Charles Tarlton




I go to great pains to mask the agony. But the struggle is there. 

It’s the invisible enemy.

— Richard Diebenkorn



He made this image

(carved it and smoothed it over)

expressing it by marks


in his mind; wordly and unseen

as quickly written over, stretched into full words

and the marks only at first suggested


in his ear she’d whispered — “bird”

(but he wasn’t listening, did not hear)

and he flapped his wetted wings


The painted image is just that,

the thing painted, not some standing in.

An adequate description


would have to trace infinitesimal specifics

of length, width, and thickness,

pick a shade of color from the chart,


note granularity and sheen,

locate it with calipers on the canvas

alongside similar patterns not the same,


and on and on the never finished, never ending


and then to have just that repeated


because it’s nothing else.

When the painted image told a story

we could capture that


in words and sentences because

well, narrative is narrative;

but when the painted thing’s unrecognizable


what we call a splotch or blob,

oh, it’s tempting to define it

by his exertions painting it.




Charles Tarlton is retired from university teaching and has been writing tanka prose (and poetry more generally) full time since 2006. His wife, Ann Knickerbocker, ( is  an abstract painter and they and work in Northampton, Mass.



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Charlotte Eichler







Then, your quiet scrubbing shoulders

as bats fly past outside like broken plates.


I unpeel fish spines, scrape away the skin

and sticky flakes. Our lists are done,


the kitchen’s clean, but the cloying scent

of supper fills the air. Beneath the hiss


of steam, the kettle’s rattle, potatoes claw

inside the cupboards, cheese furs over


and lost scales still glint along the surfaces

in certain lights.



 Charlotte Eichler lives in West Yorkshire and has been published in various magazines, including The Rialto, Agenda and The Interpreter’s House. She was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize in 2014. Twitter: @CLEichler




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Nick Power




All I Could Steal


From Bidston

to Belfast

I traced the line of you:


Said my goodbyes

despite the gale,

imagined your head, bobbing with

the current

through secret

shippingforecast zones

as my heart grabbed at imaginary


that trailed helplessly

through the moss-


felt the tome of the sea

as it lashed its pages

against my carbine.


I thought that I might cry then,


in the salt wind


and so broke the seal on a bottle of


to drown the lump

in my throat.


Drunk, I stumbled home through

Cammell Laird’s

and felt spite

stirring in the spine

of my tongue-


I taunted all the ghosts, and sang

to them:


‘When the big ship sails on the alley-






Nick Power has recently had perfect-bound book Small Town Chase published by erbacce-press, and is in the process of writing a new collection. He has  had poems published at M58, erbacce-press, The Camel Saloon, Boscome Revolution and Jarg Magazine.

He has worked with actors such as Maxine Peake and John Simm, and recorded their readings of poems from Small Town Chase. They are available to listen to here:



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Andrew Shields




Third-Person Effect


for Ben Detenber


Somebody’s wrong on the Internet, and everyone else

is grabbing a mouse to be sure to get in on the clicks.

Some guy in Johannesburg already knocked down his Coke and destroyed

his keyboard, but luckily not his computer. He looks at

his screen, and all he can do is stare at untruth while the phone’s

ringing the tech-support number. And now he’s on hold:

music he’s always despised is worming its wily way

into his brain. Can you hear it? He doesn’t have

an icicle’s chance in a Richtersveld summer. He’s lost to the music

that somebody else in Geneva can hear and ignore.

Natalie’s reading the page, and she’s changing her mind even though

her English has never improved as much as she’d like.

Maybe she wouldn’t be falling for lies she was reading in French.

From her apartment, she has a good view of the lake

except that this morning the fog is so thick she can barely see

the building going up on the other side of the street.

Her coffee is ready; she carries her cup to the window to think,

watching the shivering people below as they wait

for buses to take them to work, where they’ll turn on their screens and discover

that somebody on the Internet is wrong.




Andrew Shields lives in Basel, Switzerland. His first full-length collection, Thomas Hardy Listens to Louis Armstrong, is being published by Eyewear in June 2015. Twitter: @ShieldsAndrew      Blog:

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George Fripley




On the Train to Stafford (OMG)



While the Leicestershire countryside

ambled by the window

(Oh my god!)

its  lush green hues and rolling hills

sparkling in the sun’s glow

(Oh my god – no!)

beneath old church spires reaching

up into an azure sky

(Oh. My. GO-OD! You’re kidding?)

that soared above thatched roofs of quaint

villages that passed on by


I thought about the peace and quiet

that made these journeys such

(No! No! No! OH-MY GO-OD!)

a pleasant memory of my youth

before the advent of touch

(EEIIUUW!!! Oh my-god)

screens and mobile phones on trains

to distract from scenic country lanes

Omigod! Omigod! Oh my god!






George Fripley writes poetry and fiction. He also blogs on whatever comes to mind. He has had a dozen poems published both in the UK and Australia and has also published a collection of poems entitled Silence… available though He blogs at 

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Linda Rose Parkes







A field has sprung up on the first floor landing

where a bull cranes his large-boned head

towards her, disbudded horns nudging the wool,

sunlight tinkering through the grasses.

She tries to coax him, wheedle him down

with fresh greens. But now

he holds her with his black stare …

head lowered, blood beating, thunder

about to bellow through the walls

as the clock hand shudders … her life

a cardboard box of limits, of scales,

tape measures and set squares;

so when the bull-browed god strolled in –

bull god of rain and fecundating power,

of exuberant storm winds – she saw

only bovine; then stricken

in his glare, she’s held there.







Linda Rose Parkes was born in Jersey, Channel Island, and studied literature  at U.E.A. Poet and lyricist, her third collection Familiars was published by Hearing Eye in November, 2014.




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Rowan Middleton




The East Wing                       




My footsteps echo across the marble floor

as I follow the tak tak of the caretaker’s stick.

Above, the last of the evening light burns

in the cupola and I can just make out

the glass cases that jut from every wall.

We pass an iron cage of stuffed ducklings

who follow their mother across a Perspex sheet.

I peer inside but the caretaker grabs my elbow

and I trail in his wake of drivel and pricking steps

till we reach a pale statue at the end of the hall.


The caretaker turns and looks me in the eye

his voice is dry as breadcrumbs, thin as a draught:

‘Do you remember your promise not to touch?’

I nod and he presses a button at the base of the plinth.

A glow spreads over the statue and it starts to revolve.

Her eyelids flicker open – forget-me-not blue

her breasts are pale lilies and her dress

is the soft cascade of a beech hedge fresh with leaf.

She holds out her hand – I look round at the caretaker

he shakes his head and grasps his cane with a shiver

but she just smiles and I reach forward, it’s like

slipping a hand into a summer river.

Something creaks behind me, slams shut:

the caretaker has drawn a knife from a classroom desk.

He advances, tilting it slowly from side to side,

I cast about me, wrench a torch from the wall

cleave the air, wave it across his path

drive him backwards, down the street of cages.

I trap him in a corner but he slips

out of a window.


I stare into the night,

scan the dim outlines of stump and boulder.

At last, I fasten the casement, feel the weight

of a clutch of keys that dangle at my belt,

smell the scent of lilies at my side.





Rowan Middleton’s work has appeared in journals such as Acumen, The London Magazine and  THE SHOp. He currently teaches Creative Writing at the University of Gloucestershire.





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