Suburban Witchcraft Magazine Issue 1

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between these pages you will find


Robert C. Day Yves K. Morrow Milan G. Clarissa Simmens B. Lynne Zika Bogdan Dragos Heather Chandler Michael Williams

Chris Bevens

Birgitta Lindsey B. Lynne Zika

brought together by the


Mirjana M.

“Now” by Mirjana M.

editor letter Proclaiming that the past two years have left the World tampered with and changed would be an understatement. The birth of “Suburban Witchcraft” as an idea which I wanted to encompass other people, however, was way before that. As time stewed away in the changing of the seasons, the idea sprouted quickly into a blossom - and just like all sprouting things, there at the spot, demanded off me to nurture it, water it and provide it sunlight, And now, here we are. Upon reading the title of the magazine, one may quickly jump to conclussions and place it inside various boxes, based on their often preconcieved interpretations. I would like to invite everyone who gazes upon these lines, artworks, photographs, glimpses and confessionals to please keep their boxes in the bassement. I created this publication with an immense desire to give everyone and everything another outlet to speak, and showcase themselves openly with what is, most often, those outspoken parts of the soul. You, dear reader, might not think how that is such a big deal. There is loads of magazines everywhere. There is loads of opportunities. People, perhaps, speak way too much or are just not saying the right things at the right time in the right place. My own idea is that people should speak more - and thus, create more, express themselves, and in a world full of discouragement, conditions and price tags, this magazine is my own invitation; as much as for fellow creators as it is for myself. It allows me to more firmly believe that both creating, and exsisting is a kind of magick. I hope you enjoy reading between these pages, and that Issue 1 fills you with inspiration and gives you incentive to share it, with the world.

Mirjana M.

Corporate Job 1.0 In the city, The building lines crawl up to scratch the sky. The windows of towering buildings fall in line, Horizontally, no matter which way you look. Sometimes, I’m uncomfortable in my collared shirt. I peak through the blinds, And watch the line of traffic snake down the street. Hemmed in by the rows of street lamps. I sit down at my desk to start the day. I dream of running. The coffee creamer is powdered It refuses to dissolve, still I stir, Hoping for a different result. Lesson never learned. Sometimes my brain feels like its dying I stare at the scratches on the floor, Wondering when they happened. They are deep grooves, Must have been something heavy. I dream of shouting.

The fluorescent lights flicker. I can hear them buzzing. I wonder what the light is doing to me, As I stare up at it. Sometimes, it’s hard to breathe. The lunchroom is a battleground. Left behind food versus lunch thieves. Both a sin, I wonder how either happens. What makes you steal or forget? I dream of destroying. I rearrange my desk items, While I listen to a customer. Her problem is my fault, She clarifies that it’s not me personally. Sometimes I think my soul is dying. I watch the clock even as I work, I don’t play on the computer. They watch for that. Sometimes I stare at the windows. I dream of…

Michael Williams

RAIN WATER Rain pounds down and I think What a good day to collect water So many magical ideas For using rain <3 <3 <3 I fill a jar and cap it off With a marker I write “Aquarius Water” To use with songs about global peace Since gathered on February sixth Can also use for love if thinking Of tarot’s lovers Or February fourteenth If you have a Romantic attachment to Valentine’s Day When the Moon is new And it rains I gather water and label it “Lunar Phase Waxing” To use for energetic plans <3 <3 <3 So many days, nights, weeks, Months and years Zodiac signs Solar celebrations Even in summer there is “Thunderstorm Water”

Used to release angry feelings Or when the monsoon season’s gone “Gentle Winter Water” Used to capture serenity Anything you need? Turn to Water Help me get this job How I want to meet this heartthrob Health, my true wealth, is most desired Ask, but be sure to do your part Study ways to stay strong Make sure the sweetheart you want Isn’t part of another couple And you must have the proper Qualifications for a job Beginnings are important Water gives us the confidence To try But don’t cry Because water is mutable <3 <3 <3 So I search the house, discovering There really aren’t enough jars To bottle the emotions To express the days and nights But vessels found everywhere Are acceptable: Sea shells, egg cartons, Cups, saucers and soda cans Water, Water, everywhere To help us celebrate the moment Because about life, we care … <3 <3 <3

Clarissa Simmens

Shuffled Deck I am tired, Tired of walking the silted line, threading words to not say something wrong as to upset the dead slumber; I am exhausted, From smoke whilst you hold the mirror swaying aimlessly without the wind; I am in pain, for it feels it has carried the boat not to rock; hush the emotions a silent scream.

Milan G.

The Gardener of Hades A close friend of mine grows flowers down in Hades the kind that makes your wound-ache taste like eating fiz wiz, like snapshots of sunflowers turned to each other ground into a powder that you’d be tempted to season the sunday roast with. In the future, the techno-priests will be pinging for our absolutions, our dreams in grocery-skincodes, hollograms of hummingbirds glitching against our heartbeats. We will keep asking them where does the water go, when we die; they will spoonfeed us with prettiest of lies, murmur in ASCII as they desolve us to compost.

