Welcome to the first issue of PHEMME zine, a print and online platform that publishes and promotes the work of marginalized authors, artists, and photographers.
The publishing industry is, by and large, still a white, straight, cisgender domain. PHEMME wants to change that. By prioritizing the work of women, femmes, POC, and queer/genderqueer individuals, we want to uplift talented creators who have historically been silenced.
Interested in appearing in Issue 2? Send submissions and queries to . Hard copies of Issue 1 are available for purchase at request. And in the meantime, sit down with the zine and get comfortable. Or rather, get uncomfortable—the work you’ll find in this issue is visceral, provocative, colorful, angry, and queer. We hope you’ll enjoy your stay.
Maddie De Pree
Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief
“Every Woman,” Sandra de Helen
“Part I: Secondhand Smoke,” Matilda Moore
“Eve’s Revenge,” Olivia Oliver
“The Real Donald Trump,” Mackenzie Smith
“I Re-Downloaded Tinder in the Bathroom of a Catholic Church,” Sarah Feingold
“On Becoming,” Crystal Stone
“Safety Sonnet,” Julia Knowlton
“us,” Sasha Larson
“Ash and Flame” (excerpt), Camiell Foulger
“Beyond Rage,” Uma Venkatraman
”Red Girl,” Nyleen Perez
“Sisterhood,” Jack Martin
“Honey,” Celina Odeh
“Madonna Behind the Wall,” Sarah Dusek
“Body,” Claire De Pree
“Speak From the Part,” Olivia Oliver
by Sandra de Helen (she/her/hers)
With one arm the woman holds
up her piece of the sky. With the
other arm she is fending off the
sexual advances of the man who
holds up his piece of the sky with
one hand and gropes female parts
with the other. Not every man, you
say. Let us be generous. Let’s say
fifty percent of the men are groping
one hundred percent of the women.
Some men are vicious and violent
and grab women by the pussy. Or
worse. They masturbate themselves
while making women watch. They
rape women. They rape children.
They are the bad apples who give
all men a bad name. They are the
men who ensure that women
never feel safe.
In this age of microagressions we
have come to see that women—
even women who have never been
harassed, molested, or raped— walk
to their cars looking over their
shoulders, keys sorted between their
fingers, fingers wrapped into a fist.
They lock their doors, they check
their surroundings, they quake in
fear when they walk into a darkened
Women do not walk into alleys, but
if they do, they know they are risking
Women carry their cocktails into the
restroom, choosing germs over possible
When women express joy over the
birth of a son, they have to ask themselves
why they prefer a boy over a girl. If they
look to their own lives, they see the
shadow of fear that accompanies the
lives of girls. Boys are easier, they say.
If the world is to change, if women are
to be safe from groping men, those men
who are not harassing, not molesting,
not raping, those men must help the
sky fall on the men who are.
Every woman deserves to live in
the same, safe world as every man.
by honey (he/she/they)
paint me bright white
paint me octagonal
keep me in your cup
take a sip and set me down
i’m not poison i’m something worse
i’m a medicine that doesn’t go down easily
paint me bright white like the walls scrawled with crayon
can you hear your own voice when you speak to me?
all you can hear is your rage for me.
lover, hit me, friend, betray me, you all, don’t believe me
paint me grey and then black with the acts of others?? — no
paint me rainbow. paint me green. paint me the pink you made me ashamed of, and the red you looked at in disgust.
paint me golden browns and the gums of your teeth and the colours leaving my body as i clung to my mother
take your bright white paint and keep it for clouds for your children, or sugar for your coffees, —
don’t paint me anymore.
