Rob Stuart

 

 

Action Poem

 

Rob Stuart’s poems and short stories have been published in magazines, newspapers and webzines all over the world. He has also written the screenplays for several award-winning and internationally exhibited short films. His website can be found at www.robstuart.co.uk.

 

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Amy Kean is our Pick of the Month Poet for September 2018

 

Our Pick of the Month poem for September 2018 could only have been written in the 21st century and the depth, wit and brilliance of Amy Kean’s ‘I put make-up on for the Deliveroo driver’ resonated with many voters

Amy is an author and advertising creative from London. Her first book – The Little Girl Who Gave Zero Fucks – is out in October, and she’s had work published in The Guardian, Disclaimer magazine and Litro amongst many others.  www.shitsandgigs.com

Amy has asked that her £10 ‘prize’ be donated to PDSA, the charity that offers reduced cost and free veterinary care for pets in need.

 

 

I put make-up on for the Deliveroo driver  

Pornography implies this a fruitful strategy for lonely women.
Often their husbands are out of town, but you could be anywhere.

I put make-up on for the Deliveroo driver, hot ribs and bang bang cauliflower hint at my intentions.
The miso aubergine and Chilean Malbec brazen, our language: body and artisanal oriental fusion.

I put make-up on for the Deliveroo driver, barely-there razzmic berry shorts simmer on my thigh tops.
These neatly boxed breasts ready and protein-heavy like five days of meal prep in airtight tupperware.

I put make-up on for the Deliveroo driver, painted my lips crimson as a blood clot five centimetres in length.
Pinched my cheeks so hard the rest of my body forgot how pain feels.

I put make-up on for the Deliveroo driver to prove my fruit is not forbidden. I am Eve, original biblical MILF. I am the childless witch in a gingerbread house, I am his stepmother, I am your cracked, overheated induction hob.

I put make-up on for the Deliveroo driver but the helmet hid his face. It might have been you. He might have been wearing make-up too. A woman with appropriated braids was vaping in the car.  He was late, forgot my spring rolls and the sticky shredded chilli beef still breathing. I imagined it was you. Delivering sustenance in disguise to check I’m alive.

 

*********

 

Voters’ comments included:

I thought that its structure seemed effortlessly worked and loved its ‘killer’ humour which belied such pain. Great poem, seemingly light but full of deep emotion.

Bold and vivid imagery, long lines, primary colours, unashamed sexiness and brilliant that the braids are “appropriated”.

Very heartfelt poem

Amy is corky and [a] brilliant writer. She is super intelligent and [has a] great sense of that old traditional English sarcastic humour

Inspirational and motivational magic

It’s so real – it really landed with me.

I love the idea of non judgemental cosmetic application. I agree, when I wear lippy & mascara it shows I value me!

It’s honest, sad, real, in-your-face and ultra modern. Love it.

Loved the humour.

Human, fallible, wonderful writing

It’s funny and fresh and oddly real!

It’s hilarious

Quirky. Funny. Relevant.

Just brilliant

Resonating themes.

We all do it

So original.

I love her sharp incisive wit

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Martyn Crucefix translates Federico Garcia Lorca

 

 

 

Tamar and Amnon
for Alfonso García Valdecasas

Moon wheeling across the sky,
no water on the plain,
hot summer now scattering seeds,
talk is of tiger and flame.
And miles above the roof beams,
nerves of metal squeal,
a twisted breeze comes blowing in
with the bleat of wool.
And spread-eagled, the earth shows
its barely-healed hurt,
or it shivers in incandescent white
of cauterising heat.

*

In her dreams, Tamar was lost,
birds in her throat,
with the swish of cool tambourines,
a moonlit lyre stroked.
Up in the eaves, her nakedness,
North the palm grove,
she wishes for snow on her belly,
on her back, hailstones.
How Tamar loves to sing her songs,
stark-naked to the roofs,
while scattered around her feet
are five chilly doves.
Amnon is slim and definite
in his tower, gazing,
brimming, full, his frothy groin,
his beard swaying.
Her nakedness is all lit up
on the terrace below.
The whispering between his teeth,
an arrow striking home.
And now Amnon shifts his gaze
towards the rising moon,
but finds his sisters’ firm breasts
only obscure the moon.

*

It’s half-past three and Amnon lies
sprawled upon his bed.
The whole room is an agony,
wings crowd his head.
In its grave of dirt-brown sand,
a dull light inters
villages or unearths the brief
pink of rose and dahlias.
First-pressed lymph of silence,
dripping into urns.
On moss-covered trunks of trees,
a hanging cobra croons.
Amnon groans deep in the cool
linens of his bed.
The crawling ivies of his chills
obscure his burning blood.
In silence, Tamar tip-toes in
to the noiseless room,
the colouring of vein and Danube
distantly traced and dim.
—Tamar, my eyes, erase them,
in your certain dawn.
Threads of my blood have hitched
ruches in your gown.
—Leave me, brother, leave alone.
Your kisses on my neck
are like a twinned swarm of flutes,
a wasp and wind attack.
—Tamar, in your swelling breasts,
two fishes bid me rouse
and your every single finger-tip
speaks of locked-in rose.

