soundwaves

By Ella Standage

i. swimming, eyes closed. i want to see how far i’ll get before my breath runs out and all i am is ripples. the sea feels impossibly shoreless, here in the middle where the waves twist my body into a question mark: can the ocean exist without us trying to cross it? ii. if water […]

[the space within]

By Annika Cleland-Hura

Listen. Put on lightbreak             like the loafers that don’t quite fit                         but will in time. Wipe the sands of shame                                     and other people’s expectations from your eyes and waken into miracle. The audience             has faded with the stars. Walk soundlessly                         through the forest that breathes and dreams                                      with you. […]

listen to the middle voice.

By Felix Stokes

i will take you now,          let me have your hand (i heard there’s an artery straight to the heart from your wrist), let me hold it,     and i will                take you now. listen.                shut your eyes, […]

Take a Deep Breath

By Ellora Sutton

(After ‘The Beast in the Space’ by W.S. Graham.) Keep to the edge! To be sure, the shore is your friend. Look at how she wends, sharp black forked tongue, up and over the horizon lines, lashing, thrashing, serpent, siren, tale as old as ink. Don’t turn the page! Her fossils are here, but overleaf […]

ECHO

By Ella Duffy

I shall have the last word, snatch it as it loops to its full self, newt-like, belly oiled with vowels, only to flip it back; a thin ghost of itself, now tadpole, pond skater, to flit from lobe to drum, drown, as new sounds bubble from your lips. If I’m quick, I’ll catch a full […]

synesthetic translations

By Emily Hana

tur·quoise noun 1. pale wooden beads in your mouth. 2. tangling bracelet string around your tongue. french adjective eggy bread with raspberry jam. cap·tain noun 1. paper dissolving in your mouth – 2. fibres clamping your taste buds as though you spit ink. i·rrit·ate verb a mosquito laps orange juice from the crook of your […]

Romeo & her alphabet

By Ivy Xun

I’m sorry. Romeo isn’t cooperating today. She’s sleeping. Listen to her drumming heart sighing up and down my sticky couch. Watch her twitching paws flying in the jalousie-filtered sun-lagoon of my living room. Here, tuna-shaped mice hide in wispy coral yarn. But alas, her dreams do nothing to close the Silence between us. Yes, I’ve […]

Untitled

By Stephanie Themistocleous

In  between the sprinklings of a summer sun let off for a new kind of yellow,   an ocean of open vibrates within faces, closes and     widens          in tidal conversation, remembering                                 and what are we? […]

das Unbehagen in der Kultur (Civilisation and Its Discontents)

By Natalie Perman

Das Unbehagen sat with us at tables of cracked wood as we twisted palms of calloused leather soles years of labour in a plastic shine. “we are threatened with suffering…” It smiled at us as we sweated prayers into polyester sheets words and empty tins of beans a coupon-code G-d. “our body…” It watched us […]

new york, 1984

By Lydia Wei

everything was a conflation of love and mortality, always had been,         always has been how everyone lives,                                        but we hadn’t expected it like this.                 […]

arrochar alps

By Alice Hill-Woods

my calves still ache from traversing                that gorgeous, ballooning pregnant                munro beinn narnain with her tufts of sheep opal curls slick from rain running from the threat of water breaking                beneath that storm cruach nam miseag and we were all                               alone bitten and bruised vowing to never return to the […]

the civilised man

By Marina McCready

dips his spoon into a bowl of cornflakes but his heart isn’t in it. this is what society has done to us. he reads a newspaper about a war somewhere else, probably in the east. they don’t do that sort of thing here. here the war is internal. the newspaper says: he had become a […]

Blood clots in egg

By Olivia Sandhu

a blur of walls and days then a jug, from the cupboard with its smears, splinter of shell with the sunny glob of orange and a search for debris amongst the jelly. forced to inspect, I find fragments of the freckled brittle, and then (mortified) gliding over the sphere of yolk – the guilty pink […]

Temper

By Ellie Fullwood

There’s a girl over there With wonky teeth and a stare And she’s looking right at me, What does she want? The motley, Slack jaw open, intact, With one smack it would hang… But no, no– We mustn’t do that. There’s a kid in the stairwell, Ratty thing of just twelve, And by God, it […]

Civilisation

By Meg Ozia Stockwell

Daisies in her hair – barefoot and wilded Living on the edge of comfortable. I let her run across the open plain. But she cannot climb the trees Not when I’m not there. I have to watch her. I would like her to run and leap And graze her soft white knees On old bark […]

