issue six - wild
Editor Terri-Jane Dow t: @terrijane || i: @terri_jane www.terrijanedow.com
Cover Art Sara Thielker t: @sarathielker || i: @sarathielker www.sarathielker.com
with thanks to Katie Fanthorpe, Daniel Zimmer
Welcome to the WILD issue. After a somewhat longer-than-anticipated hiatus, I've realised that a labour of love isn't consistently equal in both things, that sometimes the labour outweighs the love, and that sometimes you have to take a step back and re-evaluate. To that end, Severine has evolved a little bit between the last issue and this one, with some tweaks and changes. The content has expanded, still following the theme, but you'll now find book reviews, more non-fiction, and even some wild foraging tips mixed in amongst the poetry, fiction, and art. The most striking thing about the submissions for the 'wild' issue was how many of them saw a transformation; how a wild thing is tamed, or how a tamed thing reverts to its wild nature. The pieces collected here demonstrate a wildness hidden under the surface, one which sometimes escapes. Putting this issue together has indeed been wild, but I am so, so excited to finally share it with you. - Terri-Jane
In this issue you will find... Words by James Tennent, Elizabeth Gibson, Natalie Baker, Sian Norris, Aki Schilz, Lenni Sanders, Mari Pack, Mette Slot Johnsen, and ZoĂŤ Meager Images by Sara Thielker, Maria Carvalho, Alice Labourel, Ellis O'Connor, and Kama Roskinska Design by Terri-Jane Dow
BOBCATS James Tennent James Tennent prefers animals to people. He's also a writer. t: @duckytennent || i: @jeatennent
“Bobcats are native here,” he heard someone say, a bush or two away, “at least they were. No one would have actually seen one for a good while.” The green man looked down the lens, the anchor nodded back. “Calls have suggested he’s in the area, we doubt he’s gone far.” He moved the bush around himself slowly, edging back to a small opening. They were always going to kick up a fuss - didn’t they know that animals escaped all the time? From zoos, from fields, from gilded cages; they were just looking for a bit of variety. It wasn’t necessarily that they all wanted to be free, like some said, it was more that they wanted a little change, a bit of excitement - a Vegas hotel, that sort of thing, not joining the Foreign Legion. They don’t have bobcats in France anyway, but here, now, in Washington DC, they do have the one. There was a reason for it, he would later tell friends, huddled together in their private cabin, there was a reason he had done it. He knew, as well, that he put them all at risk, doing what he did, showing the green men the hole in the fence. The one they were keeping in case of emergencies. But it was an emergency, that's the thing. He had woken in the night and felt a speedy flutter in his heart, like something was being pushed through the valves and, once through, the beating had to catch up pace for a few
seconds. He had felt the vibrations of his own heartbeat tingle his whiskers, they make the pockets of his cheek itch, they made all his fur slowly edge higher against his back. And, well, he knew for certain that he wasn't long for the zoo. And, well, he knew that there were things he needed to do before his time. And, well, he knew too that they had to keep the hole a secret for the future generations, for when the real struggles came, when escape was inescapable. But once the flutters slowed down, he knew that in truth, he did not want it there for the future generations, it was instead something that he wanted to experience for himself. He wanted to race through the trees, to hunt, to catch his breath in the clearing of a wood, and he wanted to do it himself, whatever the consequences might be. The thing about being free, he told the others, lying on his back, is that you really should be free of everything. Sensibilities, say, or responsibilities. That's what the freedom you want is. Any other kind and you're so scuppered down, you're essentially being free for other people and, well he would scoff at this point - that doesn't sound like being free at all to me. He was out now, out of where they'd kept him. He was amongst the two legged and feeling the outside life. There wasn't much to hunt, as such, everything else seemed to be in their own fences, ones without gaps. And, well, without much care really. Bobcats, it should be noted, are not like other wildlings. They kick in their sleep, like dogs, but they don't do the friendship thing. They nap, like the lions, but they're not the lazy type. Where the gorillas fulfill their time swinging from fence to fence, using the cage bars for their own entertainment, the bobcats watch and think itâ€™s very postmodern. They are thinkers, philosophers, long Sunday ponderers. But don't confuse that with being wise.
