"6 Human Needs:
had a nightmare about a mass shooting
found out my mom's school was on lockdown
then woke up living in Amerikkka
from the womb of lady liberty
to the tomb of another victim on tv
may you rest in peace
humanity is born numb
ice cold like the chills down my skin
when he reaches for the gun
and sent souls into kingdom
if hell exists, i hope you relive this sin
because it's not safe
there is no place
that i can call home
i am terrified everywhere i go
blame my mental health
maybe that'll get me a free pass out of jail
however, only if i'm white because
if i'm brown then i'll be divided by a wall
if i'm Muslim then i'll be sure to kill us all
we are prisoners to the system
and relive the nightmare
until the day drips blood
we must free our mind,
demand more protection, more policy
and co-create our peaceful realities
in hope that every victim
rises from our nation's shortfalls"
"Flame of the Heart"
"Inner Child v. Shadow Self"
"Brujx Recipe for a Cold:
2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
Bed Blues Playlist:
Priscilla is a Latinx artivist and poet from Edinburg, Tejas. Most of their inspiration stems from the occult, nature, and dreams. Bleeding from our borderlands, their illustrations serve as an offering to our ancestors.
To view more work, check out @sietegatxs on Instagram!
Sara Solana is a Spanish artist now living in Stockholm where she shares a house with some male friends. Home is a series about some of the things that make her smile when she sees them. Sara is also the founder and director of HAMSTER magazine, which you can take a look at readhamster.com!
You can visit her on Instagram at @sara.puna or sarasolana.com!
"How to Grow Up"
In order for something to grow up you must feed it nutrients; vitamins, proteins, or maybe thoughts and ideas.
Did you know flamingos are pink because of the shrimp and algae they eat? Did you know there are ants whose abdomens are semitransparent causing the colors of what they’ve just consumed to show through? Gives a new meaning to you are what you eat.
In order to grow up we must move up. We must take a forward motion. A child learns to walk while a flower sprouts slowly. It stretches all its leaves and branches out upward towards the sun. It opens up and bears all it has as that warm heated glow rains down to be drank like the sweet nectar of life.
A flower might live for only a summer, but oh, if only we lived as flowers live.
If you look around you may notice that some humans don’t grow so tall.
In order to grow up they say you must leave things behind.
I always took this as leaving childhood behind, as leaving your family like sailing away from that small familiar island in search of the Promised Land.
Well it’s not, at least not exactly. That part of growing up is all about learning to stand on your own without any support to fall back on.
I’m sorry to tell you it’s harder for some than others. Life isn’t fair and learning that is yet another step in growing up.
For some people they leaned on their mother while learning to walk just a little too much for a little too long. Others were perhaps tossed into the ocean too soon to swim.
It’s ok if your legs are weak because another step in growing up is to learn to lean on someone new, to feed them as they feed you. If you are ever so lucky your stems may twist together as upward as you both entwine climbing forward towards that brilliant sun.
Nobody tells you the final steps of growing up, but I will.
You see eventually growth stops and all things die.
There is no solution, but I can offer you a suggestion.
Keep your leaves pointed out and your blossom open facing up. Soak in the beams of light and rays of solar beauty as long as you can and keep on growing until your last second on this earth.
Never ever settle for being full grown.
"Did You Notice?"
Have you ever noticed how the computer within your skull manages to store memory without any direct user input? But with so much stimulation and information constantly streaming through all five senses? Why do certain things stay while others don’t?
Someone I know once told me: human vision is nothing more than a series of images burned into the back of our eyes via light. It’s more like photographs and movie stills than anything else. So I wonder why my brain, different from yours, chooses to notice faces, places, and room arrangements. But I might know you for three years and still not be able to locate your car in the parking lot.
There are moments like words that pass as a breeze unnoticed. In one ear and right out the other. It’s like how our heart beats without being told to do so. Or how our lungs breathe, no thought necessary.
I noticed; in second grade as I walked across the sidewalk the sound of the wagon rattling on its rusty hinges. It was loud like cooking pans clanking together set to a perfect foot paced rhythm. This was the second time I had attempted to run away from home. I soon brought with me my best friend to move away, his little brother, my two years older sister, and a wagon which contained two or three cans of food and a freshly stolen birds nest containing three small pink baby birds because we wanted to raise them to be our loyal pets.
