born to die.

By Madeline Allen.

“and someday when my hair is white / (a tangled puff of cloud reminiscent of the skittish sky we swam under) / my sides will cease to ache with laughter / and i will suffocate under the weight of age / (and not summer joy)

Summer Dreamer by Noelle Bairle.

An eighth grader once told me, “You’d have a nice haircut if you didn’t put in white people stuff.” The weapon of Don Draper, James Bond, and Steve Rogers. Their fiction is their hair. They’ll never lose a battle of wits, or fists if sleek hair keeps their success. We see them bleed. We see them undress. We see them in bed, but we don’t see when they truly wake up. “Bed head” a weakness of perception. The Vice Principal once suspended this same eighth grader for a racial slur— Mr. Ching Chong. Zero tolerance for discrimination reflected by the gelled shine of his thinning hair combed over a balding scalp, and coming to work at 5AM—students don’t know if he sleeps. He disciplined her under his two framed diplomas from Vassar and Dartmouth. Names she struggled to pronounce. My hair didn’t shine until I got my first job and I accepted pomade as power. The relationship between head and pillow a pleasure. We suffocate the evidence with chemicals that will eventually leave us bald—will leave us to find power in plainness. Then, she won’t see characters with sleek hair, but people who wake up, just like her.

The Blood Pudding – April 1, 2022

Madeline Allen is a creative writing student living in the mid-western United States. She is a recipient of the 2019 NCTE Certificate for Superior Writing and you can find her work in Wingless Dreamer’s collection of essays ‘Overcoming Fear’.

Artwork: Noelle Bairle is a Sydney based Artist & Fashion Designer. Her work centres around the female form and waterscapes. During her career, Noelle’s work has graced the covers of leading magazines such as Elle, Vogue and worn by iconic women such as Elle McPherson, Dannii Minogue and many others.  You can find more about her here.