P / P Quote: When Justice is Denied

Written By: Jordannah Elizabeth

I met playwright and activist, Sheila Gaskins for the first time last weekend. I only knew her through social media and from a couple of letters she wrote me via email when I was working to combat racism at a local publication in Baltimore by demanding a Black editor be hired at an all white paper. Shelia sent a letter of support and told me a simple and popular little saying that always makes me think of her when I become exasperated with my socio political circumstances. She told me, “Be the change you want to see.”

When I finally ran into her at a coffee shop, we chatted for a bit. I told her of some of my woes of feeling a bit isolated in my work – a Black woman pent on immersing herself in studying feminist existentialism, writing folk music and practicing “conscious self assertion” (I made that up). Sheila listened, insisted on buying a copy of my new book, “The Warmest Low” and then gave me a  quote she’d handwritten in her notebook.

Here is the quote:

“When justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, when ignorance prevails and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither person nor property will be safe.” – Frederick Douglass

A historical rumination on “the safe space”? Hmm.

Thank you, Sheila.

With love,



P / P Poetry: Not All Heroes Wear Capes

Written By: Meccamorphosis

Editor’s Note: Last year, Ms. Meccamorphosis (Mecca Verdell) leaned over to me while sitting at a nearby table at a coffee shop and quietly asked if she could get my thoughts on an idea she was working on. I had just finished an interview for an article and my interviewee had just walked away from my table. I told her I would do my best to answer her question. She said to me, “If you could think of the seven layers of hell for a Black woman, what would they be?” She was doing a piece similar to Dante’s Inferno on the reality of the Black woman. I rattled off my seven layers the best I could, and the rest is history. 

That summer Mecca went on to win the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam  and will soon be competing for Baltimore’s Youth Poet Laureate. I am in awe of Mecca, I’m a big fan and wanted to share her poem, Not All Heroes Wear Capes. -je

Not All Heroes Wear Capes

Not all heroes wear capes
Some wear nooses,
Loosened, but ready
To drag dead weight
Hanging behind them
My mom carried enough
To sound like rattles
For her loss babies Continue reading

P / P Books: Early Spring Reading List

Written By: Jordannah Elizabeth

Spring has finally sprung. It took a while. For weeks I was waking up in the middle of the night, removing and adding my sweater to my body as the temperature remained unpredictable, showing itself to be bitter cold, then pleasantly bearable at the drop of a hat throughout March and half of April. I will soon put away my space heater and replace my comforter with lighter sheets, and more importantly, I’ll be taking a personal Spring hiatus to catch up on a few things I don’t do enough: sleep and read.

There are three books I’ve been quietly obsessing over: “Modernity and Self- Identity“, “Vulnerability in Resistance” and “The Sabotage Manuals“. I even forced myself to pay full retail price for all of these books in local bookshops, which added up to what would be equal to the price of a new pair of durable shoes or two weeks of groceries, but there are some things that move me to invest. I had been reading “Modernity and Self-Identity” and “Vulnerability in Resistance” by borrowing them in and reading the books in a local bookshop for weeks, but it wasn’t enough. I needed to mark these books, consume them and carry them around until they looked worn and studied.

I have been thinking a lot about emotional availability, vulnerability and social existence in regards to service and interpersonal relationships. I honestly cannot say I am personally the most emotional person I know – moody? A bit indecisive? Yes, but not emotional. I am a realist and I have to work with my emotions, which at times get clogged up for weeks to the point where I have to take time out to sit and interact with them until they ooze out in a manner that allows me to feel like an appropriately balanced human being. Continue reading

Premiere: Publik / Private Small Press

Publik / Private Small Press Presents:

The premiere of author, Jordannah Elizabeth‘s new book,
“The Warmest Low (Chapbook One) Limited Edition Two”
(listen to the music that accompanies the book here)

will take place at

Publications and Multiples Fair VIII (PMF VIII)
in Baltimore, MD.

Baltimore Design School

April 1st and 2nd

Jordannah will be signing books on April 1st at 2 pm.

For more information on how to order the book contact

P / P Writer to Writer Series: Roxane Gay

Written By: Jordannah Elizabeth

Every time something important happens to me, I’m sleep deprived. I got the word that author and feminist, Roxane Gay would be speaking in Baltimore the day of the event, and in the haze of my busy schedule, sleep deprivation and lack of financial abundance, I had to make a quick and conscious decision to do what I had to do to attend the reading of her new book, Difficult Women.  

I asked a couple of sisters if they wanted to drive to the event, but ended up having to take a car a few miles out of the city (or my personal pedestrian perception of city lines) because the convenient location of the downtown library had been changed to The Church of the Redeemer. The church was tucked behind a roundabout driveway in a quaint in a part of town on North Charles St. I cannot describe the area in depth because I was lost in my own thoughts on the way to the event.

