Ode to Peeing Girls*

Image: © tedeytan, “Gender Neutral Bathroom Sign Baby Wale Restaurant DC”, CC BY-SA 2.0, source.

Author: Anonymous

Having a vulva is no easy thing.

Your urethra is close, 

No direction to bring,

Too skinny are the clothes,

It’s not easy to wing.

*For the purpose of this poem, this term describes people with a vulva. The author sends love and appreciation to all people with a vulva who aren’t girls and all people who are girls and don’t have a vulva. The author hopes to see more gender-neutral bathrooms in the future.

Marina’s poems

Image: ‘Champagne’ © Sam Howitz. – CC BY 2.0 licence

Author: Marina Silietti

Peace

I was spattered with your lies echoing in my dreams
I felt hopeless, wrecked by the winds that took all of my tears
My bones cracked wondrously on your deceiving skin
My fears were painted in hell and I never saw it coming

My mind shattered slowly as you stood there
Sinking my thoughts and I deemed rugged revenge
I waded out brutally into your brokenness
And your ocean blue eyes bathed in knowingness

You put in the bag the last piece of me
Sidestepping my dismantled wounds
Wandering with your desolate dishonesty
While I was still in the woods

I laid there on the cold reddened ground
Claiming the mercy of the full moon
Asking for the mortality of our bound
While she lighted the inky room

And in the death of my soul, I found peace

Champagne Taste

I swallow your glance like pouring water
And you wreck my fears like golden cure
It’s delicate how you’re spinning in my brain
It’s untamed how you’re shining despite the pain

The champagne drops falling onto our faces is the only remedy
The brightest nights sparkling between the dark is our lightened legacy
So, I’d dare to hold your hand in the crowded room
Are they noticing how I pray for your body to bloom

This song isn’t made for the mighty stars
I’ll ask you to put its melody over a memory you miss
And I hope you’ll choose the day you kissed my lips
Do you remember how you squeezed my necklace around your sliver scars

There are bubbles stuck on your skin, darling
Even the champers samples like your eyes
I’d kill to taste your heart just for once
And I’ll claim my feelings for your mind

Until the end of the night

Sonnets to my Rodina

Image: ‘Protests in Belarus’ © Ang Bob.

Author: Nadia K. Bauer

I.
Когда увижу я —
The silver portal that you lock every night
With the same rusty nail
Olga laughing and you rolling your eyes
Когда почувствую я —
The humid moist the tall pinewoods
CAST alongside their shadows — on the little dachas
The smell of yellowed newspapers burning in the pechka
Will I ever UNsee —
The marks of JAIL on his smudged face
Her mother’s disappearance
The firebombs they threw just across the street,
Will I ever — on the earth of my liberated Rodina —
STAND again.

II.
Hold me —
Rodina moya
Give me SILU to watch you derive from under my feet.
Do not let go of your endless plains and of your
clear birch groves — of your teethless babushkas
who will keep — selling the same juicy blueberries
by the roadside — until I can embrace you again.
Let the shadows of the gaol bars slowly wash off his face.
Give her the strength to walk on our lines without me
— give her the strength to walk. Дай им more years —
rock them until I can take them in my arms from you.
To me, give надежду to believe
That I will feel my bare feet on your
WET and FREE earth again.

The Shop Window

Image: © Furaha Mujynya of Christiane Cornuz’s Cercle seul (1973).

Author: Furaha Mujynya

October:

No faces, no emotions, no warmth, just a train of black coats and umbrellas hurrying along the street, swallowed by the sound of water pouring from the sky. This lasted a week – a long week. A ray of sunshine then peered through the heavy clouds. Finally, headless bodies were given smiles, a pair of eyes and a variety of laughs and screams were to be heard again. I could lastly go back to my perverse search for a new life to follow to fill the boring day. And as expected, I was rewarded with the arrival of the signature seekers, hounding every passing shadow for a bit of their ink. They formed a shocking duo blocking every possible way in and out of the narrow street, rendering the I’m-busy-no-look technique pointless to avoid them. With cheery but loud voices they presented their endless pitch about the suffering of some almost extinct animal – or was it maybe about the destruction of the rainforest? Anyway, what’s truly impressive is their ability to pronounce so many words in such little time, to never tire and always happily accost the next unsuspecting pedestrian. They definitely have great potential for sales. One even managed to get a smile out of a hurried passerby, not that it made him stop to sign the petition.

November:

It’s getting colder, which means people walk faster and there’s less for me to observe and more time to get bored. Though, thanks to our dear drug dealers I get to have at least one Tom and Jerry scene a day. Usually, it’s more of a gentle trotting away including a few paranoid glances behind their shoulder. But this time, I witnessed two grown men running at full speed with their belted pants sagging almost down to their knees. Their pace was so intense that their steps echoed down the entire road. This sudden energetic impulse did not match their habitual nonchalance. Though, a few seconds after they ran past me, I saw what motivated them to sprint on sandy pavement in such an attire. A cop chasing them – with the widest stride I have ever seen – was screaming ‘STOP’, as if the word itself could make them stop. I wondered what possessed our dear policeman to run after the same two guys working this corner almost every day. Perhaps he was looking for an excuse to exercise, or maybe he had the same wicked desire as me to check whether they could actually run with sagging pants – if so, hypothesis proven. Not only can they run, but they can do it faster than a trained officer of the law!


