Sam Hickford




John Clare on the Tube

Frit by the crankling train that storms the brigs
of Harrow clock-a-clays & woven twigs
are soodling passengers – theyre sleeping tight
clothéd in rawky natures faded light
& younkers maul & lease their mothers love
as sprents the sweat, ‘mid echoes from above.

I love to watch the Tube sturt in the night
bosoming the lowns within its airy flight
across the elting in its grassy sleep
besomed by suthying men. Then in one creep
sturt hinging Smartphoneers & startling men
& well-clout women begin their ‘work’ again.



Sam Hickford‘s blog, Squidditas, features an extended plea for his marbles. Anyone with information is urged to come forward.


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Yash Seyedbagheri




Professional Crier

My sister’s a professional crier. She cries on cue, lilting, soft cries or wails as anguished as a cantor’s song. She makes money too. They hire her to cry at the ballet, at dinner parties, Episcopal Eucharists, even at funerals, a stranger in the background.

But she never cries when misfortune strikes. She doesn’t weep when her car breaks down, doesn’t wail when her boyfriend Rufus leaves.

Not an anguished sob when bills pile up.

Nancy says pretending keeps you in control.

I cry for her, my cries secret and awkward, like a constipated goose.

It really is easier to pretend.



Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. Yash’s stories are forthcoming or have been published in Café Lit, Mad Swirl, and Ariel Chart, among others.

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Teika Marija Smits




An Early Lesson in Fake News

One paper said that my mother, The Venus of Vodka,
was blonde;
another that The Russian Doll
was a sexy redhead.
A third was certain that the nude model,
From Russia With Love,
was brunette.

She planned world domination
by luring her art students – lucky Eton boys
behind the Iron Curtain.

I was never mentioned,
except as a side note:
Mrs Smits lives in Windsor
with her husband and two daughters.
How fortunate for mousy-haired me.


Teika Marija Smits is a writer, editor and mother-of-two. Her poems have been published in Atrium, Prole, LossLit, Brittle Star and The Poetry Shed. Her debut pamphlet, Russian Doll, is to be published by Indigo Dreams Publishing in 2020.

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Nisha Bhakoo





Tides rise as I sleep.
I wake up to
a desert mouth and
the sound of drilling.
Panic shooting up spine.
The scaffolding holding
the building together
usually blocks out
the feeble Berlin,
February sun.
But a ray reaches
my forehead today.
The warmth says:
Keep it together.
The same words
etched on my tongue.
When you say:
It’s a constant battle
against the landlord.
The sky has been
the colour of concrete
for six months.
I listen for the sound of Spanish
rising through the hole
in the floorboards.
Our neighbour below
has not yet been evicted.
I have forgotten what
It is like to feel safe.
Every morning
I feel the walls vibrate
and I breathe in
the dancing mould.
The only thing holding
us intact
is the ethereal thread
between our pasty bodies.



Nisha Bhakoo is a British poet, living in Berlin. She has had two poetry collections published You found a beating heart (The Onslaught Press, 2016) and Black & White Dream (Broken Sleep Books, 2018). She edited Contemporary Gothic Verse for The Emma Press in 2019. She is currently a British and American Literature PhD candidate at Humboldt University, Berlin.

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Yuanbing Zhang translates Hongri Yuan




Each Rock is A Potala Palace

The sunshine is mellow wine
and there are golden palaces inside the sun.
Where a giant is its master,
he told me that I was his shadow on the earth.

I will still be much greater, like a mountain,
each rock is a Potala Palace.
And the epics I chanted came from billions of years ago,
there are huge number sweet homes beyond the Milky way.




他告诉我  我是他在人间的影子

我还会更加巨大 像一座山
而我吟唱的史诗 来自亿万年前
在银河系之外 有巨多甜蜜的家园



Hongri Yuan (b. 1962) is a Chinese mystic poet and philosopher. His poetry has been widely published in the UK, USA, India, New Zealand, Canada and Nigeria. He has authored a number books including Platinum City, The City of Gold, Golden Paradise, Gold Sun and Golden Giant.

Yuanbing Zhang (b. 1974), who is a Chinese poet and translator, works in a Middle School, Yanzhou District, Jining City, Shandong Province, China. He can be contacted through his email-

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Nina Parmenter




Weak Core

I have hauled laundry, sucker-punched Tuesday,
bent, switched and twisted,
and my spine despises me.
You have a weak core, she says.
Should be pulling up and in, she says.

Imagine a stuffed burlap sack half-hanging
from a squealing sapling, the
whole massive hellish orb
on which we teeter exhorting it
groundwards. Rip-snap

and the pre-teen tree gives, bark
pinging like fish-scales, fibre
parting from fibre, sap beading,
the unwieldy sack slumping
as Earth pops its nickel six-pack.

Wanna spot for me, sucker?

I do stretches, I say, take screen-breaks,
eschew the hoover. I have
shiatsu balls. An orthopaedic mattress.
She laughs at the futility.
This way to the pulleys, she says.



Nina Parmenter is a part-time poet from Wiltshire. Her work has been published in Lighten Up Online, The New Verse News, Snakeskin Poetry and Light. She posts poems and poetry-related thoughts at

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Oz Hardwick




The Debussy Bus Stop


Everything breaks sooner or later: keys, kettles, musical boxes, the clay hare on the mantelpiece. Out of habit, I carry the keys for all the houses I’ve left behind, and though I no longer remember which would fit which lock, there’s a kind of security in the weight that presses into my thigh. I consider them as ballast as I tip slightly to pour just-boiled water on green tea, listening to the coiled melody of Clair de Lune as it slows like a cross-country bus at a small town where no one will get on or off. There’s a café but it’s closed. There’s a newsstand with nothing but local papers and word searches. The engine stops but ticks with cooling as the last notes draw themselves out into everything that sounds like distance. I blow on steam and the world ripples. Through the kitchen window, a bus crosses a landscape I don’t recognise, trucking an orchestra to another show; and out across the car park a hare waits for whatever it is that hares crave. If I could find the back door key, I’d call it over, invite it in for green tea, or just to take the weight off its slim clay legs. Sooner or later it will all break, but for now I’ll wind the musical box one more time, fill my head with Debussy and roads to half-remembered houses.



Oz Hardwick is a European poet and dabbler in diverse arts, whose work has been published and performed internationally in and on diverse media. His most recent collection is The Lithium Codex (Hedgehog Poetry Press, 2019).

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