our educations by anna szilagyi
In second grade, Samantha told me
that babies come out of your butt,
and I said, “no, they come out of your vagina,”
because that’s what my mom had told me,
and she knew everything.
Samantha stayed firm in her stance.
I went home and asked my mother,
who assured me that yes,
I was right, and someday Samantha
would learn the same,
would learn her origin story,
not her origin myth,
and someday we
would not be reprimanded
for naming our bodies into existence.
When the period gossip started
about who “got it” and who “had it”
in the fifth grade, the mothers
clicked their tongues in sympathy
for the girls who carried pads
in hidden pockets to art
and library and gym,
and for the girls they created
the “no-spaghetti-straps” rule
because their breasts were too distracting
to a crowd of scrawny boys, still kids,
forgetting that we were all kids.
We whispered urban legends about the bridge
at our middle school and who did what there,
what kind of kissing or revealing
of private parts in what ways–
which we did not have names for,
and what words we had
we could not yet define.
We spoke of sex, and how it would
hurt for us, how we would bleed
from between our legs,
but in a different way than before,
how our bodies would not want
to welcome him, always “him.”
And what age it was okay to lose it,
and which couples were doing it,
and which stores had a self-checkout
so we could buy the condoms
we weren’t taught how to use,
and what to say if he wouldn’t use one.
Our educations took place in hallways
and locker rooms and basements,
or in the middle of a touch we hadn’t known
until then, only then did we learn.
This education we craved in R rated movies–
how lucky we were when the movie theater didn’t ID.
Our suburban universe never expands,
only closes in, and how close we all were
in summer classrooms and sweat,
and all we had said and done to each other
2 poems by jackie mlotek
head bobbing on the subway in the golden hour and i'm almost asleep, going to my parents house
and suddenly i smell a sugary sweet vanilla body spray and my eyes spring open
i'm in a dank unfinished basement, wearing an old bra with underwire poking my chest, in jeans too tight it hurts, sitting and leaning on a pillar with three of my old friends surrounding me
i drenched myself in this racist harijuku girl gwen stefani vanilla perfume throughout high school
watching boys play call of duty literally wanting to do anything else but not having anything else to do
drinking a 4 pack of cold shots to myself in 20 minutes and wandering around my friends house parties, bursting at the seams, the walls, my head, my stomach, my throat
I need to come to terms with ghosts
painfully and affectionately thinking about the horribly problematic person i was who thought i was straight and happy and still thought it was okay to call other girls sluts
i'm trying to be gentle with this version of myself as i am fond of her energy (if not only alcohol and guilt induced) and her spirit and her precociousness and earnest and open approach to the world
nostalgia is a liar and it’s toxic but i still love her
passing yorkdale station with cotton candy clouds and the 401 looking disgusting and angel olsen sweetly crooning in my ears, it feels bitter but also sickeningly
cw: trauma, indirect sexual violence mention
my nose crunches on impact and breaks
the smell of rubber, wood, floor, and that coloured tape on gym floors overwhelms me
and then rust
7 years old, bloody nose, in my school gym after gracefully catching a basketball with my face
my heart drops into my stomach and stops
the smell of sweat, blood, stale vodka breath
stubble, lapels, hard under my fingertips, and then rust
17 years old, bloody lips, in an all ages club
pain has a way of manifesting inside you, until a smell, touch, image appears to you and you’re there all over again when you’d give anything not to be
I don’t want to be told I’m resilient I don’t want to be told I have strong character
I don’t want to be told I’m better, a more mature person because of it because I’m not
I want to be soft without the tactile knowledge, soft without pains that stain everything
music by and an interview with tubafresh
casper connect by tubafresh
Cover Art by Aronow
Photo Credit, from left to right: Lindsay Slay, King Texas, Bruce Kung
1. First off, who are we speaking with? If there's one thing we need to know about you, what is it?
You're speaking to Chanell Crichlow from tubafresh. I guess one thing you should know is that I'm a leo so my birthday is coming up!
2. My music review vocabulary is limited, so I won't pretend I know what I'm talking about in terms of fancy lingo. What I can say is that your music moves me immensely and I feel at home in it. What sorts of feelings do you hope to invoke within your fans when they listen to your music?
Thank you so much! I hope that folks feel like they can explore themselves and their emotions especially with feelings that don't easily come out. Casper Connect is really about letting go of all these expectations and building pressure and just releasing it and moving on to focusing on you.
3. How personal is your creative process? What parts of it do you find yourself revisiting the most?
The process is extremely personal. I'm the kind of person that works well not pushing the music out, so mostly I spend my time experiencing and living and letting things come up when they want to. I think that just generally lies within my own eternal clock and when sadness or happiness or love comes over me or when I actually want to express it. Sometimes I'm writing songs of feelings or things that happened like 5 years ago or when I was a kid. I find myself mostly revisiting love, past relationships, being a black woman and a queer masculine of center woman growing up in a West Indian family. These all seem to be rotating themes in my life, ha!
