my fingers ache for chalk dust,

for paint stains and captive sketches.

but I am no painter

and have no skill with still images,

crafted by my hand,

of sights I can’t describe.


my brain aches for words,

whose company I keep,

but who often overstay their

welcome or expire

before I’ve opened the carton.


my head aches for faded conversations

in smoky rooms,

with friends whose names I’m afraid

to write on my heart in Sharpie,

but who have already made their nests in my left atrium.


I want to express and impress

and cypress.

the last of which is to say:



but I guess I don’t know

when to stop yearning

and when to

just sprout.

About the Author

Stephen Evans

Guest contributor

Mr. Sandman

Mr. Sandman

Mr. Sandman,

Come blow me a kiss.

I wish to remember

How to drift.


Insomnia has consumed

My imagination.


Flashes zoom by,


The sky tries

To make illusion

Of Night.


I’m no fool, yet

I lie to imagine


Leaping Stars,


Eating the Moon.


The flocks’ overhead,

Mind’s in a jumble.

All in all is a riddle,

I just gotta go to bed.


I Daze at the clock.

Recall my luck.

I’ve swam in waters,

Where Romans have drowned.


The shadows cling

To the walls.

If I sleep

I can battle them all,

Safe and sound.


Rainbows and unicorns

Await me,

Gathering butterflies,

Should fulfill my dreams.


But reality tears

At each seam.

I’m in a lull,

Awaken me.

About the Author

Florence Babatunde

Guest contributor



White surrounds the one who wants to play,
The young one, who wishes to seize the day.
I, the wanderer who must take her care,
Am dazed by the shine of icy glare.

The glare catches my empty gaze,
Stirring me from my mental haze.
Like a beam straight from the sky,
Wakes a feeling, makes me want to fly.

Step by step, minute by minute,
The breeze makes the air quiet.
The snow that’s falling slow,
Makes the ice patch thrive and glow.

Ice beneath my feet,
In cold, breathing deep.
An hour seems to pass,
The ice shatters like a pane of glass.

Shards of crystal stare at me,
They pause, then shift suddenly.
What once was cracked and broken,
Aligns itself in order again.

Through grey and icy weather,
Broken bonds form back together.
Though the cold may freeze me,
The warmth of light will free me.

The young one tumbles and sings,
Always pleased by the simple things.
As she makes her way back to me,
I once again feel that I am free.

About the Author

Thomas Marshall

Guest Contributor



I didn’t notice the cyclist behind me

while I was walking to the coffee shop,

so he coughed and spat onto the sidewalk

to let me know that he was there.

I sat uncomfortably close to a guy with a lot of tattoos

and his ex-girlfriend (with a lot of tattoos)

who is complaining to him about her new boyfriend

(who may or may not have any tattoos)

because the new boyfriend is celibate and it has been two months

and she thinks that she is in hell,

and the man just nods,

choking down his tuna salad on croissant.

I want to watch his face

as she discusses her agony,

but I point my gaze away from them

and take a too-big sip of my chai tea

which burns my throat and chest.

I imagine that’s how he must feel

because she just    keeps    talking,

and he keeps nodding,

and I think that he ought to cough and spit

to let her know that he is there.

About the Author

Julia Lewis

Julia Lewis

Writer & Editor

Julia is a junior Media Arts and Design major with a concentration in Digital Video and Cinema,
pursuing minors in sociology and creative writing. When she isn’t writing dance-heavy sketch comedy and managing the PR for Maddy Night Live, she’s a writer and editor for Pulp. Though her current career goal is to write for television, her varied interests (including poetry, layout design, and creative essay-writing) keep her in a fun state of uncertainty about the future.
She has been the recipient of the Madison Cinema Studies Award, the Blanche Garrett Memorial Endowment and the Madison Screenwriting Scholarship, all within the School of Media Arts and Design. 

Midnight Ghosts

Midnight Ghosts

You keep blinking to stay awake.

Pushing yourself through it

Hearing that sweet guitar melody


The hands hold your head

Every sound is amplified

Shadows are footprints on the walls

Fighting (un)knowns


You think better in the dark

The skeletons are still in the closet

Humor makes you smile

You’re wiser than your age

What have you got to lose

By staying awake?

About the Author

Florence Babatunde

Guest Contributor



When I was a little girl, I had little anxiety attacks
at night
When the dark was thick enough to hide my two little hands. 
My knuckly fingers spread wide in front of my eyes,
It engulfed me.
And that was the scariest part of it all-
Knowing that the night could eat me up,
Swallow me whole,
And trick me and play little fluttery bug games.
I awoke one night,
I clutched my covers
And cried until my father heard me from down the hall.
I remembered nothing except for a dragonfly
Glowing in my closet.
I’ve run away from dragonflies ever since.
I spent 20 years in a cocoon, and I emerged
a moth.
I fly to the light
And away from narrow alleys and empty parking lots,
Where the dragonflies are.
The places where there are
No covers to grab,
Only mace.
No father to cry for,
Only anyone who might hear.
Where the dark is thick enough to eat me alive and swallow me whole,
To rape me and strangle me in its saturation.
Where it’s dark enough for dragonflies to eat moths,
And no one will ever know.

About the Author

Shelby Imes

Shelby Imes

Writer & Editor

Shelby is a junior double major in Journalism and English, with a knack for anything and everything related to R&B heartthrob Drake.
When Shelby isn’t reading Tina Fey’s autobiography for success tips or doodling in her dream journal, she can be found competing for “most realistic fart noise out of a mouth” with her buds over at New & Improv’d or Maddy Night Live. She’s also involved in JMU’s only feminist literary journal, Sister Speak, and now kicks it with the brilliant folks at Reduced Pulp as a writer and editor.