Letter from the editor
A lot has changed in the world since we first put out the call for submissions for this zine. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think I am alone in being worried about the health and safety of my loved ones and simultaneously feeling anxious for my life to keep moving. I have been anything but patient. I try to remind myself everyday that I am lucky, and to use this time to reflect on where I am and where I would like to go. I have thoroughly enjoyed going through these beautiful works submitted for this zine, they have provided me with a sense of calm which I am very appreciative of. I hope they do the same for you. Thank you to everyone who contributed, we could not have done this without you! We hope you all are safe and doing well, and look forward to hearing from you all in the future! Love always, Liana Mortin Senior editor at The Continuist The Continuist is an online and print collective based out of Ryerson University. Our mission is to provide an outlet for artists to showcase their work, whether professional or amateur. This is a passion project, run by a lovely bunch of students who are committed to making and sharing art. Interested in submitting? Send us your work to thecontinuist@ gmail.com and check our online submissions at thecontinuist. Cover by Liam Ferguson
Surging in the vines of my rib cage is the blood, The beat, The spirit, Of all the women who made me. Laced with their DNA. No physical bodies I can identify with. Their longings, Desires, Rebellious troubles, Shadows each breath I inhale. Exhaling to their legacies. They are my shield in a world decaying, Crumbling, Trails blazing. The hands of mother earth guiding me with them. Like the tree’s guarding in their stillness. Waiting for me to see, To turn around, Glance at what’s already there. Every once in a while The wind stirs and I hear their whispers In the rustle of leaves. Hushed. I glance knowing, I am being awakened, Summoned to fight for the inhales and exhales Of those who will come after me Their beating branches twined to my essence. - Rashida Anwar
- Sina Zand
oranges and yellows, bright to the point of pain, hotheaded reds that jump to lick the glass ceilings, a thousand fights amidst one another, paralysis, regaining consciousness, whispers tossed into the cyber-celled sea, a young woman frozen, countless boys dead under blues and reds, bone-chilling fear, being forced, souls gathering against corporate-made waves and trading an afternoon of work for taking part in history, a girl who should be in school and knows it, fists against iron, greed overtaking sustainability overtaking greed, a revolution, a despair, hand-in-hand-inhand, the stakes have never been higher, countries are burning and the world is not indifferent it is paralyzed we are paralyzed, in the midst of growing at some point we turned grown, we grew up watching as they took from our own generation, so, now, before creation comes destruction comes fire, comes orange and yellow and reds... - Maggie Tse
Flowers Dead Flowers. Once so poised Each Petal F A L L S D O W N Are the happy there Fallen? - from some patriarchal mess cute, delicate, submissive NO
Beautiful, Strong, Resilient Some petals fall unseen Ah, but not hers. her leaves crisp her petals folded but she’s curled up with poise ‘for she is the queen Silently watching the others turn their heads down with stems bent and broken the weight of the world is too much gravity takes hold capitalism. Turned beauty into some token of insincerity of shame of death of forgiveness of a false obligatory gesture hoping to instantly turn wrong into right is a flower, still a flower when someone tells you to watch her… tells you what she is or who she should be? Thank her for her beauty. Because she exists. She exists in this world and her petals are her words. They fall, they fall, they didn’t make a sound but we saw them. Don’t worry I saw them. I saw you. I saw you. - Kayla Walden
mother we treat her like a mere possession an outlet for our aggression like the money in our hands our time drains like sand and all that we have seen we waste it away with our machines but as we throw her away and demand more and more today but how much longer will it take until we cave we forget that she gave us all we have the brisk air we breathe the luscious trees with the bees the ocean that calms us we will scream it for all to hear, we must how can you just throw earth away how have we gone so far astray? - Merida Moffat
- Sina Zand
Dark Blue Grass There is a bird in my eye in my skull in my chest in a tear drop in the violence of this world that countenances and confounds loss there is a bird there is flight without content in my pupil in the contracted darkness in the cave of my heart there is a bird knowing was in the confusion where the sacred body stumbled into cold stone on the beach on the Newfoundland coast where I was drunk through the night with the others and found myself on