- [ honey. ]
by Nyleen Perez (she/her/hers)
PART 1: SECONDHAND SMOKE
by Matilda Moore (she/her/hers)
everyone says that when boys hit you, it means they like you.
but they don’t mention that boys also choke you until you see spots
stab holes in your door with a screwdriver when you don’t let them in
chase you up the stairs, the sound of their feet pounding behind you the only thing louder than your heartbeat
they don’t tell you that someday when a man threatens to assault you in public,
you’ll remember this,
a feeling so visceral you’ll cry all the way home on the bus
that you won’t be able to close your eyes because he’s around every corner,
you’re 2,471 miles away and he’s behind bars,
it’s been years, but you still feel his
ghost hands, ghost hips
you will feel yourself becoming more dead than alive, more ghost than yourself,
slipping through walls
dissociating at red lights and almost crashing in the middle of the intersection.
the first time you felt desirable was also the first day you knew what it was like to hate yourself, and
they say that boys hit you if they like you, but they don’t warn you that they will cry afterwards because they “didn’t mean to hurt you”
everyone tells you boys will hit you.
but nobody tells you about the first night that you feel scared of him. when he’s had a few beers and his car won’t work and the way he speaks to you is deeply wrong.
it will feel so familiar, it’s almost comforting.
they don’t tell you about the fights that follow, the ones where he’s silent for hours at a time, where you feel his anger suffocating you, in your lungs like the smoke from his cigarette,
you’re wrong. you’re making it up. don’t you remember? you started this.
you will forget what is real. he will ask you to repeat back exactly what he said word for word, or else it didn’t happen.
I guess it didn’t. I don’t know.
he will break your favorite coffee mug and he won’t say he’s sorry.
the feeling of betrayal after you leave him on the side of the road in the middle of the night because he refuses to get back in the car until you agree to give him another chance.
he calls you fucked up.
they don’t tell you about the roses he will buy you. the ones that are still sitting in the trunk of your car months later, dead, untouchable.
a sinister energy surrounding them as they disintegrate.
by Olivia Oliver (she/her/hers)
The mountains roll
The snake, unknowing, winds
In a hot blue blaze
Violently it writhes
I grab the mouth and wrestle out
The thing that’s trapped inside
And grind the bones
Beneath my boot
Get out, Adam;
This garden is mine
by Jack Martin (he/him/his)
by Claire De Pree (she/her/hers)
I RE-DOWNLOADED TINDER IN THE BATHROOM OF A CATHOLIC CHURCH
by Sarah Feingold (she/her/hers)
My mother wants grandchildren
She’s made that quite clear
Bouncing, bubbling, burping
Corkscrew curls and
pink plastic pacifiers
My mother wants grandchildren
I’m in my college dorm room
A girl in my lap
Brown corkscrew curls
Lips soft as a
Our bras hang around our waists
Clothes tossed aside in the nervous shuffle of a hookup
hands sliding and
My mother wants grandchildren
I know the basic biology
But our bodies curve perfectly
around each other
and our hearts beat louder
than my mother’s petitions
echoing off of the walls of a catholic church
praying for babies
I just want this night to last forever
by Crystal Stone (she/her/hers)
I prayed for boobs every day until I got them. Men stopped looking
at my eyes. They are too small and brown.
Some men tell me they like brown eyes, they just don’t love me.
If smell was sonic, whiskey skin could cello deep sighs.
Morning sobers shock a hangover.
My eyes are broken levees, but the tears are not destruction.
The tears might be destruction.
The bigger the mess, the more satisfying the clean.
My mind is a coal field stripped bare.
The lavender it grows is the love I think I can still give.
My heart fancies itself a dandelion and blows wishes.
The seeds spam the landfill. I am not the landfill. I am always
I am an earthy mosaic of dried and seeds, the sweaty ground.
If I was a cup of tea, the leaves would be unclothed and float.
