New haiga by Rachel Green

Regular IS&T contributor Rachel Green is a novel writer who will shortly become an novel author,
but she starts every day with walking her dogs and writing poetry.
Books of haiku available from

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Elizabeth Braken remembers the school dinners


Those old school dinners,
the greasy mince, the pitchers of weak tea
have been transmuted into beef,
red wine tonight.
The lives that run between
are beads strung out along a chain of days
which we investigate with nervous fingers.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Drawing again –
back to the slick of a Stanley knife,
the cedarwood incense
of sharpened pencils,
the give of a putty rubber.
Painting again –
gouache on a cracked plate,
mixing shade, tint, tone,
Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre,
Chancing a start
on stretched paper
I catch at light and shadow,
deliver with affection
imperfect work.
* Elizabeth lives in Suffolk and has run libraries for children and prisoners. She is currently a receptionist with Social Services.

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New podcast by Helen Pletts

Here's the first of our new podcast series. The poem is by regular IS&T contributor Helen Pletts and was recorded in the Czech Republic, where she now lives. So, well done Helen for not only coping with the recording technology – but managing it in Czech. Helen added “The gentlemen who helped with the studio work were – in short – a bunch of darlings… patient and very very helpful… they winced slightly on one occasion when I let out a few obscenities… some words in that area seem to be universal… s**t in particular… this happened on one occasion when I became tongue-bound-up in a particular phrase… and then you realise how difficult it is to read out loud without making mistakes…”

* To
access this podcast: Either click on the control buttons below…

OR click on the paperclip icon that appears below the text of the poem. 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).
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.

She's Singing

She's singing
in the tube-glare
(the main light dead to the show).
The words are slow-talking
above the beats,
and she is sounding more
than the song –
more soul in those pauper's notes
than stardom.
She lifts her heart up
from the two-cat audience
to the keep-corner spiders.
And the friends she hasn't
found yet, fall into the shadows
as she breathes her own heart
into the microphone.

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Alistair has a plan – and we're waiting to be impressed

More topical concrete poetry comment by Chris Major – this time of UK Chancellor of the Exchequer (ie finance minister) Alistair Darling's emergency budget plans…

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David Francis remembers the one with her


All fires are small
except the one with her.
It smoldered so long,
for years.
It must have been
the ground –
the cool damp sand
the coals return to.

Brittle white twigs,
ashy dirty sand,
cactus protruding
here and there;
the estuary
wafts in on the night air –
that's her.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Sitting in the kitchen
with, on a tablecloth,
a notebook and a pen,
the kitchen door key hung
above the clean tile floor –
the dogs all bark at once
in the outskirts.

On the street wrought-iron
fences guard the facades
but even the nag is
tied in the nearby field
and it's not the season
for the tropical bugs
in the village.

A late autumn wind blows
down from the starless sky;
some old women walking
nod to the approaching
figure with a baby
wrapped in a bed blanket
in their hometown.

* David Francis is a New York-based poet and singer/songwriter who from time-to-time tours the UK. He was last here earlier this autumn.

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An interlude of you

To get to know you, I resort to stratagems. To not to know you, I again resort to stratagems. This oscillation is not a simple periodic motion of my will, neither of yours I believe. We've been the object of my circumstances, my fate and my desire. People stand on the platform and cry hoarse over full glory of those preceding, and we stand, soak in the sun and the voices, which do not yet penetrate us. We try that they enter us, and we become now mingled with reality, but the rainbow's span is too wide and we are too fearful of falling into the sky we started to cross. Our world is inhabited by cross-eyed lions, pink sunflowers and dreams for which we are doing nothing, and God. At times, we wonder who shall inherit the earth, but most times we ponder whether it is something we should inherit or not. I am happy with the drizzle that came in the morning today, it woke me up. I don't want no earth.

* Ankur Agarwal is from India and has recently started to take his writing seriously. He has been published before in Flash in the Pan run by Tiny Lights (by Susan Bono). He works as an editor for STM books in his spare time and also spends a lot of time traveling to remote places. He reviews European cinema (primarily French) for DearCinema and maintains his own blog at

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James Morris introduces us to more people from our past

Boozing Buddies
Scabby Dave
Adhering to his beard
The froth.
A skeletal rock monster
On his back,
He looks like that.
Telling me he is going to open a boutique in London
in his rags.
A fishing rod for a walking stick,
Then when that got nicked;
A branch.
Drinks and drinks
And thinks he’s Clint –
(the Stetson over his face),
In front of the open fire,
Mumbling to himself.
Sometimes I see him –
Striding over the plain
(over the waste ground)
On his way home,
The man with no name.
Recently though a change –
Sporting cane (silver-topped),
A watch-chain hanging,
His new black jacket,
Hey! I've got it! Doc Holliday.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Early one morning (on the guitar
took an acid tab aged twenty
twenty five years later
threw himself under a car) just
As the sun was rising…
He could play
A nice action
I would say.
Slung high
On his chest
Fingering the frets.
Tipped for the top
And he did it –
Topped himself.
In that room
His big break,
A broken neck.

* James Morris: “I work as an English teacher in Thailand. I looked round the Teacher's Room today and thought… Rejects from the West, a failure Fest.”

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