The theme for this issue is HAIR.
We chose this theme because we wanted to explore people’s experiences with hair – is it a tool of oppression, a form of control, an impossible beauty ideal, a beloved friend, an extension of our identities, or a form of protest?
We present a collection of 33 powerful and remarkable pieces that capture the most intimate moments between our contributors and their hair. Some of these speak to identity – from the curls of Black hair to bleached bisexuality to the buzzcut of femininity. Some explore how hair defines our relationships with lovers and mothers and children and ourselves. Sometimes hair is a companion, through love, illness, grief, birth and death. Sometimes hair is rebellion, a statement against age, racism, beauty, disease. Sometimes hair is just hair. So, we present hair – cut and shaved, fallen and regained, plucked and bleached, sometimes lost never to be found again, always in the process of creating and being created.
TW/CW: This issue contains themes of and references to self-harm, violence, cancer, death, childbirth, physical and mental illness. Hair related references include body hair, pubic hair, straightening, plucking, shaving, blades, and hair loss. Please let us know if we need to add anything more to this list.
Happy and safe reading!
Covert Art – Tangerine Ambivalence Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad
Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad (she/her) is an Indian-Australian artist and poet. She holds a Masters in English. She has been widely published in both print and online literary journals and anthologies. Her recent works have been published in Otoliths, and Unlost Journal, and are forthcoming in Parentheses, Pithead Chapel, and elsewhere. Find her work on poetry.oormila.com and Instagram @oormila_paintings.
My Personal Haircut by Lynne Schmidt
Lynne Schmidt is the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor, and mental health professional with a focus in trauma and healing. She is the author of the chapbooks, Gravity (Nightingale and Sparrow Press) which was listed as one of the 17 Best Breakup Books to Read in 2020, and On Becoming a Role Model (Thirty West), which was featured on The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed for PTSD Awareness Week. Her work has received the Maine Nonfiction Award, Editor’s Choice Award, and was a 2018 and 2019 PNWA finalist for memoir and poetry respectively. Lynne was a five time 2019 Best of the Net Nominee, and an honorable mention for the Charles Bukowski and Doug Draime Poetry Awards. In 2012, she started the project, AbortionChat, which aims to lessen the stigma around abortion. When given the choice, Lynne prefers the company of her three dogs and one cat to humans.
Labels on Shampoo by H. E. Casson
H. E. Casson went very grey, very quickly and enjoys the invisibility-cloak-like powers of grey hair. Their words have recently been published in Flash Nonfiction Food, Lunate, Serotonin, Taco Bell Quarterly, and Workers Write. They can be found online at hecasson.com and as @hecasson on Twitter.
Wash Day Routine by Hunter Blackwell
Hunter Blackwell (she/her) is a Black bisexual poet and author. Her previous work has appeared in The Write Launch, Barren Magazine, Crepê & Penn, Nightingale & Sparrow, and others. She is a novice baker and cosplayer. So feel free to send recipes on Twitter @hun_blackwell.
Ajakolokolo by Oke Oluwasegun
Oke Oluwasegun (b,1994) is a documentary photographer based in Ogbomoso, Oyo State, Nigeria. His work is centered around personal experience, moments and everyday life. Oluwasegun began actively working in photography in 2017, focusing on social-cultural, health, and environmental related issues in Nigeria. You can find him on Instagram @okeoluwasegunmoses.
Let’s Call It Something Else by Jowell Tan
Born, bred, and based in Singapore, Jowell Tan writes prose & poetry after hours for fun and emotional release. His nights consist of writing, rewriting, watching videos on Youtube to avoid writing, and finally, writing again. Please say hello to him on Twitter at @jwlltn and Instagram at @jwlltn.
Proof I am Actually Medusa by Victoria Fraser
After flitting around random jobs like a fruit fly, Victoria Fraser has realized maybe she doesn’t belong in the real world. Instead, she spends her time writing weird, fantastical poetry. If you listen closely, you’ll hear her singing off key to her ukulele about why online dating is a nightmare (especially when you are bisexual). Read her musings on Twitter @drunkukulele.
Reflection by Josh Holton
Josh Holton (he/him) is an ex-MMA fighter who took too many blows to the head and now writes and draws the weird. His work has featured in literary magazines across the UK and the USA. He was shortlisted for Spread the Word’s Life Writing Prize 2020. Find him on Twitter @JHoltonWriter.
Grow Up by Grace Royal
Grace Royal (she/her) is a recent university graduate who writes both poetry and prose. Her work explores eating disorders, mental health, lesbian identity, the small details of life and the impact of social media. When she isn’t writing, she can be found reading or looking after her eight guinea pigs.
