Creative Responses

A Selection of Creative Responses

Some of the responses to the work in the Cabinet of Remedies.  If you’d like to share your creations, we’d love to see them!  Either email to hello@hundredheroines.org or tag us @hundredheroines on social media.

Dandelion Honey- Image © Vanessa Winship

Peppermint Breath

“Th….irty six….thirty seven. Thirty eight. Thirty. Eight.” With his mouth closed, he lets out a slight sigh through his nostrils. He looks down at all the counted dandelion heads. The dark oak kitchen table supporting each head as they mellowly look up at him, smiling. “That was one less than yesterday, I guess.” Softly tapping the tops of his fingers on the table. “Maybe it is actually working?”

Picking dandelion heads was his Nana’s age old therapy to ‘clearing the mind’. A family tradition if you will. She’d taught it to Bill when he was younger. The instructions were explained clearly every time. Too many times. “Whenever you feel sad now Billy, you go out and pick a dandelion head, and imagine, that your sadness is been plucked away too.” This was partnered with eating peppermints. Another one of ‘Nana’s Tricks’ as she liked to call them. Peppermints apparently naturally lightened your inner mood. She’d read about it in her weekly magazine she got in the post. Bill realised the peppermints really didn’t make any difference, but he didn’t like to tell his Nana.

He stares up, out of the small old kitchen window, above the sink filled with an empty ketchup stained plate. The sky was creamy looking and comfortable. An evening warm where it sits blue, but dusty peach and watercolour yellow all at the same time. He glances back down at the loose butter blooms. “Thirty eight this time Nana June” he mumbles, letting out peppermint breath. “I will get there.”

By Stew Prentice

Dora Maar – Image © Marysia Lewandowska

A Moment in Time

“Viola!” Jane’s voice wages war with the wind, waves pummelling the roughhewn rocks. A pair of court heels and a pile of diligently folded clothes sit at the precipice. All colour drains from the world and time pauses, her wristwatch refusing to tick one second more. Even the watch knows there is no world without her love.
“Jane!”
She whips around at her name. Her love is sat in a wicker chair, looking over her shoulder, smiling a smile Jane could never forget, nor mistake. For Viola is the single bottle of Ventoux in a wine cellar turned to vinegar.

By Jennifer Booth

Mara and Julião with home made loaf during the strict lockdown imposed as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK. © Dana Popa

“Mummy, take our picture!”

Click.

Big sister, little brother, giggling, grappling to keep each other and their loaf from falling.

Two bodies, four hands, hours of work. Kneading and waiting, rolling and shaping, proving and baking. The gratification of tearing the crust, savouring the crumb (slathered in real butter, of course) delayed momentarily.

“Done.”

Satisfied, they tear into the loaf. Little fingers – bigger than they used to be, but still – ferry, steaming handfuls into eager mouths. More giggling.

Camera down. She smiles and quietly continues to capture each moment. Click, whirr, store. Each moment, etched into her memory forever.

By Philippa Thapa Magar

Dress Code by Jenevieve Aken

Common goods
to have and to hold
take stock
take cover
stop, rock, and roll
downhill, or up?
It’s either pro, or it’s a test
stand in line
get a ticket, and ride

By Amy Jasek

Mara and Julião with home made loaf during the strict lockdown imposed as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK. © Dana Popa

does time ripen / like the nights left brewing /
bubbles of burgeoning yeast / belching bellows / heads ballooned /
does time ripen / like bulging buds from permafrost salutes /
the yearning for touch / whispers in shops / shadows through the streets /
does time ripen / like Gertrude Stein’s food / cut and repasted eaten and deflated /
minds that no longer need rest / hugs that needn’t be felt / faces now dislocated from self
does time ripen / when we curdle in the milky flesh of our four walls /
spoil and separate / become the hosts / new unwilling dwellers /
and so time ripens / now a soft fleshy pulp / here, touch it /
it smells of ethyl alcohol and dyspeptic words.

undigested / poem by gabriella gasparini

Emergency Tree Hug © Marysia Lewandowska, May 2020

Emergency Tree Hug

I

I’ve hugged humans more wooden than this tree. I’ve felt their scared flesh harden under my touch and watched them shrink deep into their heartwood.

II

The imprint lasted on my cheek for three hours. I’d pressed it deep. Your bark-skin marked mine and I touched the ridged flesh over my cheekbone, a landscape in itself of our relationship, the ups and downs moulding who we were in each other’s orbit.

III

I rooted here. I sank through the soil and last-year leaves and where we meet, our fulcrum, swings wildly and slowing, rests.

by Anna Giangiordano

Self-Portrait with Snail © Trish Morrissey

Untitled

She speaks to me of power
This denizen of time
That slowly creeps across her face
A fragile shell
It’s lines and whorls delineated with the pitted ravages experience brings
Yet while he crawls his path
In tight trenches around eyes and forehead
Her eyes blaze bright
Her beauty tenacious
His slow encroachment
Unable to dim the canvas
Upon which he adds his brushstrokes
Resistant she stands
Unbreakable

by Annalisa Jackson

Survivalist Failures No.3: Hone Your Hunting Skills © Kourtney Roy

Hen Picked

Sarah AllenHen Picked : Survivalist Failures No. 3: Hone Your Hunting Skills

Look at you there
with your side floppy hair
and your Superman boots
clinging on to the roots.

In your bed of daisies
when all the days get hazy
and the boundaries of crazy
are blurred.

