WITHOUT LAMENT by Patricia Silva

“In the home without bread,
Everyone yells and no one is right.”
—Iberian saying

I suppose there are better ways of celebrating the life of an eccentric Maria than getting a four-legged M tattoo. But that’s what I did, on a snowy January afternoon, after returning from Miami. Palm trees and suave breezes pointed to the parts of me that long for another time, one in which she exists, and we are happy. The Venezuelan and the Pakistani were visiting, so they saw that olive green M through cling film wrapped around my arm.

The last time Maria and I went the Mosteiro de Alcobaça, her rheumatic grip didn’t leave my elbow. It was easy to accompany her thoughts as she reminisced about stories of the Portuguese monarchy on the radio. She grew up hearing history like that, interpolated audio. First kings, first empires, first this, fist that. Do people ever stop fighting and building monuments to commemorate it? Some commemorations called ‘victory’ get preserved as Art, and in this manner our sense of beauty and space are constantly linked to monumental erections chiseled for politics we may find repulsive. But we visit them arm in arm, and welcome some memory or other, one Manueline vault after another.

Grip still solid, she guided me away from all this when she’d had enough of the past. We spent a couple of hours at the monastery, went to lunch, poked in and out of local artisanal shops. I drove us home in the Fiat rental, stopping at the pharmacy before heading home. She was afraid of walking out of the pharmacy alone—junkies eyeing her for pills.

Returning to New York from Lisbon meant reentering the constellation of habits defining my existence at the time. I was recovering from shock, and taking small steps towards big changes, revolving around support and healing communities: seeing a career coach/certified psychic healer, attending Al-Anon meetings, regular meditation, and co-founding an art group. Don’t we all want that, the opportunity to invest in ourselves? Recently I thought of my grandmother Maria, her blue eyes fiercer than usual, placing the small chainsaw on the work table. She loved that thing, so fast to trim the trees! Firewood neatly sliced! And from her comes my great love for sassy women with axes and extremely refined senses of purpose.

But I thought of her months ago, in a conference room. A group of twenty to thirty people or so, in crisis counseling training. We were all there in good hope, knowing our work will be important. That validating the experiences of we who have experienced trauma and violence and empowering the social bodies who live with the aftermath of violence is crucial to changing cycles of systematic oppression. Of course, gender is a hot topic, and rightfully so. As I heard definitions of gender norms ping-pong across the room, I had one of those moments where a new form is found, among so many thoughts. I’ve spent years verbalizing and internally evaluating how the femininities I grew up around were so different than the hyper feminized and hyper sexualized femininities I encountered after moving to the US in 1987. So, in this training session, as I listened to expressions of disdain for the gender binary, I suddenly noticed that femininity and masculinity were being referred to in singular form. As if the gender binary could only be represented by Ken and Barbie, rather than an institutionalized equation. But Ken and Barbie’s gender binary differs greatly from Homer and Marge’s, in ways beyond the social class they each represent.

At that moment, a new articulation became available to me: that I shared their anger at gender oppressions, but I was also raised by, and around, women who thought nothing of picking up a chainsaw and learning how to use it. I was raised by women whose femininities were enhanced by their ability to do what was necessary, without the privilege of measuring what such an action might communicate about gender expectations. They expected themselves to survive, live well, care for their community. Power tools, kitten heels, a brood of children, a motorcycle, lipstick, horses. Good shampoo. And always a fine flannel of modest hue.

I thought of Maria, kneading bread. Ironing her clothes with care. Soiling her hands planting collards. Watering the orchards with an endless water hose. Olive-tinted nail beds. Did I grow up around a variety of femininities becoming obsolete? I can’t say I would feel particularly feminine chopping firewood, I’m sure I would just feel completely clumsy and breaking into some sort of enthusiasm before getting hungry. For Maria, survival validated her, not definitions. And from this thought I felt the continuation of an emotional permaculture without lament, shared seeds traveling light.

Maria was also angry. It has been easy to forget that there was much commotion and disagreements. Arguments among adults that left me quiet and vigilant. From watching the women who raised me, I learned to respect my anger. It wasn’t something I would throw around like a brick, it was a collection of energy I could trust, and direct. And in this manner, my sense of beauty and space were constantly linked, because they had to be defended. Anger is just another monument we build from thrown bricks in order to defend. That hapless understanding of anger as a thing to observe rather than be, formed some awareness in me that valued beauty greatly, approximating what might best be described by “art as a vigilant state of mind.”* As I bind and bond with newer communities of support and activism, I think of Maria always so effortlessly defiant. That wide smile at preparing breakfast for my brother and I: fresh bread, fresh cheese, Yoplait yogurts and homemade lattés. That smile emerged from a little girl who shared a sardine for breakfast with two siblings. Maria never saw snow. She loved a cool breeze in summer sun, and needle pointing by the fireplace when cold came to stay.

