Eden Wood




Some pretty little boy tried to get fresh
with me in a bathroom
once (just once), I was sat, drifting softly, legs apart
on the edge of the bath
when he shut the sterile door,
bolted, sealed us in —
I didn’t trust him, his bubblegum wad tongue,
taste of pineapple
(probably Bacardi Breezer)
the sort of thing that’s sweet

At first, then sears my mouth
all half-numb and chemical, too acerbic to
stomach, tongue swollen and lip-tied; I didn’t slap him
around his acid-sharp face, didn’t give him
the static electricity glow
of my hands on his skin,
only punched him
squarely in the gut, slammed
the door before his punch bowl insides gave way
all over the new-peeling paint.

Slumped deep in this sofa, we’ve been
watching the lava lamp shiver
and swell for well over an hour as the party cools
around us, kiss-blown lumps, all igneous,
insignificant as planets; and it looks to me like you —
swelling, yawning, wet red sweat beads
of your hedonistic minimum effort ethic;
one who has never asked themselves
whether God exists and, as such, has never been denigrated
into triumph or zeal —

And your lumpy majesty and
grace, your curling tongue, your downy face,
all lackadaisical, makes me half crazy, burnt up
like copper dust, never even second best.
If only I’d had your idea first
of a soul made of the dandruff flakes of
cocoons you never wholly shed, a collage
of half-hearts and purgings, wholly merged
into a set of angel wings, all snowflake-blessed, sublime,
while I am evergreen, a mess.

From a suitable distance (as one views art), we are identical,
one eye green, one eye blue — but you,
you could never gaze upon
some masterpiece that was not
yours because that is
not how you taught yourself to see; my heart, for instance —
all that glistens is mostly blood, and God knows
that is the currency
of the vast, dank kingdom
between your skull and your ribcage.

I, however, concern myself more with
hoarding than stealing, filling my organs as you do
with oxygen particles, dust and booze, cartons of
juice and draughts carrying maladies
that I cluster, stuff myself on, give me
gratification, give me death, my glorious
store of breath a false troposphere, closing
all the windows in talcum powder and dew
until I burst, polluted like fireworks,
form a cesspool, wreck my party dress.

To be grazed is to be graced, you see,
for I am Lady Midas — not yet
beyond the point of contagion, mistletoe-crowned,
diamante gas mask worn this morning to glide above
ground and weave through malls, mere mortals,
as gilded thread glides through tapestry, I do not trust
my head would pass through the eye of a needle
though my soul like a left side lung has shrunk
to make space for the splendour
of all the rest of me.



Eden Wood is currently a 17-year-old girl living in London, studying A-Level English Literature, Classics and Philosophy. Her bedroom houses three pet cacti and a kitten named Amélie. She wants to be God; would settle for “Ghost Princess”. twitter:  @edenhalo  writing blog: eden-halo.tumblr.com

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Leanne Moden



Miss Atomic Bomb

Twelve men died on the thirteenth,
fifteen on the fourteenth. I suppose
that makes fifty four, all things

Red bricks and razor wire, my love.
And grey dust that settles on our skin.
February frost. Ice builds up on the

We ate pickled peaches from jars
that night. Climbed onto the roof
and watched the sky, as every star

By then it was already too late.

Tectonic shrugs wrong-footed me
and the seas boiled. I guess your
parents were right this time, all things

Choruses of TV bulletins played
fast and loose with the truth that
day. But me? I am no God. No

Agar plates smeared with sulphur and
rain water yielded no cure. At least I
tried. But there was nothing to be

It was already too late.

Oblivious, really, to the weight of
collapsing universes, I held my
breath. You held your tongue. We

Crouched beneath an upturned table,
I watched you pack your cases. You
took the confidence I gave you. Left the

Christopher, you sang above the
siren’s rise and fall. I’m doing this
for both of us. One day you’ll thank

I still don’t understand.