*

In the courtyard, the hundred horses
of King David neighed.
Against the wispy vines, in slabs,
still the sun remained.
Already he’s ripped her dress,
her hair in his grip.
In streams, a warm coral’s daubed
over a pale map.

*

O what commotion then was heard
from the upper floor!
What a thicket of blades they found
and her clothes torn.
Slaves, on the dismal staircase,
hurrying up and down
as if they played, thighs and pistons
under stilled clouds.
Beside Tamar, the gypsy virgins
set up such a howl,
while others gathered up the drops
of her martyred flower.
The pure white cloths turning red
in the shuttered room.
Rumours of shifts in vine and fish
and then tepid dawn.

*

The frenzied violator, Amnon,
flees on his horse
with black bow-men loosing arrows
from watch-towers and walls.
And when four hoofs were echoes,
nothing more to hear,
King David took a pair of shears
to the strings of his lyre.
 

Martyn Crucefix’s most recent publications are The Lovely Disciplines (Seren, 2017) and two chapbooks: O. at the Edge of the Gorge (Guillemot Press, 2017) and A Convoy (If a Leaf Falls Press, 2017). He has also translated the poetry of Rilke and more recently the Daodejing – a new version in English (Enitharmon, 2016). Cargo of Limbs will be published by Hercules Editions in 2019. He blogs regularly on many aspects of poetry, translation and teaching: http://www.martyncrucefix.com

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Kate Noakes

 

 

 

I can feel trouble in my bones
 
In my red, fringed bow ballerinas
I can feel surfaces again

hardness unyielding
to my toes, each pebble

conglomerated in the stub slabs
of the business district

each trip cobble defining
my quartier’s streets.

This week the road menders
were out fixing winter’s siege

the actions of frost and thaw
stones cemented into place

just in case they’re plucked
and smashed, a ready arsenal

to launch against false order
righteousness against women

and those, oh so many, causes
touching us these spring days.

 

 

 

Kate Noakes‘ seventh collection, The Filthy Quiet, is due from Parthian in Spring 2019. Her website, www.boomslangpoetry.blogspot.com, is archived by the National Library of Wales. She lives in London.

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Jamel Hall

 

 

 

Clash

On nights like this May air strokes skin
like lazy fingertips, familiar sounds
nonchalantly step through speaker boxes;
his voice rough and unsteady hangs comfortably
in her air. She remembers she has a husband.

Bodies agile against the newly knit moon,
his hands become pillars, supporting her slightly
inebriated frame. She remembers she has a lover.

They sway, dip, turn to face, grasp for glances
and hurt. Consuming the hours before the tempo
tumbles and language begins to falter;
bodies flustering accents in the silence.

A procession of feet like a Cartographer’s pen.
Empty bottles hum songs to coax the morning.
Their embrace, a wistful glance, a heavy sigh,
come –a– part.

Leaving only the drunken float and stumble;
the beginning, of the short journey home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jamel Hall is a writer, art curator, event organizer and freelance everything else living and working in Kingston, Jamaica. His poetry focuses on the small, complex and common stories that make up human existence.

 

 

 

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Christian Brookland

 

 

 

microscript

At a tiny table, by a tiny window
I play hangman

(where Robert Walser composed
one too many stories)

We are guileless – like the spearhead
of an army. One that sends its fellows

by the thousands. Fodder. (or guileful-
it works both ways) We are either all

or nothing by name and repute and
get this – by the orientation

on the toilet door. I was once told
it’s easier being two-dimensional.

 

 

 

Christian Brookland likes to type very loudly on his old Olivetti. His writing has been published in Ambit and 3:AM Magazine, and he’s just finished his first novel.

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Stella Wulf

 

 

 

Smoke & Mirrors

Alice finds it curious that her friends are hell bent
on contortion, their minds and bodies unhinged
by perception, dislocated by notions of perfection.

They slip easily into the illusion, strings attached
to riggings of fancy, pipe dream masts, waiting
to be pulled by the model makers.

They’re as whittled as sticks, living on treacle,
drained from the well of Selfiedom. Cheese splits
too wide a grin; they shape their lips to Moo.

Like her they yearn for cakes marked EAT ME,
gorge like caterpillars until they’re full of remorse,
stomachs like lead balloons. There’s a Wonderland

beyond the glass, but they’re trapped in the gloss
of pose, seduced by tricks. Alice watches them
finger-lick-flick; sees white rabbits at every turn,

flimflam promises, useless as ships in bottles,
paper chains of Tweedledums and Tweedledees,
made bland by the wave of an airbrush wand.

Alice tells them it’s all hookah and looking glass,
they may hanker for longer legs, but they can’t find themselves
in another’s face. It’s a long fall down that passage,

she should know. Being big makes her feel small,
when she feels small she eats. She often asks herself,
who am I, what do I want to be? Hopes, one day, for the answer

to be, ME.

 

 

 

 

Stella Wulf’s poems are widely published and appear in several anthologies including, The Very Best of 52, three drops, Clear Poetry, and #MeToo. Her pamphlet, After Eden, was published by 4word in May 2018.

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