We’d want to be grown out into speaking trees; the handsomest of alders, birches, oaks and hazels, crops of fine, plump pumpkins, proud corns and outstretchings of whipping wheat and other chunks fermenting in a lukewarm stew, ready to be poured out and sown Yet awake like a dust with pulse hoping that the sand quickens; in rilled bones, sprouting for a chunk of a cold, sleepy Moon in decadent black and confident innocence against the face of my mentioned friend, red and pearly; a synthetic jewel in the wet mud of a pigsty, like a shy thunder before its clumsy crackle, heartless and with soul-wells of scars; who ‘s been down there for a while, with a worn-out strawhat on clipping our dead leaves.

Mirjana M.

‘Light Eater’ by Mirjana M.

For Our Chile Throw off your idjbit style and dance; no matter that you know nothing of what you’re falling into. Flailing is honest effort. Terrify yourself. I was once like you in your efreet hat. I said that I shouldn’t and yet I did and I never started looking back until now; and that’s only for the sake of this. Just dance. We were wild together. Do you sense that when you stand behind and stare over our shoulders to try to see what we freejov? When you’re older; maybe in a minute or two, I’ll tell you what we did to test and twist the other side. You arrived after a million breaths that saw us strong in our thunder. Ligtnine came later still. You’re not to fly straight. You’re not to stare at the sun. You’re not to bowl down the lanes like the standard dreeg. When you see the wind harkling the sween then step left twice and fling yourself sideways to soar. The eyes you have are for looking out twice then looking within once more for maps and mages. And as for bowling; just pick the biggest, push the hardest and remember your swerfe, Do you see us in your dreams? The trees on the tabletop will go home eventually. Natural nature holds you to herself. Hair twines like summer’s vine in the wind when the shroov sings. I want you to remember this for when the visible eviscerates. Now is the time of chaak, chaak, chaak. Hild it ever well. Breathe.

Robert C. Day

Star Stuff Have you ever experienced a loss that reduced you to mere molecules, scattered, disoriented, and undone? It’s much easier to mend a broken bone or to remove an infected appendix than it is to heal from that kind of heartache. In those moments, your world stops, and the one who takes your glass filled love, and shatters it, sleeps fine at night with another. There is no easy way to muster through such loss, and the old clichés of time whisper truth. You must stand in the brokenness, naked and devasted. Take your destruction and bury deep within the ground. Let your tears fill the earth. The empty space in your hollow chest – is a resting place for hope. Because molecules will live even when you die, and your DNA will haunt this place for a million years. As you lie there in the ground, when your heart stops, your cells will continue to live for you, sloughing off the parts wounded beyond repair, and regenerating into a new existence. You will learn to live without this appendage, though phantom pain may still awaken you at night. You will rise again, resurrected in a new body, and you will sing.

Heather Monaco Chandler

BABA JAGA BLUES Burning sun makes for a Baba Jaga noon Shining across the Carpathians and into Eastern Europe Warming the people who invented me I am the Grandmother of Fire Face covered in red and orange ashes My house on two chicken legs Scratching in the dirt As a wide band of water rushes between them Gently tipping the mortar that serves As a flying vehicle The pestle is my rudder and Tracks etched in the sky Are swept away with a white birch broom I, Fire Woman, toss out water-cleansed herbs And the people see earth sailing through the air. No, I do not eat children That is another fairy tale From another country I do have companions: White horse rider named Day Black horse rider named Night Red horse rider named Noon-Time Sun They decorate the ceiling of my chicken-legged home Cavorting around the painted firmament So I do not feel closed in when forced to stay. Like smoke from fire, though I can sinuously escape through the chimney Into the real sky Absorbing more heat and light by day More stars and coolness by night Able to traverse the path

By map and compass embedded in my brain. What is my purpose here? Yes, you may ask Fiery wise woman am I Guidance is all I offer but I prefer that you ask no questions I age for each one asked Only blue rose tea will reverse my reluctance To answer, when you truly need help Purity of spirit, and most of all, politeness count But you must overcome your fear To ask and then hear Solutions to feed your burning need to know. So many false tales about me I am guilty merely because my preference is To live alone In order to think And be myself I do not like the image I see Reflected through others It is warped and thus murky Not a true mirror But no one cares to look deeply into The mystery of Baba Jaga Fire Woman, Wise Woman Who was never a witch or even a clown Just an old soul trying to translate the Earth To others…

Clarissa Simmens


Love in Quarantine In the spaces between certain stars the black tarp is so taunt that you can just make out the blue underneath. I imagine you crouching in that almost blackness, in that beautiful, unending void like a panther in prayer. * When you find me will you ravage me? At last. At last. ** I can hear your eyes opening and closing, the faultless lament of your soul begging to be understood. I know that some things only make sense to us in dreams. I know that I am only at home in the places where we overlap.