I could barely afford the fare at that time, but I felt I had to invest in a Black woman who took the time to travel the world to inspire Black feminists and progressive women. Most most importantly, Roxane Gay speaks about intersections of reality that tend to make people feel uncomfortable and enlightened at the same time.

As feminists, we should invest in one another. As Black women, we should speak and encourage one another.

I sat in the second row of the church, which was filled with mostly white attendees. I turned by body around in my seat and grazed the room with my eyes, looking at the faces of the sprinkle of women of color in the room. I was a bit saddened to not see anyone I knew except for my friend who worked at Enoch Pratt and was managing the event, which didn’t make seeing her any less pleasing, I just wished more sisters were able to attend as listeners and explorers.

After Gay read excerpts from three short stories in Difficult Women, she opened the floor up for questions from the audience. Of course, I was the first person to raise my hand after realizing no one in the room wanted to be the first to speak.

Continue reading

P / P Poetry: Sediment and Sentiment

Written by: Carolyn Shayte

Photo credit: Photographer unknown

The switch was flipped

the city turned on

and twinkled

from beneath orange clouds

vibrantly reflecting the sun as it made it’s way

to morning

made its way to the other side

So the earth turned

and the earth turned

and I wondered what you thought about me

He thought of her

with his soft heart

with his fresh wound

and his harden scab

and he tried not to think of her

The pan had been used twice

to fry oil Continue reading

PUBLIK PRIVATE MIXTAPE # 16.16 – Daydream Machine Mixtape

Mixtape and Words By: Daydream Machine

Portland’s Daydream Machine are friends I’ve made by being a long time member of the neo psych, shoegaze music community. Our love for the music connects us with musicians from all over the world. DDM are have released a new album on March 7th entitled, The Show Must Not Go On on Picture In My Ear Records. I thought we’d celebrate the release of their album by inviting them to curate our newest mixtape. PS: Here’s a link to an alternative Spotify version so you can listen to the songs in their entirety. -je

Luna – 23 Minutes in Brussels
It would be a lie to not acknowledge how much of an influence Dean Warhem has been on Daydream Machine and this song was certainly the musical inspiration for “Modern Prophecy” and that I’m comfortable believing we turned it into something wholly our own, though I won’t deny the stylistic similarities between Justin and Josh’s bass lines. It’s just such the perfect groove to frame Jsun’s critique of the bourgeois spiritual hypocrisy and diplomatic war mongering pervasive in American culture.

Spiritualized – Medication
No song has influenced me on a psychic level or as a producer more than this. I still think of the first time I heard it, on headphones on a hotel bed in London in the 90s. I sold my soul to the dual philosophies of minimalism and maximalism. The song, and the album, Pure Phase, also spoke to me on a lyrical level, one that continues to resonate with me throughout my life. Continue reading

P / P Introspective: The Summer Tarot Deck

Written By: Jordannah Elizabeth


Photo of the Summer Tarot Deck by Mary Shock. Photo: courtesy of Mary Shock

I am happy that there is a vulva in my tarot deck! – Mary Shock

Mary Shock has a gift. I’ve witnessed it first hand. The first time I met her was several months ago when I stumbled into an inclusive workshop for strange people. I was born strange. My mother told me the first time she realized I was “different” was when I sat in the front yard of my childhood home and dumped dirt over my head. I’ve been essentially running around the world, “dumping dirt over my head” ever since.

Anyhow, the workshop where I met Mary was last Spring. She and I were both attendees and politely promised to connect in the near future during everyone’s niceties at the end of the event, but it wasn’t until a bitter cold night in Baltimore a couple of months ago when I stepped into a lecture put on by her group, the Bmore Tarot Club that I saw her again. The lecture on the history of tarot was fascinating, and I was glad I attended.

Mary has this ability to create opportunities for people to learn. She doesn’t take advantage and she doesn’t hoard information like many metaphysical professionals do. She’s a portal for the local metaphysical community to gather and learn from one another in harmony. At the end of the lecture earlier this winter, all attendees got to check out different tarot decks from some of the teacher’s personal collection, and that’s when I was introduced to her Summer Tarot Deck. Continue reading

P / P Essay: The Water Inside (Can You Hear Me?)

