“Screams in an empty place” – Jerry Corvil

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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



“Pawns” – Stephan Enasni Sunz

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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


“White Dresses” – Ruth Daniell

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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

“storytelling” – jesslyn delia smith

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i could not see it
before needing a mother,


someone to reframe
a past

no one else
will remember —

there will be days where
you fear your reflection

in that aisle
where they keep frozen food

a parade
will pass

they will
all have his face

you will learn how to fold
your body in half

like a woman

let everything
roll down the strands
of your hair

your legs will not hold you
but you will

not need
them by then

these words by jesslyn delia smith were inspired by the work of Nicolas V. Sanchez

“A Standstill,” new poetry by Khatira Mahdavi


I called you

and gave you my word

that between right now and forever

there is a house of mirrors,

and then there is you.

You, a standstill—

the starting point, the finish line

and all of the in-betweens.


You called back

and whispered across the line

that from here until anywhere,

I’m your favourite ride along.

these words by Khatira Mahdavi were inspired by the art of Pasha Bumazhniy

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.”

Not Afraid of Drowning


The first time they met was spectacular. She moved her hands across her body like breath, and told her every lurid detail of her dreams. She listened so hard and attentive as they untangled the depths, brushing pollen from her cheek and unfolding the bedsheets. She pulled the socks directly from her feet, insistent, and stood there naked and nauseated.

Her spit on her mouth like the milk at the broken stem of a fig pulled directly from the branch: these are soft, round fruit, weighty as organs. Fleshy and pink she carried them all day in the sun, stopping intermittently to adjust the sweater that cradled them in her bag. They bruised and split anyway.

Blackberries ripened in the hot field and along the train tracks and the only blank space was the white blue sky: asking no questions, reaching for nothing. She was having trouble looking at her hands, berries bleeding from small fists hanging at her sides.

What was soft at dawn had unfurled wicked and cheap. Every sentence was a scribble: unfinished and impossible to hear. The last time they met there was gravel underfoot and it was raining. She was indecisive and distracted by every turning head calling her name. They ate oysters and hard, ripe cheese. Green grapes.

When she turned the tap out poured rust and sediment, but they stepped in all the same to bathe in that murky swamp. She rubbed tea tree oil into her skin and ran a comb through knotted hair

When they made the bed that night every fold made her choke. She pulled the sheets taught and felt her body tense, muscles binding. Every sweeping gesture cut through the air, the blurred alarm clock’s blinking digits. It was not terrible, it was completely normal: the weight, the sinking feeling, the inability to remember what it was like to be awakened by her own vital breath.

She woke to the rain and the dampening of summer bush fires. The sharp smell of a half empty glass of red wine on the table reminded her of last night’s strain and she poured it down the sink.

She showered: clean, hard, spitting hot water, and sat at a single chair at an empty table in the kitchen and wrapped herself in a lavender bathrobe. She ate toast with warm blackberries, and the sugar hurt her mouth and the seeds lodged between her molars. She was not afraid of drowning in this rain, but only of slipping away.

word by Alisha Mascarenhas

“I wrote the piece as a documentation of tumultuous experiences occurring on several planes: fragments of dreams, fiction, and so-called reality that met or clashed in some way with the form and feeling of Rondeau’s work. The painting fed its form, and served to surface and to purge some previously unarticulated sensations and images.”  

colour by Emilie Rondeau

“My visual practice is a transgression and alteration of our perception of reality. I encourage free and intuitive interventions. Although abstract, my paintings carry the memories of atmospheric gardens, nebulous spaces, organic landscapes and architectures. Made of solid and bright colours, washes, painted and drawn marks, the compositions are reminiscent of complex and dreamlike environments. From the infinitely big to the infinitely small, cosmic or cellular spaces transport us with a strong impression of movement and energy.

The lines intersect and intertwine, linking shapes and colours together. Sometimes fast and agitated mark making succeeds to slow and smooth gesture. Colour is pure and vibrant. The harmony is rich and thoughtful within the limits of strangeness. A delicate balance takes place in this continual research for new visual forms. The eyes travel, search and rest. My paintings are an invitation for a trip in between the painting surface and your mind.”

