Tamarind Journal | Tropical Forces: Da Tings Dat Shape You 2019

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Student Editorial Board Suhayla Hepburn Ide Thompson Amaani Hepburn Tanicia Pratt

Faculty Advisors Dr. Philip Smith Dr. Amatoritsero Ede Ms. Ernestia Fraser Dr. Paola Alvino Mrs. Christine Swann

Typesetting and Formatting Suhayla Hepburn

Cover Art Amaani Hepburn


Dedication As these things go, it is always hard to fully embody the amount of gratitude, thanks, and joy that accompanies the completion of projects like these. Nevertheless, the editors would like to thank the faculty and staff of the English department of the University of The Bahamas, especially Dr. Craig Smith for initiating the relaunch, Dr. Philip Smith, Dr. Amatoritsero Ede, Ms. Ernestia Fraser and the rest of Faculty Advisors for their indispensable guidance and patience through this process. We would also like to thank all the creatives who responded to our submission call. This journal is ultimately for you. It’s here to give you space to grow and the platform you need to realize the importance of not only your voices but also of knowing yourself.


In Memory of Dr. Tiffany Austin The editors have an unimaginable depth of gratitude and thanks for the influence, spirit, and work of the late Dr. Tiffany Austin, a trailblazer, a professor, a writer, a mentor and teacher, who, with no exaggeration, built the environment that allowed the editorial team to flourish as creatives and writers. Without her life, without her effort, the journal would not have been possible. Dr. Austin’s zeal for encouragement, wisdom, and love will always be missed and her legacy and impact on creative writing at the University of The Bahamas will never be forgotten.



Introduction This relaunched journal you are about to read has been a long time in the making. It has a long and vital history in the English Studies department of The University of The Bahamas, which was once the College of The Bahamas. This journal was and still is a safe space where the creative works of artists, writers, and thinkers are allowed a place to flourish and be presented.


Table of contents Like Dis, We Bon’ Wesef’ Water Burial

Sammarko Lightbourne

2

She Drums

Princess Abdiel Pratt

4

Sensually Spiritually…

Princess Abdiel Pratt

6

Talk of two mountains

Kwasi Shade / Fischa Moth

9

Ms. Capron

Eric Rose

10

How you is Bahamian…

Yasmine Glinton

13

“Da Pressure”

Elizabeth Moss

16

Bullets bibles blunts

Daniel Crawford

18

By The Bayside

Vernell McIntosh

20

Da’ Tings Dat Shape We

To the men who’ve abused… Kevanté Cash

22

Tropical Forces

Arel Basden

24

Shouter fire/ Eshu’s…

Kwasi Shade / Fischa Moth

26

Day-clean, Katch We in We Fiel’ Workin I saw it written the future… Kwasi Shade / Fischa Moth

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Venus Reawakened

Princess Abdiel Pratt

31

“Melanin Issues”

Celine Ferguson

33

Black and Proud

Samantha Bennet

36

War bones

Kwasi Shade / Fischa Moth

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Da Peoples Who Make Dis Resonate

Amaani Hepburn

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Failing to Float

Tanicia Pratt

44

This is what it means…

Ide Thompson

46

faux female

Suhayla Hepburn

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Like Dis, We Bon’ Weself Grammy taught me how to sing. Took me into her room on summer and told me to listen for melody‌ She pointed to her chest and listened for the wind. Find melody in yourself. You are a part of song. Song is a part of you. Pulling the Wings from out My Back by Letitia Marie Pratt



Sammarko Lightbourne

Water Burial Let it end with a kiss With blades in gullets and feet plunged in the abyss We, they rage, are Insurrection’s spawn In the belly of a wooden beast, Tituba conjures dawn. Stone hard limbs have no strength to conquer steel Kill the witch, says the golden devils, And kill her lover too. Water burial. She, Me, We. The scared bodies we once claimed are wept for in envy Tribesmen begin to jump Mami’s busom or the devil’s plains? But our spirits do not sail And star reading is lost to us here Blood melds with wine dark sea In the amniotic lifeblood, first peoples find we Guanahani is their plea. 2


Tituba curses I sow in the sea Seduce the wind Sweet talk she Windblown fishermen turn their ears to me Nothing is written, but the sea is we. Conquistadors recede, but the Sun’s son still rapes and reaves Brands fade over generations But there are wounds you cannot see The beast of paradise usurps anew Noxious fangs perfumed by dew Motherland kin still sundial toils Nothing new Still smelling of salt But no longer of the sea Buried in earth Buried deeper than we.

