Spring 2016

Zine curatation, PR, and graphic design by Stephanie Watson

// Editor’s Letter
// About the Authors
// Allie Elkhadem’s In Memory of Arnab
// Allie Elkhadem’s Passing A Fallen Woman
// Allie Elkhadem’s Soft like A Whisper
// S
avanna Jones‘ Berlin
//
Savanna Jones’ c
// Savanna Jones’ Make America Great Ever
// Sawsan Khalaf’s Prelude to Texting Thorvald
// Catherine Lowton’s Choice
// Sarah Marchant’s Windows
// Sarah Marchant’s Two Cigarettes
// Sarah Marchant’s Unpredictable
// Brooke Segarra’s I Never Smoked More Cigarettes than When I Was with You
// Elizabeth Taylor’s I Shaved My Head
// Valeria Vigilante’s No Questions Asked
// Stephanie Watson’s A Collection of Choices (and Haikus)
// Stephanie Watson’s If I had a Choice
// About the Next Issue

 

EditorsLetter1Dear Fembotters,

Choice is of course one of the staples of intersectional feminism; a woman’s right to choose her own reproductive fate, a trans man’s right to choose a bathroom that matches his gender rather than his birth certificate, a woman of color’s choice to go where she wants without stigma and danger, the list is endless, and our desire to hold that choice is the foundation of everything we do as activists.

That’s not to say that the choices we make day to day aren’t important, because that’s the point; every choice, no matter how small, is important. And usually these choices just seem small in the surface, yet are actually more important that we can realize.

I mean feminists get berated often for wanting to see the end of dress codes in schools. “Really?” they say “That’s the battle you’re picking? Don’t you realize there are bigger issues than a girl being allowed to wear a mini skirt?” Well, considering these dress codes are in place so boys and male teachers don’t “get distracted” and “accidentally” assault one of the girls, I’d say that’s a pretty big battle. Blaming the girls for paedophilia and forcing them to wear blazers instead of tank tops in hot summer weather? Yep, sounds like a very small issue to me.

But I digress. This season’s zine is your place to share choices you had to make, choices you didn’t, choices our hearts foolishly made for us, and choices we weren’t even allowed to make in the first place. These pieces of art reflect all this and more.

One girl’s post-abortion story shared through the eyes of a judgemental partner, the decision to text someone we should really be avoiding, a decision to be cured that doesn’t exist, a road that may or may not take us to freedom; these pieces are heartfelt and meaningful to their authors, and I hope they spark off in you some choices you’ve been thinking about lately.

Cyberrriot on!
~ Stephanie Watson
Co-EIC of Fembot

 

Allie Elkhadem is a high school junior studying creative writing at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Texas. Over this past year, she has mostly focused on poetry and lyric essays.

Savanna Jones is an emerging blogger and writer who advocates intersectional feminism. She believes in the power of creative non-fiction and poetry to express political solidarity and greater awareness from personal experience. She is based in the U.S. where she runs the blog Sex, Politics & Social Justice.

Sawsan Khalaf, a German-speaking Gulf Arab and castaway of Fortress Europe, is completing her BASc in the social sciences at University College London. She spends most of her time studying the miraculous revitalisation of the Welsh language and recently completed an internship with the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Beirut, where she researched sexuality, space and resistance among Lebanese youth.

Catherine Lowton is a 16 year old aspiring photographer and high school student, who has alway stood up for what she believes in. For example mental health and freedom. She loves acting. and wishes to go on to do media. You can more of her work on her blog.

Sarah Marchant is a St. Louis poet who organizes her dreams in her sleep and struggles with being fully present. Keep up with her work on Twitter at @apoetrybomb.

Brooke Segarra lives in Ridgewood, NY and is the author of the short story collection Can’t Afford Sex. She studied English at Drexel University and writes for numerous online and print publications. As she evolves, she intends that her writing will continue to as well. You can keep up with everything going on with her at Brookesegarra.com

Liz Taylor is currently completing an mdes qualification in illustration in south wales, working mostly on conceptual interactive exhibitions and expressive ‘ugly’ linear caricatures for subjects from mental health to surreal editorial cartoon work.…

Born and raised in the sunny Italy, Valeria Vigilante is currently studying Politics and Philosophy at the University of Sheffield (United Kingdom). She is passionate about writing, cinema, feminism, political journalism and human rights.

