The Riveter Review Issue 5

Page 1

Title Page!



Dear Readers and Contributors,





In front of you is the fifth issue of The Riveter Review. We’re incredibly proud of the writers and artists who have shared their thoughts and stories and we hope their words and artistry move you, inspire you, and make you think. While we didn’t have space to incorporate every submission we received, we hope you agree that those we’ve chosen to publish represent a diversity of voices and an enormity of talent. On a more technical note: we’d like to apologize for the delay in publication. We—the executive editors of the Riveter Review—are all college students and too often underestimate the time we have to spend on coursework. That said, working on The Riveter Review is a continuous joy and we’re immensely grateful for the support we’ve received from you all. Thank you for your patience! In a year of high political tension and continuing affronts to women in society, feminism is more important than ever. When women support each other, when men make a genuine effort to understand and undermine sexism, when anyone decides to defy the gender binary, we all become stronger. Above everything else, we hope that The Riveter Review provides a community, a space for people to come together, to break boundaries, to sustain each other. We now present the fifth issue of the Riveter Review. Thank you for your support! Best, Katie, Sariel, and Elizabeth Executive Editors of The Riveter Review

Lee in
















sho of





Katie Paulson, originally from Madison, WI, is currently a sophomore at Swarth-

ore College, where she hopes to pursue English and maybe Political Science or Classics. Dur-

g the summer of 2013, she attended the Kenyon Review Young Writers’ Workshop, where she

et co-editors Sariel Friedman and Elizabeth Engel. Katie is currently working on a metafictional

ovel about the history and controversy of abortion, set in a semi-magical version of Washing-

n, D.C. At the moment, her favorite writers include Toni Morrison, Arundhati Roy, and Harper

ee, all of whom have crafted beautifully complex, intriguing, and captivating female characters their novels. Katie dreams of someday emulating these novelists and through writing demon-

rating that women do not belong in the background of literature or, for that matter, the back-

ound of anything else.

Sariel Friedman is a Pisces from Los Angeles, California who lives in New York

nd is entering her junior year at Wesleyan University; where she studies Film, Studio Art, and

merican Studies. She has held positions at Sawyer Studios, NYLON Magazine, the Columbia

pectator, among others. She is influenced by mom, one of the leading female directors in Hol-

wood and the first woman to direct Miami Vice. Leading by example, her mom introduced

er to feminism at a young age. Sariel is the Creative Director of the Riveter Review and did the

yout for this issue.

Elizabeth Engel, currently a student at Wellesley College in Massachusetts,

SA, got an amazing birthday gift this year when Taylor Swift publicly announced that she iden-

fied as a feminist. Besides Taylor Swift, other things she loves include creative writing, followed

osely by Richard Siken, great media representation, making people smile, David Levithan, her

og (an eleven year old bearded collie), and reading articles about YA literature and intersection-

ty. She has been writing prose from a young age, and has participated in three summer work-

ops since her freshman year of high school: Sarah Lawrence Writers Village (2011), University Virginia’s Young Writers Workshop (2012-4), and the Kenyon Review Young Writers’ Work-

op (2013). She has a bad habit of scheduling her life around concerts, and has a bookmark

lder dedicated to cool things that happen in outer space. If you think Phyllis Schlafly is a good

rson you should probably never talk to her, but otherwise she loves meeting new people and

ould especially love if you wanted to recommend music to her.

Table of Contents Fragile Emily Yin

The Final Operation Lavinia Roberts

a lot of women Sheila Forde

untitled Caitlin Alexandra

I am a poet Namitha Varma

Jello Shots Tiffanie R DeVos

From “Daughters” series Samantha Conlon Barbie Terrorism Margo LaPierre untitled from “How my bones feel, how my flesh feels” Caitlin Alexandra Cherry Pie Kate Busatto The Body of Christ Victoria Callinan Castrate Sarah Bending End Youth Jaelynn Walls

To My Rapist Sarah Lillus Late Bloomer Andrea Burgay By the Window Andrea Burgay Garage Cleanout Noralyn Masselink Claustrophobia. Devika By the Window 2 Andrea Burgay Meat Sarah Bending

Sexualize Sarah Bending

Bang for the Buck Brit Griffin

Blonde Margo LaPierre

It’s a Man’s World Caitlin Alexandra

Map of Lake Rabun Emma Ensley

Duality/Comfortable with Uncertainty Andrea Burgay

Harvest Kathy Qian

She was watched, but she was nothing Heather Marie Scholl

Meat Sarah Bending

Daily Femininity Sarah Bending

décolletage Sarah Bending

Hands April Mae Berza

Form Sarah Bending

Women’s Studies #19 Kim Beyer-Johnson

Notes from my iPhone Emma Ensley Big One Andrea Burgay From “Daughters” Samantha Conlon Best Dad Ever Madeline Cash untitled collage Caitlin Alexandra Shooting Range Parisorn Thepmankorn She traces diamonds on the glass-laden Alice Xu Gaze 1 Sarah Bending She leaked, but she contained everything Heather Marie Scholl

when there’s no joy in the mo(u)rning Noralyn Masselink Gaslighting Margo LaPierre Twig and Ink Series #1 Kim Beyer-Johnson a lot of women Sheila Forde Gaze 2 Sarah Bending Beauty Routine Ariel Kusby Solid State Series Brigit Lambert Remembrance Parisorn Thepmankorn Three images from: “Daughters” Samantha Conlon

Fragile Emily Yin

They have names for the girl with the low rise jeans and halter top, the girl who rides the midnight train: fragile, because her white hands thaw like the river in April; fragile, because her gentle eyes refuse to crystallize from leers; fragile, because she would rather melt in a heated blush than buckle under the weight of useless armor.

a lot of women Sheila Forde

From “Daughters” series Samantha Conlon

I am a poet Namitha Varma

They refused to accept me as a poet until I wrote of unfettered dreams, unabashed desires, unspoken fears, until I wove the crevices of my body, my menstrual blood, my paranoias into my verses, until my words screamed about injustices, rapes, family burdens, social stigma, gender bias, until I stopped pining for love, beloveds, parents, friends, in my works, until my poems shattered against time, tide, patriarchy, publishing dogmas, until I showed them I could cry, and make people cry, until I bled on the leaves of the pages and showed them that my blood too is red — It took me years to realise that I did not need them to accept. I am a poet from the moment I took shape in the warm waters of the womb, tasting amniotic fluid, breathing the breath of a mother who inherited poetry from the Earth itself.

