I don’t know about anyone else, but it’s only March and I’m already out of juice for 2022. It feels like everything that was put off, set aside, or marked as ‘too hard’ over the last two years has been concentrated into this new and promising year, and I for one am worn thin—like I’ve been strained of my pulp; squeezed out. But at the same time, there’s a sense of excitement in the air, and I’m starting to find it easier to refill the jug.

            I will not apologise for the many juice puns that you will encounter in this editorial, nor the ones you’ll find while po(u)ring through our 25th issue of exquisite poetry, prose, and art. 

            Thinking back to my last editorial six months ago, I’m amazed at how different our current position seems to be. Then, our submissions seemed to be focussed on death and disconnection. This time, I’m happy to report they pivoted to a different, and equally important, theme: sex. Juicy, full-pulp, sweet and tart; they bit into the passion fruit.  

            In ‘Detox and Toxin-ated’ Huyen Hac Helen Tran’s introduces us to this idea that ‘the flesh of the fruit’ is ‘the pulsating expression of sex’, as she crushes the desire for perfect ‘readymade’ identity through a cold press to see what comes out. Taking the reader into the eyes of queer desire, Darryl Peers connects the worlds of innuendo and innocence, and brings the locker room to life, illustrated by a mouthwatering work by Tegan Iverson.

         Not all of the works we included in the issue are about sex, though! George Cox in ‘Morning Routine’ manages to find a way to flip over our ‘topology of traumatised dreaming forms’, tempting us with the juicy promise of something new, and in ‘Slice’, Sarah Firth playfully asks what to make of our small differences in perspective and experience.

         In a celebration of ‘alien’ colour and texture, Amaya Lang bursts open the visuals of the theme with a photo you’ll never forget, and Eileen Chong’s poem ‘Magic Love Poem’ follows it with a sensory journey through trauma that burns just as bright.

         B. Fanlin’s literary essay ‘Soy Juice’ gets right into the viscosity of the theme, taking a journey through food and Chinese identity that creates unexpected and inspired connections.

         In a poetry suite that comes at the theme from contemplative angles, Šime Knežević’s ‘Sample, Spit, and Spar’ has new pulpy bits to chew on whenever I return to it. Freda Chiu’s cover art takes us straight to summer, and the lemonade stand of my fever dreams.

         Closing out the issue is a set of poems by Alshaad Kara that are the citrine jewel at the epitome of the theme, inviting you to ‘engulf [your]self to the joy of those juiciest juices!’ What more can we say? It has been a joy to pour ourselves right into this sparkling side of life, unpeeling identity in diverse ways and becoming revitalised in the process. 

         I hope you enjoy reading this particular blend of creativity, and that it sets your juices running in one way or another… Drink up!

Claire Albrecht
(Editor in Chief)