Spoken Word Scratch Night VOL 01

Page 1

01

april 2020

spoken word

scratch night


SPOKEN WORD SCRATCH NIGHT vol 01 april 2020

editors Kaitlyn Kelly and Claudia Scott

cover Mel Kadel

contributors Virginie Bégaudeau, Liam Boath, Stefani Bonanno, Finola Cahill, Rebecca Cameron, Katherine Chacon, Eileen W. Cho, Brenagh Conway, A.Creature, Will Mountain Cox, Lily Cross, Matthew D'Abate, Moe Delaitre, Rebecca-Jade Dion, Emma Downes, Harry Garlick, Julia Hall, Sophie Hallé, Shannon Hargraves, Helen Ho, Ira, 7ilo K, Mel Kadel, Kaitlyn Kelly, Sophia Lucia, C MacLeòd, Greg Manis, Talia Masse, Greg Maxwell, Dorottya Horvath May, Jessica Millikan, Oana Moisil, Christine Moore, Marina Moreira, Angela Moreno, Edward Murden, Thibaut Narme, Olivia, Mehdi Ouahes, Andrea Paterson, Rufo Quintavalle, Hailey S., Louis Schofield, Claudia Scott, Sable Strub, Sweet Edge Illustration, Sydney Taub, Elitsa Vlazarova, Emilia Wharfe, Skye Wilson

copyyright statement Spoken Word Scratch Night Vol 01, April 2020. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely the views of and expressions of the authors, artists and/or contributors to Spoken Word Scratch Night and do not necessarily represent the views of Spoken Word Scratch Night or its editors. All work herein has been acquired with permission from the artist.

spokenwordscratchnight@gmail.com @spokenwordscratchnight


Places everyone!


Lights up!


A LETTER FROM YOUR HOST Dearest friends and wanderers of the Internet ether, To say I am not quite sure how we all got here would be a bold exaggeration. We all know why

we

are

here.

Why

I

am

not

bellowing

an

enthusiastic

"WILLKOMMEN!

BIENVENUE! WELCOME!" over a microphone in that cavernous hole in the ground we occasionally called a bar and more often called a den of iniquity. By this point in the show I imagine I would be half way through the first of many tap numbers, howling Sylvia

Plath

while

other

company

members

chant

melodically

from

each

of

the

four

corners of the room and our lone Ghost mascot simultaneously torpedos fortune cookie slips from a recently purchased (and totally necessary) confetti cannon. What can I say... we planned on having a tame show this month. Mais alors, we are not cramped in that cave negotiating chairs, elbows, pints and words. We are here.

We all know why we are here. I am not going to bother to say its name because it has become the all too familiar elephant in the room; in our grocery stores; on the streets where we look for an hour of peace in nature, but rather, find ourselves habitually looking over our shoulders lock-jawed in fear. I am not here to comment on whose to blame; to chide us on how our foolishness has led us to tragedy and destruction. We all wield the power both to intensify our suffering and to relieve it. And the truth is we have always had this power. Perhaps we are coming to realise this now more than ever.

I know why we are all here. And by we I mean us: The Spoken Word Scratch Night crew. Why

we

are

all

here

digitally

bound

in

pixelated

arrangements

of

words

and

images

instead of hiding out until we are liberated from solitude. We are here because I, selfishly, could not be without you. We are here because the community of artists that we have built in that dingy basement pub in Paris has flowered in awe-inspiring ways and I am eager to continue nurturing its growth.


We are all here because I was not ready to give you up just because it took away our ability to physically be in a room together. Frankly, the jokes on it. Here on this digital platform we have found a new room. It has inspired new words and images within us. It has invited new artists into our community. We can still be touched without contact.

I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to each and every one of you who submitted. I am astounded at what a remarkable group of artists we were able to compile in our first Spoken Word Scratch Night digital zine. Some of you are familiar faces from our events; some, friends abroad who had yet to join us; and others, absolute strangers who have become new comrades in our determination to spread the wonders of what art can be. Of what art can do to inspire change, particularly in this time of crisis. My wish for this zine is that it provides you with something: be it respite, rhapsody, rage, rebellion. Or at the very least, that it feeds your insatiable hunger to pass the time.

Now, it is my time to give over the microphone. But, before you embark on the work ahead in this zine, and in your daily lives, I wish to leave you all with a fond phrase from my youth (ah YOUTH!). Some soothing words that were etched into the wall behind the DJ booth of my long-gone favourite discotheque back home. Words that, for me, feel more relevant now than ever:

TAKE CARE OF

EACH OTHER DANCE HARDER!

Stay safe, stay insane

Kaitlyn Kelly


erti al e d e o m @ E R IT AL E D E O M



ACT ONE Feeling low? Here's a toad wearing a rose hat. JULIA HALL @dooublevision

Collective grief and growth in end times.



lyrics by SOPHIA LUCIA @freakshowcabaret

CORONAVIRUS (No Test Kits) My idea of America is hanging on by the thread

On March 14th the bars closed in Gay Paris, and

of my Social Studies textbook that I read when I

the men came with their guns and told us to leave.

was eleven. Toilet Paper and Tylenol are like 50

The idea’s to keep people apart but the next day,

bucks on Amazon… Middle of a pandemic and

‘le lendemain’ les Parisiens were having picnics

we’re still bleeding the people dry, no surprises.

in the park. So now you need an attestation to go

South Korea had their first case the very same day

out and get supplies, and if you’re caught without,

as America, we’ve caught up to the mass hysteria

it’s a fine, and possibly jail time… The Italians

but they’re already “flattening the curve,” as they

are singing from their windows in solidarity, and

say. And day by day, America is running out of

the French are applauding from their windows for

supplies, reusing masks and gowns, seeing who

the working peoples’ bravery, and me, I just

lives or dies, just like in wartime…

wanna rip this hangnail right off with my teeth! But this Covid-19 could be in any nook or crevice

Because we don’t have test kits! So we cannot

on my body, and I would never know-

test this! How we gonna test it if we don’t have test kits? I want to get tested! To see if I’m