Stephanie Watson, co-founder of Fembot and creator of Cyberrriot, joined the site in 2010, and since then has gotten an honors degree in Psychology, and an HNC in Professional Writing. She also contributes to HelloGiggles, XoJane, TYCI, Bitch Media, and hopes to make her way further in the journalistic world. As well as her love for opinionated journalism and social media, she also writes romantic prose and cryptic poetry, dabbling in minimalist painting too. Stephanie’s goals are of a personal creative kind, however through her articles and poetry she hopes to provoke change and discussion of social justice issues.

memory                                                                                                               By Allie Elkhadem

1: that rabbit i ate. my back to the house and my body looks out. on the terrace i can see Cairo: not

fast just steady, the cars run by like those rabbits..

she sits on the plate. her body has been stewed. no one tells me what she is but upon swallowing

i can feel her rapid heartbeat (a thick yellow pounding.) i can’t imagine her running. where? the

buildings press against us. the grass here is frail. i lick at her bones and hear the grass sway.

2: on the table it’s a small rabbit foot. yet i can smell the chicken on the fire. two dead

animals. one preserved and one gone. this is the beauty of the flea market.

3: i twist my hair into a ponytail- a nervous habit. in front of my are small diagrams-pictures of

common objects with Arabic letters beside them. alif with arnab. the rabbit stares at me as I try to

shape the letter. as the class continues i sit with arnab on my lips.

4: maybe 2 or 3 miles away from my house is the rabbit park.

we go late at night to catch glimpses of the rabbits. they dive under the bridge out of sight. we

stand there just watching nothing.

whisperBy Allie Elkhadem

do you remember last Saturday?

was it longer ago?

why do the days blur together?

you came over, did you stay?

of course your body was there- but did you want to be there?

Object eaten: fruit salad (with those pomegranate seeds that had fermented)/microwave mac and

cheese/balls of chocolate/plums/peanut butter in a cup

should have i have done something different? could i have changed anything for now?

that day had also been my grandmother’s birthday (and 13 days after my

grandfather’s (he was long dead; more than 2 decades after)) my parents had gone to her

house and brought back a basket. inside was a container of olive oil. She always slightly

reminiscent of the Nile. soft sways yet navigable only by big boat.

 

woman - CopyBy Allie Elkhadem

My eyes drawn to the girl standing next to her

It’s been a solid minute that ive been starring

Nothing

No twitch no urge

Now i know that girl

But in that moment she was just

A face i had seen before

Body on concrete

Body on concrete

The grandmother lays there

Daisy beside her in the crack

That This was supposed to be just a car ride

A simple drive

Later while eating

All i will see is that girl

Standing

And that body on concrete

It comes up in conversation

Should we have stopped and helped that woman?

I answer no


By Savanna Jones

Lana speaks four languages.  Spanish, Portuguese, English and— the fourth evades me.  She invites me to dinner with another girl she’s made friends with in the women’s dorm I’ve arrived at.

“Where are you coming from?” she asked.

“Amsterdam.”

I want to tell her how glad I am to be here, in this clean women’s dorm, away from Amsterdam.  I refrain, because I don’t know her well.  But she is warm and her presence puts me at ease.

Another woman arrives, shortly after me.  She doesn’t speak Spanish, Portuguese, English or the fourth language. The woman is silent but smiles at me as she selects the bunk above mine.  We are in bunk beds like young siblings, yet we are unknown women, from spiraling corners of the world, smashed together in one room, sleeping on top of each other.

When the silent woman moves at night, I am moved, too.  I can feel her sigh.  I can feel her miss home despite the excitement of adventure.  I can understand the uncertain placement of her backpack, cautious not to take up too much space in a room shared by so many women.  Surely, at home she spreads out her belongings and expands her voice into a room, just like we all do.  But here, we are aware not to push too much.

Some of us, we have the same shampoo brands, razors, shoe styles.  The elements of ourselves that reach each other are not always our words or our cultures— how can we explain without language— but are our things we have bought, all packed tightly into precise bottles, sealed in plastic bags, crowded into backpacks.

Late one night, I have a dream, some weary nightmare of worry that I dread when I wake. A rattling key—  C L I C K — I am locked in a room, in the spiny, white curated gallery hall of a museum.  I am bolted in with Lichtenstein, Frida, Umberto the Futurist, Picasso’s Guernica.

The sharp light of Guernica’s ceiling becomes my mouth, howling out “Don’t lock me in here!”