They consider themselves on the dolphin level, a bit above humans, but they would - their vanity and hubris is their real centre point. They like to ponder because my, it looks good. Philosophers do get laid quite a lot in bobcat circles - what they don't mention is its the kind of sex that's so obsessed with the idea that they're having sex there's barely an erection in sight, the incredible, uncomfortable pressure of it all. And this was where his hubris had gotten him. Somewhere outside a cage. Looking upon more cages, wondering if they were shadows on a cave wall. A human would notice him now and then, a child would point and an adult would shush them. He would scowl at the children and they would be quiet. Listen to your elders, he thought, they know what's best for you. He knew the greens were looking for him, he could smell them whenever they got close - he could smell their dogs particularly, the eagerness ripped off them like the swinging door of a bakery. He was keeping one step ahead. But those steps, he noted, didnâ€™t seem to be heading anywhere. The cages continued for the most part, though there were spacious caverns with glass containers too - he spent a night sleeping in the glow of the sharks and fishing through the touch pools for fresher tastes. He was properly spotted once. A young woman with dark curls broke away from her group of friends to follow a rustle she was certain she heard, past a meagre plastic fence and down an unmarked alleyway. There, she found our man. He had been cornered, in a part of this place that neither of them knew, somewhere it didnâ€™t seem that anyone ever came. Grey walls of concrete felt encasing and he thought,
for a quiet moment, of going for her neck. She didn’t quite get close enough. Instead, she crouched down and took out a camera - angling her legs to steady the frame. “It’s like you’re looking right down the lens,” she said out loud, adjusting the focus. “I am,” he replied, “I thought it might stop you taking my picture.” He knew he didn’t have to worry about her, he sauntered past and out, past her look of shock and shutter clicking fingers. That’s another thing - if bobcats wanted, they really could be smart. They’re not without knowledge, not without wit or understanding - their priorities are just so strained and selfish to ever really mean anything, to ever really get anywhere, on a larger scale. He was starting to have second thoughts. He found that he was doing a circuit, a long complete circle through an area that, covered with cages inside, was surrounded with a large foreboding wall. A wall that didn’t have a gap to crawl through. He was starting to realise that for all their talk of being trapped, for all their talk of escape, the bobcats didn’t know the half of the outside world. Cages upon cages upon cages, he could only presume. One wall down and yet, there was another, and what about another? When he told the story of his return to the enclosure, it sounded like an sisyphean struggle against the forces that dared try to stop him; that the Gods themselves had grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and scolded him like a kitten, they’d told him that the outside world was not for bobcats. Oh what a hero our bobcat was, however unsuccessful, to stand up to these malevolent dictators. On a late afternoon, in truth, he put on a limp and scuffed his way towards a green. He may well have purred his way back to the cage. So he continued his way of telling the story because it made the cage better;
and besides, he had found a new liking for the cage, it was his domain, his abode, and he neednâ€™t bother himself with the other cages, the other walls, here was his place to protect and rule. He could tell whatever stories he wanted here, this was his country. And fires might come and trap them, they might end up choked to death as smoke smothered them and holes in fences had gone. But he had his stories, he had his domain. He had priorities.
Wild Thing - The Troggs Cum On Feel The Noize - Slade Wolves - Selena Gomez Jungle Drum - Emiliana Torrini The Lovecats - The Cure Wildewoman - Lucius Dirty Paws - Of Monsters and Men Little Lion Man - Mumford & Sons Walk on the Wild Side - Lou Reed The Beast - Laura Marling
Listen to the WILD playlist by seaching for
SEVERINE - WILD on Spotify
tiger is out by Maria Carvalho
DOGTEETH Elizabeth Gibson Elizabeth Gibson was announced as a New North Poet at the 2017 Northern Writers’ Awards. Her writing has appeared in Antiphon, Cake, The Cardiff Review, The Compass, Far Off Places, and The Poetry Shed among others, and she was featured in Introduction X: The Poetry Business Book of New Poets. Elizabeth came second in the Poetry Society’s 2016 Timothy Corsellis Prize and was shortlisted for the Poetry Business’s 2018 New Poets Prize. She edits Foxglove Journal and the Word Life section of Now Then Manchester. t: @Grizonne || elizabethgibsonwriter.blogspot.co.uk
My mother joked when I was a child about how I insisted on calling my canines my canines and giving them special treatment when brushing my teeth. I had this hang-up that they always felt dirty. They still do, however hard I scrub. Maybe it is because I was born in the year of the animal I feared; maybe I was cursed from the beginning by a doggy anger. I did try. I tried to like you. I told myself being born you made me faithful and loyal, playful and bouncy. I knew I was neither of the latter pair and the former lacked appeal when I was ten. I translated "loyal" as "weak". Plus, I was a loner. I was a cat person, without any doubt. Being loyal meant having friends; mine came and went. I would stick with trees and ladybirds. No point in deluding myself I would never be a Dog. But now, as an adult, I do sit and soul-search and realise that I could rest at your feet, keep you warm, make you feel safe. I could chase lights in the distance and you would laugh because you would know I would always run back to you. Sometimes now I bark when I mean to murmur, dream of fighting your enemies jaw on jaw, dog on dog. And when you leave me, I howl.
