Artwork by Brooklyn Carey
Tess Pilkington, Music
Lucas Bird, Poem; Brooklyn Carey, Visual Art
Yasmine Atallah, Photos
Aidan Martin, Photo; Rachel Habrih, Visual Art
Shelly Bahng, Poem; Nicholas Raffoul, Visual Art
Daria Kiseleva, Visual Art
Serene Mitchell, Photos; Zeina Jhaish, Poem
Emma Gillies, Photos
Nixie Akella, Poem; Sequoia Kim, Photo
Sequoia Kim, Photo
Elsasoa Jousse, Poem; C, Visual Art
Paloma Hepler, Visual Art
Zoe Lubetkin, Creative Writing; Pablo Labbate, Photo
Pablo Labbate, Photo; Leanne Young, Photo; Tatianna Sitounis, Poem
Abeer Almahdi, Visual Art
Sequoia Kim, Visual Art; Letter From the Editors
Avant de faire mon premier pas hors de la grotte,
où mon ignorance sera révélée par le soleil,
même à ce moment-là,
je les sens se moquer de moi.1
I find myself in front of the market
Beckoned by the sweet succulence of pears
And though I long to soothe indulgence
I am frozen in a desolate arboretum
Here, alone, I have wandered gilded paths
Hearing only the faint songs of lark and nightingale
Till now, as I am paralyzed
By the gaze
Though not bare of body
I feverishly harbour a naked soul
The tenth law, once motion’s source
Now binds me
And though the bleats ring out
Echoing through skull, fat, and flesh
The other commands them:
Go home unfed
Watchful eyes would have me believe
That this petrified project
A behavior as old as Pluto’s estate
Is kin with its creator
That it must seem as vibrant
As the posies cast upon the tombs of giants
That its form commands its nature
I know only that this is deceit
This claim, perjurious to the audience of humanity
Is as toxic as its orator
The children of change know this truth well
That mothers alone are benevolent
That their basic element is beauty
So I awoke, thawed
The dream, as it often is, already lost
But the din of the komos still echoing
As fluid passed the threshold
I knew I had drunk
Horns already forming, I raised in eminence
Orpheus, under the influence
Ibi emergit horrendum, ambitiosus,
sed insuperabilis veritatem,
revelata per umbras in pariete:
ego autem non vis, aliis intelligere. 2
That which is beauty and light
Rage and anger
Alteration and consummation
But most primary and sovereign
Look upon the impenetrable veil
When he realizes that without him,
The flock would perish
Only then does Pan know power
Does it not seem
Their anxious cries
Make for garish harmony after all?
It matters not
I am as deaf to them
As they are blind to me
In the comfort of night I began a hibernation
Tearing leaves turned too early
Tepid from sun and wet from dew
In secret, I dove under
Like a thief
Reemerging onto that perfect edge
Scorning the generosity of Prometheus
Blazing alone into the abyss
My figure, seared to the chasm floor
Macabre and forbidden
I toil to muster the cosmic pieces
Like sweet August does a marriage
Of the summer and autumn
Yet, as they collect, the light becomes devastating
And sick with parsimony
My wings melt away
So I awoke, chained
My past not even a memory The taste of a selfish fruit still lingering
And I wept for a stasis once known by the fauna
I stumble across the burning lake
Στο τελικό βήμα, τα όρια υλικού διαγράφονται.