4. What did you do yesterday? Did you enjoy it?
Dang, well yesterday I hung around the house with my sweetheart and watched Glow. A little bit later we wen to a cute place on Atlantic avenue in Brooklyn called Bijan's and then schelped out to Williamsburg to see the fireworks. I enjoyed everything but trying to find parking in Williamsburg. It was a good day.
5. We love the new single, "Casper Connect". Can you give our readers two pieces of insight about it?
When I wrote this song I was bottling up a lot of emotions and felt like I just had to get through the days, months before I can really make the time to get to them and work things out. It went through different forms and changed up to the very last minute and just all came together. I took a different approach with this song and played almost every instrument on the track besides drums and trumpet, it was really fun to do.
6. You wake up tomorrow and things are suddenly perfect. Describe the world around you.
Maxine Waters is president, my mom, my sweetheart and me are in Trinidad on the beach drinking rum and coke and eating crab and dumpling. Solange and Toro Y Moi share the same stage and I have tickets. No one's posting selfies and queer black people are everywhere I go.
7. What does the future hold for you, musically and/or otherwise?
I'll be putting out more music and visuals, and am excited about doing some collaborations with all kinds of artists as well.
8. Pick a prominent moment in your life that you're comfortable sharing with us (good, bad or seemingly insignificant). What happened? Are there any sensory details that have stuck with you? How does it influence you today?
My granny passed this spring. I think about her a lot...I think about not seeing her before she passed, how she raised me and so many others, how she loved so blindly and selflessly. She was a great woman and sometimes I call Trinidad and want to ask for her, surprised she hasn't answered the phone. It's a crazy feeling of loss and not really knowing how to deal with it and how to understand it. I'm tearing up right now. It's a reminder to see people, really see them and love them. Today, that simple action is way too hard for most of us to do.
9. What's the coolest thing about you?
The coolest thing about me? Hmm, well I love my culture and my people and I think we are dope and have so much beauty on so many levels. So I guess the answer would have to be, all of me.
trappists by allison emily lee
The world doesn’t end.
I carefully explain survival in nuclear winter
I cannot tell you the codes but the seed banks
are slowly emptying fields of wheat flattened by
dust roads sinking into the desiccated aquifers
the earth’s mass shrinks daily the elevator above
the desert grows and grows and grows
a silver ribbon that looks farther and farther away
as we climb the mesa scaling tombs dyed with
bloody handprints they too clawed against the
hardscrabble scorpion landscape dreaming of cool
black space worshipping an image of blue
marbled satellites circling a gentler sun gold
green soft our dry lips healed with water.
my girls illustrations by chiara zarmati
“I’m not only an illustrator but also a writer, so I love to start my drawings from a story. I mix drawings and stories to create new imagery and I like to mix memories of childhood with current experiences. For this, I often find myself drawing ambiances totally dreamlike and surreal. I want to create in my illustrations new worlds, new sensations. I like to work with geometric shapes, soft lines and I also love colors. I think they are an essential part of my illustrations - without these would not exist.
'My Girls'is the new project I'm making here in Berlin. It is constantly evolving and I feel that within these images there is a lot of the city that is welcoming me at this time. This is also a project for women, portraying the feminine beauty that falls in love, moves and grows with the surrounding environment. It tries to make explicit that the beauty of the female body can be both disarming and elegant (even with a few pounds more). With 'My Girls' I try to talk about all the female eyes that I meet every day, which help me to look at reality with a perspective I had not imagined."
Even through it’s snowing to beat hell, you welcome
the theatrics of a Full Snow moon, penumbral eclipse
and Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková.
Like spilled salt, walking under a ladder,
opening an umbrella indoors, comets
were once thought a bad omen. In fact,
Pliny the Elder linked the snowy dirtballs
to political unrest and death, catastrophes,
attacks by heavenly beings against terrestrial
inhabitants (like the canon of an old white GOP?),
general harbingers of doom, of world-altering change
No surprise that you return to the dystopian songs
of Margaret Atwood. Hers, the pending visit of a green
comet, its icy body weaving star dust in its coma and tail,
eccentric elliptical orbits, spherical cloud coverage,
an apparition visible to the naked eye, its form pointing
away from the Sun. Sometimes faint and unspectacular;
tonight, masked by cloud and flurry.
A cloud shaped like an ibis.
The most beautiful pinto horses I’ve seen,
conferring in a trio.
Silos looming with Stravinsky.
A Siamese kitten rolling in the shade.
A metal band playing across the river.
A house sinking into the riverbed
below a small law office.
Two foxes: one eager, one disdainful.
An old man in a black thong tanning on a side road
above the lake. I thought of him
when I looked at Lear.
Mount Shasta: imagine how it was formed.
Black Butte: imagine how it was formed.
The State of Jefferson.
A lilac farmhouse with cicadas.
The stars above an open theater.
Neon light beside the moon.
Imagine how all these things were formed.
fallen by jazmine ellington
broken dish cracks filled with soggy ashes not gold
fractured plaster crumbling coating possibility in bone dust
bleeding sanity mountain range lined stomach nerves made of bullet ants
screams erupting from wrist ankle and thigh vents
branches missing limbs gnarled patches dead the illusion of flowering
i am the tree that falls in the forest