The weather changed & my heart changed with it; I am one of those people who is glad for fall, glad always, glad as my whole life opens up again & I remember what is possible & all the things I want to do.

It was, for the most part, a hard summer. I am running forty miles a week, a thing I would not have thought doable very long ago, before a few weeks ago, before I did it & realized I could. I was trying to explain to someone how this happened, how my body became a body that is capable of this doing, & I said I think it is mostly a matter of scale. Of how your perspective changes when the undone thing becomes done.

I am tired of trauma & of writing about trauma & of the idea that trauma is the only experience women have to offer the world, the only piece of our lives that matter, the only story we have to tell (over & over & over & over), tired even as these stories repeat themselves ad nauseam in the public eye, even as trauma is reproduced endlessly & in a thousand novel ways, trauma against all bodies othered and queered, all bodies brown & black & female & trans, that even as trauma metastasizes & our naming of it is met with refusal, our demand that it be recognized is turned aside, trauma is still the only story that is given to us to tell.

We do other things besides bleed. We fight and set fires, we build communities, we love in the face of all that does not love us. We knit bright clothes out of shrapnel. We drink on railroad bridges under the broad white moon & name all our dreams in order, one by one, the train cars passing behind us so close they’d shear us clean through if we leaned back too far. We tattoo one another’s names with needles & India ink; we make our memories into our skins. We make lives. We make living.

I am working on a book about monsters & I have been afraid of it for a while. I look at the notes, the blank document, put them away, do it again. Do we want to go back to those places? Is it worthwhile? I don’t know. But the story keeps calling my name. A friend of mine who used to be a distance swimmer told me that she had fallen once from a great distance & when she went to the hospital they told her she had shattered her spine but her muscles were so massive they held the splinters of bone in place, that that was what saved her, her own strength born of practice. We spend all our days making muscle for this. We run and run and run until distance is only a matter of time.


good morning children, what a week, take it chill today, you gotta, it’s required, no other way to get the power

Brainscan zine # 21 explores my recognition of being in an emotionally abusive relationship, the attempts on both parts to right wrongs, the failure to do so, and gathering the strength to take the next step. What if your private life in your relationship is vastly different than what other people see? When do you know you are in an emotionally abusive relationship? How to you gain the strength to get out of it? What do you do when you know you can’t handle the burden alone? What do you do when you feel so alone and terrified of the consequences of leaving, when if it means losing friends, a home, a job and a way life that you love? These are just some of the ideas explored in this zine through a three year personal narrative that also challenges you to examine your relationships with power, to identify how you express the power you have, and also how you relate to the power that of others possess. But most of all this, zine is about revelation, rebirth, and growth.

Our friend Alyssa Rorke has just started Letters From Bummer Camp zine distro, based in New Brunswick, NJ. As well as sharing other folks’ zines at shows (+ soon online too) Alyssa has started putting out some wild stuff - including a new comp zine and Sara Sutterlin's new collection Pissy Baby which is only available in paper form through Bummer Camp! She’s now accepting submissions too.

Anyway, the issue of the Chapess we’ve just released has a flyer for the distro printed in the back cover which unfortunately has a typo in! Amendment as follows: You can contact Alyssa about the project here





Self Portrait in Cheyenne’s Living Room, Brooklyn, January 2014 by Vivian Fu

a b&w photo i took that i’m alright with


i miss vivian
i want vivian
bring me vivian

Taken from MANTRAS zine
This zine is a culmination of how i got myself thru/still getting myself thru things and also things that i love and things that make me happy, mostly Stevie Nicks. I hope i don’t come off as someone who has her shit together, most of this zine is me yelling at myself and it’s really difficult to follow the directions that i give to myself, like “TAKE WHAT’S YOURS” and “DON’T HIDE!” it’s very difficult and on most days i don’t follow these directions and i fail completely. But i still yell at myself because it’s necessary that i always have these things etched in me so i have something to hold on to when shit hits the fan. - Fabiola


by najma (photo cred)




1.a woman or girl in relation to other daughters and sons of her parents.

There are many words in the English language I do not know how pronounce. Aluminum. Ask. Envelope. Other words, I struggle with forming. I ponder over the formation of thought into sentence, what exactly do I want to translate into articulation in this conversation, delivered by the great and magnificent system of my brain I test the word I am incapable of pronouncing on my tongue, then I release the product of such carefully thought out speech in my high pitched voice with a very slight undercurrent of an accent people try but can never put a finger on.

When I am writing, a poem, a short story, even if I know the meaning of the word - I still look it up. I want everything laid out in front of me to be perfect. By perfect I mean, girl, do you understand the entire context of the paragraph? Girl, can you replace every word with three synonyms and completely rewrite this paragraph but still have it be paraphrased from the original one? Anxiety manifests in odd ways doesn’t it. If stress reduces you to a crumbled tower bodies find strange ways to cope with the debris.

I am convinced inside of us all is a crumbled tower. The debris floats and rots and collects in large piles in different locations inside of our bodies. Maybe your neighbour has it in her knees, and that is why she creaks and bends with a grimace etched onto her face when you pass her in hallways, but quickly rearranges pain into forced smile and a ‘do you want to come over for tea’. Maybe your friend has it in his eyes and that is why they are red and crystal clear in the morning, and when you ask him is everything okay, you can see water build up in the white. I am convinced most of the damage is in our hearts. We spend our whole lives cleaning up the wreckage site, but sometimes we find a set of hands besides our dirty, calloused own who gently remove shovel from our arms.

The older I get the large gathering of male friends I once had no longer exists. It’s dwindled down to two. One not so close, one I hold in my heart. He’s a writer, and a fellow communist, and every time I think of him I smile. He reminds me of the mountains. This is especially important because my mother’s village in Somalia is encircled by mountains. So he is a sort of homeland.

Read More

Heterosexuality continues to this day to surprise me, the things men present to you as normal.

— Dodie Bellamy | Pink Steam

I know I am not the first woman to ask this, but how can I be both damaged and heroic? Both damaged and lovable? How do I become the protagonist of a story?

Dead white guys and not-dead not-white not guys hate it when you dismiss revered works of art and literature by saying, Ugggggggggh. I hate this.

And give no reasons why at all.

If I live to a hundred, do I really have to spend eighty-five or more of those years explaining why I don’t like this?

— Jenny Zhang, from Hags (Guillotine #7) [which you can, and should, purchase here]

WARNING: I have memories like landmines.
You cannot possibly walk carefully enough.
There are days I open my mouth and all that
Comes out is apologies. Days when I’m sorry
But you can’t fucking touch me.

— "Broken" by clementinevonradics
From As Often As Miracles

“Blood Piece says to paint with your blood.  ‘Keep painting until you die.’ Not paint to live.  Not paint to keep.  Out, out, out, get it out.
This is despair.
Blood Piece was created in the spring of 1960.  She spent her time passionately doing art that was supposed to change the world, but no one much cared.
In 1960, Norman Rockwell completed Triple Self Portrait.  You could buy a print of it today for 90.99 at Kohl’s.  Blood Piece is not listed for sale anywhere.
In 1962, Yoko Ono got committed to a mental institution.”
Lisa Carver/ Reconsidering Yoko Ono.

Alice Notley | In The Pines