New haiga by John Irvine

* John
Irvine is a regular IS&T contributor – and the editor of the new Anomalous Appetites anthology mentioned earlier this week.

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Steph Leal has a new haircut


It’s a new haircut,
I say, but you still
don’t notice.

You laughed when
the fringe fell
into my eyes.

Aren’t you supposed
to be able to see?
You brushed it

back behind my
ears, cupped my
face and said,

I am so glad
that we never
fell in love.  

* Stephanie
Leal is a performance poet from the USA. She completed the MA in Creative
Writing at the University of East Anglia in 2007 and currently lives in
Norwich, England, where she is now reading for a PhD in philosophy. She is an active member of the Norwich spoken word scene – and our favourite American poet living in the UK.

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Catherine Edmunds has been taking photographs


he poured
blue listerine into a bottle
and turned it purple
with a word.
she drank.
he watched
as scarlet lips
turned puce and cracked in pain.

that’s good, very good
he said
as he took her photo
before the colour
could leech away.

that purple polaroid
lives in his pocket.
he’ll carry it with him

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

the next morning

he stared at the camera
sepia tired
after a night of foggy dreams
spiked by frost

she ignored him
grazed on crisp grass
licked her thick lips
with thoughtful tongue
minding the sensation

his eyes

beneath a tree
brushed to one side

and on the other
between the previous ghosts
and the sign of the bush of holly

they passed

* Catherine Edmunds’ literary style is encapsulated in the title of her poetry collection wormwood, earth and honey. Her artwork veers between delicate portraiture, exploding dogs and decomposing toads – and is also featured in the new Anomalous Appetites anthology mentioned earlier today.

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A double act of misunderstood love

This is a double act, starting with a short prose poem Angel by IS&T editor Charles Christian and followed by Unravelling, a response written by East Anglian poet Beverly Ellis. There is also a soundfile containing a recording of these two poems being read.

Angel of the morning

Later that morning she brought me satsumas and a mug of sweet green tea that smelled of toasted rice. The slogan on her mug read I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered while the one on mine said I am not a number, I am a free man. She asked me when we’d meet again and I replied “soon”. At the time I said it, I meant it. But we never did make that second date. I am a free man and I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Stuffing the other arm down the sleeve of his jacket,
he brushes the back of his hand slowly
across my cheek,

kisses me:

leans his forehead against mine
for several seconds.

I’ll call you, he says,
lips resting on my eyelid.

Then he’s standing in the doorway,
          one shoelace trailing…

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Deborah Gordon is listening to silence on Blueberry Hill

How thanklessly the daybreak stands with hands
That summon the sun and the earth is stilled.
How tirelessly the evening crawls on bended knees
To call, and to bring us to silence.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Blueberry Hill
The blueberries crawl
From a blueberry tree
Where the blueberries call
To a blueberry sea.
And the blueberry sun
Sticks its head through the sky
As the blueberries hum
And the birds skitter by.
And the blueberry waves
Tap their toes on the floor
As the blueberries laze
By the blueberry shore
And the blueberry crawl
From a blueberry tree
Where the blueberries call
To a blueberry sea.

Deborah Gordon says “I am an aspiring Sussex-based writer of poetry and
prose and have been writing since the age of seven. My style is quite
eclectic, however my focus falls mainly upon the
Philosophical/Spiritual aspects of life and I love the concept of
movement in poetry. I have had recent  work published with Inclement, Phoenix, The Journal,  Garbaj, Sarasvati, The Dawn Treader, Fire  and  Again Last Night. My first collection of poetry The Bluebells Pray (Indigo Dreams Press) is available now.”

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Rachel Fox has been watching Dad's army in the park

Dads army

In combat trousers
Some long
Some short
They wear the modern camouflage
For parks and play areas
It's a must
The beige and grey and khaki green
Nice modern men blend in
Avoid unnecessary conversations
Mums can't seem to dodge so well
These are the loaded guns
“He's very small isn't he?”
“Does she eat fruit?”
“Oh, an only child”

Shaven heads
Trainers in winter
Maybe risking open sandals
In summer
But in a neutral colour
Dads keep their mouths closed
Their eyes and ears open
Not at war but always prepared
They don't fall in traps
Mums could learn a lot from their approach
No hearts on sleeves
No nervous wittering
No defensive play
Just cropped heads steady
Resolve firm
No time wasted
We're here to play, kids
So play

Rachel Fox lives in Montrose in Scotland. She has a book called More about the song (reviewed on IS&T on Sunday 6th July 2008), a busy blog at – – and a website of the same name –

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Mandy Pannett sends a postcard from Rajasthan


If you could see me now at Pushkar Fair –
though with thousands of tourists milling around
I’m small as a bug in the hay.

Can you imagine the smell of it –
spices and sweat, hot camel dung?
These fields are hazy with dust.

Have you been close to a camel?
They moan like wrestlers – but such
soft eyes  with brows as bushy as brooms.  

Last night I sat by the lake.
Some people were bathing – a ritual dip.
The sky was saffron and red.

A regular contributor to IS&T, Mandy Pannett runs an arts cafe, supports local writing groups and
enjoys giving readings and running writing workshops.
She has two
poetry collections from Oversteps Books – Bee Purple and Frost Hollow.

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