Mandy Pannett is looking at the leftovers from a downpour


Before the downpour and the flood, this stream was meant
for sparrows as a spa. Now insects bubble
in its yellow scum.

Irresistible the side roads, like this mucky pocket-park
where leaves of Merovingian gold still lurk
like scratch-cards in the mud.  

Silver foil’s a metal dagger, trampled down between the roots,
reds and blues of ice-cream wraps
are banners in the grime.

In one soft corner of the wood a plastic bag’s a thin white owl,
puddles flecked in shattered glass a small
and sparkling green.   

* Mandy Pannett is a regular contributor to IS&T. She 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.

Read More

Two new poems by Katrina Naomi


And suddenly, we’re all artists –
a Brueghel of dark against the heavy white,

refashioning ourselves in monochrome.
Polar bears squat the fir trees.

Londoners loved up in this foam
disco. And I’ve had my fight for today.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It Is Not True

that I sent the twins to school
in the same unwashed blouses all week,
that they had Weetabix for tea
every night in paper bowls,
that either Christine or Julie made me
a pot of coffee in bed every day,
that either Christine or Julie cycled
to the paper shop every morning to buy my Hello,
that Christine dusted and Julie hoovered after school.
It is not true that I can’t tell them apart.

* Katrina Naomi's pamphlet Lunch at the Elephant & Castle (2008) is available from Templar Poetry – – and she is working on a first full length collection – The Girl with the Cactus Handshake – due to be published by Templar Poetry in October.

Read More

Midsummer haiga by Rachel Green

It's Midsummer's Night Eve (well it still is here in the UK) and what better than a faerie themed haiga…

* Rachel
is a regular IS&T haiga contributor – as well as a novel writer who will shortly become an novel author
but she starts every day with walking her dogs and writing poetry.

Read More

Something for the weekend – more erotic haiku

Following hard on the heels of Larry Kimmel's erotic collection from a fortnight ago, here we go with some more sensual haiku to set you up for the weekend…

his lust
by moonlight
which one of us the muse?
between the billow
of freshly washed sheets
midnight skinny dip ~ ~ ~ he calls her moonbeam
winter night
in bed imagining him
. . . imagining it
delayed flight
not one tush
cute as his
* Wanda D. Cook lives in the USA. She is the coordinator of a local haiku group and the co-editor of the 2007 Members'Anthology of the Haiku Society of America.

Read More

Kate Mitchell's flame in waning

Wax Days

The days they melt
Cascading down like
Wax descending your candle
Falling into each other until
They harden
And freeze in time
Frozen over in this cold, cold city
Bitter winds and harsher hearts
Do you remember bedroom wall hieroglyphics?
Written in pencil
To be erased with the memory
Of stable times
What I would give for one autumn day
The crunch of leaves under heavy feet
And heavier hearts
Would be the sweetest melody

My flame is waning
In and out of consciousness
Tonight, just this one night
I want to burn
I want to cast shadows
Into the darkness
Of figures from happier times
I want to shine

* Kathryn Mitchell is a 21-year-old student living in New York City, where she majors in How to graduate from NYU without being a sarcastic, pretentious asshole.

Read More

Making an expensive trip to the dentist

A Trip to the Dentist


(bright light shining)
(head back, eyes closed)
(funny taste, weird smell)
“Open up wider, please”
“Lift up your chin”
“This may sting a bit”
(needle gum pinching, injection gripping, infection slipping, pricking a purple passive haze)
(cooling circular currents of numb mollify my mouth violently in vertical, soothing, yet massive waves)
“That’s a good boy”
(drooling, tongue out, panting like a dog)
“Nurse Ratched, more Novocain”
“Doctor, he’s bleeding a lot”
(suction device probing)


(thinking about changing my chosen brand of toothpaste)
(though it says on the label that nine out of ten oral hygienists recommend it)
(but what if my dentist is the one that doesn’t?)
(what would that mean?)
“Have you been flossing?”
(nodding yes)
(every evening, Doctor Kevorkian)
(damn, that drill sounds so high-pitched and horrid)
(why couldn’t they make it sound like Mozart, Cradle of Filth, or at least 50 Cent?)
(and what happened to the other patients from the waiting room?)
(where did that old lady go?)
(and why are all the magazines here from 2003?)
(and what if Edward Scissorhands became a dentist under an assumed name and identity?)
“We’ll have to take some X-Rays, too.”
“I think those wisdom teeth need to come out”
(cavities opening in my bank account)
(levitating in the chair)
(meditating on that scene from the film “Marathon Man”)
(suddenly that Pixies song “Gigantic” dances into my head, and I am temporarily transported to bliss)
(“Hey, Paul! Hey, Paul! Hey, Paul! Let’s have a ball!”)
(“Hey, Paul! Hey, Paul! Hey, Paul! Let’s have a ball!”)
(picturing Corbin Bernsen)
“Here is my scalpel, cold and hungry”
“Will you marry it?”
(only if it comes with a prenuptial agreement)
(I swear I’m not an anti-Dentite or anything like that)
“We’re all done here today”
“Don’t eat anything for the next two hours”
“Nurse Ratched will finish you off”
(bleeding, rinsing, rising, walking, puking, gripping my jaw, searching for the old lady)
“I’m afraid your insurance doesn’t cover this procedure”
“Will that be cash or credit card?”
“How will you be paying us today, sir?”
“Now let’s schedule your next appointment”

Newamba Flamingo
was born and raised on a chicken farm in the Florida
Keys by a suicidal cult of transvestite prostitutes who dressed up in
gorilla suits and played loud Polka music from distorted speakers at
all hours of the night. After escaping the chicken farm, he was taken
hostage by an Elvis impersonator that forced him at gunpoint to write
poetry. His work has been published and featured
at 10K Poets, BadWriter, NC Lowbrow, MySpace, EveryPoet.Net, PoemHunter, and various toilet stalls across Florida.

Read More

Bev Ellis has been to a reunion


Darling, may you always be blessed with moderate success,
so that when you stand for long minutes
telling us how you became a producer at the BBC

someone knows it was only on local radio and starts asking awkward questions –
seems it was a ‘one-off’
and then someone else drifts over and asks straight out
whether you think you’ll ever manage to get the morning rush-hour spot back again
now that your stint as producer is over,
or has that bastard of a station manager kept the young fella on daytime,
leaving you stranded on the graveyard shift –
and how are you coping, in the back-of-beyond with the sheep-shaggers?

and someone else says ‘Oh, aren’t you in London any more?’

and you mutter ‘no’
and something about the West Country where they grow apples

and someone incredibly well-meaning who is a social worker
asks after your wife – they expect she’s quite fluent in English by now
and will have got to grips with supermarket shopping

then the first bloke says he sees you’ve drawn the short straw again,
according to the Radio Times, having to work over the holidays –
because it’s no joke putting out a live show at 5 am on Christmas Day:
that station manager must really have it in for you

and after you make an excuse to leave early,
they all wonder what I ever saw in you
(although they used to say the opposite)

but you put us all on Facebook first thing in the morning.

* Bev Ellis fled the chalk-face due to catastrophic government initiatives.  She has been writing poetry for four 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 a life-long Alice Cooper fan.

Read More