Happy Hour | Issue 7

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“Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender.” —Alice Walker Brown Sugar is an online womanist literary magazine for women, womxn, and womyn of color, of any nationality, sexuality, religion, or cultural diasporas that are misrepresented and underrepresented. This is a platform and space for womanists to take command of their creative expression. We aim to capture and promote the diverse cultures and living voices of women with all kinds of backgrounds and identities through poetry, prose, and art.


Table of Contents 6 Distilled 9 Dream-like 13 You’re My Sacred Space 17 Tuesday 21 At Last

Jeeks Raj Aarani Diana Thalente Ndlovu Aarani Diana Camii Dickerson


8 10 15 20

Sugar Coat Queer Love Flowerbed Sweet Summer Sunset

S. Kavi Zani Sizani S. Kavi S. Kavi

& More

11 16 18 23

What Would Go into a Recipe of You? Brown Sugar Happy Hour Reads Brown Sugar A Classic Happy Hour Recipe Brown Sugar Happy Hour Playlist Brown Sugar


Distilled Jeeks Raj I saw a sandwich board on the sidewalk advertising happy hour from 3-5 pm. It seems so limiting- only 2 hours to give oneself permission for joy. If I could create a happy hour, I would fill it with six score minutes gleaned from my years on Earth, winnowed to glean the treasured best. I would amass distilled moments of precious love, and intangible gifts beyond value bequeathed to me from parents and grandparents cherished memories that well up effervescent, like a sunshine-filled mimosa. Give me memories of my family, cobbled from the nostalgia of tears wiped, passions discovered, meals shared, dragons slayed,


memories created, triumphs celebrated, jokes, and hugs, and kisses, and the familiar banter of friends who know me as well as I know myself. Instead of half-priced appetizers, beers on tap, and trite, cheery platitudes served up with forced bonhomie, after a long day at work, give me authenticity and quiet, a much-needed respite, a chance to recharge by plugging in to my very own happy hour.


“Sugar Coat” S. Kavi


Dream-like Aarani Diana In this early morning purple, I long to sleep again. Perhaps for an hour, perhaps forever. My hair tangled in a gentle disarray, my body warm with rest. I wonder if we’ll meet again, in the hours before dawn. As sleep falls away, like smoke your clarity slowly disappears from my mind. Dew shines, gentle on the grass of my garden, it feels as if years have gone by in the span of a flower blooming. Perhaps I lived a life in my dreams. Though when I saw you, though only for a moment, a longing was unveiled in me. I longed for you through worlds, worlds.


“Queer Love” Zani Sizani


What would go into a recipe of you? 11

"Mocha syrup swirled w/ Baileys, wish of Tequila, splash of Amaretto, and topped w/ Cin. & mint." @thinkingpositive07 "five cups of rhythm, two spoonfuls of fear." @poroyethepoet "Cinnamon, spice and everything nice!" @enviouscurls_ "Sun toasted coconut, caramel creme & just a touch of trouble for every laugh & scream" @_kissesfromjay

"An unspeakable amount of despair and grief>" @maryamfromtheisles


You're My Sacred Space Thalente Ndlovu I enter and drop my bags behind the couch. You look. You know. I think about venting about my day, I am too tired to. I sit on the floor and your carpet embraces me. You come, A bottle of wine and two glasses. You light up some candles and incense sticks The wine makes that satisfying sound as it swallows the emptiness in the glass. Two glasses in. I lean forward, trying to reach for the wine bottle. Struggling, barely reaching. You look at me and you laugh. I am not sure if you are laughing because I am not asking for help, Or laughing because the bottle is empty. I let out a sigh. With this too, I am not sure if it is a sigh of defeat Or one of finally being able to breathe today


I release, and put my head on your shoulder. You remind of the last time we sat like this, You get up and mimic my defeat adding the theatrics, You do this with such excitement that you start twisting words "And what now?" I ask, well pleased to stop you in your tracks, You recall, We laugh until our tummies hurts. Tears bursting through our eyes. Words barely making it out trapped by heartfelt laughter. It's alright. I'm alright, We're alright.


