Aya Lozi ~ Host.

by now,
you’d have traced
all the repulsive
corners of my brain
time and time again,
with fingers
I’ve rendered
with my parasitic tendencies

that I spoke
through short,
sharp movements,
that I spoke
through unforgiving limbs,
just so you won’t have to

now that you’ve wasted
everything but breath,
I’d whisper
into unwilling ears -
and despite your fatigue,
you shrink away -
“come closer,”

you were very particular;
the way you would
decorate my skin
with flowers you’d pluck
from gardens
unbeknown to winter,
and though I wouldn’t get a glimpse
of how your lips
would have an upward curve,
you’d smile
just in time,
before they shrivel;
before you shrivel
at the sincerity
of my skin.

would you excuse
my parasitic tendencies, dear;
my tides
only rise at night;
so would you forgive my inability
to cease the flow
of saline water
down your lungs; -
is a difficult force
to counter.

By Aya Lozi.

"In the end you start to think about the beginning..." [Mr & Mrs Smith Quote]:

We came to a curtain of leaves and flowers held up by
the trees’ overhanging branches. 
It shifted when stirred by
the breeze, a wall of entwined and interwoven
vine-like green and violet stems beneath the fabric of
It was a gateway to another realm.  I, who had
never crossed this path before, knew this.  Could feel

'Coffee' - Mike Derderian

It is 1988. People no longer strike up conversations. Of course you have to find them first, and obviously you won’t find them strolling the streets. 

They now hide behind over sized television screens that are connected to beeping boxes. Tentacle-like wires are everywhere. It all looks like a modern rendition of a classical scene involving a hydra, painted with a bleak futuristic brush. A blinking cursor helps you traverse the world’s digital landscapes. 

Ironically, we’ve all become avatars to an existence devoid of nirvana. 

The world has changed. 

I just bought a falafel sandwich from a robot at Amman Blvd. It did not ask me if I was having a good day. “What will you have sir?” it asked. A few seconds later it handed me a sandwich neatly wrapped in aluminium foil. 

We now drink coffee from the comfort of our high-tech living rooms. ‘High-tech’ - I believe that is the term. Gone are the days when individuals met for a warm cup of coffee and a cigarette - if they can afford the latter. 

“What will you talk about when your life is already out there, and everything you need to know about a person is available with a push of a button?” Someone I know asked me during a badly transmitted video conference call. 

The proverbial bubble is visible now. Everyone is wrapped up in one. It is a room without a real view. A room with a couple of screens and mechanical oddities that bring the world to you. It turns you to one of them. 

God I miss having a coffee with someone. 

- from the short story The Electronic Bubble, by Manuel V. Derida, 1950

Ammar Majali ~ The End

The world as we know it ended at half past five.
No big bang.
No thunderstorm, brimstone, storms.
Just a cessation of life as we know it.

Frozen frame in time. 
Suspended in vacuum. 
Dust in the wind. 

Blanket over me, us, all.
This is the end, the end my friend.

The world didn’t end with a bang
Or a boom
It just stopped.

By Ammar Majali. 

'somethingnothingunbound' ~ by Izzy

here i thought i was invincible

i could do it again i could do it at midnight

haven’t you heard i’ve got tricks up my sleeve

come here sell me passionfruit

teach me to reap what i sow instead

come here whisper guidelines for me to follow

in the fold of my empty stomach

i’ll bother you at 3 AM when the last hummingbird 

lays itself to sleep 

i’ll make it worth your while

im not dead yet

haven’t you heard i’ve got tricks up these sleeves

take me to the Yorkshire pond

where your mother laid your brother to rest

his corpse is still fresh to me

maybe we can make him make him healthy again

he’s got a scar above his right eye socket

i’ve got too many to count 

we’re even

let him walk free he’s seen what i’ve seen

haven’t you heard he’s got tricks up his sleeve

- Izzy Opium


بقلم: سليم خير

قطرةٌ من محيطِ ايامٍ اشرقت شمسَ غروبٍ 

لترسمَ من جسدِ افكاريَ ظلاً اسودَ

خيم ظلاماً على افقِ بصري

و صراخَ رعشةَ المٍ

قتلَ حباً فاحيا الكراهية

فاشعل في اوجِ حياتيِ موتاً  


Ramsay Mansur - A Modern Death.