I led the way and we took turns pulling the wagon. It was a very hot summer day. We crossed two streets, we passed Pizza Hut and managed to reach the opposite corner of a busy intersection. We went down the street, passed the gas station, hair salon, and a generic electronics store. Shirts soaked in sweat we were thirsty but no one brought water. No one brought a can opener or even a tent. We got half way to the Dollar Tree before we gave up. We left the wagon at the first bus stop we saw. We walked home. Just like the first time I’d ever tried to run away from home, not a soul had noticed we’d gone missing.
I noticed; the uneven sidewalk, grass so dry in the hot summer sun it turned a sickly yellow, the fear of the others as we reached the first stop light, the feeling of a single bead of sweat as it races down my spine. I remember the baby birds; pink, blind, moving less, crying out less, dying as the sunlight beat down upon them, trapped in their own nest home, trapped within a strange loud metal wagon, trapped to die on the side of busy road before any human being might take notice.
I noticed; in fourth grade the taste of chocolate melting in the hot summer sun, the sweat of it mixing with the salt of my skin as I lick a muddy drip that had spilt on my hand. I was in fourth grade and I’d gone with my brother, bigger by ten years, to walk the dog. This was just after the school had called my mother, they were concerned, having noticed my increasing anti-social behavior. As we walked my brother talked to me about dealing with shyness. He told me most people are scared inside, he told me people will come and go so don’t worry what they think. He told me that the worst thing you could do in life is not try. He even gave me some conversation tips. Before I knew it we’d reached the gas station and this is where he bought me the chocolate bar. It melted as I walked home but I’d noticed then that melted chocolate tastes much better.
I noticed; the dog’s tail constantly moving, my brother telling me that drugs are dangerous because people lace things with rat poison all the time, and the distant tune of an ice cream truck, maybe a block away, hoping to catch someone’s notice.
I did not notice; the path we took during this walk, any particular place where the dog stopped to pee, or what buildings we had passed. And the chocolate had dripped all the way down the front of my shirt, that too went unnoticed.
Catacombs de Paris is an underground tunnel. It feels cold like a shady spot in a late summer morning. It is an absence of sun, not necessarily a presence of chill. It has a smooth and yet uneven rock floor with the occasional puddle of moisture.
Catacombs de Paris stretches out for miles. Both sides of the wall seem to be covered in little dots, little specks of off-white which create a sort of pointillism that maybe if not faded to varying hues of nothing may have once been beautiful. Everything inside there is a washed out completely. It’s a faded colorless land of death.
Catacombs de Paris is to this day the home of roughly six million dead human beings.
The walls are stacked with bones not so much as a library is stacked with books but more like how a log cabin contains logs. Human bones and skulls are arranged here in odd patterns that twist and bend and stack up to touch the low rock ceiling. And this goes on for some time.
It took from 1786 to 1788 to complete the Catacombs de Paris. Imagine handling and stacking six million people into neat little rows.
A young American girl enters the Catacombs de Paris alone. She waited in line, she paid for her ticket, and she went inside.
She looks into the bare eye sockets of a human skull and it is maybe a deeper connection than regular eye contact, or maybe she’s simply projecting her own thoughts, into a hallow empty head.
The dead bodies had been collected throughout the years long before they built the Catacombs themselves.
The American girl sees some examples of this. Glossy photographs preserved behind glass where dead human beings lie exposed, this ultimately necked all around as far as the eye can see. The photo shows a molting skeleton in a dress. What once had been a flowing gown now looks like doll's clothes on a sick stick puppet. Half slumped over the dead woman sits alone in a corner. Her mouth is hanging open. Was she singing or screaming, the girl wonders because it’s really quite hard to tell.
It was a tradition, they explain, that when a loved one died you kept them in this certain area and came back every so often to visit. They would change their clothes, do their hair, and leave them little gifts on a semi regular basis, that is, every so often.
In 1793 Philibert Aspairt, a doorman, got lost in the Catacombs. His body was found 11 years later.
For those who were left to sit out and rot like life-sized dress up dolls, it was only a matter of time.
Eventually somewhere between children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, we all end up forgotten.