Suddenly, I am awake, the women in my dorm, reaching for me in the true darkness with their different accents, speaking my language.  Their voices sweep up to my white sheets, bringing to me their homes, their mothers, their lovers.  All this, contacting me where I have mistaken myself to be alone, forgetting that I share a small room with Brasil, Australia, North Korea, Mexico, Germany and— wasn’t Picasso just here?

I hear Lana’s voice call out to me.

“You’re okay,” she told me.  “You’re just having a bad dream.”

The silent woman above me moves, I have woken her up.  She shivers in the late summer heat we all sweat against, wondering swiftly if any part of us has been revised, then smiling at the arrival that it’s not us, it’s the cities we choose to see that keep changing. We will still be who we are when we return home.  Knowing the language we speak will be spoken to us, not out of curiosity or courtesy, but from kinship and plainness.

Lana, Allie and I go to a flea market the next day after my nightmare.  The market strolls along the canal, there are always canals, and if I ever wondered what spectacular was, this certainly was it.  Glittering, colorful, old and unlike anything I’d seen.  A carpet of treasures unrolled in front of me— like Lana, as she told us, “I’m this thin because I’ve had my heart broken by a man I loved very much.”  Lana can say this in four languages, how painful it must be to feel in so many words.

A smile limps across her face, “I thought he loved me, too.”

I was certain he must have loved her, but— here she was with Allie and me.  Allie who was our glowing, soft and surprising young Australian, who had a delicate cross tattooed on the underside of her forearm.

Lana buys an old camera from a Brit, “But I was born Russian.”

“Is that where you’re from?” Lana asked, in English so sweet, lilting, smoky, we knew she is from a world of magical realism.  A voice that expands into resolutions we want to keep, to stay close to the speaker that first inspired the hope.

“Well, Belarus,” he replied.

“That’s not Russia,” Lana smiled, knowingly.

“No, but that’s me.”

“Ah,” faintly laughing, because she knows, no one could ever be from a single landscape.

She barters with the vender.  She marks him down seven euro.  She has a treasure now, and we look at the following venders with ease.  She barters for Weimar Republic china with a woman who looks as if she’d seen everything, but was intrigued instead of bored.

“Should we get coffee?” Allie asked, at the end of the market.  We go to a nearby cake shop in a Platz, everything is platz in Berlin—that’s how it sounds to my foreign and unknowing ear.

We get some sort of German cake, with thick white frosting and dense chocolate and tart cherries— rich, like the laugh of a young child who knows intimately the splendor of being loved that comes joined with the spoils of being fortunate.

“This will help me get my weight back,” Lana said.  I think she must also know this will help her heart too.  What a heart she must have, being in a city that is always becoming itself, just as we are.

Our three forks carry cake onto expecting taste buds, and I know that though the world is massive, crowded, with thousands of miles that will remain unseen to me, small pieces of enchantment have emerged in my vision.  As I have attempted stumbling and idiotic, to pursue some sort of greatness, I have been humbled.  Seeing magnificence while experiencing the incredible, challenging, unmanageable cities, landscapes, train systems, echoes, rooms and women— to think that I once asked, Who will I be at the end of this? doesn’t seem to matter.

It’s about the threads that form when reaching out pull me in closer to locales, limbs and dreams I can see through meeting unexpected and magical women.  To feel connected to rising angels in a vast trajectory of unfamiliarity; to have it be known, it will all be okay.

By leaving home, out of curiosity, from will of wanderer, perhaps stupidity from my imagination, I could now lay a hiccupping question to sleep. Whether above me, or elsewhere, I can feel it move, shiver, shake, or sigh—when a person like Lana or Allie surface, I know exploration of never-ending hearts will be possible, like an all you can eat buffet.

I might come back for more, pack it in a napkin for later.  But see, that to know a rising angel is to feel that I do not need to live a life of greatness on my own.  It’s about sharing in the resilience of gaining back a lost mass from a broken heart.

To be able to get it back. To fall into a dome, where sharing a cake can become a major moment from a day we reached out, even if later all we have is a memory. We allow the distance to be returned in whatever limb, chamber or twitch it fits.

Miraculous, perceptive, laughing and extending women who, instead of pursuing greatness alone, we grow into visiting bliss, as rising angels.

As women who are always becoming women.

By Savanna Jones

make america great again

but who

has america been great for?

women of color?

immigrants?

single mothers?

muslims?

again?

how about ever?

let’s make america great

…..

ever.

sometime soon.

