The Initial Journal August 2020

Page 1

T he Initial Journal

Issue 1 | August 2020

It’s our

When starting Initial I was asked the question “well what are you looking for?” This first issue alone does not begin to


answer this question; this is just the beginning. Then each issue we do will again be like a new beginning.

issue, welcome.

Audre Lorde was right when she said:

“Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest horizons of

Dear Readers/Friends,

our hopes and fears are cobbled by

After a year of thinking up The Initial

our poems, carved from the rock

Journal and gathering submissions for our

experiences of our daily lives.”

first ever issue, it is here, and it is just as We

much yours as it is ours.





“initials”, and a coming together of When it all started, I described The Initial

moments and experiences.

Journal as an ‘arts journal’ and soon concluded it to be a ‘poetry journal’. We are

Thank you for reading, thank you for being

in a dark moment, globally. Poetry is

here. I want to thank all of my poets, and

something that magnifies the specific, it

my editors, and anyone who took time to

captures moments, it embodies revolution,

submit to us. We are brand new, and we

calm, and anger. It is a loud quiet, hard

cannot wait to share new voices.

softness. I hope that the poems here in this collection


allow you a moment to pause, to feel nostalgic,




optimistic, lonely, or understood. Above all, I want you, reader, to feel something. I hope these poems collected here provide a moment as poems should, where it seems moments are taken for granted.

Tayla Editor in Chief

Contents Page(s)

Italo Ferrante





J George

Video call


Emmanuel Cuisinier

July in June


Alba Alonso Palombi



Stephanie Luka

There Is Always Proof of It Happening


Isabella Clark

15 is not missed


Estelle Wallis

How to Hold a Pen


Jacqueline Brown

Cotton Candy and Spilled Cola


Mackie Garrett

Shadows on the move


Kathryn Corrall



Pallavi Narayan



Calvin VanKeersbilck

Room no.2




Unsolved By Italo Ferrante

Why does time have a one-way direction? Is poetry the analogue of time in space? Are there exceptions to the law of causality? Can poetry be both the cause and the effect? Is the present physically different from the past? Does poetry present the absence of a single possible past? Will we ever find a theory of everything? Can a single poem encompass everything? Why has the observed spacetime limited dimensions? Does a poem occupy the fourth dimension? Are there unobserved fundamental forces? Is a poem the body on which the fifth force acts? Is our Universe the product of chance? Can any poem compress a fine-tuned Universe? Is the cosmic inflation ongoing, if not eternal? Does a poem undergo expansion in the reader’s mind? Will the speed of light in vacuum be ever variable? Is the space between lines partial vacuum? Why does the Universe need dark energy? Is dark energy what holds words together in a poem? Is the Universe heading towards a Big Freeze? Does verse equal to the Big Crunch of prose? Is the shape of the Universe measurable? Can a poem possess a PoincarÊ spherical geometry? Are there any magnetic monopoles? Can poetry exert a net magnetic charge on its practitioners? Is the proton fundamentally stable?


Does a poem decay with a finite lifetime? Where does the space roar come from? Should poets shout at themselves, at their readers, or at the Universe?


Lune By Italo Ferrante

Into the blue I am below the moon Nothing is stellar


Video call By J George It’s the seventeenth of April twenty twenty, and I’m in the south corner of India talking to you two thousand kilometers five and plus hours by flight to be exact away from me, locked down, through a wireless video call, that limits my touch and your breath like a cuff on our whole being, a letter from one planet to the other, quick in light speed, it’s supposed to be. But, here we are, exchanging love and words in Morse codes via smiles and blinks, owing to this poor network, that swings itself to death, with every wind that passes my home, flushing the bougainvilleas and their leaves to the floor for me to sweep.


July in June By Emmanuel Cuisinier

Feels like July in June – The nights quiet and dry, Crushes blooming at scouts camp, Engines purring in Alberta, Street lights coming alive while you sleep.