by Julia Knowlton (she/her/hers)
know exactly where you parked/carry car keys in your hand
walk confidently staring straight ahead/don’t walk alone at night
if you drink order your own /don’t leave your drink out of sight
only exercise indoors /only meet new date in public
text friends at beginning & end of new date/carry pepper spray or mace
make assertive eye contact (don’t look scared)/park close to exits in parking decks
carry bag close to your body/wear shoes that will allow you to run
if you are followed cross the street/if you wear a short skirt
if you wear heels/if you wear a low-cut blouse/if you ever wear red
take a self-defense class/stay in your car doors locked while pumping gas
don’t give out your number/don’t leave your windows open
be aware of your surroundings at all times/do you know what you are doing
but above all don’t look scared (don’t look scared) (don’t look scared)
but above all don’t look scared (don’t look scared) (don’t look scared)
MADONNA BEHIND THE WALL
by Sarah Dusek (she/her/hers)
by Sasha Larson (she/her/hers)
sometimes i hate this country it kills dandelions it kills children it pushes drugs and peddles empty promise it carves out empty stomachs and empties blood buckets, it throws band-aids at crisis and throws away leftovers, it cuts the tails off dogs and the life from bitches, it insists safety and smothers those who need saving, it stole from my mother and stole from her mother and stole from her mother and never gave back, it locks grid-iron walls and fills the inside technicolor, it hovers shiny objects, it dangles carats, it curtains production, just force-feeds product (all we know is finished), it loves corn it hates deer it is indifferent to theater it spits up what’s not red meat it fingers throats with magazines, it aches and pains and cries but it’s FINE, it takes its pill it’ll try again it killed another teenage boy with pigeons feeding on his carcass. its carcass. it rises from the dead it cocks its semi next to its semi-cock it didn’t read her resume it pissed on a burial ground (but it’s all right it doesn’t believe in ghosts), it doesn’t really believe your story, it doesn’t ever listen just like it doesn’t ever sing, its cereal gets soggy, it’s got this under control, it swoops down on metal wings, it wants us to feel bad about it, cry about it, and scrape our food off the plate, saying there’s nothing else to do,
your hug is more asphyxiation/but better to die than face alienation?
by Celina Odeh (she/her/highness)
ASH AND FLAME (excerpt)
by Camiell Foulger (she/her/hers)
It goes left, it goes right, over counters and over heads,
Swill of sweat on arms and under ears,
Stretching me until I pop,
Traveling at a velocity unknown to you,
I’ve combusted and splintered and collapsed,
I was a firecracker girl, with a revenge to seek out,
I would die young and insipid,
Spilling guts to human error and the last judgment of your man stalked over a lifeless body,
Does this mean anything but shame?
I wanted to die unwrinkled,
Plan before 30, quick in the dark, slip of the knife
in all of its power and press,
Crunching paper clips beneath my teeth
and asked to chew some glass,
Marveling at and feeling the scream I wanted to speak to you,
Will you tell me goodbye before you go?
Let me absolve my sin of mistake,
I cannot fathom a world around just you,
In a moment of loveliness we will smoke a cigarette,
Our heads planted in old novels and our hearts still trembling,
Silver touched the knight at your hand and asserted my own hopelessness,
I cry to be refreshed,
I cry to lose nothing or maybe to lose the edge.
To know nothing of who you are to me,
Summer grass crackled and the air sparked to heal,
The threatening movement of the breeze biting at my heels,
I am at the doorway, looking at someone I knew,
This falls under losing sense of self to the oblique knowledge of right and wrong,
This eats me,
Twisted, maternal, seasick on the copse of deadened trees,
There are no tears from you,
I only feel the iceberg lettuce in between my teeth.
by Uma Venkatraman (she/her/hers)
I am beyond angry
I have become rage
and you mock me
with your oh-so-cool eyes
In the red glow of dusk
I am an incendiary word
away from combustible
You always knew
indifference was the fuel
to send me up in flames
and you toss it towards me
in a steady stream as if
you wish to see me burn
Sometimes I think
your inflammatory smile
has been perfected
to set me to simmer
heating my molten core
and I wonder why
I constantly feel like an inferno
I remember, dimly, a time when
I was an oasis of calm
a placid Bull slow to rage
But even the long-suffering earth
becomes parched when
rain refuses to fall
and the drought of emotion
left me cracked
a tinderbox needing only a flicker
to turn incandescent
So I seethe and bubble
and stew and fume
while the wildfire you stoked
gathers speed, ready
to raze your world
SPEAK FROM THE PART
by Olivia Oliver (she/her/hers)
THE REAL DONALD TRUMP
by Mackenzie Smith (she/her/hers)
you have to treat ‘em like shit.
That’s how you get them to do what you want.
Because treating women with respect is unheard of.
I start kissing them.
I don’t even wait.
You can do anything.
Because a woman’s consent is unheard of.
Grab ‘em by the pussy,
you can do anything.
I mean look at her,
Excuse me, did I just say that?
But let’s be real.
Look at her,
you’d fuck her, wouldn’t you?
I’d fuck her.
C’mon, wouldn't you?
Look at her.
