Spoken Word Scratch Night Zine Vol.2

Page 1

september 2020



SPOKEN WORD SCRATCH NIGHT vol 02 september 2020

editors Kaitlyn Kelly and Claudia Scott

cover Nathalie Jolivert

contributors Riley Behrens, Hayley Bernier, biw, Marc Carson, e.k.g, Samuel Awuku Darko, Moe Delaitre, Erin Donohoe, Nathalie Gardiner, Harry Garlick, Thomas Gilroy, Leslie Grollman, Claudia Hall, JD, Leyla Josephine, Jelsie Joaquin, Nathalie Jolivert, Greg Kadel, Kaitlyn Kelly, David Konstantino, Hazel Laing, Ricardo Lowe, Jr., Sophia Lucia, Dorottya Horvath May, SeĂĄn McKiernan, Jillian Montilla, Yasemin OngĂźler, Mehdi Ouahes, Tea Righini, Claudia Scott, Izadora Shin, Sydney Taub, Moustafa Tlass, Skye Wilson, Courteney Woollands, Marc Zegans

copyright statement Spoken Word Scratch Night Vol 02, September 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!




The thing in us that creates is wide-eyed and spellbound, pacing the soft floor of our quickening hearts. It looks at the world and begs for metaphor. It asks the sun's dying light what it is trying to say. It wonders how much we know of forever. Most importantly though, it hands us the sharp edge of truth and insists we hold it anyway. Our contributions to this world are what define us; how we express ourselves creates, shifts, and inspires change. On top of this, the way we consume, the things we choose to paint our world with are equally important. This is the food that nourishes our creativity, as well as our humanity. It is with this intention that we have created the second edition of the Spoken Word Scratch Night: Digital Zine. You will find that we have entitled the two acts of this volume "Dreams" and "Reality". Reading through our submissions we could not help but notice how so many of the works seemed to live within these two realms. These themes feel remarkably poignant in our current era of political unrest and radical change. How often does our reality seem to be the thing of dreams? Of nightmares? There is much here within these pages that we believe will delight, educate, and challenge you, dear readers. We are a community that celebrates our differences loudly; whether it be at from a microphone in the Parisian basement bar where we began, or through the explosions of colour and truth found on the pages of this publication. Our contributors are a glittering collection of people from our Spoken Word Scratch Night crew in Paris and beyond. Now more than ever we want our message to be clear, particularly to our BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and handicapped friends: we see you, we hear you, we stand with you, and we celebrate you. With love, hugs, and confetti,

Claudia Scott Claudia Scott



words by BIW collage by @msultraviolet

THE MOON ABOVE US " and in that specific second of a minute, a specific hour of a day in the night time, we looked up at the moon and he was undoubtedly ours, maybe seen by dozens across the globe, humans or inhumans, but the power lies within our stubbornness, when in that moment you couldn't convince us that that moon above us wasn't quite simply ours "

a dull hum of sun burnt tourists floods the sacred courtyard my weary eyes plant themselves on an aged wooden ladder hovering over a stone bath of what could have been holy water apologetic cancers or roman catholics. matted children play upstairs in a room with only a dresser and two twin beds neatly three feet apart three is the number of times i’ve been in love oh how i wept when they left. i slept in one of those twin beds and bathed under an open window in january.

words by SYDNEY TAUB @nightgownstoner

words by NATHALIE GARDINER @nathaliegardiner photgraphs by GREG KADEL @gregkadelstudios

How do I sleep with you On my mind as the amber warmth of streetlight pricks at my eyes Ears still ringing from the depth of the bass And I'm alone; How do I wake with you On my skin when the depth of your touch Is so much more real when my eyes are closed And I'm in that place That bed That quartier; How do I breathe with you In my lungs when the words catch in my throat and I keel and I fall Back to the time, That bed That quartier Heart drenched in mace; How do I live when you Dictate my world when the only thing you give me is Space

OF DREAMS AND SONGS I’m dreaming what I can dream. The list is long—a catalogue of dreams; a compendium of symbols. I wonder, does my dream of dreams have a doorway into a dream of me dreaming possible dreams and is the list of dreams, of dream symbols, nested there the same? * * In my dream, I selected from the list of dreams as if spinning a quarter into a jukebox filled with Roy Orbison; the Everly Brothers; Patsy Cline— Sweet Dreams of You.

