Sam Parr




Before She Went

She rests in music all day long
Jazz, Opera, Nationalist folk,
The closest thing to silence I can find here.                                        
If she raised her head,
she would see Tesco, a pub and the steelworks,
the new Wales,
rolling out like steam,
But instead she watches the sky
As an airplane splits it in two.

Her legs become just rumours under the duvet, and
her skin stops fitting,
That’s because it’s mass produced
she explains,
Its transparency seeps through into her bones,
And when she hoards enough will to
lift her arm
The moonlight slips through it
– salt dissolving –
Where do I end?
She whispers
As the nurse jumps
– I did not see you there,
my dear,
what with all this light.
She peers at my face
Breaking into her vision
and says
“Picasso, Van Gogh, Toft.”
You have grown so much,
you say to me,
As we lay our hands on her
our fingers becoming a roof
keeping her anchored
for just a moment longer.

And so she brings us together again,
in dying as in living,
As she had before the Swansea ocean,
before whose great exhales
our young hearts shook to,
until we gripped her hand
fingers wrapped around her thumb,
her skin the softest material
I had ever felt,
its constant beat so strong
it was if I held all of her
in the tiny shadow of my palm.

Sam Parr is an English with Creative Writing Graduate from the University of Birmingham. He is currently an intern at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, and writes in the breathing space before work in the morning

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Terry Jones




Forgetful, in a stroke of genius,
you set the dictionary on a shelf in the fridge
where it lay all night in dark wordlessness:
rosetta of crystal, coomb of roots,
the house of language cooling like a hive.
What were you thinking but this new winter?
Participles glinting, nouns to glass, I took it out:
an old terrain under ice, sub-zero of the word
where you traced clawed prints on a page,
found sound snugged and dumb in earth,
a world reformed in silence.

tap it now with a tuning fork, put it to your ear
like the sun’s spring choir; say Corby, Eden,
Gelt Wood, place where spinneys raise letters
of boles,  ice shucked as a crow lifts into blue,
and your lost tongue comes to a litany of fields,
landscape of boundary and dyke, the mud lanes
returning in a shine of names and signs,
a familiar river rising on the grammar of rain.
What might it be but the start of thaw?
Sit with me here, word hoard between us;
sense meltings, warmed breath on air, the whisper
of sibillants turned clear and hasped on the branch;
note hedges and furrows in rime: and there –
do you see it?  Watch it go,
a fluent rabbit in a field of snow.






Terry Jones‘ poems have appeared in a range of magazines, including The New Statesman, Poetry Review, Agenda, Ambit, Magma, Iota, Envoi, The London Magazine, New Welsh Review, Wasifiri and others.  In 2011 he took 1st prize in the Bridport poetry competition.  Poetry Salzburg published his first short collection, Furious Resonance in 2011.

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Michael Bartholomew-Biggs


Chambers of Horror
The good the bad and the ugly

I’m imagining a statue
of a man in anguish standing
in a public square;

but I haven’t yet made up
the proper patriotic words
to chisel on its plinth

to say why it commemorates
the body as an instrument
for undergoing pain.

But have I mixed grave monuments
to famous men with glib exhibits
in a wax museum

where villainy and virtue mix?
If scoundrels have to be lampooned
in stocks or on a scaffold

it’s one small step to taxidermy:
stuff and mount the bogey men
like beetles in a box.

Or skip the stuffing and the mounting:
stick their severed heads on spikes
then hang them up in chains.






Michael Bartholomew-Biggs is poetry editor of the on line magazine London Grip and also helps to run the North London reading series Poetry in the Crypt.  His most recent collection is Pictures from a Postponed Exhibition (Lapwing 2014), which features artwork by David Walsh.


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JD DeHart




One day I will wake up
and realize just what kind
of story I’m in.  My words
will finally carry weight.  I will
know how to deal with the villains,
real, flesh, natural, and imagined.
I will one day know
how best to be this human
being I’ve named myself
to be.  I will be the hero of my
own short story.

JD DeHart is a writer and teacher.  His chapbook, The Truth About Snails, is available on Amazon.

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Martin Bennett




In Campagna

(Tor Vergata, Saturday 8 am)

Timetables abated till Monday morning,
exegeses and formulae on hold,
the Faculty celebrates as best it knows
its air-conditioning. Via vents, flues,
windows which someone forgot to close,
thrums a rhapsody to Nothing Doing.

