâ€™d you find in that wishing well when you fell down that dark abyss was it the impossible? did you learn to see in the dark those that had already filed past and those still walking are you aware of the hopes of souls now gone forever dreams that faded away into the dust like orchid blooms crinkled as old tissues, salted dew spread among the blooms time misspent and desires unfulfilled clouding murky depths of the salt water made up of the tears of the brave and cowards alike which washed your face and soothed your fears did it disillusion you? to the fundamental truth that all is one and one is all
Welcome to Wonderland
The birds are all dead here. The sun doesn’t shine here. The wells are all dry here. The waves don’t crash by here. Nothing is right here. Sadness is real here. The cold keeps us warm here. Tears hydrate us all here. Silence wakes up the dogs here. Nothing is right here.
Dreams don’t come true here. Love isn’t real here. Death is your only friend here.
Welcome to wonderland.
“So, how was it?” “Oh man, dude. It was epic.”
I like the sun. I like the feeling of warmth on my skin, when the firebirds have a bet going as to which one will use their feather to spread light today. I like the grass. I like the feeling of the blades tickling between my toes, knowing I step where fairies once battled, where they once danced â€” maybe even simultaneously. I like the trees. I like the little grooves and nestles in them, where tiny goblins have made their home alongside the bees and together, their colonies make honey and mischief. I like the breeze. I like the feeling of the wind blowing past me and knowing the dragons are free up there, flapping their wings and getting into races with the birds. I like the thunder. I like the sound as the raindrops fall against the windowpane because the gods up there are laughing so hard at their practical joke war that they forget to quiet themselves. I like the river. I like the little ripples in the water where the remnants left behind are used by the nymphs as they hold their playful water fights. I like the dirt. I like the feeling of holding it in my hands and letting it fall back to the earth so the trolls can roll it up and throw it at each other like they were snowballs. I like the sun. I like the promise of something greater, grander.
We met. Was he charming? They say that he’s charming. He’s handsome and well-liked. Charming and handsome. I fell. Down. and down and d o w n. Charming, not sincere. Charming, not kind. Charming, not loving. Charming, not mine. And in the end, we both went mad.
We met. Was he weird? They say that he’s weird. He’s strange and peculiar. Weird and strange. He brought me up. Up. and up and . p u Weird, not angry. Weird, not abrasive. Weird, not charming. Weird, mine. And in the end, we lived together happily.
Little Thing ELIZA HEENEY
Oh you sweet little thing: A pudgy starfish on an unmade bed Swimming slowly through the suppertime sun That rolls in from the open window. Your eyes are the size of sand dollars, Green oceans eating up all the creamsicle colours Of your surrounding shores Flat on your back, stubby fingers curl and uncurl around fragrant air. Curious lips fall open into an astonished â€œOâ€? And all the beaches are before you. Sweet little thing Paddling along the silky sheets The waters are deep with unanswered questions Jewel-toned fish with new words wiggle-swim up to say hello, Leaving half finished syllables tucked between your toes. All the words you will ever say Hover in the air like a heat wave Filling my eyes to the brim with their fuzzy glow. And I guess at all the worlds you might know.
Fidelio B.K. MÉNARD
You too? 1:47 AM The opportunity to stare Having been met only with daggers And confidence And vulnerability I love the dull glow of the red light, and watching it rinse your face Tongue commandments Wet, hot A seat for embrace — selfish embrace “I needed that.” I feel like the night time is our time. No nightmares. Just sweet dreams. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” It’s kind of a blessing to be under the same set of stars To be suffocated by the same dull red light I think I appreciate you more than the rain some days End zone Now we touch down I just want to be inside your mind Please let me change your world Me and you Toes curled together Every story is a freckle It’s like a mystery The way that I burn these sheets Turing pages, looking for a… [Soul to Squeeze] What it takes, I’ll be there if the levee breaks And you can think of me when the music moves your body And you are the rain when it washes everything away
Remember that You Will Always Love Me
It was a nightmare. I ran to you like I used to do when you came home Looking for the love that was always there But as I took your hands and looked into your eyes, All you saw, was a stranger
So, I’m afraid it crushed my little heart when quasi you didn’t know quasi me
Fear, terror and horror Only scratch the surface of what I felt After the way you looked at me. Because, the basis of what I know to be love All came from you my beloved.
