On Male Entitlement: “Water”

SW 2

In the southern suburbs of Manhattan you’ll find these immense water towers. They hover above the rest of the city, providing high-pressure to showers and sinks across the Island with water that, allegedly, contains high levels of estrogen, but as anyone on the North Shore will tell you, there’s a filter for that.

It’s winter; one of those nights the snow is frozen solid to the ground and darkness spreads across the city at 4pm. We’re all inside Murphy’s—the place you find yourself when you get out of work late and you’re too tired to stay in The City. It’s a full house tonight; there’s this Guthrie-esque musician, he’s playing something John Mayer and we sway either because it’s nostalgic or from too much mulled wine.

Sylvie and I are plotting the matriarchy when Ben approaches. He’s tall, got this shaggy yellow hair and the forming of a goatee. He takes a seat, Budweiser in hand.

“How’s life treating ya, gals?” It’s been two years. He’s aged but in a sad way.

“What have you been up to?” I ask him.

“Been working lights at Rosie’s.”

“Any good shows this season?”

He scoffed. “Oklahoma again.”

“Cheers to that,” we drain our glasses together, old times, and Sylvie goes to the bar for another round. Ben turns to me, tilting his head in her direction.

“Damn, is she seeing anyone?” I can’t help but smile.

“Yeah, we’re together.” Beat. He snaps his head towards me.

“What? Like, you two?”


“Is that even…possible?”

“It sure is.”

He considers it, takes a swig. “I could be into that, I guess.”

No one fucking asked you, Ben.

Sylvie comes back with two beers. I wrap my arm around her waist to make my point. Ben can’t decide if he’s disgusted or turned on.

“Whose place are we going to?” He asks. Sylvie shrugs. It’s like this: they always feel entitled to a space in your bed.


These words by Annie Rubin were inspired by the colour of Sarah Williams 


On Homophobia and Masculinity: “Shame”


We were the kind of drunk you can’t really get once you’re adult, once you have a job and pay rent. The kind of drunk only teenagers can achieve. Delirious to the sound of our own nonsense, K and I staggered back towards Jayne’s mum’s garage.

Pat and Jayne peeled away ahead of us. Their hazy dark shadows disappeared into the distance as we trailed behind.


       I fucking love you, K said to me with a smile- he laughed, his attention pulled away.

You too, bro… you’re obviously way more wasted than me,

Screw you-u-u


His last words struck with a hiccup, face turned up into a snarl. He shoved me hard just below the collar bone; unbalanced, I fell back.
What are you doing?


Don’t fucking laugh at m-m-e-e


Another shove to balance broken syllables, his face drove in close to mine.


What the fuck are you guys doing?


K’s older brother strode over – I hadn’t seen him until now – his presence shifted K’s attitude.


       Together, we poured into the garage. Weathered carpet cuts laid from wall to wall. Rushed graffiti and blinking fairy lights and a cheap cylindrical fold-out bed. Wasn’t much but it was enough to be ours. The only place we could smoke in ease and there was something in that.

The lights blew and K’s brother and Jayne seemed to be fucking each other; always Pat and Jayne. The music wasn’t as loud as their drunkness calculated.


What the fuck was that about before? I whispered to K.


I stared fiercely into the pitch black.


I love you


We were best friends. He had always been a better brother than any of mine had been. He and his dad only had each other, so I was always around. It just worked.


Stop fucking around

Is that wrong?


I staggered out into a wall; my head was spinning; I staggered out into the dark.


I didn’t talk to him. Years. When he came out I still didn’t talk to him. He never called. He could not be a real man. I was the last of our high school friends to reach out to him. Everyone knew I was last. He never answered. They stopped texting me- but I was a man. I am a man. I am a man.


word by Sam Fresco

colour by Fintan Magee

Born in Lismore NSW, Fintan Magee moved to Brisbane as a child and began drawing shortly after. In his early teens he was exposed to Brisbane’s graffiti culture and began painting on walls.

Moving away from traditional graffiti in recent years, his large-scale murals often inhabit the isolated, abandoned and broken corners of the city. Mixing surreal and figurative imagery his paintings are deeply integrated with the urban environment and explore themes of waste, consumption, loss and transition and contain a sentimentality and softness influenced by children’s books.

He has traveled extensively completing projects in Sydney, Melbourne, London, Vienna, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Bogota, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Moscow, New York, Oslo and Dublin amongst others. His diligence, technical skill and progressive approach to painting have solidified his reputation as one of the leading figures in Australia’s Street Art and Contemporary Mural movements.

On Masculinity: “Her lipstick”


Content Warning: misogyny, violence

“She looks like a whore,” I say, covering my mouth with my hand in case the lady can read lips. I lean back against the wall, hiding my unlit cig behind me.

“It’s her lipstick,” says Danny. “Nobody’s wife wears that colour lipstick. It makes her mouth look like a pussy.”

Danny pulls a cig out of his pocket and lights it right there in front of the lady sitting in the car. He doesn’t care who sees him. Danny takes another cig out of his pocket and hands it to Albert, who’s sitting on the curb. Albert is my little brother. He’s in a school for kids who are slow because he doesn’t know how to read. Danny hands Albert his naked lady zippo and Albert lights up, just like Danny.

Albert holds the zippo out to me, looking at me like I’m a pussy.

The alley behind the gas station is where we always come to smoke. Danny steals cigs from the bag his dad keeps in the freezer. We come here because there’s never anyone here, but today there was the lady in the car. She’s just sitting in the passenger seat staring out the side window. I’ve never smoked in front of someone older than me before.
“She doesn’t give a shit, Thomas,” Danny says. He says it like he doesn’t want me to embarrass him. He waves at the lady but she doesn’t move; she just keeps staring, looking past us at the wall, maybe even past the wall.

“I know,” I say. I take the zippo from Albert but I leave the cig behind my back. Danny’s zippo has a hula dancer on it and when you flick the cap open her head comes off. Mine just has my grandad’s initials on it.

“She looks kinda like Ms. Glover,” Danny says. “Ms. Glover was a babe. Remember last year when she left school and Mr. Plummer got arrested?”

Everyone remembers when Ms. Glover left school. The lady in the car does look like Ms. Glover, except for the lipstick.

I take the cig out from behind my back and flick off the hula girl’s head. I run it along my jeans and it lights the first time. When I was 10 like Albert, I thought you were supposed to swallow the smoke and I’d cough every time, but I’m better at it now. I was scared of sea monsters and boogeymen; I was scared of the dark. Now that I’m 12, I’m not afraid of anything.

Albert flicks his cig out into the alley. “She’s trying not to cry,” he says.

word by Leah Mol

colour by Luis Sipion

From the author: “Youth is a time of naked tribalism, a time when language and behaviours stand as shibboleths. In this story, boys are pretending to be men in order to fit in, but they believe part of being a man is oppressing others. Thomas doesn’t want the lady to see him use the word whore, but he also doesn’t understand the weight that word carries with it. Danny brings up Ms. Glover and hints at the reason she left school, but they don’t explore the importance of that.

This story is about fear and reactions to fear. Fears of children vs. fears of adults. Fears of women vs. fears of men. Fears of imagined monsters, of not fitting in, of getting caught somewhere you shouldn’t be. And fears of the very real monsters that make people cry every day.”