Portraits - THE VOID

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Portraits - THE VOID
THE VOID
vol. 11 / issue 1: Portraits
www.thevoidmagazine.com
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THE VOID
Portraits / vol. 11 / issue 1
FICTION
THE ONLY PHOTO OF ME WITH SHORT HAIR / DOMENICA MARTINELLO / 7
LE CHANTEUR D'OPÉRA / MONA SACUI / 8
A TURBULENT AIRPLANE IS HARD TO TRUST / JAY RITCHIE / 10
NONFICTION
THE SOUR ONE / ANDREA SUN / 13
POETRY
BARELY NAKED IN THE LIGHT / JESSE ANGER / 21
PRINTEMPS ÉRABLE / WILL VALLIÈRE / 22
S / DIANDRE PRENDIMANO / 25
SPINDLE / ALI PINKNEY / 26
FEATURES
ARTIST FEATURE: ANNA SOMERS / 12
COVER ARTIST: JONO CURRIER / 16
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR / 4
HIRING CALL / 30
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS / 31
FRONT AND BACK COVER BY JONO CURRIER
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Remember that one scene in Blade Runner where Harrison Ford inserts a photograph
into the Esper machine and navigates through it in its endlessly small detail? It’s left
unexplained, but it seems like, in order to find Zora, the machine-viewer’s angle rotates
slightly, or shifts, and Deckard’s actually able to see around something. Wait a minute, go
right, stop. A portrait discovered within the photo of a cluttered room. The thing about
science fiction is that it makes some very real unlikelihoods possible, and we dream.
A team at MIT has shown that it is in fact possible. They developed a camera with an
ultrafast laser attachment that fires pulses at a speed of less than one trillionth of a second.
Its light bounced off of the half-open door they fired it at, into the room beyond, and back
into the camera, rendering a 3D image of the room’s contents behind the walls. It works, but
they’re lasers and so not so safe.
In Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes calls photographs the that-has-been and argues that
they repeat what we could never repeat existentially. Because the photograph itself is
rendered invisible, which accounts for why we say “this is me” as often or more than we say
“this is a photo of me,” the photograph allows for the sight of self. Sight, not as in a mirror,
but with a unique access to another definition of identity. Its truth, he argues, has been
made permanent. Is there a better elegy than this argument in itself?
He writes a lot about the punctum (Greek for “trauma”), the intensely private meaning
to a photo that is suddenly and unexpectedly recognized or remembered. The thing that
holds your emotional attention. It could be the nose of a loved one who’s no longer alive,
and the meaning is in itself untranslatable. But what happens to that if we could move
through a portrait of someone we lost and locate the other familiar details that we knew in
real time and space? Move behind and see his unruly double-crown, the stitch-work of a
dress you used to hold, a slight snowing of dandruff that, if you could, you’d fill your pillow
with. Inhabit the space between their neck and the couch they’re sitting on, or a photo
that they’re just slightly outside of, in the other room. What would it be like to know a
memory so well that even the Wheel of Fortune puzzle on the TV behind the photographer
is knowable again. There’s what you see at first, what you remember, and then there’s what
you would be able to find. Give me a hard copy right there.