I screamed so hard I think I scared you But please don’t worry, there’s no need to discuss I hated that place, and that will never be us We will never go there, and it will never find us I, in God’s name, have declared it So, make no mistake And listen to me when I say That there will never be a life where you forget me And there will never be a day Where you do not love me.
JOVANA DJERMANOVIC You’ve consumed my every thought, You are the most beautiful dream. Please, don’t ever, ever leave, Man of my dreams. Is it the light in your eyes, Brighter than dozens of skies That makes me cling to you? Is it the sweetness of your kiss, Your smile, or those lips That lets me trust me in you? Is it the warmth of your embrace, When we’re intertwined, face to face, That softens my soul to you? You live inside of my heart, You’ve torn apart the seams. Please, don’t ever, ever leave, Man of my dreams.
Beware the Jubjub Bird REBECCA ALLISON
Off to kill the Jabberwock. Only colourful words to drive you. You grab your vorpal blade and charge. Your mind weaves images and scenes. The gnashing teeth. The catching claws. Yet the creature walked. Beyond the images it stood. Mimsy were the borogroves. The writer wrote your script. Derived your quest. Out of nonsense came clarity. Determination. The joy of the slain followed. The truth forgotten. The dream remains. The quilt begins anew. A ballad to sing. A battle to adorn. A weapon to brandish.
Stop rehearsing in the garage. Find the space you need. SpaceFinderWaterlooRegion.org
nuisance JOHN GARFIELD MCMORRAN “Nicollette, Steve, it’s great to see you!” “Thanks Liz, by the way, your house is lovely.” “Thank you. Elliot should be down any- Ah, there he is!” “Nicollette, Steve, hope the directions were ok.” “They were perfect. By the way, I was just telling Liz how lovely your house is.” “It keeps the rain off our heads.” “I think it does a little more than that.” The two couples laugh. “Well, c’mon in you two, kick off your shoes, stay awhile,” Elliot invites. Steve and Nicollette step into the foyer of the house where the marble floor is polished to a sheen, and chocolate-coloured wood stretches upward to a vaulted ceiling. “Elliot, what do you think, shall we give them the tour?” Liz asks. “Sure honey, you do it, you’re a better tour guide than I am.” Liz smiles at her husband then sweeps her hand in the direction she wishes the guests to go. Steve and Nicollette follow behind Liz and Elliot, feeling small in the vastness of their friends’ house. Liz conducts the tour like a seasoned professional, pointing out details in every room, but is tactful enough not to sound boastful. The quartet visit the bedrooms upstairs, then the sitting room, library, two offices, kitchen, home theater on the main floor, and finish with the barroom, indoor pool, gym, and billiards room downstairs. “Hey Elliot, where does that door lead?” Steve asks. “There?” Elliot says, jerking his head toward a small door that blends in with the panelled wall so it can only be seen from straighton. “Yeah, what’s that, the wine cellar?” “I wish,” Elliot says. “So what is it?” “Just storage. We won’t go down there, we have so much junk. It’s terrifying.” “Sounds like the shed, huh Steve?” Nicollette says. “Hey, my shed makes perfect sense, I know where to find everything.” “It’s a nightmare,” Nicollette says, to Liz. The group laughs then heads upstairs, Liz leading Nicollette and Steve out onto the patio while Elliot collects drinks for them all. After two hours on the patio watching the sun set over the lake, Steve re-enters the house to use the bathroom. While there, Steve checks his hair in the mirror, and wonders about the little door in the basement. “He says it’s for storage… Really? It looks like a door for a child’s playroom. It doesn’t make any sense.” Steve shakes his head and turns the bathroom’s doorknob, opens the door a crack, then shuts it again. “But what the heck is that door for? I’d have to bend almost in half to fit in there. What sort of architect would design such a thing?” Steve wonders if the door has a lock on it and curses himself for not taking a closer look. “I should go check. It’ll drive me crazy if I don’t find out.” There is no lock. The door is short and slender, just as Steve remembered, but the only thing barring it from being opened is a normal door handle. He tries the handle, and the door swings open, just as it should. Steve smiles, although he doesn’t know why, but his smile
turns sour when the musty odour of whatever is beyond the door reaches his nostrils. “Jeez,” Steve says. He leans forward and sniffs, detecting the stagnant scents of earth and decay. “What the heck is down there?” Steve finds a lightswitch on the wall, flicks it, and a wan glow crawls up the stairs, illuminating wooden planks that descend into the
basement. Steve smiles again. After seeing all the lavish details of the upper levels, he is greedy to explore this hidden ugliness. He crouches down and steps through the door onto the wooden landing, pausing to make sure it holds his weight, then continues down the stairs. The basement is lit by a single ruddy bulb, and when Steve reaches the bottom of the stairs he narrows his eyes, trying to peer into the shadows that coalesce in the corners of the room. There is an old armoire collecting dust against one wall, a stationary bike, a television with speakers stacked on top of it, and a motionless grandfather clock.
