David Subacchi


Cross Country

A reluctant concession
For those of insufficient bulk
Or violent disposition
To take part in the awful
Battle of blood and mud
Laughingly referred to
As a game.

Our route wound
Far away from
The killing fields
Past gasworks
And railway lines
Through the village.

Once out of sight
A walking pace
Talking to local girls
Cursing the brutality
Of the egg shaped ball.

Then returning
To the jeers
Of shirt ripped
Our mock exhaustion
Too dramatic
Fooling no one.



David Subacchi lives in Wales (UK) where he was born of Italian roots. He studied at the University of Liverpool and he has three poetry collections with Cestrian Press First Cut (2012), Hiding in Shadows (2014) and Not Really a Stranger (2016).  David has also recently published a collection of Sonnets A Terrible Beauty in commemoration of Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising. He also writes in Welsh and Italian and blogs at http://www.writeoutloud.net/profiles/davidsubacchi

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Abegail Morley



Ever since I remodelled my sister’s hair
they’ve hidden scissors, pen knives,
sometimes needles in a locked room.
The key’s hidden under a stone somewhere
in the nettled-yard. I recognise its glint,
slip it in my shirt pocket, squeeze it
in my schoolboy’s hand, release cutlery,
tweezers, a small toffee hammer.
I make loud thumps on tiles, run fingers
down walls until paper curls under nails,
holler up the hallway, kiss the cat’s paws,
taste dead bird. I snort like a pig,
take radiator-draped knickers,
wave them flag-like, break my heart
so parts of it can’t be found. I roll marbles
in the dark, hear occasional clinks,
crawl upstairs, pins between lips,
wait for the moon to throw up her arms
then tack them down like a cold-slabbed
corpse that insists it’s murder. I snatch
a twist of her hair from under my pillow,
coil it around my fingers, stretch it
to full-length until each strand tears.
I crack knuckles like nuts, fasten thread from
the window to the bed so when wind blows,
my cold-pressed hands summon a prayer
from my core to complicate the darkness.




Abegail Morley’s debut, How to Pour Madness into a Teacup was shortlisted for the Forward Prize Best First Collection. Her fourth, The Skin Diary is published by Nine Arches, She blogs at The Poetry Shed.


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Mark Farley



Mother wears the vines of summer,
hawthorn hackles raised in grief.
She’s my father’s stubborn mourner,
pecking at his horehound leaves.

Nurses scatter apple blossom,
bleach is masked in meadow scent.
Father burrows under holly,
glossy spines can’t hide our shame.

Mother left us boiling over.
Vital organs steam soft pink.
Artificial thoughts of actors
will pollute the zealot Sphinx.

Sisters gather jars of dog blood.
Line them up to make a scene.
Needled carers can’t unpick her
though she’s limp and loosely sewn.

Mother’s scalp is cutthroat tangles.
Stare her down with kitten-eyes.
Fill the ward with speckled falcons.
They’ll refuse to nest or lay.



Mark Farley has been shortlisted and highly commended for the Bridport Prize. Find him on Twitter (@mumbletoes) or via his blog (http://mumbletoes.blogspot.com/)

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Victoria Gatehouse


Velvet Shells

After an installation by Suze MacMurray.

They’ve passed the test –
that tap from Chef’s blade,
a glimmer of muscle

from those still alive
before the pile-up,
blue and black,

on a white plate.
She imagines lovers
scooping out

wine-soaked flesh,
that slow contraction
of spirits in the throat;

on the side, a stack
of coffins, unhinged.
She’s a collector

of leftovers,
a scavenger
of restaurant bins –

all the way home
that rattle in her hands
and afterwards

hours of scrubbing
the shine back in,
before laying them out

with such care
on the kitchen table,
folding crimson velvet

into emptiness,
offering up a prayer
for each little death.



Victoria Gatehouse lives in West Yorkshire. Her poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies including Mslexia, Magma, The Rialto, The North, Poetry News, The Interpreter’s House, Prole, Ink Sweat and Tears and Her Wings of Glass. Competition placements include Ilkley, Mslexia, Poetry News Members’ Competition, Prole Laureate and The Interpreter’s House.

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Julian Dobson




Re-reading Theses on Feuerbach at the allotment

I • Filthy as new potatoes freshly dug,
muck on the hands is everything.

II • My thoughts are solid: I imagine into life
broad beans, Swiss chard, earthed leeks, curly kale.

III • I practice revolution: sow nasturtiums,
gorge on brambles, lick black juice from fingers.

IV • No more us and them, spirit and flesh:
soil is sacred, horse manure is holy.

V • Contemplate these substances: the give
of softening tomatoes, mildew on cucumbers.

VI • Dream the divine to shape: godly knuckles
round the plum tree, incense of compost.

VII • What’s mystical is worm-riddled,
sourly angelic like the glow of sloes.

VIII • Touch is mystery: the stab
of nettles, lacerations of a new-laid hedge.

IX • Monks and hermits know this: tree roots
etch the paths to summits, keep us face down.

X • Such is the real: the rioting of bindweed,
invasions of ants, slugs on the march.

XI • It all strives to one point, this bud:
why not be changed, changed into fire?

Julian Dobson lives in Sheffield. His poems have appeared in various publications, most recently Brittle Star and The Interpreter’s House, and on a bus in Guernsey. More of his poems are at https://52poemsinayear.wordpress.com

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Lucía Damacela




The Angel in My Cupboard

The angel living in my cupboard
doesn’t flaunt angel hair
his mane looking rather like
a spoonful of whipped cream cheese

the angel hidden in my cupboard
is most visible when the evening light
penetrates the room through
the sealed high window

the angel squatting in my cupboard
dresses with the dust that flies off
the rice bags
and has snout beetles for breakfast

the angel lying down in my cupboard
has asked me for help to fix his broken wings
but none of the materials he listed
are available on Amazon

the angel stiffening in my cupboard
flaps his wings as if conjuring
Prometheus and Icarus
to no avail

the angel in my cupboard
formerly crafted of light and specks
is becoming solid as rock
except that rocks don’t cry.




Lucía Damacela’s work has appeared in venues such as Poetry Quarterly, Mulberry Fork Review, Sein und Werden, and Bunbury Magazine. Lucía currently lives in Singapore with her family, blogs athttps://notesfromlucia.wordpress.com/ and tweets as @lucyda.

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