WILD KITCHEN: A GUIDE TO FORAGING Natalie Baker Natalie Baker is a freelance writer and editor based in London. Her writing has appeared in Occulum, Bad Pony, and Synaesthesia Magazine. You can find her supporting the charity project Bloody Good Period as their fundraising coordinator, and working on her first novel. t: @NataBakeEditor
Austerity measures have forced people to change their consumer habits, whether it be eating out less or trying to adopt a more self-sufficient way of life. Foraging for your dinner may seem like an exercise best reserved for greenfingered earthly types, but it’s healthy, bang on trend (grow-your-own is so in vogue), and even better, wild foods are free for consumption. There are vegetables, forest fruits, herbs and edible flowers growing in abundance here in the UK, just waiting to be plucked from the stem and hungrily devoured at the table. So it’s time, beloved reader, to return to the roots of our huntergatherer ancestors and give foraging a go. The Danes are known for embracing sustainable culinary methods in the kitchen, after all, they’re surrounded by luscious green pastures, coastline and islands: no Dane is ever more than 50km from the sea. In fact, foraging has been a way-of-life in Denmark for centuries, perhaps that’s why it’s ranked among the top three happiest countries in a recent survey. When it comes to handpicking ingredients straight from the land we learn to appreciate all that the earth provides. There’s something harmonious that comes with the act of sourcing, identifying and cooking wild foods. The ethos behind New Nordic Cuisine (originally developed by Claus Meyer, a food activist), is that cooks are encouraged to use indigenous ingredients as primary components for their meal. The results being a more holistic approach to cooking and eating. Velbekomme!
One of my earliest and most cherished food memories as a child involves trailing my nanna to the very back of her garden to pick gooseberries. The only tools at hand were garden gloves – the thorny brambles were lethal – and an empty ice-cream tub to collect the fruits. Day would turn to night and I’d be blissfully unaware of the many hours spent plucking and grazing on my knees completely caked in soil. I’d only return once the tub was full; sometimes it would take multiple trips to decanter the berries, freeze them and go back for another load. I’d always go for the big, juicy bulbous fruits that were out-of-reach, as I knew they’d taste sweeter partnered with the biscuit crumble and single cream concoction. My love of foraging continued into my adult years when, aged twenty-seven, I found myself living in the fragrant, lively and unapologetic south of Italy. It’s there that I was introduced to wild finocchi (fennel) and asparagi (asparagus) that grew in abundance on particularly dry, arid land. I cooked risotto with fresh rosemary and artichoke, topped with a sprinkling of lemon zest and olive oil. It was perfection. I lightly pan-fried the asparagus with the smallest pinch of sea salt, and there you had it, a simple yet delightfully flavoursome meal in its own right. Buona! There are so many wonderfully inventive ways you can incorporate wild foods into your homemade dishes. Why not start with a side salad, a dessert or cordial to have with a glass of bubbly? Then, as you become more confident, you can try some of the more experimental dishes. Now, are you ready to assemble your own collection of earthly delights?
