all illustrations George Liu
Andrea Jiapei Li
text Laura Payne
I believe that many of us have a relative on Facebook who did that thing where when prompted to add a profile photo, they scanned in a physical print. And then uploaded it without cropping it so they are there, very small and pushed to the edge, trimmed with big blocks of glowing white.
And then when they tried to fix it there are 3 or 4 photos in a row of the same photo at various distances, cropped into various sizes and shapes.
And by the time she gets it right, our aunt’s face is slightly pixelated, but it is her favorite photo of herself, and she dug it out from the bottom of a shoebox for this, and she looks beautiful up there in the corner.
text Laura Payne
Protect yourself! Saran wrap your heart until it is unidentifiable not only as yours, but as an organ at all. In someone else’s bathroom, tell yourself this in the morning: You are stronger than the matriarch on your favorite soap opera. You have the power to raise a coven of thoughtful and brutish daughters even though you will choose eventually not to. You will live through many earthquakes that are far away and have nothing to do with you, but you lived through them! You will push around a freight load of failed job interviews every day. Push it through the perfume counters at the mall, push it through the office break room, through the take out restaurant that you order from not because it is best, because it is closest. Don’t worry about proximity to anything. And please! Remember there is strength in the number of times you caught your reflection in that freshly wiped down bagel shop window.
text Humi Difier
before he was born, he was told that his hands have a special way of touching things.
so before his birth day he tried touching a few things to see what would happen:
seaweed at his fingertips turned to silk
milk became green mold jelly
all beans became confused frills
he thought: this is exciting! i’ll touch as many things as possible when i grow up.
when he grew up, he touched some more things:
grass became confident
a grocery bag learned to photosynthesize
a lake debuted at the opera
and four walls realized they were a pretty dress.
a moose antler is not a straight line, which means it could be a good maze.
a bamboo reed is a straight line, which means it would be a bad maze.
you could catch both with a fish net.
if i roll up my pant legs at the beach, the waves will pretend to be taller. if every person on the beach rolls up their pant legs, the tide will get mad and go home.
the thing they say about snow flakes – that there have never been two of the same shape – is true about the clumps of hair in shower drains also.
hair clumps and snow flakes decide to swap places for a day.
hair clumps form big fuzzy clouds and then fall from the sky.
snow flakes sulk in little mounds around shower drains.
children wear hair clump earrings, and stick their tongues out to catch hair clumps.
snow flakes get candy colored, corrosive chemicals poured over their heads.
adults shoot laser beams at hair clumps to predict where the hair clumps will fly.
adults fish out lumps of snow flakes from the drain while grimacing.
grandmas try to knit hair clump patterned sweaters, but it’s much harder.
text Joelle Ballam-Schwan
What are they hiding?
Let me tell you:
She keeps a yellow sticky-note that reads “at least you have your health and cell phone” on her mirror.
In the left drawer of her desk, there’s a 4 page, double spaced, 8” X 11” document, with a staple in the upper left corner. These four pages contain the syllabus for a class she’s spent years crafting. She is consumed, however, with the overwhelming anxiety that there is an expectation for the space where she hosts the class, to provide plants. She knows the only access she’ll have for this course is her parent’s basement, in which, and where which, there are no plants, and for which she could never in a million years, afford to plant. She pulls out the pristine paper and writes with a red sharpie “You’ve gotten the wrong impression. I am very concerned you’re going to come thinking there will be plants… there are no plants. I can’t be any clearer about this: there will be no plants.” She places the paper back in the drawer.
He cries every time they hear Ryan Seacrest’s voice on the radio. This is only because they’re a big American Idol fan.
A mole, on her left shoulder, which bares a striking resemblance to her dead grandfather.
