Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand
the last airplane in the sky
on sunday / the last airplane flies across the dusk / she’s at the bottom of the hill on the driveway when she hears it / glances upwards to find the source / her eyes accidentally snag on the lifestyle houses looming above instead / the radiant glow from their windows stare her down / she looks away / but her hate burns harder / she hates their kitchen islands / hates their leisurely-tended green gardens / hates that all they have to entertain is their boredom while she has to entertain her 妹妹 and 弟弟 (younger brother and sister) because 妈妈 (mum) has to work / she just wants some quiet for a moment / away from her home at the bottom of the hill / but her 4 year old 弟弟 pulls her sweater and says he’s hungry / she switches back on her smile and returns inside / leaving the last airplane in the sky
Amelia is living and studying all the way at the bottom of the world in Auckland, New Zealand. She was a full-time student, but is now a full-time dessert eater.
Tongva Land, Los Angeles, USA
In my line of organizing work
I’m usually down to mask up
Cause it means shit’s about to go
Down at a public protest
And I’m not trying to get doxxed.
But this masking up everyday
Just to go outside?
Just to see people?
I hate it.
It’s hot, stuffy
And becomes a struggle -
Harder to breathe
Harder to talk
Harder to just be
Cause I can’t think without this pandemic
Hanging over my head.
An omnipresent catastrophe
Even though my life looks and feels mostly fine
Is a cognitive dissonance
That’s hard to process
But again I’m mostly fine
Except when I wear the mask
Cause then a mental harangue of
<Alert! Stay at home! Alert! Flatten the curve!>
<WE ARE ALL IN TERRIBLE DANGER>
And I forget what I’m doing cause
This mask is suffocating
Like this omnipresent catastrophe.
I go by TiDo or 杜雪玲. I use she/her pronouns. I cry over spilt compost. I smile with doggos, hikes, books, and gardens. I don’t just laugh at flatulent humor; I greet my parents with it. And I teach and organize.
38 Days Alone (After Shirley Jackson’s ‘The Real Me’)
After the last one left I swept away their loose hair, wiped their handprints from doors, locked away their skin-smell.
I have been cooking pancakes on Sundays and soaking orchids once a week. I am trying to fill this house with myself. Sometimes there is too little of me to flood this vastness and I have to push my ribs back into my body.
I have been speaking to people who are not here. Spat at the betrayal of empty bedrooms. Other things left behind like me because they didn’t matter: unplayed boardgames, least favourite books, work shoes, drying towels.
In the night when it sounds like strangers have amassed on my floorboards, I go upstairs with the knife I used to chop dark chocolate. I want the ghosts to know I am the only one to haunt here.
Christy Ku is a Hong Kong born, London-based multimedia creative. She was one of the top 6 finalists for BBC 1Xtra’s Words First programme 2019. She is a Barbican Young Poet alumna and is also Christy is also a short story writer, podcaster, and photographer. She is working towards her debut poetry collection.
A. Shaikh is an Indian-immigrant writing about her dreams, fears, and everything in between. She is an associate for The Kenyon Review, Editor-in-Chief of Sunset Press, and an Aquarius who loves the color blue. You can find her poems in Jam & Sand Journal, Underblong and forthcoming on poets.org. Her internet thoughts reside @apricotpoet
minutes rolling into hours
pvc protection overlying
a world map held captive by my eyes
flinging themselves back and forth
from hobart to harringay
17390km of air which
feels stagnant here so my
mind rekindles the
energy of final moments away in
3pm afternoon sunlight
rippling silhouettes on your
linen bedsheets as i try to salvage
the blurred sensation
of your body contouring mine
weeks slowly stretching into months
sometimes if the sky is blue i’ll
sit outside watching the full sun
arcing perpendicular to the horizon
as it shortens its path day by day.
i dream of summertime reunification
south of the black sea and notice my
screen time has jumped up 237% from last year
as my nights slip into my days or yours and
i switch airplane mode off
to catch your P3 free. or maybe my call will ring out
with broken wifi, miscommunication, misinterpretation
forcing me to pull my head
out of my phone and feel
what it’s like to live in the real world for a little
until diving back in again
and suddenly months snap into hours
panic buying one-way tickets as items are
hastily thrown into a case before
rising in the darkness of night chasing
forever shortening daylight towards
winter solstice as you
flip your life 17390km
and bring lightness to mine
olivia (they/she) is a fourth-generation chinese-australian queer writing from nipaluna/hobart, australia, in the slow process of reconnecting with their long-lost chinese heritage. they miss going to the club.
The sweat-slick kiss of the sun
Embraces me through every droplet in the air.
Mornings greeted by
Floral silk pajamas trailing a fruit stand.
The walls and outlines that fill the distance
Seek rest from those inanimate.
The walls built to hold me tight.
The passage of time
Documented through the ice thawed on the surface
Passing rivers and valleys amidst skyscrapers and concrete.
Where the same sun kisses through March snowfall.
Melissa Bui (she/her) is a Canadian-Vietnamese designer who spends her time reflecting on her diasporic roots and the sense of belonging after living in both Vietnam and Canada and still feeling othered. @melissabuidesign
Haricha Abdaal is a TCK British Indian artist and translator currently based in the UK. She has lived in the UK, South Korea, Canada and India. She loves learning languages and painting. @harichaart / www.harichaart.com
HOW ARE YOU REALLY?
social distancing means time alone with your thoughts / a walk by the canal to feel normal in this 'new norm' / news articles on 'what does dating in a post-covid world look like?' / house parties where no one is in the same house / virtual pub quizzes without sticky floors and overpriced craft ales / feeling lonely even with multiple requests for zoom calls / pornhub premium subscription for free / free yoga apps / free from the monotony of the 9-5 / liberation in isolation for the nation / berated for being less than 2 metres away from people / when will it go away??? / close but not close to family / taking pay cuts and reduced hours / furloughed employees with no aim or purpose / even Boris Johnson has it / your mum thinks he's called John Boris / rudeboys by Camden canal yelling 'jeeeeez' / someone asks ‘you doing a bit of yoga love?’ / no one can buy flour right now / you can't have your two soft boiled eggs for breakfast / a new 9-5 / everyone's baking banana bread / 'quazza' sounds like a Jewish celebration / iso / the Rona / are you lonely like I am? / how are the extroverts holding up? / lots of people asking 'how are you today? no, really how are you? / it’s 4-20 the entire month / it's the real 4-20 today / plenty of time / idle hands and idle minds / you want this to be over and you don't / will we get a summer? / is this just a coronavirus fling? / are you fine or do you want to get caught with a fine? / imitating what you think someone should be doing right now / sat by the canal taking it all in / am I fine? / yes and no, sometimes maybe / sounds like a Radiohead song I know / the gentle waves crash against the dam / it's the same / overheard on the canal 'i really want a dog' ... yea, me too babes me too / some guy saying 'flavour du jour' / flavour du jour is a dalgona coffee / Netflix, i don’t want to watch another episode
Kim Tang is a UX/UI Designer by day and a poet by night. She writes poems her mother wouldn't want to read. Instagram: kimtangclan
Burrowing out of the duvet
The soothing tones of Deepak and Oprah
Align all that’s out of sync
And my tiny world
Is alright once again.
Jennifer is an actor, film and theatre maker.