Identity and time

The confrontational question ‘what advice would you give to your former self?’ is usually met with angst, an awkward laugh and regret. Perhaps this is just me, but the initial jerks of discomfort I feel when I think about my younger self is mostly down to how different I think I am. There is a strong dissociation between that person then and the person I am now, and the most prominent difference between the two is the way I view myself as an Indian person. 

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Photography Project: Movement and Stillness in 2021

As a way to process the chaos and beauty of 2021, we asked the Clitbait community to share two photos of their past year, inspired by the prompts of ‘Movement’ and ‘Stillness’. Have a scroll through the beautiful photography submissions we received…

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Dear Pre-Pandemic Me, Get ready for a wild few years…

The years coming will challenge you in lots of ways but they will make you stronger and appreciate just how many people you have around you. The pandemic makes you sit back and look at who and what are important to you, you’ll howl with laughter despite everything and realise that your parents are actually pretty awesome to spend time with…

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End (?)

I read a whole novel this morning, 

An hour before heading in. 

I did all the dishes from breakfast,

You hoovered and I did the bin.

The walk from the meeting was freezing, 

But I’d bought new gloves last time you came, 

Two people who knew me from James Joyce alone, 

Asked me about changing my name.

I’m finding it strange to be calm now,

My body’s not quite sure it’s true.

But books still surprise me and gloves are still warm,

There’s dry forks and filled forms, and you. 

By Levi J. Richards (he/they)

This poem is inspired by ‘The Orange’ by Wendy Cope. To see more of Levi’s creative work, check out @doorajarcomics on instagram.

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A young man walks across the snow,

Which creaks and breaks with every step. 

Far off, 

A grey-haired woman holds her face up 

To a sun that drips gold; 

A future, suddenly, 

Which stretches out before him —

Complexity unravels

Into sun, and face, and cold;

And benches ringed with mud, 

And time enough to grow old. 

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Reshuffling cards on the sitting room floor,

A precious vignette – 6 seconds, no more.

Captured by luck,

On an ordinary day, 

I press play and press play and press play. 

I’m fascinated, by the way you can hear, 

Each one of our laughs – you can match us up clearly.

Like you can pick out 

Individual joys, 

A friend’s face in the crowd of the noise.

She said:

“It’s all gonna work out. D’you know how I know?’

‘Fate’s given me something too good to let go.’

So she’ll bring me back,

I know it for sure,

To the cards on the sitting room floor.

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Cinnamon and saffron

Cinnamon and saffron

A dash of cinnamon and one of saffron
What does blending the two leave you with?
I am not so sure
A hybrid not tasting like one or the other
I am a mixture

Rather pale but with olive undertones 
Echoes of honey and of sweet rose syrup and mild summer nights by the Caspian sea
Meet echoes of winter sleigh rides and gingerbread dipped in hot mulled wine

They make sure to tell me that I am not one of them
Not pale enough, not dark enough
Too pale, too dark 

Oh are you sure you’re from there?
Can you really speak the language?
Your accent is very good – how come?

I must grit my teeth and say what I always say 
I belong here

I am you 

Experiencing rejection from my own makes me restless
They are all I have
But I am made to choose
In the hope that I am chosen back 
Can’t you see I’m one of you?
I dye my hair to make it less me – maybe now I can fit in?

I am uprooted and I uproot myself
I can never have enough
There is always something else for me to try
Some other soil to plant my yearning fingers into
I worry for my children
If I have any

Will they feel at peace? Will this be their norm?
Or will their discomfort be greater than mine?

A pinch of cinnamon and one of saffron

I must sometimes pull myself out of the whirlwind of sounds and smells and sensations
Take a moment to feel
To think 
Of how I have the riches of the world within one heart
How cultures mix and mingle within my blood 
How I may not belong to either one of them 
But have claim to both 


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An Ode to the Slimy Things in my Sink

An Ode to the Slimy Things in my Sink

I wet my porridge pot, the king  
Of slimy things, and relinquish the responsibility  
Into the heaving sink.
The glutinous onion jam from last night’s soup 
Stares me down with shiny eyes—
I cover it with disdain, 
Creating a small volcano of sink water. 

