Sweet Tooth, Colorado
By Nina Babic
His fingers curl around your wrist as you slide through the overpass. You are the Princess of After Dinner, the Queen of Just Desserts. Your flesh body shifts into marzipan as you drift under the bridge. The trees in the surrounding forest change as you blink. The branches smooth into licorice, and the leaves caramelize. The Rocky Mountains crumble into fudge as you step. The waters of your hometown gush with soda rapids.Your eyes are gumballs in their sockets, and the domain of confection is a harsh scene to study. The landscape pulses with abiotic sweetness, and even a glance is diabetic.
Your Candy Prince notices your curious glance at the scenery. He knows that you can’t return into the previous daylight. You haven’t dipped into this territory in years, and leaving again would be unjust. His smirk is only a confirmation to you. The taffy streets are never going to harden into concrete again. His honeyed freckles melt into coloured sprinkles while he watches you. Your heart settles into gummy redness at the exchange. You are a fragile collection of breakable edibles, of deteriorating treats. Your reality was never healthy, and the present is a delicacy that you are guiltily indulging in. Two heartbreakers, trapped in the expanse of Sweet Tooth, Colorado.
Don't Look Away
A living shadow
She waits right there,
Don’t look away
Don’t turn your back
Armed and ready
Neither living nor dead,
Don’t look away
Don’t turn your back
She holds scars
She holds pain,
Don’t look away
Don’t turn your back.
She has always wondered
How you tick,
Don’t look away
Don’t turn your back.
You are hers
She has your thoughts,
Don’t look away
Don’t turn your back.
She’s getting close,
Don’t look away
Don’t look away.
Arctic High vs African Prep
By Casey Dudding
Penguins waddle through the hallways, flippers flapping and beaks chirping, chatting with polar bears and seals. All the students are hyped up for the big football game after school today- Arctic High versus African Prep.
“Hey Mack, you ready for today?” The linebacker turned his slick white penguin front towards the quarterback, the most popular student at Arctic High, a polar bear named MacDonald or Mack for short.
Mack snorted. “Those giraffes and elephants won’t know what hit them.”
The entire football team laughed as if it were the funniest line ever said in history. Dumb goons, thought Acacia, a seal who hung around with the artsy crowd and was always hidden by a curtain of snow white hair. They couldn’t think for themselves if their life depended on it. She slunk away, the only student in the vicinity not dressed in school colors.
A sea of blue and white dominates the left side of the field while orange, red and brown cover the right. The Arctic High team comes running through a tunnel of tall and skinny penguin cheerleaders and the crowd roars. Mack comes out last, winking at girls and pumping his fists. The African Prep side boos loudly but it quickly morphs into cheers as their own team jogs onto the field; giraffes loping along and elephants lumbering while gazelles and zebras bring up the rear.
“Nick,” Mack calls to one of his senior players. “I heard that the left side of the African Prep defensive line is pretty weak so tell our runners to angle their routes towards the left; I’ll make sure to throw in that direction.”
Nick nods and heads over to the team, already gesturing and talking.
A few short minutes later, the game between rivals is underway.
