Issue #01 Library

Here you can read the collection of Poetry and Short Stories from Issue #01

A Flea


In soil-devon-red lie my father's bones

On land not his, nor theirs. But Ours. by gold band bound he too was ours
despite claws that grew in secret sharp and cold
Sinking into the flesh by his grace given, and taken

I do not know from whence they came and yet feel deep that their root is why
he is buried, not with his grave beside that of his father but in our church yard

blood is thicker than water
but they'll seep into the earth much of a likeness not too far from the apple trees the wounded child that is mine offers a sticky hand to his and I tell us both:

It gets better now, I promise

Morning has broken, and I will stitch it fixed with weary hands, my own blood under my fingernails

One day we all shall rot,
and yet our tenderness will outlive us all

In our tombs will lie the softness we held unflinchingly for all we saw wounded, because in them we saw ourselves and we have learned to be gentle with ourselves now even in the face of our own guts and viscera

And golden shall I beam,
and all that which my sunlight touches shall be midas unbound
Radiant and complete and ever expansive for-ever-and-ever-and-ever-amen

Alice Foxall

@oof_itsalice & @welcome_to_theproject on Instagram

God is a Freak
I’m gonna say it
God is a bit of a freak
I mean what’s with all these whips and getting stoned
Ok so maybe I haven’t read the Bible
I’m no expert on this
Supposed unconditional love
But it is conditional, isn’t it.
Someone wrote a whole book with a list of your conditions
And when they taught me about you in school
It wasn’t this love they focused on
No, in school the love was an excuse
For your never ending wrath
For a hatred, a dismissiveness, a one manned patriarchy
A threat of burning flesh
And death
And a thousand year plague

My grandma
Pouring out affection and love for every person and creature
But who on occasion would denounce your existence
Does she burn?
My godfather
So deeply in love with another man and so deeply loved by a man
Does he burn?
For every girl I kiss I fear the next time we meet shall be in your fiery inferno
Will I burn?
Do the ones who love the hardest but just not in the way you’ve dictated
Burn the brightest?

Because I have read the Bible
I had no choice
I had was taught to fear but desire you
Because God, God you sell a promise of salvation at the cost of living freely and
Jesus, Jesus died for my sins but I will still serve a sentence for them?
Christ, Christ was supposed to love me and forgive me so why do I feel so despised?

But despite all of this
Despite avoiding you and resenting you
I would love to bask in the light of your glory
I am sold on the dream and the fantasy of the conditional unconditional
But when I look up at where I think you are
Where I am told you must be
And I feel you looking back
I know under your rule
I am too far gone

And I am already burning.

Angie Else

@_angie_else on Instagram

Upland Water
I’ll braid your hair for longer tonight, out in the prairie,
it’s not quite our home but that’s alright, I can be your Brutus.
The space between my bones, you own, the parts of me that aren’t.

You and I have sat and watched the cattle graze and low, and as an
amber sunset mollifies the sky, I know I would’ve waited under the stars for you until the seven day war was over. I am still sat with heavy chin in calloused hand for when you wish to never see me again.

I wish I could press each fractal of my spine into the red sand beneath us, and create a mould for a new me. A mercury, gun-metal, steel and wax, me.
My body would snap together and leave, it would be gone, and I could watch it go.

The sun is still above me, the stars are there too, I am on my back in the sand and day and night are both one. There is not another beings shadow beside me.

Those who are unafraid can find the upland water, and that is where she is.

Bianca Agrimi

@biancaagrimi on Instagram

The Garden
It all seems to be written for us. When I close my eyes, us is all I see. We have existed so many lives, and it was always together. Always recognising each other with tenderness and delight. I remember all those past existences so clearly, when they come to me. These sparse frames of ecstasy, how they soothe and shatter my halved, little heart.
There was a spring night, once, at the truly of all beginnings. I knew then, I know now.
Oh, how I wanted you to hold me to fit inside the curve of your neck, smell the essence within the delicate crevice of your flesh. Nature was embracing us both, nesting two vacant souls in a chrysalis soaked with the smell of our beings.

We happen to forget that we are not invincible against time, but how can we not be? When the world stands still every time I look at you? I crave for you, I long for you to consume me.
May the moon be the sole witness of this Eden; a silent spectator of how we were too naïve to know that, like all beginnings, it was not meant to be for ever.
When God made the rules of time, did he make an exception for us?

Suddenly, a spring night is no more.
Bare is how I feel when I come back to my senses. I have lost you once again.
How dare these blissful memories feel like a curse for I am the only one remembering them?
What I see behind your eyes speaks of a cross I am bearing alone. I beg of you, my angel, to recognise this body who used to weep like a harp under your most gentle hands. Unknown, unwritten, but always the same.

“How funny — you’d say — if all this had happened to us already?”
“I would remember it forever”, I’d say.
The grass underneath my soles preens to the sweet gust of the wind. Does it know I’m being cradled all the same by your words?
“I remember it always”, I’d say again.

Cat Caie

@cat_caie on Instagram

Purple Pansies from B&Q
My green thumb took over,
asserted a part of my identity.
Purple was my favourite colour,
pansies were my favourite flower,
a calling for simpler times of confusion
as to whether I could be classed as a tomboy.

No pink or blue but purple pansies.

My aunties took me to the theatre
to see Jack and the Beanstalk.
Jack was played by a girl.
I loved him either way.

No pink or blue but purple pansies.

I was possessed to save them,
turn them into my very own beanstalk.
Abandoned in the B&Q shopping trolley
with velvety leaves and an elusive symbol
of confidence and community.
They sprouted fresh flowered ideas
of who I could one day become.

