__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 1

Vol. 4 Issue 13 New York London Hong Kong Philippines

VIRAL


new reader magazine March 2020 | Vol. 4 Issue 13 COVER IMAGE

Slimy Oddity CREATIVE STAFF Managing Editor

: Kyla Estoya

Associate Editor

: Aira Calina

Feature Editors

: Jazie Pilones, Keith Ayuman

Editorial Assistant

: Neil Gabriel Nanta

Writers and Production Staff

: Sarah Eroy, Regie Vocales, Kathleen Crucillo,

Yanya Cortes-Tingzon,

Layout Artist

: Ronel Borres

Publicists

: Kota Yamada, TJ Delima, Tresh Eñerez

Researchers

: Rosielyn Herrera, Marjon Gonato, John Paul Vailoces,

Ma. Fe Tabura

CONTRIBUTORS

Mark J. Mitchell, Morpheus K, Bill Arnott, Emma Maile Buckman, Jennelyn Ibale, Anthony Aurrichio, Zoe Cunniffe, Luca Demetriadi, Jack Demchak, Raven Undersun

MARKETING AND ADVERTISING

Laurence Anthony laurence.anthony@newreadermagazine.com

SUBSCRIPTIONS

subscription@newreadermagazine.com www.newreadermagazine.com Phone: 1 800 734 7871 Fax: (914) 265 1215 Write to us: 100 Church St. Suite 800 New York, NY 10007 ISSN 2688-8181

Natalia Sinelnik

All Rights Reserved

NRMedia


NOTE

For a long time, whenever I read magazines, I’d always skip the Editor’s Notes. I just wasn’t interested in what they might say. Immediately diving into the pages was always a better idea. I mean, who is that editor anyway? The first time I was told I needed to do these, I went paranoid and read every editor’s note I could get my hands on. I just have to say though, having quarterly issues is a little strange because I don’t get to ride the hype of greeting everyone a happy new year. Instead I’d meet you in this odd time where we both have had two months of life’s adventures and surprises. Welcome to another March issue. Being an online journal, it’s obvious that social media has not only been a medium for our publication to connect with a wide audience, but has, in itself, also been inspiring and full of wonder. Think of it this way: we have access to all sorts of knowledge and wisdom, and we also have the ability to tell the whole world whatever we want. Back in college we had this class called Communication Theories, and one thing I learned from it was that no matter how careful we are with our message—we think hard about it, we use the right tone, we find the right words, we fact-check (maybe sometimes)— there will always be a possibility for miscommunication. Not because of what you say, but because of the receiver’s beliefs, values, and state of mind. With social media, the vibe we give off spreads faster than we think—a single post has a massive impact to everyone else’s lives. That energy goes on and on. On the other hand, it’s liberating to express what we think, what we feel, or what we discover. For example, having these quarterly meet-ups just means that another curation of wonderful stories and amazing people from all over the world are in this magazine! Getting to know everyone, even when it’s just via email, has been a blast. Mark’s and Morpheus’s works are among the many great pieces from all the contributors we have for this issue. We also got to write about Slimy Oddity! Personally, their works helped me through tough times during quarantine, and one of the things I asked during our interview was, if they could tell the entire world one thing, what would it be? I made their answer the title to the piece I wrote because that’s how much I agree with it. Bill Arnott, one of the best people to have used social media, is with us again with another incredible tale from his life journeys. This one made me feel a little nostalgic. I just hope you picked the right time to not skip this editor’s note, because introducing you to them has always been my favorite part—it’s a noble duty. Thank you for being our readers. All these writers, contributors, and even our staff, wouldn’t have been writers if it weren’t for readers like you. This will be my last issue on NRM so I’d also like to thank you for joining me in this beautiful ride. I meant to say something more sentimental and tear-jerking but I realized our relationship doesn’t end here anyway. I also remembered I have the internet so I guess I’ll see you online!

K


Contents Feature

Fiction/Non-fiction

6

30

Bill Arnott’s Beat BILL ARNOTT

14

Contributor’s Corner: (Poetry): Mark J. Mitchell KEITH AYUMAN

16

20

Poetry When I say I think Jesus was a teenage girl Sinking Song I Miss You but I’m not Missing You EMMA MAILE BUCKMAN

34

Song of the Sea A Man I Met in the Airport A Promise to Keep JENNELYN IBALE

44

Virus Espinella Obscure Self Quarantine Walk MARK J. MITCHELL

50

Acceptance January 2021 Someday I’ll Love Anthony Aurrichio ANTHONY AURRICHIO

58

42

bedroom chocolate milk daylight ZOE CUNNIFFE

Earworm MORPHEUS K.

56

Das Unheimliche JACK DEMCHAK

64

The Paper Mill RAVEN UNDERSUN

Love Can Save The World Slimy Oddity KYLA ESTOYA

24

LUCA DEMETRIADI

Contributor’s Corner (Fiction): Morpheus K NEIL GABRIEL NANTA

D. D. D.: A Short Life

New Reader Media 8

Featured Authors

69

To-Read List NRM takes on the challenge of bookmarking emerging voices in the indie publishing world, presented in random order.


Contributor’s Corner

BILL ARNOTT’S BEAT

ORIGINAL ART

6

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE


Fiction

T

o my delight I was contacted by the Royal Geographical Society in London, informing me I’d been granted a Fellowship in their venerable group of professionals. The Society’s mandate: to advance geographical knowledge and education around the world. Despite its age there’s a surprisingly modest number of Fellows. This privilege requires nomination by another Fellow, that nomination then put to a Board for approval based on nominee accomplishments in the field. Qualifications are a function of experience and expertise in exploration, discovery, and educating others through writing, teaching, and speaking. Fellows are a unique group—career adventurers like Charles Darwin, David Livingstone (Doctor Livingstone, I presume? That one), Scott and Shackleton, along with modern day experts like BBC’s Nick Crane, Microsoft’s Kate Edwards, and globetrotting Python Michael Palin. The first time I visited the Society’s base of operations in South Kensington I was halfway through my Gone Viking odyssey— researching, writing, and more or less absorbing everything I could in the genre, my travels at that point taking me across most of Europe, Scandinavia, and around the Mediterranean. I was about to embark on another couple of years of Arctic exploration, spring-boarding from Norse UK outposts to Iceland, Greenland, and the “New World,” which for my purposes was Newfoundland and Labrador. As a Society member one gets access to a remarkable array of resources—lectures and research material, what I liken to an adventurer-explorer’s seat at the grownups’ table. Kate Edwards is a great example of an RGS Fellow, a map-making geographer from Seattle who made her bones as part of Bill Gates’ cadre in the early days of digital replacing paper, that leapfrog from Encyclopedia Britannica to Google Earth and the subsequent explosion of gaming worlds—new age, virtual versions of Narnia and Middle Earth. As part of an illuminating discussion, Kate said something profound. ”Maps,” she explained, “are the original art form.” I’m paraphrasing, but this was close to what she said. Resonating words. Perfectly logical. At the same time our hairy ancestors first reimagined the world through artistic expression on cave walls by way of red clay handprints, likenesses of Neolithic neighbours and sketching a mammoth, the next artistic rendering in human history was a map—landscape imagery—the physical world we know and that bit just beyond, where we long to see but haven’t yet been, those blips on the cusp of comprehension and dreams where dragons live on turtles’ backs and myth and lore collide. That, in part, is the artistry of geography, cartography, and maps, all of it fuelled by a desire to explore, experience, and learn.

Since day one (or possibly later that week) maps have been imperative—interpreting the world around us, topography, flora, fauna, what and where we scavenge and hunt to feed, clothe, and shelter our tribe. We require the efforts—at times speculative and imagined—of mapmakers, explorers and geographers, predecessors and offspring of the RGS. Geography, however, means much more than simply plotting routes from A to B. Mapmaking—a facet of the field, entails endless information, from socioeconomic to political content, demographic to environmental. To collect and disseminate vast quantities of complex data, creative insight, and artistic interpretation are essential, London’s underground tube map perhaps one of the most familiar and best examples of this. There in fact is no realism in the medium. It could be one of the most-used reference guides that is itself a piece of abstract cubist art, with no relative accuracy in size or scale. And yet it guides us, literally, on journeys of our choosing, providing comprehension as a result of one creative individual’s use of the surreal to communicate, turning the intangible into tangible through colour, lines, and two uncomplicated dimensions. In our way, all of us are geographical explorers, finding new ways to interpret the world—destinations, directions, and disseminating particulars into relatable and useful information. The fact that there’s a cool old Society of women and men devoted to ensuring this unique blend of art and science continues to reach new adventurers and inquisitive minds not only warms my heart but tickles the wanderlust that I feel makes us who we are—modern day hunter-gatherers, students, explorers, and artists one and all—finding our own metaphorical cave walls on which to leave our mark.

***

Bill Arnott is the bestselling author of Gone Viking: A Travel Saga and The Gamble novellas. His work is published in Canada, the US, UK, Europe, Asia, and Australia. He’s been awarded for poetry, prose, songwriting and is a Whistler Book Awards Finalist for Gone Viking. When not trekking the globe with a small pack and journal, Bill can be found on Canada’s west coast, making friends and misbehaving. To join Bill’s Artist Showcase newsletter, click here.

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

7


Featured Author

Terry Lord Interview by Neil Gabriel Nanta Feature by Kathleen Crucillo

In the age of informed youth and progressive thinking, justice continues to be a complex subject. It is still intangible to most people, especially to members of the marginalized sector. Terry Lord addresses this problem in his informative memoir, as well as the ethical and moral decisions involved in law enforcement—using the printed word to educate the common people. Terry developed a curiosity for literature from the influence of his 9th- and 12th-grade school English teachers, taking a penchant for writing as a young boy. The same mentors introduced to him the power of persuasive writing and instilled in him that well-read writers produce the best works. He educated himself with the finest literary works from various authors, philosophers, and historians as a way to improve his writing. His enthusiasm inclined him to write about his journey in becoming a federal prosecutor for 30 years and his experiences in a society hampered by corruption and injustice. Terry states, “I wanted to share my knowledge and experience in criminal prosecution with young lawyers and people who wanted a better understanding of law enforcement’s role in the society.” In his first book, ...And Justice for All: Life as a Federal Prosecutor Upholding the Rule of Law, he stresses the crucial role of law enforcement officers and prosecutors in society and the difficult decisions they make in upholding the truth. Being a prosecutor requires a high degree of diligence and a strict moral compass, as does being a member of the community. Everyone must respect honesty and integrity and uphold their social responsibility. Terry urges people to expose the enablers of organized crimes in order to punish those who imperil public trust. He commits to this obligation through his book. New Reader Magazine got a chance to do an exclusive interview with Terry Lord. See how it went right here! New Reader Magazine: With the pandemic going on, how are you? What has life been like at home? Terry Lord: I have managed pretty well during the

8 8

||

NEW NEW READER READER MAGAZINE MAGAZINE

pandemic. Although many of my usual activities have been curtailed, I still play tennis a couple of times a week, and work out with a trainer at the gym to keep myself in shape. Also, I have gone to my ranch on a regular basis to fish and enjoy the countryside. Home confinement has resulted in reading history and keeping up with the news on TV. NRM: Who were your early influences in writing? TR: My English teachers in the 9th and 12th grade were the most influential for my initiation to writing. These ladies were intent on instilling the necessity of reading a broad range of literature, poetry, history and news in order to be a good writer. I learned from them how to write more persuasively by using examples from fine literature and anecdotes from history and the essays of philosophers. They inspired me to write with passion and enthusiasm. NRM: Justice is something that, until now, divides people. So it’s always great seeing writers produce books like yours. How did you feel finishing your book, and knowing your story will influence readers? TR: It was always my desire to reveal the intricacies and nuances of the investigation and prosecution of complex criminal cases. The difficult ethical and moral decisions made by law enforcement officers and prosecutors have a huge impact on the Rule of Law and I wanted to share my knowledge and experience in criminal prosecution with young lawyers and people who wanted a better understanding of law enforcement’s role in society. Writing my memoir gave me a feeling of connection with those who desired a deeper knowledge of how law enforcement really operated at the local, state, federal and international level. I felt that the story of my career might influence some young people who might seek a similar position in public service. NRM: What values do you think a community needs in order to combat corruption? TR: Communities must respect honesty and integrity among all elements and institutions, and, most importantly, law enforcement. Public corruption is the most insidious of criminal activity because it infects every area of illegality from street


New Reader Media crime to bribery of elected officials. A high degree of diligence and persistence is required to pursue and punish those who violate the public trust. NRM: If you could say one thing to the world right now, what would it be?