Because I can’t get tested! Cuz we don’t have test

infected! But I cannot test it! Cuz we don’t have

kits! How we gonna test it if we don’t have test

test kits!

kits? I want to get tested! To see if I’m infected! But we cannot test this! Cuz we don’t have test

Experts say that Coronavirus can last on surfaces

kits!

between one and one million days and it can stay in your body between now and forever. And if

On March 16th I snuck out of Paris and I met a

you hold your breath for ten seconds and you

kid on the plane and we chatted to quell our

don’t cough that means you don’t have ‘The

anxiety. He had on gloves and a face mask and I

Rona.’ But if you hold your breath for ten seconds

had a lot of hand sanitizer and we sat one seat

and you do cough that means you do have ‘The

apart and we were very very very very very very

Rona.’ And if you don’t copy and paste this text

very careful. And then we got kind of relaxed,

and send it to ten of your closest friends, then you

and he pulled out a snack, and he said, ‘you can

and your whole family are absolutely going to get

have some if you’d like!’ and I really wanted to

‘The Rona.’ Also,

connect in that little way, I wanted to take the peace pipe, but I refrained! And eventually he

wash your hands don’t touch your face wash your

said, “oh you don’t want any?” and I said,

hands don’t touch your face wash your hands don’t touch your face wash your

“I really appreciate the offer and I would love to

hands don’t touch your face

try it. But I just don’t want to run any risks of

wash your hands don’t touch your face wash your

contracting this Donald Trump Virus.”

hands please don’t touch your face

My doctor told me I had to be unable to breathe to possibly see if I could maybe get tested. I asked why I had to be practically dying and they told me, “ma’am, I’m sorry, we are trying…”But we don’t have test kits! So we cannot test this! How we gonna test it if we don’t have test kits? I want to get tested! To see if I’m infected! If we do not test this, we all get infected!



collages by BRENAGH CONWAY @brenaghconway


words by SKYE WILSON @skyegabrielle photographs by STEFANI BONANNO @sbnno

THE WORLD IS ENDING. IT IS STILL SPRINGTIME. Despite it all, the warming skies have us too hot to really cuddle. Still, we lie together, lazy hands on skin, our leg hair barely touching. From my window, I almost see a town still in the distance, hollow now. I imagine flower boxes bursting, showing off only for each other.

I brush my hair still, smile, shave my legs. The razor slips, peels my ankle like a grape for an emperor. I bleed. Just beyond the town, the breathless sea still beats the sand, still tastes of salt, still forms each twist of scummy foam and still the world is ending.

Still, I start a long new book. Still, I worry both for my eyebrows and my grandparents. Still, the rain, still birdsong. Still my leg hair grows. Still your salty hand rests on my cheek.



words by REBECCA-JADE DION photographs by HARRY GARLICK @food_spots_n_cool_shots

ISOLATION Hours tick , Chime through untouched brains , Hollowing out the ghost streets , where people once joyfully scattered their hearts, Boxes of emotions , Clock into four walls, Which separate us from the world which seemed so foreign, The outside , Where grass is always greener, Where hope lingers amongst blooming flowers , Bleached windows , Cast our prosperity, As days and minutes of isolation, Dawn upon me , dawn upon you, Yearning in corners , A switch to turn back the irreversible time , Cries whisper into themselves , As fear echoes , Through every cell , every connective tissue , Bouncing between 4 walls which will fall, Lies painted in the news , Which we climb into with droplets of hope, Nodding to everything as if there was no other way , Hearts palpitating at trigger words of closure and isolation ,


Isolate from the world , Isolate from life , Become a hidden object , Amongst the nothingness which is left , Shadowing into the distance of untouched pages ,

Leave roads, Washed with its black paint , Looking fresh , no one would know any different ,

Trapped within our own thoughts, Making Barbies float as we did as children ,

Knock knock, Who is there ?, Coronavirus, Who creeps isolation within us , Creating questions within the heads of the people,

Knock knock , Wake my fragile body up , When life is no longer in a parallel universe , Where food gets swept off shelves like prey from its predator , Seven letters engulf you,

Knock knock , Who is there ? It’s COVID-19

Disappear and leave no trace within yourself, So us as humans can continue with that life we were living.


words and illustrations by CHRISTINE MOORE @hairstudy

We're always surrounded by nature but living in a city makes it difficult to recognize the impact that all living things on our planet have on all living things on our planet. We are quick to focus on concrete but not on what grows through the cracks. Trees on our streets feel insignificant. We hear birds but remember the disruption of trains passing, cars honking, airplanes flying overhead. Construction makes us forget the sounds of the wind and the rain. Our thoughts are consumed with the inorganic physical world. The objects that we introduce into our lives are often treated with more importance than those created by a force more powerful than humankind. Do we tend to ignore these things because we never asked for them to exist?


The

sun

rises and sets everywhere, the ground is alive no matter how much it is abused, water and air continue to flow, everything is alive in the same atmosphere.



words by MATTHEW D'ABATE

WHAT YOU WERE THINKING ABOUT now the music hits like little stems pushing useless against your legs spiders weaving myths in your ears rain talking like an old friend playing droplet piano notes on your window pane building walls around your heart like a general starving a seiged city drunk on his trap it's a two-fold path taking this pens advice far enough away to be touched close enough to hear words and get dirty


on rain days and on dry days and dark and grey days they cannot touch you you figured out how to be beyond color and light

and it makes more sense out here doesn’t it? all alone riding on word waves hiding under the coral spinning silk letting out your bubbles sound familiar? cause if you’re with me than it does and if it don’t then you’re not.


illustrations by EMILIA WARFE @emilia.nw



My lovely girl,

We're untouchable.

‘Cause us adults are the present of our nation, and you, you’re the future. Even if the future is different from the one we planned before all of this. I watched you run through parks and castles; I watched you skim the benches of theatres; laugh with your dolls, and play with fire trucks. Except now the fire trucks are real. When we hear them it's like they’re saying, "One more!" It could be one of us. But it can't.

We're untouchable.

