Stephen Giles

 

 

 

Glastonbury Weekend

Back home in the flat, first meal
alone in six days, and the sausages
catch. Real flames. First the grill
pan, then fast up the walls,

like some illusionist’s skit on TV.
In half a minute the kitchen’s
become a four-walled box
of creeping heat. Hit the floor,

like you’re taught somewhere
along the way. Remember how
the dealers perfected that style
of broadcasting out of the sides

of their mouths, crouched in ditches
between wet marquees. Think back
on the nightly visit to the hash man
in the Jazz Field. Guess

the sausages are past caring.
Smoke doing harsh things however
close the floor becomes. Lie down.
Think of music. Count sheep. Sleep.

 

 

 

Stephen Giles is an exiled Yorkshireman, now living in the east Midlands. He has been published previously in various places, including: Ink, Sweat & Tears, Angle, Prole and Snakeskin. He has won prizes and/or been short/longlisted for a number of awards, including: the Troubadour Prize, Wirral Festival, Ware Festival, Virginia Warbey and the Plough Prize.

Read More

Ashleigh Davies

 

 

 

Apollo

In the leaner times it was
a bread and butter supper,
slaked with milk, perhaps
on the cusp of the turn,
the tang fizzing on the tongue-tip.

In the fatter times,
beef and dripping, the latter
glossy, chalk-white and viscous
as tart emulsion,
the beef crumbling to scuttle dregs.

And in the leanest times
we fed on the hot lick
of blunted candlelight,
even then there was always fire;
my father, Apollo, throat a lyre.

 

 

 

Ashleigh Davies is a graduate of Cardiff Metropolitan University. His poetry has appeared in Envoi, The New Welsh Reader and Poetry Wales among other publications. Follow him on Twitter @ashleighrdavies

Read More

Matt Broomfield

 

 

safe zone

living light in the safe zone on MSG sachets
on beans and the biweekly egg
music of the spheres quick-step with the squeegee
here the havens of peace for the wild
here the pottery shard scrape the fat from the burner
all we wanted was to be left alone

the games of the bad boys rushed into and blundered
nom-de-guerres bleached in the chest
air-strikes the headache, mortadella
the mystery, revolutionaries dizzy
baring bellies in the tightness of their love
waking up wicked, mattresses sniper-nested
all we wanted was to be left alone

til temir the city, night walks without small arms
martyred hoods on a headchopper road
the slight crimes in the safe zone,
the solemn and unnecessary,
the polite request to spit in my mouth before hurting
all we wanted was to be left alone

all we wanted was bursting, to cross over
broke borders, to keep oaths made in sickness
on my head and all two of my eyes
such slight crimes we will die for,
the discotheque against orders,
crossing over the checkpoint
without papers for burgers,
all we did for the sunbreak, blood-red
on the safe-zone, the line-dance without touching
all we wanted was to be left alone

 

 

 

 

Matt Broomfield is a poet, activist and journalist currently living and working in Rojava, in solidarity with the socialist-feminist revolution there. Since travelling to Rojava he has published poetry in Rise Up Review, Argot Magazine, and Poets Read The News.

 

 

Read More

Stephanie Limb

 

 

Pearl

You say, ‘Hold on to me,
I don’t want to lose you
in the night.
I keep waking up on my own.’

You push your feet
between my knees,
cling to my neck.

My body doesn’t know
a different shape to sleep in.
I fold around you. Grit in my shell –
wrapped in my soft belly.

Neither of us understands what? –
who? – operates when we’re under.
We both suspect your dad.

 

 

Stephanie Limb graduated in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Warwick in 2003. She worked as an English teacher in secondary schools for several years. She is now working towards an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Nottingham. She lives in Derbyshire with her husband and two sons.

Read More

Daniel Richardson

 

 

 

Red Mullet

First they said that everyone
although it might be impossible for us to understand,
our understanding being limited,
and we agree that our understanding is limited
and has always been limited
got what was coming to them,
yes
or they would get it eventually.
Green wrass and spotted wrass.
Anemone.
Portuguese man of war.

And then they said that everyone,
possibly by hard work,
listen to this now
and not being discouraged, no matter what happened,
could get what they really wanted.
Sand, kelp, blue plastic.
Wet granite,
little sea bird.

And then they said,
ha, ha,
sea urchin and chambered nautilus
that you have in fact chosen,
although part of the way it works
is that you may not be able to admit it,
no, you may not,
the life
sand worms
and the  encircling water
and little sea bird on quick legs
which you do in fact have.

 

 

Daniel Richardson was born in April 1941 in Chicago, and grew up in Carmel, California during a time in which there seemed to be great optimism about the future in general and the future of the U.S.A. in particular.   He studied mathematical logic at Bristol, and is currently working as a mathematical consultant.  He also works as a volunteer at Borderlands, which is place for refugees, or people who are trying to obtain refugee status, helping to teach English and mathematics.  He admires Anton Chekhov and Raymond Carver and John Lee Hooker.    He likes conversation, coffee drinking and tennis, especially doubles.  Stairwell Books (www.stairwellbooks.co.uk) have published Rhinocerous, a book of his short stories, with a possibly misspelled title.