Daughters Samantha Conlon

Barbie Terrorism Margo LaPierre

I was once terrible mother of god! some curly haired gremlin pretending to be. But now I am long, and I’ve read lots of books and I don’t have to behave, I am have. I can be shifty I’ve always been shifty: my father taught me young to play with words when I used to be a traveller but now I am a tourist in my own damn city I am a tourist I am a tourist in my own glut heart. I used to want to fly but now I go about in avarice, wanting things.

untitled from “How my bones feel, how my flesh feels” Caitlin Alexandra

Cherry Pie Kate Busatto

with a sharp reflex of the diaphragm, our maiden earned the title of wife by Abrahamic default. then, the Word shifted and she became Fallen like redheaded women with glossy lips & sunken eyes & uneven breasts, sagging with the weight of lust. our maiden was pure until she was not, a virgin until she had no name.

The Body of Christ Victoria Callinan The ‘Patron Saint of Pink’ is a body of work created by Victoria Callinan during an artist residency at D’Clinic studios, Zalaegerszeg, Hungary. The artist works mainly in textile making and digital collage, in which she contextualizes the religious portrait of Mary Magdalene, patron saint of Zalaegerszeg, as a modern icon. For a long time, Magdalene was referred to religiously as the sexualised repentant whore, with much conspiracy surrounding her story and many people happy to offer her as a foil to Mary the Mother of Jesus, Yet the artist notes that, because of her supposed errors, Magdalene appeals to us as a relatable figure in current female culture. In these collages the artist explores female identity through images of sexualized bodies and pornograhy poses and juxtaposes these erotic images with those of the ‘plain’ or ‘everyday girl’. The work developed under the quote ‘to err is human, to forgive: divine’, commenting on the media culture of slutshaming, and catcalling a woman for how she appears and how these judgements are damaging young womens perceptions of themselves in regards to how they appear both online and IRL.

Castrate Sarah Bending

End Youth

She watched as the police officer walked from the onslaught of lights to her busted Fiby Jaelynn Walls renza. She could see his big hands, a nasty stomp about him. She remembers how he placed Red illuminance spun in and out of the reflection of her car mirrors. Veronica Fuller was his palms on her open window base, his dirty, 17, unfiltered, unadulterated youth. The year was chewed-down fingernails curving slightly into the car. The way his tongue pushed abrasively 1987. The world was endless at the time, some against his teeth when he said step out of the car. summer breeze of an anomaly she was, as was everyone she knew. She found herself on a long She remembered most the glint of her headlights in his wedding ring. The silvered gleam and glisand boundless Mississippi road, no bra and the morals of someone just moments from dismissing ter of it as his hands reached beneath her shirt, love as the fruitless sublime. It was 2 AM and the wrenched over her breasts, writhed against her navel. swilled mist of the evening fell over the grain in The party she’d gone to had been filled the field and enveloped her car with ease. The with boys with too many bad habits and breath light continued closer and closer, sirens inunlike junkyards of cigarette butts and busted dating the pregnant still of the scene. In that bottles of somebody else’s liquor. She left on her moment she noticed the dryness of her lips, the own account with little more than Bunny, a coin curve of her bleached palms against the leather pouch, and a towel she’d found on the floor. steering wheel. Sure these things happen. It gets late, ap Earlier, the night had simply folded into petites get up, beautiful girls appear like puddle’s itself. After a classmate’s party ended, her best gleam through cornfields with lonely johns in big friend Bunny insisted upon being left at a neon cop cars. This is what he said to her as he wiped lit corner store with a group of boys Veronica would not have trusted even to show up to class the mud from her face, his thumb drawing quickly over her cheek. It’s not the type of thing we’d the next day. Bunny had blonde hair like the want to share, he said. Not the type of thing we’d yellowed pollen of marigold and parents who like to share. did not care whether she was kissing dirty boys She is grown now, the year is 1998. The or thrashing lifelessly against rock banks at the television flickers on the story of some unforbottom of the ocean. They made the greatest of tunate girl, her body discovered in the pine of friends because Veronica had the rattiest of hair and almost no freedom to speak of. It was purely Remington Mississippi torn to pieces by another coincidental that she’d been able to go out at all human’s innate perversity. She can’t help but think that the girl should not have been out that that night. Not coincidence even, but a craftily evening at all. Big mistake, little girl. Big mistake. placed untruth.

Se Sa

exualize arah Bending

Blonde Margo LaPierre

Mum’s convinced I’m a natural redhead. She forgets I dyed my hair long ago while she slept–– year-long, sheathed in grief after losing her dad. The henna faded and she woke up, crusty-eyed and newish, seeing auburn, seeing Grandpa in me. Her ash is natural. Mine is expensive. She rushes around her master bedroom, unshaven, parades her fertile blue belly and platinum bush. She guesses my weight, guesses low. We compare blemishes, eczemas, thrush pinks, basal cell carcinomas, neuroses. I tell her what the doctor said: that skin and nervous system share a fetal origin. That’s why shame rouges, irritation itches.