* * That we can choose our dreams is a dream. Yet, this dream of choosing from the list of dreams comes to me, always the same: in the diner, the quarter spinning into the white-buttoned chrome box. · * The amusements man comes takes the quarters changes the selections— a new box of dreams asking to be dreamed in the sparkling formica countered fluorescent diner’s night.

words by MARC ZEGANS

illustrations by TEA RIGHINI @tearighini

words by JD @jd_pallanzamusic photograph by HARRY GARLICK @food_spots_n_cool_shots

CARDINAL SINS I don’t know where you’ve been maybe you been going out? I imagine you on some scene I make up in my mind I measure the repeatings Of the infinite try About not settling in Where there’d be brittle hopes to grind I see some cardinal sins not in the way you would cry I conceal my ache in a dream On a loop wake with a start I measure the never-endings But I can’t figure them out Somewhere down that Paris stream I crave you thinking about

if you come at my doorstep dressed like a rose. open petals awaiting my embrace. i will lift you by the stem into this flowerbed. and water you through the night. and when the morning comes. i will command the sun to wrap strings of light around you. then step back. and watch you bloom. - the red dress.

photographs by GREG KADEL @gregkadelstudios words by RICARDO LOWE, JR. @rhlowej

this poem beating in my chest. it began as a lyric in my mother’s womb. it is now a full-fledged verse heaving in my lover’s hands.


words by JILLIAN MONTILLA @jillmontilla illustration by HAZEL LAING @hazelmakespictures

BEFORE THE CHOP Cut the binds to the moon. Watch how the dogs run. The beagles of Poitevin scatter loose from silken corrals finally freed from Hermes’ chains See how the Hermit emerges dusty to marvel how the Fool ceases his daydreaming. Witness as tangerine erupts from the cocoons. “The monarchs that fly south will not make it back north each departure, then, is final. Only their children return; Only their future revisits the past” Watch how the souls, they soar. Bring me away from this land I’ve been taught to call home this land of men and passing pleasures Deliver me North where women run without shoes the air smells sweet of almond and I can drink myself full on Three cups, leave to relieve myself and not fear any had been poisoned Watch the wolves fall docile. Fall docile. Close your mouth against food and folly for one of these mornings you’re going to rise up singing sipping in the intoxicating distillation of yourself empty shelves noisy streets all the atoms of blood and soil sopping up the morning dew Cut the binds and watch your worries wane.

words by MEHDI OUAHES illustrations by ERIN DONOHOE @erin.donohoe

i missed home Your noble silhouette appears And you greet us with open arms We fall under the spell Of your fluttering white dress On the deep blue scarf you wear The Sun sews silver linings He gives you a crown of light As a way to pay respect At nightfall you don your robe A dark cloth set with diamonds Sparkling jewels, like shooting stars Mystic gifts from the heavens We hug and kiss each other, shedding tears You invite us to sit at your table We break bread before you lay down to sleep The sea breeze plays with the smell of spices


In one we are ferns under the same ancient tree, licking up droplets and sitting in peace. In one we are brothers with nothing in common except our father and the speed of our hair loss. In one we are stones in the colourless North Sea, rocking gently, until taken home in a shoe. In one we are solider ants in combat, carrying crumbs on our back for the queen. In one we have a sweet daughter who climbs on walls and has dirty knees, we are deeply in love but in a passive way. In one we are two ticks on a heron that paddles riversides and flies to the Caribbean for winter. In one we are separated living other sides of the world as exes, only drunken calls on lonely nights. In one we are childhood friends that stayed in touch and still meet at the pub to catch up. In one we are connected by our tailbones, unable to shake each other off. In one we are lemons on a tree, sun beating on us as a pair, until one of us is picked for lemonade and another drizzled on a freshly caught fish.


Summer Haze


Pushing open the sun-splintered wooden fence, Zeke made his way towards the front of the house carrying his baby blue backpack.

The wooden fence screamed shut.

The humidity of the evening swam around everything in its

presence. Denny quickly emerged from the backyard as the wooden fence screamed shut once again. all around him.

The humid air treaded

When he caught up with Zeke, they walked towards the corner of the street. Surrounded by

overgrown trees, plants, grass, backyard fences and cracked sidewalks, the two navigated the crosswalk world between these houses in the suburbs. “Here comes Laurie. Summer’s almost over you know,” Zeke said nudging Denny. Denny’s face went flush. Laurie stopped as her eyes wandered over towards Zeke and Denny. “It’s getting dark,” Denny said. Zeke nodded. Laurie smacked the back of Denny’s neck. The sound echoed throughout the crosswalk. “What’d you do that for?” Denny asked with a glare. Laurie laughed. “A mosquito was dancing on your neck,” Laurie said wiping her hand on the back of Denny’s shirt. As they exited the crosswalk, Zeke, Denny and Laurie passed by baseball diamonds in the park nearby. A few skateboarders coasted by on sidewalks.