Written By: Alanna Bailey


Photo By: Joshi Daniel Photography

The word claustrophobic came to mind. I’ve never been one for small, contained spaces, let alone small, contained spaces that swallowed sound—so this was starting to fit-the-bill for pulling the fire alarm in my lizard brain. Survival mode, hyper-vigilant, I surveyed every detail of the small, angled room, a series of rectangles stacked and repeated in different orders: rectangular ceiling mirroring the rectangular floor, pulled out and mirrored again in three-dimensional rectangular blocks, steps, one on which I sat, directly across from the standard rectangular door and an adjacent tiny rectangular window, across from a rectangular speaker fastened in the opposite corner. And as if this rectilinear closet wasn’t unfortunate enough, everything, save the door, window and speaker front, was covered in entirely drab slate-grey, carpeting, institutional, no doubt special ordered from a company that made the dowdy material with a special ability to absorb acoustics.0

The soundlessness magnified my breath and heartbeat, now entirely in my throat and head, but consumed anything else. The ad for the material or it’s corresponding ‘Yelp’ reviews must have been equally alarming—‘Wish your son and his band weren’t into death metal? Cover his room with this soundproof material!’; or ‘I’ll bet Ted Bundy wished he had this! What a great invention!’; or ‘Now my small farms slaughterhouse doesn’t scare the other employees!’. The list goes on. And horrors aside, I was shaking my head at the designer. I imagine some interior architect fell asleep in front of a bottomless Auto CAD galaxy and woke to see their toddler had stacked up shoe boxes and wood blocks on the floor nearby, and simply said—brilliant, I’ll just do that. Lazy… But perhaps fitting for a great torture chamber, or audiology testing booth, as it were.

I shifted on the scratchy carpeted step and adjusted the large leather headphones waiting like a noose around my neck, which was now starting to itch. I felt hot despite the moderate-to-cool-temperature, standardized, as the grey room. I focused on my hands, my nails, then looked down and studied my boots, shiny calico toes illumined under a fluorescent bulb; they looked like a pair of leopard’s-eye stones waiting on the dusky granite cushion of a jewelry box, snapped shut, yet to be gifted. How lonely. How the hell did I even get here?

My entire life I’ve been a water-baby, half fish[1], beach bum, and I never got ear infections[2], which seems funny to consider since I was such a sensitive kid. I would get hay fever from too much dust or cat dander, occasional hives from cat or dog saliva, full-on allergy attacks from over-chlorinated swimming pools, or my cobble stones[3] would get activated and my eyes would be so itchy I couldn’t stop rubbing them and they’d swell shut. I’d sporadically get laid up and miss half a birthday party with an ice pack on my eyes, waiting until the magic medicinal eye-drops I had to carry with me kicked in (sometimes I’d totally score extra cake because the supervising parents felt bad, though it rarely made up for the discomfort). What caused this horrifying allergy? No one knew. Some swimming pools set it off, some didn’t. I eventually grew out of some allergies, but never my love of the water. Something about it, free from gravity, suspended, an alternate atmosphere, sky’s parallel universe, immaculate symmetry split by only the horizon. Perhaps it’s the closest thing to tangible proof of magic I could experience, though I’m certain there’s also something to it akin to the womb— a fluid abyss of infinite, quiet calm, the whole body swathed in slow time and a cool cloak or velveteen warmth. Continue reading

P/P Book Review: The Future Generation (Anthology) – Atomic Books

Written By: Jordannah Elizabeth


I’m about the same age as Clover, the inspiration behind the 90s underground parenting zine, The Future Generation. She is 28 and I turned 30 late last year. My mom is nothing like her mom, the anarcho punk momma essayist, China Martens. My mom is not a punk. I became a punk because I found out about Riot Grrrl through a book about Kurt Cobain (maybe earlier around 12 years old, but I remember when I became truly aware of the movement at 14 or so) and was a little jealous of one of his first girlfriends who made zines and seemed super cool. Legend has it, he wrote song about her called, “About A Girl”, a song I sang off key one time as karaoke in a deadhead bar in a small mountain town in Colorado when I was 19.

Anyway, I like China and her writing because it’s out of the box. I like everything that defies the binary, breaks patriarchal social codes and tells the unadulterated truth. The Future Generation: A Zine-Book for Subculture Parents, Kids, Friends and Others is a well printed anthology of the 14 issues of her self made zine that spans over 14 issues and 17 years. You can read and watch Clover and China grow up together and it is quite incredible.

China is a sweet writer and a hardworking mother who was acutely aware that motherhood sucked – correction, through her experiences it was stressful to align her reality with her beliefs and lifestyle as a radical punk, and to make ends meet for Clover and herself. Nonetheless, the anthology is deeply touching and eye openingly intimate.

All in all, I find the book to be  a small miracle for weird girls. a) I don’t have kids because I suspect the truth that raising a kid as a radical woman is super hard and no one has ever told the truth about it except for China. b) She gives you the opportunity to check into reality in a way you’re not quite prepared for. c) she shows you how much empathy she had for other mothers as she worked to find solidarity in her lonely experience, convinced that there were other young women like her who needed a support system and network through her zine. Continue reading