Photography © Jennifer Matthews
It is our immense pleasure to lead you on the lonely path into the ordeal in which you will most certainly die a gruesome, agonizing death. You have sacrificed so much in your blind chase for impossible happiness, nonexistent parental approval and perhaps even a dream… which will never come to fruition. You have floundered in the water for so long, tossed into the icy, lightless, never-ending ocean of The System, suffered until you lose touch with your body and soul, clawed onto other people’s shoulders reaching for the light, and now through your stinging, burning, bloodshot eyes you can only see one other human with their head still bobbing above and below the surface, desperately gasping for air. One of you will face Scylla, sucked into the whirlpool of others’ disappointment, dragged down, and down, and down, into the depths of despair you thought you were too good for, and the other will face Charybdis, plucked up, chosen out of many, and then devoured, atom by atom, feeding the very monster killing you. Which one will be determined by this test.
Upon death your remains will be dispatched into the Outer Rim Territories of The System where each individual dead cell shall be modified with cutting-edge llama poop TALENS genome editing software. Afterwards these cells shall be so bloated with suppressed life that each of the thirty seven trillion of them will burst in the likes of an exploding supernova, but without the awe, because with no watchers who give a fuck about your existence there is no awe, and these hellish chunks shall be distributed across the universe in which any individual may regrow these cells and use them—not for your future life or progeny but to consume them, to urinate on them, to defecate on them, to fornicate upon them, whatever so activities they please. These cells may be regenerated to create a form of your conscience, but it is a conscience in which you will feel nothing but limitless pain and suffering and agony and you can and WILL never escape because you have already perished in your pathetic previous one and only life.
And, with that said, my gallant slug; my vivacious sloth; my slimy frog, my dissected cat, my broiled rat, my baked dolphin – I love you. I wish you were dead. And I have stacked the odds in everyone’s favor but yours. And with thunderous stomping and swords shink!-ing and squeaks and bonk! and glug! And twip! And squish and squash, and babble babble babble to band-aid the gaping cracks in the walls closing in around you, before you–
Christina Pan and Victoria Wang are high school students at Stuyvesant High School and Hunter College High School in New York City, respectively. The duo have known each other since early childhood (the womb, perhaps?). Christina enjoys writing poetry and is fond of crime novels. Victoria is a notorious bookworm and has most likely read more than Sylvia Plath has. Forces combined, they have a refined sense of sardonic wit that carries through their work.
Poet/Photographer Jennifer Matthews’ poetry has been published in Nepal by Pen Himalaya and locally by the Wilderness Retreat Writers Organization, Midway Journal, The Somerville Times, Ibbetson Street Press and Boston Girl Guide. Jennifer was nominated for a poetry award by the Cambridge Arts Council for her book of Poetry Fairy Tales and Misdemeanors. Her songs have been released nationally and internationally and her photography has been used as covers for a number of Ibbetson Street Press poetry books and has been exhibited at The Middle East Restaurant, 1369 Coffeehouses, Sound Bites Restaurant in Somerville and McLean Hospital.