They stopped in the centre of a baseball diamond in the field of a public

school. Zeke unzipped his baby blue backpack and took out two square firework cake boxes. Placing them at home plate, Laurie handed him a lighter. “Here you go baby blue,” Laurie said smiling. Zeke nodded. Flicking the lighter on, flames wavered in the summer heat. Denny and Laurie ran to the dugout.

Leaning on the padded cushion atop the dugout fence, Denny’s arm slipped.

Laurie grabbed Denny, helping him regain his balance. Zeke lit the fuse with the lighter.

The smell of pine trees rang through the summer heat.

He started running towards the dugout, but quickly ran back.

The fuses began

crackling. He grabbed his baby blue backpack, ducking as a firework shrieked off into the summer night. “Isn’t it August?” Denny asked. “Wanna see my permit?” Laurie said. Zeke leaned onto the dugout fence. “Let’s bail.” Zeke said catching his breath. Fireworks burst in the air as the three friends ran. his exit.

When they reached the crosswalk, Zeke nodded and then made

Laurie looked at Denny as red, blue and golden light flashed across her face.

They floated close to one

another. Denny hesitated. He began walking away. Laurie slapped him on back of the neck. “The mosquito dance again?” Denny said grabbing his neck. Laurie smirked as she shrugged.

A hazy tension cut through the silence.

sound echoed in the distance of the summer night.

One last firework soared in the air as its

images by @msultraviolet

Cue that feeling you get when you are dreaming deeply but some alarm goes off or that construction outside your window that has been going on for four months kicks in and you wake up in a jerk and wonder if you were actually hovering over your bed that entire time because it feels like you just hit the mattress.


illustrations by DAVID KONSTANTINO @daveykon

And we're back!



The novel Coronavirus will be a bestseller one day.




toilet flush.

nting-drawing attention to objects we make contact with without noticing during the pandemic

toilet flush.

painting by COURTENEY WOOLLANDS @courteneyisgone



Nathalie Jolivert is a NYC based Haitian artist whose work revolves around storytelling, human relationships and community involvement. Her figurative art is inspired by the Saint-Soleil art movement in Haiti and by Mexican muralists' work.

Website: www.jolivert.com Instagram: @jolivert

words by RICARDO LOWE, JR. @rhlowejr photograph by SAMUEL AWUKU DARKO @roastedkweku

soldier of a supposedly greater God. the mesmeric footprints of your prophets are filled with shell casings and blood. as you pitched fire through the face of Palestinian child, the land caught his body and delivered a war cry. it called for Allah and Yahweh in the same breath. and then pleaded to become holy again.

-holy war

there are places where being both poet and male makes you ‘soft.’ according to a devout masculinist. chuckling over my shoulders with pointed finger. i do not know what it is to be soft. i write flowers into the soil. to keep from writing gashes beneath your eye.

-this poem. saved you.

words by SKYE WILSON @skyegabrielle

ENTRY LEVEL Required: twenty-four years’ experience, five degrees, in-depth knowledge of gift vouchers specifically for spas, with a focus on forty-six year old men from Scunthorpe, and of course, the essential quality of gravitas (which I think is code for a penis). I won’t hear back. I’ll sit under the shower, too tired to uncurl my desk-hunched back, hoping for something I’m not sure I hope for: a flat, a steady job, a chest unweighted with future-fear, and a degree in engineering instead of poetry.

cynmehtrofton@ NOSRACRAM yb noitartsulli

photographs and words by SAMUEL AWUKU DARKO @roastedkweku

I live in a country where all the TV stations are owned by political parties. Day in and day out peoples minds are being manipulated, misinformation from the other side, pastors duping people's wives now they do fraud live on tv, all bad things happening. When are we going to break free... It's time we know the truth that we are being manipulated. If we need truth seek it somewhere else....

Olden days Africa, the girlchild was not allowed to enroll in school but remain in the house with the mentality of them being the care takers of the house. They are often given to marriage at their young age. This was done in the early slave trade era in my country to the down of Education ...

