Grace Farrell | nat raum | Kiera Lee Murray | Samson Furlong Tighe | Layla Maher

Grace Farrell

Grace Farrell is a recent graduate from Trinity College Dublin, where she studied English Literature. Here she co-Founded Trinity’s first queer-focused journal “Moving,” and is passionate about poetry’s emotive power to express the inexpressible, and to provide freedom, or at least, redefine it.

to my love, lost, to my constant, past

I wear blue linen and remember your grey
I’m glad,
I was so easy
        to leave I think of your years
I’ve missed, and the one I’m missing now I see,
You sitting somewhere on the Charles my other
Great love used to sit I see, you in that grey linen
That I just can’t forget is there a trace of us,
Left? To fall asleep I have to imagine something comforting until I enter
And for our last few months it was you on one knee or
                                Saying come with me
and now, replaced with dreams of gold light
And running into you in Berlin and I stay to
Chat after you flip the OPEN sign on the door,
And feel your beige cashmere on my left cheek—
Its friction with my hair a welcome mess
And all I want to do is find it again (go home again) with
Eyes open it only makes me sink the same as
The sound of your voice and
the seat next to me
Which is for you, always,
                                 and you’re not there.
Someone always takes it but it’s yours. Two slow dancers,
Gold light, cashmere, look up,
please don’t wake me

Your lights are copying themselves
Aren’t they?

I remember this time last year you said
It’s not that I miss you
It’s that my life includes you, and you’re not here
Were you         lying and was I a hobby I can’t
Help, but ask looking to the past
Is someone, in fractured light and
I’m moving to Paris next year
To live in an apartment on Rue de Tournon.

It’s all gold and baby blue like
Someone I once knew
And I’ll be someone, someone puts in
A picture frame on their bedside table.


I was looking at Dublin from above the
first and second time we met the third time
it was more straight-forward more
I can’t look down anymore
This morning I came to the sound of your
voice what a ridiculous thing to be able to
do when I cook, I put double of one third
of the ingredients and I somehow didn’t
realise this before today when I walk
alone I say one two one two in my head
just in the background though, and I didn’t
realise this until today either today
is new because I wanted it to be I changed
the texture of my skin just because I wanted to
I looked at the curves of my body in the mirror
earlier and adored them, the way my waist cinches
and my tits sit defiantly against my chest I’m rewiring
my brain to make myself believe this even when all
evidence points to it being a lie
I can’t believe I can sometimes see myself through your eyes!

I am going to unlearn how to lie! I am going to
End wars with my loved body! I am going to
Control the tides with my brushed hair!
I am not going to need to
see someone else— oh!
To need and be
needed all
at once!

nat raum

nat raum (b. 1996) is a queer disabled multimedia artist and writer currently working towards their mfa at the university of baltimore. their work is based primarily on their experience living with c-ptsd and often takes the form of books and zines that combine writing and photography. nat is also the founder and editor-in-chief of fifth wheel press, a queer lit & art publishing space.

inane bubbliness

mimosas and wilting
tulips round out this
sunday, mauve petals
falling onto white marble
as pink salt and acid
eat me away

                                bananas ripening in the
                                corner of the kitchen next
                                to last week’s pot of coffee,
                                cake rising in the oven
                                as i hold out my spoon
                                for you to lick me up

i place the ribbon between
the pages of the book
you left; i place your photo
back on the mantle next to fallen
petals and broken crystal


after xo by fall out boy

eyes closed                           the delaware bay beckons
like an azure field             distant whitecaps like
how labradorite shines in the light               i pick up your
ring from the blue ceramic bowl                   careless as you were

i like to feel chills                i waver             hair hanging with the
scent of marlboro reds and regret                 dusk consumes me
like a weighted blanket             i quiver

fingers crossed               how we shone in the light
but fell apart at nightfall                  candle smoke tripping
smoke detectors                     stop picking at that scab
it’ll go away eventually

Kiera Lee Murray

Kiera Murray is a queer, Aboriginal Australian currently attending secondary education in Queensland, Australia. They enjoy overusing commas and arguing the existence of aliens (for or against, you decide). Most of their time is spent being annoying on Twitter at @feelingdizzy7. Kiera aims to inspire other young, queer writers of colour. 

you swallow. i spit.

I break the kiss to tell her I like when our teeth clink—we are cast into champagne glasses/the cracks in her cheek when she smiles and the guilt pulsing through my nipples that I might have broken her/that she likes when I mould her hair with my right thumb and middle finger/that she tells me she likes it/that her hands aren’t touching my jaw or shoulders or waist/the sound our lips make when we part (like a pearl of soup dripping from the spoon and back into the bowl)/having to roll my hips against her thigh to kiss her harder/that she hasn’t mentioned when I do/being on top even though my arms ache/when she kisses my neck/that I like when she kisses my neck/when she stops kissing my neck/when her eyes stay shut for three seconds after I pull away/the desperate way she asks ‘what’s wrong?’, like she cares but doesn’t really, and just wants me to press my breasts against hers again/that we aren’t kissing anymore/the bruise forming on my lips, so I can blame her/that this poem makes her look like the villain/that she didn’t hurt me/that I have never been hurt before/that her spit doesn’t taste like anything/that we aren’t kissing anymore/that she wants to kiss me/that we aren’t kissing anymore/that I was a good enough person to let her kiss me/that we aren’t kissing anymore/that we aren’t kissing anymore.

