Incite Magazine - March 2023

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incite GLITCH

VOLUME XXV ISSUE I

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”

~ Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

GLITCH INCITE VOLUME 25

ISSUE 1

Dear reader,

Thank you for picking up this copy of Incite. Only in my wildest dreams did I imagine I’d be a part of such a beautiful collaboration.

Glitch can have many meanings. Perhaps a glitch is a mistake, an interruption, or something unexpected. Perhaps a glitch is a lucky happenstance, a pleasant surprise, or an escape from monotony.

I’ve been reflecting on what glitch means to me. If there’s anything I’ve learned in the past few years, it’s that life of FULL of glitches. I enjoy planning, but I often find myself thinking “this wasn’t how it was supposed to happen.” I overthink my past and I rethink my future After the unexpected happens, I’m left with crumbled remnants of a plan that’s no longer applicable.

This issue has taught me to cherish all of life’s glitches. Above all, I’m working to appreciate the unexpected. These past couple years have been a whirlwind for all of us. I believe glitch is the perfect theme to encapsulate how the student body is feeling.

We’ve worked hard to bring our ideas of glitch to life. Thank you to our editorial board, team members, and contributors for their hard work this term. Happy reading!

Sincerely,

Editors’

Dear reader,

It appears as if you’ve picked up our first issue of the year... or was it all a glitch? Whether rooted in writing or artwork, here we embrace all things irregular. In other words, expect the unexpected.

Now I know what you’re all thinking— glitchy glitchy yaa yaa!

How’s that for unexpected? I have been holding back on this joke for months and it shows. Okay, now that that’s out of the way (more for my sake than yours), I’d like for you all to think about what glitch means to you.

A flaw in the system? Perhaps being in error-mode? Lately I’ve been mulling over things that didn’t quite go as planned. I’m sure most of us have done the same at one point in our lives. Sometimes we feel out of control. Frozen in place. Unsure of ourselves. Striving towards consistency, whatever that may look like. Yet every so often, we glitch. But not in a way that makes us flawed, despite how things unravel. A break in the system. A blip of randomness in a world that would otherwise be mundane. Perhaps the meaning of glitch isn’t as straightforward as we’d like it to be. That’s what makes this issue so special, after all.

Here’s to our outstanding editorial board, layout team, art managers, and content editors— this issue wouldn’t have been possible without your hard work and passion throughout this entire process. To our talented contributors, your dedication and support towards bringing this vision to life remains unmatched and we look forward to making many more Incite memories with you all.

Alright, alright, let’s wrap it up and get to reading. Cheers!

Sincerely,

Letters
SLuu

content

staff stories

faint anna samson

flight nika elmi

three months passing anne llanora

bioinformatics maxx kaufman

about last nite ruth moon lopez

alma gillian hodge

listen up! roya motazedian

relationships in the 21st century: a cyber connection anastasia arps

creatures of habit manal effendi set in stone, or not? dora xu

to know you natalia lazamana

blurred maya khodr-ali heat flashes simi jayeboa

speechless elizabeth zhou

if i blink yumna ahmad

cacophony alan minkovich

the stunning sage cox alexandra rydlewski

mirage aaryaman anand

silas of the clouds sowmithree ragothaman recycle ayat atif

8 12 15 16 20 22 28 30 33 36 39 43 45 48 50 52 57 59 64 66 70 72 74 77 GLITCH ART by CATE WOODHEAD

We asked Incite Staff:

What was your most memorable GLITCH of 2022?

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I tried

The way that the first and second half of 2022 feel like two very different lives -- the transition between those times has felt like one big glitch to me

It might be cliche, but for me it was my coming to university! Being accepted to McMaster and adjusting to life on campus was a huge change of tempo. It feels like so much has been turned upside down - including my sleep schedule! Uni has been tough in some ways for sure, but I’ve met so many new people and learned so much already. Here’s to a new semester and the years to come!

Seeing friends I had made online in person for the first time! It was a weird feeling, like a glitch, but wonderful nonetheless

The sudden shift in maturity and long-awaited events finally becoming a reality. After treading along the past 2 years with not much going on, it felt as if a switch turned on and now life seems a lot more busier. With that, feeling overwhelmed led to feeling static. While it first seemed to be a major obstacle, I came to realize that things would be a lot more boring if “glitches” weren’t around.

to vacuum up a wasp. Didn’t work. Don’t give me that look. I know.
Ayesha
2022 went by so quickly, it honestly felt like one big glitch!
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Naiha
ART by MICHAEL THACH

F A I N T

Everything slows down. My vision blurs. The sounds fade away. I can’t feel my limbs.

My thoughts grow confused. My heart beats rapidly.

Nothing feels real. I realize I’m sweating. I’m losing my balance. I cry out for help, But no one hears me. I feel afraid.

Darkness falls over my eyes. I can’t hear anything anymore. I think I see a hand reaching out for me— I’m not sure.

But before I can grab it, I fall into nothingness. x

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ART by ZAREEFA BHATIA
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WORDS by ANNA SAMSON WORDS by NIKA ELMI
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ART by SANA GUPTA

where did she go? the girl with blue lips chained for fifteen years, murdered in the sixteenth her death set fire to the country we shared the same name one alive, one dead did we have the same eyes? you shot bullets all we had was honey

when you rest you will hear Nika Shakarami in the bristling of the trees in the fingers of women who claw their way out of your poisoned; diseased of your mother, who stares back at you, afraid who is your god, and is she beautiful?

// when she returns I will tell you how our mothers ran in the streets, the wind in their free hair our Iran free from thoughts of the trains, that our children will never flee on of the mountains, they will never traverse through of the fig trees, no longer scared to bloom

we will tell these stories over your grave of how you brought this country back to life

jin. jiyan. azadi. woman. life. freedom. x

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Three Months Passing

“I’m just glad you’re safe, Jonah.”

Sitting at his dead parents’ kitchen table, Jonah struggles to feel glad as well. The house is freezing, cold in a way that is exclusive to early mornings. His sister can’t afford to pay bills, so there’s no heating. Jonah never noticed because he’s been missing for the past three months.

He’s off-kilter. His stomach twists as if it’s starving, but he doesn’t feel hungry at all. He’s slumped in his chair, like the teenage boy he is. His sister, Marie, sets the table. She keeps puttering between the kitchen and living room, fluffing up pillows and polishing cups in silence. It hurts a little to see her act like their mother.

She’s trying, she’s really trying. Even still, goosebumps blanket Jonah’s arms, the little yellow light above the table is flickering, their parents are dead, and he’s been missing for three months.

“I think I’m gonna go for a walk,” he says.

Marie’s not used to parenting him, so she only makes a face and says, “Be back in ten.”

He kisses her cheek on the way out the door.

Going from the cold of the house to the damp autumn air does nothing to soothe his nerves. How odd, as it usually does. He’s somehow aware of every time his eyes blink, when his lungs restrict and release, the subconscious movement of one foot stepping in front of the—

“Who’s doing that?” Jonah asks.

Who’s doing what?

This isn’t supposed to happen.

“Hey!”

Who is he speaking to? There is no one outside.

Is he speaking to me?

