2024 – Spring

Things you can choose.

Author: H.S.

What can you choose? That is a question.
Here’s another: “What can you choose really?”
The subject of today is choice, which raises a question:
“What are some of the things you can choose?”

Birds can fly. Crows are birds, and so are doves.
Birds can choose to fly.
They can choose to fly in the day. They can choose to fly in the night.
Since crows and doves are birds, they can choose to fly in the day or in the night.

But you and I are not birds. But we can dream about them. I can. You can. You can choose to dream about being a bird (a crow or a dove) and whether you fly in the day or in the night.

There are many other things you can choose.

You can choose your height. You can choose to reach the upper shelf with your height. And if you outstretch your fingers, even higher.

You can choose your homeland. My point of origin is the sky when heaven is blue. And the sun when the sky is red. You can choose your motherland, and also your mother tongue. I chose to write “Things you can choose.” instead of “Brrrrt – tktktktktk pah!” which would be closer to what is happening in my mind.

All these words are fictional, but they are fun nonetheless.

You can choose your number of teeth.
That you can choose.

Making your face looking like your face.
You can choose.

Being bullied in school,
having ADHD,
growing up a boy,
That you can choose.

Being a boy or a girl.
That you can choose.

The shape of your sexual organs.
That you can choose.
You can choose the shape, the scent (or stench) it has, if it is bitter or sweet to the tongue.
You can choose how the veins slithers down the shaft, how hard it is when erect.
You can choose how moist it gets when wet, the aperture of the lips, is it more cauliflower or tangerine shaped?
All that you can choose.

Falling in love.
That you can choose.

You may ponder about choice, but in a poem about choice & being a boy & being a bird, my words bring me to love.

You can choose to fall in love.
Falling in Love with a Franco-American girl who grew in Cannes doing ballet school.
You can choose.

Breaking up with her.
You can choose.
Her breaking up with you.
That you can also choose.

One last thing:
Whether the rock reaches the bottom of the pond when you throw it in.
You can choose.

In a poem about choice my words take me to the colors of the sky, to birds, to sex, to love.
Those words were fun, but they were fictional.
Still, it is enthralling to think about the things you can choose.

2024 – Spring


Author: Salomé Emilie Streiff

I lie in bed for hours on end. I play pretend with the shadows. They wear your face and if I close my eyes, I cannot see any differences. He is unconventionally handsome. His eyes are the colours of dreams, everchanging. Sometimes brown like the darkest secrets, often blue like true hopes and now and then golden like first kisses. His hands are covered in scars, from glass shards he picks on the floor when every party ends. He cleans the sharp ends to protect the sleeping lovers who crash on couches and every surface that will accept the taste of infinity that lies in their brief arms. His arms are soft like plums and he tastes like candy. I fell in love with the kindness with which he cares for others. I see him in the dried tears of rest after a fight, in the yawn of kids in the park and in the naked trees whose hands touch the skies that wait for their snowy dress. I lie in bed for hours on end. I dance with the shadows with our favourite song on repeat. Do you kiss them thinking it was me? Do you wake up hoping it had been me with the guilt purring on your lap? I write my questions down, worrying about the pace of the earth in our universe. The sun rises before it sets again. He is back. His face looks like yours tonight. He puts the cover over our naked bodies, fixes my hair and lets me fall back in his arms. The sun rises, and in the shadows, I smell your perfume. I could swear it was real. In a sense it was. The space between the worlds, where love is never shared and memories are never frozen. The sun sets,and the earth pursues to chase itself on this never-ending carousel. One day, there will be a little girl. Her laughs will harmonize with yours, and her eyes will look like his. I will spend my nights praying until my breath becomes a psalm. She will grow with the bliss of ignorance that pushes children to look like their parents, she will ache and dance in the same dusty sweat that lives in the bedrooms. She will have your dimples, with treasures hiding behind each smile, but she will follow his steps to the rhythm of the stars. She will always call you dad, but she will spend a lifetime running after him, treasuring each encounter. She will be the daughter of love and dreams.

