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Inscape Magazine
2024 Edition


Selfie at Stowe Gardens

Selfi at Stowe Garden
Samantha Bard

And what a day it was—
The three of us
like giddy children
rich in imagination,
unleashed ourselves upon
this idyll playground, pretending
to be Romantic poets
among aristocratic ruins.
Amid cloudfull skies
and dream-green dells, endless
hills of each and us
laughing, pressed like flowers
in the middle.
There, when we were
nothing but friends
and all we had
were too few layers
between us
and the early autumn.
When you build empty temples,
what gods will come?
Dusting off our dormant
corners that once
upon a time created
fairies we could believe in.
Tacking against the wind, we
journeyed to the farthest point
we dared go,
and upon reaching the castle
we turned and saw how
by chasing ourselves into one painting,
we had stepped out of another,
honey-silvered and velvet green.
Facing that god-painted landscape,
with our backs to the castle,
we took a picture
wearing our windbrushed grins.

Sewing Box

Sewing Box

Samantha Bard

I carry in the crook of my arm,
like a bible
or a child’s bear,
my own answer
to Pandora. These tools I use
to mend
kept in

a modest box. Not always
the same in shape or kind,
but in essence
I’ve had this box since birth.

This collection of sundries
stocking a mouse’s armory
with dainty rapiers,
minuscule magic wands
alongside hefty shears that nip

at coiled, measured ribbon.

How many grandmothers
have I to thank
for my treasure and tackle,
my nimble hands
that know how to tuck in pins,
where to press,
and what to trim.

My mother calls it magic
what I’m able to make
with a bit of time, bit of thread,
and my sewing kit.

But I’ll let you in
on my magician’s secret:
I’m grateful to the women
who put power in my hands
and taught me to weave it.

Ariadne’s Prologue

Ariadne’s Prologue
Samantha Bard 

You are young
but not so young

that your instinct to care
has been pampered out of you.

You are young
when you become a big sister,
meet the latest,
and last,
of your siblings, a new brother,
though all the adults shudder
and tell you not to look.

You are young
and maybe that is why
you do not feel afraid.
He is so, so small.
His infant hands tug
at his tufted tail, and he looks up at you
with great black eyes that sparkle
like his name, like little stars.
You pet his silky ears,
kiss his cold, wet nose,
and you see no monster
in the cradle.

When you are older
you will hate your father
and be ashamed of your mother.
You will be too accustomed to
Athenian blood and the cruelty of Crete.

When you are older
you will learn to keep watch
for any chance of salvation
for the sake of your people,
yourself, and your brother.

When you are older
and you have seen
what your brother’s strength can do
to innocent, unkind men,
you might be afraid
when you find him at the center
of his twisted prison
that you outsmarted long ago
with only a ball of yarn.

You are older
but he will always be your little brother.
You will care for him in secret
because no one else is willing
to let you near to wash the gore
from his neck and soft coat and hands
and the hard-to-reach curves of his horns.

You will not be afraid of him
because you cannot be afraid of him.
His life is fear and violence
and you, a gentle, lowing melody
of four notes that you will remember in death
as your name.


Ivan Calderon

I wear a stain over my eye;
a purple splotch that sprouts prickly hairs
like a fat tick laid
dead on my face.
When I was young,
I knew people couldn’t unsee
the crisped clump of torn fat
like a scorched marshmallow,
a mold-chewed blueberry,
shit over my eye.
But now, I look at my dried paint stain
as if it’s a crown,
hot under the mountain sun.
My spine aligns like a spear
As if my post-natal scar
Is purple velvet,
an amethyst geode,
panther’s fur.
I shift through streets,
creep like a jaguar
and prepare to prowl.
A rolling gulley of shadow
lies behind
those who will follow
in a cluster through jungle,
in lines through swamp,
in rows through the cordillera,
wave a banner
stained by dried mud
caked with the hot stench of rifles
and wildly blasted flesh.
As a purple veil casts over sunset,
those who see my mark
as the melted lead
of the revolution
bellow my name
as if
the wind moved steppes to say:
El Morado