- Michael Chaulk
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THE VOID
poetry editor
editor-in-chief
MICHAEL CHAULK
JACOB SPECTOR
fiction editor
GLEB WILSON
nonfiction editor
GEORGIA WEBBER
french content editor
SOPHIE BISPING
copy editor/managing editor
AERON MACHATTIE
art director/production manager
AIDAN PONTARINI
CONTRIBUTORS
JESSE ANGER
EMILY BELANGER
AMANDA CRAIG
JONO CURRIER
DOMENICA MARTINELLO
ALI PINKNEY
DIANDRE PRENDIMANO
JAY RITCHIE
TESS ROBY
MONA SACUI
YULI SATO
TALIA SHAAKED
ANNA SOMERS
ANDREA SUN
WILL VALLIÈRE
FICTION
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6
PORTRAITS / VOLUME 11 / ISSUE 1
THE ONLY PHOTO OF ME WITH SHORT HAIR
DOMENICA MARTINELLO
Photograph by Tess Roby
We are on the balcony the day that I moved into my first apartment. I
am eighteen and my ears are sticking out. My hair looks slightly on the
butch side, unruly with humidity. Your hair looks more feminine, your
bangs stuck to your forehead. You are darker everywhere than I am—
hair, eyes, skin, mouth. I stand pale at your side, shorter, with all that
extra weight then. It coats my neck and breasts, drips lower down, hangs
out of the frame like my arm around your waist is out of frame. Those
smiles. But that Corona and your grip on it, God, terribly yellow and
still carbonated. My throat clenches. Your fingers wrapped firmly around
that neck, the veins on the back of your hands engorged like ridges in
heat-rippled sand. That day’s weather seems unknowable, lost forever,
except I know it’s not. All I’d have to do is try. I wear a pink cardigan,
a hand-me-down, from a thinner, taller friend. The buttons strain like
earlobes being pulled down, slowly stretching. You are wearing that
t-shirt. The shirt—a faded blue, hanging lank, always a little damp
looking. Secretly and permanently stained under the armpits, that burn
hole at the stomach. You used to chain smoke like you wanted to drive
something out of yourself. I would imagine your body—not just your
lungs, but your arms, legs, stomach—as a balloon filled with smoke, and
wonder what that something was. Then one day you quit, deflated, and I
threw you sack-like over my shoulders.
Always that shirt. Some days I feel anxious, as if I might spot it,
the drowned blue hanging in my closet among my dresses and blouses.
Sometimes out of the corner of my eye I expect to see it hanging off the
lip of my laundry basket, dirty and begging to be washed. The photo’s
centerpiece. And those smiles—even, hung on our faces like taxidermy
trophies. You can tell by the angle of the photo, the tilt of the cheap
disposable camera, that someone is falling in love with our smiles. This
is not simply the only photo of me with short hair. If someone were to
stare closer, or turn the photo in the light, they could almost see bruises
puffing up around your eyes, my neck thinning out, my potted flowers
crisping—and that little smudge down behind us. It’s impossible to be
certain, but down the alley it looks like a couple fucking up against the
brick. A lot can be left unaccounted for.
My hair’s grown long and thick now, heavy over my shoulders. I
stand on the balcony to say my goodbyes. I’m moving out. Ants trail
into the empty apartment in a neat single file, ceaseless movement. I do
not interrupt their progress. It’s hard to know exactly when the cheap
ceramic flooring became such an unrecognizable color. Most things
can be boxed up or thrown out, and I guess this should imply a kind of
freedom. Alone on the balcony, the sun has a pulse. Weather for this
July day: feverish. Sweat beads at the nape my neck. V
7
FICTION
LE CHANTEUR D'OPÉRA
MONA SACUI
Illustration by Emily Belanger
L’introduction des autobus-accordéon, ça m’a
semblé être une bonne idée au départ. J’étais
content, je me disais que j’allais enfin avoir
un plus gros public, je me faisais toutes sortes
d’illusions. Une idée saugrenue m’était même
passée par la tête. Je voulais installer un rideau
à l’entrée derrière moi, un rideau rouge en
velours qui s’ouvrirait dès les premières notes
de ma pièce d’opéra. Mais bon, je savais très
bien que la Société n’allait pas trop apprécier,
alors j’ai laissé tomber. De toute façon, j’étais
content. Fébrile, même. J’avais bien hâte de
conduire moi aussi un autobus-accordéon.
Le premier jour, j’ai sondé le terrain avec du
Wagner. Un peu fort, peut-être, mais absolument
nécessaire. Il faut capter l’attention du public
dès le départ. Quand je commence à chanter,
un silence de plomb s’abat sur les passagers.
Qu’importe leurs conversations, leurs disputes,
leurs débats politiques. L’opéra commence, les
surprend dans leur quotidien et envahit leur
autobus. Il n’y a que les insensibles avec leurs
écouteurs enfoncés dans le crâne qui font comme
si de rien n’était, mais je sais qu’ils entendent
ma voix. À la fin, ils applaudissent eux aussi.
Tout le monde m’applaudit, je me lève, moi, le
ténor, le baryton, le soprano, le n’importe quoi
et je fais la révérence au feu rouge. Des sourires
un peu moqueurs, des regards admiratifs, des
larmes; je ne laisse personne indifférent. Quand
je chante, le reste de ma personnalité s’évapore
et les gens m’aiment enfin. On me dit souvent
que j’ai une belle voix. Que j’aurais dû devenir
chanteur d’opéra. Je leur réponds toujours que
je connaîtrai mon heure de gloire un jour, qu’il
n’est jamais trop tard.
