Anna Mace



I can’t bear the way she looks at you.
The hold of her petalled lips, curled into a plea-
-ease me tonight, pout.  And her horn-ed
trimmed eyes, all plucked slices of honey this,
excreting crème patisserie.  Icing, sweet violet tip –
flicks of that, decorative corners on words, the nail
indents smudge still darkening my palms, in fury.  Fuck,
I’d breathe for you. But you can’t hear, not this sigh,
so tailored, the way the heart breaks shrill on my bended
knee and chokes my words.  All I do is watch you,
steeped in the banality of the unremarkable, shave, blink.
Except to me, you have become this beacon of my
everyday.  All you do is clutter the surfaces as I
wipe them clean, smiling to the tilt of my yes,
the graze of your hand against kettle and cup,
full to bursting, as if to touch your heaven with my soul,
in exchange, I’d hope for more in another lifetime, but
you will forget me, I know, slowly, gently over time,
we are not in one another’s worlds so etched, besides,
the winds blow as surely as this hope evaporates,
and sip my coffee through the steam and yearn for
all the times you’d think of me, the times she looks at you.




Anna Mace has contributed to the limited edition bookart project, Revolve:R where her poetry has been turned into short films. Last year she had published poetry in Translation Games, Kemptation Magazine, Arkbound, Curating the Contemporary, Streetcake Magazine and Inconnu zine and most recently her poetry was featured in the No Bindings zine and podcast. Her manuscript was shortlisted for The Melita Hume Poetry Prize 2015 with Eyewear Publishing, London, UK. She lives in Bristol.

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Ilse Pedler





When I phoned her last week she said the weekdays were OK, but the weekends
were tough, especially Sunday, Sundays were the worst. She said Sundays were an
empty day if you had no God to fill it. She said people kept telling her to keep busy,
so she tried her hand at felting, bought one of those kits; a toy rabbit I think, but
she kept pricking her finger on the needle and got blood all over the wool, got to
admire her for trying though, she said she ended up cleaning the bathroom. Last
Sunday she said went to Frinton but the seagulls nicked her chips when she sat on
the beach. She said story of my life, can’t even save my chips. Do you remember
that time we went to Frinton and the seagulls dive bombed us? Bastards. I said it
would get better. She said crap. It’ll never get better. It’ll always be like this.



Ilse Pedler  lives in Saffron Walden, where she works as a vet.  Her poems have been published widely, in Poetry News, Orbis, The North and other journals.  The Dogs that Chase Bicycle Wheels won the Mslexia Poetry Pamphlet Prize 2015 and is published by Seren.


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Vik Shirley



Foolish: to not know how
to work your own wings.
On the ground, people stare,
they can see them protruding.

You keep them concealed,
as best you can, but now
and then a feather falls,
almost giving the game away.

It’s not that they’ve never
worked (that’s what worsens
the blow). Once you’ve soared,
walking just isn’t the same.

The dull thud of feet verses
the silence of gliding, plus
the swishes, the swooshes,
the glances-up of admiration.

If only you could remember.
What you would do for a spell,
a recipe, a formula, a diagram …
a You-Tube clip to follow.

You walk to the block of flats
where you namelessly reside
and take the lift up to the roof
for the one-thousandth time.




Vik Shirley is a Bristol-based poet whose work has appeared in Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal and Lunar Poetry. She has recently completed a BA (Hons) in English Literature is currently on the  Creative Writing MA at Bath Spa.

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Karl O’Hanlon





Clifford’s Tower

for the Jews of York

Have we forgotten the astringent
voice of Silkin, on frigid conscience
stupefied? Its queue-badgering ghost
must shake the iron-ribbed ceiling

of Leeds train station, the student
dives, places words choose to fester
under the skin. Plates of ice barge
the Ouse; two gulls ride convections

of air, mewing like remnant heralds
of some old Norse saga. The heart
brims over. Incongruity is shorn
of terror; hobby Vikings at Costa

warm their close-braided cheeks
with the cups. Malebisse sounds
like morning mist, halitosis low
over the stray, the derangement

of light so that there comes easy
to the imagination some deity –
its immense hands over us –
bending light pink and green

(though whether in design loving
or unloving impossible to say).
Conscience, we might well think,
is a kind of bad debt. Shake it off.

Heap ashes on it. To conclude
this weekend’s jolly, Clifford’s
tower burns again. Illuminations
lave the cold stone face, sparks

streaming down gilt-golden like
hyperactive tears; and afterward,
a girning skull vomiting smoke,
lobotomised. All applaud.

What can steel in us remembrance
of the freezing blade on shoulder
-blade, fear’s stone-encircled echo
and fire: its hunger, sad, satiable?

What can render love at its limits,
real sexual love, hounded by hate;
and in that northern walpurgisnacht,
true horror of their final non-choice?





Karl O’Hanlon grew up near Purdsyburn. His first pamphlet, A Strange Fashion of Forsaking, is to be published by Guillemot Press.