After long enough time has passed with no visitors the skeleton is collected and taken apart.
The dead human beings are broken down and reassembled as something new within the sculpture that is the Catacombs de Paris.
There are graves dating from the 1800s in almost every city across America. Who visits these graves? For that matter, when was the last time you visited your great, great-Grandfathers grave?
In the Catacombs de Paris human bodies were pulled apart. Femurs, fibula, tibia, skull and ribs.
The average human bodies contains 214 bones. Now multiply that by six million.
The young American girl steps around the corner and she sees this immense wall before her flowing and curving like the waves of a lake. Dull in color yet full in shape it is an architecture made of human building blocks.
Human femurs, fibula, tibia are all weaved together in a tight masterful pattern. Skulls are all together looking out as one and leading the way to the focal point of this artwork, which is a single standing fountain. It is walking inside a beautiful sculpture. It is a room made out of dead human beings.
Human bones all mingled together. The people here have no individual identity. There is no black no white, no male or female, no upper or lower class, no shame no pride. There are no lonely forgotten graves or skeletons slumped and forgotten in corners. Here six million people work together as one in this artwork that is itself an expression of death. And yet it is as beautiful as life in all its simple glory and these six million people are still visited and marveled at by human eyes nearly every day.
The American girl takes a lungful of air and stands transfixed. She is thinking maybe Philibert Aspairt knew exactly what he was doing.
No separation between these stacked, sculpted, dried out six million. They are luckier than most of us. They, in the end, are never alone.
Kate E. Lore is a resident of Columbus, Ohio and a recent graduate of Ohio State University. Kate has been a paid freelance writer for several papers based out of Dayton, Ohio, has been featured in literary magazines for both fiction and nonfiction, and is active in the Columbus comics scene.
For more info, see KateELore.com!
"Come for a Walk"
"A Bird in the Bush"
The skull lies desolate
on the bare mountain side.
Just lies there among the rocks.
Lies still with a few accompanying bones.
Each day it decays as wind and rain weather it
and destroys its form and substance so that it wastes
away and fades into the landscape and decays.
If it had come to rest lower down the mountain
it would have sunk into the boggy peat moss
and risen with hair and hide intact with,
the cause of death discernible, with
its last meal of grass or rabbit
still there inside its stomach.
Preserved by nature.
Preserved or wasted.
It all depends on
I know that
nothing will be resolved,
there will be no solutions.
So I will make no resolutions,
not this year, not next.
I shall free myself
from the unresolved,
throw the past up in the air
and not bother to catch it
on the way down.
I’ll laugh as it fragments,
as it disintegrates,
as it falls about my feet.
I’ll kick it out of the way
as I resolve to move on
and leave the unresolved
"How Will I Know You"
How will I know you,
the man behind the mask.
I can recognize you
with the mask in place.
And sometimes it may slip and reveal ....
another layer, another mask, perhaps
masquerading as an unguarded comment
wearing stage clothes, even if naked.
You are in there somewhere.
But even though I peel off
layer after layer,
mystery after mystery
I still never find you.
Lynn White lives in North Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places, and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. Her poem 'A Rose For Gaza' was shortlisted for the Theatre Cloud 'War Poetry for Today' competition in 2014. This poem and many others have been widely published.
You can find more work by Lynn at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lynn-White-Poetry/1603675983213077?fref=ts and lynnwhitepoetry.blogspot.com!
Tremors all over my hands, air blowing on me by a fan
Help is out of reach, could hardly run on my feet
Knocked out of conscious, panic, panic, mazed by my fear, my biggest challenge
He's the unknown savagery of danger...
I listen to my alarming thoughts advising me to run, run faster
So, I put my fragile legs to action...