“They should really have a garage sale,” Steve says. His voice sounds too close to his ears, the low ceiling swallowing up the sound. Steve walks toward a folded up ping pong table when he hears a scuffing sound behind him. He turns, expecting a rat, but instead sees a terror beyond reckoning shuffling toward him. The monstrosity’s flesh drips from its bones like wax from an exhausted candle;
the eyes are all whites, and the teeth are crooked yellow slabs. “What the-” A cold weight settles on Steve’s shoulder and he leaps, his heart paralyzed in his chest. Steve turns to see a second ghoul, this one’s hair hanging in lank strings about its head, its crooked maw open, and its graveyard breath cold on his face. Steve screams and stumbles backward as the long-haired ghoul clicks its rotting teeth where his neck had been. In his haste, Steve trips over a cardboard box and falls to the ground. As the longhaired ghoul ambles toward him, Steve rolls away from it, and into range of the bald one which grabs his shirt. “Oh god!” Steve cries. He grips his shirttail in one hand, the ghoul’s
wrist in the other, and forcefully separates them, the ghoul’s fingernails snapping loudly as they tear free of its hand. Steve screams again, his terror too great to remain bottled up, then jukes past the long-haired ghoul and thunders up the wooden stairs, bent double but still bounding up the stairs three at a time. He bursts free of the little door, whacking his forehead on the low frame on his way through, and leaves a dusty skid across the marble floor as he slides on his belly. Steve turns to look back toward the door, horrified that the monsters followed him up the stairs, when he sees Elliot casually peer into the low stairwell, lean in to turn off the light, then shut the door softly. “Elliot-” “You alright? Did they get you?” “What? You know about them?” “Yeah. They’re a pain.” “What?” Steve stares up at his friend as Elliot shrugs his shoulders and explains. “We found them when we moved in. They’re hostile but pretty slow moving.” “They tried to bite me!” “Yeah, they do that,” Elliot says. “Why... what... Elliot, how can you live like this?” “It’s a beautiful house in a great location and it’s close to work for both me and Liz.” “It’s haunted!” Elliot flips his hand at Steve, as though batting away his overly dramatic fears. “They’re not a big deal.” “Not a big deal?” “Yeah. They move so slow they’re pretty easy to avoid.” “You… You go down there?” “Rarely. Just when we need some of our old stuff. We’re safe about it though. We always wear good shoes, and have a spotter at the top of the stairs, just in case.” “Just in case they kill you?” “Oh c’mon Steve, you saw them, they’re so slow, it’s like living near a busy street. Be smart about it and you’ll be safe.” “What... but... why not at least have them removed?” “We tried. Did you see Harriet’s head?” “You named them?” “As a joke,” Elliot smiles. “Harriet’s the one with long hair, Joseph’s the bald one. Anyways, one day I went down there with a baseball bat, but it didn’t seem to faze her.” “So, you’re just letting them live there?” “What else can we do?” Steve gapes at Elliot and Elliot offers Steve his hand, helping him to his feet. “Elliot, I… I don’t even know what to say.” “I know. I felt that way too at first. They’re a nuisance, but this is our dream house. It can’t be perfect, right?” Elliot chuckles, then puts his arm around Steve’s shoulders, guiding him back toward the patio.
The Chest A.J. ACEY
CAROLINE ALPERT It took you years to find it — your whole damn life. And now it’s here. Right in front of you. The chest was gilded brilliantly with regal gems, decorated and crafted expertly by ancient masters of an age long lost. It shines mysteriously, producing light as if the gods themselves had touched it, the remnants of their radiance gleaming through the cracks, taunting you forward, beckoning you with sweet temptation. The contents of the chest are all you’ve ever wanted — they’ll solve your problems; they’ll lift your burdens. Everything you’ve ever known has led you here — the anticipation was suicide — but your journey has ended, beyond a doubt, beyond a shadow.
