A reminder: your fate is permeable


The only time I ever took a pregnancy test I was eighteen years old and living with my boyfriend in a stranger’s apartment in Prague. We spent the days wandering and the nights drinking quietly, not knowing what or how to cook.


I curl into the kitchen windowsill smoking what might be my last cigarette, and silently contemplate this bleak fate. He slouches on the bed twirling the butterfly knife bought that afternoon despite my un-nuanced anti-violence politics. Or maybe I just couldn’t support violence for the sake of masculine amusement.


The kitchen table is draped in pink blossoming polyester flowers and the fridge is mostly empty. I swallow, and clutch to the unfinished sketches of my life, slipping. It is a small kitchen, badly lit and the night sky drops away from my body.


On a walk with mother, she told me that having children doesn’t necessarily equate to happiness. They did a study, she told me. On happiness. Together we unravelled the assumed inevitability that one day, you’ll see, it will just happen. Bam. Motherhood. And eventually you’ll even learn to like it.


Still I shrink away from the word, hold close and fast to the solitude, the silence, the ability to switch apartments seven times in four years.


Even without the study, her words sucked me out of the story. At least far enough away to bring it into focus. Socialization never amounted to fate in any mystical sense of the word. My anatomy does not presume that I was made for this, and mothering, just like any other job, must be knowingly consented to.


There I was: eighteen, tender and bitter with my un-nuanced anti-violence politics, licking childhood wounds and refusing fate. That small pink bar. I taped it to the wall along with the blossoming table cloth.


word by Alisha Mascarenhas 

“I thought about all of the babies in strollers I’ve walked past this week, and about the persistent disjuncture that often presents itself between what we need and what we are told that we need. I thought of how socialization of femininity is made real through direct transmission from those who impress upon our minds most legibly, and how necessary that there are alternative narratives offered to us in these moments. I thought of the economics behind the inevitability of motherhood, and the threatening possibilities that can surface when what appears fated is pulled apart, set aside and seen through.”

colour by Fannie Gadouas

“I am an interdisciplinary artist working with photography, fiber arts and performance. My work explores issues pertaining to feminine, identity and experience. By re-appropriating various traditional imagery, techniques and rituals, I question and challenge the way gendered identity is constructed, inherited and perceived in western society. Textiles is, and has traditionally been associated with the feminine realm. Critically engaging with techniques such as weaving, knitting and embroidery allows me to subvert and question my own role as both woman and artist. In this sense, my practice as a whole becomes a performance in which the process holds more relevance than the resulting objects. Informed and greatly influenced by feminist theory, the work I produce is a critical response to the social structure of western society.”

On Memory: “A Kind of Red”

Josh - Marina Gonzaleseme

There was a point, close to the edge of my memory, when all my stories started sounding the same, rehearsed; a point when I found myself clicking on the same websites every day, brain rotting, literally rotting in my skull; a point where rage and riot and raucousness were replaced by routine. I’m vitriolic in the face of routine.

I can’t help but feel like I used to be a much more interesting person. And this feeling, it’s pulling me apart. I can’t even tell youwhen I was more interesting – I just was. I can’t tell you what it was.

I’ve often wondered what might happen to my record collection if I were to up and disappear, what’s left of me no more than a puff of smoke carried towards the horizon on a westerly wind. Most of my stuff is just that, stuff…but my records? That’s me, man. If there’s one interesting thing about me, it’s my record collection. 

Faces on album covers, track lists, liner notes, mix tapes, Motown, delta blues, the Clash (original U.K. pressings only, fuck those American re-releases) and Abbey Road and the more obscure stuff, The Gun Club and Captain Beefheart all blur together to form a comprehensive understanding of an individual. My autobiography. The legacy of a puff of smoke. A subject for future study.

Even just talking about this, I can feel an uneasy frustration settle so deep it’s sticking to my bones. I am entirely unable to glue the interesting bits of myself back together. I’m grinding my teeth as I drop the needle on the turntable. Miles Davis, Kind of Blue. It’s funny, because I feel red. 

word by Josh Elyea

From the author: “Perhaps more than ever, I find myself being pulled in multiple directions. I’m often disparate, distracted and unfocused in the face of constant stimulation (from a wide variety of sources and mediums). When I saw this piece, it spoke to that feeling in me, the idea of being pulled apart and never quite being put back together, of lusting after some evanescent sense of fulfillment that may or may not lie right around the corner. It was quite a visceral reaction, and it left me wondering if others experiences this sense of deconstruction as well, this feeling of not being whole.” 

colour by Marina Gonzalez Eme 

On Body Image and Norms

untitled“The little skeleton girl”

She was born without flesh.

