June 8, 2017 § Leave a comment
from “A Crystal Collection of Crystal Gems,” by Cameron Calv
he set himself as being better than anyone else, thus he changed his own name to make him mr. universe instead of being greg demayo, his flaring ego must have shown its ugly face when he performed, he always said that his concerts were so popular and that Mom loved to watch him perform at his concerts he used to have anywhere from a couple to a whole group of people… the fans were few but high-quality but that’s only what he said it was all before I was born so how would I know, when he lights up and ignores the world he thinks back to his artistic days… it’s like I’m forgotten… yet all at the same time he cares for me more than anybody because there’s two sides to him and I’m not sure which one is really the real him… there are two versions of him, dad and mr. universe, and the first is the caring, loving guy who’s been taking care of me since Mom went away and is always worried about my adventures and the other is the him before I knew him… … he and Mom created this video and she spoke to me of how he’ll always be there and would never let anything hurt me but at the same time he sits back and lets me plunge head first into danger like his pride and ego won’t allow him stop me from going out… maybe he does care, perhaps he knows in his heart that he created the best me and the best me is the one who faces danger like it’s nothing… who is dad, I will never know for sure, but at the rate things are going I’m not sure if I want to because despite the split between two personas I feel like I fit somewhere right in the middle
(photograph by Cameron Calv)
June 8, 2017 § Leave a comment
By Gloria Choi
An arm around the waist and a little tug to bring you closer, you always try to escape the distance. Flashes of white light capturing our time together and sighs of adoration follow every step we take. I enjoy it all, this thing between us. You call it a game? A lie? Well babe, I never had so much fun. It took a while to persuade you to go to the café at the corner of the street; you hate being in the crowd. I see what I came for and my body moves automatically. Your hair glissades through my fingers and you heart pulsates through your neck; you gasp as I close the distance between us. I can feel the frown forming on your lips, the annoyance radiating off with your heat as I smirk into your skin. A continuous click of a shutter followed by a disappearing silhouette and I smirk as you shove me away. You’re running your slender fingers through your thick, inky hair and I search your constant mask of annoyance for telltale signs of what you’re thinking. Is that a chip of jadishness and a hint of melancholy I’m finding? The photographer pauses and lifts up an eyebrow, curiosity filling her eyes before she continues to shoot. I feel it too, the prominent lack of romantic chemistry between us.
June 8, 2017 § Leave a comment
Little Black Cabs
by Jonathan Bruce
The train was hot pulling into the station and I was sweaty. My mother hurried us out of the station to the streets bustling with activity. We hope in a little black cab, and I face towards the rear of the car, a novelty that makes me feel a little more at ease. My mother tells the cab driver our destination, asking to take the scenic route. The dusk of the night highlights all the buildings, making them seem as they do in movies brimming with majesty. My mother goes on about what we pass telling us her stories of her childhood and my grandfather’s. I ask him about it later and he just acknowledges he lived there and was too young to remember the bombings that sent him up North and I stop pressing the issue. We pass Big Ben and it looks fantastic, even more glorious that the 3D puzzle I built of it. I haven’t seen it since, but that memory remains.
June 3, 2017 § Leave a comment
Two Flash Fictions by Melissa Tapley
I think they call this “closet cosplay” because everything that makes up my costume are things I already had at home and it’s not even a costume really it’s just my clothes and my actual hair and the sneakers I wear everyday mom helped me make my own copy of The Quibbler by pasting a printed cover over an old book I didn’t think we’d see another Luna, so it was really cool… like looking into a mirror and seeing me as a grown up cosplayer by then I’ll be making my own costumes and buying all the stuffed animals and wands I like instead of just using my saved allowances maybe I should’ve tried a spell… ACCIO STUFFED ANIMALS!
dear seven-year-old self someday you’ll grow up and embody your favorite Saturday morning cartoon character surrounded by other people dressed as their favorite characters at a gathering celebrating geek culture with your trusty friend Starlight at your side maybe that sounds confusing but know this: just as Rainbow Brite replaced the gloom of the world with color and happiness you will help do the same as an adult part of that will be the explosion of enthusiasm and love for all things pop culture related this magical invention called The Internet will allow all of us creative, intelligent, empowered people to find one another and let our geek flags fly someday you will see the smiles and photos and enthusiasm you’ll receive when you light up a room with your cosplay and help make the world a bit less gloomy so hang in there kiddo and know that your “little wish in the moonlight” will come true!
(photographs by Melissa Tapley)
March 21, 2017 § Leave a comment
After Major Jackson’s “Metaphor”
by Zain Wahid
Me and my cousin
would dance in the rain
in the courtyard,
in front of our
Grandfather’s house during
summer thunderstorms, in the ’90s.
