By Mitchell Kooh
I was here. Where were you?
When day was new and night was long. With waters dark as the void in the eye of the storm. The light breaking. Light dying. And Man walked the earth.
Where were you when I laid the foundations? Tell me. When the mourning stars sang together. I already know, but tell me anyhow.
Tell me: who are you to reject me? Who do you think you are? I loved you I made you I saved you. You who cannot see. You were just an afterthought of me. Poor traitor’s kiss and lion’s den.
You were nothing when I was.
Was whole when you were two, three when you were me.
Starlight weaves my tapestry, my lament of fiery blood, shedding white-gold plasma to warm the depths. You sang to me in infancy. My voiceless breath overwhelmed. You loved me as a child, the child of a lonesome cosmos. But then you cursed me on your wedding day, and that long, dark night of the soul. You killed me with a word.
This far you’ve come, and yet no farther. This is where the proud waves stop. That sad old man, grown old and sad before his time. He loved me too, but his love stopped. He could not see the way to light, or where the dark resides. His faith was strong. It wasn’t enough. But he wasn’t lost. Are you?
You hate me now. But who are you? You’re just like him; you’re both like me. But I was more, and you hate me for it. But go on. The fires rage, my body burns and fades a thousand times. You take the cup but fail to sup. Hidden amongst the rubbish and the clutter, you think to escape. You put me in a shoebox, hide me in the closet. You’ll forget me: you already have.
You forgot who bound the chains of Pliedes, or old Orion’s belt. Who lit the stones of Ursa’s eyes, or set her cubs to roam. A dazzling ash, twinkle – and they’re gone. But.
I was I am. I was. You give me tongues to say my name, and I use them all. I was ipsum esse subsistens. I was. Hallelujah I was. And all along, I was here. So where were you?
You le me to die, but mother, can’t you see: I’m not done with you yet. And you answer to me.
By Rebecca Allison
I remember the dock. The summer night cools as the Cheshire smiles. Marshmallows cry off in the distance. Their last rites read by the whispering flames. Their tongues lap at the sweet offerings. The dim light barely registers. I scan the infinite canvas before me. Specks of dust, above as below. But interpretation alters perception. Heaven beyond the details. Worlds, journeys, and Gods weaved amongst the space. No monster in the dark. My dreams linger on the dock. The cosmos, mine to forge.
By Ashley Hynd
I peered through the telescope. Saw 42 constellations. Insignificant. Connect the dot skies, a dollhouse of cosmic dust, alphabetic blocks
C H O the messy floor of God’s playroom. His mother drunk on consequence never held him to her breast. Sent him to private school. On the way home he dropped his mason jar. Stars spilled out created the universe. Consequently, this is why we have plastic water bottles.
By Rebecca Allison
Hand me the tarot cards. ‘Ology over ‘onomy. Plant your words. The future written in particles. Thousands of miles, the distance to their dance floor. Atoms mambo to the beat. Music falls in silence. No oxygen to translate. Gaseous balls glint and glow. Their steps, Morse code. Dots and dashes recorded and interpreted. Operators looking to cards and the sky. Fate scrawled in black and white.
By Manreet Lachar
The descent into madness, he thinks, is a slow one.
It starts when he’s young, looking at the night sky while his mother tells him stories about the pretty stars and hums him lullabies to get him to sleep. Then, all of a sudden, his mother is gone and he tells the stories of the constellations himself. But it’s lonely, knowing that no one is there to listen.
Next come the lights. It will always be a source of morbid fascination, the fact that they creep up on him instead of being there all at once. Cameras flash at him from every which way and the light sticks to his eyelids when he closes them. He hopes for a moment to breathe, to see, but all he gets are spots in his vision and the feeling of being an outsider when he never asked for it.