I quickly proceeded without question
I listened steady to my intuition with meticulous caution
Precautions, precautions, awaiting the ominous, it is now more than an hour
Face whiter than a snowman, might not make it to see the sun again
Logic is my armor, I aloof his traps, death rolling with honors
Physical encounters I continuously face from the individual's dire chase
"Contumacious of Plastic Tactics"
Calories strictly zero
Vegetables for dinner
Bodies like objects
Sex is our main subject
Love is then disregarded
A world full of sinners
Peer pressure is our new fever
A need to look slimmer
A desire to become a gold digger
Bodies like objects
Sex is our main subject
Love is then disregarded
A female mind is now weaker
A man stops wanting to be a keeper
A woman falls short in showing that she's equal
Seems like a woman's success is solely based on sex appeal
"Learning to Love Yourself"
Wishing my heart would stop soon
Picture imperfections, please no facial zoom
I get frustrated by your blessings by full moon
I never felt loved or appreciated, I was left with no clue
I desired a rosy day with you, but instead you left me in blues
I wish to alter my appearance to satisfy you
Boom, explosive, attractive for looking untrue
In my dreams all I see are goons like you
Telling me I am not enough, and I can't fit the club for there is no room
I can't quite tell the difference between them and you
I guess I'd figure to love myself before I completely bloom
Edianna Reyes Ovalle evokes vital emotions, knowledge, morals, truths, and values, through writing.
"What is a Voice?"
The sounds of people blaring their horns and screaming profanities at one another pierce my ears and shake my very core. I watch as a man and woman across the street fight one another for the single yellow taxi that reminded me of my little friends, the daffodils. As I sit at the edge of the park and stare at the synthetic grass spread out before me, a feeling befalls me, one I have never felt.
I feel sick.
A heavy nostalgia covers me as I think of a long ago time, surrounded by family and friends, the lot of us taking up acres beyond acres of green lush lands, where magic felt real, and the birds sang their afternoon songs, harmonizing with the cicadas, as the deer danced with one another to the soothing melody drifting throughout the woods. However, it is just myself now, all alone in this generic park.
I stretch my limbs as the glaring sun stares at me down from his place high in the sky.
He is so very rude.
Ah, days as this that feel so prolonged make me crave companionship, oh how I long for those that were forcibly taken from me, ripped right from their earthly home with such brutality, with their most fragile of parts exposed for all to see. And all for what? A slab of cement that now holds nothing but road ways, unused parking lots, or giant buildings that compete with the clouds themselves in order to reach the sky?
Oh how man has disappointed me so, I who had such hope for them. But I was wrong, so terribly wrong. After all we have sacrificed for them; the fruit of our womb, our bodies for their homes, and our very breath for their life. We gave and gave and continued to give until all was completely taken, and now we have nothing left.
Today is my birthday and I am two-thousand years old as of today and I have seen no greater destructions than that of man's. Today is my last day on my once beautiful home, as I watch the machines that took my brothers and sisters, my mother and father. They come closer and closer as they come to execute me and take me. Those evil, great machines. I still have flash backs when they first came for us, I can still hear the screams of my people, the cry of their agony, and the suffering in their eyes.
I am saddened by the fact that the daffodils will be taken with me, what sweet children they are, they are so frightened. I try to comfort them but they shake as the subtle breeze blows. I look towards the sky to say my goodbyes, and the sun, crestfallen, hides behind the clouds as they themselves comfort him, as they turn gray and begin to cry.
I am not ready.
I am not ready to stop seeing hundreds of love stories and life and all the good that is left in this world. I am not ready as they stop right in front of me with their great machines. I am not ready as they begin digging below me. I am not ready as they cut into my most fragile parts. I am not ready as they lift me. I am not ready as they cut my limbs off. I am not ready as they feed me to the machine that will grind me up into fine dust.
But my body is nothing more than a measly amount of paper.
Ja'ie comes from the small town of Hana, Maui. She has always had a passion for writing and found writing fiction stories to be something that allowed her to relax and express herself. She hopes you enjoy her story!
Memories: "A series composed of several black and white photographs. In these photographs, the memories of a summer love are shown. Each of the photos represents a different past moment in time. These photos are full of symbols. The protagonists of the story look blurred, representing the memories that with the passing of time are fading. Neat parts symbolize the pain that remains after the separation."
David Rodríguez is a 39 year-old, Spain-based photographer. From an early age, he had always been attracted to the art world, though his love for photography didn´t begin until 2013 -- the year he bought his first reflex camera. He then began to explore his attraction to art, training himself through several courses and also through self-teaching.
"I like to photograph people, I feel very comfortable doing portraits, but I always try to go a little further. That is the reason why I try to look for risky compositions, with a touch of surrealism. Works like those of Man Ray, Erwin Blumenfeld or Guy Bourdin inspire me immensely.
