Bodies in cars
Headlights and horns
Not paying attention
To any other homosapien
Is all contact
Staring at the perception
Under our gray matter
What table of contents
We must attend to
Behold the stampede
What rare find
The novelty of respect
A simple gesture to gift it
Will take the first step
• Hailing from the Southside of Chicago, Tim Kucharski was a frontman for local hardcore veterans Insult to Injury. Since that time, he has continued to craft words of urban blight and human plight . His work can be found on the Internationl Library of Poetry and www.thugworks.com A new book of his work will be out in Summer of 2008.
(so as not to offend the Sudanese Government)
( ' ' )
( ) Y ( )
( ' )
( ) ( )
This fine line that flows to terminate at these flexing fingers.
Shortens by half its length.
Suddenly grows darker .
Transports away cravings as he removes the makeshift
• Chris Major is a regular contributor to IS&T. Check out the right-hand sidebar fr details of his new e-book.
This distance is all flood. A kiss intended
might drown a metre short. Let drop a stone
upriver where water eases through the bridge,
and no ripple can puzzle through to me
in Hammersmith. But we will swim dreams.
You'll breathe mists all week to cuddle me. I'll
be a fleck of rain, a nightlamp on our window
so you know I haven't felt the tides
withdrawing from uneasy shores. One hand
each side of heaven will cup the sun,
top the current with our thoughts, light the flow
up and down with messages. We swim dreams.
You float an egg on the river. It hatches
in the kiss I launch upstream, home.
Of Water 2
This loving is all rivers. You may overshoot
our landing stage and reach with dripping oars
towards the shore, my stretching hands, or
in a sudden ebb I’ll sit, slack, surprised,
until your forceful push restores
the chopping of waves across my bow.
Who is the water? Who the bank? We both
contain the soft embrace of earth, we both
can flow, or surge, or clap against the rocks.
When you got into this boat with me, we
cut the course we rowed. Since then, we’ve
grown to let the current lead us on, taken
new cargoes from the reeds. Who is the water?
Who the bank? I love this journey to the sea.
• When not being pursued by long-dead poets, Mark thinks about his forthcoming collection – London Water – to be published by Flarestack. www.myspace.com/markleechpoetry
Folded boats of pink almond leaf float down pavements
in the wind, bright coins of beech jink and shuffle in the pockets
of the trees, crumble of dry tobacco dust in gutters, the tulip tree is
holding on to leaves of bright green, bantam bronze, refusing
to let go, the horse chestnut frees a last enormous leaf which settles
on the ground. An upturned hand. Open to anything.
• Gill McEvoy
The Brighton Lanes are popular with tourists, draw people through them like the moon on waves. The occasional person, or small pebble, may be left behind and lost.
It reminded her of a pebble, the round of it, its hard to the touch; his eyeball, just the one, copied and painted for her like a portrait but much better than that, set in gold as a locket to be worn on a chain. The fastening was intricate, a secretive catch; not many people could guess she was wearing the Prince Regent's eye.
Maria Fitzherbert would keep it for ever, nestled and safe on the pulse of her throat, long after the days when his eye began wandering, roving far from her, forgot it had promised to see her as his wife, shut itself tight to avoid inconvenient vows.
• Mandy Pannett runs an arts cafe, supports two local writing groups and enjoys giving readings and running writing workshops. She has two poetry collections from Oversteps Books: Bee Purple and Frost Hollow.
The Poetic Revolution Begins Here
Questo bombardamento poetico sulla città vuole lanciare in tutto il mondo il Manifesto di Genova della Rivoluzione Poetica…
is at the controls of a helicopter
and is swooping dangerously
over the Doge’s Palace.
The helicopter dislodges a statue
and soars up towards the one accommodating cloud.
It hovers and feigns
and then it turns to pepper the city of Genoa
with incantatory poems.
The Carabinieri take a few disparate shots
and you can see Ferlinghetti
shaking his fist
whilst preparing to drop
a particularly lethal dose of André Breton.
The Genoese scatter and duck
and hurtle towards the underground
which hasn’t been built.
All the alleyways of the old quarter are laced
that wind their unchallengeable way back
to Walt Whitman.
You can see Ferlinghetti quite clearly now
dapper in his blue shirt.
the sexual organs of the city.
• Julian Stannard teaches creative writing at the University of Winchester and has published two collections with Peterloo Poets.
Love in the City
Nocturne in Chrome & Sunset Yellow by Tobias Hill
Salt Publishing (2006), 67pp, £8.99, ISBN: 9781844712625
‘Nocturne’ and ‘Yellow’ sound strange in the title of a collection of poems – would this be poetry of music and painting? In a way it is; elegiac verses transmit the essence of Hill’s love for London, his unsentimental nostalgia for his city, the Thames and Londoners, and evoke Elgar and Monet. Running through it like a river is change, death and rebirth, dispossession and repossession. Hill celebrates the new while at the same time mourning, but holding, the past.
Hill was new to me but I felt an immediate connection. No Londoner, past, present or would-be, can be unaffected by his lyricism, gentle rhythmic tone, simple yet sensual language, economy of method, rhyme and delicate but powerful affection for this city. He takes us deep into a London of ghosts, old lights and names, greasy spoons, tide-washed steps and polyglot humanity, where rich meets poor, nature the man-made and the present the past. ‘I will never have seen enough of you’ he says, in the final line of ‘October’.
Memories are stimulated; close your eyes and you could be on the green island of Primrose Hill, looking south at dusk, when the sky is yellow and the office windows needles of chrome light; or on a night train, rattling into Victoria on a high curve, the ramshackle yellow-lit streets swilling mysteriously below you. It is a London of ‘pizza ovens, Peking duck and piss, / the air half-edible and wholly foul’.
We visit numerous people and places; Hampstead Heath; L’Algeroise; John’s Kabul Café; railway gangers working through the night; a young couple inexpertly clearing their derelict garden. We even take a trip to Paris, and Matisse, but soon come back.
Hill’s voice is very English, reserved but not inhibited. He uses an easy narrative, as befits someone who also writes novels, and infuses his lines with tender vulnerability. He suspends before the reader the imminence of change, and of the attendant regret that is both inevitable and accepted:
Daffodils wave their yellow heads at her
and suddenly she thinks of poetry:
beautiful things. The perfect words you say
only later, too late, driving away’.
Hill is unfussed by form and writes in flexible, natural stanzas. It is his rhythms that are so beguiling and gives his simple language a rare beauty:
In the garden
the goldfish are nuzzling
at heaps of soft late summer rain.
If I could have only one thing,
it would be some moment like this,
when one small fact puts all the facts right,
when the rain clears the London air
and my thoughts lie suddenly clean
and bright in the strength of their own wellspring.
Not all is sadness, sweetness and light. Hill’s voice is far from gritty, but while there is none of a city’s brutality here, we do encounter bailiffs, bouncers and a religious madman.
Of the thirty-two poems, twelve make up a series ‘A Year in London’. The rest of the collection is concerned with various aspects of London and its denizens, as in ‘Five Ways of looking at my Grandfather’, a work of some personal poignancy but one which sits oddly with the collection generally.
Acute forensic skill is not required to enjoy Tobias Hill, yet his poems offer more and more with every reading.
• Review by Brian Cole