Drowning in Hair by Addie Tsai
Addie Tsai is a queer, nonbinary Asian artist and writer who teaches literature, creative writing, humanities, and dance at Houston Community College. The author of the queer Asian young adult novel Dear Twin, she holds an MFA in Poetry from Warren Wilson College and a PhD in Dance from Texas Woman’s University. Addie is Nonfiction Editor at The Grief Diaries, Assistant Fiction Editor at Anomaly, and Associate Editor at Raising Mothers. You can follow her on Instagram @bluejuniper and Twitter @addiebrook.
Loss or Gain by Shlagha Borah
Shlagha Borah (she/her) is pursuing her undergraduate degree from Lady Shri Ram College For Women. She is a regular contributor and Select Writer for Terribly Tiny Tales and has been an editorial intern with Katha Publications. Her work has been accepted and published in various online literary platforms like Ayaskala, Marias at Sampaguitas, Ghost Heart, GroundXero, etc. She is also the co-founder of the student-led collective called Pink Freud that works around destigmatizing mental health issues. You can find her on Instagram @shlaghab.
Flyaways by Megan Cannella
Megan Cannella is a doctoral candidate, and her research focuses on 21st century dystopian motherhood narratives. She is a Midwestern transplant currently living in Nevada. For over a decade, Megan has bounced between working at a call center, grad school, and teaching. She has work published (currently and forthcoming) in 3 Moon Publishing, Porcupine Lit, The Daily Drunk, Verse Zine, and perhappened. You can find her on Twitter @megancannella.
From mouths of babes of the playground by Laura Cliss
Laura Cliss (she/her) is a feminist, vegan, reader, and cat-lover. She received her BA in English and History from Sheffield Hallam University before training as a primary teacher and spending a number of years teaching in the UK and Europe. She has recently moved back home to Cambridgeshire – UK, to start her MA in creative writing at Anglia Ruskin University in September. She is enjoying finding her feet as a writer and writes about anything that she feels an emotional connection to – moments, people… and sometimes cats.
Me Rajaron de las Raíces by Karla Renée Nemanic
Karla Renée Nemanic (she/they) is a queer Latinx poet pursuing a bachelor of arts at the University of Georgia. They have previously been published in magazines such as Marias at Sampaguitas and The Fem. Find them on Twitter @jajceglava.
bridesmaid dress by Olivia Braley
Olivia Braley (she/her) is a writer living in Annapolis, Maryland. She is a co-founder and Editor in Chief of Stone of Madness Press and a Reader for Longleaf Review. Her list of publications can be found at her website, oliviabraleywrites.com. Keep up with her on Twitter @OliviaBraley.
google inappropriate hairstyles & click images by Rayn Fox
Rayn Fox is from Colorado but not the crunchy kind. They’re an upcoming poet who loves to talk shit with the stars.
Your Hair is Everywhere by Lisa Lerma Weber
Lisa Lerma Weber has a lot of thick hair she has teased, permed, and even dyed blue. Her words and photography have been published online and in print. She is a poetry contributor and junior editor for Versification. Follow her on Twitter @LisaLermaWeber.
My Body is an Earth by Margaret Balich
Margaret Balich (she/her) is an 18-year-old writer from Pittsburgh, PA. She has been recognized in Pittsburgh’s Regional Scholastic Writing Awards, Carnegie Mellon University’s MLK Writing Awards, and Hooligan Mag’s Spilled Ink column. She hopes to study writing at the University of Pittsburgh while making music and finally learning how to ollie. You can find her on Instagram @margaretbalich.
Flowers by Prithiva Sharma
Prithiva Sharma (she/her) is a demisexual/biromantic writer from India, and is an Editor at Teen Belle Mag and Nightingale & Sparrow. She loves napping, horror movies and binging fanfiction. Find her work at https://campsite.bio/prithuwu and on Instagram @prithuwu.
Letters to my Mother by Leela Raj-Sankar
Leela Raj-Sankar (noun; she/her, pile of dust in a floral print dress) is an Indian-American teenager from Phoenix, Arizona. She enjoys drinking obscene amounts of coffee and making far too many Richard Siken references. Her work has been published/is forthcoming in Perhappened, Ex/Post Mag, and Stone of Madness Press, among others.
Thoughts on my Recent Haircut by Parker Li
Parker Li (she/they) is a queer Taiwanese-American artist specializing in digital and traditional art forms, as well as ceramics. They use their work as a form of resistance, exploring the themes of belonging, politics, and their transnational queer identity. When not working on art, they are reading history books and memoirs in the park. You can find them on Instagram or Twitter @humilityorigins.
