Joseph Carrigan




China fragments sank into the ceiling pond.
Drifts of weaponised magazines rose
from the grass. Ochre splashed
with primary blocks,
exclamation marks

the outline sharp, even through the brume.
An upturned caravan echoes
a tombstone. Pulped
paper flowers.

condolences surrounded the shrine. Jagged
window holes gaped. I heard the
shot splintered one pane
after it left the skull
half empty.




Joseph Carrigan studied in Oxford and received a BA (hons) in Critical Practice and Creative Writing. He has lived in America and Japan, and currently lives in the UK, where he works as a teacher of English as a foreign language. 

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Rachael Smart




There’s a Russian word
for the nostalgia
of gone love. A noun.
Razbliuto.  It has the bite
of a Corona taken easy or mouths
scarfed in the throat of the wind,
but it doesn’t taste of us. Our one-bed
basement flat where vinyl spun

and miso darkened Paris mugs. How
we rarely slept. The radiator’s click
was long grass, rusting all the browns
of the heath but the only bleeding
you did was post-shave. Nights,
we watched shoe soles trip-trapping
over our bridge, imagined the tread
of rubber on our lips. You taught me

how to skin up and when to inhale,
how a lick sours when it dawdles
ribcage to neck. Funny, how I’ve lost
my grip on you, certain sounds slipping.
The bum note in your cough. I never
got my length in that bed. I still think
about your fingers: concertina nails,
chewed to the quick.



Rachael Smart has a thing about words. She has an MA in Creative Writing from The University of Nottingham. Her work has been published online, in print and placed in writing competitions. She writes best when her pencil loses its point.


Note: 200.salute is a discontinued Rimmel lipstick


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Lynn Valentine




Milvus milvus

Your eye is a citrine flash,
better than any drone,
fishing in the wind
for small things.

There once was a myth you
could hunt dogs and lambs.
Take a child down
with your fork and claws.

These days your haul is
a kiss of earthworms,
a crunch of rabbit bones
a smear of roadkill, still warm.

We will find laundry
stripped, rubbish spilled
as you line your nest.
Keeping our secrets close.




Lynn Valentine is a sometimes writer living on the Black Isle. She has had work published online and in anthologies. She read at StAnza 2018 as part of the My Time project. In a past life she worked for the BBC.

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Bridget Khursheed




Standing on top of the National Museum of Scotland

We find the roof garden.
Its little patch of moorland, birches,
heather so perfect it might hide
grouse turd, quartz, even Tunnock wrappers.
A mountain peak handkerchief
picnic-pack pooled
until the air all around is streaked with dry
leaves and the ghost of pollen.

And the sky opens out above all the glass
inaccessible VIP pathways.
How did we get here like this?
And the face of volcanos: did I mention
Arthur’s Seat with its buzz cut of tourists?
Will one of them fly?
Fighting vertigo with talk and tin cans,
the children snail the big rocks,
impossible here, and the glinty light
changes. And I feel happy
lifting off slightly over to Blackford Hill
and Salisbury Crags, bigger than
anything this family thing.

And as we trooped down to the café;
the blank plastic clock below
cried out the hour like birdsong
telling me later
that was the moment that you died.





Bridget Khursheed is a poet and geek based in the Borders; a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award recipient, her work is widely published in magazines including Ambit, Butcher’s Dog, New Writing Scotland, Zoomorphic and Gutter; @khursheb

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Susan Richardson is the IS&T Pick of the Month poet for March 2018


At Ink Sweat & Tears we normally would be less than sanguine about ‘Letches’ receiving the honours but when this refers to Susan Richardson’s ‘powerful’ ‘vivid’ ‘amazing’ poem which had such ‘relevance’ and has been voted by you as the IS&T Pick of the Month for March 2018, we can understand the response.

Susan is living, writing and going blind in Los Angeles. She shares a home with an Irishman, 2 pugs and 2 cats. She was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa in 2002, and in addition to poetry, she writes a blog called Stories from the Edge of Blindness. Her work has been published in: Stepping Stones Magazine, Wildflower Muse, The Furious Gazelle, The Hungry Chimera, Sheila-Na-Gig, Chantarelle’s Notebook, Foxglove Journal, Literary Juice, Sick Lit Magazine, Amaryllis, and The Anapest Journal, with pieces forthcoming in Eunoia Review.  She was also awarded the Sheila-Na-Gig Winter Poetry Prize and will be featured in the Literary Juice 2018 Q&A Series.

Susan has asked that her £10 ‘prize’ be donated to the RNIB.



The call to bright lights is a whisper,

tempting souls into the clutches of

dreams that hang on a celluloid precipice.

Los Angeles turns us into letches

who lurk under the wings of angels,

covered in soot from generations

of sweeping up discarded morals.

Decrepit men, slathered in wealth,

chase the skirts of simpering women

with molded cheek bones and noses

they weren’t born with.

Carbon copy blondes trample

over the backs of comrades, and reach

through barbed wire for a glimmer of fame.

They come in droves and shed their skins,

willing to do unthinkable things for

just a drop of starlight on their tongues.





Voters’ comments included:


Susan’s words paint a raw, vivid, very real picture of a world I know all too well. She gracefully articulates a place that sparkles from the outside, covering up the darkness beneath that has the power to morph something beautiful into a hideous shell of its former self.

The imagery here is really powerful. Having lived in LA, I can totally imagine the hordes of carbon copy blondes trampling each other! Really good, cynically humorous stuff.

Pictograph of American culture beneath cellophane.

I love Susan’s writing and her beautiful soul. This poem hits on an interesting and less than beautiful view of life in LA.

This poem captures 2018 Las Angeles so perfectly!

The poem risks making us uncomfortable and yet we must admit the truth of this tragic story for so many “starlets.”

Powerful images and message.

Beautifully worded, modern and relevant

Breathtaking. Though-provoking. Wonderful.

Amazing touching brilliant

The sentences are well constructed, the words chosen just right, and that gives the poem its power to linger long in your mind.

She perfectly captured the dirty underbelly of the city.

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Stefanie Bennett




Soul Sister
I take it, the crust
Of the moment,
One word
At a time:
Move it
Cross country
Past the livery
Stable, the train’s
Box-cars, all
‘A hoot’
On the half hour
Siding where
… Same as Great
I put it
In a pipe
And smoke it.



Stefanie Bennett has published a dozen poetry titles, a novel, & a libretto & been nominated for the Pushcart & Best of the Web. The Vanishing is published by Walleah Press & available from Walleah + Amazon. Stefanie’s latest poetry title Blanks From  The Other World is to be launched in a month or two. Of mixed heritage[Italian/Irish/Paugussett-Shawnee] she was born in Qld., Australia.

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Brian China




Coral Mother

She was hard and soft,
beach and rock, kids passed
through like subatomic
particles channelling
dolphins, whales, sharks,
tiddlers, tropical
colours, grey and sombre,
skin cut and skin kept in
trauma; hair and loneliness
sucked into corners
caulking floorboards
this barrier reef
for those caught
and tossed back in.




Brian China lives in Leicester and performs open-mic at Word! and Leicester Shindig!



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