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LAKEVIEW International Journal of Literature and Arts

Writers’ Forum Sacred Heart College, Thevara


Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts, Vol.6, No.1 February 2018 Published by Writers’ Forum Sacred Heart College Thevara, Kochi, India Only the copyright for this collection is reserved with the editors of Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts. Individual copyright for artwork, prose, poetry, fiction and extracts of novels and other volumes published in this issue of the magazine rests solely with the authors. The magazine does not claim any of those for its own. No part of this publication may be copied without express written permission from the copyright holders in each case. The magazine is freely circulated on the World Wide Web. It may not be sold or hired out in its digital form to anybody by any agency whatsoever. All disputes are subject to jurisdiction of the courts of the Republic of India. Š Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts, 2018 Graphic Design - Mariam Henna Page Settings - Mariam Henna Cover Artwork - David Goatley

Editorial Board Chief Editor - Jose Varghese Associate Editor - Aravind R Nair Design/Layout Editor - Mariam Henna Review Editor - Jude Gerald Lopez Translation Editors - Minu Varghese, Mohammed Zahid Visual Art Editor -Shijo Varghese Photography Editor - Collins Justine Peter Student Editors - Gowri Nair, Sanjay Sreenivas Advisory Board - Alan Summers, Bill Ashcroft, George Szirtes, Kala Ramesh, Loree Westron, Mel Ulm, Patrick Connors, Rana Nayar, Sanjukta Dasgupta, Sudeep Sen


Editorial Great works of art need great amounts of committment from the moment of a conceptual spark to the very last polishing strokes. Sometimes, they even demand their creators to grapple with new challenges in unfamiliar terrains. This happens when the artists are either thrown out of their comfort zones or are on their own quest for original ideas. And what worries them in the whole process is how close they manage to get, in realistic terms, to the greatness of their original vision. In the much-celebrated words of David Bowie, “If you feel safe in the area you are working in, you are not working in the right area.”    This issue carries a number of works that are the outcome of such efforts, where their creators had obviously been a little out of their depth and had to push their limits like never before, though it all led ultimately to a winning game. David Goatley, the well-known portrait artist of international acclaim, speaks of such an artistic journey in his photo essay ‘A Tale of Two Kings’. It is followed by his remarkable paintings from various periods in his career. We are proud to feature as the cover image a unique painting by him that shows how his work in India has influenced the texture, hues, and soul of his art as much as his cultural insights.    There are certain high points in human history where a significant change erupts out of decades of silent suffering from unfair power relations. The ‘#MeToo movement’ is sure to open up a discourse that would lead to greater changes in how we perceive our existence in this planet in the constrained categories of men, women, and everything else that’s in no way inferior to them. Maria Heath Beckett’s topical essay works both as a review of Rebecca Solnit’s The Mother of All Questions: Further Feminisms (2017) and as a poignant discourse on the moments of change that has to invade our culturally constructed moral sensibilities.    Lakeview hopes to feature at least one translated work per issue, and this time, we have a deeply moving, and globally significant, Malayalam short story by Sabeena M Sali, titled ‘Melek Taus or Peacock Winged Angel’, translated to English by Yoosaf Peram. Wait for more news on some collaborative translation works that we plan for the coming years.    I hope you love and reflect upon all the stories, poems, essays and art works in this edition too. They are here thanks to the writers and artists who care for Lakeview and are a part of its vision in some way or the other through their well accomplished works.

Jose Varghese February 2018


In This Issue Douglas Bruton (Short Fiction) Green Pears and a Kiss Tasting of Strawberries! Chad Norman (Poetry) Romerica, The Stowaway Mapplethorpe at the Aros Art Museum To Endure the Morning Indran Amirthanayagam (Poetry) Beating Limits Begin Erinna Mettler (Short Fiction) Sixteen Feet Mick Corrigan (Poetry) No more this wild life. Titanic Small Bird Bathing Priya Sarukkai Chabria (Poetry) Migrations

10-13

14 15 16

17 18-19 19

20-24

25 25 26

27-30

David Goatley (Essay) A Tale of Two Kings (Visual Art)

31-37 38-46

Aamer Hussein (Short Fiction) Tales from Attar

47-49

Phil Kirby (Poetry) Allotment February

50 51

Sanjeev Sethi (Poetry) Nocturne Wringer Tessellations

52 52 52

Neil Campbell (Short Fiction) The Forge

53-54

Patrick Islington (Poetry) Wavering in Florence My Concerto

55-56 56-57

Nabina Das (Poetry) Talking Distance Stories in embrace after-love

58 59 60

Alan McCormick (Short Fiction) Tango!

61-69


Matt Duggan (Poetry) Finding Eden The Girl and the Sea Hannah Stone (Poetry) A good face for radio Mum's new boyfriend

70

Maria Heath Beckett (Book Review) Shattering the Silence

85-90

71

VK Shashikumar (Poetry) Frayed Bonds Avalanche Love's Sarcophagus Turn Off The Tap

91 91 92 92

Janet Olearski (Short Fiction) Hotel

93-94

Sabeena M. Sali Tr: Yoosaph Peram (Short Fiction) Melek Taus or Peacock Winged Angel

95-102

Shehnas Usman (Visual Art)

103-110

Helen de BĂşrca (Short Fiction) Best Friend

111-117

List of Contributors

118-124

Editorial Board

125-132

70

71

Andrew J Keir (Short Fiction) The Kindness of Strangers

72-74

Mohammad Zahid (Poetry) Days, Nights

75

Frances Spurrier (Poetry) Reflections on leaving Europe Driving the Applecross Pass Olga's song Roland BuckinghamHsiao (Visual Art)

76 77 78

79-84


Short Fiction|Douglas Bruton Green Pears and a Kiss Tasting of Strawberries!

H

is name was Charlie and he din’t got no da and he was one of eight and they lived in a caravan with no wheels up by Goober’s farm. They got pigs up at Goober’s, dozens of them nosing in the dirt and their own shit, and maybes that’s how come Charlie always smelled funny, sour and sweet both at the same time, and we was always saying ‘For Chrissakes Charlie, go sit a little further off,’ and that got him his first nickname, see, ‘Chrissakes Charlie.’    Same age as us he was, but bird-boned and short as a slumped sack of meal, his hair all anyhow and his boots big enough to grow into. And reading was hard as hammers or nails for him and writing was harder and the teacher was always shouting and rolling his eyes and making Chrissakes Charlie stand when we was all sitting. And ‘Read from page 21,’ said Mr Maxwell. We thought that was unnecessary cruel and Emmy in the desk next to Chrissakes Charlie quietly found the page for him, and whenever he was stuck on a word she whispered it under her breath or into the cup of her hand and just loud enough so maybe he would hear.    It wasn’t just Emmy. We all sometimes felt something sorry for Chrissakes Charlie. It wasn’t his fault, after all. He was disadvantaged is what my mam said, and it was a heartbreak crying shame, she said, and she smiled and called him by his Sunday-school name and she did not like me calling him Chrissakes; and she asked after Charlie’s mam and how she was doing, mam’s voice all soft as dandelion clocks, and she asked after his brothers and sisters, too. But mam did not invite him into the house like she did with Tommy and Steve and Davey-donowt, and she checked my hair for beasts more regular when I’d been with Chrissakes Charlie.    Feeling sorry for him like we did, we fed him bits of us bread and butter and jam, fed him like we was feeding birds in the back garden. And we stole pieces of pie or crooked cut slices of cake from the kitchen cupboard, bringing ‘em as gifts for Chrissakes Charlie, and fruit from Cripp’s orchard, though once we picked them pears too early and they was green and hard as stones, but it made no nevermind to Chrissakes Charlie ‘cause he ate three, or six, eating them one after the other, and he was green then, I can tell you, and he folded hisself in two and was sick as a dog or a cat, sicker really ‘cause cats and dogs, well, they none of ‘em want to let go of what’s in theys belly.    And Chrissakes Charlie wore clothes we recognized, all his brothers and sisters the same, and this on account of our mams passed to his mam things we’d growed out of. It was doing a good deed, my mam said, and being right neighborly and Christian, and I was not to say 10

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any word to make Chrissakes Charlie feel bad, none of us was, ‘cept we did, commenting on the new clothes he was wearing and saying how he looked smart as paint or church-going. And he did look smart, for maybes a day, and smelling of mam’s soap powder instead of pig, and we was a little closer those times, too, and Chrissakes was just Charlie then; but soon enough he was Chrissakes Charlie all over and he smelled of dirt and piss and old dog, and we held us noses and said ‘Chrissakes, couldn’t you sit a little further off, like maybe in the next county.’    Perhaps he din’t understand, or his skin was thick as cowhide or steel-plate and he din’t feel no nettle sting in what we was saying to him. Chrissakes Charlie just grinned and he shifted a little and he laughed like he was in on the joke. And that got to Goford one day – Goford and his mam cut his sandwiches into neat triangles without the crusts, and he had a Jacobs Club biscuit every day for his playpiece and a bit fruit. And Goford said we should duck Chrissakes Charlie in the river and keep on ducking him ‘til he was clean as a new pin and he smelled of fishes – not fishmonger fish but fish when they’s just caught and they aint got no smell at all then.    We just laughed and took no notice – it was Goford and he was always saying crazy stuff. Like he said they’d land on the moon one day, the Russians, and men called cosmonauts’d be walking there and looking down on everybody and waving, specially to the Americans back on earth, waving two fingers. And Goford said in the future we’d all sit in the sun for days at a time and ‘idle’ would not be a bad word and we’d each of us be as rich as a king or a hundred kings. And TV would be all in colour, he said, and like watching real life. We just laughed and paid him no heed.    But Goford got his teeth into it, into the idea of Chrissakes Charlie being river-clean, and he kept on with it, saying over and over how it’d be and how we’d sit a little nearer to Chrissakes Charlie after; Emmy, too, he said, and maybe she’d even hold his hand and kiss his cheek, which was just Goford’s imagination running ahead of common sense.    Chrissakes Charlie blushed at Goford’s picture of Emmy holding his hand, blushed red as rash or beetroot into his shirt collar and maybe right down to his boots; and he coughed and laughed at the thought of Emmy kissing him, even if it was only his cheek, and he made all the noises of a sick cow spluttering, ‘cause Chrissakes Charlie had a thing for Emmy, what with her helping him with his reading and helping with his writing when the teacher wasn’t looking. Truth is, we all had a thing for Emmy, all the boys; she was the prettiest damned girl in school, pretty as pinch me in case I’m dreaming, and I seen her in her nickers once when the door to the school changing room cracked open a little, and seeing her like that took all my breath away, and I felt as though there was a hundred bumbling bees fizzing like coke bubbles in my belly. And the memory of Emmy standing there in her nickers, 11

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well, I keep that in the deep dark of my pockets and I aint shared it with no one and I won’t never.    Anywhich matter, we got carried away with what Goford was putting in our heads, and the more we thought about it the more it became a thing, and in the end we did like Goford said. After school we carried Chrissakes Charlie down to the river. He din’t weigh hardly nothing at all and carrying him was so easy we lifted him over our heads and everyone was laughing and cheering like we’d won a sports trophy, and even Chrissakes was laughing. We ducked him in the river and he was kicking and splashing like a caught small fish, and we kept poking him with long sticks, keeping him in the water till he was so cold his teeth rattled in his mouth like grasshopper-song and he wasn’t laughing no more or even smiling and he looked for all the world like he was near drowned.    Then we hung him out to dry, and I mean we actually hung him on a clothes-line, using a hundred pegs or so and some rope, fixing him so he wouldn’t fall, the river water spilling from him in torn silver strings.    Joke was on us after, ‘cause Emmy and her heart of gold and wearing her church-hat and church-dress for Wednesday’s tea-time service, well, she happened by, din’t she, and she helped Chrissakes Charlie down from the washing line where we hung him. Emmy brushed his hair with her white-gloved hand, fussing over him, and calling the rest of us boys for devils and tykes and no-goods. And she kissed his cheek and kissed his lips, I swear it. Saw it with my own eyes. Emmy kissing Chrissakes. And something breaking in me then, like glass when it’s knocked hard and it loses its shape and it falls into a hundred pieces that won’t be put back together again, and for the first time in my life and the only time, I wanted to change places with Chrissakes Charlie, even if it meant sharing a bed with his two brothers and smelling of pig dirt all the time and wearing everybody else’s clothes.    Sweet as strawberries that kiss was and I know ‘cause I asked Charlie after. Tell it again, I said, and he did. And I closed my eyes and touched my own lips with the soft tips of my fingers and I almost could imagine what it was, almost.    ‘Sweet as strawberries,’ Charlie said, over and over. ‘Sweet as strawberries.’    And Emmy sent him home with small coppers jingling in his pocket – Wednesday church-plate coppers they would have been, but for the rescuing of Charlie, and Emmy thought God would approve of her giving the money straight into the hands of the poor and the needy.    We called him Kiss-cheek Charlie after that, on account of we was so in wonder at the luck of the boy. Kiss-cheek Charlie, ‘cept there was still days when he smelled of pigs or dog or worse, but even then we was a little kinder – he was Clothespeg Charlie then. And we asked 12

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him to tell again the story of his river ducking and sticks poking and hanging on the washing-line dripping, and Emmy happening by and her hand stroking his cheek and her strawberry kiss on his lips; and we all of us sat a little closer when Clothespeg Charlie told us, and even Goford did, as though being so close we was kissed, too.

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Poetry|Chad Norman Romerica, The Stowaway for Michael M.

I study one of my sons while he sleeps on a broken sofa his first night in Copenhagen, a similar study undertaken 13 years ago as a marriage formed a family under one roof, I study him now that we are away, the faint breaths make me think of decline, how at home we both watch politicians make their predictable decisions, amused and saddened, both of us know, him at his age, and me at mine, there may be no escape, quite possibly even as an ocean is between this country and that ill empire we may have allowed to stowaway within us, may have carried its crumbling through Customs, that ill empire we hope hasn't come with us and isn't spreading its illness outside the window above a street full of cyclists, full of what appears to be choices in favour of a healthy air, a smaller car, a livable future, what appears to be the window a few feet away from him sleeping, perhaps dreaming of a Denmark he believes we will soon see.

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Mapplethorpe at the Aros Art Museum for Tomas Dalgaard

I After a brief intentional feud, wandering among the sights of downtown Aarhus, lost only if we begin to care, wandering with a destination crowned with a rainbow on its side, a rainbow willing to welcome anyone to walk within its 360 degrees, a destination we only know as museum where none of us knew Mapplethorpe was being shown, being given back to us, tourists, Canadians, a trio seeing the sights, never knowing his photos were waiting on a certain floor, waiting on the walls with a warning from those taking tickets, a warning meant mainly due to our son who they had to protect, our son who they didn't know wouldn't enter the room where Robert's eye and mind and challenge hung in all its black and white allure. II One must know what to expect to enter when others pose some form of warning, a task somewhat impossible, one must know photos can be teachers, can be holders of a history made up of New York, that haze off in a distance I see during this, wandering among the spots on the walls with those he chose to capture, hung within a seductive captivity like Andy, Arnold, Lou, Iggy, Lisa, & Patti.

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To Endure the Morning for Chester Bennington

To let your living be your life-not to run to the pen and paper, with the belief if you just capture the moments, what may need to be left for each breath to describe, simply by being your lungs' wish, to breathe, go on, to withstand fame.

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Poetry|Indran Amirthanayagam Beating I learned in America to be a lightning bug of a citizen flitting about the garden, moving down the street, crossing over the neighbor’s fence. Good fences don't make good neighbors parents taught me reciting Frost and Eliot while serving spiced sambols and string hoppers. I became the Western Oriental Gentleman, a many-layered human strengthened by their support of border-crossing, of landing in proverbial America. I don't know who young people read these days, except for Ginsberg, and who they will consult in the future, at the Library of Congress, when this poem goes off the road, spins its wheels in the mud until it is abandoned and the traveller resumes his journey on foot, discovering elm and birch, if the accident happens to occur in New England, and if I manage to dash across the lower 48 states I could leave my baggage beside a redwood.

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Limits Are you counting, my friend, have I become too fecund, a scourge on the imaginations of ordinary folk who wish only to rest on Sunday and work the next day still enthused? Have I lost a sense of measure while measuring verses and catching them in stanzas like mist nets for birds in the ten hectare experiment in reduced forest existence which Quammen says functions like a life boat, a concentration of desperate species trying to find a way out of hell? This air-boiling, lava-tongued, earthshaking, tsunami- rising 21st century planet I describe according to instructions received, the day my father said I had written the poem of my son’s first holy communion, that his work was finished, that I listen now to the wing beat of the nets, listen to my mother, my heart, my neighbour. He died three days later. Write until the end 18

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of the page, I say to my son, write again.

Begin Your beginning intrigues me, suggests that we can start all over, beat China into plowshares and India into working plots of earth as it has done always and will. Your beginning is sweetly versed with old walking school rhythm. It shall be commended, an honorable mention in briefing books of the Dark Lord. Your beginning pleases my wish to write poems in five minutes or less, which define the geologic time Earth has left, before it begins to start rolling the credits.

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Short Fiction|Erinna Mettler Sixteen Feet

B

aby finds it first. Snuffling under driftwood and seaweed rock, a gnang-gnang-gnang emanating from the back of her throat. She shakes her tail and whips her head from side to side, pulling the buried treasure free, losing her footing on the uneven ground before bouncing off, a ball of wet fur and excitement.    ‘Here girl!’ I call. Whistle. ‘Whatcha got there?’    She stops on the sand, short of the shore-line, her prize between her front paws, gnawing and whimpering with relish. Sometimes the beach yields danger, toxic chemicals, condoms to choke on, rancid fish. I need to make sure that what she’s found is no threat. I can’t lose her too. Not so soon. I step towards her, my lungs still smarting from the exertion of our daily run. These days I run full-pelt for hours, feet pounding the shore, miles at a time, until I can’t feel my legs. Until I can’t feel anything. Baby eyes me, nose down, tightening her grip.    ‘What is it girl? What’s that?’ I sing-song and bend to retrieve the unknown from Baby’s slobber. She doesn’t give it up easily and a tug of war ensues; Baby’s razor sharp teeth firmly clamped on one end.    I can see that it’s part of a boot. Rubber and ragged as if it’s been torn away from something, wrenched by the jaws of a shark perhaps. You do get sharks out here sometimes; people think it’s too cold this far north but we’ve even seen a great white from your boat, the telltale fin unmistakeable, a butter knife through grey wrinkled water. The boot is dark blue, with a thick white tread. It’s exactly the same as the boots you wear to fish, rubber-soled, a built in wool sock for extra comfort, part wader, part wellington, part steel cap. You used to clomp around the house in them on work mornings like an earthbound astronaut. Ridiculous – and yes, kinda sexy, on you anyway. Your protection. A uniform as essential to your well-being as a fire-man’s or a soldier’s.    You had three pairs of boots, all worn in to serve you best, soft and moulded into the shape of you, yet still strong and durable. Two pairs are lined up in the shoe rack by the front door and the third is on you.    Baby growls and digs her paws in. I have a sudden overwhelming desire to claim this boot, smooth and cold in my fingers. It feels like the lost piece of an almost-finished jigsaw puzzle. I pull Baby away by the collar, perhaps a little roughly, and pick up a thick stick of driftwood with my free hand.    ‘Fetch Baby!’ I shout and hurl the stick upwards and forwards into the sea where it catches a wave back to the sand. She starts to run instinctively then stops short, lively eyes dancing, whining again. She 20

