Something for Halloween

Halloween display

The kids are helping the librarian
with a seasonal display
they keep asking:
is this scary enough?

& hungry magicians

of spooky castles
long-legged spiders
& The Nightmare before Christmas

The librarian says:
Yes and no and
… but what do you think?

Then the kids find a book
in the adult non-fiction
the most scary cover of them all:
a man who cries.

Halvardson was born in Sweden on a cold winter's day in 1982. When she
was old enough she escaped to England and ended up in Brighton which
inspired her to write a novel. It's called Punkindustriell hårdrockare med attityd and was published in Sweden last year. She's also active, going by the stage name of Lou Ice, as a performance poet.

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Helen Pletts is considering relationships

It's up to you whether you curl up on me and
twist again;
taking so long to let me scrape my nail under your tail,
wrapping up against me
leaving the sharp adhesive scent of you on my hands
that gets stronger with every pull.
And stranger than this,
even though I try to deftly cut you up into neat strips,
you want to hold on to me;
every trace of me, becomes you
in your glistening strip, as you isolate and snatch my fingerprints,
decoding me.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

My name is Lena

My name is Lena.
I'm the creases
the iron leaves in your shirt,
the odorous yellow of bleach
in your bathroom.
Did you think those black bags
tie themselves into knots at the top ?
That only your cat
licks the stainless mirror of his bowl ?
I'm the brush
on the back of your fortune-dog;
(well, it's a fortune to me)

the one I sleepover for
when you go away;
the one who notices me.
Did I smuggle myself over the borders
on the floor of a taxi ?
(You never asked)
Others do you know.
No permit. No home.
Only yours.
I keep it beautifully
don't you think ?

* Regular IS&T contributor
Helen Pletts was born in the UK but has lived in Prague in the Czech Republic for the past five years.

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In a New York state of mind

New York City Hotel Lobby

Cocaine concierge
floating like disco balls
in Manhattan goldfish bowls:
delivering hate-mail
and condoms, ice cream
and victory gin to red-faced men
(wishing now was then)
with suicidal girls
sitting cross-legged in furs
on inexpensive chairs
of painted papier-mâché.

The eyes of a stranger, falling
through a one-way mirror;
a romance, a tragedy, a false sense of confidence,
a tête-à-tête with the Plastic Princess
out on the city streets,
where borrowed dreams
are fading in the haze of steam
rising with a conscience from the sewers.

Elevator music
plays the story of my life.

(not his real name) describes himself as “a serial ruin artist… a
bloody reckless lay-about… a poet and a painter and a pianist of
sorts”. He's a new contributor to IS&T and adds that “it's the
first time I have ever submitted anything – anywhere!”

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New podcast by Hannah Silva

Here's our latest poetry podcast recording, courtesy of The poem – Talking to Silence – is by another IS&T contributor Hannah Silva. Hannah Silva performs her poetry regularly in the South West. In London she has performed within La Langoustine est Morte, Visions of the City II and at the London Word Festival. Her poetry has been published by Stride, Great Works, the Openned anthology, Tears in the Fence, Ink, Sweat & Tears and The Pedestal. She was awarded the 2007 Torbay Artsbase literature award. She was selected as one of The Times ‘Top Ten Literary Stars of 2008′, where they commented that ‘Her physical performances, fast-talking delivery and innovative use of cut-up text make her one of the most ambitious and entertaining poets in the country’. She also writes for theatre and has had performances in Holland, Germany, Japan and the UK. She studied choreography and performance writing at Dartington College of Arts and is currently doing an MFA in Theatre Practice at Exeter University.and taken from his new digital chapbook published by Snakeskin.

* Instructions:
To access this podcast: click on the paperclip, this will reveal an MP3
file attachment, click on this and a new browser page will open up with
a familiar audio player plugin control panel (play, pause, rewind etc –
these my vary depending upon the type of software you have on your
system). Play the file as many times as you like – or even download it
to your desktop. Then, when you have finished, click the 'back' button
on your browser to return to the Ink Sweat & Tears site.

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Matthew Friday is thinking about snow

We've had the first snowfalls of the winter in England today, so here is an appropriate poem by Matthew Friday…

Snow for Abbie
Abbie fizzed with excitement when
I told her there could be snow this
weekend, her beautiful face folding up
into the precious smiles of childhood.
I awoke on Sunday and saw snow
coming down in a flow, a slow water-
fall of thick flakes that then whirled
around like blinded birds. Everywhere
was white and the clouds grey and stiff.
I thought of Abbie jumping out of bed,
remembering what I said, giddy all day
long. I saw the snow hanging in the trees;
felt the stillness of the aftersnow, the
hanging moment of childhood.
By the end of the afternoon the snow
had melted and gone, leaving white stains
and patches of beauty and the thought:
childhood passes just as quickly.

* Matthew Friday has had poems and short stories widely published in magazines and literary journals. For examples of his work visit

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Casey Quinn has nothing but promises

promises, promises

i promise
is going to change
unless of course,
something happens
out of my control…
or if something better
comes along…
or if i have a
gut feeling telling
me otherwise…
or if the weather
changes direction…
in retrospect,
just walk away
save us both
time and energy
i promise that
is the best thing
for everyone.

* Casey Quinn is a writer of prose and poetry. He is also editor of the online magazine Short Story Library

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New haiga by John Irvine

* John Irvine is a regular contributor to IS&T.

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