Soon enough, the flashes are paired with the sound of people always yelling his name. They tell him what to do, where to go, how to be. If he tries hard enough, though, it becomes white noise. It comes in handy if he thinks too much about the empty house, a father’s disappointment, his own loneli–
Never mind. No one wants to hear that sort of thing from him, he knows. So he buries it all in a treasure chest in the corner of his mind. It’s not a dark corner, he tells himself. It has as many stars as the galaxy around him, and maybe one day he’ll let himself open it. (Maybe voicing the words will stop them from trying to stick to every crevice of his mind, release the tension between his shoulders that comes from carrying too much weight, coax the feeling of being safe out of wherever it’s hiding within him.)
Until then, he makes do with the comfort of knowing that he’s always looking at the same sky, no matter where he is.
Home is the Eiffel Tower, the Seine, the Trocadéro. It is walking through the dark streets at night, marvelling at the glittering of the lights and the twinkling of the stars. It is the “welcome back!” messages he receives and knowing every place in the city to get good cheese at strange hours of the night. He’s been to the prettiest cities in the world, but nothing is more exquisite than the smell of warm bread from the bakery across from his high school.
Home is the girl who meets him for late night rooftop rendezvous to talk about nothing and everything. The one who ruined the stars for him when he mapped out the constellations of the freckles on her face and realized they were the greater beauty. That was the day he realized his stories had a listener and, if forced to make a choice, he would refuse to tell her in favour of listening to every one of her stories for the rest of eternity.
Home is that girl, who waits for him on the darker side of midnight and lights up when she finally sees him. Her tired, drooping eyes are blue as the sky at sunrise, and she has a smile bright as the sun. And here, he can voice the words, ease the tension, let out the feeling of being safe, which became synonymous to being home and being with her at some point.
It is a slow descent into madness, he thinks. But if madness is waiting for him, it can wait a little longer still.
By maRIa kOuzNetsOva
By Stephanie Shokoff
Extended by circumstance into endless waters
you’re searching for that happen stance moment of alignment.
Whispers come to hear. Fruition is framed from the narrative of time
having waited for the reaping.
Thinking beyond the margin of convention,
as people are designed by the times and their fashions.
To set yourself on fire like a phoenix
when we repair, we repair with gold
we have created ourselves whole, my dear Socratic intent,
out of the ashes of my former self, I AM heaven sent.
When you should find a mirror to your soul,
you are in a place you have never before known.
The forests’ eyes are upon you, my may king,
race from the stars, in light beams and wavelengths.
Transcend this reality and be together on an unexplored plane.
The alchemists, out of dust, have given rise to a star.
Infrared wavelength, has truly seen me
later, from the gathering where we met, drives me to my front door.
we cross paths a few times more.
See, we were there once, calling me home, now it is time.
Out of the clock, tick tock so fucking contrived.
It’s those eyes that haunt my dreams, calling me home, calling me home.
Obsidian and strength, the heart only knows.
These images flash before my eye, when we were there once,
standing beneath the moonless night.
Jupiter and mars united, if only, for a beat or two or three.
when we depart, forever more in my heart.
Shooting stars and sacred geometry,
lavender farms and apiaries.
Nova Scotian pubs and to different countries,
oh I have traveled you with me.
When it’s over, I’ll catch a star beam,
like pan, we fly to reach our Shang-ri-la.
I know my wavelength and we’ll meet again,
if not in this lifetime, then the next.
By Carina Rampelt
one lonely candle burns in the window
of the lunatic asylum.
the sky slips into a silk chemise
behind a dark cypress tree
and spritzes herself with midnight oil
tonight is ripe for dancing.
the melody begins, hesitantly
at first, then growing, pulsing
filling the sky with golden light,
and all at once burning in feverish
swirls and twists and spirals,
the stars turning
incredible gymnastic feats, the moon
beaming, swelled with admiration (she’s chaperoning
from the corner, a glass of wine in her gloved hand)
oblivious to the spectacle above,
tucks itself in, under the covers
By Amanda Scheifele
See the sea my playmate
Come up and fly with me
And bring your star points five
Climb up to feel alive
Slide down my comet tail
Into the sea of stars
And we’ll be light jumpers