‘Cause for us, this disease doesn't really exist. That's a rumour magnified by the news that you can’t read. We wanted to have tea outside, to kiss our friends, our grandparents. But, now parents have to find new ways to keep you safe. And in this home you don't realise how lucky you are. But neither do I.

We're untouchable.

‘Cause we haven’t seen anyone die. We aren’t among the families that just lost the one they thought was untouchable, too. They went out and said “hello” to the neighbour. Like us, they didn’t believe everything that was said. We pretended that everything was normal.

We’re no longer untouchable.

‘Cause tomorrow, when we go out, who will be left? I want to say that we will all be there. That we will go back to our simple life. That we will cherish freedom once more. But I can’t. Life is so precious. We haven't forgotten, we're learning. My lovely girl, tomorrow, before we go out and look at the sun like an ordinary spring or summer day, let's think about it.

We’ll say thank you.

We’ll say I love you.

But for now, we’ll stay at home.

Mum.


words by VIRGINIE BÉGAUDEAU illustration by SOPHIE HALLÉ soha.artworks


words by EMMA DOWNES @emma_ni_dhubhain

You've

never

denied

altogether,

your

considered

apartment

you

like

yourself

miss

a

much

them

caged

of

a

hugger,

ferociously.

animal.

You

You

but

now

prowl

watch

too

that

hugs

restlessly

much

are

around

Netflix.

The

characters on screen give you a strange feeling, seeing the blatant casualness with

which

screaming

they

at

touch

them.

each

You

other.

don't,

in

"You case

have

the

NO

IDEA!"

neighbours

you

think

feel

you've

like gone

insane. They're probably going a little insane though, too, being shut in from the

outside

world.

It's

odd

to

be

so

close

and

so

far

away

from

people

at

the

leaving

the

same time.Â

At

night

you

apartment 1pm,

lie

has

in

bed

made

sometimes

and

your

later.

hold

onto

body-clock

You

lie

memories

go

awake

of

haywire,

and

alone

before.

so

with

you your

Not

sleep

from

restless

4am

brain.

to

You

shut your eyes and think about the last time someone touched you, which was several

weeks

ago

sitting

on

his

couch,

breathless

and

wrapped

up

in

each

other. He told you how attractive you were, saying it very matter-of-factly as though it was obvious. You didn't realise he had ever looked at you that way. It gave you the sensation that your bones were floating away from each other. Having someone whose opinion you cared about talk about your body like this made you feel more valuable somehow, and you loved this thought though you recognised struck

how

you

idiotic

again

and

it

was.

again:

In as

the

days

soon

as

that you

followed longed

to

the

deep

irony

be

held

it

of

it

literally

became forbidden.Â

Now,

weeks

fingertips pick

up

days,

as

later,

over

the

cat

though

you're

your for

skin, a

obsessed marvel

cuddle,

saving

them

but up,

with

at she

and

the

the

thought

shape

stalks then

of

your

away.

have

of

one

touch. own

You

body.

don't

long

You

run

You

shower

glorious

your try

for

one;

to

four

letting

the scalding water caress your skin until you turn the colour of a boiled baby lobster. precious

You

carefully

thing.

You

wrap

bask

in

your the

arms

feeling

around of

your

missing

body,

and

treating

being

it

missed.

like

a

After

a

few days you realise that you have begun to create slightly different versions of people in your head, and it is these versions that you miss, rather than your actual

friends.

But

you

miss

your

real

people

as

well;

the

warmth

of

their

breath and the gentle animation of their faces when they talk. You'll make do with memories of touch until the world finds its way back to the real thing.


Claudia Scott | day 16

I'LL KISS YOU ONCE I WASH MY HANDS


words by 7ILO K illustrations by @melkadel

Outside my window. I am indeed far from home! But the sea I see.





PUT SOME GLITTER, POUR SOME WINE

Put some glitter, Pour some wine, Now let’s play everything’s fine.

One two three four five six The world is beautiful The world is not sick. Seven eight I wonder if you still have faith or bottles of wine. Nine ten Listen to Tom Waits. Eleven twelve I wonder how many selves Will break tonight In how many rooms Near how many windows.


words by OANA MOISIL illustration by @sweetedgeillustration

Thirteen Fun has left this reality. Fourteen On the fifteen channel on the TV They say that a girl who was 16 has died Of Covid-19.

31st of March On the fifteen channel on the TV They say that a girl who was 12 has died Of Covid-19.

First of April. I would like to say a funny one But isn’t it funny enough How life has changed faster than the green light How the red light didn’t turn off since then How the orange waits for us there, In the future, Blinking on rhythms never played.

But put some glitter, Pour some wine, Now let’s play Everything’s fine.


words and photograph by EILEEN W. CHO @yo_cho

Spring has now arrived, Everything is so quiet. Hello, from lockdown.


words by IRA @rude.salt

YESTER-HERE We cannot take the temperature of what has commenced only each their own What was distraction is now work And what was work is recent past There’s new kinds of garbage on the street White and blue rubber gloves, and those other ones that are transparent but not elastic There’s folded haphazardly, crumpled attestations Single-use paper confessions

Where can I see a used condom, a pizza box? Where can I hear the noises of yester-here?

An unfamiliar residue The perspirations of this sickly city, of this sickly year


ADJUST YOUR GOALS


words by LILY CROSS

Adjust your goals, Lower the standards to which you hold yourself, Give yourself a break. You had all these plans for this year: you were going to move, it was finally time for that adventure, it was the time you'd finally got back into swimming (but hey don't know if anyone's noticed the swimming opportunities on lockdown in an 8m² room on the 7th floor? Pretty thin on the ground.). This was your time, you were going to finally do the thing. For you maybe doing the thing meant staying the course. Not a change, but a constant. A consistency that you've previously never achieved. That was the longest you'd ever had one job and you had finally settled and felt right. Then you found out that your shift would be ending 5 months and 2 hours earlier than anticipated because all restaurants and bars are closing at midnight, sorry, you must understand we're doing all we can. Obviously you'll stay at home, you'll help flatten the curve. But you can't help but think that right now is not where you had hoped to be this year and that this is so classic you with all these big ideas that you can't see through. But you're wrong, you cannot be held accountable for it becoming April and you not being anywhere near where you had hoped to be. Nobody planned for this. Lower the standards to which you hold yourself, Adjust your goals.



words by FINOLA CAHILL @fifinolala illustration by ELITSA VLAZAROVA @eltisavaleri

ISLANDS 

 shape

Life is a dignity of before and afters. We are punctuated, we like to

timelines ready for the retelling. I have a clear black line drawn around my silhouette, but in the past tense.

