All posts tagged: writing

matriarchal and empyreal

HILDEBURH’S WAR by Emily Yin Your orphaned eyes do not befit a queen of noble birth. Ungrateful wretch, always begging when wrought torques hang about your paltry neck. Let them unmake your Danish heart. Remember, you want for nothing except a home. Your daddy renounced you for a fragile peace. And so it goes, an armistice profaned: your son and husband dead within the month. You stateless woman, you shadow apart from man. Daughter of the conquering and mother of the conquered. Hildeburh, your shuddering shoulders and muzzled mouth bring you too close to animal—Hildeburh, don’t go with the Danes across the ocean. It is time to unmoor. PROTECTED by Grace Meyer Neon: visor, vest, jacket when it’s cold, gloves, a safety whistle My mom used to be a crossing guard. Neon: dress, heels, I should have brought a jacket, big earrings, no safety whistle It started the moment he whistled at me. She wanted to be a policewoman. Instead she would hold a sign: neon red hexagon Always Red: Stop. That night No, Stop, …

not a bush: words from rachana hegde

half life you step on the bus smelling like chlorine eyes bright, prickling with tears; all those late nights are catching up to you, swallowing your sanity whole; i watch you call your mother words blurring together – (& this might be a memory but) i remember: the shape of your hands on the windowsill pressing hope into the tip of a pencil scratching out a different dream from the one your father screamed fingers clenched around the door-handle of your room; when you sit down next to me, you carry the weight of unshed tears – two phone calls later you’re clawing at your wrists muttering about mistakes & consequences & i grow tired of watching you draw blood from a body that deserves better – (you deserve better) – than a half life filled to the brim with: school / swimming / school / swimming “this is how we become tragedies (statistics)” I tell you but there is an exam next week & you want to start studying. *  *  * Metamorphosis I …

pal·at·a·ble: Farah Ghafoor

Words by Farah Ghafoor HOW TO BE YOUR OWN REAPER: they dangled and cracked like the hearts he liked to collect, ornaments that pulsed like drumbeats, sizzled like firecrackers. she bit into the pomegranate knowing what was to come. knew it would taste sour like power and swallowed. persephone was a huntress who believed she had stayed out too long in the sun. she only light she wanted came from the glow of bodies floating in lethe, they trembled with promise and compromise. she sucked her teeth and waited.   NO MAN’S LAND somewhere in a distant country something drops into the lake of my lungs it’s my heart filled with lead and licorice-like worms it makes waves ripple down my thighs no living thing cries out instead, they ache echoing off the hollows of my knees my chin trembles for them. my bone marrow is a nesting ground for parasitic relationships a waterhole for the dead and needy. my voice makes them jump when I say “what defines a jungle?” “the leeches” before I …

human nature is ground meal // flash fiction

Three flash fiction pieces, written in English by Arabic-speaking students. Film photography by staff photographer Hana Tyszka. The Center by Reem Hatem Badr: the perilous journey of six children, as they try to escape from a mysterious land called “The Center.” A story of escape and adventure, that doubles as a metaphor about the power of words. Reem Badr, daughter, friend, established reader, aspiring writer, aimless wanderer, and lover of poetry. She is currently a student at The American University in Cairo. Fascination by Jana Tabet: an experimental flash fiction piece about the rush of life you get when you’re crashing into love with someone else. A poignant and concise piece that captures the experience of a consuming relationship. Jana Tabet is a 17-year-old girl from Lebanon. This upcoming year, she will be a senior in high school. She prefers going to a party over completing her homework, yet you’ll find her up until 5 a.m. finishing a story she had accidentally started reading before going to bed. She finds people beautiful and as much as she doesn’t like …

Girls / Between the Lines

A collection of writing and photographs found in Iowa City, the UNESCO city of literature.  Included are works from New Jersey and Nebraska in the USA, as well as from Oman, on the Arabian Peninsula, and Moscow, Russia. These writers met through an international program at the University of Iowa; these photographs were found in a local antique shop. Look between the lines and ask for whom is woman? for whom is love? Poetry by Deryn Mierlak Montclair, New Jersey LOVE IN THE TIME OF HEINEKEN the dolls tell you first you see their expressions lost in the cold paper of porcelain as he buoys his lips against green valleys of glass in the spaces between sunlight there is one little one, with golden reams of wheat-beer curls who whispers he’s at it again and you laugh her off, but trapped in the painted planetary pull of those lifeless eyes you see him, played back from twelve hours ago set in the crystalline chrysalis world of self-hatred then there are the siamese twins with horsehair pigtails, …

adolescent fragments // poetry by M.L.

Pin Ball Machine: Bursting through the door Freezing and frigid Yanking off a red cotton coat Nothing distinct Blood boiling, livid All was a whirlwind People and places and other nouns Confused with each new house With each move, they’ve decreased in size Jobs and salaries lower But the costs of living rise I can hear the drums drumming at night The metronome counting off Each tick and tock One after the other, A steady tenor The train racing by Cutting through the night Like glass A father’s footsteps tap Against the creaking wood floor An insatiable hunger he has for more Stumbling, Mumbling, disoriented He pulls at the lamps Her room floods-too bright Her eyes flicker open Then shut quickly, Tight Making sure to squeeze out all the light Frog punch bowl: Lying in my own history There lies little honesty Always in between fights Always awake amid the night Fists and words fly through the air Shrapnel wreaking havoc everywhere Women sift through grocery aisles Like they do the flour In the meals …