It was just one of those things that happened sometimes: there was nothing anyone could have done about it and it was a blessing that it hadn’t been worse.

Her mother sat her down the day before the first day of school, tickled each vertebra in her back and said, “You have a spine.”

She knocked her knee caps and said, “You have good, strong legs.”

She stroked the underside of the girl’s flappy, yappy jaw and said, “You have a mouth, and a heart and a brain. You’ll be just fine.”

The little girl was late to school because a small, straw-y twig got stuck in her rib cage and it tripped her up. All the other kids knew each other already.

The girl had a crush on someone. She asked him to be her boyfriend. He held out his hand in her face and she didn’t know what it meant so she grabbed it with her bony claws and kissed it with her lips that weren’t lips. She felt something go from his palm to her mouth and it dodged past her vigilant tongue and slithered down, down, down into her stomach where it sat like a thumbtack in an airless balloon. He had shoved a tiny stone into her mouth to see if it would break her bones and though it was the most that anyone had ever hurt her, she did not cry but rather looked at the boy with a look of understanding that said that she saw that it was the worst thing he would ever do and that it would haunt him always and be the last thing he thought of before he fell asleep for a long time. Maybe it hadn’t been true before , but that look scared him so much that after it, the boy never did do anything worse, even when he was a man and there were many things he could have done.

The little skeleton girl, though, was pretty much done with the world after that, and she retreated to her room, where she wrote very very sad poems that hardly anyone understood. She did that for nearly the rest of her life.

word by Charlotte Joyce Kidd

colour by Andy Rofles

taking control of the layers


Dissension oozed thick, coloured with every shade of emotion; everyone could see that she was loosing form. The angles and contours of her performance were obscured – all precision to the approach had been abandoned. All that was left was a covering-over of that which was covered-over. Her sharp words now muffled and barely audible over the noise of what could be clearly seen as an implosion come undone.

I closed my eyes and put my fingers to my temples and awaited the barrier of silence I had built in my mind to be shattered by the sound of her cries. As her father I had become accustomed to reading the signs and positioning myself to be at the ready should she need me. I primped and prepped and practiced alongside her, but once she stepped out on that stage she was entirely on her own. And here she was, melting into a puddle of pastel-coloured mess, centre-stage, harsh lights ablaze. I sensed amusement on the lips of those around me, and full-bellied brawling laughter was just moments away. I sensed the horror on the faces of the four perfectly coiffed has-beens who spent their every weekend judging the misguided proclivities of young girls whose burgeoning self-worth would be inextricably tied to their looks.

I prepared myself for the unwonted stares, pitiful glances and murmurs of judgment but instead as I made my way towards the stage I found an impressive showing of ingenuity. In what appeared to be the beginning stages of a meltdown, profuse dissension had resolved itself into abundant honesty, a truth so pure that it lacked its typical bite.

Inside the dingy low-budget hotel conference room, in front of pageant parents, child contestants and jaded judges, Noelle begun to confidently rip long pieces of fabric off her dress, and stick them into the spaces between her still first set of teeth. She took the heels of her palms and expertly smeared eye make-up down her face. She ripped her tights, undid her hair and ran around the stage fully committed to portraying the mythical creature in her favourite bedtime tale. In one beautiful act of childhood defiance, Noelle played and pretended, sang and cooed, delivering gibberish prose with Shakespearian gravitas. Laughter escaped the tightly pursed and botoxed lips of the former beauty queen judges and childhood chatter echoed off the walls and lurid drapes.

I was once beyond resentful of spending my every other weekend with the insipid pageant folks, practicing routines and applying fake lashes, but that was all that I could get, so I took it. And Noelle was a wonder on that stage, consistently low-scoring but persistent. And after years of attempted conformity an apparent meltdown unleashed a cacophony of colour and sound, my beautiful girl.

word by Cora-Lee Conway

colour by Zutto

From the author: “A thick, sweet, melt like a human ice cream cone; I kept thinking about the upside to a meltdown… Perhaps also inspired by my location as I write this sitting on the beach in Cuba, melting in the best way.”





It’s winter and it is snowing pastel. Réal is selling the magazine again, in front of the pharmacy. He is a camelot in French. It means he stands on the corner and holds out a periodical to passers-by. In this digital age, one would expect a mobile app to do the job – but Réal is ubiquitous to me every day, in every weather.