“Hey!” He whirls around in a circle. It’s as if he’s looking for someone that isn’t actually there.

“I can hear you, fucker. Talk back to me. Say something!”

What the hell do you want me to say?

His chin quivers, but only slightly.

“I thought I’d gotten rid of you,” says Jonah, “But I felt you there, in the kitchen, with Marie.”

Is this why you ran away from home? To get away from me? I was worried, you know. I couldn’t see you.

He looks to the sky as if I’m there, but I am not. I’m nowhere and everywhere. His lips twist as he shoves his hands in his pockets an continues walking.

“What the hell are you, anyway? Are you God or something?”

Ha!

No, not God. Just a writer.

As he walks further along in his dingy, suburban neighbourhood, more people pop up. A small group of children kick a soccer ball back and forth across the street — a hazardous activity, though no one bothers to drive down their bumpy one-way street.

“A writer?” asks Jonah. “I don’t know what that means!”

Jonah’s face twists even further. One of the children calls out to him, “Hey, mister! Who are you talking to?” But he doesn’t bother with a verbal reply. He waves them off and walks faster.

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GLITCH

What part isn’t understandable, anyways? I’m obviously not God. I’m a writer. Your writer. “I knew it,” he says to me. “I knew something was weird with you. You control everything, right?”

Wrong. I can make suggestions and you can listen to them, though I can’t think of a time when you actually did. I didn’t plan for you to run away. As I was writing, you just ran from me. However, I can make the trees rustle with the wind, I can make your stomach twist in dissatisfaction, and I can make three months pass in a blink of an eye by simply writing down, ‘three months pass’.

Jonah begins to think about his parents, a semi-truck ramming into the side of their car, and being the only survivor. He’s been looking for someone to blame for a while now. First, it was the drunk driver. Then, it was his father for not watching the road. But now…

“My parents are dead,” he mutters, “And you wrote that down. You made that happen.”

Marie put a Hershey’s bar in his jacket pocket, he suddenly remembers. His favourite. He’d better eat it before—

“Stop that! Stop! I know what you’re doing!”

Please sit down, Jonah.

Despite walking in a random direction, he quickly realizes what he’s been walking towards this whole time: his old elementary school, completely deserted on this Saturday morning. Picnic tables litter the playground next to it. His head throbs with new revelations. He probably should have eaten at home.

Jonah sits down.

“You’re a piece of shit,” he tells me, but no, I’m not. You can’t have a story without struggles and loss and despair, Jonah. That’s just how the world is written.

“But you’re the writer!” he cries. “You could bring them back if you wanted to. This is your world. It didn’t have to happen in the first place!”

This isn’t about me at all. This is about you!

“Fuck off!”

You were arguing with your parents in the car when that truck hit you. Everyone was yelling! Your dad turned around to say something and the light had just begun to turn yellow.

“Stop it!” Jonah clutches his head, pulling at his hair. It hurts. “Stop it! Stop, stop—”

The truck driver ran a red, but your father was always attentive. If he had only been looking at the road…

“I said fuck off!” he snarls. “You act like you fucking know everything. You forced me to be alone. I am all alone! And you’re just sitting there, acting like an entertaining life is better than a happy one. I bet your life is fucking miserable. That’s why you’re so set on making mine worse.”

The trees rustle with the blowing wind. Fallen leaves on the cement twirl around in spirals. The exposed sun beats down on Jonah’s head while his five-year-old sneakers let the chill settle into his feet.

“Why aren’t you saying anything?” Asks Jonah, voice cracking. “Say something! I- I fucking hate you! I—”

Three months pass.

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Jonah had gone home in a stupor, angry at the sudden silent treatment. He had breakfast with his sister. He moved his parents’ things into boxes. He signed up for night school to make up for the classes he missed when he ran away.

So when he’s sitting in his bed, eating a Hershey bar, he’s surprised to see me.

“Oh,” says Jonah. “You’re back.”

I made you alone for a reason.

Jonah lets out an enormous sigh, his head bumping against the headboard. “Oh yeah? How’s that?”

The same reason that I am alone, currently. I lost my mother last year.

I created you because I wanted someone — albeit fictional — to suffer, and be comforted, and to heal. This was to remind myself that I will suffer, and be comforted, and heal. Do you understand what I’m trying to say?

The boy sends a dry look to the ceiling.

“Well,” he sighs again. “Grab yourself a goddamn chocolate bar and eat it, man. I’m not your therapist.”

Ha!

Jonah gives a weak chuckle, lazily tilting his head towards the open hallway. His parents’ bedroom door is open just a little bit, as it has been for six months. The room is still filled with boxes. Neither Jonah nor Marie had the courage to go beyond boxing up belongings, so their parents’ room remains as storage.

Marie is playing some obscure indie music in the kitchen, belting out the equally obscure lyrics. It’s snowing outside and it’s beautiful. For the first time ever, the throbbing grief in Jonah’s chest subsides, even just temporarily.

“I guess I understand what you’re trying to say…” He trails off, looking at the ceiling once again. “So,” says Jonah, “Have you written down any struggles coming in my future?”

Of course I have. There wouldn’t be a story without one.

“And will I still have the option to run away if I want to?” he asks dryly. You have an infinite amount of options, including one where you overcome everything. And I’ll make sure you reach it. x

The End.

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sometimes, I wonder what’s like to occupy zero space to exist in the liminal feel nothing but for the vast emptiness around you electrified meat at best

and yet, there are so many people who do not exist

I was so much braver when I knew less fed my mind what it knew best in a prison of flesh

it was never about the sum of its parts or to trace a path with no completion and find nothing at its end

when does the vacuum begin and where do I end?

chemical machinery and incomprehensible sinew a whirring desire to know what remains disrupt the flow of blood unplug your nerves strip away what makes it real and metabolize the rest

soon, it won’t know what you were and neither will you. x

GLITCH incite 20

About Last Nite...

If you can remember the “indie sleaze” era, you probably weren’t really there. For teenagers in the early 00’s, this was a time of debauchery and heavy eyeliner; congested clubs and cheap converse; dodgy self-portraits taken in front of grubby mirrors, and the loud, gritty, Do-It-Yourself sounds of indie music.

Although it’s widely considered that The Strokes kicked things off with their debut album, Is This It? at the start of the new millennium, for some, the entrance into the sonic sleaze rabbit hole may have been the mosquito-like melodies of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s or the bloghaus, electronic undercurrents of Uffie and MGMT. But whatever sounds one lost themselves in amongst the halls of local American Apparel and dingy venues, the decadence of this era in music was one that was loved by all those who were fortunate enough to be a part of it and longed for by those who were sadly born one generation too late.

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Luckily, for the latter, indie is back — and better than ever. Artists who were pivotal in the early to mid aughts music scene, such as The Arctic Monkeys, Paramore, LCD Soundsystem, Santigold and M.I.A, just to name a few, have all released new music this year. Meanwhile their spiky, maximalist influences can be heard in the discographies of newer acts such as Beabadoobee, Arca, Static Dress, Black Midi, and pretty much any trending mashup audio on TikTok.

