Vicky Sharples




Just Another Human-Interest Story


So we were fucking, right? Or maybe

we’d just finished

draped about like Tristan and Isolde

twisted sheets

casual genitalia

London’s Calling faintly from the jukebox

outside the road sweeper’s staccato

burns an old familiar beat on sun-stained streets

beneath the throbbing undulation of a thousand solitary feet

voices echo up with
dust and cigarette smoke

talk of burning buses

whispered chaos

but we’re miles away from Aldgate

and all I can think about is one small alternative

the slender aching schism

of a myth defaced

replaced with some vague unarticulated fiction


still buses pass

petals of grey ash from the incinerator



are lost in the traffic



Vicky Sharples lives by the sea with an enormous ginger cat. After many years in the pub trade, she’s now close to completing an English Literature and Creative Writing BA at the University of Kent. Find her on Twitter @vixta6

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Susie Wild




How Much Sickness Are We Talking, Exactly?

For Ben

For we’ve already had more than our fair share,
fevered and sweaty in our whirlwind love,
and are you sick of me yet, darling? Anyway
as I fall over, fall further into this, as a date
is set, as our goose is cooked, love?

And where is this health they talk of, this absence
of aching pains, these that I feel for the taking
of you, for the lack of you, here, by my side?
I would marry you daily, if I had enough dresses.
Whether you work in Aldi or add

the word Doctor at the start of your name,
whether I’m driving barefoot across America, trying
to learn your songs. Whether we’ve babies on the rug
and little else but this love, love. And, after all, these
setbacks are simply more stories we can tell.



Susie Wild is a poet, writer, journalist, critic, lecturer, festival organiser and editor based in Cardiff. Her debut poetry collection Better Houses is out now through Parthian Books. The Art of Contraception was her first book. It was long-listed for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2011 and won ‘Fiction Book of the Year’ in the Welsh Icons Awards 2010. Her Kindle novella Arrivals was released globally through Parthian Books in May 2011. She edited the illustrated short story anthology Rarebit for Parthian’s 21st birthday, released December 2013. Illustrated by John Abell. She is Publishing Editor at one of Wales’ Leading Indie Publishers, Parthian Books. @Soozerama

Note: Today is Susie and Ben’s wedding day.  Congratulations from us at IS&T!

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Shaun Hill




raised in the wrong ways

I’ve never been any good at fire-safety
because I was raised to be a sacrifice

by men who explode & the word belief
by women who bleed one way or another-

mother… he threatened to slit his throat
in front of us when we tried to leave.

why deliver us through water
to burn 
up in a family like this?



Shaun Hill is a queer poet living in the Midlands. His work has previously been published in Eighty-Four: Poems on Male Suicide (Verve), and is forthcoming in The Projectionist’s Playground. Find him on Instagram @warmbloodedthing.

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John Sweet




poem for the fine art of immortality

spirits larger than the summer sun and
how high were we flying when
we got the news about cobain’s death?

how fast were we driving trying to
leave all the pain of that last
grey winter behind?

and i don’t think i ever saw you again but
i can still remember the taste of
salt on your lips on easter sunday

i can still remember the
gift of godlike vision
before we threw it all away



John Sweet sends greetings from the rural wastelands of upstate NY.  He is a firm believer in writing as catharsis. His latest poetry collections include Heathen Tongue (2017 Kendra Steiner Editions) and Bastard Faith (2017 Scars Publications).

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Sam Hickford




The Dulcimer-girls (for Coleridge)
(Oh, and the Dulcimer-boys)

they’re the ones making the bloody noise
banging on those lovely instruments
on an Autumn night at 3 A.M
and it’s so nice – and, yes, I guess it’s Leeds –
but I’d really rather like to sleep.
Though each resonant, softly-stricken sound
bothers me in euphony. But, now,
Oh my god, it is the Dulcimen
banging on those strings as they upend
Becks-cans outside of “Abyssinia”
olay-ing as the streets grow tinnier.
I suppose it’s nice! It brings back memories
of harmonies heard far away from Leeds,
fragrances carried by the cyclamen.
I definitely can’t get up again
but there’s a pleasure to this heightened state
and thoughts cohere, exactly, when it’s late.
The lesson? We might have to give up sleep
making each day a dreadful-darling dream
like a dulcimer (!) way out of tune
but still a dulcimer: a flower in bloom
quite nervously. But if I hear a sound again
I swear to God I’ll fucking kill those men.



Sam Hickford is a freelance writer and poet. He has written for British publications like The Guardian and The Tablet: his contributor page for The Guardian can be found here.

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Alex Josephy





Take thistledown, hold it in the bowl
of your palms. Feel it tingle
like Spumante.

No, it can’t mend your heart,
but it will float you to the surface
of your skin.

A cure for that dull ache
under the ribs, that beats each time
you long for your child

across the ocean? Find a river
or a canal. Worn stone steps are best,
down to the towpath.

Let your eyes ride a kingfisher’s
quick shot of blue, borrow
a moorhen’s buoyancy;

how easily they dive, come up
somewhere unexpected, sleeved
in a twist of air.



Alex Josephy‘s collection White Roads was published by Paekakariki Press (2018). Other Blackbirds (2016) is a Cinnamon Press pamphlet. Her poems appear in magazines and anthologies in England and Italy; find out more at

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