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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Liminal Space

I’m sitting, staring at my emails as the ninth rejection of the week pings into my inbox. There is perhaps no task more tedious and ego-destroying than the relentless post-graduation job-hunting grind. I’m currently in the ether space.

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Non-Binary People Don’t Owe You Androgyny, Fuck Off

first thought that came into my head when I realised I was non-binary was fuck, I don’t want to chop all my hair off. This was swiftly followed by a succession of minor panics: I don’t have the face for short hair, I don’t have the shoulders for androgyny, and everyone knows that my arse is simply too big to pass as anything but a woman. These thoughts accompanied thousands more over the next few months as I embarked on an excruciating – but ultimately liberating – internal journey.

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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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Who here is a feminist?

When I was fifteen, a woman from a feminist organisation visited my school to have a discussion with us about equality.  I don’t remember much of what she said, but I do remember that she started the discussion with the question “who here is a feminist?”

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Cancer in the time of Covid

Don’t dare to go outside, my sweet lady

Although we’re just a bubble, ever-ready to burst,

You’re safe with us, I promise

I remember catching a bus a day before we would meet again

Crying, because I thought I was going to kill you,

For I had stepped into a world

Which was trying to live with covid while you have cancer.

And it feels like I can’t breathe knowing you won’t,

Between the grief-stricken gasps, gritting teeth through glaring tears

One might be assuming symptoms of that thing, when they are effects of the other

And I hate how the two interchange,

How our fear is preyed upon by them both.

What is going through your sweet head?

While I usually wear my heart on my sleeve, I stiffen up

When I see that you are guarding yours behind secret chambers,

For you’re a headstrong rationalist, a chin-up kind of woman,

But when the night has been rough to you,

And you wake up vomiting, with words I’ve never heard come from your mouth before,

That proud chin drops in your hands

And what I see before me is a scorned child with a distasteful gaze

As I try to hand you your peeled grapes or spiceless daal.

I’m sorry sad one, I feel like a terrible parent,

When we say the world outside is too big and bad for you right now,

For best intentions look so opposite

When the blue-suited baboons control what comes next.

I felt like I couldn’t offer much at first,

Helplessness hurts the most.

But I’m trying, really hard, to be your doctor,

Your friend, your mother, anything you want and need,

Even if that means at moments I have to stop being your daughter

So that I can get you to keep on being my mother.

It’s selfish, I know. And I’m sorry. 


-Anonymous

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It’s Getting Hot in Here

When we decided that this month’s theme at Clitbait should be heat, I wanted to write a love letter to the sun. I wanted to write about how nourished I feel by its warmth. My world comes alive when it is illuminated and dripping in sunlight.

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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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We’re Here Because You Were There – How the British Empire Metamorphosed Power

Amartya Sen recently outlined the structural impacts Britain had on India throughout its longstanding rule, hoping to unpack the illusions of the empire’s legacy through a historical dive into India’s past. As Sen opens with, power is widely agreed to have been established by British forces in 1757 at the Battle of Plassey by defeating Nawab Siraj-ud-Doula’s army and beginning a 200-year rule that ended with Nehru’s famous words in 1947 – ‘At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to light and freedom’. This monumental moment in global history is thought to be the start of a process of decolonisation stretching into the 1980s.

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Metamorphosis: LGBTQ+ Rights in the UK

This year, throughout Pride month, I’ve been thinking a lot about my own journey as a queer teenager, then a non-binary adult, and how I’ve changed throughout my life. As with the metamorphosis we see in nature, my identity and self hasn’t changed – in the way that a butterfly is never not itself, even as a caterpillar.

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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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Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis

Bloom serendipity in my hands

I’ll pretend it’s uncalled

My hands, worn out. 

Today

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.

Bloom

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,
vulgar.

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  
bidishamahapatra.squarespace.com

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The Spectacle of Violence

I recently read that tourists in the US can take ‘sex trafficking bus tours’ to ‘shudder over locations where they’re told sexual violence has recently occurred’ (1). Learning this was not something I was able to take lightly. I carried the words around with me for days, alongside the absolute bafflement they gave rise to. 

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You May Be Okay, but It’s Not Okay

Without thinking, I turned from the main, busy street into a side alley. I was running late to see a friend, and Google Maps showed this route through dark, pot-holed Athens back streets to be the fastest way to get to my destination. I hurried along, frowning down at the map on my phone screen whilst music blared through my headphones. I don’t know when I became aware of his presence. But I remember feeling my stomach drop. You are not safe said my body to my mind.

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What are we having?

This lockdown year it was especially important to find meaning, but looking back, I think I was prone to finding too much.  I have held on too long and too tightly, to people, or ideas, or expectations, and it’s time to let go. 

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I let go of her hand

I let go of her hand 

I let go of her hand when
the men stumble steaming out of the pub.
Her salt fresh, calloused hands
from some sports I don’t
understand,
from warm afternoons under the sea,
the hands that lovingly
rub away my cramps.
I say yes to a threesome
because he won’t leave us alone
and I am weak, bloodshot, drunk,
bleary eyes begging for a taxi.
When they walk over,
I break from her, stumble over words
and she frowns.
It’s all good baby baby
so why am I sick with fear?
Why do they look at us
like slavering wolves
with their slick wet lips?

Millicent Stott

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Quiet Love

Quiet Love

There is anger in
chairs propped against doors,
worries about thin walls,
turning round first to check,
and her dad being
‘not completely okay with it’.
The pit of guilt afterwards that
you keep to yourself,
the strawberry smell of her hair,
catching slow breaths
and then
secret tears over a bible,
resigning yourself to
agony and torture and flames
for the quietest of loves.

Millicent Stott

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We Need to Stop Calling Young Girls Bossy

From a young age, I was always told that I was a bossy person, and I just accepted it and took it as the criticism it was intended to be. Thinking back to when I was labelled bossy, it was when I took charge of a task and put myself in a leadership position in order to do something. This adjective has never been used to describe one of my male friends, but many of my determined female friends.

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