That was the last art outing we ever did together, going to Alcobaça. It was then winter and gardens were dewy from morning fog, but far from leafing anew.

 

* a quote from Andrea Juno.

 

____________________________________________________________________

Patricia Silva is a Lisbon born, New York City based artist, arts writer, collaborator. Say hello @senseandsight 

 

excerpts from KNIFE SHOW by Shaun Gannon

Welcome back to Knife Show, where we’re blowing through deals because there’s an F-4 rolling through here in about an hour. That’s right, it’s time for the first Lightning Round of the year. Well, Tornado Round. Whatever. We need to get going, but, here we are, so, let’s get to getting.

 

I say we begin tonight’s Tornado Round with what is ostensibly the greatest deal of the night, if not century: these mace whistles didn’t do so well at release since the spray nozzles point the wrong way full disclosure, so we’re going to sell these to you at cost. At cost. That’s right, and these are official Mace brand, sponsored by DJ Alligator Project, which means… if you’re in need of a non-lethal self-defense accessory that features a high-pressured jet of pepper foam to accompany your shrieking whistle and authentic Klaxon emergency alarm, then for 12.99, you’ve got six of them. That’s the Mace Raver Safety Self-Defense whistle: lot number 30303-TB. There is no limit on these babies, so, you know, rave it up, if you wanna.

 

Now, up next — Ray, follow me over here. Ray, over here – is the latest installment of our long-running Discovery Channel Historical Replica series: this glorious Spear of Destiny measures at four meters long, with solid ironwood handle and manganese bronze spearhead. Each piece of the series was painstakingly hand-crafted in the Discovery Channel Artisans’ Workshop in rustic Silver Spring, Maryland; and with every detail rendered with perfect accuracy, I mean, this is a piece is for the true collector. You can even see the strip of paint running down the backside representing Christ’s blood. Now, I can’t guarantee that this spear will work in every pagan ritual or unlock every door in your ancient ruins, but I haven’t heard of it not working yet, so, take from that what you will. What I can guarantee is that this sucker is super sharp – you could ask Ray how sharp it is, but you’d have to make sure you ask on his good side, because this baby in my hand took his right ear just yesterday, and I probably should not have said that. No, Ray, I’m not talking to you, just keep rolling. That’s the Spear of Destiny historical replica, lot 220518-G, in a limited edition of 10,000, available to you for only 37.99, limit five per caller. Don’t blame me if your summonings go wrong, I just sell the things.

 

Well, it seems that this would be a momentous episode of Knife Show whether a tornado knocked us flat or not, because tonight I introduce to you a knife that our regulars will be sure to recognize and covet to pieces. This next lot is based off of our best-selling Flaming Sword of Kr’ygnn Everscarred line of display pieces, and it’s sure to be just as hot. In fact, I’m pretty sure this is hotter, so I’m putting it down. No, just – just slide the bucket here – so. Kr’ygnn Flameblade: lot 911243-D. The, uh, paperwork says the blade measures four inches long, with full tang and a serrated edge, which I can neither confirm nor deny as it is permanently shrouded in flames. This knife is a replica of the fire knife wielded by Kr’ygnn’s five year-old son in the spinoff TV show that aired primarily in the Philippines – not sure if any of you caught that, but trust me – just as brutal and foul-mouthed as the film. The paperwork here says it also comes with a standard leather sheath and holster, but I must advise you, please, do not use it with this knife. Kr’ygnn Flameblade: only 89.99, or five and half payments of 17.36. Lemme see, anything else here… hold on… Oh! Not responsible for any injuries! Eh-heh, almost forgot that time.

Okay, it seems our final couple lots of the night were lost in that warehouse fire, so if you’re interested in some smoked knives, just call up and we’ll be sure you get the right deal. We can’t vouch for their condition, but I’d be willing to bet if you ordered some, you’d be getting the finest pile of plastic and metal you can get your hands on – although, you probably won’t be getting anyone on the line for the next couple hours, so, uh, leave a message, I guess. Alright, this has been Knife Show; stick around for Iman’s designer purses, or diaper bags, or whatever it is she’s got. Anything sold by Bowie’s main squeeze can’t be half bad. Get the truck started, Ray.

