Elizabeth La Pensée

Hands To The Sky

4 Digital Pieces

Elizabeth LaPensée, Ph.D. is an award-winning designer, writer, artist, and researcher who creates and studies Indigenous-led media such as games and comics. She is Anishinaabe from Baawaating with relations at Bay Mills Indian Community, Métis named for Elizabeth Morris, and settler-Irish. She is an Assistant Professor of Media & Information and Writing, Rhetoric & American Cultures at Michigan State University. Most recently, she designed and created art for Thunderbird Strike (2017), a lightning-searing side-scroller game which won Best Digital Media at imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival.

Lawdenmarc Decamora

Shoegaze + Suburbia

Slowly there’s a scene that celebrates itself,
              holds high office of shame, shoplifts grace
from grocery stores and tomorrow’s tin can mess.

It’s a scene standing in pride, unfazed by the murmuring strong-styled
to be energized out of concentrated flowerpots.

The suburb sprawl is a basement of employment
              hopes, like Monday walks looking for dream pop
              and bizarre poetry recitals  
along the pavement.

Looking for friends who musically trepanned themselves
              with shadows of 1994? Insecure shoes often
obscuring the walls, the sonata of chemicals likens

heads to garage tires you’ve spared for cool
              household principles. I bet you look down,
look down so hard to catch the open light

unfurling, like a beef falafel surprising
              schoolchildren from Bandra, Mumbai
I earn a living by re-counting poetic lines

and make them smell of cardamom.
              Carton-shroud livelihood makes a statement.
To live comfortably is to fall in love

              with euphoria: 100%. Sweetheart of lies—
all right you pay my fines
              as I’m down on my knees to defend

my eighth-month research on the theory
              of shoegaze and how hair cascades
from a culture of unpredictable weather

              sweated for heaven and death wishes. And if
it’s going to be the last time you cut your losses,
              stomach the sound of distortion pedals,

I’d party up again
              and call friends of friends of friends
‘till no grass is spotted
             at the edge of the tarmac.  


If dad could turn into a feather furor,
under the melting
sun stares cauterized by the yester-letters

of history, my dad would still be the long
uh-oh sound
of all untrodden wetlands

warbling for a mother roost. And now

the dumaras1 conquer this land,
what the heck,
what the quack! What aches the space?   

I wish dad were here tilling the nouns
of greater yolked fellows:
uninterpreted swamps and Mt. Arayat.

Birdwatchers bird-watching…

and then the beast of history,
my dad after some crumbs of memory.

1Wild ducks in the native lexis of the people in Candaba, Pampanga in the Philippines.

Lawdenmarc Decamora holds an MFA in creative writing and is presently completing his MA in literary and cultural studies in the Philippines. His literary work has appeared in Kitaab International, The Ilanot Review, Kartika Review, Cordite Poetry Review, Columbia Journal (honorable mention), Poésie Bleu Souterrain, Papercuts, The Opiate Magazine, Eunoia Review, Spittoon Literary Magazine, The Peacock Journal, TAYO Literary Magazine, WE ARE A WEBSITE, The Pangolin Review, LONTAR, AAWW’s “The Transpacific Literary Project,” Rambutan Literary, Shot Glass Journal, Mad Swirl, Chrome Baby, New Southerner, In Between Hangovers, Panoplyzine, The Cadaverine, and many others. He teaches literature and humanities in a prestigious university in Manila.