July in June’s when I forget the sounds of winter And hear crickets yelling so loud at each other. A lonesome cabin in the woods Away from concrete walls of my dorm room. The smell of steak in the yard, or that of piss In a resort. The heat is bliss.

It’s unseeing today’s discrepancies And seeing them on August twelfth. It’s not Brooklyn if you’re hiking. Could be Louisville in November. Could be San Fran in rush hour. This is time, so, slow, folding into the La La Lands I wish to go.


SCREECH By Alba Alonso Palombi

I saw how they pierced their ears and nipples, 20 to 25 euros per hole, welcoming the needles that brought a pain, basking in blood stains on pyjama shirts. I saw how they filled their mouth with cum to forget his taste how their knees bled for missing love marked Angel Boys with love bites desperate to prove they had moved on. I saw how they screeched in the middle of the streets I saw how they terrified their friends how they traumatized their parents and sisters with wet moans echoing off shower walls. The sheep and the wolf. The magpies followed me in the dark one by one and they wanted to tell me secrets that I did not want to hear so I ran away in the night in the cold of this November because I smelled fish around the corner and it was starting to rain and everybody knows that a wet dog will bite you twice as hard and I heard the smoke and smelled fire from chapped hands and cold lips I curse my heart and I curse the flesh and I curse the cards that I played and I curse the lies. I bared my chest in a June night where tears turned to white wine my mind torn to shreds.


There Is Always Proof of It Happening By Stephanie Luka

A forgotten bathing suit hung out to dry in the sundrenched backyard of a home abandoned as a result of death some four months ago (the grass has nearly reached the stiffened yellow straps);

one of the windows broken and taped shut (— the tape has snapped and the moth-eaten, gauze curtains wave at the world reluctantly like white flags signaling unchosen surrender);

the house now symbolic of its forlorn owner who, forever abandoned by love, forever abandoned by the reassuring crawling on of time, had withered as nature demanded for her to do (in touch and thought alike);

in the face of death, seconds are years and years are days and decades; the yellow nylon has dwindled onto the arid soil whilst the curtains have become fugitive and nevertheless spitefully tangled in that bush of rosehip on the corner of the street;

the lady now certainly reduced to no more than bones and dust – and indeed a forgotten sundress (hung out to dry some four months ago) wavers helplessly with the slain breeze visiting her daughter7

‘s backyard (she too abandoned

by love, abandoned by time).


15 is not missed By Isabella Clark

Goose bumps chapel benches that hurt bare bones stomach howls like a wolf in the night no sandwich to caress it demanding eyes sunk in their sockets

I have many

immune to what is so

me, worn out them, Shocked at the skeleton they once knew. Tests the brink of ice, Tiptoes on the brink of life. Pursues a path of isolation where no baby will grow. arduous days do not cease to continue bring a guide of how to survive the next five minutes yet another 12 hours without nourishment emptiness I wish brought clarity only ever gave worry why wear a mask of innocence for it to be torn down oh the scales of resentment weight for life decisions today she will shove antiques in her pockets tomorrow, the gallon of coffee will do she tumbles to the tumbling still


How to Hold a Pen By Estelle Wallis STEP ONE Curl your index: The trembling interface Reaching for the bulky lips The first and the mast Extending your acrylic to the vast god stars Drawing pictures in the ink that swirl into the mist Picking at the sugar jar And tracing a line Down To the setting hell of dawn STEP TWO Meet the thumb: Point, jab, weave, thrust The thumb is heir to a million crumbs Of bulky chores The ape wriggles it and we fiddle it But always call it first First in use and first in tongue The thumb is ancestor to script. STEP THREE Rest against middle For lack of a better name They roll their eyes and cast it away Saying: you'd best do as you're told without middle, we'd all be fucked. STEP FOUR Like a prowling bee, the tip breathes The wood swells - vapour ghosted behind the rain veil When does a droplet sing? Giddy grin, quivering nails The paper approaches - your Glory Crouches to pounce Devour the nebulous idea Tear it to bloody shreds Ignore their aghast faces... STEP FIVE ...Pause. Blank. 10

Blink. What now?