Heavily Heavenly

Heavily Heavenly
Brynesha Griffin-Bey
Crisp Fall Air, nights on fire

He takes a deep breath, wrapping me up in his arms.
“How do you feel?” He looks at me with his overblown and glorious eyes,
Full of stardust and celestial life.
“Right now?”
“Yes, here with me...”
He’s biting his lip, I can tell he is anxious for my response.
“I feel, rather safe. Safe and warm and content. Happy. Very happy.”
He smiles at me.
Suddenly, his smile fades and he becomes very serious.
So serious that his smile lines disappear and the bags under his eyes are vivid.
Scary almost, very jarring.
He holds me with his eyes for a few seconds more,
Before leaning forward to kiss me.
It is a loss that feels so genuine and slow,
So invested and present.


Crisp Fall Air, nights on fire

Brynesha Griffin-Bey

I’m sure if I wanted to,
All those months ago,
If I wanted to move my chair closer to yours
And place my head on your shoulder,
I’m sure you would’ve just leaned on me.
Just like at the other bonfire night,
How you walked up to me,
Leaned into me,
I should’ve done the same,
In the car.
I’m sure
You wouldn’t have minded.
Not at all.

Dial Chime

Dial Chime
Brynesha Griffin-Bey

I still know the sound.
The sound the specific numbers make
When your number is dialed.
It’s the first phone number
That I committed to memory
And even now,
Not having dialed your number
I still remember it.

The Replay Lounge

The Replay Lounge
Emma Kelly

I have snuck into a bar for the first time,
                                                                                                                                                                                         precisely seven days before I turn twenty
Bass booming, blue light illuminates
Baggy denim jeans
Tight white halter top
A perfect combination to make me look
                                                                                                                                                                                             just old enough to shoulder myself into
                                                                                                                                                                                             a crowd of adults
We get on stage, his stage
in love but not crazy about it,
hold up peace signs
like those stupid illustrations of martians
Coming to Earth
One with flash, one without, one in landscape, one in portrait
                                                            now one with funny faces
                                                                                                                                                                                            like kids
I know I’m an adult
By technicality,
I can vote and drive a car
Buy a lottery ticket
Order myself something mature
                                                                                                                                                                                            but tonight,

                                                                                                                                                                                            I dance around barefoot
                                                                                                                                                                                            let my hair fall in my face
                                                                                                                                                                                            make out in the back of my car
                                                                                                                                                                                            afraid someone might catch me
                                                                                                                                                                                            hold pinky fingers instead of hands
                                                                                                                                                                                            because hands are too serious.
scrolling through
wondering how to sneak back in.


battle drills and "beauty"

battle drills and “beauty”

Emma Kelly

Root beer and
Marlboro cigarettes
linger in my mouth.
suede cappuccino eyes stare back at me
“You are beautiful”
it is the first time in my life that an individual considered
out of my league has found me
physically toughened
calloused hands
that have held machine guns, military grade weapons
hold me
wrap themselves around my hips
and squeeze me like the trigger of a sniper rifle
I draw in his cocoa butter skin
exhale into his overgrown buzz cut
enamored by all of his being.
when the dog tags finally clatter into some forgotten box of
His belongings
I will remain beautiful
even after the battle drills cease
and the tank brigades halt.



Kylie Schuster

Do I wanna meet you in the next life
In the blind hope we met at the wrong time?

Maybe your soul is a little wiser
Then when you left mine behind.

But I know naught about the next life
Who knows how many wishes will come true?
I will wish for peace and good tidings for us both
But I will not waste a wish on running into you.

I will only carry my own fate to the next life
And look for ways to find meaning and be merry.
I don’t know whether our fates are intertwined
But the question of your fate is not my burden to carry.

I will not look for you in the next life.
I will not look because I am not lost.
I am happy by myself and on my own
But I wouldn’t look away if once again our paths crossed.

