Word & Image from Jane Salmons

 

 

Black Coffee and Cigarettes

Close to the leaf a black raven
In nature what would happen normally is that dogs chase cats
Of course the zebra looks to the sky
They were naming them after household objects: 
the telephone, the aspidistra, the cuckoo clock
They cocoon to protect themselves from predators
Sometimes in birds’ nests, nests of mice, lizards scuttle
Perfect meals for bats
In another time, another age, Ingrid Bergman lights a Gauloise
She wears a sound-repelling cloak to indicate she is not edible
There’s a pretty frantic love life going on; he serenades her nightly
They grow on poisonous plants, strawberries, apples and pears
Pretend to be the same species.  Fly towards Saturn.

 

 

Jane Salmons lives in Stourbridge in the Black Country. She has recently completed an MA in Creative Writing with Distinction.  In addition to writing poetry, she enjoys creating handmade collage art.  You can find her work at:  http://instagram.com/foxysphotomontage

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Word & Image by Helen Pletts and Romit Berger

 

 

shopdown

blue-harbour azure-surety
a single box of old cotswold legbar

sterile jewels in the fragile heart

of the fluttering-gloved hands
and butterfly-face masks

 

 

 

 

Helen Pletts (www.helenpletts.com ) (Instagram @helen.pletts) Working collaboratively on Word & Image (published exclusively by www.inksweatandtears.co.uk) with Romit Berger, illustrator, since 2012. Helen’s poetry was longlisted for The Rialto Nature and Place Competition 2018, shortlisted for Bridport Poetry Prize in 2018, Longlisted for Ginkgo Prize 2019. ‘The plane tree entertains the circus of doves’ won www.inksweatandtears.co.uk Pick of the Month, March 2019. Helen’s poem The Grey Seal Speaks was selected in 2019 for the climate change awareness anthology entitled Planet in Peril available from https://www.flyonthewall. Helen is also the Project Co-ordinator of the Over and Swavesey Swift Conservation Project 2020 http://www.swavesey.org.uk/the-over-and-swavesey-swift-conservation-project-2020/

 

Romit Berger:  “I am a graphic designer. I met my very dear friend, Helen Pletts, in Prague, several years ago. Helen’s inspiration has led my graphic design career into that magical realm which combines illustration and poetry, and our creative wings continue to connect our souls through time and distance.”

 

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Dan Dorman

 

 

Dan Dorman teaches creative writing at the Cleveland Institute of Art and circulates library books. His writing can be found at jubilat, Word for/Word and Jet Fuel Review. Connect with him @dormanpoet and dormanpoetry.com.

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Rob Stuart

 

Poetry Hazards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rob Stuart’s poems, visual poems and short stories have been published in magazines, newspapers and webzines all over the world. He has also written the screenplays for several award-winning and internationally exhibited short films. His website can be found at www.robstuart.co.uk.

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On the Sixth Day of Christmas we bring you Helen Pletts & Romit Berger, Grant Tarbard, Z. D. Dicks

 

 

 

 

Street dog

 

Soft fur, stroke fur
   in each and every fine hair
   your heat and life, best
at quiet, knows ragged
not.
                            And in this hour,
I plunge my hands into your fur
   and they are there. This.
                                               The
   somewhere, where all my blue coat cuff
tales talk of gutters –curved fallow–
through the septal gills of drains.
   In every hour, only your twitching ear
   recounts our losses to the air.
You shake. A momentary pulse-through-fur;
   one side floor-flat, the other
   half-rack my only own.

 

 

Helen Pletts (www.helenpletts.com ) has two collections, Bottle bank and For the chiding dove (YWO/Legend Press – supported by The Arts Council). Bottle bank was longlisted for The Bridport Poetry Prize 2006, under Helen’s maiden name, Bannister. Also published in Aesthetica, Orbis, The Fenland Reed. Working collaboratively on Word and Image (published exclusively by www.inksweatandtears.co.uk) with Romit Berger, illustrator, since 2012. Helen’s poetry was longlisted for The Rialto Nature and Place Competition 2018 and shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize in 2018. Helen’s poem ‘The Grey Seal Speaks’ was selected in 2019 for the climate change awareness anthology entitled Planet in Peril available from https://www.flyonthewall. Helen’s poetry was longlisted for the 2019 Ginkgo Prize competition.

Romit Berger:  “I am a graphic designer. I met my very dear friend, Helen Pletts, in Prague, several years ago. Helen’s inspiration has led my graphic design career into that magical realm which combines illustration and poetry, and our creative wings continue to connect our souls through time and distance.”

 

 

 

extract from dog
36.Dog thought of Christmas as his dizzy child
worshipped in bouncing temples, feeling elastic
by the great shaking belly of the city’s morning bells
and its thousand replying inflections. Dog made us
stand on Primrose Hill for the early, as he called it,
exfoliating of the grand dingdong.
We dressed as barnyard animals,
as dog’s father had taught him.
Then dog ate oysters whilst we played
with the shells. After that we would shoot
love notes into trees, dragging a trolley of booze
to the old people’s home and we’d drink
until gravity didn’t work and stingrays hovered
above the central reservation in serious thought.
Gladys, the tattooed lady, turned into a pillar
of blue bath salts, all tube stations morphed
into a green harmonium and wheezed in unison
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear. All the wounded animals
sang along, all paintings of ships at sea found their ports.
When it was time and not before, dog would scoop up
the day’s collection of sleepy voices and boil
in a gentleman’s hat. The electricity in dog’s jaws locked,
his teeth flickered like moths as he hiccupped with liquor
in his paunch— It’s time that intoxicates us, not the puff
of smoke and the rattling of the tambourine.
Christmas snaked away a model of the universe,
framed in the frost of our window.

