cover art: web of branches by coco gamsey-boudier
They Spelled My Name Wrong
they spelled my name wrong - sarah senet
sonatina in g major - katje gibb-buursma
pearls and iron - oscar schiff
helltown - gus grinley
untitled - nick forbes
si tu me olvidas - spanish 3
untitled - leo wurgaft
unrequited - anonymous
midnight chaos - will draxler
walk through the mind - coco gamsey-boudier
identity - eldon peters
cave tHING - sam robbins
corridors - rachel friedman
untitled - maddie parr
the battle of the salamis - liz hoffman
learning dehumanization at starbucks - juliet corwin
revenge of the ducks - coco gamsey-boudier
untitled - malia
what the ants tell me - rhiannon campbell
crocus - coco gamsey-boudier
curled lines of your creation - ruby chase
tower - gus grinley
untitled - chanina kosovske
top of the mountain - paige lane
clearing my mind - katje gibb-buursma
I expected nothing but confusion from
Those people who still call me - a daughter.
We seem to have lost all sense of sanity?
Is it family? They spelled my name wrong.
The last time I checked, “she” was just a child
Trying not to drown - again - The last time I checked.
I cannot bear the smell of “her” perfume anymore,
They spelled my name wrong.
I walk the halls of my wasted time, wondering
If that daughter of theirs has a name.
I know I have a name, a name full of courage,
Courage that screams: “They spelled my name wrong”.
So when I lay my head there on the grass
And look at the purple lilacs that you brought,
I will say that my name is Lily
And so - Even you, spelled my name wrong.
Sonatina in G Major
Pearls and Iron
Si Tu Me Olvidas
I want you to know
You know what it is
If I look at the crystal moon, the red branch
Of the slow autumn in my window,
If I touch close to the fire the impalpable ash
Or the wrinkled body of the fire wood
It all takes me to you, as if everything that is,
Smells, light, steel, were small boats sailing
Towards your islands awaiting me.
Little by little, if you stop loving me
I will stop loving you, little by little.
If suddenly you forget me do not search for me,
I will have already forgotten you.
If you think about it long and hard
The wind of flags that passes for my life
And you decide to cast me by the wayside
Of your heart in which I have roots,
Know that one that day,
At that time I will raise my arms
And I will tear up my roots and search for other ground.
But if each day, each hour you feel
That you are my destiny
With impeccable sweetness
If every day rises a flower up to your lips
Searching for me
My love, oh my
Inside of me is an eternal flame
Nothing inside of me will ever forget,
My love is being nurtured by your love, my dear,
As long as you live passion will flow in your arms
Never leaving mine.
Time. Never enough. It dances on your fingertips till it seemingly slips through. Stars. They paint your sky and the reflection in your eyes takes my breath away. For a second the clock stops. Entranced by the beauty of stars and childish wonder. No machine, nor drug, could ever replicate it. And so no man nor machine could ever hear the shatter of a heart when it realizes those eyes and stars will never love them.
There were dogs on the street. Many. They wore jewelry of pearls and iron. The sanctuary was a place of wonder. Was it where the dogs got their decorations or just a safe place to sleep? Giant butterflies fluttered across the grass as the dogs ate like kings and queens under the gemstone trees. In the city lived humans. The humans were farmers and scholars and lived at the city’s edge. Every night food appeared in the center of the sanctuary. The food was a feast of meat prepared in many different manners.
I smell death an older dog thought. And indeed he did. Another dog sniffed the air and her eyes darkened. Blood.
Vultures circled through the sky, hungrily watching a dying feast. A few dogs went to see what was happening but came only upon a tall red brick wall. The wall was miles high and surrounded the sanctuary. The dogs walked for hours in the sun until they came across a huge metal gate. The bars on the gate were close together, and most dogs could not fit through it. All the dogs tried but only the smallest could fit. The tiny dog squeezed through to the world on the other side.
There were tall sandstone buildings with stained glass windows. The brick street was overgrown with lemongrass. A short, black-masked spirit stood in a small, walled mushroom patch for a moment to watch the dog and walked toward him, holding out its bony hand. The dog barked but the spirit inched closer still. The dog was about to run, but suddenly the spirit pulled a small piece of salted meat from its pocket. The dog walked up cautiously and began to eat the meat. The short spirit threw more meat down. It ran to a small house and went down a spiral staircase.