*** Your pale fingers drown in my eager currents, in the madness that wakes me up in the middle of the night to scream, to scream. Your name is the only poem I can recite by heart. **** It is the friction of the sea which moves me towards you while the world spins itself into tight, straight-edged circles that eviscerate and bind. ***** It’s boring sometimes, the waiting, the tucking in and the pulling out, the half-assessed attempts to fit into my too small life. In me there is a fleet of unsailed ships.

I suck the tears out of my hair, the sting of salt, the open wound, the I love you hot and sharp on the tip of my tongue. ****** I want to tell you everything. At last. At last.

Yves K. Morrow

‘Sunset’ by

y Mirjana M.

she speaks the language of blood he broke the pen between his teeth and chewed the parts and spat them until all that remained was the slim ink cartridge “This is the key,” he said And without another word he inserted the key into his right ear deep Kept pushing it and turning it again and again When the key came out it was bloody he studied it and was pleased with what he saw He nodded. “She speaks the language of blood. So if I want to hear, it’s best I condition my ear to her liking. Blood transmits the vibrations

of her tongue. I can hear her already. It always starts with whispers and eventually I hear screams. Screams so loud that the blood boils and hardens and shatters again into a fine dust and then my eardrum is once more healed. Ready for the next summoning. The first time I summoned her I asked why my life was so miserable. I was at an all time low at the time. Starving, living more on the streets than under a roof. And, of course, she had the answer. Love, she said. Love is the answer to your struggle. You struggle because you love it. And you love it because you have created it. Like a child. My goodness, she is right. I am in love with my creation. That’s why it stays with me. Love really is the answer.

Today though I didn’t change my miserable life. I only changed the way I acknowledge the misery in it. It’s still shit, you see, but now I started writing about this shit. I’m a new man now. It’s not the life that changed. It’s me. I’m a writer. And speaking of the devil, yeah, she starts screaming. I have to sit down and put her words on paper. I’ll use this broken pen. She loves it when there’s a smudge of blood in the ink. I feel that tonight is going to be a wild one. Excuse me, I’ve got to go now.” And just like that he stood and walked into the kitchen where his writing notebook awaited on the table by the window

The interviewer watched him for a long time, snapped a few pictures walked out through the main door Interviews with writers were something else entirely, she thought as she got into her car and started the engine

Bogdan Dragos

Photograph by B. Lynne Zika

Nine Orders of Angels For the Cherubim and Seraphim, our hunger for light, blue ignorance, the soot of our abandoned flames; for the Thrones and Dominions, the plaid drapes of a wood-paneled den and the disconnected phone number of our past; and the hulk of loneliness and the helium of desire— these for the Virtues and the Powers; and given into the care of Principalities, the names of all men who are never called by name and the women who hold pillows in the dark; and for the archangels, and for the angels, the color of the ones who do not know why another day comes and comes. It could happen. Three more nuclei, a single strand of ribonucleic acid or the chance passage of an X chromosome For, and the heavens could remember the opening strains of the lost symphony. A father on Grand Avenue will pull from the oven his perfect loaf of glazed bread;

his son, jangling into the house fresh from the tyranny of school, will remember to touch his father with his eager, sweating hands and pull from the gleaming refrigerator sweet butter and a tin of strawberry jam. the fires in the desert will spend their fury; the worn air will be reknitted to an uncompromised gleam; our mothers’ cheeks will lose the memory of fists; we’ll recover every lost button. It is simple. When we see each other, unable to speak, our lawn furniture fading, our pasts unfamiliar to one another; our hearts bound by the impossible task of explaining what we need, we can offer our common future: nine orders of angels; a marching band resplendent in gold braid and white leather, following in formation an arrow of white rocks aligned on a landing strip in the desert,

moving through the wounded sand as if through a parted sea; and on the receiving shoreline a grandstand of celestials their brown faces shining like a billion loaves of bread.

B. Lynne Zika

“In the days when witchcraft hysteria plagued New England, ordinary herbcraft was catapulted into the supernatural. The poem takes the supernatural and marries it to the ordinary, where it may well most naturally belong.” Photograph by B. Lynne Zika

Courtyard fountain, St. James Hotel, Selma, Alabama - Built in 1837 on the banks of th

Follow alo

he Alabama River, the St. James is listed as one of the 13 most haunted hotels in the state.

along through the lens of B. Lynne Zika

“ Beneath the Pettus, A Life”

“Room to Dream”, Thunder Road farm, Springville, Alabama - The mountaintop above Springville has assembled all the right ingredients for a London-worthy fog, including a likely backdrop for a mysterious visitor.

“Poetry Rains from the Eaves “- Three ingredients necessary to form rooftop icicles: Snow, a surface warm enough to melt the snow, air cold enough to refreeze it. Ingredients necessary to rain poetry: Icicles, air at 33o, minimum one quixotic poet.

