Maggie Mackay




The South Starts Here

with houses, shacks,
salons, billboards
piles of tyres, an airport hangar,
a Methodist church, a propane tank,
voids, that ramshackle Whispering Pines,
its shuttered shadow;
always something else burning,
forty three fires,
the 44th by a piece of cloth I lit.
with unsellable houses destined to crumble
in an emptying county
with flames spurting from farm outbuildings
-  burned wood into crackle.

All I saw was orange in the air,
on unmarked drives veering off
into quiet dead ends
where people share last names
even if they don’t remember
how they share bloodlines.
No traffic off of 13, and deep country roads.
You never run out
of abandoned buildings there.

I had timed it perfectly,
on Valentine’s Day, an arson spree,
I let the hens out first,
too sensible to be caught.

Me, they called stupid, crazy,
close-cut red hair, goatee,
wide blue eyes, good run to bad.




Maggie Mackay, a co-editor at  and a second year student on the MA in Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University, has work in several publications including Ink, Sweat and Tears, Bare Fiction and The Interpreter’s House, and forthcoming in Obsessed with Pipework.

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Rupert Loydell




Black Holes & Other Inconsistencies
after Edgar Martins

There’s a thin blue line
sprayed vertically on the wall
and a film of grey dust on the floor.

A square shadow of shade
turns sand a darker yellow,
and there’s a distant light in the forest

ignored by the birds
rising into the faded sky
and a driver walking away from his car

parked by the covered road sign
near the abandoned raised highway
above a permanently closed café.

None of this signifies anything,
they are just part of the world’s emptiness
which small waves in the lake wash away.



Rupert Loydell is the editor of Stride magazine, a contributing editor to intenrational times, and Senior Lecturer in English with Creative Writing at Falmouth University. Shearsman have just published his new book The Return of the Man Who Has Everything, which continues his exploration of post-confessional narrative poetry.

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E. Martin Pedersen





in Candyland
where everything’s candy
the winners get vegetables


at the politician’s funeral
you had to push your way in


your delicious perfume
gave me a migraine
that never ended


all my adult life
I have waited for the word:


watermelons and onions—
a feast that keeps on feasting


how sorry how sorry
is the hiker
who set the forest ablaze?




E. Martin Pedersen, originally from San Francisco, has lived in eastern Sicily for several decades. Some of his publication news can be found on his blog:

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John Alwyine-Mosley




After midnight

I wonder,
if my fridge is a cat:
it purrs,
it is indifferent unless food offered,
its little eyes light up in the night,
then decide
it is time I went to sleep.




John Alwyine-Mosley is active in various poetry networks and workshops nationally and in the south-west, he is currently working towards his first collection.

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Vicki Stannard




Irregular Apocalypse

There is no news on the TV.
The Apocalypse has happened;
it has been as bad as it can be
so nobody’s watching.
But there is still TV.
Re-runs of old cop shows
in the wrong order
with no continuity announcements.
There is no need for continuity
after an apocalypse.
I almost missed it.
I should have been sleeping
but I got up in the early hours
for a glass of water
and picked up the howling
of death as it stalked the neighbourhood.
I pulled back the curtain
to see the streets run with blood
while fires seemed to start
out of nowhere.
As they do
when there is an apocalypse.
Now, few survivors dare venture outside.
And my years of hoarding tinned goods
and bottled water
turned out to be just the right thing.
And with the Apocalypse over
There’s not much to be done.
But carry on
with my usual schedule
though the programmes
have changed.




Vicki Stannard is a poet and translator, currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing at the Manchester Writing School, and has performed at the Poetry Cafe in London as part of the Poetry Society’s South West London Stanza.

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