By Association

By Association

Kylie Schuster

I am happy
Even by association
I find love as my loved ones grow
I get to watch my loved ones flourish.
I am the luckiest person I know.

I am loved
If only by association
Even so, I am whole.
I am an agent of well wishes
Deeply bound to every soul.

I am human
Through my associations
Even in times of change and strife
The human capacity for love is boundless
And the binding of love gives me life.

Conversations with the Sky

Conversations with the Sky: I

Kylie Schuster

I stare at the planet
That’s pretending to be a star.
She’s blessed by solitude
Her light traveling unbelievably far.

I envy this planet.
She’s held by her orbit and safely bound,
Carving pathways through the night sky
She looks mockingly at me on the ground

She knows her place in the cosmos
Her future is always clear
Gifted with a purpose from the heavens
While I grasp at straws in the stratosphere

I stare angrily at this planet
For pretending to be a star
Tell me what you know, I plead
Or I’ll tell them all what you really are.

She looks balefully ahead,
My existence –to her–obsolete
And while I continue with my begging
She spits stardust at my feet.

Liminal Notes

Liminal Notes

Tarryn Fredde

Music notes and harmonies linger in my ears,
The smell of rosin and wood sticks in my nose.
After practice, my father’s balmy silence
coats the stretch of highway, tinting the world
In TV screen static.

I roll my window down and hot, crawling
Summer hits my face, slips through my hair.
Strands flit around my peripheral vision,
Muffling the song on the radio.

My head rests against my arms as I lean
out the window, gazing up at the murky sky,
streetlights like my own personal rusted stars standing
sentinel, quiet as we drive under a bridges’ dark umbra.

Reaching home meant wading
Through math homework like molasses,
But for now, deserted streets and parking lots

Blanketed me, tucked me in while teetering
On the edge of atmosphere.

Metronome Life

Metronome Life

Gunnar Gudehus

It starts as music for the soul,
A perfection of the artist's goal.
Hear the trumpets quiver as the violin strays,
A million sounds a million ways.

We picked up the brass strings that were scattered there,
The ones on the broken stones that make up the square.
Listen as the choir sings and the priest prays,
A million sounds a million ways.

A local cop stands regarding his street,
Crime’s an old friend he’s ready to meet.
His siren a promise that when light meets gaze,
A million sounds a million ways.

The mayor was found skimming his chance at life,
He asked the wrong woman to dance, his wife.
The press on Wednesday wrote ‘it’s a game he plays,’
A million sounds a million ways.

Poor mothers and fathers wishing for peace,
Get thrown out when they forget the lease.
The knocking comes quick as somebody pays,
A million sounds a million ways.

Some workers find their strength in a gutter,
They’re paid in steel, not butter.
Holding out hope for comfort and praise,
A million sounds a million ways.

A sun is setting a blaze through town,
Burning the remnants of its renown.
No cries were heard as it continued to raze,
A million sounds a million ways.

Birthday Party

Birthday Party

Gunnar Gudehus

Eyes are judging the ritual near its close
Crowded, Impatient, they linger on the spotlight
Some flicker away, absent, distant
Others bounce in rapid movements
Bleary eyes gaze solemn, forever
Clear, glassy, they feast on the knowing that forever lives in fairy tales
They tear up, they laugh.

The tide rolls in: for an asphyxiating soul

the tide rolls in:

for an asphyxiating soul
Ethan Naber

a rising tide will raise all ships,
or so they say to me
it waxes, stains, and once
it wanes, i long to just be free

the waves all come from yonder
with my body they’ll collide
when constant waves are crashing
to the dock my hands are tied

i know i did not choose this path
but i still feel i did
surrounded by it constantly
i never can stay hid

the others, now, have said as much
“you drew the shortest straw”
i deal with that, but hope
that they all see it and can draw

conclusions on how i behave
when waters start to rise
i fought and handled this!
they tried to feign all their surprise

‘cause rising tides will raise all ships
against them you can’t win,
but you can give your best
when all the tides start to roll in.