Bloody Sunday, Edmund Pettus Bridge, Selma, Alabama - Edmund Pettus was a U.S Klux The bridge, named after him in 1940, was, in 1965, the site of a violent attack on vot now known as B

S. senator, a senior officer in the Confederate Army, and the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klan. ting rights marchers by State Troopers, city police, and local vigilantes, a confrontation Bloody Sunday.

Exchange We stand on the precipice of spring, soluble with thirst and eager to be alive. Let me carry the weight of your bones in the crucible of my heart for a while. I know that words rarely come when they are needed. We can be together in the silence, in the sleeping hours, in the beautiful void that is hunger. Say that we are interchangeable because I want to exchange myself for you. * You gather the hem of my little black dress in your hands, like a love letter

and tear upward. I have broken my heart more times than I can count thinking about you and if I have the power to hurt you does it mean that I don’t deserve you? * Teach me how to accept love when it comes because I don’t remember what it means to be comfortable in my skin. With you I think I could live in me if only to give you a place to escape your loneliness. I could be a beautiful home, a mountain of treasure, an open sky with a melody that carries.

* Between my cherry red lips you are tying knots in my tongue. If I could speak then I would give you all of me, every breath, every shakey syllable. I don’t think love is even half of what it could be. We could make it mean so much more. * I don’t know if we love each other in the same way I don’t know if we ever could. I promise not to die for you. I promise to wake up a little more each day.

I promise to give you each and every heart that has ever grown in me and those yet to come. I promise to go deeper with every breath. I promise to laugh until I lose my voice and to cry until the stars have fashioned constellations of my load-bearing sorrows. * I will be human, through migration and heartbreak. I will be human. Raw. Bloody. Imperfect. I will love you the way that god is said to love but unlike god I have everything and nothing at all to lose.

Yves K. Morrow

BIOLUMIN I got to Maria’s at about nine-thirty. That’s the restaurant where my partner Msima works.They’re front of house, in fact they’re manager now that Qew has left for the mainland. It’s been about two months I guess that Qew’s been gone now. I got there and went straight to the counter where I always sit. I’ve made a habit of sitting there on weekend nights waiting for Msima to get off work. That’s usually about when the kitchen’s wrapping things up. I wasn’t sure what to expect tonight though, it being the wishing moon. There was a bright crowd of witnesses out on the beach waiting for the turtles to start hatching, I could see them from the counter. The place was really hopping. It was all candlelit of course, like everyplace along the beach is this weekend. Thank you, Msima, my love. The beach and all the shops for years no have lit themselves sparingly by candles and torches on this one set of nights each year. The nights leading to the wishing moon when the turtles hatch. There was someone already at the counter in my usual seat, a mainlander. They looked to be alone, and I asked if the seat to their right was taken. “No,” they said and motioned for me to sit. They were just finishing the last of what looked like the seasonal risotto. It’s remarkable every time I have it, and I commented so. They smiled and agreed, sat back and put their napkin on the counter, then picked up the book sitting next to them, a textbook, I couldn’t make out the name Olloar appeared and cleared my neighbor’s plate. They nodded and greeted me by name, “Hi, Aartivv,” and then almost immediately another of the staff I knew, Melissa, came and filled my glass with

NESCENCE sparkling water. She’s the one mainlander who works here. Well, and Maria I guess. “Good to see you Aartivv,” Melissa said. “Thank you,” I replied. “Likewise.” “Coffee? Or anything else to start?” “No, thanks, I’m good with just this fizz,” I said and I took a long drink from the glass of sparkling she’d just poured me. The guest at my left looked my way from their book, then went back to reading. They looked to be a she, like Melissa. In all the time I’ve been coming here, I’ve never shared this little counter before. It’s just a three-seater, and most nights isn’t used for guests at all. But it’s the weekend of the wishing moon and they need every seat they have in the little restaurant. There are two main dining rooms here, they’re separated by a large hearth with stacks of firewood on either side. The dining room facing the beach has a wall that rolls up completely, opening the room to the patio outside. Tonight we could look out past the patio, to the beachwhere the witnesses were amassed at the water’s edge. This year it looked like most were mainlanders dressed in reflective shorts, glow bands, and glow paint, holding their lights and strobes and phones high to guide the just-hatched turtles toward them and the water. There were so many witnesses this year. It was a spectacle really. Behind them, now and again a pod of adult turtles lifted out of the bay, soaring a few meters over the water, glowing a soft blue against the night sky before they disappeared again below the surface. I wondered if Msima was even upset not to be out there with the witnesses this year. The first hatching they’ve ever missed.

