The Word

 

The Word on Wednesdays is a healing space for self-exploration, expression, and love rooted in three core ideas:

 

VOICE. 

The Word is a place for folks to put voice to their experiences with support and encouragement.

 

 CREATIVITY. 

 As a platform founded on love, we create a dynamic online community that fosters self-exploration and self expression.  

 

INCLUSIVITY + COMMUNITY. 

The Word is an open space that centers BIPOC artists through collaboration, dialogue, and art activism.  

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Patchwork Skin

George Vetushko

he/him

needle pulling thread 

sewing together scars,

will I ever be beautiful again?

 

ribbons of memories, 

bundled up in a 

smothering smile,

wrap a bow around my throat 

as if my screams are 

song

 

im waiting

always 

for your hands to unravel me

like they did in June while i slept, 

(red still looks the same on 

dreaming skin)

back when i knew myself 

 

who am i now 

behind this patchwork skin

who are you now,

who have you always been 

 

i can still feel 

the fear, pain, and memory of you 

behind these hallowed hollowed eyes, 

 

my greatest fear is that 

I’ll never cry you out

 

i’d hate to be lovestained 

by someone who never learned to love 

Kyle
they/them


Abstract acrylic and oil on canvas painting. A woman’s face with two different eyes, and color swirls and designs around her. A sword lays in the background of her right eye.

This piece was inspired by Dido, from the Aeneid. I’m really interested in the female portrayal throughout literary history, and Dido was a really complex character to read about - so I felt compelled to paint my own perception of her.  

Gidra

Cheryl Ma

she/her

 

“Gidra” is the title of an Asian-American, feminist, anti-war, anti-racist zine that was created and circulated by UCLA students from the late 1960s to 1970s. The collective spanned 60 issues, 5 years, 200 people, and became one of the most circulated and influential zines in the history of Asian American activism. I had the opportunity to borrow the original copies of Gidra from the UCLA library, this is a scan of a graphic I liked taken from volume 2. I looked at it so much that eventually I felt compelled to paint it on a tapestry above my bed. To me, this cartoon is something that connects me to a deep rooted discovery of Asian American female radicalist identity. The painting spans generations, and it’s all about intersectional action. I don’t know the name of the artist besides their initials (lns). What I do know is that if they are alive, they are likely in their 70s now. Some wonderful people at Asian Pacific Coalition are making a new zine, 50 years after Gidra paved the way. I cannot wait to help them.

Kristen Soares

she/her

 

As a queer woman, my body and my sexuality are parts of my identity that I hold close to myself. They are important aspects of who I am, just as everyone's bodies should be adored and cherished. This painting is not of my body but is inspired by me, and I think to grow in your relationship with yourself it is essential to celebrate it through whatever medium you choose. Everyone's body is different, and I could say that everyone's is beautiful, but I reject placing value in only things that are deemed beautiful. Everything has inherent value. All bodies have inherent value. Explore your own relationship with your body and find what you value about it.

I Love You Tonight

George Vetushko

he/him

 

I love you tonight;

When I wake up January warm in your arms smiling again,

just like the last time I saw you,

the last time I saw you,

Your lips taste like sugar and snow

Cool and distant like a memory,

And your eyes twinkle and blink with skylights 

As if you’re far away,

Just like they were 

the last time I saw you. 

You taste so far away.

 

I dream alone in December

Under the rain and the stars 

They kiss me wide awake 

Just like you did the last time I saw you,

if I remember anymore:

The memories hurt

With how bound they are

To my heart and  

How torn it feels now 

That I know 

I’ll never see you again.

 

The stars shut their eyes 

In our sky 

Forever.

 

... 

 

I wake up in July alone, 

Holes in my heart and in my tongue

Where your lips burning once met mine, 

When your lips yearning once were mine.

 

You taste of nothing at all.

Graciela Barada

she/her

I miss the fuck out of Word on Wednesday. My friends and family all know that my three years in CAC were a highlight of my undergrad experience at UCLA, an institution riddled with all kinds of unforgiving chaos and soul-sucking madness. Word taught me that we cannot heal what we do not speak. I’m currently challenging myself to start writing (and sharing my writing!) again. So, here I am - practicing courage and authenticity as I learn to access my voice once more. I’m grateful for this virtual space.

Autumn Air

 

today we heard 

a song so beautiful

it made us cry

lyrics so poignant 

we forgot to breathe

may it all break

fold onto itself and crack

grief barrelling into your chest

brown lines etched into your palms

sand stuck beneath fingernails

digging, itching

shame and sorrow

joy and freedom

speak because it matters

write because you can

autumn air breathes life

into you still 

as impermanence shakes you

and brings you to your knees

once more

L Train

 

i could write poems in the subway 

profess my love for stillness 

press myself against

blurriness or noise

scribble love letters 

to uncoupled strangers

ache with wonder 

as people walk by in two’s

hands at their sides

admire intimacy from

six feet away, a safe place

each hand a universe unto itself 

the story of each digit untold

we are restless, panicked, impatient

cautious, curious, forgiving

I see you in every beautiful thing

hear your laughter in the pauses

between songs that made you dance

Empty Frames

Mia Glionna

she/her

Content Warning: Black death

 

i’ve made a gallery wall in my brain of people that i will never know

 

living eyes limited to a lifeless piece of paper

or set of pixels

or whatever the fuck the images in your brain are made of 

 

i want to ask them questions, tell me how their day was

 

what’s your favorite food?

what’s your favorite spot to go alone after a long day?

what’s your family up to?

 

what’s it like to be immortal?

 

i already know the answer to the last one. 

too many tales tell of the yearning and loss of living forever

the fated grief of tuck everlasting

roaming the earth and outliving his loved ones 

 

at least his feet stayed on the ground.

 

i can’t imagine being given immortality unwillingly

posted in mine and others’ minds as another addition to a growing wall

being called martyrs in the thoughts of the naïve

being stuck in an endless cycle of temporary posts

trapped within the confines of one last picture

their whole lives trapped in an image after their bodies have long left this earth

 

what makes them so different from paintings of immortalized pain?

postcards of lynching parties that still lie in special collections somewhere

ancestral whipping scars on our backs

why does an ordinary picture make that easier to swallow when their end was just the same?

 

see, my gallery wall wasn’t made to be a statement

or an inspiration

or a tribute

it wasn’t made with a political agenda

or inspired by a think-piece 

it wasn’t made for Change.org

 

this gallery wall is one of mourning 

for what, and who, its pieces represent;

 

fleeting moments, particles, pixels 

that are doomed to outlive the very person their picture displays. 

 

 

i wish you didn’t have to die for them to see you.

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