illustration by Alice Labourel
Here are five easy picks to get you started on your foraging journey. Wild garlic Often growing in woodland and forest areas where the earth is moist and fertile, wild garlic can be found during the months of March–July. Look out for the delicate, thin, white petal flowers that form a sphere-like shape at the end of a long stalk. Smells like: a strong spring onion. Dandelions The word dandelion originates from the French ‘dent de lion’ which refers to the spiky green teeth that sit beneath the flower. The plant is known to have numerous health properties and rich sources of A, B, C and D. Once washed, enjoy them fresh in salads with a little vinegar, or boiled as a vegetable. Elderflower The tiny elegant white flowers normally bloom during the months of May–July. Believed to have medicinal healing properties, elderflowers are incredibly common across the UK and can be used to make cordial, jams or deep-fried as a savoury dish. Smells: alluringly sweet. Blackberries These deliciously tart berries are a favourite among Brits and can be found in the autumn months. Enjoy straight from the bush or make a blackberry and apple crumble for a satisfying desert (or breakfast!). Mint, Lemon Balm, Rosemary and Sage Herbs are a great accompaniment to any salad. Be creative and partner the mint and lemon balm with cod or make your own pesto. Rosemary is delicious with sweet desserts such as sorbet and anything chocolaty. The dried or fresh leaves can be steeped in hot water for tea. Top tip: For the less-confident scavengers among us, there are a number of useful apps to ensure you forage in a sustainable and responsible fashion.
PONTI Sharlene Teo (published by Picador) Sharlene Teo's masterful debut is narrated by three Singaporean women; 16year-old Szu, her mother, Amisa, and her high school best friend, Circe. Named after the B-movie series Amisa starred in as a young woman, itself featuring the ghoulish legend of the pontianak, Ponti is both a coming of age novel, and a reflection of the characters' younger selves. It would be remiss not to describe Singapore itself as a character too; the stifling humidity of the city drifting through Szu's home and Circe's apartment constantly reminds you of the setting.
EVERYTHING UNDER Daisy Johnson (published by Jonathan Cape) Daisy Johnson's debut novel follows in the same slightly otherworldly vein as her short story collection, Fen, released in 2016. Here, we follow Gretel as she realises that to understand her own life, she must find the mother who abandoned her when she was sixteen, and through Gretel, we also find Marcus. The novel is slippery, wading through Marcus' fear and loneliness without hesitation. Everything Under takes cues from Sophocles, but as the story unravels, the layers of it resonate with modern fairytale as well as ancient myth.
THE WORD FOR WOMAN IS WILDERNESS Abi Andrews (published by Serpent's Tail) Described as "Bear Grylls for girls", The Word for Woman is Wilderness is the story of Erin's venture out into the wilds of Alaska. As she travels, she muses on how her own explorations match with her knowledge of the world as she understands it. It's a gloriously feminist, and gloriously smart, take on the traditional adventure tale. Andrews' writing is funny and clever, and Erin is engaging. Reading this novel feels like reading four others at the same time, full of nature, scientific, and fiction writing.
WILD MENTIONS: In other writing off the beaten path, we'd recommend Rebecca Solnit's A Field Guide to Getting Lost; Amy Liptrot's The Outrun; and Helen MacDonald's H is for Hawk.
A WALK IN THE INGRAM VALLEY Sian Norris Sian Norris is a writer, novelist,and journalist. Her fiction has been published in 3am magazine, Halcyon Lit Mag, and the Wales Arts Review. She is currently the Ben Pimlott writer in residence at Birkbeck University, and the founder of the Bristol Women's Literature Festival t: @sianushka || sianthewriter.wordpress.com
Beneath Cunyan Crags lie the remains of a Medieval village. In the sedge grass, trying to avoid the land that shifts into a brackish marsh without warning, my feet trip over old foundations covered in moss. The grass has overgrown almost everything now, but we can still trace the circular scar that marks out the old borders. A whole community lived here, in homes that are now sunken into mounds of yellow grass. They farmed sheep and cows. They slept in fear of wolves. They drank small ale brewed with water from the Ingram Valley. The village was abandoned after the Black Death killed off one third of Europe’s population. Out of this grief and devastation and confusion, England’s peasants discovered they had a new power. With fewer people to do the necessary work, they emerged from serfdom and travelled to where they could demand more money for their labour. They left the valley villages that huddled close to craggy mountains, and headed south to find more lucrative employment. By the time the ruling elites wrote new laws to restrict the peasants’ freedom of movement, the villages were empty and England had changed forever. A bird of prey swoops and circles the remains. It’s a buzzard but for a moment we imagine it’s a hen harrier, because that would be a better bird to
