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…
Since there’s no escaping, I thought I’d reflect about how to manage your anxiety during this shit-show. (Hopefully this might be useful to other anxious humans as well!)
Everything around you is going to change. Significantly. You’ve felt loneliness before but not like this, this one is different. It’s going to be tough for a while but you’re going to emerge from it happy with your own company. Some days I have to work on it harder than others but you come to realise that you are enough as you are and that just showing up is okay…
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…
You are going to cut your hair. Because you will grow restless. You cannot go out and no-one comes in. even though you won’t be seen there is a mirror in the bathroom…
You started well, but you got lost. You realised the importance of community; a community you connect with. In the absence of love, you turned to appearances in a desperate attempt to change your circumstances. It did not work. You met the wrong people and did the wrong things, but it was not a waste. But it did feel like it…
Yellow is the warmest colour,
It crowns the buds of trees which create an ornate bower consecrating your grease and grime filled nest,
Lying on your head,
Happiness and yellow usually reside in similar company,
But happiness with you is a deep crimson,
A thick skinned purple blotch –
Staining my skin like a malignant bruise,
You seep into every pore, boiling my sweat so it scolds melanin,
Bleaching me to a powdery white,
Perfuming your air with the scent of burnt flesh,
Pulling my spirit into focus,
Because as I know –
Purple is your favourite colour on me.
My roots are complicated
I do not think they can be defined
or bound to one certain place
The more I move and meet new people
little parts of me are left around
Sown carefully and lovingly
in places I adore
and people I care about
I am no longer sure if I know where home is
but I am loving that life is taking me down
an unknown road
but an exciting one
and I will enjoy and treasure every step of the way
Learn from the downhills
grow stronger and kinder and caring
and cherish the uphill
knowing I am turning into the woman I was meant to be
On that night I was outside with the bouncers doing bag checks while also keeping an eye on them, as bouncers in general have a reputation for their bias against minority groups. So there I was, nestled in between two large and looming men in black wearing a pink beret and red lipstick. It was a terrifying sight indeed.
Send in TWO PHOTOS OF YOUR YEAR ~ inspired by the prompts ‘Movement’ and ‘Stillness’. It’s been another year of extremes so we would love to see this reflected in your…
What would you say to your pre-pandemic self? We have all learned so much since the pandemic started, whether about rest, care or community, the lessons have been monumental. So…
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.
A young man walks across the snow,
Which creaks and breaks with every step.
A grey-haired woman holds her face up
To a sun that drips gold;
A future, suddenly,
Which stretches out before him —
Into sun, and face, and cold;
And benches ringed with mud,
And time enough to grow old.
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
A friend’s face in the crowd of the noise.
“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.
I was out with my friend enjoying festive foods and an overdue catch up when ‘Do They Know it’s Christmas?’ started playing on the radio. Despite being blasted loud and proud for all to hear, I wondered, aren’t people concerned about the lyrics of this song?
CW: Sexual assault/violence
A poem about roots (that constrain me)
Why do you grip that rock there
That place in particular
It is not exceptional yet you sniff
to find the resource jackpot with little thought for my feelings.
One flaking and one green
You are Brand new
colonising my mind and making my forces act through different lines
Where do I lean today
On what soil do I make my stance;
I want to move yet you tell me I can’t
And they look at me funny and it is all due to you
Lost in assumption not to be talked
To but by, they see how I curl and retract
Wishing I could fly but indelibly in contact
with the ground of my past
Each little xylem strand has length running resources
to change and nourish my self.
And I regret you
You are unsatisfactory
For keeping me so still
Retaining my right to freedom.
I wish I could wiggle and dance.
Enact and be my dream
I steal the freedom to be who I want to be
A fairy woman at the end of a long voyage
My narratives an endless strand of silk
to wrap around your neck.
You see you would love the me
That’s exciting and proud and flamboyant
With endless presents and
pockets that bulge
I wiggle my wing rigs
and struggle to see how they care for me
grateful I should be for these life sustaining lines
for time and a past and events I can learn from
They connect me
Brushing up to me with knowledge
Drowning me in memories that
keep me so separate
I am an entity to sustain and condense
Yet not to be.
Dear past me, why are you smiling? Gossiping smugly with your partner in math class, talking about pretty exciting news. You were chosen by a boy. One evening and your self-worth increased to heady levels. Insecurity about your beauty vanished. You are a goddess and he has made it so…
Please come along to our gorgeous monthly poetry evening at the Golf Tavern, Bruntsfield, Edinburgh. (Please be aware that the venue is up one flight of stairs). This month’s is…
A joyful queer club night at The Mash House, Edinburgh that raised over £1,500 for Mermaids Gender: https://mermaidsuk.org.uk . The event was in honour of Trans Day of Remembrance, sitting…
The Radical Bookfair hosted by Lighthouse Books has become an annual meeting ground for creative discourses that often live on the margins of our mainstream media, to be thoughtfully considered. This year’s event saw a host of panels and discussions based on the theme ‘Futures Worth Fighting For’ which focused on how to materialize our radical imaginations for a better world.
For those of you who follow cricket, you might be aware that the T20 World Cup is currently taking place. To the surprise, or lack thereof, of many, Afghanistan is also playing despite the country currently experiencing the aftermath of a Taliban takeover. The question of whether or not their presence is a surprise comes from an intertwined history of the rise of cricket and political turmoil in the country. And whether you are shocked or not, either feeling is likely to inspire an uneasiness about the short and long term state of this country, and the consistency of cricket in the midst of this.
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
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
Fox hunting is a countryside tradition that goes back centuries. It involves a bunch of richly dressed men, women, and children mounted on horses and accompanying a pack of hounds, tearing around the countryside in search of a fox to kill.
A Bug’s Life
The house I grew up in has other children growing in it now,
Making memories over mine like recording over old video tapes,
Playing bandits and dress up in colourful capes.
The tree house my father built for me
Exists only in my memory.
It must be hard to be a snail.
Carrying a life on your back is a heavy load.
Take me back to a little girl with golden hair,
To number four, Parbroath road.
So I can set down my past and leave it there,
Trusting it will be safe.
A view from the kitchen window into another life,
Of happy kids, and man and wife.
Like us, the trees we planted are fully grown.
The apples fell closer than we thought,
But we should have known.
Because like us the trees have roots,
That wind like veins between drains underfoot.
But trees can be replanted,
The stability I took for granted
Can be something I find in myself,
Maybe after three years of healing,
I’ve learned that home is not a place,
It’s a feeling.
Robyn Barclay, Poetry Editor
Robyn is one of our wonderful poetry editors. Please contact her via instagram @rxbynelena if you would like to submit your own poetry to Clitbait!
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
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.