a boulder a wayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s off at dawn waking up, not knowing how long Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d been sleeping the sound of waves breaking the others still gathered still talking in the dawn light but quieter now the ether wearing off, drifting still awake faces drained eyes wan Julia was there we held hands as we walked back to the house there was moisture in the dark blue grass it brushed against our legs as we walked - Ned Baeck
A Saccharine Stricture
- Rachel Bowman
Floating in a silence so thick; a reticence like weighted water. Dancing through salted springs. Notice me. Not me, but me. As the regal romancer mounting the stage for the submission of your piece. Fluttered flashes of lashes. It’s all a part of the show, apart from the show, you know? You should know by now, the rule: Sex is art. In the form of streams of no real colour. As an iridescent sweet sweat that bedews my empty chest. Did you know I paint the devil at dusk? It’s fucking blasé, rather, blasé fucking. It is a satiated scheme. Glossed glances that rush with a vagueness and grey. They loiter, they lure. Unquenched. An instance of ethereal drowning too sunken. In vino veritas. Let’s raise our glass to the highest glass ceiling. It’s the water’s way. It’s never my way. I’ll have my way. Shallow waterways swirl around your veined neck and soothes. Deep breaths, baby. Oh, debonair beau, you’re no enigma. That, I have drunk before. Indeed, I placed the mystery. I placed the sin in synastry. Pay attention to my sinuous soma in its complexity, explicit from sexuality. I know I’m blinding you but does any woman ever grant you vision? Have you earned or yearned for her sun in her summer kind of self? Her heat is hated. Harder. Harder.
He’s refracting the gleaming with glee. And so, my body is whose shrine? Whose sanctuary? Vestigial blueprints to remind me of this. Modus vivendi. This having, it dotingly arises in favourable fashions, in esoteric meta-confessions. Forget the moon, the mood. This is Venus’ play. She holds the tide in her Venusian caress. Wet kiss. Relieve this enmity that is stark in perpetuity, forever, forever, forever. I know not what love is and I’m naked, bare in design. With no lifetime for lessons. No hour for unearthing. Limerence in reminiscence. Our dissonance pools limitless in the way our hearts handle blood. There’s so much blood. You’ve said it again and again and now my ear is pressed tight to the door. Steady pulsing ripples until my murder is mirrored back to me. Refractions that fracture me, I’m shattered in waves of needless speeds. It’s me! A lover of love: a love for love so deep that lush love is the lacked love; I latch without love. Love’s little dilettante. What has become of this art? The undercurrent has me swept from sight. It’s a mute hush too, of: Hold on to me while I let go of you. In unrevealing darkness as your moonshine and madonna. Undulate under and over and over. Pant and puff and paw. Heed me, need me. I’m an animal with guile. My keen teeth sunk deep in a cruel guise for guys. Mourning mornings that manifest and the syrup never expires. Does this?
donner des sédatifs scars on the planet, scars on my body. a surgical knife right to the chest. a physical divide, just for the west. i should probably ask: whose side are you on? fire to the trees, fired by a belief. extinguish a thought just to survive. gun to your head, beg for your life. i should probably ask: do you want to live? drown the thoughts, drain their life. could it have been we were wrong all along? i don’t want to repeat what could’ve been said they knew we’d handle it: so, they lied to us instead. - Kim Rashidi
- Hayley Mortin
screw the norm
i know it’s blunter then usual and you want me not be too loud be seen but not to be heard look a certain way be a certain size why do you keep this up you keep weighing Her down beauty is in the eye of the beholder but the beholder’s mind has been twisted by your mind games and you have beaten me down and many of us around the world but we are stronger then what you think i’ll look however i want too we’ll take your beauty standards and burn them to the ground - Merida Moffat
- Ayleen Karamat
- Sanija Dhakal
The wolf howls because he can— and pity the beast, with an empty stomach.
The wolf wails because he must push, (himself) through the silence with his lust;
it aches and claws within him, a broiling, boiling heat. Like poison, if he doesn’t fix it— feast his jowls with tender meat.
The wolf shrieks a faulty passion, for not every hunger means devour.
The wolf cries, “A wretched sin!” (he thinks) the forest his, alone.
I bear to look upon him, a shaking, ghoulish fiend. Like devils trapped inside a man— writhing in his skein.
The wolf tears me ever closer— I am ripping at the seams.
And between his dripping, (rotted) fangs, I see what madness means.
The wolf screams—so gripped with hunger, and meaning next, to make me (prey).
So I reach down inside his throat, and I kill him.
