I’m music stand and mud, littered with the plastic lips of a late-night celebration. I’m walking down a bowling alley, ready to strike, gently. I’ve stopped at a gas station to fill the well with helium, squeaking, Please don’t let anyone I love die before their time. A guy on a bike with a boombox rides by, arms out like a kite. Confetti stains the shelves where toilet paper used to be. I check my phone again, in the middle of foraging for bubble wrap. What’s happening in India? What are all my friends thinking about right now? Did you know, fungi are the eye of life, slurping up oil spills and burping out bug habitats? I’m learning how to grow food from the actual ground, swelling into the next dimension like a paper lantern freed from festivities, box of seeds tucked under my pits, a little bit stinky. I needed solitary refinement. I needed to ravage the mouthy dirt of Mother Earth with my fingers to remember which veggies grow in the fall. Now I’m bursting into bubblegum, ready to be chewed and chewed until— Zucchini. Beets. Beans. Carrots. Crookneck squash. Potatoes. Pumpkins. Pop! A pink slinky blinks down concrete stairs. 5—I prefer to do my business in the woods, taking calls from the glass house of my mind. 4—I’m jumping out of a senator’s skirt, basket of hot air landing in a bed of moss. 3—I take child’s pose on the bluff, worshipping the opalescent glow of my own magnetic field. 2—It’s time to play the fool again. I steal a glance at myself in a barbershop window— 1—The mask slips down my nose, and suddenly, balloons! Balloons, balloons, balloons everywhere! Balloons pouring out of windows, nostrils, elevators! Balloons stuffed into shirtsleeves. Balloons on the wrists of lizards. Balloons being licked by monkeys. Balloons bobbing in chocolate fondu. Balloons barging out the chimney flue. Balloons stuck to stripper heels. Balloons drifting down middle school hallways. Balloons with the happiest sad faces. Balloons floating up the well. Balloons yipping and yapping about an apocalypse PARTY, like it’s time to rewild this city.
Nancy Lynée Woo is a 2022 Artists at Work fellow in poetry. She has received fellowships from PEN America, the Arts Council for Long Beach, and Idyllwild Writers Week. Her work has been published in The Shore, Tupelo Quarterly, Stirring, Radar Poetry, and other journals and anthologies. Nancy has an MFA in creative writing, poetry, from Antioch University and a BA in sociology/environmental studies from UC Santa Cruz. Her work is largely inspired by the magic and power of the natural world. Find her cavorting around Long Beach on Tongva land in California, and online at nancylyneewoo.com or @fancifulnance on social.
Nazrene Alsiro is an Artist located in Atlanta, GA. Her interdisciplinary work is rooted in her studies of Photography, Video and Sculpture at Florida State University. Much of her work is drawn to the gaps between mental health and societal normalcy. Personal in nature, her work is also reflective of both her mixed-race, as well as, her Palestinian-American identity, addressing the turmoil in the West Bank.
Her studies in sculpture inform both her use of double exposure photography to build narratives from emotions and moments, as well as her canvases of acrylic built up with layers of paint dipped paper. Nazrene continues her search for the unidentifiable through exploration, observation, and experience.