Each person inspires me with a different sensation, so before I do the shooting, I imagine how I would like to portray him or her. Then, I create a concept and imagine a story. I do not like to get attached to reality. Instead, I like to transform it, challenging the model with unusual situations. I play with the model, making each session a culture encounter, but also an enriching and surprising experience for both of us. The use of the photography techniques I use, whether high speed, long exposure or others, is determined by the conceptual preconception I had in mind."
You can find more of David's work on Instagram at @davidofficialclub!
“Rhubarb Bread n’ Butter Pudding: A Prosy Recipe”
My adventures in England
held a bushel full of
offbeat flavors to my previously
these blue-eyed blondes were onto
something different. One lady told me:
1. Sprinkle white sugar over a bowl of
sliced rhubarb & let sit for an hour--
let them glisten like salted, drying tuna steaks against
a fisher’s chopping board…
2. Use a ½ stick of butter to coat
your twelve crust-free bread slices, and smack them face-down
in lines of four in your buttered dish
3. Spread half the rhubarb across
the bread, sandwich them
with another face-down piece
and then once more again
4. Mix two cups cream (heavy),
one cup milk, four lightly beaten eggs,
1 tsp liquid vanilla, n’ ¾ cups sugar
and pour it onto your bread, dust with
more sugar and either pop it in the fridge or let sit for an hour
5. Then you bake at 350 for an hour, or until the top glimmers gold and crispy, accompany
with whipped cream
With recipes like prose
and simplified directions whispered
by person to another one
during a coffee or lunch date,
there’s no better time than
now to get spreading
A baking enthusiast who enjoys traveling, this writer appreciates the intimacy that food provides and loves the way recipes can be shared across various mediums.
Bandages: "I created this project thinking about all the social, sentimental, and even self-imposed professional bandages that prevent us of being ourselves. In some sense, we are masochists and we choose not to be free just for being what is expected from us, to please someone else."
Raquel is a curious, Tenerife-based English philologist and school teacher who is attracted to intimate scenes. She finds photography a peephole in discovering others and herself, feeling passion towards suggestive shapes, lights, shadows, and sense-stimulating bodies which invite us to imagine that intimacy we only let "our chosen" discover.
You can view more of her work on Instagram at @rachelghe and Facebook at www.facebook.com/raquel.garcia.Tenerife!
"Love Letter to my Mother"
My mother speaks to me in riddles.
this is how I’ve learnt to say
have you eaten? (1)
It’s cold outside (2)
She brings homemade dumplings
in Tupperware containers
when she visits me in Auckland
and cleans my room
when I tell her not to.
My mother reads Paul Auster and Chimamamanda Ngozi Adiche
fills her head with disillusionment and the diaspora
trauma and loss
but she tells me my room is looking messy
squints her eyes at my unmade bed over Skype
forwards me chain emails on the dangers of microwaved water.
I know, I tell her. I know.
She takes astronomy classes at night
I do not ask her why she stargazes
We go to a poetry reading on migrant women
I do not tell her
I remember her
crying on the plane to New Zealand
I do not tell her
I wrote sacrifice in my book
but I did not know where to begin.
1 I miss you
2 I love you
"Write about what you know"
They say write about what you know
as if I conceive of the world
as if when I look at you
I cannot calculate the proximity
in which you entered
the narrative arc of the
rise and fall
of my life.
My heart is a hurricane
and my body is a roar
emblazoned in flashing red
my father said,
your sister has abandoned all her senses
she is a gwai lo in love.
her promises of matching tattoos
earnest confessions -
I think she is the one,
my father says,
you are sensible.
How do I tell him
I won’t touch my pillow
because I know how it will smell?
how do I tell him
that when you said
it was only sex
I already knew?
Write about what you know:
I know how I felt
I know how you felt
I know that we felt
on opposite ends of the continuum
but my feelings
did not obey empirical fact
to its will
Knowledge is Power
Foucalt taught me that.
but Knowledge is nothing
if what I know
is what I feel
and what I feel
(Why is it wrong?)
