Brett Evans




Not Raglan Road


The spit, piss and vomit of Bridge Street;

Market Street’s chewing-gum tattoos and flaking

dog-end scabs, have all too often kissed the soles

of her suede boots. The leafs and litter sent flailing

over the kerb by motorists are bruised beneath

their tread. On a day like this, a handful

of raindrops may just find their resting place

in her hair. And as she passes the Pen-y-Bont,

the water of the Gele is pulled over troublesome stones

toward her. Past The Gwindy now,

and from the shops the fragrances of coffee

and pastries whisper perfume-like

about her naked wrists and throat. I watch

as I sit in this third pub from the sun

and she arrives at the crossing.

There is only her moving through this world;

the cars have stopped, the traffic lights

embarrassed for me.


Brett Evans drinks in his native North Wales, his poetry has been featured in several UK publications and he is co-editor of Prole and co-founder of Prolebooks

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Wendy Pratt



Gestation Period

These days have become a knife
to pare away my skin. Each morning
the same routine: the child
with her red hair and green eyes watches,

swinging legs as I take my bath.
She folds back the pages of the book
I’m reading so I see nothing past her.
She is stripping my skin away, unravelling

any organic protection: epidermis,
dermis, hypo-epidermis-
each day another layer, the way
that pencil sharpenings peel into a waste bin.

Tomorrow I will cleave the muscle back
to see if I am really there.  Then I’ll unknot
the tendons, fold them down like rigging to the bones
until there’s nothing left to part with.

And here will be revealed the ruby casket
rolling back and forth within the hollow crater
of my pelvis. The beautiful inverted pear,
the one place I dare not open, fearing its emptiness.



Wendy Pratt lives and works in North Yorkshire. Her first collection, Nan Hardwick Turns into a Hare was published by Prolebooks in late 2011 and was well received, her next, full sized, collection, Museum Pieces, which will go to print December 2013

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Richard Cook



His Heart

He offered her his heart as sashimi
perfect slices cut with a samurai sword,
served with daikon and wasabi.

He diced it into a tartare, seasoned
with finely minced shallot and cornichons,
crowned with a raw egg yolk.

He served it hot buttered
on toast, the fat lobe oozing
like foie gras.

He braised it, ventricles and all,
with carrots and leeks and
a single onion studded with  cloves.

He pressed it through a drum sieve,
folded it into stiffened egg whites
and souffléd it.

He pickled it and served it
as a side dish, steeped in vinegar
and white peppercorns.

He baked it into a pie, with
four and twenty blackbirds, but
when the pie was opened the blackbirds were dead.

He shaved wafer thin slices
into a reubens, topped with
sauerkraut, pickles and swiss.

He grilled it for surf ‘n’ turf
laid it, inadequate, next to
a poached Cornish blue lobster.

He liquidised it into a milkshake,
his aortic valve a straw,
to slurp it through.

He salted it for the winter,
but preserved, it looked, like
a Martian’s testicle.

When he had exhausted all his recipes
he disguised it as a cantaloupe melon,
which he hung from his ribcage, where
she plucked it instantly. As she ate
a huge wedge the juice dribbled
down her chin and she asked

“All I wanted was the simplest
of fruit. What took you so long
to offer it to me?”



Richard Cook is a charity fundraiser who started writing poetry last year. He is due to start the MA in Creative & Life Writing at Goldsmith’s this September.

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Doireann Ní Ghríofa




Mother Tongue


I bestow new words upon you

slippery syllables

like silken drops of milk between your lips.

your eyes widen in recognition.

word by word,

your kingdom



as you take grasp control

of the sovereignty of your own story.



Doireann Ní Ghríofa’s poems have appeared in literary journals in Ireland, and internationally. The Arts Council of Ireland has twice awarded her a literature bursary (2011 and 2013). Her pamphlet of Ouroboros has recently been longlisted for The Venture Award (UK). This is her website.

Note:  This poem previously appeared in Ropes Anthology 2013

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Chris Boyd




The Grafters

I’ve followed you for two hours.

Across windswept beaches and deserted construction sites.
Through dark alleyways and smoky late-night cabaret bars.

Over highways where cars honk and zip past and across amusement parks burdened with people and noise.

I will have my man.

You scurry into a club on 6th with neon lights and a queue of impatient carousers outside.

And the suited, booted muscle on the door,
replaces the slack red rope, looks me up and down and says:
“Sorry mate. No trainers, no jeans. You’re not coming in with those on.”




Chris Boyd is 29 years old and originally from Chesterfield. He used to be in a band that no one listened to and then did some stand-up comedy that no one laughed at. He now writes short stories and is feeling marginally more optimistic.

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Jo Mariner




The Rabbit Must Be Saved

The man in the shallow trench leans on one elbow.
The white rabbit shines,
a helpless little moon in barren midnight.

The man wants the rabbit dead;
the rabbit cannot die from stares
for it does not understand hate.

The man takes a stone.
the stone is small, falls short.
The man lifts a head-sized rock.

Far on the horizon is a house.
Verandas open like friendly hands.
Incandescent lamps warm the dark.

Contained inside are beautiful women.
circulating like fish, unperturbed,
not needing the oceans around the world.

They float to the windows, eye-side to the dark
where the man, his rock, and arm are cocked like a catapault.
They see nothing.

One swims to the couch.
Another straightens the magazines.
A third ascends to sleep.

Will you save the rabbit?

While you are thinking about your answer,
you see you are already there:
outside, standing over the man.

The man laughs at the stick in your hands.
drops his weapon, grabs you.
You feel his morbid weight.

Plant your feet.
This is not about a rabbit.


Jo Mariner: Coming back to poetry after years of corporate communications. Never left really, but too worn while in the fray. Hopeful now and thinking hope is one thing poems can do. Hope for what? Not everything is understood, labelled, safe.

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Rachel Simons



The Distaff Side

Looms dragging red kisses
on the inside of the knees
we clutched to our chests by night.
As Penelope and her girls unpicked theirs
we dreamt of ours,
under the weft-side of the sky.
The girl had weaved for just one day,
before the spindle bit.
Pain folded her knees, but
she clung to the thread.
Wound it around her finger,
a band of colour as bright as the sun,
on a day with no dusk,
promises as thick as buttercups.



Rachel Simons is a Welsh writer and artist. She grew up near the sea but now uses Roath Park Lake to get her fix of water-watching. By day, she works in the voluntary sector with people who are homeless or vulnerably housed.

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