Cotton Xenomorph is a new literary journal produced with the mission to showcase new, and ecstatic art while reducing language of oppression in our community. We are dedicated to uplifting new and established voices while engaging in thoughtful conversation around social justice.


Sacred Spaces 1_2 MO.JPG

by Vanessa Taylor (art by Morgan Osburn)

does winter get tired of soliloquies
of aspirations to summers, somewhere

winter says she has never killed us.
not in the way that summers do, leaving bodies to rot.

how do you expect beyond
when summer abandons you on hot pavement for days

summer cooks you like a patty
juices soaked up in the concrete.

i would never, winter says
respects us with honor. sacrifice.

but i remember what winter did
& have you seen blood freeze

as it oozes from bullet wounds?
firemen taking pressure hoses before it can stain

she gets shifty when confronted
& at least summer lets me die with pride.

fattens me up before they place hot hands
around my throat

gives me dew & fire bugs & concerts
with God as i drink

at least summer has water
an easier death, if we let summer take us by the hand

have you ever paid attention
to a lake when the sun rises blood red?

how it hums a hymn/nasheed on every shore but
God, what choices do we have to make?

there are no snow men or sleds
or basketball games or pools

that end with us whole & alive

Vanessa Taylor is a writer and organizer based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her articles and essays can be found on sites such as Racked, the Fader, and the Establishment, among others. She uses writing as a portion of a multi-disciplinary approach for exploring Black womanhood and Muslim identity. She is a co-founder of the Black Liberation Project, a grassroots collective of Black youth, and a current fellow of Muslim Wellness' inaugural Deeply Rooted class. 

(Artist) Morgan Osburn is currently a Senior at Randolph College, pursuing multiple degrees: BFA in Studio, BA in Art History, and a minor in Religious Studies. She works primarily in printmaking, monotyping and etching, as well as oil painting, and mixed media, incorporating elements of drawing, painting, and collaged found materials. Her art has been published in various journals and catalogs, most recently Hail! Muse. She has art on permanent display at Randolph College, and has art on temporary display at the Conway Student Art Corner, and in the Community Art Display at Menchie’s in Charlotte, NC. After undergrad, she hopes to attend graduate school in order to pursue her MFA in Studio Art.

Artist's Statement, "Sacred Spaces 1/2" Monoprint, 8x10 inches, 2017:

My work generally can be identified by its juxtaposition of naturalistic colors and forms, with brightly colored abstracted imagery and fluid lines. My process for printmaking focuses on creating differences in texture and layering them with my stencils made from mylar. I use steel wool, and ghost printing to achieve unique effects on my plates, and even print my etching plates underneath monotyping. Painting for me begins by building layers of color, such as natural browns and maroons shaded with hues of blue, yellow ochre, and crimson. Depth is created through layering abstracted forms, generally with a downward propulsion of movement. I prefer to work in series because I find that I can more efficiently impart my intent through multiple iterations of similar compositions, colors, and imagery.

I find that my painting and printmaking planning processes begin similarly, which is through a close study of my sketchbooks collaged with images and notes of research into Biological and Biblical imagery, Western religious imagery, specifically from the 12th-16th centuries, and scientific prints. My sketchbooks have images of cellular and anatomical images, assumptions of the Virgin, depictions of God and figures with halos, because I love organic circles, specifically images of halos, cells, eyes, breasts, crowns, globes, and celestial orbs. I want my work to convey a mystical, spiritual mood through its color and abstract imagery. The titles of my works are meant to reveal the inspiration or thought process behind each series. My study of art history and religious studies has undoubtably influenced my artwork, as has my travels while studying abroad in Italy.

The City of Four Million Husbands