- Stacey Foh
- Gloria Ankrah
Emotional First Aid Kit
One (1) pack of cigarettes Instructions: Be a “good kid” in high school. Join a drama group and find a group of friends that are goofy but also cool and worldly. Develop self-esteem. Get curious. Smoke one and inhale wrong. Cough up a lung, spare change, and a forgotten organ beneath your kidney. Get a pack. Spend two years smoking outside pubs and waking up with stale cigarette mouth. Brush your teeth twice every morning. Quit. Try vaping. Get a chest x-ray and find out nothing is wrong. Quit for real. Keep half-a-pack in your jacket and try not to think about it much. Dosage: 1-2 smokes every time you see your ex’s profile on Tinder. One (1) gym membership Instructions: Go out with a friend. Listen to her talk about how Henry Caville’s forearms look when he rolls up his sleeves. Go home and pinch the flap near your hairy belly and swear this is the year you get fit. Do your first set of ten push-ups. Take a well-earned fourty-five-minute break looking at your phone on the floor. Dig out your gym membership that’s impossible to cancel without fighting someone. Dosage: Apply daily for 5-14 days until symptoms subside. One (1) letter you can’t throw away Instructions: Fall in love at seventeen. Start saving for an apartment together, drunkenly propose on the lawn of a middle-school playground at one-AM even though it’s only been sixmonths. Take a semester abroad. Worry what they’re up to, if they’re meeting people, start expecting to come home to a break-up. Get a letter? A letter. In the mail. Borrow your flat-mate’s deboning knife to rip through the envelope. Sit reading on the balcony, drenched in rain, as you realize they’ve loved you all along. Break-up two years later. Move on. Pretend you forgot to throw it out from the bottom of your tax folder. Dosage: Never, unless we’re looking at the collapse of western
One (1) bottle of cheap whiskey Instructions: Go to an award ceremony and see someone you used to be friends with get a small scholarship. Watch them walk over to their SO and see how supported they are, how clearly in love. Down a glass of red wine. Call your line-cook buddy from high school. Ask them to meet-up, “just like old times.” Think of yourself as a wanderer, a person who watches other people find their forever-after but never finds their own. Tell all this to your friend while they nod and smoke a spliff. Throw up in a hydrangea and Uber home. Dosage: Take in fifteen-minute increments. Double and triple dosage if relief not felt immediately. One (1) honest-to-God, actual, miraculous friend Instructions: Feel down on yourself. Realize the things you’ve been taking as the “chaos of your twenties” are just the inevitable consequences of your own actions. Lose the appetite for sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll. Consider a grad school. Take someone’s shift and regret it. Browse flights to Iceland and realize you don’t want to go. Mope, like the silly Muppet-man you are. Get a call from your best friend. Talk earnestly, like a human being and not a caricature. Feel comfortable. Realize there’s still people who care about you, and maybe you should get them a gift or a flower, whatever it is normal people do. Look out from your window and feel okay, for a while. Dosage: Delay as long as possible to avoid forming a healthy bond and/or stable support network. Habit-forming. - Michael Maksimenko
- Anjale Simon
Fools by Heavenly Compulsion Do you love the way the moon shines or does she shine demandingly? Over city lights like stars if you look from high enough or beside the stars themselves if you’re lucky. Overcoming all, that centerpiece of night, for even morning appraises her. When that evasive Artemis appears on Apollo’s time you point to her and and say, adoringly, “look, you can see the moon already.” Watch her. Follow her commands like tides do and she will reward you with wishes cast in the deep darkness. Every night look and wonder: has Nut ever been more beautiful than she is now?