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must really like this boot. I pick it up by the heel. It’s heavy, with what I assume to be wet sand trapped in the toe; the rubber is crisscrossed with pale scratches (like whale skin) and dulled by saline saturation. Baby barks, the sound echoing off the tree-line - once, twice, doubled back into four. She steps forward with one paw raised, her head cocked. I look closely at the boot. There’s something inside, off white, a good inch around, hard and gnarly and wrapped in lime green seaweed. I squint into the darkness. Some kind of coral? I reach in and give it a tug but it’s stuck fast. The sea swells in my ears, her rhythmic rush reminding me of the blood pumping through my veins. I look at the ocean, at the place where it disappears on the horizon, then at the shoreline. A group of gulls bobs on the waves, watching me with reptilian eyes. Compelled, I tighten my grip and begin to wrestle with the occupant of the boot. There’s something familiar about its shape in my fist, the way it is smooth and knobbly at the same time. It won’t budge so I let go. Cold sweat prickles between my shoulders making me shiver in the wind.    Baby barks again and flicks up sand with her nose, jumping from side to side, her tail wagging into a blur. I peer at the boot again and realise it’s not just one thing but many connected things, fanned inside, clinging to the insole. I go in again and pull determinedly, holding the heel in my left hand, my head buzzing with the wind and the waves and Baby’s constant bark. Suddenly the object comes free, sending the boot flying from my hand and me flat onto my ass, the fingers of my right hand still tightly grasping the thing. I sit in astonishment, staring at the secret given up by the boot. It is, unmistakably, the remains of a human foot.    I look at it for a long time, oblivious to the wind biting through my thin running skins. Baby starts to get nervous; it’s gone beyond a game now. She can’t understand why this bone is any different to the bones she gets at home; she wants to crunch and gnaw, to lick out the marrow and pulverise the joints. Her body shivers tip to tail and she looks at me beseechingly, tongue lolling, foam bubbling around her teeth.    How can there be a severed foot on the beach?    There’s still flesh on the toes, bloated and blubbery, a ghastly blue in colour, welded to fragments of bright orange insole. The nail on the big toe is there too, monstrously opaque and jagged, swollen ridges along its length. Repulsion catches up with me, I move to drop the foot onto the sand but my fingers seem glued to it. I try to look away but my head won’t turn and my eyes won’t close. As I hold it up for closer inspection, a terrible thought explodes into consciousness. What if it’s your foot? What if I’m holding your ankle bone in my clenched fist?    An image comes to me of you erect, solid with blood and instinct, my hand sliding eagerly up and down. You, head back, eyes flickering, panting through parted lips as sweat glistens on your chest. 21

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Scalding heat rises to my cheeks. My hand burns. I hurl the foot onto the beach and throw up on the sand.    I’m swilling my mouth out with water when Baby drops the empty boot at my feet. She doesn’t go for the foot; sensing now that it’s out of bounds. She whimpers and nudges my arm. I feel better for being sick. My head begins to clear, practical thoughts looming in capital letters. WE SHOULD REPORT IT. TELL SOMEONE. SOMEONE MIGHT NEED TO KNOW. I stand up and brush the sand from my legs.    ‘Good girl,’ I whisper, rubbing Baby behind her ears. I fish for a treat from my pocket, tossing it into the air for her to jump and catch. You taught her how, remember? The first time we brought her to the beach for a walk. She was eight weeks old, fuzzy and tiny, peeing uncontrollably over every rock, barking at the tide like it was a living thing. She was so tired by the end you carried her all the way home snuggled inside your coat. Our Baby.    I pick up the boot and quickly scoop the foot into it, ankle first so I don’t have to touch it to get it in. The toes stick out over the ragged cuff. A slimy lace of seaweed slicks like a tentacle across my wrist, cold against the skin, making me jump. I flick it away with my fingernail, bile resurging in my throat.    It crosses my mind to just leave the boot and foot here and forget Baby ever found them. But I can’t shake the idea that it could be yours, that a part of you has somehow found a way back to me. We start back to the house, Baby barking for more treats, me holding the boot unsteadily upright by the heel. A flock of geese cross noisily overhead, an arrow pointing the way home.    ‘Not that uncommon,’ says Sherriff Wilkes (or Steve as he’s known over beers at The Pelican). The boot and the foot sit between us on his desk stinking of sea and bad meat.    ‘In fact there’s been a spate of them washing up just North of here on one particular beach in BC in the last few months, fifteen altogether. Haven’t you read about it in the papers?’    I haven’t read the papers for months. Not since you were in it. I read every word then hoping against hope. They printed pictures of the crew, you included, in grainy black and white. Fame at last. After a few days they stopped printing stories. There wasn’t any more news. Everything seems so irrelevant now, elections, beauty pageants, petty crimes, there is nothing in the paper that’s of any interest to me.    ‘I don’t read the papers,’ I say.    Steve goes on.    ‘This is the furthest South I‘ve heard of. It’s usually sneakers, if you can believe it, rather than actual work boots. Running shoes. They’re not always so decayed. Sometimes it’s as if they’ve been newly chopped off.’ 22

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He leans over and pushes the foot to one side with the pen he has just been chewing, wrinkling his nose in disgust.    ‘I would say this one’s been out there for several weeks. The toes didn’t get eaten because they were lodged deep in the boot but the ankle bone is picked pretty clean. Looks like something had a good go at the boot too.’ He raises his immensely bushy eyebrows. ‘Shark maybe?’    He turns the foot out onto the desk, tipping gritty sand out with it onto the wood, and prods some more.    ‘See how the skin has welded to the shoe lining?’    I try not to look, focussing instead on the sailing safety poster on the wall behind him, but then the picture of the happy smiling family in life jackets makes me feel sick again. I look at Steve’s face.    ‘But…why? How? How is there a severed foot on the beach? Correction, how have sixteen severed feet washed up on nearby beaches? What is it, gangs or something?’    Steve laughs, bear-like to match his build.    ‘In British Columbia? Yeah, well-known for its gangsters. Those Salish tribes are real bastards. Always fighting over fishing rights…’    I’m not laughing. Steve clears his throat.    ‘Sorry,’ he says. ‘You must have had quite a shock. It’s the thing that falls off first is all, the hands and feet. If there’s a body in the water, the rocking motion of the tide dislodges the extremities, the hands and feet drift off leaving the body to sink. The tide can carry them for miles. The Sound seems to be the place they naturally wash up, the current I ‘spose. I don’t know why it’s just feet that wash up rather than hands, protected by the shoes maybe. A lot of people drown in the ocean Brian, no way of telling who it belonged to or what happened to them.’    He realises what he’s said. I can tell by the way he looks down at his desk and doodles with the pen on the blotter in front of him.    I let out an involuntary moan and he looks up at me, mouth open but without words.    ‘I… I thought it could be Kevin’s you know, given where I found it and the fact that I found it, like he’d sent a bit of himself back to me. Something to bury.’    The tears come fast then, silently. I taste their salt on my lips. It’s the first time I’ve cried since the night of the storm. I didn’t even cry at the memorial. There was nothing to cry about, you weren’t there. It was like you could still come home. We didn’t have a body, just a corny photograph of you in your wedding suit – not like you at all. Your Mom said that as she held my hand, Not like Kevin at all. Steve pulls a Kleenex from the box on his desk and hands it to me, avoiding my eyes again.    ‘I tell you what Brian, because it’s undoubtedly a male foot and, even though it’s extremely unlikely and I’ll probably get in trouble for 23

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authorising it, I’ll get forensics to take a look, see if they can call it one way or another.’    I dream about you again, like I have pretty much every night since you’ve been gone. Normally I see you on your boat. You are out on a catch, pulling in the nets, the effort etched on your face, working rhythmically with the crew, happy. I’m always on the beach with Baby. She’s barking at the tide and I’m waving frantically and shouting at you to look up at the storm clouds gathering overhead. You can’t hear me, even though I’m screaming myself hoarse, you remain intent on your work and the banter of your shipmates.    This dream is different, a precise memory of our last goodbye. I see you walk from the kitchen carrying a square of fresh toast in your mouth. That long-legged, cowboy swagger that was the first thing I noticed about you. You grab your boots from the shoe-rack and slump on the sofa, bleary eyed. It’s not even dawn, pitch black outside, the wind rattling the windows. You take the toast from your mouth and rip a chunk away with your teeth. Baby sits by your feet, attentive to every chew.    ‘Do you want to go to the city this weekend?’ you say. ‘We haven’t been for months and we should be in the clover after this trip. Word is there’s millions of sock eye just North West of here. I won’t have to go out again for the rest of the year.’ You smile. ‘We could book into the Fairmont. Take a second honeymoon.’    I lean down and kiss you on the lips, taste the syrup you slather on your toast, look into your eyes. ‘Sure. Why not? I’ll make a reservation.’    I grab the toast from your hand and make my way back to the bedroom. At the door I turn and watch you slide your feet into your big fisherman’s boots and push and pull until they fit snuggly around your calves.

(Shortlisted for the Manchester Fiction Prize 2016 and first published on their website)

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Poetry|Mick Corrigan No more this wild life. No more the blue, no more the wild, no more your curving, glossy wing swept back in the muscular stoop, no more that piercing, shrieking call, the feather burst at striking death, no more the joy of light undimmed, each day a fierce preamble to the next, no more the flash of a night dark eye the knowing look of a wilding prince, no more the love of a sheer rock face, the stepping off to empty air the snap of wings filling with flight, no more the blue, no more the wild a dark sky in your final gasping breath.

Titanic Sometimes the sound of a great slow bell tolling low in the long, cold dark, the thin ghosts of those who stayed walk sleeping corridors, through night dimmed galleries, forever bound to the iron heart deep at rest in the stillness. Dull to all that went before knowing only her solitary self, forgetful of the plunging grief, that swift decline, from sea palace to sea creature, then out of the gloom, lights like angels descending.

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Small Bird Bathing A sharp jaw punch from out of the dark, waking pain in nights’ small hours then the doctor’s rooms, the meds, the tests, the rays, the scans, the comforting, reassuring, well-rehearsed words, “just exploratory, no need to worry”; but I do. Draping this blanket around my beloveds, the comforting, reassuring, well-rehearsed words, “just exploratory, no need to worry”; but they do. Running while the world sleeps, concrete chanting beneath my drumming feet, mantra keeping pace with pace, the comforting, reassuring, well-rehearsed words, “just-ex-plor-a-tory-no-need-to-worry”; but I do. And then this morning, outside our kitchen door, a tiny robin, a feather flurry, gleefully bathing in her sparkle of water, revelling in the here, revelling in the now, singing life.

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Poetry|Priya Sarukkai Chabria Migrations As if in an trance, each      alone In a shoal, blue         whales migrate, their hides woven and unwoven by     wave and wake. Balaenoptera         musculus or Melville’s ‘Sulphurbottom’ mottled with diatom     --millions of microorganisms -        that each one supports as tawny undergrowth, each      tongue weighty as an elephant,         each heart large as a car, up to a hundred feet long,      aging till ninety and more          head towards extinction’s red line ploughing through     currents blue, cold, lightning        nerved or warm, through the oceans’ featureless caress,     navigating paths that part         and seal with each dive. Slender submarines these     cetaceans that pulse and         moan, breathing in rhythms of spume, sink, swim, spume     on their annual natation         from Alaska to Acapulco and back, feeding and     breeding, calves heaving         alongside. Their enemies are

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few. Some esurient whalers      after wild meat, ships with         savage steel hulls that tunnel misguiding sonar fathoms deep,      and whirlpools of orcas, minatory          white flowers lunging to bite. What’s it to swim as long arrow     skimming beneath brine’s vast          reflection, to swim steadfast, not rough, driven by more than      craving; rather urged by life’s         secret palpitation, to swim by the Pole star lodged within      each heart that gives faint         direction till destiny’s end? * Not so with the migrating     elephant herd, Loxodonta         africana, who under summer’s blare first cross the     desert, then the forest         of dead trees with trunks blackened whose amputated      arms point to the wasteland,         an arena crisscrossed by so many paths trodden      by so many who have         passed that direction distorts, becomes a gaping     maze disembowelled by sky          but flanked at one end by a gauntlet of lions     desperate in this season         of starvation to take on

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elephant. Then the siren      scent of water some twelve         miles away that summons the scramble of grey,      each cloud of four tons         running on cushion pads, feet plumped by soft     tissue to carry weight,         hush sound, though the earth rumbles their coming as     seismics spread like rays         underground. What’s it to trumpet, squeal, bellow also      in infrasonic range as water         hits eye as a razorblade of light that could     both save and destroy         for among the glitter a mesh of crocs reside?     With sinews strained the stampede begins that they must complete to seek      grass and rest, water and         hope that this generation of downy calves – if lucky -     will finish. Last, the dash         to the sacred pasture, flickering alter held in     memory from generation         to generation, passed by matriarch to daughter     when each life matters         so little and so much. *

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We make our stabs     at journey from location         to location and person to person, dropping calls      on the way as the great         travel unravels in iris and gland, pubis and     thalamus as migrations         unchartered, while the invisible glistens -- source and      sustenance -- as patina on          stone and cement, film on flower and bridge, dew,     dewlap, dung and neon         but its throb is unheard till all wakes disappear,      all routes are washed out,         the stampede’s concluded for each entity and we, Homo     sapiens lie hidden in earth,          in fire, while gleaming breezes loosen     another nectarine dawn,         routine in its splendour.

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Essay|David Goatley A Tale of Two Kings

I

t’s New Year’s Eve, there is snow outside my window and the lake is still and cold, the kind of marrow chilling grey that makes you appreciate central heating. Half a world away there will be fireworks, colour and music blazing into a night peaking just as my day begins. I was there, in Jaipur, just nine days ago, putting the finishing touches to the second of my Kings. Which just goes to show, you never can tell what a year might bring.    I began 2017 in Jaipur too. I had gone there, ostensibly, to help my good friend Lee Cantelon make a film. I know just enough about such things to be useful in a small way and we had a very small budget - none in fact - so anything I could add would be something. I had packed all my portable art making gear as Lee had suggested shots of me sketching and painting in the slums might give our documentary a narrative twist. I’m used to this. Last time we worked together on a film I drew portraits of recovering addicts in a burnedout warehouse in the Atlanta projects, so anything might happen - and usually does. This film was intended to highlight a project that brings water, medical care, and above all, education and hope for a future to some of the poorest of the poor in Jaipur’s rag-picker camps and slums. Like all such projects, this one needs funding and our film was intended to help.    What does a portrait painter bring to a documentary about a school for slum kids? Well, you bring the gifts you have and then discover where you can give them, that’s what gifts are for. Mine is a gift for capturing people and I’ve discovered that what it gives them is the gift of themselves. A portrait says you matter, you are worth spending this time over, you should be recorded, your story deserves to be told. It is a dialogue of affirmation - and who among us does not need affirming? It’s a deeply human thing, this need to be seen and known, and to know, in turn. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from, you have this in common. It is sacred stuff - and it’s where my joy in making portraits comes from.    So, it was no great surprise to find myself in a sprawling encampment, crouched in a home assembled from tarps and found objects, sketching an elderly, tattooed, tribal woman bedecked in bangles and blankets, just two hours after stepping off the plane. Nor to be drawing the beautiful faces of the school kids over the coming days, between camera work and planning our next moves. What did come as a surprise was that Jaipur had a new King – His Highness, The Maharaja, Sawai Padmanabh Singh - and that the Christian community in Jaipur had been in touch with the palace and would like 31

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to commission me to paint him as a gift bridging the two communities, if I would like to do it.    Like to? Are you kidding? What an incredible honour! Besides, the colour, silks, satins and style of Rajasthan are pure joy to paint - and painting a Maharaja is a portrait painter’s dream come true. Two days later we bundled into a taxi, cameras and light gear in the trunk, on our way to City Palace, pinching ourselves to see if all this were true, Lee now acting as my assistant and a second cameraman along to record the meeting and photoshoot with His Highness in preparation for his historic first official portrait as Maharaja.    With only days to go before I had to leave for home and His Highness for England to begin the polo season (he plays professionally), live sittings were out of the question, so this portrait would have to be made from photographs. We arrived early to have an hour to set up equipment and experiment with pose and lighting, before His Highness graciously gave us another hour to work with him - a chance to commit as much of him to memory as I could and to get a feel for who he is. You can shoot a great many pictures in an hour, and each of them tells you a little more, each can add vital information to help build the image of the subject as I experienced them.    The shoot took place in the kind of room you could only find in a palace, decorated as only a palace in Jaipur could be - gilded surfaces, floral patterns, marvelous ornaments, historic pictures, golden chairs and a magnificent silver throne, complete with armrests in the form of prowling lions. To compete with such a setting any subject would have to be equally splendid and H.H. did not disappoint - six feet three and movie star handsome, dressed in a magnificent regal uniform and carrying a bejeweled sword, he commanded the room.     Back in my studio in Canada, it was time to turn the dream into some sort of reality. I experimented with a standing pose before settling on the seated one you see here, which seemed to say so much more. I drew the whole complex composition loosely in charcoal initially, just to make sure everything would fit, before tightening the drawing in sepia paint. Next, I blocked in the major shapes in colour to develop an overall sense of the whole picture before starting the long process of bringing it into focus piece by piece. You might think you’d leap straight into the head in a portrait, but I need to see it in context - every piece of colour affects not only the thing next to it, but the overall tonality of the picture - you see red more strongly played against green, for example, light sings only in contrast to dark, and so on.    If you are interested in a more complete account of how this painting was made there is a short film of the whole process available on my website - www.davidgoatley.com    If circumstances mean I have to work from photographs it isn’t a process of copying, you have to be selective, I take from them only 32

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City Palace - David with camera

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what helps make the painting, disregarding anything that does not contribute and allowing the painting to tell me what it needs. What it does not need is too much extraneous detail that might overwhelm the subject. Cameras not only see too much they also tell lies. A painting is an accumulation of impressions built over weeks of work, while a photograph represents a fraction of a second, you have to rely on your own memory and experience to tell the truth.    There is over a week’s work in that throne, days in the jewelry, many, many, hours in the head -to which I returned again and again over the two months it took to make this painting. Finally, I felt it was ready, and sent photographs to the palace for approval. A little tweak here, a touch there, and it was ready to ship to take its place in the Royal Collection. I was sorry to see it go, it had been a presence in my studio for a long time and had given me a great deal of pleasure. Coming back to Jaipur in December I was less sure what the focus would be. Certainly, there would be more work to do at the school, newly made friends to catch up with, possibly more footage to shoot for the project begun months earlier and always more sketches to make, thinking of the exhibition of paintings I have been planning in support of the work there, but working with Lee there are always surprises.    How would you like to paint another king?    There’s another one here?    Well not here exactly, a Nigerian.    Well of course. Doesn’t everyone come to Jaipur to paint Nigerian kings they’ve never met, watched by an eager audience of school kids from the slums? Sign me up.    Lee had just returned from the Jos plateau where he had been persuaded to meet with a Hausa King and his tribal council, Moslems who had been hostile to the Christian community and potentially dangerous to the work he was there to document and support. Boko Haram, and their extremist form of Islam, were just up the road, but coexisting with them had not gone well for the King or his people, years of conflict had left them tired and willing to try something new, a possible rapprochement with people who might be able to help them develop the resources they so desperately need.    King Mohammed Isa, ALH. Sulaiman Yakubu of Miya wanted to meet the American with the beard and strange headgear and discover what he might have to offer. The meeting went well, a bond was forged, plans for further talks made, and the King wished to make a Lee an honorary chief in a ceremony to take place in the new year. The idea of a portrait to give the King as a gift cementing the new friendship was kicked around between us and I agreed. How often do you get to paint a picture that could literally save lives? If we could build a bridge between these two communities, it could be a game changer and the good will generated by this painting could be a 34

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Sketching in Banjara camp

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real factor in that. Of course, I had to work from Lee’s photographs rather than from personal experience of the man, something I would normally only ever do for a posthumous subject, but the chance to do some real good with a picture was unmissable.    The painting had to be small enough to carry back to Jos over rough roads and on bush planes, tough enough not to damage and done quickly enough to be dry and framed before I left to get back to Canada for Christmas. I decided on an oil sketch on panel and set about finding equipment in the Pink City, having brought only a sketch book and charcoal on this trip. Buying artists materials in a shop stacked from floor to ceiling with thousands of small boxes, many of them unlabeled, was an adventure in itself. Somehow all I needed appeared from the chaos, accompanied by much smiling, it was wonderful. I was in business.    Working at the school I had a constant, enthralled audience of excitable children. The noise was deafening but joyful. Perhaps by watching they learned a little from me – I hope so, I certainly learned a lot from them.    Working small, fast and loose and combining elements from three or four shots I managed to make the picture you see here over a frenetic two weeks. Of course, I’d have liked more time, of course it should be bigger, of course I would have liked to control the lighting and to have met the man himself, but you play the hand you’re given. In 2017 I was given two kings.    It doesn’t get much better than that.

