Jessica Mookherjee

 

 

 

Honey Shot
 
Samson knows the sound of lies
and scissors, clings to some muscle he used
to have. Jumping through hoops
to stay alive. You don’t need to impress me.           

Snip, slash in a dirty flat, he gathers
bottles, cans, vials, he couldn’t let go,
and I say, aren’t you pleased to see me
again? And What was she like? And how
 
could you love her so much when she cut
you like that? He wants me to slice
off his head. I tell him it will grow back,
as he sings fragments remind me,

I tricked him too, got to the truth,
out of the strong comes something sweet.
Let out he’d sucked something unclean,
rubs blind eyes, waves his hands, says

he can’t remember any times he told
me he loved me, only the girl who blinded
him, gave him the honey, cut his hair,
took his money. He says he can’t see me.

 

 

 

Jessica Mookherjee has been widely published. Her pamphlets are The Swell (Telltale Press, 2016) and Joyride (BLER Press, 2017). She was highly commended in the Forward Prize 2017 for best single poem and is author of Flood (Cultured Llama 2018).

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Eloise Hendy

 

 

 

blood lemon

your love smells like lemons
mine like a fishing line
i catch in the throat i get tangled
and have to be thrown far out
and into the water
you clean out wounds
and cause weeping
people do not say their favourite smell is a fishing line
people do not peel lemons and offer segments to their lovers
factors that determine the choice of line
include breaking strength
and abrasion
i find myself hysterical at the beginning of spring
i find you sharp
and the weeping is unfortunate
i must stop being so artlessly culpable
my favourite smell is blue
when it rains i put my nose to the street
i must stop being so openly primal
you squeeze your love into jars
and store it safely under the sink
i hook mine with bait
you look so innocent i throw you back
you look so innocent i wash all the dishes
these similes must stop being so full of nonsense
and so artless and so self-referential
all i mean to say is i can’t get this juice out of my eyes
or do i mean we sleep in a riverbed
i must stop making lists for all my feelings
i should start making love and stop sticking barbs in your neck

 

 

 

 

 

Eloise Hendy is a postgraduate student in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh. Her poetry has previously been published by adjacent pineapple, Zarf Poetry, amberflora, The Inkwell, Canvas Journal, and Crows Nest Zine.

     

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The beautiful ‘…And tell the stars’ by Maryam Gatawa is our Pick of the Month for August 2018.

Maryam Gatawa, a young poet from northern Nigeria, is our Pick of the Month for August 2018 with many voters being stunned by her ‘uplifting’ ‘deep’ ‘reflective’ and ‘inspiring’ poem ‘…And tell the stars’.

Maryam’s works of poetry have been published in reputable journals inside Africa and overseas. She can be reached through Facebook at ‘Maryam Gatawa’ and Twitter @meegat12.

She has asked that her £10 ‘prize’ be donated to the Nigeria Muslim Forum UK which raises money for education schemes and the relief of poverty.

 

…And tell the stars

Then tell the stars
To take their leave too
For within our breasts
Shines the inward light
To sail us through
These fields of darkness

Why wait for the gardens to
Bear you sweet roses
Or rent the cloaks of your hope
To greedy mighty whales

Go forth with your hoe
And till the fertile land
Plant upon its face
Sweet corns and grapes
And  when the winter knocks in
Tell her to stay
You have enough grains in your home.

 

*********

 

Voters’ comments included:

Even from the title, it won

And Tell the Stars teaches strength, perseverance and inspires hope.

It’s beautiful!

Maryam’s style of poetry is simple and inspiring. Her use of metaphors is excellent. Her “…And tell the stars” has more than one meaning which is one of the most remarkable features of poetry. She definitely has my vote for that.

Maryam Gatawa is a new dawn to poetry in northern Nigeria…

Maryam is an amazing poet who inspires women to write and this poem reeks of awesomeness.

…a role model for the upcoming poets.

It’s simply captivating

It pricks at my conscience, inspires my senses, in mingled spews of nature and reality

It’s really touching and emotionally enlightening.

