Spring 2017

Curation and graphic design by Stephanie Watson. PR by Olivia Hu, Olivia Jensen, and Rebecca Upton.

contents
// Annetta Benzar’s 20 Spaces
// Craestor’s Snake in the Sass
// Katelynn Dudley’s Cloud Spotting
// Katelynn Dudley’s A Heaven on Earth
//Chloe Henderson’s One day…
// Olivia Jensen’s The Somnambulist
// Olivia Jensen’s Across the Night
// Erica S. Qualy’s Am I the Hunter or the hunted?
// Erica S. Qualy’s Memphis
// Laura Sawyer’s What does it mean to be a man or woman?
// Jasmine Smoot’s A Dream I Had The Night of March 1, 2015, Turned Into a Poem
// Indy Srinath’s Dark Chocolate
// Ariel Sobel’s To the Boy I’m Having Sex Dreams About
// Ariel Sobel’s Losing My Artistic License
// Rebecca Upton’s Dream Sequence I, II, & III


about the artists
Annetta Benzar was born in Belarus but grew up on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. She was raised speaking three languages: English, Russian and Greek but always felt more at home with English. She is currently finishing an English Language and Literature BA at the European University of Cyprus and looking to continue her studies in the UK. On a daily basis you may find her out running at a crazy hour in the morning, in a corner munching on a novel or book of poetry or in a frenzy attempting to write. You can find her over at https://fishingbicycles.wordpress.com/

Craestor is a female-identified artist from Berlin, Germany. Her art is feminist, body positive, sex positive and sometimes dark and bizarre.

Katelynn Dudley is a 20 year old lesbian from New England currently residing in the Northeast US. She is a future historian constantly scribbling on paper scraps and collecting discarded receipts.

Chloe Henderson is an odd artsy person from Edinburgh. She creates visual and wearable artwork inspired by stories, fantasies, geek culture, feminism, and mythologies. Chloe creates highly patterned work. Her drawings are akin to the zentangle style, and this is also reflected in her etched style metalwork. She uses the patterns to create narratives, and explore visual storytelling through the fine arts, and the wearable jewellery creations she makes in the workshop. In her spare time she tames unicorns and swims with mermaids.

  Olivia Hu is a rising sophomore in high school. When she isn’t harvesting her infatuation over writing, she is wandering the café-scented streets of downtown or finding solace in old book stores. Currently, she is a blog and magazine writer for HerCulture. She also actively writers and edits for her school newspaper, and was awarded first place for prose in a national Canadian writing competition.

Olivia Jensen is an artist and animation student in Chicago, Illinois. When she’s not struggling to improve her drawing skills, you can find her acting in short films, relaxing in coffeeshops, or wandering aimlessly trying to seek out adventures in new places. Check out more of her work on Instagram, @oliviaaj22, or Tumblr, olive-sketches.tumblr.com.

Erica S. Qualy is a contemporary artist and musician (The Vignettes, Objectum Sexuals, FREDD VELVET) living in Memphis, Tennessee. She is best known for her paintings, photography, and very handsome cats, Mr. Mathe & Ghismo…

Laura Sawyer is a Photography degree student in her last year studying at Leeds college of Art. Her work is heavily influenced and motivated by current sociological and political changes within society. Though being a Photographer, Laura’s main work is working within Galleries across the UK and regularly helping out with the erection of exhibitions. Instagram: @laura_sawyer

Indy Srinath is a homesteader and spoken word artist from Asheville NC. She has completed multiple residencies within the public school system that focus on creative writing and environmental stewardship. She lives and writes on a small mushroom farm with her partner and two dog friends.

Jasmine Smoot is a 17 year old filmmaker/photographer/artist/musician living in Dallas, TX where she runs her photography business, JRS Photography. When she’s not working, she is constantly making art and finding new ways to express herself. She hopes to become well-known in the zine community for her photography and art pieces. You can find her over at @archiesfinalproject on Instagram, and http://jasminersmoot.wixsite.com/jasminesmoot

Ariel Sobel is an award winning filmmaker and poet.
The Say Word LA slam team alumni studies at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts on a full scholarship. Recently she released a Chinese Academy Award nominated documentary, THE LOST TRIBE and the TED Talk, Losing My Artistic License, available at arielsobel.com

Rebecca Upton is a writer and college student studying Women’s and Gender Studies and English. She is the author of two chapbooks, looking for ltr with goth and To My Disorder. Her work has been published by Maudlin House, Zoomoozophone Review, and Electric Cereal. Her writing portfolio can be found at crackedmoth.wordpress.com. She loves live music, feminism and social justice, and her cat named Simba.