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David painting

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Visual Art|David Goatley

His Highness

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Visual Art|David Goatley

King Mohammad Isa

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Visual Art|David Goatley

Nandus Mother

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Visual Art|David Goatley

Black and White — Times Square Oil on canvas 48x30 Inch

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Visual Art|David Goatley

Hanif Kureishi Oil on canvas 36x24 Inch

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Visual Art|David Goatley

London Calling

Oil on linen 40x30 Inch A portrait of David Goatley's children 43

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Visual Art|David Goatley

Cambridge Hotel Recovery Blues

Oil on linen 30x40 Inch A portrait of Lee Cantelon, film maker and photographer 44

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Visual Art|David Goatley

When I'm 64 — Self Portrait

Oil on panel 36x36 Inch

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Visual Art|David Goatley

White Bear Spirit

Oil on linen 60x40 Inch A painting of Kistasoo/Xai'Xai Hereditary Chief Charlie Mason 46

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Short Fiction|Aamer Hussein Tales from Attar 1. A Sufi, in his robe of wool, was walking down the road when a dog approached in hope of a scrap of food. He hit the creature with his cane and broke its back.    The dog went baying and barking down the street to Abu-Said, known for his sagacity, to ask him for justice. - How could you bear to hurt a helpless creature? The wise man said to the Sufi. - It’s the damned dog’s fault! I hit him because he soiled my robe. But the dog went on howling. Abu-said asked: - What can I give you to soothe your pain? The dog replied: - Wise Master Abu-Said, when I saw that the man wore a sufi’s robe, I trusted him without ever believing he could harm me. If he hadn’t worn the robe I’d have avoided him. If you want to punish him, strip that robe from his back; it’s reserved for those who walk on the right path. No one will then be duped by his appearance. 2. A young man notorious for his depraved ways lived in Malik ibn Dindar’s neighbourhood: though Malik was disturbed by the rumours he heard, he patiently waited for someone else to reproach the depraved youth. But when several people brought complaints to him about the young man’s behaviour, Malik resolved to visit him and plead with him to change his ways. The young man reacted arrogantly. - I am the sultan’s favourite. No one has the right to interfere with what I do, nor to stop me from doing as I please. - I’ll complain to the sultan, Malik said. - The sultan will not abandon me, whatever I do. - If there’s nothing the sultan will do, I will approach the King of all Kings. - Oh, said the young man, He is too generous to scold me! Malik left his house. Days went by and the young man’s debaucheries broke all bounds. Once again people complained. On his way to remonstrate with the young man again, Malik thought he heard a voice 47

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at his door: - Leave my friend alone! Alarmed but resolute, Malik faced the young man who was seated in his courtyard smoking his pipe. - Why, what has happened, why are you back again? - I haven’t come to scold you. Just to tell you I heard those words telling me to leave you in peace. I will not come back. - Ah, said the young man, I’ll give away this house of mine and all my goods, and set off to travel across the world. Malik said later that he saw the young man in Mecca, destitute, emaciated and close to his end. - My friend, he gasped, I came to see my friend, and now I’ve reached his door at last. And he died. 3. Bichr-Barefoot, drunk in the morning on leftover wine, but clear headed and in good spirits, came upon a scrap of paper on the pavement on which he read the letters that spelt God’s name. All he had in the world that morning were a few grains of wheat to exchange for a glass of wine. He spent them on a grain of musk which he used to perfume the paper, incensed as he was to see God’s name soiled with the mud of the track and the dust of a thousand feet. That night, he heard a voice in a dream: You retrieved my name from the dust. In my turn, I will perfume you for ever with the truth. 4. Sheikh Junayd had a disciple whom he favoured above all the others: this made the other disciples jealous. Junayd, with his understanding of hearts, ordered twenty caged birds to be brought to him. He summoned his disciples and said: - Each one of you must now take a bird to a place where no one can watch you; kill the bird and bring it back to me here. The disciples went away, killed the birds, and each one brought back a cadaver: all but the favourite, who returned with a living bird, flapping its wings, on his wrist. - Why did you not kill it? Junayd asked. - Forgive me, but Master Junayd, you told us to we should choose a place where no one watches; but God was watching me everywhere I went. Junayd smiled. The other disciples listened in wonder and bowed their remorseful heads.

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5. A king who ruled half the world loved to surround himself with wise men. He said to his entourage one day: - A strange desire overwhelms me: I want a ring of pure metal made for me, that fills me with happiness when I’m sad, and engulfs me in sorrow when I’m happy. The wise men, astonished by his request, pondered a while. Finally, they decided to make a ring on which were engraved the words: this too will soon pass

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Poetry|Phil Kirby Allotment The ground is giving; generous. Those smooth old hands have raised the crops from seed, nurtured them from tender shoot to reach this uberous maturity, each drill watered by his sweat. Now comes the grit-on-metal slicing of the spade, the fulcrum of the fork, lifting out the roots; the pluck and snap of stalks and pods, all sweeter for the effort; the glut and the giving away. Chosen plants are left to bolt – provision for the coming year. Un-bending, he surveys the plot; thinks there’s too much still to gather in; that it won’t be long before he’ll be called home.

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February What we have is us, it seems, standing under winter stars, the street’s own sheen reflecting on your coat and hair, no words but yours along the empty road. Later, in our muffled room, I couldn’t tell if you were fastened into sleep, but speaking would have rent the dark, disturbed the lowly angel I imagined in your face. Instead, I hung upon the rhythm of your breath as if you were a new born on its first nights home. Then today, while you were out, I walked on Rodborough Common, stood high above the birds – some hoarse, dry-throated crows, one kestrel trembling on the wind and, in detachment, watched the strange blue light of afternoon draw on as if the year was at an end; headlamps winding silently up lanes to houses lit against the gloom. Not till I passed a Christmas wreath still tied to someone’s favourite bench, saw an almost heart-shaped hole in a chewed, discarded dog’s toy, did everything assume another sense and drive me to be home.

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Poetry|Sanjeev Sethi Nocturne Within an indicium of imperfections we have to seek our peace. If the search is only for fault lines our chase will never cease. It is the tempo of waves never to tire. Altering tidelines is their anthem.

Wringer Inches defined our estheses. One more and I would have reached where I wished to be, just then you altered pose: deliberate or destined? Etiquettes of existence wended past our whereabouts, assuming parts of us didn’t exist. Faith with which we forswore in inner courts convinced us of their core.

Tessellations There is difference in sensing emotions and feeling emotions and answering them. Happiness bid me bye-bye before I could accept its salutations. The eurhythmic pattern returned quicker than I could pinch myself. Lexemes of lust upreared squally outlines. Bliss chose another box for me.

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Short Fiction|Neil Campbell The Forge

E

va’s red and white pyjama top is unbuttoned, and her little breasts are jiggling. Slices of yellow light line the walls to the side. She has her eyes closed and her brow is furrowed. He takes his eyes from her little breasts swinging, ducks his head into her hot belly and sits up so she calls out. He smells the skin of her belly as she rocks more quickly. She grabs his long hair as he grips her bottom. He slaps it red and she laughs and pushes his head back and kisses him roughly as she rocks, and he doesn’t move so much as stay there.    Kevin sits at the kitchen table labouring through the Full English. Eva is still in her dressing gown and smiles at him while drinking a mug of coffee. The tea he drinks makes his stomach, rotten from what she said was expensive wine, cringe and curl in on itself, while his head feels like a solid block. There are four sausages.    He puts down his knife and fork to assess the task. She goes upstairs, and he’s finally cleared the plate by the time she comes back. She has scrubbed her face and re-applied make-up and put on clothes that look brand new: jeans, knee-length black boots and black sweater.    She makes him another cup of tea and when he’s had it he pushes himself against her as she washes the pots. ‘You’ll smudge my lippy,’ she says, drying her soapy hands on his shoulders and laughing. He looks through the kitchen window and into the yard, sees a small pink bike and various whitened footballs around a frozen swing.    She comes back into the kitchen with her coat on, car keys in her hand catching the light. He gets up and wonders where his coat is, and she smiles and brings it for him. Their breathing leaves big clouds around them as they walk carefully over ice that has formed over ice from before. She pulls the choke out. The engine starts at the third attempt, the vapours from the exhaust congealing in the freezing air, mixing with the smell of coal. There’s a crack in one of the salt glazed pots glistening in the sun on the gravel drive. Eva takes a cash card from her handbag and starts to scrape at the windshield. Kevin reaches into his pocket but only finds coins and keys. The giant ash tree has jackdaws chirruping at the top of branches while the moorland is silver above the black river.    The red Vauxhall Corsa moves away and Eva keeps it in second, alternately frowning and smiling, telling him not to worry as his feet push at the floor of the car and his eyes squint at low sun dazzling on frost. They move through Bardon Mill and onto the A69 and she drives them past Haydon Bridge and into Hexham, dropping him off at his house at the top of the hill on Chirdon Crescent, on the council estate 53

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near the hospital. He makes to get out of the car and she puts a gloved hand on his knee and moves over for a kiss. He stands on the pavement outside his house as she drives away. She waves, and he doesn’t. The giant tower of the Egger chipboard factory has vapour rising from it. One of his neighbours is standing there and smiling. He considers her a moment and goes inside. Eva heads back down the A69 past Haydon Bridge towards Bardon Mill.    By the time the train slows into Bardon Mill he’s almost dancing. As soon as the train moves off and the bespectacled face of the conductor disappears from the window, Kevin turns to a gap in the fence and sighs while clouds of his own steam rise above the moonlit waters of the South Tyne.    He crosses the silver tracks and passes the Station House. There’s a frozen trampoline in the garden and a lump of snow still standing in the grass. Beside it there’s a carrot and a pair of plastic spectacles. He walks up Station Road and goes into the Bowes Hotel. There’s a woman behind the bar and three men sitting on stools in silence, nursing their pints. There’s a football match on and the glow of the TV shines across the ageing baize of the pool table. Kevin stands at the bar and gulps a pint of lager while watching the game. Putting the empty pint pot on the table he turns and leaves the bar just as somebody scores, and the woman says ‘thanks,’ behind him. He walks back out into the street and puts his woolly hat quickly back on and marches up the old road towards Redburn Park. He looks through the trees at the park; the park that used to be the site of the Bardon Mill Colliery where his grandfather had worked. He goes into the park and unzips by the trees. The swings and roundabouts and wooden climbing frames above the chipboard floor are picked out in silver by the moon. Beside its sharp circle are millions of stars. Kevin sits on a swing and looks at Jupiter, the brightest of them. There’s a vibration in his pocket. He checks his phone with numbing hands, sees seven messages there.    He leaves the park, passes the council estate and goes down the hill towards The Forge. He crosses the road, tries to see in. He stands there with his hands in his pockets before turning to walk back over the hill, where he waits by the old telephone exchange for the 685 back to Hexham.

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Poetry|Patrick Islington Wavering in Florence I can feel the river Arno’s draw; it is no lamb but a tangled history of muse filled inspiration, however tragic in lament or romantically complicated. It turns heads, takes head and makes heads burn in wonderment, as the maestro’s compositions resonate around cobbled streets, as do lovers, courting their desires. “Send me off to your Tuscan vineyards away from such frivolous thoughts, and put some earth between my fingers to help me contemplate the crop” Then fill my glass with deep red joy so that I might pen a manuscript, and grace the Gods with my meagre offerings of awkward bulging thoughts. A juxtaposition of geographical positioning, puts me by the sea now, a spoilt child’s cry, never content in one glorious moment tantrums testing time, I will not relent! For now: To the many Cafes’ sensuality, salute! Enjoying the Italian renaissance way, One might bend or sway for Dávid too; a fine voluptuous specimen he is, Marble Mountains cut fine cloth. Michelangelo reclaimed the day, shame there is no attic space for this classic piece no definitive time for its continuum, An Inferno, by Dante’s measure while rummaging through Browns novel, and I scorched, wavering in the Florentine heat. A cardinal sin runs the rooftop of my mind. 55

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She eats her avocados lustfully, salads, peppered with careful colour everything is art here, even conversation -And that art too; of surviving a very hot week,

My Concerto The needle's grooved on undulating vinyl, a subjected warping curse of heat, careless housekeeping of place -nothing final to a bad collectors thinking and maverick’s visionary For I am but primal to have it pristine now as I glide along the glistening ivory keys, listening to the autumn leaves fall in unmistakable voice, My yesterdays are true painted in silken measure carefully yet richly depicted for the uncharted tomorrow For sure, there are the blues of now that circumstantial thinking -where you get to write a crazy line or two while your eyes are busy blinking out the myriad of tears from broken corridors of painDo you want to really sit composed? I ask myself‌ To go decomposed without any of the answers? An old gramophone speaks from the subconscious 56

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pause‌ while grains of thought spit about catching, choking up and filling snout congested Oh; just get it out flaking remnants that they are right now Ruminate as you sip your tea lad and open the back door At the end of a winding garden path there is always a shed, of course there is! With all your stuff in it, all of the collectables you used to garden the mind. A place where you spent time looking out the window at the seasons, Spring more than mostas the first snowdrop and Crocus broke ground like some epiphany and the irrepressible daffodil; there is always time to be and always time to write‌

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Poetry|Nabina Das Talking distance If distance is a dream, I want to wake up now to the cup emptied to its loud whispered sip the cluttered sink taken out with soap a little bubble drying out on the counter. Here's half-done writing waiting for salt the pen wants a tattoo on its teeth the day takes its own bushy tail to the hideout my night has wake up calls of longing. Then outside there is honk of urgent cars ` morning birds turning into late shards of light my shoes waiting to be worn. A walk to the taxi, lines of men and women on the loveless express of life. If only I can wrap them inside dreams. What happens in my sleep is a raging storm the shape of absence that my fingers knead piled up glitter and junk, a portfolio of desires quickly changing to a voiceless bird's song If you know fallen petals in the high wind. All because we can say everything to each other but keep the words sifted for some other day - your taste sharp clove, my saliva a glide on your tongue our hands legs slivers of summer fruits, thirst thirsting. 5 am and I again remember your hands. I don't see you. Till another day is steeped in love's delicious ennui and blue.

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Stories in embrace We meet over flowers, troughs, smokestacks over black sea rocks. Rocks of your words where I lay. All night the wind is a jamming presence against my chest. It draws a rhombus, then a curve of no ends, our hands tracing the line where I touch your eyes -the sun rises in the rain and we wonder how the room has the sounds of our breaths the water jug has not been used and we have put vodka in our drinking water. We giggle because morning seems far. Our stories embrace. Can we find our own butterflies, I ask, but don't want answers. Everything comes and goes. In autumn everything wanes. Like life, like love. Swallotails, shards from tossed beer bottles the distant hum of the local train, Then lips painting new art on the skin for the day to delight in them. I hold you. You, my nooks, me.

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after-love it's not time yet for mint drops black tea my discarded underwear the smell of your neck's cradle all that we held in our hands and some on our tongues one drop of you and the other a saliva essence of me deep inside thrumming with the bus along the fishmongers' lanes it's not time not time yet for touching tender paan leaves and then taste it off your lips to find the distance of the bodies inviting that space which warms up with lust and lilt not time yet dust on the pages of the book our leftover words and what did you say or what did i want to hear for it's time really it is for hills to rise stars to shine over maula ali reminding me of the crest of the stinking lanes of vendors rotten vegetables fresh flowers cat's eyes and whisper of the night some rhymed lines which will ring in my head even after we face away from each other then some shrub-fruits from your shirt to mine debates on whether in plato's republic we'd trade hearts like gymnasts in throes of ecstasy 'cause -it's not time yet scattered petals of a 1990s love some spark from the accidental touch midnight utterances of fresh mogra blooming on my palms just that bit not time yet is it time yet something slow answers gives back the light from the clouds joins us piece by piece

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Short Fiction|Alan McCormick Tango!

O

n the outskirts of Corralejo on Fuerteventura, jettisoned dogs, liver spotted and as big as foals, collect in packs and bark and shriek into the early hours of morning. Spider barks back at them as he hands out fliers for karaoke nights at Old Britannia.    ‘All right, Spider, how’s tricks?’ ask Doreen, the bouncer working the door at the Sand Castle.    ‘Like Frankie Vaughan’s got mumps. Here, give me a light and then give me the moonlight.’    ‘Give you the girl?’    ‘Wouldn’t know what to do with one of those,’ and Spider is off cackling and rattling with his leaflets, staggering a little towards a marching pack of hen-nighters in matching yellow Kiss my Bottom stetsons and pink taffeta rah-rah skirts.    ‘Ladies, ladies, you look like you know how to get your tonsils around a Mike.’    ‘What’s your name: Twat?’    ‘Spider, my name’s Spider’.    ‘Don’t like creepy crawlies.’    ‘Call me Frankie then,’ says Spider, grabbing Mary, the oldest in the group, around the waist: ’give me the moonlight, and grab me a Grannie.’    Mary shakes herself free. ‘Jesus, he smells like 1973, all Brut and B O.’    ‘A kiss gets you all in for ten euros,’ he says, offering an exaggerated smooch of his lips to the night.    ‘Go on, Brenda,’ shout a couple of the women, pushing the drunkest in the group into Spider’s arms.    ‘Don’t normally kiss on a first date,’ says Spider ‘but −’    He kisses her hard on the lips, she kisses back, and soon they are pantomime tonguing and the women are cheering, except Mary, who shakes her head in disapproval.    Spider passes Brenda back to the others and hands out a stash of fliers.    ‘Tell them Spider sent you and Bob’s your uncle; even if you don’t have an uncle.’    ‘You’re all right for a Spider,’ shouts one of the women as they leave.    ‘Lovely blue eyes and kisses like a bastard,’ mutters Brenda.    He gives the thumbs up, the fading anchor tattoo on his forearm plunging south, softly crooning under his breath ‘slags and bags, each one of them’, as their pink legs sway up the mock marble Union Jack 61

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stairs to Old Britannia.    Four hours later and Spider is in the backroom office bent over a CD case, his right nostril sucking up a line, a gift from Army Tom, exparatrooper manager of Old Britannia.    ‘You done all right tonight, Spider, a good crowd and the grannie gang are slugging it for England!’    As he speaks, one belts out ‘I will survive’ from the bar. Spider’s head rears up from the powder, braying ‘seeerrrrvive’ until Army Tom smacks him on the head with the CD case.    ‘They’re paying customers, so don’t take the piss and never pick up pennies where you’ve had a piss.’    ‘That’s bollock talk, Tom.’    ‘Enough with the bollock talk, Spider, and have a wash before you come back tomorrow, you smell like a stray.’    Spider bares his teeth and barks a few times like a snappy little one.    ‘You is crazy, my friend,’ says Army Tom.    Spider pulls a sad mutt mug and whines a little too convincingly to request another hit.    ‘No chance, chum,’ and Spider is shoved out, the door slamming behind him.    He exits onto the strip. In the distance the pack of dogs on the edge of town agitate and shout, a lone dog howling like a fool.    In the Palm Tree, Spider collects glasses, swigging back the sops, and acting manically with the punters. By 3 a.m. he is beyond pissed, staggering around like a post-op, unable to form a word.    Somehow he always finds his way to his home, a pre-fab hut a few blocks behind the Sand Castle. The ex-pats call it their Soweto, no running water or electricity inside, a blue sentry post builder’s toilet outside. Inside, there are two metal navvy beds, a gift from Army Tom, two small chairs and a tiny metal table with an empty Calor gas lamp on top. Last summer the second bed was filled by 2D Dan, flatpack slim and as angular as an ironing board. He and Spider looked alike and talked alike and for a few months were never out of each other’s company. Army Tom called them the Mengele Twins. Spider never liked the name but that was Army Tom for you, always watching the History Channel and spouting Nazi bollocks.    One morning 2D Dan upped and disappeared. People said he might have been on the run but Spider felt he’d taken bad acid and had gone for a Messiah march across the sea, had missed his step and drowned.    A few days after his disappearance, Spider returned from the Palm Tree to find a small orange dog in 2D’s bed. He christened him Tango and let him stay a few days. Then he dropped some acid and imagined that Tango was 2D re-incarnated, and chased him down the street with 62

