Eye Candy, Flash Fiction, Poetry, Visual Art, Words
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International Femme

Curated by Amelia Anthony
Artwork from individual artists

Although more-or-less based in Los Angeles, we at Tunnel Magazine pride ourselves on our global reach, publishing artists from Colombia to North Ireland to India to Uruguay. In the last couple of weeks, though, we’ve received an influx of talented, international female artists. To celebrate the youth, the women, the globe, we collected them altogether.

Shelter by Aditi Nagpal
When the ashes pour from gashes in the wall
you don’t know whether or not to weep.
Grasping fingers, frail against granite
bloodstained cement
hot rocks against your brain.

the city in the midst of being ravaged
your own lungs torn apart by smoke
you did not choose to inhale,
unlike when you were 17 and you
liked when your tongue tasted like strawberries.

Watching your memories turn to rubble
is something you can’t think of still.
My childhood friend, my father’s books
my mother’s brooch – tasting wind.

salt, rust – an orphan’s blood
wishing your sisters were here to see this.
waiting for time to corrode your ghosts
that follow you everywhere
and leave no footprints.

Immensely wishing for a feeling that
you’ve lost. When someone says,
“safe as houses, we stay,”
you cannot comprehend.

(For the children of Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Beirut and many more.)

Aditi Nagpal is an 18 year old residing in Mumbai, India and attending Jindal Global Law School. She has previously won accolades for her work on the National Level. (Aditi sent us a huge amount of really great work. She’ll have her own post going up soon!)

I AM A PAUSE by Sukhjeet Kaur Singh

I am a pause
Give way and stop sign
Yellow, red, and green light to it
It makes sense; I obey; I do not fight it
Ambulances, police vans, fire brigades allowed
Poets get their meanings, obeying and disobeying it
Connie, Ollie, Vicky and Penny
They too try making, sense out of it
Without pause, there is no life to it
It grants us, the correct meaning
Excuse me, if I am not good at it
I go to my teacher, to correct it
Good morning to my teachers
Without greetings, there is no life to it
Airplanes take a pause before take off
The punctuation mark, I love it
Next grade, we go after Christmas
A holiday period, I love it
Would there have been no road signs
No one would have obeyed it

Dear teacher, daddy jotted my ideas
Please check, if there is a correct pause in it
Daddy did not write the next two lines
There is a pause in it

Sukhjeet Kaur Singh is 7 years old (!) and lives in Melbourne, Australia. She is a good writer who likes to express her thoughts through poetry.

VISUAL ART (+ cover art!)
Yoonseo Lee is a 17 year old rising senior currently attending a private high school in Pennsylvania. She grew up in Seoul, South Korea. Besides making frequent trips back home to visit family and friends, she loves making things with her hands, game design and getting ready for her college days that are fast approaching. Her artwork was recently accepted to be published in Daphne Review.

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Crimson Masquerade by Caroline Lee

collagen snakes,
they hugged her thigh, missense mementos of
what the boy across the road called hilarious. she danced on rusted
floors drowned with rhythms of Tchaikovsky,
the stench of
clorox that rooted in her skin with a hideous familiarity.
dots of
grime make a semi-crescent kaleidoscope on the window—
a
daily zoetrope of a suburban backroad, maddened with boredom.

double tump-tump, light tap, triple, quadruple, and a soft one (less
panic), she’s on the first floor.

carpet muffled the sound that drifted through the staircase from the
kitchen
where I couldn’t clean the wooden splinters, the puzzle
pieces of the smashed
violin on basil tiles slathered with scents of
oxidized bananas that I never cut & the affection is hooked
hanging lifeless on the lips, rejecting the maldigested joy when you
can’t wipe off the unapologetic residue | “I don’t think you really
understand.”

double tump-tump, light tap, triple, quadruple, and a hard one
(more panic), she’s on the second floor.

solfège of a desaturated hue // don’t come near me & here she
comes with the inversed smile– one last jolt of a lunge and like
always,

with a water-mark of cruelty, laced disguise for this crimson
masquerade, but I still see an iota of love, an iota of life
so still,
oh, still– I just can’t ignore her
collagen snakes.