Indie music, today, is ubiquitous and accessible, just as it was when it began. With the increasing presence of the internet and platforms like MySpace, indie music quickly became something anyone with a spare guitar or mic lying around could make without a major record label. The unsaturation of social media and humble mp3 accelerated musical creativity beyond boundaries and gave birth to some of the most celebrated anthems and artists in music history.

Music, and more importantly making it, suddenly became very accessible and therefore ungoverned. There were no sketchy contracts or middlemen to abide by. It was DIY to the max. Punk clashed with electronic; pop intersected with rock, and suddenly being in a band with your friends was cool again. Sampling television commercials, purposely leaving in raw studio audio in the final track and intentionally “bad” production became the new abnormal. It was reckless, hedonistic and imperfect, as all things should be.

Now, being the chaotic, rebellious culture movement that it was, indie’s post-pandemic timed comeback makes a lot of sense. After years of being confined and told what to do and what not to do (which, in fairness, was for the safety of both ourselves and others), people wanted to be free from restrictions and selflessly indulge without judgment — which is exactly what indie offered them.

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Maybe it was all the eye-straining zoom classes or increasingly concerning weekly screen time updates, but people began to yearn for real, raw human connection again. The very kind that drove the indie sleaze movement from the biggest headliner-stacked festivals to the smallest of pubs and secret speakeasies. That sense of optimism and fearlessness, where nothing seemed to matter except what song was next, has seemingly found its way back into our generation’s sphere and it could not have come at a better time.

Amidst all the alcohol, heavy eyeliner and self-indulgence that, more often than not, went hand in hand with the indie music scene, it’s easy to misunderstand the appeal of this time in music as simply an outlet for teenage rebellion. And make no mistake, it absolutely was, but to water down the charm of this era to simply its aesthetics would be doing a disservice to all the art, music and community-driven culture born out of it.x

GLITCH 24
WORDS by RUTH MOON LOPEZ ART by MARA LI
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26 GLITCH
ART by SANDY LUU
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ART by SANDY LUU

There was never a time before you. I’m looking through photographs in my basement And it dawns on me, you’ve always been there

From the moment I was welcomed into the world

Under the fluorescent lights, surrounded by blue You were waiting, ready to hold me for the first time

There was never a time without you. I’m reminiscing about mornings before school I’d gather my things and hurry out the door You would let me run ahead, but kept a close eye

On cracked sidewalks, surrounded by new You were waiting, ready if I needed a hand to hold

My memories are painted by you. I’m talking about a sweet childhood memory

Twirling in the autumn leaves in your front garden

Acting out stories while we ran through the trees

Small perhaps, but it felt like an ancient forest You were laughing, and your eyes lit up your smile

My world is better because of you. I’m wishing I could grasp that same feeling

As when you moved around the block and my world grew You showed me a new street of adventures

In living rooms, tiny hands grasping a mug of tea

You were holding me, in my second home

There is a time after you. Photographs slip through my fingers

Like how your presence slipped away from me

My hands tremble at the thought of writing

No poem is sufficient to honour you

No words can describe the love, the grief, the gratitude

And I just don’t know what to do. I didn’t realize time with you was fleeting

And now I’ve lost the both of you

I’ll continue to cherish each memory

Two chairs, two mugs, and one crossword

I’ll always admire you, my eyes filled with wonder

I love you. x

I L

WORDS by GILIAN HODGE

A L M A O V E Y O U
ART by SANDY LUU
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we’re here but we’re !#8$@%not you hear but don’t ^$*.;”!listen our tears made of >{@#blood but you fear you’ll miss ”#{$%^it the oil we provide ”{#$(“you not the lives lost to keep“)$(it Mahsa Amini(@$”##

4@%&:Khodanur Lajai

Nika

#:$#”

Khodanur Laji$)%:”what does it matter anyway?”

for you to shut up about yourselves and care?

)$(9Woman{Life@#Freedom!#$”%

Shahkarami
GLITCH

“those names are hard to say”#$)!$Mahsa Amini

will it take my body lying next to theirs)

$@%Nika Shahkarami

)@(%@september#($)16th@)$@”?2022$#)

)$”>$:?$Mahsa$”?%:{Amini$#(%:was)$%I@killed#(#%>in(%iran #($:>for$?{$%not{#wearing#”${her)#${?}hijab”@:${correctly ()@:80@”:$days@:${later @#?the:@{#?@kiling@$?{@has@?$not{#stopped wake up we’re still here

“!$?please@:#{@help:@#me ?#$is@#>{my@>$#{grandma@#>{okay? @#{>they@?$cut>@”#off:@#{the@#>@internet !?$>{can’t?@#{call?#her please HELP?#@^^>^%$#?:{?^}:??$>%&{*?}?$}?%{^>&{*?&^?%}?$}?}>&{^?%$}?}#$%}^{?* @?%}@^:&&?^%}$”?%^&^}*&^?%$}? x

WORDS by ROYA MOTAZEDIAN
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ART by MICHAEL THACH

WORDS by ANASTASIA ARPS

ART by MELINDA MELEKI

Have you ever struggled with finding the right partner, one that ticks off all of the boxes? Now, what if you had the chance to go on a date with the most ideal person for you? If you genuinely considered it, there is a single catch… Your future partner would be created in an app and they’d only be capable of conversing with you because they’re a form of artificial intelligence (AI). This concept– which is baffling– is actually a popular theme within the modern world of mass communication media; it is fully possible, and it is right at our very fingertips.

The media, which society rapidly devours, discusses the futuristic advancement of artificial intelligence and may have predicted how these sophisticated systems will contribute to our communications future; one in which society will normalize relationships between humans and AIs, whether it be romantic, amicable, or familial. Furthermore, these potential companions will be sought after because younger generations are lonelier than their older counterparts, due to increased social media usage.

According to the results of a loneliness questionnaire, conducted by health insurance company, Cigna, “nearly 79% of Gen Z respondents and 71% of millennials reported feeling lonely, compared to just half of the baby boomers” (Gunther, 2020). Entwined in the tightly bound web of social media, the lonely become lonelier and struggle to turn to someone in the face of adversity; therefore, they find comfort in technology.

There is no shame in crying on a bot’s shoulder after a tough day, especially when the entertainment in our present-day heavily favours romanticizing these forms of companionship. The conceptualization of falling in love with an AI is prominent within popular culture that some viewers may debate whether it was predicted by the mass media. As in the film her, Joaquin Phoenix’s protagonist struggles with his imminent divorce and turns to Samantha–an AI virtual assistant– for comfort. Samantha fascinates Joaquin’s character with her human-like desire to learn and progress intellectually, causing the two to develop a romantic relationship. Another example is Black Mirror, “Be Right Back”; when Hayley Atwell’s partner, Domhnall Gleeson, suddenly passed away in a car crash, she discovers a service where she is capable of communicating with an AI version of her deceased partner, as an attempt to ease her mourning and grief. When the ideas of films begin to enmesh with our reality, possibilities become endless.