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Princess Abdiel Pratt

She Drums She drums Beaming to a universe sound years away Channeling her ancestors every time she plays Mimicking the rhythms of Bolokoda Conde As she rocks back and forth in trance while bungie sways She drums To maintain balance, align chakras and keep spirit free From the daily chokehold shackles of a brainwashed dystopian society Emancipating herself from psychological mental and spiritual slavery Liberating her mind body and spirit through Soulful rhythmic journey She drums Dispelling patriarchal myths and ignorant misogynistic stereotypes That says women shouldn't drum it's not just right Her duality allows her to shed light on misconceptions like those that keep women in fright Empowering them as she plays with all her might Conjuring magical vibes from her womb that illuminate life 4


She drums Breaking image barriers and setting fashion trends Her creativity and passion flow like a river with no end Inspiring others to dive deeper within To reclaim their divine identity once again And reign like Gods and Goddesses Supreme, Amen, Amun, AsĂŠ She drums To tell her story She drums as a symbol of unity To show Kings and Queens existing in harmony Cocreating healing rhythms with vibratory frequencies Dancing out as much needed spirit therapy For the world, for peace, for community She drums She drums She drums

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Princess Abdiel Pratt

Sensually Spiritually Culturally Me She is a survivor Bougainvillea blossoming on a rust stained tattered fence A timeline of hurts and loss wrapped in a blanket of resilience, forgiveness, hope and optimism She is a seeker Analyzing and decoding parables and mythos taught to those before her Those that refuse to shift their paradigms and trust their intuition She is a healer Tapping into her innate powers to overcome self conflicts Using the power of love as her magic elixir She is a believer Manifesting the desires of her many passions, painting her canvas with the sweetest and happiest of her dreams Trusting that the universe will vibrate to her frequency and align her by the direction of the stars She is a seer Traversing parallel worlds experiencing dĂŠjĂ vu Intuitively moving forward with each next step, lessening mistakes, vibrating higher She is passionate Driven by doses of explosive ecstasy 6


Drinking in the fountain of what sets her mind body and soul on fire, the flames of love and lust She is a lover Soft and Sharp like lightening, loud as thunder, wet as rain, hot, enriching and life sustaining like the sun, cool, dazzling and practical like the wonder of the moon, therapeutic like the sound of rain music She is a fighter A rebel for unconditional love, truth sovereignty, social, psychological, mental, spiritual and cultural freedom She is balance Jungalist on purpose, Caribbean bad gyal Goddess, Queen, Conscious, Illuminated, Awakened She is a builder Carving a hole to the bottom of the barrel so crabs can no longer hold and are free to live and thrive in their natural habitat Inspiring community upliftment through culture, acceptance of self and respect for fellow beings She is a dancer Gyrating through life to the ever changing rhythms of her own drums and others that make her electromagnetic field pulse into higher frequencies and dimensions Expressing movement and the flow of life's tides through her Caribbean stride She is a poet 7


Intoxicated by words and sentences that stimulate the very essence of her being Immortalizing the people and memories with colorful and flavorful descriptions which teach her a new meaning and give her a new feeling of love and life She is humble She is joyful She is grateful She is Sensually Spiritually Culturally Me

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Kwasi Shade / Fischa Moth

Talk of two mountains Sometimes, mountains go for a walk /to find places where they do not exist. The noisy clamor of hearts growing fonder. Their hands gasped in each other. A silence falls tell-tale around them. Sometimes, when it is too far atop the world, mountains go hiding in a long walk to find places/ few others are willing to exist.