Je disais donc que j’avais entamé avec du
Wagner. Mon premier jour en autobus-accordéon.
Quelque chose d’étrange se produisit. Je jetai un
coup d'oeil dans le rétroviseur d’en haut pour
voir mon public. Comme prévu, les passagers
de la première moitié de l’autobus s’étaient tus
et me regardaient tous. Mais un murmure, non,
un brouhaha distant se faisait encore entendre
au fond. Le silence parfait n’existait plus. Ma
voix n’atteignait pas la deuxième moitié de
l’autobus ! Je pouvais apercevoir des jeunes
qui s’agitaient sur les derniers bancs, des gens
qui lisaient le journal, d’autres qui parlaient
à leur voisin ou qui jacassaient au cellulaire.
Indifférence totale. Je changeai de répertoire.
Du Verdi. La forza del destino. La force du
destin.
Mon public. Mon public m’abandonna. Les
bancs se vidaient petit à petit. Tous se rendaient
dans la deuxième moitié de l’autobus. Seuls
mes plus fidèles admirateurs ne bougèrent pas.
Une vieille dame assise sur le siège réservé
aux personnes à mobilité réduite, un homme
en costume-cravate, deux jeunes étudiants…
Mais tous les autres, les lâches, se rendaient au
fond. Même les nouveaux passagers montaient
et allaient tout droit vers le brouhaha. Un type
entra et plaça sa carte sur le lecteur, qui hurla
pour dénoncer le délinquant. Titre non valide.
Je lui ordonnai de sortir de mon autobus.
Comment osait-il vouloir assister au spectacle
sans payer ? Réessayer de passer la carte ?
Jamais ! Dehors, dehors ! Je le jetai dehors, ce
criminel.
Les semaines passaient. L’injure persista.
On continuait de se réfugier au fond de l’autobus.
Mon public, que j’avais choisi avec tant de soin,
pouvait maintenant m’échapper ! Il avait trouvé
un moyen. Comme les autres gens, dehors,
qui peuvent s’éloigner de moi à leur guise, me
laisser seul dans mon appartement ou sur le
pas de leur porte, m’éviter comme ils le veulent
parce que le monde est si vaste. Aux heures de
pointe, ma voix était masquée par celles des
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passagers, qui s’étaient multipliés comme des
rats sous un décor pourri. Parfois je criais. Voix
médiocre. Tempérament difficile. Vous ne serez
jamais plus sur scène, vous délirez, vous parlez
tout seul. Vous avez attaqué le metteur en scène,
vous ne pourrez jamais, non, jamais travailler
dans ce milieu. Carrière avortée. Carrière
étranglée. Ah, mais je me trouverai un public,
vous verrez.
J’en étais venu à détester ces autobusaccordéon. Je les haïssais, je les haïssais, je
les haïssais. Je voulais les assassiner, faire un
virage brusque pour leur tordre le cou. J’avais
perdu le contact avec mon public, je n’avais
plus de public. J’étais laissé pour compte à
mon volant, ignoré, isolé, mis de côté. Autant
m’enfermer dans une cabine. Autant mettre
un robot à ma place ou inventer des autobus
téléguidés. Un public téléguidé. Un public qui
survit spirituellement en se nourrissant de luimême. Un public cannibale. Un public qui n’a
pas besoin d’opéra.
Il fallait me mettre sur une ligne moins
achalandée. Je l’exigeai à mon chef. Au moins,
laissez-moi installer un interphone dans
l’autobus. Je n’en pouvais plus de ces autobusaccordéon. Je n’en pouvais plus. J’attrapai
ma chaise, je la lançai vers la fenêtre, qui se
brisa en mille morceaux, comme si la voix d’un
castrat l’avait fait exploser. Médiocrité générale.
Tempérament impossible. Vous ne conduirez
plus d’autobus, vous délirez, vous parlez tout
seul. Vous avez attaqué votre patron, vous ne
pourrez jamais, non, jamais retourner derrière
l’un de nos volants. Carrière interrompue.
Carrière fracassée.
