Andrew Shields

 

 

 

Thief

You took my index finger
and showed me where to go.
My thumb you painted green.
What do you want to grow?

My elbow helps you move
across a crowded room.
But why’d you take my mouth?
What will you say, to whom?

You swept my feet away
and left them in the cold.
You told me, “Break a leg!”
And I did as I was told.

You even took my rib
to help you make a start.
But worst of all, you took
my heart, my heart, my heart.

 

 

Andrew Shields lives in Basel, Switzerland. His collection of poems Thomas Hardy Listens to Louis Armstrong was published by Eyewear in June 2015. His band Human Shields released the album Somebody’s Hometown in 2015 and the EP Défense de jouer in 2016.

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Sue Hubbard

 

 

 

You

There you are again at the far end of the empty beach,
scrambling over rocks beneath the abandoned nunnery

painted ice-cream green. Fleet as a greyhound,
tiny as a mote floating in the outer corner of my eye,

matted hair a billowing ghost of rain as the day
folds back into its rookery of clouds.

I’ve caught a glimpse of you before:
a shadow on the wall of empty streets

where silence sounds like noise. Barely noticed,
you stand among stagnant puddles

by the graffiti-etched door in a patina of winter light.
You bear a name you never ask for,

trace the history of longing in your veins,
your lost passions in the March wind.

At night you are both salt and ash.
A low scream in the mirror of the moon.

 

 

Sue Hubbard is an award-winning poet, novelist and art critic. She has published 3 collections of poetry, two novels and a book of short stories. As the Poetry Society’s Public Art Poet she was responsible for London’s largest public art poem at Waterloo.  Sue Hubbard’s latest novel, Rainsongs, was published in January 2018 by Duckworth.  This poem is taken from her new collection, Swimming to Albania due from Salmon Press this spring.  Website: www.suehubbard.com

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Natalie Rees

 

 

 

How to let it go

Pick it up.
Feel the weight
of it in your hands.
Pinch, roll,
squeeze,
flatten, slap
it like fresh clay.

Own the reactions
of your body.
Pinpoint the lump
in your throat,
the knot
in the lowest part
of your abdomen.

Coax the howl
up from your soul
like a wet dog. Sit
with it a while,
your legs dangling
over the edge
of the heart’s bed.

Welcome the ache,
the hollow,
the numb
like distant relatives.
Let them shoehorn
their leaking boots
into your ribcage.

Open the gift
you can already make out
through the thin tissue.
Allow them to fill
your floating body
with the thing they think
was taken from you.

 

 

Natalie Rees lives in West Yorkshire where she works as a Play & Creative Arts Therapist. She has been a prize winner in the Flambard (2017) and Penfro (2018) poetry competitions and has had poems published with The Interpreter’s House and Prole. 

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Robert Ford

 

 

 

Nothing ever happens

A familiar slideshow of picture postcards sidle by
through the bubble of your train window;

trees new in leaf and freshly-printed lambs,
fractured stonewalling clinging impossibly to hill,

separating off precious little from fuck-all.
The sky and its clouds coyly flash their underclothes.

A carriage of clock-faced tourists crowd the air,
urgently brandish their smartphone-screens,

imagining the cage-door on reality has swung open,
their hearts sinking into redemptions on which

the paint is designed to never fully dry. But all
you see is static. Putrefaction. In your head,

repeated showreels of exotic concrete and metal
outmuscle the chocolate-box churchyard, stones

bearing your name, whose soil has a terrifying appetite
for your heart, your bones. Its jaws are closing.
 

 

Robert Ford‘s poetry has appeared in print and online publications in the UK, US and elsewhere, including Under the Radar, Butcher’s Dog, The Interpreter’s House and San Pedro River Review. More of his work can be found at https://wezzlehead.wordpress.com/

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Stewart Carswell

 

 

 

Earthworks

West Kennett

I migrate back to this farmland
where the level of the corn field
has been distorted by the earthen mound

facade of a house
that swallows the dead
and has for centuries. On a ledge

inside the entrance, in the human-summoned dark,
a line of black-eyed faces stare down at me,
their flesh behind glossy feathers

and darting in towards its nest
is the swallow, inverting the tomb
into a cradle, raising five lives from this chamber.

 

 

Stewart Carswell is from the Forest of Dean and currently lives in Cambridgeshire, where he helps to organise Fen Speak. His poems have been published in Envoi, Algebra of Owls, and The Fenland Reed. His debut pamphlet is Knots and branches (Eyewear, 2016). Website: https://stewartcarswell.co.uk/

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Maurice Devitt

 

 

 

Some things never change

Before I went to school one day
I hid it under the bed,
forgot about it for years.
Then, when I met you,
something triggered so I dusted it off,

placed it in the centre of the kitchen table.
You hardly noticed – just something
you would learn to take for granted –
and over time it became a fixture,
to be moved when friends came around

and we needed extra room,
until one day I forgot to put it back
and, after a short period adjusting
to revisions in colour and space,
it faded into the background,

a permanent position on the sideboard
beside the clock. The week after you left
I placed it on the fireplace in the bedroom,
directly in my eyeline, while I lay propped
in the discrete light of my telephone screen.

 

 

Maurice Devitt is winner of the 2015 Trocaire/Poetry Ireland Competition, and has been runner-up or shortlisted in Listowel, Cuirt, Patrick Kavanagh, Interpreter’s House and Cork Literary Review. He is curator of the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies site, chairperson of the Hibernian Writers’ Group and has recently published his debut collection Growing Up in Colour with Doire Press.

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Peter Bickerton

 

 

 

Charge

Sleeping in doorways,
they huddle against the cold;
plunge the needle tip.

Searching for a vein,
while others crave a socket;
plug-in heroin.

Waiting for a plane,
they hug the corridors;
hooked to the drip.

 

 

Peter Bickerton is a writer and science communicator. He has self-published a collection, Millennial, and is resident poet for Thought for Food – performing to audiences worldwide. Peter’s poetry has featured on the BBC and he currently writes for Forbes magazine. Website: https://www.jugglingdoctor.com/

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