Reuben Woolley

 

 

 

those words i see laid out

 

fuck it

 

you understand

you do

you know
beneath a skin &

 

floating

barely

 

these words in solid
waters sometimes.i must

share space

with my red
guts shining.i’m a little
older / a little
more tired

& easy
you know
you do
close these my eyes
let them seep through
who come in bloodless torture

i read you dry
the cutting blade of pictures.they
come in my blunt ecstasy

 

 

 

Reuben Woolley has been published in many print and online magazines. He is author of 4 collections, the last one being broken stories, with 20/20 Vision Media, 2017. A book is forthcoming, some time we are heroes with The Corrupt Press. He edits the online poetry magazines, I am not a silent poet and The Curly Mind. Twitter: @ReubenWoolley Website: https://reubenwoolley.wordpress.com/

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Lydia Harris

 

 

 

Questions you won’t answer about mending your roof

Do you scrinch your eyes
to the stone as you straddle the spine?
Do you look away as you finger the gaps
between flags?

Your shoulders are braced against the wind.
I know that.

Do you slide your tongue over your lip
as you stir lime and sand?
As you slice and slap?

As you scrape a layer on your hand
to feel if it dries without a crack?

Behind this shell which won’t wash away
do you sing? Do you hum as you cover
a patch of stone with your palm?

Do you pray for your bed to be warm,
for no buckets or pails anymore in your home?

 

 

Lydia Harris has made her home in the Orkney island of Westray. In 2017 she received a New Writers’ Award for poetry from the Scottish Book Trust.

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Roddy Williams

 

 

 

library

at the end of the sixties
i lived in a library
took out the tintin books
i had a card

i lived in the books
when the library was closed
they had to return me
or they’d get a fine

it was bright, comfy shelves
and some tables and chairs
i could drown in the breath of
the ghosts of dead trees

i wanted a label
to stick on my forehead
then i could live there
sleep in the ghostforest
right through the seventies

people could take me out
that would be nice
but they’d have to return me
or they’d get a fine

 

 

 

Originally from North Wales, Roddy Williams lives and works in London. His poetry has appeared in Magma, The North,  The Frogmore Papers, The Rialto, Envoi and most recently in the Great Weather for Media anthology The Other Side of Violet.  blog: roddywilliamsblog.wordpress.com

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Thomas Calder

 

 

 

All the white rooms

My life has become
Accustomed,
To these clinical rooms
Where they take my blood
And I am no stranger.

A second home.
The nurses know my name
And my illness
These people have become my friends
I visit so often.

I have a registered
Loyalty card
“Tenth one’s free.”

My plump nurse tells me
Through her lisp
That she has cancer

And has had all her teeth removed
But she doesn’t like to be morbid.

I think
How selfish and small this pain of mine.

She shows me a barcode with my name and date of birth, and asks for confirmation
“is this you?”.
And I suppose I should say yes
So I do.
Not really knowing what that even means anymore.

 

 

 

Thomas Calder is a young creative with a background in music and film-making.

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Rebecca Sandeman

 

 

Epoch

And I can’t
can’t
do the 7:45 wetness
on the bathroom floor
anymore

I step in it
And my socks
are sad on the way to work.

Conduit Road is more
miserable
having items which
weep unexpectedly.

I’m sorry that I break
once
every 28 days.

It’s an unfortunate side effect
of pins in your arm
and love.

And you,
you
Tell me everything’s
going to be okay
in a voice I abhor

offering orgasms
and cups of tea,
to talk me down
from the ledge.

I tell you I’ve got cold feet
And that I miss
my Waitrose deliveries.

I say I don’t want
you to touch me
and that your family
are annoying.

(Which they are)

And then
And then

We turn off the light
With our
new clean bed sheet

which you have blow-dried
along with my knickers
for work

and we kiss in the dark
for hours

my tongue tells your teeth
how much of a fool
I am.

 

 

Rebecca Sandeman is a PhD student at the University of Sheffield and Events Organiser for a lawyers firm. She is editor at @CicatriceJournal and her work has appeared in Route 57, Edinburgh Inkwell, Llady and Prole.

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Olga Dermott

 

 

the end of the night
Think you there was or might be such a man / As this I dreamed of?
(Antony and Cleopatra, Act V Scene II)

the thighs of my skinny vodka are barely covered
with Coke, short-skirted sugar in my mouth,
this nightclub is a fermented kingdom of clay;
you take my hand
we are suddenly outside
I am shivering inside my hurried jacket,
throbbing music aches like a distant hangover

we stagger against an Irish February towards the
seafront where this night wind is tight, black as liquorice
chewing at my ankles
lamp posts rattle as we stand close to them
boats clink and roll like empty beer bottles
against the harbour wall

your breath is lager and I can taste cigarette ash
feathered, settling
on my lip as a dying bird,

there is no shelter from what you say next –

I watch as you walk back up the hill
tornadoes spill from your pockets
whistling whilst
I gulp against this pitch

I want to scoop myself back into a plastic bucket but
these wet cloying clumps are stuck in my throat and eyes and everywhere
so I stand in the rain, bladderwrack hair,
salt gusts are dirty ropes flaying my face,
low clouds have drunk too much of the sea

my heart hammers cracked like a useless pink spade –
sandcastles of what I wanted to say to you collapsed against my ribs

 

 

Olga Dermott is from Northern Ireland. A former Warwick Poet Laureate and member of Room 204, she has had poetry and flash fiction published in a range of magazines including Rattle Magazine, Magma, Paper Swans Press and Under the Radar.
@olgadermott

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Christopher Jackson

 

 

 

Four Lavender Pots, November 2015
 
Our lavender are dead but there is
light on them. Browned, traumatised –
the four pots failed in September,
while we were away, for lack of water.
Their bee-summons purple is no more;
they attract no wing-flutter to their pores.
 I am not inclined to think them dead.
Sun blasts the ledge, until their naked
neurons fire into life:  it’s as if
their nods acknowledge my wife
for planting them once in summer’s earth.
They look relieved to be post-death
and still part, though changed, of creation.
And I think of the murdered in Paris again: 
may a similar wraparound of light,
with the same perpetual mysteries in it,
cancel the disaster in everything,
brighten the travesty of their dying –
and help them up, and out of pain,  
towards an equivalent benediction.

 

 

Christopher Jackson is deputy editor of business and culture magazine Spear’s. He is the author of six books including The Fragile Democracy (2016) on US politics, the best-selling Roger Federer (2017) a book about philosophy and sport, and Theresa May (2018). He was named one of five poets to watch by the Huffington Post in 2013, and longlisted for the National Poetry Prize in 2016; his volume The Gallery was published by the University of Salzburg to critical acclaim in 2013.

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