Shani Cadwallender



Peppered with the tarmac grit
The stubby childish fingers made
A prison for white wings,
The futile green-veined flicker
Plucked from estate dandelions
Not Papillon, but pieris napi
Helpless in the coarse pink clasp
Of the wrong hands.

I remember clear as dreams
The black proboscis severed and
My first grudge borne
Against your clammy palms that
Dropped limp wings on to the gravel
Not understanding why you did it
Not knowing you were crushed
In bigger hands.



Shani Cadwallender lives in London. Poetry runs in the family, so she has been going to readings since before she could read. She is published almost nowhere, but Seamus Heaney once said a poem of hers had a ‘fierce ending’.

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Stuart Charlesworth




But During the Medicine Round

A tablet missed the medicine pot
and skittered across the clinic room floor.

I picked it up, rolled it between my fingers.

It was not a gelatine pod or a chalky pill.
Thin, leathery roots hung from its bottom.

Two small leaves were fighting
to emerge
from the manufacturers stamp.

I closed my fist around it
and my mind’s eye
looked out on a fresh tilled field

where a hundred plants
used their leaves
as arms
to climb from furrows.

Serpent vines leaped to choke and bite them.




Stuart Charlesworth’s poems have appeared in Cake, Lighthouse, Poetry Review and Under the Radar. He is a learning difficulties nurse and sometimes an associate tutor for student nurses. He has an MA in creative writing (UEA) and degrees in nursing and international politics. He is a Café Writers Committee member.

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Julian Flanagan




Inch By Inch


After his scalpel summer,

with the wheelchair butting Edwardian doorways

and my mother’s light-hearted exhaustion,

my father built a nest against pain

around his red armchair:


Elmore Leonards stacked

by the evening whisky glass,

popped foil weeks shed

across the cabled floor,

my son’s get well card,

its dyspraxic, zimmer inches.





Julian Flanagan heads for the patio to write poems, then remembers he’s given up smoking. They have been published in Ambit, Envoi, Iota and co; and his journalism in The FT, Time Out, and here


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Beth Grimm




Countless Little Notes


I wanted to represent the sound, not the person who was producing it,
nor its metaphorical significance. It took me quite some time to come up
with a solution: My solution was not to find a solution, but rather to enter
into the crevice between sound and language and make countless little notes.

– Yoko Tawada, “The Art of Being Nonsynchronous”

Yesterday I wrote countless little notes
to sound on the back of an envelope,

on bus tickets and coasters, on post its
and the reverse of Kitkat wrappers

in illegible scrawl. The peacock blue ink
stained my thumbs deep in the whorls,

loops and arches. A flurry in C Minor
of semihemidemisemiquavers,

musical atoms, from the pen
of a musician who cannot hear

the smallest unit to build a bridge
across the crevice between the auditory

ossicles – hammer, anvil and stirrup –
and the word. The blacksmith

and the bookbinder whose blood
courses in my capillaries

have nothing to say to the silver chaser
who obsessed with the shimmer

of kookaburra wings and left a patina
on my skin only visible when exposed

to the kiss of air.




Beth Grimm, a mother of three, originates from South Yorkshire but now calls Berlin home. She is studying for a Masters in English with Dalarna University, Sweden and has previously been published by Ink, Sweat and Tears and Magma Poetry.

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john sweet’s ‘…and the heart a broken bell’ is Pick of the Month for March 2016!


The Ink Sweat & Tears’ Pick of the Month for March 2016 is ‘…and the heart a broken bell’ by john sweet:

b. 1968, a believer in sunlight and surrealism.                                                                                               opposed to plutocracies posing as democracies and most social media.                                                         most recent collection is The Century of Dreading Monsters (Lummox Press).

john has asked that his £10 prize be donated to the Cats Protection League.


…and the heart a broken bell

says she’s tired of being dead and
what the hell am i supposed to do?
can’t have power without money
can’t have god without the devil

late august sunlight after
four days of rain and i kiss her
feet when she asks
i kiss her breasts

lick the tears from her cheeks and
wait for the moment to pass and
what we are is finished
but not quite yet

what the space between us sounds
like is an unspoken apology
no one wants to talk about the
future when it never amounts to
anything more than children
sleeping in a house on fire


Voters’ comments included:

All the poems were moving and powerful (as they always are). However, john sweet’s was the one I went back to read over and over.

Awesome stuff from a man who isn’t afraid to be edgy and speak his mind!!

It sounds like a couple in love and then has a surprise ending.

Most lucid poet on the net



Comments on the other shortlisted poets included:


Robert Harper, ‘Through a Lens’

it did that thing some good poems do – distracted me and found a way to get under my skin while I was looking elsewhere, then located a store of un-expired pain and re-activated it. Ouch.


Janet Hatherley, ‘Ghazal: Trace’

A difficult form to master in English, but this looks effortless, with form and content working so well together.


Jane Lovell, ‘Two Mountains’

I like the way it has merged the notion of destiny with domestic imagery in a moment of private epiphany.


Marion Oxley, ‘A Taxidermist Regenerates Blackburn’

I like the earthiness of it and the way it tugs you through as you read to find out more.


Anthony Wilson, ‘The Future’

Complex and compelling.




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Martin Malone





You live close to this land,
map its contours as surely
as your body’s own:
secret parting of valley lips,
arterial push of river into tide,
the sticky rill of your own still water.

Some days you plot another’s country,
their muscle and bone becoming yours
in the close-ribbed cabin
that domiciles a heart.
And always, after dark,
you strip his night to its secret,
claim the ground as your estate
before bringing yourself to a trust,
that never quite comes.

Here, inscribe my shoulder’s span
while I etch the gravity of your waist,
each ink as black as the other’s,
the survey essential to both.
Cartographers then,
let us share our dismal craft.
We live close to this land,
unmap its contours as surely
as our own: its occult
debris and dead ends.



Born in County Durham, Martin Malone now lives in Scotland. He has published two poetry collections: The Waiting Hillside (Templar, 2011) and Cur (Shoestring, 2015). An Honorary Research Fellow in Creative Writing at Aberdeen University, he is currently studying for a Ph.D in poetry at Sheffield University. He edits The Interpreter’s House poetry journal. Website:

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Clive Donovan




Already it Has Risen

The sun has already risen.
It slashes merciless rays,
Spreading vitamin D and radiation equally.
The paint on the front door peels
Under its ferocious examination.
It pours through the keyhole
Easy as milk.

Nestling its shape quite solid on the floor,
Its onslaught over, it marks a question;
Its position and shape ever shifting slightly,
But laying the same question each cloudless day.
Then the cat pats the intangible spot
– Golden like butter! – And jumps!
As a tumble of letters lands.






Clive Donovan is a full-time writer of poetry living in the creative atmosphere of Totnes in Devon. He has had many pieces published [including on Ink Sweat and Tears] but has yet to make a first full collection.

Note: A version of this poem appeared in Orbis Magazine #172 August 2015

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