"Flowerbed" S. Kavi


happy happy Hour Hour Reads Reads

Tuesday Aarani Diana

The bougainvillea sways, a delicate hot pink on green. I want to be always, when the always is with you. The world is a masterpiece. I look into the sky, watch the pearls of cloud unravel as cutting through the blue and turning into a scrawl that is you.



A Classic Happy Hour Recipe You'll need... 10 fresh mint leaves ½ medium lime, cut into 3 wedges, divided 2 tablespoons white sugar, or to taste 1 cup ice cubes, or as needed 1 ½ fluid ounces white rum ½ cup club soda, or as needed

How to... Step 1 Place mint leaves and 1 lime wedge into a sturdy glass. crush to release mint oils and lime juice.

Step 2 Add the remaining lime wedges and 2 tablespoons of sugar, and crush again to release the lime juice.

Step 3 Fill the glass almost to the top with ice. Pour in rum and club soda.

Step 4 Stir, taste, and add more sugar if desired.


"Sweet Summer Sunset" S. Kavi


At Last Camii Dickerson

In twilight's embrace, two souls tangle, Love's kaleidoscope, colors undefined. In moonlit whispers, their hearts align, in a dance of passion, identities refined. Bound by chains of prejudice and pain, they find solace in love's angelic embrace. Her caramel skin, a canvas of strength, reflects the beauty of their unapologetic love. Her eyes, like galaxies, shimmer and twinkle, unveiling a universe only they knew. In tender caresses, their spirits ignite, stars burn in the inky night sky. Fingers interlaced, bodies aflame, together they conquer their world, dismantling shame.


So let their love be heard in every line, a celebration of transcending time. Here their story unfolds, a love that competes with none. In a world that seeks to divide, one that seeks to oppress, their love persists through struggles and triumphs, they rise above. So let their love be heard in every line, a celebration of transcending time. Here their story unfolds, a love that competes with none.


HAPPY HOUR PLAYLIST one margarita -That girl Angel Float- Janelle monáe People- Libianca you don’t know my name- Alicia Keys Besties- Karol G renaissance - Beyoncé you wish - flyana boss mo’ liquor- Kari faux(ft. Smino) mango Butter- durand bernarr Blow- Beyoncé f.n.f(let’s go) - glorilla Sip(Alcoholic) - joeboy super shy- NewJeans barbieworld (w/ Aqua) - Nicki Minaj & ice spice chulo pt. 2- bad gyal, tokischa & young miko poundtown- sexyy red & tay Keith


Aarani Diana is a writer and poet from Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. Her work has appeared in Orange Blush Zine and Journal of Erato, and she is a staff writer for Love Letters and the Incognito Press. She also publishes her own blog, sparkoftheflames.com.

Camii Dickerson is a DMV based queer author who spends her free time writing to express her emotions. When she’s not writing she’s running her Small business where she sells confections and fresh baked goods. You can find her on Instagram @_killa.cam__.

A librarian for over a quarter century, Jeeks Raj loves books, trivia, learning, puzzles, and art. She uses crochet as her justification for binge- watching shows, and loves to be caught off- guard by jokes. Born and raised in India, she has lived in every time zone in the continental US. Her instagram handle is buttershug83.

S. Kavi (she/her) is a South Indian American poet, writer, and artist from Texas. Her work has been nominated for the Best of the Net anthology and appears in antonym, Culinary Origami, Metachrosis Literary, and elsewhere. You can find her on social media @s.kavi_creates.

Thalente Ndlovu (she/her) is an MA Candidate from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa). She is currently researching and is interested in the decolonisation of Drama and Performance Studies. She is a dreamer, Lover, creator, actress, director and writer. You can find her on instagram @thalentendlovu.

Zani Sizani (she/her) is a 28 year old multidisciplinary artist, born and raised in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, now making music and art in Johannesburg. She's currently working within architecture, music and visual art and cultivating her own artistic expression. She chose to study architecture as an extension of her artistic and social desire to understand the fundamental elements of community, space and art and how it all comes together. Her art focuses on themes that depict the black experience in its softness and lightness. Her music adds the melody and lyrics to her all the stories she tells reflected in her art and architecture. You can find her on Instagram and twitter @zanisizani.

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