shore

Finlay Worrallo / Bryce Baron-Sips / Samantha Fain / Eve Kenneally / [indigo] Carter

Finlay Worrallo

Finlay Worrallo is a cross-arts writer studying Modern Languages at Newcastle University. He writes poetry, short stories and scripts, and is always up for experimenting with new forms. His primary themes are the queer experience, national identity and memory. He has previously been published in Crossways Magazine and in the Emma Press’ anthology Dragons of the Prime: Poems about Dinosaurs.

How to get off an island

Open your mouth. Gape like an undivided sky. Plant a new tongue or four at the roots of the old one. Feel your new tongues wriggle, flick like keys, tug like kite-strings. // Save up. Save each penny, fill your bank with knowledge, make yourself an educated asset – then emigrate.

Take your erudition elsewhere. Leap into the sky. // Prowl along the beaches. Get to know them well – which ones were crushed by Viking boots, which by Normans. Learn the entry and exit points. // Build a boat. Use whatever is at hand. Hammer it together with fingernails. Push it out to sea. Seek a new wind and make for the continent. Hope to be let in. 

Wait. The seas eat everything, sooner or later. 

Learn to swim. Evolve back into a fish, if you have the patience. // Drink enough tea to form a new sea. Piss on the rooibos-red Navy-blue sugar-white flag. Wash it all away – salty, spitting. Frothing at the mouth. // Twist the hands of the clock back. Force the sun back across the sky 

until you fuse the islands of the world together again. Crash the island back into the mainland. // Burn something large to the ground (a forest; Parliament). Signal with the smoke. Call for help in all your tongues. // Jump off a white cliff. 

In the event that you wash up on shore again, leave explicit instructions to bury you at sea.

Bryce Baron-Sips

Bryce Baron-Sips is a recent graduate from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He uses his degree to write poems about taxonomy, madness, and queerness (they only taught him two of those). You can find him on Twitter @bric_a_bryce.

Getting Mad to the Tune of Ernst Haeckel

I heard rumbling from a video the Intro Bio students were watching, a basal orchestra dragging
out drawings of radiolarians, silica-skeletoned zooplankton, in geologic time. The cellos and horns pulled me under and I felt myself compressed by millions of years of music. The middle-aged teacher muttered that the sound wasn’t working and I almost called her fossilized to her face until she fixed it. The real music is plinky, hands out the arcane in chiptune, and I was the one with the head full of holes. I eased down in my seat at the back of the room, eased myself with platitudes about how I wasn’t turning to peat.

Samantha Fain

Samantha Fain is a writer from Indiana. Her chapbooks “Coughing Up Planets” and “sad horse music” debuted with Vegetarian Alcoholic Press and The Daily Drunk in 2021. Her work has appeared in The Indianapolis Review, SWWIM, Peach Mag, and othersShe tweets at @smnthfn. Find her at samanthafain.com. 

transatlanticism poetica

after death cab for cutie

love is a cresting wave, frictioned
wind. you speak into it

& wait to be heard.

        ***

we thought we could swim
in oceanspace, its poem,

both too much depth
to undress all at once. 

the distance expanded, turned weight—

        ***

to navigate gaps
through haiku—you said water
was simple, its moves

predictable, filling
bridges, crowding chasms up.

i need you
so much closer.

the lines were never enough,
not for us. in the end

it was immaterial gestures.

        ***

i want to say poems are boats,
but they carry us
only in feeling.

we were word,
misguided & formless,

destanzaed,
an unnavigable mistake—

        ***

& what of our waterstate?

i go back & look at it now,
feel mirage, in awe
at how i loved such a haze.

so come on,
come on,

i miss you & love is a lake.

Eve Kenneally

Eve Kenneally is a writer, etc. living in Brooklyn. Her poems have appeared in Peace Mag, Wax Nine, Salt Hill, and other places.

Step Potential

Someone mentions the boardwalk and I say, I think I drowned in a past life. And
the thing is, I saw it — projected on a screen, by a stranger’s pool, on loop, so
I watched myself drown to be polite. I watched myself drown and was presented
with a cake that said YOU HAVE SUCCEEDED IN MEETING YOUR OWN
EXPECTATIONS and nobody ate it. Nobody cared. I watched myself drown so
the conclusion was drawn that I was fun at parties. I was the party. I was electric


                     & everyone stood around, jealous, mouthing, We warned her
          about the ground charge –     all of them      still      in the thickening
          air saying, This is why     you don’t tell      a poet     the ways       lightning
          strikes     a person – she’ll just         learn         to stop       her own heart
          with   a   chain   of   eels,   or   a   mess   of   hyperbole!   How   embarrassing,
          to    succumb      to     a     current       dissipated –     the       strike
                     indirect,         an    escape         unladdered,      the       body
                                             always     the      better       conduit –

[indigo] Carter

[indigo] Carter is a writer & a rose with many thorns — their work aspires to cross the haunting with the beautiful. He is also a masala chai tea brewer and literary horror aficionado. Find more at indigopoison.carrd.co

Content warnings: colonialism, off-page racism

Fragments of Oceanskin

i peel sun-freckled seaweed from my gills
            burn breathing mechanisms so that my colonisers
do not carry me through oceans

i pull myself
through
           rocky seas
                         bleed henna from another colonised asian land onto my hands, onto
                         embroidered sand dunes
                         so that fragments of my body become immortalised
                         into the jade saltpool
ishq & pyaar are the words oceans echoed into my friend’s mouth
my mother taught me only how to breathe on jagged shorelines —
let me tend to wounds of my inheritances and watch the faces of dead men
whose sullen stomachs were filled with gunshots on our homelands.

my dead mother & i stitched
           red ribbons

onto a scarlet kimono

                        patterns of hollow conch shells, the colour of rosewater to preserve
                        our history on a ghostly beautiful fresco.
                        i watched the metamorphosis of my body under blueberry moonlight

                        on the shoreline.

i’m melting

                        so i let sand rush through my fingertips

i drown

                        in ice, tending to ruptured backbones to swim to
                        a safer land.

my mother

                        taught me about cycles of life under fluorescent
                        lights. she let salt simmer on my face so that my

                        body was not stolen by faceless white men whose
                        swords punctured air out of lungs
                        she built for me a body of my own to swim through
                        oceans
i will reclaim
                        my body
                        my ocean
                        my homeland