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I stole the torturer's tongue.
it's the first side of me some see
the first line you hear
first line of defense when I say
"See this long tongue illicitly acquired—
doesn't it suit me well?
hear these long words assiduously applied—
don't I wield them well?
wouldn't you be foolish if you tried to tackle me
in anything so complex as a kiss or a conversation?"
I stole the torturer's tongue!
hear this long tongue!
feel this long tongue!
this tongue sometimes my only tool
(not mine entirely, but what is?)
I was raised protectively of/as/by other people's property—
I got over that.
this tongue is yours too if you can take it.
I stole the torturer's tongue!
man wouldn't recognize this dancing, twining, retrained flesh
if it slapped upside the empty space in him head—
it will, it has; he'll pay for the pleasure.
watch him try an' claim as his own this long, strong old tongue's
new-remembered rhythms . . .
hear this long tongue!
fear this long tongue!
know this tall tale to be mine too, and I'll live or die by it.
I stole the torturer's tongue!




David C. Findlay is a thingmaker in music, visual art, text & other media. He is also a recovering Canadian who now resides with his main squeeze in Southern California. David still says "I'm sorry!" when people bump into him & spells "humour" wrong but is otherwise acclimatizing to his new home. His essays and poetry can be found in First Person Queer: Who We Are (So Far), Dark Matter: Reading the Bones, and The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet. "Stolen Song" first appeared in Nalo Hopkinson's Midnight Robber.
Current Issue
17 Jan 2022

The land burns so hot and high tonight that Let can see its orange glow even from the heart of The City of Birds. It burns so thick she can taste the whole year’s growth of leaves and branches on her lips. It burns so fast she can almost hear the deer and cottontails scream as flames outrun them and devour them whole.
I writhe in bed with fever, chills, chatters and shivers. The near becomes far as the far comes close.
No one gets married before going to space.
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By: Allison Parrish
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Issue 1 Nov 2021
By: Liam Corley
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Podcast read by: Liam Corley
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