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ALLITERATI 13

CROSSING BORDERS

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DEC 2013


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Three years ago, then-editor-in-chief Scherezade García Rangel launched Alliterati onto the web, making our first step in becoming the international platform we are today. Since then, we have been proud to feature work from all over the word, from professionals, students and hobbyists alike. Needless to say, we couldn’t have come as far as we have without the immense support of our contributors and readership. It does take quite a bit of work to put an issue together, though, and our editorial team works tirelessly (and voluntarily) to do just that. With this issue, we wanted to highlight that commitment, so we’ve carved out some space [p.64-87] to showcase their creative efforts as well. We’ve also welcomed three new faces to our lit team - Kat Zufelt, Sophie Whitehead, and Samantha New - who hit the ground running and really helped make this one of our smoothest issues. We are pleased to announce that, for the very first time, Alliterati is available in print through Lulu.com. All back issues are also available on the site, so have a browse when you get finished here. With that, there is some truly spectacular work this time around. Caoilfhionn Birley’s “Day Dreamer” is a lovely, haunting melody, and Melanie Hunter’s short film “Low” is both sweet and sad in its understated beauty, not to mention the variety of literature and visual art from old faces and new. SASCHK DRAKOS SENIOR EDITOR Covers: “Coast” / “Dream” by Jacob Cozens

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ART JACOB COZENS 06 A PLACE OF HISTORY DOORWAY

HANNAH SCULLY 16 MOTH LINO CUT

CONTENTS

MOTH COLLAGE

MARTIN ECCLES 25 22 PIECES OF BAMBOO, HEBEI PROVINCE, CHINA ZOE MOLLOY 34 SELF-PORTRAIT MADDY VENUS 35 HERMIONE MACMILLAN 45 KEITH MOUL 48 ARGENTINA 621 BEUNOS AIRES CAMINITO ZACHARY HAMILTON 51 ZARA CLARK 54 CHLOE BURKE 62

FICTION 10 BENJAMIN COREY THE LAST WEEK ON EARTH WAS

FINE

21 HOWIE GOOD SMART PHONE 22 JOSEPH MILBURN SOMNUS 32 MARIE MITTMANN SOUL FISHING 40 ROBERTO CARCACHE

MUSIC 30 CAOILFHIONN BIRLEY DAY DREAMER (WHO ARE YOU)

DROP

42 DANIEL BOWMAN GROUND FLOOR APARTMENT 50 GARY DUNCAN JUST TALK 55 SHARON BISHOP ALMOST 60 MICHAEL A. ARNOLD A ROADSIDE MEETING

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FILM 18 JESSAMY HADFIELD THE BOWLING CLUB 28 MATTHEW PICKERING TETRAHEDRON 38

EDITORS FEATURE

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MELANIE HUNTER

LOW

POETRY

BIOS 88

EDITORS

ROY MOLLOR 08 DELIQUESCE JOHN STOCK 09 PARIS CHANGMING YUAN 20 CYBERSBURG ADDRESS: A FREE SONNET W.M. LEWIS 26 THE EXCURSION

UNITING NATIONS

DANIEL RIDLEY 36 DOLCE FAR NIENTE HOLLY DAY 46 DESPITE MY RESERVATIONS REGARDING APOCALYPSES THUMBELINA

NINA KURT 52 YOU, ME, THE PARK CATHERINE AYRES 53 A SMALL TRIUMPH

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JACOB

COZENS Between reality and the surreal lies a place where we continue to push and explore our personal and external boundaries. My interest and passion is about how we explain this space in our attempt to try and understand ourselves and the world around us. [jacobcozens.com]

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DELIQUESCE ROY

MOLLER

Beyond the hard periphérique, bicycles spin lightly where cobbled backstreet grottoes bottle plastic icons, and offer patient pledges inked on fading cardboard. Close by, I observe you weighing up your menus; profound museum pilgrims, you’ve scrutinized old masters through a hundred crucifixions. This evolving twilight still may be strewn with puckish flutes that skip beyond the shrugged defeat of put-off practiced pick-ups. Relax for a moment made majestic by magnolia, where tree trunks twist and tangle through Saint Blaise’s sandy passages; no need to dig these paving stones to stumble onto beach.

Roy Moller, is a singer songwriter, poet and musician. Roy has collaborated with Marc Riley (Jesus, Baby!)

Stevie Jackson (Belle & Sebastian). Involvement with the Edinburgh–based poetry/music/animation fusion Neu!

Reekie! has encouraged Moller back to poetry and his poems have recently appeared in All Our Hopes and Dreams, Zest Lit and Dactyl. He is about to release his fourth album.

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In this city of boulevard cafes, Of trysts and casual intimacies. It is enough to sit and observe The faces, the smooth deliquesce With slowly evolving twilight. To observe how the substance of life uncoils In tiny subtle nuances, half glances The formulae of public exposition. The Parisian who glowers bleakly, Self conscious, awkward with his desire. His eyes black with smouldering misogyny As he stares at the girl, holding her cigarette With a sneer fixed between cheeks and lipstick, Her smoke rising in Pyrrhic victory.

PARIS JOHN

STOCKS

[ISSUE 7, P. 44]

In Shakespeare and co. I think of him, Staring over his shoulder with cold eyed fury, Then pretending to select some random book. Whatever he is, is what he must be. Leaving a small part of himself behind Forever in this moment, in this city Reflecting in his world of might have beens On the melancholy final fuck.

“I very much connect with John Stocks’ poem and my piece is also about observation but offers an alternative,

more village-like view of Paris as observed around the Saint-Blaise area. Rather than romantic bookstore

chancers, the people I observe in my poem are somewhat uptight tourists who have come to Paris for the art history and find it hard to relax even when about to partake of an evening meal alfresco in a beautiful area of the the city of light where the pavements are scattered with sand.”

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THE LAST WEEK ON EARTH WAS FINE BENJAMIN

COREY

Benjamin Corey lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife Jillaine, not Jillian. When he isn’t writing fiction, or

flinging his opinions into the void at hereswhatithinkaboutthesebooks.blogspot.com, he puts his philosophy degree to work by breeding bromeliads and baking pies with reckless abandon.

The old man asked me again, ‘The Beatles or The Who man, who’s better?’ ‘I don’t know Jake,’ I told him.

‘Fuck man, give me five,’ he said, yet again holding his open hand out to be touched by mine for no obvious reason. I’m born to please though, so Jake got his tenth high-five of the night. ‘I’m going smoking. Watch my beer wouldya.’ On the way out, Jake passed a table populated by a group of young women of relatively recent Asian descent, the sight of which prompted him to scream out, ‘Yoko!’ He looked around the bar to find no one laughing. He stumbled outside and I watched him through the window of the bar’s front door as he got into a taxi and drove away, leaving behind his seventh beer and an unpaid tab. I walked over and apologised to the women for him, and they laughed and we all mocked him together. He came back, though, the next day. ‘You can’t be in here, Jake. You just walked out without paying yesterday,’ I told him as he stumbled up to the bar. ‘Shit, man, I’ll pay you right now. Fair’s fair, right?’ ‘No, Jake. You’re already drunk for one thing, and for another, you were yelling racist shit as you left yesterday.’ ‘I’m not a racist, man. You know that.’ ‘I don’t know you for shit, Jake, this is the second time I’ve ever seen you. If you’re not racist then you’re somebody who acts racist to be funny, which might even be worse. Just fuck off man, you’re not welcome here.’ He stared at me and I could see the fight or flight sequence processing as he leaned forward and back, opened his mouth and closed it. He chose flight. Jake stood, marched to the front door and charged through it directly into the street where a fire truck swooping by destroyed him. I ran out to the curb to see the carnage. Jake’s head rolled towards me. As it came to a rest with his face in

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the gutter I could hear him speaking. I rolled his face to the sky with my foot and Jake looked at me as the last of the blood drained from his skull. ‘It’s not just over for me. The whole world teeters on the brink.’ he said. ‘What?’ I asked. His eyes closed and I spent the rest of the day doing paperwork for the cops. ‘It appears as though impact is imminent.’ I opened my eyes at that, sound asleep though I was. The anchor continued with her very serious speech. ‘Scientists project the impact of an asteroid this size to be comparable to 10,000 nuclear weapons detonated in one place at one time,’ said the anchor. ‘Well, isn’t that fucking helpful? How many firecrackers is it equivalent too? How many rocks would you have to bang together?’ I yelled at the television, more frustrated to have been woken up than actually reacting to the news. I went back to sleep. I awoke to people at my front door; a girl I’d been fucking, my few friends who also never left town. ‘Holy shit, dude,’ said everyone. ‘I love you, guys,’ said everyone back. ‘Why can’t they just blow it up?’ said the girl I’d been fucking. ‘Yeah, not like it’s rocket science or anything, just fucking send a SCUD after it.’ I laughed. ‘Sam, it’s not funny!’ she cried. I laughed again and opened a bottle of Knob Creek. Everyone left. I didn’t care enough for them; they were too short-sighted for me. The news everyone focused on was old news. I already knew that we were all going to die. The new news was that now we all knew when, which seemed like a positive thing to me. Plus it was a nice time frame, a week. A year would have seemed unreal and a day wouldn’t have been long enough to do anything. A month would have been nice, but obviously nobody had asked me. * ‘Hey, it’s me.’ ‘Oh, my god, Sam, I’m so scared.’ ‘Yeah? You want to get naked and talk about it?’ ‘What the fuck! Seriously Sam? Didn’t we get past this in high school?’ ‘Hey, I just want to comfort you. Body warmth is good for that I think.’ ‘Sam, you’re supposed to be my friend and we’re all going to die! Does that mean nothing to you?’

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‘Means the same to me as it did yesterday.’ ‘We didn’t know about the meteor yesterday, Sam.’ ‘It’s an asteroid, Dora. It’ll only be a meteor when it enters the atmosphere, and then a meteorite when it hits the ground.’ ‘Who gives a shit?’ ‘Gotta know your enemy to beat it, Dor, and we are going to beat this thing.’ ‘Really? You know a way? How?’ ‘I was just kidding. We’re all going to die still. So should I come over there, or...?’ ‘Fuck you, asshole. Call me when you want to be nice.’ Click. * I wandered the streets, stopping here and there to smell the apocalyptic roses. A mosque had been set aflame and its parishioners, or whatever they call themselves, knelt in the street around it. An entire family ran out of a grocery store with a shopping cart ahead of each person. It was more supplies than necessary for a week’s survival; I guess they were just planning on getting fat for their last week on earth. Why not? I saw a man getting raped in the park in the afternoon sun, a fat old woman beat a child to death in the streets, sobbing and apologising the whole way through. Then there were just lots and lots of people hammered and wandering around. I was one of them. My own bottle had run dry that afternoon and so I hit up a liquor store and resupplied. Two things were happening that didn’t make sense: people were working and people were robbing the joint. Now robbing the joint I can kind of understand, but don’t these people have credit cards? I’d just been racking shit up all week. I was barely planning on paying it back anyway and now I didn’t have to worry about it at all. Robbing a place a week before everyone dies just seems rude. As for the people working, though, I have no idea what they were thinking. I hadn’t even considered going to work. And if all that weren’t confusing enough, as I walked out three young guys with guns ran in and started blasting. Everyone was about to die anyway, but I guess they wanted some of the credit. My mom was sitting in the park, which was surprising since she’d been locked up for the last ten years. Not prison - though she did kill my dad - a mental institution. If you ask me, killing that fucking asshole was the sanest thing she ever did, but afterwards she did get pretty weird. Anyway, she was my mom. I had to go say hi. ‘Oh, Sammy, how’s school?’ ‘I’m in my twenties, Ma. It’s over.’ ‘Well that’s nice.’ ‘Yeah. What are doing here? Did they let you out of the home?’ ‘That’s funny, Sammy. Home is where the heart is right? The heart of sadness and death, of despair, of solitude.’