Ah, mais je me trouverai un autre public,
vous verrez. V
FICTION
A TURBULENT
AIRPLANE IS HARD TO TRUST
JAY RITCHIE
Lithographs by Talia Shaaked
Dust motes swirl in the polygons of stale light that are slanting in
through the glass wall that faces the tarmac. The air is dry and abrasive
and every twenty seconds or so I imagine myself plunging my head into
a bucket of water. I watch the dust motes and wonder if two of them ever
move in perfect unison, like when someone opens a door and creates a
rogue air current and the temperature drops a degree or something, if
chaos theory allows for this.
“What are you thinking about?” you ask me.
I look at you then immediately past you.
“Jelly,” I answer, directing my attention to a young-but-still-olderthan-us couple sitting behind you, maybe 30, max, who are splitting a
homemade peanut butter and jelly sandwich into two right triangles. You
turn around to look at them and they kind of cringe, averting their gaze
downward, because they can sense we’re fighting.
“You’re an asshole,” you reply. There is a pause before you stand up
and walk away. The pause indicates that I’m supposed to follow you. My
stomach turns and I wonder if I’m hungry, if you’re hungry too, if that’s
why we’re fighting.
I follow you out of the terminal and into the shopping mall section of
the airport, and the horizontal distance between us is great enough that I
need to speedwalk to keep you in sight. I rehearse what I will say when
I catch up to you, but all I can come up with is, We should have made
a sandwich, which is risky because it could be misinterpreted as, You
should have made a sandwich, if I say it wrong.
You veer into the bookstore that sells only bestsellers and magazines
and you start browsing the titles, acting as if I’m not watching, as if
we’re not fighting, as if you’re acting for an anonymous cameraman. You
don’t look at me because you think it’s tacky, in movies, when actors
look at the camera. I pick up a book. A white businessman in a suit is
on the cover, smiling, arms open like he’s going to give me a hug, under
the title How To Get People To Like You In 30 Seconds Or Less.
Lesson one is about establishing a connection with a “person of
desire” in a “closed environment,” where a “closed environment” is
defined as a place where social interactions are not always welcome.
Start with small talk, the book tells me, something about the weather
to break the ice. The book acknowledges that this is mundane and
expected, but necessary for those exact same reasons. I picture a
businessman smiling with honest relief when another businessman of
higher stature nervously mentions how awful the rain is. Secretly both
businessmen love the rain.
On another page, a “quick tip” in italics with a lightbulb graphic
next to it informs me that standing with your arms crossed or your hands
in your pockets makes your space a “closed environment.”
I look up, realizing that I have spent too much time immersed in
the book. You’re not in sight and are probably more angry than before.
I put the book down and run after you, feeling stupid. You stare ahead,
“walking through the airport mad” for the camera.
“Are you cranky because you didn’t eat?” I ask. Both our moms
use the word “cranky” so I feel weird whenever I use it, like it’s falsely
gentle, like rubber bullets.
“I’m not cranky,” you say. “But it’s nice to see that you’re paying
attention to me for once.”
We are starring in a more boring version of Blue Valentine. Right
now in the movie it’s the part where we fight in the airport.
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11
“I thought maybe you were hungry,” I say, not as attractively as
Ryan Gosling would. “I was trying to pay attention to you.”
“I’m not hungry,” you say, trying to be more Natalie Portman-y then
Michelle Williams-y.
“I’m sorry.”
We stare at each other until I lose the staring contest, instead
looking away down the longest hallway I’ve ever seen, so long that it
needs a moving walkway. I think the word tunnelvision and plunge my
head into a bucket of water.
“What are you thinking about?”
I’m afraid, is what I want to say when I open my mouth, but
instead I vomit onto your flats.
It’s not a lot of vomit, mostly bile, but none of it got on me, which
is too bad, because it makes the vomit seem aggressive, rather than
something accidental we can be grossed out by together. I hear you
mutter something like “Fucking Jesus” as the flats exit my field of
vision. People drag luggage in my periphery, averting their eyes
skyward, like when someone’s dog is taking a shit. I clean up at the
water fountain and wait for you there, my hands stuffed in my pockets.
A closed environment, I think, removing them, as the boarding call for
our flight echoes throughout the airport.