see. It spirals lower and lower, then disappears to the ground, searching for a mouse. *** The best way to find a footpath is to look into the middle distance. This is the one thing I know. Halfway to the horizon, I spot the slightest indentation in the grass. I focus my eyes on that distant thread and it unspools all the way back to my feet. Identifying paths is my skill. That’s what dad said. Or, more accurately, you’re very good at knowing where to put your feet. *** We come here to be wild because we have forgotten that this was once a home. There are homes here, still, it’s true. But what are now isolated farm houses or ranger dwellings, seven hundred years earlier had been a thriving community. The stones speckled with lichen that resemble fried eggs are not mere rocks dropped from hillsides. They symbolise a historic moment. Dad explains all this and the Black Death to my cousin, as I keep my focus on the middle distance, picking out the path. On my left is Cunyan Crags, the first hill we want to climb. Eastwards, the peaty slope stretches out into grazing land, and then the park’s borders, and then the towns and villages where my family live, and then the sea. My eyes skip straight to the sea, where the blue line of the horizon is bookmarked by the two castles. ***
A series of works made on residence in Shetland, by Ellis O'Connor
The weather comes down swift and hard at the top of Cunyan Crags. Slipping into my waterproof trousers, I press my back against an outcrop of rock that provides a makeshift wind guard. Within minutes I’m freezing. We get up and start to climb Dunmore. If Cunyan Crags was a narrow ridge of loose stone, then Dunmore is a wide open bank of a hill, and the wind drives the rain across my left cheek. I start to understand the metaphors which call the wind a knife. When I raise my hand to wipe the water from my face, I half expect to see blood. The rain blocks me from picking out the path. My knuckles are raw in knitted green mittens. I wipe my glasses with my index finger but, if possible, it just makes the visibility worse. I know I’m panicking, and I don’t want to be. I keep walking until the sky splits into sudden blue patches on the other side of Dunmore; realising as I start up Hedgehope that my period has started.
BEGINNING AS A MOUNTAIN HARE, AT NIGHT AND IN SILENCE Aki Schilz Aki Schilz is Queen's Ferry Press Finalist (Best Small Fictions), and has been featured in the Wigleaf Top 50. She was the winner of the inaugural Visual Verse Prize, and the Bare Fiction Prize for Flash Fiction 2014. Her writing appears in print and online. She is co-founder of the #LossLit project, a judge for the Bridport Prize and Creative Future Literary Awards for marginalised writers, and works at The Literary Consultancy
t: @TLCUK || t: @AkiSchilz
After he turned seven, Austin’s mother stopped putting him to bed. She would sit downstairs and watch television or read lifestyle magazines. She would drink whole bottles of wine, though he never saw her drunk. He would just hear her stumble up the stairs, would hear the creak of the door with its sticky hinge, the squeak of mattress springs, the rustle of cotton sheets. His father slept downstairs, mostly. Then, she would start to cry. It was the only noise in the house sometimes. Even the sea moved silently beyond the windows, unless there was a storm, and then the beach heaved and the spray scattered and the wind rattled the shutters. The glass was always clean. His mother wiped each one to sparkling clarity with a water and vinegar solution that left a sour taste in the air. Her yellow microfiber cloth floated like a cloud of pollen through his dreams. The entire house was kept clean and tidy, but his parents’ bedroom – he had peered in out of curiosity one morning – was scattered with objects, curios from the travels his mother used to talk about: an African mask, glossy Japanese netsuke, cracked vinyls, a handful of Broadway brochures from her time in New York, held together with a slack, worn-pink red elastic band. She used to talk about how wonderful it had been, travelling the world in her twenties. She never looked at Austin or his father when she talked. It was as if she didn’t see them anymore. Lights danced behind her eyes as if
somewhere beyond a party was happening. One night his father slammed his hand down onto the table so hard the cutlery rattled. She stopped talking, then. And the house fell into silence. Austin’s father was a lecturer. He had been made an honorary faculty member at two local universities after his book on the migratory habits of cetaceans common to the south-west had revolutionised the study of sea mammals in that coastal area. His particular interest was in the minke whale, balaenoptera acutorostrata, a normally abundant species whose sharp population decline had caught his eye. He noted that there had been fewer sightings year on year between 1982 and 1986 in the coastal region where they lived, and that several other baleen whales seemed suddenly to have disappeared from the waters around the two bays they normally used as hunting grounds. Since his pioneering research into their changing breeding habits and chemical levels in the water of the bay in which they were often found stranded, interest in the whale and other, more endangered, species grew. A documentary series found that a chain of industrial factories had been illegally pumping noxious substances into the sea. A global conservation plan was launched. Sightings of the minke increased, and sometimes Austin would walk with his father up the shrublined coastal path, his father’s camera fitted with a large tele-photo lens, and Austin carrying a small set of binoculars, to see if they could spot a row of curved dorsal fins, a swathe of charcoal grey skin, a puff of water escaping from a blowhole before the whale retreated under the waves. Aside from sea creatures, Austin’s father liked to study plants – the small library in the cottage was filled with slim notebooks whose pages were lined with the Latin names of flowers and herbs – and he took good care of the small garden that ran around three walls of the house. Austin would sit perched on the low drystone wall that his father had built to shield the plants from the coarse sea air and to contain the borders, now crowded with flowers. Austin’s father’s voice was gruff, but gentle. Sometimes, he would pat