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BENJAMIN COREY

‘Yeah, Ma, I never liked that place either. So they let you out, huh?’ ‘They all left. They left the doors and the gate open. They went home to their families and left us crazies to go back to our living nightmares. No more pills, no more fuzz, everything is clear, simple, obvious again. Obviously horrible.’ ‘So, you need a place to sleep? Are you eating?’ ‘I sleep at the hospital. They have a kitchen there. Plenty of food in the city. I wouldn’t have enough time to starve to death anyway, only a week left. Thank god. I love you, boy, but this place is no place to be.’ ‘What place, Ma?’ ‘Here, Earth, everywhere. It went wrong, Sammy. I’m not sure when, but it’s good that it’s over.’ ‘You’re probably right, Ma. Well, I’m going to try and get laid a couple more times before it’s over.’ ‘You were always funny, Sambo. I love you.’ ‘Love you too, Ma. You really shouldn’t be calling people Sambo though.’ ‘Does it really matter now, Samson?’ ‘Alright, Ma, alright. So, did you want to die together? I could come to the hospital?’ ‘Meet me here. I don’t want to die at that ugly place.’ ‘See you here an hour before it’s supposed to hit.’ ‘Take care till then.’ I kissed her on the cheek. She grunted a smile at me, then her face receded to placidity, the real world slipped from her mind. Must have been nice. * I went out that night. The whole city went out that night. In the morning, the corpses of the drunk and impatient would adorn the sidewalks underneath Twirlington’s downtown towers, but that night all I saw was an explosion of unashamed, unbridled, nuclear force joy. The whole city, perhaps the whole world, seemed to celebrate, if in most cases only unconsciously, the brilliance and amazingness that being alive is and always has been. People sang and danced, they twirled and jumped, they ran and they climbed, they mated and they fought. It was a celebration that would have been justified on any day in a world where little bits of dust have amalgamated into beings capable of enjoying an ice cream sandwich, but you don’t miss your water till the well runs dry. There was very little water left, and everyone appreciated the hell out of it. Almost everyone. There were those that reacted to the end of the world with hatred and violence. Perhaps it could be said in those darkening days we all deserved the right to pursue happiness in whatever way we could, as there would never be a chance to do so again. That the rules of nature, prevalence of the strong over the weak, were justifiably reintroduced to human society as its days came to an end. Perhaps. Perhaps more to the point is that these individuals were of a nearly irrelevant minority. They represented almost no one. Seven billion people in the world spent their last few days loving life, their own and others, as hard as they could. The thousands that spent it in hatred were paltry and insignificant in respect to overall

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numbers. Those whose paths crossed them are excused for not seeing it that way, and to be sad for them would be justified, but the fact remains the end of the world was by and large a joyous occasion. I enjoyed it. That first night I went to the scummiest old man bar I knew about: the Barn. It’s where I always went to get good and hammered before attempting to engage in the society of my peers. It felt good to drink with people who weren’t looking for anything but to get drunk. Their lives were so much easier because they had given up on getting laid or being happy in general. I felt it was a good lesson in prioritising. But when I walked into the place that Thursday night it was if they’d all won the lottery. Beers clashed together, men danced through the tables, the bartender never seemed to stop ringing the free beer bell, and, a sight that I would never have believed had I not seen it with my own eyes, women. They were everywhere, laughing and dancing and howling along with the old bearded ones. It was as if some sisterhood of charity were descending on the salty and crusty to give them one last experience of life’s sweet side. I was intoxicated immediately, and the gallons of booze that followed pushed me into a mental state so dredged in delirium that I can’t even say for sure that it was real, even though it happened. All over Twirlington, people came together in numbers so great that individual spaces couldn’t contain them and they poured into the street until all of us were out, and still we expanded. We flooded into the centre of town, Billing’s Park. The exterior of us was blocks away in every direction from the centre, but the crowd waved in and out, the components, the individuals fluctuated, changed, lived, some died, but the whole remained the same. Acts happened in waves: crying, laughing, fucking. A whole throng, a mob, a gigantic crowd of people all together, inside each other, at once. We aimed again and again at oneness and it felt so often as though we had achieved it. Music and fire and dirt and skin filled our senses, our selves. It could never get better. As the party wound down the people started jumping. It started right away, champagne and liquor bottles smashed to the sidewalk still tightly grasped. Couples were common, some mid-coitus, groups too, some mid-orgium. They had literally left the party to end all parties, why face the corresponding hangover? Farewell, they said. I climbed to the top of a building myself, just as the sun began to rise. I watched a man, wearing glasses and a suit, hair immaculate, holding a bottle, standing atop Twirlington Tower itself, bellow into the night: ‘You think I give a fuck about death?’ He put the bottle to his lips and back-flipped from the ledge, drinking the whole way down. He missed out on some life, sure, but he went out with style. On his own terms. And goddamn if he didn’t look cool as fuck doing it. * I kept getting drunk, my less severe means of avoiding being hung-over for the end of the world. Over the next week I saw some old friends, but those who hadn’t taken control of their own lives by ending them had largely holed up with family somewhere. Millions of people took to the caves and subways in hopes

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BENJAMIN COREY

that being a few feet underground would protect them from the planetoid that was about to obliterate our own little rock. Those that were left wandering the surface were the ones who didn’t seem to mind. I sat and spoke with them, mostly old folks, when they’d have me. They were ready to go, and by and large they didn’t see it as too tragic if everyone came with them. An old woman picking roses from an abandoned house’s garden told me humanity had peaked anyway. ‘What, we’re not going to be around to make a smaller computer? To make a bigger bomb? A shinier car? Good. Humans have exhausted themselves. Philosophers and scientists talk about nonsense, politicians don’t even take themselves seriously anymore. Billions of people have spent the last two thousand years murdering each other over which invisible spaceman to credit with existence. Art has been reduced to entertainment, tits and dick jokes, bombs and guns, just shlock to kill time. We’ve destroyed every ecosystem on the planet, extinguished as many animals as we could, now it’s our turn I suppose. But if only just the humans were dying out! The whole rest of the planet could have enjoyed itself for a while.’ The flowers, she told me, were so her house would look and smell nice when it and she were destroyed. She had spent the morning shampooing her carpets. * I rode a kid’s bike to the park on the last day. I found it lying in the front yard of my neighbour’s house. It was a nice ride - I bunny-hopped off some curbs, popped a few wheelies. The sky was bright blue, just a few puffy white clouds floated through it. The breeze was warm and soft. The park was empty, anyway, except for my mother sitting on the bench. She had on a few coats over a sun dress, no shoes, no socks. She was whistling, staring ahead. I sat next to her, put my arm around her shoulder, and stared ahead with her. My mom stopped whistling, and turned to me. ‘Any last words, Sammy?’ she asked. ‘Not really,’ I said. The sky opened a little while later, as Mom finished the last few bars of an old Louie Armstrong song, the one about skies of blue. The end of the world was pretty, though it lasted less than a second. The blue swirled out into space as the asteroid became a meteor, so that blackness framed its massive fiery display of orange, red, white, and blue. It smashed into the ground, then through it, raising to the heavens billions of tons of earth: green, brown, black, and red. Everything on Earth rose into what had just been the sky, and was now just space, in a bright bubble of every colour that had ever been, and in a single moment contracted, expanded, and then dissolved, leaving behind not a trace of the five billion years of life and death our little ball had hosted. Its – our - particles float on though, so the Universe really didn’t change at all.

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HANNAH

SCULLY

Hannah works with a variety of mediums which have recently included casting materials such as resin. Her current work is about regeneration and struggles in nature. She is currently working on a video of a chrysalis which has inspired the current project. [www.hannahscully.com / http://hannahscullyart.tumblr.com/]

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JESSAMY

HADFIELD

Jessamy Hadfield is studying Fine Art at Newcastle University and is currently in her 4th year. In her documentary films she focuses on other artist’s work and unveils the process and reasons behind what they are making. With sensitivity to her subject matter, her films subjectively sieve reality in a straightforward manner that suggests an objective representation.

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THE

BOWLING

CLUB

WATCH FILM http://vimeo.com/6754894

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Qing Yuan and operates PP Press. With a PhD in English, Yuan has recently been interviewed by [PANK], and had poetry appearing in Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Exquisite Corpse, London Magazine, Threepenny Reviewand 769 other literary journals/anthologies across 28 countries. In 2013, Yuan has been bitten by 3 poisonous snakes.

Four dozen and seventeen years ago Our father’s brothers brought forth A new civilization, conceived in electronics And dedicated to the cause that all Machines were created to be equal To apathetic humans when a message was sent From a lab at a green campus, which can Think logically, but not respond emotionally: Whether you like it or not, This semi-being would never speed up A moment even though you are dying Nor will it slow down when it is to crash. Neither a smallest smile to hear The great news, nor a smattering of Sadness over the loss of your dearest, It keeps working at the predetermined pace. Always indifferent of the people, By the people and for the people Until we all perish with the earth.

CHANGMING

YUAN

CYBERSBURG ADDRESS: A FREE SONNET

Changming Yuan, 7-time Pushcart nominee and author of Chansons of a Chinaman (2009) and Landscaping

(2013), grew up in rural China but currently tutors in Vancouver, where he co-publishes Poetry Pacific with Allen

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SMART

PHONE HOWIE

In the slow dying city, the air trembles as from a severe effort to suppress the darker emotions. I walk, old and troubled, through streets that are only provisionally there. What strange weather! It’s becoming common this winter to see a piano burn. A form waiting on my desk at work asks for the seven last words of our savior. All I can remember is that the words “mushroom” and “music” are contiguous in most English dictionaries. I start to think that maybe I should call ahead. (“You’ve reached the voice mail of. . . . Have a blessed day.”) My relatives floated up from tall smokestacks, their faces without shape, their embers without light.

Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the forthcoming poetry collection

The Middle of Nowhere (Olivia Eden Publishing). His latest chapbooks are Echo’s Bones and Danger Falling Debris(Red Bird Chapbooks). He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely.

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GOOD


THE

SOMNUS

INDIVIDUATION

OF

A

FREESPIRIT

JOSEPH

MILBURN

Joseph Milburn studies English Literature and Philosophy at Newcastle University. Somnus is a call to wake up to

the oneness around us. [http://josephmilburn.wordpress.com/]

‘We are asleep. Our life is a dream. But we wake up sometimes, just enough to know that we are dreaming’ – Ludwig Wittgenstein * There is strangeness in sight. For there is more to be seen with eyes closed than with eyes open wide. And this peculiarity of perception lies at the core of all things. The moment that exists between the transition – the act of blinking which is life. The journey that is to follow remains as unfixed as a cloud. Like a leaf on the wind who in its final graceful arc gently sways and rests itself upon the ground, looking up to the sky, knowing of the great dance of nature – the feeling of flight. * 1 It all began when Somnus found himself lying on a bed in the middle of the desert. It was the bed that we all share, the desert that we all must walk. Thousands of poppies thrived amidst these endless sands, this sea of blood. And the night-painting above was crimson too – and it neither sighed nor smiled nor breathed nor groaned nor danced nor wept as Somnus, like an insect beneath, slowly died, slowly lived, and trembled, trembled with both fear and

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joy under the stillness of the gaze. There was once a man from the East who had met a similar fate – who shared the vision that disregards the artifice of time. For he had dreamt he was a butterfly. And he was content and unquestioning in the acceptance of this life of flutter and flicker and flight. But the next morning he had awoke to find himself a man. Now the mystery unfolds – leaps from the crevice of that unseen but monumental divide – was he a man dreaming he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was man? So too, did Somnus feel he was passing from one dream to the next. * Somnus could see an old man sitting a little way off from the bed in a particularly dense patch of the red flowers. He felt compelled to join him and to tell of his troubles as he had the distinct impression that they had met before or would meet again and that they shared a common fate which he could not yet understand. It was as if he had met a part of himself. And his eyes seemed as ancient and as wise as the vast encircling desert as he listened in silence whilst Somnus spoke – ‘Old man, I am haunted by a recurring nightmare. There is no light and I cannot see but I know that I am falling. I fall deeper and deeper no matter how much I struggle. And just as I feel that this descent will never end I crash into the abyss – shattering into an infinite amount of pieces. In the horror I realise that I am everywhere, that I have become the darkness – that I am nothing. ‘Then the scene dissolves and emerges anew. And I am staring into the depths of a great ocean observing the cracks on my skin that shimmer – rippling with the pounding of rain that falls from above. I find myself caught beneath this living mirror, forever gazing back towards the watching sky – crippled underneath the trappings of an endless downpour. ‘The vision returns, again and again and again – and there is no escape and there is no respite and there is not a gleam of hope. For the damned are without faith and I the damned am faithless.’ * The old man thought about these words for a while. About what lay beneath them and what they pointed to. And all that could be heard was the low hum of the desert – a gentle breeze that flowed across the sand, brushing against a cheek, bending the flowers in an ageless caress. To a rhythmic sway and calm breath that has always been. Then, when he finally replied, it was with eyes pure and voice clear – ‘That vision is no nightmare, Somnus. It is life, death, all things and nothing at all – for everything twists and churns together in the eternal fall and no distinction exists between them. ‘And you are the lonely frog at the bottom of the well who knows nothing of the ocean. You see the desert but not the secret that lies in a single grain of sand. For we are all connected by the same red string like

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many coloured flowers flourishing from the same brown earth. We are all united in our winding paths from life to death, in our fear and in our joy – in our journey from morning to night. For the self exists in all life and all life exists within the self, You must find your roots so that you can grow. Only then will you know of the ocean – only then will you be whole. ‘You are aware of your chains – of the scar that runs jagged across your neck. Too many are lured by the great mirage – sleeping in their oasis of ignorance. They do not see the eternal desert nor walk beneath the crimson sky. And there is nothing more tragic than the caged bird who thinks it is free – who will never know flight. ‘It is time for your awakening, Somnus. This is a revolt against the fall. You, lonely frog, must leap. It is the leap of faith and faith in yourself. For you are entering the labyrinth that exists within us all as the ground beneath your feet begins to crumble and a voice calls out, over and over, as if to a long lost friend. Do not fear the call but answer it – obey the inner law – and the ground will be firm and you will walk once more as a man of tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. ‘Do not forget. Strange things are seen in darkness but so too does the light play tricks on us all. Soon you will fall no more – for you will be free.’ * And so Somnus walked the path, for there was nothing else to be done. And the path was made by his doing so – by his footprints in the sand.

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MARTIN

ECCLES

Martin Eccles is studying Fine Art at Newcastle University. His interest is in creating work with natural habitats, materials and found objects. He uses a variety of methods to create visual, audio, three dimensional and text works. [http://www.martin-eccles-artist.co.uk]

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THE

EXCURSION W.M.

LEWIS

The ageing Greek anarchists have nowhere to be, or somewhere. They are a couple who never run out of things to say or observe. Every gesture is a plot against the state. They are excitable escapees. Every smile is a death wish for someone back home. Arched eyebrows and arch-enemies. They are love itself, and this is their final stop. I see myself in their strange vowels and insurmountable alphabet. I am mute by comparison, sunk in the dusty and worried tongue that I love.

I’m an Australian poet and writer. my poetry has appeared in Alliterati Magazine, Best Australian Poems 2011,

Cordite Poetry Review, Eclecticism, Multiverses, PoV Magazine, Railroad Poetry Project, street cake magazine and The Night Light. you can find me (a little too often) on Twitter at @w_m_lewis and at my blog whatevertheysing.

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thousand nations springing up like wildflowers. springing up like wild, no, spot fires. they’re extinguished from above. but some get away. running up the hill ‘til they wear themselves

the light of recognition casting the longest shadow. beautiful light, but fleeting. a thousand people. material and immaterial. extinguished from above. but some get away.

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NATIONS

out. made and unmade.

UNITING

a thousand borders formed and unformed. a


STORM OVER THE AVIARY

SABO

Tetrahedron is the third complete work from the Memoriam series. Each photograph is linked to a video online through the QR code in its centre. The videos draw from a fascination with the phenomena of collective memory, YouTube, Twitter, the news, Facebook, internet memes – in an increasingly digitised and globalised society; events, people and experiences to which the majority of individuals have no connection become internalised as personal memory through the mechanisms of collective memory. A series of fabricated narratives emerged, exploring the original images with reference to specific instances of collective, public memory; the resulting videos form a dialectic of sorts between the individual and the collective. The sources of fact in each mediation oscillates between these two poles, the narratives formed occupying a space that resists delineation.

28


TAGE

THE BURGLARY

TETRAHEDRON MATTHEW

PICKERING

Scanning the QR code in the centre of each photo using a QR codereader app on your smartphone or tablet will navigate you to its corresponding video. The videos can also be viewed at: http://bit.ly/183PwXo The complete series and more information about the Memoriam series can also be found on Matthew’s blog: http://matthewpickering.blog.com/memoriam/tetrahedron. 29


DAYDREAMER (WHO ARE YOU?)

30


BIRLEY

I’m a singing, song-writing, piano-playing, music maker from Manchester. I would describe my music somewhere between electro-folk, sometimes acoustic, sometimes jazzy - it’s ever evolving and a bit of a mish-mash! www.soundcloud.com/keelinmusic

CAOILFHIONN

PLAY SONG http://bit.ly/1eCseac

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SOUL

FISHING MARIE

MITTMANN

Marie H. Mittmann is originally from Germany but is currently studying at Newcastle University as an Erasmus

student, focusing on English Literature, Creative Writing and Media Studies. She enjoys writing all kinds of stories, short or long, though most of them include a dark fantasy twist. So far, several of her short stories have been published in anthologies or student-run literature magazines.

Silver morning light filtered through bare branches and cold fingers traced her skin. October winds and river water, gently lapping at her feet.

Where am I? She spread her fingers and touched grass cool with morning dew, then slick mud. A shiver ran through her body. She sat up and glanced around – in front of her the river, slate grey like the sky; a deserted bench with chipped-off paint; the shapes of houses huddled on the other side. Seagulls shrieked above, each cry piercing the early morning silence like a blade. Sleepwalking. Again. She didn’t recall how many times she had found herself outside her bed like this; how many times she opened her eyes to the lure of the depth at the edge of a bridge, or the squealing breaks of a car on the road. She had awoken in a park before, puzzled at the seeming safety, only to find her hands scraped raw and her knees bloodied from an unknown cause. But this time, she felt no pain; saw nothing to fear. A small smile tucked at the corners of her mouth. Just then, a motion caught her eye. She was not alone in the park. On a stone close to the water sat a figure, unmoving and dark against the sky. Who would come out here at this hour, all alone? Without a sound, she rose to her feet. The figure was a young man, faintly familiar. Shoulder-length tangled hair danced on the winds. He wore frayed jeans and heavy, dirty boots, no shirt. Necklaces, amulets and pendants glittered on his chest as the sun peeked through the morning haze – not department store attire, but things that looked ancient despite all their brightness. She had seen him before, she remembered. He was in the park almost every day, sometimes sleeping on the only bench, sometimes sitting at the river’s edge as he was now. She had watched him once as he begged for money, with a real top hat waiting for coins that never came. Her breath quickened a little as she stepped closer, hesitated, then moved again.

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He was the kind of person parents warned their little children of. Bad influence on teenagers, unwelcome in any restaurant or shop. Girls would eye him with barely hidden fascination, while policemen gave a warning stare. He was strange, dangerous maybe. Yet he was sitting completely still. There was something else that had caught her eye; not him moving but something shifting and changing around him. Silver streaks on silver-grey sky, hardly visible. Ribbons? They flitted and dashed, danced and swirled through the air. They seemed to have a life of their own – the young man held their ends, but he was not causing their movement. He sat like the fishermen that sometimes flung out their lines here, patient and calm. Slowly, he turned his head and looked at her. His eyes were green and glinting, spring leaves in the wrong time of year. Her breath caught. For a moment she was frozen and the world fell silent. Not even her own heartbeat was thudding in her ears. ‘What … what are you doing?’ Her voice was thin and shaky; fading. He smiled at her, but it was not a happy smile. It was an apology. ‘I’m fishing for souls,’ he said. ‘I gather up the souls of those who cannot find rest, of those who have died only to die again and again because they have not yet crossed the border.’ She stared at him, not understanding. Then she followed his gaze and looked down at her feet – at her feet that were already wrapped in his ribbons. Soft silver fabric slithered up around her ankles, a touch light as the wind itself. Even as she was watching, more and more ribbons floated up around her, covering her wrists, her arms, her face. She listened in on herself, still not hearing her heartbeat and not even feeling fear. The ribbons tucked at her, drawing her towards their master. Through his eyes, she saw the border; stole a furtive glimpse ahead. Then silver slid past her face, fabric blocking out the sky before turning into light itself. She fell through silver skies, green water – floating like a ribbon now herself.