This is it. This is the moment. You stride around the corpses, shift aside the fallen columns, and cry profoundly as a wave of mitigation breaks apart your suffering. You climb the marble steps, placing aching foot affront foot, forcing the remainder of your strength into these final motions.
At last, you lament, it’s over. I’ve done it. Everything will be right again. The sky begins to break and sunlight pours into the temple, blinding you with glorious rays of redemption, refracting as a rainbow off the chest you’ve always needed — the one and only prize for you, the priceless harvest of your labours, the grand fruition of your endless struggle. There it is. Right there in front of you — it’s real! You always knew you’d succeed! You reach to lift its lid, the heavens’ songs begin to rise, illustrious beams of rich, fluorescent colours flood the consecrated hallow like an ocean of angels, claiming victory over time and corruption! You’re drowning in the splendor of your triumphs! But it’s locked. You’ll never know what was in it. For the poet giveth, as the poet taketh away.
What a Glorious Day CAMILLE DEHGHAN What a beautiful day to be alive I think as I spring out of bed and onto the cold hardwood floor beneath me. WOO that’s cold I think, but it’s okay because my body needed a little wake up call! I get dressed in my favourite yellow pant suit and I twirl out of my house (making sure to grab a banana for fuel first) and I make my way to work. The sun is beaming down on me and I feel spectacular. I send my warmest smile and happiest vibes to every person I pass and I give the occasional high-five. Some people respond by flipping me the bird, which I make sure to catch and put in my pocket before giving them a little wink. Life is just fabulous. I burst through the doors of my office building and in a moment of unbridled delight, break out in the chorus of the Bad English song, “When I See You Smile”. It is met with shushing and a variety of rude words that I most certainly won’t repeat, but I don’t care. I opt out of taking the elevator when there is a glorious set of stairs to be climbed. My joyous skipping of steps slowly recedes to a slumped over shuffle, but I successfully make it to the 54th floor! After grabbing some paper towel to stuff in my armpits and dousing myself in the febreeze we keep in the washroom after the last time someone took a ginormous dump (okay, it was me) I head to the massive glass wall of windows facing the breathtaking view of the side of a building. I notice a bright light in the distance and I call out to all my coworkers. I didn’t want to selfishly bask in this beautiful glow, while everyone else was far away from the window in their cubicles. After my perseverant pleas to join me, I finally started to gather a crowd as the light got closer and closer to us. Before I had time to say well Sally Hittinbuggins I think the sun is exploding, the glass window shatters into a billion little shards and hits us all like a slap in the face.
Well dang gummit, I think I’ve died.
JOHN GARFIELD MCMORRAN
What do you see when you see words? I’ll take a wild guess and say that you see black marks on a page that swirl and connect to make recognizable characters. Do you want to know what words really are? They are portals to somewhere else. Where? Who can say? The author has an idea, but it’s you, you dear reader that makes this world come alive. See that rhino? The blue one that’s surfing on top of a kite as it tosses snowballs down on the sunflower castle? Whoa. Did you feel it? That little tug, that little pull of the other world inviting you in? I’m sure you did. An odd sentence like that is nothing if not worth imagining. So, if words are portals to somewhere else, what do we do with them? The answer is, it depends. Some people tiptoe up to them- but retreat whenever that little pull (kite surfing rhino) threatens to drag them further than they are willing to go. Then there are the others. The others are the ones that plant their hands firmly in the dot of an i- because this is where the portals lay, that innocent little dot above a common vowel- and pull their head through to gaze at the world beyond. You peer into the abyss- which can be any colour you like- and observe the marvels of your departure from reality. Leave your cellphones, your uncomfortable shoes, your car payments, and your nattering arguments behind: they have no place here. You gaze into this abyss and drink in all the stimulation your senses can imagine. With the author as your tour guide, come and visit this world. What’s that? You’re nervous to fall in you say? I’m sorry, but if you manage to fall in there is no way out. You will stare back at your other world and all its little obligations from a time and place where rhinos can surf on kites.
ALEXANDRIA CLÉMENT We Have Dreamt of UFOs For One Hundred and Fifty Million Years
My heart has no patience for me. Visions harsh as the desert kept us up at night, but now I sleep like a damn baby. You and me, cowered over the freezing Sargasso. I solve my problems with flights of imagination, but planes crash all the time. We lay back in oyster mantles. A three-chamber heart. You seemed brighter than the moon, and you are. That’s a nice twist. Love is not the origin of enemy – I wonder what you could do to me. The Gulf of Mexico splits open and feeds lines into white quartz. How depressing that our 150 million will end, and how depressing it will end.
