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Current Issue


Vol. 1, Issue 2

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Current Issue


Vol. 1, Issue 2

Vol 1, Issue 2


Summer 2017

Vol 1, Issue 2


Summer 2017

The Asexual, Vol. 1, Issue 2

Editor-in-Chief: Michael Paramo

Layout Editor: Michael Paramo


To whom it may concern,

Since the release of Vol. 1, Issue 1, The Asexual has blossomed into a unique space for ace creators. With Issue 2, the journal has continued to expand, receiving more than double the total submissions. I want to thank everyone who submitted their precious creations as well as anyone who has supported this space for ace creators either online or offline. Your support means so much more than you know and has continued to inspire me to take this project to even higher places in the future.

With love and appreciation,

Michael Paramo


Table of Contents

 

The Ignition Point  1

Dianne

 

Colors  2 

Sean Dunne

 

Human Mirror  3  

Serenity Chase

 

QnA  4   

Ms. Ace

 

A: Notebook; B: Object  5    

Shunya Ta

 

Touch  6    

Shunya Ta

 

Normal  7  

Alex Stabler

 

Sex  8   

Tori Roozekrans

 

A Bloody Mess  9  

Tori Roozekrans

 

Valid Orientation  10

Mehreen Qaisar

 

The eyes are NOT a window to the soul: I’m not broken, I am asexual  11    

Tara Wills

 

I Am Queer…  12  

Moira Armstrong

 

A Journey  13   

Kylie Wood

 

The Thoughts That Cross My Mind When I Incorrectly Call Myself ‘Bisexual’  14   

Maribel C. Pagan

 

Sexual Fixation for the Sexually Repulsed  15

Joanny Leyva

 

We Are But Broken Machines  16

Michael Paramo

 

 

The Ignition Point

You were born into this world

Not to be a person, but a mother

At least, that is what you were told

But never once thought to believe

 

As a child, you went to school

Learned biology, anatomy

And found that was all you saw:

Cells and nerves

As opposed to flesh and sweat

 

You watched your friends partner off

But craved the stars more

Getting lost in strings of lights

While they were stuck moaning on the ground

 

One day, you found a single spark

Out of place

For it was not caught in the map of your skies

But amidst the throng of human hearts

 

She warmed you

And at once, you found your fingers charred

Flesh frozen

Yearning for a foreign heat

That she obligingly burned into your chest

Like liquid fire in your veins

And dripping candle wax on your skin

 

You'd never once wanted what they had

Never understood the need

But she, and only she,

Set your soul alight

And your body ablaze

 

And this, you could accept

 

Dianne is a pseudonym for a 20-year-old demisexual girl who's not quite ready to tell her family she's been in love with a girl for 7 years now. She is an engineering student, and thus is constantly surrounded by hormonal boys, so you should definitely feel bad for her.


 

Colors

So here I am again,
lying on my back staring up at an LED light that changes between fluorescent colors every few minutes.
Blue.
I feel like I did just a short while ago,
trapped underneath murky water
playing telephone with the world,
trying too desperately to fathom
the muffled sounds,
the obscured sights.
Yellow.
Where do the stars go when I enter the sky,
I heard the sun ask.
And to him the moon replied,
they are afraid of your light.
This is how I have learned to live,
afraid of my own light.
I don’t know whether I am to blame or them, but sooner or later that blame is going to have to be placed somewhere.
I look at you, and I pray it doesn’t fall on me.
You,
white,
you are a fleeting image,
something like piece of art that hangs never to be touched,
only to be seen.
only once.
only once.
Purple.
I hate how slippery your hands are, like you can’t hold on to a single thing.
I tried so hard
I shrunk myself so that you wouldn’t have to hold on
so that I would just be there.
But my body has never fit right with anyone.
Maybe you are too afraid of the way I want to love you.
Black.
You lose interest.
In books,
in movies in
TV shows in me.
You lose all sense of direction you wander off you sweet fickle creature,
you.
I can’t find you I get scared I have no maps I’m afraid of the way you keep
changing colors and I don’t know where to go from here.
I thought I could travel through time, watch your leaves change like a time lapse, I wanted to so badly.
But leaves only change in the fall and I think I was the only one falling.
So, then I thought I could travel backwards,
watch your flowers bloom in slow motion, I took a step back and tried so hard.
But the winter lasted too long, spring came too late time ran out you’re going to blossom and I won’t be there to see it.
Often times I find myself wanting to tell you everything,
explain the things that made me this way so that you understand me,
And how time has never been kind to me.
How I’m always too little too late.
I think maybe,
if you knew this somehow it would help.
But explanations only help if you explain them,
and I don’t know if this is something you want to put back together again.
You,
enigmatic in nature,
you girl,
hold a universe inside of you and it is ever-changing,
ever-fluorescent.
I can’t keep you in place.

 

Sean Dunne is a 17-year-old asexual senior in high school. She doesn’t know when she’ll get there, but she plans to study psychology in college someday. Her two main hobbies are writing and photography, and when she’s not doing either of those things she’s probably watching Netflix and/or avoiding schoolwork.


 

Human Mirror

 

Serenity Chase is new to the Asexual scene and identifies as heteromantic. She is a 25-year-old college graduate with many different interests, including writing. She wrote this poem on one of her bad days and this will be her first time ever sharing her work with the public (so she is a little nervous).


 

QnA

“So… do you just see a person you like and suddenly have the urge to have sex with them?”

The entire lunch table around me went quiet, people pausing in their conversations or their homework to look up at me. Lauren, my friend sitting next to me, even looked up from her sketchbook, something she rarely did when she was focused.

Considering the attention it'd garnered, I almost wanted to take my question back.

Almost.

Instead, I stared at Eric, the boy across from me, whose eyes were wide with surprise. He coughed, then furrowed one brow. “Y-yeah, I mean, not with other guys, but with girls, yeah, I get it all the time.”

“Even if you don't know her?”

“Mm-hmm, makes it even better sometimes, ‘cause then their personalities don't get in the way of fantasy.”

He laughed as his girlfriend sitting next to him elbowed him in the gut. “Hey!” She snapped, “Girls with personality are amazing. Trust me, I know from experience.”

She gave me a smug glare at this, which I blatantly ignored. Instead, I interrupted whatever Eric was going to say next with another question. “And you've always been like this?”

He shrugged. “Yeah, I guess, though it ramped up quite a bit when I went through middle school.”

He then gave me a curious look. “Why do you ask?”

“No reason.” I said, feigning nonchalance as I looked down at my notebook and wrote out another sentence in my story.

Mentally, I was trying to figure things out, put together a puzzle that I didn't really have the pieces for yet. Why hadn't I had the same experiences as him? Was it because I wasn't a male? Was I just a late bloomer?

My downward spiral of thoughts was interrupted by a loud laugh from Eric’s girlfriend. “Wait, so you mean to tell me that you've never thought of or wanted to have sex… ever?”