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.

 

 

editor’s letter

Dear Fembotters,

I’ve waited exactly 109 days for Spring to arrive and already the season has not (yet) disappointed; sunshine, heat, and blue skies have taken over and it’s amazing. Give or take the odd over-cast day filled with light rain, it gives me hope that Summer will be even better, but that’s a topic for another zine.

Since daylight-savings kicked in a couple of weeks ago, we’ve also been blessed with lighter evenings, and light-evenings are one of my favourite times to read and write, particular poetry and prose. When twilight hits around 7:30, I feel like I’m in a dream-like state whenever I look out of the window. Time feels extended during this time of year and it’s extremely relaxing.

Speaking of dream-like, I bring you to this season’s theme: DREAMS. Dreams was a pretty easy theme to pick because they’re something we all have, whether it’s literal dreams; as in, the bizarre stories we experience in our sleep, and/or the metaphorical; the goals we hold dear and hope to accomplish before our final days. Daydreams, nightmares, even mental health symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, and dissociations are forms of what I consider dreams, because they exist in a plane of reality that we can’t touch, or completely control.

We were sent an overwhelming amount of submissions for this season, and I thank everyone involved because to experience someone else’s dream is a very intimate thing. From sex dreams, dreams of equality, dreams of an end to racism, to nightmares of sexual assault, and even dreams about dreaming, this issue is jam packed with all your most intimate thoughts and feelings. This zine in itself is part of my overall dream; to become a successful writer and editor, so I’m glad you get to experience it with me.

Without further ado, here is our Spring issue of Cyberrriot: DREAMS.

Cyberrriot on!
~ Stephanie
EIC of Fembot and Cyberrriot

 


20 Spaces
by Annetta Benzar

I was born to screams of life, mucus,
squinting sweaty heads.
I was born to sets of letters, numbers,
Codes of identification.
Printed into being: MP22908,
I had 20 spaces, 20 spaces to declare who I
was/am/will be. introduce me.
my body was the colour of stained paper,
my vessels cotton fibres, pumping the ink
of blood.
Lined and outlined. Blank pages.
Translations.

 Stamped to leave, stamped to enter
Stamped to reside year by year by year times 20
Body by body, tithing in the summer, christened in
September.
Oh holy! Holy they lifted my body to the heavens
And dipped it in the water of rebirth
And out of the waters they lifted me up to be made
Anew
Renewed.
Into the crumble of scripture, handed down through genome
Your name will bless the nations, and curse with your dome
But I’d rather be cursed then with name and no home.

Suddenly, I cease to exist.
Bear me. Denied. Sacrifice me. Denied.
My body was a snake’s skin I outgrew and tore
My head resurfaces to plead for space, body, give me
A body to crawl through the earth, feel my belly on the grit
Of the streets I’ve roamed, marked with the heel of my foot.
And now these footprints are all that remain to
Mark me, to list/classify/tally/name number name number
A woman gives birth to the scene of screams, mucus
Squinting sweaty heads of babies and doctors
And you don’t know who’s there beneath
And whether he is real.

And the hands are there but you scream and scream
Your body, it rips you, it rapes you, it ravages hell
It rages like the fire of the explosions that
Happened.
Pushed. Pushing. Pushed Alive.
And you rub it to pinkness, to letters of AAAAAA
Name, sets of letters, numbers, codes of
Identification.
And if you print me I will live in the crook of your arm
Like a pink hibiscus of petals so soft, smooth
Paper light, resting upon your sill for a day,
Temporary.

Sometimes I forget I’m pink. I believe I am yellow or I am
not papered but passported and plasticated, purposed
not as a passenger, no longer a pilgrim, or a pilgrim
pitching my place at the port; an anchor deep in the bed of the
Mediterranean Sea. Look at me, I am here
Now crossing where uniformed men sit smoking their Pall Malls
and asked to prove my belonging, proof that I can scream just as much
as the next, and bleed for the country with real blood, not
Pink
Prove to me that you are ours. Permanent. That this earth belongs to you.
And all I can say to the officer is I am, I am, I am. I do I do I do
But he still wants Proof of Identification.