his son on the head, awkwardly. Austin memorised the names of all the plants in the garden, stuffing them into his mouth like precious marbles: daylilies, impatiens, forget-me-not, asters, delphinium, candytuft. He knew them all by heart. But when he sat outside in the summer while his father smoked his pipe or sprinkled water from the hose over the sun-faded grass, he would sometimes ask ‘Dad, what’s that one again?’ Every so often, his father would say ‘Come on, let’s go for a walk.’ They would climb up the steep mountain path that led off the house and walk along the cliff tops, and his father would point out ships far out to sea. Freighters, sailing boats, fishing boats, tugs, the occasional cruise liner, reduced to a gleaming white smear against the blue. If it was warm, his father would treat him to an ice cream, which he ate quickly and quietly. Or, they would share a cream tea. His father took the cream, and he ate the jam. In winter, they sometimes went to the small park in the village a mile's walk east of the house, or for long strolls through the nearby woodland. Austin liked the feel of snow and half-frozen leaves underfoot in the winter, crunching underneath his wellington boots, the muffled thuds of snowdrifts falling occasionally from high canopies into bigger piles of snow below. They didn’t talk about their outings. It was no particular secret, but his mother never asked, so he said nothing. When she returned from her trips, so would the stiffness in his father’s body, the twitch in his right hand, the curious, fast blinking. And the silence. Austin’s father had put a small television set in his room. He rarely watched television, but one night the crying didn’t stop, and he flicked the switch and watched the picture emerge from the static. Japanese hare: lepus brachyurus. A wildlife documentary. She was still crying. He turned up the volume. The Japanese hare can be found in Japan, China, North and South Korea and Russia. A picture flashed across the screen of a long-legged hare streaking across a field. Its fur was short and thick, its body long and
muscled. The image was slowed down and the structure of the hareâ€™s body was explained. Then, a series of pictures of different hares; some shorter in body length, others with slightly longer or shorter legs. The hareâ€™s fur colour changes according to the season. The television showed a white hare in the snow. Then a brown hare hiding between dried blades of grass on an upland vegetable field on the outskirts of Tokyo. The Japanese hare is a solitary creature. Moving and hunting alone, it does not seek out other hares, except to mate. The hare will then rear its young, but when its offspring are old enough to fend for themselves, they will either leave of their own accord, or be rejected by the parent hares. The hare, the gentle cut-glass voice on the television told him, remains silent apart from when it is in distress, and emits a distress call. If it is nocturnal, Austin thought, scrunching his face in concentration, then it must call out into the night. All the humans are asleep, and the other hares will not come to rescue it, since they operate alone and would not respond. So why does it call? Who does it call to? Somewhere, vaguely, he understood that his mother made distress calls because she hoped someone would hear, and pay attention to her. He also understood that his father did not respond, precisely because this was what she wanted. He couldn't be sure how he understood such things, but he felt them with a certainty that was infallible. What was less clear was why they played this game. The adult male hare is called a buck. The adult female is known as a doe. The young hares are called leverets. A picture of a group of young hares appeared, naked and pink. They looked soft to the touch; they looked as though, if he pressed his thumbs into their sides, they would be left with small indents like inside-out hooks. Austin sucked in his breath, and pressed his thumbs into the space below his bottom rib. He pushed harder, and harder. He was a hare. A leveret, growing fur from his ribs and extending his
legs as if they were screwed to enormous pivots, flicking his muscles out to the ends of the room that was shimmering before him. He would not call out even if he was distressed. He would be a buck: stoic, thick-skinned, brown as brown grass and white as white snow. And if a cry did escape - as it did now, in a rushing gasp that he caught in his hands and pushed to his face to keep it all inside, where it was safe - if he did cry out, it would only be to remind him of the sound of his own voice.