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2D’s flaming anorak waving on the end of a pole.    In the early hours of morning, the dogs on the edge of town are putting up a good fight. The pre-season cull is underway and their barks are ferocious. Men’s shouts egg them on into fervour, their whines and screams shrill and terrifying. After a short time an eerie quiet falls, the only sound the stirring hum and trammel crunch of a truck pulling away on the gravel.    When Spider wakes, he rolls out of bed, slaps himself hard on the cheeks, and then staggers to the doorway. He lights his first Marlboro of the day by striking his last match against the door.    He crosses the strip, noticing a girl sitting outside one of the Spanish bars he never goes into. She looks English or possibly German, white with dreads, hippy clothes, and a muddy rucksack on the chair beside her. He thinks of asking her for some weed but it’s eleven, and too early for any hassle with ‘a refugee from Glastonbury’.    ‘Look what the cat’s dragged in,’ shouts Vera as he enters her cafe.    Spider manages a shy toothy smile in response.    ‘Usual?’ she asks.    ‘Yeah, but don’t cremate the sausages.’    From behind yesterday’s Daily Mail, comes a pantomime ‘ho ho.’    ‘All right, Tom,’ says Spider.    ‘Spider!’ says Army Tom. ‘Vera’s doing lovely hot dogs today, just don’t let them run off your plate.’    ‘I don’t know what you’re on about, Tom,’ says Spider.    ‘Reservoir Dogs last night: bang, bang, bang.’    ‘I still don’t −’    ‘He’s talking about how he and his cronies butchered all the town’s dogs last night,’ says Vera.    ‘I wouldn’t say butchered in here, Vera.’    ‘Oh, no, you didn’t, Tom. All of them?’    ‘Oh, sorry, I forgot you’re the lead howler when the moon is up . . . every single one of them, bang, bang, bang.’    ‘You’re a bastard, Tom!’ says Vera, arriving at Spider’s table and putting down his fry.    ‘Woof!’ shouts Tom.    Spider looks cautiously at his plate, his eyes on the sausages.    ‘Don’t be soft, Spider. I’ll show you the wrapper, it’s just Tom pulling your leg.’    ‘Cocking his leg, Vera!’    As Spider shakily forks a sausage into his mouth, Army Tom lets out a long anguished squeal.    Spider swallows and Vera places her arms gently around his shoulders and kisses him on the cheek. ‘Good boy, Spider,’ she says.    The hippy girl walks into the cafe and drops her rucksack beside his table. 63

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‘All right,’ says Spider. ‘You lost your way to the main stage?’    ‘Is your name Paul?’    He shakes his head.    She notices an unlit cigarette on his table. ‘Do you need a light, Paul?’    ‘Clever, I do need a light as it happens but I’m not called Paul.’    ‘The Paul I’m looking for used to live in Brighton, his parents lived in Moulsecoomb.’    ‘Sounds like a lovely guy. Now can I have that light?’    ‘My name’s Sam.’    ‘I’m Spider, pleased to meet you, Sam.’    ‘The Paul I’m looking for is my Dad. He left us when I was five. I’ll be twenty-one in a few days.’    ‘Happy birthday, love,’ says Army Tom.    ‘How did you come by the name of Spider?’    ‘He found it on the web,’ says Army Tom.    Spider agitatedly puts the cigarette to his mouth and Sam lights it.    ‘Sorry, Samantha, I hope you find your Dad, I really do, but I have to go now.’    ‘Spider’s a very busy man, always has lots to sort out,’ says Army Tom.    ‘Piss off, Tom.’    ‘Right you are, Paul.’    ‘Dad used to call me Samantha too. I’m staying overnight in the hostel, I could come and find you later.’    Spider gets up and walks quickly away, glaring at Army Tom as he leaves.    Spider hits various bars away from the strip’s prying eyes, and then catches a nap before he starts work in the evening. He’s been walking up and down outside Old Britannia for an hour when a familiar face approaches him.   ‘Hi, Dad.’   ‘Jesus Christ!’    ‘You know how I found you? A lighter! A man was found dead in a hostel in Camden last Christmas. He had a lighter inscribed with your name and date of birth. The police traced things back to our address in Brighton. Mum had to identify the body. She said he looked a bit like you.’    ‘2D! That’s why I can never find a light anymore.’    ‘Was he a friend of yours then?’    ‘He was a thief! Here, you haven’t got the lighter, have you?’    She takes it from her jean pocket and hands it to him.    ‘Sweet,’ he says, lighting up a cigarette.    ‘That’s it then, is it?’    ‘It’s my lighter, I’m not saying it’s my name or anything.’ 64

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Along the strip comes a chorus of shrill laughter and shrieks; a line of police-horse clip-clopping women’s heels drawing nearer.    One of the women shouts ‘There he is!’    When they arrive, Brenda is nudged forward again.    A large woman with a glittering red ‘S’ on her blue t-shirt speaks for her: ‘Our friend would like another kiss, Spiderman.’    ‘Not now, Superwoman.’    ‘Who’s Janis Joplin?’ asks Superwoman, pointing at Sam.   ‘A friend.’    ‘Filthy bastard, she’s young enough to be your daughter.’    ‘She is his daughter,’ says Mary, the eldest in the group. ‘Look at their blue eyes, exactly the same.’    ‘Poor girl,’ says Brenda.    ‘Why’s she a poor girl?’ asks Superwoman.    ‘She’ll never get to kiss him like I did.’    ‘You, lady, have had enough to drink,’ says Mary, pulling Brenda away.    The women leave, climbing the stairs and laughing before disappearing into Old Britannia.    An uneasy silence falls between Spider and Sam.    ‘I see you’re popular with the ladies,’ Sam says, breaking the spell.    ‘Little lad, big cock, women can’t get enough of the combination.’   ‘Jesus!’    ‘Well, you asked,’ he says, his face breaking into a grin.    ‘I did I suppose,’ says Sam, finding herself grinning too.    ‘This is all bollocks! Come on, you and me need to get wasted.’    ‘I don’t want to get wasted, especially with you. I’ll have a coffee.’    ‘Where would you like to go?    They end up in the Spanish cafe where he’d noticed her earlier. He tips back a bottle of beer and lights her roll up.    ‘So, why are you here, Samantha?’    ‘It’s Sam, and I don’t want your kidney in case that’s what you’re thinking.’    ‘You definitely wouldn’t want my kidney, girl. Anyway, how’s she doing?’    Sam looks down. ‘She’s dead.’    ‘No, no, you said she identified my body last Christmas.’    ‘Wasn’t your body though, was it? She’d gone back to her old routine around then.’    ‘Stupid cow, she promised me she would never do it again.’    ‘That was a long time ago, and you’re hardly one to talk.’    Spider pulls up his shirtsleeves. ’See, mark free!’    ‘Well done, now can we go somewhere else? What about your place? There’s something I’d like to ask you.’    ‘My place is a tip.’   ‘Please.’ 65

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‘Okay, okay, you get in some carry outs and I’ll nip over to Tom’s and get gas for the light.’    Spider leaves Sam and crosses the strip. As he passes the Sand Castle, Doreen whistles and gives him the thumbs up.    ‘Nice one, Spider,’ she says.   ‘What?’    ‘Spending some time with your daughter, nice one.’    ‘Jesus, word moves like the clap around here.’    ‘You should know. She’s a nice looking girl though, just be nice to her.’    Back at his hut, Spider asks Sam to stay outside. He gets the gaslight going and brings out a chair for her to sit on.    ‘Give me a minute, I want to clean things up before you come in.’    ‘I’ll give you a hand.’    ‘No, no, you stay there.’    He hands her his Marlboros and his lighter.    ‘You’re okay, I prefer roll ups.’    ‘The lighter was a present from your Mum, you know?’    ‘I thought it might have been.’    ‘We were about your age, I guess. She was all right then, you know?’   ‘I know.’   ‘Silly cow.’    ‘Yeah, she was that too.’    ‘Well, I can’t stand around gassing like this, some of us have got work to do.’    He fills a bucket with water from the outside tap and pulls on a pair of yellow Marigolds, taken from Army Tom’s cleaning cupboard, along with an industrial sized bottle of bleach.    ‘Yellow suits you,’ she says.    ‘Nuclear, eh? If I was you I’d keep well away from the door, there could be an explosion. This place has never seen water, let alone bleach before.’    She lights a roll up. Spider is noisy, making exaggerated moaning sounds as he cleans. After ten minutes he appears at the doorway:    ‘Sam, you know you said you’d like to help?’    ‘Did I? Okay, but I’ll need a glove to wear, give me the right one.’    Spider peels the glove off and hands it to her, and they get cracking, cleaning the surfaces first, for a moment their yellow gloves working side by side. He fills bin liners with empty beer cans and rubbish. She finds a pile of old porn mags under his bed.    ‘2D’s,’ Spider shouts. ‘The filthy bastard!’    Sam sweeps the floor and he’s about to unleash the bleach when she stops him. ‘Are you trying to kill us? If it’s okay I’d like to stay the night here, so just use water.’ 66

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‘I’ve got no clean bedding.’    ‘You must have an old coat or something I can borrow?’    ‘I’ll see what I can do but you may regret it.’    When they’ve finished cleaning, they go back outside, sit on the chairs, and open a couple of beers. They light up and say nothing for bit. Then Sam speaks: ‘I’m getting married, Dad.’    ‘Bloody hell, don’t do it, girl.’    ‘No, he’s a good bloke.’    ‘What’s his name?’   ‘Zed.’    Spider spits out his beer. ‘What? Who?’    ‘Zed, it’s not his real name.’    ‘Don’t trust anyone who doesn’t have a proper name, Sam.’    ‘No, he’s sound. He sings in a band.’   ‘Bloody hell!’    ‘He sings in a band at night and works in a record shop in the day.’   ‘Successful then?’    ‘Thing is we’re getting married and −‘    ‘Does he treat you okay?’    ‘I’ve told you, he’s sound and I really love him. And before you butt in, he loves me too.’    ‘That’s sorted then.’    ‘I want someone to be with me, someone from my family.’    ‘To give you away?’   ‘Yes.’    ‘I gave you away a long time ago, girl.’    Sam doesn’t reply straight away. ‘You’re a loser,’ she says, standing up. ‘I’ve come here, haven’t said a thing against you, and all you can do is make cheap nasty comments.’    ‘Sam, sit down, I didn’t mean anything bad.’    ‘Jesus, I must have been mad. The place stinks, you stink, everything stinks!’    ‘I told you we should have used bleach.’    ‘Shut up about the bleach.’    ‘I’m just saying − ‘    She drops her head, shoulders moving up and down, making strange whinnying sounds so Spider isn’t sure whether she’s crying or laughing. He goes close, tentatively puts his arms around her shoulders.    ‘Don’t worry, I’m not crying, I’m laughing or at least I think I am. The thought of you leading me up the aisle is so funny. What was I thinking of?’    ‘Shall I leave you alone?’    ‘No, you stay here, give me a proper hug and act like my Dad for once.’    ‘Can I get a beer first?’ I can get you one too.’ 67

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‘Jesus, go and enjoy your beer, I’m all right.’   ‘A ciggie?’    ‘Like I said, I prefer roll ups.’    Spider goes back into his hut and comes back with a large green army coat.    ‘A present from Army Bollocks, put it on, it’s getting cold.’    He drapes it over her shoulders and she lights a roll up.    They sit quietly smoking, Spider draining another can. Up above, the southern stars fill the black sky.    ‘Did you see that?’ he asks as a star shoots into the corner of the sky.    ‘Yeah, really beautiful.’    ‘Beautiful, that’s right. And I could come back, you know?’   ‘Could you?’    ‘Yeah, and give you away, why not?’    ‘Why not,’ she says. ‘But I’m going to go back to the hostel now. My coach leaves first thing.’    ‘I thought you were going to stay here.’    ‘No, I’m going, but you could light me a final roll up before I go.’    ‘Here, you’re not about to face a firing squad, are you?’   ‘What?’    ‘Last wish and all that.’    ‘Ha ha, not that I know of.’    He softly rubs the surface of the lighter after using it and then holds it out for her to take: ‘I’d like you to have it.’   She hesitates.    ‘A wedding present!’    ‘Not coming back then?’    ‘Or you could give it to Zed if you like.’    ‘With your name and birthdate on it?’    ‘He can get it rubbed off. It’s real silver; it might be worth something.’    ‘Okay, thank you.’    She kisses him on the cheek, and walks away.    ‘Write, you could write,’ he calls after her.    After a few minutes of not knowing what to do, he feels a weight clamping his chest, making him feel dizzy.    ‘Oh, no,’ he says falling onto his knees, ‘No!’, and before he knows it, he’s howling, howling so he can’t stop.    A few hours later and Spider has finished all the beers Sam brought him, and a few more. When he arrives outside Old Britannia he is swaying unsteadily on his feet and howling again. Army Tom rushes down the steps to meet him.    ‘Go home and sober up, Dad,’ he says, booting him off the strip.    When Spider returns home he looks over to 2D’s bed and sees a 68

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small orange dog’s head peeping from under the army coat.    ‘Tango!’ he shouts and climbs into bed beside him.

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Poetry|Matt Duggan Finding Eden Swimming so far from the crowd to strong waves that guide me back to the shore, I confess all my sins to a theatre without any faces where the only ears listening are the cracks in bathroom mirrors , Autumn leaves fall like lotus eaters retrieving the dead I had found my Eden and never tasted its fruits, the golden buds lay in sticky puddles of rust among the remains of poached angel feathers, a stranger wearing the pierced armour of paradise Where all the delights had long ago expired and decayed, I had found my Eden and never tasted its fruits In a man-made paradise now unhinged.

The Girl and the Sea She never saw a single wave the tide never reached her eye-line, only oil from machinery splashed on the docks in pools of black, the girl that lived by the sea. She heard the quiet hush of midnight falling square lights from houses built on stilts, neon circles of passing boats had made her dreams swim with swirling dolphins. Counting the ships coming in like dominoes stacked outside of their boxes, she gave thanks to the daylight that kept her sane the moon that painted watery strips upon her back.

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Poetry|Hannah Stone A good face for radio His interview with John Humphreys blurts from the car radio. In response to prompts he trots out his line on Brexit, and from the London vowels I excavate our short affair. For weeks afterwards I stared at the dial of the telephone, replayed the words that incised the smile from my face. It’s not stalking to check out a local councillor. Now I know his ward, address and mobile number. I learn he’s swapped pigeons for seagulls, traded cycle lanes for cart tracks. How fat and smug he has become! Yet three decades have not trimmed the inflections of his voice. Modulations can still inflict the pricking of desire.

Mum's new boyfriend Inner teeth bared, they pad in circles, flattening the savannah of Nando’s. Boyfriend sucks in his stomach. Cocks his shoulders, bold and broad. Son hunches lean and speedy, flicks glances upwards from his phone. Both males select hot sauces for their meat, uncompromising sides. She munches salad, steers her gaze beyond the tensile testosterone thread. Wonders whose fingers will summon the waitress with a twirl of credit card; ‘this one’s on me.’

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Short Fiction|Andrew J Keir The Kindness of Strangers ‘Mum, I need to go for a number one.’    ‘No problem,’ says Kirsty, and turns to her other son. ‘Jack, you go with him.’    Jack tuts. ‘Do I have to?’    ‘Yes, we’ve discussed this already. You’re ten years old. Too big for me to take into a public toilet, but too little to go yourself.’    Jack nods. He knows that if the roles were reversed he’d want Joe with him. He remembers that his dad used to take them, but that was before the divorce, last year.    ‘Good. Off you go.’    After the twins shuffle off into the mall, Kirsty signals for the breakfast bill and checks her phone – nothing but non-urgent work emails from the school. She decides they can wait until she’s at work on Sunday morning and checks through the platitudes and memes on Facebook instead. As she surfs, Kirsty becomes aware that she needs to visit the loo herself. It can wait until I’m up in the flat, she thinks.    The boys return, just as the waitress is bringing the cheque. Kirsty scans the items on the slip and mumbles to herself about rising prices. In the end, she hands over the cash, including a fifteen-dirham tip, with a smile. After all, it’s not the waitress’s fault.    ‘Mum,’ says Joe. ‘When we go upstairs, can we play on the Xbox?’    ‘Yes, we can do that – as long as you agree to come for a swim with me, later this afternoon.’    The boys nod enthusiastically, in unison.    Kirsty feels another twinge in her bladder and decides that she can’t wait until they get back upstairs. ‘Guys, wait here. It’s my turn to go.’ She ruffles their hair. ‘I’ll be back in a minute.’    The Ladies is about two hundred metres from the Café, but Kirsty doesn’t worry about the boys, she’s a regular at La Maison and knows the staff will keep an eye on them. Anyway, she thinks, her colleagues at work are always telling her how safe the UAE is.    The bathroom is empty apart from one occupied stall. She enters the one next to it and sighs with relief as her bladder empties and the urgency subsides.    As she wipes herself, an accented voice filters through from next door. ‘Help me. Please, I’m sorry but … I need your help.’    ‘Are you talking to me?’ asks Kirsty.    ‘Yes. I wouldn’t ask, but … I really need your help.’ The voice is desperate.    Kirsty pulls up her pants. It’s weird, she thinks, but whatever it is … if I can help? ‘Don’t worry, I’m coming.’ 72

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She unlocks her stall and exits to find her neighbour’s door unlocked.    ‘Please come now,’ says the voice.    Kirsty pushes the door open, to be confronted by an Emirati woman peering out at her through the eye slit of a black hijab.    ‘What is it?’ asks Kirsty, confused.    The woman lifts her arm. ‘Alu Akhbar.’   ‘Wha…?’    Kirsty doesn’t see the flash of the blade until it is too late. Pain screams from her punctured shoulder. She falls backwards, simultaneously raising her hands.   ‘Alu Akhbar.’    Kirsty’s killer now thrusts the kitchen knife into her chest … again and again. Eventually her agony subsides into darkness. *    Jack and Joe wait for a long time. They are very good, and don’t even succumb to the temptation of their i-pads. Their mum has told them that they have been on them long enough today and they know better than to cross her. Instead they have a long involved debate about DanTDM and whether he is the best You-tuber. However, their conversation renders them oblivious to the shouts outside the café, the guards running past and the subsequent sirens.    Eventually, Jack addresses the worry that is on both of their minds. ‘Mum hasn’t come back,’ he says. ‘Do you think she’s gone upstairs?’    ‘Don’t know,’ says Joe.    The café is quiet. Jack briefly wonders why the waitresses are outside talking with people from the other shops, and not inside taking orders. The thought passes.    The boys wait a while longer. Eventually Jack says, ‘C’mon, let’s go up. We’ve got the spare key card. She knows that’s where we’ll go.’    Joe reluctantly agrees.    Up in the flat, the boys decide to play on their Xbox. Jack tells Joe that he reckons their mum has gone shopping and that she’ll want to go to the pool as soon as she comes back … so they should play Lego Dimensions while they can.    Two hours pass. Joe begins to cry. Jack gives him a hug and tries to be big.    Sometime after that, there is a knock on the door. The twins stare at one another, unsure what to do. Their mum has drilled them not to answer the door, on the rare occasions that they are home alone, especially not to strangers. The knock comes again. This time there is a voice too – a man’s voice. It has an Indian accent. ‘Jack … Joe … are 73

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you there? Please open up.’    Jack wonders how the man knows their names. He glances at his brother and sees that he is crying again. Now Jack can’t hold back his own tears. Mummy, where are you, he murmurs.    “Boys … open the door. Something has happened to your mother … You must open up.’   ‘Go away!’ screams Joe. His hands cover his ears to shut out the stranger’s words.    Some time later the door clicks open and the boys cling to one another in terror.

The Kindness of Strangers is a fictionalised account of true events that occurred in Abu Dhabi. The names of the protagonists have been changed. The author makes no apologies for the content of this story, but asks the reader to remember that truth is complicated.

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Poetry|Mohammad Zahid Days, Nights Some days don’t begin with mornings, many days end with the evenings, some days start at night, like dreams and many nights start during the day, that’s when pain eclipses the sun of joy, forever they say, days are born out of nights and days turn into nights when they die. It takes many nights to make a day bright and a single night to turn many days dark, the sun, the moon, and stars are just lamps that switch on and off. The days and nights are there, for some other reason, days that look like nights camouflage the stars over their grim moments, nights that look like days steal the sun from the other end of the globe. We keep clutching the loose ends of the days to tie them to the fleeting nights they slip, sometimes stretch, we stand, stagger, recoil and recover and at last fall, fatigued to be pulled along those stretching ends disappearing in the gaps between the days and nights and those left behind, keep staring at the days that look like nights. Nights, they lose the count of.

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Poetry|Frances Spurrier Reflections on leaving Europe It was never the renaissance that we planned but it was good while it lasted; you cleaned up our air, our beaches we gave you too much butter. Together we moaned austerity this, posterity that; our tipping point planet the currency of oxygen. The oxygen of currency. And didn’t we promise those millions of war dead, never again? So sorry it didn’t work out between us. I return your ring of stars on a blue ground. Farewell, to the symbol of our amity farewell. Soon we will be free. As the lion stands outside the cage door looking wistfully back.