The stairs went down, down, down to lava-lit caverns with a titanium forge. A massive, old, pig-like creature sat at the forge. Its posture was human-like, and it drank a dull, yellow liquid from a bottle, as wide as a redwood tree. He had tusks of pearly ivory and had golden piercings at their bases. The short spirit shouted something to the pig beast in an old tongue and threw a shining coin into a huge red basket. The basket tilted and dumped the coins into a pit of flames and melted metal. The pig beast laughed as melted iron flew from a pipe, and into a pot. The pig beast looked through its metal molds on its belt like a prison warden looking through his keys. It found a small mold and scooped the metal into the mold and onto a towering anvil. It hammered the mold and drenched it in a bucket of murky water. It took the mold to the anvil and opened the small mold. Steam hissed and rose as he pulled the shaped metal out. The pig beast carved a word into the worked metal with a long needle. It pierced through the metal and put a loop of metal through the hole. The beast wrapped the metal tag in brown paper and tied it with a string. It then threw the wrappings into the short spirit’s grasp as it boomed a farewell.
The short spirit hurried up the stairs, and to the mushroom patch, outside the house. The dog laid on the ground, panting lightly. The short spirit pulled a leather strap out of its belt and put the tag on it. It pulled the collar around the dog's neck. The tag read Zarag. The dog stood, and the short spirit pushed it back to the ground. Zarag leaped up and ran down the street.
A tall, wispy soul stood at its fruit stand, and it watched Zarag intently. The short spirit scrambled after Zarag, grasping for the fleeing dog’s tail. Spirits popped out of side streets and followed Zarag. Who turned sharply, and came to a thick metal wall. The dog realized there was a pipe beneath the wall, and began to crawl through it. The spirits and souls all stopped at the wall. They could not pass.
Zarag emerged into a nice town of candle-lit windows and people of knowledge. A man cried out from the street. He was old and sick. The city was sick. It wasn’t safe to venture back to the sanctuary anymore. There was death in the outlands of the city. It could be smelled and felt. The man on the street poured water into a wooden bowl for the tired dog. Zarag didn’t want to trust the man, but he smelled kind. Zarag snuggled up to the old man and drank the water. The water was cold, like fresh ice from a winter lake.
The man’s family was gone. They had fled the plague, and he was alone, but now they were companions and they were no longer lost.
It’s like sand to me
Warm and shifting
Cold stone in the
Always have fit my curves
It’s like radio waves to me
In my ears and the air
Tuned to my eyes
Saved like static on my lips
Always cry when you sing like that
It’s like the sun to me
When I can’t see you
Moonbeams are just sunlight
In a mirror
Always have loved clouds like me
It’s like lemons to me
Bright and sour
Laugh, weep at the same time
Sensing you is beautiful
Always feel like I’m alive with you
It’s like rain to me
Drink and makeup
My hair looks nice wet
Always realer than a dream with you
It’s like champagne to me
Can’t not smile
Inebriating and perfect
Sleeping and waking with bubbles
Always could never sum you up
It’s like a bed to me
Only as dark as the windows
Holds me in every season
Always could be buried in you
It’s like Demeter to me
Birds and butterflies
Always feels like spring with you
A Walk Through the Mind
Down the winding path that takes big twists and turns,
Past math facts and scientific graphs,
Through English and art, history too,
A wall of memories of stuff we once knew,
Picked up by a wild tornado of creativity,
Thrown off the path into a sea.
A sea of humor, laughter, and love,
With a great big storm brewing above,
A storm of anxiety, anger, and secrecy,
Anger like an explosion of sugarless frosting,
When the storm passes and the skies of the mind begin to clear,
Joy and happiness start to appear.
The path keeps going on forever,
Through the mind, an expanding universe.
wandering is the
cool pain of a finger
dragged over crudely
assembled filing cabinets
almost as if
the makers were too rushed to
they ran off, perhaps
footsteps echo ominously
we will soon be joined, my love,
by the very thing
that scared off the old us
as we tried
to store away our recollections,
files shoved in messily, as if we did not know
run, now, faster.
jagged edges catching
blood running too
race against time?
yes, love, but also
the recesses of the mind
the documents that
did not quite
make it inside those labeled folders
sprung out at our insolent invitation
and, farewell, as alas,
solace is disturbed
Hello. I am Athene Palas, but some of you might know me better as Athena ‘The Protector of All,’ or ‘The Goddess of Wisdom and War.’ In my opinion, those names are too showy… true, but showy. Anyway, this is the story of how I not only earned those titles but also how I earned my father’s respect…
You see, it was such a long time ago, and I was so, so young and naive back then; to be honest, I am constantly thinking if it was even really that good of an idea to… you’ll see later. Anyway, back to the story.