I kept my eyes glued to my notebook, and she took my silence as a yes. She started cracking up, and Eric joined in.

I felt the familiar twist in my stomach, the sick feeling in my chest. This wasn't supposed to happen. Not again.

Turning to Lauren, I met her gaze before discreetly tapping my temple. She gave me a small nod before beginning to gather up her school things.

That was our signal, to tap the side of our head if we ever wanted out on a situation or to change the topic if we weren't okay talking about something in person. It was kinda stupid, I'll admit, but it was better than our verbal or text signal, which was the word “eggs” hidden in a random sentence.

As we both started to move away, I heard one final comment from the laughing couple. “Oh geez,” Eric coughed again, “that’s why no one want’s to date her! She’s too much of a prude!”

I felt my face burn bright red from shame and unwanted attention as I quickened my walking speed, eventually leaving Lauren behind until I reached the stairs leading up to the high school hallway. “Eliza, are you… okay?” Lauren asked as we started to climb.

I sighed. “To be honest? No, but I guess it’s my fault for askin’ stupid questions…”

“Don’t listen to them, they’re inconsiderate assholes.” She growled, before her tone lightened. “Besides… you’re not alone in how you feel.”

I looked back at her in surprise as we reached the top. “What… do you mean by that?”

“I’m demisexual heteroromantic.” she quickly explained. “I just don’t like using labels, so that’s why I don’t normally tell anyone, but seeing as we’re both on the spectrum, I assume that you’re asexual…?”

“Biromantic, yeah.” I felt the sick feeling in my stomach and chest start to disappear, replaced with something I couldn’t quite place. Words couldn’t define it, at least for now.

Lauren smiled. “You remember Mo, the girl I introduced you to at the beginning of the school year?”

I nodded. Mo went to the local public high school, and had been friends with Lauren in middle school, before Lauren transferred to the charter school. Very cute, as I’d seen from our multiple video chats and the one time I’d gotten to meet her in person.

“Well, she’s pansexual, so I guess you could call the three of us… the queer musketeers.”

We both laughed at this, our mirthful voices carrying down the hallway. As I continued to chat with her, I finally realized what I could define the feeling in my chest as.

Acceptance.

For the first time ever, not only had I been able to accept who I really was, but so did my closest friend.

And it was a wonderful feeling.

 

Ms. Ace is an aspiring asexual biromantic high school writer who has three goals in life: to become a journalist for a literary magazine, to destroy ableism and acephobia, and to live in an apartment with her (future) partner and three sphynx cats… not necessarily in that order. She lives in St. Paul, MN and one day hopes to go to the University of Minnesota and major in Journalism and English.


 

A: Notebook; B: Object

Titular motifs repeated across the notebook
of love, rebellion and truth
but no word on my desire

When she suckled the breasts
six years old
she could taste the sweetness she said
at the age of eighteen

I passed semen in my underpants
on a chilling October morning
with a dream of her merging into Audrey Hepburn
androgynous, mongoloid, feminine

Celibate meditation on body
dissolved that morning
and I returned the book on Sylvia Plath to the library

-x-

She got wet looking at a handsome man
took a man from behind and in the mouth
but couldn't let him enter

She got wet looking at a handsome man
but couldn't let the ugly one enter

When asked,
she talked of Mills & Boons
and erotic literature
but claimed to be asexual

She got wet looking at a handsome man
kissed and groped a woman
but couldn’t let an object enter
 

 

 

Touch

The body moved
Through thin air
And grasped for me

The sensation of touch
Is much like
Noise

Replete with memories
Static hairpins
And slow burning pain

    Deep within

Of overexposure
Of a photo flooding with white
Of invisible lens flares
Of unrecognizable objects disappearing from view

-x-

"Take me with you"
He had uttered
Amidst the crowded street
To himself
Drunken nights of languish

The street lights dissolved
Any sense of belonging in the city
He clamped himself like a
Woman covering her breasts
In shame

-x-

"Your dreams don’t mean anything."
"Forget them."

"Let the light flood in."
"Overexpose."
 

 

Shunya Ta is a non-binary demi-sexual being who resides in the city of Calcutta on the east coast of India. They spend their time reading, writing, and contemplating about a future world. Recent work has appeared in The Asexual.


 

Normal

I am asexual. Why is that difficult to say? Especially in front of people. Why is it something I almost feel shame in admitting? Why does it feel like I’m telling everyone I’m a freak?

What kind of world do we live in where we are encouraged to feel ashamed for how we feel, ashamed for what we look like, ashamed for who we are? What kind of world leaves us to our own devices to work out what makes us different, instead of reminding us how we’re all the same?

I am asexual. It took me years to get to this point, years to understand what it means and feel comfortable using this word to describe myself – but it describes me. It’s who I am. And that’s what everyone deserves; a word, a phrase, a term that means them. That reminds us that we are all just people, human beings. That we are all normal.

Normal: a word which lost its meaning long ago, a word devoured by those society favours, used to describe only themselves, a word the majority cannot use because we simply do not conform with these narrow expectations.

Get a boyfriend, get a husband: some people don’t want that. Get a girlfriend, get a wife: some people don’t want that. Have sex, start a family: some people don’t want that. I don’t want that.

Because I am asexual. Yet we cling to these old-fashioned definitions – that humans are made to a standard; males one way and females another, and that’s just how it is. And anything that deviates from that is labelled a freak.

But nobody chooses who they are. Nobody creates their character at the start of the game; nobody chooses to be bi or gay or ace or aro or trans. Nobody joins LGBT groups for attention because they’re a “special snowflake”. We’re not secretly straight or repressed or victims of trauma. It’s not because of depression or mental health issues. It’s just who we are. Why should we feel ashamed for telling people who we are? How are we not normal?

The sad truth is some people see words like ‘asexual’ and read ‘freak’. But that’s not what it really means. It means there are other people like us. Other people that are okay, and surviving. And happy. It’s a way for other people to understand us, a way for us to understand ourselves. Which is what we all crave, each and every one of us: to be respected, to be understood, to be normal.

You’re Bisexual? Normal Person. Gay? Normal Person. Pansexual? Normal Person. Transgender? Normal Person. Aromantic? Normal Person. Demisexual? Normal Person. Asexual. Normal Person. You have anxiety? It doesn’t matter. Normal Person. Depression. Normal Person. PTSD… I could go on.

We are all just another dot on the human spectrum, a unique composition of desires and feelings and thoughts. Just because I don’t want to procreate, just because someone’s assigned gender doesn’t sit well with their skin, just because a man likes both Jack and Jill, it doesn’t matter. Just because some of us can’t do something another can, or some of us don’t want to, it doesn’t matter. We’re all different; we’re all unique; and because of that… we’re all the same.

And we are all normal. And it might take some time, but once we can understand what that means and feel comfortable using this word to describe ourselves, then that is what we are. A word everyone deserves; a word, a phrase, a term that means them. That reminds us that we are all just people, human beings, that we are not alone, that we are not broken, we are not freaks, we are not weird. We are just like everyone else.