His permanent frown had led me to assume he was a grumpy guy. My dad would have said Réal just didn’t flex his smile-muscle. I had just moved to the area where he was assigned, and he had quickly become a landmark to avoid. Crossing over to the southern sidewalk, dodging his broody stare, I would wonder if he was trying to repel us.

Us, one-time customers, potential long-term subscribers, do we get a smile?

I might have irreversibly fallen for the comfortable trimmings of preprogrammed greetings: into barista prickly welcome, fake customer service friendliness, miscalculated voicemail inflections. All I had to do was talk to him, and his forested eyes lit his nested face, teeth standing strong like elder mountains, uncovered by a dissipating set of clouds.

I had to question Réal about his salesmanship. We had broken down our assumptions, flooded the gutter with cigarette breaks and all apprehensions of human contact had melted away with the season. Had he ever tried to vary his approach? Tried talking to people directly? I wanted to ask him, in a medical way, would he try smiling?

I said, Réal, how can you get more people to buy your magazine?

He gets fifty percent commission – the rest goes to support persons without homes. Increasing the clientele helps people in need. I wanted to feel that I could help Réal help customers help the magazine help the homeless.

He said he had tried many approaches, but the way he was doing it right now was the way that worked best for him. It just wasn’t him otherwise.

His frown was his unique selling point and I was someone who had fallen for it.

It is nice that flowers come right after snow. You would expect the castaway autumn leaves to leap back onto their branches, like a rewound tape, so as not to startle the scenery. Like an old hand-drawn cartoon, autumn colors swirling in reverse, smudging circles into the background. But spring here comes like an overdue vagabond, and Réal is a perce-neige in French. It’s Flower for “snowdrop”. But instead of insinuating gravity, perce-neige pushes its stem through the ice asking for the sun.

word by Hoda Adra

colour by Sam Rowe

From the author: “This foot goes naked every other second. It made me think of how someone could find themselves bare from one day to the next, how the cycle of homelessness can be brought upon by a single striking event. Conversely, the shoe appearing reminded me of the resilience I’ve witnessed, from support networks and individuals that work within and through issues of homelessness and displacement.”

caught us drifting


Well they caught us drifting through the fingers of trees, wandering in seamless departure from the essence of things. We withdrew and abandoned the impulse to document; to fix what is most fleeting; to brighten the darkest hollows of the mind.

An inhale the sound of a gasp:  to impress upon the skin of a page, we took the impulse of the full moon, drawn up from between the folds and foliage of the mind to smear the light of dawn, the pastels of dusk, refusing to lose the immediate pleasure of the tactile.

To make a mark, gesture upwards, scratch the ceiling of what is possible: We are unbound by flurries of furious distraction to grasp the instrument of our making.

Write it down. Make a joyful stain: etch what is unknown and unknowable until it hits the steady surface. We will not be impeded by what presses bustling against our shoulders and hips, urging us forward, faster, into action without a moment’s pause to ask ourselves, “Is this what we wanted? How many hours remain?”

We settled for hustling, propelled by the urgency of thoughtless expectation, unawake to the voices wailing at us from within our bellies, to create: to return life with life. We died every night in a stupor, tracing well tread neuropathways that brought us comfort and apathy. 

And they shook us at our core and said,

Hello! I am love with you! You are unbearably beautiful and you have so much more to give!

They asked us to document and fix what is most fleeting so that we never lost the tactile. They told us to seek light and a higher plane. They taught us never to settle. They said smear the light of dawn with your mouth, wake up and loosen the binds of your muscles to the bones and burn the sap that adheres to what is familiar. None of this is what you think, and everything you say will be used against you. Dark laughter is a censor that shows us what we hate in ourselves.

They told us to shed what is stale, reach gasping for all that is holy and alive in us.

Listen, they are whispering: know that the depths of the tides move in you as well. Bring them forth in offerance and in the most tender humility, children: you are holy and you are the dawn and you are so much more than this. We love you, and we are also trapped. Slowly, gently unbinding. 

word by Alisha Mascarenhas

colour by Sam Rowe

From the author: “I wrote this in a process of learning to persistently refuse the censors we are surrounded with: the pressures of productivity, the insistent draw to external stimulation that pulls us from our deepest selves, the infiltration of a busy world into the sacred realm of the mind. I wanted to honour the vital creative process, to respond to the struggle of validating this work despite all that tells us it is unimportant. And I wanted also to somehow draw light to those special beings, visible and invisible, who/that compel us to continue and show us the power of our own potential.”