 

Snake in the Sass
by Christina Craestor

 

A Heaven on Earth
by Katelynn Dudley

 

Cloud-spotting
by Katelynn Dudley

Marsh-grass path, healthy
and damp. Tall grasses make
light noise oh the hip of my dress.

My bare feet are moving me
forward. I am unaware, in blissful
reverie. Flower patches wide round
me; the yellow, the bland, the ivy
overtaking…

I let myself fall,
like I’m making angels in the snow.
The coneflowers swallow me whole.
And I’m home. O God, I'm home.

 

One day, when I was a tree and you
were a slug who was afraid of the rain…

By Chloe Henderson


Preface

This little tale was dreamt up one night after a long, wet, walk in the Dalkeith woodland. As a native Scot, the wet weather doesn’t stop me going out for walks, and this rainy day was no exception. I was a lone wanderer, meandering my way through a wooded path, brushing water out of my eyes until a moment of dry. A misty interval in the day lead me to sit down for a moment, and munch on the soggy chocolate bar from my pocket. I sat letting the rain drip down my face and watching as birds flitted around in the trees. A huge grey slug was creeping it’s way up a tree in front of me. I watched it for a while. It pulsated and oozed it’s way up the branch. It was disgustingly fascinating. He was completely unattractive and sickening, yet I was rooting for him to reach wherever he was going. Suddenly, my silent cheering was interrupted as a black bird swooped out of nowhere and swallowed up my new friend in one gulp. I was horrified. I guess it was the horror that found its way into invading my dreams that night. I woke up in a crazed dream state, whirling black feathers and death flitting behind my eyes. I scribbled down whatever was going on in my mind into my journal and drifted back to sleep. Re-reading my scribbles in the clarity of the morning gave me my new story.

One day, when I was a tree; standing tall and alone at the edge of The Great Forest, and you were a giant grey slug, it began to rain. You slimed your way up my trunk, carefully edging up to my branches, up to where the leaves would protect you from the dripping water that you feared so irrationally.

“Oh great and mighty tree,” you called out from the dense covering of leaves, “Please save me from the rain, allow me to shelter in your beautiful curved branches.”

I didn’t say anything. An immense ecstasy was building up from deep within me, and a wave of laughter broke forth from my core; it was so intense and rolling it dislodged the little you from the tip of my branch. You fell with the rain down onto the lonely earthen floor.

The next rainy day the same journey was played out before me. I let you ooze up my body, caressing my bark, striving to reach the safety of my leaves. You begged me to let you stay using tantalising flattery but I just laughed you back to my feet.

On the fifth rainy day it changed. Just as the great laugh was building up inside me a stormy black crow swooped out from the night and grasped you within its mouth. The crow landed on my wet branch, resting its wings as it swallowed you in one mouthful.

The crow did not ask me if he could shelter on my branches. He simply expected it. I missed your beautiful words, your gentle trail as you embraced my body, the playful murmurs you whispered on our journey, the joy you filled me with, a joy you never took a part of. You always came back. I did not laugh at the crow, he gave me no satisfaction. I flicked him from my branch, but he did not fall to my feet. His sharp beak bit into my skin, his talons clawed at my arms, scarring the bark. He tore off my leaves and broke my branches. I was helpless as they fell to the ground. And then he stopped. And flew off into the night. I was left bleeding, and broken and all alone. In that moment, and for the rest of my life I mourned you.

The Somnambulist
by Olivia Jenson

Across the Night
by Olivia Jenson


Am I the Hunter or the hunted?

by Erica S. Qualy


memphis
by Erica S. Qualy


What does it mean to
be a man or woman?
by Laura Sawyer


A Dream I Had The Night of
March 1, 2015

by Jasmine Smoot

[Tw: sexual abuse]

He placed his hand on mine.
They asked inappropriate questions.
Uncomfortable.
“Fuck you all, stay away from me.”
“I hate you.”
I walked into my mother’s bedroom.
She said nothing.
She did nothing.

I woke in a sweat.
Nostalgic and feeling some kind of déjà vu.
Why does this always happen?