 

___________________________________________________________________________

 

Shaun Gannon, author of Brown Fuzzy Words (Love Symbol Press, 2012), lives outside Washington, D.C. More of his work forthcomes in Pop Serial and plain wrap’s quarter. He websites at shaunwow.com.

 

 

TWO POEMS by Manuel Arturo Abreu

 

 

bin laden had a great brand

 

mom picks me and my sister up from school

only one channel plays anything besides the same clip

it’s a list of casualties scrolling yellow on blue

my dad was working construction on that block

at the top of the repeating list is ’manuel abreu’

the 2 hours we thought he was dead felt ’gnomic’

my dad came home and our home unclenched

as we all hugged for once i kept thinking, like,

‘i wonder what the dead manuel abreu was like’

 

 

i wonder what i’ll be like when i’m dead

 

it doesn’t matter

air will have wifi

lettuce will be shrewd

there will be wind gardens

people will still make windchimes

out of spoons and seashells

i am like a crow made of post-­its

 

 

______________________________________________________________

 

Manuel Arturo Abreu is a writer based in Portland and NYC. They are proud of you. Read more poetry here.

 

MY RESPONSE TO PLAYBOY’S 60TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE STARRING KATE MOSS by Ana Carrete

kate moss

employee: how old are you?

me: 27

employee: wow, really? you look younger.

me: yes, do you need my ID?

employee: no, that’s fine. do you want a bag?

me: no, that’s fine. thank you.

employee: so you’re just gonna flash it around? people are going to be like “wow, her boyfriend is probably the luckiest man in the world”.

me: um, okay, please give me a bag then.

employee: okay. have a good one.

me: thanks. you too.

And then I grabbed the bag and hit my chin with the magazine because I’m a very clumsy girl.

While turning pages, I found a “Travel” page and was really surprised when I read: “Mex Appeal”. The number one destination: Tijuana.

I really hate it when I tell people where I’m from and then they immediately make a comment about donkey shows, or how it’s extremely unsafe and they’re afraid of my hometown.

Playboy didn’t do that.

I’ve been to two strip clubs in my life, none of them had donkey shows and no one that I know has ever said they exist. I want to believe they’re an urban legend. I went with six guys to these two strip clubs. The first was darker than what I’d imagined. When we got there, the first girl was already topless and then she took off her panties. The second girl was very attractive and didn’t take off her panties but one of my friends’ friends called her a whore while she rubbed her breasts on his face. She thanked him. He only gave her one dollar. He came back to our table and laughed. He felt proud.

We finished our Coronas and went to another club. This second location was brighter. There were mirrors and pink neon lights around the room. There were couches with old men wearing suits with women sitting on their laps. There was a woman on stage bending over wearing cool platforms. I was the only woman who wasn’t working there. I was being stared at.

One of my friends asked, “You want to leave, right?”

When he asked, it sounded like he was uncomfortable, and I’m not sure if it was because he was being a good friend and was trying to “protect me”, or because he felt awkward with me being there and felt like he couldn’t enjoy the strip club with his buddies. So we left.

About five years later, one of my friends told me about his experience. He said that you pay $5 dollars to get into this bigger place. You need to buy alcohol and you watch her. You share a table with strangers. You share her with strangers. Some strangers give her more money than you. She has candles and plays with them. She puts the candles near her breasts. She puts a lit candle in and out of her pussy.  She puts a lit candle in and out of her asshole. She moves her ass like she’s in a music video and the candle is in there. Moving with her. She puts a dildo in her pussy and asshole. A person pays to put the dildo in and out of her. Everyone watches. You watch. You leave. You move on with your life. You remember her playing with candles.

 playboy interior

 

The first time someone insulted my hometown to my face was in Orlando. I was eighteen years old and my sister was turning fifteen, so my parents took us to see Mickey Mouse.

A bald man that worked at the hotel we were staying at asked us where we were from.

My mom said, “Tijuana, Mexico. Do you know where that is?”

The old man laughed and said, “Everybody knows where Tijuana is,” and he made the universal alcohol hand gesture. Because I care about clothes and that was the easiest thing I could do to demean him, I criticized his outfit, and even though he had no idea what I was thinking and probably wouldn’t have cared anyway, doing that gave me pleasure.  (I was wearing olive pedal-pushers and a “French Connection” t-shirt that day.)

Later, some friends told us what youʼre supposed to say when someone asks you that question. They said, “You just say ʻMexico’. You donʼt need to specify.”

We got on the bus and drove away. We found a cartoonish version of Mexico in Disney World. All the food places sold burritos and nachos, and the employees wore sombreros. It was a tropical day. It rained. We got wet. We bought and wore yellow ponchos.