Cotton Candy and Spilled Cola By Jacqueline Brown

Iridescent wings buzz/Against metal dripping with carbonation/ Machine spins/Shrill/From high above/How would it feel to be that close to infinity/Balloons pop/While water guns sing/ WINNER/Florescent foodstuff sticks to your fingers/As your fingers stick to his/Dusk arrives/Wurlitzer/Tunes for the carousel/Crumpled green on a shoe/Ten dollars/Gates close/You didn’t make the Ferris wheel/Maybe next year


Shadows on the Move By Mackie Garrett

They swing their long limbs in a walk on the ground that proves

how light outlines, traces & climbs each thick form as it moves through in silhouette & highlight,

a tall friend appears from the spot where all sight starts from forgettable ground

& roams another blue beach watching for the panicked swimmer flailing in the shallows


Float By Kathryn Corrall

Essences of sunlight, boiled down to a mutual understanding. Wade out until the water reaches your knees and then push against it. Holding me up, fingers lace into fingers, finding gaps in the joints. A gull bobs over the water, then stands up. The idea of floating is fearful. Deep water does not scare me when it is contained in four sides (depth marked out on signs), but here I cannot see the bottom. Tiles in a pattern are certainty and dictate a path from which I cannot deviate. Black dashes and a t-shape tell me to turn and to kick. * A pinpoint of a person, black silhouette only, stands on a dune. The sun behind them hurts my eyes. I get to you via once-lighted paths that are now dark. Casting my own torch I shine the beam into your face. 14

I saw the reflection of the moon breaking on the surface of the water like a globe. My hands passed through it. Therefore, I understood that I could not have what stood overarching. An obstinate declarative of cratered emptiness, a marker in the blue dark. Circles have no corners to point with. I get close but cannot follow it anymore. (Do I want to?) I hear rushes of water. A baptism of erasure attaches my name to another ideal. * I needed the lines before but you do not know how to stay within them. Take me to a place where I tilt my head backwards into sunlight that pools in the freckles on my face. To understand that certainty is contained within you, encapsulated, held against my chest like a round pebble.


CIRCUS By Pallavi Narayan

Sometimes the word is the silence eloquently hissing the tension that stretches the tightrope. that leaps in the grace of the horse’s hoof. that swoops the swing down almost embarrassedly, as if it shouldn’t. unspoken. the moment passes. the word remains. the silence.

the show doesn’t end. yet. everyone goes backstage.


Room no.2 By Calvin VanKeersbilck


Contributors Italo Ferrante is a budding Italian poet who is currently studying English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Warwick. He took part in a two-month internship at his hometown’s publishing house and got some of his poems and short stories published on the Ca’Foscari, University of Venice’s newspaper. He has poems in Kamena (run by the Warwick Writing Society) and Cobalt. Postmodern experimentalism and minimalism have influenced his writing; he has always welcomed the challenge of reading and crafting pieces in a foreign language.

J George currently lives in Pondicherry, pursuing research at Pondicherry University. Her poems have appeared or is forthcoming in several online and print journals, most recently in Active Muse, TROU Magazine, The Martian Chronicles, FishfoodMag, Muse India, Madras Courier, Spark the Magazine, VerbalArt, anthologies of Boundless (Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival 2019) and Love, As We Know It (Delhi Poetry Slam). Emmanuel Cuisinier is an MA student studying Philosophy at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. He has published poems and essays both in French and English, and his work centers around a phenomenological ontology based on experiences of love, death, and trauma. He is influenced by poets such as Emily Dickinson and Elizabeth Bishop. Most of his work can be found at Alba Alonso Palombi is a finalist English Literature and Creative Writing student at the University of Warwick. She has been writing for as long as she can remember; first in Spanish and then in English. She has been published in several issues of Cobalt magazine, as well as in the first edition of the Words of Warwick Anthology. She has created a poetry bombing project called “thisisabombing” that started as a university assignment, and that she has continued and plans to further develop. A project that has ‘targeted’ Leamington Spa, London, Dublin, and Madrid, leaving poems around these cities for its citizens to find and interact with. She’s still learning and exploring. You may find this on Instagram @thisisabombing, Alba’s personal Instagram is @alba_palombi. Stephanie Luka is a girl, God & writer. She is also an elusive and constantly transforming secret. Her art is an attempt at revealing her purest self – & possibly an eternal failure. You may find her on Instagram @stephanieluka. Isabella Clark studies English Literature and Creative Writing at University of Warwick. She is Editor in Chief for the Warwick Tab and runs a poetry Instagram account (@isabellaviolettepoetry) and a blog,