No pink or blue but purple pansies.

Connie Baxter


The Sand Dune
There’s sorrow at the heart of all this anger,
Sorrow like the source point of a sand dune;
A smooth round stone, round which bitter grains gather,
Whipped up by wind and churning waves. It’s too soon –
Since we walked beside those waves in Whitstable,
Beside because it was too cold to swim.
Memories, sharp and scalding memories, dreadful:
Of my head on your shoulder. They’ll dim,
Surely, but still catch the throat forcefully,
Sirens of sorrow sent up from the stone.
Though it’s all because I miss you, really,
Really all because I miss you dearly,
I did not want to hold your hand,
Rage compacts these grains of sand.

Fox Ferguson

(They/Them) on Instagram

TW: Suicide

'Skeleton of pleasure'

I came here today to –

I came here today. To the beach. I reached Brighton Palace Pier and thought – left or right? Left, out
towards Kemptown, were the bars of my youth. Right, that was another story. Getting out towards
Hove you find the ruined pier.

The ruined pier is the West Pier. The designer, Eugenius Birch – what a name! I could imagine him
on that blustery day in October, 1866, opening the pier, with ladies in their crinoline applauding him
as the scissors closed – snip! – on the ribbon. Untold pleasures were promised!

With the addition of a concert hall in 1916, the pier reached peak attendance. The women in
feathered hats and men in easy lounge suits. Their whispered words in the audience. Young lovers
sharing secret hopes for the music to come.

The pier never recovered its popularity after the war, bankrupting the owners and closing forever in
1975. The sea took it, of course. Huge angry white hands ripping beams and trusses limb from limb.
All that remains is four squat black pillars like a token of apocalypse and the small black skeleton of
metal and wood out to sea – the skeleton of pleasure.

I came here today and reaching the Palace Pier I chose right, towards the West Pier, the ruined pier.
It sits there on the sea like the Palace Pier’s shadow. I chose right. I squinted hard against the bored
empty wind, the bored empty sun.

And suddenly there it was – the West Pier. And I thought, Ha! that I should have come here today!
I came here today, to the ruined pier. I was so surprised to see it there, I almost forgot why I had
come, here, today.

I came here today to kill myself.

Marion Smith


We are unable to fully recreate the formatting of this poem due to our website limitations. To read the poem as intended, please see the link below to the writer’s own site or check out page 28 in Issue #01

Enmeshed, Enplatformed

To be a scrap of paper-pink confetti
spiralling among celestial bodies!

In this acetate-light afterlife,
we are all choreographers.

Our runway is a beacon,
sex sirens luring their queerest sea.
Gestural laws of opposites are now at play,
presented for guilded eyes,
pedestalled in judgement—
rococo and lace walking our Medlock esplanade.

Tendons ripple as the beat drops:
wait, this isn’t the advanced solo?
spins and dips are performed on a hairpin
as fingers, jewelled, snap to Donna Summer.
turn for me,
let me look upon you in this light.

House after house,
they leave their lives on that stage:
fantasy battles punctuated by a plummet
to the floor,
agate limbs on obsidian.
the rumours are true:
a universe is crystallised in these movements.

we are tartan/leather/latex village people.
fan your concertina, your coral lashes—
my eyelids are corsetted open.
walk for me, my genderfuck cowgirl.

We are fragmenting/refracting/reflecting each other.
The Category is Columbo:
glitter conspiracies have been solved tonight!
We find the world’s answers
in our sitzbones,
our limp wrists,

in fingers traced along triceps
and in stilettoed, platformed feet.

I am prismed, I want to see everything of you.
twirl for me, spin across our spectrum
splay your fingers,
curve your spine,
hold your pose for me.

We are instructed to keep this space and time
as safe, hallowed.
and for the first time in weeks, I venture
out of my skull,
into colour and beat.

Click Here for a formatted and audio version of this poem

C Grayson

@marstawayne on Instagram

Carbon-copies of our abusers
Wander the streets unscathed.
Our friends turn into clones
Once the cycle begins again
And we watch the lights die out.
The pattern follows us-
It rinses out half your soul
And the rest bleeds out slow,
Draining you from the inside
Until your organs give in
And your smile melts away.
Countless dead dreams,
Repeated familial atrocities,
Maiming each others hearts
In a ferocious battle for death.
When we see it take hold
We’re watching a disintegration.
It crawls slowly in both ears,
Burrows underneath their skin,
Burns itself through their retina
Straight into the brain,
Gnawing away who they were
To replace them with the empty husk
We hoped they’d never become.
The same nasty faces look back,
Multiplying its crowd of hatred,
Feeding off itself incestuously.
The ranks are closing in,
Soon we’ll be the only ones left
And I wonder more every day,
Are they truly alive like we are?

Are you ready to move on?
Staring at your own corpse
Dancing on coals,
Waiting for the final song
To be played by someone else.
Didn’t you already know the tune?
You hum it to yourself all the time
Pretending to watch the conductor
As if you ever followed that beat,
Copying movements you see
Like you hadn’t thought of it already.
Wouldn’t you like to be right?
Strike out on your own,
Leave the skeletal puppet behind
To inhabit a real soul.
Stare in the face of yourself,
The one that it is old and rotten,
And have the strength to walk on.
It won’t devour you
Unless you stay,
Hanging on the ropes you’re given
Rather than climbing higher.
Play the final note so it can rest,
Begin a new dance in its stead
And don’t stop pushing forward.
Despite those around you
You’ve got further left to go.

c. grayson
© Delos Publishing, 2024
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