I heard she wants to make a decision
because she claims to suffer
from back pain
due to her large breasts.
Any woman who has a breast reduction is insane.
Look at them,
They’re only good for one thing.
They’ll walk up,
and they’ll flip their top,
and they’ll flip their panties.
I hate it when she’s menstruating,
blood coming out of her wherever...
that doesn’t mean I have to wait.
Look at her,
a beautiful piece of ass.
Now, let’s look at
uh, yeah, those legs,
all I can see is the legs.
dirty blonde hair,
oval shaped face,
20 years old.
She’s not beautiful,
Very hard to be a 10.
Sandra de Helen’s work appears in Artemis Journal, The Dandelion Review, The Medical Journal of Australia, Mom Egg,Lavender Review: Night Issue, The Dramatist magazine and other journals. Her collections of poetry are published by Launch Point Press. Desire Returns for a Visit was released November 9, 2018.
honey is an artisté and a plant lover whose roots are slowly growing in; the painful process of rebirth. their emphasis in art is the communication of the true, the beautiful, and the human.
Nyleen Perez was born in Miami, FL and raised in Greenville, SC. Her passion is storytelling in different mediums to connect people closer to each other and tear down the walls of hatred that society has built with politics. She enjoys drinking coffee with people, exploring new cities, and listening to songs that make her feel like she’s in a movie.
Matilda Moore is a college student and barista. She lives in Oakland, California with her cat and dog.
Olivia Oliver is a senior English Major at Furman. Born and raised in Greenville, the majority of her writing is semi-autobiographical, focusing on the joys and pains of growing up as a girl in the American South. She has been published in The Echo and in the Sigma Tau Delta annual journal. She hopes that her lyrical yet unapologetic voice will inspire other young women to speak up and create.
Mackenzie Smith is the Campus Correspondent and Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus at Furman University. She is a junior majoring in Public Health with a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Mackenzie has a passion for making sure women feel empowered and important throughout all stages of life. She is also an avid Nicolas Cage fan, her favorite food is pesto pasta, she has a slight obsession with Sex and the City, and if she could live anywhere in the world it would be in New York City.
Jack Martin is a thinker and an artist who believes in the power of listening, and the beauty of loving. His artwork explores his appreciation of the human experience and his own melancholy.
Claire De Pree is a queer artist based in Austin, TX. Her personal art draws upon her background in biology and her experience as a queer woman by exploring the interactions between human anatomy, sexuality, and nature. You can see more of Claire’s work at depreedesign.squarespace.com.
Sarah Feingold is a sophomore biology major at Furman University. She was raised by two amazing parents and five crazy siblings, and is constantly overwhelmed by the support she receives from her incredible friends. She is a runner, reader, writer, scientist, horse and dog lover, catholic, and a proud bisexual.
Crystal Stone’s poetry has appeared in various international journals. She’s currently pursuing her MFA in poetry at Iowa State University, where she serves as one of the poetry editors for Flyway: Journal of Environmental Writing. She gave a TEDx talk called “The Transformative Power of Poetry” in the spring. In her free time, you can find her traveling long distances on her roller skates. Find her online at Twitter with the handle @justlikeastone8 or on instagram @stone.flowering or at her website:
Julia Caroline Knowlton holds an MFA from Antioch University and a PhD in French Literature from UNC-Chapel Hill. A Professor at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, she is a Pushcart nominee and the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize. Her chapbook of poems, Café of Unintelligible Desire, was published by Alice Greene & Co. in 2018.
Sarah Dusek is a Junior at Furman University where she majors in Studio Art and English. She loves working with kids and hopes to help children tap into their creative potential through art.
Sasha Larson is a junior studying English and Film at the University of Georgia. She plans to pursue a career in screenwriting.
Celina Odeh is a visual artist based in the Carolinas. Her work is centered around the bending of light when she’s not busy bending fire.
Camiell Foulger is a junior at Furman University. She hates humanity and wishes she happened to be a horse.
Living in Singapore, Indian-born Uma Venkatraman is a journalist with a passion for poetry. She has been published in print anthologies such as Good Morning Justice, Along The Shore and Beyond The Hill, and online in Pink Panther Magazine, The Rising Phoenix Review, L’Ephemere Review and Plath Poetry Project.