Gary Jude

 

The Apocalypse Wasn’t How I’d Imagined

 

Or at all like in the movies I’d seen.
Shopping malls weren’t swarmed by hordes.

Cities didn’t burn down on the horizon.
Only a few shots were ever fired.

The dead rose  like loaves of bread.
Although mostly mistrusted and silent

they were actually full of love.
I became especially close to great uncle Felix

(we’d often joke around with a ouija board)
and a hauntingly beautiful distant cousin called Louise

(which would prove awkward and confusing).
Everything seemed almost normal after a while.

Even the great strange sky
with all its signs and comings and goings.

 
 

Gary Jude is from London, but lives and works in Bern, Switzerland.  He has previously had poems published, including in Poetry Salzburg, Ink Sweat and Tears and Orbis.

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Tom Wiggins

 

 

Helen Ivory has an Epiphany at Breakfast

Spoon in hand —

she stops mid-sit.
That’s it, she thinks. That’s it!

She chuckles to herself, then sits down,
and smiles into her Coco Pops as the milk goes brown.

 

 

 

Tom Wiggins is a 30 year-old stonemason from Gloucester.

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Steve Mearns

 

 

 

Visit to the Doctors on 24th April 2015
How do you feel? (Sic)

I feel like when the sea’s peeled back
And the silver sands flayed
By the all day all night wind
Whipping off the Weddell Sea

I feel lost, scrambling on sharp limpets,
Slates, razors to the laughs of gasping fish

I feel cold beyond explanation
Naked beyond dignity- bitten
In The salt winds teeth
The unhealing wounds weeping
Red tears
Matching those inside

I feel my breath ache

My brain shrinking

I feel tiredness opening fissures in my bone

I feel nothing good exists
Beyond this moment
This is how i feel

 

 

 

Steve Mearns is 54 years old and has been writing for 6 years. He has had poetry published in Down in the Dirt, Stepping Stones and Mudfish magazines (USA) and the UK Webzine Ink Sweat & Tears. He has performed live at the 2015 Wenlock Poetry Festival and Eat Up in Shrewsbury. His work has also been performed live at the Poetry Cafe in Chicago. He has recently written his first Novella, The Falsity. He lives with his partner between Shrewsbury & Cartagena, Spain.

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Neil Fulwood

 

 

All Day Long

The wheels on the bus achieve their forward motion
via the interplay of axles, driveshaft
and internal combustion engine. Gear ratios
and synchromesh are a bit more complicated
so we’ll leave them for now. But yes,
as a piece of catchy oversimplification, the wheels
on the bus quite definitely go round and round.

The precise noise made by the wipers
depends on the inclemency of the weather,
the efficacy or otherwise of the wiper motor
and whether the rubber on the blades is new
or a bit buggered. In other words, the wipers on the bus
might go swish swish swish, but be prepared
for scrawk scrawk scrape. All journey long.

The conductor on the bus is hardly likely
to say anything. They don’t have ’em anymore.
The driver on the bus isn’t much of a conversationalist.

The baby on the bus doubtless screams its head off
but it’s nowhere near as annoying as the student
on the bus who wants his rucksack rammed
up his arse, rammed up his arse; or the thick muppet
who stands right by the driver’s cab, slap bang
in everyone’s way when there are half a dozen
available seats; or the tosser with the iPod
that sounds like a Hadron collider going at it full tilt.

But don’t cry. Uncle Neil has a car
and we can ride in that instead of the bus.
The wheels on Uncle Neil’s car go round and round,
round and round; and, with a certain degree
of frequency, the horn goes toot.
 

 
 

 

Neil Fulwood is the author of media studies book The Films of Sam Peckinpah and co-editor, with David Sillitoe, of the anthology More Raw Material: work inspired by Alan Sillitoe (Lucifer Press, 2015). His debut poetry collection, No Avoiding It, is published by Shoestring Press this year.

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Richy Campbell

 

 

 

Waves

I return to the house,
stare through the grime-smudged windows
at chairs on their sides,
at the table covered with districts of muck.
The backyard’s slabs are mottled with litter,
weeds advance through gaps in brick.
A cold fetor clouds all from the corner,
from refuse sacks that holds water in clefts.

I sit on a brick pile near the fence,
head full of the last time we met.
The silence as our shoulders touched with the last hug,
your large eyes stupefied of their sheen.
Our laughter echoes from the bedroom window.
This is what I have of you
I see colours project on the curtains
if I stare hard enough.

I leave to the street, walk under the lamplights
and wonder where you are, in some living room
the silence between the two of you
deafened by the television.

I imagine the could-haves,
they ebb from the house,
flow out of the road, to you
they break brick from cement, skid cars on roofs,
knock your fingers from lampposts
that you grab in the current.

 

 

 

Richy Campbell is based in Manchester. His work has recently appeared in Bunbury, the Transnationalist, and the Live Canon anthology 154. He has performed at Happy Valley Pride (Hebden Bridge), and at Huddersfield Literature Festival.

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Ian Glass

 

 

 

This Year

This year moss has grown
on the cold side of our tree.  It sits
thick damp green at the roots but
thins towards the plywood box I made;
the box you requested,
which I fixed with carpet tacks
because I would not find screws.
Weathered now and splitting, it will not last
another winter.
The hole I drilled; cut; hammered in frustration,
too large for sparrows,
is dark,
adding its emptiness to all the others.

 

 

 

Ian Glass grew up in Northumberland and lives in Worcestershire.  He trained as an engineer, works as a computer programmer and writes most of his poetry when he should be doing something else.

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Stuart Pickford

 

 

 

The Lawn

Just starting my bowl of cereal and glancing
at the wintry Beast from the East in The Mail
when Dad hands me a three-foot broom.
The time? Minutes past nine. As he’d said,

if I pulled the handle and walked up and down
in lines, in strict lines, looking behind,
like in the days he used to cut the grass,
I could sweep away the—what was it?—

dew. As ever, I did what I was told,
the dull water like a cloud too heavy
for the sky, a slur on the colour green.
The lawn would be dry by lunch. Obviously,

I couldn’t mow it; they’d Don, the handyman.
As he didn’t do ladders, Dad asked
if I could prune the apple tree, hard.
Your mother hates cutting anything, but

I don’t want it blossoming, don’t want apples
all over the grass. And you were right,
late in the afternoon, the lawn was lined,
found its colour. Summer had come back.

 

 

 

Stuart Pickford is the recipient of an Eric Gregory award. His first collection, The Basics, was published by Redbeck Press (2002) and shortlisted for the Forward Best First Collection prize. His second collection, Swimming with Jellyfish (2016), was published by smith/doorstop. Stuart lives in Harrogate and teaches in a local comprehensive school.

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