- Natalie Blanchard
A couple years ago
Mom gave me a book Said honey you should write Let your spirit take flight I never would’ve thought Writing about my life would change my plot Didn’t think I had it all Cause my family fell apart But what I had to learn For things to take a turn No matter how bad they seem It’s your will and your drive that build your self-esteem In your darkest times When there’s no sign of hope You can let it get the best of you Or You can choose to fight your battles If you fall, you learn to get back up You can be greater than what you tackle All you gotta do is believe Believe in the flaws that set you apart What causes you pain Strengthens your heart You can swim if you don’t dive It’s living that makes you feel alive I can’t wait to see you thrive
Time has passed And though I’ve changed I’m better now Cause I figured out how To deal with the pain inside By writing it out So that I’m not tongue-tied Everybody has a way But most don’t say We all go through pain We don’t deal with it the same I’m glad to have found a thing A way in which I can fix a broken wing In your darkest times When there’s no sign of hope You can let it get the best of you or You can choose to fight your battles If you fall, you learn to get back up You can be greater than what you tackle All you gotta do is believe Believe in the flaws that set you apart What causes you pain Strengthens your heart You can swim if you don’t dive It’s living that makes you feel alive I can’t wait to see you thrive
- Sarah Tomlinson
With Love I want my love to shake off trees I want the seeds of my love to grow strong Spread my love Make the world around us bloom and flower Show me the world we love can love us back Kiss me with thorns Smother me with vines - Emma Forbes
A Lonely Orbit (Haircut Poem) I have to catch the current to be whipped and thrown into various Scandinavian harbours and ports, admiring snowy fjords or summer wild flowers (depending on when I dock.) if itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s early enough, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll buy a coke and drink it as I get my haircut; I want to look good when you wave me in. - Trevor Wilkes
- Zoe Statiris
And This Now humility with its eyes on the scales, and the greater affluence assures me, within and more within, convinces me, by the profligacy of the confusion of the animal. Before it was palatable I reached across space, arms around the cold of night. I said Ra, I said Ma across the balcony wall in blue shadow, on which sat, among ashtrays: a spherical paperweight, a pen and a batman figurine. Whispering and reaching, no one awake but you and me. Under the heart-footed siphon of endless names, I loved existence: clarified butter re-purified by the cloudless dissent of a thousand true heretics, the vaudeville desires of as many bloody Buddhists. The best year the universe ever saw.
- Ned Baeck
ii) At sunset, a caterpillar. Heavy butterfly machine dances to the eyes. Eyes, shelter to the homeless mind. Nations of secrecy, black-guard help, make a desert of striving that appears to stay. Imagine its peace and let the army do what they’re trained. Hope to stay still enough for mercy, I’ve heard of clean friends. Streets of rootless day passing through a face of awareness, and the fielding of animal dreams turned dark, living shrieks sinking through the dark to a grateful Hieronymus home. But call the light that cures the wound of power, surface in your parents’ eyes. Surface, you have lived.
- Ned Baeck
MIDNIGHT MOONLIGHT Midnight moonlight Brushes through my hair Wildlife with great might Take flight On the mountains of my cheeks. Scatter and scare, No life yet to bare Burnt down, broken, used and reused No life has been refused. I lay there naked, Bruised and battered Molested and ravaged For years on years after. My blood sweat and tears, Seep into the pores of my skin, But my flowers no longer bloom Rather they quiver with great fright and hide themselves within the fires of each passing night. The thunder and lightning share my pain And cry out for me in the middle of the rain, Perhaps if I was more like Ares, and could rage an unforgiving war or like Saturnus and bring my children an innocent age of glory Maybe then they would listen to my grievingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hopeless beginnings and suffocating misgivings. Fawn and cry An end as dark as night seems like a lullaby Stepped over and over Thick gas covers My body burning and dying.
- Yme Sanmartin
- Sina Zand
- Liana Mortin
LEARNED BEHAVIOURS we accept the love we think we deserve even if it hurts and we accept that love in the ways that we have seen it so when he yells at me then tells me he loves me i know that he must really mean it he tells me that my mouth is dirty so, of course i must clean it - Sydney Runions
<phenomenology LIFE > concepts critiques & comments
- Anne Alajar
- Zoe Statiris
- Kim Rashidi
Things I do I like to take the fun out of things, And sleep till noon So that a haze of lost time curses me the rest of the day. I like to drink one cup too much of coffee, So that my stomach burns and I feel unsettled about nothing. I like to convince myself everyone I spend time with hates me, And drink too much So that I hate myself as much the next day. - I run onto my driveway in socks - I wait till my bladderâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bursting to pee - I got plants for my room and gave them names, But they sprouted bugs, so I left them outside to die and got fake, plastic ones instead. - Marina Music
