Maggie Mackay




I turn my head to see you
in the wing mirror
as usual.
My hand falls
from the gear stick, outrider
for the electric whirr echo;
whiteout. Landmarks slip,
drumsticks thrash
over the earth’s core,
through my skull.

My words flounder. This skin is new to me.
I slur a name – might be mine –
gulp a balloon of air
as I roll on the edge
of another squall-storm.

This cumulonimbus is beyond
transient suggest the experts.
It’s a clot inside my vein,
a black-blue spiral of onyx;
at the nucleus, blood-drenched strokes of fire.




Maggie Mackay’s biggest success so far has been as part of the writing collective at with five poems in their anthology Still Me… published by She has been accepted for the MA in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Manchester Metropolitan University in January 2014.

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Mo O’Mahony



Some nights

Some nights I stand in my garden
looking at my tree,
and Himself on it
smiling at me.
Sometimes I think I can
take Him off His cross
and pitch Him into heaven,

then pull my legs in,
straight, like a dancer
counting sevens,
arms thrown to the sides,
my fingers with the flies
and thumbs at my palms
looking for holes.

Then close my eyes and swing
my arms around,
then swing them like a hammer, up
to send me following
like a firework.



 Mo O’Mahony has been published here and there, and has not won any awards. He came from Ireland to London to study painting. He has a little website

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Michael Caylo-Baradi




Cruising Country

The heat wave settles on the dashboard.
We’re cruising it below the eighties. Beside us are fields
of green, vast as boredom uninterrupted.
Music from the radio takes the AC to another
level of cool. It’s like 7pm dinner
without frills; the silence belongs
to the food we’re taking apart. Later, country music
gives it a different spin, as we imagine highways
accelerating us out of these routines.



Michael Caylo-Baradi lives in California. You may find his work at BlazeVOX, BluePrintReview, The Common (Amherst), Eclectica, MiPOesias, Munyori, Otoliths, Prick of the Spindle, Pyrta,  and elsewhere. He has also reviewed for PopMatters, Latin American Review of Books (UK) and NewPages.

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Katrina Naomi



Two Aprons


after Arshile Gorky


I have my limitations, I can only paint.

Each silver tube has its own sound,

its own idea of life and how it might be lived.


Here’s the yellow of Nan’s Portuguese pinny,

I heard its cockcrow from the drawer –

and me, not even of the generation that wears aprons,


though I’m wearing one now, its white cottons

unravelling like the lines of this painting.


I release the bird from the stuffy drawer,

its wattle and plumage crushed,

yet the colours still sing to the morning.


While I search for clues to Nan’s journeys,

her many tongues jumble in my apron’s pockets,

and this cockerel will star on the canvas.



Katrina Naomi is completing a PhD in creative writing at Goldsmiths with a focus on violence in poetry. Her work has appeared in The TLS, Poetry Review and The Spectator. She lives in south London and is originally from Margate.


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Robert Karl Harding



Robert Harding is Dead

Turn all the locks, put down the phone,
I’ve something to say ,
about someone you’ve known,
Robert Harding is dead*
He’s passed away,
His fuse has blown.

Where were you when you heard?
Withdrawing money?
Parking at the kerb?
Fingering a book,
Reading the blurb?

Robert lived a full life,
Tried hard at school,
though he could have done a lot better, with more concentration and not have been so easily distracted, not had so many dreams about being a doctor or lawyer,
accept it kid, you’re black,
you’re gonna be poor.

As a young man he experienced numerous orgasms,
and boned some beautiful girls,
he had a varied sex life,
studded, it must be said, with emergent troughs of strife.

He worked casually and as a professional,
Though in between he enjoyed periods of slackerdom.
Once upon a time he taught,
Everyone else.

Rob achieved a lot academically.
But ended up treating his brain chemically,
He achieved his ambition of getting published.
Though most of what he wrote was rubbish.
He had three research reports, one article on science fiction,
two stories and a poem published with bad diction.

He worked with several professors and a Cabinet Minister,
men of influence, all stiff and sinister.

He drove a nice car with a V5 engine.
and had a sweet nephew,
name o Benjamin.