January:

Because of the cold and the snow, we kept the door closed during most of the day. But even without sound I still get invested in the scenes I observe; I simply have to get creative. It was snowing heavily so almost no one walked down the Madeleine Avenue leaving me alone with my thoughts, which is never a good idea. When an unexpected glimmer of hope appeared in the shape of a woman, dressed in black from head to toe with a visibly soaked scarf around her head meant to shield her from the snow. She was openly wailing. Even though her cries were mute to me, I could distinctly see the tears running down her cheeks. She just kept on walking with her hands in her pockets, wind blowing in her face, snowflakes melting at the contact of her warm skin, adding water to her tears. She seemed so consumed by her own emotions that the outside world did not matter, it could have hailed, rained blood, she would have just kept on walking. I wondered what could get someone in such a state. Was it just one bad day in a sea of good ones? Was the weight of life simply too heavy to carry? No matter the reason, it seemed incredibly freeing to cry in the snow, almost tempting to do so. But then I remembered that’s how you get sick, by walking in the snow with wet hair, crying yourself to exhaustion.

February:

Today was unnecessarily noisy. Between the protesters’ chants echoing down the street and the funny but loud homeless man approaching every person he saw; I could have used the silence of January. Not that I’m ungrateful for the many tales I got to observe. The homeless man managed to ask for money in such a warm and cheerful manner that he got more people to stop than the association leeches. As for the protest, having people stare at you through the window because they don’t believe in masks and you’re wearing one – not the kind of scene I was looking for. I prefer to play the role of spectator in the lives of my wandering pedestrians. I do not yearn to participate in it.

March:

With sun came the long-awaited warmth of Spring. People are clearly happier when it is sunny, birds are chirping, and flowers blooming. I saw a dancing toddler walking way faster than her mother, stuck with carrying three shopping bags and pushing the stroller. Then I got to watch the usual cortege of preschoolers walking up the avenue, stopping every few seconds to giggle at the pigeons, gawk at the colorful bottles in the shop window or simply stare into oblivion. Their caretakers were forced to make the smallest steps possible to match the short strides and lack of focus of the little ones. There was also a cheeky little boy, no more than four, who came into the shop to hide from his dad behind the glass door, which he thought was hilarious – and so did I. Then his father, a bit annoyed, grabbed him by the arm and apologized whilst hurriedly exiting the shop. The memories of children’s quirks and weird ideas got me smiling for the rest of the day, making boredom tomorrow’s problem.

Bumblebee

Voltairestrasse

Image: © Timon Musy

Author: Timon Musy

Bumblebee

A seventeen-legged bug floats on coffee
The bartender is sleeping, high on bicarbonate
Not seeing the peeping moths on the neon light
Calm and breezy

– He did not wake up yet

The pie crust tastes vaguely familiar
Old waste oil and engine coolant, honey and salt
Graphite on the table
Noisy
Neighbours

– He did not wake up yet, he took the left road

I do not talk
The coffee drips through a crack in the wall
And agglutinates in a six-feet deep black pool
A fish could smoke a menthol cigarette
Spit on a fly
Buy a scratch ticket
Everyone left. The ceiling looks at me
I’m blind

– You’re all I need

I feel like a dog trapped in my car
Not sure whether the engine works or not, did not try
Don’t know where I left my key
In the middle of the road
Just woke up
Not hungry
Tired

– All I need

I do not miss her
We never met
Maybe she never existed

Poems by Marie McMullin

Image: “Dark Blue” © Graham Bartholomew. Source – CC License.

Author: Marie McMullin

PERVADING

Not even a glimpse; a sight felt.
Tail end of a coat slips through
fingers, gone; invoking
all the befores and afters,
flocking ghosts crowding
present on all sides, leaving
no solid between-times
to stand on, no unflavoured now.
Flickering will o’ the wisps evade
touch, drive mad. Shades taint
the day long after they’ve escaped,
such gentle breezes between yearning hands.
Traces of shadows remain.

Indelible.

 

Image: “old books” © vandentroost. SourceCC License.

Author: Marie McMullin

INTRATEXTUAL

And why should I not fall
headfirst into words?
Theirs is a spell I seek,
keepers of realms
that stand brighter and taller
than the one my eyes can see.

Through, then, whichever looking glass,
‘Far’ is all I care for. Snow cushions
my fall, and Aslan’s fierce heat
offers the warmth I need, holding fast
to his flaming mane as on and on he runs.
If chilled by the witch’s breath drawing near,

I’ll turn another cover, grasp the Firebolt’s
thrilling handle and go, forever
higher among the clouds. A golden snitch
will crown the flight, delight be found
at Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. A curse
snatches away both wand and dream, so with a knife

I’ll tear open worlds – on the run
but not alone, my dear daemon,
faithful friend, truer to me than I –
until unveiled death breaks the bond.
Wounded realms crumble to dust.
I am home-bound; it is time to close.

Hard times for minds
prone to overthinking,
for hearts that haven’t mastered the art
of losing neither memories nor stories.
What remedies for a spirit
scratching itself raw?

– Every word holds a moment of being,
a wave that revives, beaming lighthouse
tearing through fog, a promised rapture.
Who cares if I wake or sleep
– Away, away fair nightingale,
far from this wasteland of hollow men.