It’s about time we show the world that we’re not afraid of telling everyone who we are. The day we can all claim our right of feeling normal. And nobody – not even the President or the Prime Minister – can take that away from us, no matter how hard they try.

Because, deep down, we know, and I know. And I won’t stop screaming it until everyone else knows as well: I. AM. ASEXUAL. And that means I’m normal.

 

Alex Stabler is a 19-year old human being who also happens to be asexual. He is currently studying Creative Writing at Bath Spa University in Bath, England (obviously). His hobbies include conjuring up terrific puns, sleeping, and dreaming of a future world in which he gets paid to scribble words onto a page.


 

Sex

a red plastic bowl
of oatmeal

counting minutes in the
post office line.

a loose thread
on my sweatshirt
I should stop pulling at.

the beige waiting
room, sniffling children,
magazines.

scrubbing dishes
cemented in the kitchen
sink.

my car
trapped in the que
dragging along
the painted tarmac.

folding the fresh
load of laundry.

memorizing
geography
for next week’s test. 

the itch of an
old wool blanket. 

an empty
crystal vase
on the coffee table.

sweeping pine needles off
the driveway. 

watching rain water
evaporate
off the grass.

room temperature water
in a blue glass.
 

 

 

A Bloody Mess

Rip out
this fertile womb
that shreds itself apart
month after month with no children
pending. 

Little
ones are not on
the docket of my life.
No woman or man will change this
disgust. 

Why should
I suffer through
this mess of womanhood
year after year with no trial
nearing?

Pressure
is flooded on
to me with title wave
expectations, but I’m filled with
dust. 

Desert
and blood are all
that’s going to pour out
of me and that’s fine, I am
content.

It was
evolution
that formed me against my
consent, so now I’m making my
own choice.

Is it
a murdered crop
if the weeds were never
seeded and the earth was never
watered?

Do not
try to shame me.
You have no say in the
use of my garden’s potential
harvest.

Even
if I still have
to settle for dealing
with sand and debris, I am
complete. 
 

 

Tori Roozekrans is an aromantic asexual poet who is trying to focus on writing poems about asexuality whenever she can escape the combined clutches of college, work, and her cat. More than anything she wants to share her work with her fellow aces in an attempt to inspire others to catch the creative bug and bring the community closer together.


 

Valid Orientation

My body, my right

Does it sound right???

No, I don’t need approval no longer

Because I have started believing in myself

This journey started a long ago

How can I let it forgo

Now destiny has unfolded

Made me boldest

In hyper-sexualized society where everyone wants more…

I tell you I am neither spinster nor whore

I am just, me & myself

Not an elf

I might not fit in your narrative

That doesn’t make me less creative & inactive

Don’t tell me my Asexuality needs to be ‘overcome’

Because I have embraced it wholesome

I am not going to shun

It’s not a pun

I will fight to bring a revolution

Till acceptance of it as a valid orientation.

 

Mehreen Qaisar is a young Pakistani Feminist & Researcher in the government organization; her area of interest is Gender & Human Rights. She is a Body Positive Ace born with Asperger’s Syndrome; she has disdain for any feminist & human rights movement which is not inclusive. Can be reached at Twitter @Mehreen_Qaisar


 

The eyes are NOT a window to the soul: I’m not broken, I am asexual

I came out as asexual in a very unofficial way, which was the best thing to do. No letter, no long Facebook update confession, no exclusive "we need to talk" with relatives or friends. I simply started throwing it into dating conversations whenever it was appropriate to do so. I am today a very out and proud asexual, still questioning my romantic orientation at the moment as I think I'm heteroromantic, yet it seems like I don't get to that level with anyone I have met so far, am I aromantic as well? Life will tell if I'm really hetero, demi, or grey romantic, but sex-repulsed asexual has been there since way before I knew a whole community of asexuals existed out there somewhere.

I feel this story needs to be told because the feeling of relief and liberation the community has given to me is something I did not expect in life, I had already given up on this hypersexualised ableist humanity and I had a lifelong history of suicidal thoughts and 2 attempts before I reached this state of unapologetic pride I lost as a kid. I'm free from the "borrowed confusion" the straight and fully able humans gave to me. How did that happen?

I was born with a congenital visual impairment, my mom got ill while pregnant and it affected my eyes. It’s not genetic, it’s not progressive, it simply messed up with me before I got out of a womb. Since I learned to read, which was quite early for kids in that country, thanks to the stubbornness of my biological mom to make me learn beforehand in order to survive a regular children school as the only school for children with special needs. In that place was all mixed disabilities and it wasn’t really helping those kids to develop their knowledge. This was the first struggle I handled. I was fascinated by books and I was much more into those astronomy and dinosaur books for kids when I started to notice the coupling thing at school yards. Over there it starts early, kids as young as 6-7 are already into crushes and kisses. This memory was my first proof of asexuality. I remember running away from a kid chasing me for kisses and I shouted loud and clear at him how disgusting it was "How old do you think we are, 30?! We're in primary, we don't even have hormones and you are kissing around? How gross!"

Teachers freaked out, kids freaked out, and my back then unapologetic self thought "they are playing soap opera, it's so silly, and disgusting". Mind you that a 6-7-year-old GIRL who knows about hormones before puberty in that country is an equivalent to an extra-terrestrial contacting Earth for the first time. This quirky behaviour of "I rather read books, or try to read struggling with a magnifier than kissing" has given me a whole school history of daily abuse. I will not go into detail, as I have already talked enough about this abusive hypersexualised ableist country which is the most sexualised society I'm aware of til today.

Fast forward to when I moved to Hungary. Still a virgin, not wanting anything with anyone and dismissing my biological mother's silly jokes about not bringing her a "lil Hungarian" before I finished my university studies (again, gross).

A year went by, nothing. The new country felt more like home than any other place I lived in before. I was found attractive by some guys, for all the wrong reasons (exotic girl!) yet to me they looked like any other guy. The price of being biracial, you look like a souvenir to everyone yet to you people are just people. I thought for a while this might be the cause of my repulsion. No. I still did not find anyone attractive. Aesthetically pleasing yes, a few, but never wanting more.

Time went by and I made a few close friends in town, mostly older than me and straight. They try to help, thinking "she has not met the right one yet,” overlapping the fact that I can't play the Romeo and Juliet flirt game from the opposite side of the road with any "attractive guy" that walks nearby. For years I thought this was my case and I kept the straight label while crying along Dido's "White flag" music video, thinking "the right one could have already passed me by a thousand times and I didn't see him.” I read this and I laugh of my days of borrowed confusion. A friend in our random conversations once suggested to try online dating. I understood it as a well-intended attempt to help me connect with someone. And so, I did. Opened up a few dating profiles, avoiding Tinder of course, how can I use an exclusively visual app after all? I went for those where people can write their info, and I put effort into mine, as honest as I always was about everything, except still keeping the straight orientation for my lack of knowledge that my jokes about being asexual were actually very likely to be true. I met some guys online. The usual "hi" messages, the meaningless touristy hook-uppers, the "how can you read if you're blind?" conversation starters, the "yo sexy lady" starters... patience, I told myself.

