Pixel Heart Literary Magazine
ISSUE TWO: PRIDE
Contents Letter from The Editor
i am tired of writing of doom.
Other Being / Being Other
Two men, lying in the morning sun
I said I wouldnâ€™t write a love poem
Letter from The Editor Dear Readers, Itâ€™s my great pleasure to bring you Issue Two of Pixel Heart Literary Magazine. The theme of this issue was Pride, and I feel that it is full not only to bursting with pride, but also with heart. My aim with Issue Two was to showcase positive LGBTQIA+ fiction and poetry, while including as many LGBTQIA+ writers and poets as possible, and so itâ€™s my honour to publish this issue, which includes LGBTQIA+ writers and poets and allies alike, all of whom have created some great work. I really hope you enjoy this issue. I for one am very proud of it. Thanks so much, Chloe Smith Editor
8.10 i have never been any good at writing about light. the words always twist out of tune & all i am left with is a page of dissonance. but some days i fall in love again — & again, & again — with a million things & my anxiety forgets its song. i spend an afternoon with shimmering people & am filled with their melody, screaming love, screaming solace, screaming
truth. she holds my hand through all the anguish & the cacophony of my skull melts into mellow. when lorde asks will we dance with her, the response is canorous: throbbing hearts in throbbing chests that know only of melodrama. singing out of tune & out of breath until, hours & a shower of stars later, we are back in the chill autumn air & i have never seen bright beauty before that night. i fall asleep with her heart in my eyes & my body in hers & for once, the diapason flows to paper. Caroline Grand-Clement
i am tired of writing of doom.
i am tired of writing of doom.
i want to write about museums
& how she makes me feel like art.
i want to write about how
the blue of her eyes saves me when iâ€™m dying of thirst
& how the softness
of her skin saves me when i am drowning.
i want to write about the shivers
that run down my spine when i look at her
& about the electric shock i get
everytime we touch. i want to write about the poetry her lips form
the melody the wind sings through her hair. i want to write of spring
& laying on the grass feeling nothing but freedom in our veins. i want to write about blooming flowers
remind me of her laugh. breath
i want to write about the gentleness of her
& the curve of her neck for which i can do nothing but fall.
i want to write about her hands them, about her feet hers.
& how she molds the world with
& how she travels the universe,
i want to write of beauty,
but only if it holds her name.
i want to write something that says nothing of pain. nothing of mercy.
i want nothing of ruin. Caroline Grand-Clement
Between Skin-naked, we lay in bed, he eyed my body toe to head. Lust flushed his face red; he said I brought out his pansexuality. He ran his hand across my stomach & with two fingers rubbed between my pelvic bones. I stared into his gleamy eyes, he leaned in and kissed me in a way we never kissed before, in a way that his lips told me Iâ€™m loved just the way I am. Jeremy Mifsud
Eloise My father lost his senses when my mother died. I didn’t – and don’t – blame him for grieving. I blame him for ignoring us – the servants, his courtiers, and me – when we warned him that his grief was taking root, choking out the healthy regrowth of his mind. When he said he intended to marry me, I should have abandoned hope of restoring him. Instead I hoped to reason with him; I tried to buy time. I set what I imagined were impossible tasks before the nuptials could take place – and asked for a dress the color of the sun. He immediately sent for Lilith, the kingdom’s best dressmaker. She measured me with cool efficiency until I said, ‘Please don’t hurry to finish this gown.’ Her eyes widened; she removed the pins from her mouth. I told her my story. She patted my cheek softly. ‘I will help you.’ My father remained deaf to my arguments. Lilith produced the new dress in three months. I had planned to disparage it, to pettishly demand better – but it was dazzling. I blurted out, ‘I require a dress the color of the moon.’ Lilith sat beside me as we discussed the detailing on the gown; she put her arm around my quaking shoulders as water-drops dotted her patterns. This time Lilith took four months to make a silver dress the color of moonbeams. The work was exquisite. My tears soaked the basque. I faltered, ‘I require a dress the color of starlight.’ My father’s patience was wearing thin; he toyed with my golden hair and crooned, ‘Soon.’ I shuddered. He said, ‘These gowns are taking too long. You should help Lilith.’