The year was 491 B.C.E., twelve years before the big battle, The Battle of Salamis, and I was seventeen years old at the time. Even though my father and I, Zeus, were very close, when I told him that I wanted to be more than some school teacher in a pale palatinate purple preppy peplos, and that I wanted to use my totally incredible wits in battle, he told me off, saying, “Athene! You can not go into battle! You’re just some little girl, so delicate, and fragile. You don’t want to ruin your reputation and beauty by going into some profession with grimy, smelly men, now do you?”
‘Fragile?!’ I am anything but fragile! Ugh! Just writing it makes me cringe, hearing his sickeningly sweet voice in my head! Who is he to tell me that I can’t live out my dream, and become a warrior? No one, that’s who! No one! Sorry, I tend to get a little sidetracked when talking about him. Anyway, as you can imagine. I despise it when people qualify me as being in some way, shape, or form, less than, or delusional, or girly, or-or-or, I don’t even know what!!! So, I bet that you can figure out the rest! When he said that to me, I totally flipped out and ran away… a total princess move, but a necessary one.
By that time, I was traveling for days upon days, waiting for him to send someone out to deliver me an apology clay tablet or something. Now, you might be wondering why I ran away in the first place. Well, here are some (in my opinion) really good reasons:
1: I needed to get away from all of the stuck-up royalty folk (wwwaaaaaayyyyy too many different kinds of togas, people! You only need two! One for praying, and the other for everyday work! Not fifteen!!!! Human folk these days, am I right, or am I right?).
2: I was sick and tired of my father being overprotective and patronizing towards me... He really needs to know that I am my own person! For all he knows (or even cares), I could be changing history!
3: I needed to prove him wrong, and show him that I (or any girl for that matter) could be just as good a warrior as any other man! There goes the saying; “Girls rule and can do other things besides being a puppet, boys drool, and should take on the job of a girl every once in a while!”
I was in the middle of the woods, and even though it was the very beginning of the day (I think…), the trees had a bit of a black-out curtain kind of vibe, so the little light that got through them was drowned out, and tinted a dark emerald green.
She approaches, thickly accented words filming her lips. Fearful wide eyes slapped by his sighing annoyance. Sneer in a pout, tolerance my naive expectation. He refuses to interpret until she does it for him. He reads the typed out letters on her phone, nods his impatience. ‘See what I have to deal with’ flashes from his loud eyes to his friend. We are deaf and yet we hear what they don’t say, my strangled epiphany.
Every day we construct paradises within nightmares. We unearth the humor from beneath layers upon layers of season old leaves and misplaced treasures.
We convince ourselves that the stars smell like lilacs
and that the moon sings them lullabies each morning.
And we do it not by forcing smiles to spread across our tear stained cheeks, but, rather, by opening our eyes to the tiny adventures that surround us.
When we feel the walls closing in around us, we race across the hills just outside our windows. We dip our bloody and time-worn toes into water as cold as ice, and welcome the stinging that bathes the greying landscape surrounding us in light, golden and green.
Heartbeats later, when we find ourselves falling off cliffs, wishing for the walls once so terrifying to return, we find clarity in the smaller wonders. We reach for pebbles to peek under and tree roots to hang from. We find dinosaurs in the clouds and befriend the ants that walk across our arms.
And it doesn’t really matter that the ants don’t talk back, or that the cold is not as comforting as we imagine it to be, because, just for a moment, our minds have written their own fairy tales and invited us to wander among them.
And so, each day I remind myself to close my eyes, or perhaps open them a little wider. Forget the lines that I have forced myself to draw between dreams and reality - laugh with the spiders and leap across the rocks scattered along the river bank, because there is no harm in imagining.
It was actually kind of peaceful, hearing all of the little birds with their melodic songs, and the smell of the damp earth since the sun didn't shine bright enough to dry up the ground since the last rainfall… mmmm (that was me remembering that moment, and smells, and all of the battles I’ve partaken in, and cutting people into shreds… good times)... Despite all of that, I had absolutely no way to navigate at all.