"An Open Letter to the Unicef Guy; Thanks for the Guilt Trip"
An Open Letter to the Unicef Guy,
When you said, ‘if you donate today, the Vanuatuan children will grow up with enough money to live in New Zealand - and they’ll be looking up to you, their superheroes will be you,’ did you envision Vanuatuan children growing up thinking, I’m only here because of Tom; I owe it to him? You’re right; you have saved these children, and they will thank you for it later. You will be immortalized in their poor little souls - their achievements yours too, since remember, you were the one that brought them up from the ground, Sandra Bullock, the Blind Side style. Why did you think that the idea of myself, celebrated and loved by poor Vanuatuan children, would make me change my mind? This is what worries me - did that same skewed sense of validation motivate you to help the cause?
It felt like your spiel was as much about the Vanuatuan children as it was about you; how I could possibly stand here protesting $20 is too much as a broke uni student, when you are out there, volunteering for two years straight, completely broke now, (your words) but you had to do it for the children – pause, eyeballs me – the Vanuatuan children out there, breaking and bleeding while I have the audacity to hold on to a meagre $20. ‘Volunteer’ and ‘completely broke now’ are buzzwords for altruistic white people - African Americans helping out in their community don’t ‘volunteer’, yet John from Ivy League, helping the Poor Blacks in Mississippi during Spring Break, is; and you of course, the White Male Saviour at the helm of your Vanuatuan ship.
$20 is, as you said, putting aside $5 for your coffee every week. I appreciate the analogy, and the simplicity of the math, but there was some kind of anger in what you said - shaming me for my imaginary coffee, assuming that a naive, privileged girl will drink her trim soy flat white but won’t give to Unicef. There is a level of presumption in asking someone to donate for a far-fetched cause, because of course everyone is against poverty, rape, murder and violence, but it’s when you isolate it and package it into one minute scripted speech that people become wary and reserved. $20 doesn’t buy your conscience – not when you don’t know the context of the Vanuatuan children, or where the money is going – people need time, research, and proper engagement, not abstract contexts (starving children in Africa) imposed on them going about their everyday.
What you don’t seem to understand is that people help in many ways, and donating to an non-governmental organisation is one, but not the only, way. Instead, what you saw was a dying cause (me), so you had to say ‘A child dies every four seconds, that’s your choice,’ a final parting shot to leave me awake at night, thinking to myself, nice, Wen-Juenn, there goes another child – it’s all your fucking fault. What you said was a dirty tactic – in no way for the cause or for the children (how could you change the fact that a child dies every four seconds?) – but to lift yourself up, and to put me down.
That’s why you were uncomfortable when I said I researched for the Academy of New Zealand Literature because you had no idea what that was, and you had to make a joke about it, fake-pretending ‘Oh yeah...that Academy of New Zealand Literature.’ Ha ha, isn’t it funny that you don’t know this thing; doesn’t it feel emasculating? Instead of actually showing interest in what I did, you had to trivialise something you didn’t understand, conceal your discomfort into a thinly veiled imperative of ‘stop talking about things I don’t know about’. You were fine educating a girl about things, but you weren’t fine with her educating you. That’s what girls are taught at an early age - shape ourselves, mould ourselves, teach ourselves conversation that is non-confrontational, conversation that will soothe both parties; conversation where he talks, and we listen.
This is what happened: you saw a girl, a bit flustered, a lot late for work, and you wanted to teach her about Unicef, and the people who are suffering. But you also made someone else feel smaller. Would you have emotionally manipulated and belittled a girl the same way you did with one of the lads? Remember, emotional manipulation targeted at ‘nice girls’ (your words) will never achieve your aim - catcallers don’t get dates, and domineering charity workers don’t help children in Vanuatu.
I admire your resilience and passion to go out into the streets and even consider approaching grumpy humans on behalf of the poor and disadvantaged. I think it shows love, love and respect ultimately for humanity; but you are not entitled to haggle and harass people on the streets because you are helping Poor Kids in Africa. Please don’t speak for Vanuatuan children, they already don’t have a voice and they don’t need to spoken for especially by you. Once you start assuming that, you’ll become dangerously close to corrupting what can be a wonderful and selfless cause with your own, selfish gain.
@poetryinpink is an aspiring writer and poet living in New Zealand. She draws on her experiences as a Malaysian-Chinese woman to make sense of the world and people around her.