Samson Furlong Tighe

Samson Furlong Tighe is a writer from Dublin. They used to be the editor of Icarus Magazine, and now write the fortnightly newsletter Select All, Delete. Recent work can be found in ROPES, epoque press, and Wax Nine. They tweet @furtiso.


After Maria Irene Fornes

Playwriting teacher asks Is insanity feminine? and I dig acrylics
into my thigh; the little women prick through my new jeans. My new jeans
were 32 euro, and they hide my hips well. No one’s sure if we have a sense
of a theatre we only read. Chekhov barrels into the lecture theatre and
pulls revolvers from under the seats and shoots us all. But surprise!
They’re confetti guns– all pink & shining tissue. Ellen gets a concussion
anyway. You can write all the utopia you want, teacher says,
the Russians still show up to get you. Your body is still a site of war.
We study the plays that show us innovation is no longer possible.
We study the plays about the corruption of femininity. How
can men and women sit together in boardrooms, and not acknowledge
the fundamental difference of our genitalia. I don’t gasp because
I know better now. Teacher teach plays. Teacher teach power.
Teacher teach trauma to sad little me.

Layla Maher

Layla Maher is a writer from Georgia. Her creative writing has appeared in Maudlin House, Hobart Pulp, Q/A Poetry, OROBORO, and elsewhere. She is a 2020 Brain Mill Press National Poetry Month Shortlist poet. You can find her on IG at @sarsoura_isdoingherbest.

Tuesday team happy afterhours

fuck a bell jar I’m slamming bronze gongs 
clapping cymbals ululating in honor of
something ineffable I used to say that
when I leave I’ll leave in a quiet way but
this time I refuse to go silently in the night
I’m burning every bridge when I get there
I’m doing toe touches and sun salutations
against the backdrop of the bass thumping
on Tuesday 11pm I never thought I’d last 
this long never really cared to and former 
me judges current me for it but fuck her
she never gave a shit about me anyhow 
she was my best lover and my worst enemy
but in candor we’ve got a lot in common 
I’m still drowning in myopia I’m blacking 
out against the yellow wallpaper I’m pulling
on hangnails and stripping BHA-cleaned 
skin to the bone I’ve decided that Arendt was
wrong and that the human condition is a trope
so I’m reclaiming myself I’m decolonizing
I’m killing my Christian name and taking 
my own I have a lot of them anyhow meanwhile
I’m tonguing the wine glass before I finish 
bubbly rosé to keep my cupid’s bow pretty in
pink and I’m ignoring texts while responding 
to work messages on Slack and trying to
remember if Kafkaesque is part of the human 
condition or if I can still be mad without losing 
my insolence but then I say fuck it I’ll be mad 
anyway no one I know has had a thought in years
my lovers and friends play podcasts to sleep
I would too if I slept and wannabe trap sadgirls 
on Spotify are just my white noise now and I’m
terrified for the one neuron we’re all sharing
but tonight I don’t want to think about it the way I 
never want to think about anything so instead 
I’ll be homesick for a sky that’s not a lunar eclipse
I’m howling at the moon asking her to take me
with her when she leaves for the morning but 
instead when day breaks through the cracks of the
filthy ozone I’m brushing my gilded teeth I’m 
drinking a nitro cold brew I’m eating a full bar 
of 95% Lindt fuck a fair trade I’m switching from 
rap to pop I’m doing a cat eye I’m making pivot tables
with sql I’m resting my head on my desk then at the 
end of it all I’m trying to remember what I do 
at this job again


This poem previously appears in Neologism Poetry Journal


Painting self-respect 
and raspberry-scented
will to live as a mural on
my dining room walls, the sky
is a stark periwinkle, the fan purrs, 
and I’m slamming my laptop into the
kitchen floor, trying to decide what’s more
banal: I, ex-pro-sadgirl, tonguing the prosecco 
flute, taking chomps of saltwater taffy time when 
there was far too much of it and not enough of me, 
or how my brain stopped fizzling and how tranquil the
drainage waters waved after I quit men who drink too much,
from crawling back to him and into the damp crawlspace of his 
shattered porcelain aorta, marrying a joint and its lighter, setting the 
whole man aflame so I could crash and burn inside of him before catapulting 
through the looking glass before stopping dropping rolling to the end of that fated 
night that didn’t destroy me, all the way to me trying to understand why we romanticize 
the 20-something laid up with the dandelions, calling her dear because she’s doe-eyed in 
the strobe lights with desiccated blood in her nose and cotton in her teeth, papillae 
scorched of scalded espresso beans and menthol Pall Malls, when there’s nothing 
more romantic than being alive, swirly twirly rounded hips and rosy posy pink 
lips in sonorous halls, titan speakers on silent, never waiting for the beat to 
drop because we’re eternally peaking, at last skipping past ~ The Poor 
Man’s Psychosis ~ because the insomnia medication works now and 
I don’t love him when I’m not delirious, straddling self-destruction 
into the sunrise and cheersing to yet another lousy night wasted, 
smoke in my curls and smoke in the upturn of the corner of my 
smile, til I’m nothing but slinky grins and kissing murder 
prayers into his ears before snapping metallic flower 
stems in half, renting the violin violetting and face-
up downward dogging all the way back to 
midnight, precarious in between the days 
and nights that I don’t pretend we can 
tell apart, crunching on dopamine 
jawbreakers and dandelion 
petals, dry-swallowing 
musty ashes, he knows 
that I don’t love him 
when I’m alive


This poem previously appears in The Vital Sparks