Unlike those modern-day, digital navigational devices those teenagers use, with way too many buttons, all I had was common sense and my very, VERY vague sense of the woods. I was walking around in circles for quite a long time, and not only was I starting to name each leaf that I walked by, but I was also definitely, completely, and utterly lost. I wanted to continue my journey, but I was so down on my spirits, that all I wanted to do was sit on an unusually sharp rock, with my head resting on my fist for hours and hours (specific, I know, but totally worth it when I get to the next part… you’ll see *sly smile*...), and hours, and hours, and hours, and hours… that is, until, in the distance, I saw the one and only Minotaur! Yeah, yeah, I know, I know… you’re probably asking something like “Wait, Athena! Didn’t Theseus kill the Minotaur??” or something along those lines. But noooooo! Spoiler alert! I did!
Anyway, back to past me…
I’ll remind you, I was totally scared out of my wits (which actually doesn’t take that much… I mean it is kind of really ironic since not only am I, like, the smartest goddess (not to brag… *coy smile*), and I’m also the goddess of war and battle… weird, I know…), being face to face with not only one of the most powerful and strong, but also the most terrifying creature to roam this planet. Mind you, I had absolutely no armor whatsoever. That means no greaves, no linothorax, no shield, no sword, no nothin’.
You’d never want to know what it looked like, but, since I am here, I might as well tell you: it looks like a science experiment on a brown french water dog gone wrong… and by wrong, I mean one hundred and fifty times bigger, insanely nose-hair-or-any-hair-rotting-out breath, always dirty, smelling like it’s last victim, yellow eyes, red pupils, and extremely long, yellow fingernails. So, by now, I knew that I had to use the materials around me. I picked up a long, sturdy stick, a sharp rock, as well as grabbing some vines from a nearby grape farm (no, this is not one of those miracles you see in the movies, I actually battled the Minotaur in a grape farm… out of any place on this flat planet, why, WHY did it have to be on some weirdo’s grape farm? It was green grapes too! The absolute worst kind of grape!) and tied the rock to the stick, to make a dagger.
I tried to battle the grotesque animal (if that’s even what you’d call it), but it was extremely strong, and I was making little damage with my tiny, ancient-looking, homemade dagger.
That’s when I remembered something from one of the tablets that I snuck out of my father’s study; “Even though the Minitour is thought to be undefeatable, there is one major weak spot on this ghastly being; the tip of its nose. Since it is mostly blind, by disabling its sense of smell, it won’t be able to sense where you are.”
It was totally revolutionary! I jumped up onto the rock that I was previously sitting on and bounced up to a nearby branch. From there I scrambled up to the top of the tree as best I could, but it was almost too late. By that time, the Minitour had spotted my scent and was stampeding towards me.
Now was my chance.
Right at the perfect moment, I leaped up onto the creature’s disgusting back to disorient it. It started to flail around and around, arms flying all over the place, yellowed claws trying to scratch me into shreds, or trying to squash me into a bloody pancake (you never know with those meat-heads).
I started to get dizzy, so I seized the moment!
I crawled to the bridge of its nose, a fairly easy job since its skin was rather tough and scraggly, then I shimmied down to the slippery, dog-nose tip, and stabbed it!
It started screaming like one of those purple and black banshees (which, trust me, is a sound you should never listen to. They are pro screamers, since their main profession is deafening people, and/or signaling Sirens to start their singing, a rather nice noise after a deafening screech.) as I jumped off of its brown, fly-bitten, crusty, dusty back, and back into the tree.
Since it couldn’t smell where I was, I took advantage of the moment (again), climbed back up into the tree (SAY WHAT?!), so I could climb back up the Minitour and started hacking away at the grotesque, matted-down fur, so I could get to its heart. It took a lot of painstaking work, but somehow, I got there.
I grabbed my dagger from inside my dress (Ewww (to the dress)!!!), and sliced it (it as in the Minitour) open. It screamed again, and I could smell its breath; rotting humans. The trees shook, and I clung on for dear life, focusing on not falling to my doom.
I got control of the dagger, threw it at the now open wound, and heard as it punctured right through the heart, and out the other side of the creature.
The Minitour clawed at the spot I just ripped open, trying to get me off, and to somehow (I don’t know how) heal itself (stupid Minitour), but that only made it much, much worse.