I remember the absolute of learning to use scissors,

a wracking joy of knowing that it was perfect and human to cut.

But it is a rare thing to stand between,

most of it happens so quickly you have but breathed and everything has changed.

The rest drips grain by aching grain from clutching palm to floor

and when you are out the other end you are white blind, empty handed and blinking with the how of it.

We are on the bridge and admiring the view.

Here we are spread out, lovely islands, full eyelids, invalids of time. Such privilege! To stand here in the comma, clapping, to be allowed to sing into the relief of knowing

that the world is revising and we are all caught up in the swinging pendulum of maybe. We are already testing the narratives, repeating headlines, drawing sentences to stitch us, snip,

and asking each other this, over and over; “Were you there?” “We were all there?” “But, were you there?”



words by OLIVIA photographs by SYDNEY TAUB


words by REBECCA CAMERON @becslouisee illustration by @sweetedgeillustration

COVID-ICECREAM I remember a time when I could cough up a sputter Watch that dude hack up spit and shoot it straight into the gutter The nice lady wouldn’t stare as I wiped my snotty nose Or judge the sweat patches that seeped right through my clothes

I could squeeze every avocado; I could wipe my hands on my jeans Yes, these ones that now burst so sadly at their seams I ate more than just pasta; drank less liquor, beer and wine Didn’t build friendships with inanimate objects or come home with a fine

But here we are today in 2000-and-fucked I’ve downloaded Tik Tok and the world is stuck I’ve cleaned every square metre of my goddamn flat I’ve watched every Netflix series and I’m getting fat Where there’s silence a plenty and toilet paper is sparse I’m left with my own hand to wipe my big arse

My office attire consists of leggings and a sweater And I realised that yoghurts from the freezer taste better I considered purchasing a Nintendo Switch Until my girlfriend said no, and I dubbed her quarantine witch I set myself a challenge to touch my toes And with a tiny bend in the knees, low and behold, down she goes!

In lock-down they tell us to not lose the plot And in between my weird moments, I’m learning a lot I don’t need social media every hour of every day I can spend time with just me, escape to my courtyard and play

Along with the quarantine witch ordeal I’ve learnt that it’s people that must help people to heal Global air high-five, let’s come together as a team And when this shit show’s over, let’s all grab an ice-cream.




INTER MISSION

Take 10 seconds, 10 minutes, 10 years what do I care I'm only the voice inside your head.



Breathe.



ACT TWO On the first of every month, I wake up and say WHITE RABBIT three times. JULIA HALL @dooublevision

Words for moments.


words by MARINA MOREIRA @__marrrr photographs by STEFANI BONANNO @sbnno

OH, IT'S NOTHING

there's a sound that is like glass breaking the tinkering of a ceramic spoon ceramic plate ceramic chew that you just can't get the fuck away from that: plink plink, plink, plink, plink, plinkplinkplinkplinkplinkplink

it is reminiscent of how inside of you there is a glass castle on a glass hill that stood where all the castles around it have fallen been pelted with the biggest boulders found on your tiny island not to be penetrated not even a crack has weathered the deadliest meanest angriest of storms but came tumbling down with one small kind pebble thrown by a tiny unsuspecting crab.



Cité To maintain our reputation we’ll state it bluntly Whilst we welcome you in this residence universitare we encourage you return to your country we'll look out for your creepy colocataire (she lives under your bed for months doesnt need to be fed) if you stay you will be alone (minus the opportunistic obtruder or drunk) sometimes we'll remain reachable by phone don’t forget you were privileged to stay in this institution and don’t forget we still expect your monthly contribution


words by C MACLEÃ’D photographs by GREG MANIS @beechnutz



words by SHANNON HARGRAVES

FALL Leaves burning in antiquity Gut churning with ambiguity Sky red like fire like end Desire stabbing like blades like dead Love saddened by truth Inconspicuous Color dampened by photosynthesis Chlorophyll starved and Deteriorating Rain washes remnants Resonance Emanating Pure white mitosis Left behind true shade: Raw Symbiosis



words and photograph by LIAM BOATH @elbowphotography_

HOME SUITE HOME.


I just want to scream at everyone like, There is a whole world out there of new foods and wine and people and culture and movies and scripts and poets and artists and sex and sexuality and gender and colour and exploration and adventure and love and lust and heartbreak and experiences and dreams

and

things

that

would

just

open

your

eyes

beyond

the

6

streets

you

know

around you. And show everyone art from the post impression era and explain it and how we came to be who we are and how we speak how we speak. But no one cares here. They just want to make their money. Buy their house. Then die. Quietly. Having made no real impact on the world around them. Like a pair of beige chinos that just sits in a wardrobe until one day it’s thrown out. It does just feel like a movie set that just never changed from when I left it. I don’t want to die and on my grave stone it says, “Here lies Liam...he had a rather wonderful sofa” I just don’t want to be that person. Like every person I’ve met since I’m back is trapped in this rat race of making money and just being better than everyone. And

I’m

like,

has

anyone

here

created

anything

beautiful!

Has

anyone

here

experienced a new culture and learned things about themselves? Has anyone had an experience that was truly unique? Is anyone actually doing what it is they want to wake up and do every day. Has anyone had an original thought recently? Has

anyone

here

actually

bought

a

quarter

of

a

million

pound

house

or

have

you

simply borrowed a quarter of a million pounds from a bank and inheritance money which will now cripple you for the next 30 years? Insular people hell bent on coupling up and being better than the couple next door. I want to find someone who hates this all as much as me and buy a farm house and raise

beautiful

creative

volunteering in Romania.

kids

who

speak

lots

of

languages

and

for

holidays

we

go


And at the weekends we do cocaine and waltz about the garden naked in and out of the hot tub and take photos in the studio. And have chickens, 3 of ‘em. Named Beyoncé, Michelle and the other one.And I just. I just feel this isn’t too much to ask for. I don’t want to get to 85 and wilt away having really gone no where, heard no new stories from faces around the globe. And on my gravestone reads.