Nine years later, Kate Moss took off her poncho. She took it all off.

This was the second time I looked at a Playboy magazine. The first one was from the 80s and Madonna was on the cover. I’m pretty sure Madonna had a bush. There was a lot of pubic hair in that issue. Since the general public (or so they want us to believe) mostly makes fun of (or hates on) women with pubic hair, I foolishly assumed that there wouldn’t be any in this issue, in this magazine. Surprisingly, a lot of them do have some (the landing strip or more).

Unlike when I look at fashion magazines, I didn’t feel depressed or bad about my body while turning the pages.

Which makes me believe that maybe I don’t hate my body but I’m addicted to shopping and feel sad when I can’t buy certain things.

Which reminds me of that one time when I was in middle school and a bitch said she hated the way I dressed.

So yes, I learned to hurt a certain type of people, you can make that stupid comment, and it works. So I suppose that when people started to compliment me on my fashion choices, I didn’t want that to go away, so now a childish part of me feels like if I don’t dress well, people won’t like me.

Anyway, it was good to see those bodies. My roommate said something about Kate Moss’ nipples and I had never noticed them. Maybe I hadn’t paid attention to nipples in general until she pointed Kate’s nipples out. I imagined mine and compared them to Kate Moss’.

And later when I took my bra off to put on pajamas I looked at my nipples and thought “yes.”

I recommend buying this issue. It’s fun. There’s some really beautiful pictures.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Ana Carette is the author of Baby Babe and the editor of New Wave Vomit. She recently released a new chapbook called Sadmess.

R.H by Zooee Ghostly

He wasn’t old enough to have greyed
nor wrinkled
and his living room
smelled of high-gloss paper
and fixer chemicals
and yellow smoke,

and he unbuckled my jeans,
same belt i still wear,
and i stood in the high-gloss living room
smelling fixer
and his yellow breath,

and i stayed soft in his spit
with my knees locked
and i cringed in my parents home
and ignored him at the cafe
and never told a woman
and forgot this had ever happened,

and forgot how foreign
my body at 15,

and I looked him up
a named photographer,
that face in my skin

half-eaten
cold and stale.

and she holds the scars on the back of my head
and I whisper teeth against her breastplate
and she traces my veins a blooded map
and she’ll never stretch her waterlogged lungs
enough to ask
why i hold my belt
when I gag to myself
in the redmoon lamp spread
of the darkroom.

 

 

 

___________________________________
Zooee Ghostly is currently being evicted from a yellow-breathed apartment in Denver, CO. zooeetheghost.tumblr.com

LESSON UNMITIGATED by Camonghne Felix

I can’t believe it, I am
still obsessed with it
– my body and its
betrayal. Flesh, the
birth given border
is prototype of all
the world’s dams.

Sometimes I am convinced
of my luck/might share it/sell it for soft french bread and
a pool of Sauvignon. Instead I hear the call of grand bravery,
my whole life some God’s staff /yo/ the universe has got this
sick ability to fuck all the gold away, literally towing it right out
of the mouth. Elasticity a bone first / all bend a lesson toward
later. I’m crying out from the wounding and surviving the lash.

People you love are going to get ill and die.
And then, your whole life a new hue.

 

___________________________

Camonghne Felix is is an MFA Candidate at the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College, was a 2012 Pushcart Prize nominee, and is the 2013 recipient of the Cora Craig Award for Young Women and was featured on the HBO Documentary Brave New Voices. You can find her work in various publications, including Pank Magazine, Specter Magazine, Kenning Journal, Sinister Wisdom, with work forthcoming in Bayou Magzine and other places. www.toskateonsun.tumblr.com

2 POEMS by John Gawarecki-Maxwell

Applejacks

applejacks are a tasty breakfast treat

a delicious conundrum
of crunchy cinnamonesque donuts,
the sugar-beaded texture that
drives kids wild; adults go crazy
in the commercials with bugged-out eyes and
stuck-up noses, fuming with confusion over
how those bonkers tykes could love the
part of a balanced breakfast
that lies to them at every angle

and we’re like “suck it, you old fucks,”
cuz we’re rebels who don’t
always ask for parents’ permission before going online
to meet at the place where only kids win,
that lawless nook between homework assignments where
we ride razor scooters, blast kidz bop cds, and
revel in the pleasures someone made
just for us, no adults allowed; we fire
the first shots of revolution, one cereal bowl at a time

“I may have just killed my childhood,”
I think to myself, applejacks
melting in the milk.

