the politics of getting noticed in New York straddle borders and sit next to me on park benches. I keep headphones on so they won’t touch me with their Hey what’s your name but that man is still beating one off on a park bench. there are still parts of me that want to be noticed by strangers. parts of me are lost in coat pockets with loose change; these can be traded for a couple seconds of intimacy with a store clerk or a light refracted through thick frosted glass. I want to know how to pressure wash the streets people have made inside me. we are tapping on the ceiling hoping someone will hear us. We do it & then text girls to make plans for coffee who ignored us. we check our lipstick while crossing Broadway and 5th. scoff at taxi drivers. we do it all again next weekend. wear out clown costumes in black because it is in this season. eat out of reserved trash cans that can never spell my name right on their label. this is a place for strangers. we trade niceties to keep store clerks from suspecting we rob each other blind. hug after. get on the train and get harassed our separate ways home.


Torii Johnson is an English and Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies double major at Wesleyan University. Self-described anxious writer, intersectional feminist, annoyed bisexual, femme witch, caffeine enthusiast. She runs her personal blog and has contributed to Helloflo; if you’re interested in her tweets, which you should be, her handle’s @toriisavannah.

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, prose, reviews, and interviews from marginalized creators.