Given the word
do you think you’ll stop me in my tracks
with your baked bean can that smacks
of a Covid plan.

Are you sure it’s me that’s trapped?
Who’s wearing the mask
as you put to task all efforts at last
to survive?

By Sarah Allen

Dress Code by Jenevieve Aken

“Dress Code”

Adorn me in a paper veil
A protective layer of hope
For those of us still here
Some in a fight against the invisible, but deadly creature
Some losing a battle with humanity
A rally of competition
A dress code of inequity
Misplaced in a fight with ourselves

by Ashley Loura

You don’t know what the nights are like? by Mitra Tabrizan

Darkness separates
color from form
blends fantasy with reality
makes it easier
to explain things away
maybe the click of electric sparks
is just a cricket in the wood
Walk this path alone,
learn to breathe in a vacuum:
lungs adapt to the
stifling cough of propaganda
that crinkles through
the smoke of burning pages
darkness covers,
the thick security blanket
makes it easier to forget
that the real safety
is in numbers

By Amy Jasek

Still Life with Cheshire Cat by Lisl Ponger

The lips and teeth
of a thousand stories
sinking in
tears at the flesh
those with ears
do the hearing
eyes peer over the shoulder
of mythology
beyond the rapt chromatics
a prism of meaning
splits the vision
sends out waves
that echo in rhapsody
with the strumming chord

By Amy Jasek

Mara and Julião with home made loaf during the strict lockdown imposed as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK. © Dana Popa

Beauty Regime

‘Your skin looks great’ my friend says, focussing her gaze on the one spot on my left cheek.
I checked it this morning; he looked less angry than a week before, when I felt that he was shouting and mocking me at the same time. Threatening to burst open and run amok on my face, leaving several little ones to take his place, once he’s annihilated by the benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid .
‘I’ve gone off dairy, sugar and gluten.’
‘Must be hard when you are a baker.’
‘Yeah.’ But not harder than being called a leper by my lover.

By Shyama Laxman

Dora Maar – Image © Marysia Lewandowska

The Two Way Window

She swirls the crystal glass; ocean dark wine kisses the rim and spills over the edge. A blood red tear rolls down the stem and pools at the base. Draped haphazardly across the couch, she looks at me from behind the glass of the picture frame.
“Is that all history sees? Do they not know that I am more than his weeping woman?” She launches the wineglass towards me. The crystal shatters. An arc of wine drips on her side of the glass.
“He lied.” She hisses.
I nod.
“You are the true Dora Maar.”
She smiles.

By Jennifer Booth

Survivalist Failures No.3: Hone Your Hunting Skills © Kourtney Roy

By Anna Giangiordano

Mara and Julião with home made loaf during the strict lockdown imposed as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK. © Dana Popa

I start with the old cracked bowl. I get out the measuring cups and spoons I took from my mother’s kitchen when we packed up her things.  I open the recipe file my daughter made for me for Mother’s Day when she was 12. I climb and balance carefully on the sides of the wobbly chair and lean into the spice cupboard.

I mix and pour. I hold my phone over the perfect round gift of love and click ‘send’.

From my place of sanctuary to yours.

By Paula Vellet

Dandelion Honey- Image © Vanessa Winship

“Dandelion Honey”

Checked in at a roadside motel, I became restless after twenty minutes. Heavy, bulbous raindrops rocketed against the windowpane like liquid bullets. I got up and futilely wiped the edges of the windowsill.

I didn’t want to talk to anyone outside this room. I scrunched and pressed the towel, leaving it against the window seam. It was dark and overcast all day. All I could think about was making it to the valley, where I’d stop in at Aunt Carmen’s café and have flaky earl grey biscuits, slathered in golden, dandelion honey—a saccharine rescue for my sanity.

by Ashley Loura

Mara and Julião with home made loaf during the strict lockdown imposed as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK. © Dana Popa

Private moments

As the camera flashed, the image grabbed me. They waited patiently, safely behind their mask till Mummy was done. “Is it ready yet?” he called out from the living room now a shade lighter. It cut short my private moment. Though, that’s how they have always been, compromising with the hidden and unexpected. Slow, fast and perfect.

By Ashley Brown

A Street Apart: Essaouria, Morocco 2008 by Jillian Edelstein

See me
I am hidden
but not invisible
we are not so different
both of us doing
what we have to do
what they tell us to do
and sometimes
what we want to do
cut from the same cloth
fruit of the same tree
temptations
haunting us all

By Amy Jasek

Julia Fernandez de Chuna by Joy Gregory

This window shines
like the light inside me
and I believe that voice
I hear
the one you tried to muffle
and mask
with your own
You think I’m listening
words are throbbing
sick and tired of being
so tightly coiled,
cats, ready to pounce
inhale: one minute
two
three
exhale: the next, the rest
it’s been a long time coming
You think I’m here
you think I’ll wait
but I’m already gone

By Amy Jasek

You don’t know what the nights are like? by Mitra Tabrizan

This is what nights are like

There’s a bite to the air, crisp smoke and sharp ozone, in the darkness tonight. She’s measuring the tic tac tic tac of her heels, the tight black shoes good for interviews and funerals, to the internal hum of a bright waltz. It pushes past her throat. She has a guilty walk, a sway, as the sounds leaks into the blue air.

The ground falls away to her left, tumbling in a flurry of notes when she turns her head. Notes catch in the scrub, like seeds.

by Anna Giangiordano

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