The poem is simple amazing, it’s flows directly from the recess of the soul.

It appeals to more, especially in this period that we expect to harvest our fields this farming season. I consider it a great art to construct your poems in short lines and still go on to make much sense and put out something beautiful.

The flow, the rhythm and the imagery. She just seem like a natural to me.

Maryam’s poetry is always fresh and strange to me anytime I read her. Through her poems, I come to terms with dreams and imagination. She writes poems that will stand the taste of time.

Her lines are daring.

A poem of wit and wisdom.

Lifelesson

 

 

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Suzannah V. Evans

 

 

Hatfuls of Brass and Gold
 
“So, that was it, there it was, that was what she gave me, when I asked something of her, when I asked for something that would be beautiful, or worth something, and she poured down, right into my hat, handfuls and hatfuls of brass and gold.

That’s what the moon’s like, that’s what she’s like, that’s what she gives, nothing silver, no, nothing white, no, just hatfuls of brass and gold.

I kept the brass and gold in my hat, wandered back into the forest, twined vines about my body, ate wild flowers, did some sort of naked dance with smears of soil on my chest and belly. That’s what she wanted, I think, some dance, some ritualistic thanksgiving for hatfuls of brass and gold.

And what could I do with it, really? I suppose I could have bought things, spent the gold on necklaces and bread, rings and vegetables. But I didn’t, I kept the hatfuls of brass and gold.

Now, sometimes, when I’m in bed, all heavy with sleep, breathing soft as feathers into my pillow, and I look down, there it is, next to my bed, hatfuls of brass and gold.”

 

 

*Note: this poem uses a line from Richard Scott’s ‘Dancing Bear’ as it’s title

 

 

 

 

Suzannah V. Evans is a poet, editor, and critic. She has written for the TLS, The London Magazine, New Welsh Review, The North, and elsewhere, and she is Reviews Editor for The Compass. A selection of her poems was recently longlisted for the 2018 Ivan Juritz Prize for creative responses to modernism, and she is an AHRC-funded PhD researcher at Durham University.

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Derek Brown

 

 

 

Douglas Dunn’s Elegies

A cold night in Kirkcaldy, November,
Winds from the Forth examining the town.
An old college building near the water,
Gusts analysing the windows where my
night school class sits ingesting the poems
about a diagnosis and a death
about a poet searching for redress.
One minute they’re all sitting on their chairs
quietly absorbing the images,
The next, there is a sob of such deep pain:
One woman is in tears, others comfort.
We stop the class and go down for coffee.
Stories about their lives. About their pain –
A lesson for me in what readers bring
out in a poem, conjuring its life
from the raw power of words to hurt and heal.
In the cafe that might a woman talked
about her mum who’d died the year before,
Another talked about a scare she’d had.
The brother of a third receiving care.
The death toll mounted as we sipped our drinks.
We agreed it had been a catharsis –
The poems had read their way inside us,
Had brought out the sadness that we live with,
The consolations of November winds.

 

 

 

 

Derek Brown lives in Clackmannanshire. He published a book on global citizenship for young people in 2015 and recently completed a novel, A Modern Noah. The poems here are part of a collection, Between an Idea and a Wish.

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Zoe Broome

 

 

 

Don’t Blame Eve
 
I know that a storm is due.

Dance with me on a tin-roof
while you wait for him
to grab you, snatch you, toss you
like so much skip-rag.

No,
you won’t wait
(although you’re sure
you could take him
if you wanted).

Anywhere the Fee-Fie-Foe comes, you are else-
where, crouched under branches at the gard-edge, crunching cores
‘til they lodge, thick as pistols, in your throat.

Don’t blame me.

Somoene must stay,
await the Black Beard Brute
whose horns scalp skin at angles.

Flirt with him in our garden
where scorched puddles splash patio slabs.

Deliver us to Evil.

 

 

 

 

Zoe Broome published her first collection Back To Yesterday in May 2016 and it’s available from Amazon. She finished Milwordy in May 2018 and is writing at a slower pace these days.

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