Shave by Kaitlyn Crow
Kaitlyn Crow (they/them) is a Richmond, VA based poet. While juggling writing and dog-parenthood, they serve as a co-editor for K’in Literary Journal’s Young Writers Section. Other works have appeared in: Vagabond City, Apeiron Review, and bluestockings magazine. Find them on Instagram @kaitlynwriteswords and Twitter @kaitwriteswords.
Bleach, Bigots and Bisexuality by Nick Newman
Nick Newman (he/him) grew up in China and Scotland, and studies English Lit at the Uni of Leeds. His work appears / is forthcoming in Marías at Sampaguitas, Stone of Madness Press, and Lucky Pierre Zine, and you can find him procrastinating on Twitter @_NickNewman.
Compels by Prachi Valechha
Prachi Valechha (she/her) is a freelance cartoonist and 2D animator from India. She is greatly inspired and excited by the old mtv style cartoons, psychedelic art, anime – Ghibli, the paranormal, everything flashy and tacky, sex, violence and memes. She believes the world inside her head is a more acceptable one and keeps drawing in efforts to bring it to life. She enjoys conspiracy theories – the crazier the things sound, the better. She is also the creator of a fictional place called PeachTown and you’re always welcome to talk or collaborate with her! You can follow her on Instagram @rainbowteeth.
Remission by Claire Taylor
Claire Taylor (she/her) writes poetry, short fiction, and the occasional essay. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous print and online journals including Capsule Stories, Sage Cigarettes Magazine, Dreams Walking, perhappened mag, and Canary Literary Journal. She is the creator of Little Thoughts, a monthly newsletter of original stories and poetry for children. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland and can be found online at clairemtaylor.com, on Twitter @ClaireM_Taylor and Instagram @todayweread.
Negara(mbut)ku by May Chong
May Chong is a Malaysian poet and speculative writer with previous work in Strange Horizons, Apparition Literary, Anathema Magazine, Longleaf Review and Fixi Novo’s 2020: An Anthology. When she’s not pounding the keyboard, she enjoys birdwatching, good cheese, great stories, and terrible, terrible puns.
A Little Relaxer by A. Martine
A. Martine (she/her) is a trilingual writer, musician, artist of color, an Assistant Editor at Reckoning Press and co-EIC/Producer/Creative Director of The Nasiona. Her collection AT SEA, which was shortlisted for the 2019 Kingdoms in the Wild Poetry Prize is forthcoming with Clash Books. You can find her on www.amartine.com and on Twitter @Maelllstrom.
Coiled by Samara Powers
Samara Powers is a Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee whose work has appeared in Bird’s Thumb, The Christian Century, Inflectionist Review, SWWIM Every Day and others. She has two kids, a BA in Poetry, and works in marketing (thereby commercializing her pun habit).
The Mad Look: Quarantine Hair by Kara Laurene Pernicano
Artist and writer, Kara Laurene Pernicano explores intersectional feminism, queer love, trauma and healing through a hybrid image-text practice; she often hears a lyric quality in text messages and overanalyzes the use of parentheticals. Her creative writing has been published in Snapdragon, Waccamaw and Rabbit. She is a MFA Candidate in Creative Writing and Literary Translation at Queens College, CUNY and a Lecturer in English at CUNY. You can find her on Instagram @karalaurene and Twitter @KaraPernicano.
Closing Arguments: The Counsel for Lowlights Recommends Leniency by Mary Ellen Talley
Mary Ellen Talley’s (she/her) poems have recently been published in Banshee, Raven Chronicles, Ekphrastic Review, and Gyroscope, as well as in several anthologies. Her work has received a Pushcart nomination. A chapbook is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.
Putting on That Face by Margaret Elysia Garcia
Margaret Elysia Garcia (she/her) is the author of short story ebook collection Sad Girls and Other Stories, and the audiobook Mary of the Chance Encounters, and the co-founder and director of Las Pachucas theatrical troupe in northeastern California. She teaches creative writing and theatre at California Correctional Center in Susanville, CA. You can find her on Instagram @writerchickmama and @laspachucas.
Bliss by Katherine Hillier
Born 1994, Katherine Hillier (she/her) is a freelance illustrator from the Northamptonshire countryside in the UK. Her work is informed by the nature that surrounds her and the folklore it has inspired, while she also draws on the pop culture and history that has filled her life. You can find her on Instagram @katherinehillierart and on Tumblr @katherinehillierillustration.
My Unkempt Angel by Katie Dillard
Katie Dillard (she/her) was born and raised in rural Missouri. In 2010, she moved out west to pursue her MA in Creative Writing at The University of California-Davis. She has published poems in Prism International, Mothers Always Write, The Revolution (Relaunch), and several other online ‘zines. You can visit her blog, The Untamed Heart, for links to her work and follow her on Twitter @ktbeckmagic.