Map of Emma

f Lake Rabun Ensley

The Final Operation by Lavinia Roberts

untitled Caitlin Alexandra

She never pulled her hair now. In childhood Annette had always twisted her front blonde locks, between her index and pointer finger. The quirk was one she had never conquered or outgrown. The idiosyncratic unhealthy habit greatly relieved extraneous tension, but she didn’t pull the hair now. After she had follicular transplantation, 54 years ago, for her 84th birthday, and she simply couldn’t risk damaging the follicular units implanted from the donor. So she only twirled her hair. The habit of not pulling was at first herculean to overcome, but she had managed. Annette didn’t pull her hair now, as she twisted her platinum blonde front locks, between her index and pointer finger with a steady, consistent speed and repetition. “Ms. Sampson, we’ve only finished your hands again.” “I can sign this afternoon. The release form. Clearly, they have healed nicely.” She displayed her hands to him. The blood red nails glistened in the artificial light of the office. Her new nails were made from some material she couldn’t remember, but she was assured that they were indestructible. They were perfectly shaped, a blood red that would never fade, never need repainting. The surgeon, Dr. Kakodaimones, sat across from her, hands crossed in front of him, posed in a perfectly symmetrical manner. A pale, alabaster prince, with slicked back black hair, watery blue eyes that always seemed to stare listlessly behind her, as though the wall that contained the flashing screens which displayed neon versions of his various degrees, was to him, a window looking into somewhere else. He would always smile a smile that resonated more as a sneer; his straight white teeth flashed like white marble tombstones under upward tilting lips that never reached the corner of his eyes. He smiled regardless of the topic of conversation, as though this was the default setting for his face. “You look very beautiful this afternoon Ms. Sampson,” he purred. “Do you have them drawn up? The papers. I have only allocated thirty minutes for this Dr. Kakodiamones. I need to make it to my biotechnologist. Something is wrong with the

circuitry in my arm. My fingers keep twitching.” “I don’t see a twitch Ms. Sampson.” “I can feel it. I can feel my fingers twitching. The index and the pointer finger.” “It could be the bend sensors effecting ulnar deviation. I’m sure they can exam the microprocessors for you and figure out why there is the sensation of twitching.” “Three biotechnologists can’t so far. But this new one came highly recommended.” “Of course.” His smile stayed consistently plastered on his face throughout the exchange. “We are still able to connect the AET, to the hands Ms. Sampson, because, all though the skin contains a complex network of sensory nerve fibers, we can attach microprocessors to a few Meissner corpuscles or touch domes to preserve the sensation of touch, temperature, pain, pleasure.” Her twirling remained consistent in speed, but she felt the twitching in her fingers again. A pulse, a faint, numb buzz, as though the fingers were vibrating. “I want the artificial ecto whatever tissue transplanted there.” “The artificial ectodermal tissue.” “The whatever.” She clicked her red nails against the table with her hand that wasn't twirling. His eyes still looked past her, as he spoke with her. “The clitoris consists of over 8,000 nerve endings, which effect 15,000 other nerve endings around the pelvic area.” “I’ve brought photographic samples of what I want.” His smile never wavered as he examined the photos of the vaginas she had brought. “This most likely would inversely effect or even destroy the clitoris.” “I would like to schedule something for this week.” “I only wanted to make sure that you were aware of the risks involved, Ms Sampson.” “Can we sign up the papers now, Dr. Kakodaimones?” “Of course.” The bleached white smile never wavered. The surgery was executed within the

week. Annette had never liked waiting. She celebrated at the end of her recovery period at Dark Duchess, her favorite night club in Midtown. She donned a simple black dress along with her favorite designer stilettos. Even after her spine extension she still didn’t feel at 5 foot 7 inches she was nearly tall enough, and the 6 inch high stilettos were perfunctory when entering into public spaces. She didn’t mind the heels, even after five gin and tonics, or when getting into the cab, or even when escorting her new acquaintance up into the five story walk up on the upper west side. In the darkness of her bedroom, she wished she could remember the color of his hair, but she couldn’t. It was black she thought. Or brown perhaps. She didn’t remember. He seemed to blend into his predecessors. As he entered inside her, she wished the lights were on, so he could see how completely and utterly perfect she was. The music she had selected for the rendezvous was some kind of catchy electronic dance number, similar to what was playing at the Dark Duchess. The electronic melody was heart pounding without a clear memorable melody, that being Annette’s favorite type of music. She preferred something that pumped her adrenaline, but didn’t stay in her mind after she had completed listening to it. He grunted on top of her and she writhed beneath him, performing beautifully, breathing heavily at all her cues, moaning strategically. She wrapped her arms and legs around him. She only stopped him once when he grabbed her hair and she had to ask him not too. That was all. Besides that, she was performing beautifully. She felt nothing but the twitching, in her fingers. She twisted her front locks between her index and pointer finger, as he pounded into her rhythmically. He eventually grew tired of plowing her, and with no climax possible for either of them, he just lay silent next to her, the loud electronic music blaring, beating like a giant drum. She didn’t know if he dreamed or slept or only laid there in his own thoughts, or had disappeared, subsumed by the steady pulse of the blaring electronic music. She continued to twist her hair between her fingers without pulling her hair. She never pulled her hair.

