Rebecca Sandeman

 

 

 

Summer Holiday

 

Belgrade is a //    ‘kaleidoscopic cityscape’     //     it is also    //  burning,   it is  //    burning  // and I only just understood what that meant  //   Stay indoors   //   don’t eat sushi     //   there are tanks on the street  //   The whole point is to immerse yourself  //    take a seat   //   wear a mask  //  our passport used to be one of the best   // Croatia despises //  him  //  don’t you think it’s best to come home    //    we have barely even started     //     when we went to the police station I saw God  // he was smoking against a wall  //  his hands were full of blood  //  there were raves in our building  //  it was smooth jazz //  on Mondays we bought tiny cakes // we were tired // so tired   //   and I   //  thought it would be different this time   // politics is kneeling on our throats again //  we couldn’t take the tram //   the virus has taken all the seats  //  I’m sick and hungover   // my teeth taste like being kicked  //   I’m not coming home    //   I’m  staying out with new friends   //  I know what I said // but this   // it’s important somehow   //     more than ever  before    //  shoes have been left in the streets //  bloody //  their owners have disappeared   //  who collects the dogs that have been let loose  //  for some time I have been sleeping  //  but  I am awake    //  where are the rooftop parties  // where are the Pomeranians  //  the hooligans have been instructed to kill us with our own tears  //  don’t throw words down a well //  do you know who lives in wells? // Tony Blair //   why pretend  we have a seat at the table //  there is no table   //  I thought I saw a table once //  but it was a German Shepard  // don’t test me world   //  I have a banner and a desire to watch the news  //   disseminate  // revert & return  // my lockdown walks are awe-inspiring  // shame on the post office queue //  the traffic lights haven’t been disinfected   //  stamp duty hasn’t   //  got anything to do with stamps //  listen, carefully   // I think I might just have something to say

 

 

Rebecca Sandeman is a (mainly) fiction writer currently living in various places. Her work has appeared in journals such as Strix, Prole, Ink Sweat & Tears and Route 57.

 

Read More

Chris Hardy

 

 

 

Number One

She wore a flowered dress
and the Autumn sun
came through the glass
so light chalk dust
was a mist between me,
the window and the path
to the churchyard where
in a flint wall
coins were left
for me to find.

Was it the first day?
We copied numbers
from the board.
2 was a shape
I could not draw.
She wrote it for me
in my book.
I copied 1 down easily
and later saw
that 1 was also I.

In the picture of the class
we are looking at the lens
which looks straight back
as it buries us alive.

 

 

Chris Hardy’s poems have been published widely, some have won prizes. His fourth collection is Sunshine at the end of the world (Indigo Dreams). He is in LiTTLe MACHiNe. “A guitarist as well as a poet Chris Hardy consistently hits the right note”. Roger McGough.

Read More

DS Maolalai

 

 

 

Your body is small

as a folded receipt
in a pocket
and he clings to it
like drowning
in a downy nightgown.

he believes
he is wrapping you
in silk so smooth
you can forget
his rutting crotch
like a hog come to water. you
are impassive;
you look at the ceiling
and watch lines going over,
like a web in a crack.

spit dribbles on your neck
and he gets at your shoulder with his tongue
and your leg with his fingers
and you don’t like it
but are too
polite to say.
when he falls asleep
you get up quietly
and carefully piss without flushing.

you wash your small hands
and your teeth.
your blue glass feet
leaving heat
in blue patterns
on the tile.

 

 

DS Maolalai has been nominated four times for Best of the Net and three times for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden (Encircle Press, 2016) and Sad Havoc Among the Birds (Turas Press, 2019)

Read More

Clair Chilvers

 

 

 

Sea Triptych

Caught at the cusp
just as the tide starts to ebb
fingers of dark rock, orthogonal to the waterline
reach out towards the setting sun.

The sun, covered by thin cloud, casts silver light
right up to where the sea’s foam
hits the darker grey of the beach.

In the foreground, 
silhouette of scrubby bushes cling to the cliff face
use crannies of windblown sand
as a lifeline.

 

 

Clair Chilvers was a cancer scientist, and latterly worked for the UK National Health Service. She lives in Gloucestershire, UK and has had poems published in Ink Sweat and Tears, Agenda, Impspired, Amaryllis, Atrium, Allegro, ArtemisPoetry and Sarasvatiwww.clairchilverspoetry.co.uk

 

Read More

Stephen Claughton

 

 

 

Winter Road I
after Georgia O’Keeffe

It’s not exactly a road,
more the idea of one
and maybe not even that,
a symbol, a cedilla,
this mirror-written C
that sweeps across the canvas,
kinking at the top,
where Route 84
mounts the crest of a rise,
before bending to the right
and heading further on up
into the New Mexican hills
which, as it’s winter now,
are blanketed by snow
that the ploughed road
crookedly parts.
There’s only the road itself;
everything else is implied.
I think of her painting it,
as a calligrapher might,
with a single, practised stroke,
the road between
Ghost Ranch and Abiquiù
so familiar to her now
it’s become the shorthand for home.

 

 
Stephen Claughton has published two pamphlets, The War with Hannibal (Poetry Salzburg, 2019) and The 3-D Clock (Dempsey & Windle, 2020). He reviews regularly for London Grip and links to his reviews, poems and pamphlets can be found at www.stephenclaughton.com.

Read More

Nick Browne

 

 

 

Mother to daughter

Rejection tastes like stale beer,
stinks like old carpets, cup- a soup.

Other people’s grime greases
the corners of a rented flat, floating,

unmoored in some Midlands town
where the rain is unrelenting.

The cream immobile phone won’t ring
postmen bring no mail of any kind.

At twenty-three my misery
settles like moths, eating hopes to holes.

Now you are sad and twenty-three
I offer past as present, grimy with failure.

Meaningless to you, just photos,
flayed rags and eighties pop songs,

dry bundles of words, old stuff
about a girl, who was never you.

 

 

Nick Browne is an established novelist and aspiring poet. Nick’s poetry has been accepted for publication by Acumen, Ink Sweat & Tears, Blue Nib, Snakeskin, Archaeology Today, Anthropecene, Wivanhoe, Lunar Magazine and been anthologised in Bollocks to Brexit, Lumen’s Shelter anthology Eyewear’s, The Poet’s Quest for God and in Indigo Dream’s forthcoming collection Dear Dylan. Website: http://nmbrowne.com/

Read More

Clare Knock

 

 

 

Ignitor propellant

In a gun the main propellant charge needs energy supplied as heat, before it will react and burn.  The heat is supplied by the ignitor system that consists of a type of propellant that requires little energy to burn, but is therefore less safe.

A single spark:
an unwashed coffee cup,
a stray lipstick smear
and Maureen ignites
yelling hot gases,
spitting hot particles,
that inundate the chamber.
There is nowhere to avoid her words
as they kindle the inert:
Steve sprawled on the settee
watching Arsenal
is irritated into reacting,
venting his defence
with blistering denials, scorching rebuttals:
“I said I’d do it later”,
“It was the boss’s wife, I couldn’t avoid it”,
raising the temperature of the heated atmosphere
until the entire chamber burns.

 

 

Clare Knock is a university lecturer teaching and researching in physics.  She has been published in Ink Sweat and Tears and Lighthouse.

Read More