Until one day, an engineer student messaged me with a longer starter. I thought well, he seems honest, let's reply. We messaged back and forth before we went on a first date. My friend who suggested me to do this online dating thing came along with her husband so I had the safety of eye witnesses in case of whatever. It went alright I guess, but the "love" went more on his side. He was so touchy, all the time, everywhere, in public. I still felt it gross, and my gut feeling was causing me a headache for keep trying that nonsense. Needless to say, he was already showing slight obsessive/possessive signs, which after a short trip to Helsinki, I noticed clearly and decided to break up that mess.

I still kept the dating profile for a few weeks, but I only got more of the same "hi" "sexy lady" "how can you read this?" I stopped.

After almost a year of that dating safari I found AVEN thanks to some asexual activists on YouTube and a lesbian friend of mine who shared a post about asexuality.

It’s not my crappy vision, it is not being biracial, it is not that I haven't found the one yet, I have a very clear and detailed idea of the partner I am looking for, and he's not the usual straight girl standard. It feels like I already know him, his skills and his imperfections, I am a writer in the closet... it’s somewhat like I built up a character that I would love to meet in the real world, with all his good and his crap and I still don't want sex with him. Talking about fan crushes, I've never understood, and I tested myself with my crappy vision to see if I could find a famous actor/athlete/musician/etc., attractive. In fact, all that amount of muscle and Photoshop scares the hell out of me. My "fictional book character" is nothing like that and probably not human, I said to myself.

Once I met the online asexual communities, I saw the light (how cheesy), I noticed the humongous difference between messaging style and I even met a few who are into similar hobbies or interests. The ice has started to melt. I am not broken, my eyes might be, not the rest of me. I'm not ugly, neither a souvenir. I am not picky, I take care of myself as I'm very aware of the vulnerable position I am in, it is the wisest thing to do and it is quite healthy to know what you want. I carry all my "unwanted" labels and I'm a professional weirdo.

I'm unapologetic once again, I recovered what I once lost and I am a proud biracial, legally blind, sex-repulsed asexual, child free by choice, non-religious citizen of the world woman. If I could survive, I know we all can. We exist and we are human.

This is my attempt of retribution for the community which has saved me from my own ice shield, which I got courtesy of an over-normative, square-minded society.

I hope this helps whoever reads this, if anyone at all.

Thank you for existing.

 

Tara Wills is a 26-year-old psychology student at ELTE University in Budapest, Hungary. She has produced her own EP album in 2012 and is currently taking a break from music while studying, working part time as a pet sitter / dog walker, and running a photography project called “The Blind Photographer – Budapest.” She is a proud Sex-repulsed asexual, biracial, legally blind, non-religious, citizen of the world woman currently searching for ways to take part in asexuality activism.


 

I Am Queer…

And not just queer as in a sexual orientation or gender identity that falls outside the heterosexual mainstream or gender binary,

Not even simply queer as in strange or odd from a conventional standpoint-

I mean queer as in of a questionable nature or character.

Queer as in

                    Out of the Big Three of sexuality,

                    I never felt that any one fit me, but like

                    an uncomfortable label there was this feeling

                    scratching at me: I didn’t have a label.

                    I could never figure out

                    who I was attracted to (or if there was a

                    who to figure out at all) and while

                    everyone else had done it for themselves,

                    they couldn’t help me.

                    Knowing everybody had found, understood, and

                    prized this piece of themselves that interlocked

                    perfectly with their lives, and as many terms I’d

                    experimented with like paint samples, there was

                    always a shade of doubt so that no color matched me

                    perfectly.

I mean queer as in bad, worthless, or counterfeit.

Queer as in

                    I found myself in an obscure,

                    whispered term that was perfect

                    in resources and in my life, but not

                    in the sex-saturated world or the sex-saturated community.

                    I found myself hoping more than anything that I

                    would not only meet a girl but

                    meet one who didn’t just want a hookup,

                    finding nothing but disappointment in the world

                    I’d anticipated joining for so long, and eventually

                    making up excuses for skipping pride events.

                    I found myself shimmying into place

                    to belong, and feeling somewhat jammed in

                    but slowly adjusting to the pressure.

                    No matter how familiar, though,

                    pressure always remains uncomfortable. 

I mean queer as in not physically feeling right or well.

Queer as in

                    Have you seen the commercials with scantily clad women

                    And shirtless men used to move product because everybody

                    Will buy spontaneously based on elevated levels of hormones?

                    Or the one where the man treats his salad like he can have sex with it?

                    Have you seen the groups of teenage boys and girls

                    discussing their significant others and sexual exploits

                    (with their significant others or not) and giggling

                    as though it means absolutely nothing?

                    Have you ever seen someone looking determinedly away

                    While those commercials play? Seen anyone blush

                    When everyone chatters? Me.

                    I’ll never quite understand why the jokes are funny,

                    Why the acts are appealing, and I’ve heard people

                    Whisper behind my back that I’m awkward or abnormal.

                    No, I want to say,

                    Asexual.

 

Moira Armstrong is a junior at Howland High School, where she enjoys stressing over honors classes and extracurriculars. Her favorite is the speech and debate team, where she competes in original oratory and serves as president. In her very limited free time, she likes to color, volunteer, and, of course, write. Her work has also been published in two Creative Communications Poetry Collections, Blue Marble Review, and The Asexual Journal, and is forthcoming in After the Pause.


 

A Journey

“I haven’t seen you in ages!” an aunt exclaims, even though I saw her not even a month prior at a barbecue.

Another praises me: “You’ve grown into such a beautiful young woman… you look just like your mother.”

“How long until you bring a boy over?”

My grandmother asks the same question every time I visit her house.

This is what any gathering of my family is to me, even if visits are close together, the fact that I have never brought a boyfriend to these types of functions sends unease through those related to me. They may not be as out in the open about their suspicions like my mother, who makes homophobic comments at the dinner table and places bets on my sexuality, but I know they whisper about me. I know they talk about me over the phone, muttering things about sin and going to Hell. I pretend not to hear, for their sake and mine, because being silent is easier than trying to explain my lack of interest in anything, romantic or sexual, to people who believe things that I’m not willing to put into words.

There’s no easy way to explain the frustration I felt in elementary school when my parents would tease me about my best friend, a boy, who I did everything with. We saved seats on the bus, pushed each other on the swing set, and even wrote letters because we didn’t have cell phones. Every time I spoke of him at home, a mention of his name brought verse after verse of the K-I-S-S-I-N-G song upon me. I’d get angry at their accusations because they never believed my assertions of us just being friends. They never listened, waving me off with a laugh and an offhand comment about how my defensiveness equaled embarrassment at being attracted to someone. I didn’t understand dating back then because to me everyone was just a possible friend. I thought people who dated were weird because all they did was break up after a day or two and then hate each other. I never had a crush in elementary school.