NOW.

but who has america been great for?

Those who can use the word again.

never considering, that

again has not been a likelihood for most americans, ever.

if we want to make america great

it will not be again

it will not come from our past.

it will come from now

from our future.

the future isn’t again.

the future is ever.

we don’t need again.

we need ever.

EVER points to perhaps, for once, the possibility of

choice, of inclusion, of acknowledgement

those who america has not yet been great for

are those we need so desperately

to make america great

ever.

By Sawsan Khalaf

 Your text interrupts me during midnight sit-ups (#unhealth). For a moment I pretend a notification could be anything, which is to say more than a text, a like, or a dialog box imploring me to update, for the love of good things, my software. I stare ahead of me and look upwards and leftwards like I’m listening for the tiptoes of a break-in, because something in the MIDI file that is my notification sound has alerted my being to the possibility of something as monumental as Love. This has everything to do with Proust who I am reading and whose presence on my night table and whose presence on my night table also has everything to do with Love.

Sitting still from my sit-ups I see these books and wonder what excerpts might be suitable for my next electronic bombardment. This seems indulgent and loaded with motives left deliberately implicit, so I ask myself what I am hoping to ‘get out of’ this. And because I can’t handle the very plausible (and that’s because the word ‘probably’ would hurt more) idea that I don’t stand to get very much at all ‘out of this’, I
chastise myself, in a manner that is intended to be more earnest and profound than the girl in 50 shades who is always chastising herself, for failing to think of what I’m expecting to give to this, ‘this’ being, at present, a chain of e-mails.

My mind screams BOOKS with the grin of a six-year-old who impulsively announces, when asked what she would like for dinner, that she wants CHOCOLATE, fully aware from the outset that the wish will not be taken seriously, let alone granted – and having reconciled herself to this reality hours ago; in my case months ago. My intuitive response is to hurl every simile, metaphor and cleverly worded observation I find in these books at your increasingly impermeable inbox, insistently offering to you cool things others have done rather than resigning to my inability to offer you cool things of my own and leaving the space blank. I do write lovely, sorrow-filled prefaces to e-mails, which sometimes impress you (but more often than not irritate you for reasons upon which you would gladly expound in the company of others), but this still leaves something – some things, indeed many things – to be desired.

I suffocate the prospect of the above with the density of Proust’s sentences and sentences I am hoping you will decipher and, shortly thereafter, appreciate more than I. I smother the glimmer of impossibility with blankets of German, hoping that the message – which, had you been able to inject the phrase “we regret to inform you” with your usual steel-softening compassion, you would have conveyed to me weeks ago – will never find its way back home.

 

FREEDOMISACHOICE… and when you finally realise that, you’ll be happy and know what you want.
By Catherine Lowton


By Sarah Marchant

By Sarah Marchant

All of my friends smoke menthols,

which I don’t understand because it

all tastes the same to me.

So maybe you’re a carefully obscured

speed limit sign. You’re a flier

advertising “WORKERS WANTED”

that is picked up out of

consideration, then forgotten.

This is the first night

sleeping under the same roof.

The first load of laundry

with a mix of our clothes.

First few meals cooked together,

teriyaki sauce burnt to the skillet

and smoke wafting through the rooms.

I know my heart is

a handful, but

please don’t go now.

We have so much left

to learn.

 

By Sarah Marchant

A gang of Halloween cutouts huddle

on the corner, judgmental teenagers

mocking me in my periphery

like the negative pregnancy test

in my bathroom trash can. In between

tracking Trump flubs and cleaning

apple guts off the kitchen counter,

there’s no direction stinging

like an arrow. Stupid to silently dream

of small fingers pointing the way

while I’m scrubbing, typing, trying

to relax my teeth-grinding-tense jaw.

Behind my ribs, there might be

nothing but dust. There might be clay.

There might be a bright nightmare.

 

By Brooke Segarra

Adam took his iPod classic out from the inner pocket of his large pea coat and scrolled to Alcest. He selected ‘Souvenirs D’un Autre Monde’, placed his earbuds snuggly in his ears, and pulled out the Marlboro box to light his fourth cigarette. He had told Shannon to meet him in
front of Kohl’s. She was already late, but she wouldn’t be able to keep herself from showing up.

It’d been two years.