You know, I was just afraid of your lipstick, that’s all. I asked Shame to leave but – you know.
My heart has no sympathy for me. Lights bright as the Dog kept us up at night, but now I can even sleep with the TV on. You and me, open sea, Greece and Sicily. I got the bright idea to take a shot in the dark – isn’t that funny? Or is it strange? We lay back over perennial violets. A six-day insomnia. I got a soul to sell, and it’s goin’ cheap! You don’t want to miss this! I had a dream I could remember and it goes like this: The earth was barren and the sea was warm. How funny that our 150 million will end, and how funny it will end.
So, I was afraid God, or my mother, would see your kiss. Isn’t that funny? Or is it strange?
My heart has nothing for me. We’re sharing drinks in Dodge City, but the rushing reminds me of an impossible dream. You and me, mighty green, Mytilene. Don’t pray for me; pray for yourself – you need all the help you can get, don’t you know that? I look away from an unfortunate fall. Fifty-five acres of hyacinths. If there is a good God after all, He’d say: “You really think that’s a good idea?” This is not the origin of enemy – I crashed that plane to give you extra time. Silence is golden, but gold’s worth nothing at all. How cruel that our 150 million will end, but how sweet it will end.
So, I took Shame with me, but his French isn’t so good no more. That’s a nice twist.
You are a garden... I was small, a little creature fluttering about, just trying to get my bearings. But you. You are a garden, bursting at the seams with life. How graceful the petals of your flowers grow. How kind are the critters that inhabit any part of you. How splendid the sun shines on your thorns. Oh, your roses are so pretty when you warn me how sharp they prick. So gently they leave scars on you and me both, but if I have to share scars with anyone, I love that it’s you. You don’t understand it, do you? You will never claim monsters – they are small, misunderstood creatures, like you once were, like I once was – but you proclaim your being and everything you built as their lair. Here be monsters, you yell, I keep them safe here, and you mean it. This is a routine crisis, and yet you wash each of them in pond water like it’ll wash away your sins. You did it as if you could take away mine. You remind me of apple fritters, in all their delightful misshapen glory. Something warm and good in the unlikeliest of places, something that elicits breaths of awe. You love drawing those breaths, as though they come from you yourself. And in a way, they do. To you, oxygen is a gift and you love to keep giving, giving, giving until your own lungs give out. And then, every time, you start anew. There are no tea parties with mouses and mercury, no rabbits with their coats and their clocks. All there is: me, trying to believe what you thought of me, and failing to really articulate what I want. But all I have are strange metaphors to try to tell you that you are home to me. CORA VANESSA HAVEN
The Girl Who Drank The Stars STEPHANIE SILVA
here once was a girl who ensnared the world in her gold-spun locks of hair. Though beautiful indeed, behind the aurelian mask she wore for a face the girl was hollow. The lusterless masses of her kingdom and beyond tried in vain to please their insatiable princess. When she asked for riches beyond that of any man, they showered her in coin and drew her baths of molten gold. When she sought power greater than that of the greatest king they stacked the thrones of all the kingdoms so that she might sit upon them all. The girl was even given whole hearts of the whole-hearted to taste for breakfast, but there was nothing and no one on earth that could satisfy her. Her gilded eyes were transfixed only by the stars. Perhaps, thought the girl, drinking those glorious, luminescent orbs might be enough to fill her empty core
with fire. And so she climbed up earth’s greatest peak and commanded the brightest star to fall down for her. However, so great was the girl’s beauty that the entire heavens bowed. Like a black hole of desire, she ensnared them in her gold-hammered teeth and engorged on the endlessness that was the cosmos. The girl rapidly filled with everything and beyond, and yet all she felt were the empty spaces between the stars. With the whole universe inside of her, she could never again see the sun rise and fall or hear the pure, endless beating of a human heart. The lonely girl desired to return to how she once was, but she could not for she had grown infinite to stretch thin around infinity. Light your eyes upon the sky and the girl’s hollow belly can still be seen in the empty spaces between the stars.
