Three pieces by Julian Stannard

Bob Dylan Plays Down in the Port
(Genoa 1992)

We were almost at the end of the world
on the uppermost floor
in earshot of the world’s ghostliest ships.
The baby was asleep in his cot.
Darling, your breasts were my nest.
Just to twitch was to feel
a cascade of sweat down our necks.
We’d heard they’d flown in
a god who’d died to be revived.
Heat made porridge of us.
You blinked when that growl
drifted from the port
and bade us sleep.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

An Itch in the City

A purple slipper lies in the street:
an itch in the city, a bishop in flight.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Drowned City
(November 2002)

What struck me most
about the
drowned city
was the way in which
a whole generation
of umbrellas
was wiped out.

Some were shoved
cruelly into litter boxes.
But many just drifted
around like tramps,
zombies, barboni
giving us the questionable benefit
of their death-rattle.

The unequivocally dead
lay on broken backs,
their thin bones
showing signs
of torture.

Julian Stannard teaches creative writing at the University of
Winchester and has published two collections with Peterloo Poets.

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New haiga by Maggie West

• Maggie West says “After
I had been writing short poems for some years, I discovered haiku while
formal western-style calligraphy. In 1992, I became
a member of The British Haiku Society
and was thereby
introduced to other forms of Japanese poetry.
Working mainly
with inks and other water-based media, I have always enjoyed 'mark
making'; transforming
the tactile working surface using many
types of brushes, pens, quills and sticks as necessary.
I try
to make my handwriting on the haiga as legible as possible without
being formal.
As I come from a 'western art' background, my
work is not traditional in the Japanese sense; however,
I try
to be true to the spirit of haiga.” For more information visit Maggie's website at

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Two poems by Katrina Naomi

My Fathers

One wore a St Christopher, the other a watch.
One liked cricket, the other football.
One drove a Lotus, the other a Morris.
One was a nurse, the other sold turf.
One read Orwell, the other The Sun.
One sported a tweed jacket, the other leather.
One listened to brass bands, the other to Brubeck.
One took me to Brands Hatch, the other to Butlins.
One was Catholic, the other C of E.
One drank bitter, the other lager.
One was Clairol’s ‘Natural Nordic’, the other a darker blond.
One left when I was 7, the other arrived when I was 11.
One hit my mother, the other hit my dog.
I haven’t seen either of them in years.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


You might not take me
for a headbanger,
but look down my back,
see that plait, ranged
along my spine.
When it shakes loose,
there’s sparks,
like metal meeting axe.

Dah dah dah
da da da da
da da da da

It might be true to say
that nothing seems to satisfy,
and the head is left,

• Katrina Naomi is studying for a Creative Writing MA at Goldsmiths.

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All in black by John Irvine

All in black

Slender as a reed
all in black
dark bobbed hair
green eyes
red lips
perches sidesaddle
on the crossbar
of my bicycle
she tinkles a laugh
as my old legs crank
the pedals
“I love you,”
I whisper seriously
following her perfume
and pressing my lips
to her cheek
“Your not loving me
would be inconceivable,”
she laughs

I wobble
and strike the curb
tumbling us in an untidy heap
onto the grass verge
“Now look what you
made me do,”
I laugh back.

I can still taste
her skin
on my lips
when I awake.

Irvine writes… “John Irvine is an Old Aged Pensioner in New Zealand
with delusions of immortal failure and a cynical view of life. He has a
mole under his left arm, and a wife who hates pizza and tripe. He hopes
to die painlessly one day without warning, and with a minimum of

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Three poems by David LaBounty

Another Poem About More of the Same

the words rise
above the coffee
smells and soft
music like an
antiseptic cloud
and the words
rise from a collection
of women dressed
in black sweaters black
pants black boots and
they all look the same
but different

and their cars out front,

ski racks and
honor student
stickers, suvs and
minivans, envoys and
tahoes, caravans
and odysseys.

milk, one of them says,
I haven't given
Nathan anything
with milk in it for the
past two months. not
even grilled cheese
or macaroni and I
have to tell you, what
a difference it makes,
it makes him less aggressive
and I did this because
he was acting up in school,
fidgeting at his desk
cutting in line
and it was because of
the milk, I tell you, and
who wants their kid
to act up in school,
who wants that kind of


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Hollywood is Nothing More Than Hollywood

in between
jobs and
money was
an issue
as I was
the video
rental place
and I couldn't
find anything
worth giving
up a buck
ninety-nine for
and it was
so very
clear to
me that
I was and
will always
be a loser
and that
is hungry
for your
money and


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Fair Trade

the bags says the coffee is
fair trade and I paid extra
for it because I like to think
I'm helping the little
guy, helping some poor
brown-skinned dude
in Guatemala get
a fair price for his
beans and I sip
that coffee on
the way to work,
from the suburbs
through the disintegrating
city where the bus stops
are overflowing.

I sip that coffee,
with pale and tender lips
to a face that is white
and my coffee
is black and


so are the faces
waiting for the bus.

• David LaBounty says… I live in suburban Detroit with my wife and two young sons and there is more info on my very boring blog at

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Two poems about silence by Tim Bedford

Shroedinger's Cat

The radio instructed me
I should hold a minutes silence
for something that
might have happened.
Something that could have been.
No certainty, more allegations
than bones, but still the country
was to fall silent, for something
that might have happened.
I asked my mate, Tom,
if I should adhere
to the madness of
remembering, something
that might have happened.
He wasn't sure, but is often confused,
he lives in a shelter,
for the homeless,
abandoned, and lost.
Once he lived with a bloke
named Shroedinger,
who at will, would keep him
locked up,
to check the infinite possibilities
of an uncertain multiverse and all
the things, that might have happened.
I reckoned Tom would know
if I should hold
a minutes silence, for all the things
that might have happened.
But he had no answer for me,
with his inscrutable
he was hopeful,
of better days,
tinned food, milk, warm fires,
and old ladies,
who spoil cats.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Once, silence
was a place we retreated
From loud days, still ringing
in our ears.
Echoing words, of no
meaning. Wasted words.
Other peoples woes.
Breathe in
breathe out,
words are formed of sculpted breath,
and melt like swans of ice.
I used to welcome the
silent hours. Where coals
Dishes. Rattled.
That’s all there was
the sound of your heart,
perhaps, and mine,
our breathing vaguely
Now we use silence
like a weapon.
You bludgeon questions
short with it.
And I fill mine
with resentment,
that I know you
can hear.
So loud and clear
that you and
I too,
would rather escape to that loud world,
which chatters on relentless
as a storm in the night.

• Tim Bedford says “I am studying BA in Creative Writing at the University of Cumbria. At thirty seven I might be a bit old to be at school. But what the hell.”

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Concrete comment by Chris Major

• Christopher Major is a regular contributor to IS&T

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