His foot wouldn’t stop jiggling even with his legs crossed. He uncrossed them and put his head in his hands. He wondered how she’ll take the part about drinking champagne in the apartment after coming back from the clinic. It was boxed white wine, not champagne, and she
was the one, after all, who had suggested to pour the glasses.

The Alcest song continued to play. It was always awkward cumming and then hearing the swell of the instruments like he had just plowed the elf princess of Middle Earth into his mattress. Shannon had gone through a phase where she always had to have this song playing
while they did it. He hated it, but he usually zoned it out as they fucked. She would get out of the bed, squat down in her bare feet on the wooden floor, and plug her iPod into the speaker system with such needless finesse. If only she could have been so sensual putting the condom on.

‘Hey!’

Shannon crept up and stood in her ankle-boots, thick black stockings, heavy loose black sweater and large-framed glasses. He instantly wanted to take her back to New York. As she sat down next to him on the bench, her shoulder length blonde hair wisped by his face and gave off the scent of Bath & Body Works perfume, some scent like Serenade at Moonlight. He gave a muffled chuckle without thinking.

‘What?’ She responded playfully and smiled.

‘Nothing.’ He smiled and put his head down and shook it. He put his hand over the bottom of his face and gave it one stroke downwards. Shannon went into her bag and pulled out her cigarettes. It was a new pack and she spent a few extra seconds futzing with the wrapping. After she lit her first cigarette, she’d probably never shut up. With the one second he had left to himself, he made the conscious decision he wouldn’t light it for her.

Shannon lit up, inhaled, and let out a soft stream of smoke. Her actions seemed slightly forced. She was nervous. Whenever she was nervous she would act as though she were envisioning the situation as a movie and herself as the character everybody loved, even if they
loved her in a tragically sympathetic way. It was something Adam had always been fond of about her, despite the fact that it sometimes had gotten in the way during sex.

‘So, may I see them?’ Shannon asked.

‘Yes — of course — yeah.’ Adam stuck his cigarette between his lips and reached into his pea coat’s inner pocket. In the glance that he caught of Shannon’s breasts, he thought they might have gotten bigger since last — but then again, she had always worn those little bralets. From his pea coat’s inner pocket Adam pulled out a black Moleskin notebook. Stuck inside were a thick stack of loose pages folded. He had printed out the short story that he’d written and felt was his responsibility to have Shannon read before anyone else.

He paused with the pages in his hand. His insides felt tight as he caught a glance of her knees covered in thick tights. Sometimes in bed he had felt like he would break her. He had to say something.

‘You know I don’t think I’m a very good writer. I’m still convincing myself I can write at all. It’s always frustration and disappointment and — two Advils with a glass of water. Even though I think I should bump the dosage to four now.’ He jerked his head as if suggesting that it was a joke, but with some seriousness.

‘Mhm.’ Shannon continued to smoke with self-conscious motions. Adam lit another cigarette and then, with his legs crossed, he crossed his wrists on his knee, papers still in hand. He continued to avoid her eyes.

‘Sometimes it’s easier when I’m with Jim and Karen and there’s coke. But I jot stuff in my notebook and I feel like everyone is watching and smiling affectionately at me, which is nearly the same as laughing, and I don’t take it well. Especially when I looked back over it and realized that somewhere in the middle of things I started writing my own name instead of the protagonist’s while he’s sliding down her panties.’

‘Which panties?’ she asked with lots of cheek.

‘What?’

‘Which pair of mine are you remembering?’

‘Uhm, I don’t know, the black ones? The high waisted ones that were always a pain in the ass to take off. I think you stopped wearing them ’cause you stained them one month.’ He added the last part for detail. He thought she’d like that.

‘Eventually I stain all my underwear,’ she said with spite. ‘You never did pay attention. You were always so anxious to slide everything down every time.’

Adam wanted to object, but then he thought to let her have her jabs. She was really just wildly swinging into the air anyway, considering that whether he ever looked at her underwear or not was completely irrelevant to anything at this point. How long can someone look at
underwear when hard and ready anyway? He’d let her make something pointless significant. He could grant her that.