Valice Dressed in Vantablack MILES SMITH I feel the oppressive push of pre-boxed, plastic-smelling propriety As constrictive as the corset-strings the first tale despised Green thumbs grow, cultivate and sew, but fail to reap, Anything than the benefits given to one at birth. For children are just children, nothing more, nothing less, forever the same. In the interdimensional Aetherial bingo that transcends the darkest timeline, One follows the rabbit down a Vantablack hole, I see myself (Strangely as a little blonde girl) Falling down this vortex of regret and emotion, The very walls reflecting the banana peel slip ups Of past present and future, These are mine however, and I embrace them like a cold, dead, friend Stiff, awkward, but full of feeling. I then hit the bottom, and hear the distant horn-tune of the biblical shofar. I follow the strange sound, eyes open and fists clenched. What can be will be, will continue to be, and exceeds strange imagination. What is whimsy to some, cross like the stars, is simple Middle reality to others. But this is it, the final stop on this crazy train.
Stardust: A Tangent EMILY SHARMA
At one point, there was nothing. I’m talking black void-no-planets-not-somuch-as-a-grain-of-sand nothing Until There was a very big SOMETHING And this SOMETHING seemed to be pretty popular, because from him came all these smaller somethings Like bright balls of fire
...and dust But this dust started clumping together And suddenly there were all these rocks floating around Now let’s take a closer look at one of these rocks We’ll call it my favourite rock If you zoom in real close You’ll see tiny, moving things Fast forward a bit and they learn to swim in these bigger things Let’s call them oceans But they get bored, and, stubborn little things they are, they grow lungs And legs And our scaled friends walk up onto land Fast forward again and some drop the scales for fur And some of the furry things drop four legs for two Then fur altogether So then we have hairless, two-legged people
And after a little while in some caves they decide to invent the wheel, Which pushes a little metal ball down the Rube Goldberg machine leading to the pyramids and farming and kingdoms and societies
And one day it will come to an end
and then science and books and travel and electricity
Whether itâ€™s because we fall to some horrible zombie-fuelled apocalypse Or because the universe decided that our time was simply up
from war to famine to cures to charities and even pay-per-view TV We even create the intangible.... Followed swiftly by the word by which we describe them
We and our creations will fade And the creatures will retreat to the oceans And our rock will break up into smaller rocks And then stardust At one point, there will be nothing
Straightjacket Feeling MADELINE MCINNIS He tossed and turned within the confines of his padded cell. He had lost track of the number of the day; he had been like this, stuck in a rut and lost inside the vicious sea that was the waters of his brain. The thoughts sloshed and overfilled, spilling the nerves and negativity everyone was trying to teach him to contain. The more they tried, the worse it got. They didn’t understand what it was like to be him. They didn’t understand the thoughts. There was nothing he could do about his situation and everything was a nightmare. He was drowning in his thoughts — drowning in his fears. He was better here where no one could hurt him. It was safer here where he was alone with his thoughts. He was protected by himself. He was protected by his walls and protected by his doors. Instead of drowning in thoughts, he drowned in his sheets and wasted away the days with a tiredness that could not be shaken. But he had dreams outside of this nightmare. He had ambitions, and he was not going to be held down by his mind and the thoughts it shouted at him. He was going to take his hands out of his pockets and approach the world outside his room. Getting out of his bed would be a task in itself, but each journey takes a hundred tiny steps and several leaps of faith to reach a climax. He was brave, and he was more than these padded walls. He swung his legs out of bed and fought the urge to return. The resistance on his legs was huge, and he debated turning back. The thoughts hit him like a hurricane, shouting and fighting with all the force they had, trying to prevent him from saying no. Trying to prevent him from making a decision for himself. He got up and opened the door. It had always been unlocked. He stepped out into the light. The waves calmed.
ce Dressed in Vantablack
Where Do You Want To Go? To the grand factory surrounded by sour, sensational sweets Creamy chocolate inside coconuts And cotton candy clouds To the mystical forest followed by twelve traveling trolls Ghoulish, groggy gnomes And enchanting, elderly elves To the deadly mountains armed with a shiny, shielded suit Fighting the ferocious falcons And flying off with the prancing pegasus I want to go to a whimsical, wondrous world I donâ€™t want to be controlled in this confined, catastrophic circle Leave me to lavish on my new land KIMBERLY CHUNG
37 FARHAD OMARZAD
The Hunt KOURTNEY REICH The point is, everyone is different, and yet we are all the same. Weâ€™re all searching for that point. We are aching for inspiration, while striving to be perfect. We are consumed by wonder, but limited by fear. Weâ€™re all following each other, but nobody knows the way.