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Showcase: Stolen Heart + Tales From The Left Side Of The Bell Curve + Hedgehog + Love Tea

Edited by Niema Bohrayba

Today is Valentine’s Day, so it’s only right we explore the theme of ‘Beginnings And Endings’ through the lens of love in all its forms on today’s Showcase. With the second new moon of 2024 behind us, the year is well and truly underway and I hope your plans and aspirations are beginning to take shape. While you are busy working on making this happen, I hope you can take a bit of time out to enjoy this lovely collection of creative work.

Our first piece this week is an emotionally charged poem by Priyanka Nawathe. Stolen Heart speaks to the aftermath of a relationship breakdown, the sadness and loss it brings and the strength we need to muster to move on and start anew.

Stolen Heart

He stole my life
Cash and heart
Now hides behind
Shadows in the dark.

I wake up
Sweating in the night
My bed feels cold
As his shape it holds.

Damn memories
Keep rushing back
Sleep won’t come
As I hit the sack.

His girl’s got all
Jewels and dolls
Pulling him back
With a mating call.

Life evolves all around.
I stare back from the ground,
Staying still
Too afraid to spill
Tears telling all
Everyday is abysmal.

I shoot darts everywhere
Hurting through such despair,
People flee hit by words.
Destiny is too absurd
Until a bolt falls hitting me
Like an alarm knocking out the clock.
I fall back looking at one
Who pulls me out from the bog.

Now I’m out of sinking ground.
And look what I found
A message from afar:
It’s been light years
Since I was gone,
Drifting through space
That was borne
From circumstance
Beyond control.
Now we’re back
Holding each other to console.
Things might fall apart
But we both have heart
With a stronger soul.
So don’t hold back,
Let us start,
This chapter will be hard.
But we will thrive
Till the end.
Cause all I need
Is a better friend. 

(c) Priyanka Nawathe, 2024

You can connect with Priyanka on X: @PriyankaNawathe and Instagram:@priyankanawathewriter


Our second piece is a joyful illustration LGBTQ+ by Laura Oh. The splash of colourful butterfly wings and the glitter of love hearts against a backdrop of a blue sky depicts emergence and freedom.

Freedom In Midst Of Oppression (c) Laura Oh 2024

You can connect with Laura on Instagram: @bylauraoh and via their website:


Next we have Tales From The Left Side Of The Bell Curve: The Desire To Share Books. Jack Pemment’s piece takes us on a journey from the inception of a thought and its expansion in our minds through inner dialogue.

Tales From The Left Side Of The Bell Curve: The Desire To Share Books

I have recently discovered that most of my grievances with humans do in fact come from a veritable no-man’s land, a caustic damp place, a place where ivy, bindweed, and introspection refuse to flourish.

A place where the single-celled organisms feel themselves superior to the dominant complex multi-cellulars and refuse to become complicit in their deeds by rejecting the offer of symbiosis.

The air is thick with burnt sugar and diesel fumes.

A family of blind one-legged ducks long ago keeled over and died next to an exploded shell of a discarded Tesla. It was once rumored that the key opinion leaders would return, but then all of the birds died.

Welcome to ‘The Left Side Of The Bell Curve.’

The discovery started off quite gently. I was attempting to identify and describe the tight splintered frustration of why people wishing to share reading material with me bothered me so much.

Do other people feel the same? Is my reaction common? Do I have enough Raisinets before embarking on this marathon of thought?

The confusion I feel when approached in this apparent gregarious manner is due to feeling multiple thoughts at once and this annoys me. Why should I feel confused when somebody offers me a book and why is my first thought not to offer gratitude but to wonder if I have any space on the top of my compost heap?

I am immediately assaulted with: How well do I know this person and why do they presume I have availability in my private life to read something that has nothing to with any of the material or thoughts I typically decide to feed to my anxiety until I drop into the pit myself from exhaustion and wonder if I’ve reached the end?

It’s just bledy rude!

And yet there appears to be some cocktail of maladjusted personality traits shining in the dental plaque of this person as they bask in the glow of doing somebody else a favor.