 

Dark Chocolate
by Indy Srinath

At 16 I was dark chocolate.
As in
“Hey, dark chocolate, where are you going tonight?”
spoken by the red faced attendant of the downtown bus terminal.
I resist the urge to question if he thinks I am shade grown or fair-trade.
63 % cacao or imitation carob.
“better not to ask”, mom always said.
At, 17 I was cappucino
As in,
“wow, I usually don’t go for dark girls…but your skin is like cappucino”
my skin might be cappucino but my heart is like coffee beans
succulent and sweet when left to flourish in the costa rican midnight sun
bitter and fragile when, stripped from my homeland, I am roasted
i am consumed
At 18 I could no longer be found on a chalkboard cafe menu
this is a novelty you can only enjoy when you reach womanhood, apparently
Instead I moved on to men who claimed to be suffering from the same life altering disease
“I have jungle fever” Jake whispered into my ear,
the smell of Sutterhome and American Spirits swirling above our heads
“is it contagious?” I ask, for the third time that week.
The joke gets less funny the more I have to say it.
At 19, I am in the basement of Kevin’s parents home
burning palo santo and making love to the chorus of of an ‘iron and wine’ song
in bated breath he asks me
“so what nationality, are you, anyway”
oh kevin! you know just what to say
I tell him how my father is Indian and —
kevin interjects
His eyes aglow with that natgeo wanderlust look he asks, “what tribe?”
instead of correcting him, telling him that my father is from the country of india
I play along
Oh…the Turbinado tribe I say…eyeing the contents of his coffee table for ideas
“I would love if you sang me a song”
Kevin says…”you know, from your childhood”
He’s already scrambling for his wooden flute.
I sing the first few verses of Nelly’s “Hot in Herre”
Kevin is not amused.
At 21, I read a statistic
“1 out of every 3 people is not a racist”
this in mind, I decide to try my luck dating couples
“at least one of us wont be racist” I think as I swipe right
In their Ikea showroom condo, I am painfully aware that this is just another fetishization trap
there is a poster of Rosa Parks hanging on the wall
but It’s still slightly curled at the edges
as if they just unfurl it once a month for their black friend
Oh don’t worry I know they have a black friend
because they told me when I was taking my shoes off.
“Can you teach me how to twerk?” Emily asks
when we are half way finished with the obligatory red wine and brie.
“Sure!”I say.
of course emily. I live to teach white girls to twerk.
I actually majored in it in college.
I get on all fours and do a couple of ‘cat cow, cat cow’ moves.
Then why the hell not
I drop into a downward dog and before I know it I’m doing camel pose. crow pose. caucasian pose. guiltasana. upward facing white woman. downward facing black woman.
did i already take out my tampon I’m not sure lets have a look pose.
Forgot to buy more toilet paper shuffle to the shower pose.
wine asana. headstand. onenightstand. twonightstand because i didn’t realize uber doesn’t come out here. handstand.
jesus pose. altrighthtasana
shivasana.
emily is not amused.
At 22 I meet a black man (mocha, if you will) for whom i would paint the sky and smolder the sun.
We meet for coffee. and giggle over the irony. “You are beautiful and funny” he says,
but “I don’t date black women. They remind me too much of my mother.”
Your mother must have great tits i say. And leave.
At 23 I read a quote by Malcolm X, “The black woman is the least respected person in America.”
we who suckled the white mans child at our own breast. nurtured him until he was strong enough to build a wall.
we who, in silence, screamed, lest we wake you from the delusion of equality.
At 24 I am brown sugar.
As in ‘hey brown sugar, the bartender exclaims, what can I get you to drink”
I prefer the term “Turbinado” I say.
and leave.


To the Boy I’m Having Sex
Dreams About

by Ariel Sobel

After four consecutive nights
of seeing your naked body leaning across my unshaven subconscious
I found a poem grinning between my gums
A poem that is officially too embarrassing to write
The kind of embarrassing that erupts
When you really fucking want someone
When fucking isn’t a dirty enough word for the collision
The burst of our lavender breath
They started as fantasies
We’re in the mall buying lingerie
I ask you if this means we’re together
You do that yes of a laugh
And suddenly I am under you
Suddenly there’s an amber alert for my clothes
Suddenly I’m quaking in your arms
Constellations drying on my neck
You turn my mattress into a notebook
Stain my memories with tar-bled ink

I’ve told 3 friends
Thought: make this a joke
Turn the haunting into B movie gore
Laugh reverb into this jump cut

