External Validations – Luana Pontes (she/her)

The work below is by Luana Pontes as part of our MA Creative Writers takeover.

‘The profile we create for others is shaped by our own personality’

Angles of Incidence: the angle of incidence and the angle of reflection is always equal

I refuse to be narcissistic in nature. I don’t like the idea of watching myself die because I haven’t conquered what it means to self-love. I am my own flower. My bedroom is dimly lit, so I rarely have the pleasure of watching myself through the mirror. All I see is a figure sunken in the shadows. I find it is their way of protecting me from what they see.

Hot water is frozen still over a pane. Steamy, it glazes over the iced sheet. Cool and plane. It stands in every cluttered corner of this home, and equally distant to every object lying before it, this overseer is my virtual reality. I am reminded with every passing, of my maternal figure. I am watching pain project onto these different screens. Talking to the object, I know that it is only erect because I have made it so. I have stood in front of its light and made my obnoxious presence known. I know this because when I talk, it doesn’t talk back. It stares. There is a barrier trying to hold up its walls, and I attempt to knock it down, tapping the glass only for its exterior to give me a clammy cause.

Incident Sound Signals: a sound transmitted in order to convey information

I refuse to be mocked for my crimes. I don’t like the idea of having my voice being caught by the winds because I have only conquered what it means to love others. I am my own echo. My bedroom is dimly lit, so often I have the pleasure of listening to the empty bell that rings inside the mirror. All I feel is the reverberation dying out, whispering away. I find it is their way of telling me what they hear.

            What I think is marble and stone is curved and carved into. Protective, it defends my nervous walls. Hyperaware and still. It sits in every empty park in the world with only grasses of green and trees so that it is not tempted by the flushes of a nearby stream. I am reminded with every re-peat, of my compassion for others. I am understanding what it has meant to submit myself to others. Speaking through the object, I know that it is only erect because they have made it so. I have listened to its light and been taunted by its tone. I know this because when I talk, it talks back. It insults. There is cruelty keeping it up, and I attempt to knock it down, waging war against the rock only for its shell to cave in on me and fall.

The Intersection: an afterword from a point at which two or more things intersect.

Mirare, Mirari. To look at and wonder upon admirably, respectively. A caution. In theory there is only human bias and human error. Before the presence of a mirror you are your worst. In its absence you are almost your best. Echo, Echoe. To echo is to sound and to curse, grudgingly, perhaps conveniently too. In theory there is no true echo. Ring once and there is candour. But beneath the ring it will always softly alarm again. And so, the point at which these two reflections meet, is the point at which you realise neither are inescapable because they are replicas of each other.

A two-page collage spread consisting of various pictures of people, flowers and writing. Left page - text excerpt on brown paper, an image of a black woman with white smudges covering her face, a handwritten sentence on floral paper and a flower drawing in gold, all on brown and blue paper. Right page - photograph of a flower, flower drawing in gold, two printed images of painted women on brown paper, a handwritten note and a title - "Romanticise me", all on blue and floral paper.
A two-page collage spread consisting of various pictures of people, flowers and writing. Left page – text excerpt on brown paper, an image of a black woman with white smudges covering her face, a handwritten sentence on floral paper and a flower drawing in gold, all on brown and blue paper. Right page – photograph of a flower, flower drawing in gold, two printed images of painted women on brown paper, a handwritten note and a title – “Romanticise me”, all on blue and floral paper.

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