Tiffanie R DeVos White Jello with Raspberry Jam (Abortion) from “Jello Shots”

Tiffanie R DeVos Cherry Filled Jello with Topping (Magazine Blow Job Tips) from “Jello Shots”

To My Rapist Sarah Lilius

Tattered fabric falls to frozen winter ground. Your face, your face, your shove, it’s madness in this place. Fence built around, wood will splinter if you try to smooth your hands across the white wash grain. Like it, love it, keep it, suck it, blow it, but now it’s touch this, mend this— bandage, balm. Sew around what matters most, even when the machine is broken. That dress looks homemade. That dress has blood at the hem. Water never hot enough, confusion settles in like a contusion, it blooms purple, lingers like a birthmark. I ate Chinese food with girlfriends. Denials, fake confessions, their real happiness, virginity lost means I’m a woman. Victim: my shaking flesh, the vomit in my palms when I tried to face school, locking knees, the punch I gave you. Hidden, pieces of me— a shard, a wing broken never to match the solid wing, purity and innocence.

Late Bloomer Andrea Burgay

By the Window Andrea Burgay

Garage cleanout Noralyn Masselink

It will pay for itself or so he claimed as he guilted her into shelling out the dough for a rebuilt beast of a sit down mower only he could manhandle and she could barely straddle and I suppose it might have been a good deal if he’d stayed long enough to mow But he left her lawn for greener grass after she’d paid his cut throat price and now the mower sits collecting rust a haven for homeless mice

Claustrophobia. Devika

I woke up to find that arms that were armour were no longer around me. He left my heart bleeding in plain sight and I didn’t know what else to do but to put my palms together and beg whatever gods there ever were and are to shrink it small so I would not be so heavy. It. The realization that I was and would always be alone even with others, with another I try again and build myself from the ground up as I always do. But today the sky’s ceiling is so low I’m afraid the walls will cave in like it does sometimes when we’re in bed and I’m gasping for breath, I’m suffocating. Claustrophobic. I’m afraid my heart will always be too big for someone to hold it. And so the only way I can share myself with you, and them, and everyone else is in pieces. Please, have patience. I’m trying to collect myself.

By th Andr

he Window 2 rea Burgay

ON THE NEXT PAGE: Meat Sarah Bending

It is time to say some things about the old/new rape wars. I don’t care if it is up talk, vocal fry, trash talk, or the queen’s fucking English. I don’t care how we say it I only care what we say. Because if we don’t say: - ‘Hey, you sailor boys, you army men, you cops and robbers, you borderline boyfriends with your Iphone violations and gangbang apps, you can all fuck right off’ –

Bang for the Buck Brit Griffin

then They don’t need to do very much. All they need to do is rape just one of us – then tell a boy who tells another who belches past deeds to the man at the bar. And then the word gets out, and then we hear it too – whispered as warnings about not going out at night not wearing short skirts not leaving that ring of red lipstick On the edge of that last drink. Then we are all afraid Of all of Them, rapists or not how are we to know who is who. And if we are afraid of all of them, and keep our red lips shut up in our homes, then that is pretty good bang for the buck for these cocks of war.

It’s a Man’s World Caitlin Alexandra

Duality/Comfortable with Uncertainty Andrea Burgay

Harvest Kathy Qian

Plucking onions from tangled mesh, she stands by the kitchen sink, mustard light tinting her shoulders and paper skins drifting, like dry leaves, from her fingertips. She passes her thumbs over the round fruit, peeling layers of browned time from flesh, and wonders if she could ever peel herself from fifty-three years of vanilla and dish soap, or shed the silence that settles as dust on her lips. Soon, all that remains is the constant incandescent bulb and underneath, three freshly washed orbs, pale and glistening.

NEXT PAGE (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT): Meat dĂŠcolletage Sarah Bending Sarah Bending

Form Sarah Bending

Notes from my Phone Emma Ensley

I've developed a rash under my eye that both my mother and webmd (I would trust neither on their own) say is due to stress. I would go to hot yoga classes again but Ativan calms me down faster and I don't have to shower after I take it. I have decided I am meant to be in a long distance relationship. I'd like to know someone wants to be near me but I'd also like to know that there is no way they can. I would like to see a different body in my peripheral vision, a different left arm swinging as I walk down the street. Sometimes I worry the world will collapse for no reason other than I didn't do enough to keep it from not.

Big On Andrea

ne a Burgay

From “Daughters” Samantha Conlon

Best Dad Ever by Madeline Cash

“How the Patriots going to do on Sunday?” The Pineapple lounge- lounge being a generously elegant distinction from other bars in the area- lets in no outside light. Once inside, it is easy for one to lose track of time, like leaving a movie theater to realize that is has become dark out. The man at the bar and the bartender gaze up at the wall, which displays a glowing television, awkwardly coupled with a large painting of Paul Revere. At least he assumes it is Paul Revereit has a likeness to Paul Revere anyway, charging gallantly into battle on horseback- though neither the man nor the bartender really know what Paul Revere looked like. The man loves football very much. Like few things in life, it is simple. Men are given a grueling task, which they either succeed or fail in. It is not obscured by ostentation or subterfuge. The man approaches his apartment door where he can already hear the shrill cries of his Darling Angel. “Daaaaaadyyy!” It sounds like she is being tortured in a war-camp, his Sweet Ball of Sunshine. He imagines her fastened to a table, the enemy soldiers looming over her, ripping out her teeth slowly by the roots... no, that wouldn’t be so bad, they’re all loose anyway. Ripping out her eyelashes maybe, provoking screams such as the ones behind his door. “Daaaaaadyyy!” Oh, I’m sorry Honey Pie, there is nothing daddy can do about your eyelashes right now. Daddy has to fix dinner. The man opens the door to find his Darling Angel standing there right at knee level. She is filthy with jam or paint, some sticky glaze covers her and all furniture in her wake. Light of My Life, what have you done to the living room? The relentless screaming almost masks the faint voice coming from the bedroom. His wife lies on her back, hands hovering