33


34

ZOE Zoe Molloy is a third year Fine Art student studying at Newcastle University, working predominantly in printmaking. ‘Self - Portrait’ is a lino print of a simplification of a blind drawing of the artist. [http://www.flickr.com/photos/zoe_molloy/]

MOLLOY


MADDY

VENUS

35


DOLCE DANIEL

FAR

NIENTE

RIDLEY

You stepped in, of a kiss in

I stepped out,

a unique period of flower growing. During the

dangerous ages

became detached so walked over useful coals,

saved solfège for

our hospital temptation;

unheeded, speeding.

Felt epistemic, verbose: got into boats. Soon looking at apses felt unfantastic

made prisoners of leisure

then, then.

You, an old woman looking for ghosts, came to the bier, pale with love.

36


I studied English Literature at Newcastle University, then completed an MA in Romantic Literature and Culture at

Leeds University. I now work for an academic publishing company.

I, an old man sere with great age, glittered your face, escaped decorum. We sat on each other’s graves gnawing, grinding rotten flesh;

the smell of heady incense still heavy in our redundant, drunk lungs. Whispered everyone, everyone:

no one came, no one could. And in concordat obsequy, with querulous eyes rank joy, to rest dreams and false restoratives, we began to realise what we were: getting up journeying from the church

in a barren copse to our marriage lot.

37


LOW

MELANIE

38

HUNTER


WATCH FILM http://vimeo.com/29255968

39


THE

DROP

ROBERTO

CARCACHE

I’m a writer from El Salvador with a background in Bolaño and an invisible degree in Russian lit. This is only

the fourth piece I have submitted anywhere in this new road as a writer. I have chosen to do a response to Daniel Bowman’s “Ground Floor Apartment”. I found the idea explored in this story of an immediate love and its repercussions very captivating, and have made a darker adaptation of it which I hope you will enjoy.

The view from the fifth floor was metaphysically impeccable, although not at all so physically different from that of his old ground floor apartment. A well-lit street, rows of tenement buildings, a traffic intersection, a slew of parking meters along the sidewalk, the convenience store next door, and people of course, comprised this new view. The latter were a rare sight during “those nights”. That’s how he referred to them to the few friends who were willing to listen to the so-called troubles of his blossoming relationship. Don’t get me wrong (he would start) it’s not that I don’t love her, but sometimes I feel as though we’re settling down too quickly. I’m only 25, still haven’t been to Iceland, and can’t call myself a man of the world yet. Why do I want to call myself a man of the world? I don’t know. I guess I just imagined myself being that guy who walks into a bar during a thunderstorm wearing a navy blazer, orders straight gin, tells stories about shooting wolves in the Caucasus, and takes the attractive bartender back to a dingy hotel room. I can’t really do that if I have to watch Glee reruns with Lilian during the week. It was usually at this point in his complaints that most of his female friends would cut him off and accuse him of talking like a male chauvinist pig, whereupon he would apologise and say that he was merely venting. His male friends would either throw around the verb whipped (sound included) or advise him to just end the relationship before he got too attached. Then he would shrug and remain quiet. He had no intention of breaking up with Lillian because he had no intention of being alone again, for various reasons. The lonely memories engraved in his left hand being one such reason, along with her smile, and how she managed to find his cynicism endearing, just to name a few. Tonight he was having one of “those nights”. Lillian had gone to bed without saying a word to him since dinner time. They quarreled because she accidentally threw out some of his old MSG tickets which he collected for no reason whatsoever on the desk they now shared. He made a scene when he found them in the little garbage bin next to the toilet. He accused her of being selfish, careless of his feelings and belongings, and said that just because they were living together, it didn’t mean that she could take over his apartment and do whatever she

40


pleased with it. Lillian was reasonably stupefied, told him he could find his dinner in the microwave, and shut herself up in their bedroom. It was almost becoming a routine. He was sitting on the ledge of the living room window smoking a cigarette. Lillian hated the smell. His legs dangled lifelessly as he gazed down at the street his new window view offered. A soft autumnal draft filled his apartment and made him feel more awake than he should have felt. He knew it was almost midnight and that tomorrow was a Tuesday. But there was something so absorbing about sitting on a ledge knowing a soft push could send him plunging towards who knew what. I don’t know why I keep doing this. I feel like a child who is always looking for that loose string to pull on until the whole piece of fabric unravels before me. Such were his contemplations when he saw her walking slowly down below. Even from afar he could tell it was her. That woman he instantly knew he could fall in love with. All it took was a quick glance at her fragile countenance through her apartment window six months ago. He felt the same exact way as he watched her elegant steps, the swaying of her golden hair, and how her whole figure seemed to glide along with the wind outside. She was covered in a gray overcoat and wore no shoes. There were no tears in her eyes this time; instead there was something much fiercer. It was as if she was heading towards her own ruin, sure of nothing but what was directly in front of her. Those maddening reflections from the past flashed before him about how he could save her, protect her from Man’s corrupted heart, start a humble life with her, and live happily ever after. Then he thought: A leap of faith…That strange expression. I’ve heard sometimes you just get one chance and it quickly vanishes if you don’t reach out and take it. What if I called out to her? Would she recognize my face? Could she understand that I have been here all along? If I told her I was jumping could she break my fall, take me to a hospital, and be sure that I was willing to risk death for a chance to start anew with her by my side? Is it even that long of a drop? He stopped for a second. His cigarette was down to its last puff. He pulled long and hard, tasting the rolling paper on his tongue, and sent a brief smoke signal in her direction. He then flicked the butt and watched its ashes scatter aimlessly on the pavement.

41


GROUND FLOOR APARTMENT DANIEL

[ISSUE 11, P. 68]

BOWMAN

George creaked over to the window and closed the blinds. His ground-floor room looked right out onto the pavement and anyone passing by would be able to see everything he owned. If he ever saw a big window with the curtains undrawn on his walk home from the factory he would always peer in on the people inside, never for long, just long enough to form an impression as to what their lives were like. Mostly it was just an empty room, or a guy watching TV, oblivious to the fact that he himself was being viewed by George. But today, today he had seen something more. He walked over to the little freezer in the corner and rummaged around for a frozen Korma. He pierced the lid several times and set the microwave going. Oh yes, today he had seen something brilliant. It was getting dark earlier now, by the time he had left work it was already pitch black and the streetlights were making little halos in the fog. He could hear his shoes splattering on the wet pavement, squelching with each step. All of the large bay windows to his right glowed from within, but were sealed off by thick curtains. As he progressed further down the road, however, one house seemed to glow brighter than all the others, spilling out onto the street, flickering electrically in the puddles. This house had no curtains, and George had gazed, infatuated, inside. And there she was. Wearing silk pyjamas and sitting alone on her sofa, with her golden hair tied back behind her head. Just sitting there, staring back at him. She was the most exquisite thing he had ever seen. The microwave bleeped. George found a plate under his bed and scraped some of the remnants off into a bin bag. He ran it under the tap and dried it off on his trousers before filling it with greasy curry and setting it down on the table. He grabbed a glass from the sink and filled it with water. Small pieces of enamel floated at the top, the sink was peeling again. There she was, just sitting there. She looked so upset; there was a box of tissues on her lap. Whatever had happened, whoever had hurt her, George had suddenly felt an urgency to set things right. She was so perfect, she shouldn’t ever be unhappy. The room she sat in was beautiful; two large gold-framed mirrors stared

42


at each other from opposing walls, disappearing off into infinity. An intricate chandelier hung from the ceiling, pouring light out over the dismal wet world in which George stood. He stared, and she stared back, everything stopped moving. Who could have abandoned her? George suddenly felt inexplicably angry, gazing around his peeling apartment, the damp spreading with increasing boldness across the ceiling. In his head he had walked down past her window, never breaking eye contact, and passed through the open door into her house. He had sat down on the sofa and just held her, her shoulders so soft and smooth beneath those silk pyjamas. Her fiancé had left her, she’d say, a week before the wedding, sold all of her jewellery and taken off in her car. How could he do that to you? George demanded, outraged. She said she didn’t understand. But George was here now; everything was going to be alright. And then she had kissed him, pressed her warm body against his soaking overalls, ran her fingers through his wiry hair, down his arms… George almost fell backwards off his chair, flailing his arms around. He regained his balance and looked around warily, though he knew he was alone. The two of them had decided to run away together; they would leave the very next day using some of the money she had inherited after her father died. ‘Can we leave so soon? What about your job? Won’t they mind?’ He told her firmly that he couldn’t care less about his job; they would just up and leave. He was so romantic, so impulsive; it was just exactly what she wanted. She’d had enough of men who looked the part, tall and handsome, well-dressed, intelligent, and now she just needed someone who would love her forever. And George would. ‘What about your family? Won’t they mind?’ George explained that his father had also passed, and his mother was a drunk. They hadn’t spoken in fifteen years. No, she wouldn’t mind. He heard raised voices on the other side of his wall; his Polish neighbours were rowing again. He asked her to marry him. She gazed thoughtfully into his dull, honest eyes, and said, quite simply: ‘Yes.’ He contributed what he could towards the wedding. It was a very small affair, and the only others present were the registrar and the registrar’s cat, Tiddles. He looked very handsome in his suit; it had been his father’s. He knew his father would be very proud if he could see him now, dashing in his waistcoat and lapelled jacket. She, of course, looked spectacular, in an immaculate white dress with pearl lacings and a thin veil over her face, he couldn’t quite see it… George left his apartment door wide open as he marched out into the street. The rain was really driving now, splattering down onto his head and making the fibres of his father’s old suit cling to his skin. Where was it? It had been somewhere along this street. House after house George passed, the curtains drawn on him wherever he looked. It had been one of these, he was sure. He ran along the shimmering pavement, scanning for a light on in the window, craning his neck and searching until… There! Just a

43


little further down the road, the same warm glow emanated out from that grand room; a sanctuary in the midst of all this hideousness. He would stride in, take her in his arms, and they would both be happy. Water was getting in through the flapping sole of his shoe; his feet were cold and wet. He was shivering all over. He gazed into the room, and there she was, cradled safely in the arms of a man. A tall, handsome man who stroked her hair and told her he loved her. George stood there in the rain, staring at them. So happy, they were both so happy now. He caught the man’s eye in one of the large mirrors. He stopped stroking the woman’s head and pointed up at where George had been standing, but George was already gone.

44


HERMIONE

MACMILLAN

I am a 3rd year student at Edinburgh University studying Fine Art. Specialise in painting. Link to my facebook page hermioneart is https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hermioneart/221404061332770 and http://hermioneart.tumblr.com.