I feel your hand grabbing mine before I see it. You walk ahead of
me back to the terminal, and I notice your feet are bare on the carpet.
“Where are your shoes?” I ask. We wait in line behind the olderthan-us couple, who are licking peanut butter and jelly from their
fingers.
“I threw them out.”
We get through the gate without the flight attendants noticing your
lack of footwear, holding our backpacks down by your feet to block
their lines-of-sight. I stop in the middle of the accordion-tunnel and
imagine the camera from your point-of-view.
“What are you doing?” you ask.
In the movie version, I untie my shoes and remove each sock, and
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ single "Home" starts to play
as we board the plane, and we play footsies with bare feet as the plane
takes off.
“I’m afraid,” I say, instead, staring at the pattern of over-animated
equilateral triangles, circles, and long, wavering dashes on the carpet
in the tunnel. V
12
NONFICTION
THE SOUR ONE
ANDREA SUN
Photographs by Yuli Sato
When a woman’s toenails reach a certain
thickness, her life is at its end, my Buddhabellied grandmother said, squeezing my palms
in her plump, little hands. When I visited Po
Po, my maternal grandmother, she would call
me to her room to watch Cantonese films, to
teach me the language. It was warm in there,
cluttered, the wallpaper made of soft red
velvet. His braid means long life, she would
say, motioning to the character onscreen. She’d
peck her fingertips into my upturned palm,
smiling.
a man and his son push a wheelbarrow to
the edge of a cliff. In the wheelbarrow is the
deceased grandmother, limbs dangling from
the sides in a merry little dance. When they
reach the edge of the cliff, the father begins to
heave the wheelbarrow. Grandmother sways in
her cradle. But the son stops the father.
Other times we watched the opera, listened
to the sweet strain of zithers. Long, rippled
feathers twitched in a delicate dance.
Emperors pulled mountains, sleeves flying. A
Princess sang. She is the prettiest girl in all of
China, explained Po Po, but the empress sent
her away, banished her. She cried by herself,
hoping to one day come back to China. When
she died, she went up to heaven to eat with the
gods.
“So that I may use it when you die,” replies
the son.
Another parable taught to me by my Po Po:
“Don’t toss the wheelbarrow,” he says, “save
it.”
“Why?” asks the father.
The father hangs his head in shame, and the
family returns home all together.
At night she rubbed her face raw, her eyes
closed and her thin lips pursed, using hand
towels dipped in boiling water. Her nose was
a rosy bulb and sprayed like a whale with
every rough stroke. Her thick, round glasses
were yellowed, like the hundreds of thinleafed books she read, stacked on shelves
throughout the house: fraying onion sheets,
twine exposed along the spine. Non-descript
covers, watercolour landscapes. Her scalp
accumulated on the shoulders of her black
velvet vest.
She had an entire length of the kitchen table
to herself and rooted herself there. Always
a cigarette in hand, her daily incense, and
beside her on a tin platter, a dusty black radio
that picked up Chinese. They often sat sideby-side, straining to hear a faraway country.
x
Nai Nai was my father’s mother and lived with
us at home. Her cool, silky skin, splattered
with age-spots, hung loosely from her bony
hands, her white hair fine and cobwebby.
At dinner, the family gathered at the table:
my father at the Head, my First Born sister
at the Foot, and my mother and I crammed
on opposite sides. There is, in eating, a
delicate dance—the elder offers, and the
youth accepts. As the child grows, the dance
becomes more intricate: foot forward, step
back, retreat, entreat, and after polite refusal
proportional to your years, consent. But I did
not have the Foot for it. I did not know the
words.
“Eat.” She raised her wobbling knee and
placed her slipper on the table, shrimp
pinched expertly between her chopsticks.
“Wo bu yao.” I shrank in my seat. I don’t
want.
“Eat it, it’s good.” She climbed up on the table.
Shuffled across. A trail of dandruff and stray
white hairs and dried grains of rice.
“Bu yao.” I retreated.
“It’s tasty,” she insisted with greater force,
the pinched chopsticks pecking at me like a
pterodactyl.
a butcher’s knife’s clap on a chopping board.
What a spoiled egg! She ate her meal in cold,
silent dignity, then scuffled into her room with
an indignant whisper.