Msima was there at the pass between the kitchen and the dining rooms. I could honestly just sit here and watch them work all day. They have a grace that can make taking out the trash a beautiful act to attend. Behind them the kitchen was all motion and alive with talk as Maria and her staff cooked and coordinated each meal, then brought them all plate by plate to the pass where Msima would double-check the orders and the presentation before calling Olloar, Melissa, or Oxxrann to take the plates out to the guests. Just then I felt a hand on my shoulder, and Oxxrann slipped past me toward the pass. “Hi there good-looking,” they said with a smile, letting their hand drift from my shoulder down the length of my arm as they walked past. “Oh, hello Oxxrann.” They enjoyed flirting with me, and with Msima, and I think everyone else too for that matter. I certainly didn’t mind. They were tall and thick-bodied, with their shirt unbuttoned low, revealing very bold, colorful markings across dramatic cleavage. A pile of beachglass green hair sat atop their head, and a beaded chain connected their septum ring to their earring. Not many as young as them still wore such jewelry. Well, the place is busy, I thought. Msima might be missing out on witnessing the hatching, but she’s been hurting for money since business has been down this year. And this year the hatching just doesn’t feel the same anyway with the sponsorship and how it’s changed everything. Melissa came back and asked the mainlander next to me if they wanted to see thedessert menu or have a coffee or drink.


“Coffee, yes, and I already know I want the tart,” they said. “Very good.” Then to me, “Aartivv, do you need to look at the

I didn’t have a chance to respond, Msima intervened, leaning over the counter. “Melissa,” they said, “The kitchen is preparing a special tasting menu tonight just for Aartivv.” Msima giggled the way they do, and winked at me. The other guest at the counter looked at each of us with their book held against their chest. And then Olloar appeared with a plate for me. “Well, all right then,” said Melissa and she went back toward the pass with Msima. “Here we have two bites of almond and fig nestled in a housemade sharp cheese puff,” Olloar said. “Enjoy.” They left for the patio. My neighbor at the counter said, “You seem to be rather well known here.” They held a curious look on their face and smiled. “Well, I happen to date that extraordinary being there,” I said nodding toward the pass. “Msima, the one with the closely shaved head and bright black eyes and that strong, colorful line of markings up their back.” Msima’’s top had an open back proudly displaying her markings. “I’m Josie,” the guest said, extending their hand, which I took.“She,” she said to me. I started to introduce myself, but she interrupted, “And you’re Aartivv, yes I got that,” she said, amused with herself. “Don’t they treat me nicely here, though?” I said. “That much is solidly apparent,” she said and chuckled. “So, are they,” she asked nodding toward the pass, “Msima...the witness Msima?”

I don’t know why I answered her. “Yes, they are,” I nodded. “How do you know about that?” She closed her book and set it down, and swiveled in her chair to face me. “Oh, I’ve read about the beach here, and how all this started. I’ve been here before. They’re the one who organized the first witnesses. And the lights-out campaign, isn’t that right?” “Mmmhmm,” I replied with a mumble, nodded and turned back to my plate. I ate the first of my two bites. Msima and I caught eyes and they flashed that smile at me. I felt a little protective. Josie sensed this. “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to intrude,” Josie said, turning back toward her book. “I’m just honored to be here. Really, I’m just a tourist.” We both smiled and then she went back to her book and I finished my appetizer. It was something about statistics, her book. My appetizer was amazing; two individual bites, with a flavor greater than the sum of its parts. I turned in a slow circle and took in the place. I’m old enough to remember when the beach was not built up like this, before all the mainlanders started coming. Before all the shops. Before we worried about money. When the only light at night was us and the turtles glowing out under the stars or moon. Long before any of these mainlanders were born. Behind me was a small two-top, a mainlander couple, man and woman. I remember before that too—men and women. Most all the guests were mainlanders, of course. The woman at the two-top got up and then walked over toward the restroom. Msima came around the counter just then and stood right next to me,

Dusk by Mirjana M.

looked around furtively, and then kissed me quickly on my cheek. “Thank you for dinner, sweetheart. This is a special treat,” I said and took their hand. “Well, it was the kitchen really. I asked them to save one of the specials for you, and they decided to just save one of everything for you instead!” They chuckled and leaned in close to me again, nuzzling my neck, then blowing my long hair away from their mouth with a laugh. I looked up at their smiling black eyes that I loved, and saw as they shifted to the beach and the turtle hatching and the spectacle it had become. “Pretty wild, right?” I said. “Yep,” she replied after a pause. The mainlander woman returned from the restroom and came up to Msima carrying a worried epression. “Excuse me,” she said Msima turned, “How may I help you?” The woman appeared tense and rigid. “There’s a—there’s someone in the restroom.” “Okay?” Msima drew it out like a question from their brilliant smile. “They’re…” she hesitated to say the word, and when she finally did, “naked,” she puckered her face as if the word tasted bitter. “The door was open, and he was, it was, it was naked and bathing I think. And he doesn’t look healthy.” The mainlander woman pursed her lips and shook her head. “Oh,” Msima said, and quickly walked over to the restroom and knocked, opened the door a crack, and then went inside and