45


DESPITE MY RESERVATIONS REGARDING APOCALYPSES

HOLLY

DAY

the dragon outside my bedroom window tells me that the end is coming soon, that it’s okay to get drunk fucked up, fuck around, because it’s all going to come crashing down so very soon that there’s no reason to practice prudence or prudishness. it blinks its gigantic blue-green eyes at me through the crack between the flowered bedroom curtains so beguilingly I have no choice but to believe it’s true. later, in the kitchen, the dragon curls up around my tiny dinette tail delicately tucked around its body and out of the way of my heavy feet watches me cooking dinner, tells me I should order a pizza instead because there’s no reason to keep any money in my bank account or worry about cholesterol or being fat or the evildoings or shady associations of certain corporate pizza places when the end of the world is so close so very close that the dragon can already taste the smoldering embers of burning cities on its tongue already knows what I’ll look and smell like when I’m dead.

46


Holly Day is a housewife and mother of two living in Minneapolis, Minnesota who teaches needlepoint classes for

the Minneapolis school district and writing classes at The Loft Literary Center. Her poetry has recently appeared

in Hawai’i Pacific Review, Slant, and The Tampa Review, and she is the 2011 recipient of the Sam Ragan Poetry Prize from Barton College. Her most recent published books are Walking Twin Cities and Notenlesen für Dummies Das Pocketbuch.

I once was a woman who prayed and prayed for just one little baby maybe a girl but when the baby finally came it came much too soon she was only two inches long and so quiet I held my daughter curled tiny in my palm begged her to breathe begged her to move said I’d make her a cradle out of a walnut shell and a goose feather for a quilt if she would just give me a sign some sign that we could be I spent all night by the window, sang lullabies murmured half-remembered nursery rhymes my daughter cupped in the palm of my hand too small to be anything but a dream.

THUMBELINA

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48


KEITH

MOUL

ARGENTINA 621 BUENOS AIRES CAMINITO I see in these pictures class or intellectual separations while identifying the presence or identity of those in each group. Keith writes his poems and takes his pictures; he’s very grateful that editors seem to appreciate them.


JUST

TALK GARY

DUNCAN

Gary Duncan is a freelance writer and editor based in the northeast of England. Some of his recent stories have

appeared in Shotgun Honey and The Pygmy Giant, and his new book of trivia, “Bite-Sized Northumberland”, is currently the best selling book on Amazon with the words “bite” and “sized” and “Northumberland” in the title. [http://garyjohnduncan.blogspot.co.uk/]

He stood at the window, phone still in his hand, and looked down at the traffic on Kwun Tong Road, clogged up as far as he could see in both directions. The agency said the girl would be there in an hour. Traffic like that, he could be waiting all night. She turned up two hours later. She was in her thirties, he guessed: pretty, nice teeth. But no good. No good at all. She was Chinese, for a start. He tried though. Sat her down on the sofa and explained what he wanted. ‘You just want to ... talk?’ she asked, suspiciously. ‘Aye. Just talk.’ ‘In a ... what?’ He felt awkward, but he said it anyway. ‘A Geordie accent.’ She shook her head, said something in Cantonese, and smiled. ‘It’s okay,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t matter.’ He tried another girl. Different agency. Australian, this time, which, he supposed, was slightly more promising. But she had a lisp. She gave it a go but the words just didn’t come out right. The next one was English. Chinese but born and brought up in Bristol. She started to take her clothes off, had slipped out of her skirt and had started to unbutton her shirt before he could tell her to stop. He explained what he had in mind. ‘I’m homesick,’ he said. ‘I’ve been out here a long time. I thought this might ... help.’ ‘You don’t want me to take my clothes off?’ ‘I’d rather you didn’t.’ She looked at her skirt, on the floor. ‘You just want to talk?’ He nodded. She nodded back. Said she used to go out with a quantity surveyor from Gateshead, that she was a big fan of Ant and Dec. ‘Why not?’ she said, picking up the skirt. ‘Now what do you want to taak aboot?’

50


ZACHARY

51

HAMILTON


NINA

KURT

YOU,

ME,

THE

PARK

You mumbled your name & it tumbled down to the dusty ground in fear of being caught by my curious ears and we were fumbling, awkwardly sweetly in tune with each other’s reservation oh what a way to spend the Sunday afternoon as your clammy handshake revealed we were made for each other and our mutual hesitation, a confirmation we were only a short step away from being circled by a Dalmation’s leash if we’d been in a London park but here, alas, we’d have to do with flushed mums pushing their strollers into the back of my knees propelling me towards you and your cold fingers locking around my waist in reflex, only to catch the faux fur on my coat it is the thought that counts and from that moment, I’d say that sealed the deal count me in; I am yours

Nina Kurt hails from the City of Lights, where the first Philips lightbulb factory was established, and close to the

birthplace of Vincent Van Gogh. Currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University, she

enjoys expressing herself in poetry, short stories, long stories, blogging (http://ninakurt.tumblr.com), music, and photography.

52


CATHERINE

A

SMALL

AYRES

TRIUMPH

Poor frog, gutsy little amphibian, even your famed adaptability cannot stretch to a gravel path. Still iridescent, though faded, too translucent to be viable, you stretched yourself too far and here are the consequences. Comical feet when out of context, splayed on hard, unforgiving ground, jazz hands pointing downwards, you are supine, almost ecstatic, white throat catching the sun. How did you end up here? Did you summon all your intent to this bitter end? Or did you become alien unwittingly, an incremental trespasser onto life’s edges, until your body became too strange, too delicate for its unlikely grave? No matter. You are triumphant in defeat, beautiful in difference.

Catherine Ayres lives and works in Alnwick, Northumberland. Her work has appeared in Ink, Sweat and Tears and

Material among others and she is about to be published in The New Writer Magazine. One of her poems appeared on the Tyne and Wear Metro this autumn as part of the Poetry in Motion event. She has just finished working on a spoken word soundscape with her partner, Phil Ogg, which will be broadcast by Basic FM in December.

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54

CLARKE

My work aims to brighten a room in two ways, in the literal use of lighting, but more importantly through my use of colour and form. I have created a playful take on ambient lighting, I have done this by striking up a balance between bright colours and the deliberate effect of the towers almost toppling over. [Zaraclarkceramics.com / Facebook.com/zaraclarkceramics]

I am interested in decorative work that catches the eye and appeals to the childish nature in all of us. Throughout my work a thread that holds all my pieces together is my use of bright, playful colours. My work aims to evoke those memories of carnivals, summer fairs and playgrounds that everyone has memories of.

ZARA


ALMOST

SHARON

BISHOP

Sharon Bishop lives with her family on a chigger-infested 70-year-old orchard outside of Cincinnati. In addition to

writing, she loves music, wine, and silly romance novels. Sharon has been published by the Penman Review, and will be featured in their upcoming anthology.

I died on a Monday morning after colliding with an oncoming tractor-trailer on my commute to work. After regaining some sort of cognitive ability, I felt something cold and wet enveloping me, something like molasses, something that made me think of the Higgs field and the god particle. The matrix was everywhere, like a sea of half-solid jello. I blinked through it, allowing my vision to adjust. I was in a cell of some sort, made of stone blocks with walls that extended as far above me as they did below. To my right was nothing but darkness with small pinpoints of lights that appeared to be stars. To my left was a small window, and farther on a door-less archway that led into another chamber. After some practice I found that a modified breaststroke propelled me toward the door. I thought I heard someone talking out there, and sure enough, once I turned the corner I came into view of two creatures—I was not sure what they were. They appeared basically bipedal. One had a metallic shield about her waist that glinted and dripped in the dampness. Thanks to her two-piece mermaid suit, I could see the metal was genuinely part of her body. Iridescent scales sparkled in the dim lighting. Four long, slender chains adorned the rings in her ears, looping down to snap over rivets along the perimeter of the metal belt. She had a bifurcated nose, and two reddish eyes framed by dark curly tresses that might have been better off on a Caribbean island. The other entity appeared much the same, minus the satellite around her waist. She carried a large sack on her back and had bony protrusions up and down her arms, like a stegosaurus. She possessed a feathery tail, which swished nervously once she saw me. ‘Oh.’ She sounded like someone speaking through water. ‘Look, Gnoli, another one.’ ‘Azael, will you please stop talking?’ Her partner scraped the metal shield with one claw. ‘This solar storm is enough to deal with.’ Heaving a sigh, which accentuated her split nostrils, she twiddled with the chains, plucking them like harp strings. ‘Yes, there we go. This one is straight on up to the Upper Fifth.’ ‘Well that’s boring,’ Azael snapped. ‘When am I going to get one that goes parliamentary procedure? Or what about limbo? Can’t I ever get any fun assignments?’ Chains clanked against the metal satellite dish, blue lighting flashing off the edge as Gnoli bristled, her eyes pitted embers. ‘Have you forgotten what Gabriel told you?’ Azael shifted her bag and sniffed. ‘Whatever.’ And to me, ‘Let’s go.’

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We entered a glass elevator. The molasses formulation seemed lighter here, draining through the seams along the door. I felt pieces of it sliding off my fingertips and pooling slowly in the space below. There was no bottom to the place, yet I did not sink. ‘It can get a little bumpy sometimes,’ Azael warned, adjusting some dials. ‘And by the way, you can’t talk yet. I mean, you really aren’t able to. Once we finish deprogramming, your celestial stridulators will activate and you’ll be able to communicate. Until then you can nod your head yes or no.’ She pulled a device from a hook that was, apparently, a microphone of sorts, and announced, ‘En route with one Airbreather. Prepare a deprogramming bay.’ A glowing sign flowed through the matrix and settled over the door. It said: WELCOME TO THE DECELESTIALIZED ZONE YOUR FINAL STOP IS THE FIFTH DIMENSION YOU WILL MAKE ONE (1) STOP FOR DEPROGRAMMING I heard something like the warning whir of a CAT scan. The walls trembled and a ripple radiated outward through the gel. With a lurch, we began to move upward. ‘This used to be my favorite part,’ Azael smiled. ‘I would love to go to your planet someday and be a tour guide.’ She sighed and rolled her eyes and lashed her tail, as if someone had chastised her: ‘I know I know.’ Flipping a switch labeled, ‘NARRATION,’ she drily added, ‘I am no longer allowed to tell you about our journey ahead. I got in trouble once for saying the wrong things, so they do a pre-recorded text now. Lucky me, I get to listen to Gabriel every time I take someone up. As if he weren’t proud enough of himself already.’ As the Archangel began to speak, violet, shamrock, and teal streams of light whirled past the glass walls. ‘Hello and welcome to the Elevator of Probability. You will travel by several interesting points of interest during your journey to your final stop today. This will serve as an introductory course to the spacetime trajectory. Pay close attention, as we will be traveling through a large space in a brief period of time. Please take a closer look since we are now passing the First Dimension. This level is for shelved projects such as the dinosaurs, saber-toothed cats and mammoths. It is also where extinctions are destined until they can be fine-tuned for a later release. ‘Next is the Second Dimension, or the therapy chambers. This is reserved for flawed projects. Examples of these are life-forms that prefer to harm each other or are deficient in some way, including a belief that the Fifth Dimension does not accept all life-forms. If you have been assigned to this Dimension, under no circumstances should you attempt to avoid reconditioning. You will not be permitted admission to the Fifth Dimension unless all required therapy has been successfully completed. The Intergalactic and Celestial Enforcement Services verify this for every life-form at the entrance to the Fifth Dimension. There