NB: This poem has previously appeared in  – Stand, and in  Eyewear’s Best New British and Irish Poets 2016.

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Rebecca Took



Aquarius, letting go

on the surface, sea melts the horizon.
light blinding as grief –
the mind blanks at the glare.

this is the inbetween place.
the space between sky and base.

a bottle afloat, bereft of miniature vessel.
the ship long adrift, sunken and free.

this is the time of release.

in true order, content fills form.
years hollow. in breach, the body
becomes buoyant, fast as an anchor.

sea bright glimmers. sky empty as a page.
goodbyes flow in choked whispers
tears flicker in the waves

they weight, fill with our love
and into the deep
you fade.



Rebecca Took is an English student at Oxford University. She is a current contributor to the SevenVoices project, was shortlisted for the 2016 Martin Starkie Prize, and has written for Tigress Magazine. She lives in Birmingham.

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Ellie Stewart



The word comes back

It is a quite simple thing to be told.
laid on the breakfast table, over chequered cloth:
a name.
the named thing –
it began itself when no one was looking.
divided itself
while we walked along the streets of the town
washed our hair under clear water
fed the cats.

They tried to cut it out
ran radiation
through your veins
But there’s never a going away.

You can feel it in your bones
the dark points dividing as we walk by the roads
where the water runs.
the street signs tell us
such simple things
and the sky is like the sea,





Ellie Stewart is a writer based in east London. Her poetry, stories and non-fiction have been published in various places including Popshot Magazine, Hippocampus Magazine and The Pygmy Giant. You can follow her at @EllieAStewart

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Robert Karl Harding




Even God is Lonely

Every Buddhist temple has a room for rebirth.

Marked by sharp chiascuro Ely squatted at the angle where wall met the floor, at the penumbra of the light and shadow. Inside a charnel house of memory he floated on borrowed spirit, susurrating softness. All around him, photographs of the dead. Black and white ghosts lurking in the gloom. Light spears thrown by Gautama struck terracotta  tiles through skylights. They burned onto the retina. Incense rose in slow pirouettes, moving upwards toward the roof. The rich, heavy smell. Outside, the sun. Burning under doors, restless behind shutters. Every possible possible entrance daubed with light. The house of rebirth; cool waiting room for the soul.

And every minute the sound of the gong.

An old man, bald, in chocolate coloured robes sat behind it with tamped mallet. Counting down to zero.

From where he sat Ely could sense the vast continental splash of sun beyond. Outside. Up and outside for a moment. Bamboo canes against the mustard glow of exterior walls. Beside those an exhausted jasmine bush, with a single flower. Enduring. Brown and losing its battle. Kiệt sức. Exhausted. He closed his eyes.

When Ely looked next the jasmine flower had fallen to stone tiles beneath. Overhead the implacable sun roiled away. Broiling the surface. Connecting with the deep.

Flower seller at the pagoda gate. Beyond it the street. At the limit of his vision on the duong’s far side a dog butcher. The de-furred hind quarters of a dog hung in the mouth of that shop. A barely perceived shiver in him. The Chinese border a stone’s throw. Far from home now. Destiny’s wind had died. Left him there.

Difficult to think. In this heat.

‘Can’t seem to get it together.’ He spoke aloud. Incense pirouetted ever upward. Receding memory trails of a distant ex-wife’s flesh had left vestigial animal sadness. A heaving. Pooled in a deep recess of his guts. Pool. Whirlpool. Slowing moving vortex of electro-chemical pulses. The quartered dog. The white jasmine flower.


He stood up. An immense stiffness in his back, shuffled outside to the concrete benches they have in the east. From somewhere the whiff of distant, growing industry; the reek of sweat, toil, angst, mistreatment lay on the thermals. Small cruelties, unavailable leisure, too much beer.

One day he would break out of this heavy torpor into his future. For now there was only the Nguyet Hue and Jasmine here, fragrance dormant, their snow flowers cool in the midday heat.


An announcement of nothing. Only a minute passing. A wisp of breeze brushed his face. Heat closed in again.

If you took a video camera to his face, reviewed the footage, you could see. There was something absent in him. He scratched at salt and pepper stubble on his chin. Muối tiêu. And still he stayed, in the burning sun, sweat oozing from his pores.
Ely carried a small pebble found on a river beach in the Bernese Oberland. He slipped it into his mouth. Money had not yet transferred. He at a tangent to life.


The sun went behind an ink black cloud. It started raining. The first for six months. The kind of rain that you can see ahead but isn’t yet where you are. A miasmic wall of precipitation that you can watch until it arrives. And when it does the flame tree flowers fall to the asphalt under its powerful hand. The sky no longer blue but pitch. The wind thrashed the jasmine, the palms, the flame tree. All around the flowers fell. The world appeared black and white and silver. He knew everything was going to get worse before it got better.



Robert Karl Harding is a tea entrepreneur, writer of fiction and poetry, ex-schoolteacher, university lecturer and academic researcher, living in Saigon. Teablog:
Interview about writing and tea: click here.

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