Middle school was strange. Sixth grade was me trying to be friends with people who didn’t care about me. It was me wearing clothes I didn’t like, making snack runs during basketball games, and traveling to the bathroom in packs. I never dated then either and came to resent the vicious cycle that came with it. The cooing of preteens, the sloppy kisses and fumbling hands, the constant texting, nonstop chatter about how so-and-so is just perfect, the questions that came with me never having a boyfriend, the crying and the yelling when relationships crumbled to hate. It always ended with me listening to how other girls wished they were like me, a complete 360 from when they were in a relationship. I got so tired of it that by the seventh grade I just stopped hanging out with them. I was reunited with my childhood friend that year after being separated from him for a long time after switching schools and suddenly everyone talked about us. They, much like my parents before, whispered about how we shared earbuds, always partnered up, and sat next to each other. It was another year of deflecting rumors and questions and other people asking me out. I always felt bad about declining them because I never really gave clear answers when they asked me why. I couldn’t just tell them that I didn’t know, that I just didn’t feel that way towards anyone.

Eight and ninth grades were a blur. More me rejecting various boys in my class, more rumors about me except now everyone thought that I was a lesbian. More pressure from family to bring home a boyfriend.

Sophomore year I caved in. I just wanted people to leave me alone so when a boy who I’d turned down in middle school tried again, this time I said yes. He was kind and enjoyed the same movies and music I did so if I were to be romantically involved with anyone I thought it would be with someone like him. It was alright for the most part, he was sweet, holding doors and calling me cutie. We held hands while we walked to class and leaned our heads on each other’s shoulders on the bus. Everything was okay until a month passed and he told me he loved me. It was abrupt and in my surprise and confusion I stuttered out the same. I went home that day puzzled and a bit alarmed. I didn’t know what that kind of love was. I valued him as a person and appreciated his feelings but did I want to spend the rest of my life with him? I pondered over that thought for four whole months. I hated saying that I loved him back and kissing him on the cheek after. I hated the way he looked at me with adoration. I hated me. So, one day at the door to my pre-calculus class during my first semester of junior year, I broke up with him. I asked if we could just be friends but I never got an answer… or a chance to explain anything. He sort of froze up and didn’t say anything for a moment before walking off. He never talked to me again and avoided me by having a friend drive him home so he didn’t have to ride the bus. I never got to tell him that he deserved someone who could love him back. Someone who could look at him the way he looked at me. Instead, I got told rumors passed around after we separated that I was heartless. I didn’t deny it because I kind of was. I used that poor boy to quell the accusations of both my family and my peers but only made them worse in the end.

How could I possibly let someone so good-looking and intelligent go?

Everyone had their opinions solidified, and I don’t even need to explain what those were.

The second semester of my junior year I finally figured it out, or at least part of it, because who really knows every single thing about themselves? I learned about the aromantic and asexual spectrums and things started to make sense. I talked to people like me on forums and on Twitter, people who shared stories and insight, and helped me realize who I am. I found the courage to tell my friends and add it to my profiles on social media. Everyone who knows supports me, but not everyone knows. My family is still uninformed, still grasping onto their false ideas and whispered conversations, but I know who I am.

I am Kylie, senior in high school who worships pizza, ramen noodles, and slushies. I am Kylie, a girl who loves writing and coding. I am Kylie, a future computer animation major. I am Kylie, a proud AroAce.

 

Kylie Wood is a senior at Grant County High School who enjoys reading comics, fangirling over Gotham, and writing the occasional fanfiction. She consumes more pizza than she should, spends a copious amount of time playing The Sims 3, and has a bad habit of procrastinating. What free time she has is dedicated to her school’s marching band, where she performs in its color guard and gets wicked-bad tan lines. She hopes to be accepted into Full Sail University, major in Computer Animation, and thinks it would be super rad to work on a Marvel film.


 

The Thoughts That Cross My Mind When I Incorrectly Call Myself ‘Bisexual’

I embrace a view
That does not belong.

I belong to a group, forever
considered to be unreal, forever
considered to be misidentifying
individuals, who are too
confused to know themselves.

I chose a name
that was not my own,
that determined who I was,
that said I couldn’t be other-than.

I am other-than. I am not
the name I have chosen, because
who I am is more complicated
than a name claiming to be me,
claiming to represent me.

I am not who you think I am, perhaps
because I have been calling myself
something different, something far
different from who I am.

Surely you understand.
I think everyone understands how it
feels to be considered something
you’re truly not, even when
some of us accept this false name.

Well, no more conforming
to society’s rules, established by
an eagle god who asks for less diversity.
I struggle in a nation that is
demanding less from me yet
wants more than I can offer.

Fuck that.

I am who I am.
I will do what I can.

Nothing can change that.
Not even the name
I falsely call myself.

 

Maribel C. Pagan has appeared or is forthcoming in the first issue of Zaum, the first issue of The Asexual, Persephone’s Daughters, Every Day Fiction, and others. She has received the Junior Reading Giants Award, has made the President's List in Mohawk Valley Community College, and has received a number of other awards and scholarships. Additionally, she is the host of The Maddie Show on WLMU Radio, a Prose Reader for Apprehension Magazine, and a singer and musician for The Angelic Family Choir. Visit Maribel at http://therollinghills.wordpress.com/.


 

Sexual Fixation for the Sexually Repulsed

I can’t remember exactly when I found out what sex is.

I can remember being in third grade and already knowing the shame of speaking of ‘eso’ around any adult and the embarrassment from mentioning it around my peers. Even looking up the word in the dictionary made me feel guilty, as if text itself would leave a visible mark that allowed everyone to know I was too curious for my own good.

What I can remember is the quick developing obsession with anything that involved two beings doing ‘eso’. I’d casually browse through anatomy books and linger on the reproductive system. I’d stay up late and pretend to be asleep so I could watch soft-core porn on cable TV. When sex scenes came on in novelas, I’d feign innocence and disinterest in what my mother would tell me to look away from. Even animal documentaries could pique my interest.

With gained access to the internet (and delete history), my need for knowledge finally began to be quenched. By the time I was eleven I knew more about sex, outside of practice, than what the typical American does by graduation.

Throughout this journey of discovery, I never really stopped to consider my own position in the greater scheme of sex. My imagination was limited to picturing myself as an observer—never a participant. There was no one around that I could talk to about anything regarding sex without receiving a textbook regurgitation or regaño, so I simply made up my mind that I’d eventually grow into wanting to have it myself and develop the capacity to participate.

Years later, I’m still trying to figure out my relationship with sex. I’m fortunate enough to have a handful of people that I know understand and support me boundlessly, but I know it’s not the same for everyone. I’m aware of how difficult it can be to find validation as being “just asexual.” As someone who is also panromantic it’s been less difficult for me to participate in the queer community, but I still find myself having to leave out asexual from my identity in order to feel more welcomed. I don’t mind talking about sex or my few sexual experiences, but I hate it being the center of so many conversations. It’s always been a fascinating phenomenon for me, and I’ll always want to learn more, but I refuse to let it continue restraining my development.