Here rests the remains of Liam Perciville Boath the third Who, amongst very little else Owned a wonderful corner sofa. May he Rest, as he lived. In Peace.

Home suite home.


VANCOUVER POEM

From a cloud

My parents bicker

From a plane

The cats prowl

From the eye of a bird

My

friends

laugh

at

my

anecdotes It’s just patches of greens

Now

A lush, jagged chess board

away

made

richer

for

being

Criss crossed by concrete grid Glass towers rise, glistening

Pulled

to

the

enormous

picture

window in the living room I descend between

Like

The snow dusted mountains

glass

Alice

through

the

looking

And the translucent ocean

My

eyes

trace

the

backyard,

The city is the same but different

registering the familiar

Time stands still

And what is new

My old home smells of All the memories that came before

I

always

wanted

to

climb

that

cherry tree in my parents yard Its limbs outstretched, inviting But

my

Mom

said

it

was

too

said

it

was

too

dangerous And

my

Dad

challenging

Growing

up,

I

watched

it

change from naked to budding To pink blossomed to petal-less and naked again


words by JESSICA MILLIKAN @jessicouver photographs by @msultraviolet

When I was a teenager, my parents went out of town, I had a party and climbed the branches as high as I could go And I got stuck up there

From my perch I saw my friends below Laughing and talking with ease: The lights, my house, my past, my present, my future And I laughed under the stars This was never for me The points of light above reflected the Constellations of my life

Now it’s dark outside and the tree is smaller than I remembered Its graceful branches gnarled by time Or is my memory smoothing the details?

I walk down the backstairs while my Mom and Dad snore I find a foothold and I push upward And I keep pushing upward

From

my

vantage

point

the

dark

gives

way

to

familiar shapes My

Dad’s

carefully

tended

garden,

the

kiwi

plants that never bore fruit, The fence my Dad would pay me to paint when I was unemployed, The fire pit where my friends and I would have back to school wiener roasts, My memories paint a picture flickering around the backyard Like

a

zoetrope

spinning

around

producing

a

haphazard motion picture

The

“For

Sale”

sign

now

hammered

into

lawn Could very well be a steak through my heart And I still refuse to climb down

Even as I live in Paris And winter slowly warms into spring The trees bud into flowers Mesmerising The cherry tree still holds me

the


SET The night is hot with the reflection kicking off the moon and the night kicking off. I put my fingers in wet cement and learn how to spell. Your name is like summer buildings with the purple blue pink gold embossed and the moon even further. I like to dance, and so do you apparently, so all there’s left to do is proving. But more about the moon, and how it reflects your smile up, onto my lips. And more about your lips, your lips, your lips. Your hair is a lot more. You asked me once, to eat off of it. Yes is of course what I said back. You’re made of something, and I’m made of something, and I don’t wanna know what. Smoke from your cigarette is getting in the way of the moon, of the moon, of the moon, and I can hear the music and see what it’s doing to your muscles; the flex they’ll press into me. But back to the moon, and your hair, and those werewolves. I am an American in Paris in my own little movie with dancing to prove and your hair, and your lips,

words by WILL MOUNTAIN COX @willmountaincox photograph by EILEEN W. CHO @yo_cho

and the moon.



words by MEHDI OUAHES

THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN What

happened

to

our

kind?

Sometimes,

I

wonder…

All

was

would

not

peaceful,

sometimes

of

steal

course.Scavengers

our

reserves

and

we

had our fair share of enemies. But, above all Long

ago,

struck

the

fear

power

and

mere

into

mention

the

might

of

hearts

were

our

of

name

else,

Our

kind

men.

formidable.

Though,

we

stood

never

united.

walked

Outcasts alone.

aside,

We

our

hunted,

feasted, and died in groups.

nowadays we are but a shadow of our former selves.

I

like

to

reminisce

over

these

Now look at us.

forgotten times.

Scattered We

are

an

customs

and

ancient

breed

traditions,

with

passed

age-old

down

from

weak. pride

generation to generation. Our ancestors were

with

proud

the

kings

absolute was

rule

on

as

soon

ours

matter

and

how

queens their as

imposing

kingdom.

we

set

large.Anyone

their

Any

foot

on

who

land it,

no

dared

to

to

distance would

meant

take

a

our

that

golden the

miracle

cloaks

end

for

was

them

in

the

near.

to

It

tribal

cells. our

of

start

fighting

to

so

learn that

the

art

they

of

younglings hunting

became

are

now

pathetic Now,

other

that gone,

we

the

replaced

bodies. barely

before

and

were

going

Gone

is

share

a

our

own

They

put

collars

and

on

give

us

Sometimes,

us

to

just

they

symbolise

enough lift

us

food

up

in

will

be

escape

the

would

our

each

survive.

How

three,

spirit.

at

dependent

their arms and try to suffocate us.

warriors.

age

breed

servitude

alive, let alone unharmed.We were a race of By

our

globe, statures

ways. Heartless giants keep us imprisoned in

Just

sight

of

the

muscular

under-grown,

glance

oppose us was to be hunted down and killed. the

around

The

and

capable

the

hero

mighty

have

capable

of

fallen!

Who

reigniting

our

fighting

spirits? Who will save us? Well…I believe I am the chosen one.

warriors by adulthood.

Indeed, Each

tribe

had

its

own

ruler;

a

fierce

within

I

feel

me!

I

the

am

spirit

a

proud

eminence who commanded respect among his

warrior

peers. The hunters gave him a good share of

longer!

their

his

my

for

NOW!!…ow…Meow!

loot

position

as

was

a

tribute.

highly

Naturally,

coveted.The

battles

Where

again,

door!

than

may

alive

defeat

and

would

have

been

wounded,

result

in

better

for

eternal

a

off

dead

humiliating shame

and

a

life of exile.