- Zoe Statiris
Sick of Love vs. Lovesick
When I speak to him, he makes my heart hurt Once his eyes come into contact with mine, my heart skips a beat He doesn’t respect me, he doesn’t respect me, he doesn’t respect me I love him, I love him, I love him Only when it’s dark and nobody is around is when he wants to open up His hands are like no other, caressing me so tenderly I feel as fragile as a vacant wine glass The words he uses remind me why it is better to spend this night alone Could he hear how loud my heart was beating for only him? I ask him, what are we doing? He tells me, I will always be his love He says that, we are just having fun I can see our futures together, content and peaceful I think of how I’m going to feel when he leaves again, used and gullible He knows me so well He doesn’t know a thing about me Our bodies become so in sync when we’re together I feel the most distant from him when he is on top of me He will do anything for me He will do anything to me His presence, his breath, his songs, his smell all have me entranced When I’m with him I don’t even feel like myself When I’m with him I don’t even feel like myself - Carey Sichareune
Apologies to the Clean-Up Crew
Holding the moon between my hips I am firmly tied to my orbit
Close your eyes and feel it “You are safe”, he really does try The match is here, it’s warm, it’s lit “I believe you”, I too tactfully lie
Clever eyes disguised intent When a wandering hand Proclaiming, repent! Found purchase on my land
The piper paid a bottle’s worth Credit owed where credit’s due And memories found trapped under dearth Are memories well-wished few
Trust is built on the back of lies Docked to depart from calamity “I can save you”, he begs and tries The ship burnt down in the harbour And I’d hoped I could lute these thoughts away The words of which profound me But they gnawed into my brain to say, We truly hope you’re never happy Hold the moon close to your lips You are now tide to her orbit Her pull, her push, her rise, her rips, Embrace the chaos, or join it.
- Breagha Scott
- Anjale Simon
A Choorile is a ghost in Guyana that originated in India. When indentured labourers were brought from India to the West Indies, so too their stories and lore followed and were subsequently passed down through the generations to come. My ancestors were some of those indentured labourers and the story has been passed down to me. I love ghosts and ghouls and enjoy having cultural ghouls and ghosts to tell my kids and friends. This poem speaks to the lore surrounding the Choorile through a young man reflecting on what the villagers warned him and him seeking her out. There is an undertone of the suicidal tendency of the young man in seeking out his death through the Choorile that I wanted to reflect the suicide epidemic in Guyana. His death also serves to further the lore and becomes a tale villagers tell their children. They tell me to beware the woman with the backwards feet; do not be enamored by her beauty. I see her. I do not listen to them and it is love at first sight. They say she laments over her lost child; I should leave my shoes should I encounter her. I approach her. She a childless mother, and I a motherless child; now a man â&#x20AC;&#x201D;too perfect to not be Divine improvidence. They tell me she will be the death of any man foolish enough to fall for her, their advice is simple: run.
I embrace her. She wraps her arms around me. Her embrace grows more sinister and envelopes my throat. The world fades and I am greeted with cold wave of darkness that pulses through every fibre of my being-â&#x20AC;&#x201D;I thought that I would be scared to die, but I welcome it with a feverous greed. When they tell the story of me, they say the ending was contrived; Beware the woman with the backwards feetâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; or end up like him
- Anjale Simon
- Natalie Carinci
I once knew you Long, long ago And you once knew the Queen And the Queen’s great-great On to one-oh-eight/ate Granddaughter maybe hates Me, ‘cause this, this Is how life initiates Not with a bang But with four raw lungs.
So light the garden up, inhale Be good and take the pill Of immortality. Shut in, shoot down the sun, seduce A serpent and curse My hips eternally. Begin to make red velvet rains/ Reins, whittle red blossom shafts, Eat pink moons With grapefruit spoons To forget their rhythms ‘til They bite you back. Oh, no, know/no one lets Me miss a someone never met: Both/neither flame and brokenFeather man and/nor copperCoated “better than…” But he’s a how and asks me hǎo, And he knows that I’m the one To close this almond bleeding Hole, thisclose, to tear Me up again, again. Apples are sweetest with the skin; Babies were never born with sin.
- Cindy Lam
- John-Raymond Koss
- Sophie Charalambous
- Arianna Guidolin
Window in December
I found a beach in a concrete-locked land. And sure, its more sticks than sand but, Looking out over the boardwalk, glimmering reflections blind you. So that. you could be. anywhere. A few stray people have washed up here; Bending toward the sun like flowers. This, their one window in December. I hope the rhythm of waves breaking Can transport me. I hope the pull of the tide can Carry me. As far away as Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like to be from here. But soon after, Cold creeps through my layers And scares me back inside.