Inevitable

By Liberty Hinze

My friends and I, we are waiting for you to give in like the others before as there will come a time where there is no more of us who were crushed and burnt. Soon you will get tired and exhausted by the endless daily slog that will only contribute to the fog sinking in […]

there is no such thing as a woman

By Zara Shams

if i say i am a woman             will you take an ice-pick to my tongue & climb inside             my mouth & sculpt the word in your image? if i cry out equality in my sleep             the word too bright to see in daytime anymore             will you ask me to sprinkle it onto […]

caryatid

By Ella Standage

my hands were soft until you tried to hold them. blue skies. no marble horizons. stone was not stone but skin. i knew how to bruise  knew imperfection knew no grams/kilograms/tonnes or how to stand without making the ceiling sway. traced my own lifelines. my hands were soft under the sculptor’s tools. not clay, but […]

Instructions to the Three-Year Old Grandchild

By Fiyinfoluwa Timothy Oladipo

Ayomide, yes, I speak to you. Never in your nimble mind ever stare into the hollow thing in the middle of another man’s eye when he calls you by anything other than your first name. Yes, I speak to you, In the cynical instance where the efforts, where the lights in the sky of our […]

ishah

By Natalie Perman

“and he said, let her be burned” when her fingers wore the jewels of the kedeshah her face wore a veil; the man touched her but could not see beyond her eyes in which desert sands glittered for miles. there was enough in her veiled face to tell of that knowledge: how ripe fruit tastes […]

Fighting into the Night, for Light

By Dipo Baruwa-Etti

Three children, a gas bill of £300, even with a heater permanently turned off – praying away the cold in the winter months – but I will always fight for the right to be myself, light to shine on me. Alone as I lounge in the tub, moss growing on the ceiling as I stare […]

Goodbye in America

By Ellora Sutton

I could not be a mother in America. I could not send my hypothetical little lad off with a face soft as butter, a camo backpack strapped to his sweet shoulders, and eyes that are mine without the shadows to school. I could not send my made-up boy to school in America. I could not […]

Choreography

By Kayo Chingonyi

We’d chase a beat-up sphere of synthetic leather across the parched dancefloor that claimed our days. Rising from the clutter of a sliding tackle, like we’d never fallen in our lives, we’d sprint into space so we could dance again. We knew when to bend our knees, pivot, hold our puffed chests poised, but best […]

Give Invisible

By Sugar J

Kolo Touré is asked what he’d do if he were invisible for a day, he says “I’d rob a bank and give the money to poorer people.” There is so much we don’t understand about a man, we see everything and nothing at the same time like a page of writing written in a language […]

Balotelli

By Roger Robinson

In between the lilt of your name and your skin like onyx.  In between the matt curl of an afro and your flaming mohawk, between jollof rice and pani pizza. Between the dam of your tears and the wet chest of your shirt. In between why always me and leave me alone between the complicated […]

Lone Star

By Nick Makoha

 for George Weah Lone Star, you were a man on the run when you picked the ball up on the edge of your penalty box. A planet at your feet, San Siro stadium sealed tight so nothing escapes. The crowd a pair of eyes as you moved toward the light. One man in costume dancing […]

The Stain on London’s Dress

By Sophie Thynne

She walks among us, silently shouting as chipped nails crawl across empty wrappers as Friday night’s quick treat turns into a sick craving for more and more until the breaking point leads to a moan of agony as we blatantly ignore the dark stain on London’s dress, scrubbing at the starving and skinny mark that […]

Yellow Stickers

By Meredith LeMaître

Tonight I’m dreaming of your lips again, it’s saffron spring and I’m longing for love, specifically yours.   In the kitchen Mama’s weeping chemical tears whilst    chopping bitter onion ends. She’ll sauté them with mushrooms (so small you could swallow them like pills)     we bought for 10p three days ago reduced to clear. Last […]

#EndHungerUK

By Carol Chen

She sits before an empty table, her eyes empty and sad. Will the food ever arrive? She’s waiting for her Dad. In the room next door a young girl cries. ‘I don’t want my greens! I just want to eat fries!’ She doesn’t have the energy to give her Dad a hug, He returned empty-handed, […]

Breadlines

By Matt Sowerby

Give us this day our daily bread So said the underfed, Give us it because the baby’s half-dead Because when Susie’s heading to the bank She doesn’t mean NatWest – There wouldn’t be any point anyway. They have cropped the Lord’s Prayer. They want one thing from the Divine: Daily bread, hence why When we […]