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Driving the Applecross Pass It’s a matter of faith and folly, like searching for God in a waterfall. Vaporous visions await those who would cross the mountains. Warning! Don’t dice with the ice! Somewhere passes for here and this the road, rocky and perilous upon which we creep and this a cyclist. Fool or Saint? Travails come in different guises: there is the miracle of ascension, the technology of survival. At the top a phone mast marks out its territory, laces this wild plateau with obsession discordant and slippery as shale.

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Olga’s song The princess sleeps alone in a room, the prince absconded the castle vanished. Outside, winter has the land in lock down. She fears the Spring, its untameable light, its mythology of order from ruin. Soon she must grow used to briars and thorn their ambitions encircle her, each a clone of the last. She knows she must cut her way out, find an axe or something. Yet each day the toolshed creeps a little further beyond reach.

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Visual Art|Roland Buckingham-Hsiao Artist Statement These photographs were taken with a Holga toy camera in the Far East; they represent research undertaken into Chinese and Japanese aesthetic principles and traditions of representation. The elements and principles of art have been used to translate the characteristics of Japanese short poetry - such as economy and the linking of dissimilar things - into the syntax of visual language. As “visual poems� however, the works consist entirely of the associations and allusions suggested by the images. The viewer / reader is left to decide or create the meaning as the poems are open-ended and meditative, having floated free of words.

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Visual Art|Roland Buckingham-Hsiao

Visual Haiku: Milk Lake (Poem No.21) Triptych, each print 7.5 x 7.5cm, edition of 125 Archival Inkjet Print on Rag Paper 2011 - 2017 80

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Visual Art|Roland Buckingham-Hsiao

Visual Haiku: Untitled I (Poem No.22) Triptych, each print 7.5 x 7.5cm, edition of 125 Archival Inkjet Print on Rag Paper 2010 - 2017 81

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Visual Art|Roland Buckingham-Hsiao

Visual Haiku: Acrobat (Poem No.25) Triptych, each print 7.5 x 7.5cm, edition of 125 Archival Inkjet Print on Rag Paper 2009 - 2017 82

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Visual Art|Roland Buckingham-Hsiao

Visual Haiku: A Walk (Poem No.29) Triptych, each print 7.5 x 7.5cm, edition of 125 Archival Inkjet Print on Rag Paper 2010 - 2017 83

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Visual Art|Roland Buckingham-Hsiao

Visual Haiku: Wind (Poem No.49) Triptych, each print 7.5 x 7.5cm, edition of 125 Archival Inkjet Print on Rag Paper 2010 - 2017 84

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Book Review|Maria Heath Beckett

Shattering the Silence Written in response to The Mother of All Questions: Further Feminisms by Rebecca Solent (Granta, February 2017)

The Mother of All Questions: Further Feminisms, Rebecca Solnit, Haymarket Books, 2017.

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ebecca Solnit’s book, The Mother of All Questions: Further Feminisms, could not be more timely. In her essay, Silence is Broken, Solnit writes: ’Silence is the ocean of the unsaid, the unspeakable, the repressed, the erased, the unheard… Silence occurs in many ways for may reasons; each of us has his or her own sea of unspoken words.’ She proceeds to examine the significance of narrative and voice in the first of several relevant, concise essays.    Solnit’s ideas often seem to resonate with our experience: that ‘yes I’ve been there,’ sense of recognition that makes her writing so extremely relatable. The open nature of her first essay invites us to look at the way silence, the struggle at times to find voice, and perhaps to effectively use it, has perhaps underscored our lives because of the biological sex into which we are born. In work, home or relationships, the challenge, the penalty, the regret for the female may hinge partly upon not feeling heard, or not heard enough. Perhaps it is expected that she, as feminine to masculine, will speak for a smaller fraction of the time than the man, or her views are dismissed, or not taken as seriously, or expectations related to role, or behaviour, bear down, creating a template to which she may conform or be seen as rebellious, reinforcement and disapproval often shaping her experience. On occasion I was told by a male friend that we should ‘put a timer on’ so I could see for how much time I was talking, such a 85

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comment interrupting an argument I was trying to make about politics or art, and perhaps to remind me that my views counted for less than his. After this happened more than once I started saying less, or avoiding conversations at all. I have often been told that my eyes have glazed over if I my concentration should lapse when listening for long stretches. The inability to read another person’s situation can be striking in cases of hyper-masculinity (an extreme form of ‘masculine’ that rejects a more moderate, empathetic masculine in favour of culturally coded ideas about dominance and aggression) a style of behaviour also about control, an inevitable drawback for the female counterpart in status and other terms.    Shulamith Firestone wrote: ‘He has let her in not because he genuinely loved her, but only because she played so well into his preconceived fantasies.’ (The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution. 1970) It is not just the body that may feel violated in an situation or relationship, but the unheard mind, an unrealised, or hidden self, which may start to feel as if limited or caged. And although I have played to the fantasy version of feminine, the fantasy ‘girl’, done what’s required for desired rewards, dressed classically ‘feminine’, ‘played house’ for men, listened, laughed, smiled as if on cue, admired by the hour, and surely could wonder then at possible complicity, certain behaviours have often seem expected: demure attitudes, admiration, and taking on the majority of domestic tasks. Gender expectations may result from ingrained cultural formation. Feminist writings such as Solnit’s recent essay collection enables a reflection on the way that inherited attitudes may infuse gender experience and interaction. I have started to re-think my experience since reading her essays and consider her book as a launching point for further reading in the field of ‘feminisms’ (attracted by her use here of the plural). It is not that I feel it would be wrong or inappropriate to participate in male fantasy versions of oneself, or anyone’s imaginary projections, where and when we feel happy with that role or image, but manipulation is surely problematic. Desire may take a hold of us and makes us malleable. Economic need may place us dependent, and we don’t want our needs to come at a price of a compromised, muted self. Essentially, as Dorothy Parker wrote, we are equally human: ‘men as well as women, whoever we are, should be considered as human beings.’ The idea here is that we share and equate in our status because we are all equally human.    Solnit’s new book invites us to consider the idea that behind the murder and assault of many women, or behind more everyday sexism and abuse, is a history of misogyny; concepts and forms of hypermasculinity susceptible (in some cases) to a long nurtured cultural idea of superiority, handed on, generation to generation and peer-group reinforced. A few men, those who troll the internet insulting outspoken prominent women, for example, may act aggrieved by any fight back 86

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or progress made by those they require as subordinates to enable a sense of dominance. Reading both Solnit and the recent MeToo revelations has led me to detect correlations, flagging up the way human interaction is not only about individuals, but is an intersect with cultural and inherited attitudes. And the spotlight needs to shine, not only on individuals, but the wider structures (home, workplace and politics, for example) that may sustain behaviours such as disrespect, inequality and abuse. Rebecca Solnit plays a part in raising awareness and commitment to gender fair ideals.    Solnit observes that breaking silences can free women from domestic or other violence because, ‘liberation is always in part a storytelling process.’ Sometimes the act of speaking, the decision to make time to think and speak, itself is an act of freedom, whatever the nature or hesitancy or provisional nature of this speech. A narrative that breaks silence is a powerful act.    In the public domain, the recent narratives playing out through the media, the accusations against Harvey Weinstein and other violators in the film industry and politics, have seen a rupturing of silence, a calling to account, pressure placed on offenders and their seniors to respond, a ripple effect finding many women speaking out and sharing their histories of being abused. On October 28 2017 a list was posted by actress and director Asia Argento, following statements that Weinstein had harassed and assaulted her in the 1990s, a list of 82 women recounting experiences including molestation and rape at the hands of Weinstein. The film industry, as a direct result, is being reexamined, questions raised around around the ethics of even viewing films directed by Weinstein, Polanski and Woody Allen. Can art be considered apart from the abuse of the creators? Or does the history of the creators impact on the way that we consume the work? The idea that art is not above ethics was asserted at a Femen protest, in Paris, a topless protest against a month long retrospective on the work of Polanski, Franco-Polish director, at the Cinematheque française, accused of the the rape of a young girl; an offence which he admitted that he carried out.    ‘We are free. We are strong. We are a massive collective voice,’ said actress turned director Rose McGowan, (director of the film Dawn), following the exposure of Weinstein: ’The paradigm must be subverted’. An industry network that in some way promoted the idea and practice of access to women’s bodies as some kind of hidden privilege, thrives on continued silence, but voice after voice now challenges an industry edifice once fortified by a lack of transparency, enabled by a culture apparently permitting cover ups and mutual backing up. McGowan’s experiences, articulated in her memoir, Brave, (published in January 2018), include an alleged rape, the kind of experience that has motivated attempts to draw attention to the malaise. (There is a clear distinction, for me, between the serious 87

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cases of abuse called to account, and trivial, or innocent mistakes that need to be seen in another light partly to ensure a sense of measured proportion.)    Growing up in the 1980s, feminism had been presented to me as a historical movement about women’s suffrage and the feminism of the ‘60s, now referred to as the second wave. Raised by a professional working mother, an array of gender neutral activities on offer, on balance, gender-neutral on offer, encouraged to aim for any career I should decide upon, prioritising adventure and ambition before even considering I start a family, I shared an optimism with many young women of my generation. My naive bubble was punctured, however, when raising a daughter amongst four boys. When shopping in department stores around the turn of the millennium, I discovered a gender segregation of play items I thought had ended in the ‘70s, the sea of frills, baby dolls, and cosmetics for young girls, entirely different from the range of educational and construction activities in the ‘boy’ departments at the toy stores of London, just one example of capitalist, profit driven gender determinism, clothing ranges similarly polarised: flower-adorned pastels for girls, strong, bold materials for boys. We chose to ignore the labelling, choosing jeans and bold colours as well as dresses, building and science games as well as dolls. Attending co-ed scouts and learning to build campfires on our camping trips like her brothers, she was given the same milieu and encouragement through which to develop a sense of adventure. I did not think of this as ‘feminism’; to me it was just a natural attitude.    Over the last few years I have seen a gradual impetus for progress, Rebecca Solnit one of many voices challenging the cultural forces manifesting as ‘Lad culture’, said to be a subcultural movement reacting partly against second wave feminism. ‘Lad culture’, motivated mainly by those who aimed to encourage hyper-masculine attitudes, and promote a style of commerce that cashed in on this - a trend that went so far as to stimulate sexist attitudes apparent in some men’s magazines, the pro-rape lyrics of rappers such Tyler the Creator, the increased street harassment of girls and women and the internet storm of abuse often targeted at vociferous females such as Mary Beard and Emma Watson. In the words of Dr Joanne Knowles of Liverpool John Moores University, ‘the "lad" displays ‘a pre-feminist and racist attitude to women as both sex objects and creatures from another species.’ (Dr Joanne Knowles in Kristina Nelson's Narcissism in High Fidelity: 2004).    Every contribution towards progress for women surely helps, whereas apathy is close to complicity. Rebecca Solnit set a valid example by calling out on Esquire magazine as boldly as she did over the publication of ‘The 80 Best Books Every Man Should Read,’ flagging up the fact that only one writer on the recommended list was female, whilst drawing attention to the annotations: ‘The author annotates 88

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O’Connor’s A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories with a quote: ‘She would of been a good woman… if it had been someone there to shoot her every minute of her life'. Which goes nicely with the comment for John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath: “Because it’s all about the titty.” Her essay (reprinted in The Mother of All Feminisms) resulted in a response from Esquire including an apology and admission that the list was rightly called out for its lack of diversity.    Having taken up with Camille Paglia in the ‘90s, the one feminist I consistently read over two decades, I realise now how vital it is for me to read beyond Paglia’s oeuvre. Solnit’s essays, Mary Beard’s Women and Power: A Manifesto (2017) and Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique (1963), for example, provide frameworks new to me in which to consider the reality of women in history and contemporary society. Camille Paglia states in an interview with Salon, that the mattress carried around by Emma Sulkowicz at the University of Columbia, simultaneously performance art (‘I Carry that Weight’) and protest about an alleged campus rape, can be seen as: ‘a parody of the worst aspects of that kind of grievance-oriented feminism.’ Paglia proceeds to argue for ‘street-smart feminism,’ advocating vigilance, self defence and taking responsibility for the decisions made. ‘If something bad happens, you learn from it. You become stronger and move on.’ A concept of self-responsibility, as oppose to the infantilising of women, is surely valid to some extent, but is she not missing the point that rape violates our choices however well we are prepared? To be equally free as men in the outdoors at night, ensuring that the outdoors is not to become a male playground, with women hidden indoors at home, an informal but very real kind of ghettoisation, there must be recognition that no amount of self-defence classes or Amazonian attitude can deter the most brutal or scheming rapist, for rape is about men, their bodies and their minds, and concerns the way we raise sons, and the legal structures in place permitting the reporting and fair justice to victims, and the detaining of rapists, acting then as a deterrent.    Rebecca Solnit, contrasts with Paglia in describing the mattress as a manifestation of the shame surrounding rape, a visible reminder of issues pertaining to both assault and access (or not) to a fair hearing. If I have one negative to share about this essay, however, it is my opinion that she could have gone further with her analysis of the details of this case. Reading through the relevant reportage reveals complexities surrounding the fact that Paul Nungesser, accused, filed a complaint against her performance art piece, construed as harassment, Nungesser later exonerated. (Apparently amicable exchanges were exchanged on social media after the events she was to describe as rape but without knowing the full history of each side I cannot draw conclusions.) This debatable matter aside, what are the 89

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ethics surrounding her decision to use a graded performance piece about a young man not formally been charged? Solnit’s essay could explore and debate further, the contestable arguments surrounding the mattress case. This reservation does not alter my encounter with Rebecca Solnit’s book of essays as an well timed experience for me. Rebecca Solnit’s new collection takes up with a range of most topical issues, from Gamer-gate to the breaking of silence, her writing a reminder to be vocal, that silence, by extension, apathy, is as complacent as a skipped vote. With its cleverly plural subtitle, Solnit’s new book surely has wide appeal, her writing a timely reminder of the need for feminism, and a rigorous, structuralist approach to comprehending the systems and languages that delimit reality, and those that are more progres-sive. Rebecca Solnit has played a part in somehow freeing me to speak louder, taking me forward by a few large strides. I may not have spoken out enough before, or in a the best places to be heard, but I now feel inspired to use the voice I have.

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Poetry|VK Shashikumar Frayed Bonds What drives the angry fetish To trawl one-way recesses? Haul the worst moments that makes us lesser than we are! What inspires the unreasonable asphyxiation of memories? Shredding years of sunny days to a damp lump of cancerous twilight. What excites the breaking of spirit? Indignity spun on a self-serving photo-frame, Entrapping lives in a web of dishonesty.

Avalanche When the mountain of lies fall, Be far away The debris may pulverise All gold digging; Unholy machinations of profit, Those lies may still stand Resting on grandiose, hollow victimhood. Bred in a den of insecurities and manipulations, Made public loudly to attract audiences To unjustly shame and silence, To win eyeballs and listeners, To accumulate sympathy. But then, what colour will those fallen lies be, When towers of light, Take the place where once ascended a mountain of lies? Will the truth shine white? Or black? Maybe, shades of grey? Changing tones as the gaze of searching eyes shift perspectives. Why should we care for the colour of truth? What matters though Is to know where you would be, When the greasy slopes slide.

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Love's Sarcophagus The way I feel about you Freeze that gale, Before it uproots my heart. Slide that love Into memory's cryogenic pod, Before life erases our times. Here's a sarcophagus For passion's everyday-ness, Before love abandons dreams.

Turn Off The Tap One tap at a time Turned off in the mind. Yet pain A faucet leak, Drips with unfailing monotony; Leaching through the defences; Swamping the barriers. Picking up speed at will Unmindful of burning holes In those memory boxes Of things remembered: The sizzling touch of skin, The fatigue-lifting hugs, The melting lips on fire Now a slurry of ash Clogging, choking Waiting to be carted away. They just don't stop, Those fireballs of memories.

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Short Fiction|Janet Olearski Hotel

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he hotel was deserted this time of year. The woman viewed the dark clouds from a window overlooking the abandoned pool. She thought she should go out, but the weather was foul. Every time one of the hotel staff stepped out through the swing doors, a howl of icy wind blew in a wave of wizened leaves. She chose to stay inside, and inside there was precious little but employees to-ing and fro-ing and the occasional guest, a businessman perhaps, a young couple passing through.    She rode the lift up and down, always seeming to have forgotten something. Was it here on this floor? Or was it on the next? She sometimes confused one floor for another. She observed the peculiarities of different floors. Here was the floor with the coffeestained carpet. Here was the floor with the silver-grey waste bin. Here the floor with the door marked 'private.' From time to time she would see the cleaners huddled in a stairwell, talking in a language she could not understand. Arriving at the same floor on different occasions, she would find objects added and then removed, a scarf draped over an armchair would disappear when she returned the next time around. On an empty table in a lobby, she would find a book when she came that way again.    Sometimes the lights were on and sometimes they were off. She passed silently from one space to the next, from one lobby to another. The clocks, she noted, showed different times. She would see the shadows of people moving behind opaque glass doors, but she met no one, she spoke to no one. She heard the lift rise and fall and she would hear voices and have a sense of invisible activity about her.    Much later, or what seemed to her like much later, she took a seat in one of the various atriums. People passed her by. She looked up to catch their eye, to pass the time of day, but no one looked in her direction except once for a child who stood before her and stared unsmiling and insolent. She stared back. She had no children of her own. Why should she have any interest in other people's? The child's parents called him. He turned and left.    She found herself forgetful. She would forget a glove, a notebook, a pencil. She would put them down and then miss them. Shortly after she would see those objects again and wonder who had left them there. Then she remembered that she must have, but she could not remember when.    In the lift, she met a woman of about her age. She asked herself why this woman would choose to be here. She thought the woman could be on holiday or on business or, perhaps, meeting 93

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someone. She watched as the woman looked at herself in the lift mirror, arranged her hair, removed a smudge of make-up from below her eye. Then the woman sighed and exited from the lift.    This may have happened recently or a long time ago. She was not sure. She thought then that she would check her e-mails. But maybe she had already done this. In any event, she found the other woman at the computer, checking her e-mails. She slipped away and let the woman continue without speaking to her. She thought of going to lunch but she was not hungry. And thinking about eating or not eating, she had a sense that she had been here before, but she could not remember and she had no evidence of having been here. She looked in her journal, flicked through the pages and saw that the last entry was dated a year before. She was staying in a hotel not unlike this one, in the same room, wearing the same clothes. Something of this she recalled.    After so much rain, a blade of sun was out. She could feel the warmth on her face. Below her stretched the town, white-walled, red-roofed, and beyond, the houses, the sand, the surf, the sea, its blue turned grey, and a fogged horizon reaching to cloud. She could remember - was remembering - old acquaintances. She saw their faces. She heard their voices. They spoke her name, gave advice, made comments, laughed even.    In the restaurant, she sat in her preferred place, a table opposite the plate glass windows through which she saw the beach. A single waitress moved around her, coming and going, bringing food and collecting empty plates. She could not remember now if she had eaten or was about to eat. She had no sensation of hunger. In the window she saw her own reflection. It occurred to her that there came a moment when we were face-to-face with our own mortality. She was not sure what she understood by that, but she knew this thought held meaning for her in some dimension of her being. But, what being was that, she wondered? And when she looked up to enquire of her reflection in the glass, her reflection was no more. In its place, she saw an empty fading chair.    She might return here, she thought, or perhaps she already had.