Ellen was at the warehouse party where red, green and white lights pierced the stale air. Where the bass carved out all grains of thought. Where the quiet girl in the small mask had offered a line of coke with nothing more than a simple nudge.

On the side she tapped out a neat slug from a small silver capsule. Chopped from bigger clump to small clump with a driving license. Ellen remembered staring into the eyes of the girl on the ID card, the sideways face rapidly elevated before being slammed back down into the spongy white.

Mesmerized Ellen drifted to the tapping face.  Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap – it drew her in… she drifted back to her own ID, to her younger self, to her first time ‘tapping’. It was about six years ago, she had been 19 and still in college. In Lucas’s room before the night out, she could feel the pulsing vibe of the pre-drinks still seeping under his bedroom door. Lucas had drawn out a small baggie and smiled.

‘Want some?’ he’d asked, and Ellen froze– she should have thought of this decision before this moment.

I shouldn’t. But why shouldn’t I? They do it in the movies all the fucking time. From rap stars to rock stars, porn stars to gangsters.

The whole damn world was shoveling this idyllic feel-good fun stuff so why shouldn’t she?

She leaned down, held a finger to her left nostril and inhaled sharply – feeling the shards of Hollywood race through her veins until nesting itself in that little nook under the front of the skull. A sigh of relief, followed by a sigh of high serenity.

“Fuck yeah,” chuckled Lucas, holding out his hand for the rolled up bank note off her. Copying Lucas from earlier, Ellen slid her thumb and forefinger along the rim of the card and licked it; she felt like a million bucks.

The memory of looking down at the card drew her back to the warehouse party. The girl was still staring with titled head in leering anticipation.

“This stuff,” jabbed Ellen, “it’s fucking pixie shit, no market cutting bullshit.”

“You have to tell me how you get this.”

The silent girl looked directly into Ellen’s eyes and titled her head awkwardly. She looked somewhere on the spectrum just after alert and before petrified. Slowly she stretched out the crumpled note in her left hand. Ellen took it and read, albeit somewhat confused by the peculiar request, and went to ask the girl who had disappeared from sight. She hadn’t said answered her question.

Leaving the party, she her feet falling in step, one after the other, leading the way to Regent’s Park, just as the note had said.

What the fuck am I doing

Ellen began to take her shoes off and step into the water. The long grass was nodding; the human intervention had caused a large ripple disrupting the otherwise peaceful surface.

What exactly is supposed to happen now? What the fuck was she expecting?

The water began to tremble.

word by Sam Fresco

colour by Young Wavey

From the author: “One of my best friends has just moved to Tokyo. I caught up with him recently on FaceTime and he told me about their New Years Eve procession which gets the whole city to dress up as foxes and march from shrine to shrine. Legend has it that on New Year’s Eve, foxes gathered from across Japan under a large tree and disguised themselves in human costume to visit the Oji Inari-jinja Shrine.

I researched and found that Kitsune (狐) is the Japanese word for fox. Stories depict them as intelligent beings and as possessing magical abilities that increase with their age and wisdom. According to Yōkai folklore, all foxes have the ability to shape shift into women. 

Amongst the spaghetti of stories I discovered, two things jumped out at me that I found utterly fascinating;

1 That some folktales speak of Kitsune employing this ability to trick others—as foxes in folklore often do—other stories portray them as faithful guardians, friends, lovers, and wives.

2 – Tales distinguish Kitsune gifts from Kitsune payments. If a Kitsune offers a payment or reward that includes money or material wealth, part or all of the sum will consist of old paper, leaves, twigs, stones, or similar valueless items under a magical illusion.True Kitsune gifts are usually intangibles, such as protection, knowledge, or long life.

So in modern society what really is material wealth? And where would a Fox find a woman to ‘take over?’ If so, under what illusion?”

no excuse for stillness


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.”

otters holding hands


Towards the horizon, a yacht crawls across sand. It’s a trip to watch – a massive silhouette against a Nevada furnace. A rhythm, something dancy and electronic, thumps in the distance. The beat hadn’t changed in six hours. This is what it means to be a DJ in the 21st century, he thinks… toss on the laptop and let that record spin, baby! He would’ve hated it if he wasn’t so stoned. What’s so great about the fucking desert? Some of these mammoth sculptures were awe-inspiring, sure – they were standing inside some sort of terrific wicker palace, after all – but it didn’t resonate with him the way he wanted it to.

“Why bother building it if you’re just going to burn it down?”

“If you don’t get it, there’s no point explaining it – you’ve got to dig it to dig it, ya dig?”