TR: Corruption and organized crime are symptoms of a society that has lost its moral compass. We cannot tolerate those who would use their power over communities to embezzle and pilfer the public treasury. Law enforcement must expose those who would turn a blind eye to organized crime and be so weak and greedy as to take money from criminal elements.

Barry Bauerschlag Interview by Aira Calina Feature by Keith Ayuman

Born in the cradle of faithfulness and love of his mother and father, Barry Bauerschlag spent his life thus far cheery and grateful. In his book, Aggie Spirit 101: Greater Love, he particularly explores his days of being an Aggie in Texas A&M, with which he aims to spread to its reader the contentment and grace the experiences brought to his life. With an abundance of influences as he matured, both in literature and music, Barry has not simply written a book. He has also made a consciousness-stirring piece of literary work about being an Aggie. Barry first fell in love with words and literature at a young age, growing up in a wholesome circle of neighbors and loving parents whose minds were open enough to let Barry discover an ever-growing world, and remain curious in a world that demands one to constantly learn. After being introduced to the works of Dr. Seuss, comic books, and the profound spiritual words he read in his third grade King James Version Bible when he was young, Barry went to college with an already expanded imagination. The folk music revival in the early to late 60’s whose lyrics appealed to him like poetry in his youth also helped shape his person. Barry encourages a life of contentment, gracefulness, and kindness for everyone and he does it with the one thing he has always been fond of: writing. In NRM’s interview with Barry, we explore his life from young boy to manhood and everything in between and of course, his book. Read all about it here!

NRM: What was an early experience where you learned that language had power? Barry Bauerschlag: As with almost all people, the language that most influenced me were the parental voices: my young parents, still teenagers when I was born. My cheerleader mom and her best friend, Mary Lou, whom I called Lulu, let me know I was loveable and capable. My dad spoke faithfulness to facts and lived by honor and under the structure of the law/rules. I also remember proud words from my maternal grandfather, kind words from our pastor next door, holy words from the church services he led, and profound spiritual words I would read in my GI/WWII third grade King James Version Bible from our family’s St. Andrew Methodist Church! Other words that shaped me and my awareness were from the many kinds of music I loved to listen to: pop, jazz, country, and especially the contemporary folk music at [which was at] its peak in my youth and young adult years. Often called the “Singer/Songwriter Years,” I heard blessings from the poetry of artists like Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, James Taylor, John Denver, Jim Croce, Joan Baez, and Don McLean. As a child I remember the fun of reading Dr. Seuss and comic books, then becoming enthralled with library books by such authors as: Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, Jack London, Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Zane Grey. Amazing was their ability to stir my imagination and expand my consciousness, to take me to fascinating places and involve me in new mysteries and drama. They helped me to seek solutions and demonstrated new ways to investigate possibilities.

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

9


Literary Work Featured Author Many biographies invited me into the lives of fascinating heroes and the adventures of explorers and inventors, athletes, and peacekeepers!

simplifying without being simplistic. This includes the task of breaking into pieces the parts of the puzzles without losing sight of the big picture.

As a top math and science student who also had an art scholarship, as well as leadership in my church’s youth ministry, I was perplexed about what to study in college and ended up taking on a Mechanical Engineering degree while majoring in the ROTC Corps of Cadets where I excelled and learned a lot of “Aggie Slang!”

It is having the patience to lay out the narrative step by step, connecting the dots as I go, so as to maintain the excitement of solving the drama of new consciousness and creation! It is helping the reader enjoy the journey of exploring each tree in the forest until we see both the forest AND the trees! It is all the joy of putting a whole puzzle together, along with concluding a drama which embraces the winning of that particular contest/challenge: claiming God’s victory whether Win-Win or Win-Lose! Celebrating the Championship of God’s Undefeated!

The two electives I was afforded allowed me to choose Argumentation and Poetry Analysis where I made top grades as I studied logical and illogical debate and/or persuasion, along with the ability of words to evoke images and feelings, the symbolism of metaphors, and the effectiveness of fables and anecdotes in communication to add passion to purpose! NRM: Aggie Spirit 101: Greater Love is a great recounting of your experiences as an Aggie. What’s one thing that could make you say you did the right thing sharing these things to the world? BB: In sharing the concepts and stories in my book, I feel justified as I see people in leadership adopting the foundational and core values that I proclaim in Aggie Spirit 101: Greater Love. Not only are these principles and practices setting trends and establishing styles which are more effective strategies for educating leadership, but also their inspiration, insights, and energy are welcoming successes and winning momentum! Key athletes, coaches, educators, and administrators have been fed, healed, redeemed, and encouraged to greater levels of success with their teams, organizations, families, as they are exposed to the inspiration and insights of the wisdom of which I write! Individuals achieve higher honors, teams win greater championships, programs accomplish unprecedented goals! The Greater Love of God’s Truth and Grace wins amazing victories in a wide variety of settings as people, especially leaders, learn how to better “plug in their soul phones!” What greater joy than to see such impressive successes in the people you care about and care for as God keeps His promises to bless others through us in our faithfulness! It is the ripple effect of righteousness! “God blesses the home of the righteous.” Proverbs 3:33 What Peace there is in God’s Promises and discovering and confirming how they are kept! NRM: What was the most difficult part of your writing process? BB: The most difficult part of my writing process is

10 10

||

NEW NEW READER READER MAGAZINE MAGAZINE

NRM: Did you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find? BB: One of the “Secrets of Success” that I hope is not too hard to find in my book is the “Art of Creating, Sustaining, Regaining, and Maintaining Momentum!” What begins with God’s Amazing Grace as shown by the forgiving father in the story of the Prodigal Son, is so powerful as we celebrate small steps that grow to greater strides. “For God so loved the (wicked) world...” and “while we were yet sinners,” knowing that “he who loves the most is he who has been forgiven the most!” Greater Love learns how to “Shield the shame” when undeserved, and “Shake the shame” when we are culpable and need to admit our mistake, say we are sorry, and seek anew to do right and make amends! Celebrating successes leads to an upward spiral of confidence, character, courage, and momentum, while forgiving oneself quickly with repentance helps restore and regain any momentum lost! The “Victorious Living” of Truth and Grace is all about “heart and smart,” about staying “fired up and focused!” NRM: What message do you want to convey to fellow Aggies and other readers? BB: My main message in Aggie Spirit 101: Greater Love is that God loves you and wants to bless you more than you can imagine, but that you need to embrace not just the principles of God’s Word through Faith, but also practice Christ’s Greater Love. Grace is free, but it is not cheap! The cost of discipleship is the Cross. We must learn to plug in our “Soul Phone!” The Greater Love Heart Logo on the cover [of my book] represents this truth: Christ in our hearts and the Cross in Christ; the resulting flames are the gift of the Spirit’s purpose and passion leading us to the greater gift of Victorious Living which I like to call “Cup runneth over!”


New Reader Poetry Media

Mahmood Shairi Interview by Kyla Estoya Feature by Aira Calina

Once a poor 14-year-old boy in Iran, Mahmood Shairi chased after, worked hard for, and eventually achieved the American Dream. It wasn’t a simple stroke of luck: he not only had the vision for his future, he also had the determination to get it. When he spoke of his experiences at Bible study, his pastor told him he should write a book about them. As a go-getter, that’s exactly what he did. An Iranian Boy and His American Dream: From Rags to Riches is only one of many stories about journeys made to the United States in search of a better life. Mahmood’s memoir stands out in that despite the many setbacks and trials, he never once lost his faith that he was going to reach his goal. Mahmood is a personification of success who survived adversities because of his loyalty to his ambition. New Reader Magazine got to talking with Mahmood about his thoughts as a writer, and his what- and whereabouts during quarantine. Read about that quick and fun chat right here! NRM: With the pandemic going on, how are you? Mahmood Shairi: I am doing well but very bored sitting at home! [But] I am building a new house for myself, and that’s helping me stay a little bit busy.

NRM: What do you like to do when you’re not writing? MS: I walk a lot. I go on bike-riding and a lot of fishing, and watch 10,000 movies a week. LOL! NRM: What do you think makes a good story? MS: I read a lot of autobiography. I like stories of famous people who came from nowhere and made it big in life. Stories of what they went through to get there [are stories that I think are good]. For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s life story. He is just one of many people that I admire. NRM: If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be? MS: Try to read people a little better, and don’t believe everything that comes out of their mouth. For example, five of my six wives really fooled me. They told me exactly what I wanted to hear, but not who they really were. I guess I am very easy to fool. NRM: What do you think is an important thing writers need to cultivate? MS: To be able to tell their story as it was or as it is.

Joel David Rinker Interview by Kyla Estoya Feature by Sarah Eroy

The unending thirst for more knowledge about the reality that we all exist in was what made author Joel David Rinker start writing. Joel heeded God’s call for him to write a book about his thoughts. He believes that his writings will be used as a tool to get the Lord’s people to stand together against evil. Ending

fear and violence as his utmost priority, he reminds readers to worship and love the One who has done all good things and who alone is worthy of exclusive devotion and that is the God almighty. He knows that his books explain everything in reality, and present the first complete universal understanding of all things, since science has failed to do so.

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

11


Literary Work Featured Author Joel’s books lead readers to look to God for help. They prove beyond a shadow of any doubt that He exists and is willing and able to help His people. And if people think they can find a solution for everything without seeking for the Lord, then He will let them do so. But Joel knows with all his heart that He will not let people who have faith in Him be destroyed along with the idolatrous ones. New Reader Magazine had the chance to interview author Joel David Rinker as he discussed how his books teach readers to find hope despite everything. NRM: With the pandemic going on, how are you? Joel David Rinker: I actually am doing very well. I am relatively unaffected to the extent that others are. I believe God blesses me because I am furthering His purposes. But I do believe the world, myself included, are headed for huge trouble. I am trying to prepare the best I can for it. I feel very bad for my fellowmen, especially with what happened to NYC financially, which I saw first-hand. I think that this whole Coronavirus thing has been beaten to death. There is way too much misinformation, and purposeful misinformation about it. The virus doesn’t kill people, and it doesn’t even present any symptoms usually. That is why people need to get tested, because they have no symptoms. The real threat is the complete destruction of the world economy, as in NYC, and the conditioning for people to submit to the leaders of the world, and the so-called experts, to gradually submit to whatever they tell you to do. It starts with face masks, and goes further and further. The real problem is also suicides, drug use, and mental and physical problems, and other things. Every year, there is a pandemic, because every year there is a flu virus, and is usually more severe than this one. Pandemic is a word that is used, and misused. Every worldwide disease is a pandemic. That means every year when we have a flu virus, we have a pandemic. It is used I think because it sounds like the word pandemonium, which subconsciously scares people into submission. NRM: What does literary success look like to you? JDR: To me it looks like something that will affect people for the better. It should also do something positive for the author. The author should find some degree of satisfaction in what they are writing, and it should lift and be upbuilding to both author and reader. It should be informative, and should have something of value to offer the reader. And some wealth would be nice too. Especially if it is a book that earns that. I am offering in my series of books—The Writings being my first one—omnificence, revolution, solutions, peace, and answers that you never even yet knew you needed, and the complete obliteration of your belief system. For well under $10.