the tides will go, but they don’t stop
they’re regular at best:
regardless of what state you’re in
they’ll put you to the test

roaring waves will beat against you
leave you scared to death
you may not even have the time
to draw a single breath;

and when they crash and break
in all their wondrous shades of blue,
they go back to the ocean
looking just a bit maroon

for one wave on its own
when from a nice and calming sea?
the stressors flow, but even so,
my end result’s relief

but it’s not just one wave, you see
and they don’t all go back
to the ocean like they should
because there’s just a total lack

of normalcy with all these waves
it’s really rather strange
the water rises, rises and
it doesn’t ever wane

eventually it’s all too much
the water’s way too high
what was a nice experience
has slowly turned to lies

marooning waves will leave
and people wonder where i’ve been
and i’m just sat here, drowning.
even so, the tide rolls in

the study: why i write

the study:

why i write
Ethan Naber

down in the basement
we had a grand study
mahogany doors barred it off

the ceiling was tall
and my being was small
inside was a realm all my own

its physical edges were
shelves on the wall
but mentally covered by dreams

i could go where i wished
with the birds and the fishes;
the boundary set by just me

so i took the expanse
that i had in that room
and i let my imagining soar

i’d snap shut my eyes and
i’d rush with the lions
i’d read about often before

other times, though,
i would turn to the past
and see where my vision would go

i would stand, great and tall
atop hadrian’s wall
and watch the footprints in the snow

i’d read of the cities
and spin ‘round my globe
to find places that i could explore

i saw tons of cool cities
heard great folk-tune ditties
but yearned still to do so much more

i would go to vienna!
rome! paris! and then i
would pick a place, maybe shanghai?

rio! and brussels!
and cities that bustle
i’d live there! and dream through the night...

but life in the city
was not all i fancied
i’d sit at the oversized desk

i’d see fantastic visions
these humans created
in all of them i’d be a speck

i read all the shakespeare
the plays that he wrote
and the various scenes he would stage

and lewis and austen
and hawthorne in boston
with all of the canon engaged

and when i’d come down
my head out of the clouds
i would tell all the world what i saw

i write for the world that
i want more to see
by forever increasing my awe

the observatory for a shattering world

the observatory:

for a shattering world
Ethan Naber

introspection is always beneficial
and what better way to introspect
than using science?

welcome to the observatory.

this glass-domed house of light
is isolated from the cabin
you have to tread for miles to get here

but when you ascend its winding stairs
an illustrious house of wisdom awaits
a telescope towering over means
one’s gaze often leaves this pale blue dot

i am a scientist, not an artist
the world is clinically exact
a place for everything
and everything in its place

i used to think that was true.
in some cases, yes,
all the world’s scientific,
celestial bodies align

but often results will
conclude incoherence
not everything in this world shines

and what’s a telescope
but a reflection of the way things are?
and when it fails
i wonder why?

i aim the telescope
at the horrors that rampage this earth
the specter of atrocity haunts us
countless starving children
countless lives lost
and it seems
to go on

everything is in focus, but i must be blind.

i am not going to act as if this is normal.
but the crimes of war abound anyway
i don’t know what to do with myself

it’s true that i’m not involved
yet the anguish abounds
it would be trivial to disassociate.

but i can’t force myself to do it.
it would signal the end of
what was left of my humanity

when the world cannot be scientific
then it’s futile to pretend it is
why does this happen?

i walk out of the observatory
knowing this is what the world is like
and that i’m powerless to stop it.

this means hate and fear
and suffering

why does it have to be this way?
i’m pacing up and down the stairs
and then i slip and fall

To a railway carriage

[to a railway carriage]

nov. 13, 2023
n. speck

faster than fairies faster than light
the train goes by in the silent night
and the silence breaks and we hear its call:
“at the end you will never have known me at all”

here is a child who scrambles and grows
the train goes by and the child knows
but the silence breaks and we hear the call:
“to you who are standing, take heed lest ye fall”

all of the sights of the hill and the field
we come to view, and we go unhealed
and the silence breaks with the fisher-king’s call:
“the pain will be conquered, but it leaves a wall”

here is a cart run away with our fate
the train goes by and we’ve come too late
and the silence breaks and we hear the call:
“lest justice be shown you, give mercy to all”

each a glimpse and gone forever
ocean forest soul and river
and ever again in the wink of an eye
the silence breaks with its silent cry:
“how can you live if you let the world die?”