2024 – Spring

A Tiny Funeral

Author: Salomé Emilie Streiff

Like a jazzman playing on a saxophone, she said. I came back in the class. Her dress moves above the scar on her knees. I notice her hands move to the pace of her voice in perfect sync. She continues to dance with her voice, her fingers run a well-executed choreography.   

Hopeful of something else, she said. I came back in the class.

How many of you underlined it in your text, she asked. I came back in the class again.

I went away and came back multiple times during the hour-and-a-half lesson. I failed to listen; I was constantly brought back to my body. The ache in my neck was growing louder. And the rash on my left elbow was calling for my full attention. The dead butterflies in my stomach were moving to the rhythm of my breath. I had in my body the unbearable weight of thousands of corpses. I wanted to cough them out of me, but it was pointless – their minuscule bodies were too decomposed to be ejected. It felt as if we already merged. I was partially dead. I wanted to move on. Have a wake or a funeral or something symbolic to put their tiny existence into a tiny coffin and bury them in tiny holes in a tiny graveyard right under a tiny oak tree. I was ready to write a profound and extremely long eulogy if it was the price to pay to get rid of them. I would try to make it profound and extremely long. I would put on a modest black dress, with a turtleneck and long sleeves, that would stop under my knees. I would not please the gaze of anybody but the grieving police. They would say: ‘What a sorrowful widow’, with a nod of approval. And I would have a tear ready to roll from my right eye, it would stand on the front line like an athlete. I would shake hands with strangers and relatives, I would have a nice word for everyone. ‘Thank you for coming’ ‘It means a lot, thank you.’ ‘Oh, it’s lovely, thank you so much.’ ‘I’m so sorry for your loss too.’ ‘They were so lively, I never thought they would leave.’ I would have the tip of my nose painted red as if I had blown it all night. My face would be puffed. I would stand and walk slowly to the altar, as a bride prepared to say her vows, her hands shaking. I would mention the first encounter I had with them. The surprise, the confusion. ‘Was I sick?’ I would talk about him. His gentleness. The kindness with which he talked. How his eyes caressed the world and captured its beauty. I would probably pause before mentioning his laugh and subtle jokes, the way he styled his hair and how he picked his socks from the drawer. I would not talk about his flaws, about his parents who talked too much or how his brother was their grandparents’ favourite. I would not talk about the friends who died along the way and the loneliness in some of his days. I would not talk about his difficulty in finding the words to express or know his own feelings. I would keep them in my heart, guard them like treasures and they would not hear it from me. Instead, I would stand tall, holding my hand, fingers crossed. I would say how I loved him and how he loved me, I would say how much he loved his friends and family, how he would smile when talking about his nephew and niece, how he would smile at my silly jokes, how he would dance with her head to cinematic music. I would probably tell in silence the memories that are too private to be shared. I would stop mid-sentence without telling its end. Through that silence, people would understand the weight of your love, the pureness of the scar on your hip, the strangled laughs when I awkwardly kissed his belly to mess with him, the intimacy of his hand in my hair, the joy of making love in the sofa of his apartment, the way he mended my soul, and I helped him to grow. I would stop there with silence. I would say that I loved him. I love you in a whisper. And they would all cry. I would use a tissue to blow my nose and touch my left cheek to erase the tears. I would leave my right cheek and her lonely tear to bear witness to my sorrow. If it was the price to pay, I would listen to everyone’s heartfelt eulogy and have even kinder words to the ones who ever hurt him, I would forgive them if it was the cost asked. I would thank God for the moments shared without anger. I would renounce it if it meant they would go away. I would pray religiously and with fervour until the last decaying corpse was out of me. I would be content with nothing. No other true love, just the absence of ache. I would not ask for happiness; peace would be enough. 

What did you underline, she asked. I looked at my text. 

The paragraph about grief and selflessness.

Did you agree with the author?

No, I said. I think there is nothing selfless about grieving. But I loved the metaphor of the butterfly.

2022 - Winter

Crumbling Memories

Author: Jessi Cardinaux

It’s funny, the crumbs at the corner of your lips.