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SHARON BISHOP are no exceptions. Some life-forms request voluntary admission to the Second Dimension. There is no shame in doing this. Some notable examples of life-forms you might have known and admired who have done this before are Job, Oedipus, Vincent van Gogh, and Michael Jackson. ‘The Third Dimension is for staff training purposes. You are not permitted in this Dimension.’ The matrix shifted and sparkling trails of light twisted through, painting a large glow, as if a sun or a large star lay close. The gel substance began to twinkle, millions of crystalline flecks in a sherbet swirl. The farther we traveled, the more colors converged, refracting toward us from the approaching source. My companion curled her feathered appendage around herself and began to stroke its unruly edges. She occasionally slanted her amber eyes toward me as if she were contemplating speaking. At times, a magnetic charge sizzled over her arms, arching from one calcified knob to the next. Suddenly, as if unable to resist her own desires, she reached out and smacked a small round button next to the switch. A control panel unfolded with a click and a mechanical groan. Dropping her bag at her feet, Azael ran through a series of flicking, turning, and pulling small levers. As she adjusted the controls, I noticed several things. First, the automated tour guide ceased to speak. Second, the bag tipped over and something gold peeped from within. Third, our speed decreased to a dreamlike roll through what became ever brighter and more luscious clouds of brilliant color. Satisfied, Azael faced me. ‘This,’ she swept her claws toward the view, ‘This is my favorite dimension. Gabriel never does it justice, so I will take over from here.’ Arching her back and curling her tail about her, she proceeded. ‘The Fourth Dimension is reserved for the little innocents. The ones who come into the DCZ before they have had a chance to enjoy their life. I believe you Airbreathers call them children.’ I pressed against the glass, awe-struck. The rainbow hue wept against the pane, and I began to see that each twinkle was a small orb—their souls, Azael said—that radiated pure, white love. As we moved closer, one of the souls came into my view and a sign winked above it: Airbreather-Earth December 13, 2012 Houston, TX Prolapsed Umbilical Cord ‘They get to grow up here,’ Azael added softly, coming to stand by me as the little light ball blinked and floated away. ‘That way they get some sort of taste of life. We have a huge unit dedicated to this Dimension. I volunteer sometimes.’ As we stood there, I felt something warm deep within my lower abdomen. It was a flutter, a stirring, and then a shudder as a soft pink glow pulled itself from me and wobbled toward the pane. Shaking, I stared at the little soul, helpless and open, searching for a way to exit our craft. I heard Azael’s gasp, then her garbled cry for help. I reached out unsteady hands for the little one and took it into my arms, much to her

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dismay. Slowly, a text began to visualize above the downy whiteness: Airbreather-Earth December 13, 2012 Lexington, KY Vehicle Accident-Maternal Death Azael yanked the gold fabric from her bag and shouted, ‘Put this on! We’re going to deprogramming now!’ Shielding my child with my arms I shook my head and backed away. I felt the little life flutter against me, like a butterfly’s wings. Frantic, Azael attempted to force the gold cloth over my head. The gel matrix had all but completely vanished and I resisted her, though her strength far exceeded mine. The injustice of it all rushed to my mouth, which I opened to scream, but nothing happened. Ignoring her previous warning that I would have no means to communicate, I tried anyway. No, my mind said, but no sound emerged. As she pushed the robe over my head, I clung tighter to my daughter. No! This time, I felt something change in my chest. It was a wracking pain, but I did not stop. No. And I felt the air brush my tongue. No! It was a whisper, accompanied with searing in my lungs, but I did it. No! The feeble cry shook the matrix particles suctioned on the sides of the glass walls.

No!

My wail enflamed my chest and brought the little soul tightly to my skin.

No!

I shouted as my chest burst into flames and the glass began to splinter.

‘How dare you! You know I’m not familiar with NDE protocol!’ Gabriel laughed softly. ‘Azael, you’re always complaining that the job is boring.’

No! I screamed as loud as I could and my child crawled inside me as shards of brilliant reflections splintered in a million directions. The matrix parted with a loud, squishy crack and then I felt them remove the paddles from my chest and announce that they had a pulse, they had a pulse.

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59


A

ROADSIDE

MEETING

MICHAEL

A.

ARNOLD

Michael A. Arnold is a graduate of the University of Sunderland, and is currently training to be an English teacher.

He is based in North East England, and has previously published essays and short fiction. His influences include Seamus Heaney, Robert Frost, and Haruki Murakami.

A column of people walked through the night, trying not to make too much noise. The winds stirred up the long savannah grass. The smell of dirt mixed with the occasional scent of other people, tired from a day on the move. People watched both sides of the road intently. They were on the run, heading for the border. Few people knew each other, so few were talking. That was fine. Norbu wasn’t interested in getting involved in a conversation anyway. Norbu was among the walkers in the middle of the column. There were a great number of people. Maybe five hundred, but Norbu could not be sure. Since he was friendless he walked while observing the others, looking from person to person in the corner of an eye. He did not think that he had the energy to talk. The chill of sleeping rough was still fresh on him and Norbu was consciously trying to ignore it. But because he did not have the energy to block out two things at once he kept thinking about the day before, even though he did not want to. He was letting it happen. He did not really having a choice. It was like having a lapping wave of thoughts that would make him picture the dead men, and hear the gunshots, the beating of long grass against him as he hid, the screams of people. Every time he imagined it, though, he did something different: what he should have done, rather than what he did do. Norbu was coming out of one of these trances of memory when he spotted an old man sitting alone at the roadside, next to a small burning wooden torch. The man was turning his head, watching the people walk past. When the old man spotted Norbu he watched him for a moment before motioning Norbu over. Norbu sidestepped out of the column of people and stopped, pointing at himself. Me? he mouthed. The man nodded and Norbu approached. ‘I got beer here if you want it,’ the man said when Norbu was near. ‘Shouldn’t you be walking?’ Norbu said, ‘If you stay too long ...’ ‘I know what they will do to me,’ the old man said, ‘besides boy, can’t you just sit here a moment? I’ll not take up a lot of your time. And I need the company.’ Norbu sat down beside him and watched the column of people marching past. He then turned his head. ‘What is happening to our Kenya?’ Norbu said.

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‘I don’t know,’ the man said. Light of the fire was reflected in his eyes. ‘What are you doing here?’ The old man laughed. ‘Living, just like you,’ he said. ‘I mean: What are you doing at the side of the road?’ ‘I am ...’ the old man paused, watching the moon-lit shadows walk past. ‘I am just sitting here with my friend here, remembering his death. Care to join us? It’s his funeral.’ Norbu thought about it. ‘Where is your friend?’ he said. ‘Right here,’ the old man said, pointing to the flaming torch impaled in the ground beside him. Norbu looked at it with a certain curiosity as the man produced a beer can from somewhere in his coat and held it out. ‘Here,’ he said, and Norbu looked up. Taking the beer Norbu looked at it. The writing on the can side said: ‘Genesee’. ‘Where did you get this?’ Norbu asked before opening it and taking a drink. The beer was warm, and didn’t taste good, but Norbu did not care. ‘I don’t know. I think I might have got these from the British,’ the man said. There was a brief silence. Norbu thought again of the day before – the shouting, the shooting, Mau Mau troops kicking doors open, armed, shouting and bangs and then silence. ‘Where are you keeping them?’ ‘In my coat’, the old man was watching the line of people again. Fire, Norbu noticed, was again dancing in his eyes. ‘Is your friend not having one with us?’ Norbu asked, noticing the flame was beerless. It was strange: he could not even tell if he was joking. ‘He doesn’t like beer,’ the man said, ‘never did, but he was a good man, a kind man he was’. The two said nothing to each other for a long time. They just sat, watching people march past. There was a long silence. ‘What happened to your friend?’ Norbu asked. ‘Mau Mau men took his body away.’ the old man said. Nothing was said for some time. Norbu and the man sat drinking slowly from the warm beer cans. Norbu thought of the night before again. This time things were clearer: the sound of screams and gunfire, the image of a truck parked in his street, headlights streaming into the dark. Eventually the old man threw his empty can away. He looked at Norbu smiling and said: ‘Thank you friend, we have enjoyed this’. He got up and pulled the burning torch from out the ground. The flame was starting to dim and die out as the old man rejoined the walking column and walked with the rest, never looking back. Norbu was left alone at the roadside, watching the orange light of the torch decrease until it became a dot he could barely see.

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CHLOE

BURKE

I’m a young artist studying Fine Art at Newcastle University. I hope to combine mission work and art together once finishing my studies.My art work is based on experiences I have seen and been through. I feel inspired to create art each time I experience injustice in Africa and our everyday lives. My work always has a written element to it to give the viewer a door into the emotions the work is based on. I hope my work gives you a glimpse into the experiences I have had and seen. [www.chloeburke.weebly.com]


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EDITORS

FEATURE

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66 BETHANY ROGERS A LETTER ON THE DOORMAT OF NO.38 70

ROB BATTERSBY

72

SOPHIE WHITEHEAD

73

FELICITY POWELL

74

SASCHK DRAKOS

78

FAY CODONA

80

KAT ZUFELT

82

MARIA ABBOTT

MEDICINE

INSIDIOUS INK

DREAMLAND BOUGAINVILLEA

DIVINE RETRIBUTION

WINTER WANDERLUST

MYSTIC

84 SARAH SKINNER MAGPIES

THE WAX WOMAN

86 SAMANTHA NEW SNOW

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A LETTER ON THE DOORMAT OF NO.38 BETHANY

ROGERS

[FORMER SENIOR EDITOR]

Bethany Rogers is a graduate of Newcastle University. She was a 2011 Manchester Fiction Prize finalist and is

currently writing a book of short stories while travelling New Zealand. She enjoys sticky toffee puddings and plays cello (very badly) in her spare time.