above her stomach like little celestial bodies governing its contents. Kicking. All day. She’s killing me. How do you know it’s a she? I just know. Got it. Lola hasn’t eaten lunch. Could you fix her something? Yes. And you can take me to my appointment later? Yes. She sits up to kiss him. You smell like popcorn, and, popcorn and beer. A new cologne I’m trying. You can watch the game here. No I can’t. He leans over the macaroni to check for completion and an earplug falls in. It bubbles, hisses and is sucked down into the lambent sauce like quicksand. Immediately the cacophony of screams entered his vulnerable eardrum. Please stop yelling, Light of My Life, daddy is so tired. Huuuuuungrryyyyyy! He imagines her getting sick, with some incurable illness that causes no pain but symptomatically affects the vocal chords first. Her final days are spent in silence, nothing but those big blue eyes looking up at him as if to say, I love you daddy, I know you always did your best for me, I appreciate all you do. I really do. I’m sorry I came at an inconvenient time, restricted your life choices and fucked up your wife’s body. You’re the best daddy in the whole world. I love you so much. Later he goes to get drinks with friends, and they say Gosh, Allen we’re so sorry for your loss. And your wife died in childbirth, without any pain, all in the same week? This round is on us, Buddy. He waits in the car outside the gynecologist. Snow has just started to fall and cover

the dashboard. Someone on the radio is talking about college kid’s spring break destinations. Warm beaches littered with bouncing teenagers and colorful drinks filled with ripe yellow pineapple and coconut shavings. The car heater is a tropical breeze. He is in a cabana, sparkling with salt having just taken a dip in the ocean. Another lobster tail? asks a bronze waiter. Oh no, his wife doesn’t usually like him to eat shellfish, says it’s killed inhumanely. Wait, she isn’t here. She isn’t on the beach. She painlessly passed away in labor. He has grieved her a socially appropriate amount and has now taken a vacation to rejuvenate. His boss was happy to give him the days off, even encouraged it. It was paid vacation time. The waiter points to a woman in a red bathing suit peering at him coyly from behind a magazine. She has tan legs, huge shapely breasts, painted toes etc. etc. She’s beckoning him over with a manicured finger as if to say: I know you must be mourning your family and I respect this great loss you have recently suffered but perhaps it would be in your better interest if you came and fucked me in my suite. I will let you do that position that your wife only let you do on your birthday and hasn’t since the conception of your first child. Would you like another lobster tail? Allen? Allen? Allen! He is back in the car now and his wife has returned. She touches his arm. Her hands are impossibly clammy for how cold the outside air is. Allen, look, it’s a boy, see, we’re having a boy. The man sits on the toilet, staring at the tile wall. There are many holes in the grout. Many holes. He should patch them up. With spackle? He doesn’t know. There comes a thud on the door from his Darling Angel. Daaaaadyyy! Another door thud. Like rebels trying to

break into Versailles by banging a huge pillar into the door. What’re those called? Do they have a name? Daaaaadyyy!!!!! Allen? Allen! You’ve been in there forever, what’re you doing? Battering ram! That’s what they’re called. Allen, for the love of God, open the door please? Allen! Daaaaadyyy! Ahhhhh! He closes his eyes. He can’t hear them. He can’t hear anything. No, he can hear one thing: it’s a boy, see, we’re having a boy. He is in the bleachers of his old high school. They are filled with fans, cheering, yelling, clad in yellow and green, some have their faces painted, overwrought with spirit. He is at a football game and it is over; they have won. A boy is being carried off by his teammates as they chant his name. He is tall and handsome, has some baby fat that never left his face, just like the man. Here comes the coach, shaking the man’s hand saying: Your son has great talent, scouts have already approached him. He’ll probably have a full ride to college where he can pursue whatever he is interested in and will no doubt excel. He’ll likely meet a girl and reproduce at an appropriate and financially stable time in his life and always pay his credit card in full and share your love of craft beer which you will drink together on weekends. He’s some kid you got there, you must be so proud. Then the cheerleaders run through the crowd to surround and dote on the boy but he ignores them and instead yells: I love you dad! as his teammates empty a water cooler over his head. I couldn’t have done this without you! I’m so grateful for everything you do for me and mom and Lola! You’re the best dad in the whole world.

untitled collage Caitlin Alexandra

Shooting Range Parisorn Thepmankorn

It was like wildfire the first time she laid out her wrists, bluebell veins telling stories until dark. Long ago, it began, there was a glass boy, sprouting cracks, sneering glances. It was the aftershock that did her in, the shuddering that came the way a bird is reborn by molting its feathers. If only the recoil didn’t cloud their memories, each lapse of reason knotted and mangled into denial, they’d realize that she would do it again and again – savoring the whiplash that rang like a bell.

She traces diamonds on the glass-laden Alice Xu

She traces diamonds on the glass-laden lattice window, fingertips flushed like red wine as it melts the fog. She watches people plop onto snow beds and carve out their body print legacies. Seconds— the window splinters—knuckles warm with blood as they breathe in the frost.

Gaze 1 Sarah Bending

She leaked, but she contained everything Heather Marie Scholl

She was watched, but she was nothing Heather Marie Scholl

More Kim Beyer-Johnson

Daily Femininity Sarah Bending


(After Glen Sorestad’s “When Hands sleep, what do they dream?”) April Mae Berza

His hands dream the calisthenics of metals of an automobile, while hers dream of cooking her thoughts, her passion; his hands dream juggling numbers, a jumbled telephone, while her hands dream of imprisoned letters finally freed; his hands dream a marriage of spoon and fork as he moves brown rice to his innocent mouth, while hers dream the bipolar bond of nude fingers in the canvas plate painting her hunger, her hunger; his hands dream how the soldier fingers camp the softness of her breast, her nipple, a caged nightingale, her hands dream the aggressive texture of his buttocks as he enters, her finger’s surrender to his hips. Sometimes his hands and her hands stop dreaming but lie restless like defeated warriors lost in the subconscious of hand against hand in combat. Sometimes hands sleep in the awakening of desire.

