Duncan Chambers

 

 

 

Dan Dare

I wonder whether apps will still exist
a hundred years from now. Paper will,
I think, and you who I imagine reading this
in an earth closet or cathedral

or by torchlight as I read about Dan Dare.
He was the future once, his spacecraft made
from balsa and elastic bands, his jaw
pointing ahead as if it knew the way.

 

 

Duncan Chambers lives in York. He has been writing poetry since the 1980s and has been published in various magazines including The Interpreter’s House, Magma and The North. He was awarded the Poetry Society’s Hamish Canham prize in 2018.

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Ellena Deeley

 

 

 

Electrotherapy at Steinhof

Under the light of the sanatorium window,
The red curtains impersonate a woman

Wearing her nerves on the outside
Of her dress, like a bridal train.

The door to the machine swings open
And she treads into heated wires;

Filaments sparring between electrodes
Send tremors through her pale blue feet.

Walking to her bed, she can recall nothing
Except when someone at the piano lit a match;

Blooms in the lace, passion flower,
Flaked into a confetti of ash.

 

 

Ellena Deeley is PhD candidate at the University of Exeter. Her thesis explores representations of conjoined twins in contemporary literature and screen media. She was a runner up in the 2015 Mslexia Women’s Poetry Competition and specially commended in the Welsh Poetry Competition in 2012 and 2014.

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Graham Clifford

 

 

 

Recognising Homo Erectus

In the British Museum with skeletons
you can’t get away from
the memory of the family
that all live in one room.

Bunk beds and camp beds and
the illness of a father
that gets into the fibres of everything
like the smell of fried mackerel.

He will get up and go to work
and come back and lay there
like bared electric flex,
unsafe in the dark.
Eyes open looking at nothing.

His children might inherit this
or mature too quick in order to deal with it
but the story is
before anyone can help
something has happened
and a new family is crowding into the small room.

 

 

Graham Clifford was born in Portsmouth, grew up in Wiltshire and lives in Walthamstow with his partner and two daughters. He has been published widely, internationally and nationally, in such magazines and the Rialto and Magma. He is a Head Teacher. www.grahamclifford.co.uk

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Stephen Lightbown

 

 

 

Wheel

1.

I watch another sci-film.
Deep space travel is a thing.
The wheelchairs still look like
they were bought in 1982.

2.

We are all the same.
The greatest lie ever sold.
It is funny how different being different
can be.

3.

It is estimated 132,000,000 people
world-wide need a wheelchair,
but over 1,000,000 lack funds
to buy one.

So much is inaccessible. I am thankful
I have access
to the one thing I need.

4.

Stand up and be counted. Stand up
for your rights. Stand with me. So many
bystanders. Double standards. Outstanding
dear boy. Standoff. Standout. Standby.

I cannot stand. I do not understand.

5.

Wheelchair user is not an addiction.
A drug I can live without.
It is all I know.

 

 

Stephen Lightbown is a Bristol based, Blackburn born poet. He writes extensively but not exclusively about life as a wheelchair user. In 2019 his first poetry collection, Only Air, was published by Burning Eye Books and his website is www.stephenlightbown.com.

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Jason Monios

 

 

 

Tattooing Ourselves at School

Do you remember the day we tattooed
ourselves at school? We huddled within
our homemade shelter, lidded desk

unfolded before us. Our skin cut
by my compass that never knew its purpose,
had danced along every desk, punctured

the drinks of other kids, ruined
skirts and pencil cases. We scratched
our arms, swore our truths and smeared

the ink in. Ink from a pen’s
endoskeleton, its plastic lung,
its hospital tube, intravenous blue lake.

Ripped out and opened, its insides spread
along our shivering shells, blocking
pores and filling the rill we’d carved.

There lay two whose names were writ
in ink. That handmade sign signified
our lives, our loves and our beliefs,

truer and longer lasting than our schoolboy
seriousness, even if the ink
had seeped into our shirts by then,

fading already, forgotten by lunchtime.

 

 

 

Jason Monios is originally from Australia, and recently moved to France after many years in Scotland. His poetry publications include Magma, The North, Gutter, Acumen, Poetry Scotland, New Writing Scotland, Southbank Poetry, Envoi, The Fenland Reed, Northwords Now, The SHOp, The Warwick Review and The Guardian.

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Gemma Harland

 

 

 

Possession

You have stolen my ears and filled my mouth with ash.
My hands and feet are your servants running errands
through shifting labyrinths, according to your whim.

On every cell of my body your name is stamped.
You have buried my feelings in an unmarked grave
beneath the tower. Even the dead don’t go there.

 

 

Gemma Harland is a writer and artist who lives with her wonderful, crazy family in West Yorkshire. Her poems have appeared in several publications and she is currently working on a pamphlet, to be called Scorpions in the Sugar.

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Vicky Sharples

 

 

 

Just Another Human-Interest Story

 

So we were fucking, right? Or maybe

we’d just finished

draped about like Tristan and Isolde

twisted sheets

casual genitalia

London’s Calling faintly from the jukebox

outside the road sweeper’s staccato

burns an old familiar beat on sun-stained streets

beneath the throbbing undulation of a thousand solitary feet

voices echo up with
dust and cigarette smoke

talk of burning buses

whispered chaos

but we’re miles away from Aldgate

and all I can think about is one small alternative

the slender aching schism

of a myth defaced

replaced with some vague unarticulated fiction

 

still buses pass

petals of grey ash from the incinerator

swoop

dive

are lost in the traffic

 

 

Vicky Sharples lives by the sea with an enormous ginger cat. After many years in the pub trade, she’s now close to completing an English Literature and Creative Writing BA at the University of Kent. Find her on Twitter @vixta6

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