12 12

||

NEW NEW READER READER MAGAZINE MAGAZINE

NRM: Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t have empathy? JDR: No I don’t. As a writer, you constantly need to feel for the other person and visualize how someone else, your target audience, would take what you say, and whether or not they would understand what you wrote, and how different audiences would react, and if those reactions are in harmony with the purpose of your book in the first place. NRM: What do you think makes a good story? JDR: If something is totally fictional, and has no basis in reality, or what reality could be, I personally feel that it is worthless, and not even entertaining, and many times borderlines on dishonesty. A good story should have a moral, a lesson that improves people to be better members of society, and makes them more educated. It should be enlightening. It also should make you experience strong emotions, and draw you into the storyline. And it shouldn’t have to end happily. That’s reality. NRM: As a writer, how would you use your talents in helping people through this global crisis? JDR: My books will help people unite, not under corrupt government, or even under a corrupt World Government, but with the truth. My books explain everything in reality, and present the first complete universal understanding of all things. Science has failed us in that. They don’t understand anything, nonetheless do they have a unified theory of reality. And what they do present is something scary like out of a science fiction movie. It does not comfort all people, in every possible way, as my books do. I am not afraid of a virus, because my books prove that there is one God, that He is more than capable of handling any virus, or anything, for that matter, and that He will do so, when it is His time, not when it is our time. I have a plan to reach everyone in order for them to be more like God—the way they are designed. The global crisis is not a virus. If that were the case, God would have dealt with it a long time ago. The crisis is, in fact, the complete cancellation of the truth, self worship, and unspeakable moral dissolution, degradation, and the loss of all trace of any type of courage and moral conviction. My books look to God for help, and prove beyond a shadow of any doubt, that He exists and is able and willing to help us. I do that, while everyone else looks elsewhere for a solution that they will never find. Ever. And if people think they can find a solution for everything, without looking to God, then God will let you do so. But He won’t allow the people like me who look to Him as they should, to be destroyed along with these idolatrous ones. Please read my books. Christian Love and Faith are now combined with complete proof and evidence. Worship God, not yourselves. He is worth it, you’re not. As for this virus, a piece of advice, don’t believe the “experts.”


Contributor’s Corner

M “

A R K J. IT C H E L L INTVW BY KEITH AYUMAN

I’ve found that poems I plan don’t turn out well. The poems that are ordered up by the Muse work out better. 14

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE


Poetry NRM: As I was reading your work, I noticed that despite the burden this pandemic has bestowed upon you, you remain hopeful and that became the certain theme in the poems you submitted: Hope. Was this your intention as a writer? Mark Mitchell: I don’t really know about my intentions. I’ve found that poems I plan don’t turn out well. The poems that are ordered up by the Muse work out better. As far as being hopeful, I think I tend to be optimistic ultimately. Part of being something of an aging hippie, I guess. Also, these pieces were written at the beginning of the pandemic. Who knew it would run on this long? That also means it was spring, and flowers were blooming. As things got bad during the summer, there were chalktivists expressing solidarity on sidewalks alongside invented hopscotch diagrams and we had demonstrations where we would wear our masks. And there’s the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge and astonishing views wherever you turn. So, there are always things that lift you up. NRM: What are the influences that light up your imagination? MM: The city of San Francisco, for one thing. My latest book, Roshi, is all San Francisco poems. My wife, always. Poetry in translations. I tend to keep to the Romance languages because I took Latin in high school and so have some idea what’s going on. I do like to discover new forms from translations as well. And of late, I’ve been going back to heroes of my youth— Camus, Dante, Kafka—you know, the comedians. NRM: To lighten up the mood, what was the wackiest thing a friend or a reader of your work suggested you to write? MM: I don’t often get requests to write on demand. I was asked to write the script for a tour of Sausalito, across the bay from The City (SF), and I knew almost nothing about it. I kind of delayed it until it went away. I’ve also written acrostic poems for my nieces and nephews as they join us on the planet. That sort accidentally became a custom in my family.

A student asked me a question of great length about the influence of Celtic mythology and Catholicism on my poem. I had to blurt out, “I dropped a pen.” That’s what the poem was about NRM: Your work has been featured in some of the most prestigious compilation books. Can you tell us your favorite remarks from a reader? MM: I was once presenting my poems to an AP English class at an elite high school here in San Francisco. After I read a short poem, a student asked me a question of great length about the influence of Celtic mythology and Catholicism on my poem. I had to blurt out, “I dropped a pen.” That’s what the poem was about. And my best-known poem, “Minor League Rainout, Iowa” was plagiarized by a retired minor league pitcher turned evangelical preacher. NRM: As a writer, what do you think is your role in a world suffering with a pandemic? MM: Joyful participation in the sorrows of the world. Trying to find and share the beauty in the trials of the time, the rose in Spanish Harlem, so to speak. NRM: What makes Mark J. Mitchell unique? MM: Well, I haven’t had a haircut since the Carter administration, yet my hair remains shoulder length. I rarely write in the first person. This is probably the most sustained use of the vertical pronoun in my work in quite some time. As far as I know, I am the only person who can see the angels that hover around Washington Square Park in North Beach.

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

15


Contributor’s Corner

I enjoy writing like breathing, and I strive to find any way I can to twist the status quo or challenge perception, even my own.

16

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE


Fiction

Morpheus K INTVW BY NEIL GABRIEL NANTA

NRM: During these trying times, how are you holding up? What’s a day in the life for you? Morpheus K: To be frank, I have survived these times. It’s a daily repetition of holding onto the things that feel human, but I like to think I’m making the best of it. My daily life is something of a chaotic mess framed with routine, but typically I can be found up and writing most mornings at Starbucks and preparing myself mentally for a day of classes and work. I tend to unwind with tea and reading or anime, but it’s very much taken day-to-day. I never know what will come next, but that’s just part of the fun. NRM: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? MK: I’m a caffeine addict with perhaps too much brain space. I enjoy writing like breathing, and I strive to find any way I can to twist the status quo or challenge perception, even my own. I consider myself something of a fun person, and I like to learn so I’m always trying to pick up something new in my free moments. I’ve been lucky enough to attend a private college for my BA in English and plan to graduate soon with the intent to work as an overseas missionary teaching English. I look forward to the life experience to gain from it as experience always benefits a writer, and I have a strong love of learning about other cultures. NRM: What does “Earworm” aim to say? MK: “Earworm” was written in the heat of an emotional debate with myself, and I believe that at the time I intended for the story to speak to those who also struggle with those inner conflicts of the mind. I wanted to give katharsis to a moment perhaps we all know too well when our thoughts overwhelm us. I suppose if I have to choose one message it would be that sometimes we must shut up even our inner demons and say “Enough.” NRM: What does ‘vulnerability’ mean to you? How do you exercise self-love? MK: Vulnerability is giving up control—control of someone’s opinions of you, of your own physicality, your own emotions, etc. It’s a baring of the self that requires trust at its core. I think sometimes to love and care for ourselves we must

first be vulnerable to ourselves. We have to see our flaws, decide that which we must change, that which we must accept, and do so without judgment. We have to trust ourselves, and others. I personally would say I practice more self-care than selflove, though, but perhaps my vision is colored since self-love feels like an arrogant term in my mind. Regardless, I tend to exercise care for myself in the ways I schedule my time and listen to the needs of my mind, especially in college when mental stressors take a deep toll. This can come in many forms, but I find the best way to combat stress is with reading and relaxing, scheduling time to be apart from the world, to pray, to meditate, etc. It’s not easy, but it’s something I aim for.

We have to see our flaws, decide that which we must change, that which we must accept, and do so without judgment. NRM: How do you deal with criticism? MK: I was raised with a mindset towards understanding that criticism is—for the most part—a chance to learn. Even when given maliciously, I take all criticism as an opportunity to reassess, learn, and move forward. NRM: What gives you the most joy? MK: I take joy in many things. Ranking them would be difficult, but my faith has always brought me great joy. It lifts me up when I feel low and reminds me I am not alone. It bolsters my spirit so I can move forward, and reminds me of all that I have been blessed with. It’s what fills the hole in my heart that people, things, even sometimes words cannot fill, and it pushes me to work my hardest and use my gifts and talents to their fullest.

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

17


Contributor’s Corner

18

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE


Fiction

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

19


WRITER’S Artist ProfileCORNER

Events, Conferences, Awards

20 20

||

NEW NEW READER READER MAGAZINE MAGAZINE


WRITER’S CORNER Feature

LOVE CAN SAVE THE WORLD Events, Conferences, Awards

by Kyla Estoya

D

ark forces make us feel like we can’t go on anymore. We call it quits. We’re done; we don’t want to be part of this anymore. But even when we have these miserable moments, somehow we make it through—coming out resilient and always better than we were before. We find glimmers of light again, and maybe even be the glimmer of light to someone else.

An even darker force started wrapping around the globe during the pandemic, leaving most of us feeling helpless and hopeless. But if there’s one thing this global crisis taught us, it’s that humans need one another. Artists like Slimy Oddity are a great example that some of us must be that glimmer and beacon of light to someone’s dark times—to remind them they’re not alone and that everything will be okay. From their sheer need to create, the anonymous duo behind these colorful (and adorable) illustrations share wisdom with the mission to help people through their life’s journeys. “I was at a time in my life where I had just emerged from my ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ and I desperately needed a creative outlet to express everything that I had been through,” Slimy Oddity shared to me. Telling me they live in a small and busy city in Asia, I’m amazed their works have this strong influence in people’s lives—especially during the pandemic. “I definitely felt the responsibility of being a voice of love, positivity, and hope during this pandemic. There was so much darkness going around in the media and in social media, so I wanted each and every Slimy Oddity post to serve as a short rest stop from all that madness.”

“I

DEFINITELY FELT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF BEING

A VOICE OF LOVE, POSITIVITY, AND HOPE DURING

THIS PANDEMIC.

THERE

WAS SO MUCH DARKNESS

GOING AROUND IN THE MEDIA AND IN SOCIAL

MEDIA, SO

ODDITY

I

WANTED EACH AND EVERY

SLIMY

POST TO SERVE AS A SHORT REST STOP FROM ALL THAT MADNESS.”

