Once upon a time, there was a girl who wanted to learn to sing like fire. She sat in front of the fire continually, mesmerised by its rhythm, its high notes and its pianissimo. She was wondering, could this be my life? She knew it’d be impossible for her to catch the spirit of fire, let alone its essence. She didn’t want to ask her parents how to do it because, she was sure, they would say she was mad. One morning she saw a burning bush high up in the mountain, and felt gripped by an irresistible sense of destiny. She trekked up the mountain path, thinking that if her little finger was singed by the burning bush, she’d be able to sing like fire. But when she got to the top, there was nothing. She only saw the skin of her left thumb beginning to crack.
Chin Li was brought up in Hong Kong but has lived in the UK for many years. He has published short fictional works through the Gnommero project, and in Glasgow Review of Books. See also: https://glasgowreviewofbooks.com/2014/10/24/cooking-for-one-a-short-story-by-chin-li/Read More
Buried in darkness,
but umbilically linked
to a mother husk,
seven pearly potatoes
must surrender to the spade.
Watch how willow twigs,
lichen, fine hairs are woven
into model coracles
harboured high up in a tree.
slips off in the wind
leaving a dark skeleton.
Pat Farrington has had poems published in Orbis, The Reader and The South, and in Haiku Quarterly.Read More
In the sauna
We are no longer
surprised pleased aroused
by our bodies.
In the dark heat
steam is a salving poultice
I see disappointments
trickle down your back
on the way to acceptance.
My breast leaks droplets
of salty suffering that hang
then fall between cedar slats.
Through the silence
we have become completely
Chrissie Cuthbertson works as a writer and editor in Oxford and Helsinki. She read English Literature at the University of Reading and wrote Creative Writing at the University of Oxford. Her poems and short fiction pop up in various places including Flash magazine, Ink, Sweat & Tears and South Bank Poetry magazine.Read More
My Adored Wife is a Wicked Strumpet
She renders them so Hot, these Gallants Rakes Libertines –
married men who love much to Commit Adulteries
than to Divest themselves with Whores.
She labours her Honeypot, pretty it is with pure Inclination,
their Gimcracks and kisses she pockets and boxes;
her sweet little Commodity.
I see nothing
but know Lasciviousness:
at the Tailors Bakers Coffee-House – Scoundrels!
I spy on every Foppish cobble she treads
in case she obtains her Heats
(when she sleeps those eyes dart Amorous Combates ’neath drowzy lids).
O come back beloved Wife.
The cold air’s Ale stain is all the yeastiness of her Tongue
and the nearly-Spring sunset blooms her Pelt.
Marriage (a cursed Folly!) wrecks the heart year on year.
The bit in my Jaw hauls this Carcass through March
and my Soul is a pulley at the Well of her.
One does not need…
Smell of this city with the hints of bubble perfume
Damp morning and the freshly squeezed T-shirt
Orange headphones shielding you from the outer world
And your gaze, your steady gaze into the nothingness of the river.
I brought you a cup of hot chocolate, your favorite signature one
Please talk to me and re-assure that this is just a stupid row
We don’t need to refer to our past, what’s done is done
Let’s amend our present to make the weather fine.
I’m becoming numb because of your weak reaction
I understand your desire to run away from the unfairness of this world
Don’t make hot chocolate feel worthless too
Take a gulp and finish the glass until empty.
See, even squirrels stare at us in bewilderment
We are alive; our souls are in motion. What’s more to ask?
Give me your blue hands, I’ll swirl you in the air like a child
You are my beautiful person, never (you hear me!), never close up.
One doesn’t need to reach Tibet to join in sweet union with silence…
Leyli Salayeva was born in Baku, Azerbaijan. Her first poetry book Twelve Thirteen was released in 2014. She is also the author of the book for kids Dilber and her spoonful journey. She uses her poems as a medium for expressing beliefs and sharing emotional experiences.
Connect to Leyli Salayeva on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LeyliSal
A beginner’s guide to glassmaking
Palms of my hands, I cast my lens
in them, my concave – being magnified.
Crux and frizz: spin of keratin.
and on concrete chip the teeth and swallow
of volition, and I spit and I am
decent as the pines
over city needling with pinprick lives
and how the pistol fires unloaded with a
the atavist boom of birds startled
scattering. I get the heart-swell
of postcards mouth to ribs. The glacier is vicious:
the weight of it, the striations. I am made
and undone, always, a blockade of veins:
how they churn – the height of it.
I shake open-handed to never meeting again,
and I saw it good and rounded, an etherizing:
I eat my razor which scalds me cold ekes out a sextant
I am a frail tongue – biting thing
though I could howl down
the planets, couldn’t we all,
but heavenly bodies don’t go gentle
never at all —
I lie sober down beside myself.
Alison Graham is a Norwich-based writer who also volunteers for Amnesty UK. She has work forthcoming in Fur-Lined Ghettos magazine, and her debut pamphlet, tin can white gown, is due for release with Pyramid Editions later this year. She has a Twitter, and more information about tin can white gown can be found here.Read More
Or Through a Glass Darkly
in the black space
is the black face
of a slim black boy or girl
slender black chest
pout of lips
a round that might be a testicle
black as a plum
there are no eyelashes
there are crows that scatter but do not fly away
it is hard to tell in the dark
there is the black sound of the sea
its black-tipped waves
the sound of the deep black sea
its reach like the shadows of pine trees
the iced black of the sea
its smash of black-sequinned human fish
the blackened ankles are like knots in a rope
‘Sweet Jesus,’ we say
‘cover me over’
Cat Woodward is a feminist lyric poet studying for a PhD at UEA. Her thesis explores robot voices and the robot as lyric poetics. Her poetry has been published in Lighthouse, Brittle Star, The Interpreter’s House and S/S/Y/K.Read More