Twenty-four, diamond, delta, V. That’s what it says on my ticket. I think I’m in the right place. The corridor is long, reaching far off into the distance. I can see the walls either side, just about. There are strips of orange lights running down the middle, which are dim even against the patches of night sky. The roof can’t be completely closed because of all the fumes — bursts of steam and who knows what other pollutants are everywhere. All of the corridors look the same, so it’s possible I’ve missed my turn. …


Flick the kettle on
Halfway full, and half again
On synthetic song
I would pass the time
You’ll not be around, yet I can be, only ever
Our daylight shared, but from afar,
of course.

Much to complete
As ever, as I am aware
Change the lights
Reverse the colours, flicking
Unchanging
I can still hear it, I can’t tell if you can
Not the wind, but the silence,
I thought.

Hide in your houses
Gone, and gone, inside
Where did I go?
I must still decide
To the sea, or the ocean
But which way down?
Can you see me, in there?

Shout on the glass
Would you hear me
If I shouted, and shouted again?
The pulse, it’s loud
Turn it down, or up
Turn it silver, and turn some more

This life is brutal
And I have vanished.


Photo by Paul Felberbauer

Throughout the COVID pandemic (and even beforehand), you’ve probably come across reports and articles on the subject of online shopping. Specifically, on the relationship between increased online shopping and poor mental health, with some going so far as to call for the recognition of a specific addictive disorder.

Looking to the offline world, there has long been an informal notion of “retail therapy” and buying things to make yourself feel better. Of course, this isn’t something that’s necessarily unhealthy — we’re all allowed to ‘treat ourselves’ without it being a problem. Many of us do, however, have a problem. A…


Photo by Cloris Ying.

Scraps, you find them everywhere. I often find scraps of journal entries, documents I’ve written for various things, old photographs, pieces of art. I can lose myself for hours, trawling through boxes of scraps. Lots of scraps are like memories. In some ways they are memories, themselves moulded through the connections they have to other scraps and the actions and processes that made them so. There’s nothing like reliving old memories to conjure up emotions you’ve forgotten even existed. Good ones, bad ones, you can’t remove one from the other. That’s the fun with scraps, in a way. You can…


You planted weeping fig,

I made some quip about the weather,

And I trawled my playlist for something soft,

Soft rock, or maybe easy listening

You didn’t seem to care

Not your style of music

But you didn’t need to tell me that

Because love is understanding

Love is the gap between

As it always has been

A bond that doesn’t cease,

And yet we forge our spaces

Our lines in the sand

Lines that may be washed away a thousand times,

But ones that we can perfectly re-draw

Until the suns go cold,

Even when the tide races in,


Jesper Baerentzen.

Just a couple of months ago I spent every day wishing I was asleep. Unconscious. I was in the thick of my final undergraduate year, battling poor concentration and the inevitable mundanity of having my eyes glued to my laptop screen. Just as the spooky clickbait article warned would be unhealthy! Blue light will kill us all! Pretty early on in my studies I realised that trying to meet deadlines made me ill, however hard I tried to approach work more constructively.

Being unable to take breaks because it took me so long to complete basic academic tasks (like reading…

Ben Hawkins

23 ~ politics grad ~ amateur writer

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