Slimy Oddity intentionally made this project anonymous. One of them draws, and the other one writes the captions. “We were well aware of the dangers of the trappings of the Ego. Creating anonymously helps to create some distance between the Art and us as people,” they said. Most of what they post on social media deals with awareness with oneself. They even created a playlist on Spotify, Slimy Oddity’s Way of Being Vol. 1, helping people with their cosmic journey of Here and Now. Their set of songs not only worked for me, but it also became an anthem throughout writing this article and curating the rest of the pieces in this publication. I’m fortunate that there are people like them who use social media for the greater good. “It makes me feel

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

21


WRITER’S Artist ProfileCORNER

I

COULDN’T BELIEVE THAT SO MUCH OF

Events, Conferences, Awards

EVERYTHING EXISTED, WHERE IT COULD SO EASILY HAVE BEEN NOTHING AT ALL!”

really happy to know that the art and messages that I share are resonating with a lot of people around the world. I’m thankful to have this platform to connect with like-minded souls regardless of geographic location.” Constantly trying to absorb everything like a sponge, Slimy Oddity gets inspiration from the best place—everywhere: “It could be a conversation with my partner, a random slogan I saw on a t-shirt while crossing the road, an out-of-context phrase muttered by a stranger, etc. I try to note everything down on the Notes app in my

22 22

||

NEW NEW READER READER MAGAZINE MAGAZINE

phone so that when I sketch out ideas, I can intuitively link these ideas to the sketches.” If you notice, the aesthetic for their artworks comes from an even more familiar and nostalgic scene—Sesame Street, Dr. Seuss, Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared, McDonald’s Characters, Richard Scarry, and Pee Wee’s Playhouse. Bright colors and lovable characters radiate in every piece. “However, I am also wildly inspired and intrigued by the artist Hilma af Klint and her story,” Slimy Oddity adds. “She was a revolutionary artist and mystic whose works only came to be known 20 years after her death. She was deeply involved in


WRITER’S CORNER Feature

Events, Conferences, Awards

spiritualism, and worked as a medium, while articulating mystical views of reality. I strive to convey that similar aspect of reality into my work—that which is unseen but felt.”

moment. I was absolutely in awe of Life, and everything took on this magical and surreal quality. I couldn’t believe that so much of everything existed, where it could so easily have been nothing at all!”

Slimy Oddity “adopts a psychedelic and awakened insight into spirituality, philosophy, and the human experience, often inspiring hope and catalysing inner change for all our followers.” Since philosophy plays a huge role in their creations, they look up to Alan Watts, Ram Dass, Adyashanti, and Joseph Campbell: “They are all great teachers who have expanded my mind and heart innumerably and I could not be more grateful for them.” In fact, according to Slimy Oddity, their name is taken from the term ‘Universal Oddity’ which was coined by Alan Watts. “It is described as a special kind of enlightenment to have this feeling that the usual, the way things normally are, is odd—uncanny and highly improbable. It encapsulated the feeling I had when I first experienced my satori

Spending a lot of time at home, it’s easy to just grab my phone and scroll through social media, particularly Pinterest, and finding gems of artists like Slimy Oddity. I’m like a moth to flame when it comes to art and literature, except my wings don’t burn, they just sparkle. But finding pieces that are pleasing to the eyes and simultaneously giving out positive and calming energy? This is one of the best gems yet. “It almost feels like if I didn’t create, I would combust into pure energy!” Slimy Oddity shares, “I’m constantly motivated to transmute messages of Wisdom downloaded from my awakening process, and turning them into joyful pieces of art because I strongly believe that it’s what the world needs right now in these dark times that we’re in.”

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

23


Contributor’s Literary Work Corner

When I say I think Jesus was a teenage girl EMMA MAILE BUCKMAN

I only mean that all the evidence points in that direction: luscious long hair, off-brand Birkenstocks, the earliest known instance of a T-shirt dress. If the Bible is to be believed, Jesus died for sins that weren’t his own sacrificed himself for something that literally wasn’t his cross to bear. What’s more woman than taking the blame for sins of older men? What’s more woman than saving everyone except for yourself? I want to be sacred. And if you want to play God I’ll let you. If you want to be prophet I’ll believe you. If you tell me selfimmolation is the only way to be loved I’ll follow your ten commandments. I’ll take your scissors of divinity and cut out parts of myself like a paper snowflake. Unfold me and call the missing pieces holy. I’ll shape myself into whatever you consider beautiful. I’ll eat the apple; I’ll listen to the snake as long as he whispers promises of knowing (that I am enough). I promise to bathe in your holy water until I am cleaned of all trace of woman. (Will it ever be enough?)

24

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE

Men in white robes promise me that God loves all his children. God loves all his children but more in an absentee-father kind of way. God loves all his children but he lets their calls go to voicemail, sends a belated text informing you that he’s running out of miracles. Selfish girl. Foolish woman. Witch and sinner. I call for an angel and only the Devil picks up the phone. He tells me that Original Sin isn’t so bad. He tells me that falling from grace can feel like flying. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Oh how the fallen are mighty. And after we talk maybe I’ll sell my soul for a few answers. Maybe I’ll sell my soul just to know if it’s worth anything. Or maybe I’ll keep it for myself to prove its worth saving Salvation is in the hands of the sacred, and I’m taking these hands back for myself. I think I might need them.


Fiction Poetry

vvoennyy

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

25


Literary Work

Sinking Song EMMA MAILE BUCKMAN

Fire belongs to the beholder / flames lick the walls of a sinking ship -The captain has struck a match: floating ashes instead. The last remnants of a saltwater heart sing the song of sirens of sacrifice of self-destruction burning lost things before you can lose them there are no Goodbyes here only endings.

26

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE


Fiction Poetry

Emma Maile Buckman is a writer and student at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is currently writing poetry and short stories while working toward a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics and philosophy. A member of the university’s Poets’ Club, she is passionate about literature, language, and the ocean.

vvoennyy

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

27


Literary Work

vvoennyy

28

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE


Poetry

I Miss You but I’m not Missing You EMMA MAILE BUCKMAN

My fiancé tells me he wants to give me a set of earrings for our anniversary: silver studs in the shape of crescent moons. “And I’ll get the sun”: his earlobes crowned by two golden helios “So we can be each other’s missing pieces” Sun and moon. Silver and gold. I want to say that I do not have anything missing, but I just nod. It’s only jewelry. A heart is a fragile thing, and I don’t mind sharing; I don’t even mind if you break it, if you want to. I won’t hold it against you. Every child on the playground learns that sometimes you share what’s yours and sometimes people are careless with things that don’t belong to them. That doesn’t mean you stop sharing. That doesn’t mean those things stop being yours. You can hold my heart but I won’t take it out of my chest for you. This is mine. Whole in all of its mismatched pieces.

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

29


Literary Work

D. D. D. A Short Life LUCA DEMETRIADI

W

hat follows is the ghost-written autobiography, against his will or knowledge and as accurately as possible, of Dimon Dimitrov Dimitrovich, my dear friend. We shall follow Dimitri’s line as it runs flat, starts to zag under its own weight, and then is interrupted by an unhappy zig. But fear not, in its final moments it all teases curving into a delightful circle. Poor Dimitri struggled everyday with the flatness of the sky. He found it equally perturbing that it was not a more urgent topic in conversation. Try as he might, his obsession with raising interest in the phenomenon (he believed that it was in need of immediate study) did little to titillate his peers, and even less so his public. Dimitri’s first article on the flatness, titled ‘On the Flatness,’ was enjoyed by many, though misunderstood as a satire; his second article, ‘The Sky is Flat!’, was knocked by critics and the author was accused of performing the same trick twice. But Dimitri was as persistent as a pigeon, and just as nervous. Poor, nervous Dimitri had almost fallen out of common society as a result of his perceived delusion. And this is where we find him, sitting in an office like a wax figurine: “I am not joking!” Dimitri yelled, and “lift up your chin and look at how flat it is! Day or night it never ceases my friend.” “My friend, maxims will take you nowhere. And you make little sense”. And so, Dimitri was fired from his position by the head of the English faculty, who had recently published a study on the vaccinating effects of local honey against hay fever. This is due to it being comprised of local types of pollen, thus creating an immunisation response. Dimitri had found the work derivative, as well as non-literary. Official documentation stated that Dr. D. D. Dimitrovich was released on account of a derangement issue. Four minutes after Dimitri arrived home with the contents of his desk and bookshelves, with only enough time to have removed one of his alpaca socks, his exterminator knocked on his door. He had come to check the glue-traps (“same as yesterday,” walking in with a chuckle) in the hope that, if they had not all been taken, he could fill-in the rat-hole knowing that all the rats were dead. Alas (“rats!”), they were all gone. The rat man would always stay after laying the new set of traps, and he was a great complainer: the difficulties of his job (“you’re always six metres away from a rat you know”); his drinking (“rat-arsed”); or that someone was stealing from him and he smelled a rat. Dimitri admired his interlocutor’s passion for his job, a trait lacking amongst his former colleagues, and would often offer a biscuit. “Did you see the sky today?” “Yes, lovely weather we’re having.” “Yes, I like the weather in general. Did you see the sky? It’s still fl--” “Yes, yes, very blue! I’ll come and check the traps tomorrow.”

30

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE

Natalia Sinelnik


Fiction This dialogue really isn’t working. Dimitri, as always, resolved to try again tomorrow. Then, as he had done the day before, and as he would do the next, he took his big ladder out to the hill near to a local public footpath. He would climb the hill, then his big ladder, and at the multiplied highest point available to this strange hero observe whether the day would shed any light through his binoculars. Such points of interest to Dimitri concerned how high he might need to fly to touch the ceiling; how a flat surface could appear so dynamic since it was surely not a trick of screens; and, most concerningly, why the sky might be this way.

As such, this is not the journal of a madman for the delight of perverts, but a real story which almost observes the unities. He was on the uneven floor of a rectangular box; the opposite face of the box was perfectly smooth and had the quality of a constantly developing watercolour. The analogy is floored since Dimitri’s world was not a box, it just had one flat face. It was Dimitri’s frustration that people were so at ease with the flatness that it had figuratively disappeared. And the implications were astronomical. Dimitri’s twelfth article showed this by disrobing various literary allusions related to his topic. For Shakespeare was right to call the moon a thief, a fat parasite of a fly, an artist’s trick to steal light at little cost. His fifth article on the topic (critical attention dispersed after the fourth), an extract of which is appended below, is more successful in describing how to observe the strange phenomenon. For now, metaphors will be left to Dimon D. Dimitrov, our wily misanthrope: Firstly, the observer should find the lines, which a layman can most easily perceive from atop an incline such that the sun sets behind your town directly in front of and below from you. The lines are straight and evenly spaced from this angle. The lines are made of clouds or shades of light or blue. That these lines are evenly spaced reveals the flatness, regardless of the horizon we perceive on our ground-floor. Atop an incline is a useful position, as the observer can see descending silhouettes gaining in headroom as they go downwards towards the tower-mounted sundials (metonymic: you

During his earliest tests he would try reaching with his arms, although he had read in magazines that the newest rockets being developed across the ocean could reach heights that would render his arms obsolete. His current technique, until he could afford an aircraft, involved a dozen laser pointers. It is necessary to clarify that Dimitri’s sky was certainly flat.

should be at such a height to view only the top of your town). This phenomenon has been poeticized in the works of Hogg, Coleridge, and Bock… I stop him here, but a curious reader should think about following Dimitri’s studies further.

