Burma – a comment by Chris Major

Monk's Footwear – Bloody Burma

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Chris Major is a regular contributor to Ink Sweat & Tears with his concrete poems.

• If you are interested in the connection between poetry and politics, there will be a debate at the upcoming Aldeburgh Poetry Festival (that's in Suffolk, England) between Peter Carpenter and Joseph Woods as to whether poetry, in the words of W. H. Auden “makes nothing happen” or whether it is unavoidably political and can make a difference. The session takes place at 1:00pm at the Cinema Gallery on Sunday 4th November, tickets £6.00. For full festival details and programme visit www.thepoetrytrust.org

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The 'We' lies by P. A. Levy

The ‘We’ Lies

After reading Simone Weil
you put on a pair of sunglasses
and stated emphatically
that every sentence
beginning with ‘we’ is a lie.

We are good together.

I asked about the sunglasses;
it was January. You explained,
with a Gallic shrug, she was French
then started reading aloud
long passages, I’ve no idea
what about ‘cos the West Ham
game was on the radio,
the Upton Park faithful
were chanting:
“We are staying up.
We are staying up.”
That doesn’t look likely;
lost again.

We were meant for each other.

I opened a bottle of beer
hoping to drown defeat:
trust me to support such
a shit team. You poured yourself
a glass of Burgundy, still feeling French
you tell me: “we have our liberty.”
To be honest, at this precise moment,
I would rather have three points.
Then, lighting a Gitanes, and surrounding
yourself in plumes of smoke for support
you chant with a smile: “we have
everything we ever dreamed of.”
Sorry, but I can’t see my Triumph Bonny
parked outside, no platinum discs
from my hit records, no cup winners’ medals
even though I always score the winning goal.
You see, she could actually be right,
this Simone Weil, ‘cos this ‘we’
doesn’t seem to be working for me.

We would always be true.

With full continental temperament
you allow your arms an acid house
dance; big box, little box,
throw your arms into explaining
about the meaning of the box,
the purpose of its existence.
You exhale Paris itching
to discuss café philosophies
or overturn Renaults
and burn them in the fireplace
waving placards saying:
‘we don’t talk anymore’.
Sacre Bleu! Merde!
I was telling you we had strikers
that couldn’t hit a shot on target
from inside the six yard box,
that our midfield had gone missing,
keeper tends to flap on crosses.
Talking isn’t the problem.

We loved each other, once.

Not every sentence
beginning with ‘we’ is a lie.

P.A.Levy says… “I'm a Cockney sparrow now living in exile in the beautiful Suffolk countryside.  As a life long West Ham fan I know all about dreams that fade and die and fortunes always hiding.”

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Souls that Passed in Spite by Clare Phillips-Barton

• Clare Phillips-Barton is amongst other things a mother of two, living, writing and bumping into unusual types in the Northamptonshire countryside.

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Love Lane haiga – by Mandy Smith & Emily Lin

• Mandy Smith is an English girl who meanders through life enjoying astronomy, postmodernist deconstruction and collaborating with photographers to produce haiga. Mandy's Meanderings can be visited at http://mandysmeanderings.blogspot.com/

Emily Lin is a young Malaysian who takes daily photographs of Kajang – see http://malaysiadailyphoto.blogspot.com/

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Some haiku for the weekend

Four haiku to consider for the weekend – Bluebell woods is by one of IS&T's regular contributors Phuoc-Tan Diep while the remaining three – Berlin, Proust and Buddha are by Ken Head, whose work has also been published in IS&T over the summer.

Blood in bluebell woods,
where wolves walk and humans stalk
with silver bullets.

Berlin haiku
Blazing graffiti
calculated defiance
freedom knows no walls

Proust haiku
How cruel now are those
madeleines of memory
that once seemed so sweet

Buddha smiles broadly
forever he laughs and laughs
he has seen the joke

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Two new poems by Matthew Friday

Rich Waters

A Saturday evening in late August;
the prolepsis of summer has begun.
Under inky rain clouds stream ragged V’s.
of quiet seagulls, the first to probe inland.
Why so early this year? Or are you lost,
like me, looking for rich waters.

Out of the Cave

It was huge, like an alien
from War of the Worlds.
Its long spindly legs slapping
the side of the shower

for grip. The great grey bulk
skidding in the damp, slowing
down like a man fighting a tide,
like a man giving up. I scooped

it out. It weighed nothing,
yet felt Prehistoric. I waited for the bite.
House spiders don’t bite.
This one panted in my palm.

I opened the window and eased it out.
It stumbled out onto the ledge,
blinded by the early august sun, the birdsong.
He staggered forward and used his two

largest legs to rear up and survey
the bright world around him.
Like Man coming out of the Cave.
I forgot him for a moment, looked

away, prepared to shower. A sudden
scuffle. A bird on the window ledge.
I looked out and saw the bird launch
into the sky, the spider in its jaws.

• Matthew Friday is a professional writer and graduate of the MA in Creative Writing at Goldsmith College, London. He has had poems accepted for publication in the following magazines: Carillon, Earth Love, Finger Dance Festival, The New Writer, Pens on Fire, Pulsar and Red Ink. He has also received a special mention in Poetry News and won 3rd prize in Writing Magazine's Valentine Day poetry competition.

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Two poems by Linda Preston


The puppet master who is always dusted with darkness,
is about to end his performance.
His marionette has slithered staring to the stage floor
where her mother, father and sister,
will never have to meet her empty eyes, or see
exactly how she is sprawled and trampled.
The puppet master is our intermediary  
his maimed marionette cannot speak or weep
without skilful manipulation – of his icy fingers.
He has taught her silence like a prayer.


I see you in shifting shadows
I see you slipping slyly from the gallows
I see you strutting down the street
spurs chinking on your feet.
I see you chewing a cigar in smoky bars
busy cheating at cards.
The whiskey on your breath
could make a girl dizzy.
I survive your glacier glare
But, I’m aware death comes so easily to you…

I see you in petrol stains on rain soaked roads
rainbow coloured, slowly dissolving at the edges.
I see you lurking outside my door late at night
smirking insanely
like a man on a ledge, holding on
waiting for the shock
that will send him falling
into darkness.

• Linda Preston says “It’s cold here on the dark side of the moon – but I have everything I need for now – freshly bakes scones & cream, a Ted Hughes poetry book and a picture of Brad Pitt not wearing very much!”

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