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Eric Rose

Ms. Capron Standing at the door Of her one-room shanty, Ms. Capron smiles At the happy times She has seen. There were parties And weddings And rake-and-scrape gentry Who always knew the tune Of her Favorite Songs. They sang “Young Gal Come Swing Ya Tail” When “tail” only meant The hemline of Her Blue Party Dress. She smiles warmly As she remembers “Dancing Freddy” And his Guitar That was never Far from him. Maybe it was Out of tune But soon 10


His staccato shout Would make it Sing like Lanza Sing like Blind Blake And evenings In Long Island Melted like the sun Into the deep-blue sea. Ms. Capron smiled As his face And his mischievous grin Shone through the haze in her mind And she almost remembered What that Song was He used to sing. But memory was No longer her friend, Just an acquaintance That passed her door Some nights before She fell asleep. Freddy danced before the War And, by 23, he was no more When a German sniper Took his little black life. And now Ms. Capron, 11


Mother of three, Granny of eight, Sits at her door All tired and broken … Her last word spoken … But she smiles as She sees Freddy Dancing up her walkway. And when he held her hand, She felt 21 again, And her dirty calico Shone like her Pretty Blue Party Dress. And that young gal Did swing her tail … Swing her tail … To the Western Gale.

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Yasmine Glinton

How you is Bahamian an can swim T

H

R

O

W them in the ocean.

Imagine it’s depth nothing more than a bath tub. Ignore the screams juggling mouthfuls of salt water and panicked fingers clawing a steady descent.

come to terms with betrayal & how

Remember to survive they must

fearful tears move no one. Watch from a distance. Wait to see what becomes of them. when arms frantic but steady they swim towards you yank them up, wrap them in a towel hug them close. Against the frantic beat of your heart Let them wonder if the lesson was teaching them when to fight or that they should trust no one.

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Da’ Tings Dat Shape We

I wish that I could say, Aint nothing. I wish I was the one who tongued the Queen Victoria Statue with red paint. “What The Vibe Is” by Christian Campbell from Running The Dusk



Elizabeth Moss

“Da Pressure” My sweet, calamity of a paradise, humid breezes to accompany a cold “Raddler” after 5. But, how does “calamity” and “paradise” swing hands together in a sentence? Interesting, you may think. Well you know, misery loves company and usually that “company” gets destroyed after a while, that same “paradise”. My tiny, yet potent Bahama-land. Foreigners love to say we have it “good” with all this “paradise” but don’t know “da pressure” it brings. Each government brings a category 5 hurricane to the lives of many when there are so many changes to make space for their cousin. Jobs are lost, babies starve, prostitution prevails. Boy, anything could happen when you start to feel “da pressure”. Life runs off a cliff, you feel like you’re in a hitch. You feel completely out of shape. Life’s problems blow you down at 150 MPH with no remorse. Life’s hurricanes can be complete gold diggers, happiness being its gold. These tropical forces sure bring the heat to form cloudy days then… you become distorted. “Da

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Pressure” morphs you into your future. Be it good, bad or ugly. You choose. Long as you are a breathing being, you can transform that negative into positive. We choose what’s negative and positive, believe it or not. That “pressure” could be that needed push. That “category 5” might just be the right amount of tamarind shake! It’s crazy how after a hurricane, the sun shines the brightest, the biggest smile! So fake man! How you could smile at me after ripping off my shingles? What if the sun shines so bright because mother nature withstood her own “self”, her very own problem?! We follow all these other “cringy” trends... might as well smile after and during my hurricane too! Life’s hurricanes should shape you for the better. Bring the tropical forces, bring “da pressure”! How strong are you?

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Daniel Crawford

Bullets bibles blunts Rents due 3600 hundred dollars out my pocket And I can’t Figure stress and struggle make twigs bend and don’t break Little nappy nazarite long locs Locked around love in the form of Delilah’s hand Demons whisper to trade bible for bullet 33 the full amount that pack chambers of sacrifice Little boys run through doubles mirrors Fighting the reflection of child staring at man What’s this Broken mirrors burst with pride Before falls I collapsed Trading bibles for blunts hoping to pack a swisher sweet with anthrax and anxiety They’re both poisonous Knowing that heaven lays at the end of my life’s sunset Trying to dream of home before long car rides The look undesirable I hate em The finger around a trigger is taking too long 18


