Robert W Monk




The Paperboy Whose Mind and Paper Round Expanded

Lying in bed
Hands like fuck cats/rats
Painting tiny squares on my brand new radio/alarm clock
With Tippex
Very defined, very detailed
The Devil’s in the detail.

I got the acid from a 40 year old crusty named Malcolm
Whose catchphrase was: “I’ve been on the edge, man”
3 hours in, 5 hours to go
3 hours in, 5 hours to go
Oh shit, I’ve got a paper round to do.

No. 18’s Alsatian dog really, really doesn’t dig The Guardian’s new colour supplement
And the girl at No. 22 laughed at my trainers just last week.
Meanwhile the sky has opened up
And a cartoon God is looking down on me and pissing on me
But it’s just rain, isn’t it? Isn’t it just rain?
And this road is going on for miles and miles
I must be in Exeter by now… But why Exeter?
Why not Mars? Or Mogadon? Or Burkino Faso?
Here comes another dog What’s his problem? Why are they always so pissed off?
Don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to hear about it.
And the sound in my ears Is a constant crying and wailing of cattle
With a drum machine and a 303 chipping in at inopportune moments.
Frozen Still

And then I’m at the kitchen table
And my mouth feels like I bit The head off a biro
Orange juice works? Orange juice? Orange juice?
And my Mum turns into a walking, talking Marshmallow Tree
And I’m on the bus to school for Double Maths and Philosophy
It never rains but it pours
These twisted knots of off-colour
Smiling gunk all over My head.
All over My Head
All over




Robert W Monk is a poet and writer trying to make some sense of the multiverse. His words and poems have appeared on various sites and blogs and in zines. He has also been known to perform live on occasion.

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Pat Edwards




March 1999

Everyone is panicking about millennial catastrophe,
anticipating computer failure on a global scale.
All the clocks will stop, North, South, East, West;
the moon, sun, oceans, will descend to chaos.

With everything that’s going on around us,
I’m not really getting very much sleep.
I keep people informed with regular updates
by changing the answerphone message.

I’m keeping a sort of diary because
I’m sure I’ll want to look back on all this
once it’s become ancient history, so to speak.
That came out wrong; didn’t mean it like that.

The woman next door is practising the organ.
Friends are rehearsing what to say, how to be.
But this March is turning out to be our last.
How can anything ever come good with you dead.




Pat Edwards is a writer, teacher and performer living in Mid Wales. She has been published in Obsessed with Pipework, Picaroon, The Rat’s Ass, The Fat Damsel, Ink Pantry and Amaryllis. Pat runs Verbatim poetry open mic nights and is curating the 2017 Welshpool Poetry Festival.

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Jill Abram


At Liberty

When the world’s not watching I eat barbecue chicken without cutlery,
let sauce spread across my cheeks and lick my fingers. I lift my skirt
to hitch up my tights with a wiggle, believe this time they won’t slide.
I ask out Simon Carr when really I just want to kiss him on the lips.

When the world is in a meeting I go to the park, climb up the slide
and down the steps. I drive a lorry under a low bridge to get it stuck
and let down the tyres to test a theory. When the world goes on holiday
I drive to the city centre, ignore red lights and park where I like.

I sing when the world’s not listening, try out harmonies. I finish
the whisky after the world goes home, leave the clearing up
and go to bed. When the world gives up I offer one more clue
then reveal the answer. When it asks Why me? I tell it to stop

feeling sorry for itself. When there’s no way the world will know
it’s me, I pull the cord, paint on walls, rob a bank. When the world
falls asleep, I wolf whistle the moon, flash the astronauts,
corral the stars to string into a diamond skipping rope, play.





Jill Abram is Director of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen, a collective encouraging craft, community and development. She grew up in Manchester, travelled the world and now lives in London. Jill created and curates the Stablemates reading series. @MalikasKitchen

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Deborah Sibbald




Portrait of the late Mrs Partridge

I inhabit the rough drawings of numberless wild places
which camouflage my handsome
brindle rougey linen plumage
and faintly jewelled russet feather boa
My chestnut hair  is blown upwards
like whirring flames taking flight from brittle ferns
pale grasses and unmothered leaves
as though magnetised towards  the sun
I avoid high flashy places  and menace from the sky
so sleep motionless in round  hollows
scraped smoothly in saturated earth
Away from scent hounds and mathematical problems
my spirit soars reckless unskinned  from flesh
Dreaming of soft blue naked forest  rivers and silver mountains
whose composition asserts itself under an oily brush
I sang for a mate at nightfall

Deborah Sibbald lives, works and writes in London and has recently begun to submit some of her work.