 

 

After-school Special

This one time, I was in the lunchroom,
which has all those white folding benches
and that pipe with all the pillows on it
I like to climb on them (I’m a
good climber) but this one time I chipped
my tooth on the table? Anyway,
it was after-school and there were all kinds of
kids there and one of them had a book,
a how-to-draw book, which I liked
(I like drawing) and never followed because
drawing all those lines is just dumb, but
it was a Sonic the Hedgehog drawing book
and it looked cool because it meant I could draw
Sonic, and Tails, and Knuckles, and
all those guys I could already kind of draw but now I
could draw them better! Then the kid and a bunch more
kids went upstairs to play in the auditorium and I stayed
and then I heard a gasp and I thought that maybe the
pipe with all the pillows on it was talking but it
was me!

For then I realized that
the prospect that I could steal the book
had dawned on me, and not just as an off-hand
silly thing to think before I drank my juice but
as a serious possibility. I told myself it was wrong to
silence the bad thoughts but I thought:
you are a kid who loves Sonic, and loves
everything about him and may never see this again,
so why not take it?
Bad guys rob the banks and threaten to destroy the world
for ransoms of millions of dollars, but what of you?
A book, no more that six dollars worth,
and it could be yours as easily of opening the backpack,
taking it out and walking away. I had to debate the
possibility of this: the moral dilemmas of stealing being wrong and bad
and the kid being sad but me getting a cool book for my collection
and I could look at it and like it and never use it
whatsoever, when out of nowhere

the kid comes back, and grabs his coat, and then his bag
and then he leaves.
I had debated this for so long that I lost my chance to grab it.
And I was really disappointed; my seven-year-old world shattered
by the realization that time ran out before
I could choose the best plan of action for myself.
Of course, nothing had changed and I was
no worse than when I started but
it’s hard

to feel as a cartoon caricature
sitting on the edge of the curb under a
streetlight, the only light to dissipate
the deep blue dark; the angel and demon
vilify each other and berate me,
a melancholy saxophone plays somewhere off-screen.

______________________________________
John Gawarecki-Maxwell is a writer from New York City who’d probably be a lot more productive if he stopped watching so much pro wrestling. You can follow him @iamjohngm .

CHAPBOOK DROP!

EVERYDAY MR. KENT
by Andrew Worthington
&
Niki Schur-Narula

Everyday Mr. Kent

On Sunday, March 30th, Keep This Bag Away drops a new chapbook by Andrew Duncan Worthington and Niki Schur-Narula. Everyday Mr. Kent has drawn critical acclaim from prominent figures in the New York arts and literary scene. Some have called it “great,” and others have said, “Everyday Mr. Kent accurately depicts what it means to be the other in our day and age.”

Preorder your copy now or pick one up at the reading on Sunday! Limited edition of 50 for the first print run!

KEEP THIS BAG AWAY FROM CHILDREN CHAPBOOK FIESTA AT THE MELLOW PAGES LIBRARY

 

Mellow Pages Library
56 Bogart St. 1S, Brooklyn

Sunday, March 30th
6pm-9pm

Celebrating the 2nd edition of Sophia Le Fraga’s I DON’T WANT ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE INTERNET (out now!), as well as the debut of zine EVERYDAY MR. KENT by Andrew Duncan Worthington and Niki-Schur-Narula

There will be readings by the following:

Sophia Le Fraga
Tom Comitta
Ben Fama
Maggie Lee
Sean Edgley

GEORGE SANDERS

List 1 KTBAC

List 1, 2012
Acrylic on canvas
12 x 9 inches

Wavey Scan 2 KTBAC

Wavey Study 1, 2014
Colored pencil and vinyl acrylic copolymer on paper

Wavey Study 1 KTBAC

Wavey Study 2, 2014
Gouache and colored pencil on paper
12 x 8.5 inches

____________________________________________
George Sanders (b. 1987, Santa Barbara CA) is a Brooklyn based painter and sculptor. He received his B.A. from Bard College in 2010. You can see and learn more about his work at his website, georgeleosanders.com

SURVIVAL INSIGHT by Grégoire Blunt & Emmy Skensved

imaginethatyralonechillmixplayingcoldgloonyourfacerelaxreleaserepeat


 

_______________________________

Grégoire Blunt & Emmy Skensved are Canadian artists based in Berlin. Their most recent collaboration was a black-lit ice bar performance at Other Projects (Berlin), reviewed here. They’ll also be exhibiting soon at ESP (Toronto) and Duve (Berlin).