Our

women

were could

the

were

pillars

not

noble of

function

and

our

beautiful.

societies

without

them.

They

and Not

we

only

caring mothers and wives, but also fearsome huntresses.

I

are I’m

I

have

freedom

supremacy were bloody and often fatal. Then you

and

refuse had

and

you?

I

hungry,

Meoooooow!

of

to

and be

enough I

want

my

ancestors

independent

enslaved

masters! it

now!

Meoow!!

know give

you’re me

I

any want

NOW! Human?

behind

food!

that

Please!


words and photographs by HAILEY S.


“This is Alfonso Acquapazza. He owns a sausage shop in THIS Queens. He is happily married and in good health. His wife’s name is Lidia Acquapazza.” IS ALFONSO ACQUAPAZZA One of the secrets of the longevity of the Acquapazza marriage was an ability to say things without saying them in as many words. So when Alfonso’s friend, Ernie, invited him to become a silent partner in his

rapidly expanding pet care business Lidia made it obliquely yet clearly understood that she thought this was a bad idea.

words and photograph by RUFO QUINTAVALLE @anemic_opus


“Ozone Park today is not the Ozone Park you and I grew up in,” said Lidia while frotting that evening’s fennel on her graceful mandoline. “You’re not wrong,” said Alfonso. “I remember when every household had a diabetic husky or a weak-kneed borzoi with a gastric ring. Now you can drive for blocks without seeing a rapidly expanding pet.” “It’s the Asians,” said Alfonso. “Started with the Poles.” “You’re not wrong,” said Alfonso, and walked up behind her and touched the small of her back. * They never discussed the topic again until the day Ernie’s wife, Margaret, passed away. She was only 57 and Ernie was distraught. “You do what you’ve got to do,” said Lidia. So, after taking care of the flowers and posting a comment in cursive script in the online book of condolence, Alfonso asked his lawyer to draw up documents that would give him a minority stake with full voting privileges and a priority dividend in E. P. Palazzo LLC. * “You’re a good man,” said Ernie as he poured them both a slug of Branca Menta. “And she was a good woman.” “There’s good and bad in all of us, Ernie,” said Alfonso. “Why don’t you bring the kids round this weekend and we can grill some salsiccia?” “I’d like that,” said Ernie, and the two men hugged then drank their drinks in silence. * Ernie had the appearance of a man who had never learnt how to dress himself.

The mess of checks and

stripes made Alfonso think of a weather map. The kids were fleshier than the last time he had seen them. Nobody looked like they had slept much.

Lidia fixed everyone drinks and handed round the olives, and

Alfonso and Ernie drifted over to the grill. “There’s kids in Gowanus giving facials to their Maine coons,” said Ernie. “Two hundred dollars a pop.” Alfonso laughed. “I’m serious.

Think about it.

We take our brand and bring it to the other boroughs.

We know oversized

domestic animals better than anyone. We’d be crazy to stay in Queens.” “I don’t know, Ernie. It works. You’ve got a good business. Why change things?” “You grow or you perish, Al. And it’s ‘we’ now not ‘you’.” “Or else you grow and perish,” thought Alfonso but bit his tongue.

“Pork or veal?” he said.

And Ernie

said pork. * “How did you think he looked?” Alfonso asked Lidia that evening. “They were such a beautiful couple,” said Lidia. “The children seemed lost.” “He’s thinking of taking the business to Brooklyn,” said Alfonso. “Go West!” said Lidia and laughed. “Why not?” * It was all going fine until he fell, and when he fell he fell very bad indeed.

Some people said that a man

of Ernie Palazzo’s experience should never have allowed himself to be taken in like that. inclined to cut him a little slack. experience.

The wrong person comes along at the right time and you allow yourself to fall.

works or it doesn’t but if we aren’t all a little foolish from time to time well then what? nothing, no happy Acquapazzas.

Others were

My take on the whole story was that it had nothing to do with So what?

It

No love, no


ODE TO A COWBOY Las Vegas

So far away,

In the desert it lives,

Why won’t you back me up? Back up my argument Back me into you.

Tambourine love they call it,

The smell of flowers in the backseat A red light, pair of green eyes Two purple tongues.

Your tongue, inside of me

strawberry
 toast,
 and

While I gush over you. Peaches and Jam, jam on On my belly

Mopped up with a flower,

Rare glimpses into the souls of Swans, oh what a terrific cock.

Your cock is no match for my hen So save yourself the loss

A petal, a peach colored petal, Blue velvet... that is, you are

And so am I. A ribbon of silk circles us, Our corpses; died together after Your tenderness faded, Like the dryness I feel for you. Witches perishing are not songs They are not poems, Not works of greatness, but Oddities, tragedies.

And tell me how bad you want to fuck... Spare my panties.

You wore me in, wore yourself out,

Though I can still feel your arms Tightened, tensed;

Like roses about to bloom,

Tore free from flesh in the cold air, Naked.

Indeed the sun held them close But they died. In

every

breath

memory of us.

you

breathe

Well guess what, I faked it.

out

the


words by SYDNEY TAUB @nightgownstoner illustration by GREG MAXWELL @uglyvision


words by ANGELA MORENO @damnright14

ELLA

illustrations by LOUIS SCHOFIELD @louistouki

-“Some nights are long, longer than any other. You need to be really active, but sometimes it’s hard because you’re hella tired.” -“Have you ever fallen asleep?” -“No, not really. When you feel you’re not gonna be able to do it, you just take caffeine pills or cocaine.” -“Cocaine?” -“Some do.” -“Do you?” -“Nope, promised mom I was gonna take care of myself. Plus, I’ve never been a fan. The pills already make me act awkward enough, can’t imagine what that shit’d do.” -“What do you mean?” -“Well, last time I took them, I hadn’t slept at all for 2 days because I had to reach a goal, you know, and thought 2 would keep me up, but all they did was making me sit down on the bed, shaking and anxious, feeling like I could faint anytime; awful night.” -“Did you call someone?” -“Nah, had to stay there, interacting, you know, you can’t let them see through. They can’t know the truth; well, not like they care anyway.” -“What’s the longest you’ve stayed without sleeping?” -“Mmm, maybe a week?” -“Maybe?” -“I mean, you sleep like an hour or 2 every other day.” -“You take breaks?” -“If you see there’s the chance, if not, someone might help you, like, they pay.” -“I see.” -“Yeah.” -“Why would someone help you if they don’t care about you?” -“Ah, well, I don’t know, because they see how exhausted you are? Sometimes they see you falling asleep, they see you can’t keep your eyes open and maybe some corner you forgot to hide full of empty cans of energy drinks so they kinda feel bad for you, and they decide to help.” -“Didn’t you say they don’t care about you?” -“They don’t, and if some do they’re not willing to do much about it. Most of them just feel bad for you, like... condescending.” -“Better than nothing, I guess?”