Make sure to pack the Bible bullets and the same blunt I bet my life on Koolaide packets Balogna sandwiches A picknick blanket Bases cover and I don’t know if I should steal home or wait for a base hit But felonies seem familiar as the confessionals I write in the darkness under a blind moon Listening to screams coming from walls that read county I’m not even from this real county I know the system is still counting 43 out of 100 of us will see these same walls But in these walls I fell in cover I found shelter Beating fist against brick I learned determination Animals backed into a corner have no choices And I fell in line with a destiny destined before I was born I was a statistic I fulfilled my obligation I don’t owe you nothing more but a nod to your worries and a prayer But your love will chill the air that wraps around my lifeless body I’ll let you be a judge I’ll play executioner 19


Vernell McIntosh

By The Bayside She sat by the bayside to watch the tides roll in, and admire the ocean for just a minute, Hoping that the beautiful scenery and salty air of today’s cold front Would deliver her from her demons and grant her the healing she’d cried out for earlier; But as the tides began to swell, so did her mind With tumultuous torrents of emotions, jealousy, envy and her inferiority complex Weren’t buckled in securely on that raft called her imagination; Without their life vests they sank to the bottomless abyss of her self image, Oh but they didn’t drown! There they grew gills and made that abyss their home! And as the tides began to swell, so did her eyes With salty droplets of their own that crashed against the bridge of her nose And as they dispersed Kissed her lips oh so gently

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She’d found herself here again At a place where her I’m not pretty enough, Thick enough, Talented enough, Good enough, More like her enough Coasted like the waves on the open sea; Once again she committed mutiny Mutiny, against her own vessel, And her insecurities, like pirates, Looted her treasure chest of self-worth, confidence and love; So she cried some more, Staring even deeper into the sea now, Hoping that in her misery she’d find the cure, But as the sky warmed itself with orange hues, And the street lamps glowed brightly, She hurried to dry her face of the ocean’s touch, And with a heart still heavy and no healing in sight She reluctantly departed from the bayside, To return again some other day.

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Kevanté Cash

To the men who’ve abused their power, this is for you I have built these walls to protect myself from My father My uncle My brother You. Words have never meant much to me As paradoxical as it may seem I have dreamt dreams of existing in a space Where men held less of the hierarchy But alas, This ‘misandry’ continues As I build walls to shield me from you. It’s a shame we give names to women Who are just trying to protect themselves Trust? You’ve never proven it Loyalty? We’ll never give it Even Eve knew than to trust Adam with the fruit Cast out With your Empty promises and Full lies 22


Violating the works of my breeding You came like a thief in the night Boy as a knight Wolf who cried sheep Humpty who broke his knee Captivated by your love I let you uproot my garden Destroy my farming Like hurricane when it hits the tropics Now my Seeds are planted in the childishness of your garden My Flowers growing wild My Love abused I knew better than to trust you. But now I just feel sorry for the bees It’s a shame they can’t sense the Toxic masculinity Fragile ego Misogynoir Patriarchy That exists under the cover of the sheets you call skin. But I guess honey is just honey to whoever’s thirsty.

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Arel Basden

Tropical Forces I have heard the sky scold me. I have made a mess. I have felt the heavens mourn me. I have been the mess. I have blamed it on myself. My mother. My life. Stress. I have seen flashes before my eyes. Like the clouds decided to make my life sentence a surprise. I have been left in the dark. Powerless. To suffer. Every waking hour Going from hard To tough To tougher. I have heard the mocking songs of those in the distance. -Teasing. Asking “Do you need assistance”? I have sighed. I have questioned “How, why, when?” I have constantly reminded myself that this too, will end. Hours of sorrow later The sky became my friend. Although it left a memory A lesson. 24


A shield. A stain. That hurricane moved me. And oddly enough, inflicted no pain.