By Alexis Clarkson
a penny next to a razor
blood on both
pretending I’m special because no one believes it
jokes are better than chocolate
I hate chocolate
or rather chocolate hates me
a penny next to a razor
my dead grandfather
“you are my sunshine
my only sunshine
you make me happy
when skies are grey”
my weight fluctuates
I cry like a nightingale
the cashier telling me I’m a pretty young lady
university students flirting with me
we were not born to please our mothers
I look just like my mother
she used to be addicted to cigarettes
I begged her to quit for 10 years
now I smoke cigarettes
“you’ll never know dear
how much I love you
please don’t take
my sunshine away”
a penny next to a razor
next to a pack of smokes
that reminds me of my mother
next to me sitting on the floor looking like my mother
who looks like my grandfather
who I love dearly
who is dead
who is the angel I see at night
next to my nightstand
next to the penny
next to the razor
aren’t I a delight
“you are my…”
(there is a reason no one uses pennies anymore)
(never mind—there is no reason)
counting the money I don’t have
I don’t have anything but this body in this overwhelming heat
a ceiling fan dressed like a flower
dressed like a man who dresses like a boy
who wants his mother to come home
but she is at war with the gardenias
stomping all over my grandmother’s gardenias
a candlestick dressed like a lampshade
this “girl-bodied” boy dressing like a boy because it’s what he is at the moment
anything but chocolate
people not understanding
no penny because no one uses them so what’s the point
a rat and a guinea pig might as well be the same thing
everything is the same thing as everything else
it’s 3:00am and I’m not dreaming
staring out the window even though it’s dark and I’m not wearing my glasses
it’s 5:00am and I’m just sleeping
realizing it’s actually dark because I have my eyes closed
not because it’s dark and I’m not wearing glasses
it’s tired-as-hell-o’clock here in this room
i get up and walk past the bloody penny
stop by my coat lying on the floor
reach into the left-hand pocket and find it
the happiest thing I’ve ever written
a little bit of blood on the paper
because I accidentally put the razor in the wrong pocket
I really like the word knickers don’t you
I would especially like saying it if I was taking them off of you
I really like the word you
it makes me think of you
I bet people say you a lot in love letters
maybe I’ll write one someday
maybe I’m already writing one
maybe, just maybe
this is it
the title is:
saying it out loud in the stillness of the room
it is the name of the girl
but it is also the month my grandfather was born
and not the month he died
there is no such thing as coincidence
By Amy Li
I remember in the second grade, I fell down the stairs of our front porch because my eyes were absorbed in the glory of stars that dimpled the night sky. When I explained the reason for my broken arm to mum, she rolled her eyes and said it was complete nonsense. She reprimanded me for my clumsiness and told me to always look where I’m going. So now I keep my eyes on my feet, and my hands on the railing. I haven’t fallen since.
Limericks Based On Illustrations from Edward Lear's "Book of Nonsense"
By Delaney Mcgill, Cassia Pelton, and Maggie Nevison
There once was a girl named Lee
who fell in love with a tree
The two did wed
with a priest named Fred
and now do Couples Tai Chi
There once was a man named Babbitz
who made bunnies as one of his habits
He’d swallow some fluff
and other cute stuff
and would pop out fresh fuzzy rabbits!
Arnold was not like most hounds
for he wanted lose a few pounds
so he went for a walk
around the WHOLE block and became the slimmest pup in town
By Mayah Dagher
My head is in the clouds. There I built my home, named it reality. There, I imagine what I would like to see happen. I do this so often, I've started to forget what's actually happened and what hasn't yet. It's not real; my daydreaming. It's an illusion; a distraction. I should stop.
I can't stop. I'm scared to come down to the real world. I'm scared of opening my eyes and seeing that it is not the place I've imagined; that it will never be. I don't want to be realistic. I don't want to see things for how they are. It's not how they are. It can't be. I should stop.
I can't stop. I've seen so much more with my eyes shut than I could ever see with them open. I've experienced so many things I could never do in the confinement of the universe. My universe is bigger. There are so many possibilities, the right things can happen. No, they can't. I'm being ridiculous. I should stop.
I can't stop. It's who I am. I'm a dreamer and I will continue to dream until I die. Maybe I'll continue long after, or maybe this is nonsense. Or maybe, just maybe, it makes all the sense in the world.
I won't stop.
by Marshal Wright
The bad live without a care in the world.
They sit back and collect money from the ones that need it most, only to use it as toilet paper. They laugh at the crowds on the curb begging for money and care.
They don’t feel anything, emotions hitting the walls surrounding their hearts.
They think they’re the only people that matter.
By Emma Rector
By Sara Ersil
“Ignore them.” Julia whispered. We hid in the closet again. They were yelling again. I didn’t know what they were yelling. I could hear their voices. Daddy sounded like a dragon, loud and filling up the space. Mommy sounded like a fairy, high-pitched and piercing. Julia taught me that word.
“What are they saying Julie?” I asked. I couldn’t hear them very well.
“They’re saying nonsense.” she whispered giggling. I didn’t understand what was so funny.
“What kind of nonsense?” I huffed. I couldn’t turn around in the closet, but I tried.
“Just like, random words. Shhhhh.” she said, trying to quiet me down. I did, trying not to giggle.
“What do you mean?” I said, my voice a little too loud.
“Gianna, if I tell you this do you promise to be quiet?” she snapped. I shook my head up and down, smiling. I put a finger to my lips. “Alright.” she said. Daddy yelled, startling us. “Banana, that’s what he said.” she whispered. We then heard my mother’s voice. “She said potato dogs!” she continued.