Estelle Wallis studies English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Warwick. She writes poetry and short stories both in English and French, and also posts her works on her own writing blog:

Jacqueline Brown is an Irish-American student at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work has previously been published or is forthcoming in The Blue Nib, FEED, The Blake-Jones Review, Firefly Magazine, The Blake-Jones Review, the debut issue of Truffle Magazine, and elsewhere. Mackie Garret’s poems have appeared in Iodine Poetry Journal, Big Muddy, Blue Collar Review, The Fourth River, Plainsongs, Bombus Press, and Sandpiper. In addition to reading and writing, he enjoys playing music, taking photographs, and printing poetry broadsides and making books at the Iowa City Press Cooperative, where he is editor and founder of 508 Press. Kathryn Corrall studied English Literature at King’s College London. Throughout her degree, she wrote poetry and was published in the KCL Literary Journal. She is enjoying time away from writing about Victorian literature, focussing instead on her poetry. She shares some of her work on her Instagram, @whiichwitch. Her poems draw on themes of gender, love, anxiety, and, occasionally, Pre-Raphaelite muses.

Pallavi Narayan is a writer, editor, artist, and translator, holds a doctorate in literature and has worked in academia and publishing in Singapore/India. She has been Frankfurt Fellow 2018. Her poetry, translations, short stories, and book and performance reviews have been published in Jotted by Bound India, Jala, Kitaab, We Are A Website, Muse India, Literary Paritantra (Systems): An International Journal of Literature and Theory, Commonwealth Business News, The Book Review, India International Centre Diary, New Quest, Passage (Friends of Museums), Art Republik, Hindustan Times, The Times of India, The Statesman; and anthologies such as Asingbol: An Archaeology of the Singaporean Poetic Form, 40 Under 40: An Anthology of Post-Globalization Poetry, SingPoWriMo 2015 and Dilli: An Anthology of Women Poets of Delhi. You can find her on Instagram @drpallaviarayan and on Twitter @whatpallavisaid. Calvin VanKeersbilck is an artist, writer, poet, and comic creator. He holds a BFA from Wayne State University, with a concentration in drawing. His work has been featured in several shows, galleries, and exhibitions around the Detroit area. His current focus is comic strip poetry which he has been working on and refining since 2016. You can find him on Instagram at @calvin_reclassified, and on Facebook under ‘Calvin VanKeersbilck’.


Editors Tayla Halfacre has had poetry featured in Kiloran. She is about to go into her final year studying English Literature and Creative Writing at University of Warwick. Lucy Vigar studies English Literature and Creative Writing at University of Warwick. She won an award for creative writing in the Mid-Somerset Festival. Emilia King is a graduate of the University of Warwick with a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing and is aiming to undertake a Masters in 19th Century Literature. She primarily writes long form fiction. Shania To is production manager of Warwick’s Cobalt Magazine, Patchwork, and Kamena. She studies Law at University of Warwick. She is a freelance digital artist. Emily Maclennan has had poetry featured in Warwick’s Patchwork and The Boar. She has also written for Affinity and was longlisted for the Tower Poetry Prize. She is a graduate of the University of Warwick and is now studying for a Masters in Writing at Warwick.

Works Cited Lorde, Audre The Masters Tools Will Never Dismantle The Master’s House: ‘Poetry is not a luxury’ London, Penguin, 2018. p.3


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