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Kwasi Shade / Fischa Moth

Shouter fire/ Eshu’s first kiss. The rain was caught in a boiling pot/ Drizzling like the slow crawl of running mud. The news stormed. Her face coiled. Her nose was pinched beneath tethered eyes. The rainbows in our butterflies melt, as her patience keels over.../ They were gathered outside the hotel barracks, a desirable lodging for suited torrid dilemmas, a barricade of color met the police. “Asking for more is asking for justice.” A beggar pleaded. Shock. Timely insurgence. “We is people too.” Awaiting any verdict was praise and plausible. Consider any action that was wont and wished. Their tears sheened over the windows of Parliament/ Smiles soaked into the walls of Parliament. With anticipation. The constitution remains a long staircase writhing into heaven. An Egungun Sun broke the Ogun night,

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when the red sky fell under construction: Giants were born ready to fly. Shango prayers were built as hibiscus and milk was spilled In the cradle of mountains. The sky never knew that giants flew/ that there was not enough red sky for giants to fly. Thus it could not fathom Spiraling war bones with words sewn on them, a hymn with broken bones with hurt riddled in them, A burning giant wishing for skies to foray is nothing but a lamb left to swim in bay thoughts. With anticipation. The constitution remains a long staircase writhing into heaven.

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Day-clean, Katch We in We Fiel’

Run naked breasts swinging through tamarind groves, Run to the bluegreen sea… Remember flesh and bone. “Clifton Cay” by Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming from Immortelle and Bhandaaraa Poems

Workin



Kwasi Shade / Fischa Moth

I saw it written the future is a woman.

The whole future was your sound. This grave birth of HA HA HA’s; a foul, graced by your darling atmos. You stayed this wieldy ground, dear. We, rhythms of busted bones and hearts wilted with tomorrow’s woes;

We were born crescendos.

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Princess Abdiel Pratt

Venus Reawakened She is not of this world She is from another world An other world Otherworldly She descends from the guardian felines who rule for nine lives They call her by their chosen name Bast Nefer Sakhmet Ka Guided by the egun she is fearless The depth of her mind leads to the oceans of the middle world, another world, her other world A world where intimidation, motivation and inspiration parallels with Grace, sensuality and celestially divine feminine power Oshun Her wisdom tastes of bee sting coated honey to the tongue Hard to swallow but sweet and necessary nourishment for the soul Her eyes see that which we do not see and her ears hear that which we do not hear She dreams in spirit and manifests through movement Movement of body yoked with breath 31


Asana by asana she constructs Deconstructs then constructs again Strong and poised like the flamingo Ascending and illuminating like the bright Morning star She is Venus, Reawakened!

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Celine Ferguson

“Melanin Issues” So Melanin Then... Darkskin, lightskin and in between painted beauty The stares upon the skin of automatic ecstasy Many hate the skin I reside in But when I look in the mirror, I can’t help but grin Insult my race for your shortcomings and faults Stepping over boundaries without milk or the supervision of a stronger adult Walk up on me and push your hardest Yet become vexed with the “I don’t care” I confessed Have a seat I need the space to sort this and breathe So you’re not being judgmental, but judging me based on my skin’s shade Okay... You don’t want me for my personality or versatility Just want me for my ability... ...to shoot hoops ...to jump through the roof ...to still have the stamina to throw pass other ethnic groups 33


Got us standing in the midst of manipulation and social imbalance Only to be stereotyped as criminals who speak improper, grasp athleticism, lack education and can actually dance My best feature is the world’s worst issue with no defense So this melanin then... Her beautiful coco butter skin and natural hair Shout out to the creator for this gem shared His chocolate smoothness and well-built design Sparkle in his eyes that make others fall in line I can see why they try to intimidate Yet they still manage to underestimate Next, they’re slaving to imitate ...no pun intended... Then they’re back to vile ways when our routines don’t cooperate Keep messing around, you’ll know the meaning of h.a.n.d.s in one round Handle any negro disrespecting stuff, and you may become asleep on the ground But that’s what you want So you tease and taunt It’s cool though These lessons were needed for us to keep warmth in the snow Turn the other cheek and walk away from trouble’s temptation 34


Yet they still wish to reprimand for actual cooperation... Alrighty then... Just don’t start with me I’m not the one, so you treated me like a zero You stop in my path, and I’ll have to part you like the Red Sea Add another zero since I keep it 100, understand my info? So this melanin right... Treat it with respect and you won’t have an early viewing of the light There’s no need to cause a disturbance Since everyone has their own importance Just a thought

