Izzy Wauchope

Speak Easy 

                                                              – illustration by India Hibbs

A grate slides across to nothing but a pair of eyes,
and with that lilt, which sometimes catches me
off guard, you say the word, you squeeze my hand,
we laugh nervously as the door swings open.

Maybe we could hear the music before, it’s hard
to remember; the sound is silky and I want to reach
out my hands to feel the fabric, like I do in expensive
shops, knowing it can never be mine.

A man is playing the saxophone in the corner; a liquid
noise cascading amongst the hushed voices –
as though everyone is whispering secrets
or admitting terrible things.

A man in a brown suit is sitting at the bar with
a small trumpet in his hands, but he never plays.
The barman moves precisely, ruling the world –
I imagine that he knows everything and is a god.

We take a seat on red velvet under red lights,
scarlet tones brushed on our cheeks. I speak:
We always end up in bars with red lights,
but it never feels seedy and always feels nice. 

We are in a place where it feels like words
can never leave and will stay contained forever
amongst the red glow, flowing easily, prettily,
from mind to mouth, we speak freely.

We speak about our parents, the pieces of them we’d like to keep,
to live by when we’re older, better, all grown up.
We speak about people who are gone and won’t be coming back,
and how that makes life feel.

We are just the two in the corner:
drinking drinks we can’t afford.



Izzy Wauchope finished her English Literature BA last year and is currently studying on the Creative Writing MA at Newcastle University. She has had her poetry published in two anthologies, ‘Ten of the Best’ and ‘Teen Poets: Immersed in Verse’.  



Ji Lee

Enigma with a Blackbird

                                                      image by Amy McCartney



Grief. It has come silently, I did not know
it had perched, like a bird, ominous,
the black figure, that sits in my chest,
piecing itself a home,
twig by twig, scrap by scrap,
my heart: her barn, her roof top, her part of the tree to claim,
how she settles there, uninvited,
shedding feathers, the blackness
of her body seeps into mine,
till her beak claws away at the pink tender flesh
tearing me apart,
she spreads her wings,  a muster of hope –
Alas! her talons have cut so deep,
already left her mark.



Jiye completed her bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Film Studies at the University of St Andrews, and is currently doing her MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University. She has conducted creative writing workshops for schools in the North East for the Lit & Phil Young Writer’s competition, and also worked as an English teacher for five years in South Korea. She enjoys travelling, photography and exploring quirky cafes in her spare time. 

Jake Morris-Campbell


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      On Not Finding Bede At the throat of the Don         where twin Tyne tunnels undercut Crackwillow         we searched for you. We searched for you         in Go-To-Bed-At-Noons, by Pellitory-Of-The-Wall,         through Lady’s Bedstraw.             At Station Burn, Field Scabious … Continue reading