Women’s Studies #19 Kim Beyer-Johnson

when there’s no joy in the mo(u)rning Noralyn Masselink

one way to lose oneself is to focus on the brokenness of the one that one’s been mourning way two to lose oneself is to deny the hostility of the one one shouldn’t be mourning when one can see not brokenness but survival despite hostility one will find oneself in the mo(u)rning

Twig and Ink Series Kim Beyer-Johns

Gaslighting Margo LaPierre

It was my right to fail. To swerve out from the panopticon of medication and embrace disorder. To curve under the weight of errant options, become a grave. I’m a yellow mango, pitted. After it was done I had nothing to say. Silence the slim wake of loss. Months. I didn’t cry at the Swiss Chalet. I didn’t cease to exist, so I took to drinking again and cal-mag supplements and even travel. I wrote a poem ten pages long. I was alone and then not alone. And then alone again and not alone, again. I rejected ownership but it haunted some mornings and I would search the empty house–– one eye open the other turned in, then scuttle back to bed. I dreamed of houses for days on end, attics that broke upwards into greater more solid spaces like a tooth growing into an occupied gum. I climbed out, studied the nature of obligation and returned to my old job. I’m one of those women who is always chilly, but I learned to put more clothes on.

s #1 son

a lot of women Sheila Forde

Lavinia Roberts art?

Gaze Sarah Bending

Beauty Routine Ariel Kusby

They collect at the bottom, combed over by ragged-tooth plastic, dead blonde floss stuck between pink incisors. Snatched to pull back cowlicks that won’t be straightened, no matter how hot the metal is. Kinks to be worked out, separated, made peace with, returned to perfected disorder with a tease and a splash from the sink, pale fingertips like ghosts, stained with cover-up.

Remembrance Parisorn Thepmankorn

I could never give into the call of temptation, even with backlash marring our baby flesh. Forgetting is the cheap way to surrender. The feel of ash is foreign, I admit, all the epitaphs scrawled onto my forearm. There’s always some reason for the loss, a deflecting excuse to forget the progress. But still, I learn about the voiceless women splayed across the stage, their wishbone hands sharp and firm; I learn how the ghosts are martyred and raised, voices commandeering the blazing path.

Solid State Series Brigit Lambert

From “Daughters” Samantha Conlon

From “Daughters” Samantha Conlon

From “Daughters” Samantha Conlon

About Our Contributors Caitlin Alexandra

is a UK based multi media artist who deals mainly with the themes of gender, mythology and the human condition. Caitlin studied Sculpture and graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 2014, she currently studying an MA in Fine Art at the University of Brighton. Her work often takes on a performative aspect, and culminates in film works. In recent works the artist has been looking into gender roles in the 1950s, which were exaggerated almost to the point of parody, and how these damaging ideas have been carried on to this day. By embodying these roles herself, the artist hopes to bring to light the absurdity of strict gender roles and to encourage people to question the logic in defining a persons behaviour by their gender. The featured photograph is a character that features in the artists most recent work, 'Gender Theatre'. Her website is

Sarah Bending is an artist who explores the many complexities of the female form. Her prac-

tice has previously explored the physical activities and actions that the fe male body goes through – the daily routines of the female form, and the way in which the skin shifts and changes under the influence of the external world. Currently, she is exploring both the sexual and the grotesque exaggeration that the female body is subject to unconsciously in everyday society and the socially ingrained misogyny that inhabits the female psyche. The female psyche can identify with misogynistic disgust at the aspects of the body that are typically thought of as feminine, such as the breasts and the vagina. These parts of a woman’s body lead to their sexual objectification in society and Sarah is exploring this within her practice. Recent works have included exploring ideas of nudity/nakedness in regards to public/private space and the voyeuristic pleasure that comes from this and also the exploration into Freud’s castration complex where it is believed that young boys notice the difference between male and female genitalia and assume that the female’s penis was removed and then from this get an anxiety that their penis shall also be removed. This implies a misogynistic violence to the female body, a wound having been inflicted upon women. There is also a grotesque element implied with castration anxiety that female genitalia is less than and lack of a penis and that the lack of a penis makes the female body less significant and sexually submissive which relates to Sarah’s explorations into sexual exaggeration.

April Mae M. Berza is the author of Confession ng isang Bob Ong Fan (Flipside, 2014) and

Berso de Berza (Charging Ram, 2012.) Her poems and short stories appeared in numerous publications in the America, Canada, Romania, India, Japan, Great Britain and the Philippines. Her poems are translated in Crimean Tatar and Filipino. Some of her poems are published in Liwayway, Belleville Park Pages, Haiku Journal, The Siren, Poetica, Three Line Poetry, Calliope, Maganda, Metric Conversions, Ani, The Manila Times, Asahi Haikuist Network, Contemporary Verse 2, and elsewhere. Her poem “E-Martial Law” was broadcast on IndoPacific Radio on KPFA 94.1FM/ She is a member of Poetic Genius Society. She lives in Taguig, Philippines.