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Short Fiction (Translation)|Sabeena M. Sali Translator: Yoosaph Peram

Melek Taus or Peacock Winged Angel “All war is a symptom of man's failure as a thinking animal.” ― John Steinbeck

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he hall was enticingly decorated, and lit in excess with fluorescent chandeliers. Getting on to the crowd of men and women in a noisy and boisterous atmosphere, Mahir Mahmood looked around with an air of excessive nervousness. Unable to suppress his sensitiveness watching men and women mingling among themselves, his lips pursed to open a shadow of a smile, when a handsome young lady escorted him to the VIP area. Seating him there, she offered him a glass of vodka with a lascivious smile. Carelessly taking it, he was contemplating the dancer about whose kind his colleagues had told him, “they dance like peacocks”. Without getting a subject for tweeting for the last several days, he glanced through the crowd with the hope of finding a companion, and of course, a hidden agenda reigned over him to interview at least one of them.    Slowly taking away the piece of lemon stuck on the glass, he brought the vodka to his lips while the tabala and turbs played charming and exciting tunes which grounded the people submit themselves to a spell of silence. No sooner, the peacock dancers invaded the stage singing the popular item “yalla habibi.” The mass gong of gold bells woven on their hip scarves caused at once swiftness in the heart beats of the congregated men. They were brandishing in the air a small piece of bright cloth along with their body movements, like the wings of a butterfly in conjunction with the short piece of violet velvet they had covered their breasts. While he had been watching the girls, swinging like grapevines in a strong wind, he was astonished to see one of the women gazing at him studiously. Her look fell upon him like a thunderbolt. It could be said that the green light sprawled from the green pupil of the young lady, with long eyelashes, really had the effect of a sudden shudder on Mahir from his tip to toe.    He had seen a similar picture only once in his life. The twelve year old orphan, having an incisive look, Sharbat Gula, girl of the refugee camp for the Pashtun. This was the rarest of pictures captured by Steve Maccurry in 1984s at Pak - Afghan border. Encumbered with racial interventions, and endless atrocities, she stared at the camera in sweltering ire winning the cover page of National Geographic magazine. He feels the pangs of sympathy whenever he happens to see this momentous picture on websites.    But in the looks of this girl, it was not sympathy and rage that 95

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he felt, but an inexplicable awesomeness. The magnetic power that draws iron rod close to it with a compelling force. Even when his eyes were meandering through her tight dress that covered the plump buttocks, she was swinging in ecstatic undercurrents, gazing through him as pleasant as the sky from which had melted out the clouds. In amalgamation of the mesmerizing music and exciting dance, he sat with his eyes closed for a long time as if engaged in an intercourse. By this time, the peacock dancers had disappeared from the floor and a mellifluous song began to flow through the hall.    Incapable of suppressing his desire to meet her once again and acquaint with her, he headed for the room where the dancers usually sit. He saw the dancers were wearing their outer dresses. On seeing him too close, she didn’t move or speak. Yet, a basic instinct signaled her about his presence and she sighed deeply fixing her eyes on him.    “If you don’t mind, I would like to speak to you.” In his usual style, he presented his demand to her. As she was aware of the needs of such guys, in advance, without paying attention, she left the room in tedium.    Taking in the undercurrents of her suspicion, he went behind her, trying to build a cross bridge of friendship in his words.”    “Look, I know you do not belong here. I would like to know more about you. Please do not take me for a stranger.”    “I’m against racism and terrorism. I’m more a believer of humanity and I like to live in a life of love.”    Her reply was again a mere green look in her eyes that smack of disbelief.    “Please, you can trust me. I will give you all the protection and security that a strong man is capable of giving to a frail woman.    “Here is my ID. I am an editorial member of Milestone Institute Newspaper.” Seeing a handsome and aristocratic man, attempting to establish his identity, she opened her lips in an artificial smile she looked at the card with the photo pasted on it.    “As a person responsible for informing the world about the sufferings of the oppressed ones, I trust you now.    “My name is Yasifa . . . ran away from the native land where war and exiles were quite common. Living a lonely life after having lost my parents and siblings.”    Her English accent was different from that of an Iraqi woman, but it had the trace of Armenian or Turkish accent. Besides, Mahir felt that a thousand mysteries were hidden in each of her gestures and words. He thought it could be due to her untold catastrophes, miseries and inner intricacies.    The night was quite late. The stars had started turning back to the direction of sun set. A small crescent was shining like a curved line in the cloudless firmament. They sat on the cement bench on the green 96

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grass carpet outside the empty night dance club. The vehicles to the five star hotel attached to the club were moving along the driveway. When the world was sinking in slumber, they had come to accomplish their endless primitive bodily pleasures. When the rays of garden light fell on her pink gown, he thought it was a bird faced goddess sitting before him, and this caused the pulses of his heart to get derailed for some time.    “Tell me, where should I begin …?”    “Journalists like me are searching for direct experiences. So, whatever you have to say, I will record …” He replied taking the mini digital voice recorder from his pocket.    Her face was pale, when she put back the red hair that had fell on her face.    “We Yasidis were destined to scatter everywhere when the Almighty threw the globe into revolution. The lot, who didn’t come out victorious even once in life, witnessed only death throughout our life. They had been trying to exterminate us and spoil our privacy beyond borders and regions due to our way of life as religiously and racially separated.    “Cattles, sheep, birds, worms and butterflies are enjoying freedom. They don’t kill among themselves and enforce faith on others.”    “Your community is hunted due to your peculiarity in belief. How far is this true in your case?” … The real question hook of a damn journalist!    “This faith was more ancient than Christianity and Islam. We are also believers in single God. We believe that every creation is divine.”   Continuing her speech as grave as a philosopher, a mood more primitive than desert, flashed through her face.    “Can’t we find vice and virtue in everything? Look at the bonfire. We make use of it for cooking our food. We enjoy and experience its light. But it is only when we touch it we understand the reality that it is capable of burning our blood cells.    “It’s heard that the Yasidis have mixed myths with their faith. What could be the basis of this assumption?”    “Melek Taus was the leader of the seven guardian angels of the solitary God. That is, the leader of the world called by us as Peacock Angel. Since he resisted God, Taus was thrown into hell fire, later he spent 7000 years there. Finally he became sad, repented his deed, extinguished the hell fire with his tears and it was believed that thus he became a savior to the inmates of hell.” “   You are still observing some rituals and rites which were unheard of. What are they?” Mahir was a little bit anxious.    “Yes. We believe in rebirth. And we baptize our children too.    “Men do circumcision, sacrifice bulls.    “We worship god, turning towards Sun. Women usually do not cut their hair. Our weddings are prohibited in the month of April. Spinach, 97

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pumpkin and venison are not permitted to consume. Clothes in deep blue shouldn’t be born as the colour is taken as holy. Then, Wednesday is our holy day. …” She groped thus in her memory and paused for a while.    “Weren’t in your community, too, several evil restraints though you lived a different life among those with magnifying glasses of hatred?”    “The religious edict is such that even when you are permitted to accept more than one partner in life, it is not allowed to marry from other communities. When a girl was in love with a muslim guy, some of the chieftains of the village brutally killed him by pelting stones. Of course, there are spiritual maniacs in every religion. The misfortune of this world is the pettiness and vices of such people.”    While she had been relating him about her thoughts indifferently, Mahir realized that he was interacting with her not as a woman dancer, but as an intellectually elevated woman sitting before him.    She offered him a glass of cool jalab which had been placed on the table by the hotel waiter, but she was trying to take care not to discontinue her conversation.    “Sometimes we feel ourselves as if we are sent by god for making us the shadow of slavery on earth.”    “Tell me Yasifa…. How did you reach here?” The feeling of anxiety had reached its peak with which he expanded his eyes and looked impatient.    After a moment of silence she continued.    “A traditional village on the shore of Tigris. The place looked as if a small speck in the map but it had the prosperity of almond and olive. Time didn’t flow much before the solidification of lamentations due to the counter actions of time. Our life was a synonym for alertness because of the frozen hearing ability, as a result of listening to the endless firing of guns. Violence makers can intrude here any time. As we were different in faith and religion, they gang raped our women in the pretext of cleansing the religion. They held men as hostages . . . plucking the children below the age of three from the laps of mothers, they pulled out their eyes and returned them. They yelled that the children of darkness should grow as blind themselves. They crushed the fragile bones of little children under their boots. The desert went red with the blood of the brutally killed people by the hated and atrocious beasts. They patrolled around with machine guns and snipper rifles every time. They publicly auctioned the chained women after sexually tearing them apart. These brutes had loudly shouted about the physical, sexual and other features as well as about the body measurements of each woman, through their microphones. The women were only able to shed their tears, bowing their heads for publicly humiliating their dignity. Though there are names like international human rights commission and amnesty international, no one came to our help. The world showed sheer injustice to us. 98

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“It was after we, all the four girls, somewhat attained an independent life, that one day baba who was suffering from arthritis, was unseen. Like the hen trying to hide and protect its children under its wings, from the hovering hawk, mama had to take pains to protect all the five of us including our little brother who was a toddler. Yet my younger sister was trapped in the hands of terrorists. There were fourteen of them to rape her. While she was returned like a dead body, she was on the brink of insanity. Her mental balance had been lost seeing those who resisted the brutal terrorists were put on fire alive in a cage. They had bitten off her nipples; her vulva had been torn with sharp tools. When she said before her death, they had enjoyed sex as if inserting the dagger into her abdomen I cursed deeply the blind letters of their eyes that look solely into the bodies of women. I dreamt star children shrouded in dead clothes at the night of her death.    “quite a lot of the relatives ran away from the country. Some of them were able to recapture their life traversing desert and sea. Separated from their society and family, each of them roamed about various regions as if they were mere bodies. The number of houses of those who did not come back to the village shot up. Yet, there was no loophole for our protection even though we didn’t have the support of men.    “It was the special day at Shake Adi pilgrim centre. On this day, the devotees from the neighbouring areas flowed into Lalish valley where the body of Shaik Adi Ibn Musafir Al Umaviyyah, believed to be the reincarnation of Melek Taus on earth, had been buried. There were special prayers offering spices, wine and oil. Suddenly, like a big pound in the sky, a missile fell on the ground among the devotees. Seeing this, we ran fast from there through the black smoke, trampling the people who had collapsed on the ground. The perpetrators of violence were giving commands through wireless messages to prevent the people from escaping, among shrill cries and heavy gun down. Who were taken hostages, who lost their lives, we were unable to count. My brother Yazid was among the escaped group of people, and found refuge in the canyon in the border area.    “Those who followed us said our mama died on the spot and the remaining women, including my sisters, were carried away on a truck. I wept endlessly out of heartache, clasping my 11 year old brother. Only the farfetched and extensive desert apathetically sprawled before us. When the violators left there, without giving treatment to the injured and burying the dead, some of them, carrying the wounded ones, walked for miles without losing hope; but, they were compelled to unwillingly abandon them midway on their journey.    “The aged ones showered cursing words on them, as if they were taken from generations beyond. Yet, the fate of the young ones was to tread on the coarse path of the desert abandoning the aged generation 99

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and leading the new generation.    “Due to roasting sun, the skin broke into pieces. Under the winding trees, the mothers with their infants ran here and there for a drop of water. Many of them fell emaciated, for want of food for days on end.”    “Have you ever tasted the terror of hunger, Mr. Mahir?”    This unanticipated question startled him. When he looked into her eyes, coal was burning itself in them, it seemed. Then, he again remembered the girl, Sharbath Gula.    “Without anything to digest, the bile salt fumed up and hunger, shouted and muttered as if a wild beast. Some men even engaged in robbery and stealing, in the neighbouring locales. Thus, for the sake of food we became adversaries among ourselves. The people, regardless of their age, screamed out on seeing a meteor breaking in the sky.    The children fell out of emaciation due to dehydration for want of drinking water, fighting against unfavourable weather in the mountain valley which was full of coarse stones. Those who do not have tears even when they were weeping. Without getting milk from the dry breasts, the infants cried loudly. Unable to bear the scream of a child, a mother, losing her mental equilibrium, afterbiting her own wrist, gave it to the child to drink blood, some of them wailed aloud. God did not reach there to save us. Melek Taus also didn’t come flying.    “It became common for the violators to take away girl children from us. They would lay them naked on the sand and would caress the entire body. Later, they experimented them in their primitive style. The pale cheeks of the girls who starved throughout would be harshly beaten in order to get red colour on the face and at last they would rape and brutally kill them. Unable to bury the bodies, they covered them with stones, in the far mountainous areas. Affected by the stench of decayed human flesh, hot clouds in the sky burnt alive.    “It was our fate to live such an apolitical life …” saying these words she pounded in pain.    Mahir, with his right hand, patted on her left shoulder.    She instantly turned her face away which caused the tear to wet his fingers. It was the holy words that, this earth would face deluge once by the tears of the oppressed, he remembered.    “It was the day when I extremely cursed god in return for giving me the life of a woman. Due to the hegemony of body of men continuing historically through ages and the oppression of women bodies, I entreated god to take away this human life and body. I hated myself seeing the misery of women bodies suffering the wilderness of male lust, hated the male society. I sincerely prayed and cursed let the deluge swallow this entire world.”   Intense, dense and explosive . . . this was how he defined her state of mind. His curiosity to know what shaking story she did possess to tell him was fighting against him like an untamed beast.    An intense sandstorm was raging. Some of the women were 100

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nursing one of them as she had developed premature delivery pain. Nearby, all of a sudden, they heard a loud shot. While she was running out of fear, the head of the foetus had come out and without paying attention to this, she continued running. At last bearing the bloody little body hanging from its umbilical cord, she ran for life and she cannot forget how she died. Even then the perpetrators were crying loudly cursing the disobedient children of Satan that they be destroyed.    The face language of the defeated quickened his heart beat. By the side of this, the fatal picture of the running woman filled his mind with an inexplicable terror.    “We are not wizards, sorcerers, magicians or ghosts. Yet, they called us the Satan’s children. One day the violators, on the points of their guns, took away the children including Yaseed. It had been said that they would train the teenagers joining them in their group. Perhaps, Yaseed would also be a member of this group.    “It happened on the 12th day. A helicopter appeared in the sky with a great grunt. Everyone hid themselves into rock caves with the fear that bullets would fire from the enemy guns. But against our calculations, they dropped food packets and clothes. When we realized that people had started responding to our hellish suffering, we got elevated ourselves to the summit of delight. The next turn of the helicopter was to save us from there. Through hectic struggle, got into it somehow and reached the refugee camp of this city . . .”    She became silent after a long sigh, as if the great ocean of agony paused for a moment. Mahir was suffering from the helplessness of a man whose treasury of sympathy had been empty.    It was only in this refugee camp these humans, without any documents for their racial identity, peacefully slept far away from the ear-breaking explosions, and without the hunters’ rigour. To recuperate their health, the health workers administered intravenous boosters. Slowly through getting food and medicine, everyone came back to a new healthy life. They even did abortion to the ones who were raped and became pregnant; they also tried to treat some other women to reinstate hymens. Men and women sought after jobs and spread over in different regions to make their livelihood. This profession is better than prostitution and I feel that prostitution would destroy the self esteem more. Mahir, it is not a small thing to live without losing one’s virginity fighting a holy war against life itself!    “There is no information about my lost sisters. I don’t know if they live or are no more. Would they be begging in some towns among merchants and bustling traffic? Maybe, they would be moving from town to town submitting themselves to the bodies of men, without awareness about day or night. May be they would be writhing in their bone shredding pain. Again her eyes became trickling rivers. Once more, the multiple loneliness between them. 101

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“Now, tell me Mahir, will your first promise stay as rootless tree? This question seemed to him a hooked one between life and death.    “You know, I am also the follower of divine faith. Those who follow the real divine religion cannot become atrocious and cannot kill humans. Just because of this, I have deep love for you. God is just. Our duty is to follow the faith in optimism. There will come a day when truth will get definitely re-judged.”    I trust in god’s justice rather than human justice. The justice of the perpetrators of violence should be dragged towards slaughter houses. When she said this, he wiped out the green moss brightness of her eyes with his gaze.    As if the rainy clouds stored in the heart began to rain, he sat close to her, combing back the graying hair. He took her golden face, swollen with the semblance of her experience, in both his arms; kissed on the crown of her head. Like the shore being embraced by the sea, she leaned against his left shoulder and softly rubbed her lips, whispering:    “This is my sign. The sign of the one with no race and address.”    “Whoever says whatever, Yasifa, I cannot remain from joining you. We will convert all the wounds into flowers. . .”    Before completing his words, a bullet, at a fast pace, ran through her forehead in silence. Startled for a moment, in front of Mahir’s eyes, a man with pistol ran into darkness.    Her still, lifeless face leaning against his shoulder, like the sparrow which lost its sky, had the same expression of being in cloud nine.    In the chilly wind of the last segment of night, the smell of blood blossoms, bloomed between Satan and fire, spread everywhere. In the distant east horizon, by this time, the sky had begun to scatter colours like the blue peacock feathers.

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Short Fiction|Helen de Búrca Best friend

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ecidedly, I prefer winter. You’ll always get some idiot undergraduate wandering round in a miniskirt with no tights on and blue legs, but most people are sensible enough to cover up the wobbly bits they’re so keen to show off as soon as there’s a ray of sunlight. When I said that during the picnic, Cecilia, no doubt visualising a lithe, scantily clad, revisionist version of herself at twenty, replied in that consoling voice she uses to rebuke me, “Don’t be so hard on them. Everyone likes to be looked at when they’re young.”    Unfortunately, this September has been unseasonably warm, and so the students have been lounging round campus since the beginning of the semester in t-shirts and shorts, showing off the tans they picked up during their summers in Spain and Cape Cod and striking amorous poses in the grassy areas. No doubt this was what gave Cecilia the idea for the picnic.    I was scheduled to meet her, Damien and Margaret for lunch at 12.30. I had rather hoped we might go to Trattoria Dante, but as soon as we were all assembled in front of the Student Centre, Cecilia gave one of her tenderly unfocused smiles and said, “How about a picnic on the grass beside the Quadrangle? It’s such a beautiful day…”.    Cecilia is the perfect example of the fact that, if you believe strongly enough that people find you amazing, they will. Managing to cultivate that absolute conviction is rare, but somehow Cecilia has done it, and it’s quite breathtaking to observe the results.    She likes to give the impression that she has always had this effect on people, even back when we were students ourselves, and sometimes I think she actually believes it herself. It’s odd to hear her talk about her student days in this way because they were also my student days. I remember exactly what we were both like back then.    As soon as Damien and Margaret, who are part of her fan club, heard her picnic idea, they leapt upon it with pathetic enthusiasm, and I could see there was no point in suggesting Dante’s. Having purchased soggy, over-mayonnaised sandwiches from the shop at the student centre, we trooped out after her like good little acolytes and took our places stiffly in the grass.    Predictably, because of the heat and sun, we were hemmed in on all sides by basking students. We looked frankly ridiculous in their midst: four middle-aged academics pretending we weren’t having difficulties manoeuvring our cracking joints into the rather challenging positions it’s necessary to adopt when one sits on the ground. Through it all, Cecilia staunchly maintained her gung-ho let’s-motivate-themasses attitude. She seems to have decided in the past year to revive 111

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her youthfulness, and I suppose this picnic idea was part of that, rather like the clothes she has taken to wearing. She has discarded her trademark silk shirts and tailored skirts in favour of ripped jeans and low-cut tops – a look that her cleavage has become rather too wrinkled to pull off. Also possibly not quite the look to adopt when giving lectures; I have heard students sniggering, although I’m holding off telling her about that. She’ll be hitting fifty in a few weeks and assures us all continually that it is a very positive age for a woman. The whole French Department has been invited to the party her husband is throwing for her; as with all her parties, we’ll all feel obliged to attend and to pretend that we all get along. It will be perfectly excruciating.    As we began to pick our way through our unappetising fare, and I thought regretfully of the fragrant olive oil and nutty breads I could have been tucking in to in Dante’s, Cecilia began to tell us about her language class that morning.    We all talk about our language classes from time to time, usually because our students produce such grotesque mistakes. Whenever Cecilia does so, she never forgets to refer delicately to the fact that although she is a senior lecturer, she nevertheless lowers herself to giving language classes – to final year students only – to help the rest of us out because we are short-staffed. It’s part of her personal mythology, whereby colleagues throughout the institution remain convinced that the French Department remains standing only because she is its main pillar.    She began to tell us a long story about the article from the French current affairs magazine Le Point that she had used in her language class that morning. To explain the context for this: a while back, Le Point started running humorous articles on historical events that happened “on today’s date” in a year long past. I began bringing these articles in to my more advanced language classes, getting them to analyse the writing style and discuss the references to French culture, and then to read, for comparison, a text written in the year which is the subject of the article.    Once Cecilia learned about these style exercises, she decided to do the same thing. The fanfares that surrounded her endeavours were such that everyone has come to believe that it was her idea to start with. She has set such a precedent – recycling other people’s ideas, when she is not recycling her own research until it is threadbare in order to make her list of publications appear much longer than it actually is – that I reason it would be a waste not to follow her lead, and so I have taken to asking her whether I can use her texts once she has finished with them. I get a lot of fun out of the notes she scrawls on the pages, although the students don’t always quite comprehend my mirth.    I should perhaps explain that I have not always been quite such a satirical educator. Once upon a time, I was even still considered 112