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Sue Hubbard




1955, perhaps?

Late winter afternoon. A London Park.
The distant trees ghostly on the far
bank of the bleak lake.
Four and seven, say, in camel coats
with beaver collars, feeding the ducks.
I am holding a bag of bread
standing beside my sister
as we stare ahead in the line of duty
with nothing between us except
a strip of grey water
and a single moorhen sailing blithely by.
Above rain clouds gather
as the last few birds dart for shelter
before the sky splits open.




Sue Hubbard is an award-winning poet, novelist and art critic. She has published 3 collections of poetry, two novels and a book of short stories. As the Poetry Society’s Public Art Poet she was responsible for London’s largest public art poem at Waterloo.  A novel will  be published by Duckworth in January.

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Tim Love





He slips into the house, puts his pack of beer on the kitchen table, takes a can and
walks from room to room, staying a while in the back room.  The IKEA
furniture’s pushed against the walls exposing a floor of wooden panels.
He returns to the kitchen.
There are bowls of crisps on the work surfaces. He takes a handful with him into the
back room where the music is loudest. He sits on the settee for a while, then on the
floor in the corner. He looks around. There is an illuminated fishtank, a piece of wood
cellotaped over the top. He notices that each electric socket has an

He goes to the kitchen.  He notices that each electric socket has an energy-meter
there too. He gets one of his cans, takes two big swigs and then carefully tops it up with wine, carries it to the front room. He stands, sipping occasionally, then sits on
the floor in the corner for a while. He stands in the hall,
goes up two steps, looks back at the front door. He concentrates on his bladder.
He goes up three more steps. A window’s beside him. He sees a delivery van down
the road, a man carrying box after box of groceries into a house. He sees the
little shops opposite. Many have objects hung over their doors – the shoe-shop
has a big boot; another has a something like a gramophone horn. Two more steps. He’s on
the landing now. The bedroom doors are all closed. One has a Mondrian hung upside down.
One is padlocked. He waits outside the toilet door, studies the cracking paint,
the slight warping. He goes in, locks the door, only just undoes his flies in time.
Such relief. He lets everything go. His head spins. He’s so drunk. There are thick rugs,
shelves of exotically favoured products, toothbrushes. Noticing a full-length
mirror he’s reminded of a science program from the night before, where it
said that you can’t see your eyes move in a mirror because your sight blanks
out. He wondered how many hours a day his eyes were in motion.

He suddenly turns, looks at the door, rushes back to the kitchen where lights are on, away from the music he so hates.
The crisps are mixed up. He doesn’t like Salt and Vinegar. Above the big table two pieces
of paper have been blutacked to the wall. One has column headings Name and Time, the other
says that the world record for eating 100 sultanas one at a time is 44.65 seconds. On the
table is a pencil, a basin of sultanas, some cocktail sticks, and a kitchen timer.

He looks to the doorway. He laughs. He tries the front room again,
sits on a chair, sits on the floor in the corner for a long time. He hears a
glass break. It was perched on a chair arm beside him. His eyes drift to the bookcase.
“For Whom the Bell Tolls” is in amongst the Bs. He wants to move it. He know he
shouldn’t. He goes into the kitchen, gets a can of his favourite beer, the beer
he’d brought. He takes it to the utility room. It’s dark. When his eyes adjust he sees
a candle in the middle of the floor. He sits cross-legged, concentrates on
the flame. The rest of the room goes blacker. He feels dizzy. He returns to kitchen,
thinks about going home, opens one of his cans, goes to the back room to listen to
music that he doesn’t like, that he’s never liked. There’s a smell that wasn’t there
before. He waits in the hall, looks up the staircase then darts out of the front door.





Tim Love’s publications are a poetry pamphlet Moving Parts (HappenStance, 2010) and a story collection By all means (Nine Arches Press, 2012). He lives in Cambridge, UK. He blogs at

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J. Bradley



The Ribcage Is Asked By Its Latest Lover How It Gets Around

You try your best to remain upright when in a new bedroom,
but it slows you down. Your latest lover gives you permission
to be yourself, so you skitter instead of hop, your tips click
and clack on his hardwood floor. When you and him finish,
he falls asleep and you watch the nightmare gnarl his smile.
Your latest lover wakes up an hour later and you ask him
what he was dreaming and he says giving birth
to skeletal wolves. He describes how they escaped:
chewing him from the inside, the cubs feeding from

the gore of what’s left; you know he’ll never call again.




J. Bradley is the author of The Adventures of Jesus Christ, Boy Detective (Pelekinesis, 2016) and the Yelp review prose poem collection Pick How You Revise A Memory (Robocup Press, 2016). He lives at

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