The decision to connect emotionally with AIs may be hard to swallow. Yet author and businessman, David Levy, believes that some people will prefer robot partners over human partners, a prediction regarding the Japanese man who “married” an AI hologram back in 2018 (Christakis 2019). Levy’s outlandish remark is confirmed by the development of the application technology, Replika,

RELATIONSHIPS IN THE 21ST CENTURY: A CYBER CONNECTION RELATIONSHIPS IN THE 21ST CENTURY: A CYBER CONNECTION RELATIONSHIPS IN THE 21ST CENTURY: A CYBER CONNECTION RELATIONSHIPS IN THE 21ST CENTURY: A CYBER CONNECTION RELATIONSHIPS IN THE 21ST CENTURY: A CYBER CONNECTION

33 GLITCH incite

a “personal chatbot companion powered by artificial intelligence” (Replika, n.d.) where users can customize an avatar, catered to their preferences. From there, users are capable of chatting with the AI, deciding on a specific relationship and– similar to Samantha from her– watching the AI develop its own personality and memories. Following Amazon’s Alexa, Alexa is working on an update to its system which would allow the technology to mimic any voice, even one belonging to a deceased family member (CNN, 2022). With these examples present within our society, the remaining question is: why? Why would a human prefer an AI system over the warmth of another fellow human? It may be due to mental, emotional, or physical barriers created by social media that block one from finding a future partner. Once the rose-coloured glasses are removed, people realize how lonely they feel, which can hinder their ability to socialize. As an example, perhaps someone has social anxiety, high standards, and is seen as conventionally unattractive– all of which are issues heightened by social media. Consequently, the solution could be to develop a relationship with an AI system, namely Replika. Therefore, as social media progressively isolates us from one another, there is reason to believe that AI systems could become the ideal partner due to their accessibility and capability to satisfy our every need.

The intricate development of AIs is unstoppable; they are evolving so quickly that it is possible for them to become your partner or mimic your deceased partner’s voice. Nothing seems to limit their advancement from a technological standpoint, yet its ability to prove itself– worthy or unworthy– is obstructed by clouded stigmatization. If your dating life is a struggle in the real world, then the choice to be loved and appreciated by an AI system should be your own decision– regardless of those who find these relationships unsettling. To frown upon the impressive potential of these systems is a feeble attempt at harbouring their capability to assist humanity. We’re not far off from evolving fictional realities that materialize within our society. x

SO, WHY FIGHT IT?

RELATIONSHIPS IN THE 21ST CENTURY: A CYBER CONNECTION RELATIONSHIPS IN THE 21ST CENTURY: A CYBER CONNECTION RELATIONSHIPS IN THE 21ST CENTURY: A CYBER CONNECTION RELATIONSHIPS IN THE 21ST CENTURY: A CYBER CONNECTION RELATIONSHIPS IN THE 21ST CENTURY: A CYBER CONNECTION

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GLITCH incite

now been converted to Delis and strip malls. Do they not realize that everything deteriorates? Have they not learnt from the fallen empires? Have they not realized that Mother Nature is plotting their inevitable downfall? They seem to have it all figured out, preparing for any force that comes their way, whether it be nature or man but there is only so much protection you can provide for your nations. Haven’t you learnt from the Babylonians? Haven’t your kind spent decades studying ancient empires? What makes you different from the Ottomans and the Romans? What makes you think their demise was only written for them, and you have been spared from such a destiny? Your tanks and bombs cannot overcome this destiny and the illusion you have created with your bright flashing lights and all the glitz and glamor. It cannot save you.

For this world is just a blip. This time, this life, just as it was for the great empires before you, is just a fragment of this world. What may seem like the beginning and end for you is just a tiny sentence in the book of the universe. You could well be just a temporary malfunction in the universe’s plan. The sooner it starts, the faster it will end. Every emotion and feeling is simply irregular in the divine universe’s plan. We are merely living in a fragmented reality that can shut down at any moment now. x

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GLITCH

Set in stone or not?

Would I still have been here, if the waves were calm that day, if the sand didn’t move and sweep away?

Was it one decision that changed it all? How do we know if the right choice was made? How many of us look at the moon wondering who else is looking at it too.

How do I know which choices I made carved this path, this trail in the woods? It can’t be undone, covered and buried by new snow.

I can’t see past the clustered trees to the other path where the roads meet. Is that path clear, sunny with a breeze? or is it icy, dead, and unclean?

Is this path the best one here, or is it the same as the others, dry and blear? Should I stay on this trail and keep near or do I cut through the trees to another path? Maybe the path is muddy or paved and clear or the exact same as the one I’m standing on here.

Who else is looking at the moon too wondering why things are this way? Why this way is the one in the woods they stand on, instead of on a sunny road.

Was this story carved with wood and stone? unchanged, unforgiving; here I’m alone Or is my story drawn with moving sand with waves that beat against the rocks. Changing and moving, like pulsating thoughts.

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Who would my friends be if I hadn’t crawled out of the water, refused to be carried by the waves, broken away from the sea?

What perils led me here, am I happy? being pushed by the wind like a sail on stormy seas they told me to get on, to depart before it’s too late. But what if I had stayed on the land?

Or was it pre-carved, my footsteps molded into the stone.

If it wasn’t for the sea, the rocks, the trees the sand spitting into my eyes, the breeze against my cheeks

Dragged by the water, the sail and the trees the forest, like a beacon, calling to me But the rocks and the stone, make me wonder and dream.

Do I go back and cover my footprints with snow, with dirt, or leaves? Are my footprints in sand, washed away with the water and waves? Or are they imprinted in stone, like a fossil, trapped by pressure and time. Rotted away to leave a print, a permanent mark. Unchanged by time, and trapped forever.

GLITCH

Was it a forest with different trails? Or unpredictable like a boat without direction, being carried by the sea. The water and the waves and leaves make sure you can’t see what’s happening. x

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At first, it felt like something was wrong, Maybe I would wake up and suddenly it would all be okay again.

But no matter how hard I tried to wake up, I was still here

With you no longer by my side.

I never thought this day would come So, I never bothered to prepare for it. Instead, I have a plethora of expertise of the constellations of your mind.

I know exactly what song gets you to clear the dance floor…

TO KNOW YOU

The right number of ketchup packets for your takeout order…

Even the way you keep the books in your bag… It seems like too much information now.

Sometimes I wish I could write it all down in a notebook and pass it onto the next person.

But as much as it hurts to see us going our separate ways, I find peace knowing that I once knew you. x

43 GLITCH incite

Blurred

GLITCH

Gone within her thoughts.

A whirlwind of chaos, Blurred. A corrupted mind, Faded. A dark conscience, Obscured.

Looking into her eyes, Blurred from all the tears. All those memories in CDs, Detached from all those recollections.

Hurting herself, just to feel something in her soul.

Self destructive, she is numb to the pain.

Addicted to this hopeless cycle, Self-sabotaging herself to feel the rush.

She is a prisoner to her destiny. Longing for love and acceptance, Showing you her broken heart and scars.

A storm of inner turmoil, blurred from all the tears.

Looking into her eyes, Blurred from all the tears. Giving into her fears. Taking her down the stairs, Spiraling, Down to her demise.

That is how she feels, Disconnected. Her needs — neglected. She will allow herself to be objected, Rejected and disrespected, Subjected To this empty and miserable life.