“Potato-?” I started. I put my hand over my mouth. They stopped yelling. Julia, looked at me, scared. I didn’t know why she was so scared, they were just yelling nonsense after all. They started again. Julia breathed out. “Sorry.” I whispered.
“Don’t worry.” she said. She pulled me close. “Just think of nonsense. Just nonsense.”
Life after Jabberwocky
By Lucy Boyd
When Rumblegids and Snooterkoo
went krimbling down the gonsterlog,
they knippered with the hoolahoops
and quimbled with the lollygogs.
The sky was blinket, the air was flupe,
and Rumblegids searched for the wildewhoop,
all was crittle, the rest tamoo,
and moosh and blue was Snooterkoo.
Alas! But came the frumpy Bidix,
who gippered along the Way,
he spibbled and nulled the whirlitrix
and they made a primpit nest to stay.
By Anna Kolbuszewska
Character. You are my marionette.
You see pennies and cardboard creatures with marker tongues, little thimbles of thoughts duct taped against the far wall. From where your legs are curled against the floor in a lotus, the distance is such that your butchered eyes cannot stretch out far enough to kiss them.
This is purposeful.
Because I have an agenda to follow, architectural structuring of an entire paper world and you cannot get in the way. You cannot abuse my minutes unravelling fiction from your skin and pores, so the stained teeth, noses, saffron mouths, and thinning hairlines must remain out of reach.
But when I am not looking you content yourself to leaning forward, just a bit.
1. Gravity chuckles and your plaster lashes hold delicate fissures against the ground.
2. Head rush tangled in strings.
3. I pinch the watery copper from the 1908 penny before getting the broom and dustpan from the hallway closet.
4. Dust in the air.
5. Half of the pennies are flipped over.
6. Half wear metal frowns.
“Half of what I say is meaningless.”
––The Beatles, “Julia”
Infection of Blue
You kicked me in the shoe! How dare you
Infect it with your blue
Dyed, filthy sneaker shoe.
My shoes are the bomb.
Even when your best hat's on
Your fashion rep is gone
When I step up on the lawn.
I understand your fury
And I understand your worry
Because you used to be on top
But your status took a drop.
Your blue shoes are old news.
You don't get to choose
If you stay number one
By the time the day is done.
I've beat you,
There's nothing you can do.
You can kick me all you want
With your stinky blue shoe.
Aliens In New York City
By Lily Inskip-Shesnicky
They say I'm easy,
well I beg to differ.
Because you like one thing
and I like another.
Being nice is hard,
anger threatens to boil over.
Seemingly lovely people;
Screaming "wake up sheeple"
Nonsense is easy.
Sugar is sweet
"It was the CIA"
You are my least favourite treat.
it’s a metaphor for life.
In the center of the universe
is a restful third eye.
So thumbs forward
palm knee palm,
mass heart attack!
Nonsense is easy,
and I'm easy too.
This makes sense to me;
but it's scrambled eggs to you.
On Walking Backwards
Pippi Longstocking walked backwards when returning from her morning walk. This, understandably, seemed like nonsense to her neighbours, but she was after all in a free country, and if she didn’t feel like turning around there was no reason to. And so, making perfect sense, she walked backwards.
Keep this in mind; a good deal of what seems like nonsense actually has a perfectly good explanation.
I stare at you constantly but if asked, I couldn’t recreate your face from memory, wouldn’t be able to say which shade of green are your eyes, would be at a loss if told to describe your outfit. I experience a strange sense of pleasure from looking in your direction, and who am I to deny my eyes of their wishes?
I think of you even as I am occupied with much more important matters, such as working or eating. I desire your slender form curled up against mine, pressed as close to me as possible. I believe that would be the only way to soothe my ache for you. And so you see, my constant yearning for your presence is not nonsense, but merely part of my biological makeup, something I must maintain to stay healthy and sane.
I seem to fumble with my words and do everything wrong when you are near me. All the clever things I had mulled over under blankets, all the things I had planned to say; all of them escape me, or suddenly seem to wilt next to your pure brilliance. This may especially seem like nonsense, and yet I can assure you this is an evolutionary marvel, sent straight from the hands of God. This heightened awkwardness is a warning signal to the both of us - warning you to stay away, warning me not to let you get too close. It minimizes the imminent pain.
I have heard the warning signal loud and clear, and yet I still treasure your every smile, every kind gesture, every word. And if this seems like utter nonsense, then you are very observant, because that is precisely what it is, but for all the clever explanations and witty extrapolations I have no justification for my horrific derivation from logic.