jan. 22, 2024
n. speck

but here we are as we have always been,
and yet our music boxes spin away
and we have only met but now and then.

give me the time! what time is it, my friend?
but lest the afternoon has gone astray
i will not listen but for now and then.

i cannot rate life on a scale of ten,
for eating up today and yesterday
is what we know tomorrow might have been.

anxiety consumes the race of men:
and though we keep on plodding, come what may,
we shall go forward only now and then.

and here we are as we have always been,
far from community, and light of day,
for each is every other’s antigen.

give me my will! and find your own, my friend;
we have not drowned, but floated far away.
i cannot know what happened yesterday,
but i can tell you what it might have been.

Espinela: ellie be careful

[espinela: ellie be careful]

feb. 8, 2024
n. speck

ring’d with the azure world she waits
and readies her white wings with skill
aloft afar from field or hill
she wipes her glasses concentrates

this crystal view her mother hates
has been for years her halcyon
elated by the wind upon
her face she steps out of the hatch
and does not pull the corded catch
till all her frozen fear is gone

This dorm, and these four walls

This dorm, and these four walls

Marquis Whitmire

I have a dream. OR dreams. Not
the type that allows eyes to bulge at the
words I speak so fluently. But,

a dream to look across the street, to see
another human being. Understanding the
direction they are walking is made up

of personal desires.
Which in part, have nothing to do
with me.

I walk this street now. It seems,
eyes that kiss my neck as I hold my head down and
pace myself on an even accord.

To me, their personal desires may as well
bring comfort like a chair, forcing me to

to sit amongst those who give me smiles.
Smiles that crack lips, to their dried internal

Soothing this drieness would call for
self discovery. Although,

I am being conducted.
A place to where my limbs
could trimble at the moonlight's gaze.

Nighttime would creep too soon,
as quick to drop me off, where I was almost

Founded by an individuals whose
recollection loses imminence.

As dark as these stone walls,
my energy grabs a gloomy partition.

I seek to erect my shoulders up to

the sky. The yawns of neighbors,
almost close in reach. But,
to reach wouldn’t be enough to

feel the exhaled breath on my sleeve. I should
think of good things. As if I could actually
unlock the shackle connected to that bed.

I almost moved my arms away from my side. I almost walked
out of that room. I almost felt that I could get in my car, put it
drive, and listen to the humming sounds of life as

everything else passes me by.
I almost thought that I could.



Marquis Whitmire

There, this thrusting threshold.
Tickles my toes.
From the times that I would sit outside
under the maple tree, I,
would lay eyes on sap.
Seeping through the bark, sulking
stillness amongst the bark.
Bark, with various lumps, and
curiosities main keepsake. My
finger raised to graze it’s liquid
form. But it was not. Hardened.
The ant may make its way
around the sweet and sticky substance.
To bring back to its queen, and cater to her.
Or keep for itself, becoming self indulgent
in making sure he’s noticed. The ant would go

If the ant had fingers, caressing your flesh
would be like taking spoonfuls of free spirits.
It may insist that you not
move and look into its eyes.
To wonder if, despite your flame punching it’s gut,
is it possible to find love within
those who trip over roots?
Often, I’d ask that you not poke
me in ways that make me fall.
Continuing to fall through my
foundation. Sinking through the soil,
and past my roots to a sunken place.
You could see that I am not sure.
These moments that mean nothing and everything
at the same time.
I have a dangerous desire
to place my finger upon the flamboyant blaze
of a forest fire that you set.

I would be in a
similar contest to bite like the ant,
or burn like the tree.

It intrigues me.

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