Seth Jani





Forgiveness like leavening bread
In the dark heart of summer.

Like following the way down
To where the columbine eats

A bed of roses.
Water knows this work:
Slow moistening, the alchemy

Of rubbing stones, smoothing surfaces
Until they catch light reflections.
I want to be better than myself.

Want the easy open arms
Of the birch in winter.

How it holds the snow
Like someone chandeliering
Someone else’s dangerous blue dream.
How it’s not afraid of ice,
Of the eventual frost breaking
Through its bones,

Of death with his chilled
Deliberate eyes.
The salamander beneath the slick

Multiplicity of stones is also like this.

More than disregard, he forgives my intrusions,
Lets me lay down in the grass

To count the stars,

Even whispers the names of constellations,

Of bodies I’ve forgot.

He lets me leave while the wick of morning
Begins its fuse,
While the spilled riches of the sky
Cover the Cascades, almost burn my hands
With light.
The miracle is that everything keeps on singing,
Quietly, beneath the mower’s head.
That there’s still a place for the buzzing fields,
For tiny doors through which the wind
Slips small meanings,
For the purity of coming night
Settling over the horizon
Like a sheet of shining mica.





Seth Jani resides in Seattle, WA and is the founder of Seven CirclePress (
His own work has been published in such places as The Coe Review, The Hamilton Stone Review, Hawai`i Pacific Review and Gravel.

Visit him at



Read More

Ivor Murrell


Deleting Footnotes

You can never prepare for this task.
It demands no passion in the wrecking,
just obliterating all signals of existence
throughout your dead parents’ house.

Discovering now what you never knew,
finding parts of what you came to be.
Eventually appearing in your first school report
folded neatly under your first baby shoes.

There are always secrets, some small,
six hoarded packs of sugar, several tins of spam
a forgotten habit, triggered by War memories
only recently remembered and re-lived.

Some findings can confuse or bite,
a carefully hidden photo of an unknown,
a small suitcase with letters of exchanged love
an intensity that shocks, and must be burnt.

If you are lucky there can be humour
a desk drawer full of jumbled keys
brass and steel, but only one labelled
‘This was the back door key- before the lock was changed’

How will you be unmasked when the clearers come?
Have you already left the footnote for your life?




Ivor Murrell has written poetry for over 40 years, but could only give it the time it demanded when he took early retirement, which also allowed him to build his website to share his writing.

Read More

Chris Hardy





A long night wrestling
in the narrow bed,

constrained and willing
under the snuffed-out bulb.

Breeze-block wall, tin sink,
a locked door

to the neon lit
unshadowed corridor.

We slept and woke,
took it up again

then you turned away.
The uncurtained window

let in a mist of light
from the dawn outside,

enough to see
extended, swollen

across the floor
a black dog

lying where
you’d need to tread

if you were ever
to get out.





Chris Hardy’s poems have been published widely and have won prizes. His third collection was published by Graft Poetry. Chris is in LiTTLe MACHiNe: The most brilliant music and poetry band in the world! Carol Ann Duffy

Read More

Ness Owen




A Potion to Leave the Past Behind


yoga breaths, pins, pressure points
camomile, beta-blockers, diazepam
fill the void with Jesus, Mars Bars and vodka
fill it with l-o-v-e, hate and oxygen

You can’t turn back
Only walk forward

trust your instincts

catch a fleeting moment
dal dy dir*
stay in

forgive everyone
give up, give in
let go

and write and
write and dance
and write and dance







Ness Owen lives on an island where she writes poems and poetry in between lecturing and farming. Her work has appeared in Poetry Wales and Red Poets.

*stand your ground

Read More

Ian Humphreys






graffiti shouts insults from walls by the chemist
its colours explode like flung bottles

