New Poetry by Francine Cunningham: “Whales can’t save us all—but they try”


The child waits,

drawn with shaky fingers
the thick lines of a blue whale’s eyes come into focus
out of the abyss of the great white ocean
the form is coaxed into being
and with the life ink has given stretches its fins

scratchy and ruthless the strokes of the pen dig into the paper
tearing tiny holes into the surface of the water
but nonetheless,
the whale grins as bubbles tickle its thick heavy body

the sound of thudding boots on carpet makes its thunderous arrival outside the door
and still the child waits
shoulders hunched around ears
eyes trained on the figure
silent in the middle of the page

a splinter of sound against the door
the pen lifts, the child listens
thrashing in the stagnant water
the whale gasps for the breath of true life
follicled mouth
begging for movement

the pen smashes down against the eye
and in desperation, blots more black against it
willing it to see, to see, to see
to witness
and for a moment out of the blackness
there is a hazy figure, blue paint, red carpet, pictures shaking against the wall

but then suddenly the pen digs too deep
crashes through
and the whale sinks
deeper, deeper, deeper
until neither can see
only wait


these words by Francine Cunningham were inspired by the work of Daphne Boyer

We asked for flowers and they gave us flying cars.


word by Josh Elyea 

colour by Garry Tugwell Smith

    Untether yourself from the Earth, they’d said. Man was born to fly.

                When I was a little kid, I’d run through the meadow behind our house with my arms waist-high. I’d convince myself that the gentle touch of the high grass against my fingers was exactly what a cloud might feel like, if you could reach out and grab it. I still think about that meadow as I run my hands through the greasy droplets of moisture that cloud the air as I drive to work. Clouds aren’t quite as majestic as my formative self liked to believe.

                It’s easy to look at a flying car and be impressed. It’s easy to look at it and think, we’re going in the right direction.

                Now, we look to the things that grow for sanctuary. We look for the things that hold fast to the Earth, that dig their roots deep and growl at the bastards who’d dare to try and dig those roots out, to inspire us, just as we once looked to our superheroes as they streaked across the sky. Now, we see heroism in every tree that dares to grow, in every flower that dares to bloom. We recognize the bravery in their determination, in their resolve. How hard it must be to be green in a grey world.

                To my left, a massive building hovers in the fog, beyond definition. Concrete but fluid, the building lurks as lights signal to oncoming traffic which sections of the sky to avoid. Strange to think that the sky, once so spectacular in its refusal to be defined, has now been mapped, separated into imaginary but all-too-real geometric spaces given a name and correlating number based on their geographic location (and in this process, had the entirety of its mystery stripped away, like a bad movie that foreshadows too heavily its own ending).

                The lights on the building pulse in the morning haze, and as the faint sun begins  to strike the windows of the tower, it seems for a moment to resemble a large flower unfolding as the day breaks. Is it possible that skyscrapers too have roots, dug deep into the concrete that has increasingly replaced the Earth?

 read more words by Josh Elyea 

see more colour by Garry Tugwell Smith

On the Environment: “Forest for the Trees”



It was a place of possibility.  Where anything could happen.  Secrets hidden behind every tree.  Discovery around every bend.  Adventure was everywhere.

I was always struck by the trees.  So much bigger than anything we had in the city.  And so many.  No matter where you looked, there they were, towering above and continuing on past the horizon.

Walking beneath them today, I’m reminded of the games of hide and seek we’d play in their shade.  The time I came upon the perfect spot.  When no one could find me, I cried my eyes out, waking hours later to Mom’s touch as she picked me up and carried me back to camp.  To the bonfire.

I craved the smoke’s heady scent in my nostrils while simultaneously doing everything in my power to avoid its brutal sting to my eyes.  Every night Liz and I would get one step closer to the perfect s’more recipe.  It’s a miracle our teeth didn’t fall out with all the scorched marshmallow and melted chocolate we ate amongst these trees.

In later years, we discovered the lake.  The forest stayed to its shore, watching on as we swam and played.  It became near impossible to get us to leave the water.  We’d spend full days splashing about, emerging only when our bodies became too tired to keep us afloat.

It’s still hard to believe this will be my last visit.  I wanted to protect this place.  To protect the memories it’s given me.  Now all I want is one last dip in the lake.

I never knew there were so many different machines for destroying trees.  I can only hope the water will drown out some of the noise.


word by Grant McLaughlin

colour by Julien Coquentin