Insidious drips pervade, 
Unnoticed but for the smell, 
but then In a couple of hours, the floor 
floods, Littered like a polluted 
beach and  
The pots and pans are floating an 
inch, The ramen from two nights past, 
Grabbing my ankles, like irate 
seaweed. The salt spills into the mix 
And I might as well be in a fetid 
ocean, Now that the mackerel, 
In various stages of decomposition  
Begin to swim up the pipes. 

A mighty gurgling is heard— 
I scramble to the kitchen table for survival 
As a slew of wet food spurts forth from the sink. The 
water is a murky shade of brine, 
The teabags are swimming in shoals, 
And I am finding myself swiftly covered In the 
reeking remains of last week’s dinner.

Flora Leask

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3am, Listen

3am, Listen

Perhaps silence is best 
Ill-planned timing 
No words 
Crafted words fall on deaf ears 
Only human 
Like a breath 
Instant heat immediately cooled 
Here then gone 
Leaving emptier words 
Tune out the noise 
Clarity [Perhaps silence is best]
Like a Breath of fresh air 
Softly unnoticed 
Leaving as it came 

Fiyin Fakunle

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I wonder what it would be like to truly see 
Without the bias 
Without the misconceptions and force fed perceptions 

To breathe unfiltered 
To speak unfiltered 

Simply speaking 
To be Honest 
In our words 
Our Actions 
Our lives 

I wonder why we all clamour for the past 

Its dead and us with it 
I chose Life 
Terrifying but real 
Maybe I am just a dreamer 
A lost sheep 
Or maybe 
Some Fresh Air 
Real Fresh Air 
is what we all we need 

Fiyin Fakunle

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We Will Not Criminalise Our Way Out of Misogyny

Last month there was a minor kerfuffle in the internet spaces when Boris Johnson said he would not support expanding the definition of hate crime to include misogyny. This was mildly controversial, with some protesting that it was a crucial step to aid women.

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Not Sure I was ‘Born This Way’

I want to talk about something that’s been on my mind for a while now. For many years now, it has been a staple rhetoric of the queer liberation that nobody ‘chooses’ to be gay: a backlash against those who call it a ‘lifestyle’, who try to push conversion therapy and deviant labels on us.

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My Crush, the Far right Troll

As my time at university comes to an end, I look back at moments that changed my education. From relative deprivation to conflict theory to homegrown vs lone wolf terrorism, the first year of university would hold lessons I’ll carry with me all my life as a politics enthusiast. But nothing could prepare me for the lessons of the summer of Roman*. This was my first brush with heartbreak and politics of the real world.

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“weird girl with gross habits”

“weird girl with gross habits”

i pull, i bite, i stretch, i claw
at the insatiable itch 
knawing at me for 14 years

my cuticles bleed 
my swollen lips pulsate 
i weave a rug with the hair from my scalp
i’m weary from holding the burden of my self-inflicted disgust
yet still, i pull and i bite and i scratch. 

every pore on my face is an endlessly fascinating black hole
examining each follicle on my head makes me feel as if i were a scientist, quietly dissecting myself  
my body is infinite 
a whole universe exists underneath my skin 
an endless garden of eden

until the spell is broken 
and i’m left mourning 
wondering why i willingly drink my own poison    
i bathe my wounds, but i bathe them with salt.

if i make peace with the itch, 
if i write a poem for her,
if i tell her she’s beautiful while i gently stroke her back
then, perhaps she will dissolve into sweet rosewater.
i bathe my wounds, but i bathe them with salt.

if i make peace with the itch, 
if i write a poem for her,
if i tell her she’s beautiful while i gently stroke her back
then, perhaps she will dissolve into sweet rosewater.

Dara Minogue

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Western Countries are Hoarding Vaccinations

Here in the UK, life appears to be returning to at least some semblance of normalcy. Pandemic restrictions in England are gone; in Scotland, whilst masks remain, there are no limits on gatherings. Nightclubs are opening up again. Students are going back to universities.

