New haiga by Alexis Rotella

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Bottle Bank by Helen Pletts

Bottle Bank
A lean trousered scrabble;
Pressed aside the green-breast-curve, toe-tipped
Arched form a-gape reaching,
A jagged white slit creases the cheek;
And the human bright-blue-eye
Echoes love lost, the pricelessness of heart;
Scattered, like the glass shards
You hopelessly filter. Your stick twists
But it won't stretch, nor grasp without prehensile
Tendency, the bottle's neck.
• Helen Pletts was born in the UK but has lived in Prague in the Czech Republic for the last four years. She says “My experience of living here has provided me with most of the inspiration for my current writing. The man I wrote the poem about is still alive, although he seems to always be drunk. He leans in to the bottle bank to get the bottles that may not have smashed on their way down – tries to retrieve them with his stick – then takes them to the supermarket for the returns money. I thought he would perish the winter I first saw him doing this – either from falling in head first, or from the extreme cold – minus 20+ on some days (winter 2005) so I gave him some money – this was right at the point I looked closely into his eyes and realised that he was struggling with something else maybe – the something else that had driven him to trying to drink himself to death. His eyes were the most incredible blue. I couldn't get home fast enough to write the poem.”

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Flash fiction by Abbie Clark


Diving from left to right and zig zagging across the floor sparks shot from his heels, Ralf had never felt so alive, as he flicked the prosthetic limbs that had neatly been attached by feather boa technology towards the centre of the dance floor everyone spread out.  

Eager to witness his slick new moves and be a part of the new scene (that would no doubt be talked about in every post office and abandoned telephone box for decades to come) the two legged trend setters set about making a circular spherical shape of neon lights and flashing shoes.  Zip zap zoom ra, the lights spun and glistened like they were spinning just for him, the music rose like petrol prices and the chanting began.  Ralf was king tonight, as he double flipped, back kicked and somersaulted he felt the floor move beneath his plastic toes so fast that he knew evidence would later need to be provided by the insecurity guards. 

Then just as he was about to break into his signature move the collar was strapped around his neck and his eyes drifted to the stick being thrown at a great angle into a sky of street lamps.  They would have to wait until tomorrow for the next dance frenzy.

• Abbie Clark is a purveyor of the bizarre, a radio presenting activist and a consumer of chai latte

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Leigh Pierce has a date

Date Night

No snow    no rain    no way
Just pain
Bound by agony, to the couch of eternity
From humble beginnings come humiliating ends
A horrifying conclusion that can’t be stopped
Wanting to leave
But not able to – too scared
Having to leave and not wanting to – too nervous
Too/too    scared/nervous
Cabin fever developing into hermit
(w/out crabs)
Into a full blown battle
Terminal anti-social agoraphobia
“You can’t make me leave!!”
“You’re not the boss of me!!”
I scream as the men in pretty white coats
Take me out for a night on the town

• Leigh Pierce describes himself as “a poet who types with brass knuckles, a head full of port & lungs full of cigar smoke”.

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Bobby Parker has an unfinished manuscript

unfinished manuscripts (neglecting her needs)

I got a bunch of hahahas in my underwear drawer
next to a copy of Poetry For Fools and a
half-smoked joint… I take them out
and rattle them in the streets like neon chains
advertising This New Time To Be Getting Along
With People We Secretly Hate…
I call them dream-star-solar-henrymiller-
but my girl, well, she calls them
stinky ball-sacks filled
with what's left of my heart
and O my armpits cradle them now
like tiny silver violins and,
as I sweat-drip these words, they play to you so sadly
it would break your heart if I were to tell you what,
if anything, all of this means.

• Bobby Parker is 25, lives in Kidderminster (England) has poems published/accepted in/by Agenda, Obsessed With Pipework, Fire, Iota, Rain Dog, Cauldron, The Coffee House, Curlew, Krax, Weyfarers, Purple Patch and Urban District Writers.  

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Rob Plath's found a hole in the universe

the hole in the universe

today i read in the newspaper
that scientists have discovered
6 billion trillion miles of emptiness
out in space & how they are puzzled
by the whole thing
while i sit with a cigarette in hand
looking up at the dark sky
sending my meek smoke signals
up into the blackness
smiling, unbaffled by their new finding
knowing all along god was out there somewhere
& now it is late august
all i hear are crickets & the box fan
& i am pleased by this too
these surrounding sounds void of language
these god-like chips of meaningless waves

• Rob Plath is from New York and studied under Allen Ginsberg for two years in the mid 1990s.  I is currently contributing editor to d/e/a/d/b/e/a/t press and poetry editor of The Whirligig and has a new chapbook on its was from the Tainted Coffee Press.

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New concrete poetry by Chris Major

You need to be following current affairs in the UK at the moment to appreciate this visual pun. In particular, the resignation from Parliament of Tory MP David Davies, who is now casting himself as an unlikely successor John Hampden (look him up on Wikipedia) as a champion of traditional liberties and fundamental freedoms dating back until Magna Carta.

• Christopher Major is a regular contributor to IS&T

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