closed the door behind them. Many of the other tables had taken note of the interaction. The mainlander woman sat back down at her table. “Oh, I can’t believe it,” the woman said sharply to her partner. He looked concerned and reached for her hand. The woman appeared genuinely shaken. Next to me Josie had noticed as well, and turned from the couple to me with a concerned look on her face. She looked at her book, then set it down. Melissa brought her the tart and coffee she’d ordered “What’s going on?” Melissa asked me. “Don’t know. Someone might be having an issue in the restroom, I think. I’m not exactly sure.” Melissa looked toward the restroom, then scanned the entire room. “Well, that’d be a first, but not surprising I suppose.” The mainlander man at the two-top caught Melissa’s attention. As she went to them, Msima came out of the restroom with an elder who looked likethey could be homeless. A concept the mainlanders brought. The elder was a native like us, old and small, wearing some filthy clothes that didn’t fit. The right half of their face was covered in markings that glowed brightly in the dim light of the dining room. Everyone’s attention was on the two of them as Msima helped the confused looking elder out toward the patio where they could access the beach. I can remember before things like this as well. “The smell,” said the mainlander woman who had stumbled upon the elder. “Oh,” she complained and grimaced toward Melissa “I’m…” Melissa stammered toward the couple, “Let me…”

The mainlander woman continued, “Oh, I think I might get sick.” Her partner took her hand once more. “I’d like to leave,” she said. Josie, the guest next to me, had turned around to see this again, and again looked at me with a worried expression. Msima came back in from the beach where I could still see the glowing elder sitting just outside the patio. “Ok, that’s fine,” Melissa said to the couple. “I’ll go get your bill for you, unless you’re sure there’s nothing else you’d like first.” Melissa offered. “Bill?” the woman said. “You’d consider charging us after this? On our anniversary?” “Ma’am,” Melissa said, but didn’t add anything else. Msima came by just then and leaned in to Melissa and said, “I’m just going to fix a little something for that elder, I’ll be right back.” “Come on now, honey,” the mainlander man said to his partner. “James,” she shot back at him, “You didn’t walk in on that!” I could feel my own markings begin to heat up. Josie looked at me again, looking rather ashamed, actually. She noticed the markings on my forehead and cheeks, then averted her eyes to where they landed on my legs, where more markings showed below my skirt, which had all begun to softly glow. Melissa followed Msima into the kitchen where I saw them chat. Msima looked out toward the dining room and the couple who were preparing to leave. Msima came back out to the front room, straight for the couple. As they came past me I could see their spine markings glowing brightly, heliotrope, my favorite color. They were the brightest light in the room

I’m sorry to see you leave before finishing your meal,” Msima said to the two of them. “This was supposed to be a special night,” the woman said back to them. “Yes, you’re right. It was supposed to be a special night,” Msima said. “And now it’s ruined,” the woman said. “I would have to agree,” Msima said. “When we get back to our room—” the woman began, but Msima walked away, toward the patio. “Excuse me,” the woman called to the space Msima had left, but she got no response. Msima had moved on. The woman could only watch Msima’s heliotrope glow make its way out of the room, away from her, outside toward the beach.

Chris Bevens

A TEN OF WANDS MOMENT More life imitating art Or spirituality As I haul limbs and branches From another tree Rapping the tin roof A threat to me When hurricane season Huffs and puffs to Blow the house down On the roof Roomie chain saws Temp is 52 degrees And thinned-out Florida blood Wants to brumate With gekkos, frogs and snakes My job is to haul the booty Into the ferns of A shivering swamp And although there is no mirror Or reflecting pond I see myself As others may A walking-talking Picture off the Smith-Waite deck Ten of Wands Carrying ten wands All of equal size and state And my mind flashes to the meaning: “Stress, responsibility, problems Duty, drudgery, obligation Taken for granted Keep going”

But why am I smiling Must be the time of life The visual imitates art But I’m happy in the wind Touching the wood Slouching through Jurassic-like ferns Burdock stuck to my black tights, Fleece hoodie and tunic I’m happy! Sure, we’re facing death by virus Sure, we’re in a Ghost House slide To who knows where Fighting the despair As businesses close Loneliness engulfs Politics seem sinister But the Earth is constant Putting out green shoots Scents from muddy terrain And windy, cold days To remember when the humidity Reaches 100 percent I will remember this winter forever As I find my connection with woods and swamp With cranes and gentle rains With dogs howling at the street sirens With me picking up the ukulele Playing for the crows As my spirit grows I will remember this winter forever….

Clarrisa Simmens

‘A Ten of Wands Moment’, photographed by Clarrisa Simmens

The Cavern Down the dark earthen tunnel An immense cavern at its end Along the rocky surface As the cavern begins to shrink Crawling on hands and knees The cavern will continue to narrow Belly scraping along the rocks The squeeze will get tighter An earthen embrace This will not be a coffin, Pull harder, push forward Until it suddenly opens Recover for a minute and listen To the sounds of dripping water Stalagmites and stalagtites grow here Slowly, a generation a mere moment Here is where they are buried Here is where they stay Hidden past, present, and future

Michael Williams

Crepuscular Flowers I place my heart on your pillow, a love letter warm and tremulous, a merciful feast, a garden of diabolical seeds and crepuscular flowers. In the dark face to face we share the same breath, our bodies fluttering together like the leaves on a tree.

