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For Wendy Darling

by Kristen Zory King

For Wendy Darling

Wendy-bird you bloomed with adventure, more graceful
than a floating ship, fiercer than a sword fight, a captured
damsel, your cheek flush from fire-lit dances, your smile
brighter than the North Star. Flying through two worlds
Peter offered you the pomegranate seeds of springtime,
not realizing that you are no Persephone, that you are not
the kind of girl caught between the twilight of reality
and the dazzling light of mermaid songs and magic.
He didn’t realize that you, the girl clever enough to catch
a shadow in her hands would never let escape the chance
to flower, that you would never forgive yourself for all the things
you would not become, that you were already full of faith, trust,
and pixie dust. Wendy, I don’t know what compass you used
to get home but I do know this: a life spent in Neverland
would have made you nothing more than a petal pressed between
the pages of a book. And you who raised a whole flock of lost boys,
you who fought pirates, you who silenced Peter with a single kiss,
of course you came home. Of course you were brave enough to grow up.

– – – – –

kristen king
Kristen Zory King is a writer currently based in Washington DC. Some of her previously published work can be found in The Trident, The Inn House Review, Cactus Heart Press and Poetry Breakfast.
(featured image: Kristopher Roller)
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New America’s Next Top Model: Gog & Magog

by Elizabeth Kaye Cook

New America’s Next Top Model, Cycle 200:

Gog & Magog, Servants of the Destroyer!

The Official NANTM Casting Team has begun its search for Cycle 200: Gog & Magog, Servants of the Destroyer! We are casting women, men, and human-identifying embodied consciousnesses1. NANTM wants the whole package: striking face, immaculate sacrificial body, and ruthless passion! Winners will receive a $100,000,000 contract with Guess?, as well as immunity for all loved ones involved with the Miss J’s Indignant Ghost’s Army2 and/or The Pope’s Resistance.

How to Apply:

Stand in a dark room lit by a single candle. One must not let oneself be seen by anyone — not even the little orange cat curling its tail beneath the sofa. Stare into the mirror. One must only see the glint of one’s own eyes and the wet sheen of one’s own teeth. Cindy, we know that you left the light on, left the little orange cat curled in its corner, but we forgive you, Cindy. Accept our forgiveness. Smize into your reflection. Whisper three times:  poT ledoM, poT ledom, poT ledoM. Cindy, do you behold Tyra’s majesty as she shimmers into sight? Note her glorious five-head, her liquid eyes. See the cunning flap of skin in the middle of her forehead that may, at any moment, spiral open to reveal a laser beam. Fierce! Kneel before the mirror and clutch your face-skin, screaming, PLEASE, I AM CINDY, NEW AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL, PLEASE GOD—I MEAN SATAN—SAVE MY BROTHER. HE WAS JUST A FOOT SOLDIER IN THE ARMY OF MISS J’S INDIGNANT GHOST! I AM CINDY, NEW AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL!

Cindy, you may notice that Tyra’s skin curdles at its edges. Her eyes may leak dark matter. Do not be alarmed! This is high fashion in the outer realms! Congratulations, Cindy! You are now accepted for Cycle 200. Tyra’s skin-flap will open, and her laser beam shall burn you, but yea, ye shall not be as a pile of steaming ash; rather, Cindy, Tyra shall transport you unto the Models’ House. This could be the year you come out on Top!

TYRA MAIL: The Girl Whose Carcass Was Harvested By Ghosts

Smize with your eyes if you want this prize: sweet relief in the Suite of Forgetfulness! Stand at the multiverse’s edge where the Carcass-Seekers shriek. Hang onto your butts! How hot can you make disintegrating flesh? Only thirteen will return, shuddering as they step into the warmth of the Sun.

TYRA MAIL: The Models Who Were Ungrateful

If Tyra smolders your friend into oblivion with her forehead-laser, then give praise—she didn’t banish your soul to the Darker Lands. [Looking at you, Cindy.] Today’s challenge: glorify Tyra on set as she who Was, Is, and Is to come! Winners can bring a friend to the Suite of Forgetfulness AND serve as egg hosts for a bright future!