So I did. She brought an opalescent fabric to the palace. We sewed, and talked. She spoke of a girlhood in a family that didn’t understand her, and the glorious independence she had found in her shop. I said, ‘That sounds lonely, too.’ Her eyes were a patchwork made of millions of sparkling pieces. The starlight dress took five months, though (or perhaps because) both of us were toiling. My father eyed me as a hound eyes a fox at the climax of the hunt. ‘Wait!’ I cry. ‘I require one more thing. A cloak. It should…’ All I can think about are Lilith’s eyes. ‘…include a thousand different fabrics. Including some pieces from mother’s old things.’ Father – grudgingly – agreed. Lilith surveyed the pile of mother’s cloaks and dresses. ‘I’ll need a wagon to carry those back to my shop.’ ‘That,’ I said, ‘was precisely my idea.’ I took her hands, and asked her a question. Her response made my swelling heart burst its seams. She packed me in the wagon underneath the dresses and took me back to her shop. Today, my father still hunts for me. Some say I became a kitchen skivvy in another kingdom; others swear I wed a prince. The truth is that I am hiding in plain sight, the dressmaker’s apprentice, and her everything else besides. Linda McMullen
Coat Waltz You find her drifting off on the couch. It’s quieter through here, the last stragglers left scraping the barrel for conversation in the kitchen. In the hall, you can hear the front door opening and closing as people leave. Shouts of goodbye; laughter; the scrabble for coats. You sit down next to her. She makes a sleepy hum of enquiry, then opens her eyes and smiles at you. It reaches her eyes, bright and glittering and glorious. There’s a lamp on nearby, the soft light golden like the sun- and, yes, of course, you know she’s not really framed by the sun and, yes, maybe you’re wine-drunk, but you’d say it anyway, you know you would... ‘Hi,’ she says. She’s still smiling, but you can see it’s her tired smile. There’s nothing concrete, something you can point to and declare ‘yes, that’s why’, but just knowing is pure intuition now, as easy as falling asleep. ‘You want to leave?’ You put concentrated effort into saying it as clearly as possible. This is important. If she wants to leave, you’d move heaven and earth - is that the expression? Or, well, you’d get off the couch at the very least. She hums again. ‘Shouldn’t we help...’ She trails off, looking around the room. ‘Clear up?’ ‘They’re only paper plates,’ you reply, and somehow that makes her snort with laughter. You have no idea why, but you revel in it all the same. You help each other to stand, holding hands while tottering out to the hall. She handles the goodbyes for you, as you sway a little to the music still pounding away. You can’t tell what’s playing exactly, everything travelling slowly to your ears, like honey. You can hear strings somewhere. It reminds you of awful school lessons, compulsory social
dance. Holding bodies rigid, boys’ clammy palms. You want to tell her if you could do it all over again, when the gym teacher announced ‘ladies’ choice’, you would have picked her. But, still. She’s here now, and maybe that’s what matters more. Yet, you try to make up for it, twirling her into something vaguely resembling a waltz as she reaches for the coat-stand. She doesn’t understand, but that’s alright. ‘Stop!’ she giggles, successfully grabbing the jackets. ‘You can hardly walk straight.’ You gasp in mock affront. ‘I have never done anything straight in my life.’ She snorts again, gently pulling you closer with her one free hand as she shrugs on her coat. When she helps you put yours on, you’re struck, suddenly, at the wonder of it, that a girl like her could love a girl like you. With precise care, she buttons you up, tucking in your scarf so the label isn’t scratching your neck. You want to tell her you love her. You want to marry her. On the steps outside, she kisses you, warm and soft against the cold night air. ‘I know, sweetheart,’ she murmurs. ‘Let’s go home.’ Jenna Burns
Other Being / Being Other Evening curling around them, crisp boots crossed the threshold. Twilight fell by four forty-five: blessed winter, bringing darkness And a billowing overcoat. Exercising a slight flair for the dramatic, Charlie always said, with an arched eyebrow but adoring gaze. That moment of stepping in was crucial: just for a second They were every person who they might be seen to be inside. Over the centuries, these people had changed, Yet assumptions prevailed like a mutating disease. And inside. Wood-paneled, gloomy. Packed with fake period detail, (Charlie, a stickler for these things, wouldn't go inside) It sold vintage clothes and accessories to men, women, and— Whether an aim or not—anyone else who trod the threshold. They drifted aimlessly, longingly, looking for inspiration— Over six months since they'd last been shopping in bricks and mortar— Here, at least, the fashions never changed. A silk scarf, Patterned with