You are the constellations aligned, a world born from my soul’s detritus and the ageless but ill-timed dreams that are known only when the eyes turn inward. I love you as the moon loves her young shepard, as the mother loves her sleeping children, as the old man loves his withered wife.

You drink me my blood, my breath, my marrow both red and yellow. A shudder captivates my body long after you have left it, a little earthquake, a wordless prayer which belongs as much to God as to the Devil. I am still here where you left me savage and wanting. I am still here sowing scars and fingerprints into the plaintive darkness. I am still here touching your things softly with my tears.

Yves K. Morrow

Noontide by Mirjana M.

Photography Art forms Birgitta Lindsey is an artist from Jeffersonville, Indiana. Her work is often described as haunting, eerie, and emotive. She enjoys adding textural components to many of her images and believes every picture tells a story. I find her work inspiring and was overjoyed when she agreed to show us snippets of how her photographic creations come to be, as well as a little bit about her relationship with photography and how it all started.

Taken with (inexpensive $50) Canon G3 4 MP camera

M. : Could you tell me a bit about how and when did photographing inspire you take it beyond snapshots?

with Birgitta Lindsey

Self port. (Do your own thing, photographically) Canon G3

B.: Photography really started eating away at me after a trip to Washington, D.C. I was compelled to present my images in a dark, brooding, or haunting way which clashed with the photography norms at the time. I was often told (by the pros) that I shouldn’t try to break any molds, so I set out to shatter traditional molds immediately. I didn’t understand why I was compelled to present my images in such a dark manner, but I felt I had little choice. It called to me and so that eventually became part of my trademark style.

M.: Often times nowadays, what we can hear is to get equipment that tends to be very pricey; would you say that plays a large positive role in encompassing “having to witness the right moment” in order to photograph it?

(No) Magnum Opus (Iphone Se)

B. : I don’t think pricey equipment is necessary at all to produce good art. Some of my best images were taken with a 4 MP camera! I will say that in some instances, better equipment can be a plus; but there’s a place for everything. M. :What would you say have been the most inspiring changes that the digital era of photography brought to our disposal, and what would be the downside?

B. : One of the best things to come from the digital era is the access to so many more photos. The downside, unfortunately, is the same answer. We grow accustomed and complacent when we know we can easily take hundreds of photos, and then select the best ones from the group. Pioneer photographers, however, had to make every photo count, as they used film cameras with only so many film exposures. Every picture had to count! I try to be mindful of that in photoshoots nowadays and feel that it’s very helpful.

(Lensbaby/ Canon Rebel) My daughter, Heidi, in an abandoned house- personal (dark) style

Digital Era (iphone SE)

“The story is already there.

We just need to capture it.”

M. : Do you believe a photographer, an artist, a creator and a soulful observer should have a “magnum opus” work , and how do you approach presenting your creations to an audience?

B.: As for a magnum opus, I don’t think it’s necessary to compile one’s life work into a neat, concise package. Every piece of art is its own magnum opus- worlds within worlds if one only explores.

M. : What was the most useful feedback you ever got on your work, and who did it come from?

B. : The most useful feedback I’ve ever received was from an artist named Architect, who still holds a special place with me. He commented that I was controversial in my artwork and photos in how I both presented it and expressed myself. He encouraged me that being controversial is a good thing and to never stop. After that, I embraced my style entirely.

My daughter, Brianna: (Lensbaby.) Semi-impressionistic/ Daguerrotype.

M. : Which form of photographic storytelling and expressionism do you think is vastly under-represented in today’s age?

B. : I often use a particular lens called the Lensbaby Composer, which mimics old Tintype and Daguerrotype images. There’s such a strong emphasis on clarity and sharpness in modern images, but if you notice old photos from many years ago, there’s an impressionistic quality to most of them- heavy on the blur with a unique sense of movement. I’d like to see more Lensbaby images in modern photography. M. : And lastly, I would love to hear about a photography anecdote of your choice, one you remember fondly.

B . : I love old, abandoned military compounds and lived only a few miles from one. One day my life partner, Josh, and teenage son, Brian, and I decided to sneak into the well-guarded compound for a photoshoot. We heard the occasional sirens blaring and soldiers communicating over the loudspeakers, but had no idea they were discussing our presence there! It was only when we began seeing helicopters flying overhead accompanied by more sirens that we realized we might be in trouble. We continued to hunker down in an old car garage and eventually snuck out to safety. I admit, we never did that again.

Birgitta Lindsey, interview by Mirjana. M.

Abandoned Military Base- anecdotal- sneaking in!