Therefore amongst all the fruit be like a pineapple

let people see the thorns outside, allow them to reject you, but fight, fight until you wear that crown.

illustrations by MOUSTAFA TLASS @whyishabothmad

checks checks & &

balances balances words by SOPHIA LUCIA @freakshowcabaret

Buzz Buzz goes the bug body against my window I’m in pain to hear those little wings if that little thing gets caught in my curls so help me. But oh, to be a single-celled organism! just fission and a mission to survive Circadian Rhythm no reason no rhyme (so sublime) but the Homo Erectus wrecked us turned Sapien making it crazy (like) we wait n wait n for tomorrow (tomorrow never comes) but the Homo Erectus wrecked us turned Sapien (it is just crazy like) we wait n wait n worry bout tomorrow (tomorrow never comes) (so) I rigama-roll me spliffs call it quits when it gets down to this business card someone gave me at my show tryna fool me. bout some big oppor tuna tuna tuna tuna tuna tunity (just for me)

The candy bowl at the dentists’ waiting room that asks me to come back soon

the University calls you and me who paid a big ol’ xyz for a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree – the university

a nation sprawled on it’s velvet couch awaiting The Revolution

is asking

for a donation.

***so long as it does not upend our Constitution***

(come on guys things can’t get that) bad be cause of – The Checks & Balances! The Checks & Balances! (I checked my balance and there’s nothing happening…) We like bush under porch after Big Rain growing toward the sun We’ll break the lattice if you let us but you’ll laugh about it later with the neighbors over canned wine and cheese discussing water damage and leaks meanwhile I’ll be in the basement sunblotched and faded

remembering the old photos lost from the flood.

words by e .k .g @ekgwriting illustration by JELSIE JOAQUIN @jelsie.jpg

ON THE COLLECTIVE Spotless Minds bound by an endless sleep that is not serene. From this, our unconscious minds scream, “We are stuck in Limbo!” relentlessly.

The lyin king leaves us wading in an eternal sunshine and blissful blue dream where he gives us happiness and success as our currency.

Thrown onto the concrete grounds of this industrious city, our roots cannot spread. We are told self-fulfillment and complacency are the only ways to get ahead.

We are delicate, pretty birds with the most beautiful feathers submissively living & dying in our dream-state ways caged in individualism.

The way that I go is not the way that we came?

No! We came together. Each from the seed of our makers’ desperate need to maintain this Latent Dream.

[upon seeing the documentary ‘Gaza’]

I. Cerulean blue body bagged against the surrendering sand And the blood-scream prayer for anything else.

III. So I sit

II. Young girls fashioned in exuberant flair bangled to the downbeat promise of America or France if the border opens a hole in a life shut by words on both wings and the Sea.

My burger and fries still warm Ice cubes rattle against fern-green Glass So what My cry doesn’t feed or flood the gates open I have prepackaged tissues Sprite Zero and I can’t remember ever seeing someone exsanguinate.

words by LESLIE GROLLMAN photograph by GREG KADEL @gregkadelstudios

V. There is so little space IV.

on this strip

Small feet running and dipping into the sea

Do they bury more or leave

Firebombs, again

a plot for the children

The firebombs So much tired sand and dispassionate sea (Still) Her cello sings

Tiny open palms Lifelines


obscured by bellies betrayed

In this, a country of choked throats

always sings above the curdling.

where their brothers firebomb and the wind blows backwards.

Two Accounts of Witnessed Animal Murder

words by HAYLEY BERNIER @burnyayhayley

1 It happened so quickly. The guide was stepping backward, casual, amidst the enclosure of birds. He reached and placed his fingers around the throat like they were individual hooks. Feathers clasped, he squeezed, much like you might if you were attempting to milk a cow, and doing so crudely. As he talked on, he lifted his arm, duck in hand, and flung it back, cracking its head against the nearby cement wall. This was mercy, or so I was told. 2 We thought we were doing the right thing, although none of us knew what that was. So we asked my dad to come outside. But before I could even explain– I assure you my mouth was open– he stomped forward and plunged a foot into the soft grass, crushing the collapsed bat’s body. He didn’t even care to remove it, the small corpse remaining next to the brick of the chimney, like a used tissue. Afterwards, we sat together on the back porch, all of us staring at the same patch of patio tiles. With the end there was no closure.

A Love Letter – of Sortsto Paris from a Foreigner

words by SEÁN McKIERNAN photographs by DOROTTYA HORVATH MAY @dorihmay

My Paris is Monday morning commuters Stuffing





My Paris is Big George Jacques Danton



winter jackets, vainly protecting new white basket

Bellowing in cast iron - like O’Connell himself.

runners from being sullied by wet winter urban

His words before the Guillotine, impertinent as his


life: Show my head to the people, it’s worth the effort.