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fire, burning

fire, burning

there’s a fire that makes up my very core; raging and thrumming, it constrains yet consumes, fueling my every reason and it is the life behind my every word. those words that can so easily be laid prettily onto paper. in speaking, it is that fire creates and nurtures the venom that drips from my teeth as my sharp tongue lets loose with a snarl. 

and when i do, i snarl with due respect to that heat: a big “fuck you” to the guy-boy-imbicile that looked (looked, looked? peekedexaminedgapedstaredscrutinized) my body up and down and asked how far my legs could spread. 

it is the same fire that warms my body, and creates the heat my cool fingers slip into as they coax galaxies from my most intimate space. when walls (the sacred-divine-safe inviolable-heat) clench, i am certain it is only my fingers of which they are unwilling to let go. 

and at the end of the day you can call my beautiful words ‘vulgar’ (and maybe they are (oh, they definitely are)), but i find no need to apologize for showing my power. i like the knowledge that when i move my hand between my thighs, it is i who has the ability to touch the universe; something you could never comprehend (nor will you ever learn to understand). the fire burning in my depths does not rage and rise with the purpose to scorn only for me to allow my voice to be meek. so in the inevitable turn of events where i cut you with my words, i will never not remind you that it is those very venom-laced words that are backed by sharp heat fueled by the fire that fuels the very wild- free, heat of my coveted divinity.

Caleb Sa

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Women, Pathologisation and Crime

Have you ever told someone about a problem you’ve been having, and had the always-infuriating response, “Oh, that’s all just in your head”? Have you ever been told that by a doctor?

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The Pleasure Gap

A couple of months ago I was scrolling through Instagram when I saw the same post come up again and again on people’s stories. Repeated posts are not unusual, but there was something about this one that deeply chimed with me.

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Keep the Change

Here I am again, I thought. Unanchored, unmoored. 

Another break up and I felt lost. Where before there had been plans, dreams, ideas stretching ahead into the distance– a trip to Berlin, going to that new restaurant together, maybe a move abroad for our respective careers –there now was …nothing. Everything I’d envisioned and hoped for vanished overnight. 

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Sexual Violence in Greek and Roman Mythology

To Ovid’s Metamorphoses and back. ‘I intend to speak of forms changed into new entities.’ So starts the Roman poet Ovid’s canonical text about Greek and Roman myth, the Metamorphoses. An epic poem that informs most of what the western world views as ‘classical’ myth, the work is one of many fantastical transformations. It is often considered equally united by the theme of metamorphosing as it is by love. 

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A Reflection on Changing Artists and Art

One of the challenges that artists face is the expectation that their work must look a certain way. If they are lucky enough to find fame while they are alive, they are often constrained by the idea that only a certain style will get them money and recognition. As much as a starving artist is romanticised, no one wants to be one. Yet, must that come at the expense of their own creative metamorphosis?

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Bloom serendipity in my hands

I’ll pretend it’s uncalled

My hands, worn out. 


I’ll try to sleep before midnight 

Bloom before I wake up

Strike me in the path

where rainbow is a decorum

Spit me to the dimension,

in it, I could see time

accused with duplicity.


into the night.

Into the night 

which fail to surge my moan into a gender spectrum

I shall not see trees

painted black again 

nor I wish to see my

breath lessen between my smokes 

Bore me

if in melancholy, into the new space 

before it’s too late.

Bloom serendipity 

before my morning wakes.

Abhishek Arukuti

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Pink Gouache

Pink Gouache

my orgasm is pink gouache,
dipped in water, bursting like a late sunset,
And it’s like fireworks,
the week I bleed,
earthy mud red.

this is a petition, for women,
to make the most of their ‘dirty’ blood days,
drink watermelon
and bleed,
and bleed,
coagulated pleasure,
pink, acidic,

fish, dipped in mustard.
sushi and rose water.

I can almost smell your disgust.
It turns me on.

this is a graph of pleasure,
a week long experiment,
a thesis, perhaps,
or a poem,
of fleeting sensations,
frantically bleeding unto paper,
blood, red,
pink pleasure,
oscillating this week,
between words and the clit.

a religious text for bodily dearth,
a pilgrimage site,
that smells like rust.

Bidisha Mahapatra

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