By the end of the afternoon, the Minitour was dead, and I was a hero. Sometime during my defeat of the animal, people had gathered around, trying to get a better look at what was going on, without getting killed themselves, of course.
I was splattered from head to toe with the oozing grey blood, and I reeked too, but they didn’t care. They lifted me up, up, up, and I was soaring through the sky!
People continued to gather, continuing to lift me into the air, and a little while later, we crossed a bridge of boats that led to an island. An island that I would later discover, was called Salamis.
The people dropped me from their hands and directed me to the nearest river to clean off. I stepped in and tested out the reflective waters to see how cold they were when I heard someone scream.
The kind of scream where it makes your blood curdle, and your face go as white as the clouds.
I jumped out, and luckily, the canal was also used as a washing river, so I didn’t need to go too far to get myself a peplos to wear (What?! I am a modest person!).
Anyway, I bolted into town, and people started to swarm around me, yelling “Help! They’re attacking! They’re attacking!”
You asked me once if you could draw a face on my wall in permanent marker
I said ‘yes, of course’
Not doubting the permanent element of your ask
I laid trust in your loyal hands
I said ‘whenever I will look at the face you drew I will find comfort knowing you are in my life’
Her beautiful tied up hair
And light skin
Created a drawing that would stare at me with
Its curled lines of hair and eyes
She drew it fast with no effort
And as the marker stayed on the wall
In one swift movement
Was printed in the room I sleep at night
Now that face stares looking into me
Emotions turned into
Not experienced until now
Claustrophobic in your paint
Claustrophobic in your letters of
The Love you said
You felt for me
The Unexplainable Love we shared for each other
Claustrophobic in your colors that make up
That One Large Rose
The yellow and white flowers down my wall
That hour long mural you painted on my door and told me ‘do not look until I am done’
I plan to paint it all white
Maybe I can be in my room without the
Painted walls closing in on me
With the Love I hold reminding me
Of the Love you took away
I admit, I am
Scared to get rid of whatever you that is left
But ready to get out of all that is closing me in
Because whatever our future is
Will never be what it used to be
Because the Love you painted then
Looks faint to me now
Years past were the time,
of cover-ups and falsifying
of vital information,
of profits, flowing in
as oil does to the sea,
Of ignorance, blissful,
Of farmland, forests no longer,
Of one single gunshot
as the Lion falls.
These shortened days are the time,
of the fire
Consuming our homes,
For the storms that
flood our streets,
Like wells of pent up rage
that burst out from inside us.
For all of life.
That Future is the time,
When all nations work together
when beautiful crystalline glaciers will not avalanche,
when we won’t be squashed like flies,
packed in like the sardines we harvest,
as the sea slowly rises to
Take back what is theirs.
Incomplete is what she diagnoses me with, a fatal flaw disguised under layers of rebellion. She didn’t bother to consider
the stranger standing between two roads
even though their words are insidious.
Not a single path was taken, nor will it
because these decisions mean conformity
a death to those who try it.
My questions turned to dust as she waved her hand away. “Never mind that” she said, looking me dead in the eyes, perhaps searching for my weaknesses.
But alas, to no avail. There is nothing hidden behind the curtain,
I️ do not know how to properly bend my words in a pleasing form.
For they are rough, not just around the edges but in the center, close to your heart. The bones that define me are not defining at all, they do not scream to be categorized, even after you ask me
“Who are you?”
Years of frustration would not allow the details to come to the surface
You may ask me who I️ am to which I️ say
“A work in progress”
The Battle of Salamis
Learning Dehumanization at Starbucks
Revenge of the Ducks
What the Ants Tell Me
Curled Lines of Your Creation
Top of the Mountain
Clearing My Mind
Katje Wren Gibb-Buursma
Clearing my mind,
Like when there’s a cloudless sky,
A fresh canvas to write on.
Clearing my mind,
Like pushing all the magnets
On the refrigerator to the sides,
A fresh canvas to write on.
Clearing my mind
Requires pushing away all other thoughts.
To create a fresh canvas to form new thoughts.
But the real way to clear my mind is
To pay attention to my thoughts.
Is to grab one,
Think on it.
It will dissolve.
Grab the next one,
Soon all thoughts will be gone
And I will have a fresh canvas.
Clearing my mind
Is no simple task,
Like trying to dissolve rain clouds
On a stormy day.
But, once you dissolve each one,
The clouds clear away
Leaving a clear blue sky,
A fresh canvas.