- Marina Music
- Sahar Askary Hemmat
this lethal poison has a hold on me. it dances with the thoughts in my mind, it locks hands with my heart in an unholy bind. it touches my skin like a mothers embrace, it breaks my bones with an iron mace. it tangles its darkness in my hair, it tells me it loves me; a crooked love affair. it strips the green from my eyes, it paints my soul with a disguise. it kisses my lips like a lovers caress, it suffocates my body like an expensive dress. i love roses but i do not like the thorns, a beautiful tragedy; an angel with horns. - e.z
- Liam Ferguson
Shake what your mama gave ya
I can’t shake the feeling that I’m missing something Forgetting something Like when You open your eyes And forget that vivid dream I just had it? What was it? I can almost hear it Like the words you remember Before exiting the dark tunnel of sleep I can feel it in my bones And blurs between the lines When I set my eyes on my past Hush. I try to hush And I hear them, my ancestors telling me that I’ll be okay.
- Zawadi Bunzigiye
Where I’m from
You need to come see me Right now Today. My mind floats up until I no longer Concede to the power of time and space Wonderful, I think, My great-grandma (translated from Swahili through relatives) still loved and wanted me On the phone with her in Kenya Me in Toronto Why does she say this Knowing I can’t come right now I’m eighteen With what money? Hurt
I feel hurt because I’ve wanted to come But never had the chance
I’m back on Earth Time reminds me that it’s running out Or there is none - Zawadi Bunzigiye
We always want to blame others for our agonies, the emotional dissatisfaction we feel, and the dreads carved deep into our chests. We are human, and it is typical of us to do so, yet those who see beyond the heartache and indignation are the ones who reach contentment first. Frida Kahlo is the artist who inspired me to do this piece, since she has done many amazing self portraits throughout her years. Painting a self portrait helped me recognize my pains, thoughts and aspirations. My painting is also based on an anonymous quote I found a long time ago, which states, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Bodies are less like temples and more like biographies. They carry all the broken hearts, false hopes, and cobwebs neatly mapped in your veins and tendons, a whole history. Tucked away in the spaces in between your ribs and collarbones.â&#x20AC;? When I first read this quote, millions of ideas came to mind about how I would portray this and creativity rushed in when it was least expected. - Nikta Niknam-Sadegh
Ah I want to be A bubble. A precarious mixture of Frailty, soap and air. That comes into existence through glee But folds in on itself simply Through simply being. POP! Evaporates. Remains land on the floor. Ceases to exist. Ah, free at last. Ah, free at last! Ah! Ah. - Amna Asif
- Safa Kubti
Participation Ribbon it is the greatest war â&#x20AC;&#x201D; an adjacent duo with ball-fisted hands with elbows on the table offer the other their smallest finger to be knotted together to be tightly ensnared to keep violently consuming doubts at bay until the furious grip slackens and one promise goes limp and everyone hurts and nobody wins
- Alexandrea Fiorante
“94 years of stories to tell”
- Keana Lyn
- Ayleen Karamat
It comes in waves, he says, and I feel his words echo in my bones. It comes in waves, he says. It starts as a tsunami caused by something earth-shattering, a storm that cannot be predicted. It leaves you on the coast of a broken city, trying to pick up the pieces of a world you once you knew. It becomes a wave, she says. Scientifically speaking, waves don’t transport matter, they transport energy. This energy will build, cresting into a wave. Foaming at the surface, the water will rise until it is standing like a wall in front of you. Eventually, it will break. It comes in waves, he says. It will seem calm, until the wind blows in a memory - a song, a joke, a smile, a day - any moment almost forgotten. The tide will try to pull you in. It will attempt to drown you in nostalgia. Keep your feet planted on the ground, dig your toes into the sand. Do not succumb. It becomes a wave, she says. If you try to suppress the ocean, it will fight back. As you try to hold the water down, it will build and come crashing down on you. You will crumble, Sahara. Don’t let that happen. It comes in waves, he says. And there is no force on earth, no mortal that can stop the waves from coming. So, I’ve learned to hold my breath and wait for the water to calm before I inhale. Otherwise you end up with saltwater in your lungs as you cough and gasp for air. I have learned to tread water and to keep my head just above the surface. It becomes a wave, she says. But waves aren’t always a bad thing. We need the ocean to survive. We just can’t let it overcome us. It comes in waves, he says. And after all this time, I think I am finally learning to swim.
