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Raquel Yerolemou

 I cling to everything-

A chipped coffee mug with stains

Too stubborn to wash off. She’d only drink out of that one.

Cheap rings that turn my poor

Fingers green;

A worn-out necklace I found in her bedroom

The day my heart spoke louder than my mouth.

A recipe for Carrot cake she said she’d make one day.

I was never a lover of carrot cake,

But I did love her.

A shitty portrait of me I drew when I was twelve;

I never had the courage to take it off her wall.

A time vessel one would be silly to disturb,

In case it made it all seem a little

Too real.

Soiled birthday cards hidden at the bottom of my drawers,

Love you booboo, your grandmother x barely visible 

From all the tear stained fingertips that held onto it

On nights where the world seemed too small

And my grief too large

A wine-stained notepad discarded under my bed

That held all the secrets to my wounds.

The first, and last, scissors I ever cut my hair with.

My hair, how she loved it,

Is something I cling to the most.

Month after month,

I sit in silent agony

As my hair rips through my scalp, ever so slowly,

To give birth to long golden locks

She would have had half the mind to stay alive

To witness.

That is the only remembrance

I know how to give her

After she chose to jump
out of her window

As If to fly straight 
into the mouth of the reaper.

Old letters from friends, a toy dinosaur my first cat loved to play with,

CDs with love songs that play on loop, my mothers childhood blanket,

A discolored photograph from her wedding a lifetime ago.

As I sit, boring holes into that picture with my worn-out eyes,

I wonder if she knows

How painful it is

Growing the same hair out of my scalp

That she once wore. 

Was it as painful

As the sharp concrete

That kissed her sunken cheek

In reunion?

I cling to the answer

I’ll never know.

Raquel Yerolemou is a Cypriot/Canadian self-taught artist that strives to make people uncomfortable through her art, be it photography or poetry.

Growing up, the deep-rooted need for creativity was undeniably the calling of her life; dabbling with the arts for many years she finally found her expression through the means of the lens and the pens.

”My work is heavily based on body positivity and women regaining their sexuality back, that which was stolen from them. Women have been shamed and blamed for their right to live in a shameless skin; most of my photography/writings portray strong women who fight back against a society that tries to devour them to a crisp. 

My work is also heavily inspired by the ugly side of life, the trauma, the shame, the evil, the guilt. The emotions and life lessons people try so hard to shove at the back of their minds. I think this is what makes art so special, it forces you to see the things you don’t want to. Art is supposed to comfort the disturb, and disturb the comfortable.”

Her poetry is based around the traumatic and life-changing experiences herself and the people she loves, have faced. From abortions, to suicide, to alcoholic fathers and absent mothers, she thinks it’s important for people to read the raw and the un-edited side of life. She strives to be the most authentic with her work, and refuses to sugar coat words OR images to be accepted into the heavily edited rainbows and kittens’ art world. 

You can read her poetry at her blog

And check her excellent photography here

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