New haiga by Ed Baker

* Ed Baker's bio reads…

born 1941
here 2008

in between


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Time for another of our short cuts

Time for another of our short cuts collections, of short poems by 3 different authors…


he waits

for the dice to tumble,
for the scales to fall

like rain
on an autumn night

He’s been a long time

being someone else.

* Anne Brooke wonders if the moon is spying on her and what it might think. During daylight hours she can be found at

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Rust on a Sledge

Rust on a Sledge
Is like Neville at a Party.
They are both inevitable if
The Sledge has been used
Or if Neville's wife is throwing the party.

* Ben Macnair is a writer and journalist who lives in Staffordshire. His poetry has appeared in Purple Patch, Raw Edge and other small print publications, and was featured in the National Poetry Anthology for 2006 and 2008.

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See you later bro…
to my good friend Shooey RIP

brother of mine
goes on burning
behind the curtains
a trail of smoke
for the moon
leaving stories
of how hard you tried

Bobby Parker 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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New podcast by Bev Ellis

In the words of Mandy – that's Brian's mother in the Monty Python movie The Life of Brian – I have been a naughty, naughty boy for not keeping up with our podcasts. Today we have two poems by my good friend and an excellent (and I think under-rated) poet Beverly Ellis. The sound recording leaves a lot to be desired (that's entirely my fault) however we also have the text of the two poems: The Look and Waiting to be Asked.

The Look

You’re not really making the best of yourself:

                                         always choose brown:
                                     black is – slimming, yes –
                          but very unforgiving in artificial light.
                              Bitter chocolate: that’s what you want,
                                   or even praline, but definitely not ginger.

                        An hourglass like you can get away with a lot:
                     cross-over fronts, nipped-in waists, fit-and-flare.

                   Never buy anything in a sale: you’ll only wear it once,
                       whereas one good piece is an investment.

             Accessorise: the best bag and shoes you can possibly afford.

I know you don’t really care,

      but a gold-tone foundation would work for you – sand, or even vanilla.
            Given your red cheeks, green concealer cream is useless
               so look for a base which provides substantial coverage;
                               moderate won’t do, not any more
                               and powder’s out (too ageing). 
                            Above all, you’re aiming for ‘dewy’.

                                 Lipstick has to be fuchsia, a blue-red;
                             tea rose doesn’t have sufficient lift
    and coral is out of the question unless you get the thread veins zapped.
                                And, remember: glossy.

              It’d be money well spent to see your stylist every month,
                               just to have semi-permanent, a toner,
                        not gold – more caramel or wheaten –
                            and a deep conditioning treatment.
                    Choose one of the new generation moisturisers:
                               pentapeptides or liposomes.

I’m wasting my breath, aren’t I?

                     Nails: last on the list – only if you have time.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Waiting To Be Asked

We sit here on separate sofas,
sip tea
and smile.

Go on.
Do you want me to say it?

Or what if I just grab the back of your neck
and wipe my tits across your face?
Wrench the shirt from your chest,
burst the buttons so they clatter off the walls.

Shall I brave the mysteries of men’s trousers?
Fumble the fastenings before you can move,
yank them aside,
shuck you, silken, from your hiding place,
my forehead bobbing on your belly,
intent like prayer.

Perhaps then you’d grab a hank of my hair,
pull me to the floor, twisting,
tip me backwards like a doll,
earrings biting the sides of my head,
eyes wild, hips bucking…

What?  Sorry?  Another biscuit? 
Yes, of course.

* Bev Ellis fled the chalk-face due to catastrophic government initiatives. She has been writing poetry for three years and can’t understand why her work is frequently assumed to have been written by a male poet; something to do with ‘an unflinching eye’, apparently. She is also a life-long Alice Cooper fan.