I stare at the pavement and I’m late for the 8:22
to Manchester because I should have left home at 7:55

but I had to fix the tap or attempt to and now
if I run I could pratfall like last time and hurt

my coccyx and rip my trousers and Annie from sales
will cluck over me at lunch and her breath smells

of liquorice and I just want to sit quietly at my desk
and not bother with chit-chat and it’s now 8:17

and there’s no time to order coffee
from the man who grunts or grab a gloompaper

for company on the journey and I need something
to occupy my mind because if I don’t it ticks

like a wind-up alarm clock and prick-prick-pricks
the inside of my skull

and the train’s pulling in now and I’m queuing politely
when some idiot pushes past and I smile

and I’m getting on and I’m looking round
for an empty seat like that exists at rush hour

and I’m squashed against a woman with a pushchair
and my head weighs watermelon fat

and who brings a child on a crowded train at this time of day
and I pretend not to notice her or the kid

but I see the strap of my bag is caught
in the wheels of the buggy and my inner-Tannoy says

they’re getting off at the next stop
they’re getting off at the next stop

and I brace myself to leave with them to avoid a scene
then jump back onto the next carriage along

so no one will spot me re-embarking
as they may determine I’m acting suspiciously

and use mobile devices to alert the authorities
and guards at Stockport might actually

escort me off the train in front of all these people
and what will Annie think







Ian Humphreys is studying for a Creative Writing MA at MMU. His work has appeared in magazines including Ambit, Butcher’s Dog, Poetry News and Prole. He is currently putting together his first pamphlet.


Note: first published in London Grip, Autumn 2015.

Read More

And the Pick of the Month for April is…. ‘Palindrome Existence’ by Sarya Wu

We are very pleased to announce that the pick of the Month for April 2016 is Palindrome Existence from Sarya Wu.

Sarya is 20 year-old Taiwanese-American who currently attends the University of Edinburgh. During her free time, she does spoken word. Her other passions include physical theatre, Roller Derby, bin diving, and walking around aimlessly in a bear hoodie. Website:

Sarya has asked that her prize be donated to the charity Beat.


Palindrome Existence

Sometimes when I feel alone,
So I find a clean bus stop to stand by and wait,
Perhaps the bus will remind me
Of where to go
Maybe it’s fate-

I contemplate.

Maybe it’s fate-
Of where to go
Perhaps I’ll know if I sit still
So for a sign of direction I take a look
Sometimes when I feel alone,


Voters’ comments included:

Because it’s an interesting format that makes the whole poem akin to that of a single word. Reading it backwards and forward gives it a very subtly different meaning.

The balance of words perfectly fit the theme of existing, which can’t help both looking forwards and backwards, like a palindrome

when i read that poem, her voice was ringing through my head uttering all the words. she’s one impressive spoken word artist 🙂

It’s simple and pure but involving. There just is something about traveling or contemplating on or about journeys that’s very cleansing… Great subject matter.

Felt like it was talking to me. Like it beautifully said some of my own feelings



And on the rest of the shortlist:


Stuart Charlesworth, ‘But During the Medicine Round’

Immediate confidence in the voice. Love the feel/texture of the pills and the green arms/leaves the glorious vision of the field until the devastating threat waiting. Easy flowing language but a clever hesitancy using images – both sinister and oddly amusing.


Andrew McDonnell, ‘Me, Me, Me’

I love it; it does a nice line in disorientation.

original, surreal and sharp…


Ruth Stacey, ‘Mental Health Animals’

I saw (or felt) an implication that we are part of the whole world and simultaneously forcefully and voluntarily removed from it. I feel a calling in this poem and it aches like the stars in whatever that darkness represents.


Grant Tarbard: Review of Fates of the Animals by Padrika Tarrant

A fantastic book gets a deserving review, and written with love.

…lots of vigour


Marc Woodward, ‘Armstrong’s lost letter’

It’s original and elegant

Visually and poetically creative






Read More

Jessica Mookherjee




Mate Choice

You didn’t ask me to marry you in words,
your arms thick as branches
kept me to you. Blocking me in.

I told you marriage was Darwin’s joke,
dismissing us, what we could become.
Pleased at how clever I was.

We would have birthed a master race,
produced strong and hairy kids,
they would have saved the earth from drowning.

I would like to save the earth from drowning,
giving in to my ancestors, we would
have raced with our invisible hooves to the end of the world.

I feed seas with my genes, when oceans rise
fish feed when I die.
I would have liked to save the Earth from drowning.





Jessica Mookherjee is a poet from Wales, all over London and now Kent. She has poems published in Ink,Sweat and Tears, Antiphon, Agenda, Prole, Interpreter’s House, The Journal, Amaryllis, Gold Dust and The Poetry Shed.

Read More