The Words Project

[Image description: "the words project" written in white over a rainbow watercolour background, scattered with doodles.]

Project by: Amelia Foy, Adele Lukusa, Daniela Ramirez, Jazmine Alcon, Amy Krimm, Vivian Liao, Dajiana Huang, Simone Timol and Cia Mangat
Cover art by: Amy Krimm

No two people will view something in the same way - perception is influenced by our lives, our  psyches and our experiences. This project selected four everyday words ("us", "mirror", "yellow" and "morning") for which each participant created different pieces of art and writing, in an attempt to highlight the uniqueness of every individual's perspective.

1) "Us"


A two lettered word
For two people
Is the only word I wish could describe you and I
Yet my dreams have yet to become truth
And my solitude seems to last as long as the word solitude
But the only word I wish to hear you utter
Is one simple syllable,
One simple, universal word for unison and partnership
One word to describe you and I as one


us is one plus one equals two
and three
and four
and infinity

us is we
us is two wholes together
no halves, no quarters, no thirds

us is tough
us is just
us is power
us is trust


[Image Description: Many women’s faces, in all different directions, rough sketches, small.]

From a game we used to play when we were bored in class. We didn’t need any words. Just a piece of wrinkled paper and a mindless scribble and we knew what to do. Our language.

2) "Mirror"


You are the first thing I see in the morning
And from an early age I have learned not to look for too long
I could hear Medusa’s snakes hissing as I brushed my teeth and spit into the sink
Some days, looking at myself felt like a sin
Some days, it felt like a burden
Some days, I wished I didn’t see anything.
Turn me into stone,
I hissed back.
But the last thing I want to see is my own eyes.

Our daily encounters, one to two
Became three
To four
To none
To back to two

Seeing you some days hurts more than others
But I have learned that hurting is part of it all
And the pain reminds me that no human being
Should ever have to feel heavier than concrete
And sink
And shatter

Broken glass was something I was taught to be scared of
But this mess is my own
And I am no longer afraid to bleed.


[Image description: a messy one-line doodle of a face looking in the mirror with pressed bluebell flowers on lined paper. Accompanied by two sentences: “You terrify me”, “I know I do”.]


plague doctor.jpg
[Image description: Ink and watercolour drawing. Figure dressed in plague doctor paraphernalia, including a long-beaked mask, extends scissored fingers towards a murky green surface. Ripples form outwards where the fingers meet its image reflection.]

How the ghost of you clings,

Not in substance, not in mind

Neither you, nor I,

But a spirit both conjoined and misaligned;

Through a carpal tunnel of lead,

Desolation takes its place

Meets with a dwelling inside our heads,

Inaudible streams of  Consciousness that flow

Just before bed

Quiet reflections of our own woe



[Image description: the reflection of a yellow-orange sunset on water, with the water in focus in the foreground.]

3) Yellow


[Image Description: “I wrote about a place called yellow” over a yellow background with stars, daffodils, and abstract faces. Some faces are crying.]

In third grade I wrote a poem about yellow.
It was a happy color,
Like a flower or a school bus or the sun.
Third grade was my first yellow year.
It was the year I painted my room a lemon shade so bright
That the sun seemed to reflect off every corner
And follow me into my dreams.
I dreamt about a place called Yellow,
Filled with the stars and the moon.
Since that day,

My life has been yellow.


I used to wish to be yellow:
To have yellow hair that shone in the sun,
To have a smile as radiant as the yellow daylight,
To have yellow flecks in my eyes that twinkled under sunlight,
To feel the joy that yellow feels like.

I wished to light up the lives of people yet not as myself
For I am a muted color that lacks the purity of the yellow flowers of spring
It is only now that I realize i needn't be yellow
For even in my days where i am red with rage
Or green with envy
Or blue with melancholy,
I am human

And a human is the most colorful thing on earth that you can find


[Image description: a collage of a photograph of the back of someone’s head, who has an undercut and short black hair, against a yellow background. On the back of their neck it’s written in block capitals: “TO BE IN LOVE”.]


somber venus feels like satin, looks like
ink bleeding through paper, sepia-toned skin
and warm autumn light, a song written
for all her cherry-pit lovers.
people etched in
marble, warblers and salt water reflected in
their voices, prayed to flickering stars
and the peaks of mountains
and some greater god, better god.
you always let the tea steep too long
in her ancient daffodil teapot.
her palms look like leaves when she grasps
your hand, unwieldy, hard to hold.
setting sun, sunset laughter. your fingers tremble,
like flower stems.
silent skin and glittering eyelashes mumbled
a name that felt like yours,
a feverish ocean hum, and the ugly things
washed ashore.
solemn darling twines the ends of
the earth into her hair, thick with memories
of the future. she holds honeycomb between her
teeth until it snaps,
rains shards of sugar into your

hair, syrup dripping onto jessamine petals.


On a day turned yellow with the glow of mid April

I'm sending the shuttlecock into the air again

while you wait on the other side, racket in hand.

As soon as it's close enough, you reach up

and send the shuttlecock into the air again,

the racket’s chipped paint coming off on your fingers.

As soon as it's close enough, you reach up

to watch our little yellow shuttlecock soar - how it lingers! -

the racket’s chipped paint coming off on your fingers.

no matter how hard you try to wash it off.

To watch our little yellow shuttlecock soar - how it lingers! -

used to fascinate you when you were little,

no matter how hard you tried to wash it off.

Watching me always falling over on the court

used to fascinate you when you were little.

We like to pretend that we're good at this sport

(with me, always falling over on the court)
while you wait on the other side, racket in hand.
We like to pretend that we're good at this sport
on days turned yellow with the glow of mid April.

4) "Morning"


[Image description: a picture of sunrise over a city skyline. The sky is a hazy pink-orange that fades into the greyscale buildings.]


My pervasive fear of living a boring life
sets in too early this morning,
before I’m fully awake.
Dreams slip through
my metaphysical fingers
and write stories with the steam
from my cup of coffee, chimerical.

Before I leave,
I call my mom
to remind her I love her.
I remember the days
she used to play motivational hymns
to wake me up.
I try to suspend my judgement--that’s something I’m working on.
Not skipping breakfast is another thing I’m working on.
I make a bagel,
the good kind from New York,
like my dad always does,
and congratulate myself on the little victories.

I catch my reflection
in the face of my clock, glinting.
Note the passage of time
manifesting on the corners of my eyes.

This morning,
the air smells like rain
and the world around me
feels hushed under
its blanket of leaves,
nothing more than a reminder of fleeting time,
nothing more than leaves,
nothing more than leaves.

mornings are the birds chirping to vulfpeck
it’s the pink, yellow and blue light peeking from the curtains,
it’s the warmth the sheets emit when i wake up

mornings are summer heat stuck to bed sheets,
sweaty, sticky depression clinging onto t-shirts
the bright yellow rays incapable of reaching me

mornings are winter cold intertwined around my feet
it’s the few seconds of pure silence
and complete stillness

mornings are the beginnings that blended with the night
the darkness that melts into dawn

“Where is my mind?”
[Image description: Surreal ink drawing of a bedroom filled with water, pool-like. The figure who lies atop a bed is missing the top half of a head, revealing hollowed-out insides. To the left, a brain floats in the middle of the water, sending ripples outward. A TV and fishbowl sit in the background. The figure, ripples, and brain are tinted with red and blue ink.]