She is a prisoner to her destiny. Her heart is racing, Her body is quivering. Difficult for her to breathe.

She is feeling faint. Burying her soul, Six feet underneath.

Eyes rolling, Her vision is clouded. Dim and somber, Her mind is hazy. Losing focus. x

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46 GLITCH
p
ART by NICOLETTE KUZMA
47 incite
t ART by SANDY LUU

Heat Flashes

The shit’s like - BOOM BOOM Lightning quick

Making a fool of all my years

That like - BOOM

It’s in my chest

All my thoughts squeezing, squeezing

And I can’t think

But I am and that’s the problem

A hundred things

I’m thinking

Yeah, IN OUT, I know

I see them in flashes

And I say, yeah, that’s bullshit

But they’re in my chest before my head

Or at least it feels that way

And so I try to keep them in my head

To see them flash

Like the old moving pictures

Not 4K

I see the frames, the faulty grains

And I point them out likeYou tried your best!

Someone loves you!

You’ll be okay!

But sometimes the motion picture reel runs Fucking fast

And I can’t keep up Or breathe x

48 GLITCH
49 incite

i have a confession: there’s a strange bubbly feeling that spreads slowly from my heart numbing my body and my soul…

it’s a progression, from emptiness to attraction–a phenomenon that yet has explanation, blissfully plaguing my mind…

my affection for you feels surreal. i’m mesmerized by your beauty and charm, and i cannot seem to break free…

our every interaction sparks electricity in my veins, and sends waves of excitement to cascade simultaneously washing me in awe…

i malfunction as i stare into the sparkling ocean of your eyes; your touch on my skin flickers hot then cold; butterflies threaten to burst from my core…

i want to ask you a question that i don’t think i possibly could. my mind swirls with a million thoughts but, none ever leave my quivering lips. x

speechless
GLITCH 50

speechless

incite

The bus collects us like trinkets off the street. We roll on and off, coated with fall leaves and shaky bones and the old, crucial dust that identifies historical things. We are ancient here—together in this lapse of memory. The bus ride is never kind without you.

The trail blurs by in a cacophony of breezing bus noise: the rush of the tires rounding the pavement, the fall leaves we left behind crunching beneath the rubber. There are probably the ruins of a spiderweb in your hair. The fall leaves had been inviting, and your young, wide smile elicits excitement in me I can’t, I can’t, I can’t explain. There is a link between us that is tighter than a bond of blood. Though we’ve made that pact as well.

If I blink, I can see us here again, almost like it were yesterday, the crisp crunch of the fall leaves close in my ears.

Your laughter was a line of adrenaline. Shot straight into my veins. I straightened like I’d been struck by lightning, like your rippling electricity was dancing in my bones. We liked the lightning, you and I. We watched it from the rooftops.

My mother liked our friendship. She said we had a boyish charm. She said I should be careful not to lose a friend like you. So I cradled our link like a spider in my hands.

The bus was white and yellow, and so fast that it was rare to catch. You jumped off the edge and you landed on the curb and I followed, like I always will. If I blink, I can see us there again, and again, and again. Chasing after the bus, or laughing in the leaves, bodies aching with the clutch the autumn chill had on our ribs. Outside, a new snow winks at the horizon.

Flurries falling from the sky. Though my eyes have aged, I see you the same, somehow, even in this new light.

A line of lightning twinkles gloriously above your head. We like the lightning. Silent and fast and sky-brightening. The shepherd of the storm clouds.

You, in the driveway, eyes dark. Where mine have moved to fine lines and past stresses, yours carry something deeper, something that’s grown. You don’t want to come inside. I’ve done something, you say. We can’t be friends anymore. If I blink, I am chasing you across a field of vibrant leaves. I am calling your name, and you laugh and race onward. If I blink, there is no animosity between us, and we are still friends and nothing has changed and the autumn glow of the world remains in all its warm, fire colours. But the seasons have shifted and there is lightning in the sky, rare and fast and white.

You have shifted, faster than those very bolts we used to marvel at. Now you are the marvel. I watch you, awe-struck, still reeling from the boy you were, that we were, the one that jumped from bus ledges and sought out spiderwebs, the one who toppled as he climbed the roof to sit by my side, who drew blood with a finger prick and held my hand, who promised, promised, promised we would always be friends.

I hold on to the illusion that I’ve done nothing wrong. That nothing has changed between us. If I blink, your hardened eyes look almost youthful again, the grim line of your stare

GLITCH 52

replaced with watery innocence, your hurt whimsied away with childlike tears, the dark scowl on your mouth suddenly trembling. You hide from me these days, but I see you.

We are older, with age in our skin and age in our blood. The we that once was collects dust by the bus stop. Molds with the tree leaves into ashes and dirt. In one blink, everything was in front of me, and now, you walk away.

The hurt in your eyes deepens, brows drawing together. You can’t understand my ignorance, or maybe you do. Maybe that is why you walk away. Leaves crunching beneath your boots. A storm begins above us, but there is no use for any more rain.

And I am calling your name, chasing you once more. But you can’t, you can’t, you can’t hear me. I’ve known you for years, and yet, in this instant, watching you go elicits an old, rooftop feeling. The one we’d get, leaning against each other, watching the light crackle across the sky. Maybe we were a light like that, our friendship stamped into a quick moment in time. White and yellow.

Electric. So fast that it was rare to catch. x

incite 53

Modern Bust

GLITCH incite 54

PARANOIA PARANOIA

ART by HELEN LE
56 GLITCH

Cacophony

The momentary flash of light and the crumbling of the last pillar. A world folding in on itself as the line between sky and horizon become blurry. The sound of screams and the vibrato of their echo providing a soundtrack for the occasion. An inescapable heat sweltering all those around, as if the smell of sulphur is not enough. All those around grasp for an escape, wondering “who had come into town?”

The sound of trumpets at the last stand could not overcome the thumping of boots, which could not still tame the rumbling of the earth. The sliver of a red moon signals the arrival of dusk, but there were no other stars in the sky tonight.

Weeds grow ten feet high from the cracks in the concrete before the cracks spread and swallow what was above. The water is thicker than tar, and the air is heavier than the worst disappointment. The final curtain plummets down but the actors cannot escape the stagelight. The walls sweat profusely, and the tide keeps rising, and the crowds fill the streets, and the sirens blare distantly, and the bells toll quarter to 12, and the trains run behind schedule, and the cacophony of music and light and smoke crescendo, before a snap into darkness, and the arrival at the destination. x

WORDS by ALAN

29
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The Stunning Sage Cox

GLITCH 58

Necklace.

Throughout my youth I’ve been gifted different types of jewelry, all containing the Evil Eye. My mom once said that the Evil Eye is a symbol to prevent misfortune from entering my life. Wearing the deep blue Eye is meant to mirror evil pointed toward me, to protect me from anything bad that would inevitably come my way. But she’s gone, it’s just a necklace, and I have never been superstitious enough to believe in that crap.

