On Disrupting the Silence — Part One

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Last week, I made a vow to myself to tell the truth more. There are lots of answers to why I would do this, but only one question as to how — How do I break the silence? These are a bunch of words that I’ve carried around since I’ve started to get better. They help me break my silence and I hope they can help you too.


“You guys know about vampires? … You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There’s this idea that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. And what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn’t see myself reflected at all. I was like, “Yo, is something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don’t exist?“ And part of what inspired me, was this deep desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I would make some mirrors so that kids like me might see themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it.” — Junot Diaz


The School of Fury by Chen Chen

“& everyone just nods & I want to say No, & scream, & punch Robert Frost in the teeth.

& take everyone through the wound of it.”


The Double Blind by Tafisha A. Edwards

“Can you name your attacker?”


Old Heart by Fortesa Latifi



To My Father/My Unborn Son by Ocean Vuong

“Because what you heard, or will hear, is true: I wrote
a better world onto the page
& watched the fire take it back.”


Exit Wound by Jeananne Verlee

“you are an exit wound
a name I cannot bring myself
to say aloud”


Conjuring: A Lesson in Words and Ghosts by Jacqui German

“is talking about & is talking about & is talking about & is talking about & is talking about & is talking about & is talking about & just like that, the whole room is haunted.“


For the Offended by Donna-Marie Riley

“It is not my job to write gently.
I am not here to make you comfortable.”


Sparklefat by Melissa May Dunn

“All of them have no more fucks to give about a world that wants them to be quiet.”


Crush by Richard Siken

“I make up things
I would never say. I say them very quietly.”


What We Buried by Caitlyn Siehl

“I will go to my grave with the memory
of bravery in my bones.
I am not ashamed of any of it.
Not the closed door in my face
or the static silence of my phone
for weeks after.
I was not afraid.
I am still not afraid.”


This Way to the Sugar by Hieu Minh Nguyen

“That’s all. That’s all.
I have nothing else to say”


The Moment by T.C. Anderson

“She studies your answers like they’re written in Greek, and she needs to decipher them to survive. You want everyone to hang on your words like that.”


The Other Side: A Memoir by Lacy M. Johnson

“Sometimes flashes of poetry are all that we can find in the wreckage; sometimes these flashes are all that can possibly save us, brought together for brief, burning instants, and then let go.”


Bring Down the Chandeliers by Tara Hardy

“As our hound hones his scent, all the children I ever wasn’t but was meant to be, break open the roof, take wing, and I speak speak.”


I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Dr. Maya Angelou

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.”


Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison

“All of us were screaming and no one could help.”


The Gospel of Winter by Brendan Kiely

“The problem is that you don’t always get to write your own story. You get written into some stories, and if ask why, there isn’t an answer. You don’t have any control, because the forces at work are too large to confront, and sometimes too large even to understand.”


Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

“Like maybe he really, truly believes I’m worth listening to, worth saving.”


Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

“When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time.”


The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

“All I want is not to die on a day when I went unseen.”


Contributing Editor

Alexis Smithers is a twenty one year old explosion of messes. They are queer black writer that was published in a book about how horses heal (Wild at Heart by Heather Kirby), and has work that can be found on theEEEL. Fun facts: they tied a pillowcase to their back and tried to fly after seeing Sky High, their mantra can be found in Wreck-It Ralph, The Babadook, or Orphan Black (depending on the day) and they’re terrified of mostly everything but art makes the fear easier to hold.