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 Family: “Bug”

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when Benny was 1 and I was 7, I took him down to the park near our place on the lane named after Shakespeare

he’d been at the pool with Mum all morning, tucked behind the blue walls on Alexandra Parade, and his tuft of soft hair was still wet

he nestled into my arm as we walked along the cooking bitumen, and when I crooked my arm to let him in, he cooed like a bird would, if a bird was Benny

at the park I climbed us up the ladder of the slide and put his bum on the cool grey top of it

he giggled as I backed down the rungs one by one and as I walked away from him and the slide and the sand and the dog poo, I felt my heart get bigger slowly like a blowing up balloon

my heart kept getting bigger and bigger as I walked down the street towards the milk bar, and as I was paying for my lemonade icy-pole it burst

Benny was wailing when I got back

I told him I’d just gone to get us an icy pole and he didn’t have to be sad

he was choking on his tears but then the tears slowed to hiccups and then the hiccups slowed to snot and I told him he’d crawled into my heart like a funny little bug, and it was just as well you can’t spray bug-spray near your heart

word by Laura McPhee-Browne

“This painting is beautiful, and reminded me of familial love. 

It reminded about how it for me was when my brother was a baby, and how older siblings often experience a cacophony of emotions when they are confronted with siblings, emotions that are strong and fierce and both negative and positive.” 

colour by Kojiro Ankan Takakuwa

politics of the locust pose


There was, of course, Joan.

It was Tuesday, and it was drizzling out of a low sky. The clouds looked preoccupied. Elijah’s 1900h yoga class was held in a studio on Delancey St. between Ludlow and Broome. Joan was one of the regulars. And on that Tuesday, she, Elijah, and I were the only ones who showed. The studio probably used to be a smoking room in one of the tenements, given the smell. Certainly the most curious item in there was a folding screen.

Tuesdays are my busiest day: I leave for work at 0630h, arrive at around 0800h, work until 1700h, whereupon I return to the lower east side for therapy, leaving me about ten minutes to get to yoga, which is thankfully three blocks from my house. As we waited for Joan, I considered the unpalatable pathos involved in paying someone to listen to your thoughts for a given amount of time. I am likely to discontinue therapy.

When Joan arrived she used a tissue to dab at the corner of her right nostril, which wasn’t leaking any material as far as I could see. She looked like a walking Nike advertisement and unrolled her yoga matt at about ping-pong distance from me. I have been doing yoga for four years.

Elijah began the session. He reminded us that no one was to speak. That this was an advanced class. I had done yoga with Joan for three of those years. A white noise machine hummed along outside the studio. Yoga has taught me many unexpectedly sexy facts. One is that if enough of the people in a room are quiet, you can hear the sound of perspiration. Another is that some people have the capacity to flex any combination of their abdominal “packs,” whenever they choose. And as I sank into locust pose, we sank into the quiet.

The session ended earlier than usual. Joan used one of the gratuitous Clorox wipes that Elijah leaves out to wipe the sweat off of her mat. When we leave the tenement, Joan asked if she could use the bathroom at my house because she lives back in Brooklyn, and my house was on her way to the F train. The air had the texture of a peach. It still rained. A picture falls out of Joan’s wallet; I pick it up.  Fog collects on the windows of every apartment. It was then that I learned that Joan is the type of woman who keeps a picture of her chiropractor in her wallet.

When we entered the house, I removed my shirt, soaked as it was from the rain. Joan found the bathroom easily enough. And I was slicing carrots for dinner when I heard the bathroom door open behind me. Joan said, Thanks partner. And as I began to turn, I felt her naked breasts drag across my back. My temple popped like a chicken you’ve left in the microwave too long.

word by Jacob Goldberg

colour by Andy Rofles 

From the author: “The chief thematic concern of this story is the nature of people beneath the masks that they sport everyday – and Joan is wrestling with trying to take hers off; she is trying to be human.”