She looked at him with a devious half smirk, took the papers from his hands, and unfolded the middle crease. Her legs were crossed and she kept that smirk as she dragged on her cigarette and read. Maybe she hasn’t grown up at all since, Adam thought. Maybe she’s happy just knowing she got what she had hoped would happen to her when she went off to the city. She had never told him what she’d thought about at sixteen, but he had always known it. He knew just from the way she smiled. He knew it the first time he had brought her up the steps, more than tipsy, to his apartment and she sat on his full bed and smiled. When she had gone to sit, she plopped down so that her dress ballooned up and he caught a glimpse of her underwear through her see-through stockings. He had wondered how many times she had done this before. She had seemed so young then, sitting there, beaming at everything. He’d looked at her flushed cheeks and bright eyes and went to the bed without the joint that he had rolled earlier and placed on his desk. He had come onto the bed and put his hand under her thigh and felt the shape of her. She’d crooned softly and the snow had not entirely melted from her hair. He had laid her down
on her back, and she had sighed with a rare anxious innocence. One that only results when her and the boy she lost her virginity to only had sex six times before that moment when you have her on the bed. When she was a sophomore, she had looked at him like he was some sort of poet when he was really just an English major in senior year.

He glanced over at Shannon reading. He knew he shouldn’t say anything. There was nothing to say no matter how badly he wanted to explain himself. She flipped to a new page and then turned to her bag, got out another cigarette, lit it and continued reading. The smirk
completely wiped from her face.

She was completely absorbed in what he had written, but he wasn’t even sure if what he had written was what he had even meant. Watching her slowly lift her cigarette, drag on it, and lower it was making him more nervous than he could have imagined. He clenched his hands together hard and kept exerting that force to keep his feet from jiggling.

He tried to distract himself, since he was finding the way Shannon casually crossed her legs difficult to accept. The tighter she squeezed them together the more it seemed like she was wrapping herself and the story’s character into one. In itself this was completely fine, but it was her seeming thrill of the association that was aggravating.

He spotted to his left a little girl in a pink ski jacket trying to pick up some mulch from below a distant tree. The girl’s mother came over and started shaking the little girl’s hand with the mulch in it. Eventually, she dropped the mulch and gave the mother a look that had as much disdain in it as a little girl could muster. Shannon had looked at him in the same way in the clinic’s lobby when he’d suggested they go outside and smoke a cigarette while they waited. She had been shaking so much, and he had just wanted to help at the time. He couldn’t think of any way to help and needed a smoke.

‘I forgot that we drank champagne afterwards.’

Adam turned and Shannon was looking at him. With a faint smile she handed him the stack of papers. He kept his glance away from her; the complacency in her voice was adding to his agitation. He had thought at this point there would be a tear down her cheek and he’d have his hand on her knee or an arm around her shoulders.

‘It was wine, actually.’ And she had gotten sick after two sips and thrown up all over his bed.

He had the sheets washing in the washer while she’d sat on the dryer sobbing, puke on her shirt and jeans. He had tried to help, but she’d refused to undress and throw them in the wash. All she allowed him to do was keep her in sight. So he sat on the concrete floor, smelling the vomit and the detergent and drinking the boxed wine himself.

‘I know, but that’s only because we didn’t have champagne.’ She smiled faintly as if looking at a boy who didn’t understand the ending of a rhyme.

‘It was a fucking creative adjustment, Shannon, for the sole purpose of making our fucking shit show interesting.’

‘Ours? Or yours?’ She snapped. ‘You wouldn’t be coming at me with this if either one of us were where you’d hoped we’d be at twenty-seven and twenty-five. Don’t act like you wouldn’t have just forgotten the whole thing.’

Adam raised his hand. As he brought it up, there was a strain, a tightness in his upper arm, a hotness in his palm. He lowered it.
Shannon’s eyes were wide. She didn’t say anything. He didn’t know if she thought that he’d actually do it. But, she would be an idiot if she thought that he would. She gazed off into the distance with her hands in her lap and rubbed the tip of her middle finger over the nail of her
pointer finger.

‘I wasn’t making room. I was making a decision, Adam, so that I could like her in your stories as much as I do.’

The smile suddenly faded, and she looked right at him as though she was about to think about kissing him. He kept still, shocked that he didn’t act on her slightest inclination.

She got up abruptly and started to leave. ‘I have to go to work.’

He watched as she crossed the parking lot. The last time had been from behind. It was a good one. He told himself it was a good one. It would have been if she hadn’t played off so defeated and used after it. Something she must have seen in some pornographic Tumblr GIF.

Her biggest downfall had always been her wanting to be great — more than great.