 TYRA MAIL: The Girl Who Betrayed Our Master

You all promised loyalty to the Dark One, and swore to reveal secrets and seditious dreams . . . and Cycle 200 cannot exist without trust. Cindy, you signed in blood that your “beloved brother” was tricked into joining the Army of Miss J’s Indignant Ghost. We offered you mercy, Cindy, but wait — after a fabulously exotic photoshoot in the hidden realms, a shocking twist reveals that Cindy’s innocent brother is actually General Cindynattus, Right Hand of Miss J the Living, later known as Soul Transporter of Miss J’s Indignant Ghost? The contestant who revealed Cindy’s dark secret is rewarded with five minutes personal instruction in Neck Posing with Tyra Herself, and now Cindynnatus weeps in his far-off prison. Foolish Cindy! You thought you could hide your heart from Tyra’s all-seeing eyes! Did you really believe that we didn’t notice the little orange kitten who sleeps so gently in your dresser drawer? The letters that you tuck beneath your sleeping hollow? That we didn’t sense your doubts when you stood alone on the Catwalk of Truth?

Cindy, when Tyra’s laser beam focuses on you, and you collapse into warm dust, who will you blame? Will you think of Cindynnatus in those last moments? Sweet brother Cindynnatus, gnawing his feet free from their chains. Miss J’s Indignant Ghost, how could you believe we would not discover you? That we would not draw your followers out from darkness into light?

1. No orbs, pulsations, or sensory consciousnesses, please! Ghosts can apply, as long as they demonstrate themselves capable of possessing corporeal bodies.
2. A pathetic, failed resistance group. Miss J’s Indignant Ghost is doubly-dead and all citizens spreading rumors to the contrary are subject to the Inquisitorial Mercies.

– – – – –

elizabeth cook


Elizabeth Kaye Cook has been published in Ruminate, Lilac City Fairytales, and elsewhere.

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Cool Girls Read: August (part two)

A second installment of our series Cool Girls Read for August 2016! Check out the rest of our series here. The books we’ve recommended we’ve actually read, but this post contains Affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here.

I have only reached Season 2 Episode 8 of Game of Thrones, but the rumor of a Jason Momoa return to the show already has me feeling some type of way. I haven’t read the book series yet either, but that is on my to-do list. Another long overdue essential read is the Harry Potter series (yes–I know), especially since I’ve neither read the books nor watched the films, and I worked at a bookstore when the series was still in print and releasing new installments.

But don’t we all have those never-ending “to read” lists, those stacks of books and aspirational shelves we think we’ll conquer one day? Well here we’ve got more recommendations for you to add to those lists, stacks and shelves. As part of our August Cool Girls Read we’ve got our editors’ pick Reading Roundup, installment number two. These short reviews are brought to us today by Art & Lit editor Kelli Heidelberger and Entertainment editor Taylor Mims.


The Girls: A Novel by Emma Clinegirls

The 25-year old Emma Cline snuck up on me with her stunning debut novel. I hadn’t heard anything about the battle for her manuscript or the huge deal she signed, but all the right people seemed to be talking about it. The story in The Girls closely mirrors the events of the Manson murders, but Cline’s exploration of her young antagonist goes much further than the allure of a charismatic leader. It reveals how an intelligent girl could find herself entwined in a cult of unstable believers.

The language is unique and completely enthralling. There were passages when I felt the need to pause and let the words land. Cline finds different ways of describing the most familiar of emotions and moments without ever losing the reader in verbosity or confusion. I can’t remember the last time I was this sad to see a book end.
– – – – –


black rabbit hallBlack Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase

I love Gothic literature, so if you give me a book set in a creepy old house in the English countryside I will read it. Black Rabbit Hall is more of a modern day Gothic fiction book. It parallels two stories, one that takes place in the 1960s and one about thirty years later. They both center around a dilapidated Gothic manor named Black Rabbit Hall. I’m not necessarily a fan of the back and forth between the two points of views–I always find myself drawn to one more than the other–and it wasn’t any different for this book, but there is some mystery as to how the two stories connect that kept me reading. Chase’s writing is straightforward, but the it is the descriptions of the house which remain integral to the story.


didionThe Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

This has been on my list to read for a while now. Didion is such an iconic writer, and I hadn’t read anything of hers yet. It’s a story of such a tragic year in Didion’s life. Her writing is honest and draws on her grief to provide a relatable narrative for anyone who has lost someone in their lives and finds it difficult to keep on going. It isn’t just her grief that drives the writing, but her passion for her family and the retelling of a lasting marriage in a world where it seems as though there are news reports every day about couples (famously or otherwise) separating and “uncoupling.”