When the doorbell rang, there was a package at the door. The package did not have her name, but was instead addressed to a name that looked quite familiar. A name that which she often saw mail for and left alone, because in fact she was quite certain that name belonged to her neighbor. Today, however, this did not stop her from snatching this package, or furthermore, from opening this package. Inside the package was another package, containing a sealed package, of Men’s Hanes underwear. She knew her name was not Robert, nor did she order this package of mens’ underwear. Yet, this did not stop her from opening the package of men’s Hanes underwear. After trying on each pair in the 6 pack, she carefully rolled each underwear as tightly bound as possible, placed each one back in the plastic packaging, then placed the plastic packaging, back in the box. She then resealed the box with the only tape she had, scotch tape, and scooted it back out the door.
IN HER AMAZON CART
- Every item from the MoMA amazon store
- $200 handmade bosnian throw pillows
- A glass yayoi kusama mug
- Generic frozen cheesecake,
- An anti-aging jade roller
- A coffee table book on voodoo dolls&
- A cheap .50 cent necklace that she should really just go ahead and buy already,
but pushes them to “saved for later” each time she checks out.
Just one very yellow toenail.
After spending her life savings on Disney Cruise, she accrued a late charge of $320 from Blockbuster for the film, “Anger Management,” which remained unpaid when the franchise closed.
During the day she wears a turtleneck. Not your grandmother’s turtleneck, but more of your step daughter’s turtleneck. When she reflect on her youth, what does regret the most? Perhaps that week she stuffed her bra, even though, no one noticed.
This morning, she dug deep into her fun bag. The bottom of the bag was encased in disintegrating pill residue and melted chocolate. She found 3 thirds of her anti-depressants, linted and chocolated, but each third made up a third of her daily dose, and then some. Everything tastes better with chocolate, she knows, so she keeps the bag around. It’s fun.
Nothing. She has nothing to hide.
text Humi Difier
there is a hallway which you are looking down. in your opinion, this hallway is called ‘the boardroom’. the walls, floor and ceiling are padded with plush, perfumed cushions.
from the other end of the hallway, a velociraptor is running towards you, clutching a bouquet of musty flowers.
the bouquet is wrapped in green velvet wallpaper. the running velociraptor doesn’t get any closer, but on the velvet, u can see the pollen accumulating into shapes, like aspiring tattoos.
in the next room, u are aware that a classroom of children is watching a documentary about the how the pollen got on the velvet. a popular astronomer is explaining that these pollen clusters form constellations, not tattoos. the children are not convinced. when the children grow up, they will defy the popular astronomer, by getting tattoos of the pollen tattoos on their arms and legs.
a confederation of triangles holds a discussion about the moon. subjects include : where is the moon zipper, and how to fit more triangles inside the moon.
every thing is probably the skeleton of some other thing.
a window is the skeleton of fresh air
a cube is the skeleton of a round rock
aspic is the skeleton of the atmosphere
wind is the skeleton of comet
a pillow is the skeleton of cloud
a yo-yo is the skeleton of frog’s tongue
somebody could become the leading expert of finding out which thing is the skeleton of some other thing. they could be a tenured professor in this subject if they wanted.
they would need an office. it would not be on the top floor, nor the ground floor, but somewhere in between. their tools would be: a pair of white enamel tongs, a porcelain paper airplane, and a sewing kit that makes stitches with heavy cream.
text Elspeth K. Walker
text Laura Payne
Reasons To Watch Reality Television:
1. Pairs well with a buttery chardonnay.
2. When your roommate hears unrehearsed voices through the wall they may, perhaps, think that you have guests.
3. Your roommate, who is now under the impression that you have guests late at night talking in dramatic tones, may begin to think of you as a different kind of person, which is the first step to you actually becoming a different kind of person.
4. When you become a different person, you will be a person who loves the things that they love unabashedly.
5. It will make you grateful that your life is not dramatic, although you hope that someone, perhaps your roommate, thinks that it is dramatic, because drama is only sparkling and fabulous from a safe distance.
6. Just to hear women bickering, because that is sometimes a comfortable space, and one that is not dwelled in enough.