Kim Beyer-Johnson has worked in the entertainment industry as a television and film writer/

producer for many moons and has also worked as a professional artist. She has taken on a project she calls 10,000 hours of play hoping to master the art of play and creativity and is about fifteen hundred hours in. After working in an extremely male dominated business, all of her work has a distinctly feminist voice that refuses to apologize for being female. She is currently developing an hour long dramatic projects for MGM, writing on a distinctly feminist 3-D feature length animation film based on the Cinderella fairytale, and happily penning animation scripts for Discovery family, and Cartoon Network. In her down times she continues to walk on the beach, haunt museums and galleries, and produce as much artwork as humanly possible.

Andrea Burgay’s work with collage, sculpture, and installation involves a process of cutting,

layering, and assembling fragments to create interior landscapes, often referencing structural similarities between the human and natural worlds, cycles of life, death, and decay, or imagery related to ideas of transcendence and magical other worlds. She often uses materials, processes, and imagery traditionally associated with female work and experience. Feminist theory and criticism has had a strong influence on her experience as an artist. Questions about the values that have been propagated by dominant systems of aesthetics have led her to focus on work that expresses feelings, represents personal values, or that celebrates the discarded and mundane. Andrea Burgay is currently a fellow with A. I. R. Gallery, the first not-for-profit, artist-directed and maintained gallery for women artists in the United States, and had a show there in February.

Kate Busatto is an emerging writer who eagerly awaits the day she will no longer be considered 'emerging'. Her favorite female writers include Donna Tartt and Tracy K. Smith.

Madeline Cash discovered feminism at a Lutheran Elementary school when she was twelve

while trying to convince Pastor Hayworth that God was female (she imagined she looked something like this janitor she was fond of, Romelia). The pastor had all sorts of arguments, the gist of which were that God is our father and that the Trinity is a boys’ club. Madeline decided that God totally sucks. Where does He get off causing all these natural disasters, sexually transmitted diseases, and for her to get her period on a Kayaking trip with her dad. In middle school Madeline fell in love with Dorothy Parker, Cindy Sherman, Joan Didion and realized two things: women probably weren’t created from Adam’s rib and she should probably transfer schools immediately.

Samantha Conlon, b.1990 London, is based in Midlands, Ireland. She is the creator and

curator of Bunny Collective, an all-female artist collective aiming to showcase the work of emerging artists from Ireland, UK, United Arab Emirates, and South Korea. Her website is

Devika is a queer youth artist and newbie zinester who is a settler on Turtle Island (A.K.A. North

America). They write on topics such as: mental health, (in)visible disability, mixed race, (a)gender and (a)sexuality. The contexts of queerness, intersectionality, and feminism are important to them as a writer. In terms of the latter, Devi is interested in a feminism that centers femmeness and people of colour – especially those who identify as trans women and/or non-binary people of colour. Devi believes in writing as a feminist tool to declare themselves against a white cisgender heterosexual

patriarchy and all that can mean. Devi’s first perzine Home(sick) will be released in October! Visit them at:

Tiffanie R. DeVos is an cookbook collecting, moped riding, wine loving bookworm who

binge watches foreign period pieces on Netflix with her cats. She is also an interdisciplinary artist currently based in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. Recently she had her first solo show Call Mom, 2015 which exhibited video work, installations, and photographs created within the past year. Her focus is often biographical, using her own family history of ideals passed from one generation to another to. Her use of feminism is often worked into the pieces to show the flaws, struggles, and contradiction of these genetic traits. Her work has themes and narratives that explore the ideas of home, motherhood, domesticity, endometriosis, relationships and memories. In the future, she hopes to achieve a Leslie Knope type of enthusiasm in all of her future endeavors.

Emma Ensley is an artist and designer living in Chicago by way of North Georgia. She has

been published in Shabby Dollhouse and Library of the Printed Web and recently started her own multi-disciplinary arts magazine, Babe Soda. Emma likes sad music, the moon and Frida Kahlo. She believes that supporting other female artists and encouraging conversation through creativity is crucial in a world that often tries to make women’s voices small.

Sheila Forde is a Canadian artist who lives and works near the Windsor/Detroit border. Mainly

working in ink and gouache, she explores female identity, the demonization of female sexuality and the perception of women, historically and now. Her feminism likely began as a teen when she bought a book called An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by P. D. James, based solely on the title. She remembers shaking when she first read Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. She is a pro-choice mother and she thinks breastfeeding is both beautiful and really fucking hard. Sheila was an active part of the protests surrounding the arrest of Gwen Jacobs on a charge of indecency for walking topless on a Guelph, Ontario street in 1991, a case which determined that a woman’s being topless is not indecent under the meaning of the Criminal Code in Canada. She has also been part of many Take Back the Night marches protesting sexual violence against women. Sheila supports womenfocussed projects and spaces, which likely had much to do with her choosing to have two home births with midwives when her sons were born. In 2015 she worked on a daily illustration project in which she drew a woman every day for a year. Sheila is currrently working on a series of paintings around the madonna-whore dichotomy. You can find out more about Sheila, her works, and her recent daily project, “a lot of women,” on instagram (@sheilaforde) or via her site.

Brit Griffin is a writer living in northern Ontario, Canada. Her first novel, The Wintermen, was released last fall on Scrivener Press. She has written for video, radio and magazines, and co-wrote a non-fiction history (We Lived a Life and Then Some: the life, death and life of a mining town, Between the Lines, 1996). Griffin currently works as a researcher for Timiskaming First Nation, an Algonquin community in northern Quebec. She lives in the town of Cobalt and is the mother of three. Griffin has been a feminist since the age of sixteen when she read Susan Brownmiller’s Against Our Will in 1976.

