Judith Taylor

 

 

 

The dog

Sometimes
in the early hours
the dog’s toenails click on the passage lino.

That dog has been gone
two decades, nearly:
sometimes one of them hears him, sometimes both.

Though they never say
they both remember
the night the boy died:

how the dog crept in
that one time
where he wasn’t allowed;

hollowed himself
a sleeping-place by the bed.

 

 

 

Judith Taylor lives and works in Aberdeen. She has written two pamphlet collections – Earthlight, (2006), and Local Colour (2010) – and her first full-length collection, Not in nightingale country, will be published this October by Red Squirrel Press.

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Kevin Reid

 

 

 

 

Victorian Sisters


I.
Hardy. Well preserved. She mothered them.
They found her alone. The rose still kind
on her lips, olive still ripe
on her skin. It was winter.

II.
Her fun faded. Her shadow grew bolder
than her former self. Pale and wasted
with rough play. Her mouth torn,
twisted. Her pallid curls sad pink.


III.
She survived the attack. The loss broke her.
She couldn’t speak about it.
Her trust frozen. Grey. Her love cracked.
The family had kept a pet crow.

 

 

 

 

Kevin Reid‘s work can be found in various online and printed publications including: Under the Radar, The Interpreter’s House and Domestic Cherry. Wordless, an image and text collaboration with George Szirtes, is published by Knives, Forks and Spoons Press.

Note: I was fortunate enough to be guardian of these three genuine Victorian dolls, which are part of the Angus Council Museum collection. They have never been displayed and only kept in storage and I was granted permission by the collections manager to photograph them while in my care and share in whatever way I want. They have since been returned and will probably remain in storage forever.

 

 

 

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George Aird

 

 

 
The Doctor Will See You (As A Piece of Meat, Until You Start Bleeding Everywhere)

Measured in syllables,
the distance between the kitchen door and table
is not enough to
avoid the question.
The way that silence
makes a mess of you
if you really bite into it.
The way the bone
celebrates a break
with a crack of applause.

The surgeon looks at his handiwork
and is pleased by the naked flesh.

 

 

 

George Aird is a postgraduate student at Durham University, as well as an assistant editor of poetry at Butcher’s Dog Magazine. He is currently based in the North East of England, and can be found on Twitter at @G_Aird.

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Andrea Bowd

 

 

 

Autumn

October
when my red-haired mother was found.
Lying still,
insect-thin, sleeping. Though

her lips were the
bluest they’d ever been.

Neighbours called: offered broth.
I’d ran, hidden amongst reed grasses,
gripped thistle heads and blackberry thorns, let them sear my skin.

I’d inhaled smells of damp earth and decay,
exhaled snot and tears.

Watched the wind move
the garden gate

made it creak in hollow invitation
made the rowan leaves twitch

like witches fingers, casting red spells
through stolen night.

 

 

 

Andrea Bowd is a recent graduate of Nottingham University achieving a first class degree in Creative and Professional Writing. She is now studying for a Masters Degree in Creative Writing. Andrea has some success as a poet, having some of her poems published in Dreamcatcher, Skylark, Mud Press and Snakeskin. Her latest published poem is available here, courtesy of Snakeskin:  http://www.snakeskinpoetry.co.uk/240may.htm

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Daniel Pearson

 

Stranger

This is the cry that hollows the walls,
that shrinks like evening Primrose
clicking on window frames, rapping
out the ticks of post-nocturnal gloom,
the accepted hour of life. It is afraid
its words are meaningless, rattling
the bannisters
umbral enunciation
that swam, amphibious and strange
in its meticulous waddle to land,
glassy eyes suspended, the black
hearts of them quivering frogspawn.
This is the queer, ribbitting chalice
webbed in the throat, the blank cry
that shakes in its paperloose skin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daniel Pearson is originally from Sunderland and studied English Literature at Lancaster University. After spending several years living in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia he now lives in Cardiff.

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Sally Warrell

 

The Monster in the Mirror

When I look at myself
cold in the morning
the monster’s sister
looks right back.

These hazel eyes
I got them from my father.
I have been stitched
together from the dead.

But I have drunk the wine,
drunk it down and put
the stopper back in the bottle.
None shall come after me
to see their make-up
in the mirror.
It all ends here.

If every mind event
is a brain event
then I’m here
behind the eyes.

Sometimes I leap
into the realisation
like a big cat.

If I didn’t know this
I would think I lived
further down; somewhere
more low-slung, the pelvis
perhaps, or behind the heart,
where it hurts.

 

 

Sally Warrell has been writing since childhood. She has a BA in English and Philosophy from Aberystwyth. Her collection Cherry Pie and other poems is available on Amazon. She is a regular reader at https://poetryaloud.org.uk/ Twitter handle @Sally_Warrell

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David Cooke

 

 

 

The Mechanical Turk

A neat contrivance of rods and cams
creates the illusion a hustler seeks.
His window dressing perfects
the hoax: the turban and robes
a thespian’s flourish. This season
Mechanicks is all the rage
in fairground shows and court,
where an empress cheats
but can’t outsmart some
gadget’s lack of class. It takes
a certain kind of flair
to plot the chequered board.
A wind-up toy takes on the best
in Europe’s brightest halls.
Its cunning leaps the gap between
what is thought and done.

 

 

 

David Cooke has had poems in Agenda, Ambit, The Interpreter’s House, The Irish Times, The London Magazine, Magma, The Manhattan Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry Salzburg Review and Stand. His latest collection, After Hours, is available from Cultured Llama Publishing.

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