roses, searing red and rose pink, slithered into view. They wrapped the scarf around their neck and looked down, Assessing it against their black coat. We're closing in five minutes. They jumped. A judgmental sales assistant stared back. Apologies. Too timid. Charlie would berate them later. At the till, a curt Sir, slight itch not for the passive aggressive note, But the incorrectness. Still. Charlie would've argued. Charlie had a lot of things to say about gender on the internet (Perhaps too much for someone who'd not seen anyone in daylight in five centuries). Scarf round their neck, the shop door swung shut behind them. Another shop they felt they'd outstayed their welcome: Sometimes it was tough being a vampire who hankered for the old styles. Online shopping had to do. Charlie was good with free delivery codes. At home, safe from light and humans and binary gender assumptions. Charlie made them spin around in the scarf, over and over. It's so you. They grinned. Except that time in the eighteenth century... They put a finger to Charlie's lips. We don't talk about youthful fashion disasters. Siobhan Dunlop
Two men, lying in the morning sun
there are traces of ink on his body telling a story between the lines white old scars black new marks when he lies down beside his love he of the fierce glint in the eye uncapturable by the needleâ€™s point the ink jumps from one to the other spreads and swells like a confession lazy sundays with bright rays banishing the shadows from their bodies worshipping the here and now he has made it here he has made it now Siobhan Dunlop
I said I wouldn’t write a love poem but you said you don’t have the magic in you, and you’re wrong – I always catch a spark from your hands; you know the importance of a low, slow flame, have pulled me back from night terrors clawing at the daylight. Distance dictates I can’t repay you the way I’d like. When you say your spirit is ugly on a day like this, I want to turn your tears into songs, let my pulse keep uneven time for a grief that won’t leave you. I want to spend a night forgetting the litany of women who unwrapped your heart, left it to the storm; I want to show you what I see – a goddess of ink, sunbeams, pines – Athena’s olive branch, Aphrodite’s wild geese. Kate Garrett
Contributors Caroline Grand-Clement Caroline Grand-Clement is a queer seventeen years old, half-time poet, half-time student at an international school in Lyon, France. She dreams of art in any form, falling stars & late night conversations. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in L’Ephémère Review, Rose Quartz Journal, Vessel Press, and elsewhere. You can find her on Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram @octopodeshearts. Jeremy Mifsud Maltese-born Jeremy Mifsud is a queer, autistic writer and poet, currently reading for a Masters in Cognitive Science at the University of Malta. In 2018, he published the collection Welcome to the Sombre Days. More of his poetry and fiction appears or is forthcoming in Please Hear What I'm Not Saying (2018), Lucent Dreaming, Constellate and others. You could find him on twitter (@poetrybyjeremy) or his site, https://poetrybyjeremy.wordpress.com/. Linda McMullen Linda McMullen is a wife, mother, and diplomat; her pieces have appeared or are forthcoming in Chaleur, Burningword, Typishly, Panoply, Open: Journal of Arts and Letters, Allegory, Enzo Publications, The Write Launch, Palaver, Curating Alexandria, SunLit, Coffin Bell Journal, Five:2:One, Every Day Fiction, The Remembered Arts Journal, Raw Art Review, Weasel Press, Dragon Poet Review, Scribble, and the Anti-Languorous Project. Jenna Burns Jenna Burns is a Scottish lesbian writer in her early 20s. She has been published by L'Éphémère Review; Fearless Femme; Gutter Magazine; Zoetic Press & The Retired Beekeepers of Sussex. She loves writing in a variety of formats, from short stories and flash fiction to screenwriting. You can find her writing at jennaburnsiswriting.wordpress.com & follow her on Twitter @Jenna_221b. Siobhan Dunlop Siobhan Dunlop is a writer, poet, and book blogger who works doing IT things in a university. They have poems about swearing and Frankenstein published in 404 Ink’s literary magazine, a poem in meanwhile magazine's upcoming first issue, and a short story about an all-female production of Henry IV in an anthology of Shakespeare's works reimagined with LGBT characters. Found on Twitter under @fiendfull. Kate Garrett Kate Garrett is the founding editor of Three Drops from a Cauldron, Picaroon Poetry, and Bonnie's Crew. Her work is widely published online and in print, and has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. Her latest chapbook, Land and Sea and Turning, was published by CWP Collective Press in August 2018, and her first full-length
collection, The saint of milk and flames, is forthcoming from Rhythm & Bones Press in April 2019.
Pixel Heart Literary Magazine Issue Two: Pride https://pixelheartmag.wordpress.com/