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capable of lecturing; however, my divorce and long period of sick leave proved me otherwise, or so I was told. Apparently I am unable to handle lecture-hall stress, which is surprising, given that I handled it rather well for almost thirty years. It was terribly kind of Cecilia to step in during that difficult time and take over my lectures as she did; courageous too, given how little she knows about eighteenthand nineteenth-century French literature, or indeed eighteenth- and nineteenth-century anything.    The article Cecilia used this morning describes an event that occurred in 1856: the starting-point of Napoleon III’s affair with the nineteen-year-old Countess of Castiglione. The background to her seduction of the forty-eight-year-old Emperor is quite interesting: La Castiglione had in fact been sent by Count Camillo Cavour to seduce Napoleon III, in order to secure his support for Victor-Emmanuel II, King of Piedmont-Sardinia. However, Cecilia – growing younger with every word – focused in a rather giggly manner on the sexier part of the article (i.e. in full view of Napoleon III’s wife and their guests, La Castiglione, apparently wearing a see-through dress, rowed the Emperor in a skiff to the island where she seduced him).    I have already decided on the text to which I will compare this one when I read it with the students. It will not be the same text that Cecilia chose – one of Hugo’s Contemplations; she finds it charming to inject an element of romance, or, even better, of maudlin romance, into everything she does. No; when I recycle her article, I shall get the students to read about the fiacre trip in Madame Bovary. They will not understand why it is comical, and, despite the fact that they appear to perceive references to fornication in the most innocent of objects, they will not understand what Emma and Léon are doing in the fiacre until I spell it out to them, using short, easy, English words. The thematic parallels between the two texts will be lost on them. No matter. Perhaps life is kinder that way.    We messily ate our dissolving sandwiches as Cecilia complained, with an air of superiority, that none of her students had picked up on any of the references to culture or current events within the article. “I mean… it mentions Johnny… and DSK… We spent an entire hour last month discussing DSK. I do despair of them sometimes…” She made a little moue as she said this. One shudders to think what she might have told them about Dominique Strauss-Kahn for an entire hour.    I could see that she was hoping we would ask her what gems of erudition and humour she had shared with the students regarding Johnny Hallyday and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and that Margaret and Damien were getting ready to comply, so, suppressing the sharpness in my voice with almost complete success, I said, “How clever to compare Le Point to the French tabloids like that…” It was rather clumsy, but by then I’ll admit that my not inconsiderable stock of patience had run out. 113

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Of course, I was annoyed with the notion of a picnic; not only were we being gawped at and eavesdropped upon by hordes of students, but we could also look forward to having damp grass-stained bums for the rest of the day. Mainly, however, it was the malice of it. Deciding that our lunch topic of conversation was to be middle-aged married men who can’t resist copulating with nineteen-year-old girls despite the fact that they have devoted, intelligent wives… I had thought that particular ulcer had been sufficiently probed over the years. I have heard her attempting to teach classes about thematic parallels and doubling and failing to make any of the essential connections, and yet in the course of a supposedly innocent conversation she manages to put it into practice as effortlessly as all the rest. I found the irony quite unpalatable.    Unfortunately, as she is ever before me, I can never stop thinking of the good old days, when she claims to have been so popular, even though my recollection is that she was my unsought-for extra shadow. It was creepy, really, how she used to imitate my haircuts and clothes and turn up everywhere I went, how she applied to do a Masters when I applied to do a Masters, how she decided to do a PhD when I mentioned my own doctoral ambitions.    I realise now that it was creepy, but at the time, I thought little of it. I was so busy living my own life. It was the PhD that did it, though. As soon as word spread that my application had been accepted, she began telling people that she, too, was working on a doctoral project. Then she sent me a begging request to help her with the structure of her proposal. I took it as good experience for the future, when I would, I was certain, be a professor and would supervise proposals and theses. I examined it seriously and sent her my advice on how to improve it, and from then on, there was some fawning question from her every day. In the end, just to get some peace, I ended up rewriting the entire proposal for her.    Somehow, in the mythology that creates and damns us within the university, even those I knew well at the time have come to believe that, in the space of three years, she had completed her PhD with the highest honours, and that it was I who only scraped through after six, clinging on to my supervisor with my nails after he threatened to abandon the whole sorry mess. Nobody seems to recall the party I threw to celebrate when I completed my doctoral defence, even though they all attended and told me afterwards what a wonderful party it had been. I remember exactly which of the usual suspects got blind drunk and who made passes at whom, just as they all still do on the rare occasions when someone throws a party these days, except that now we all look like the cast of a Danse macabre, where back then we liked to think of ourselves as The Garden of Earthly Delights.    Of course I don’t expect others to remember that, during that party, Cecilia sought me out in tears – because, she said, I was her 114

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“best friend” – and whinged into the small hours about how she could not get her thesis off the ground, while I longed to get back to my party and start enjoying it. Yet the temporal illogic of it stuns me yet. After all this time, I should not still need to feel that I need to prove the true sequence of events; and yet, just because I know that the story has irrevocably superseded the facts, sometimes I wish I could walk about campus with copies of our two PhD degree scrolls hung around my neck and the dates circled with highlighter marker.    Despite all of this, in the years following that party, things seemed to go well for both of us and time passed, unperceived. I was happily married, I was enjoying lecturing, I was publishing a lot and rising steadily in the ranks of the university. Cecilia, despite a tendency to haunt me like a persistent and slightly offensive odour, nevertheless completed her thesis at last, obtained a permanent lecturing post, married a professor of orthopaedic surgery and somehow acquired a degree of academic credibility. We still saw a lot of each other, but then our academic circle was the still same one it had been since we had been students. In my naiveté, I would have assumed, had I ever thought about it, that we were equally content. But time is like Baudelaire’s albatross: its element is contentment, on which it glides without a hiccup, and it only becomes ugly and graceless once it is forced to earth, to reality, to humiliation.    Seven years ago, we both applied for the associate professorship. Our applications were both retained up to the final stage; but, of the two of us, only I was called to the final interview. Cecilia threw a party that evening. I – her “best friend” – and my husband were of course invited. Upon arrival, I discovered that the colleagues who had interviewed me earlier that day were also present. I thought it odd that she had invited them; she knew that their decision was pending.    They were quite as ill at ease as I, so once I had saluted them, I vowed to stay well away and not to drink too much. But more powerful than my caution was the need to relax after the tension of the whole process.    I did succumb to a few too many glasses of wine. But I did realise it. I heard myself beginning to slur my words and went in search for my husband so that we could go home. Unfortunately, it was at that moment that the albatross ran out of wind.    Before I could reach my husband, and as I was passing the colleagues who had interviewed me, Cecilia was suddenly there, her clammy hand insistent on my forearm, saying that, as my “best friend”, she needed to tell me something.    She cannot have known absolutely how I would react; of course she could not. She cannot have known me better than I knew myself. She cannot have known, surely, that “like another soul, parasitic and dominating”, she was slipping me on, like a dress, and that all I would be left with, to cover myself, would be the detritus of her. 115

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With a great show of sincerity, she told me that she thought I needed to know that she had seen my husband emerging from the girls’ toilet outside the student bar in the company of an undergraduate student. As she had watched, he had looked around furtively and then he and the girl had shared a brief but unmistakeably passionate embrace.    Afterwards, I wondered how many times and in what places she had hung about in order to be able to bring back such a perfect report of betrayal to me. It also only occurred to me much later to wonder why, if it had been several months since she had witnessed the incident, she had revealed this to me on that crucial evening. Finally, I did not think to question the veracity of what she was saying. The uncomfortable glances the people near us cast me as they overheard her convinced me that I was, as she had hinted, the last to know.    Unfortunately, my colleagues – the ones who were deciding whether I would become the next associate professor – were standing very close by when I threw my champagne glass at my husband and then began to hit him. One of those colleagues was among the three people it took to pull me off him. At the time, I was rendered even more furious by my imperfect aim – the glass missed my husband – and by its disappointing contents – I could have wished that it contained a more staining substance, such as red wine, or paint. As it was, the only person who ended up stained was me.    How nauseating to know now that, for all those years, up until that horrific party – yes, until that very evening! – my conviction that Cecilia was obsessed with me out of some sort of misguided crush was ludicrous arrogance – that, for all my cleverness when it came to interpreting literature, I completely misread her! So perhaps I really did deserve it all. I was too certain of my advantage, and so I did not know what it is to have true ambition, of the type that overcomes all odds. I could never have imagined that, even though Cecilia may not understand doubling in literature, long before I had begun to assume I was smarter than she was, she had already worked out just how close she needed to keep her best friend; and how much closer her best enemy.    Margaret and Damien started to stumble gracelessly to their feet. It had been such a good idea to have a picnic, they said; we should do it again. I also rose, clutching at Cecilia clumsily as I did. I have quite a tactile relationship with Cecilia these days. One depends so much on one’s friends in one’s weaker moments.    For that is what she is, what she has always been: my best friend and my mentor too, for as I tell everyone now, she has taught me everything. All of which means that I can never escape her; but also that she too is linked to me forever. Where once it was I who tried fruitlessly to pull away from our locked embrace, now it is she.    She has done so well in erasing the less desirable aspects of her 116

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past from everyone’s memories, but she has not quite forgotten them herself. I know this because she flinches every time I touch her; and that is why I touch her so often, placing a hand on her arm, stroking the nap of her jacket, impulsively catching her hand. I like to watch how she tries to edge away from me when I get close to her.    After our picnic, I took the arm she unwillingly relinquished to me, and concealed the voluptuous sensation that filtered through me at the ignition of her anxiety by mirroring her nervous expression. For if nobody remembers the party I threw to celebrate my victory, nobody has forgotten the party Cecilia threw to precipitate my breakdown, and it still makes people jumpy when I approach, and when I look out of sorts.    I drank in her badly concealed distress, as a bee drinks nectar. Then I whined, “I’m a bit short on ideas for my language class tomorrow, and your article sounds like such a wonderful idea. Would you mind awfully if I used it?”    I added, “And do tell me which of the Contemplations you used. Something from ‘Autrefois’, perhaps? The sweetness of the remembered past…”

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List of Contributors Aamer Hussein Born and brought up in Karachi, Aamer Hussein studied for two years in the Nilgiris, India, before moving to London, aged 15, in 1970. He worked in the now defunct BCCI, took a degree in South Asian studies from SOAS, and later studied French, Philosophy and Psychoanalysis. He began to publish short fiction, reviews and articles in journals and anthologies in 1987. His first collection of stories, Mirror to the Sun, appeared in 1993, to be followed by three further collections – including Insomnia – and two novels, Another Gulmohar Tree (2009) and The Cloud Messenger (2011). His latest work is 37 Bridges and Other Stories (2013). He writes in both English and Urdu, still lives in London, and travels frequently to Pakistan. Alan McCormick Alan McCormick lives by the sea in Dorset, England. His short stories have won various prizes and his fiction has been widely published in print and online. His story, Go Wild in the Country, was in Salt’s Best British Short Stories 2015. His short story collection, Dogsbodies and Scumsters, was longlisted for the 2012 Edge Hill Prize. He also writes Scumsters, flash fiction in response to pictures by the artist Jonny Voss, and is currently working on the second draft of Holes, his first book of non-fiction. Andrew J Keir Andrew J Keir was born in Glasgow. After University, he spent ten years in a number of jobs in Scotland and England. In 2001 he moved to the UAE and, whilst living there, decided to take his writing more seriously. Andrew did well in a couple of short story competitions and won a place on the University of Lancaster’s prestigious MA in Creative Writing. His first novel, Bloody Flies, is the result of his time at Lancaster. Andrew’s second novel, Mac Ailpin’s Treason, was released in September 2017. He divides his time between his homes in Abu Dhabi and Scotland. Chad Norman His poems have appeared for the past 35 years in literary publications across Canada, as well as a number of other countries around the world. He hosts and organizes RiverWords: Poetry & Music festival each year in Truro, NS., held at Riverfront Park , the 2nd Saturday of each July. In October 2016 he was invited by the Nordic Assn. for Canadian Studies to give talks on Canadian Poetry and read from his books at Borupgaard Gym in Copenhagen, and Risskov Gym in Aarhus, as well as other readings in both cities and Malmo, Sweden. Norman is currently working on a manuscript, Counting Coins In Denmark & Sweden. His most recent book, Learning To Settle Down, 118

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came out 2015, from Black Moss Press (University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada), and a new book, Selected & New Poems is due out April 2017 from Mosaic Press (Oakville, Ontario, Canada). His love of walks is endless. David Goatley Born in London, England, David Goatley was captivated by Rembrandt when he was 15. From that moment in the National Gallery there was never any doubt he would paint portraits one day. He won a spot at London’s prestigious Camberwell School of Art at just 17, where his tutors included some of the most noted painters of the time. He later studied further with mentor Johnny Jonas, after 16 successful years in advertising had left him hungrier than ever to paint. Since then he has completed close to 400 portrait commissions, his career really taking flight after relocating to North America in 1992. His subjects have included two Kings, two Princes, a Prime Minister, two Premiers, a Speaker of the House, five Lt. Governors, leaders in Business, the Law, Academia and the Arts as well as many private individuals and their families. His paintings are in two Royal collections, the Parliament of Canada, Legislative Buildings, Churches, Law Courts, Universities and Schools, Provincial art collections and museums, corporations and private homes across Canada and 24 States of the US. as well as in England, Europe, Central America and India. His combination of English training, background in design, and wide North American experience give his paintings their distinctive quality and make him much in demand. Today, he and his wife Sharon reside in Shawnigan lake, British Columbia from where he travels to wherever his commissions take him (his airfare is included in his fee). David can work happily from life, or entirely from photographs, depending on the wishes and availability of his subjects. He has completed many multi figure compositions as well as single figures and couples and is highly experienced in painting posthumous portraits. David’s paintings have appeared in numerous group and solo exhibitions, often winning awards, and he has been featured in many publications including International Artist, Artists Magazine, Arabella, Canadian Business, Focus and numerous newspaper articles, Radio and Television spots. His portraits of leading lawyers and Judges have graced the cover of the Advocate magazine for over four years – the original art hangs in the Vancouver law courts. He is also a noted painter of murals and large scale works for churches and institutions. Douglas Bruton Douglas Bruton is a teacher in a high school in Scotland. He hopes he is a teacher that the children will talk about fondly when they are grown up and remembering. He writes, too, because he has stories in his head. Sometimes his stories have something to say, about life and love and universal compassion – and those are his best stories. He has been published in many nice places and by good people including Brittle Star Magazine, The Irish Literary Review and Fiction Attic Press and Freight Books. Erinna Mettler Erinna Mettler is a UK-based writer and editor. Her first novel, Starlings, was published in 2011 and was described by one critic as doing for Brighton what 119

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The Wire did for Baltimore. She is a founder and co-director of The Brighton Prize for short fiction and of the spoken word group Rattle Tales. Her stories have been published internationally and short-listed for the Manchester Fiction Prize, The Bristol Prize, The Fish Prize and The Writers & Artists Yearbook Award. Erinna’s new short story collection on the theme of fame, Fifteen Minutes, has just been released by Unbound. Frances Spurrier Frances Spurrier‘s work has been widely published and anthologized, most recently in The Poet’s Quest for God (Eyewear, 2016). Publication credits include, Wales Arts Review, The Interpreters House, Tears in the Fence, Staple and South. Her first poetry collection The Pilgrim’s Trail won the Cinnamon Press Collection Award and was published by them in 2014. She is currently working on a second collection. Frances blogs at https://wordpress.com/ view/volatilerune.blog Hannah Stone Hannah Stone co-edits the poetry e-zine Algebra of Owls and convenes the Leeds Lieder Poets and Composers Forum. Her first collection, Lodestone, was published in 2016, Missing Miles was published in 2017 as a winner of the Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize with Indigo Dreams Publishing. Other poems have appeared in Envoi, The North, Atrium, Prole, Picaroon, Fat Damsel, Snakeskin, The Hardy Review and the Yorkshire Poetry Anthology (Valley Press) among other collaborative ventures. She is active on the North of England spoken word circuits, and divides her time between London and Leeds. Helen de Búrca Helen de Búrca was born in Ireland and lives in Geneva, Switzerland. Her prize-winning stories have been published by The Irish Literary Review, the Sunday Business Post, the Nivalis 2016 anthology, the Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology 2017, Bare Fiction Magazine, Occulum and the Highlands & Islands Short Story Association. Indran Amirthanayagam Indran Amirthanayagam is a multilingual poet and diplomat. He has published 13 books thus far, including the Paterson Prize-winning The Elephants of Reckoning, his poetic history of the Sri Lankan civil war, Uncivil War, and The Splintered Face: Tsunami Poems. He writes a blog occasionally at indranamirthanayagam.blogspot.com. His latest books are Il n'est de solitude que l'ile lointaine, Ventana Azul and Pwezi a Kat Men. Photo Credit: Fabienne Douce Janet Olearski Janet Olearski was born in London and lives in Abu Dhabi. She is a graduate of 120

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the Manchester Writing School at MMU and the founder of The Abu Dhabi Writers’ Workshop. Her short fiction has appeared in various publications including Wasafiri, Litro, Bare Fiction, Beautiful Scruffiness, and The Commonline Journal, and she has authored several children’s books, among them Twins, Mr Football, and The Sunbird Mystery. Her short story collection, A Brief History of Several Boyfriends, was published in July 2017. Maria Heath Beckett Born in York, North Yorkshire, a city with a history interwoven with ghost stories, Maria Heath Beckett developed a love of writing and making books in her childhood. Since living in London she has embarked on memoir writing and also two novels. After a summer in Paris in 1988, she had an extract of her autobiographical writing published in Paris, in Tumbleweed Hotel Volume 1 (ed. George Whitman). A recent poetry collection has been highly commended in a competition by publisher Mother's Milk Books. Her narrative poem, Parnassus to New York, was published in The Eternal Snow, by Nirala Publications, presently being circulated at a series of events in America. Strands magazine have published her poetry and a story has been selected for an anthology entitled Water. Maria has an interest in the essay form after studying for two degrees: Theology and Philosophy at Heythrop College, and Fine Art and Theory, at Chelsea College of Art and Design. She often works with visual art and also teaches part time. Matt Duggan Matt Duggan is a Bristol Born poet his work has appeared in many journals such as Osiris, The Journal, Ink, Sweat, and Tears, Harbinger Asylum, Apogee Magazine, Algebra of Owls, Midnight Lane Boutique, Lakeview International Literary Journal, Prole, The Fat Damsel, Into the Void, Carillon, The Orson’s Review, Anapest Journal, Black Light Engine Room, Laldy Literary Journal, Graffiti, and many others. In 2015 Matt won the prestigious erbacce prize for poetry with his first full collection Dystopia 38.10. In 2016 he won the Into the Void Poetry Prize with his poem Elegy for Magdalene and was invited to read at the Luminous Echoes Event in Boston in 2017. Matt has a new collection of poems being published by New York based publishing House Clare Song Bird Publishing House and will be reading from his new collection One Million Tiny Cuts at The Poetry Café in London in October, 2017. Matt is also involved in a new documentary project called Poems with a View which is a new project produced and filmed by Omri Lior a Israeli film maker, the project consists of short film clips showing different eminent poets of different nationalities reading their own work. Mick Corrigan Mick Corrigan has been writing poems since Moses was a boy and has been published in a range of periodicals, anthologies, magazines and on-line journals. He is in his fifties (at least he thinks they’re his fifties, they could be someone else’s). He divides his time equally between Ireland, Crete and 121

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the vast open space in the back of his head. His first collection, “Deep Fried Unicorn”, was released in to the wild in 2014 by Rebel Poetry Ireland. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize 2017/2018. Facebook: Michael Corrigan Email: mickjcorrigan@gmail.com Mohammad Zahid See Editorial Board. Nabina Das Nabina Das is a poet and writer based in Hyderabad. Her poetry collections are Blue Vessel and Into the Migrant City. She has authored a novel titled Footprints in the Bajra and her short fiction volume is The House of Twining Roses: Stories of the Mapped and the Unmapped. A 2012 Charles Wallace creative writing fellowship, 2012 Sangam House fiction fellowship, and 2007 Wesleyan Writers Conference fellowship alumna among others, she has also been a 2016 Commonwealth Writers feature correspondent, and currently holds a 2017 Sahapedia-UNESCO fellowship. Published and anthologized widely, Nabina has co-edited 40 under 40: An Anthology of Post-Globalisation Poetry (2016), and teaches creative writing in universities and independent workshops. Trained in Indian classical music and a former street theater performer, her other interests are cinema and traveling. Neil Campbell Neil Campbell is a short story writer, novelist and poet. From Manchester, England, he has appeared three times in the annual anthology of Best British Short Stories (2012/2015/2016). He has published four collections of short fiction, a novel and two poetry chapbooks, as well as appearing in numerous magazines and anthologies. Patrick Islington Michael Bracken pens under the name of Patrick Islington and has been writing poetry for many years. His style and emotional flavour is broad ranging, encompassing many topics, from observational to personally reflective material. He is usually very reserved in publishing his material until now, feeling, 'The time is right'. His work has been described as very promising and a strong emerging talent, influences include Kavanagh, Poe and Whitman. Phil Kirby Born in North East London, Phil Kirby worked as a carpenter before studying to become an English teacher. He began writing poetry in the early 90s. He has won an East Midlands Arts bursary and also ran Waldean Press. Over the years, Phil has taught many adult writing classes and conducted residencies in a secondary school and a hospice. His first full collection, ‘Watermarks’ (2009), 122

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is available from Arrowhead Press, and may also be obtained through his own website: www.waldeanpress.co.uk. His first teen novella, entitled ‘Hidden Depths’ (Applefire Press), is available on Amazon’s Kindle programme. ‘His new collection ‘The Third History’ is due from Lapwing Publications in February.