The dark, rumbling
clouds would send
and lay sheets of
cold rain, flushing away
the heat, and reinvigorating Islamabad.
It was worth it.
It was so worth it.
Getting scolded by our moms,
That we may catch
a cold, in nothing
but our underwear.
We had to.
We just had to.
Storms were sparse.
And this rain dance,
in the absence of playing
cricket, or riding bikes
We’d raise our arms
and look up.
Then look at each other.
Such happiness, such joy,
of our childhoods.
Never again did
I see him
as my cousin.
No, from then on,
he’s always been
March 13, 2017 § 1 Comment
the day he was assassinated, a Prague citizen painted on one white wall an image of John Lennon, a pacifist icon and “hero to the youth of Prague” (Prague.net). The wall stood opposite the French Embassy, including a niche that is reminiscent of a tombstone. Prague’s secret police quickly painted over the illegal Western symbol, but it was too late. What had once been an ordinary wall became a message board for gripes, grievances, and symbols of hope. In true Czech fashion, it was a quiet but powerful symbol of protest, persisting through coats upon coats of white paint, as applied by those in power (Lonely Planet, Geiling, Wikipedia).
ones interested in keeping the wall clean. The wall belongs to the Knights of Malta, a Catholic order dedicated to the Maltese Cross. Initially, they also attempted to keep the wall clear. They made several attempts to repaint the wall, but it continued to flourish, and eventually they allowed the space to remain. They even protect against cases of vandalism, having claimed a sort of guardianship for the wall (Lonely Planet, Chandler).
The morning of November 17th, 2014, the wall was white once again. In the dead of night, a group of student artists known as Pražská služba had cleared the years of color and left a blank wall adorned with the words “Wall is Over,” a reference to Yoko Ono and John Lennon’s 1971 song Happy X-Mas (War Is Over). It was a cause of shock for the city, and many were outraged at the apparent censorship. The artists, or as some considered them, vandals, released a statement explaining they were attempting to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution by “opening room for new messages of the current generation” (Chandler). The attention-grabbing attempt to ‘re-set’ the wall remained only hours before new drawings, messages, and names were penned and painted over the white (Geiling, Chandler).
Today, the Lennon wall continues to be a symbol of love and peace. Locals and tourists alike find themselves enraptured by the plethora of colors and messages, but the true beauty of the Lennon wall is its ability to stay “consistently new and current” (Looft). This is due in large part to its redecoration by wellwishers and activists. When the wall first began, it was for activists speaking out against Communism. In the years after, countless other groups and advocates have shown their support for the tragedies and revolutions around the world. In 2013, after the Boston Marathon bombings, messages of hope and support were added. In 2014, a Lennon-inspired wall composed of colorful sticky notes was created in Hong Kong, and supportive messages were added to the wall in Prague (Looft, Wikipedia, Chandler).
The Lennon wall is also important because it remains accessible to anyone and everyone. It does not sit in a museum, with security guards and a million-dollar price tag. Nor is it a temporary installation, created in chalk and wheeled away after six months. The wall is there to stay, and it is open to children’s drawings and professional poets’ words. It is a symbol of Prague as a whole- past and present. Beneath layers of paint, and so many attempts at destruction, it remains. Even after so many attempts to censor its message, still it grows back stronger each time. The Lennon Wall belongs wholly and inherently to the people, a gift from those who claimed it so many years ago (Looft).
Process Note: I looked back on an old paper I had written about the Lennon wall, and took some of the lines from that. For evidence that it is indeed, a real paper and not just a bunch of black lines with words I wanted thrown in, I’ve kept the original text just slightly visible. I also think that punctuation is really important in blackout poems, so I’ve found that blocking out where some prime periods and commas are can also be really, really helpful! –Molly Glynn
February 25, 2017 § Leave a comment
with me (response to XV)
by Donna Kwon
I’ve dreamt a world of glass and swears and whispers of I will and always, beside your smiles of glass and flint, eyes of ashes and embers. Your breaths come in pairs—in fours, in eights—and more smoke than any fire has the right to exhume. Mouthed words are swallowed up in flickers of burning. I don’t understand any of it.
These stoked kindles are as much mine as they are your, wisps of want you to see and want to see and tomorrow will not evoke the remembrance of humanity, all yours with little to show but sluggish fantasy and desire. I am the same as you, and yet we cannot match, our mingled sighs igniting and tasting of dying. Brittle wings of bone and thimbles crackle, wrap around svelte contours of your ribcage and press too deeply. Breathe and repeat. Ferocity lent for a single minute, and air blisters down a throat, escapes through shivers and winter flakes. The last snow lingers over my head
with you. It might as well be buried.
this is not my signed confession
because I am not in love with you.