Ariel Kusby is a writer, editor, artist, and witch based in Portland, Oregon. She graduated from

UCLA in 2015, where she studied Creative Writing and Fine Art. Her writing has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Bone Bouquet, Luna Luna Magazine, The Culture Trip, Chaparral, Pith, Umbrella Factory, Spires, FEM, Eunioa Review, East Jasmine Review, Westwind, Devilfish Review, and elsewhere. She is the founder of the experimental literary-arts zine Nothing New, which was released every full moon from 2014-2015. She explores her personal power as a feminist and as a woman through poetry and magic. To find out more, visit

Brigit Lambert is an Australian visual artist, whose work uses a range of mediums such as photography, video and drawing. She's a graduate from the Victorian College of the Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Her work explores the themes of the bizarre, anxiety and physical manifestations of mental anguish in a playful and slightly sadistic way. Most of her inspiration is found through her own personal life as a young woman and what she observes from the people around her.

Margo LaPierre graduated from Ryerson University with a B.A. in Arts and Contemporary

Studies, Philosophy Major. Her writing reflects a Canadian urban sensibility with a focus on the way physical space and human relationships structure experience. As a survivor of domestic abuse, many of her poems explore the threat of latent violence in sexuality as well as women’s relationships to each other and to themselves. She has been mentored by poets Hoa Nguyen and Elana Wolff. Margo's poetry has been published in Bywords Literary Quarterly, The Feathertale Review, The Antigonish Review, The Claremont Review, EAT IT: A Literary Cookbook of Food, Sex and Feminism and in filling Station.

Sarah Lilius is the author of The Heart Factory (Black Cat Moon Press, 2016) and What Be-

comes Within (ELJ Publications, 2014). Her poems have appeared in Tinderbox, Flapperhouse, The Fem, and Hermeneutic Chaos. She lives in Arlington, VA. Check out her website,

Noralyn Masselink is a Professor of English at SUNY-Cortland in central New York and the

author of three poetry collections. Song of My Breast, a collection recounting the author’s treatment for invasive breast cancer, and Once Upon a Rhyme (or Not?), a chapbook addressing the issue of domestic violence, were both published by The Lives You Touch Publications. “EMerging from DRead” (Alabaster Leaves) is a poetic memoir highlighting the use of EMDR, a therapeutic intervention which enabled the author to break free from a long-term abusive relationship. Individual poems have appeared in TWJ Magazine, S/tick, RedFez, RiverLit, and Fishfood Literary & Creative Arts Magazine.

Kathy Qian is a sixteen year old high school senior and lives in Calgary, Canada. She likes to

study forms of societal oppression through historical and philosophical texts and apply those understandings to modern contexts, especially those concerning queer, feminist, and POC activism. Kathy is currently working on a cancer research project with a professor at the University of Calgary, and volunteers regularly at her local crisis call centre. She is also interested in classical music, and has an ARCT diploma in piano performance.

Lavinia Roberts is a playwright and visual artist based in New York City.

Her work is published with Heuer Publishing, Brooklyn Publishers, Big Dog Plays, Indie Theatre Now, Pioneer Drama, Applause Books, Smith and Kraus, and others. Her work have been produced at The Castillo Theatre, Theatre for the New City, Dixon Place, The New Perspectives Theatre, The Bushwick Starr, The Brick, The Sheen Center, The Metropolitan Playhouse, and others. She has had residencies at The Center for Book Arts, Urban Glass, and with The Arts Students League. She creates masks, puppets, and installations for live performances and film.

Heather Marie Scholl’s work explores how we’re born into fantasies of the way life should

be and the ways that comes crashing down around us. This often means issues of gender and sexuality. However she also touches on many different mythological social constructs, including race and class. The feminist perspective that reveals itself in her work is one that complicates life that pulls us away from reduced roles. Whether it’s looking at her personal experiences and traumas, or looking at the larger picture of the historic and modern systems of power, exploring these issues she connects to both the past and the future. This comes through in the mediums and imagery used. Scholl’s work primarily centers around clothing and hand work mediums, embroidery, knitting, sewing, to sculpted jewelry items, and beyond. The way she weaves thoughtful and complex visuals into everything she creates challenges viewers to open their heads and hearts to her work.

Parisorn Thepmankorn, 17, is a senior at Morris Hills High School. Previously published in

Eunoia Review, Black Heart Magazine, and Phosphene Literary Magazine, among others, she is a passionate believer in feminism, and is particularly interested in women's access to healthcare. She hopes to continue advocating for feminism through her writing in the future.

Namitha Varma is a writer based in Bangalore, India. She is a voracious reader, a music en-

thusiast and an opinionated social observer. She has publishing credits in over 35 literary journals including Sahitya Akademi’s Indian Literature, eFiction India, Hackwriters, MadSwirl, Cafe Dissensus Everyday, The Byword, Visual Verse and Gone Lawn. She blogs on and can be reached on twitter via @namithavr.

Jaelynn Walls is a 16 year old currently residing in Texas, USA. She enjoys writing in all medi-

ums but is especially attracted to screenwriting. She likes talking about films and meeting people who have nothing in common with her. She is best friends with the world though they do not speak often. To her, feminism means undeniable equality. She does not believe the world can move forward without it.

Alice Xu hails from a small town in New Jersey. She reads for The Blueshift Journal and Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things, and has served as a Co-Editor in Chief for her high school’s literary magazine and a Genre Editor for Polyphony H.S.

Emily Yin is a rising high school senior in Massachusetts who likes to examine literature through a feminist lens. She is currently a Second Reader at Polyphony H.S. and a junior editor at Siblíní Art and Literature Journal. Emily’s writing has been nationally recognized by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers and has been published or is forthcoming in Drunk In A Midnight Choir, Canvas Literary Journal, Wu-Wei Fashion Mag, and Polyphony H.S., among others.

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