Beginning

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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A poem about roots (that constrain me)

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;
hallowed ground?
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 
politics routine
Each little xylem strand has length running resources
to change and nourish my self.
And I regret you
Despise 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.

By Anonymous

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Transcendence – Nov 2021

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…

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Reflections on ‘Feminist Futures’ at the Lighthouse Radical Bookfair, Imagining an alternative world

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.

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Cricket and Afghanistan: remarkable but expected?

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.

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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 

Linda

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A Bug’s Life

 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!

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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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Do you know how fast a hedgehog runs?

Do you know how fast a hedgehog runs?

Night hangs and I, nocturnal, scout the grounds,

the hedgehog, shuffling insomnia-laden under the moon,

head among worms, I cannot see the astral dancers make their rounds,

trapped in a homeland of windswept grass and rainswept loam.

My patter a ritual, earth’s epidermis feigns a heavenly taste

yet so anti-celestial, living from night to night to night 

mired, the entanglement of root and briar and living wasted, 

ensconced in darkness, I’ve forgotten what it is to see the light.

The hedgehog senses predator, confronts her choices

tight entombment in a prickling shell, waiting for teeth,

or else to flee. Do you know how fast a hedgehog runs?

I curled so long I no longer remembered what it meant 

to live without a spiny wall, self-made sarcophagus, dark and tight.

It took the gouge of jaws to make me race away, seeking freedom, seeking light.

Clare M Coombe 

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We will hear noise, but we must listen to truth

We will hear noise, but we must listen to truth

I listen to the wind,

That rustles the leaves, and swings the trees

The voice of nature, that presides powerfully in Edinburgh.

I hear the cars, 

That haunt the cyclists, trying to pass

Through life, without further deepening nature’s scars. 

I listen to the laughter,

Revelling in that joy, that everyone is after 

I hear the strain in her voice, 

the pain that pillages her spirit and poisons her soul, with noise

Unnatural sounds, that seek to exploit and destroy 

I listen to the beats,

 that move my feet, to the rhythm of the streets

I hear her gulp and shudder

as he tells her he’ll give her a massage to recover

There is Nowhere to Runfrom the one who you believe has given you your liberation

I listen to the long unheard. 

The marginalised, those erased from history and discarded in society to the outskirts.

For it is they who are embraced by nature

And when they embrace it in turn, 

the oppression inflicted upon them can only harm the oppressors

For to be one with nature,

 is to be one with the truth of who you are. 

For you are nature, 

And such truth will heal your scars.

Rowena Nankivell 

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Personal Grit

Personal Grit

NEED ANSWERS, understanding & more
MARK the path beyond research.
To find out more Create TIES And switch OFF
The constant need to be visually rich, bright, useful and a resource for the creative
& DEPART FROM 
If ur happy PLANTING A RAINBOW
YOU CAN APPRECIATE inspiration,
>>> YOU FEEL READY TO SOW AND GROW ROOTS SHOOTS BUCKETS AND BOOTS
HELP EACH OTHER TO SURVIVE.
BUILDING HERITAGE A NEW WAY
Browse, Explore, Enjoy, ADVOCATE Live Better
YOU are a priority

Jenny Harvey 

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Hummingbird

Hummingbird 

The morning comes into consciousness
And bathes the blue-throated hummingbird in light. 

They sit, they hold.
They listen. 

For what? 
For whom?

My mind is compounded 

From the sky 
This mother voice hollers
So sickly sour
Through some orifice of heaven

For all we do 
Is dance in the rusting leaves 
Waiting for her to 
Call us inside for sup’ 
As streetlamps buzz 
And the dew and the dust 
Settle 

Am I to abide by the father’s voice? 

One that does not recognise
Why the hummingbird changes colours 
 If perhaps pink and white take their fancy 

One who is so flippant 
Omnipotent 
So potently 
Distasteful 

            Disgusted
At the ferocious ideas that unfold from under The beating wings 
Of patience personified 

Are they to give up on body, 
But not the world? 
I should not think so. 

For if we
Too 
Sit, hold, and listen  

Perhaps 
The earth will call out, 
Or reach out a hand, 
                     Bathed in light. 

Alex MacPhail 

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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 
Here 
Softly unnoticed 
Leaving as it came 
Alone

Fiyin Fakunle

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Unfiltered


Unfiltered

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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Biphobia and Me

Like so many things in life, my sexuality makes so much more sense in retrospect than it did when I was in the stages of “figuring it out”. I now know I have been bisexual all my life. I either just didn’t know it earlier on, or didn’t know what it entailed.

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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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As White Women We Have to Put the Microphone Down

“White women need to learn how and when to follow — not lead.  They need to do their part to uplift, learn from, follow and support Black and Indigenous women in dismantling white supremacy. But again, not lead.” Amanda Svachula.

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An Interview with Living Rent’s Meg Bishop

Living Rent was founded in 2014, as part of ACORN International, and is a mass-membership tenants union serving communities all over Scotland within the private and social rented sector. I was really excited to interview Meg Bishop, the organisation’s national secretary who addresses grassroots activism, organising and housing as integral parts of the feminist struggle.

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When will Black History Month be history?

In the UK, history textbooks often reflect a deep unwillingness to acknowledge the full story of our blood-soaked colonial past.  Consequently, very little is said to challenge the racism and injustice which forms the backdrop to our present day…

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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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