 

Joanny Leyva is a grey ace Xicana from Southern California. She currently is an Ethnic Studies scholar in the Bay Area and hopes to pursue work in public policy. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, gardening, and going on existential rants.


 

We Are But Broken Machines

there is power in my asexuality
and yet, power transforms so often into pity

within your vicious eyes looking upon me
some broken anomaly

flickering switches, oscillating off and on
there must be some faulty wiring concealed within

and so, you connived and prodded me
opening my insides with your tools of the mind and body

and yet, to your astonishment you discovered
my levers, pulleys, and belts operated to your flawed standard

and yet, still, I did not function as you or he intended
send my damaged body back, a new motherboard was needed

but they could not fix an incorrectly assembled machine
my mind came under recall, HSDD was the director

but there was no powering down this body defective
for my perception changed, and no repair was needed

and still they could attempt, twisting the screw deep within
pushing until a spring is sprung, ejection

you can spin the head and pull it back
like empty vessels, filled and put on a track

and yet, I am still mine
under these polystyrene sheets

no pulsations in deplete
not bound to the broken

or hung in my sleep
your controllers are obsolete
 

 

Michael Paramo is a 24-year-old queer asexual Latinx in California. Their academic work has been accepted for presentation by the National Women's Studies Association, the American Culture Association / Popular Culture Association, as well as the U.S. branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. Their research interests concern queerness and asexuality as well as their many intersections.


 

All works published are original work by the authors. Owner retains copyright of work upon publication, but agrees to give The Asexual first serial/electronic rights, and electronic archival rights. Owner also agrees that if the work is published subsequently, either online or in print, credit to The Asexual is provided. For more information on submissions visit: TheAsexual.com

Photography by Michael Paramo.

AsexualBackground.png

Vol 1, Issue 1


Vol. 1, Issue 1

Vol 1, Issue 1


Vol. 1, Issue 1

The Asexual, Vol. 1, Issue 1

Editor-in-Chief: Michael Paramo

Layout Editor: Michael Paramo


To whom it may concern,

I began The Asexual in October 2016 with some concerns, regarding both my limited experience as well as whether anyone would submit to this journal, yet remained hopeful. I have since been overwhelmed with the response, having now received a varied collection of poems, prose, personal essays, and more from writers who identify under the ace umbrella. Some of these writings are included in the subsequent pages of this first issue in addition to a short piece by myself. I would like to thank everyone who has submitted their beautiful words for this debut issue as well as anyone who has supported the journal on social media and elsewhere. I aspire to continue this project and develop it further in the future.

With love and appreciation,

Michael Paramo


Table of Contents

 

Disbelieving  1  

Michael Paramo

 

The Silent Pond  2  

Shunya Ta

 

Sheath  3  

Shunya Ta

 

In the Forest  4  

Amanda Amos

 

Consuming A  5  

Shannon O. Sawyer

 

Philophobic  6  

Moira Armstrong

 

Pink Lipstick  7  

Moira Armstrong

 

The Couple  8  

Maribel C. Pagan

 

It Was  9  

Kenyatta JP Garcia

 

Consuming  10  

Kenyatta JP Garcia

 

Ace in the Hole  11  

Gregory Morrison

 

 

Disbelieving

We all have flaws and weak knees.

For me, it is in the man’s arms,

his face, his chest, his hair,

but never his penis, if he were to even have one.

 

It may as well be a snake.

Are snakes that small?

No,

and they are much more beautiful.

 

Dick pics are such a turn-off.

Let my man be clothed,

at least,

down there.

 

Disbelieving.

 

For I could love only as best as I could,

to be classified as incomplete,

either from hatred or pity,

some sorry form of recognition.

 

Most often though it is just nothing.

“You’re just gay.”

“You’re just a faggot.”

I’ll show you a faggot.

 

 

Michael Paramo is a queer non-binary asexual Latinx master's student in California. Their academic work has been accepted for presentation at national conferences, such as by the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association as well as the U.S. branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. Their research interests include queer studies, intersectional approaches, media representation, romantic attraction, gender identity, and asexuality. They also deeply enjoy the pleasure that music brings into their life.

 

 

The Silent Pond

I have no desire

for wo/men

for a thing or being.

 

I have contemplated in solitude

and meditated on my body

to direct desire

towards

words, objects, and bodies

 

yet my body seeks only death

like silent water in the night

gazing at the stars

wary of the day’s pollution

the washer man's obscene

touch and the nakedness

of animals

invading the sphere

 

into me

all over me.

 

 

Sheath

There is no thing

my being

 

that you can grasp

to grasp

your own ground.

 

You may move around

your senses like

a hand grasping

the other body through

the cloth.

 

Yet,

beyond cloth

beyond the body

lies what you may

never grasp

whether

living or dead.

 

I, a (wo)man, splurge

my inner blood

and mucus onto the

sheath of reality

to show you that

Man bleeds without

being attacked

 

the body burns

without any fire.

 

 

Shunya Ta is a non-binary demi-sexual being who resides in the city of Calcutta on the east coast of India. They spend their time reading, writing, and contemplating about a future world.

 

 

In The Forest

Listen for the rustle; was it a bear in the forest?

Or it could have simply been the air in the forest

 

Lay down your burdens.

Let everything lay bare in the forest.

 

Whisper to me, love, and to no one else

Let no one hear your prayer in the forest.

 

“Sometimes, the King is a woman”

A woman with shining gold hair in the forest.

 

See the nymphs play! Watch them run!

Running without a care in the forest.

 

Go no further - listen, you fool!

Do you not hear that blare in the forest?

 

And the blood ran red through the trees

Worse than those four mares in the forest.

 

There, in the dark, lay a ring

Where Queen Mab makes her chair in the forest.

 

Tread with soft and velvet steps

His Grace alone keeps you, heir, in the forest.

 

 

Amanda Amos is a young writer who desperately wishes to not starve upon graduation. An adamant short story writer, she's been peer pressured into giving poetry one last chance to make it work before she retires into the seclusion of character arcs forever. As a writer of short stories, however, she has always been quite prolific within modern fantasy and magical realism, having sold out from the idealistic high fantasy of her youth. Life comes at you fast.

 

 

Consuming A

  I wasn’t sure what to expect from my first Pride parade. I wasn’t afraid of protestors or getting lost in Portsmouth where brick was worn down by my sneakers and the salt of New Hampshire water. On that day rust brick was painted rainbow. People dressed in vibrant colors, hugging new friends that became family within a few words.

          I sat on the sidelines. Desaturated in black, white, gray, and purple. The colors of the asexual flag.