Her bedroom was still and ancient, yellow
sunlight through amber curtains. A goldrimmed clock ticked loudly above a boudoir,
upon which were glass-stopped perfume
bottles and rosy-smelling blushes, different
coloured liners. A gold hand-mirror, intricately
carved. Small-faced watches with thin, black
straps. Her bed, heaped with blankets, was
a mountain of mohair, so steep I would slide
off trying the climb it, and sank once finally
surmounted. Beside it, on a doily-covered
armchair, was a Bugs Bunny doll wearing a
beige safari jacket. His ears were thin, grey
sheaths over metal wires, protruding through
the pith. It belonged to my father, she said, as
I contorted his limbs into a salutation. Beneath
her bed, a Persian rug, deep and royal blue,
flecked endlessly with particles of herself like
a starry night sky.
“Wo bu yao!”
“EAT IT!”
“WO BU YAO!” a shrill, piercing shriek. I did
not have the finery of red embroidered silk,
but the coarseness of blue jeans. She dropped
back into her seat, her chin wobbling with
rage. The brown hairy wart trembled.
“Zhen me cho dan!” she spat, each word like
In the morning she would lean over the side of
the bed, wheezing, toes dipped in the heavens.
Thirsty. When one’s toenails reach a certain
thickness, one’s life is at its end.
She wasn’t fond of telling stories, and there is
only one that I remember.
“I swam in a river once,” she laughed, “and
there was a snake in it.” V
14
FEATURE
MINI SERIES
ANNA SOMERS
Auntie Liz
Called “Queen” by some, and “Auntie Liz”
by others, Elizabeth Phillips is a prevalent
member of the Little Burgundy community and
is respected by all.
Anna first met Liz after she broke up a fight
between two teenagers by walking between
them, pointing her finger at each of them
and telling them to “stop acting so stupid.”
Through occassional lunches together, Anna
got to know more about Liz and the community
she was so proudly a part of. Liz was recently
recognized recognized by the Montreal government for her continuous contribution to both
the Coalition of Little Burgundy, and the
Caribbean community which surrounds her.
The more time Anna spent with her, the more
people of her community she began to meet
and share stories with.
These three photographs are part of a larger
series that not only document the people and
culture of Little Burgundy, but also Anna’s
friendship with Auntie Liz.
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18
COVER ARTIST
Jono Currier’s work fuses appropriated images with romanticism to make an
otherworldly third. Currier’s practice is situated in the genres of surrealism
and the absurd. He constructs blueprints of dreams through his minimalistic
approach to mixed media. His work plays off of collective memory and nostalgia
by drawing inspiration from nature and the content of forgotten books. His
fantastic realities offer his figures a false sense of escapism.
JONO CURRIER
PORTRAITS / VOLUME 11 / ISSUE 1
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POETRY
20
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PORTRAITS / VOLUME 11 / ISSUE 1
BARELY NAKED
IN THE LIGHT
JESSE ANGER
Photograph by Anna Somers
for Uncle Dave
The empty chamber howls
through the hollow in the chest.
Only ifs have focused him
on the pistol’s sight.
He loads each silver silo.
He empties out the rain,
his gaze fixed on the broken
column of the man in him.
He raises his right hand,
gives way to the barreling wind, rends—
red widens in the overt light.
Black around him. Davie found him
under the stairs in a hum of old wiring
slumped, doubled at the waist,
with a hole in his chest.
And with the face of a saint
the remnant time closing in.
Barely in the naked light.
21
POETRY
PRINTEMPS ÉRABLE
WILL VALLIÈRE
Pencil Drawing by Amanda Craig
perpetuated,
a culture—
rooms filled
with air-conditioning
where we sit
around meals
and use language
proverbial, American
a laughable I
solemn & weary
millions of boomers
fitted for bikes
and all the employees
accused of brotherhood
“ils se sont reveillés des comptables,
des satisfaits, des prudents”
but the unutterable we
uncalm & unfolding
glitch of street
generational
where spring broke—
we say mongrel
as in no master
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PORTRAITS / VOLUME 11 / ISSUE 1
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POETRY
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PORTRAITS / VOLUME 11 / ISSUE 1
S
DIANDRE PRENDIMANO
Photography by Yuli Sato
The sunlight in my bedroom is so low
it is not mine to talk about.
The room is warm.