Leanne Moden is the Fenland Poet Laureate 2013. She is part of the 28 Sonnets Later poetry collective, and is currently writing her first full length live literature show. She blogs at www.tenyearstime.blogspot.co.uk .  twitter: @crimsonebolg

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Evan Harris



beg forgiveness



supplement Sunday

preserving your pickles

talk to someone

speak of nothing

the void in your pocket

a thing forgotten


ten miles in new shoes

ten miles in new shoes

hold on, daddy’s coming



Kilner jar

heavy bottom

rubber ring



Evan Harris is a writer based in London. He has been published in The White Review, 3:AM and The Quietus.

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Kelly Creighton




Needling Thoughts

People used to draw on each other when I was young.
It was the ultimate non-permanent branding until we
took to paying for our needlepoints. Scrawling on skin
used to be the height of human intimacy and contact.
Last night I dreamt that I was working then meeting
with friends, just noticing that I had spilt red wine down
the front of my shirt and that above that heart-stain
you had etched something – a word on my collarbone
that I won’t recall until tonight, when I close my eyes,
and then just before I can pluck it away it will be gone.
I just know it.




Kelly Creighton is a Belfast born poet and fiction writer with work in Wordlegs, The Ranfurly Review, A New Ulster, Electric Windmill Press, Inkspill Magazine, Poetry24 and numerous other publications. She has a novel and a poetry chapbook and this is her website.   Twitter: @KellyCreighton



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Vanessa Saunders



When I returned

When I returned home I could not remember my town
The streets were squares and rules
The lights by the fountains at night
People streamed past I found it embarrassing
running into your old best friend
at above all places a grocery store
and by god it’s been ten years
and I’m trying to explain how my boss is a sadistic p****
her mother is standing quietly behind her
and the lights in the store are humming bright loud



Vanessa Saunders is an graduate from the University of East Anglia. She loves Paul Celan and currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.  twitter: @postcardsfrmv

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Chris Crittenden



To Be a Fly

is to have the might of superboy
and beat yourself over and over,
soaring hard into the wall,
next to a swat-stain from
a glutted mosquito.

a million times bigger
hear you whine from rooms away,
spaces large as canyon
on a planet where nothing
stops erosion.

you the only signpost left–you
and the monsters in their huge dim world,
a trap where lightbeams slice like
sabers from a cordoned-off sun.
scents leak from mounds of food
locked in a coffin that hums all the time.


you beat and beat yourself,
looking to get out.  you can’t play
the game the monsters do,
they who feel fine and seem normal
in a dungeon of caves.

you couldn’t join
their ranks even if your body
changed and somehow grew.
being a fly is more about how you are,
what your dreams
were long-ago made,

and why everyone is always
chasing or mocking you
with words or fists.

Chris Crittenden lives in a tiny fishing village 50 miles from the nearest traffic light.  His full-length collection Jugularity was recently released by Stonesthrow Press, and he blogs as Owl Who Laughs.

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Michael McKimm



Oil Field

You’d have thought that we were headed
into wilderness, crossing the frost-still marsh
through the forest’s early cataract of light.
Our quiet coach was clocked by long-horned bulls,
ghost-white in clearances and shaded leas.
And even when we caught first sight
of fencing and the nodding donkeys,
they somehow looked so incidental, sparse
amongst the trees, the distant yachts at Poole.
We parked, disembarked. The air was sent
our steamed October breath. We smelled just pine.
The security guard yelled No Photography.
We walked up through the forest in a line
then gathered on a ridge above the fence
to watch the heaving wells, their duck and pull,
their slow lament, or maybe stoic dream –
three kings, commanding and benevolent.
How calm it was, the wind sock hanging limp.
We stayed out of long grass, avoiding ticks,
and perhaps it was too cold for dreaded
wood ants to materialize. My jeans were stuck
in brambles where I plucked a blackberry.
And still the only noise – apart from science,
apart from average stats – was the beam pump’s
gentle purr, like an antique Singer threaded
through with jet, working with a rhythm
you would never think so peaceful or so clean.



Michael McKimm is an Eric Gregory Award winning poet, author of Still This Need (Heaventree Press, 2009). In 2012 he received a writing grant from Arts Council England. Fossil Sunshine is forthcoming from Worple Press, 2013.   This is his website.

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