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

31


Literary Work

As sometimes happened, Dimitri had forgotten that he was nearby a favourite local spot of Samuel Whizgers, his exterminator, and didn’t spy his approach through the binoculars. Dimitri tumbled from his perch at the “zy” of Samuel’s sentence, but he did not let this topple his spirit. Neither felt a need to elaborate on their strange activity to the other, and indeed, that their routines had a habit of crossing over the other’s for the past few years had made them well acquainted, if not amicable. On this day, for the first time, and also for the last time, though not in any ominous sense, Dimitri accepted Samuel’s invitation to a rat-dance dinner party he held every Friday night. After the failure of his second marriage, Dimitri would only make himself seen amongst university circles; amongst those, it must be said, who were rather tired of seeing him. Dimitri thought Samuel privileged to tap his knowledge; Samuel felt pity for his strange client. Poor Dimitrovich was even estranging to the eye. It would be unkind to describe him but know that he stood out everywhere for wearing sandals. In a world such as theirs, with warm days and soft, sandy floors, even the elderly would let loose their soles. Samuel, barefoot, led Dimitri into the supermarket. “Thing I like about Coles-” (Dimitri thought that his exterminator’s skin must be hot) “- is that you only need to pay for one thing you want and everything else is free.” Dimitri gave an understanding nod, but his gaze had been drawn to a particularly two-dimensional cloud above his head and the smile perceived by Samuel was not intended for his scam. They went in: Dimitri went to find frozen gyoza to fry that afternoon at the beach; Samuel went to find the ingredients for shakshuka, enough for his mischief that evening. At the selfcheckout Samuel said he would pay: he scanned his cheapest item and clicked checkout but continued to scan, crashing the system, while everything still appeared on the receipt for the barefoot security guard to check on their way out. Dimitri, inspired by his new friend, was doing his best to relate to the background characters of his life, commenting with glee on the almost non-existent cost of their hefty grocery haul to the hefty guard. The jig was up. They ran back into the sun, the gazumped guard trailing, then went to the beach where Dimitri fried gyoza on a grill he always left in a small cliff cave. Dimitri, like wax in Athens, wished the sun would hide its beams. In the water they threw jellyfish at each other. Samuel went home to prepare for his guests, while Dimitri swam out to explore his favourite coves, losing his right sandal in a particularly strong riptide. The sun, in its daily illusion, lowered itself towards the water, now still and fresh. Samuel leant over the balcony and “shakshuka is ready,” he said. Dimitri had never tried shakshuka but did not want to embarrass himself around real people. And of course, Samuel had spent all afternoon since the beach simmering his pot. Some food historians believe that the dish spread to Spain and the greater Middle East from Ottoman Turkey, while others think it originated in Morocco. It was brought to Israel by

32

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE

Tunisian Jews as part of the mass Jewish exodus from Muslim nations. It was brought to Dimitri by Samuel. “Start go go it will get cold,” Samuel’s Israeli accent said. Samuel’s empty seat was to Dimitri’s immediate right; to his left sat a Scandinavian girl with fluorescent green hair, who was opposite a Scandinavian girl with fluorescent pink hair, to the left of whom sat a teenage replica of Samuel (his younger brother, I assume). Pink told Dimitri about the benefits of eating exclusively foraged roots. Other zany characters filled the rest of the long tableau, though only on the fringes of Dimitri’s perception. No one wanted to start eating without Samuel at the table. The power vacuum of a popular rat exterminator. Someone might gesture for a scoop but stop themselves; someone might take a bite, approve of the cuisine, and then put their spoon down to show that they were only tasting. Waiting, Green began a lecture about her research into how sleeping position, affecting how your feet interact with the mattress or sleeping mat, can cause different muscular structures in the soles of different people. In turn, this affects how one interacts with the natural world, as different muscle structures are more adept at picking up different frequencies of vibration as one walks around. Such pseudo-science was the nail in the corpse for Dimitri, and although he continued to “yes” and “of course” at irregularly spaced intervals, he instead eavesdropped on a conversation behind him. “… every word should be fat… fat as you can make it… right word…. fur… with layers, layers… various understandings… different… reader… long tale… [laughter]… efficient ink...” Dimitri was no creative writer and any significance glided over him. Thankfully, his chair at the table faced Samuel’s sliding wall of glass that grabbed and framed parts of that larger, more important rectangle. He quietly watched and waited, sagging in his chair. When Samuel came everyone could eat. It was a happy Friday night dinner, but Dimitri had developed a nasty habit of finishing too soon. He did not like eating around others and he found himself the foreigner at a foreigners’ table. He focused on stomaching rather than on conversation, and his few gags went unnoticed. He finished silently and was pleased – but Samuel was still describing his pot of imported hummus, and both of his hands were clean. Dimitri sighed; Samuel told a joke; Green and Pink harmonised their laughter in a very charming way. Samuel put one arm around the back of Dimitri’s neck and “Dimitri is a hungry boy,” he said, rubbing his friend’s stomach with his other arm, while his other arm reached for another serving for his friend who evidently loved his cooking. Samuel felt very close to Dimitri that evening; Dimitri threw up twice in Samuel’s guest-bathroom, and only a double dosage of white pills would settle his stomach. “Stop, Tommy, no! No food!” Tommy, Samuel’s cat, dangled a vibrating dragonfly from its mouth. The dragonfly escaped over the balcony but to Dimitri’s delight, at a certain point in the sunset, it collapsed itself against the inevitable


Fiction

invisible surface and fell. Dimitri excused himself and went to collect it. Leaving the table to go outside for his morning coffee (it seemed a lovely day, even at this time of year), Dimitri was surprised at the quantity of dry leaves blowing in from the church and rustling across his patio. His autumn ovation lasted for a dozen or so seconds and was never repeated again. Congratulations on your second day, sang a little pipit, but it stopped. He went to gather conkers, but he was too early or late, and they were not in season. No matter: Dimitri took his glass square from the drawer of his desk (the curtains drawn) and sketched the unhappy remains of his dragonfly. As expected, the only sign of impact was the flattened head which had caused a crumpling effect along the rivets of its long body. Strangely, Dimitri shaded his dragonfly a bright pink; this must have been his artistic license, since it was, in fact, a brilliant green [running out of colours. Unities gone. Sick of this false world – zig.]. Over the course of the next decades, Dimitri somehow found himself a wife whom he loved, a small apartment with a dachshund, occasional happiness, and a son whom he named after himself. He continued to study the flatness of the sky and its various related phenomena but would always make it home in time for dinner. He never uncovered any marketable evidence, he was never offered another job, and eventually he discovered that he had never been able to convince his wife that he wasn’t insane. Dimitri Jr. turned sixteen on the day his father was committed. Every sixteen pages my notebook offers me a charming image. On this page a small white rabbit was pulling itself over Ming’s left shoulder and peering at her face with interest. Sixteen pages later in a high-rise apartment in far-off Beijing, the elevator lurched to a halt and the light flicked out while Ming was thrown to the floor. When there are so many words to choose from it is hard to know what should come next. Stop. Something has started to quiver. The white water is rippling with misperceptions and crooked lines leave blanks where my ink should be. Let me give myself to anecdotes and ease this muddle: by the sea I saw the moon’s red egg lay a golden snake in the water; on the mountain shadowscreens of skeletal lovers danced across the valley; the sky is flat in Oxford. See for which of these is real—camouflage by apposition. Apologies for the phoney poeticisms, but how to tell you all these things without reversed impressions? But something’s wrong, chief. This citadel is crumbling again. As I do most days, I left my pen at my desk around the last hour of daylight before dusk to ramble the repurposed landfill nature park in search of doe. The main part of the November trees were alight with thick shadows and afternoon highlights that were vivid, real, alive. Uniformly (from my relative perspective) the bottom foot-and-a-half of the trunk at the base of each tree was dull and grey, like a screen rendering downwards but running out of power before it can spark all of the pixels. This citadel is crumbling again, and I can see the

ocean from my holding cell. I transposed the broken trees into a photo; later I will try to write it down and grapple back some sanity (the sky was an expansion of the tree-glitch: a foot-anda-half [relative] at its base was dull with clouds, but like the trees the upper trunk of the sky and its branches were azure, blue, brilliant, etc.). Beautiful, yes, but fix it, please. There is not enough serenity in my imagery but trust that it should be there. Unusual things are difficult to make beautiful with words. The rats are scratching behind my eyes. Sorry for that. I hope Dimitri is okay. How can I tell Dimitri’s story when my own is going sly? I shall let the reader in on a secret. There was for Demetri that unenviable choice: having morning coffee with a little white pill or sitting still in depression. His artificial co-characters made as little sense as his natural world: a ship of fools beached where the sand meets the sea… poor Dimitri, I’ve put you through so much. But it’s not his choice to make, unfortunately. Maybe I should be more honest and kill Dimitri and make this first person. But I shan’t be shot: no, no, I shall not be shot. Turn on the kettle it’s time for my coffee. Dimitri will be left in his sanitorium, writing his memoirs [note the tease of circularity – zig.], on a floor so cold that all the other prisoners are wearing shoes oddly akin to the kind loaned by bowling alleys. I am sorry, my friend, but there is nothing else that I can do. I will at least give you the loveliest epitaph since that of Timon, whose play has always been my favourite: Dimitri is dead, who hath outstretched his span, Some beast wrote this, there does not live a man. Dead, sure, and this is his grave. My waxy reversal is dripping in the sun.

Luca Demetriadi is an English Language and Literature finalist at the University of Oxford, currently studying and applying for Masters programmes in Australia, from where he originates.

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

33


Literary Work

SONG OF THE SEA Jennelyn Ibale

I asked the wind to kiss the tears in your eyes and carry them to the sea for they belong to a limitless home call the waves gently and they will lull you to sleep I have told them to sing you a song to ease the pain of longing watch the sun and the horizon become one for someday, someday I will come to paint your skies tangerine and pink whatever you imagined while we sit by the shore writing our names in each of our palms while I watch the stars residing in your eyes My beloved, do not cry for me I am contained in this soulless body I shall come to you soon once I am set free from myself who lost the key Wait for me, wait for me For now, can you listen to the song of the sea?

34

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE


Poetry

fyb

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

35


Literary Work

fyb

36

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE


Poetry

A MAN I MET IN THE AIRPORT Jennelyn Ibale

I remember, so vividly like it was yesterday when the plane landed safely, with the memories of my escape when in a moment before I face the reality again, it waved me a hello through that man I met in the airport reading a novel written by Paulo like he, lives that book like the table of elements, composing the Earth’s misery, when I sat near beside him, suspiciously, he started talking and warned my contemplating self too that he’s a bipolar, and that he tends to forget, the planes and flights, but not this time, with me, a stranger, meeting with the eyes I felt he read my entirety and I was left naked with all the truth and lies “There we embrace reality, even if it sucks our soul and keeps us in death, walking in a daily life of torment and inclusivity with the society that is made in recluse. I may never remember you

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

37


Literary Work

A PROMISE TO KEEP Jennelyn Ibale

38

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE

There is a promise I have to keep sealed with the night’s ambiguity I laid my eyes upon you, not blinking I am fully awake in this pact I cut this palm, this blood stain is not a foe I am with you, I do, I do There is a promise I have to keep it is to hold your hand till eternity even if they grow thorns and won’t let me be


Poetry

I’ll hug you tighter until we both bleed for you have known me as a bomb and also a crushed cherry we are the living art of our insanity I’d choose for us to despair together than one of us flying to see one down, one falling in the vast uncertainty and I have known you not wanting the dark’s embrace even when you keep using it as a blanket many times I cannot count to hide your screaming dreams

and an ancient quill behind your bed I know the night’s too cold to hope I just wish you will not let go too of this path we’ll be taking all I know is until the end staying with you, falling and growing is the essence of a promise unbroken even the journey will keep us in torment yes, we have chosen, a road that is not taken (inspired from the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost)

Jennelyn Ibale writes poetry mostly on days when emotions and inspirations come into an outburst. Her poems portray the hustle and bustle of everyday life on an island of the Philippines. Her writing ideas include sunflower, love, longings, and stillness. She likes watching the rain and reading utopian books at the same time. Visit her at @alivingsunflower on Instagram.

fyb

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

39


40

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE


NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

41


Literary Work

Natalia Sinelnik

42

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE


Fiction

EARWORM Morpheus K.