The odd bird, taking a rest from north,
east or west, the pecky triangulations
between, throws in its penny-whistle’s worth,
primordial tweets that predate clown
and emperor, high-pitched whirrs, castanets,
a caw-cra-caw karaokeying Tom Waits.

Randomness makes music all its own,
complete with poppy-strewn sensurround,
pine-trees’ verdant black, the dance of pollen.
Sun as baton, now starts up an early insect –
heat’s cellist creaking it ever higher,
testing acoustics for noon’s fête champêtre.





Martin Bennett lives in Rome where he teaches and proofreads at the University while contributing occasional articles to ‘Wanted in Rome’. his poems have appeared in Agenda, Stand , Poetry Ireland Review and elsewhere. He was 2015 Winner of the John Dryden translation prize.

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Aimée Keeble




Here is the subversive heart:
Through which rebel blood rolls in secret passages
Dark is the meat, opaque and shiny as a horse’s eye
Bones fine and curved as tusks steeple a cage for it,
Under sediment of the water of you
Here are the nobs, the joints, the blades that arch like fins,
The guts like a sack of jewels,
Coiling spine as creeping as a tendril of white ivy,
The knees, the femurs, the pelvis,
Marrow filled machinery the colour of old stones that makes you walk so-
Why not pretend we are little planets of flesh with cores of white hot soul
Like avocado stones
Galactic would the movement between us be, unencumbered by thought
As rock is impassive when it’s smashed into;
It delights in scattering pieces of itself with a feeling of
Unbound elementary,
I would degenerate with you-
Shrink my frame as a wizard puddles to nothing with a bang
Legless and sticky and thin skinned
A see through stained glass body through which all is visible
Little pebble hearts quickening in our swampy chests
O’ come with me to the water now,
(I would drown with you too)
Basic tongues for tasting elements not words-
Tadpole delicate would we slip without breath
Dissolve as stars do in morning
Here are the atoms unaligned:
Without mystery, without anger
Like the calm indifference of the soul of salt.





Aimée Keeble was born in London but raised in America. Once graduating from high school, she moved back to London to pursue a career as an actress. She has been writing short stories and poems since she was a child. Her work has been recently published by the Lighthouse journal,Forward Poetry, and ink, sweat and tears. Her greatest inspiration has been her great uncle Alexander Trocchi, a beat writer who produced a handful of novels and began a prose and poetry publication called Merlin. She hopes to follow in his footsteps and have a literary publication of her own one day.

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Sally Beets



Tree Surgery

I was growing tired of trees, already,
before the end. Tired of going to nature reserves, forests,
woods, with your tree index book, looking up words in
Latin: Quercuis ilex, rubra, robur,
chasing after your over-excitable stinking dogs,
that muddied and laddered my tights,
or worse, when you produced that battered bat detector.

Everything comes back to trees: breath, literature, doors: the
furniture of life. Your calloused hands
always smelt and felt like bark,
your hair too – that space between your neck and
hairline, it was like that forest in Centre Parcs
where we went together, and then I alone, ‘escaping’,
(my chest tight in the healthy air)
– fresh, smelling faintly of damp sweat from
a freezing wrapped up winter walk.

Your favourite is the Oak. Like you, I thought:
classic, strong, reliable. You, the least complicated of men/
Even trees understand you –
Like the one you climbed in Epping Forest
and shouted from that you were king of the world, while
I refused to join in.
I’ve always liked willows: reflective, flexible, lazy.
Like the one where we had that perfect Indian Summer
picnic and made love next to cows in the stream, there was a
wedding just beyond the hedge.

I retain knowledge against my will, on how to
fell or pollard a tree. I know that they go into shock,
how they heal themselves, how you studied that tree
like an archaeologist, in Grace’s garden in Essex,
twisted like hair, it wormed its way in and
out of the ground, how you found a body
hanged from a tree in Hampstead Heath.




Sally Beets is a poet and Young Adult fiction writer. She is completing a masters in Children’s Literature and Creative writing at Goldsmiths University where she has had several pieces published in student publications.  She has worked as a teacher in the past and is involved in various local literacy charities and projects based in London.

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