Alex Mountfield is the co-editor of Icarus. Their work has appeared in Icarus, Gold Soundz, and is forthcoming in Púca and Exploding Appendix. They write and publish a poetry blog via email @harkherald.pdf
List 002, 004
cavities of the skull
exchange of vows
food for leeches
lamentation and wailing
lentils and rice
long walks on the beach
petrification of the thicket
smothered by the care of friends
yards of sod
apathy (then that’s all)
collapsing lightless kingdom
crown emoji ��
Ezra Pound gets the wall too
narcissism of little difference
queering Christ’s wounds
teeth chattering Nabokov
them that know not god
(to be sitting in one’s own syrup)
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.
The University of New Atlantis
Centuries hence, in an underwater university,
the new Atlanteans are studying us with amusement.
They pick through the dates with rubber gloves;
they analyse us as we try to survive history.
As they dry out our century, prepare it for dissection,
they clean their scalpels, flick open laptops to make notes.
From the safe depths of their submarine cities, they watch,
as we run across the battlefield of the present,
between the detonating events, between the craters,
Every day was someone’s battlefield.
History makes no promises, and no one was guaranteed today,
We are watching from the other side of the apocalypse, always.
Worlds end and end and end
and ours will end and has ended.
Somewhere in the past (and I hope in the future, near Atlantis)
there are the lucky ones, the quiet ones,
blessed with dull times, unremembered,
while the rest of us try to survive our interesting times.
One day this will be academia, we tell ourselves.
One day the casualties will be counted, and it will be decided,
who was on the right side all along. That may
only happen in universities under the sea,
on the other side of the end of the world, but it will happen
– unless history takes no prisoners this time.
Prisoners of history, we all are bare-breasted
wooden mermaids, heads stuck out, eyes wide and wet
with spray, cutting a path through the unfolding blue,
breath-taken, blinded by the white foam of the present.
One day we’ll all be Further Reading, tucked up in footnotes,
dry butterflies, pinned joyously to paper. The new Atlanteans
may even be bored by what we said and did. Who knows?
Oh the terror of being present, of being written, still.
Malvika Jolly (b. 1993, Rouen) is an artist, writer, and emergent translator living on occupied Munsee, Lenape, and Wappinger lands in New York City. Her essays, interviews, and criticism have appeared or are forthcoming in Chicago magazine, The Margins, and South Side Weekly, a Chicago-based alt-weekly where she is a regular contributor focusing on visual culture and community history. From 2020–2021, she worked at the Brooklyn Rail as the Special Projects Associate where she worked on the New Social Environment and curated the Radical Poetry Reading series. She curates the New Third World, a monthly reading series inspired by the Non-Aligned Movement’s dream for the third world.
Dream Daughter in the Museum of Memory
Emma Fuchs (rhymes with books) is a poet, printmaker and aspiring filmmaker. Emma has many homes but she currently lives in Lille, France, where she teaches English as a second language and dreams of endless summer. She is a poetry reader for TriQuarterly. Her work is forthcoming in Figure 1 and Public Parking.
A Woman Drifts Off on Shift in Reillanne
It’s the same café each night
though the women are interchangeable—round
shoulders and the smudge
of mink that holds its breath when the waiter passes
balancing the tray laden with sugar cubes, absinthe and cocktails
named after far away cities. The moon is a yolk
in the sky, and the bartender dreams beneath it
as she lights a bitch cigarette—she eyes the rat
sitting at the bar and wonders if he’s really
a quite small man who rests his paws
at her elbow and offers a drink to whoever accepts
first—the bartender or the woman alone with the mink.
She is pale as the sun-stroked portraits that lured her in
in the first place; pale as the marble crescent-counter,
pale as the waiter’s jacket that she’ll drape
across her shoulders, walking herself home
when the night gives up. She’ll thank him again
when she hands it back each evening with a cinnamon stick
in the pocket, minutes before the regulars stream
in with the dusk. Another woman is tan as the grain in the distance,
face painted like the fog of a memory. She wears emerald shoes
when she wonders how she got here. The café walls seep
into the town. Like a metronome,
she orders a coffee in a thimble-sized cup
between each drink sent her way.
She fears becoming translucent,
like a tooth stripped of enamel.
She drinks something green, then espresso,
then the sunrise. She cannot look straight
at the other women, though the rat and the mink
share a glassy-eyed moment.
She’d like to tender a light,
to step onto the terrasse which is really the edge of town,
to puncture the moon so it runs down the hill,
makes fat the vineyards, makes cream
of the dreams. Instead, she turns away
her shadowed eyes, blows smoke rings
to hide the horizon. In her little round head,
she’s savoring the day she’ll leave with the cool dawn
without looking back.
Jannah Yusuf Al-Jamil
Jannah Yusuf Al-Jamil is a Muslim-American writer and a constant seeker. The head literary reader of antinarrative zine, their work can be found in Overheard, Yuzu Press, Fahmidan, IMPOSTOR, and at jannahyusufaljamil.carrd.co.
SIX / SITTAH
Here’s your hand: put it into the wound, map it out. There’s a bloody crevice
that’s a bit like a home, if you think about it: it swells and it hurts and it stays. Stitch
the skin back together, one-by-one-by-one; slide the catgut in-and-out-and-in-and-out. Gut. Gut.
Gut. Get fixing, soldier. Here’s the wound: you’re holding it together. Here’s the world:
an indent in space. Here’s the wound: an indent on you. Or
someone else. Everyone’s bleeding. Like
your heart. Get fixing, soldier. Here’s the world: you’re holding it up, you’re pushing
it around space, thousands of kilometers-miles-whatever per hour. Here’s your
sanctuary: broken. Here’s your list of problems: infinite. Get fixing, soldier. Here’s your
trust in God: tie the camel. And love fully or not at all. There’s an understanding that you’re
too much and not enough; get fixing, soldier. The sky balloons, infinite and cerulean; here’s
your heart, blue-veined and red-blooded like the good American girl you are, oh Captain,
my Captain! Give yourself to the cause, like all the greats, the martyrs. Here’s
the first painting you ever had to analyze in elementary school:
American Progress. Progress. Progress. Get fixing, soldier. Here’s your
allegiance; pledge it or dedicate yourself to kneeling down; it’s all or nothing. Get
your paint palette of black and white and try to make gray, shake it up and hope
it doesn’t separate. You can
emulsify anything if you shake it all hard enough. Get fixing, soldier. Map
the world (the wound) and choose your home;
pull it out from God like it’s carpet and you’re the magician and say ya rabb because you
are still underneath. Say it is Him we come from but infinitely return. You would
leave Earth for Europa or Ceres or Pluto
but only if you got to tenderly look out the window and whisper your farewell, since
you cannot stop looking back. Here’s your war: fight your battles and consume yourself
like the snake eating its own tail. You’ll never be bare enough, real enough;
undo the stitches and open the wound and stand on stage and
get awards for it. Get fixing, soldier.
was a soldier at a point. My biggest problem is that I always
give my issues to someone else; project the reel onto a too-big screen. I was a scriptwriter,
once. I think there’s a reason that generals lead armies and
generally means universally. Here’s the cracked mirror; I look into it
and I see you. So get fixing, soldier.