          I had heard other asexual people were attending, but this was an event of hundreds within the LGBTQIA+ community that flooded the streets. They overflowed palms, spilling onto land while the few asexuals clung to the breakers.

          There were videos of acephobia at Pride parades, the cold shoulder, language lit by low heat burners, always saying “you don’t belong” with silence. Don’t acknowledge their presence. Don’t acknowledge their identity. Don’t acknowledge their correctional rape. Don’t acknowledge their denial of healthcare, or adoption, or everything the LGBTQIA+ community hungers for too. Don’t say asexual out loud, because that would mean validation.

          The program shook in my hand as I stared at the acronym, LGBTQA; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and ally. Already so many identities lost in translation, but ally had become a slap to my face. My cheeks were purple with the bruise of “ally.” Allies. Allies. Allies. Even during the speeches, they never said it. Asexual.

When one speaker listed, more hope stung my chest, nonbinary, genderfluid, and I waited. But there it was again. Ally. How many of the people here said, “I belong, I’m an ally! I know lots of gay people!” Some of them don’t take the colors. They sit and listen, know when to be silent and when to use their privilege to advocate. But the ones at Pride wear rainbows in symbols of support and rip them from their bodies the next day. They don’t bleed the colors.

          The only booth that mentioned my orientation by name was a church with a small graph that listed “know your flag.” And there they were, my flag listed the word Asexual bold for those who looked the other way. I took a rainbow flag from them, visited twice, lingered there like a seagull waiting for a flock, for others with the same hunger.

          But I carried a smile that strained ink. If I just drank the weight of that word in its frequency I would fall into the sea just a few blocks away. My friends placed hands on my shoulders, both wearing the rainbows of the gay community they belonged to with empathetic, “I know.” Neither of them were asexual, but they knew how it hurt. No excuses, no apologies, only exhaustion.

          It’s exhaustion from lifting and scraping the bottom of the barrel from the outside; it is where barnacles and clams nest, invisible. I am not silent with the metal tools in my hand. I eat them raw and consume what little I can scrounge. I want to devour the word Ally like I consume mussels and clams. I want to heat water with rage, rip open who they are and sink my teeth into what they take from asexual people.

          I picked at mussels with my fork in a restaurant when it ended, silent because I wondered how many allies slipped inside. They wear rainbows in symbols of support and rip them from their bodies the next day, wash the brine away. They don’t bleed the colors.

          I’ve learned that anger is much stronger than placid silence. People believe the ocean to be safe until the tide swallows them whole and smashes their bodies against the breakers. When they say ally, I scream asexual, yell my lungs raw until the alveoli pop inside my body. I wonder when those allies open me with a scalpel if they will unleash a tidal wave, or a hurricane.

 

 

Shannon O. Sawyer is a graduate from the New Hampshire Institute of Art with her BFA in Creative Writing. She has edited the 2015 and 2016 edition of Ayris Magazine, has works published in Cartoons UndergroundThe Fem, and Quail Bell Magazine. She is currently a scriptwriter for the audio drama podcast, Jim Robbie and the Wanderers and works as an intern for the Cambridge Writing Workshop. In her spare time she enjoys drawing, watching cartoons, being an angry asexual, and screaming at heteronormative books in her local book stores.

 

 

Philophobic

bright eyes work like rock salt

it snakes in past the glassy layer

it’s an expensive kind of fear

it hinges on somebody else’s hurt

your pollination is convincing

honey still won’t dissolve the slick

the others slipped

the others bruised

I don’t think I can catch you

 

 

Pink Lipstick

yes my stomach was churning not a crush it was

confusion

you loved me I couldn’t see like you (I still can’t see why)

I’m not an angel not a saint so why am I your girl?

stay here with my cups of ambition and

try not to fall

I remember the first time you kissed me, leaving a

pink lipstick mark I rubbed off with a cupped hand

full of water.

I didn’t want your print didn’t want it didn’t want you

at least not the way you wanted me

to chase away your hallucinogenic baby ghosts

did you leave because I couldn’t see like you did?

I could’ve failed you and never known and

that’s what haunts me the most like you’re

haunted by whatever (I truly don’t remember)

 

 

Moira Armstrong is a junior at Howland High School, where she enjoys stressing over honors classes and extracurriculars. Her favorite is the speech and debate team, where she competes in original oratory and serves as president. In her very limited free time, she likes to volunteer, color, and, of course, write. Her work has also been published in the Power of the Pen Book of Winners, two Creative Communications Poetry Collections, and Blue Marble Review.

 

 

The Couple

First Year

They eloped.

It wasn't because they loved each other. On the contrary, they seemed to be indifferent to one another. No one could quite understand what had brought them together as a couple, not even the two persons themselves.

This convinced both sides of the family to object to the marriage. That, and such a couple as them, who barely knew each other, could not possibly be paired up. And so the couple solved the problem: they eloped.

Very shortly afterwards, the husband left for the war. The wife didn't mind. She often preferred to be left alone. It only gave her more freedom to pursue her dreams of entering the workforce.

No fancy wedding. No honeymoon.

No first night together.

 

Third Year

The husband returned to the country. He had received an injury in the battlefield, said the letter.

And so she cared for him. Provided him with the necessities: bandaging, food, and so on. She also made certain he was assisted in his healing, and she helped him learn to walk again.

It was the first time she had truly held him in her arms. It was the first time she truly realized that they were a married couple living under the same roof. Surely he felt the same way.

The year passed quickly. When he was able to walk again, she then decided to leave by herself, and she told him so. She would be traveling to Africa as a missionary. He had had his chance to get away. Now it was her turn.

He consented.

It was when she was departing that she realized they had still not shared their first night together.

 

Seventh Year

She returned home by boat. She was greeted by a man carrying a bouquet.

Her husband.

Because that was what married couples did. The husband would greet the wife with a bouquet. Especially after such a long trip.

She approached him, took the bouquet, and gave him a hug. They hadn't kissed since the day they had eloped.

But he spoke to her, told her how his new publishing house was going. She, in turn, shared how her life as a missionary was: an exploration of a new place, a new life of its own, and an adventure to cherish. Maybe she didn't promote her religion as much as she was informed to, but the new place was enough to excite her.

Once she arrived at home, she noticed that they now had a king-sized bed. Not two separate beds. She took one side, he took another.

They shared the bed, but not the night.

**

After a few weeks of sharing the same bed, her husband finally asked her, "Are you sure you don't want to?"

She shook her head. "I'm sure."

He complied.

Opposite sides of the same bed. A married couple bound by day.

But not by night.

**

One night, months later, she finally crawled to his side. "Can we do it?"

A pause. Then he nodded. "Sure."

The first night they shared together ended in their falling asleep in each other's arms.

 

Eleventh Year

Their first night felt like their last. Afterwards, they shared the same bed, but not each other.

The husband's business grew, reaching thousands of customers daily. The wife began studying for a new degree. Their days were often so occupied that they rarely saw one another. One of the only times they truly saw each other was at the dinner table, when they sat across from each other slowly munching on their food. And then the bed came shortly afterward, when they shared the same bed but not the night.