I am never as tired as S so I never wake up like S.
Light breaks from her voice, follows her around
soft, eager.
At night, no matter what there is to do
I wait for it alone till the moment can be put off.
Even my shadow has a shadow.
Always there’s a door opened by S, returning to me in the dark.
I know something about S at night that she doesn’t,
she mumbles softly in her sleep on the sofa:
I want to replace myself with an inkblot.
I want to be entirely lifted up so I can see
the sea.
I have no strength to move towards her in the dark.
I realize that my fear is to stay alive, to return to the door
because I have no clue who I am and S is so human
when the light is so low.
25
POETRY
Over her lo-waist jeans, her skin
is bumpy and mauve like areola.
A miserable lamprey, I’m
behind her one row, soft
for the part of her modesty that hangs.
Koltyn waits in a leather jacket
against the bricks. He holds
a fine toothed comb in his hand,
and his hair has been straightened.
Jess meets him after class.
She thinks he’s our age,
but he’s only fifteen.
SPINDLE
Jackson Park gets so spindly in the night.
It was Koltyn who pointed out the trees
are in each other’s
knots and necks. I heard him in
his voice of squeezed smoke.
ALI PINKNEY
Embroidery on Photographs by Amanda Craig
There is a rusty nail on the diseased oak
near the entrance to the park, near
the red tube slide and the picnic tables,
where I’ve eaten Chinese take-out with my mother
to hear the swings whinny with the draft.
Last night there was a fire on the dog path.
Koltyn has one foot on a blackened turtle shell
with his other, he flops Jess to the mulch
at the edge of the path. She laughs backward.
Koltyn pulls her to the pebbles and tugs her thighs bare,
her lo-waist jeans catch
at her knees. She moves like a rash.
Koltyn sucks scalp from his comb.
The pebbles crunch like cardamom
against her body. He holds her neck down.
It slithers like an earthworm.
He uses the fine-toothed comb on her insides.
Her insides, staph pus snowballed
back and forth. Her insides,
a rot cactus pear broke. Her insides,
a sound that makes me laugh
like a fork crackles in a microwave
because it pierces my guilt;
A minnow on a cocktail spear.
Koltyn looks into the spindles,
Jess cannot see, I,
a dart through the neck
of a poison frog, the fleshy thud:
A minnow is pinned to the oak
at the entrance to the park.
26
PORTRAITS / VOLUME 11 / ISSUE 1
27
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
OUTER SPACE
“I don’t think [The Void] will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space.
There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I’m an optimist. We
will reach out to the stars.”
- Stephen Hawking, interview with Daily Telegraph, 2001
In 1977, Carl Sagan and a team at NASA compiled The Golden
Record, a gold-plated copper phonograph record that included
greetings in 56 languages (incl. Whale), 90 minutes of music
(from Bach to Chuck Berry), 116 images of Earth things (human
cross-sections, math and science diagrams, landscapes, animals,
culture, people having a good time, etc.), as well as the brain
waves of a young woman in love. This collection was launched
with The Voyager and was supposed to give whoever and
whatever it found out there a good idea of what our planet is all
about. That was the idea.
This time, though, it’s about what we think of them, and it: our
Great Celestial Backyard. Unfortunately, nothing has come
to us with a box of its own things, its own space whales. Still,
that doesn’t stop us. We explore the possibilities and others’
conceptions of it through academics, pop culture, stories, fear,
philosophy, conspiracy theories. The list ends there because it
doesn’t.
It’s so much a part of all our lives that we often forget it: a fish
in water. Or maybe you try to become an encyclopedia of space
things, at your desk under your own to-scale, glow-in-the-dark
galactic neighbourhood, pressed on with actual love. Maybe
you watched Star Trek: TNG late one night with your father,
you both rung-through with sleeplessness, and came down for
breakfast the next morning with a sweatband over your eyes, just
to impress him. Maybe the first time it really got to you was the
last time you were ever able to touch drugs. Maybe, like so many,
you have sort of forgotten.
Well, don’t. Everything behind anything proliferates until it’s so
much part of the question that it’s hard not to make art and write
about it. And it can be so much fun. So here you go, earthling,
finally: The Void Magazine does Outer Space.
GUIDELINES
Poetry: maximum 5 poems.