It reminds me of the biscuits that my mother used to prepare for me every morning before I left to go to the school three villages away from where we lived, behind the forest and the river that only had one bridge and on which we used to go boating with my uncle until he had his accident on that trip when he offered me for the first time to go with him, but I refused because I had met that summer and on that one bridge of the river the person who, I thought, would become the most important person in my life and with whom I had two beautiful children who then became the most important people in my life and whom I raised alone for many years, giving them enough love for two parents and the same biscuits my mother used to prepare for me every time they went to the school three villages away from where we lived, behind the forest and the river that only have one bridge still, but I never crossed again…

It’s strange how we remember things. A life can come back to us in a second, yet we can get lost in the meanderings of our memories for hours. So many memories… that I have accumulated in almost a hundred years of life. So many memories come together, intermingle and rearrange themselves each time a new one enters my mind.

And the more I accumulate, the less I can distinguish between the ones I have been told, the ones I have seen in films and comics, the ones I have read in books and the ones I have written down, and the ones I have experienced. But they all belong to me. Whether I am the author or the actor, the narrator or the listener, all these memories inhabit my mind and constantly spin, shift, change and rearrange themselves into a myriad of stories and legends, all more intertwined than absurd.

And even if I’ll forget it all tomorrow, still, my favourites are the stories your lips tell.

2022 - Winter

The Flight of the Seagull (First Place Winner of the “Tomorrow” Short Story Competition)

Images: © by Fanny Cheseaux

Author: Fanny Cheseaux

The seagull was croaking contently in the port. It had just stolen a juicy tomato and ham sandwich from a little old lady near Grand Canal and was gulping it down quickly. Standing between the agitated sea and the glass buildings of the Docks, its beak was shining, and its stomach slowly expanding. In its satisfaction, it couldn’t see the pair of eyes that were watching it intently. Blue eyes filled with hunger and a vast darkness that would have scared animals and humans alike.  

The man was looking at it, crouched in his usual spot under an old alleyway that led to the shopping centre. Red marks like wires were barely hidden under his green sweatshirt that didn’t protect him any more against the vicious wet cold. The man was hungry, and it was lunchtime in the City. He could see the businessmen chatting on the phone while distractedly eating their 8 euros Moroccan-spiced chicken wraps. 

He was thinking about how nice it would be to roast the seagull; about how cavemen had discovered fire one day; about the roast lambs on a stake of his youth, and how his foster dad would make him swirl in the air while the smell of slow cooking meat filled them all with joy. 

But that was long ago – he hadn’t seen these people he had once called family for more than ten years now. The smell of meat cooking had been replaced with scents of sweat, tears and the piss of drunks on the cobblestone corners. 

A woman with a long black coat walked briskly in front of him, giving him the usual look of pity and embarrassment. People did not seem to understand that this look wouldn’t feed him. The coins in his little paper cup were looking at him sadly. November was always rough for Bob.

He thought about extending his tired hands and stealing the sandwich from the seagull, but it flew away before Bob could even move more than his shoulder. Brave animal. The seagull was already high in the sky, surveying the city. Far away, the Poolbeg chimneys indicated the direction of the coast.  

The seagull landed on the north bank of the river. On the dirty white fence, two of his congeners were already perched on their legs, looking as if they were discussing the news of the day: “Patrick, I read in the Times this morning that Dublin was the sixth most expensive capital in the world for renters.” “Captivating! Do tell me more, John.”

On the other side of the road stood an old building—the Bachelor’s Inn. Workers walked briskly in front of it. Students sometimes took a stroll along the bank and pictured themselves living there. They imagined the noises the wooden floor would make when they came home at 3 a.m. after drinking obscure pints downstairs. 

Odhran, carrying all their hundred-euro books in a worn-out leather bag, passed the birds on the fence daily. Weird group of gulls, they would think. Whenever they saw the Inn on the way to the university, they would hope they could stay. How easy it would be, how comfortable. They could inhale the smell of decaying wood, which would replace the one of the cold cleanliness of their house. They could escape the sounds of broken minds, broken promises, and broken plates.