Αυτό που τον τιμωρούσε αρχικά,
έδωσε τη θέση του σε μια χαοτική αλήθεια. 3
At the peak of a glade
A drop hit my forehead
And I, without tongue, watched
as Augustine’s tears crossed my visage
As I tell of this now, I sit with sheared beasts
Content only to let them pass as is pleasing
Agency is their capital
And given enough time
We will lead each other to flaming pastures
There, I will kneel
Fixed to be consumed by a goddess
Whose name I do not know
But who appears terribly gorgeous
In whirling entropy
Punishing only those who resist her grasp
Now, when I look in peoples’ faces
I see the age they will become
And when they don ornate feathers
And breath fresh yield into my being
My cellar comes alight and banishes the rot
A great banquet is in order
There is much to be done
The hall will be lined with desecrated couches
Yet none are invited
The muses will come and go, swallowing my creation
And in their absence I will be
A contented Cronos
See me emit charred tone
Vaporizing qualm and illusion
I am pregnant with a creature of the arras
And there is still a long path to tread
Caution, clandestine shelter still tempts he
Who foolishly believes in mastery
I know the end is binding
I only hope
Before I am dreadfully judged
That, grinding bone to silt
Crumpling under the weight of my wares
I will still feel heat on my brow
And peering over the horizon
I find myself in front of the market
1 Before I take my first step out of the cave, where my ignorance will be revealed by the sun, even then, I feel them
laughing at me.
2 There emerges a horrible, selfish, but an insurmountable truth, revealed by the shadows on the wall: I do not want others to understand.
3 In the final step, the material boundaries are deleted. What initially punished him, then poisoned him, gives way to a chaotic truth.
Melodies on the Beach (To Love)
Waiting for a home for that one song
I was trying to find a place for your love
found it in the future
I found it in patience
of writing melodies
that scattered across the globe
Looked in your eyes
saw the answers
the definite I play with
and the indefinite laughed
Fate told me I’m delusional
the feeling comes to the composers
poetry and music are found on the beach
We’ll take the water with us
understand our own droplets
as the tide looks at the moon
and tells you
She’s the one
Across the oceans
we can discover the big blue
and dance forever.
The thought of her sparked joy and a sense of obsession,
Leaving her surroundings purely enamoured,
In my mind, she was all sorts of things.
Scented with the evocative perfume my mother would wear,
and would sometimes spray onto me as a child, ensnared.
Unconquered curls cascading down her spine,
with her coiffed baby hairs sitting daintily on her forehead,
not daring to waiver from the silhouette of her disguise.
Hazel brown eyes,
stealing the glow from luminaries nearby,
with flickers of rebellion and desire,
just enough to captivate wandering eyes.
She reminded me of primary colours. Loud, clear, bold.
Thieving the other amalgamations of their worth.
My mind ventured into the endless perfect possibilities,
But soon I realised my gullibility.
The vessel filled until it could no longer,
Puking out the sins that made it stronger.
My creature of enigma was just another,
Empty, but still, leaving me to wonder.
Eyes close, Head tilts
Backwards, Weight lifts,
Lifts my body.
Around my shape,
My mind is blank.
Safety cared for,
Almost Love with
The bath is cold,
I fear the truth,
I stand and look:
Lost and scared of
Gasps for breath when
I wish she would
Be here with me
And hold, embrace,
Relieve my cries,
Eat me full and
Pull me back in
Haste, in fear of
Death, Her only,
Her child, alone,
And only her
Is strong enough,
Can love enough.
Save me mother!
Take me home to
Peace and warmth,
Let me fill your
My mother took off her rings when she slept. They were there in a precarious little pile
when I went to wake her during those endless drowsy afternoons, a stack of silver always at my
eye level. The light was turning blue but her face was still illuminated slightly; I couldn’t see her
breathe but I could see the red blush of sleep on her cheeks. I knew if I woke her up she would
roll over and look at me through half-closed eyes, maybe ask what I wanted, but I could never
find it in myself to wake her. She stayed rosy and removed in her sleep and I would leave as
quietly as I came, as quietly as I could.
I only remember her taking off her rings regularly on two occasions: to sleep and to shower. She kept them on at all other times, even when she washed her hands, and when I was a child and even now I thought those rings must have been some of the cleanest that little porcelain sink had ever seen.
And she had some of the cleanest hands I had ever seen, although at that point in my childhood I hadn’t seen very many. I had always thought they would be beautiful without the rings, but with them they were something else: when she stretched out her fingers her palm was almost too arched, and the dull silver caught the light in a way I have yet to recreate, as hard as I try. Since those years of watching her as she slept, waiting to wake her, I’ve looked through high end stores and flea markets to find rings like those of my mother, but they never quite gleam enough.