Fiction and Nonfiction: 1200 words.
Visual arts: 3-5 samples.
En 1977, Carl Sagan et son équipe à la NASA compilèrent le
Golden Record, un record en cuivre plaqué or qui comprenait
des mots de bienvenue en 56 langues (incluant le Whale), 90
minutes de musique (de Bach à Chuck Berry), 116 images de
choses sur Terre (coupes transversales humaines, diagrammes
scientifiques et mathématiques, paysages, animaux, artefacts
culturels, personnes heureuses, etc.) ainsi que les ondes
cérébrales d’une jeune femme en amour. Cette compilation fut
envoyée avec The Voyager et était supposée donner une bonne
idée de notre planète à qui ou quoi que ce soit la trouverait.
Enfin, c’était le projet.
Cette fois-ci par contre, c’est à propos de ce qu’on pense d’eux,
de ça: notre Grande Arrière-Cour Céleste. Malheureusement,
aucune boîte ne nous en est venu en retour, avec ses propres
choses, ses propres baleines cosmiques. Mais cela ne nous
arrête pas. Nous explorons différentes possibilités et conceptions,
à travers la pensée universitaire, la culture populaire, la peur, la
philosophie, les théories de conspirations. La liste finit là, car
elle ne finit pas.
Cela fait tellement partie de notre vie que nous l’oublions
souvent: un poisson dans l’eau. Peut-être essayez-vous de
devenir une encyclopédie de l’espace, assis à votre bureau, sous
un voisinage galactique brilliant dans le noir, à votre échelle
et appliqué avec amour. Peut-être vous regardiez Star Trek:
TNG tard une nuit avec votre père, tout deux essorés par le
manque de sommeil, et descendez les escaliers pour déjeuner
le lendemain matin, avec un bandeau sur les yeux juste pour
l’impressioner. Peut-être la première fois que cela vous atteigna
vraiment était la dernière fois que seriez jamais capable de
toucher à de la drogue. Peut-être, comme tant d’autres, vous
avez un peu oublié.
Et bien, rappelez-vous. N’importe quoi derrière quoi que ce soit
prolifère, jusqu’à ce que cela fasse tant partie de la question
qu’il est difficile de ne pas en faire de l’art et d’en parler. Et cela
peut être vraiment amusant. Alors voilà, terriens, finalement: Le
Void se fait cosmique.
28
PORTRAITS / VOLUME 11 / ISSUE 1
THE VOID IS HIRING
As some of our people will be leaving us to graduate and do whatever they’ll do, The Void Magazine will
be filling the empty staff positions. The job will formally begin in the Fall/2013 semester, but apply now
so that you can start learning the Void game while we are fully intact. Submit a CV with appropriate
portfolios or reference works to [email protected] before February 1, 2013. Prior experienced is valued but unnecessary.
POETRY EDITOR
FICTION EDITOR
Responsible, with the Editor-in-Chief, for garnering and selecting the
poetry content of each issue. The Poetry Editor must have a developed sensibility and be prepared to execute a standard of quality with
regards to accepting submissions. This person is also responsible for
going through the editing process with selected submissions in preparation for publishing. Please send a CV along with a letter of intent.
Responsible, with the Editor-in-Chief, for garnering and selecting the
fiction content of each issue. The Fiction Editor must have a developed sensibility and be prepared to execute a standard of quality with
regards to accepting submissions. This person is also responsible for
going through the editing process with selected submissions in preparation for publishing. Please send a CV along with a letter of intent.
NONFICTION EDITOR
MANAGING EDITOR
Responsible, with the Editor-in-Chief, for garnering and selecting the
nonfiction content of each issue. The Nonfiction Editor must have a
developed sensibility and be prepared to execute a standard of quality
with regards to accepting submissions. This person is also responsible
for going through the editing process with selected submissions in preparation for publishing. Please send a CV along with a letter of intent.
Responsible for facilitating the ongoing conversation between the
magazine and the organizations that may provide us with funding. This
person may also be asked to handle some other financial and budgetary
work. Please send a CV along with a letter of intent.
COPY EDITOR
The copyeditor works with the pieces selected for publication to edit for
spelling, grammar, and style. Must have appropriate knowledge, a good
eye for detail, and be able to follow a style guide. Please send a CV.
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