Mo Blake's woken a witch

Awakening of an Urban Witch

Cast from Shadowland; yet clinging still
to trailing fingers of kindred wraiths
my harbinger spirit seeks respite
in Hades’ neon hallways
then flounders in its silent search
as useless sleep lets loose her grip
and that bastard nocturnal thrush
drags me from bed; winging me awake
its happy beak; singing as I dance
a Grimaldi pantomime; me
now a pyjama’d clown
of the darkest hour

Later through the misty steam of cocoa
A grimalkin cat thaws from my heart
blood dripping from her fangs
Screeching the nightingale to silence

Dawn breaks over a bloody cenotaph
Nae, a Babel tower of twigs

* Mo Blake says… “I am currently working on a novel and also write short stories and poetry.  I am one of the founding members of Read Raw Limited and a selection of my prose and poetry can be viewed at”

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New prose poem – Sonia Jarema is taking a trip


You shine like a glazed clay bowl in the sun. The door slides shut behind you – leaning down towards me you say hello. I’m not as good as my fellow passengers at avoiding eye contact. Hello I reply. The seat between us littered with papers giving me space from you. Intense eyes and urgent mouth telling me I have a green aura, that I am very psychic. Can I see your hand. I offer it to you and nearly catch the eyes, of the woman opposite, widening. Producing a pen you trace my head, life, destiny and heart lines and circle the mounds of Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and Venus. The silver lines don’t show up well so each line is then retraced in black. My hand is magical, mysterious – its lines singing. You ask for paper and write three things on three pieces which you then tightly screw into my hand. They predict my later answers which you planted in my head. Being able to rummage in another’s head is sometimes useful but also dangerous. I do not deviate from my trip and arrive at my friend’s birthday party with a tattooed hand and a light heart.

* Sonia Jarema describes herself as an allotmenteer living on the edge of London.

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Two tankas by Anne Brooke

Tanka 1

During these hard times
a tall man catches ducklings
as they fall like stars
towards the unmoving road.
Small lives not yet forgotten.

Tanka 2

The moorhen’s green toes
smooth the grass with each long step.
They should not belong
to such a small scrap of bird
but to something far greater.

* Anne Brooke is having a bird-obsessed few days but hopes to fly away from it all before she actually grows feathers. Her current roost is
The first tanka relates to this story:

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Wullie Purcell says he loves you

So say I love you – Anon

To say I love you
To say I care
To give a gift to show affection
So foolish.
So unrequited
So Anonymous
So Unknown
Be upfront
Shout it loud
Be bold
Be known.
But it’s not that easy
All the time
Sometimes it can’t be said
And must remain a secret
So it’s good that way
To have a day
When you can say
I Love You

* Wullie Purcell… “Ex-fireman and IT guy is a writer of both prose and poetry and doesn’t tie himself to any one discipline, writing anything that takes his fancy. I am is also a director of Read Raw Ltd and we have a site through which we hope to promote creative writing in Scotland.”

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Stephen Williams remembers two hot summer nights


On my rooftop
city stretching beyond.
Sound of shadows
in late night.
You're pressing into me
tease and tug.
Posing your breasts,
flinging out your arms.

Gravel on your bare back.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


We sit with our sticks
stirring the lake,
tired of being

Telling old stories
of when the sky was blue,
the water drinkable,
women skinny-dipping
within our serenity.

Now we wait
for the last bite on the line
pulling us under…

Other men taking our places,
not noticing
the bubbling water.

* Stephen Jarrell Williams loves to write, listen to his music, and dance late into the night. Based in California, his poetry had appeared in many publications – Night Fringe has previously appeared in Sage Trail Poetry Magazine and Drunk and Lonely Men.)

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Fiona Glass is picking her way through a concrete jungle

Concrete Jungle

Clutch and thrust of the concrete jungle reminds me of you. Roots clutch at the soil, fingers of men buried alive, gasping their last into the thick brown earth. Stems thrust lightwards like cocks of men at play, criss-crossing, bobbing, stretching towards their life. Leaves clutch the sky, stitched to the heavens, your fingers in my hair.

Your body a brown arrow as you dive, diamond drops capturing the light and holding it to ransom on your skin. You laugh, the sound echoing down the waterfall, smashed on the rocks below. It could so easily be you; I peer uneasily. You eel past my legs underwater, skin brushing skin, and you laugh again. Your voice as tantalising as your touch, promising more. Your teeth startling piano keys against your black moustache, but the piano does not make such sweet music as your voice.

You emerge, a salmon leaping for the land, scattering the diamonds which wither, releasing their pent-up sun back to the sun. The sun warms your brown naked body as you lie, head pillowed on my chest, my heart speaking to your ear.

Sudden flash of blue amongst the twisted shadows of fig trees: a jay scolds from a twig. Like sun on moving water they come out of the forest: a cerulean pillar of butterflies. Five, six, a dozen, their wings reflecting the reflection of the sky. They settle on your torso, painting it with light: cornflowers in coffee, blue eyes in a brown face.

You raise your hand to brush them away. I catch it, bring it to my head. Your fingers take root in my hair. We are complete.

* Fiona Glass writes darkly humorous fiction from a pointy house in Birmingham (the original one in the UK). You can find her work online at Fiona adds that this piece was inspired by the surrealist gardens at Las Posas, Xilitla, Mexico, which were designed and built by the English surrealist and patron Edward James in the early 20th century.

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Ian Hunter is wary of an unexploded poem


Of course,
we shouldn’t have gone,
but there was the lure
of abandoned buildings.
Signs which said
Unexploded poem,
I explained to the others.
Three of us ran the shadows down.
Peeking into the smouldering crater
to see the pulsing star of invention.
Colours, ideas, and images,
rhymes and reason,
comparisons and truths,
all residing in a crackling ball of energy
Which died before us.
Pulse slowing.
Colours merging into bright red,
then collapsing to black.
Hearts in our mouths, we ran.
Trying to get away
before the unexploded poem exploded
Now Pauline seems snooty, aloof.
Always talking in short, clipped sentences
that end in a surprising haiku moment.
While Joey stands below
yet another bedroom window.
Using sonnets to praise
the beauty inside,
until the latest court order moves him on.
And as if cursed or under a spell,
I find that I can speak in rhyme.
Just by touching this shrapnel,
without fail, every, single, time.

* Ian Hunter is a director of the Scottish writer’s collective known as Read Raw. His poems have appeared in various places in the UK, the USA and Canada.

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