New poetry from Oumy Dembele, “MEIOSIS”

evelyn bencicova_druhe3

“Home is not where you live but where they understand you.”

-Christian Morgenstern

in Europe I’m too African
in Africa I’m too European
and in Canada I’m too French
I’m done.

How many years
have I lost
in a camouflage?
Trying to eclipse one side of myself
just to be told
that the other one is wrong?

I’m so stupid.
Self-love? Ruined.
Self-esteem? I’d like to see that.
You. Words. Irony. Jokes. Silences. Looks. Because.I.don’t.belong

It’s like seeking affection and never finding open arms, reaching out to your mum’s hand and
never grabbing it, wandering around the world, homeless, rejected by your own kind

With multiplying comes the division. It’s nature. Maybe that’s how things are supposed to be.
Maybe my home doesn’t exist.
Maybe my will is unrealistic.
Maybe my hope is a camouflage too.
To hide the ugly truth.

these words by Oumy Dembele were paired with the colour of Evelyn Bencicova

New prose by Finn Morgan, “Home Enough”



CW: abuse mention (child)

A peach morning, shards of grass sneaking into the sidewalk, branches swaying dull and dead. I arrive at the building gate and I am shaking, shaking still; should have kept the winter coat. I call the number saved from the last round of search scrolls and feigned phone pep. The concierge answers: “I’ll be right there!”

I am courteous, perform norm, stand straight and feminine, chuckling at a stray comment on tattoos and irresponsibility; be in-group, be in-group, be in-group to get what you need.

In the elevator, unmoving, with steady smiles. My tired eyelids linger closer shut with each rumble conveying us up, up. I hear the crash and the sobbing; the anxious adrenaline snaps me to wake. Concierge and I meet glances and she, with a light nod, softens her smile. The elevator sounds at the 22nd. “It’s right over this way,” she says, pointing, as the door rolls slowly open.

The hall is well-lit but there are scuffs on the wall. From neighbours? Is the building not maintained? How much can I afford to care? How much does care cost?
Concierge fidgets the key and jerks the door. A good lock. The apartment inside is fine. Nice view. Thick walls. Clean enough. Big enough. Enough is enough sometimes. Concierge points out the kitchenette, the fridge, the bathroom, the balcony. I remove my coat as we look around. I yawn and I hear a small sniffle as we head towards the bedroom.

The concierge gets a call. Issue on the 4th, will be right back.

I don’t expect the shaking and unsettled breathing to leave with her but I am still disappointed when it doesn’t. I open the room door, feel empty. I close my eyes, knowing exactly what will appear: a child with thick ringlets, crouched and sniffling in the corner of the open closet. This child lives in every empty room I visit. Ever since our first room was emptied. I know them well. Sometimes they tell me when I need to leave, sometimes they just need to be held. I am tired and this room is wide enough, sunny enough, so I tell them:

“She won’t find you here.”

“But what if she does?”

“There are locks on the door.”

“But you’ll still hear her.”

“We’ll drown her out.”


“Music. The Shower. However we can.”

“And what if we can’t?”

“We’ll survive.”

“I’m still scared.”

“I know. Me too.”

“What do we do?”

“What we can.”

“Will it be enough?”

“It has to be.”

When Concierge returns I ask to start the paperwork. Home is wherever I’m without you.


this prose by Finn Morgan, “Home Enough,” was inspired by the art of Christine Kim 

How does social media define you?

giordano 2

“A Millennial Diet”

word by Leah Mol

colour by Giordano Poloni

She came straight home after school and sat in the basement office where the computer was. She always had a couple hours before her parents got home. She didn’t want them to hear her printing everything off, because they’d just be upset about the ink—ink was expensive. She couldn’t expect them to understand why she needed more and more and more. Since they never heard the printing, they couldn’t understand where it was all going.

But still they bought more ink. Every couple weeks when the printer ran out, there would be questions. She’d say she was printing her homework, articles or stories to read for a class, pictures for presentations.

She hid the printing the way she hid her stomachaches, because she knew they’d take her to the doctor again. It wasn’t so bad, anyway. She just had to stay away from Facebook and Twitter for a while and things would be okay. The real problem was Instagram, but she just wasn’t willing to give that up, no matter how bad the cramps got. There were too many pictures to post. And once they were online everyone had something to say.

She wouldn’t have known what to tell her parents about the printing even if she could be honest. She knew only that when her stomach was full, she was better. Once everything was printed off and inside her, she could stop checking to see if anything new had been printed. She could finally stop thinking about all the things other people were thinking.

She loaded Instagram on her laptop and scrolled through the recent activity. Beatrice, a girl from school, had posted a photo of the two of them, so she printed it out. There were four comments about the photo, so she printed those as well. One of her photos had new likes and new comments, so she printed it all. Later, she sat in front of the computer, looking through old photos, old comments, old Facebook messages and Twitter posts, tearing each printed sheet into strips, rolling them around in her mouth until they were soft, chewing and swallowing until the whole mess was inside. As she slept her stomach ached and turned, filled with all the most important things, filled with everything anyone had ever said about her.*

word by Leah Mol

colour by Giordano Poloni

Who Was He Under The Lights?


word by Kate Shaw

colour by Giordano Poloni

He was tired, sullen, overweight, but he talked fast. His tongue had become only more capable as the rest of his body (and personality) steadily deteriorated. Sitting in that armchair – indiscernible among the puckered, fading cushions if you just took a quick glance – he looked utterly defeated.