He made an investment in a small flat in West London,
from money given him by someone who loved him once,
folded in the envelope,
accusations of ‘ponce’.

Close to Robert’s heart was his love of travel. It helped him unravel.
If you see what I mean.

From England Rob went all over,
all over Europe and back to Dover,
Many times,
And to long haul climes,
Like Venezuela, Mexico, Costa Rica,
to many he was a seeker.
But it was no use his life was over,
he gradually got weaker,
his rock was eroded.

Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, beloved India**.
But by then he was living in Numidia,
Or was it Shangri-La, Xanadu or Hell?
Hell. That was the closest.

See the key to his heart was thrown away.
‘Just like that!’ I hear a comic say.

And while you think of him in death,
crossing the darkened vale,
remember him as a body of light,
whose heart burned brightest,
it’s best you know he didn’t write this.

In the hospital bed, beneath the shroud,
that shrunken body of his turned over, just one last time,
swivelled and floated and took a look at the mourners,
like Rusty James,
there was no one to blame,
floated above them all,
putting some in his mind’s cardboard box, letting others roam free.
And they came, foxing, squeezing out crocodile tears, their lives boxy and neat,
they wept,
gathered up
thrown away and at the same time,
His last words weren’t clever, he said
‘Nothing lasts forever,
but a little love goes a long, long way.’

*Stokowski’s arrangement of JS Bach’s Passacaglia and Fugue, Coldplay’s Beautiful World and I’m a Man by Muddy Waters will be played during the service,
to be held at the entrance to his mother’s cervix.
**The ashes will be scattered at Kovalam Bay in Kerala, South India.

Will you,
Dust vol au vent crumbs off your hands?
take your eye off your mobile price plans,
and ask,
Is that the last I will hear of him?

You must be joking!
Think of him this Christmas when your salmon is smoking,
Robert Harding is dead.
Long live Robert Hoking!



Robert Karl Harding writes fiction and poetry. He has been lucky enough to have had 6 short stories published. Another, I Am the North Pole, comes out later in 2013. His first novel, Made In England, is currently being read by an agent. His second, Cape Wrath, has just gone past 200 pages. The third, Bad Country, stands at 45 pages.  This is his blog.

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Zelda Chappel





Amber takes her turn and waits.  The rooks are a clockwork
mechanism made for gathering bones and this landing strip is littered.
You’d spat them out with mustard vigour, mouth running dry as hay
having no use for them now, you’d left them to grow old alone

heavy with the things we never said. Sometimes air gets held
tight as twigs in a blackbird’s grip but it cannot make a nest, you said.
I didn’t buy it until the machines came in to split the sums, make wounds
divide up land in a virus of furrows and crossed lines, watching

light breaking up with the dark.




Zelda Chappel writes because she has to and often on the backs of things.  She has been published in a handful of publications including Popshot, Elbow Room and South Bank Poetry and was nominated for the Forward Prize this year.  She tweets, often a little too much, as @ZeldaChappel

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Madelaine Smith



The Voice that Thunders

[A cut-up poem inspired by, and in honour of, Alan Garner and his work]

In order to understand what I had –
the landscape I inherited,
the beauty things,
dreams and patterns of myth –
I found myself walking.

Every minute of every hour of every day
I remember too much.
Fierce fires and shramming cold,
the nature of myth and time,
bring me simplicity and strength.

Intellectual in its function
our greatest prophets go unnoticed.
Other times, hard times,
living and battling through
physical reality beyond the page.

The voice in the shadows  –
inner time – a simple story, simply told –
it stood for all that I’d had to give up.
There will be only winter,
the skies will fall.

The voice that thunders
intuitive and emotional in its execution,
numinous and emotional in me –
at the edge of the ceiling
the stars will fly.



Madelaine Smith recently visited the United States and when at Immigration she was asked what she did, she managed to say ‘Poet’ and not laugh.

Note: Words cut from: AI sheet for Boneland by Alan Garner, Chapter headings of The Voice that Thunders by Alan Garner, article by Philip Pulman, interview with Alan Garner

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