Odhran had tried everything: “Mom, Dad, please, I’m trying to study!” 

They would say, with apologies on their face:

—Odhran, I’m sorry it always goes like this. Your dad makes it impossible for me. 

—You know your mom is mental Odhran, right? It’s not my fault. Even her brothers say so.

—He screams at me for the most impossible things, why can’t he get a real job? I have to do everything here, while he goes out and wanders around the Wicklow mountains with his little mates. 

—Don’t listen to her, kiddo. Just promise me you’ll never turn out like her. 

—I know it’s hard for you, sweetheart, but please don’t leave me alone with him. What would I do? 

So, every day at university, during the classes where teachers spoke too low, Odhran would hunt on their computer. Their eyes were glued to the screen, browsing renters’ websites and Facebook groups, such as “Dublin cheap rooms” or the university accommodation section. They would spend hours classifying and saving ads. 

They played this game for hours with friends, criticizing the flaws of the apartments and rooms they found: I could never live there; there’s not enough natural light. This blue tiling is so tacky. Having a flatmate? Could never be me. Only three bathrooms in this flat? It made them laugh while they sipped their overpriced coffee. It made them forget the sad truth: they could never afford it anyway.

So Odhran would look once more, sadly, at the curious and mean seagulls and go on their two-hour commute – two buses and the DART – to go down to the kitchen, where dinner was served, and no one looked at each other in the eyes. 

The girl was there, as usual, on the corner of Grafton Street. Lily. She was an easy target – the seagull prided itself on knowing how to recognize kind people from unkind people. It always came back to the kind ones. She was wrapped in her half-eaten velvet blanket, the face of a little dog poking from it. In her cup, some coins, a few 2 euros, some 5 cents. She had an old piece of bread in her bag.

She always liked the presence of the seagull. She was looking at its little round belly with its perfect white feathers, all tidied up in order – oh so clean and soft-looking – and she would wonder; how would it feel to catch it? To squeeze the little belly? To grab it by one of its dirty yellow legs, to bring it inside her blanket and hug it while it would shriek, trapped? So, every day, she gave it a little bit of her food of the day – and she didn’t always have a lot – and every day, it got a little bit closer to her. It was a job for the long haul.

But today wouldn’t be the day – not yet. She threw the piece of stale bread at it and watched it eat it voraciously. Charming, she thought. When it flew away, she returned to thinking about her plans for the night. She would go back to the shelter, and the walk was tiresome. How long could she afford to stay out before getting too cold? 

Lily needed to find a public bathroom before walking back – or go to a restaurant, but the staff would usually shoot her dirty looks when she came in with her sleeping bag, her dog, and the blanket. But she had to find something to use for the first day of her period. Usually, it was toilet paper from the public bathroom that she would roll over and over again.  

Once, she had found free period products when she infiltrated a fancy restaurant’s bathroom. Did all those women dressed in flowy flower dresses with their marine suit-wearing partners need free tampons and pads? Lily had taken all she could fit in her pocket, but the operation was risky. She had had to leave all her belongings and Barjo on the corner of the street. Everyone could have taken the little dog – but she was tired of bleeding through the toilet paper that was falling apart. The products had lasted her two cycles. 

The cold was starting to pierce through the blanket and Barjo was wincing in pain. On the other side of the street, Lily saw Martha with her big colourful skirts. They waved at each other, in familiarity. She wondered how much the old lady had gotten today, in her usual spot by the Trinity bus stop.

The sun had set entirely behind the brick buildings, and the seagull was far away from the park, its nasty eyes looking for a place to rest. It was never cold, this seagull, it had many homes in the quiet town and it could land on any roofs to make a comfortable nest. Sometimes, it flew away to Bull’s Island beach to join its colony. Gliding through the night, it felt the eyes of all the shivery souls on the streets of Dublin following its flight through the polluted dark sky. 

Tomorrow, it hoped to steal a smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich.

2022 - Spring

Cosmogony of Silence

Image: © “Zebrafish Blood and Lymphatic Vessels” by Daniel Castranova

Author: Manuel Ferrazzo


             I. The Creator



            There was nothing.

            Then there was something.

            The Creator never realised there was nothing before there was something. All these matters and colours scared him. Time was flying by too fast. So the Creator closed his eyes and slept.

            II. The Alchemist

            Aeons came and went, and men started wandering inside Creation. Amongst them was an Alchemist. The Alchemist knew many things but wanted to see the Creator, thinking that there had to be meaning to all of existence.

            Everybody said that the Creator lived at the top of the Mountain, so the Alchemist set forth to find and greet him. So he climbed the Mountain. For three days, he climbed, and, arriving at the top, he only found wind and loneliness. Cursing and screaming, the Alchemist wouldn’t believe there was Nothing where there could have been Something. So he decided that he would create.

            The Alchemist roamed the Earth amongst men and spirits, craving knowledge beyond the comprehension of anybody. He met monsters and beasts and tamed them all. He was growing in power, but he always wanted more. He wanted the Creator’s power, even if he didn’t think He existed.

            III. The Lovers

            The Alchemist met two Lovers, a man and a woman. They had spent their whole lives together, and, despite their age, they still looked very young. They wanted their love to endure and were scared to see all their friends lose their love. So, having heard of the Alchemist, they asked for his help.

            The Alchemist felt blessed by the request of the Lovers to help them, as he could finally use his immense powers to create. He cursed the Lovers with an Eternal Love, but not the way they wanted: the man impregnated the woman, the first to do so. And when the woman gave birth, she died. She was also the first to do so.

            IV. The Liar

            Having lost his wife, the Lover was so full of rage that he did not care for his child, who died quickly after birth. The Alchemist was cast away and seen by all of humankind as a Liar. The Lover chased him to the end of the world and battled him to death. Their battle was so violent that it awakened the Creator, who looked upon Creation and wept.

            V. The Thief

            The tears of the Creator flooded Earth and destroyed most of civilisation. Only the Alchemist and The Lover left, battling in eternity, not even remembering why. One day, once the Creator stopped crying, they saw that the storm was gone, and the Alchemist tricked the Lover into making peace with him.

            Easing up, the Lover let his guard down, so the Alchemist stroke: using a powerful spell, he snatched the Lover’s soul from his body and attached it to his own. He did the same for all the souls roaming on the now-dead Earth, and, seeing that there was nothing left to make him grow more powerful, he retired at the top of the Mountain.

            VI. The Conqueror

            Aeons passed once again, and humanity was born again. Asleep at the top of the Mountain, the Alchemist was disturbed by a warrior calling himself Conqueror. He told the Alchemist he wanted to find the Creator at the top of the Mountain. The Alchemist was amused by this naive warrior and presented himself as the Creator.

            The Demiurge saw this and, for the first time, decided to mingle in the business of mortals.

            VII. The Devil

            The Creator sent the Devil, his agent, down on Earth to bring him the Alchemist. But the Devil had a will of his own and was jealous of the Creator. He wanted all of Creation for himself, to pervert it into what he found beautiful. The Devil, on Earth, found a woman, Eve, and seduced her, promising her Destiny and Meaning to help him in his dark deeds.

            The Devil then visited the court of the Conqueror, who thought the Creator blessed him and offered him Eve. Understanding she had been tricked, she tried to fight back but couldn’t do anything: the Conqueror wanted her for his pleasure.

            VIII. The Rapist

            The Conqueror impregnated her and thrived, invigorated by the woman’s suffering. Eve couldn’t take it anymore, so she killed herself, as it was the only way for her to be free. The Devil, disappointed by her lack of will, extracted the child she had been impregnated with from her womb and placed it in his own until it was ripe.

            IX. The Disintegrator

            The Devil gave birth to the Disintegrator, a child of burning grotesque masses, made of visions of rape, murder and perversion, and let him loose on the Earth. The destruction provoked by the Disintegrator forced the Creator to incarnate himself on Earth to stop him, but humanity feared him and quickly killed him. The Devil laughed as humanity crucified him and, now that the Creator was gone, started the journey to the top of the Mountain to claim the title of Creator to the Alchemist.

            X. The Hanged Man

            Since it was imperfect and perverted, the Disintegrator eventually died once he had destroyed humanity once again. The Devil climbed to the top of the Mountain and found the Alchemist there. The Alchemist was enraged by the Devil’s doing, so they started fighting. The Alchemist, now almost all-powerful, was an equal match for the Devil. They broke each other down and fought until they couldn’t walk. Using a trick, the Devil managed to take the upper hand and murdered the Alchemist. Bleeding out, the Devil then hanged the corpse of the Alchemist to a tree to make it the totem of his victory against the Creator. He then sat down beside the hanged man’s tree, and, listening to the deafening wind, feeling his wounds soothe him, he drifted off into sweet Death.

2022 - Spring

Instructions on how to forget me

Author: Mel A. Riverwood

Some people never hear the silence talk.

But to me, it screams, with every tick of the clock,

It says I will die, though I already know,

And tells me someday I won’t feel anymore;

What could that feel like, to not feel?

Do the dead still live?

I know I am young, I should not have such thoughts,

‘Forget, forget,’ they say, ‘forget time and laugh!’

But I feel death, and her hands are so cold;

They freeze all my dreams and everything I long for

And hold in their palms all the fear that I hold.

I wish to see spring and hear birdsong forevermore;

But the taste of the end is ever so near,

So I beg of you, blue and green mother, don’t let me disappear.

How I wish the whole world sang my humble refrain;

I knew not that hope came with such shattering pain.

I would give it all, but my words, just for a little more

Time and to live and live and live and live,

And encore;


I am selfish and lonely, I am childish and afraid;

I would watch the world fade if it meant that I stayed.

Please, someone tell me, just tell me, where do we go?

Where do we go?

Where do we go?


Where do we go once we feel no more?

What are we then? How do we exist?

Please, someone tell me we have much more than this.

I will always know this fear that steals my thin breath,

But begging time for mercy will not work on death.

So please, remember me, for as long as you can,

But if the world is to forget, then let me fade as I am:

When my ink-stained fingers will be writing no more,

Bury me in a forest and bury me on the shore;

For I cannot die where I cannot hear the sea,

And I cannot live where the blackbirds don’t sing.

But when you inearth me, please keep my hair

And burn it, then scatter it in the air.

So with my body to soil and water, and my locks through fire to wind,

I may finally be everything.

‘What of thy mind?’ you may ask;

‘For her,’ say I, ‘you have no task.

Wake up with the sun and listen to the birds,

Sing with the rivers and read all my words.

Then you will know her, remember her,

And that is all that I long for.’

I still wish I could stay just a little bit longer.

But I feel that my death has started to saunter;

She will take her time, as I will take mine,

As two sides of a coin that will be paid to time.

And when we will meet, I know my fear won’t have faded,

But I’ll kiss my death with all the love I’ll have created.

This is my wish. Farewell, my friend;

I may be years in advance, or this may be the end.

And when you, too, will be stepping in the darkest light,

Come find me “where the dreamers dream and the others go to die.” 1

from the song Bye Bye by Low Roar, which has helped a lot in the writing of this poem.

2021 - Winter

NONNA (First-place winner of the poetry competition)

Image: © Ivana Erard

Author: Ivana Erard

A year ago I wrote you a poem,

in an absurd language you don’t speak

They were

               happy sad words about who you 

were and 

               what I want to remember you by

                              [warm tea, childlike stories, 

                              laughter from the chest]

I could see those tiny cracks of the heart

When grief is approaching

Yesterday you asked me

                              [My head was on your lap; 

                              you were 

                              gently combing through my hair]

Polite, pause:

               Excuse me, 

               what is your name?

I swallow a scream and I smile


                                            I am your Blood

                                                           and I am Stranger, 

                                            You gave me your eyes

                                                           and your curls

                                            I have your stubborn 

                                                           and your proverbs

                                            I am the daughter 

                                                           and the sister

                              Do you remember me?’

I see you running out of yourself, 

               fracture of the soul

and the 


trickling down of


in the