He looked at me with an intensity only found in the intoxicated and leaned in closer across the small bar table. I knew what was to come next; he had not spoken a word of the incident since its happening. As it always was with him, liquor buoyed his thoughts and then released them with all the subtlety of a broken dam.

“They fucking lie to you. They lie to you your whole life. They romanticize it, the stories the TV. They make it graceful and peaceful, as if the person just accepts it and says ‘take me, take me to that great fucking happy place. As if there is this moment when it all comes together and then ‘pfft’ it’s done. 

Fuck that. I watched her die for five days and nights, five very long days and even longer nights. There is nothing peaceful about dying. The mind goes into a comma and the body just keeps going and going; holding on for whatever the fuck its holding on for, I don’t know.   

You want to know what it really is? It’s this fight for every little breath. Then you have all these people talking of how dignified it is to fight for the last breath. Tell me where the hell the dignity is fighting to do something you’ve been doing your whole life?

The worst is the night, have you ever tried to sleep through a ‘death rattle’? With every breath they take this loud gurgling sound fills the room. ‘Fluid congestion’ is the correct term for it.  After the first few days you find respite between the rattles, and dread the coming of the next one. They become a gruesome soundtrack to your existence. 

Then finally, with no one watching the person dies; and you hate them for it. 

How could they fight for so long and not get the fuck out of the bed. Why go through so much just to die. Tell me why. Tell me why she fought, while I watched, for five days only to give up. There is nothing peaceful about dying, dying is a long, bitter battle.”

By Ramsay Mansur

أمل بأن تشرق من جديد-2

 بقلم: آلاء سليمان

نعم هي شمسي.. التي قررت أن ترحل! قررت وحدها ودون إذني حتى! دون أن تمنحني الفرصة لأحيا بجوارها لحظة في أمان وسلام .. ودعتني لترحل إلى أرض غيري وتسكن غيري سماء .. حزنت.. تألمت.. وانفطر قلبي بذالك الوداع  رغم أني لم أذرف فيه دمعة واحدة .. فقد آثرت البكاء والألم بصمت .. آثرت وأد الحنين والشوق بصمت .. لكن تملكني شعور غريب لم أشأ أن أقتله .. بل حميته واعتنيت به.. شعور قوي يتملكني بأنها حتماً لابد يوماً سوف تعود .. ومهما طال ليلي فلابد وأن تشرق فيه من جديد….!

وبدأت مرحلة جديدة في حياتي.. لم أستطع  فيها العودة لزمان البشر.. بعدما استشعرت لذة زماني ولم أكن لأتمكن من مسح ذكرياتي ولحظاتي الماضية .. وعشت على أمل اصطنعته لنفسي .. لم تعدني به أبداً! ولم تكن شمسي في أي وقت من الأوقات تقترب مني أبداً ..

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Aya Lozi - Uncover my castle in the sky

I want to read of a world
of tangled strips of iridescent thoughts
floating softly
brushing against your fingertips.

Of a world where the truth
is luminous
where bodies
are light blue shimmering silhouettes

A world
where your skin
holds nothing captive.

Instead it merges
with the acquiescence that is our core
amongst vast pillars of assumption
(the only rope
that holds this place together)

I want to hear of this land
this world present only
in the fragile space
between our joined subconscious.

I want it uttered
that you felt your blood cells vibrate
that this terrain fashioned
and constructed by detachment
possesses more
than one lone spectator.

By Aya Lozi.

Aya Lozi - Suffocation.

The room wasn’t dark. 

The sun filtered clearly through the window, haunting every corner, possessing every last centimeter of white wall and square inch of blue carpet.

Dead, glaucous blue on cold, hard concrete; covering its entirety.

There were feathers everywhere, hanging eerily in still circles around my form. 

A floral pattern surrounded all my senses.  

It was every spot my eyes darted to.

It was the minute rustling in my ears.

It was the pain in my white fingers and knuckles as they pulled.