DEAREST, This morning, when you felt a bump as you backed out of the drive, that was me. I balled myself up behind the rear wheel. I’ve been planing this for a while, though I suppose this shall come as a shock to you. It is, was, the best thing for both of us. I am sorry. Let me go back. That day you invited me to live with you, was one of the best days of my life. Mum got it off with a tall, silvery-haired and wild creature and I was born unwanted. My siblings had endearing traits and were all quickly adopted into loving homes. I, the weaker, ganglier, uglier infant, was placed in the centre. Forced to sleep on a makeshift steel bed with ragged blankets used a hundred times by a hundred others in my unfortunate state. Frayed and softened by over-washing and worried bodies that writhed in the night-time. They smelt like it too. Steel always feels wet. Low ceilings always seemed to bear down on me and in my youth I was afraid of being crushed in my sleep. Ironic now that I choose to watch the wheels of your car gently crushing me. You always made sure your wheels had regulation 3mm treads. I saw you with the ruler. You were obsessed. I almost take pleasure in you seeing the entrails of my body and my powdered spinal cord packed tightly into those carefully measured treads. I’m laughing at you now. You have no idea how happy I was when I saw you. When I realised that you wanted us to be together, to let me share your home. Do you know that feeling? When you first move into someone else’s house? Each home has its own smell. Set in mortar and bricks and plaster since the day it was built, and matured and seasoned by the personalities that inhabit it afterwards. Yours is musty, dampened, warm textiles and oak furniture breathing outwards. Slowly.

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Each inhabitant also has its own smell. You are sweet and sticky, like getting up late on a Sunday afternoon drenched in last night’s perfume. And then there’s the food you cook. So different from the empty, salt enthused stuff they could afford to feed us at the centre. The Saturday fry-up that released fatty globules into the air. The sharp, crisp, hint-of-spice Friday night Sav Blanc and Monday monring’s fresh and energetic scent of attempted healthy eating. That’s a lot of smells. The atmosphere is thick with smells and one cannot be comfortable unless an intimately familiar smell mingles in the air with them, talking to the others and announcing: I’m here! I’m here! You told me to make myself feel at home, so I did. I added my own perfume. How was I to know then that you liked the dank, unwholesome stench of the landing armchair? I honestly thought I was improving it. Adding my own gentle-warm touch. Apparently not. You were furious. Do you remember? You threw me out of doors and it was raining. I mused and mewed and hid under a privet hedge. I was young and confused. I tried to be more ...subtle, after that. You found the patch behind the wardrobe, but it took you a while. You covered it in manufactured, plastic scents that made the nostrils bleed. Do you remember? Then, there was the incident when you left the cupboard door open. I could see pretty coloured tails of coats and dresses coaxing me through the gap into a dark womb that smelt intimately of you. How could I resist? I argue now that I wanted to know you a little better. I’d been living with you for some time, but we still both had our...dark, unexplored closets. I wasn’t expecting you to shut the door and slip off for a whole evening with your friends without one thought about where I was, if I was safe. It was a combination of things, that accident. The fear of being closed in that still haunted me from my days at the centre. And the large meal I’d had that morning. You were gone for six hours. I cannot help my natural functions. I suppose things were bad for a while. You know we never recovered from that day, it was the first notch in our relationship and after that, each incident, however insignificant, was another permanent notch. There were still cuddles, you’d brush my hair and I would curl up and sleep happily beside you. But I could sense that you had realised that adopted family carries a burden, something harder to forgive, harder to carry, when you remembered that you’d chosen that burden. That you could always reverse the choice. I’m being kind and cruel by taking that responsibility away from you now.

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Last week was the end for us, dearest. I admit that I behaved coquettishly. That I spent the nights howling around the streets and the days lazing around. However, spreading my scent around the neighbourhood, fighting with the other boys and flirting with all the girls was only my natural instinct and I would have calmed a little when my adolescent state subsided. It was irritating to you, yes, but that did not, would never, could ever, ever give you the right to have me castrated. You had me drugged, forcibly took away a part of me and acted as though this was the solution to the problems in our relationship. You are abhorrent to me. You disgust me and I can never forgive you. But I can never stop loving you. I’ll miss your gentle touch, and the sweet things you’d do for me like warmed milk before bedtime in the winter. I could never leave you because you gave me my first and only home. You’re the only person I ever had the chance to love, and though you abused me, though you stole my manhood, I cannot deny that I had some attachment to you. This is the best thing for both of us. I am sorry. Yours, THE CAT.

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69


don’t look up

don’t look away look around

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ROB

71

BATTERSBY [CORRESPONDENT]


MEDICINE SOPHIE

[LITERATURE EDITOR]

WHITEHEAD

Piero saw gray hospitals of human corruption, the graying of paper, weakened and wet and limp with its own impermanence, corrupted so by rain and time but mostly by minds of men splitting cure from diagnosis, finding solace in feigned morality, seeking approval from some blind eyed God. No divinity can be found in rooms of conscience while tears leak, so plump and full of truth, betraying the illusion of something wiser, claiming emotion as the only giveaway as if our habit of dying hadn’t hinted at mortality; a sharp sense of the finite in us all. And lucidity comes, sat in a waiting room that’s filled with a loud lack of sound as I drink the last sip from one of those white plastic cups that people tear into patterns when all the sips of water are gone, and just leaves those drips that stick to the side.

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This pen, The nib is a fang tipped with venom. My fingers know its firm fertility As they press the point to paper, And the gliding action of my wrist Sends it slithering up and down; Ink flows invidious from the tip, Easy as a serpent Lying. These insidious squiggles Take shape in your eyes As they slide across the page, Biting each new word And clothing your naked mind; But tears, dribbling like juice, Will not allow you To forget the taste of knowing.

INSIDIOUS FELICITY [LITERATURE EDITOR]

I can make you fall, corrupt your legacy in writing, For whispered words immortalised in ink, Like bones immersed in amber, Must surely hold their truths. Blood is pulsing in these syllables, You believe what you can read. I’ve invited you inside This invidious, insidious world of mine. The ink is spreading through you like a snake bite, The juice of it is running through your lips, Weeping from your eyes, A flavour you can’t un-taste. All released by the firm fertility of this pen And its insidious, invidious ink.

73

INK

POWELL


74


BOUGAINVILLEA

SASCHK [SENIOR EDITOR]

DRAKOS

He remembers trees. Slick, dark things draped in webs of moss. The earthy smell of damp and age. The moment before storms when the air itself threatens to crack and those great, monstrous trees sway in their dance with the wind. It could drive you crazy, waiting for the rain to finally come. Knowing when it does, there’ll be no relief from the heaviness. Somehow the violence of it is still preferable to the nothing that comes before. Below him, the city burns. Flames kiss around the shells of blackened buildings and smoke circles their tops. Zev thinks of the bougainvillea in his grandmother’s garden. Slopes of red woven between green and grey. And that smell. Honeysuckle and decay embedding itself in everything. Even with the ash in his hair and the hiss of melting plastic, he can draw up that smell in his mind. He closes his eyes to the crackling city and falls into the pink and green Papasan chairs beneath the magnolia. Houses and cars and people held back by the barriers of flowering hedge on all sides. His grandmother singing all her old songs while she works, like the neighbours can’t hear every word in their yard. And then he lets it go – releases it to fly over smouldering remains. He wonders how many memories he can throw into the fire before he doesn’t have any more left to burn. He wonders if he’ll feel better when that happens. Zev walks into the city. He expects the heat to sear against his skin, the smoke to clog his nose and mouth. He expects the flames to consume him the way they’ve consumed the city. But they don’t, and that’s when he knows. It’s a dream. Only a dream, and the pang of disappointment that none of this destruction is real. Not the city’s. Not his. He chooses streets at random because he knows it never matters which way he goes. The city will move itself until he finds what it wants him to see. The dreams always end up the same. This time the house is close to the centre. The lots on either side have burnt to rubble, but the house remains untouched. Its four storeys seem even taller so exposed, the blue and white panelling brighter in the smoke.

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Zev enters the yard through the side gate, and follows the pebbled path to the rectangular fish pond at the back. The boy – man? Zev can never quite decide which he is more – kneels in the grass by the edge. His shirt is dishevelled and spattered with red along the cuffs. He looks up at Zev with a dazed expression, but one that obviously marks Zev’s presence. Zev falters. He has always been a ghost following this stranger through one-sided interactions. The boy has never acknowledged him, never responded. ‘My friend died today.’ ‘I’m sorry,’ Zev says. He watches buildings burn. He listens to the muted slap of water against concrete. He remembers trees with vines of bougainvillea. ‘We weren’t really friends.’ The boy shakes his head. ‘Maybe we were.’ There’s blood on his collar, and matting in his hair. A faint smear on his neck. ‘I think it’s my fault.’ ‘It probably isn’t,’ Zev says. ‘How do you know?’ ‘People always think it’s their fault when it isn’t.’ Zev wants to wake up. The dreams are supposed to follow the routine. ‘They never think about the things that actually are.’ ‘I just have this feeling…’ The boy moves to touch his sleeve, then stops before his fingers reach the bloody fabric. ‘I don’t know why.’ Beyond the fenced in yard, buildings erase themselves into black. The only ones left burning look like pieces in a miniature. Zev wonders if the house will vanish once the city is gone. He wonders what will happen to him if it does. What will happen to the boy. ‘And if it is your fault?’ Zev asks. ‘I’ll fix it somehow.’ Zev crouches near the corner of the pond. He trails his fingers along the surface. Cool. Wet. Real the way the burning city isn’t. ‘You can’t fix someone being dead.’ ‘No,’ the boy agrees, watching Zev’s fingers. ‘Probably not.’ The sound of a piano comes over the fence. The melody is too faint to make out, but Zev knows it anyway. Hears it through his wall every night, over and over. The smell of rain on asphalt and burnt coffee undercuts charred wood and ash. Not yet, he thinks. Just wait. A black and gold carp darts against the surface and slithers back to the depths. ‘What would you do?’ the boy asks. ‘Nothing.’ ‘But –’ ‘There’s nothing you can do.’ The last building winks out of existence, but the house – the yard – remains standing. Something close to fear rustles in Zev’s chest. What if. What if it isn’t just a dream. What if the boy – ‘Wait!’ The boy is on the other side of pond, walking up the pebbled path. Zev feels the stitching of his quilt

76


pressed against his ribs. Hears the piano growing louder. He runs up the path after the boy. The house and the yard grow hazy and indistinct. Zev stares at the clutter of his living room. The smell of burnt wood lingers in his apartment, and then even that is gone. Next door the piano flourishes to an end. Zev shakes free of his quilt and paces his apartment. Stops halfway into the kitchen and starts toward his studio. Stops again. His agitation is a line of ants marching all over his body. The smallness of his apartment crushes in on him. He digs his fingernails into his arms and breathes out until there isn’t any air left in his lungs. He grabs a thick marker from the coffee table and climbs onto the back of his sofa. Bracing his hand against the wall, Zev draws the outline of a burning city. He draws slick, dark trees and curved, heavy blossoms. He draws a boy beside a fishpond. Next door, the piano begins again.

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DIVINE FAY

RETRIBUTION

CODONA

[LITERATURE EDITOR]

Your heart was bigger than I have been left to feel. Seeing your face of pain, I bargained to bear it to deliver you from evil. I bear it now, in grief that you are gone, slipped into what follows. Your kingdom came and went with no time to say ‘goodbye’; He saw fit to take you, and who am I to fight? Acceptance is the final stage; I accept that I will live to suffer this hollowed regret as justice for my trespasses, until I too have crossed. No more – but far less – than is deserved.