It was then he announced he would have to make a lengthy business trip to another country. He would return soon, he assured her. She nodded in consent.

He left again.

 

Fifteenth Year

She found out he had been arrested on the accusation that he was a spy.

She did not know what to make of it. She only inquired to see if it was true. Most said, "no."

It took months to recover him, but soon he was finally freed. It was then she took up the courage to ask, "Is it true?"

It took him a moment. Then he nodded.

She placed her hands on either cheek. He smiled at her, tears in his eyes. She smiled a sad one in return, indicating understanding.

 

Twentieth Year

She was invited to her father's funeral. She and her husband came. The priest blessed the empty carcass her father had left behind. She and her husband bowed their heads in response.

It was after the funeral that her mother asked them, "Why did you defy our wishes?"

"It was our choice," the wife protested.

"It was your act of defiance that killed him."

"How could that be? We married twenty years ago. If he had died then, I would believe that," the husband retorted.

Her mother huffed and waltzed away, leaving the wife to her own thoughts.

Twenty years. How could so much time have passed? Was this how all married couples were like? Did it feel as strange to them as it did to her? Twenty years had come and gone, yet she still did not know whether or not she even loved her husband. Or if he loved her at all.

They returned home, holding hands.

As if their love was true.

But was it?

 

Twenty-Fifth Year

He prepared her a special dinner. He shifted uneasily between his feet, saying, "Thank you for being with me all of these years."

She smiled in return. "Thank you too."

They ate together. They shared the bed together.

They shared the night together.

 

Twenty-Ninth Year

It was cancer.

He didn't have much longer to live, the doctor said, so live it well.

Their fingers curled in each other's, hands intertwined as the wife responded, "He will be well cared for. He will live a joyous life till the end."

She prepared one last vacation for them, this time to South America.

 

Thirtieth Year

He grew far more ill shortly after their return home over a year later. She continued to care for him in his illness.

Things got worse one day. The couple found themselves at the hospital.

The doctor said he didn't have much longer.

 

Thirty-First Year

While lying in his bed one day, he finally asked her the question the two of them had pondered their whole lives, "Do you love me?"

She smiled and clasped his hands in her own. She replied, "I love you.” Pause. Then, “But not in the way you may think."

A small smile grew on his lips.

"Do you love me too?"

But he didn't answer.

His eyes had closed for the last time.

 

 

Maribel C. Pagan has appeared or is forthcoming in Every Day Fiction, The Stray Branch, Moledro, and others. She has received the Junior Reading Giants Award, has made the President's List in Mohawk Valley Community College, and others. Additionally, she is the host of The Maddie Show on WLMU Radio, and a singer and musician for The Angelic Family Choir, a family singing group that has appeared on EWTN Global Radio Network. You can find out more about Maribel at http://therollinghills.wordpress.com/

 

 

It Was

In a week, the squirrel was dead or maybe it was another squirrel but dying is what it did. At least this one did.

It’s what happens. Dying. It’s going to die. This one and that one. Be dead. Being dead. But, first, the dying happens. It happened to it. Maybe it happened within a week. Maybe it was another it. But, it died. It was dead.

 

 

Consuming

Day in. Day out. Day in. Day out.

Same cigarette to the lips. Same time. Same place.

A human clock for the work week.

*

All converge here for some reason, one would venture to guess.

Reasonably, paths cross. Path can run parallel but these haven’t.

*

Strength has been stolen from what’s been decided.

Collisions happen.

Separation.

Rubble divides.

*

On paper, other worries were left out of this fight.

*

Devotion and hunger ravage gifts. Loyalty stalls.

Blessings waste away as stimulation disappears.

Desire delays.

*

In the swamp. In the sand. Sinking. Lost.

Wet. Dry.

No answers.

 

A wall will never be a sanctuary.

But smoke may be a refuge.

Some sense to be made in consuming.

 

 

Kenyatta JP Garcia is the author of Slow Living (West Vine Press) as well Yawning on the Sands and This Sentimental Education. They are a poet and humorist originally from Brooklyn, NY but currently live in Albany, NY. When they're not writing, they're consumed by comic books and contemplating the many possibilities of speculative literature. One day, they hope they'll make enough money to become a cyborg, but until then, they'll just dream.

 

 

Ace in the Hole

Oh, sorry! You didn’t see me here.

But that’s okay, because nobody notices normal.

Nobody thinks to ask “Hey, are you…” No. You’d rather assume.

And whilst you’re making an ass out of you, I remain unnoticed. Unknown.

Invisible in my own home because what could be worse than being unknown?

Being disowned.

So there you all are, homogenised in your heteronormativity, and you see me - except you don’t.

Not really. You see what you want to see. A young man. Set free. Exploring romantic activity.

And with women as well! Oh, how swell! Let’s not dwell on the fact that not once did he desire a sexual act.

No, not once did he cast that there line out to sea nor step foot in the waters of sexuality.

But of course, how could he? He’s been raised in a man-praising, slut-shaming, sex-crazy society!

Where the highest form of art is bare-naked nudity and the highest form of pleasure is triple X-rated pornography.

 

During puberty, young boys are taught that if they cannot think with their heads, then they should think with their heads.

And that piss is not the only thing with which they’ll wet the bed. Whether it be TV and movies, or their hordes of male friends,

or the billboards that are plastered with ladies’ rear ends, young boys are taught that their penis comes first.

If those are the base standards for manhood, then you can go ahead and crown me the worst.

 

You might tell me it’s a matter of pride. That if I’m feeling erased then I should carve my face into stone.

That I’m not alone.

That there is a whole community out there waiting for me, arms open wide. L.G.B.T.Q.A PRIDE!!

But don’t forget! The A stands for Ally.

And why are you looking at girls when you’re a guy? You don’t belong here. You’re not really queer. You’re just after the attention.

These people complain about having to fight for their right to party when I have to fight for my right to be a part of the party in which the celebration of a win is a kiss which I would not miss if I missed.

No, I insist.

Tell me again how I should enlist in an army which denies I exist.

After all, if I’m heard and not seen, then my problems don’t matter, and I should be grateful for how lucky that makes me.

Is it really so bad when the invisible man asks to be seen?

Is it so absurd that there could be people out there who don’t find themselves concerned with that most primal urge when with every other word, they are the boy who is begging to be heard?

 

Oh, sorry! You didn’t see me here. But that’s okay, because nobody ever sees the invisible.

 

 

Gregory Morrison is a Literature student at the University of Salford. He first realised he was asexual at sixteen years old, and has spent the four years since that point wondering just what the big deal is anyway. His family describe him as “the weird one”. His friends describe him as “a real life vampire”. He describes himself as “a pretentious nerd who tries way too hard”. When he isn’t reading superhero comics or writing poetry, he can be found making videos for his YouTube channel ThatGingerBrit

 

 

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Photography by Michael Paramo.

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