Jim Murdoch



Looking at
the astronomy of footprints
in the cold morning light

I could see
the madness of the night before
ingrained upon the sand.

Her watch passed,
the moon draws away from the beach
and leaves me standing there

as alone as the sky.


Jim Murdoch is a Scottish writer. He started off as a poet but has ended up doing having a crack at just about most things one can do with words. Apart from a musical. And don’t hold your breath there.

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Wendy Klein


Re-painting the Cave with Jackson
unformed figure, Jackson Pollock, 1953

When he returned with his learning,
full of bombast and new ideas,
his travel sacks bulging with bright tins
that sprayed thick liquid, which,
eyes shifty with mischief,
he would demonstrate to anyone prepared to watch,
while declaring how bored he was
with the clumsy stick figures of cattle,
the sketchy outlines of people,
scratched in
all that long time ago and fading, the walls yellowed
with smoke from our fires, blotched with the smudges
of naughty-fingered children, the stains
of badly-cooked food thrown by angry men and boys;
we began, cautiously at first, to listen.

He revealed the instability of our reds,
our yellows, tossed out the iron ore we’d used to mix them,
our well-worn pestles and mortars, warmed by skilled
and loving hands, while mocking our charcoal blacks,
our crumbling chalk-whites.

We women shuffled and muttered,
about his bizarre contraptions that could spray
the highest ceiling without the need to puff dizzily
into bird-bone blowpipes,
but our men and boys listened to his rant,
fingered his stiff new brushes, rubbed them on their cheeks,
their bare chests, relished the prickly tufts.

They made us go elsewhere while they peeled
and scrubbed away the old shapes, the lean-haunched
gazelles, bristling with arrows, the hunters bent to their bows,
our short-legged, hammock-bellied horses,
but rumours drifted up to us on the hill
where we’d been sent to wait:
of terracotta bodies, bare and writhing, in a colour richer
than the rusty brown of wild plum root,
and slashed through with yellows, a chromium that dulled
the old dyes of broom, lichen gold, and of deeper greens,
not found on trees or hillsides.

Invited to view his masterpiece, we stood, blinded
by this orgy of naked colour, already pining for our past.



Wendy Klein’s first collection, Cuba in the Blood, was published by Cinnamon Press.  A second, due out in early 2013, is being honed at present.  This is her first submission to Ink Sweat and Tears.


Repainting the Cave with Jackson, is published in last year’s Aesthetica .

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Max Wallis


from Jack Frost and the Swans


The mist comes in
like a stranger’s hands

and the trees are letters
and the sky their paper
and the roads are rivers
and the cars their boulders
and the houses are glass
and the people their statues
and the lakes are iced lochs
and the fish their explorers
and the fields are glaciers
and the walls their ridges
and the alleys are veins
and the cobbles their scales
and the colours all white

like a stranger’s hands
the mist comes in.




Max Wallis‘s first pamphlet, Modern Love, has been longlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. He is currently tweaking the final edits to his book of children’s book of poetry, supported by the Arts Council called Jack Frost & the Swans, from which this poem is taken.

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Word & Image from Winston Plowes and Martin Waters









Flesh Tones

A pilgrimage of phantom limbs

in a jumble sale of sex.

A lost jigsaw of pieces

riddled by the waves.

Your hip hook is cast through

the shadow of my shoulder.


Flotsam limbs, I’ll get to know

through parts of me I never see

with too many holes for comfort.

Where missing fingers

grope for reasons

nesting kneecaps jostle to rest.


I hear the sea

through a random ear

cold pressed onto an open thigh.

Shoulder sockets pivot into

thin blow-moulded cheeks

as you turn your back away.


A life of slimming

waisted now you’re

just an arm or head.

But not before one final wink

from a gimballed eye

mascaraed thick with salt.




Winston Plowes lives on a canal boat in Yorkshire with two reluctantly sea faring cats. His work varies from strict rhyme through traditional ghazals to experimental arrangements for voice, accordion and tuned bucket. More can be found on his site http://www.winstonplowes.co.uk


Martin Waters is an assemblage artist and photographer.  Find out more here http://martin-waters.co.uk/.  Note: All of the doll parts in Flesh Tones come from the sea.

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Anatoly Kudryavitsky


The Sky in their Eyes

“A thin crescent of the waxing moon can be used for chopping up vegetables,” a sky watcher made an idle remark. “For mowing lawns one has to employ a crescent of the waning moon,” another muttered. Later that day, giving an extensive celestial map a wandering look, they chanced upon the point of warmth. A certain small register suggested to them an idea as to why their eyes were warm there. On each page of that register there was dusty debris of a heavenly body hit by a well-aimed meteorite, except for one page, on which a newborn Sun smiled a happy smile, seemingly not even suspecting that there’s no void without silent stones, whizzing.



Anatoly Kudryavitsky is a Dublin-based Russian/Irish poet and novelist of Polish/Irish extraction. He has published two novels, seven collections of poems in Russian and three in English, the latest being Capering Moons (Doghouse Books, 2011). His anthology of haiku poetry from Ireland titled Bamboo Dreams is forthcoming from Doghouse Books in summer 2012. He has a website at http://kudryavitsky.webs.com

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Matt Haigh



Go limp. Let the liquid engine’s
thrum rumble through you from within.
Feel it woo your bones to butter.
In the voice of the speaker
you’re the lull of Sunday
afternoon to dusk. Swoon at the sweep,
the rush, that scours you smooth, as several pin-
prick Indians prickle a rain dance
down your spine. Perched precociously on
the slip between unconscious
and conscious, cleave away from yourself:
the creamiest separation
of cloud-fleshed fish from its vertebrae.
Your back’s broad, hair-speckled expanse
is the blown from tropical beach fluff
and his hot, soft feet slushing across it.
Who’d have thought a mathematics teacher
could be an epidermis puppeteer?



Matt Haigh is 27 and lives in Cardiff. His poems have appeared in Poetry London, Magma, The Guardian and Fuselit. He keeps a blog at www.matthewhaighpoetry.com


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Donal Mahoney


The Corner of Wells and Madison

I know that if I ever
fall in the street
the way that man did,
in the middle of an intersection,
someone will mind.
But if unlike that man
I make it
to the other side,
scale the curb and
mount the sidewalk
and then fall,
no one will have to
drive around me.
There will be no extra noise.
There will be only the usual honking.
People walking by
will have to watch their step, true.
But this is Chicago:
No one can blame me for that.



Donal Mahoney has had work published in Ink Sweat and Tears and other publications in the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his earliest work can be found here: http://booksonblog12.blogspot.com/


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