 

by Liz Taylor

Yes I want to shave my head
Yes I want to
I’ve done it before actually
No I won’t regret it
Are you ok?
I’ll do it if you want
No I don’t have cancer or alopecia
No I’m not a thug or a soldier
I don’t care if it makes me look like a boy
No I won’t regret it
No I’m not crazy or brave
No I haven’t been dumped
It’s just hair
It’s only temporary
It’ll grow back
I don’t care what other people think
Yes my job is secure
Yes my partner will still love me
Yes my mum will hate it

How much does hair illustrate our personal narrative?
It can be used as an expressive tool by us, although some people don’t get to choose what it says about them.
We’re told what to do with it and how to look to say certain things to other people to show that we care about something.
It means little to me and for someone who has cared way too much about what people have thought in the past, to give the public one more thing for them to stare at
Well that must be “crazy.”

By Valeria Vigilante

Dear society, explain me why

I, myself, have to justify

Why I don’t wanna kids

Why I do wanna them

Why I make the first move

Why I let the boys do that

Or simply why I don’t care who asks whom

Cause we’re in 2016.

Tell me why I have to explain

Why I travel alone

Why I don’t shave my  armpits

Why I can’t cook a three-course meal

Why I’m not on diet for losing those 4-5 Kg

Seemingly it’s a big deal

Even I buy courgettes over aubergines

A bacon sandwich over a salad

Dear society, explain me why

Apparently I have to pay a prize for

The freedom of my choices

Blabbering words over words

Covered in a painful blanket of

Justifications

Reasons

And perpetual worrying

At the end of the day

I feel even stupid

But actually

You are the dumb one

Questioning my reason like a three-old child

Not getting one simple thing:

I choose

Naturally and instinctively

As much as the guy next to me

At the end of the day

I can choose to not listen to your blabbering

While you stuck into your questions

You can’t take

The freedom of my choices

The liberty of my mistakes

To build a prison around me

I won’t justify myself for choosing

sharks over dolphins

Or dolphins over sharks

You’ll always be invited to swim along me

But shout your mouth or I’ll drown you.

By Stephanie Watson

If I had a choice,
I would remove every flaw,

every symptom in my being,
I’d flush away the bad,
and shine a light on the good.

That’s if I had a choice.

If I had the choice,
I’d do it for everyone,
I’d take away their pain, their discomfort,
I’d flush away the sadness,
and shine a light on the happiness.

That’s if I had the choice.

But I don’t have a choice.
The flaws, the symptoms, the bad and good,
they’re stuck with me,

they’re a part of me.

In a way, it means I do have a choice.
I have a choice to accept it,
I have the choice to learn how to cope with it,
to shine a light on the good,

and forget about the bad.

If I had a choice,
I’d choose this.
And I do.

 

By Stephanie Watson

Choice #1: Stop the car?
I could pick the low
road, that separates us two,
and let it kill us.

Choice #2: Or keep on driving?
Or I could choose the
high road, and watch as we grow,
stronger and stronger.

Choice A: Life of a hermit
I’m too scared to leave
this comfortable apartment,
can I stay inside?

Choice B: Life of the free
I’m scared to go out,
but I know in the long-run,
I’ll be happier.

Choice i: Am I your laddette
I could laugh off your
bigoted joke, and avoid
your following rage.

Choice ii: Or my own feminist?
Or I could rage, stand
up for myself and avoid
becoming your joke.

Final Choice:
Do I dare conform?
To make my life easier,
and free of the fear?

Forever Choice:
In the distant end,
All choices are mine, and you
will never stop me.

 

 


We encourage you to submit your creative writing for consideration to be digitally published in our new monthly literary arts zine, Cyberrriot.

What we’d love to see from you:

– Short stories and vignettes
– Poetry
– Scripts
– Fictional and non-fiction monologues
– Fictional and non-fiction letters
– Art (photography, drawings, collages, etc.)
– Open letters/personal narratives
– Mixed media (Vlogs, Instagram pictures, Vimeo, YouTube videos)
– Conversations & Social Media Text (Text message, Twitter replies, Tumblr blog posts, etc.)

The theme for our 2016 Summer issue is RECOVERY.

The submission deadline is June 30th and the zine will be published digitally on our site July 5th.

If you wish to submit a piece of art to Fembot’s Cyberrriot, then email them to us, along with a third person bio and a picture of yourself to cyberrriot@gmail.com and we’ll get back to you within 3-4 business days. You can find more information about rules and regulations here.