Read More

Colin Honnor

 

 

 

Primrose Hill

I open the light door, its latched
hoist swings away to drop
in pools your hand clasps they slip
into the pool glow
a dredger coughs upriver
cormorant angles to Pythagorean glitter
the conic section my grandmother lathed
to perfect yellow-canary coloured gas
sips as night flaws refract, spark a prescience
the hill was drumlin before the staves were driven
blue liass ball clay a moody circumspection
trickles like a hidden riverine the dank sealed courses plunge
brimless borromless depthlessaly watering
exiguous sediments gather, it is the sobriety
as a corpse sucks free from emboguement
slides and is the soiled parcel, the bleat of newborn
circles the mastery
the achievement of water, as a fish-scales light gilled,
water climbed as its net
threshes, alive upstream to spawn.

 

 

Colin Honnor has been widely published poet in numerous magazines in print and online. Collections, mostly from small presses and private presses include From Underground (Mirabilis 1986); Dante; Cavafy; The Somme; (Yew Tree Press). English Poetry is published by the University Press of America. A former editor of Poetry and Audience, he runs a fine arts press in the Cotswolds.

Read More

Konstantina Sozou-Kyrkou

 

 

 

Coleopteran

Mum and Dad are in the living room, discussing, and I’m sitting across from them at the dining room table with the white, knitted tablecloth on. I’m painting a mandala, round with concentric circles of plaits, triangles along the circumference and another triangle in the centre. They’re trying to plan our summer holidays, decide on a place to visit. I don’t want to take part. They know better. I told them I have an Art class project tomorrow, paint this mandala. Let them decide for me.

They don’t seem to disagree or argue, as usual, but rather as if they can’t make up their minds. The room is full of interweaved, polychromatic sounds, which are slowly determining their hues. Dad recommends and Mum stares out the half-open window and into middle distance, biting the nail of her index finger, twisting a strand of hair around another finger, bending her head and murmuring, ‘Mmm, that sounds good, whatever you want, whatever you think is best, you decide,’ words with lots of consonants, one beside the other, crammed like grey grunts.

Dad sounds peculiarly beaming and azure, talking about colourful islands, Rhodes, Santorini, Milos, sun and light, sea and cerulean fish tavernas, swimming and boat rides in serene, cyan creeks. Lots of bright vowels, slowly and clearly articulated, his tongue like water slithering along pebbles, his eyes clapped on hers, like those glue rolls flytraps Gran used to hang from the ceiling of every room in our country house in the summer.

When I hear Dad, I use yellow and orange around the mandala, but when Mum speaks, the plaits become grey, brown and blue. The louder Dad, the hollower Mum, the fuzzier the triangles around the mandala.

‘Whatever you wish,’ says Mum.

‘No, no. It’s important to have your say. If you disagree, nothing can happen,’ says Dad and really, he sounds so weird, so crookedly glaring and he keeps sticking the flytrap under Mum’s lowered eyelids, as if trying to lift them up, discover bugs underneath.

‘There’s plenty of time till summer. Why decide now, early March?’ she says and rubs her eyes, tugs at dry glue shreds and slivers.

‘We can organize things better. We’ll have fun. And the kid. Think about the kid. She’ll unwind, after all this hard schoolwork.’

Mum struggles to lift her eyelids, manages to glance up at me but pygmy, annoying bugs, swarms of them,  – how haven’t I noticed before? – glued under her eyelashes, seal them shut.

‘Yes, we’ll see till then.’

Dad unrolls a second flytrap and aims at Mum’s blouse, trying to unbutton it, expose her. ‘August isn’t that far. I want to know now. End of story.’

Mum takes a deep breath and says, ‘If everything’s fine by then, we’ll see’ and looks out the window. The bugs, red coleopteran in pairs, antennae tied in knots, stream down her eyes, surge into her cheeks, like sparkles, like flames, blinding me.

The flytrap is now stuck onto her skin, under her left breast, pulling at it.

Dad’s booming voice colours the mandala blooded red, burning my eyes. ‘Now, wait a minute, Rita. Are you planning to shuffle off this mortal coil and we know nothing about it? What’s this all about?’ His eyes full of terror and suspicion, fixed onto the coleopteran that stride down her chest, clusters of red, busy beetles that mutter things to each other I can’t see. Mum moans, dark stains hurl themselves against the plaits, turn the mandala into a whirling wheel, triangles twirl too, everything becomes a spinning top that spatters something like blood and muddy tears, the glue has torn Mum’s skin and she cries, the beetles rush now to shield the wound and for the very first time I see these disgusting coleopteran, discover with dread how they treat and cure the wound and I despise them even more because only they seem to be able to do something like that, protect the larva and the baby bugs, kill all pests and parasites, heal the wound and Mum lets them, as if they’re part of her own body, reddish or purplish, and she cries and she laughs, and Dad is dumb, for the very first time in his life he’s tongue-tied, and the mandala a top that can’t stop spinning, splattering colours like firecrackers everywhere, smearing us all, until it catches fire and becomes a piece of coal that leaves indelible shreds and blotches on the white, knitted tablecloth.

 

 

Konstantina Sozou-Kyrkou lives in Athens, Greece and writes in both the English and the Greek language. She holds a BA(Hons) Literature and an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. Her stories have been published online and in print in several literary magazines and anthologies and some of them have won in competitions.

Read More