-“Yeah, here, mercy is the ultimate gift.” -“Do you experience any other type of exhaustion or is it just the lack of sleep?” -“The lack of sleep is the hardest to deal with, but of course there are more types of exhaustion. Like, when you can’t get up because your feet hurt so bad after having danced in high heels for so many hours. Or when your lower back hurts from having danced for so long as well; and obviously when your body can’t stand any other strange object being introduced.” There was an uncomfortable silence. I looked at her and hated myself immediately for having felt the same mercy she so much condemned.

-“Too explicit?” -“No, not at all. Was just thinking.” -“About?” -“Is there anything good to it?” -“The money.” She said after a thick uprising smoke escaped her mouth ajar. She looked at me and smiled, as I imagine she smiles to thousands more.


words and photograph by DOROTTYA HORVATH MAY @dorihmay

My school yard was covered in gravel. I was

It was 6 pm and my mom walked around a

7, playing tag with my classmates. I looked

huge school yard covered in gravel for an

down

was

hour to look for my pebble. Even though she

round, pink and just absolutely beautiful. I

knew we would not find it, she wanted to

picked it up and put it in my pocket.

make sure that I knew, that she treasures my

and

saw

the

perfect

pebble.

It

treasures. I couldn’t wait to show my mom. I reached into my pocket. It wasn’t there. I lost it. I

I told this story once, to a person I’d just met.

started to cry. Again, I lost it.

We were high. (I might be high now. ) He said, if anyone ever asks “What’s your mom

And then my mom took my hand and looked

like?”... just tell them that story.

at me in the eyes and said “We’re gonna go look for it”. We walked back to my school

I know no one asked, but... that is what my

and she spoke to the groundskeeper and told

mom is like.

her the situation.


words by THIBAUT NARME

AND THAT IS GOOD Mid-morning, the wake-up in A bedroom is half lit in natural light She's already up, doing downstairs And that is good

Yellow and white scrambled eggs on my cream plate A kitchen is bright—her smile She says I hear And that is good

The water stopped rushing down my scalp I dry and dress slowly humming a song I get out, hair undone, so she laughs And that is good

The telly tells us but we forget in each other arms Laid back, lazying on the sofa, looking at the garden beyond French windows The sun hits noon, it shines reverberant and warm in the living room And that too is good


100 WORD STORY PROMPT Text in response to a @spokenwordscratchnight Instagram story prompt. We asked for a one hundred word story inspired by this image.

by EDWARD MURDEN @spookyelvis_

A PENNY DROPS

If

you

and

stand

drop

on

a

top

of

penny

a

tall

then

building

it

can

kill

someone but then again he’d heard that wasn’t true.

In

these

cold

as

touch,

past

few

years

the

concrete

to

his

predictively

spill.

calling

friend

could

his

stop

what

he’d

would

grown be

to

as his

blood

that

would

He’d

thought

about

again

had

but

already

nothing been

put

in motion.

His

wife

had

left

a

note,

she

didn’t

want anything, the money was no good. His

friend

would wind.

had

usually

said

scatter

that

the

the

penny

updraft to

the


by ELITSA VLAZAROVA @elitsavaleri

The

first

like

the

ready

first

to

would

day

day

meet

go

away

after

quarantine...

of

my

friends,

further

from

something

school.

than

home.

Not

weird...

My

It

felt

Excited

and

happy

one

I

kilometre

gonna eyes

that

lie,

were

I

felt

heavy,

I was too slow. I managed to walk a few hundred

meters

away

from

my

building

when I fell to the ground.

All

I

remember

swallowed

me,

tears.

People

street

kept

how

is

I

is woke

still

the

that

how

the

up

sweat

speak

outline

of

possible,

in

about my it

earth and

how

body.

was

the But

all

a

dream...?

by TALIA MASSE @pieceofpyro

Claude had

was

his

given

friend

an

Pierre

art

project

trace

his

so

he

shadow.

He was so thrilled when everyone moved to

not

wreck

pictures. fine. time.

He

He’s

it

and

people

received

not

even

an

F

were and

appreciated

taking a

â‚Ź300

in

his



oi d uts dri b n e v o @ N O S R ET A P A E R D N A


words by KATHERINE CHACON @kamchacon99 illustrations by ANDREA PATERSON @ovenbirdstudio

THE MAGE AND THE FIREFLY This is a story about magic and fire. In

a

village

by

the

ocean

lived

a

woman

who

stood

apart

from

the

other

women. There was something slight, yet distinctly different about her. She had a secret that she kept so that the villagers would not fear her. They

were

not

unkind

people,

but

to

keep

the

peace,

the

woman

kept

her

secret. The truth was, the woman was a mage.

As the sun set each evening, she would walk through a forest that ended on a cliff overlooking the ocean. As the moon rose, she would reach up and draw down a cloak of starlight. Throwing it over her shoulders, the woman became the Mage. She would spend the evenings mending the broken branches of trees with her magic, and settling quarrels among the animals. The forest life was grateful, but they were not her companions. Though her magic brought her joy, the Mage was lonely.

There was a Fire. It had burned so powerfully, it frightened everyone away. Fearing its own power, the Fire changed itself into a firefly. In

this

form,

its

true

power

was

hidden,

and

no

one

was

afraid of it.