Love, I should say, is fairly nonsensical.
By Pascal Malenfant
The Predictable Mind
By Holly Bennett
Memories swirl inside the great cavern that is my head. Some shine and sparkle, adorned with glossy
nostalgia. Others are eerie and spectral, forever haunting my mind.
Thoughts climb the great staircase which is my head. Some bound and leap up the steps, energetic and eager
to be shared with the world. Others stroll leisurely, taking their time with a sneer plastered on their faces.
Facts bounce on the great trampoline that is my head. Some smile and wave, happy to share their knowledge.
Others lurk in hidden crevices, not wanting to be found.
Memories, thoughts, and facts are constant pulses reverberating in my skull. They harbour my identity. My
mind is the only anchor in the flood caused by my nonsensical heart. Sometimes I would rather drown in the flood than hang on to the anchor.
By Neve Stewart
Mom, you always told me you loved me.
Mom, you always said I’d be your little girl.
Mom, you always told me I could be anything I wanted.
But mom, all of a sudden you don’t seem to be listening.
And mom, you’re not hearing me.
Mom, why is it more important that you have a daughter, than that you have me?
By Charlotte Jory
at the start of september
just send me on my way
& a salmon surge
wanna swim upstream with the best of ‘em
like searching fish
in spawning season
soon we all end up
in the strawberry reservoir
seeking stand-outs from
the other fish in the sea
kokanee sockeye salmon
livin the silvery dream
By Emilie Montreuil Strub
By Krista Hum
When I was a kid I used to be able to hang upside down for fifteen minutes at a time on the monkey bars at the park. That was where I would get my inspiration. After hanging there for a couple of fifteen minute intervals, I could drop to the ground with new ideas in my brain and start drawing everything and nothing all at the same time.
Being a professional artist was the worst decision of my life, I knew in the back of my mind that I would run out of ideas eventually. I had done painting, drawing, sculpting, photography and anything else you could think of. The creative shelf in my brain had been cleaned off and thoroughly dusted.
My boyfriend of five years wrapped his arms around my waist one day when I was baking cupcakes and suggested I go back to my roots. I think he meant visit my hometown and pick up inspiration from my family or from where I first started art, but to me, my roots were upside down.
That’s what landed me here, hanging upside down on a set of monkey bars in a park meant for ten year old children. My head almost touched the ground and my hair dragged along the sand. For once I was glad that I was one of those people who hadn’t grown since ninth grade. My boyfriend got the pleasure of sitting on the ground getting sand up his pants while I tried to leech inspiration out of hanging upside down. I don’t think he was all that impressed.
My inspiration came to me just after I figured that monkey bars hadn’t worked and it disappeared just as fast as it came but I had it down on paper before I had even fully developed the idea. On the page the idea looked flat and lifeless but once I started I realized this was probably going to be a career changer for me. I figured my boyfriend would be impressed now and he was, so much that he decided to break up with me halfway through the project but who needed love anyways. I had art.
I finished my project mid-July when the air was hard to take in and the sun never slept. I had never been so proud in my life. Everyone and their uncle came to my exhibition, even my ex-boyfriend came. He was mighty impressed then.
I was wealthy enough not to need any more inspiration but I kept at it just because I could. I guess I have my ex to thank for getting me here, but I enjoyed hanging upside down on monkey bars too much to regret him.
By Peri Shaw
Sometimes when I don’t understand what’s going on, I visit the carousel at the local mall walking distance from my dad’s apartment. This carousel spins extra fast – not like those kiddie ones they have at cotton-candy smelling fairs with shitty petting zoos. No, this carousel is a good one. The horses are painted with a furry black coat and their manes are made from ‘real horse hair’ or so the sign says. When you mount, it’s like you can feel where the bones and muscles stretched and moved before they turned to statues. That’s how real they feel. I go to this carousel when I don’t understand what’s going on and I need to spin all the thoughts out of my head. I ride it two or three times before the operator starts yelling nonsense at me and curse words my mother raised me not to repeat. Maybe it’s the soft skin of the horse’s neck that makes me feel as if I am really riding through meadows and not spinning around alone in a sketchy mall. I try to go back as often as I can. Nowadays, I ride it more frequently than before, I guess because my thoughts these days are almost as nonsensical as the words the operator yells at me.