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 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 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 others. She tweets at @smnthfn. Find her at samanthafain.com.
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
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,
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,
i miss you & love is a lake.
Eve Kenneally is a writer, etc. living in Brooklyn. Her poems have appeared in Peace Mag, Wax Nine, Salt Hill, and other places.
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 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
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
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.
so i let sand rush through my fingertips
in ice, tending to ruptured backbones to swim to
a safer land.
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
i will reclaim