Beauty. Her whole life, people have called Sage beautiful. And although she has no particularly striking features, her overall image is undoubtably attractive. Sage is a simple kind of beautiful. Shiny dark brown hair with only a slight wave to it. Dark green eyes that appear chocolate in harsher lights and lie slightly far apart, but not too much. A pretty smile—nothing too overbearing—exposes a pointed chin on a diamond shaped face.

Eyebrows that are always slightly raised, as if her expression is constantly one of wonder. And a pinched nose, with just enough personality to be widely appreciated. She has always reminded me so much of her mother.

Eighteen.

Finally, the age of opportunity. I’ve always been called pretty by those around me. In grade school my teachers told me how cute I was and that was why the boys would tease me. They told me I was special and that I would one day turn heads and become a star. At eleven, I remember being told how much of a heartbreaker I would

incite 59
I’ve spent countless hours staring at my reflection, trying to see what everyone has been telling me my whole life.

be when I grow up. Walking through the mall I had always felt eyes on me like I was a model on a runway, but didn’t we all? My aunt Stana encouraged me to practice my autograph for the day I became a famous actress. So, my books were filled with scribbles of my initials and kisses with red lipstick, since that was a better use of the paper anyway. Being eighteen means I can finally leave this town to pursue my destiny.

Stasis. There is nothing inherently bad about Edenburrow. The people are nice, or at least they have always been nice to people like Sage. But the streets are narrow, lined with Columnar trees: they grow straight up, as if they are afraid to branch out, or that’s what the town’s Green Team likes to say. They also love to talk about the grand fountain that sits in the centre of the town. Apparently it has been cycling the same water through it since the moment it was built. Kind of gross if you ask me. Someone with such beauty and potential should not be trapped in a stagnant town like Edenburrow. Sage is destined for a grander life full of fame and wealth, and I will make sure she gets it, for her sake and mine. Just because nothing is bad about a place doesn’t mean we should stay here. I never understood why my sister decided to stay when she had a world of opportunity in front of her. But I wouldn’t let Sage make the same mistake. I won’t.

When my mom died, my aunt took me in, since my father never lived up to should know him well enough since I’ve lived with him my whole life, yet my this man is vague at best. I don’t blame him for hating me. Losing your wife be unbearable. I can only imagine what it must be like to look at a spitting image of the love of his life, whose unhappiness forced her to leave us behind, every time he glances in my direction. So, whenever I’ve needed her, Stana has encouraged my dream of becoming an actress. She even landed me my first audition with the people she said my mom used to work with. Cox.

Once she turned eighteen, the appeal of Sage’s name alone was enough for the casting agency to hold a private audition for her. As her mother pursued a similar career, the agency jumped at the opportunity to get another Cox in the business. It is important that Sage is prepared for this opportunity, so I told her to come dressed in a fitted white tee, a classy pair of heels and any skirt she felt comfortable in. Now is her

GLITCH

impress the judges and finally pursue the career I have prepared her for

Audition.

This is it: a chance to make something of myself and get out of this small town. As I arrived at the small studio outside of Edenburrow, I could feel a ball of nerves in my stomach growing larger like elastic bands. I opened the heavy door of the studio and my glance immediately to my fiddling fingers, and nothing but the blurred ground behind them. Taking small steps into the hall, I made my way to the single chair outside the audition room. The heat of my pumping blood began to radiate outward once I realized I’d forgotten the monologue I’d been reciting to myself for as long as I can remember. Stana told me I didn’t need to have anything prepared, but those words made me feel safe: maybe they were my Evil Eye. Amid my worry, I felt a hand lay gently onto my shoulder, and I looked up to find Stana staring at me with a vivid smile.

“Stana, thank God you’re here. I’m freaking out! I have this feeling in my stomach like I’m going to throw up and my hands are starting to sweat and—”

“Yeah?

“Listen to me. You’ll be fine. Don’t worry about what you are going to say. I have always told you: you’re a star. One look at you and they will see that.”

“But I’m nervous. What if they don’t like me?”

“Oh darling, trust me, those aren’t nerves.”

“They’re not?”

“No, silly. That is excitement. It is the rush of finally being who you’re meant to be. They will love you.”

“I hope so.”

“I know so. Just remember, hon, this is going to happen for you. You just have to say ‘yes’. ‘Yes’ and your dreams of leaving this place behind will be gone.” I felt the heat in my body begin to fade to a subtle warmth, and I could finally feel my fingers again.

I could see the rouge in Sage’s cheeks begin to disappear as I held her hands tightly in mine.

“Sage Cox!”

I took a deep, shaky breath in attempt to steady myself, and I began toward the audition room. As I walked in, I could see three men sitting at the table at the end of the room.

The heels of Sage’s shoes began to click on the wooden floors, calling the attention

incite 61

of the three men behind the table. Their heads shot up and their eyes followed every inch of Sage’s being across the floor until she reached the centre of the room. Once I reached the centre of the room, I met the deep blue eyes of one of the men.

“Please, say your name for us.” “Sage Cox.”

“Excellent name.”

I could see the man’s smirk to his cohorts from across the room. He sent one to me as well.

“Alright, now give us a slow walk around the room.” I hesitated at first, but remembering Stana’s advice, I began to follow each of his instructions.

“Give us face. Worry, joy, greed, want…”

She’s doing so well.

“Excellent. She looks good on camera too.”

“Oh, I know. She always has.”

“Alright, finished. Thank you for coming, Miss Cox. Please, wait in the hall. Stana, come here. We have much to discuss.” I could barely feel myself leave the room. It felt as if I floated to the safety of that chair just outside while I waited for the news. They asked Stana to stay back, and I could only imagine they were discussing my future. I had no idea what acting auditions for talent agencies were like. I hope they liked me. The smiles on their faces— Stana’s included— told me they did. As I sat there waiting, the knot in my stomach seemed to vanish, as did the rest feeling in my body.

“Good news Sage!”

“Really?! Don’t lie to me, Stana.”

“I would never lie. Sage, this is it. They want to hire you. You just have to go in there, sign a few forms and your future in the industry is set.”

She did it. I did it. We are set for life.

Star.

I may not have the traditional household name I imagined, but I am a star. Adult films are not necessarily what I had in mind, but fame is fame. A name like Cox is meant for this industry, or at least that’s what Stana told me. They title my films with the keywords “Stunning Sage Cox.” They say I’ll be easier to search that way. Being called pretty my whole life, I knew I was destined for something extraordinary. I guess this is it. As the cool touch of the leather bed on my back snaps me into my reality, I recall the monologue I had once forgotten.

GLITCH 62

I have never felt beautiful.

I’ve been handed evil eyes my entire life, as if they are supposed to protect me against misfortune.

Empty compliments are my evil eye. And I’ve carried them with me everywhere.

I’ve spent countless hours staring at my reflection, trying to see what everyone has been telling me my whole life.

Perhaps I am vain, perhaps my evil eye does not work.