But you could never have reached this conclusion from listening to his show. The voice that danced through the crackles and pops of 880 AM had more vitality than a sugar-stuffed toddler, twisting and bending at the will of the emotions his characters were feeling. Perhaps his voice had sucked all the energy from the rest of him.

Every Tuesday morning he sat in that chair, broadcasting the next segment of his show for the listeners who’d been loyal and invested for years. They couldn’t imagine the wasteland he’d become.

There was a time when Adam was okay. It didn’t make up the majority of his thirty-four years, nor was it an era he particularly benefited from, but it’s something worth noting. He found a niche right after graduating.

Adam had a socially unsuccessful time of the points in his life that were supposed to make that sort of thing easy: high school and college. When everyone in high school subscribed to the highly specified doctrines of various cliques, he couldn’t even make it with the Weird Kids. At the start of the “Best Years Of Your Life!” period – freshman year of college – he and his roommate immediately fell into a pattern of double-edged apathy, neglecting even to acknowledge one another after the first week of classes, and from there Adam went on to seek singles in the dorms on campus. By that point, he’d developed the assumption that he simply was not a social creature.

That’s not to say he didn’t enjoy those times, necessarily. As stated, he dubbed himself an introvert and (almost) never looked back. He’d spent his whole childhood taking things in stride; he was trained in the art of Moving On.

But in college, he discovered that, behind a guise of sorts, he was capable of masquerading as a people person. In other words, people liked him when they didn’t know who “he” was. He could bark and whisper and chortle life into archetypes that listeners rapidly began to follow, and for a while Adam was able to bask in the love directed toward his characters; he was a surrogate.

But the faded, flickering neon signage of the local hotel always cut through any self-acceptance he’d mustered up. He always found himself back, lingering awkwardly in the vestibule while the latest half-hearted hour-long partner ducked out of the rain and into a taxi. Harsh, gaudy lights formed a spotlight, inescapable, revealing to him the only truth he knew: he had no one.*

From the author: “The rain in this art piece was the first aspect to set a negative tone for my writing, but I quickly realized that the bright, garish shade of the light seemed to echo the idea of imperfections revealed by fluorescent lighting. From there Adam was born, struggling not to see his own self-proclaimed identity as a “loner” or “introvert”, but failing under the inescapable lights of the hotel.”

On Travel, Identity: “Try being your own friend”


“Try being your own friend”

word by Annie Rubin

colour by Kosisochukwu Nnebe

“Try being your own friend.”

It was an exhausting job; he shook his head and hung up the phone.

The plane ride had felt long and treacherous, with each dip of the wing he was certain they would nose dive through the sky, be compelled to grab for their yellow life vests stored either directly beneath the seat or above you in the overhead compartment.

He would search frantically for the flight attendants out of the corner of his eye, secure. If they were still passing through the aisles with a variety of drinks and Skymall paraphernalia, he’d have no reason to panic.

The streets were shimmering with a blue-black slickness as he marched with conviction in the direction of the hotel.

The streetlights were flickering in and out of view. There was an unsettling echo of footsteps that he couldn’t swear were his own. Perhaps this was part of the adventure. Perhaps he was en route to be mugged. In either scenario, he found it best to focus his gaze on the road ahead, calculating the distance between fear and safety. Two hundred meters, now one-ninety…

In the lobby, he smoothed the lapel of his suit. It was one action in a whirlwind of unfamiliarity that brought him a moment closer to home. He couldn’t understand the startling sense of discomfort he experienced, surrounded in the idiosyncrasies of this place. The country felt oddly reminiscent of something he’d seen once in a dream, or maybe it was just that things felt so cartoonishly similar to images he’d stared at for months in preparation for the journey.

This recognition was stained by the fact that everything was just vaguely different than what he was used to. The water faucets, the scent of the stagnant air, the accents, of course a language he had never learned as his own.

Should this culture have been a piece of him, imparted by nature, somehow inherent in his blood? He wandered into a pizza joint out of habit or homesickness.

This was not his home. This did not remind him of the meals cooked by his grandmother; this was nothing reminiscent of his college chants or practiced habits or the inside jokes, memories collected into phrases and images that composed his true identity.

Maybe he was searching for something profound; maybe he wanted inspiration—confirmation that he had a home, a country, a culture that reflected his unique self. Instead, he was left in a state of flux: what was truly his? The room had fresh floral wallpaper and he felt nostalgic for a place that had until now, never truly understood him.



From the author: “I was inspired by the juxtaposition of the poised human look and the fragility of nature reflected in the vibrancy of the flowers. This led me to question identity, especially how to maintain a sense of self against a backdrop of an ever-fluid environment. The concept of identity raises questions about the significance of cultural background, and exposure, where the protagonist explores his familial history by visiting the country where his family comes from, realizing that he has little to no connection with a place he has never been, himself.”

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