- Sahara I. Mehdi
My garden is full of wildflowers And I rarely trim them. I let them Grow uninhibited; I think it’s important They know they are free To just Be. You keep your garden clean, trimmed, “maintained”, feel overwhelmed when the flowers get too tall, too unruly, and think it’s important they don’t become uncontrollable: that you don’t lose control.
- Vanessa Nim
Burnt Dreams Firetrucks clean the suburban road Wailing and crying to the bitter cold please defrost all wet and soggy The flaming house sizzles brightly the embers twist and turn the wooden paneling begun to burn poor, impoverished, new to the country the Canadian winter was their safety We stood shivering, staring at the light Cascading shadows beyond the nights sight The snapping sound of the memories they once held No fortune, dry accounts would force them to sell Ashes floated and twirled in the air the pain and fear lingered in the heatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s glare burned into the eyes of the onlooking crowd as the plumes of smoke bled into the cloud - Helena Wright
the haunted houseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s housekeeper fully clothed but still bare under the stare of someone who is no longer there. an echo here from there a memory now from then artifacts for me from them. tabled overturned in search of entities and spirits that lurk in this vicinity. the reflection of generations past. a breakthrough shatters the glass is that a piece of me? a piece of the glass? why should it matter? why shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t it matter? glass reflects i deflect the prospect of the all-knowing prophet you claim to be. the ghost of a child running through the walls one who was never really happy at all. charcoal sprinkled along the floor from the furnace, a place where i burned this soul to keep my guests warm. an elevator with a snapped cord the sent me hurtling to the basement floor.
in the time and place the disgrace decided to show her face. when jesters found something to laugh at when kings and queens asserted their royalty. honestly is a virtue but when you act virtuously everyone responds tumultuously and suddenly the truth is worth nothing. crumbled pillars eroded foundation tormented by figures and events long gone with no explanation. a puppet without a handler that sits up on its own sometimes repeating the same nonsense without a reason or rhyme. as devoted to you as a puppet to its master whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dependent on their puppet who i store away because iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve had enough of it. string up the elevator with rope then clean up the charcoal without a choice. flip the table back upright and clean up the broken glass that caused me so much strife. open up the curtains for illumination go outside to throw out the rumination. dust all the surfaces, polish the railing on the stairs, shoo all the spiders from their webs, merciless and straighten out the dining chairs.
open the windows and let the spirits out no more fear about memories hurting us or people long gone still observing us. fill in the cracks in the foundation and sculpt new pillars use your own hands and be patient. your home will be quieter your rent will be cheaper making for a happy housekeeper.
- Christina Zdravevski
And the street held silence for two strangers who didn’t have to stay that way. We stood silent below lamplight in the magnetic time. Your suburban home stood parched in the dark and didn’t know me well. Your mother stood at the northern window and pretended to be passing by. The ten o’clock fireworks stood above the hotels and were heard in a tired sky. Your roof stood parallel to that forgiving horizon. Your car stood locking and unlocking as we collided. We stood silent across from fire station number three then went around your block again. And in that silence we don’t celebrate the ending we just end up walking other ways.
- Cole McInerney
FAKE LOVE Was any of it real to you? Did you even feel an ounce of what I felt? Was there happiness inside as your heart soared with wings to the sky? The sense of fulfillment and completion; The satisfaction of finding two pieces of a puzzle and connecting, first try. Did you just come and take and Rob me of what I have to Temporarily fill something you thought you were missing? Because I gave you my all I devoted it all, To You. Did the kiss mean anything? Was the sex something you craved for the act? Or did you enjoy it and lose yourself in the feeling of the arms of the person you love? We’re the phone calls just a form of therapy to you Where you could speak your mind away from the place of danger at home? I’ll never know. Looking back and seeing how we went I reassured you in how I felt But you never did the same. Now I can’t help but think That it was all fake love to you.
- Klaudia Kryczka
Write. Write. Write with a wild abandon Write as though the reckless hoofs of urgency pound the dust beneath you Write as though a driving wind fills the silver sails of your little boat propelling you into uncharted seas Write as though the feathery tips of your pen still quiver with all the anticipation of flight Write as though it is the last pinprick of light beckoning at the end of a narrowing tunnel run towards it arms flung wide feet a blur desperation in your lungs and a gleam in your tired eyes whisper this will be an adventure and smile Write. Write. Just write.
- rebecca rocillo