William Bedford




The Stove
i.m. Eleanor Grey

The stove in the sunken classroom
burns coke to a yellow glow,
warming your storyteller’s murmur.

St Wulfram’s spire chills the room,
graves and gargoyles
grinning to the ravens’ croak.

You kept a fireguard round the fire,
reading at the end of each school day:
faraway trees and magic circles,

the gate into the secret garden,
the lonely traveller at the moonlit door.
The stove has been taken away,

and the children who sang in a choir
at the side of your cold grave
have already left the classroom –

where you sit in your old chair,
and the stove burns coke to a yellow glow,
warming your storyteller’s murmur.




William Bedford’s selected poems, Collecting Bottle Tops, and selected short stories, None of the Cadillacs Was Pink, were both published in 2009. A new collection of poems, The Fen Dancing, was published in March 2014.  This year he won both the London Magazine International Poetry Competition and the Roundel Poetry Competition.

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James Naiden




Blank Slate

for Eric Lorberer

A poem confronts itself.
Why am I being written
In this busy gallery laden
With scattergun gaiety, soon-
To-be forgotten gossip,
No matter the frozen veins
Outside – ah, who is to know?
In ten weeks, a change of seasons.
For now, a sibyl of fear rises,
The raw wind a serrated knife.




James Naiden’s third novel, The Chafings of Mortals, was published in 2011. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota and is a regular reviewer for IS&T.

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Grant Tarbard




blind beggars

on Ronnie Kray’s funeral


The great madman, trapped
in a headache, whizzed
from weeds pulled out of
the soil’s bunting, a
bouquet of red fire.

Florid petals pour
grotesque painted skulls
and trombones played in
the disjointed songs
of old pearly dears

passing between life
and disfigured death
on the old kettle
creeping boulevard,
the wolves will scent the

mould whitening meat.
Poor crimson petal
covered madman with
his cheap black suited
East End funeral,

the mourners all had
stained glass Chelsea grins.
Yellow skeletons
leer into the hearse
and wither all the

wreaths. The unfound dead
march like soldiers and
raise their heads again
ticked in seaweed cockles
and headlong concrete.




Grant Tarbard has worked as a computer games journalist, a contributor to football fanzines, an editor, a reviewer and an interviewer. He is now the editor of The Screech Owl. His work can be seen in such magazines as The Rialto, The Journal, Southlight, Sarasvati, Earth Love, Mood Swing, Puff Puff Prose Poetry & Prose, Postcards Poetry and Prose, Playerist 2, Lake City Lights, The Open Mouse, Miracle, Poetry Cornwall, I-70, South Florida Review, Zymbol and Decanto.

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Lydia Hounat



You Were To Me

you had a moon-smile
and black hair that contained
the DNA of ink

you had the snap of a crocodile
one with no teeth
and the way you smelled the air

The salt of the sea
made fishes consume paradise



If you could ask Lydia Hounat to sum herself up in 3 words, well, she wouldn’t be able to. She’s a gobby cow. But she is 17 from Manchester, with a lot of poems she wants people to read, a huge love of chocolate cake and has been writing for many years.

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Emma Lee




I want to give you this


under blossom confetti,

as Spring edges into Summer

and sunlight dapples through leaves,

a nap of grass studded with daisies

always ending on she loves me.




Emma Lee’s Mimicking a Snowdrop is forthcoming from Thynks Press and Yellow Torchlight and the Blues is available from Original Plus. She blogs at http://emmalee1.wordpress.com and is a blogger-reviewer for Simon and Schuster. She also reviews for The Journal, Elsewhere, London Grip and Sabotage Review magazines.

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Lauren Vevers





You’re being scrutinised by a woman in the carriage. She’s wearing a mauve blouse; there are dark rings around each armpit. Flushed neck fat trembles as the rest of her soft body subtly bends and leans. It’s a slow dance. You observe for a while – she tries to avoid your stare by feigning an unconvincing sleep. Her lipstick is a youthful cerise.  She is very solid.
You’re reading an erotic novel. There’s no sex. The book is erotic only because it’s relating to or affecting the senses; it’s changing your perception for a moment. You’ve always found it difficult to find the right combination of words. When you do find them, they are more soothing than any numbing medication.
You’re close to your destination. You think it’ll be a shame to disembark after experiencing such temporary calm. When the train slows, your colour wheel moves back to blue again – you suffer any change in hue through your wrists and hands which are heavy with a cosmic kind of lethargy. After the announcement, you respond slowly because to cling onto the last seconds of relief feels salacious.
You reach under your seat for your bag and the view alters. Across the way – beneath her pencil skirt – you see bulbous veins on grey dappled calves.  From this angle she is half-dead, already in some pathology lab to be analysed. Her exposed toes bring to mind mismatched fingers from other people’s hands. You cringe at the thought of someone sucking them. You can imagine the smell of dead skin saliva.
By the time the doors prise apart like unwilling thighs, everything is decaying; even the light Autumnal wind is sour from the breath of purposeful passengers who all appear to know where they are going.




Lauren Vevers is a writer based in the North East of England. Her work has been published/is forthcoming on Hobart, The Cadaverine and Electric Cereal.  Twitter: @LaurenVevers Blog: www.thebellinijar.com

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Paul Clyne




The House in Which You Do Not Live

There’s a knack to unlocking
the door you’re unfamiliar with,
a certain wiggle of the key.
Imagine yourself navigating
its long and echoing corridor,
climbing the staircase
to the mouth of a silent room.
In the manner of a tourist
draw a mental map : yourself,
stood by an unlit fire
questioning the brass tack of things.
Now. I want you to cross the floor.
Switch on that naked bulb.
I need you to fully experience
the splendour of this house in which
you do not live. And, eventually,
when the time seems right,
I want you to undrape the heavy cloth
from this trio of gilded mirrors
exposing a set of features
that pixelate between yours,
your mother’s and your father’s,
each of you stunned as the other
to be speaking at last
in tongues your hearts
had refused to remember
and only now begin to own.



Paul Clyne lives and works in Fife, Scotland. His poetry has appeared previously in Magma magazine and he has work forthcoming at The Open Mouse later this year. His website can be found at http://paulclyne.moonfruit.com

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