issue two

Beautiful Pain by Riley Nee
My Old Home by Julian Heidelberg
Love Letter by Olive Cape
21 by Maitri Kovuru
Ammooma by Ananya Vinay
Motel Room by Cami Gomes
Claire de Lune by Iris Eisenman
September Peaches by Iris Eisenman
About You by Wendy Wang

Beautiful Pain by Riley Nee
My Old Home by Julian Heidelberg
Love Letter by Olive Cape
21 by Maitri Kovuru
Ammooma by Ananya Vinay
Motel Room by Cami Gomes
Claire de Lune by Iris Eisenman
September Peaches by Iris Eisenman
About You by Wendy Wang

Beautiful Pain

by Riley Nee

 beautiful pain,  

 idealized by all 

 struggle with strength 


 tear streaked cheeks 

 breakup songs on repeat 

 because what is life if not a little bit hard?  

 what if sad girls are just more beautiful?  

 in torn up misery, and self degradation.   

 smeared mascara and forced smiles.  

 something to behold.  

 creatures tinted with hazy gorgeous pain.  

 but pain is not always so morbidly marvelous 

 when loss and loneliness take a turn for the worse,  

 and those same girls, just different versions i suppose  

 have blood run down their arms, 

 and scars replace the hurt  

 they think they deserve it.  

 so they only do it more. 

 don’t eat for days, because maybe then they’d be enough.  

 when those girls stop shedding beautiful tears and just go numb 

 every moment they live  

 every smile and laugh 

 every sloppy wet kiss 

 breeze through the warm air, 

 walk through the night  

 ice cream cone covered in sprinkles  

 is seen through  





 plagued by their demons 

 or maybe nothing at all  

 these girls have never seemed so small.  

 and they’re ugly.  

 lines tracing thighs and arms, 

 marks of their hurt  

 these girls are not so beautiful anymore  

 people learn to stay away  

 from these ugly, pain-filled types of girls 

 the ones who  

 pop pills  

 and stand in front of trains  

 and wish for it all to go away  


 and usually once people start to go away, it is already too late.  

 ugly pain scarred on their faces 

 contorted in sorrow and anger  

 at an unkind world  

 until one day these girls just fade away 

 into nothing more than, once beautiful pain 

My Old Home

by Julian Heidelberg

 My old house was stationed at the end of a cracked concrete driveway, surrounded by oak trees - some young and some decades old. The garage faced a shed with a chicken coop attached on the side. The shed was stuffy and hot, the housing for christmas decorations and extra cans of paint; later in its life, after we had moved out, it would be converted to a guest house. My brother and I used to stomp and clap on the concrete by the garage, to listen to the resounding echo it would make on the side of the shed. The biggest wall in the living room was sixteen panes of glass, and during hurricane season it took hours to board them all up. We redid our kitchen after realizing it was far too small and that the adjoining dining room was unused, and so my father, in his vain way, expanded the kitchen himself and cut and varnished the new, orange Mexican tile floor. My room was an office to the last owner, but I wanted the room for myself, and so my parents remodeled it into a bedroom. I had picked out tangerine walls when I was barely tall enough to reach the kitchen counter. My parents, in their endless parental liberalism, decided to let me do what I wanted with my room, even in my young age. Perhaps it was their guilt in moving me from the city to the gun-toting Floridian suburbs that enabled them to leave me alone with my creativity.  


 My bed was twin-sized for a few years, but when my brother outgrew his matching one, my parents bought a queen-sized mattress with a buy-one-get-one deal, and furnished it with fresh new sheets and an olive-green blanket. In my bright memory, the sheets perpetually dangle off the side of the IKEA bed frame, almost seeming to be chiselled from stone in their stillness. On the left side of the bed was my carved-up white desk. Even though it was new, it was spattered with nail polish and splinters of oak that peeked through the paint. Above my desk was a corkboard with tacked-on stickers, ticket stubs, pamphlets and polaroids of old friends - friends that were no longer friends, but I had been too lazy and forgetful to remove their pictures from my wall. My closet, though perpetually crowded enough to be on Hoarders, was only cleaned or used once in a blue moon, as I usually wore the same khaki shorts and blue shirt each day. On top of my dresser was a CD of Joni Mitchell’s Blue that my mother had given me on my tenth birthday. I took it out some days to play on a red discman and reminisce of even younger days in New York, when my mother would give me her iPod on the subway to listen to Joni’s twangy womanhood. My school books sat in a messy array on my cubic shelves, unstudied and unused, often disregarded for preference of swimming, or reading, or watching movies with my Build-a-Bears. I had acres and acres of meticulously scaped land, and I loved going on walks with my friends to see the clucking chickens, or the slippery balcony, or the chill pool or to climb on top of the roof to watch the sun set. The days smelled like cinnamon and each day seemed more humid than the last.  


 As the years passed, my room became less bright, my days less youthful, and the monsters underneath my bed were replaced with harnesses and needles. I replaced my desk and took down my corkboard. My parents argued more, my brother was more hostile than ever, and eventually we left the house. I found out a few years later, after being split between two smaller homes, that a girl I knew moved into my home, into my room. She repainted my tangerine walls, tore out my chocolate hardwood, and expanded my closet. I think I took those days for granted. Maybe I didn’t, and the days were just as swell as I remembered them but not a microcosm better and my memory inflates the goodness like a balloon. Nevertheless, when I sit in the grey room at my dad’s house, with no pool and no room to run, and a closet too small to keep my clothes, I wish that my parents hadn’t left the home and each other and I could preserve those days in glass like a snowglobe. I still remember every word to each song on Blue.

thank you for reading issue two <3