Enough. You are not enough. “No. I’m not.” It slides down my cheeks, creeping through my skin in the form of pricks and raised hairs. Curling around my ears and trailing down my neck in a long cord. It presses into my eardrums and rests there, whispering into my mind. My earworm. Fat. You are too fat. “Yes.” My lips are cold and so is my skin. My mother says I’m anemic like the other half of my family and that is why I am cold. I wonder if they too have the earworms living inside their brains, creeping across their necks in the dead of night. I sit up off my bed and walk to the mirror, studying it there. The rest of the world doesn’t see him, just as they fail to notice the pudge that grows around my belly. They only ever comment on my ribs and “my, how small you are” as if I were anorexic. “I’m not. I’m healthy,” I whisper and tighten my abs. The pudge doesn’t go away, simply shifts and changes shape. I frown. Boys are supposed to have an easy time building muscle. So why can’t I? Because you are not enough. “Yeah.” I look away. There’s always someone better in this world. I look to the pages spread across my floor and sigh. My legs fold beneath me and I collapse cross-legged to the floor. The earworm retreats within my ear canal and rests there, coiling his body within the warmth of my head. I press my hand there, cradling him. You can’t do it. I nod and stare at the papers. There are hazy sketches. They might be good, compared to me, but in the grand scheme, they’re nothing but chicken scratch. The poems that rest at my feet contain nothing but empty cries. Perhaps I should throw them out. I pick one up. “What’s stopping me?” Pride. I chuckle and nod. “Yeah, I suppose you’re right. I’m not supposed to have pride, though, right?” He doesn’t answer me this time. I run my fingers through my greasy hair. It’ll be dinner soon. That means leaving my room and facing the world. Eating. Food, why does the world have to run on food? I drop the paper. Why does the world have to keep running? Or maybe I’m the one running, from the world. My chest aches as the page flutters to the ground and I slump forward over my knees, gripping my head. It’s empty. “You’re useless,” I whisper to him, my demon. He refrains from answering again. My lips tighten.

The silent treatment. I always hated that. “We’ve been at this for hours. Maybe just today, you could give me an idea? Since you like whispering so much. Please, just this once?” My jaw clenches and I shove a few of the papers with my socked feet. They fly across my small room. “Please!” My voice thins into a whisper immediately. I clamp my hands over my mouth. His laughter fills my skull. I don’t have ideas. I rest my head forward and bury my fingers in my hair. “I know. I’m sorry, I just…I don’t either.” You’re not creative. “I know, it’s just…I want to be. I want to create something. I have to, right? So, they don’t forget me?” Why? With a tug and a shift, he crawls from my ear again. Ringing his long body around my neck. It makes the hair stand on end, sending goosebumps down my arms. I shiver and clutch my flannel shirt closer to my body. Why indeed? “I don’t know…I’m afraid,” I admit. You’re full of pride. Hmph. He has a point. Maybe I am. Is it wrong to want to be remembered in this world? Perhaps I should be content in my anonymity. Perhaps not. I look down. His soulless eyes stare up at me, taunting me. He could fill my head with the world if he wanted to, but he does not. It’s always “never smart enough”, “never thin enough”, “never enough” for him. For him. But what about me? My lips tighten. “You’re a liar.” He simply stares back. You’re the liar. “No!” I grab him by his neck. His wriggling body is trapped. His eyes bulge. My chest burns with hate. I squeeze tighter until I can feel the joints of his slime-cased body threaten to pop apart. He squirms but doesn’t make a sound. I scream in his stead as tears begin to slip from my eyes. How long have I listened to his abuse? How long have I believed it? I don’t know anymore; all I know is I can’t take it. There’s no give and take, only take and take and take. My tears are hot. My skin is cold. The world around me blurs. My body slacks onto the floor and papers rustle. Poetic, I think. Maybe not. You’re hurting yourself. Lies! I can’t trust his words. The fiend. My chest aches and my hands begin to shake. Still, I squeeze harder. I’m done. I’m done! He snaps. I crush him. His body splatters and my hands drop limp at my sides. My chest burns. That’s okay. He’s gone now and it’s over. I exhale what breath I have left. “Enough.” Morpheus K is an author with a love for the fun and the freaky, with emphasis on the freaky. Aiming to engage audiences with unique twists in the paranormal, mental, and even plain and simple, he strives to be and write anything but the norm. Even mystical story machines require day jobs, though, and when not converting caffeine into fiction, Morpheus works several day jobs from Barista to Office Assistant. Currently, Morpheus continues to work diligently on new stories while pursuing a BA in English.

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

43


Literary Work

Omar Flores

44

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE


Poetry

VIRUS ESPINELLA Mark J. Mitchell

Sealed doors won’t keep the plague outside. Your mask is a delusion. Disease waits— you’ll drop it soon. When lungs inflate with air that we all share, it finds a way through mesh. You try to hide— to fool infections. The news brays numbers that mean nothing. Spring sprays sunlight. People wander the shops— they always will. Until the cops stop them. Open your door. Breathe Pray.

Mark J. Mitchell was born in Chicago and grew up in southern California. His latest poetry collection, Roshi San Francisco, was just published by Norfolk Publishing. Starting from Tu Fu was recently published by Encircle Publications. A new collection is due out in December from Cherry Grove. He is very fond of baseball, Louis Aragon, Miles Davis, Kafka, and Dante.

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

45


Literary Work

OBSCURE SELF Mark J. Mitchell

Late spring rain. Gray skies in a shared dark wood. You’ll find your unformed self here. Not quite night but never morning now. You know you should look—it’s hidden—that kiss—your mislaid soul. The skies stay masked. You can’t turn to the right without stepping on a stranger’s fresh tears or hearing a false confession. Just peace— your humble request. Tangled in cold fear you won’t stand still. Blood drips from folded leaves. It pools underfoot. You can’t walk. Your soles get snared, sticky. No whisper of a breeze disturbs a black pond. A soft, foreign voice sings small words, showing you she’s a mother— not weeping, but some lullaby. Her choice is a hot blade that just misses your cold face—slowly. The wind’s forgotten brother. Gray rain. Vacant sky. Masks crack underfoot— the burnt remains of family portraits. No animals haunt you—to chase, to dispute your stance. You won’t be herded to your soul. Pray through a fractured night. Don’t fail this test.

46

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE


Poetry

Praewthida K

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

47


Literary Work

David Clode

48

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE


Poetry

QUARANTINE WALK Mark J. Mitchell

Purple blooms pierce ash gray clouds, refreshing the bay— stone-still—below. Today, outside is foreign, bright color welcome—missed visitor whose name you forgot. Slow tides shift. You see it. Dark hills across water, as still as still as time. Flowers for a bride, a small gift. Your slow walk down the slope across chalked graffiti is almost done. It’s only allowed for health reasons. You step with stealth as if you’re transgressing some new law. We’re all confined by disease, by strict time. Turn the corner. Pray for sun.

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

49


Literary Work

50

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE


Poetry

Acceptance ANTHONY AURRICHIO

the tornado ripped through my bed again and after waking desolate and cold i resolved to seek shelter in your warmth. take this grief and let it float inside you, you said. the wind cannot take it away so long as you let it carry you too. so when it returned the next night i rose and let the gale make a ghost of my sheets as i observed my soul from a radical view. i peered upon my reincarnated afterimages once swiftly born and lost to the unwitting eye now twirling in the room turned courtyard below and bestowed immortality upon each and every one.

Anthony Aurrichio works at a NYC non-profit called DoSomething.org, where he oversees all messaging communications. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY where he writes poetry in his spare time.

Anna Iagur

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

51


Literary Work

52

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE


Poetry

January 2021 ANTHONY AURRICHIO

i can watch six straight hours of british game shows without once going to the bathroom when i rise to leave the walls breathe a sigh of relief behind me one of the perks of being in this bathroom is the medicine cabinet mirror is perpendicular to the main mirror so that when i was younger i could get lost pulling it open to see myself staring back at myself staring back at myself staring back at myself mary was right when she said all eternity is in the moment because here i am still grabbing my mirrors still pushing them away watching the pages of my reflection flip closed until only one remains and as i return to the television and surf the channels for something new a boy says we are infinite and i hear we are frozen

Anna Iagur

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

53


Literary Work

54

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE


Fiction Poetry

Someday I’ll Love Anthony Aurrichio ANTHONY AURRICHIO

when you were told you could be anything, you were so certain it meant you could be everything. take a deep breath, anthony. now, look around. your shoes are ten steps behind you. your shadow doesn’t follow you; it merely grows. for as long as you can remember, you’ve wanted so badly to be seen even if it meant burning under the magnifying glass. you’ve spent too much of your time apologizing to everyone but yourself. anthony, won’t you accept yourself? close your eyes and listen. balance comes from the ears. won’t you accept yourself? don’t answer yet. here is why i love you most: at one point or another, every color has been your favorite color. and in each, you’ve laid in its deepest shade. and that? anthony, that is everything.

Anna Iagur

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

55


Literary Work

Das Unheimliche JACK DEMCHAK

H

Girl with red hat

56

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE

e drops a few coins into the tip jar after picking up his drink from the bar. Something foamy made with alternative milk that “shouldn’t be steamed over 140, okay?” Said with a smile, though his mouth looked like it was never taught how to, but instead had learned how to mimic one from late night advertisements; like he’s trying to sell something but doesn’t know what exactly. Maybe himself. It felt almost like a dog walking on its hind legs. He sports a designer hoodie underneath his thrifted turquoise puffer jacket. He has a lot of tight, white-gold hoops; on his fingers, his nose, his ears. Clear glasses and a beanie hat that is rolled up too high. An outfit meant to minimally mimic the aesthetic of poverty, yet is too expensive to have been acquired without financial support from someone who doesn’t check their bank account before grocery shopping. Who can get the chocolate-covered almonds without thinking twice about the fact they’re fucking eight dollars. He makes a lot of eye contact with me as he tells me about his classes, about how annoyed he is with having to read Plato’s The Republic for the third time in his life. I can feel him looking at himself in the reflection the white of my eyes provide. “It’s not like we didn’t all read it in high school. I mean, c’mon, right?” I catch him almost about to snort from laughing at his own joke, but he catches himself and looks away for a moment. I almost wish I was the person who, in his youth, had made fun of him for it to cause him to be prepared to suppress the action. My brain hurts as I do my best impression of a bobblehead to make sure he knows I’m listening while I sip my drink, make sure he knows I care, that I, too, am capable of performing the same kind of emotional labor that I imagine his mother once did, or rather continues to do. I enjoy, a little too much, being a very fuckable, unpaid makeshift therapist. I’m sort of astounded by the fact that he has been chewing gum this whole time, and loudly at that, even while nursing his coffee. I imagine he is someone that has some pretentious belief they would half-jokingly share a party that since gum is something that is meant to be chewed, to do so softly would be an insult to its existence. He continually crosses and uncrosses his thin legs under the table, and doesn’t think I notice. He reminds me of those inverted knee birds who stand on the back of a crocodile amid the marsh, acting like this means they, too, have the gnashing teeth of an apex predator. What are they