Caroline Lee is a rising, 17-year-old,  junior at The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Although originally from Seoul, she spent most of her childhood in the crowded streets of Jakarta, Indonesia. (Like Aditi, Caroline sent us so much beautiful work we’ll be sharing in the future!)

Haunted Mansion by Fatima Jehanzeb

It was a dark and chilly night. The moon was high in the sky. It was really quiet, zo quiet that you could hear the breeze rustling the leaves.

But the night wasn’t so peaceful because upon the hill, on 4th Avenue, was a mansion. The mysterious thing about this mansion was that it had been abandoned for 2 years. It used to have a garden but now it was filled with weeds. People began to think that it was haunted. People who came never made it out or that’s how the legend goes.

Just last week at midnight someone came to move in the mansion. No one saw her and no one knew who she was because she never came out.Though some people claimed to see a young woman go to the old mansion and come out late at night really tired. Whenever people asked her questions she usually answered them, but never answered questions about what she did in the mansion. She always evaded those questions. People made a lot of tales about her. One of them was that a spirit moved in and made her its slave.Not allowing her to tell anyone of its existence. One day a brother and a sister saw the old mansion and wondered about it. They were in a hurry so decided to come back at night. When they came back they brought torches with them. They went up the drive. The young woman was nowhere to be seen. The siblings stepped inside and looked around they saw a big chandelier. They also noticed a lot of doors.They heard a really loud screaming noise. Being children of a good family, they rushed up the creaking stairs to help but when they reached the top they were really scared. Suddenly they hear a door opening a screamed but when they saw who it was they were shocked. It wasn’t a ghost or a zombie as they thought.In fact, it was an old woman.The women didn’t appear to see them so she went inside.The young woman rushed in when she heard the scream.She saw the children and said, “Don’t be scared she just a woman whose blind”.Everything began to make sense.The woman invited them inside and offered them cookies.The next day they told everyone about their adventures and from that day on everyone began to visit the old women.

Fatima is 12 and lives in Saudi Arabia in a family of four. She describes herself as a “risktaker” and attributes her writing skills to her love of reading.

Lolipup by Ye Eun (Lily) Cho

a compound word of loli (oft-used prefix with subliminal associations of sexually active prepubescent females) and pup (connoting submission and cuteness, or “aegyo”). The sudden rise in popularity for K. femina groupus in the 12-15 year-old category was once speculated to limit the rise and growth of Lolipup, particularly in the specific ecology of dance music. Lolipup classifies as a 20 year old K. femina singulorum, a frequent victim of short-lasting popularity as well as negligence from management (Speigman 2015). Holway et al. (2016), however, have noted that Lolipup may persevere given sufficient facial modification (i.e. rhinoplasty and jaw reshaping) and rebranding (i.e. as b or c-list actress or online shopping mall owner). Other than Lolipup, an average of 39 K. femina groupus and 124 K. femina singulorum are known to emerge and disappear each year before the annual Music Bank Festival, leaving the average lifespan of K. femina idol at 9 months and 13 days (Ward 2016, Cole et al. 2015, Yang and Li 2016). [See Suarez 2016 and Porter et al. for a discussion on the lifespan of K. masculum idol].

***

It was another jolt, another tumble in the wheel of life. Another beginning, another Monday, another garbage day.

Lolipup watched from her cushioned throne as the cleaning lady took out the trash. She struggled to stay busy. She had substitute plans and had already opened a small clothing store, a fashion venture, so to say. It was mainly the CEO of the entertainment agency and the accountant who came up with the idea. The display window featured a t-shirt and a pair of jeans, both offensively unaffordable. It was hard to tell whether the barren space was part of the initial idea of “industrial chic.”

Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme my GOLDEN BOY

love you, love you, love you, my GOLDEN DAYS

“Where are my golden days?” Lolipup thought to herself. She once shone. Just months ago, her teenage fans flocked with offerings small and big. The useless, burdensome presents piled up all over her studio apartment. She considered selling them in her shop, but the thought of her remaining bit of fans blaming her for betrayal and impudence blocked her from doing so. Fans were her last strand of hope. They were the only traces left from her golden days.