“But I don’t dig it. I don’t. It’s like sure, you want to forgo the material limitations forced upon us by a capitalist consumer society. I get that. I can dig the idea of transient art. I’ve read Kerouac… the here and now? I dig that. But this… just seems like a whole lot of work, doesn’t it? I think radical self-reliance goes out the window with the yachts, man.”

“You’re missing the point.”

“Maybe Burning Man shenanigans are falling victim to the systemic trappings they’re trying to undo: maybe this all started as an escalation of the Haight mentality, the sitting-around-the-campfire-smoking-a-joint-and-singing-kumbaya hippie dippie shit of the sixties, but it’s gone beyond that. We’ve hit a point of market inflation, and it begs the question…have we managed to bottle bohemia?”

“Wasn’t that a Thrills album?”

“Irrelevant and immaterial, your honour. Move to strike.”

“Let’s say you’re right and all of this is becoming a commodity. Let’s say this spectacular monolith, designed and constructed with the sole purpose of being burnt the fuck down, sent back to the scorched earth from whence, has been co-opted by the man. A commodity being something that can be sold…who benefits?”

“The lumber mill?”


“Acid dealer?”

“Don’t ask a serious question and then fuck about when I offer you a legitimate rebut. What you have is a gathering of like-minded people who want nothing more than to come together, celebrate radical inclusion and maybe draw attention to the fact that the world we live in isn’t the best version of itself it could be, you know? There are alternatives. What’s more wholesome than that?

“Otters holding hands while they sleep so they don’t drift apart.”

“There’s a point in every conversation where you stop being a cynic and you start being an asshole.”

“It’s a matter of serious consideration. Those otters are cute, man.”

“And consider it I will. I’m not worried, though. I was skeptical too, at first. But the flames will wash all of that away. At dawn, when all that’s left are ashes, it’ll be hard to be cynical. You’ll see.”

word by Josh Elyea

colour by Arne Quinze

The Death of Chivalry


I remember the earth. I remember when oceans were blue, and you could buy a woman dinner without having to split the bill. I remember before water ran black, when you could roam the streets at night, gazing at stars. I remember the end of the world. You’ve been told it collapsed with the nuclear reactor, those companies, that kitten, but I remember that it died with chivalry. I remember objectively, and I understood the fall completely: What was the point of living if it wasn’t to protect something? The earth had protected us with oxygen, gravity, and water for thousands of years, just as we had protected our women, keeping them safe like delicate flowers. We understood that women were strong, and deserved our respect, these tough, delicate flow- hold on that’s contradictory let me try again: In a time of text messages and technology, we had strayed so far from what was natural: The wind and water the earth had given us; lessons our ancestors had shared with us, those morals that told us what was true, untainted, passed down by our fathers to us from a time when things made sense: A man did what a man did, came home to dinner, kept real problems to himself and the bartender, or shot himself in the face: Things were working: Women acted like women, and everything worked perfectly, in the past: “Dating” a woman meant what it really should: To protect and provide for them, these strong, delicate flowers, being delicate but really strong and intellige- Sorry okay confusing I know last try: Things made sense. People today: walking into newspaper stands because of texting, finding ‘love’ in the club: They’ve lost touch with purity, as our oceans did. I’m not sure how much to blame each person- the system is a big thing that trains everyone to act, sure- but we were the only generation who acted free of the system, with independent ideas. Everything was better when lines didn’t overlap, and you didn’t need to understand how it worked: Your wife looked up to you, and you didn’t ask why. You could knock some sense into a kid, because they needed discipline. You were there to protect your woman from the evils of the world, because they needed protection. Sometimes, for example, you bought her dinner. Ask me if she ever paid for dinner. The answer is no: Men were strong, rational protectors, and so we didn’t need someone to pay for us. The world was together, controlled and pure. You really got to know someone in dinner dates, where you paid, and brought the prepared version of yourself, saying things you had seen on TV or that people had told you, your father, mother, teachers, friends, things that you didn’t understand but it didn’t matter. You avoided awkward conversations on who you were, and how you felt, because the point of talking to people was to make them feel comfortable. You saved those times for when you were really intoxicated. And now- look at what we’ve done. I remember the earth. I remember a time before we tried to convince people that women were our equals- I mean how do you protect someone who is your equal- how do you show power, and buy them dinner? I remember a time before the death of chivalry, when we lived on planet motherfucking earth.* 

words by Liam Lachance

This is satirical. 

colour by Diego Panuela