My analysis continues:

You may or may not have read all of this book, yet you appear delighted that you’ve rediscovered reading in your 30s and it’s perhaps this joy that you want me to experience? I appreciate the thought, but you’ll have to forgive me because I never experienced a significant enough lapse in reading since high school and so regrettably this joy is outside of my remit.

You also appear to be offering me a book in an attempt to shoehorn in some familiarity to our relationship thus boosting the chances of my acceptance. I don’t know you and therefore your attempt to pass the thoughts of an unknown author to me are suspicious. There also appears to be some crazed delight in your eyes that you’re passing over to me something that you have used in some fashion or another and you feel smug that you may have talked me into sloppy seconds.

Are you even aware of the political nature of what you’re doing? Offering me this book under spurious circumstances is an act of hegemony. You want to take some ownership of my thoughts now or in the future. Are you not aware that reading is a solitary activity where each individual pursues their own interests away from the noise of the rest of the world? Forgive me for being candid, but as you’re not Susan Sontag, jog on.

The person before me quickly appears so alien, I’m not even sure the use of spoken words will penetrate their intentions.

They must be from ‘The Left Side Of The Bell Curve.’

(c) Jack Pemment, 2024

You can connect with Jack on their website:


Up next is Hedgehog, a heart-warming poem by Hongwei. In some European folklore, the sighting of a hedgehog in early to mid-February is a sign that the days are getting warmer, along with the expectation of an earlier spring. Conversely, the absence of hedgehogs in February means the continuation of the cold, wintery weather. Either way, this beautiful poem depicts the lovely interactions we can have with these charming mammals.


You press your face against my chest.
Your breath is warm, and your stubble prickly.
You are a hedgehog, mostly cute but not always cuddly,
mostly nice but at times ill-tempered.
Patience is my best weapon for you.

When you feel the world is against you,
you curl yourself up in a dark corner, refusing
to let me enter your world.
It may take ages till your spikes soften
and till your heart is reopened to me.

You love the cherry tree at the end of our garden.
In spring you see hope in the white blossoms.
In autumn your eyes are wide-open, hungrily searching
for red cherries on branches and amongst leaves, competing
with blackbirds to figure out which ones are ready to eat.

(c) Hongwei Bao, 2023

You can connect with Hongwei on X:@PatrickBao1


Our last piece for this week is by me and it’s a ‘Love Tea’ recipe. I like experimenting with different herb concoctions creating different teas for different occasions, keeping notes on all the ones I like. This one is from the floral section of my notebook. I drink this tea all year round because I happen to believe that we should celebrate love all day every day, and not just on February 14. Enjoy!

Love Tea

Flowers can be associated with a range of emotions, with love being one of them. It’s traditional to buy or assemble a bouquet of flowers for a loved one as an expression of our feelings for them, so why stop there? Edible flowers are a wonderful way to enjoy florals in a totally different way. For this recipe, I like to combine the following florals in a teapot:

Three dried edible rose buds.

Half a teaspoon of dried lavender flowers.

Half a teaspoon of dried chamomile flowers.

Add boiling water to your florals (or if you are a tea connoisseur, water at about 90 degrees, so just under boiled – it just adds a little something to the flavour) and allow them to steep for about 5-10 minutes in your teapot.

When it’s ready, pour and enjoy in your favourite teacup!

You can find dried edible florals from most herb suppliers, or you can source all or some of your ingredients from a herb nursery near you. There are very few hard or fast rules about this tea, just that you need to make sure your florals are edible and that you like the taste. The different combinations and strengths you can experiment with are endless.

(c) Niema Bohrayba, 2024


If you’d like to see your writing appear in the Write On! Showcase, please submit your short stories, poetry or novel extracts to:

Issue 19 of Write On! is out now and you can read it online here. Find it in libraries and other outlets and see previous editions of our magazines here

Hear extracts from Showcase in our podcast. Write On! Audio. Find us on all major podcast platforms, including Apple and Google Podcasts and Spotify. Type Pen to Print into your browser and look for our logo or find us on Spotify for Pocasters.


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