I am Temi OG, a self-taught pencil artist based in Lagos, Nigeria. Creating art has always been a natural thing for me. I get inspired by human feelings and emotions. I found myself after deciding to pursue art professionally in 2021, and it has been a joyous ride so far…
This month we offer butter-yellow forgiveness, a bouquet [of love & war].
Next month we stay
Submission guidelines can be found here.
“And in the same way the dandelion’s destruction tells us about ourselves, so does our own destruction: our bodies are ecosystems, and they shed and replace and repair until we die.” ― Carmen Maria Machado
There is less distance between us
than there are miles of blood vessels
in both of our bodies combined.
The winding roads connecting us are overgrown
with dandelions, arteries clogged with seed heads
and dormant wishes. I wonder what’s left of your body
now that you only have your own to destroy. I wonder
if you’ve measured the circumference of another woman’s
finger yet for some flashy pear-shaped promise. I wonder
if you’ve called her a bitch yet. I wonder if you want to call
me, if it’s my name that puffs up your tongue
when someone asks you where you spent
the last five years.
You’re on the top of a parking garage at sunrise,
cradling a waxwing
with a broken leg. You’re holding
a pocket knife to your own neck
behind a 7-11. You’re fashioning
a noose from message threads
and ukulele strings. You’re at a bar
you can’t afford, charming wishes
and free bourbon off some unsuspecting girl
who looks like me, like I looked like the one before.
I re-read our messages and lie to myself
that it wasn’t that bad, that our queerness
absolves your cruelty, that I said things too.
If my humiliation could afford the postage,
I would mail a postcard
from my capillaries to your veins.
I’d scrawl I wish I didn’t wish
you were here. Our story is as common
as a weed. In lieu of unblocking
my blood vessels, I rip my regrets
from the garden by the fistful.
I braid one stem around
the blossom of the next, pull tight,
and weave myself a crown
of butter-yellow forgiveness.
Pepper Cunningham (she/her) is a writer and editor based in the mountains of Southern Ecuador. She is the Translation Editor at MAYDAY Magazine. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Split Lip, Rust + Moth, Gnashing Teeth Publishing, and elsewhere. When she’s not working on her manuscript, she’s usually by the river searching for beetles and butterflies. She tweets occasionally @pepwriteswords.
…look, there is no tenderness in this body.
To reminisce is to throw a match into your head
& when all that is left is ash—you dive in/ try
to uproot the pictures yearning for recollection.
I am doing it again; winding timber-dust
off my childhood; hunting down God in father’s face.
But every newly born thrust pushes me
to a space preceding the tip of rock bottom.
Twice, I have walked down this tunnel with no light.
Yet memory is a bouquet [of love & war] of peace
tinted with glitters of suffering. Perhaps, my mind
only holds onto the head of the coin—the war.
Perhaps, the fire I lit was not wild enough
to turn the hate in his eyes to God. I tremble
at the knees of my thoughts:
here, does father ever become stable water?
When do I soil my hands deep into the past
& not get sucked into a matrimonial combat;
into a child’s body camping behind the rose bowl;
or a room where father’s fist detonates on mother’s chin
& the white carpet becomes clothed in red milk. I know
the past’s unholiness is not synonymous to the warmth I seek,
& this album in my head would never taste that feeling
of wholeness—nostalgia’s sixth failed attempt to burn
the atheist I have become. The longing whispers, look…
Pacella Chukwuma- Eke, NGP Xv, is a Nigerian poet and assistant editor of the Arts Lounge Magazine. She is the winner of the Cradle poetry contest, Abuja Duet Slam, Splendors of Dawn Poetry Prize, two-time finalist for the BKPW contest, a Joint winner of the FOW Poetry Contest, a best of net nominee, Star prize nominee, Utopia Award nominee, and others. She is the author of Love in its bliss and sins; runner-up of the 2022 Nigeria Prize for Teen Authors(Poetry.) Some of her works have appeared or are forthcoming on Eunoia review, Strange Horizons, The Rumen, Africa Poetry Magazine, The Brittle Paper, Rigorous Magazine, Haven Spec, and elsewhere. She is a member of The HillTop Creative Arts Foundation, tweets @PacellaEke, and can be found on Instagram @pacellachukwumaeke.