1. a lack of certainty
2. a presence of freedom
3. a privilege of possibility
1. to sacrifice
2. to forfeit ignorance
3. to exercise discernment
4. to implicitly accept responsibility
1. the act, or art, of belonging
2. the act, or art, of not being abandoned
3. the valuation of a person, object, or option
4. the demonization of a person for a risky decision
5. the lionization of a person for a fortunate decision
Eljae‘s writing has typically centred the doing of relationships and how we construct ourselves as people; more recently exploring Blackness, rest, and resistance. While currently accepting commissions, Eljae is looking to develop her practice, and expand into different mediums
Today in English, my teacher said
“words can have more than one meaning,
depending on their context”.
This lesson sounded familiar.
Similar to learning how an object
can have more than one purpose,
relative to survival.
At 5, we learnt a lollipop
can be a sweet or a Trojan horse,
depending on the hand it occupies.
Age 10, a key can be a key or a weapon,
depending on the shadows
and how quickly they approach.
Headphones on a jog
can be a vehicle for music
or vehicle for easy capture,
depending on the time of day.
Most days, assume a compliment is bait.
I wonder if there is a name
for this survival manual.
If you can purchase it on Amazon,
with enough apologies
to be granted a discount voucher.
Smile politely and silently for free delivery.
If we can fit it in our pocket or our purse,
next to our pepper spray.
Or, if it only exists through the generational tongues
of mothers warning daughters
of all that lurks between the cracks in the pavement,
and how sometimes danger
comes wrapped in a friendly grin.
Women warning us to watch where we’re going
and that it’s worth changing route
if it means we will make it home.
This is our morse code.
Every day, we go to war,
armed with a whispered battle cry
of survival tactics sung into a lullaby.
We recite the lyrics as though our life depends on it.
Our life depends on it.
When my teacher asked
for an example of a homonym,
I said “song”.
I said “sometimes a song is about music.
Other times every lyric is a guide, a map,
a means for surviving the walk home”.
Aditi is a 16 year spoken word artist, producing videos inspiring societal change on her YouTube channel: SaveOurWorld. She’s performed on local stages, livestreams, nationally at ‘UK Youth Inspiring Hope Awards’ and at international events such as ‘Art and Conversation’.
content warning: child abuse
there is a photograph of us
in the garden me with a baby
frog cradled in cupped hands you
looking on wide-eyed
picking at your fingernails
in anxious wonder
but there is no photograph
of him wrestling
you to the ground
like he thought
he was in the ring
nor of your face
as you looked up at me questioning
why i didn’t reach for a folded chair
to crack over his head
but i remember it still
i remember the tears that welled wordless
in an instant wet & close
as my own the kind you cry
when you know you have no say
nudi’s a queer poet whose work explores the body, faith, family (queer/biological), and how children carry trauma quietly and loudly – seeking to protect adults. They’re an editor, underwater photographer, and co-founder of weekly online workshop Speak the Word.
I did not choose this
Daughter, son unborn, unconceived unknown
I am haunted by their ghosts
I live alone
The parent becomes the child
The daughter their parent
Are my dreams even my own
Or just compulsions of the world?
Am I just one ancient stereotype spinster
No cats, my arts small and feminine
But I tell you this
If I do not fit in your box
If I choose spread love unreservedly
If I choose joy in small things as well as great
If I carry my griefs at what may be lost to me
While standing tall in the doorway of life
Always willing to take another step
To make another choice
I am more than anyone can say or know.
Gaby Koenig is a qualified librarian, and therefore officially required to love books and poetry and she is happy to embody that assumption. She recently got back into poetry writing thanks to lockdown and some classes. She loves food, dancing, sewing and celebrating life.