HINTERLANDCRY Lenni Sanders Lenni Sanders is a writer and performer in Manchester whose work has appeared in The Real Story, The Emma Press Anthology of Love, The Tangerine, Butcherâ€™s Dog and elsewhere. t: @LenniSanders
When I see him he undoes me like the back seam of an animal. Limp, my pelt slips off and the tongue of my flesh shows like a savage orchid. Always, I am unable to hide. I quiver, flayed, in the long reeds of the night. My mouth fills with streamwater. My pulse is stripped away to him on the narrowest wind. Surely he can hear my blood. He is like the naked burn of a star, an incomprehensible distant bonfire on a hill somewhere, where the grass curls up and shrivels underneath like fingers in the dark.
Lady Crow by Kama Rosinska
"BIRD" IN ARABIC Mari Pack â€‹Mari Pack is a copywriter, essayist and radio producer from the outskirts of Washington, D.C. She earned an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 2013, and promptly abandoned the ivory tower to work for a social justice nonprofit in Israel. Now the editor of Wavelength and copywriter for Focus Camera, her work has been published in Quail Bell Magazine, The Huffington Post, and The Establishment, among others.
In the end, I let your roses die like fruit bats, upside down in the kitchen so that I might keep their small, brittle bodies as a sign above the bedpost. As if to say, I have driven out others before you, but I still carry them in my bones.
YEAH, THE OCEAN (WAS LAUGHING AT ME) Mette Slot Johnsen Mette Slot Johnsen is an exiled Dane living in London. Between seeking and writing about inspiring experiences, she tries to produce them via working with live music.
I swam extra fast when I got to the deep end of the pool. The dark shade under the spring boards unsettled me. I would look down 4 metres to the bottom where, amidst the white tiles there was a small square steel lid, not much bigger than the span of an adult hand. I was certain that under the lid was a swarm of gilled monsters waiting to burst out. 15 years later and with many kilometres swum in many pools unscathed, these fears were far from my mind. The drive from San Jose to the pacific coast took a few hours. In the hazy tropical sun we traversed the mountains via winding dusty roads. I was on trip with an old friend in Costa Rica, the kind of friend you make under unusual circumstances, and whom it makes perfect sense to continue the adventures with on continents far from your corner of the world. M was a gangly young man, with a concave chest, long limbs, and big blue eyes in a pale slender face. Heâ€™d been the school president, head of the debate team. He was a devout Christian, studying medicine at a strict conservative Ivy league university and he had a permanent mischievous glint in his eye. I was a Danish feminist, atheist tomboy, at a loose end before starting university. We were good swimmers, and as we hit the surf beach and saw the enormous breaks we were excited. There were hardly any people on the beach and no life guards. Towards the end of the day M wanted to get privacy from his fellow travellers, so what better place to go than far out on
the waves, away from the less confident swimmers. It was a tranquil state, treading the water buoyed up by the silent swells. We chatted about his university and dorm. Most of the students in the university were married or engaged by the time they left. This was a little overwhelming for M. The waves carried us out bit by bit and at some point, the coast looked very far away. We started swimming into the shallows; the pull back out to sea was considerable but we tried to appear confident. As we got sucked up into the first wave we took a deep breath and grabbed each other’s hands. The wall of water threw us in towards the shore – like a cartoon cat fight we were whirled around in a mass of sand and water. It was pitch black; up or down was abstract. We surfaced and spotted each other at a distance, the next wave rolled on faster than we could catch our breath. Another series of impossible somersaults. It occurred to me that I might not get out of this alive. Then my feet found the ground and I used the last momentum to be clear of the water. My swim suit was ripped and I was seeing stars. M was further down the beach, with a huge excited smile on his face. I was freaked out. There was a quiet consensus that we had been pretty stupid but it wasn’t discussed further. I hadn’t been in touch with M much since the trip, but when starting to write this I looked him up. I couldn't recognise him. He’s a doctor and lives in the US. I’ve never swum in the sea the same way again; the memory of the swirling airless darkness frightens me. The diary that I wrote while on the trip detailing my youthful recklessness - was destroyed when my parents basement flooded.
