The Adriatic Issue One, 'Ocean'

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The Adriatic Magazine Issue One: ‘Ocean’



A Note from the Editors……………………………………………………...……..2 Featured Poets…………….……………………………………………..……….….3 Shufei Ewe- ‘the language of waves, in the dialect of wreckages’……………………………..6 Lynne Schmidt- ‘The Silence When You’re Drowning’.…………………………………...7 V.B. Borjen- ‘Salthill Beach, Galway’…………………………………………………..8 Michael Lee Richardson- ‘Call Me Ishmael’………………………………………….10 Sue Watling- ‘one of these days it’ll ‘appen’……………………………………………..11 Connor Byrne- ‘Long Diss The Sea’………………………………………………….12 Lori Graham- ‘Salty Memories’…………………………………………………….....13 Leo Cookman- ‘5 Pint Philosophy’…………………………………………………...15 David Walshe- ‘John ‘Shark’ Jackson’………………………………………………...16 Bethan Hay- ‘The Endling’…………………………………………………………..17 Acknowledgements………………………………………………………………...18



Hello! Welcome to the inaugural issue of The Adriatic! We’re so excited to share ten brilliant poems with you! We want to wholeheartedly thank every person who submitted their work to us over the course of the summer: we are so grateful to have been trusted with your poems.

The Adriatic was lovingly formed during lockdown, in the hopes of creating the opportunities we wish we’d had as younger poets. As students, we know how frustrating the barriers of submission fees, location, or publication history can be, and we want the arts to be accessible and open to everyone!

For our debut issue, we asked for poems inspired by our wonderful eponym; the ocean. We only expected a few submissions, but by the end of the month, we had received work from a whopping ninety eight poets! There were so many gorgeous poems, and whittling them down to ten was heartbreaking- each of us had to say goodbye to some fab work, and at one point we had to flip a coin to decide which poem from a single submission we wanted to feature in the magazine!

We hope this issue envelops you like the warm waters of the Adriatic, and sweeps you into an escape from the world’s strangeness right now. We’d recommend listening to our Issue One playlist on Spotify while you read, and of course, making yourself a big cup of tea (and maybe grabbing a biscuit, too)…

-Ella, Kelsee, Mel, & Rhi


FEATURED POETS VB Borjen V. B. Borjen is an author and visual artist born in Yugoslavia and based in the Czech Republic. His first poetry collection in Bosnian, Priručnik za levitiranje (Levitation Handbook), won the 2012 Mak Dizdar Award for the best first manuscript by a young poet. His work in English and his recent visual art have appeared in The Esthetic Apostle, AZURE, Hypothetical, Chaleur Magazine, IceFloe Press, Honey & Lime, High Shelf, From Whispers to Roars, NEMA and elsewhere. A selection of his poems has been published in the Greek-Bosnian Anthology of Young Bosnian Poets (Athens, 2020), a project of the publisher Vakxikon and PEN International. He serves as Guest Editor of Palette Poetry and Frontier Poetry magazines. Twitter: @Borjen Instagram: @samoniklo

Connor Byrne Connor Byrne is a poet and performer from Brighton, now living in London. Their work explores being queer, trans, non-binary, and relationships with others and the world. They have performed nationally and internationally, at festivals, competed in slams and self-published two pamphlets. Twitter: @conrbyrne Instagram: @conrbyrne

Leo Cookman Leo Cookman is a writer and musician from Kent. He writes for the YouTube channel Wisecrack among other publications. His book of cultural theory, Time’s Lie, is available from Zero Books now. Twitter: @leocookman Instagram: @leocookman

Shufei Ewe Shufei Ewe is – in no particular order – a copywriter, peanut butter aficionado, an English Lit graduate, and a serial overthinker. Twitter: @shufs

Lori Graham Lori Graham is a 55-year- old late blooming lesbian American poet. She currently resides in Woodbridge, England with her wife. She majored in English at the University of North Florida so that she could earn a degree whilst reading lovely books and writing about them. She has had the following work published: Last Month in Poems on Global Lockdown and CoronaVirus (Poet’s Choice July 2020), Out and Who Was She? in Other Worldly Women Press (July 2020), and Change is Coming in XR-Global Creative (August 2020). Twitter: @wanderingpoet Instagram: @lorikan 3

Bethan Hay Bethan Hay lives an island life in Orkney where she tries to write around her young children and work as a Home Carer. She has been published in Perhappened, Dreich’s Animals chapbook, and Fish Publishing. Due in Emerge Journal and an experimental piece to be used to launch The Aesthetic Directory. Longlisted for Cambridge Flash Fiction Prize, shortlisted for Fish Publishing Lockdown Prize. Twitter: @bethanhay_