78


79


WANDERLUST [LITERATURE EDITOR]

ZUFELT

I even let you look over my shoulder as I poured my soul onto a piece of paper, handwritten memories tinged with sepia and wanderlust.

KAT

WINTER

i. Last winter you held me under the light of your favorite constellation; our entwined “I Do’s” floated up to become diamonds lodged in the sky. Every morning I woke to a warm cup of Earl Grey and a passionate kiss on the counter top, hoping the marred wood wouldn’t give way beneath me.

ii. A whirlwind of postcards and newspaper clippings. That’s what you called me. iii. Our walls were painted with verses of my favorite poets. From Eliot’s wasteland to the simple, beautiful

80


lines from the threadbare man we met on St Rose bridge. I taped his poem above the bathroom mirror. I still remember the way his face lit up when you handed him that hundred dollar bill. He thanked us with his written words. iv. We never did come home from our honeymoon, did we? Whenever you kissed my paper cut fingers, my spine sang with vibrato. v. Your “Monday flowers” didn’t show up at work. I came home to an empty house; scattered sheets and torn pieces of paper on the walls. the only poem left was the one above the mirror -did the sight of it fill you with despair? Was it so strong that you had to leave it fluttering, there, with your heart in the trashcan?

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MYSTIC Mystic was an hour long performance as part of This is not a rehearsal, an exhibition of performance on November 9th 1pm-1am at Pumpenhaus Theatre, M端nster.

82


MARIA

83

ABBOTT [ART EDITOR]


MAGPIES

SARAH

SKINNER

[FORMER SENIOR EDITOR]

They don’t know you like I do, tired Toon minds only littered with broken wings, a thousand hiccupping fairies and a lost smurf up Bigg Market crying on the kerb. They’ll never make it passed the Slug, midday in the August spotlight, to Bob Trollops vegetarian pub advertising with cobwebs: the best ales in town. They’ve seen hot tubs on MTV, proper hard magpies with no coats, whey-aye-man and a bottle of Brown. But - when they’re done with Cathedral and Castle and College - they still flock to you. Seduced by the half-clad Sirens of Sam Jacks on game day if not by your Winking Eye. Teary Tyne and tired, tired Toon: no one knows you. No-one knows you like I do. Down the back alley garages to Ousebarn Farm, the Cluny and the Cumberland arms where poems, performed, are candlelit improvisation when the electrics go out.

84

And up, up to Byker and the bridge where I, just a bairn of sorts, put on a northern accent in Greggs to buy a pasty and that... But I understand now you were black and white all along. Open arms, pet, and howay to Grainger for the best leeks in town and £2.29 veg for a week, some velour leggings and a smile. You, magpie, see all, above the Lit and Phil with 60p for tea and a ginger nut. While I read about Stein for a while you tempt me with a local map, fist on chest and proud both for now and another time.


THE

WAX

WOMAN

Standing at the crossroads you burnt me. With just a flick of the wick I was there, running through your wounds until I emerged: caked in blood. Your wet eyes told tales of light and pearls, then hung in the parchment white, and through lips torn with tears you begged for gold. I watched as you started to melt: the candle bled from the neck to the nave, down to the grave, and then the wax wept awhile as hands moulded your years. We felled you; you exposed our rings. As we pressed a fist of finger prints into the ink of your past, your finger-less taps sunk into the glass between us and stroked my face. Sarah Skinner is former Senior Editor of Alliterati Magazine and spent 3 years working on the project whilst

studying at Newcastle University (2009 - 2012). Recently she has been focusing her poetic practice around imposed

writing constraints to generate fresh ideas and develop a greater understanding of the wider poetic tradition. This is has been greatly inspired by contemporary poet Hannah Lowe. As well as writing, Sarah currently works as Events Manager at a school in London in the build up to a slightly terrifying move into teaching!

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SNOW

SAMANTHA

[LITERATURE EDITOR]

NEW

Burrowing his hands deeper into his pockets, Joe hunched his shoulders against the cold. He exhaled, watched as his breath rose up in warm clouds, mingling with the tobacco and nicotine trails from the smokers huddled together around the Minnow Inn’s doors. One of the smokers grinned at Joe. ‘Cold enough for you?’ he asked. ‘Nah, mate,’ Joe replied, returning the man’s smile. ‘I’ve been out in worse than this.’ The man laughed. ‘At least the snow’s stayed away this winter, eh?’ Someone next to him elbowed the man in the ribs, darting a meaningful look at Joe. The man’s face went slack with mortification, realising who he was talking to. ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean –’ ‘Don’t worry about it,’ Joe said, cutting him off. He looked down at his feet, trying to ignore the looks of sympathetic pity being cast his way. Bidding the man goodnight, he began his walk home, leaving the comforting light and warmth of the pub behind him. It had been good to be out amongst friends, instead of shut away at home, wallowing in his own misery. But now he was alone, the ghosts of happier times began closing in on him. Her cold hand slipping into his pocket, snaking her fingers through his. The thud of her favourite boots on the pavement, two steps to one of his. Her breathless laughter and non-stop babbling after she’d had a few too many.

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Joe stopped in front of a bent and twisted cherry tree, still decorated with wreaths of flowers and cards bearing messages of sympathy and grief. Joe’s eyes fell upon a faded photograph pinned to the trunk. It was of a woman, her long blonde hair tumbling over one shoulder and a younger, happier version of Joe resting his chin on the other, his arms wrapped around her waist. They were both smiling into the camera, both so happy and confident in the belief that they were untouchable and the future was just theirs for the taking. ‘Hey, Cassie,’ he whispered softly. ‘We all missed you tonight.’ A snowflake brushed against his cheek. It had been snowing the night she died, too.

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SASCHK SENIOR

DRAKOS EDITOR

Writer. Photographer. People-watcher. Building-explorer. Terminal idealist. Itinerant magpie. Saschk crawled out of the kudzu-wrapped deep South (US) to find himself living in the unlikely environs of the north east UK. He maintains an impressive collection of names, former addresses, and stories heard on train platforms. Saschk is a true believer in the literary potential of genre fiction, zombies, and that there’s nothing sexier than blank pages wrapped in leather. He published a semi-autobiographical word-monster in 2011. He blogs when he feels inclined to speak prolifically. He tweets somewhat more frequently. His future plans include a southerly migration in his continuing quest for the Sun (and an MA). He’s also rather fond of shiny objects.

MARIA ABBOTT ART EDITOR Maria R. C. Abbott is an enthusiastic Fine Art Fiend who is studying and guzzling the subject at Newcastle University. Maria’s art centres around an interest in the human experience, which often involves being incredibly nosy. Despite her anti-monarchy tendencies, her best achievement has been the observation of Prince Charles’ eyes over her painting ‘Miners’ which is on permanent display at the ‘Ty Ebbw’ museum in Wales. Jolly ho. You’ll mainly find Maria swing dancing, tea sipping and dabbling in poetry and paint. She regularly updates her artistic ventures via her website: maria-abbott-art.weebly.com.

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JAMES RICKETTS ART EDITOR James Ricketts is upcoming artist, photographer and illustrator. He is currently studying Fine Art BA honours at Newcastle University. He spent a year in Oxford between 2010/2011, in order to complete an art foundation at Oxford Brookes University. His practice often reflects the melancholy and the strange and he is strongly influenced by artist such as George Grosz and Goya. His illustrations are published in the Newcastle Courier magazine on a weekly basis. Originally he is from West Sussex, near to the vicinity of Brighton.

FAY CODONA LITERATURE

EDITOR

Fay is an English Literature student at Northumbria University, she has a penchant for musical theatre and enjoys old music of the jazz/ swing persuasion as well as the odd movie marathon – accompanied, of course, by a hot cuppa!

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FELICITY POWELL LITERATURE EDITOR Felicity is an English Literature student at Newcastle, and is also President of the Creative Writing society, with a hard-core addiction to Potter and Tolkien. In her poetry she likes to explore the metaphysics of writing and the power of ink on the page, and is eternally seeking for anyone whose weirdness is compatible with her own. Felicity also enjoys canoe polo, though ever since an unfortunate kayaking incident in first year, she is slowly overcoming an irrational phobia of waterfalls.

SOPHIE WHITEHEAD LITERATURE EDITOR Sophie is currently in her third year at Newcastle University studying English Literature. She loves to see new places so spent half of her second year studying in the Netherlands (although still can’t speak a word of Dutch) and spent the summer working in Madrid (not much better with Spanish). Having dabbled in rowing, netball and hockey, Sophie has come to learn that chocolate is more enjoyable than sport.

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SAMANTHA NEW LITERATURE EDITOR Samantha is a recent Northumbria University graduate with a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. In both reading and writing her genres of choice are fantasy, horror and science fiction, though this doesn’t stop her frequent fangirling over the works of the Brontȅ sisters. She hates being inactive so when she’s not busy blogging or tweeting, she can be found running or in the nearest convenient gym. She also has a fascination with different folklore and mythology from around the world and is currently working on her first novel.

KAT ZUFELT LITERATURE

EDITOR

Caitlan Zufelt, sometimes known as Kat, is studying Professional Writing at Brigham Young University of Idaho. Ever since she was four years old, she’s been stuck on Lit, and the love for reading and writing hasn’t worn off yet. She considers herself to be a Fan-Warrior as opposed to a Fan-Girl. Besides Literature, she enjoys watching her favorite television shows (there are too many to list), interacting with people online, and going on unexpected adventures with her friends, who are just as crazy as she is.

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AIMEE VICKERS CORRESPONDENT Aimee Vickers is studying English language and literature at Newcastle University. She is a self confessed control freak and enjoys drinking coffee and planning unrealistically wonderful holidays. As well as these unhealthy obsessions she also dabbles in lyrical dancing, all things theatrical and the occasional jog when she isn’t busy writing colour coded lists.

ROB BATTERSBY CORRESPONDENT A graduate of Newcastle University’s Fine Art department having relinquished the title of student in June of 2013, leaving the North-East and returning to his native North-West of England. As a photographic artist Rob’s work has grown from A-Level photographs of abandoned mental asylums; to the ghost cities of China.The grateful recipient of the Bartlett Travel Scholarship from Newcastle University, in his final year Rob travelled to China to pursue his investigation into economic policy and urbanisation. Now working as part of the Alliterati Team, and awaiting his next international adventure whilst addressing his lack of website! issuu.com/rjbattersby / @rjbattersby

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Issue 13 / December 2013: Crossing Borders  

Featuring the best fresh talent in art and literature around the world. Check us out on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/alliterati) and Tw...

Issue 13 / December 2013: Crossing Borders  

Featuring the best fresh talent in art and literature around the world. Check us out on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/alliterati) and Tw...

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