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Samantha Bennet

Black and Proud (Enters) Dem a bleach dem a bleach out dem skin, dem bleach fi turn Browning I am proud to be Black and blacks should be proud any weh mi guh mi ago shout it out loud (Say Twice.) They took us from mama Africa Carry down yah fi turn slave worka Kill di black sons and rape di daughta Work without pay and no brawta when wi thirsty not a likkle wata Now you tell me if dat anuh torcha? They belittled us, mek we feel bad bout wi self we bottom, we nose an we picky picky head mek we waaah bleach just fi tun red But listen to me! Did you hear what I said! I am proud to be Black and blacks should be proud any weh mi guh mi ago shout it out loud (Say Twice.) 36


We likkle but we tallawah! dem a push badness but we badderah! The black race well strong not to mention di Jamaicans! We melanin well poppin (Looks around.) and wid di scamma dem we money well stocking! We brave, we nice we have all the spice an when yuh really check it out we well bright. I am proud to be Black and blacks should be proud any weh mi guh mi ago shout it out loud (Say Twice.)

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Kwasi Shade / Fischa Moth

War bones In the morning, war trumpets. Circumstance is loud in your head. You see purple horses gallop down a hazy dawn in the sky that was the grave where you bury your dead. This never over. This is not a weather forecast. This journey is a war in progress. On the horses’ backs, glass men shattered, christened in Shango’s lightning, whipped by thunder’s spirit. And the rain bathed aside, the displaced snaking effect of chalk fairies on auction; Like white flight out of ancient Harlem. The folly of circumstantial gods is irreverent people who sharpen their teeth in the cheek of heaven 38


that was the hope where you married your tongue. It reminds you, we too never over. Tarry the heart. Freedom is timeless sojourn. I said, “If not for your own good you would be free.” You gathered up your forces and sought the secrecy you found when once you looted dead men's heads. It is a ghost of a thing to find heritage. I exhorted, “We, the art, are not too timid to fight.” And you heard me. We never hushed. 39


Da

Peoples

Who

Make

Dis



Amaani Hepburn Resonate, 2018 Acrylic on Canvas

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43


Tanicia Pratt

Failing to Float Back when sands of Saunders Beach were undredged and its Casuarinas were yet to be deported my cousins and I would stretch our fins within the buoys.

Ashlee and Aaryn teach me how to float holding my head and neck lifting my wet and waifish body, like a sacrifice the Sun kept rejecting.

With each attempt, I made measures to fasten my cap – protecting hair burned from years of perm – ‘til my toes pruned ‘til the polish eroded & glittered the waves.

I was destined to fail at floating. 44


But I’ve mastered the drown; swallowing fistfuls of salt & sea. My arms, two sandbags my belly bloated with crimson iron. Or perhaps, I was heated in Desire, caught afire, and my body frantically ousted the flame.

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Ide Thompson

This is what it means to live in a colony You can never find your way home you live in a house of strangers: your own family can’t speak your name. Always, there are razor breaths, the sharp intake slicing your ill-attuned lungs, your grandmother prayed them into existence. Every word is coated in your blood and still you sing and preach. Reproach the country of your formation.

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Suhayla Hepburn

faux female A wave has passed through and left behind are the corpses of ideals and identity. I’ve lost a bit of rest wrestling in bed with thoughts of waiting, courage and strength drained from the ripples of the wave that dashed through me sudden. Saddened by the truth that it brought. Sullened by the truth I did not live. I lost more than I thought 47


when the wave passed through me. Cleaned me claimed me with the power of its water. Drain me of this grime so I may lose this low loathing. I want to lose what’s impossible to forget. Forged female. Fated femme. I’ve lost the script ordained at birth, divergence from prophecy properly awash with the wave.

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Call for Submissions Did y’all love this issue? We definitely loved making it. If you want to submit to our next issue, the upcoming call will be out sometime this summer. For more on updates on future issue calls, you can follow us on our Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tamarindjournal/ And if you’re interested in joining our editorial team, you can reach us at Tamarindjournal.editors@gmail.com

Thank you for reading this issue and we hope you enjoyed it!

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