Michael Lee Richardson Michael Lee Richardson is a writer and youth worker based in Glasgow, Scotland. His short film, My Loneliness is Killing Me - directed by Tim Courtney - won a BAFTA Scotland Award for Best Short Film, and has been shown at film festivals around the world. Michael’s work has also appeared in Proud - an anthology of queer, young adult literature edited by Juno Dawson - and Queering the Map of Glasgow. With Ryan Vance, he edited We Were Always Here, an anthology of queer Scottish literature, published by 404 Ink. Michael set up and ran Trans Youth Glasgow, and is a passionate advocate for queer young people. Outside of writing, Michael likes 80s makeover montages, witches and the popular competition reality show, RuPaul’s Drag Race. Twitter: @hrfmichael Instagram: @hrfmichael

Lynne Schmidt Lynne Schmidt is the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor, and mental health professional with a focus in trauma and healing. She is the author of the chapbooks, Gravity (Nightingale and Sparrow Press), and On Becoming a Role Model (Thirty West), which was featured on The Wardrobe's Best Dressed for PTSD Awareness Week. Their work has received the Maine Nonfiction Award, Editor's Choice Award, and was a 2018 and 2019 PNWA finalist for memoir and poetry respectively. When given the choice, Lynne prefers the company of her three dogs and one cat to humans. Twitter: @LynneSchmidt Instagram: @lynn_e_schmidt

David Walshe David Walshe is from Southport, and is currently working on his first collection of poems inspired by his passion for local history. Previous poems on this theme have been published by Black Bough Poetry, The Broken Spine Artist Collective and Victorian Dollhouse. Twitter: @DJWalshe

Sue Watling Sue Watling, writer and poet living near the north bank of the River Humber, is currently working on the performance of a poetic narrative which retells the Trojan War through the eyes of Thetis, mother to Achilles. Due to be presented earlier this year, but cancelled like so many other events, this is being rescheduled for 2021. Widely published in the area of digital education, Sue is now focusing on more creative approaches to writing, in particular poetry. Twitter: @suewatling 4


the language of waves, in the dialect of wreckages Shufei Ewe

soon after the sun sets / the sea / stands still, stopping only to / stretch seductively, its depths / adeptly smothering protests / from bones in sinking ships, / its surface still / smiling at the stars.

亥 海 还 骇, 害 骸 还 嗨 hài hǎi hái hài, hài hái hái hāi ——————————

Glossary: 亥 (hài): 9pm-11pm 海 (hǎi): the sea 还 (hái): still 骇 (hài): startle 害 (hài): harm 骸 (hái): skeleton 嗨 (hāi): hello


The Silence When You’re Drowning Lynne Schmidt James tells us he doesn’t know how to swim. And we believe him, but take him to the ocean anyway. We forget the work put in, learning the buoyancy of our bodies, the times we sank, with our mothers and sisters leading us back to shore. When the waves come and the sand drops off, we also forget that James doesn’t know how to swim. And when we resurface, he does not. The ocean spits him out before we know he is gone. He stumbles to shore, gasping, wraps himself in a towel, shaking. And we realize drowning is not a struggle. It is silent. Months later, when my sister calls to ask how I am, I don’t answer the phone.


Salthill Beach, Galway V.B Borjen The Irish jingle their somersaulting tongues in passing and the waves heave with a hiss like overbrimming cooking pots. An occasional elderly swimmer emerges from the ocean — a forgotten god, still half-sunk, with the water dripping down his white-haired arms in strings of glowing beads, and moves tottering as if stepping on eggshells. How many mornings has he done the same? What slight changes are evident to him that escape me altogether? Does he measure the tide, compare the piles of stranded seaweed, count the washed off seashells? What things does he remember whenever he first touches the Atlantic? Is there a Mrs Forgotten Goddess and does she swim as well and does she ride a bicycle or walk the dog; or a Mr, as gods are unbothered by sex? I want to divine the rhythm of their days, the life that runs in accord with the tides and know it, this coastal existence. The ears remember with Ushio Shinohara: You do not resist, you re-exist, and hear the quiet ringing of the rocks.