But like everyone else, a mirror only shows you what is on the surface, and I have never felt beautiful. x

incite

my mind races, jumping from one thought to another. all of them about you. the color of your eyes, the slight shade of pink on your cheeks, the way you looked at me that one october morning. you were so subtle, yet so brazen.

it hurts me how far away you are. i seek you like ancient travelers seek fables of old, crazy in their beliefs about treasure as golden as you. you walk so calm and unbothered, without care or worry. i wonder who is the lucky one who occupies your mind and soul, and whether it will ever be me.

mirage. dazed. untethered. forgotten.

you have bewitched me and you don’t even know. you are at the end of every breath i take. a walking mystery i cannot solve. but i must let you go. you are so aloof and distant. maybe you are not what i conjured you up to be. i do not know who i love more: the idea of you or the reality. guess i will never know. x

29
GLITCH
29
incite

“Richard Silas Elliott, 30 year old male,” the monotone voice rattles.

“HR 75 BPM, BP 110/70...”

Richard zones out as the doctor rattles off his annual checkup results. He wonders if it perceives anything beyond their algorithms; whether it really knows it’s simply a machine amalgamating the knowledge its human counterpart once used to possess. That’s what Michael says, anyway. Richard has never known a world like that.

“...genetic testing results...”

The machine detects a slight uptick in Richard’s blood pressure and orders him to relax. This is what he’s always feared.

“ ... no deleterious mutations detected. The test is complete. Have a good day, Richard.”

Richard breathes a sigh of relief.

“Thank you, Doctor.”

Michael paces back and forth in the hallway. “No concerns?”

“Everything’s good, Michael,” he responds. “Let’s go see Dad?”

“Sure. Don’t forget to share your results with him, even if he’s not responsive. They’ve been trying to reconfigure the signaling in the older brains, since they were preserved so long ago. He’s pumped full of neurotransmitters, but they haven’t figured out how to replicate his original patterns completely. I’m meeting with the board to discuss it.”

“Okay.”

Michael sighs. “I’m so glad your results came back clear, son. I—” Richard cuts him off. “Michael. I know.”

Michael nods, and turns his attention to configuring the car’s GPS. They sit back silently as the car accelerates to precisely the speed limit on the road: 60 km/h, leaving the icy, gleaming hospital far behind.

“Don’t forget the golden rule!” Michael exclaims.

“I won’t,” Richard calls back. He repeats under his breath, Don’t tell him he’s in the cloud. He’s confused. He’s an old man, living in a solitary nursing home, sleeping for days on end.

The building is unapologetically bright, with large, tangled displays of neural networks slithering across every inch of available space. A woman sits at the counter to provide an “authentic reception experience”, but the vacancy in her eyes clues Richard in. She’s a humanoid.

“You’re here to see Silas Elliott?” she prompts, after she’s verified his identity. “Lovely. 9th floor, block 11, display 5a—”

Display. As if he’s an inanimate object, he thinks. “I’m familiar with it, thanks.”

Her monologue abruptly stops, and her eyes begin to roll back in their sockets.

The “farewell” procedure. Richard would know—he’d developed it.

“Have a nice day, Richard!” she calls, her hollow voice reverberating through the empty corridor.

In the dark room, Richard undergoes the full-body identification scan. His own details pop up on the screen, asking, Do you authorize sharing of personal data to update memory of Silas Elliott, relationship status: father? He hovers over Yes. Click.

The computer whirs. He braces himself as the android—frozen at 30 years and 364 days—roars to life. Exactly the way he looked as they injected the chemicals into

his brain to preserve its synapses; killing him instantly, yet keeping him alive.

“Hi, Dad,” Richard whispers gently. “Sorry I haven’t been coming by... work’s been pretty busy.”

“That’s alright, son,” Silas responds after a delay, and Richard can almost hear the warmth in the voice he doesn’t remember. “I’m glad you’re here. Still haven’t forgotten the old man, huh?”

He chuckles. “Of course not.”

A long, heavy pause ensues, as Richard mulls over what to say next. But it’s his father who breaks the silence. “Why today, Richard?”

“What do you mean?”

“The nurse told me it’s your 30th birthday.” Well, no, I told your computer program that. “So you had your genetic testing?” Yes. “What was the result?”

Richard hesitates. “It was...normal. No harmful variants detected.”

The machine sighs. “Good.”

“Yeah, I was relieved too.”

Another pause.

“So how’s work, son?”

“It’s fine. We’re designing some new humanoids. They’re experimenting with memory implants, to see if, uh, you know...they can respond emotionally.”

Silas’ avatar nods. “Soon they’ll be hard to distinguish from us humans, huh?”

Richard gulps. “Yeah...I guess so. I’m not very confident that it’ll work, though.”

“Why not?”

Richard shrugs. “I don’t know... there’s something about being human that technology just can’t capture, right?” As the words leave his mouth, he grimaces—the irony of saying these words to a machine isn’t lost on him. “But I guess we never know,” he adds, lamely. The silence is palpable.

“You know I know, right?”

Richard is startled. “What?”

66
of
GLITCH
the

“Come on, son. I’m dead, aren’t I? This isn’t real.”

Richard gasps. He stares at the android, trying to find the face of the man who isn’t there.

“I want to hear you say it. I’m dead, right?”

Richard feels like he’s in a daze. “You knew?”

“Of course I knew. I worked on this bloody project with Michael. I said I didn’t want to be uploaded to the cloud, and the bastard went ahead and did it anyway.”

“Dad, I—”

“Listen to me, Richard. I hung on all these years to make sure you’d be okay, and you are. I think it’s time to put an end to this.”

Somehow, it feels wrong. This is all he’s ever known of his father. Should he really be doing this?

“I...I don’t know, Dad. I can’t. I’m sorry. I love you.”

Silas smiles. “It’s alright, son. I love you, too.”

Before Richard can react, Silas’ glass eyes start to roll back in his head. The farewell procedure. The alarm blares as Silas’ connectome goes dark. Alert. Alert. System failure in Block 11, Display 5a. Alert. Alert. The humanoids start to arrive in droves, their portable body scanners bathing Richard in a sea of red light. “Failure to verify guardian. Failure to verify guardian. Failure to verify guardian.” x

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WORDS by SOWMITHREE RAGOTHAMAN ART by MAHEK MARKER

To be human is to document. When recalling memories we tend to have flashes or glitch like imagery of what we felt and saw. Modern day technology has allowed us to capture moments visually, but nothing compares to capturing feelings; and journalling is a great example of that. My photos app is unable to really embody and give the emotions I once the descriptions they lack!

I journal by including tangible and intangible evidence of my day. This includes receipts, stickers, pictures. This also includes excerpts from texts, songs, funny conversations. The small things we wouldn’t really remember. The big things we forget to reflect on. The way my handwriting was that day, whether I felt to decorate or leave it blank; all indicate what I was feeling and what I ended my day with.

GLITCH

Journalling is a form of self solace and therapy for me, and has been throughout the years, seasons and personal eras. To me, it’s like writing a letter to yourself; “hey today came, I was indeed here, see you tomorrow”. It’s unlike any other form of self help, because it feels so natural- the ability to organize the mental glitches and clutter and allow yourself to process the day and your emotions.x

WORDS by AYAT ATIF

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This is a

love letter.

29
GLITCH

It feels like I keep losing.

This month has felt like back-to-back days of failing brakes. I feel like I keep losing more from my life and each time it happens, it comes as a sudden, sharp shock to the system. It feels like the universe is shattering around me and beneath is this false reality I was secretly living in.