 

 

Grant Tarbard is the author of Loneliness is the Machine that Drives the World (Platypus Press) and Rosary of Ghosts (Indigo Dreams). His new pamphlet This is the Carousel Mother Warned You About (Three Drops Press) and new collection dog (Gatehouse Press) will be out soon.

 

 

 

Krampus

Krampus, as acid in stone
sinks into a scorched wood
his black head frothing steam
branches wince, naked
flutters of embers pile
iced scarred and skinned

His cleft hooves crunch
half goat and demon
depress, burnt leaves
crumbling ash into snow
heavy, cindered, falling
logs pound up smoke

A tongue, worm white
lolls between hook fangs
long, curling down wet
a maggot whip drips
as molten ore
earth moulding slag spit

In one hand, a gift of coal
to mark young faces dirty
with grey-glow to melt flesh
the other holding a rattle
a chain to clink and chitter
thrashing as bonfire cracks

On his bramble hair back
strapped, charred thatch
is rounded into a pit
a barrel of cold to cage heat
empty, save for birch bundles
to tenderise taunted meat

He lopes on the edge
of frostbitten kindling
waiting for no moonshine
nods his horns to a clearing
at a man, emptying his sack
after snores boil in shadow

Krampus awaits a silent reply
Saint Nicolas bows out
gifts left red ribboned
and Krampus takes the waste
up clawed chimney flues
as his brother marches off
in sweat, shudders, shivering

 

 

Z. D. Dicks has been accepted by Obsessed with Pipework, Sarasvati, Ink Sweat & Tears, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Fresh Air Poetry, I am not a silent poet, The Hedgehog Poetry Press plus many more, and is described as ‘a gothic Seamus Heaney’ by Anna Saunders (Director of The Cheltenham Poetry Festival).

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Helen Pletts & Romit Berger on the Day of the Global Climate Strike

freshwater bio sonar boto

freshwater bio sonar boto
over-hunted through the flooded forests

agile Amazon pinkness with tactile whiskers

tiny-spiny dolphin-teeth murky-snouting
red bellied piranhas, croakers and catfish

#climatestrike  #schoolstrike4climate #fridaysforfuture #climatecrisis #gretathunberg

 

 

Helen Pletts (www.helenpletts.com ) whose two collections, Bottle bank and For the chiding dove, are published by YWO/Legend Press (supported by The Arts Council) and available on Amazon. ‘Bottle bank’ was longlisted for The Bridport Poetry Prize 2006, under Helen’s maiden name, Bannister. Also published in Aesthetica, Orbis, The Fenland Reed. Working collaboratively on Word and Image (published exclusively by www.inksweatandtears.co.uk) with Romit Berger, illustrator, since 2012. Helen’s poetry was longlisted for The Rialto Nature and Place Competition 2018 and shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize in 2018. Helen’s poem The Grey Seal Speaks was selected in 2019 for the climate change awareness anthology entitled ‘Planet in Peril’ available from https://www.flyonthewallpoetry.co.uk/planet-in-peril

Image by Romit Berger who says  “I am a graphic designer. I met my very dear friend, Helen Pletts, in Prague, several years ago. Helen’s inspiration has led my graphic design career into that magical realm which combines illustration and poetry, and our creative wings continue to connect our souls through time and distance.”

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Word & Image by Helen Pletts and Romit Berger

 

 

 

 

The plane tree entertains the circus of doves

 

Stripped of spindly epicormic shoots, the now-knuckle-tree jabs her skeletal arms over the snapped stale breaths of pale, orange shavings powdering the tree surgeon’s yellow truck. Her psoriatic plane-bones arthrite in the grey sky. Knotted; hunched naked like the great distorted central pole of a marquee. Feather me, she says. Don’t leave me open-necked up-holding this soft circus. Perched in the flaking gnarl the little skull-caps are grey with it too. They dot her fleshlessness with incredulous brows. Tremble at the amplified sirens of daysound. Blink bright as part of the canopy of constellations later on in the dark.

 

 

 

Words by Helen Pletts (www.helenpletts.com ) whose two collections, Bottle bank and For the chiding dove, are published by YWO/Legend Press (supported by The Arts Council) and available on Amazon. Bottle bank was longlisted for The Bridport Poetry Prize 2006 (under Helen’s maiden name, Bannister). Also published in Aesthetica, Orbis, The Fenland Reed. Working collaboratively on Word and Image (published exclusively by www.inksweatandtears.co.uk) with Romit Berger, illustrator, since 2012. Helen’s poetry was longlisted for The Rialto Nature and Place Competition 2018 and shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize in 2018.

Image by Romit Berger who says  “I am a graphic designer. I met my very dear friend, Helen Pletts, in Prague, several years ago. Helen’s inspiration has led my graphic design career into that magical realm which combines illustration and poetry, and our creative wings continue to connect our souls through time and distance.”

 

 

 

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