Fiction called again? I make a mental note to consider buying uppers and not downers, as if this will provide access to previously unnoticed knowledge. “So where’re you from? Let me guess, someone else from New York?” He rolls his eyes as he says it, as if him being from LA is really all that different, as if he didn’t have every available option that a mega city provides, as if he also isn’t from somewhere kids like me imagined they’d run away to someday. He is from the destination. I almost say this, but then remember that he doesn’t actually want conversation, but to merely be two people talking at each other across a table, each doing their best attempt to sell themselves. A brief interaction of exchange, transactional at its core; he knows nothing else but what he can provide, but this. I tell him I’m not from New York, but a town in a flyover state, from a house at the end of the street with no outlet that drinks gas station, full calorie beer with abandon. I imagine he would call the stories of me being 14 and having to scheme sixpacks from the GetGo two streets over “Cute!” with the exclamation point being especially pronounced in a way that hurts my ears. “Yeah I haven’t really heard of that place, sorry.” He laughs to fill the empty space between us after he says it. Even with the coffee he’s drinking, his teeth are so white they look blue. “That’s okay, I wouldn’t expect you to.” For some reason this gives me a shadow of a smile that I have to turn away to hide. I know he wouldn’t like me smiling like I know something he doesn’t. That I am capable of things outside of his sphere of possibility and influence. He thinks he has a monopoly on being alternative, on being queer, on being unloved by his parents. There is nothing that I have experienced that he can’t relate to, no story I can tell that he can’t talk over. His last girlfriend apparently didn’t really get him. Wanted too much from him. Was unreasonable. But hot, don’t forget that she was hot! “A little much.” He’s the kind of queer man who has only ever dated women, a soft boy who likes hard girls, but has been with a few men in between. Like rest stops on his journey to selfactualization. His bisexuality is part of the brand, of the sell, the reason he’s different, special; his favorite accessory. He has strong upper arms covered in teeny tattoos drawn without much detail, as if in the style of a child. My annoyingly twisted head can almost picture him purchasing the arms at a store, from an indie “environmentally friendly and ethically sourced” boutique body part shop, somewhere in LA, that you had to know someone who knows someone to hear about, the kind that might also sell quinoa and smoothies advertised to make you shit your brains out. He has an antique bike in a calming color that he tells everyone he got from his grandparents, though we all know he found it from an online seller, yet no one admits to seeing through the lie. It is easier to believe. To simply get on your knees, look up, and treat him like he’s someone important enough to ask forgiveness from. Sitting next to him I feel big and wide and flat. I try to imagine him pity masturbating to the ideas of Kant to make me feel better, or maybe even him beating it to the fantasy getting to choke Gloria Steinem during sex, which he would

hope makes him a feminist via osmosis. Or maybe he believes that by destroying the thing, he becomes it. Seems like a male line of reasoning, which feels hypocritical to critique, though perhaps throwing stones in a glass house is too familiar a past time. I worry this boy is so unnerving because he could be me. In another life. In an alternate dimension, where the holes in space aren’t black but white, a place where maybe I don’t feel the need to cover my stomach with a pillow when I sit down on a couch, where my parents had settled somewhere where the dreams having bigger tits, and are more familiar with coke nosebleeds than kickbacks in someone’s backyard; getting ditchweed from your cousin’s boyfriend who hit her that at that party “but listens to Sarah Barellis, so like he can’t be that bad. One time mistake.” He also once had geometry with your brother, where they’d sit in the back and talk about how they wanted to “slam dunk” on their cold and unfeeling, but disturbingly sensual teacher’s “freezer burn pussy.” In this other place removed from reality, I don’t spend the summers laying flat on a friend’s backyard brick pathway that is warmed by the lazy sun, where we grate bottlepops with our front teeth and talk about how we’re incapable of love and utterly ambitionless. In this world, I am more excited about the alarmingly rising heat of the planet, because it means more opportunities to display my body that is partly a genetic lottery win but also was purchased with generational wealth due to societal peer pressure. A Powerpuff Girl style alchemical concoction of influence that pairs well with benzos and SSRIs, that tastes like saccharine children’s medicine. The kind that’s pink and tarlike, but your tongue has learned to identify as almost “strawberry.” He begins to tell me about the game he wants to design, an inhabitable open world game set in a future that you create. He tells me it doesn’t have a name yet but that doesn’t really matter to him. The goal is to make a utopia, where there will be an algorithm that scores the NPCs of your fantasy’s happiness levels. The desired outcome is to make everyone as happy and fulfilled as possible, to create the perfect place using anything you can imagine. It can be as detailed or unfocused and free-reigning as you would want it to be. An ambitious project that feels vaguely like a philosophical take on The Sims, perhaps formed from a half-baked thought that emerged during his local indie boy trust fund circle jerk. “Are you religious?” His eyes, colorless but very alive, squint at me. I cross and uncross my legs under the table. I worry how good it will feel to fuck someone with a God complex; if, like him, by destroying something, I will become it.

Jack Demchak is a Pittsburgh native currently studying as a junior at the University of Chicago, where he studies Creative Writing, Comparative Human Development, and Theatre and Performance Studies, focusing on the oddities of everyday life, and the science and storytelling of how scary it can be to simply be a person. In his spare time, he’s a barista, a bartender, a wearer of funky sweaters, and an avid fan of reality television.

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

57


Literary Work

Maryna Sokolyan

58

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE


Poetry

bedroom Zoe Cunniffe

i get goosebumps in your bedroom, even when you aren’t around. it’s the cracker crumbs on your desk, swept into neat piles. the creases in your comforter, the sound of your pillow when i press my palm against it. it smells of silence in here, and i flick the lights off, stumble through your sheets with my arms outstretched, grasping at walls. knock on plaster, and the sound muffles itself. tip over a glass of ice water and feel it seep through the carpet until the soles of my feet freeze solid. we lie on top of the covers, ceiling fan whirring. this must be how you sleep at night: listening to the white noise, waving your arms through the blackness. your thoughts beat through your skull, ringing loud and clear. you are scared that i can see you: your posters on the walls, your stains in the carpet. you are everywhere, here: feet padding across the floor, legs up on the desk, private moments bleeding from between the floorboards. you lay a hand on my stomach to check if i am breathing, but i am not. i leak from the furnace now, swimming between cracks in the ceiling. i am spilled down the curtains, burned into the lamplight, carved into your dresser drawer. i brushed your hand once, and you heard my name in your head like an intrusive thought. now i am part of you, stitched into your shoelaces, reflected in your mirror.

Zoe Cunniffe is a poet, singer-songwriter, and college student from Washington, DC. She has previously been published in literary journals such as the Trouvaille Review, Love Letters Magazine, Ice Lolly Review, Meniscus, and The Showbear Family Circus, and she can be found on Instagram at @there.are.stillbeautifulthings.

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

59


Literary Work

60

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE


Poetry

chocolate milk Zoe Cunniffe

it’s delicate at least once a day: foolish, silky hours where i melt like water, like chocolate milk. rich and creamy, hearty and lush. flower petals on the underside of my skin, and i know myself again. but then— i think your voice coaxes it out: fever under my fingernails, forehead steaming. crawl through my muscles until they ache like they’re not mine. red hot panic, rough around the edges, rough around the middle. creep towards my brain, dance like fumbling fire, mimic its elegance. it singes me until i call it mine, mine, mine. the smoke will never know velvet, but it has its feet up on the coffee table and i stutter as i deliver it sloshing glasses of chocolate milk.

Maryna Sokolyan

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

61


Literary Work

Maryna Sokolyan

62

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE


Poetry

daylight Zoe Cunniffe

when i was eleven, i noticed that i always walked with my head pointed downwards, memorizing the outline of my white sneakers against the blacktop. i floated between cracks of tangibility, everything tainted a murky mustang yellow. i couldn’t have told you what color the sky was; i couldn’t even see through the smog. tonight, it’s lavender. i’m on the trail, breath foggy, cold air settling on my skin as i pause to peer up into the clouds. i swear someone crept up onto a rooftop and painted these chemicals across the horizon. these days i wake up and forget all my dreams, because my mind has lost its ability to invent something more sublime than the broad daylight of reality, a periwinkle masterpiece streaked across the sky.

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

63


Literary Work

Valerii Maksimov

The Paper Mill RAVEN UNDERSUN

“The paper mill is where dreams are made!” Chase spun around, arms gesturing expansively around the space. His grin was wide as a river running to the sea. “It’s your attic,” I said, chewing a strand of my auburn hair. It was morning, and the taste of strawberry toothpaste was still on my tongue.

64

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE

Chase sighed, mock dramatic. “Look.” He pulled the lid off a big cardboard box. Inside, there lay reams and reams of paper. Good stuff, too, yellow and creamy. Nowadays everyone’s notebooks were full of recycled paper, tinged grey. So this was why he called it the paper mill. “There’s a typewriter, too. Bit rusty, but we can fix it.” Dust swirled through the air. “You can tell there’s dreams left over. From all the blank paper. They never got used up, so they’re still waiting for someone.” “I like that, Chase.” I gave him a small smile, one of the secret ones I reserved for special people. * After we fixed the typewriter, we lay on our backs and stared at the ceiling. “So, what do you dream about?” he asked.


Fiction “Uhh.” I thought for a long moment. A car drove around the block below, then its engine cut out. “Just for people to l-listen, I guess.” My breathing went funny after I said it, like my throat wanted to take the words back where they belonged. Chase propped himself up on an elbow. “I listen to you, Dani.” “Yeah but-” but no one else did, but good girls were meant to be seen and not heard, “–but you don’t know all the things I don’t say.” “Whaddya mean?” His eyelashes, black and stupidly curly, beat together then opened again. “Sometimes there’s things I think. But the words don’t come out.” Chase thought for a moment, then slid me a piece of paper and a pen. “It’s gonna happen,” was all he said. * “What do you dream about?” I asked. We’d been busy, me scrawling out fragments, Chase pounding away at the typewriter. Just get it all down like you know someone’s hanging on your next word, he’d said. His jaw hung open and he folded his arms in on himself. He looked dumb, but I didn’t say so. I wanted him to answer. “Guess I wanna build stuff.” “Like an architect? You’re not going all grown-up on me, are ya?” “Nah, nah. Or, maybe. But I mean worlds, or like, you know when you walk into a room and it’s like another planet, and it’s not the walls or the furniture, it’s just a feeling?” “Yeah, I know.” The paper mill was like that. “I wanna build worlds like that. And have people live in ‘em with me.” He was blushing, and I knew how he hated blushing, so I didn’t tell him I was already living in one of his worlds, that world where someone was listening. * We started writing together. He’d give me the setting of the first scene, and I’d spin it out into a story. We wrote and wrote. He got blisters on his fingers. I got rugburn from lying on my elbows next to my pile of papers. When we started making our pieces into paper aeroplanes, I asked, “what do we do now?” “Easy. We find someone to read them.” “Aw, Chase.” “I’m not pulling your leg. I’ve got a plan. Come on, Dani.” I sat up. I was looking at hope, eye to desperate eye, like a bird two inches from your face that you’re praying won’t fly away. “I don’t know.” “Momma says deep down you always know. I think it’s the only true thing she remembers.” Chase was jutting his jaw out, on the offense now. “Okay,” I said softly. I was scared, but maybe it would be okay.