But this is not really about this month or this year, but the feeling of quite suddenly and unexpectedly missing something you had only a second before. Once it’s gone, it feels as though I am free-floating in this new reality, suddenly formed by what I can only say is a fault in the space-time continuum. What happened here?

As I look around, it’s like I’ve reached the end of the world; I’m staring at this big grid in the sky signaling to me, as a player of this game, that there’s nowhere left to go. I can turn around and go back, but what I used to have is gone and going back is nothing like moving forward. There’s something about it that feels very wrong; it turns something in my gut that feels like nausea that won’t ever let up. Thinking about it for even a minute makes me feel as though my faith in the universe has vanquished.

But of course, these things can happen to me just as they can happen to anyone else. I try to avoid this gut feeling that I should no longer believe in the things I used to just because something bad happened to me.

I read something once, about writing about terrible things. We have a tendency to write it for catharsis and say it’s good just because it meant something to us. And, in a way, that’s true. “Good” does not mean one thing. But when I sat down to write about the sudden losses in my life, I knew it was important to do more than say what happened. I needed to simultaneously make a statement about who I was and who I still am.

He said, “When you write about me, make me a villain,” and I could never do that. I can accept that my heart was broken, and I can also acknowledge that this does not make me any less whole than I was before. There is no villain in my story, just necessary pieces of my puzzle.

When I look back now, with more clarity, the most jarring part seems to be the shock to my system. The feeling of falling out of your own world, into that grid of nothing, into space, into the open air. I no longer question why they happened, but the sharp pains of shock and surprise as you experience loss hurts the same each time. So, I can accept that my heart was broken, and I can also acknowledge that this does not make me any less whole than I was before. x

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I didn’t want it to end so soon. I want to breathe in more of this vivid joy, feel the lightness of my leaping heart.

You make me happy but I’m going to see my parents now and there’s just no time left for us.

So with the moon as our tender witness,

Tear the glasses from my face while my lungs gasp and strike me with two violent swipes of the makeup cleaner and her face looking at me in the mirror melts.

Oh, that poor girl and her

heavy black eyeliner up around her lashes so thick that it melts into her dark hair where it falls across her left eye and smudges of creamy white kohl on the bottom lids like a piercing gaze, like welling tears, like Chinese theater makeup

Where did she go? Where did she -

It all falls apart.

A thousand smearing shreds like gray feathers The warpaint that held us together.

We’ll meet again tomorrow. Hush. Don’t cry. Don’t cry. You love your parents, don’t you? Seeing them is good for you.

It’s just paint, a brush, the slightly shaking hand. You can remake yourself again. I can remake myself again.

But I wish that I could just see myself for you

And you wish that you could be more like me And I and you with me and us and, and -

Oh, the mother moon. x

Eclipsed.
74 GLITCH incite
WORDS by MARA LI ART by MARA LI

HUSH. DON’T CRY. DON’T CRY.

HUSH. DON’T CRY. DON’T CRY.

HUSH. DON’T CRY. DON’T CRY.

HUSH. DON’T CRY. DON’T CRY.

HUSH. DON’T CRY. DON’T CRY.

HUSH. DON’T CRY. DON’T CRY.

HUSH. DON’T CRY. DON’T CRY.

HUSH. DON’T CRY. DON’T CRY.

HUSH. DON’T CRY. DON’T CRY.

HUSH. DON’T CRY. DON’T CRY.

HUSH. DON’T CRY. DON’T CRY.

HUSH. DON’T CRY. DON’T CRY.

HUSH. DON’T CRY. DON’T CRY.

HUSH. DON’T CRY. DON’T CRY.

HUSH. DON’T CRY. DON’T CRY.

HUSH. DON’T CRY. DON’T CRY.

HUSH. DON’T CRY. DON’T CRY.

HUSH. DON’T CRY. DON’T CRY.

HUSH. DON’T CRY. DON’T CRY.

GLITCH

My Green Skin

What is it like, To be perfectly pale Like a glimmering pearl And the world is your oyster?

What is it like, To have a hand to hold When you’re scared That the world is unkind?

What is it like, To have parents that tell you How lovely you are And how proud you make them?

It must be nice to be loved, To be accepted without any Hesitation or reservation; No one would ever dare question your integrity.

It must be nice to be privileged, To be granted opportunities

When your name dances on their tongue And mine is swallowed without another thought.

It must be nice to have dreams, That sing you safely to sleep

When my dreams are drowned By a siren’s unforgiving call.

I wish I were you.

I wish I could see the sun the way you do. I wish the moon shined for me. I wish my name could hang amongst the stars.

I long for silent midnights And warm family dinners With lively music where I am free to dance.

Despite my icy facade, My skin blazes with envy

Because I will never be able to feel Like I could fly.

When will the world stop for me too? When will I get to breathe

Everything that is mundane for you? Will I be happy then? x

incite 77

incite magazine

volume 25, issue 1 “glitch”

Published February 2023

Incite Magazine is McMaster University’s creative arts and writing publication. We aim to unite a community of creatives by promoting self-expression, collaboration, and dialogue within our university campus and the city of Hamilton. Every aspect of Incite’s writing, graphics, multimedia, and event production is carried out by our wonderful student volunteers. If you would like to get involved, feel free to get in touch by emailing incitemagazine@gmail.com.

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editor in chief (content): Gillian Hodge

editor in chief (arts and production): Sandy Luu

layout director:

Naiha Ali

treasurer:

Tirath Kaur

communications director:

Sana Gupta

content editors:

Alan Minkovic, Aliyah Sumar, Anna Samson, Aribah

Ali, Hooriya Masood, Misaal Mehboob, Noah Yang, Sarah Sadafi, Sowmithree Ragothaman, Yumna

Ahmad

art managers:

Ayeesha Umair, Mahek Marker, Mara Li, Theodora

Oyinloye

layout editors:

Aditya Kalra, Bohmee Kim, Emelia Da Silva

cover art:

Growth by Sana Gupta

Untitled by Naiha Ali

contributors:

(Content): Aaryaman Anand, Alan Minkovich, Alexandra Rydlewski, Aliyah Sumar, Anastasia Arps, Anna Samson, Anne Llanora, Crystal Lu, Dora Xu, Elizabeth Zhou, Gillian Hodge, Manal Effendi, Mara Li, Maxx Kaufman, Maya Khodr-Ali, Natalia Laxamana, Nika Elmi, Roya Motazedian, Ruth Moon Lopez, Simi Jayeoba, Sowmithree Ragothaman, Yumna Ahmad, (Artists): Ayat Atif, Cate Woodhead, Emmanuel Aduwari, Haleema Yousuf, Helen Le, Mahek Marker, Mara Li, Maya Khodr Ali, Melinda Meleki, Michael Thach, Michelle Nicol, Nicolette Kuzma, Rachel Oseida, Sana Gupta, Sandy Luu, Tirath Kaur, Zareefa Bhatia

GLITCH 78

incite

VOLUME XXIV:II

v

It’s the glitches and twists, I thought, that make this universe unique and compelling. Without flaws, there would be no depth, no substance.

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