Call Me Ishmael Michael Lee Richardson

‘May I call you Ishmael?’ she asks. It is 1851. RuPaul Andre Charles emerges from the Indian Ocean disguised as a white whale. She is ninety foot high, deformed of jaw, harpoons embedded in her side, spirit-spout illuminated by the moon, punctures in her fluke. The curl of her lip is an infernal aforethought of ferocity; her plucked brow, a nameless horror, mystical and ineffable. She is immortal and omnipresent, this bold general, this inscrutable thing, this mask of God. ‘Why yes,’ says the ship’s oarsman, caught in the swift, sudden turn of death, realising for the first time the silent, ever-present perils of life. ‘Everybody does.’


one of these days it’ll ‘appen Sue Watling

…one of these days it’ll ‘appen, some young lass, not knowing our ways, will wash when we sail, or sweep through the house, or mebbie tek summat out of his bag once it’s packed, or worse, she’ll sneak down to the dock to wave him off and step on a net, or mebbie a dekkie’ll sneeze on the left as we heft the tide, or have egg for brekkie, leaving its shell as a cup for the sea-witch to sail in. one day it’ll ‘appen, the knock on’t door, he’s lost at sea, like skipper were careless, or god fergot where he put him, one day, the call will come, from waves tall as moors and just as bottomless, mayday, mayday, we’re going over, give our love to the lasses and bairns...


Long Diss The Sea Connor Byrne

I do not love you. You are not that vast. Flat or tantrummy, you stir boring. Your shoreline is a clear shower curtain, a caution. The last time I left you for the impressive land, I exited arse-first, from a crouch. I touched your pathetic aquafaba. I’m fast about your lick, the saline crust you try to leave. You were only ever a backdrop, when it was dry and I was with another man, and we were laid out on the hot beach rack to cure, pale jerky, and you just lapped, foamed, fucking nothing.


Salty Memories Lori Graham

In a previous life, where the me I am now was hidden in a closet and an obligatory marriage, we took the boat out often. His hobbies were my hobbies (or so I thought). While he frolicked under the waves in the Puget Sound, I watched seals and seagulls, alone in his small boat, dreaming of a different life. He would emerge from the water, seaweed hanging, limp, from his beard, proudly showing off his bounty of fish, scallops, and other creatures (unconcerned that I had struggled to start the boat motor to avoid the rocks). He and his friends would climb into the boat, dripping icy water, with exaggerated stories of colossal lingcod and squirming eels. Years later, out of the closet, an entirely different me calmly sits on my lovely English shore at Aldeburgh with my lovely English wife. We watch the waves sneak up on the pebbles and have our sausage stolen by a seagull while we laugh and flick small round stones, as the ocean mists our lips with tiny, salty kisses.



5 Pint Philosophy Leo Cookman

You want to think more about the sea, mate, instead of gaping at the stars, confirming infinity. Look to the immeasurable surf that laps at your heel. You're asking about life on other planets, sunshine, mould and such, when there's species unseen gliding through a black darker than that matter above. We talk about meteors or the sun cashing our cheque when the ocean's the one who'll have us in the end. It's already sluicing at your door, treacle. We talk about rainforests providing our air, it's plankton in the water that fills our lungs. We're from the sea, lad, and to it we'll return, sod the ashes, son, we'll soak before we burn. It's like Wilde said, bro, we're looking at the stars while our clothes are getting damp from between the gutter's bars. We're not stardust, we're rising tide. Think of that next time you flush.


John ‘Shark’ Jackson David Walshe

At the slightest hint of a gale, he’d sit in that promenade shelter. A solitary figure, yearning to see the Maroon. Just to be there first, to be handed that Sou’Wester, to cherish its oily skin, to earn that sovereign which could do so much. When the darkest of nights came John answered the call. Spending his sovereign, in a mind never to be the same. Clinging to the keel, with every sodden inch. Frozen bone fingers, carving his grip. Splintering with cramp, his body battled towards Birkdale shore. Wondering just how he’d survived.


The Endling Bethan Hay

She wandered along the beach which she had visited since she was a child. Now the last one to walk here. The last one to walk anywhere. Two percent of a phone battery left to record the world, a world which never made it into books. How to drain that battery: An explanation of the joy you feel at the sand in your shoes which digs into your heels. Or the pride and regret of sunburn on shoulders. The excited fear of jellyfish near bare toes. Or the way a cut from a sharp-edged shell can hurt like hell and barely scratch, all at once. She remained silent. Sat with her feet half-buried, kissed by the water every few seconds and recorded the sea.



The team would like to thank a few fabulous individuals, without whom this magazine would not have been possible: Kelsee Porter, our amazing illustrator who drew all of the phenomenal artwork in this issue. Connie Rudman, who used her brilliant skills in graphic design to create our wonderful logo. Isobel Carnegie, who lovingly shared her editing experience, and sent pictures of her dog, Bilbo. Hannah Spurr, who demystified the intricacies of copyright law. Colin Bancroft, who was kind enough to add us to the Poets Directory listings and boost our profile. Amelie Maurice-Jones, who generously shared her extensive knowledge of the lit mag world, and succinctly defined the role of the editor. Ruby Murphy, who has been endlessly patient, and always knows what to say. Our fellow lit & poetry mags who have welcomed us into the fold with unwavering love & support.


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