It was the smell of stuffy closets and closed spaces with a faint scent of cigarettes. 

It was the dry cotton on my tongue.

Soon enough I threw aside the shirt I was holding, and with a huff my back joined my crossed legs on the bed. My eyes scanned the room from where my head lay a few inches away from my pillow.

Not even the shadows were dark enough.

By Aya Lozi.

Check out Aya’s previous work on project pen here.

Aya Lozi - Gray.


I see you. I see you through the thick blur that drowns me. 


Smoke, water, blur. Gray and murky, but I see you.

Just a glimpse, just a shiver is enough. 

I hear it moving around me as I try to dig my way through. It resonates within my every cell. It whispers in my ear. A soft, passing echo; just close enough to make me pause -

I feel it welling up in my chest, I feel it right under my fingernails as they claw at the murky nothingness. Let it escape, oh let it escape-

repetition, repetition, repetition -

I could almost make out the patterns;

How long I’ve spent in that bittersweet nostalgic spot. How long I’ve spent analyzing, replaying, speculating, and trying to repeat, to repeat, to repeat -

Take me with you. 

Take me to your land of emotion, to your alien land of recklessness and pain. Oh please.

Hollow and anesthetized. I am drained now, with only shadowy glimpses of an ancient warmth, and even those are thinning rapidly. Please. 

A shell of what once was. But with the gray comes expectation. With the smoke, the water, the blur:

“don’t escape me.”

By Aya Lozi

A Dirty Well Lit Place Part 2 - by Joseph Rauch

When Ghenet was the only one working the counter, she would take out her sketchpad and make designs for dresses. Despite her trauma in seeing a white roach, the creature became the subconscious inspiration for her first dress. It was a white dress with four flaps arrayed symmetrically around the wearer. Each flap subtly narrowed down almost into a triangle, starting from the waist.

This design allowed the hypothetical woman to show of her legs as she turned while generally leaving something to the observer’s imagination. As she continued to design, her dresses became even more imaginative. They began to look like something Alice might have kept in her wardrobe after she emerged from the rabbit hole and found herself invited to a red carpet event in the 21st century. 

Ghenet kept her passion to herself until her coworker, Jasmine, came in early for her shift and caught her making sketches. Ghenet tried to hide them but Jasmine was too curious. Eventually, she forced Ghenet to reveal her dream of becoming a designer and didn’t understand how serious Ghenet felt about her designs.

“Ghenet, you know you gonna be here ‘til yo titties are saggin down below the counter girl so don’t you be trippin,” hollered Jasmine across her station. Ghenet did not understand that Jasmine was joking. 

“Bitch, you wait! I’m ‘a own this block and make y’all work for me once I get bread off my designs,” retorted Ghenet.

Joseph walked in at his usual time expecting to see Ghenet but deduced over the course of two weeks that she had gone. He missed her. Jasmine wasn’t as nice and he realized that he could get better deals on orange juice and milk at the deli across the street.

He imagined one day he would run into her on the sidewalk and hopefully recognize her without her uniform. He would then tell her that a quick Google search revealed white roaches were not real and that they had both been afraid of a fictitious creature.

By Joseph Rauch, Part 1 here.

A Dirty, Well-Lit Place - by Joseph Rauch

Duane-Reade is a chain of stores in New York state that sells toiletries, groceries (mostly drinks, cereal and snacks), cleaning products. The same white tiling, fluorescent lighting, suspicious smudges on the floor, and nonsensical patterns of organization such as keeping vitamins next to insecticide or condoms next to gift cards mar each one. Perhaps the massive variety, limited space, and quantity of the inventory force these odd adjacencies.

            Ghenet Jackson works in the Duane-Reade on the corner of 49th Street and 9th Avenue in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan. As with any job filled with long hours and menial tasks, she keeps her spirit alive by developing various rapports with her favorite customers and chatting with her coworkers. Her current favorite was Joseph Rauch, a skinny college boy who regularly strolls in to buy milk, orange juice, cereal, roach traps, and the occasional random array of items used to construct homemade roach traps. Ghenet and Joseph began their rapport by discussing the nuisance of cockroaches and had been enjoying their little chats ever since.

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