amicus est tamquam alter idem

Written by Ari Chattoo
Art by Wim De graaf

“tell me, what does thou seek?”
the way soft, sweet spring blossoms must wither into grey, flaccid skins,
the way rich, plump fruit is picked
just a shade too young and must rot—
inside out.
decayed and displayed,
mottled by maggots and defiance,
stinking to high heaven’s as the world looks on.
such is life as life passes,
in suffering and cyclic harmony.
in death, everything must moulder.
beating hearts necrosed under scrutiny,
as sometimes there are wounds that time can only worsen.
bleeding lacerations that fester.
organs gangrenous,
souls mortified.


hymn to the voyager

Written by Ari Chattoo
Art by WikiImages

god bless you, star-bright–
we aren’t friends in this dimension
because i would have made you read
bukowski and kafka in reckless succession
and you would have seen the soft of my innards
and it would have drawn your concerns inward.

god bless you, star-bright–
is it lonely out there in the trenches of the great big world?
or are there enough hearts to keep you warm?
no shortage of lovers spurned,
caught in a web of your brilliance.
helplessly lingering with daring resilience.

god bless you star-bright,
somewhere in a parallel universe,
we’re wearing matching pjs
and complaining about flight delays
and kissing while it rains.
and even if our paths never cross again,
i can at least hope that you eat well today.


Written by Ari Chattoo
Art by Prawny

blanket of divine.
forest of intuition.
dreamer of lingering hopes,
lover of starlight,
you touch the earth and it blooms.
I found home in your heart
every magnanimous flame simpers at your touch,
you are rooted in the depths of the churning ocean,
soft as the moss that beds our frothing rivers,
defiant as a hurricane in drought
i long to be the wildflower that vines in your garden.

still life.

Written by Ari Chattoo
Art by hakelbudel

in this fleeting age of interwoven technology,
interweb terminology,
and familial fandom,
i could tweet today
about my intimate desire to cease breathing.
to halt any and every trace of my physical being,
to crawl back to the earth and be swallowed.
and i would find a vast community of like-minded lovers
that find fellowship in this mere mortal yearning.
we all want to die.

actually, that’s a lie.
we all want peace, love, dignity, freedom.
death be not a cure but an affliction.
we are all our own sicknesses,
ailments pilled and plied into soft skin and tender bone.
i do not want to die.
i crave the lushness of life so magnanimously that
i am almost rendered useless by my own emotions.

i want to live.
i want to sink my toes into the wet sand of the shoreline,
i want to dig my bare hands into the dirt in search of a heartbeat,
press my reddened nose against the sweet buds of blooming flowers
even when they make me sneeze.
i want to climb mango trees,
barefoot and careless.
i want to stand in my grandmothers’ kitchens and be hand-fed,
i want to dance to the rhythm of my people.
i want to cry on every corner of this evergreen island.
i want to live.

Seirenes Secrets

Written by Ari Chattoo
Art by Hans

my god,
won’t you swallow me whole?
i am nothing less than devastated by the fecundity of my love for you.
distance spans between us like an untraveled continent
and yet
if you asked,
i would crack myself open like persephone’s pomegranate
sweetly offered up on a silver platter.
i would take glorious honor in watching you feast
on my deepest, darkest truths.
do away with my mere mortal desires as i drip down your chin.
consume me.
i want to drown in your deluge,
be held under the water until my lungs are filled,
in the exact same way that my heart is.
take all this love that lives beneath my clavicles,
spin me into fragile sugar floss,
let me be the lemon drop that you pluck so gracefully between thumb and forefinger.
watch me crumble.

blood of the convent

Written by Ari Chattoo
Art by David Mark

life’s first leg of forgiveness is best reared in siblinghood.
you and i and a womb of shared waters,
we sink our teeth into each other’s skin like a love language.
who better than to judge and be judged by,
than the people who know you at your worst, and anchor you at your best?

and even when i look at you,
across a room of charred embers,
with smoke at your crown and a match in your hands,
i think “this child is my child and my child will do no wrong.”
and you, my mirrored image,
will twist a knife into my back like a goodnight kiss.

and i will forgive.
my hand forever rests at my side,
my fingers splayed and waiting for you to take.
because even when there is nothing left for us in each other’s hearts,
you and i will remain mirrorball-shattered-glass,
twin images of the same hurt,
intertwined and reflecting into the most beautiful spectacle.


Written by Ari Chattoo
Art by Rujhan Basir

is it better to speak or to die?
salt, if you ask me.
i would choose death a thousand times over.
what could be safer than the sugary embrace of eternal rest
with whom i’ve long made my peace?
i sit,
shoulder to shoulder with this grim slayer,
exchanging passing phrases like long-distance relatives.
“your time soon come,” he says.
and i shall say nothing, for his words are but a judas kiss.

kerberos’ lament

Written by Ari Chattoo
Art by Pixabay

the sun stretches towards the east my love,
and winter charges west.
nights grow longer as our reign crescendos,
and the final meridian has been set.
we’ve bequeathed each other these emblazoned branches of youth,
and now we lay our hearts to temporary rest.

in cryogenic stagnation we orbit,
i, the Kerberos to your Pluto.
to the stars we pray for everlasting faith my love,
and we watch the chaos unfold.
in our binding moments we’ll drench ourselves in waters of the styx,
as we leave the laymen grappling for new hope.

for even the nymphs and riverbeds and willow trees,
admit that you and i are meant to be.
and when that 12 o’ clock hour finally strikes,
let us meet in that city where the earth kisses the sea.
we shall embrace one another in good faith my love,
knowingly happy.

Chemin de Fleurs

Written by Ari Chattoo
Art by Maria Orlova

my heart walks the flower path,
singing as it goes,
a cherished song of love and longing,
in a world where there lives no woes.
across the ocean i sit and mourn,
crying near the window pane,
for my heart was torn from its vessel,
and it no longer answers to my name.
in its stead i lay music notes,
forged crescendos in my head,
in between lamenting lyrics,
there i make my bed.
i dream that one day soon
my heart will walk this lovely flower path,
humming a tune we both know.

Death, Donne & Desire.

Written by Ari Chattoo
Art by MiracleKilly

Death, i am not proud
i beseech you as a friend.
spare my last futile breaths for my love.
their lips,
my sole sweet salvation.
my lips,
stained by the sour sickness of selfish reclaim.

Death. My faithful friend
have i told you
that lately, i’ve been wasting my youth on summer love?
endless nights dwindled,
hours of mine stolen by the limbs of a lovely Venus.
their siren shore the warmest heaven i’ve ever known,
my redemption stalled at their feet.

Death, will you tell me,
does my worship count if it is paid at a lambasted altar?
a fair, angel-winged purity-shaped Lover,
this companionless compatriot i’ve held out my arms for.
bear witness to my testimony,
please take me as i am.
for i will only go gentle into the night at their intimate request.