Everything is brighter in memory; I’ve always liked the way silver catches the light. Those rings were a part of her, a continuation of her knuckle, a necessary bump when I grabbed her hand in the dark. Their cool, smooth texture was reassuring when she touched my forehead to feel for a fever, and I loved to hear the way they clicked when she tapped her fingers on the table as she thought. They were beautiful and rare - I didn’t realize until later, when I started looking for ones similar - but she always let me try them on, whenever I asked, as often as that was. Of course, they slipped over my round little fingers with plenty of room to spare. But the weight on my fingers of the silver band and blue-green stone was comforting enough. In those days she took me with her most places out of necessity. We went to the farmers market in the summer, me holding her hand and by extension her rings as I watched her shoulder her way through the crowd holding a bag filled with bread. We went to bookstores in the winter, me craning my neck back so the braid she always did in my hair fell down my spine as I watched her choose a book and then put it back. We took the train in all seasons, me dozing in and out of sleep as she absentmindedly rubbed my shoulder.
She took me with her to most places, and this is how I ended up at the dinner party. One of her friends from college was hosting, and we lived down the street, and the friend that usually watched me was going as well. I was hardly old enough to pronounce any of the titles of the books they talked about, let alone attend - I was normally asleep by the time they poured the second glass of wine - but my mother took me along anyway.
I watched her get ready, trying on her rings while she sipped tea in between visits to the closet to try on different dresses. I touched the cover of the newest book she’d acquired at the dollar bookstore two subway stops and a block away and tried to puzzle out how to say the title. By the time I had hit the subtitle, she was ready, hair braided down her back like mine and tea fully sipped and the rings on her fingers, as always, as ever.
I don’t remember the actual event, or what I ate, or the amount of times I fell asleep, although my mother told me later that it was a little drawn out, that we had some type of greens and fish but I had only eaten peas, and that I fell asleep many times. I remember there was music playing, and then there was not. I remember laughter. I remember her taking off her rings. This hosting friend had a small piano against the wall. My memory of this event abruptly cuts back in when someone says Sylvie, play something, please, play and I realize that it is my mother they are talking to, my mother walking up to the piano.
She took her rings off. She sat down to play. I don’t remember what she played, or the way it sounded, but I remember how I felt: like my eyes were closed while they were open, like I had walked into the rain without flinching, like the first time I heard birds in the spring. Years later, after I had found piles of music book in a box in the top of her closet, after I had begged her to let me take lessons, after I had played some of the pieces in that very box, I asked her what piece she had played that night of the dinner party. She smiled, pushed her now-gray hair back behind her, took a ring off her finger and spun it around. I was old now, and I had rings of my own, but I still couldn’t help but watch the flash of silver as it rotated around her finger.
And she said that piece wasn’t anything. She said she made it up.
From the grey sea
And the corrosive waves that make up
The Earth's heartbeat,
I rose from my own tragedy.
My body is to be cherished,
Not taken nor beaten -
My mind to be enlightened and sang to from above,
Never once abused or molested.
I climb the fluffy cotton strips
Up out of this world and enter the sky-blue door.
Slowly, ever so, my tongue peaks out from between my lips
And I have a taste. A slow, upward flick and the internal functioning of the human body
A universal overdose.
I open my mouth wider and gorgoe myself on the color,
And loosen my grip on the stratospheric doorframe,
Slipping ever so elegantly into an inter-dimensional embrace
That I dream to meet.
The McGill Tribune is proud to present the Winter 2020 Creative Supplement, highlighting excellent creative work by McGill students, including poetry, photography, illustrations, and mixed-media.
We would like to thank the Arts Undergraduate Society Financial Management Committee (AUS FMC) for funding this project, and Chad Ronalds & Hebdo Litho for printing this issue. Moreover, we appreciate all the artists who submitted; it was a pleasure to review your work.
Although McGill doesn’t have a formal visual arts program, students find their own creative outlets. The Creative Supplement serves as a platform to highlight these endeavours. McGill students are notoriously bright and hardworking; we hope this issue proves that they are also immensely talented.