Zoë Barnstone-Clark: Introduction and Two Poems

What better way to come down from a snowy, frozen Valentine’s Day than not only with new poetry, but with an exciting development at The Whale?

In the coming weeks and months we’ll be introducing Regular Contributors, de facto staff-writers for the various sections of the magazine who have proven themselves to be original, witty, and engaging in their respective genres. These Regular Contributors are tasked with contributing original content to the magazine every so often, and they will be given more creative autonomy than an occasional submitter would. That’s not to say that we don’t value occasional submitters, of course we do. Without them The Whale, like any other literary journal, would not be able to function. 

My first pick for the Poetry section in fact, has published with us before, and we’re thrilled to have her join our team here. But who needs editorial prose when there’s poetry to be read?

Without further ado, here’s Zoë Barnstone-Clark with two poems.


Shall we ever lay to rest this age of tumult?
We ponder—the year bends to our resilience
and whispers her name over and over,
like a curse upon humanity, Hydra.

We go on battling faceless soldiers
who promise us failure and tempt
our ranks with misdirection.

We know we shall again be derailed
and desperately seek out idols
to guide us on the quest of motivation—
a crusade of epiphanies and surreal encounters.

As we march onwards
the ghost of mundanity
haunts the rhythm of our feet.

Tread slowly, dear friends.

Walk in circles for you may find yourself in a labyrinth.

Do not settle and expedite the fated process of becoming dust.

Tread slowly on your journey,
may it long last you.

Goldilocks and the Three Fuckboys

Solve your own mystery.

I’m through with this Nancy Drew shit.
All clues indicate you throw too much shade.
In my life you’ve always been a misfit.
You remain convinced it’s all a game.
All your mixed signals might as well be lost in translation
because I don’t speak fuckboy, only honest communication

I never had the time
for your narcissistic temper tantrums
or being that spotlight to help you shine.
There’s no winner in our battles
because all you care about is if you cum.
I should’ve listened when they told me you were a bum.

Next time you fuck my friend out of spite
please keep in mind your dirty dick
isn’t worth getting in any kind of fight.
I’m just here chilling, listening to Mick,
“Drink more water.” Yeah I’m ‘bout that shit.
No need to be thirsty or throw a hissy fit.

I’ve grown to expect no text back,
maybe I’ll hear from you a week later
when you want my tongue on your ballsack.
I don’t care if this makes me a hater
because frankly, you’re not worth the trouble.
I hope this turns your ego into rubble.

To the one I thought was different,
turns out, you were just playing pretend.
I was acting like you were a barbiturate
and you thought you were a godsend.
It’s too bad it all went down in flames.
I should’ve known you were playing me like one of your chess games.

zbc_author photo

Zoë Barnstone-Clark’s work has appeared in New Letters. She grew up in Columbia, Missouri, and is currently in her first year at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts.


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