* We copied everything into a magazine using the scanner in the garage. Nobody paid us any mind. We used fake names. Casio and Dharma. Casio, like the watch, like the calculator, like all the machines Chase wanted to take apart to find what made their metal hearts tick. Like Cassiopeia, I thought, but didn’t say so. Dharma, like the book about bums my older brother was always talking about. Like the ashtrays in the living room and the idea that someday even cigarette butts could be reborn. It took us a week, but we put the magazine everywhere in town. We put it in mailboxes, running off afterwards, slippery hands joined. We slipped it into empty spaces on the library bookshelves. We tore some pieces out, folded them into paper aeroplanes and threw them off the highest sculpture in the park. We left some copies where we knew only someone curious would find them: in rock crannies where the lizards warmed themselves up, in the old treehouse, and in the antique store’s mystery book section. I never laughed so much as I did that week with Chase. * For the summer, we had it all. It took a while, but people read the magazine. In the interim, we raided the garage for chalk and paints and drew on the attic walls. Chase traced my silhouette all over the place, getting me to stand in different poses and fumbling the chalk round my outline. “So I’ll always remember you here,” he said. I smacked his shoulder. People got curious about the way they’d found the magazine, so they talked to everyone else about it. It took a while, but they worked out it was us from Casio and Dharma’s initials, and the way we went everywhere together. The local paper sent their youngest wanna-be reporter. She had seventeen years to my nine and pink on her cheeks that didn’t belong there. She even took our photo. We were crowded together, hugging, elbows at odd angles in striped shirts. In the paper it was grainy, printed in black-and-white ink. We clipped it out and hung it on the wall and blew kisses to it. * Chase and I saw less of one another in high school. In freshman year I tried to cling onto him, too tight maybe. We’d meet and he’d only stay fifteen minutes before running off with the soccer team. We’d shoot another agonized glances when we didn’t know what to say, caught in crowds by the bleachers, wishing we could fall flat into our shadows under the afternoon sun. I got bullied, but it was all words. If it had been sticks and stones, if I’d had scratches, maybe I could’ve turned up on his door and asked for bandaids. But I didn’t know how to ask for anything deeper.

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

65


Literary Work He wasn’t fine, I could see that much. He was always walking into the headmaster’s office with tears hung in his eyes like unripe fruit, spurning anyone who tried to pluck it off the vine. I got other friends, who listened to me: none as faithfully as Chase in the old days, but sometimes. Sometimes was enough. Once we ran into one another on a street corner, and he said, “My dad painted over the attic walls.” “Bastard,” I said. It felt like old times. I had to walk away. When I wore a suit instead of a dress to prom, he stopped and said, “You look good.” That was it. * Chase and I went to different colleges. He went State, I went Ivy League. I hung out of my dorm room window, gulping in the night air. A black wolf paced in my chest, restless. I had one year left. After that, I’d be stuck in a job I hated, or trapped back home under rule of silence. Kids were meant to be seen, not heard, and unsuccessful college graduates were surely a rank below that. I’d strained the tendons in my fingers typing. Sending stories to wherever would have them. They all wrote back: ‘we’re sorry, but we feel that your work is not a good fit for us.’ I’d thought maybe it was me. Maybe nothing I wanted to say was relatable. Maybe that was why every submission was stamped with ‘Declined.’ Nothing until now. The local paper had accepted my latest story with a few edits. I let out a breath. It was something. I wondered who would read it. * A battered postcard made its way to me through the university’s internal mail. The loopy scrawl tugged at distant recollection that pricked tears in my eye. It read, ‘You did it! I’m so proud. Wish I’d been there. Dream on, California. Chase’ California like Dani California. Like the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ song no one should name their child after. It looked okay in Chase’s writing, though. Mostly I was crying because no one else had said they were proud. Only a little part of it came from knowing he wished he’d been there. * Spring break before finals. I wandered through The Horizon, an art gallery joined with a theatre. The paintings sent ideas ringing through my ears even in the quiet hallways. There was an open door. The smell of sawdust floated out from it. It looked like it went backstage. There were canvases on the walls, though, and those drew me in. They were adorned with sketches. I darted inside, knowing that the

66

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE

curious little girl inside me had never really gone to sleep. I came out into a warmly lit room, with painted panels higher than my head set out like a maze. A jungle scene sprang to life on them, with a golden jaguar picking its way through dark leaves. I wandered to the centre of the maze, following the specks of colour, dark blue horizons and fuschia flowers larger than any I’ve seen in America. And then I saw a shadow. A shadow I’d seen every lunchtime at the fountain in middle school, that had loomed over me offering open arms and comfort, a shadow who’s heels I’d chased since we were five. He’d filled out since I saw him last and let his hair get a little shaggy. But it was him. He was painting. “Chase.” “Oh.” He blinked once, then smiled. It was tenderer and fuller than his daring childhood grins had been. “Hey.” * We got coffee and tried to lay the last years on the line. He remembered things about me from when we were younger that I’d forgotten. When I told him what I thought about his friends, his problems, the choices he faced, he said it was exactly what he’d needed to hear. He said separating in high school was one of his biggest regrets. I shrugged. He saw through it, like he always did, and invited me round on the weekend. It was the same as always, except with our own beers and our own space. He showed me the sets he was working on for the theatre, and I smiled without thinking about it for the first time in a long time. “Someday I’ll make a set for one of your stories. After they get turned into plays and movies.” “That won’t happen,” I said. “Just you wait. You’re right about all the small stuff, but I’m always right about the big stuff.” “Okay,” I said, and stretched out, letting him build up belief and futures like a miracle worker. * I wanted to leave the story like that, hopeful but unresolved. But Chase said people like to see happy endings, so here goes. * He flipped a cassette around a few times in his hands. “Remember when I said I was right about the big stuff?” I nodded. “Remember when I said we’d get married?” “Yeah. We were twelve.” “Yeah,” he said, and put the cassette back on the shelf. “Well, how ‘bout it?” “Don’t be ridiculous,” I said. “Why? You got someone else?” “No.” That’s what would have been ridiculous.


Fiction

“Okay then.” We didn’t talk about it, but three weeks later I got down on one knee and said, “How ‘bout it then?” * The ceremony was a small affair. In our vows, he talked about me stealing his best lines. I said some of the things I’d never could have said aloud when I was younger. Thank you for you, mostly. We started an arts company, with a bookshop for a ticketbooth, plays, recitals, and storytelling evenings. We named it The Paper Mill. He spent every weekend painting the backdrops. I wrote the scripts and stories and fragments, printing them in tiny pamphlets shaded blue or pink. The night before it opened, we lay an Easter egg trail through town, full of poems and clues, drawing people to the doorstep. We paid the living statue, spray-painted silver, to pose with one of my pamphlets. Anything to get people curious. Something about the slogan that curled under the billboard, ‘Where Dreams are Made’ made people smile and come back with their friends. The opening got in the papers. Believing in the future, we snuck into the park and planted flower bulbs so that come spring they would announce ‘Come to the Paper Mill.’

The word spread, and we made enough to buy a little house, one with an attic. Chase drew murals on the walls, and I wrote my favourite quotes there too. Hope never flew away, and we stayed young at heart.

Raven Undersun is an Experimental Psychology student at the University of Oxford. She has a Transatlantic background, growing up in Berkeley, California and later moving to England. She has had two short stories published, one in Hypaethral Magazine and the other in The Scarlet Leaf Review. Her inspiration to write comes from uncovering and expressing philosophical truths about human emotions, and the hope of moving her readers in the way literature has always done for her.

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

67


68

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE


To-Read-List New Reader Media, a creative marketing firm working in partnership with New Reader Magazine, takes on the challenge of bookmarking emerging voices in the indie publishing world. Presented in no particular order, here’s New Reader Media’s reading list for this quarter of 2021!

Gone Viking BILL ARNOTT From a bestselling author, poet, and musician comes a literary treat set to take its readers on a journey right on their reading chairs. Filled with adventure, history, and unforced hilarity, this book is highly recommended for anyone craving for a good time.

Lyrics of Mature Hearts GORDON P. BOIS, BOB MCNEIL A beautiful collection about the bittersweet backdrop of one’s adult years. It houses subjects as familiar as they are personal, like fear, longing, and gratefulness, accompanied by stunningly apt illustrations by George Juan Vivo. A touching read for all ages.

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

69


Literary Work

Poverty Shall No Longer Knock at Thy Door: The Roadmap to Success BISHOP DR. ROY D. FERGUSON Witness Roy Ferguson redefine his fate by embarking on a myriad of careers, overcoming poverty, and winning at life through his solid vision and intense faith in this fearless tell-all. This book is a roadmap to any reader seeking guidance amidst life’s tribulations. Filled with adventure, history, and unforced hilarity, this book is highly recommended for anyone craving for a good time.

Social Security Behind the Scenes VANESSA ANN BATES Readers are taken on a trip into the lesser known side of working for the Social Security Administration—all the fun and the heartbreak included. A great reminder that as humans, we go through more or less the same life struggles.

Hearing God’s Mighty Whisper: A Nurse’s Journey Through the Dark Trenches of Suffering and Loss, Groping for God’s Voice, and Searching for Hope and Healing JODI CORBETT Life isn’t always easy, but when it’s especially difficult, it can be hard to cope. This inspirational read written by a nurse who has braced through all of life’s worst is a captivating reminder that God is always ready to take us out of the darkest moments of our lives, if we just make that call.

The Power-Full Christian: An in-depth study of the powers God has ordained for Christians JOHN H. BELL This commentary on the spiritual responsibility Christians are born with is a strong eye-opener for anyone needing a nudge into the right path. Read this study and find yourself transformed into a power-full Christian after the last page flip.

70

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE


Sweet Dreams: Waking up from a Sleep: Escaping the Stigma CARMETA HAMMOND DOCHERTY Poignant, inspirational, true-to-life... This biography tells the heartfelt self-discovery of Carmeta—a vibrant, energetic, and loving mother of two—as she journeys through life’s atrocities into spiritual awakening eventually through Christ. A must-read book every reader seeking a Christ-centered life should not miss.

Chasing American Dreams: 293 Million Dollars and Me MAHMUDUL ALAM We, humans, are far more powerful than we’d care to realize. Our minds can move moutains, cause the skies to fall, and make the earth spin—there simply is no limit to our imaginations. This charming memoir tells the quirks and wonders one man takes the dive into on the daily. It’s an absolutely fun read that is sure to inspire any reader.

Finding Frank TERESA ROCHETTI-CANTRELL Teresa was convinced about one significant truth about her life. This book changed that. Finding Frank is a sentimental journey through adult life and that one event that answered her biggest life question— bringing her years back.

Metamorphyx: Embracing Life Experience, Life Change, and Life Purpose THOMAS M. SCHULER Fearless and brutally honest, this book entails the author’s brave journey towards a higher purpose by treading through the tightrope of life. Tom compresses an intimate account of experiences in a witty and uncompromising way, serving an eye-opener to readers craving for transformation and higher wisdom.

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

71


The Dentist Chair BROOKLYNN NICOLE Dr. Maddox is a highly-respected pillar of the community—until he does something to change that for the worse. Thrilling and haunting, this page-turner will keep readers on the edge of their seats. The dread from all the pages lead up to a twist that will leave anyone in utter shock.

The Eikons of God: Soul vs. Spirit: Which One Is the Real You? STEVEN D. ALSTON An intriguing story of self-exploration: Steven D. Alston confronts the readers with a crucial existential question that will implore one’s curiosity. This thought-provoking, must-read book is one to feed your mind.

72

|

NEW READER MAGAZINE


Helping you connect with your audience online and beyond.

For more information visit www.newreadermedia.com contact@newreadermedia.com

NEW READER MAGAZINE

|

73

Profile for newreadermagazine

Vol. 4 Issue 13, "Viral"  

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement