Nobody else knew that the fountain was alive. He watched, spine pressed into the metal bench, as they walked past, blind. Tall men in woollen armour, brogues tapping over the cobbled street, phones pushed to ears, umbrellas tucked under arms like rifles; a steady stream went by. For a moment, he thought that one man was going to talk to him; he shuffled nervously as the strides closed in, recoiled as the arm outstretched, then heaved relief as it stubbed a cigarette on the bin beside him and joined the others as they marched.
He’d sat there for hours, staring, shivering. Burrowed hands in pockets of the jacket he’d been given, zipped so far up it threatened to close a clasp around his throat; I’d rather that than freeze. The fountain spat again. A different cycle, a change in bursts. He lost himself to the vision.
“Come here, quick, look at it!” A desperate whisper ripped towards him. He looked down from the tapestry of stars to see her hand grab his, and although he hated her for dragging him inside, the warmth of skin, velvet, silk, was apology enough. He followed.
“Stay quiet. Don’t you dare wake her.” She ordered, tiptoeing without elegance, crawling without sound. Soon, her hand left his and placed a palm upon the door. It crept open, aware of the necessity of stealth, and she turned to him and smiled.
“Look how fat she is.”
Their mother lay, propped against cushions, safe in slumber upon the floor. Faint moonlight shone onto her form, fell with the delicacy of whispers, and revealed that she had, indeed, become quite fat. They watched. Her belly was another being; a crescent, lifting, falling, stalling at the peak as if to try and reach the sky. She nudged him, pushed him forward so there was room to lie together, and propped her head upon his arm.
“That’s how we were made, you know. Dad told me.” She reported, proud of forbidden knowledge that she’d stowed away for weeks. He heard but did not listen. Look at it rise and fall!
It had stopped. The water collapsed, a drunkard, without a shadow of its grace. He looked around; even the men had left him now. He thought about standing, yet he knew as soon as he placed his weight onto weary feet, the fountain would roar again, mock him for his impatience or drench him in its wake. He paused. Seconds later, it was back, bored of elegance, of steadiness and calm. The rhythm took him, bellowed with laughter at his stillness and pulsed within his veins. He shone red with embarrassment. I can dance like that.
The sand was still hot under their feet. The sun had passed over like a tyrant, unforgiving, burning indiscriminately as they sheltered in the shade. He had got her a drink, shaking, nervous, trying not to drop it to the ground. They sat together, hiding, and he drank her words. Bathed in her presence. Soaked up her scent. She inched closer until her lips tickled the hairs upon his ear.
“Can we dance?”
Thoughts flew like arrows through his brain, it’s too hot, I can’t dance, I’ll look foolish, it’s too hot, I can’t dance, I’ll look foolish… She retracted, he composed himself and leapt up, held her waist, circled her feet, fingers entwined, moved with the energy of the moment without thought nor fear. They laughed, the sand burned, they went fast and hectic in the middle and slow and loving in the shade, a cycle, a pattern, I don’t want this to end.
It did. He grew jealous of the water. Angry at the past. He wanted to leave now, run toward the rabble from before, but he was jealous of them, too. He was stuck. Resentment grew within his chest and he didn’t care about the cold anymore; the fountain turned to fire.
It’s everywhere. He awoke to the smell of burning. Screams raped the divine silence of night, calls for help, for God, for mercy. A cacophony of suffering. A nightmare, surely. He ran, naked as the first man, muddled from the grip of sleep; movement, voices, the world sounded like a thousand horses raging into war, where are they? The rooms were empty aside from the thunderclouds of smoke. Where are they? He was outside now, facing the fury of the blaze, orange, red, warning of the danger it possessed. They were running. Neighbours, friends, lovers, handfuls of clothes, fleeing out towards the hills. His lungs drew plumes of sickly smog, eyes stung with heat and fear and tears. Where are they? A hand, not theirs, clawed at his skin. A mouth, not theirs, screamed echoes. He ran. He had no choice.
He closed his eyes, understanding now why the men ignored the fountain. His breathing had become shallow and sharp, and he fought to suck it deep. The bursts of flame had sunk and died; he embraced the cold once more. Just listen.
The waves slapped lazily against the boat, never-ending, a constant battery of sound that simultaneously reassured and nauseated. He was sick. Hanging over the metal frame he retched like an animal, spitting and frothing just like the ocean was below. He would have been ashamed if the others weren’t asleep, or pretended to be at least, huddled, drowning in their own way, a tsunami of despair.
It ended. It had all ended; the fountain swirled and groaned as if someone had pulled the plug, draining slowly away into a silence that was louder than the world. He could feel her hand, velvet, silk, even as he froze.
The Past Us is a poem about the realisation that your love has changed. It’s a poem about looking back at a relationship and realising it’s become so misshapen over time, it hardly looks like love at all anymore, it doesn’t really even look like companionship.
A poem by Lucy Harbron, and a film by Lucy Harbron, Penny Eastbury, Samara Sajid and S. J Zhu.
When you beat a man for being gay you tell him
“this is how we treat our women”.
You show him what male privilege means, how respect exits
once you are entered.
Good girls are virgins. Good girls are men.
Hymens are not the delicate sheaths of skin within we once believed them to be.
They appear in your demeanour, your tone and pitch, your hands and your hips. You switch
We weave new binaries. You choose between a clean life with your dirty laundry confined to your
sheets and your mind, or a rabbit-hole world,
a tiny door through which you compress into a caricature of yourself, an LGBT poster girl.
Checked shirts, clipped nails and ponytails. One day
I’ll take a clipper to my hair. One day
I’ll be gay enough to take my place here, among the glitter
and the adolescent dreams of what attraction means I need to be for you to read me.
One day I’ll find my label and my tribe will welcome me.
Like finding the colour that speaks the tongue in which you dream, or
the rhythm working in your step before you knew what music meant.
Where are the words for this. I knew them
when you came against my lips, but they dissipate amongst the politics.
In issue #5, Kiloran will tackle issues of the self, ownership, identity and individuality.
The things that make you feel like you, the little things that connect so strongly to your sense of identity, personally, culturally and socially, we want to zoom in on them.
The feelings of ownership, being pulled towards something or someone; romantic and non-romantic. The notion of being yours, being mine, being theirs. The sensation of belonging. The sensation of losing that belonging. Holding a hand that fits just right. Having your hand held too tight.
If you drew yourself blindfolded, what parts of yourself would you focus on? What would you know best? When you look in the mirror, where do you find yourself in the reflection?
Who built this? Is your concept of yourself something you made, or something you were born with? Born into? Are we products of our soil?
The way you feel in a space that is yours, that is safe, that is comfortable. Where is that? What does it look like? Why there?
The line between ‘me’ and ‘you’ / ‘them’.
This is our subject matter.
We want your work. We want your photography, artwork, poetry, essays, films, arguments. Anything you want to provide, we want.
There’s only 2 rules-
Submit your work to KILORANMAG@OUTLOOK.COM or get in contact via email or @kiloranmag to discuss ideas or ask questions.
“Do not mistake that the Ballot is stronger than the Bullet”- Abraham Lincoln
As a young person, I am constantly being told that “we are the future”.
I think that the first time this felt like it actually meant something to me was when I placed my first vote in the Brexit referendum of 2016. It didn’t get the result that I had researched, believed in, and voted for, and I will never forget the bitter resentment and disappointment I felt, partly with my generation for the miserable 64% turnout it relinquished. I do, however, live in a country and a society where I was allowed to use my opinion to influence that decision, as did the 33.6 million other people that voted, and that is not something to be brushed over. Our democracy is, I believe, a right, but it is also a privilege afforded to the general public through the dedication and militancy of many disenfranchised people, and to forget their struggle would be, quite frankly, insulting.
In England, parliamentary democracy has quite the murky past, due to the Monarchy, the Revolution, and various attempts at tyrannical leadership, but the Bill of Rights in 1689 gave requirements to the Crown to seek public consent, as represented in Parliament. Despite this, suffrage remained a struggle- particularly for the working class, whose right to vote was heavily restricted with property and residential qualifications. The Women’s Suffrage movement, spearheaded by Emmeline Pankhurst, was renowned for being a radical and militant protestation. The government countered the Suffragette’s hunger strikes and damage of property with jail and force feeding, and after becoming a national movement in the 1870’s, it was put on hold with the outbreak of WW1 in 1914. Before the Representation of the People act in 1918, which gave certain women over 30 the right to vote, only about 60% of the male population in England were eligible voters, due to the working class restrictions. Women over the age of 21 weren’t allowed to vote on the same terms as men until the 1928 Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act.
In the present, voting is still important as a representation in the running of the country. It is your chance to vocalise what you believe in, your chance to exercise your rights in order to better society. It sounds grandiose, but it’s true- if you have the opportunity for democracy, and don’t take it, than it is not only an insult to the suffrage movement, and to those living in totalitarian regimes without this opportunity, but also to yourself. It is an insult to your own intelligence to not have an opinion on who should be running the country in which you live.
A lot of people are struggling with who to vote for in this snap election, which is perfectly reasonable, providing you are, at the same time, attempting to do something about it. As a starting point, I suggest using websites such as https://uk.isidewith.com/political-quiz , which will help to recognise which of the parties your principles align with. After determining this, find copies of party manifestos, and READ thoroughly. It is also absolutely worth doing a little research on your constituency, the current and past political status of where you live, and polls to see how your vote would be best used to achieve the result you are aiming for.
To exercise your right to vote is to be making use of a right and a privilege. Do your research, and choose wisely.
Footprints crunched into the thick snow behind us,
daylight breaking through the thick clouds that blind us.
You blind me, chick-pea. Whatever happened to honesty?
I’m searching for the side of you the other people never see.
The side of you I never see. The side of you meticulously
hidden from suspicion within a breezy personality.
I’d say that you were care-free, because it felt as if you cared,
yet you were free to wreak havoc on my psyche out of nowhere.
And you don’t care; stop. I feel that cold against my neck again.
I feel my heart slip away as you share another peck again.
The snow was settled on your head like a skullcap.
But I brushed it all aside, never stepped back;
I didn’t know.
You sink your hand inside my pocket
to relieve the coldness.
Begin to wear me like a puppet
to relieve my boldness.
Fidgeting, manipulating it to make it fit
like a glove.
I didn’t know the meaning of true love.
My first experi-ence made me steer against
that feeling, someone sailing high above
the rest. I never guessed
that my chest could be left so
cut up and torn.
I have been murdered and reborn
at the whim of another;
feeling like no other.
Try to count all your blessings
against all of your suffer-rings.
Bring me out of squalor,
drag me by the collar,
I feel like a sucker,
another poor fucker;
bury me here,
I’ll pass under.
And on a roadside memorial,
on the deed, let it read:
“To almighty ignorance,
a tender remedy indeed”.
And the permafrost stings
deep under the foundations.
It’s pulsating in my body;
can you vibe with my vibrations?
It was stamped all over me,
a hand, two hands;
gigantic and red and smothering.
Stamped, again and again,
with a force that made my skin convex,
pushed me into the shape.
My cells pulling, trying to avoid it,
but thinner skin will bruise easier.
You slipped your hand into the hand,
began to wear it as a puppet,
acting like it had a life of its own.
But you touched me still,
caressed me with the same look in your eyes,
the same taste of compliments dripping off your tongue in the shower.
I guess sometimes you’re left, sometimes you’re right,
sometimes it was the hand.
It must have been,
because here I am still bruised and moulded.
A push from my elastin, a push from your hand, in the hand,
a pressure too hard that maybe I became it after
it touched, you touched, it touched again.
Then you look at me in disgust when I am it,
when you can’t see me as anything other
than the hand.
His dad’s dad had built the boat, age 15. His dad swapped the wood for plastic as a project, after spreading the ashes of the man that raised him, and taught him how to sail. He decided to keep the tradition afloat, but couldn’t do that without dragging the boat into years its creator would never see. He worked until it was safe to sail again, and he had begun to feel easier. The hands of grief slipped with each blow of the hammer; respecting the past, building for the future. A legacy of material and water. But life caught up and he had to work. The garage door shut.
The boy went looking for the key, on the day the girl he loved said she didn’t feel the same. He dragged the boat over the small field, and lifted it over the stone wall, creating a slight dent on the bottom left of the yellowing outer shell. He walked it to the water’s edge, checked his bag, nodded and sailed. When he thought the water looked deep enough, using only the darkness of the blue as a guide, he let out a line.
The sky was beginning to burn when he resigned himself to failure. He threw the stick to the ground, causing a black scuff on the peeling paint of the blue inner wall; the day had melted and he had felt no bite. ‘I can’t do it and I never will’ he muttered, stomping his feet out of failure to find any other way to release his anger. He looked out, acknowledging that he may have sailed a little too far from shore for an amateur, but aware that the feeling in the pit of his stomach still pulsed with the breaking of the waves. Suddenly, he took off his shoes. He took off his coat, his jeans, but left on his shirt, insecure about his skinny, teenage chest.
He stood up on the ledge and stepped off, falling into the water that enveloped him. He had decided that if he could not catch them, he would join them.
The grey blue of the morning sky had returned, on the 215th time he emerged on the surface. He had grown neither gills, nor a fin to allow him to swim better than a mediocre level, deemed acceptable in primary school swimming lessons. He saw that the boat had floated back towards the stones of the shore.
‘Maybe when our loved ones die, they become our Gods. The wind of our lives become controlled by them, the sights of the sky spun by them. Each to our own religion, of family morals and memories. Grandad wants to keep his boat.’
He distracted himself from the water, which had become significantly colder in the morning air, with thought. He wondered whether his grandad would recognise him, for he’d only met him a couple of times as a baby. He thought maybe the cold was a punishment for the stranger that stole his boat. The wind an attempt to get his old livelihood away from the boy that could neither fish, nor be a fish.
He noticed his dad’s car parked on the beach, just out of reach of the tide. He pulled the boat out of the water, as his dad rolled down the window, only to say ‘I’ll meet you back at the house’.
To remind himself, he made a mental note; ‘teach the children how to fish and sail this boat.’
(Photography by Elizabeth Evans, Words by Lucy Harbron)