Title borrowed from the song ‘The Ocean’ by Services from the album Your Desire Is My Business, A Touch of Class Recordings, 2005
HOOT HARBINGER ZoĂŤ Meager ZoĂŤ Meager is from Christchurch, New Zealand. Her short stories have been published at home and abroad, including in Granta and Overland. Her most recent work appears in Landfall, and is forthcoming in the anthology Bonsai: Best small stories from Aotearoa New Zealand. zoemeager.com
At noon, the bird of night sat in the market place and from the baking clock tower, fired shrieks at passers below. Grey mice indulged in play as earless ears resonated instead with the townsfolk's secretly drwn breaths; wishing to be more secret still than their very own shadows. Somewhere in a hidden, stony room, a Moses basket was shifted awayfrom the windows and in the corner, a mother's body shaded her newborn from the thumping sun. At dusk, deer ran slender over distant hills. A stream of rapids to the lowlands, they passed the forest camp where snakes had ceased hunting through the ginger grass. Passed too the mountain's shadow that embraced the ground too closely. Passed the valley where able-bodied men were devoured, their backbones cracking with the snapping of twigs. Behind them, the town's giant lost himself and crawling beneath a shawl delicate as mist, wept for the forest floor, pressing itself and pressing itself too green between his fingers.
illustration by Alice Labourel
Sara Thielker Sara Thielker is an Oxford born, Wiltshire based Illustrator. Her work can be seen in editorials, books, calendars and on homeware. She has also worked with a number clients through Portico Designs, illustrating and designing products for well known UK and US stores such as 'John Lewis', 'Waterstones' and 'Papyrus'. www.sarathielker.com/
Maria Carvalho Maria Carvalho is a graphic designer and illustrator. She likes Star Trek, magical girls and typography. be.net/mariabee
Alice Labourel Alice is creative, curious and passionate about Arts, Animation and Architecture. Her goal is to soften the boundaries between imagination, space and body through the productions of surreal visuals and designs. She currently lives in Barcelona. www.alicelabourel.fr/
Ellis O'Connor Ellis O'Connor is a visual artist from Scotland. Practicing in a variety of mediums including drawing, painting, printmaking and photography, Ellis aims for her work to engage its viewers in the relationship between human activity and environmental change. Ellis hopes the drawings can serve as records of landscapes in flux, honoring the transition of them and inspiring our global community to take action for the future. By producing the art work she hopes it will give people a chance to connect with that landscape and respect the nature that is so wild around us, to then cultivate a deeper understanding and inspire others to make a difference. www.ellisoconnor.com
Kama Rosinska Kama Rosinska was born in Lublin, Poland. She graduated for the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk, Poland (BFA in Photography, 2004), and University of Arts in Poznan, Poland, Facuty of Multimedia Communiction (MFA in Photography, 2006). She considers 2014 as her debut year with solo exhibitions at Cultural Centre on Goree, Dakar, and Dakar Biennale OFF. Among others, she presented her works at X Florence Biennale of Contemporary Art, Italy (2015), Young Art Group exhibitions at historic Galeria Pod Baranami in Cracow, Poland (2015, 2016), and the post-contest exhibitions at International Contest of Digital Photo Creation, where she was awarded the President of Jury's Honorable Mention in 2016. www.kamarosinska.format.com
Follow Us on Instagram We'll be making some changes to SEVERINE in the near future, and we'd love your input!
www.severinelit.com t: @severinelit || i: @severine_lit_
Issue six explores the wilderness, both inside and outside. We're reading wild novels and listening to The Troggs. Featuring writing from...
Published on Oct 23, 2018
Issue six explores the wilderness, both inside and outside. We're reading wild novels and listening to The Troggs. Featuring writing from...