But this is not raw desire
Ok it’s pretty raw desire
But not Rocky punching steaks in the freezer raw desire
Like ahai tuna with a side of couscous please hold me until you’ve consumed my breath desire
But not like trendy
Like healthy
Like you are the first guy to meet me past moonlight
And photograph the sunlight in my smile
My self portrait looks a lot like a stabbing
Everything I say
Somehow staples me down
You whisper
Not every sentence has to be my hanging
But baby
If I’m even allowed to call you baby
Because putting you in poems
about me putting you in my sex dreams—
Fuck, it’s my poem, so baby
I scoop out my self-esteem to make room for your compliments
For your chocolate eyes
The overpriced fancy wrapper with quotes and 60% cocoa eyes
The I shouldn’t have bought this in whole foods
But today I stampede delicious eyes

You are my newest prescription of twitching heartbeats

Cover me like fresh snowflakes
Fill my teacup kneecaps with honey
So I can stick to something
So I can stick and not be stuck
You say I speak a lot and really fast.
I say there aren’t enough moments to dig up the words you bury in me
You walk me to my apartment
Your bike skids into a memory
I’m laying between extra pillows and poems
Hoping see you later
meant tonight

 

Losing My Artistic License
by Ariel Sobel


Dream Sequence I, II, & III

by Rebecca Upton

Part I.

I used to have dreams so vivid that they would follow me for the rest of the day. And none of them were ever the same – there were talking curtains in one and a man with a pumpkin for a head, those were the two I had as a child that have remained with me ever since. Now my dreams usually flee my mind seconds before I wake up, so I can never remember them. The ones that do stay with me are usually the same. I’m driving a car but the brakes or the steering wheel won’t work and I wake up just before the crash. Someone is pointing a gun at my head but I wake up just before a shot is tired. But some nights I revisit the same abandoned, worn down building. It’s always raining when I’m there, but I never need a raincoat because I’m trapped inside. Nothing bad happens while I’m here, but each time I fear my luck has run out. The impending doom I feel when I wake up afterward is something that takes all of my energy to get rid of, and by the time I do, I am exhausted but afraid that if I fall asleep I’ll end up trapped in that building again.

Part II.

i had a dream
that the world was ending

the sun was starting
to swallow the earth

there was fire everywhere
and people were screaming

and those who hadn’t prayed in years
got on their knees

there was nowhere to go
and no way to fight it

we had to accept our fate
we had no choice

the dream was as exhilarating
as it was terrifying

i woke up just before
the sun incinerated the earth

Part III.

I hadn’t seen you in years. You came to me in the middle of the night. There were bags under your eyes that weren’t there before. You looked much older than twenty-seven. I wondered what you had seen that had changed you. I asked what you had been up to. You said not much, you were recovering from an addiction to painkillers. I wasn’t surprised – you lived a rough life. I felt only empathy, because I couldn’t imagine what you had been through that led you down that path. I wished I could take away your pain. But you didn’t need me to do that, you had always been strong. Stronger than I ever saw myself becoming.

You turned into an angel. I was shocked when you began floating around the room. Your halo was crooked, but that made it more endearing. I thought you were beautiful, and so did every inanimate object in the room. They started praising you like you were their God. The clock, the television set, the ottoman and the books on the shelf. They were all in awe of you and it was the first time I had ever heard them speak. You told me you had a message for me. You said not to get on the bus in the morning.

I woke up and realized you had never existed. I never knew anyone like you, yet somehow I remembered you in my dream. If I believed in reincarnation, I would think that maybe I knew you in a past life. But it’s far more likely that you were just a figment of my subconscious mind.

I was full of anxiety as I got onto the bus, wondering if the dream was a premonition. The bus brought me safely to my destination and I realized I had been foolish to worry that someone in a dream could have been a reliable source. I never saw you again but the image of the bags under your eyes and the crooked halo on your head has stayed with me ever since the moment I woke up.

 


 

about the next issue
We encourage you to submit your creative writing for consideration to be digitally published in our seasonal arts zine, Cyberrriot!

What we’d love to see from you:

Written Art (e.g. poetry, short stories, flash fiction, vignettes, fictional and non-fiction monologues, fictional and non-fiction letters, scripts, extracts from novel etc.)
Visual Still Art (e.g photography, posters, drawings, collages, digital and traditional paintings, sketches, printing, clothing and technology design etc.)
Mixed media (e.g. vlogs, Instagram pictures, gifs, music, Vimeo/YouTube videos, etc.)
Conversations & Social Media (e.g. text message, Twitter replies, Tumblr blog posts, etc.)

The theme for our 2017 Summer issue is DISCOVERY

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