Easter – a concrete poem by Chris Major

• Chris Major is a regular contributor to IS&T.

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Two new works by Deborah Gordon

The Tiger

The Paper Clip Men

Slightly bent
And – spent around
The edges
The paper clip men
Dance – wildly on
The ledges.


This is Deborah
Gordon's second appearance on IS&T, she says “I began writing at the
age of seven and since then have never really stopped. I like to
experiment with all different styles and mediums and the concept of

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Two poems by Bernice Lever


How I hated the sizzling splash of phlegm
each morning as Mom lifted the black lid of our kitchen stove,
spitting into the burning wood flames.

I could forgive her home-rolled
Macdonald's tobacco cigarettes
dangling from the corner
of her firm mouth as she stirred
pots of soup, porridge, even gravy, ashes drifting finely to bubbling
pots or our flowered linoleum.

Those days, Mom's spit on corner
of her hankie wiped smudges  or tears
from our chubby cheeks, just waiting for our Saturday turn with the one family bath water
in the same old galvanized tub.
Polish too quickly, too lightly,
and my teenage house work was labelled,
as Mom said, “just a lick and a promise” that would have to do until tomorrow;
not the shiny perfection of “spit & polish” with serious intent
on uncle's  military  boots.


Walking alone allows
their annoying, sniffing, licking
dogs to hinder my stride,
while their silly snide asides
drill my ear drums,
shatter my thoughts.

Shutting up windows and doors
keeps their superior tones, even inferior pets, mediocre offspring, outside this wooden cabin, a sanctuary,
silencing their jealousy
of my places of peace.
Wrapping myself safely inside
my rusty station wagon,
believing glass, green vinyl,
especially enamelled metal will protect me against my neighbours,
I have the radio on high
so it smothers their complaints
of my missing muffler
as soon as I turn that key, stamp my gas pedal.

Now to develop heart armour –

• Bernice Lever is a Canadian poet. If you check out our reviews section, there is a report on her latest collection Never
A Straight Line (ISBN: 978-0-88753-438-6). For more info visit www.colourofwords.com

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Two works by Hannah Silva

talking to silence

cutting cutting cutting ctctctctctctctctctctctctctctct sickening how
dgd gdg dgd gdg dgd gdg dgd gdg dgd d d d d  d  d  d    d    doubt
doub ting t onges…doubt ing to…de co rate….this….speech.
sick-of-me  talk-ing-to  sick-of-me  talk-ing-to  sick-of-me  talk-ing-to…              

risk…thinking sinking sickening kick towards speaking…doubtful…listening
look at me look at me look at me sick of me sick of me sick of me
tell her tell her tell how talking to talking to licking licking looking
looking sick of sick of…..swallowing….. dividing.
watch. how. this. di. vi. ded. sp. ace. Breeeathesss…. Se pa rates….

into you in to you into you too your

reflection is licking me spitting me out like an unwanted diary entry I have become graffiti. Engraved on the inside of this bottom lip. I spill my self slip.

I see this is reflection is this see I ee this is reeeo e I I ee this is refleco I I tion noit ref lect ee ct see I see…and …it… breaks….

tkktktktktktktktktktktktktktktktktktktktktktktktktktk What about my body in the middle?

Drown. Down. Own. Gone. Now. Someone…

I’m a dot now rotting over I! A blood cut in the memory clot! The other of self. Ish Ish Ish Ish! She is all fish down below. All fish down. I hook her, and fling back!

This is what I mean by dancing           join!    join!      join!
I am going to be to going am I            joy!      joy!       joy!  

I walk through the grass and hands my ankles grasp.
Underneath all the self-taking the love, it kisses, hard.


Here…a pearl-drop on the eyelash
It reflects a myriad of wounds   
Some travel with us
Which were we born with?

No one blink. No one let time pass without outcry.

Voices overlap, speech turns back on someone longing      
Voices overlap, it’s over; the television speaks. Voices

Overlap speech turns back on someone longing
Voices overlap, it’s over; the television speaks

Is the window open? I’m longing to repeat my mistakes    
Longing to repeat    to repeat   myself      Longing to

Repeat     to repeat myself
Is the window open? I’m longing to repeat my mistakes.

No one blink. No one let time pass without outcry.

We have woken into something. The midst, the mist of something.
Choking dust        choking us.

• Hannah Silva is a playwright, poet and theatre director living in Devon. Her website is at www.hannahsilva.co.uk and she recently performed at the London Word Festival.

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Rachel Fox on why writers groups are not for everyone

Writers' groups are not for everyone

Writers' groups are not the place for everyone
Sitting in those shapes and clasping verse
A bit like self-help meetings (minus all the fun)
Instead of drugs and phobias it's far, far worse
There are lots of serious blokes who dream of softback
Who know exactly why their words are best
Ok, career is not exactly on track
But luckily there's nothing helps you toughen like a test
The women present criticise constructively
This is good and that is nearly so
Young and old have faces trained in empathy
But is spending time this way really the best way to go?
I tried, I tried, I open the door wide
And I go right back to the ungrouped world outside

• Rachel Fox was born and raised in Northern flomaxbuyonline.com/ England and now lives on the Angus coast in Scotland. She says: “I have been writing poetry regularly for about ten
years. I have worked in journalism, education, market research, shops
and nightclubs (5 long years as a DJ in the 1990s). At present I look
after family full-time – partly because I like it, partly because it
gives me more writing time and partly because I am very bad at keeping
regular jobs.
I publish my poems as postcards and read regularly at the folk
club in Montrose.” More information can be found on her excellent website at www.crowd-pleasers.net and we will be carrying some more of her work in the next few weeks.

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New haiga by Alexis Rotella

• Alexis Rotella is a regular contributor to IS&T. This photo was taken during her recent trip to Japan.

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Portrait of Death as an Artist by P T Diep

A portrait of death as an artist

Light peels back the night from faces
with prayers engraved on chiselled lips

the mist of souls is teased towards the sky
by the sun that lifts the veil to peep

at death upon the ground
already calling those bodies down

the bodies of boys buried neck deep
in metal tombs no longer draped in laughs.

The water-colours of yesterday have dried,
like oil, becoming water-fast.

So time scrapes the scene and scrapes the scene
until all flesh is gone and bones are stones

that mark the beds of boys that overnight
joined their forefathers in the grave.

The tombs crumble into remnants,
overrun by the forest's creep.

Green crystals encrust copper,
swords and helmets lie exposed.

Earth draws the greens back down,
reds and golds blur the setting sun.

Black night tumbles from the sky,
pierced by time's perfect aim.

• Phuoc-Tan (PT) Diep is a regular contributor to IS&T. This poem first appeared in Poetry News.

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