in 2014 sally hansen replaced its beloved pacific blue with a shimmery doppelgänger
of the original to the consternation of nail polish fans on instagram and makeupalley
that year a girl said jewel tones
couldn’t be smoky like
queer uniform wasn’t an oxymoron
a devoted winter i wore cobalt
wondered why women trusted
beauty guides insisting
via goethe that most people
of colour are winters but transitional
seasons get fucked anyway
now i’m supposed to choose a name
in chinese like it’s middle school
whether in language class
or on a forum roleplay
remember habbo hotel giggling
a room of 13-year-olds pretending
they’re just one & a little older
a dyadic encounter
when cyber meant tweens’
in 2004 burger king launched subservientchicken.com an early viral marketing campaign
featuring text commands hyperlinking to clips of a person in garters and a chicken suit
obviously we typed in sex
got a wagging finger not thrills
later summer basement laughter
stifled unlike the spread
thigh under that first skirt
black & baby-goth despite august
truth is the only
frying we did was vocal
these words by Jenna Jarvis were inspired by the work of Miza Coplin
The place we were reared in was a safe place
but we spoke hard words. We ached for war.
As for me: I was baser than that—I claimed a cause.
A teen brushing their mouth
of consensus, awe and doubt.
We place demands in our prayers
as if we place ourselves in G-d’s path.
Off rhyme of my joy and FML.
An off rhyme—that’s all.
Our rubbish mounts within a big frame
we colour key to pride and shame.
We fasten to the architecture
like a file that’s been saved.
We’re sure that we’re saved.
Our heaven may be a small heaven
but come now—the gate’s ajar.
In time you forget you’re faking it.
Resign. Be calm.
Miza Coplin‘s Holy Hell inspired Jeff Blackman‘s rough parody of Randy Newman’s adaptation of Peter Gabriel’s “Big Time”
Alone in my room, my thoughts are dark
I live in a place where they hate me because my skin is dark.
Whoever says “smile and your misery will be history”
Is lying; the harder I smile the stronger it’s hurting me.
Knees to my chest, my soul crushing into pieces,
Sinking into darkness, happiness is all my heart misses.
Should I even write this; am I ever going to feel better?
I have long been digging from within, looking for a treasure.
Maybe I am not worth anything; should I even keep fighting?
All those thoughts and demons inside of my head.
I call for help, and no one hears me except those monsters under my bed.
I’m asking, to whoever can answer me, how can I survive when my mind is fading?
Those paintings inspire me, tell me there’s still beauty all around me.
I might be sick, who knows? I can only write when life’s hurting me.
Is it ironic to say that the only one who’s always been there for me is loneliness?
I have lived most of my life, lost, scared and confused; I feel better when I’m depressed.
This is what my mind is constantly repeating to itself.
It’s like one side is trying to find solutions, while the other’s killing itself.
I am not asking for much, only need somebody’s presence.
I’m tired of screaming, sitting in this blue room hearing only the echoes of silence.
these words by Jerry Corvil were inspired by the work of Nicolas V. Sanchez
It all began as a game of chess;
history always repeats itself.
We were all hoping for the same mess to be gone.
It’s no mystery that we are being tamed and depressed,
obsessed with the disbeliefs of becoming kings and queens.
Yet reality is so keen on having other plans for us to string together.
As seen before, we are another set of oppressed pawns
stuck with the beliefs of hearing a lord’s call.
Words are left unspoken as we have lost our will to sing;
vocal cords are suppressed as the hours continue to crawl.
This world is the rich man’s board,
with the poor men drawn and stressed against their choices.
Even after falling down the herd’s still willing to take back their voices,
to fill up the void caused by the reign’s vices,
as they believe it’ll only bring hope to the birds with broken wings.
these words by Stephan Enasni Sunz were inspired by the work of Nicolas V. Sanchez
At the open house held the day after the wedding
you did not recognize the bride until you asked
and your mother pointed her out to you.
Surrounded by wrapped gifts and ribbons,
she was wearing an elegant pant suit appropriate
for a garden party, but you were unimpressed:
you remembered the white gown of the day before,
the tiny pearlescent beads sewn all over its bodice
and the flowing skirts, the way the music swelled
around the fabric as she danced with her groom
and it made you understand something big
and important was happening to the bride
and you thought it must have something to do with
the fact she was beautiful. If I had a dress that pretty,
you said with all the wisdom of your five years,
I would wear it every day. Your mother laughed
and the anecdote became famous in the family
as you grew up. Truth is, you still feel this way,
sometimes. Your own white dress is sheathed
in plastic at the back of your closet and you worry
you will never again be as beautiful as you were that one day
you wore it. You worry it is important to be beautiful,
that there are so few ways for you to be seen in this world
because you were a girl and now you are a woman.
these words by Ruth Daniell were inspired by the work of Nicolas V. Sanchez
i could not see it
before needing a mother,
someone to reframe
no one else
will remember —
there will be days where
you fear your reflection
in that aisle
where they keep frozen food
all have his face
you will learn how to fold
your body in half
like a woman
roll down the strands
of your hair
your legs will not hold you
but you will
them by then
these words by jesslyn delia smith were inspired by the work of Nicolas V. Sanchez
The windshield wipers,
unable to keep up
with the onslaught of rain,
conduct the evening’s nocturne,
making the street
seem so soft.
they bleed, dissolve,
delicately struggle to keep the night alive
through the threat of approaching dreams.
But they persist,
twinkling like slight touches
on piano keys.
Each flat note an
intentional drip of the rain.
Filmy logos flash like traffic lights,
except they all feel like
Go, quickly now.
And yet I don’t.
I step out of my car,
leave the door wide open.
The streetlights cheer and brighten
as I walk into
a watercolour dream.
these words by Ivana Velickovic were inspired by the work of Lin Bao Ling
I am searching for Home.
I straddle between east and west and belonging has always been evasive.
I am an outsider here but I do not feel so, until they tell me.
It is the same sun that sets in Islamabad and rises in Toronto, isn’t it?
The same sun that kisses my skin but scorches the earth.
So I continue searching.
I have only found comfort in anonymity—
in the sense of security when no one knows my name.
It seems displacement has become a familiar feeling
an existential anxiety that only recognizes a feeling of Calm amongst utter chaos.
I have been searching for Home
and am beginning to realizing
I will only find it within me.
these words by Fiona Williams were inspired by the work of Lin Bao Ling
these words by Michelle Kelm were inspired by the work of Selina Vesely
I lay myself down in between you
You do not smell like home
Like they said you would.
You smell like old pine trees and the mud they root themselves in,
And I inhale again.
I begin to weep and you ask me why;
“You smell like land unconquered,” I say.
“You smell like a dream.”
these words by Nahomi Amberber were inspired by the work of Selina Vesely