***

The ant, about five millimeters in length, climbs up the wooden block and stops. This tiny creature detects sudden danger with its motion-detecting antennae. Also known to detect scent, these antennae rarely fails the discerning specimen. A dark, gloomy shadow sways gently as a five-year-old girl slowly approaches the insect. With curious eyes, the girl stares at the ant and its agile movements as it struggles to escape the shadow. Faster than its nimble legs were the girl’s thumb and forefinger that pinched it through the air, clumsy and careful. The girl flicked the squirming bug into a bucket, and ran back home, bucket swinging in her hands.

The bucket unfortunately contained small stones that rattled with every jerk, threatening to crush the little ant like racing meteorites. The one last tumble left one half of the ant’s antenna caught between two rocks. The ant was then swiftly transferred to a small flower pot, its top concealed by the bottom half of a plastic bottle. The girl had clearly been observant enough to drill tiny holes into the plastic with her mother’s sewing needle. She sat and watched with a satisfied grin as the ant stumbled across its given plot of land, shrunken and ostensibly missing an antenna.

***

Lollipup understood that publicity was hard earned. Only on the very week Golden Boy entered the Top Ten chart did paparazzi begin to appear at her doorstep. Everything about her everyday was reported on that particular week. Her lipgloss appeared on Cosmo Girl. Her manicurist was interviewed. Big bodyguards were hired to guide her through menacing animated crowds, huddled in big black jumpers designed to conceal her identity. She shuttled through the congested streets of Seoul in an imposing Chevrolet van with tinted windows, the most conspicuous plea for anonymity. During a quick drive to a radio interview, she found herself parked in middle of the highway, dangerously close to a jam packed tour bus. Before she could close the curtains (for tinted windows never proved enough for the most discerning fans), she felt the gaze of a good dozen passengers. Too late. They had seen her. She snatched a pair of sunglasses from the table and threw them on, only to sheepishly peer through the dark.

But to her horror, they all looked away! Not even the slightest commotion! With a whole month left on the van lease! Her life size advertisements for plastic surgery disappeared one by one just as her name from the star news headlines died away day by day. What went wrong? Had she gained weight? Did she miss the latest cosmetic trend? Was there not enough skin? Was she too old? She picked at her fingernails adorned with precious rocks and sparkling nail varnish. I need a new stylist. The van drove on through a disinterested pile of cars, slowly dissipating into thin lines. I just need another breakout song. Her manager reassured her these sudden lulls were to be expected. Just a natural part of the cycle. Just as she drifted in and out of useless daily worries, the doorbell rang, and her instinct told her that it was the paparazzi that began gathering outside her house.

***

Ants are known to secrete pheromones to provide each other directions. Without a single chemical or visual trace of a fellow species, the antenna-less ant began to wander aimlessly. Having traced all slippery sides of the plastic bottle, the ant’s digging tendencies, so firmly established within the ant’s cognitive system, follows; it begins to build an ant castle within no longer than an hour of captivity. The girl, who had patiently sat watching the ant’s behavior for about an hour, is awed by what she saw, and screams in amazement. However, as the ant goes deeper into the ground and is no longer seen by human eyes, the girl soon loses interest and returns to more conventional forms of entertainment.

16 hours later, when the ant had long finished its work, the girl suddenly reappears. The faint memory of the thrill of watching the ant brings her back to the backyard where the flower pot has been placed. She is surprised by the result. She looks at the ant with respect and admiration as it carelessly enumerates few little rocks around the entrance of its castle. The girl is now concerned with the ant’s nourishment and looks for something that would fit its taste. After moments of consideration, she spits out the apple-flavoured candy from her mouth and places it attentively on the soil inside the pot. The ant enjoys, sticking to the sweet sugary substance and sucking the artificial juice. It is likely satisfied with the life of captivity that offers it a lot more than any colony it had belonged to.

