What do I see?
Who the hell am I?
I look in my mirror and wish the person I see could become clearer,
But not even my contacts can fix that.
I fear that maybe I am out of touch myself,
And until I figure out who I am, no one can touch me.
No one will leave trails for me to find.
When I look in my mirror.
No one will part my legs like the sea and make a home out of me,
Because I have not yet built a home for myself.
I don’t like the thought of telling you that I belong to you.
Why does the thought of me being property entice you?
Who do you see?
Who the hell am I to you?
Your eyes swell with greed and desire.
You are not the man I need.
You are someone else.
Stop trying to make your home in me,
Because you know that you wouldn’t even welcome yourself inside.
The taste of the vodka is strong and burning not smooth like the Patron, I had gotten use to. Without it getting through the day would be harder. It seemed like the million dollars flowed as easily and surely as the Dimitri going into my breakfast glass. For the life of me I don’t remember where it all went.
Start here, with Tarnynon Onumonu’s ode to Chicago’s Free Range youth, the ones who might not be welcome in the Loop.
Build Coffee, run by Hannah Nyhart and Bea Malsky—two former South Side Weekly editors—is a coffee shop and bookstore directly next door to the Weekly newsroom in the Experimental Station. When they celebrated the shop’s first birthday last month, we asked them to gift us a collection of their favorites from the past year’s stock, including zines, chapbooks, art books, and comics from over fifty local artists and small presses. They came through: the following pages are a selection of work from Build’s shelves, all published in Chicago in the past year.
The Sick Muse is an ever-evolving homage to Chicago’s various DIY scenes. For issue 10, editors Sasha Tycko, Noah Jones, and Jolene Whatever have grown from their zine roots into a full-size glossy magazine with artist interviews, hip weirdo features, and artfully illustrated lyrics from local bands. It’s all centered on the concept of utopia and a willfully optimistic call to action, including the excerpt featured here: “How to Do Things with Throats” by pt bell. The Sick Muse accepts submissions on a rolling basis at thesickmuse.com
The Broken Nose Collective is an interdisciplinary group of artists making “accessible, regional, and honest-to-goodness works of art that are for, by, and about the Chicago community.” Their latest publication is Tethers, an archive zine of interpersonal memories and musings. BNC are artists on the go—next up is a touring wind quartet performance focused on the idea of “harvest.” The excerpts featured here are illustrated and written by Keara McGraw. Keep track of the Broken Nose Collective at brokennosecollective.org
In her own words, across comics, protest banners, tattoos, animations, and even skateboards, bria royal is making “intersectionally black and indigenous mythologies for ourselves and our future liberated descendants.” Black Girl Mania is her fantastic account of a futuristic banana republic and life with bipolar disorder. Bria organizes with the People’s Response Team and For The People Artists Collective, and more of her work can be found at briaroyal.com
“My Ode to the Spicy Lollipop”
This is how my lollipop tastes: It has chile, four layers, and there is gum inside. The gum is really blistering. I can already feel my tongue on fire. I hear the firefighters. It is round and hot like the sun. I cherish my gum so much that I think I just broke my tooth. It hurts so much. It’s too spicy. It tastes so good and delicious and healthy and hard, but still so good. The wrapper is red and has a face of the spicy lollipop with sunglasses.
She was known as “Fire,” but was named Christina by my grandparents. Christina was our aunt, my mother’s eldest sister. Though we usually called her Aunt Chris, during tense times in our lives we referred to her as Fire.