The Firefly would dance, bringing smiles to the faces of all who watched it. And the Firefly was happy. It forgot that it had ever been Fire.


One evening, as the sun was setting, on a cliff overlooking the ocean, the Firefly came across a woman. Because of her magic, the woman could sense the Firefly’s true form. She was overjoyed to find someone not unlike herself. “Firefly, behold!” She said as the moon rose and she drew down her cloak of starlight, transforming into the Mage. The Firefly landed on her palm and The Mage said, “Now Firefly, won’t you show me your true self?” And the Firefly danced. Its glow tracing streaks of orange and gold across the night sky, weaving beautiful patterns as it flew. Pleased with its show, the Firefly landed on the Mage’s palm. But the Firefly was shocked to see tears streaking the Mage’s face. The Firefly flew away as quickly as it could, unable to understand the Mage’s sorrow.

Days

passed,

but

the

Firefly

could

not

forget

her.

The Mage on the cliff overlooking the ocean. So the Firefly flew back to her. When

the

Firefly

returned,

it

found

the

Mage

frozen in place. The

sadness

in

her

heart

had

turned

the

Mage

to

ice.

The Firefly became Fire. As flames engulfed the Mage, the ice surrounding her vanished. She was beautiful in the Fire, the warm colors of the flames reflected in her cloak of starlight, and she smiled. Wreathed in flames the Mage said, “You are Fire, and you are beautiful. You are the Firefly, and you are beautiful.” The Fire, once more, turned back into a Firefly and landed on the Mage’s palm, on a cliff overlooking the ocean. And neither was lonely.


words by SABLE STRUB @sablestrub portraits by MOE DELAITRE @moedelaitre

YOU WAKE UP You wake up You wake up like any other day You stumble to the bathroom searching for the light that’s almost impossible to find even though this is your house and you know exactly where it is because you do this every day Lights on I brush my teeth Fuck Now my coffee is gonna taste like shit Why do I do this every morning Habit is a funny bitch I carry on with my morning routine everything seems as normal I start walking to work but something isn’t like every other day I have this odd feeling that something isn’t right. Something is off But I brush it off and chalk it up to stress or not enough sleep or maybe this is how your supposed to feel So I carry on like usual whilst pushing down this awful feeling of anxiety that something is just not right Then it happens The thing you somehow knew was coming The body is a strange thing. It tried to warn me but I was just not ready to listen. “Hey you this is gonna happen and you need to be ready” I’m sitting here thinking. No not me, This wouldn’t happen to me But it did so I’m standing at work and this feeling of complete and utter loss of control comes over me I go to the doctor I lost my baby, the baby I never even got the chance to meet. How the fuck did that happen All I could think about was what did I do Did I not sleep enough Not enough water Too much coffee Too much stress Are you ok? Is there someone here with you? No I’m fine thanks. Just tell me what I have to do now A few weeks later You wake up You wake up Like any other day But this time it’s a little more empty and you just can’t seem to fill that space. Two months go by You wake up You wake up like any other day and you say to yourself fuck it. Right? Shut up anxiety I’ll be fine. I am fine One day at a time Fuck I brushed my teeth before my coffee again





words by KAITLYN KELLY @msultraviolet illustration by @a.creature


TETHERED Sour grapes pressed between the pages Where you braved life Critically wounded the juice bleeds sticky Stinging the land owned by future scars There is a numbness to your voice A trickle of truth I think enough time has passed That we don’t have to pretend anymore I will hold you and you will resist We are leather bound books that wish to be cartons of fresh milk Drawing out the poison it slowly stings your lips You beat your chest in agony Tell me your secret yes that one


words by CLAUDIA SCOTT photographs by HELEN HO @helenhophotography


SMALL GRACES LIKE LIGHT, AND THE THINGS THAT MAKE YOU FEEL LIGHTER and

by

light

I

mean

mornings,

waking

up

to

the

sun

illuminating

a

white

walled space and in that space music swells in your heart a crescendo and by your heart I mean the delicate way your love nestles alongside your grief and still there is room for your joy to pull through. A small grace like joy

and by joy I mean sundown dance parties on river banks in July, drunk off each other and the abundant July-ness of it all. A small grace like time spent lying down with the night so that she can whisper how her darkness is her most profound feature, but still, a small grace like light, and by light I mean a thousand sunflowers sprouting from the ground, that persistent golden dew, claiming it on your skin, painting acres of wild with your brightness. A small grace like life and its lemons, soaking up that zest

and

by

zest

I

mean

you,

just

as

you

are,

a

small

grace,

basking

in

the

knowledge that you are the heat and heaving of the earth. A small grace like a glance gaze

at

of

the

you

submerging

stars doing

and

the

what

yourself

way

you

with

they

love.

sparkle

A

small

knowledge

of

and

by

grace

sparkle

like

numbness

I

salt,

and

mean like

desire

a

mirror-

ocean,

to

like

sometimes

feel it. A small grace like ripples and by ripples I mean the way the desire for kindness

pulses

out

from

your

heart

to

your

whole

being.

A

small

grace

like

dance

and

by

have

dance

never

casino.

A

I

mean

met

her,

small

your have

grace

like

body

and

its

never

let

her

touching,

movement fold

like

you

like like

touching

as

you a if

do

bad you

not

know

hand

in

have

a

only

fear, dingy ever

known kind hands. A small grace like coffee, coffee with friends, coffee with sugar and cream and every sweetness. A small grace like the blue in her eyes and

the

first

freckles

on

her

cheeks

in

spring.

A

small

grace

like

Sundays

in

bed or the theatre or a jazz bar at midnight, achingly alive. A small grace like being mean

alive, your

like

body

being taking

alive up

and

space,

moving

and

stretching

unapologetic,

making

and

by

stretching

more

of

yourself

I

for

the hands of your lovers or the sun and her kisses. A small grace like joy, and like love, blooming in the stadium of your heart

and by your heart I mean light, and by light I mean the ways it moves around your body, the small grace of your shape that exists, so, so bright.



'TIL SOON

photograph by @msultraviolet

Blackout.