Priya Sarukkai Chabria Priya Sarukkai Chabria is an award winning translator, writer and poet nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize and known for her radical aesthetics. Her books include speculative fiction, cross-genre non-fiction, a novel, two poetry collections and translations of Tamil mystic Andal The Autobiography of a Goddess, in collaboration with Ravi Shankar. Awarded for Outstanding Contribution to Literature by the Indian Government, her work is included in many international anthologies including Another English: Anglophone Poems from Around the World, Asymptote, A Book of Bhakti Poetry: Eating God, Adelphiana, Caravan, Drunken Boat, I Q, Post Road, The Literary Review(USA), The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry, South Asian Review, PEN International, The British Journal of Literary Translation, Language for a New Century etc. and is widely translated. She edits Poetry at Sangam. http://poetry.sangamhouse.org/ www.priyawriting.com Roland Buckingham-Hsiao Roland Buckingham-Hsiao is an artist and researcher based in the UK and Taiwan. His work investigates the boundaries of language – text/image, text/ body and text/object relations – often via East-West cultural exchange. His creative practice is interdisciplinary but revolves around photography, calligraphy and poetry. He studied Art at Universities in Canterbury, Belfast and London, U.K. and Mandarin and Chinese calligraphy at University in Taichung, Taiwan. He has exhibited artworks at many museums and galleries around the world including Tate Britain in London, UK and is currently engaged in practicebased doctoral research at the University of Sunderland, UK. https://buckinghamhsiao.wordpress.com/ Sabeena M Sali Sabeena M Sali, is a pharmacist in MOH(KSA) from Ernakulam, India. She has published two collections of poems (Bagdaadile Panineerppookkal, Vaakkinullile Daivam) and a collection of short stories (Kanyavinodam) in malayalam. Her works were published in various anthologies. She has received Qatar Samskriti CV Sreeraaman Award for the story “mayilchiraakulla maalaakha athavaa melak thaavoos”. Her work gets published frequently in Malayalam literary journals from Kerala and the Middle East. She has a blog titled MANALGRAMAM. Sanjeev Sethi Sanjeev Sethi is the author of three books of poetry. His most recent collection is This Summer and That Summer (Bloomsbury, 2015). A Best of the Net 2017 123

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nominee, his poems are in venues around the world: The London Magazine, The Fortnightly Review, 3:AM Magazine, London Grip, Morphrog 14, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, The Stray Branch, Ann Arbor Review, Empty Mirror, First Literary Review-East, Right Hand Pointing, Peacock Journal, Scarlet Leaf Review, Communicators League, Otoliths, and elsewhere. He lives in Mumbai, India. Shehanas C.K. Shehanas C.K. is an Indian artist formally educated in art and crafts in Mahe. She holds a B.A Degree in English from Periyar University and a FourYear Diploma in Art (painting) and Crafts from Barathiyar Palkali Koodam, Pondicherry University. Her paintings have been selected for the International Eminent Modern Art exhibition in Vietnam. Solo show in 2017 chithrakala Parishath Art Gallery at Chomp ala. Second solo show in 2017 Calicut Lalithakala Akedami art gallery 2017, 3 days National Art camp. Her collections of paintings are already sold in Delhi, Japan, Denmark, America, Australia, Bahrain and so on. Her art work was featured as the cover image of the August 2016 issue of Lakeview International Journal of literature and Arts. More of her works were featured in the journal's Visual Arts section. She is a mehndi and dress designer as well, with clients from various parts of the world. She is currently working as an Art Teacher at Habitat School, Ajman (UAE). VK Shashikumar VK Shashikumar has led diverse changemaking teams across several sectors corporate, social entrepreneurship, human rights and media.

Yoosaph Peram Yoosaph Peram, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor and Research Supervisor in the Department of English and Research Centre, Govt. College, Mokeri, of Kerala State, India. He has published 3 English books and 3 Malayalam books. He translates between English and Malayalam and has published in national and international magazines. Several academic essays in English have been published in national and international journals. He has worked at universities in Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Yemen. Currently living in India.

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Editorial Board Chief Editor Jose Varghese Jose Varghese is a bilingual writer/editor/translator from India. He is the founder and chief editor of Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts and Strands Publishers. He is the author of the books “Silver Painted Gandhi and Other Poems” and “Silent Woman and Other Stories”. His poems and short stories have appeared in journals/anthologies like The Salt Anthology of New Writing 2013 (UK), Unthology (UK), 10RED (UK), The River Muse (USA), Chandrabhaga (India), Kavya Bharati (India), Postcolonial Text (Canada), Muse India (India), Re-Markings (India), Dusun (Malaysia) and The Four Quarters Magazine (India). He was the winner of The River Muse 2013 Spring Poetry Contest, USA, a runner up in the Salt Flash Fiction Prize 2013, UK, a second prize winner in the Wordweavers Flash Fiction Prize 2012 and his poem was commended in Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize 2014. He has done research in Post-Colonial Fiction and is currently working on his first novel. He writes for Thresholds: The International Short Story Forum, Chichester University, UK and was a participating writer at Hyderabad Literary Festival 2012 and the 2014 Vienna International Conference on the Short Story in English.

Associate Editor Aravind R Nair Aravind R Nair teaches graduate and postgraduate classes in English Literature at Sacred Heart College, Thevara. He did his masters at the University of Hyderabad and has an M.Phil from The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. An odd assortment; he counts himself an avid fan of sf, anime, alt rock and Egyptology. He steers clear of ‘serious’ literature. However, he feels that the occasional classic is an occupational hazard!

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Design/Layout Editor Mariam Henna Mariam Henna is currently pursuing her Masters in English at Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities and is the chief editor of Chaicopy, an MCPH Literary Journal. Her works of fiction and travel have been published in Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts, Children’s Magazine and Trip Designers. She is also an Associate and Design Editor at Strands Publishers She hopes to become a teacher someday and inspire a curiosity for learning.

Review Editor Jude Gerald Lopez Jude Gerald Lopez is an aspiring writer who has finished working on his novel When Lines Blur (unpublished). He also writes short stories and poems and has been published in Efiction India magazine, Decades Review and previous editions of Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts. He maintains a blog and also contributes to publications on Medium.

Translation Editors Minu Varghese Minu Varghese is a bilingual writer and translator from India. Her MPhil dissertation was on the history plays of John Osborne and Bertolt Brecht. She has taught English Language and Literature in India from 1995 under various institutions of IHRD and is currently working as English Language Instructor in Jazan University, Saudi Arabia. She is the Malaylam translator of the Finnish children’s book (based on its English translation) ‘Simo and Sonia’ by Tiina and Sinikka Nopola, illustrated by Linda Bondestam (Sampark: Kolkata, 2014). She writes poems and short stories in English and Malayalam. Mohammad Zahid Mohammad Zahid’s maiden poetry collection The Pheromone Trail is the Best Book Award winner from the Academy of Art Culture and Languages, Jammu & Kashmir, India. His poetry has appeared in peer reviewed journals The Four Quarters Magazine, Maulana Azad Journal of English Language & Literature of MANUU Hyderabad, Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts, The Ghazal Page, Muse India and Poetry.com. He is a translation editor for Kashmiri language for Muse India and Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts. A banker by profession, he has a keen interest in photography, hunting landscapes with his camera. 126

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Visual Art Editor Shijo Varghese Shijo Varghese is a faculty member in the Department of English, Sacred Heart College, Thevara. He holds an M Phil Degree from Sree Sankara University, Kalady. He has his Master’s degree from University of Hyderabad and his Bachelor’s from Christ College, Bangalore. He is an aspiring writer and is interested in fine art and music too.

Photography Editor Collins Justine Peter Collins Justine Peter, a former BA Copy Editing student of SH College, is an aspiring writer with stories published in eFiction India and CLRI. He has won prizes in various photography and short-film competitions and has also contributed the cover image for the first issue of Lakeview. He is currently pursuing a postgraduate diploma course in Advertising and Marketing Communications in Conestoga College, Kitchener, Ontario.

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Advisory Board Alan Summers Alan Summers, a Japan Times award-winning writer based in Bradford on Avon, England, runs With Words, which provides literature, education and literacy projects, as well as online courses often based around the Japanese genres. He is a co-editor for Bones Journal (new and gendai haiku), and his latest collection Does Fish-God Know contains gendai haiku and short verse published by Yet To Be Named Free Press: There is also a forthcoming book titled Writing Poetry: the haiku way. Alan is also currently working on a children’s novel, an adult crime thriller, and the Kigo Lab Project. He blogs at Area 17, and is a featured haiku poet at Cornell University, Mann Library, as well as the World Monuments Fund haiku contest judge. Website: www.withwords.org.uk Blog: http://area17.blogspot.com Bill Ashcroft Bill Ashcroft is a renowned critic and theorist, founding exponent of postcolonial theory, co-author of The Empire Writes Back, the first text to examine systematically the field of post-colonial studies. He is author and co-author of sixteen books and over 160 articles and chapters, variously translated into six languages, including Post-Colonial Transformation and On Post-Colonial Futures and Caliban’s Voice. He holds an Australian Professorial Fellowship at the University of New South Wales, Australia, working on the project “Future Thinking: Utopianism in Postcolonial Literatures.”

George Szirtes George Szirtes, was born in Budapest in 1948 and came to England as a refugee with his parents and younger brother following the Hungarian Uprising of 1956. He grew up in London and trained as a painter in Leeds and London. He is the author of some fifteen books of poetry, roughly the same of translation from Hungarian, and a few miscellaneous other books. His first, The Slant Door (1979) was joint winner of the Faber Memorial Prize. In 2004 he won the T S Eliot Prize for Reel, and was shortlisted for the prize again in 2009 for The Burning of the Books and for Bad Machine (2013). There were a number of other awards between. Bloodaxe published his New and Collected Poems in 2008. His translations from Hungarian have won international prizes, including the Best Translated Book Award in the USA for László Krasznahorkai’s Satantango (2013) and his latest book for children, In the Land of the Giants won the CLPE Prize for best collection of poetry for children, also in 2013. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in the UK and of the Szécheny Academy of Arts and Letters in Hungary. He is married to painter, Clarissa Upchurch and recently retired from teaching at the University of East Anglia. For a fuller CV see his website at georgeszirtes. blogspot.co.uk

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Kala Ramesh Kala Ramesh has long had a fascination for Indian classical music and has worked extensively on Pandit Kumar Gandharava’s gayaki and nirguni bhajans along with the paramparic bandishes of the Gwalior gharana, under the guidance of Vidushi Smt Shubhada Chirmulay, Pune. Kala has performed in major cities in India. Kala discovered haiku in 2005 and feels she’s addicted to this art form from day one! She also writes in related genres like, tanka (five line poem), haibun (tight prose embedded with haiku), senryu, and renku (collaborative linked verse). Her poems have appeared in anthologies, print and online journals. Her book titled “Haiku” brought out by Katha in December 2010 was awarded the Honourable Mention for Best Book for Children: The Haiku Society of America’s Mildred Kanterman Memorial Merit Book Awards. “The Blue Jacaranda” won the Genjuan International Haibun Contest 2012 (Japan). Her collection of tanka poems, “the unseen arc” won The Snapshot Press eChapbook Award 2012 (UK). Loree Westron Loree Westron is an American writer living in the UK. Her short stories and literary criticism have been published in journals and anthologies including London Magazine, Short Fiction in Theory and Practice and Western American Literature. In 2010, she helped set up the Thresholds International Short Story Forum, for which she served as Editor until 2013. She is currently finishing a PhD at the University of Chichester where she also teaches Creative Writing. Mel Ulm Mel Ulm is the editor and founder of The Reading Life, a premier Asian based literary book blog with over 100,000 visits a month. He is an internationally published philosopher. His posts on Indian literature have been recommended by The Economic Times of India and he will be a regular contributor to the Journal of the Katherine Mansfield Society. Patrick Connors Patrick Connors was Lead Artist in Making a Living; Making Art, a pilot project of Cultural Pluralism in the Arts at the University of Toronto. He recently published in Barrie and Belgium. His first chapbook, Scarborough Songs, was released by LYRICALMYRICAL Press this Spring. He headlined an event of Sunday Poetry at Ellington’s called, Artists as Activists. He is a manager for the Toronto chapter of 100,000 Poets for Change. Rana Nayar Rana Nayar is Professor and Former Chairperson, Department of English & Cultural Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh. His main areas of interest are: World Drama/Theatre, Translation Studies, Literary Theory and Cultural Studies. A practicing translator of repute (Charles Wallace India Trust Fellow & Sahitya Akademi Prize winner), he has rendered around ten modern classics of Punjabi into English, ranging over novels, short stories and poetry. He was awarded 129

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First Prize, in an All India contest, organized by Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi for his translation of Baba Farid’s Shlokas into English. Among other works, his translations include those of Gurdial Singh, Mohan Bhandari, Raghbir Dhand and Beeba Balwant, published by Macmillan, National Book Trust, Sahitya Akademi, Sterling, Fiction House, Katha and Unistar et al. Apart from this, he has one collection of poems Breathing Spaces (Unistar, Chandigarh) and three critical books, i.e., Edward Albee: Towards a Typology of Relationships (Prestige, New Delhi, 2003) and Inter-sections: Essays on Indian Literatures, Translations and Popular Consciousness (Hyderabad: Orient BlackSwan, 2012), and Gurdial Singh: A Reader (Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, 2012) to his credit. Moreover, he has directed over twenty major, full-length productions, and acted in almost as many. Sanjukta Dasgupta Dr.Sanjukta Dasgupta, Professor and Former Head, Dept of English and Former Dean, Faculty of Arts, Calcutta University, teaches English, American literature and New Literatures in English. Recipient of the Fulbright postdoctoral fellowship and several other awards and grants, she was also the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Writers Prize jury panel (2003-2005). Her published books are The Novels of Huxley and Hemingway: A Study in Two Planes of Reality, Responses : Selected Essays, Snapshots (poetry), Dilemma (poetry), First Language (poetry), More Light (poetry) Her Stories (translations), Manimahesh (translation), The Indian Family in Transition (co-edited SAGE), Media, Gender and Popular Culture in India: Tracking Change and Continuity (lead author, SAGE, 2011) Tagore: At Home in the World (co-edited 2012, SAGE). She is the Managing Editor of FAMILIES : A Journal of Representations Awaiting Publication in 2013: Radical Rabindranath: Nation, Family and Gender in Tagore’s Fiction and Fils.( lead author, Orient Blackswan) Editor:Golpo Sankalan (Contemporary translated Bengali Short Stories) (Sahitya Akademi) Sudeep Sen Sudeep Sen [www.sudeepsen.net] is widely recognised as a major new generation voice in world literature and ‘one of the finest younger Englishlanguage poets in the international literary scene’ (BBC Radio). He is ‘fascinated not just by language but the possibilities of language’ (Scotland on Sunday). He read English Literature at the University of Delhi and as an Inlaks Scholar received an MS from the Journalism School at Columbia University (New York). His awards, fellowships & residencies include: Hawthornden Fellowship (UK), Pushcart Prize nomination (USA), BreadLoaf (USA), Pleiades (Macedonia), NLPVF Dutch Foundation for Literature (Amsterdam), Ledig House (New York), Sanskriti (New Delhi), Wolfsberg UBS Pro Helvetia (Switzerland), Tyrone Guthrie Centre (Ireland), and Shanghai Writers Programme (China). He wasinternational writer-in-residence at the Scottish Poetry Library (Edinburgh) and visiting scholar at Harvard University. Sen’s criticallyacclaimed books include The Lunar Visitations, New York Times, Dali’s Twisted Hands, Postmarked India: New & Selected Poems (HarperCollins), Distracted Geographies, Prayer Flag, Rain, Aria (A K Ramanujan Translation Award), Ladakh and Letters of Glass. Blue Nude: New & Selected Poems | Translations 1979-2014 (Jorge Zalamea 130

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International Poetry Prize) is forthcoming. He has also edited several important anthologies, including The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry, Poetry Foundation Indian Poetry Portfolio, Poetry Review Centrefold of Indian Poems, The Literary Review Indian Poetry, World Literature Today Writing from Modern India, The Yellow Nib Contemporary English Poetry by Indians, Midnight’s Grandchildren: Post-Independence English Poetry by Indians, Midnight’s Grandchildren: Post-Independence English Poetry from India, Wasafiri New Writing from India, South Asia & the Diaspora, and, Lines Review Twelve Modern Young Indian Poets. His poems, translated into twenty-five languages, have featured in international anthologies by Penguin, HarperCollins, Bloomsbury, Routledge, Norton, Knopf, Everyman, Random House, Macmillan, and Granta. His words have appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, Newsweek, Guardian, Observer, Independent, Telegraph, Financial Times, Herald, London Magazine, Poetry Review, Literary Review, Harvard Review, Hindu, Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express, Outlook, India Today, and broadcast on BBC, PBS, CNN IBN, NDTV, AIR & Doordarshan. Sen’s newer work appears in New Writing 15 (Granta), Language for a New Century (Norton), Leela: An Erotic Play of Verse and Art (Collins), Indian Love Poems (Knopf/Random House/Everyman), Out of Bounds (Bloodaxe), and Initiate: Oxford New Writing (Blackwell). He is the editorial director of AARK ARTS and the editor of Atlas. [www.atlasaarkarts.net]. In January 2013, Sudeep Sen was the first Asian to be honoured to deliver the Derek Walcott Lecture and read from his own work as part of the Nobel Laureate Week in Saint Lucia.

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Student Editors Gowri Nair Gowri Nair is a B.A English Copy Editor student at Sacred Heart College. She is familiar with the techniques of copy editing and proofreading and has good command over the English language. She is an also an active member of the Literary, Arts and Film club. She has sound knowledge of grammatical techniques and different forms of literature; fiction as well as non-fiction. She is also a member of the student-editor panel of the college newsletter- Heartbeats. She has participated in several essay and story writing competitions and has secured prizes. As the student-editor of the Lakeview magazine, she hopes to gain an educating work experience. Sanjay Sreenivas Sanjay Sreenivas is a college student, who is currently pursuing his degree in BA English Copy Editing, from Sacred Heart College, Kochi. He completed his high school education from Kendriya Vidyalaya, Ernakulam. At school, he was elected as the publication captain, responsible for the compilation of works for the library newsletter. He was also an active member of the readers club during his schooldays. At college, Sanjay manages the class blog and he is also a student editor of the college publication- ‘Heart Beats’. Being an ardent admirer of movies in general, he has attended several film festivals and has also directed three short films so far. Sanjay is also an intern for an online website (nettv4u.com) that builds a database on films and film professionals.

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Profile for Sacred Heart College

LIJLA Vol. 6 No.1 Feb. 2018  

Chief Editor: Jose Varghese. Design/Layout Editor: Mariam Henna Noushad. This issue features works by David Goatley, Aamer Hussein, Indran A...

LIJLA Vol. 6 No.1 Feb. 2018  

Chief Editor: Jose Varghese. Design/Layout Editor: Mariam Henna Noushad. This issue features works by David Goatley, Aamer Hussein, Indran A...

Profile for lijla
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