On Advertising and Chips: “Crusading”

lumen_by_loish-d8zmpov

“Crusading”

word by Jacob Goldberg

colour by Loish 

Elias’ bag of chips had gone missing. He was walking around the classroom searching for his bag of chips. He brandished his lunch box at Mr. Epplin, telling him that they were there this morning. He asked Mr. Epplin where they had gone. Meanwhile Mr. Epplin hadn’t even asked him a question. He had been standing at the chalkboard writing the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. And he looked to everyone to be terribly confused, like someone who had just been told that in fact Santa did exist. Elias didn’t care. He wanted to know where was his bag of chips. LAYS. Bag made of 70% reusable goods. The bag doesn’t mention where the last 30% came from. Elias speculates that it came from non-reusable goods. This is what Mr. Epplin calls an educated guess. 

Several minutes had elapsed since class began but this class seemed to be a lost cause. Of course, it could be have been recovered, had Mr. Epplin had ambitions to resume. But he didn’t. Mr. Epplin was looking for Elias’ chips. In fact, everyone was. Elias had corralled all of his classmates and his teacher into searching for his chips.

Elias asked every one of his classmates to empty their bags on their desks. He asked them to examine their belongings for his chips. He told them that they might have forgotten what you put in their bags. Sometimes, Elias said, he could overhear Mom whisper to Dad at Olive Garden that she’d forgotten something and now there was in issue underneath the table. This issue was her period. But dad would find a tampon in her purse. Elias said that the moral of the story was that you sometimes forget what you put in your bag. 

Mr. Epplin totally understood what Elias was getting at. He exclaimed to the class that he would be their father and inspect their bags for them. One girl, Eve, wondered whether this proclamation was grounds for terminating Mr. Epplin’s career as a teacher, but God intervened. He said to her, “Your namesake ate the apple: Don’t be the second Eve to fuck it up.” She wasn’t sure how to take this advice.  

When Ms. Chu, the biology teacher, appeared at the door with her students, Mr. Epplin, frisking Joseph, told her that he could arrest her if he wanted. He removed a pair of handcuffs from his breast-pocket and said don’t test me.   

Elias had removed the axe from the In-Case-Of-Emergency box and began to hack at the room’s infrastructure. One student had removed a wok from his backpack, another dry ice. Several students in the room were smoking cigarettes. Ms. Chu asked a student for one. The student said no. Ms. Chu and Mr. Epplin were holding hands. There was much excitement. Yes. Yes yes yes.

With the floorboards uprooted, the desks overturned, the windows kristallnachted, and the wallpaper peeled, Elias sadly decided that his chips were not in the room.

The next step was to set off the fire alarm. Elias’ thinking was: chips are denser than water, so they’ll sink in the rising water. Yes, Ms. Chu, the science teacher agreed. They emerged from the classroom, all attached to toddler leash.

The day would end soon, and Elias would go home hungry and chipless. All of Wilmington High would soon be on the Crusade for the Chips. Here, there is separateness in the togetherness, loneliness in the community. This crowd grows, and they are not alone, warding day and death away. 

word by Jacob Goldberg

“I was thinking about what it means to be a member of a group, to be driven by an idea, buying stuff, and how advertising can compel us to do things.  The girl in the picture seems like she could inspire such a crowd.”

see more colour by Loish 

We love to point out shadows in the dark / But do we illuminate the monsters?

Print

“Illuminated Monsters”

word by Sean Hogan

colour by Giordani Poloni

More philosopher than centerfold,

She stops and stares at men who don’t care,

Beneath breasts beats more than fool’s gold,

Still, eyes linger where they wish she’d bare,

 

Fit to raise our youth and clean,

To buy and cook the food we eat,

Never heard and seldom seen,

Her labored fruits made bitter sweet,

 

The sliding scale of value froze

Needle pausing under half

Youthful beauty no longer shows

Her age screwed up the math.

 

At forty-five she “wastes away”,

Unmarried, unfortunate maid,

A gringo sitcom worn cliché,

To live, you must get paid,

 

She is only one example

One in all the many forms

A gender bent and trampled

Weathered leather in the storm

 

If a woman’s words fall on deaf ears,

Did they emerge or make a sound?

Do they possess so much to fear,

To keep the cycle spinning round?

 

Over half the population,

Trapped in shades of subjugation,

In every continent and nation,

In fear of pain, of death, invasion,

 

Is it not enough their body’s not their own,

That we wear and tear their very souls?

Teach girls to fear being alone,

To never take direct routes home?

 

We love to point out shadows in the dark,

But do we illuminate the monsters?

Trembling fingers hold no spark,

Steady hands, both shame and flaunt her

word by Sean Hogan

colour by Giordani Poloni

no excuse for stillness

Waiting190

Trace the effort that it takes not to see us; this is the work of disappearing. Let your flesh be erased into the skin of the walls you pass, feel the weight in your heels as they touch the ground before us: prostrate. This is our altar, rest-stop, bedroom, front porch on a Tuesday afternoon.
 
What will you do with your hands? 
 
Wish you had pockets? A cigarette? Something to bite into.
 
My spine grinds softly into the wall but it won’t make a mark. These surfaces don’t have the give to take the impressions of my body; I know. My legs have held the same bend for hours, and to shift weight would suggest movement, but there is nowhere I need to be today.
 
Not looking is also a choice: Keep your chin steady, level with the chest and with the slope of the sidewalk, your stride has suddenly widened – did you notice? Hold your breath, I am not sorry; wait for the reward, the prize of making it four steps further until you can relax, release your mind.
 
Does it hurt (to look)? 
 
Why are you afraid?  
 
I appear idle in spaces designed for movement. I won’t be ordering any pizza or beer or pulling keys from my bag to enter the stairwell or slipping cellphone into pocket or leaning against the doorjamb waiting for someone who should be here any minute or gripping the end of the leash while the dog takes a piss. I am here without an acceptable excuse for stillness.
 
My belly is swollen with indigestion and my hair slicks back at the nape of the neck. Chips of paint fall into my eyes, and you: your mouth tastes of chalk; your feet are light, but the burden is heavy. The sky is falling in streaks of blank nothingness and your apathy is numbness you use as armour. It is wiping us out and away from one another. It is killing you. What you cannot see does not disappear; it festers untended and intentionally forgotten, I take on your sickness. I am not the exception: with this strategy, everyone will be left behind.

word by Alisha Mascarenhas

colour by Brett Amory

From the author: “I needed to write this in response to my own complicity in the stigmatization of homelessness, both visible and intentionally erased. I wanted to address the violence of looking away, which I relate to and am sickened by. The posturing of the man passing on the sidewalk stirred a particular kind of anger, invoking fragments of a larger struggle with how to navigate interactions with people I meet in the street; chance encounters, moments of confrontation and real as well as perceived threats.”