The Visitor I once found an anole floating lifelessly in my water fountain under the crepe myrtle trees. I scooped him up, and was surprised to see him cling to my fingers, barely alive. I warmed him up in my hands, watched the brownish skin become green, and I placed him on the budding branch above me. He rested there for two days, and on the third day, disappeared. Somedays, when I’m out in my garden, he returns, or another who looks just like him, and watches me water the plants while taking cover in the green leaves of the jasmine vine. I talk to him like an old friend, introvert to introvert. Sometimes, I change my own skin to blend in with those around me, for fear of being found out. My own self, hidden, camouflaged. Sometimes, I cling to safety, but observe what is around me. Like the anole, I will abandon my own body to escape danger, but my tail is in my heart. I’ve learned over time, that the heart also regrows after trauma. But the wounds have left me skittish, hiding in shadows and relaxing out of sight.

I bring out a small piece of orange for my little friend, leaving it tucked at the bottom of a small dish I dug into the soil, an offering of friendship.

Heather Monaco Chandler

Contribut Clarissa Simmens

holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and various practitioner certificates in Herbal Studies (first learned from her Grandmother), Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Gi-Jo Acupressure. She is the author of seventeen poetry books available through Amazon. Writing poetry led to translating words into song lyrics and learning to play the baritone ukulele. She makes her home on the edge of a small swamp in Florida where, after decades of living in a northern city, she can finally dream and sing to the calls of Sand Hill Cranes, the crackling of scampering animals, and the croaking of off-key (like her) bull frogs. You can connect with her via the following pages: (Amazon Author Page)

Robert C Day lives in York, UK where he works as a data wrangler for The Man whilst secretly planning his next career as a World-Famous Author. You can find him on his blog ( most days so please pop in to say hi. He also has a show on 5 Towns Radio, podcast as Sklugoo Speaks and makes really good vegan pizza.

Heather Chandler is an English professor in Central Texas. Her work has appeared in the Avalon Literary Review, The Texas Poetry Calendar, The Snapdragon Journal of Arts and Healing, and other journals. Her first chapbook, Magnolia Whiskey, was released last year. She can be reached at

B. Lynne Zika’s poetry and essays have appeared online and in numerous literary and

consumer publications, including globalpoemic, Rattle, Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene, and Poetry East and is forthcoming in Backchannels and Delta Poetry Review. In addition to editing poetry and nonfiction, she worked as a closed-captioning editor for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Awards include: Pacificus Foundation Literary Award in short fiction, Little Sister Award and Moon Prize in poetry, and Viewbug 2020 and 2021 Top Creator Awards in photography. Her website: is

Birgitta Lindsey is an artist from Jeffersonville, Indiana. Her work is often described as haunting, eerie, and emotive. Besides photography, she dips in and out of many creation venues, includings oulful and healthy cooking, poetry, musical craftsmanship and singing. You can see more of her work on her page, or get in touch with her via her e-mail :

tors Map Chris Bevens is a queer poet and story writer living in Seattle, WA tending to a garden for 2 cats and a witch. He is up to a bunch of no-good, including publishing poetry and stories at his site, and living an alternate reality in 1:64 scale as YouTube race promoter Brock Wheeler of Alley Cat Race Club. Chris has an MFA from the Naropa Institute, and his poetry and stories have featured in Hookah, The Wayward Press, Inklings, Mungo vs Ranger, and other little journals and zines. His books The Moth Problem, The Race, He’s Gone, and A Long, Quiet Word are all being released in paperback currently through his site Take part in a collaborative poem with Chris on instagram @pedalpoet, he’d welcome your submission and acquaintance.

Bogdan Dragos supervises casinos for a gambling company, working twelve-hour shifts locked in a dark office full of TV monitors. There he mostly daydreams and writes poems and stories. He also manages a poetry blog at Besides his poetry blog "Daydreaming as a profession", where people can access the contact page, He has a poetry chapbook published with Horror Sleaze Trash - “Pour the Whiskey Over My Heart and Set It On Fire” and also a self-published project - “The Muse’s Bad Touch”. The rest of the small publications he appears in can all be found on his blog.

Milan G. says he is 'the age of Jesus, but does not feel like Jesus His favourite atmos-

phere for writing is the commute to and from his day job as a Q & A analyst. You can find more of his writing in Serbian and English on his blog'

Yves K. Morrow is an American living on a forestry farm in a tiny Swedish village in

Jämtland. Her poetry deals with mental illness, PTSD, childhood trauma, Depression, Dissociative Disorder, spiritual dilemmas, social ineptitudes, love both sublime and dysfunctional, grief, obsession, and really everything and anything to do with being human/the human condition. You can view more of her work at and; and check out her debut poetry collection: "An Alterable Void" on Lulu and Amazon.

Michael Williams is a writer, artist, and teacher. Originally from Phoenix, AZ, he now

makes Shenzhen, China his home. He writes and draws when he isn’t busy being a father and husband. His guilty pleasure is a ring and telling dad jokes. Read more of his work at


Art & Literature Magazine