crime punishmentCrime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I decided to read this one after talking to two high school seniors I work with who had to work on an AP English assignment for this book. I realized I hadn’t read it and decided to dive in. Russian literature is always an adventure. Dostoyevsky’s writing includes long, drawn out paragraphs of dialogue mixed with long expository paragraphs. It’s not surprising why so many people are opposed to reading his works. I haven’t made it that far in yet and it is a long book, but I’m determined to make it through.



smokeSmoke by Dan Vyleta

This is one I happened to come across through the recommendation of a book blogger I follow and decided to check it out. Smoke is set in the 1800s England and yet still has a sort of science fiction vibe to it. Any human who sins appears to have smoke emanating from their body which in turn makes their bodies and their sins visible to everyone. Vyleta’s writing is full of rich descriptions creating a world that is both fascinating and horrifying, because even one little lie could lead to the smoke giving you away. It is a book I look forward to finishing and seeing where Vyleta takes the story.


– – – – –

I don’t know about you, but I’ve already added these to my library holds and Amazon wishlists!

We’ve been doing so much reading, required or otherwise. Check back in with us the rest of the week to see what our other editors have stacked up as well. You can catch up with the past book recommendations from our Cool Girls Read series.

And don’t forget to stay connected with us on our Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram pages.

What are you reading? Let us know in the comments.



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Cool Girls Read: August

This month we’re changing it up a little bit, and writing more of a Reading Roundup version of our feature series we call Cool Girls Read. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, what with the Olympics, the Lochte Lying scandal, Frank Ocean announcing a new album, then not releasing it when he said he would, then giving it back to us in the form of a weird livestream video of his studio where music played while someone literally built a staircase in the middle of his studio…then Endless…until eventually giving us Blonde. It’s been wild.

Keeping up with our daily lives and all that madness entails, we still somehow find the time to read. Here is our editor’s Reading Roundup for August, part one.


between the world and me

Between the World & Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates

I had been waiting to read this forever. I’d only read excerpts and quotes and snippets via tumblr, instagram and some book reviews. I’d been waiting in the library queue for months. Yes, a several month wait-list for this book. The book is presented as a letter by Coates to his young son about what it means to exist as a black person in the United States. Between the World and Me is not very long text, but the writing is profound, compelling, and timeless. Published in July 2015, it’s sadly yet unsurprisingly easy to change the names Eric Garner and Michael Brown to Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Korryn Gaines. I would have to second what Toni Morrison so boldly proclaims: this is required reading.



Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This novel by Adichie is full of life. Her writing style is effortless yet complex; it is rich and layered. I love the alternating flashbacks between the protagonist’s adolescent and adult lives. If you read between the lines–and sometimes it quite smacks you in the face–you’ll see that she captures and critiques so many nuances of American culture with the so-called advantage from somewhat of an “outsider” perspective. Adichie has a wit to rival the sharp tongue of Dorothy Parker, but curves her jabs into a sort of sweetness that make you say, “Yes…please do that again.”

Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

Reading this has become quite the task for me. I went into this book without any context other than my friends had read it and really enjoyed it. As I began the novel, I assumed it was set some time in the 50s or 60s because the language bends itself toward a sort of midcentury American sensibility. As I continued to read, the references to various modern technologies snapped me back into the present time and I had to readjust myself as an audience member. The narrative pulls me through, but I do take this book in small doses at a time. I hope to finish it before the year ends.

garments against women

Garments Against Women – Anne Boyer

Lyrical prose poems thematically stacked and measured against history, time, the lives of women and children. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve read these poems but the number is high. This collection of poems has been celebrated many times over, and I highly recommend giving this a read.




fdrFDR – Jean Edward Smith

I just started it a few days ago and haven’t gotten very far yet. Despite having just started, it’s a well written book and so far very detailed with FDRs family tree, which gives a lot of insight to his upbringing and the context of the America into which he was born.



Between the World & Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates (A second nod to this book!)

Coates doesn’t use a typical or commonly used style of writing. The style somewhat reminds me of beat literature in that it can be disjointed in some ways, but it lends to the narrative. Reading this text definitely requires focus, but the voice is extremely authentic and truthful.

– – – – – – – – – –

We’ve been doing so much reading, required or otherwise! Check back in with us the rest of the week to see what our other editors have stacked up as well. You can catch up with the past book recommendations from our Cool Girls Read series.

And don’t forget to stay connected with us on our Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram pages.

What are you reading? Let us know in the comments.

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