My Paris is rats by the Seine And a hundred hungry people queuing for a hot

My Paris is early mornings

meal on wet Monday nights- and beggars in the

And the tiny gesture of human kindness when they

metro, apologising for the gêne occasioned.

give you the warm Pain au Chocolat and as you walk to work you feel its butter sag and when you

My Paris is CRS aiming for the eye.

eat it, it melts like slow cooked shredded beef.

It’s metro strikes, school strikes, petrol protests, pension strikes,

strikes, reform






My Paris is a fast piano And gospel-pop in St Lazare and once or twice pretending to wait for a train, but really going for


no other reason than to watch them sing.




march and getting tear-gassed; it’s Gilets Jaunes and









Black Block tearing up the Champs-Élysées; It’s smashed banks and the weekly ritual of bordering

My Paris is being so despotically pleasant

up luxury shop windows.

That the receptionist or bureaucrat or even — god help us - the car hire rep will find a smile buried

My Paris is tourists avoiding it all And






deeply taking









pictures in the same places in the same poses. My Paris is kissing that girl by the Seine My Paris is the endless procession of models and

And feeling the dense silk of her red dress on my



Desperate for a photo that will change their lives. My Paris is watching the Eiffel Tower My Paris is Fashion Week,

Through rain streaked windows in late-night taxis

But never being invited.

and feeling its sweeping beam, orbiting the whole sky, keeping you there.

My Paris is the strained friendship of a relationship That for some reason never got started and now is

My Paris is watching Notre Dame burn

too late, and the heart of an old friend fighting a


war of attrition against life to find his place.


My Paris is poetry dredging up the stale colours of

My Paris is the watercolour scene at Pont Des Arts


after rain.











that I’m





burnished alloy that has all the more beauty for its

My Paris is being able to breathe in the empty city


in August.

My Paris is expensive Guinness


And good wine.



pinks it’s










endless blue dome; it’s slate greys and blues and My Paris is jazz.

cream stone walls changing hues.

My Paris is John Hamon’s inscrutably smug smile

My Paris is reading under the tree on Île de La

And wondering who the fuck he is, but feeling


happy that he’s up there anyway. My Paris is conversation. My Paris is Saturday mornings in the Boulangerie And










exacting about bread. My Paris is getting another Carafe d’Eau Because








wonder how French people don’t shrivel up and die from dehydration.

My Paris is home, for now.

words by RILEY BEHRENS @ rileybehrens


pottery by CLAUDIA HALL @claudialili_h

My hair a tangle of lacquer and stale smoke, Mouth stained red from borrowed lipstick, Mascara smudged through blue eyes. My bare feet track sweat and dust, Bruises balance upon my knees, Casualties of the dance floor. Our eyelids droop at 5am, Still we will not leave, We'll face the dawn.

words by IZADORA SHIN @izadorashin photograph by MOE DELAITRE @portraitsbymoe

Freedom is nature, let God’s gravity define, dictate us We tried to tame our wild while mankind continues to suppress us Rejoice around bonfires The story of light at the end of the tunnel is just fable This moon lights our faith we walk on, journeys we had plenty Handcuffed to poles we learned to dance on Beat by men we grew to forgive and then love Birthed children with boys who never became men These are the stories we hide in our womb In our womb the universe expands creating planets who out live us Give us our freedom We chant to the moon while wolves howl prays alongside with us Wild women We wont tamed Find the wild women in you sleeping with another Tasting the wild on my tongue where words are birthed Our poison of choice, poetry You see wild women, I am She! Is the reflection of nature without her, mother earth can’t exist Wild women, beginning to all ends Regurgitate suffering into scared dances Suffering in silence is golden Evoking boys to become men, bring us our gold We might not speak a language known by men but we demand understanding Words sing upon deafen ears to listen Crawling into unknown spaces then making a home Words trembling inside your gut, thunderstorm Wash aways your pains, we rain Watering your inside flowers to grow Plant your roots wild women, this is your home Our legend will not to be forgotten When the deceased crawl out of coffins dancing amongst our dreams Please do listen to them Me too, I am a ghost In my own home

, e v lo

d l i n e W om W

A moment of silence.

Since the unjust murder of George Floyd in May, New York City has, on an almost daily basis, seen protests demanding justice and accountability from the NYPD. These photographs were taken at a variety of actions over the summer. They showcase the diversity and strength of New York's call for action, change, and justice for the Black and Brown lives taken by the NYPD, police forces across America, and the world.

photographs and words by THOMAS GILROY @gilroy.tom


get involved


House lights.


Later, gators!

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