***

She flung the door open with a practiced look of boredom and irritation. An equally tired looking paparazzo with a filthy beard, among ten dozen others greeted her outside, almost as if to flood into her house. In heated frenzy they were shouting questions. How had they met? When did they start dating? Lolipup was puzzled, but she was not going to let go of this newfound attention. She told the paparazzi that she would answer them later and closed the door. What was going on? She ran toward her laptop and quickly typed her name in the search engine. Myriad news articles popped up, each with sensational and attention-grabbing headlines that read, “GB seen cozying up with Lolipup” “GB’s hand on Lolipup’s lap!” “A day ago, the greatest k-popstar of the 21st century, GB was spotted with a girl by a reporter on stakeout in a dull building placed in the alley of Seoul,…” An irresistible grin gradually captured her face; she had not been in that part of Seoul for the past few days, and had never met GB in her life. But, who cares? The only thing mattered to Lolipup was the fact that her name was on the number one popular star news headline of the day.

She quickly began to search for scraps of information to feed this growing attention.  How, why, and when had GB and this girl met? She ran phone interviews through her mind. She will be annoyed. Perhaps a little shy. A blush. She will even be magnanimous, acknowledging her “anti-fans” who swarmed the blogs hours after the scandal broke out, asking for their “continued love and interest in our music.” Our. While rehearsing, she felt her hand shake with excitement and anxiety; she was thrilled. Anxious because the paparazzi might leave, and excited because her fame would reach a new summit.

***

On the third day of captivity, the girl lost interest, and perhaps completely forgot about the ant. She stopped visiting the flower pot altogether. Instead she found a caterpillar with fantastic patterns, and kept it in a fishbowl inside her bedroom. There remained the devastated ant in the backyard, almost dried out in the strong sunlight, expecting a sooner death. The ant crouched into a ball, and wiggles its forelegs. Just then, the sky darkened, and the heavy black clouds covered the pot with shadows. Through the tiny holes in the plastic, raindrops seeped into the pot. The ant does not move. As rain engulfs its tiny skeleton, the ant seems to have decided that there is simply not much it can do.

***

Lolipup dolled up for the interview as a majestic widow would slowly prepare her own death. Once she stepped outside, one by one, the exhausted paparazzi rose from their bunkers littered with beer cans and ramen containers, and staggered toward her with their cameras. Word got around and more cars arrived. Passersby stopped to snoop. Soon enough she found herself locked in a forest of cameras and mics, unable to move a single inch, her face nailed to a spot where the only possible movement was to look ahead. Amidst the shouting heads, she may have suffocated a little.

But the air was sweet with desperation, curiosity, and anger even. She felt her phone vibrating in her pocket. Most likely a talk show invitation. Just two of those then she’ll negotiate a collaboration with GB. His agent will have to call me soon. As Lolipup calmly explained her wishes to remain silent on the matter, she noticed a tide of vibrations spread throughout the crowd. Pockets were rummaged and screens were tapped, all in such uniform manner that Lolipup herself felt compelled to gaze into her own smartphone screen. With less eyes now looking at her, Lolipup swiftly peered into her own black mirror. If she were fast enough, she may be able to spot a make-up mistake.

“GB Goes Public with Sera. Lolipup Scandal, A Hoax”

Suddenly within her view were nothing but arms frantically disengaging one another, heads turning in slow motion like a large cat scanning its prey. When she is finally left alone at her front door, she glances ahead at the debris of her short-lived popularity and decides that there is simply not much she can do.

***

Think of the ant. The common red ant, reaching the pinnacle of its journey by a blow of the wind, or perhaps, as it should be said, by luck, but was soon swept away by the same broomstick that caused the brief gust of wind that helped it reach the top.

Ye Eun Cho is a high school senior at Global Vision Christian School in Guri, South Korea. Her passion for writing started in middle school after discovering her love for reading poetry. Her recent publications have been in Claremont Review, Daphne Review, and Teen Ink. She also received and Honorable Mention for Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.


We encourage any + all submissions from any + all places around the globe! All of these were received from our email, which you can read about here.

1 Comment

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