Sonia Jarema is just a karaoke queen

Karaoke Queen
Blue streaks in her hair
To match her top.
Face no longer dull but
sparkling with the joy of singing.
Kids queue up to
the lady with beautiful rippled brilliant white hair,
who repeats in her soft Geordie voice their choice of song
and with gravity takes them down along with their names
for the karaoke queen.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I don’t like coke
“Cups ready for coke”
“I don’t like coke”
The words judder out.
“It’s all we’ve got
Look everyone else is having some.”
The others sit compliant
edging the table, blanched
by the unhomely lights.
You eat and retire to your compact room
setting to work quietly smearing the walls

You say most eloquently
exactly what you think
of that drink. I silently agree working
slowly and deftly with gloves,
bucket, water and sponge.

* Sonia Jarema describes herself as an allotmenteer living on the edge of London and has recently performed her first public reading of her poetry.

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Helen Pletts is riding the Prague Metro

Prague Metro

The single glove
resting above
the button-click-press
ticket machine,
where the coins
are rust-rubbed, roughly,
beside the slot
to make them easier to digest
before the ticker-tick paper regurgitation.
Heel-click-turns behind me, crowd proceed
to the snake-mouth-slit-click ticket stamp,
to be side-stepped, swiftly to the stairs,
with the force-flow of frost tunnelled air
push-pressed ahead.
The suck-seal break of rubber
slides back,
before the off-tune duo
tirelessly trill.

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. Her latest collection can be bought via the IS&T chapbook shop. You are welcome to visit

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New concrete poem from Chris Major

As the fallout from the police violence at the recent G20 conference in London continues, Chris Major sends in the following comment…

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Roberta Swetlow reacts to a 'modern classic' she recently read

Book Report

The words crumble into sand
before I can cement their meaning.
I’ll never see the finished product.
Whether a post-modern mansion, a tower rising past the clouds
or a penitentiary, it shall remain a puzzle I no longer want to solve.
My mind is fractured from trying to sweep the grains together
and assemble a stable structure without a pattern; I'm hungry
with an appetite that can’t be sated with sour crumbs buried in debris.

* Roberta Swetlow attempts to make sense of life from Regina, Saskatchewan, with assistance and frustration from her husband, cat, and adult offspring.

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Jac's on the road again

Road trip through Utah
Snow sketches the mountains, shading the Wasatch into monochrome, grey clouds crest the summits.  Driving through valleys stretched between ranges, earth turns from dun to red tufted with yellow.  A falcon soars.  Rivers of cars, trucks with gleaming chrome funnels, stream through the wide and barren land.
                                Service station shop –
                                elk heads above the freezer
                                stare at candy bars
Red rocks guard river-carved canyons.  Trees reach up, dotted with pale green leaves.  Looking through the waterfall to blue washed sky, a rainbow wafts through spray, into the orange water of the Emerald pool.
                                A white cat crosses
                                the tarmac in Hurricane
                                its blue shadow long
* Jac Cattaneo lives in Brighton and writes at the Fiction Workhouse.  An artist by training, she is interested in the crossover between the visual and the verbal.  She has read at Short Fuse, Sparks and Tales of the Decongested and was shortlisted for the Asham award this year.  She is currently working on a novel.

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Jim Murdoch's gasping for air

Breathing means nothing.
Breathing means everything.
Each of these statements is true.
Both are always true.
Not breathing means something
but it can mean something else.
Both of these statements may be true
but not at the same time.
Breathe. (    ) Eventually
it will all become clear.
 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I hurt
in orange, yellow
purple and red
like a rainbow
and love
is the brightest white
I've ever seen.

* Jim Murdoch can be found at his blog The Truth About Lies. Actually that’s a lie. He’s sitting in his flat in Glasgow right now. Or maybe not.

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Peter Weber is in an extreme place

Extreme Places

Sometimes when I'm stuck, I will crave a change in the weather, the more dramatic the better. High winds, torrential downpours, floods, tornadoes … wait, take that back, no tornadoes or flood. More Sunshine, heat wave, humidity and so on. Or a change of scenery, either via the natural progression of seasons or physical transport elsewhere. Anything to help stave off autopilot and keep moving in some perceived direction.

The thing about other places, though, you have to change your mind to suit your new surroundings. In some sunlit desert landscape you move to avoid the heat of day, your activities are governed by how long you last between glasses of water, and where do you find those glasses?

In some cold, wet northern coastal terrain the air begins to erode you down. The moisture from the sky, more often than not, it seems. You see trees bent over from forces of wind or driven rain. Not a great time to take a walk in the park. Though, out of the black and blue there comes a crazed Wind Surfer to show us how to ride the weather, no sweat. Its too cold to sweat. Who's complaining?

* “My name is Peter Weber. Biographical note: E flat. Half baked, fully fledged, out of the frying pan but still a bit raw.”

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