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Helen Pletts is taking the coats tonight

I’m taking the coats tonight

I’m taking the coats tonight –
in a world of fingers that forget to tip,
it is my blue jumper trail-thread
which touches your palm
this evening
before the show
before you place it on her naked back
where the Dior black, parts
at her neat young spine.
I’m staring at the coats tonight –
from the cheap seats
parting the limp of grey I call my hair
hearing Smetana through a muffle of sleeves
wearing a blue Dior dress of dreams.

* Helen Pletts is a regular IS&T contributor. She was born in the UK but now lives in Prague in the Czech Republic, where she teaches creative writing. You are welcome to visit

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Alexander Allison knows a dancer

i know a dancer

and she walks with the grace of a dream
a billowing message of the worlds goodness
and it fills you from all angles and lifts you to say
‘Hush, it’s okay’
and that’s all you wanted to hear anyway.

and the kiss of her lips to the fumes of the ash
kissing the air of creativity
she sucks with a passion and blows with a
and that’s all she wanted

the dancing arms and the dancing hands
the dancing fingers
wrap around
my welcoming neck
and we dance in each others eyes to Brahms
as we kiss the air
and not each other.

and it will be quiet
and it will be perfect
and everything will be clean and perfect

* Alexander J. Allison is a poet from London. He is full of shit. He has a blog here:

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Mike Estabrook's caught between heaven and earth

Heaven and Earth

It has been a long, hot, humid summer and my wife and I are exhausted and a little bored so we stop by the video store, take out Oliver Stone’s Heaven and Earth – Vietnam through the life of a young Vietnamese woman. We watch it and get reminded how completely horrible life is, how life isn’t worth anything, not one damn thing, because people are terrible and disgusting and blood-thirsty and mindless sexual monsters with all their raping and killing and ravaging and torture and snakes and knives and guns, mudpits and flesh-eating ants, bombs and grenades and agent orange. Three long hours of pure human violence, hate and death, the Devil himself in complete control of humanity and the planet. The movie finishes and we turn it off and the house is really quiet and suddenly for no apparent reason we start right in yelling like crazy at one another. And though I hated this film’s despicable lopsided portrayal of the human race maybe it taught me something – the only way to stop the violence is to stop the violence.

* Mike Estabrook lives in New England and is a regular IS&T contributor.

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Mike Montreuil tries to remember where he lost his head

We haven't carried any flash fiction for a while so here's a piece from regular IS&T contributor Mike Montreuil. He says this started as a invented/imaginary haibun but it got too long – and that he still doesn't know if it will make people laugh…


I've lost my head many times throughout the course of the centuries. Some born of royal blood seem to avoid the tragedy of being headless. But not me. I have had my share. I believe, if memory serves me right, the first time was in the south of Egypt during the time of Thetmoses II, a pharaoh who ruled the Nile during the eighteenth dynasty. Seems I was caught stealing gold and artifacts from his father's tomb. It was a nasty cut. I could tell as I rose into the heavens; the executioner swung his bronze sword three times.

A thousand years would pass before I would become separated again. With my luck, I was probably a peasant or slave during that quiet time and never had the chance to live past my twentieth birthday. Not that they were counted or celebrated. Heck, making it to the next harvest was good enough. Anyway, this second time occurred as I travelled the Palestine as a rug merchant. As usual, I was arrested for selling favors to the rich housewives of the ruling class. However, unlike the other times, one of the wives confessed to her indiscretion. The motion was swift and without mercy.

Then there was China, eight hundred years ago. Life was too serious over there; too structured. That led me to trouble with a local governor. He didn't appreciate my advances on his three youngest daughters. The governor had me hauled to some kind of rack and after some fun with me, finally separated my head from my body. I don't know where it wound up. My spirit was a bit shaken after losing his daughters. Damn, they were eager and lustful.

That brings me to the twenty-first century. It's a good time to recollect all my headless escapades into some sort of ghastly story. Hopefully, it will enable some reader to realize that history, however insignificant like mine, does repeat itself.

Now, what happened during the American civil war? Let's see. Yes.

…Then there was the time when conquistadors looted our village near Cuzco. And let's not forget the time in Rome as the Vandals overcame the defences…

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