JT Welsch





A body

how long?
to be there

by 10am

a plastic box

like for recipes
or receipts

like cake

mix in
the rain.

JT Welsch‘s books Orchids (Salt, 2010), Hell Creek Anthology (Sidekick, 2015), and Flora & Fauna (Thin Ice Press, forthcoming 2020). He is also co-editor of Wretched Strangers: Borders Movement Homes (Boiler House, 2018) and author of The Selling and Self-Regulation of Contemporary Poetry (Anthem, 2020).

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Chew Toy

My body, my stomach, my chest is a ball
A dog runs after it and
Occasionally gives it a little chew

It’s that lurching feeling
That sinking
A mix of fluttery anxious butterflies
And deep sorrow
Heart races and mind is overactive
All you want to do is slow your breathing down
You are calm, you are calm
Get up, walk around and forget to forget the panic

Sometimes reality hits
Shit, this all really happened
The enormity of it all hits like a truck
But just for a second
And then it’s the painful, numbness again
You are not real and the ball is in knots



 Tara hopes to raise awareness on mental health issues and on how they can impact daily life. She also covers these in her blog, Tara Talks. https://taratalks.wixsite.com/blogging/blog 

Tara has also featured on IS&T as part of Mental Health Awareness Week: http://www.inksweatandtears.co.uk/pages/?p=16491

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William Bedford



The News is in

The news is in. Grey fears can go away now.
These flames are black and green,
the colours of disease.

It isn’t true!
But only because I keep my eyes closed.

If I open them,
the wall offers an Arctic ferment of blues,
the ceiling is a jewellery shop full of stars.

How can the world be so beautiful
when you are crouched
in a howl of grief,

weeping at the hospital window,
waiting for the executioner to close your eyes?

I arrive with plastic grapes and plastic flowers,
knowing I may be here for a long time.

The fear, like all our illnesses, is catching.



William Bedford’s poetry has appeared Agenda, Encounter, The John Clare Society Journal, London Magazine, The New Statesman, Poetry Review, The Tablet, The Washington Times and many others. Red Squirrel Press published The Fen Dancing in March 2014 and The Bread Horse in October 2015. He won first prize in the 2014 London Magazine International Poetry Competition. Dempsey & Windle published Chagall’s Circus in April 2019. His latest collection, The Dancers of Colbek, was published by Two Rivers Press in January 2020.  http://www.williambedford.co.uk/

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Stuart Ross

Join us for a live zoom reading from Stuart Ross and Bloodaxe poet Clare Shaw in our new occasional ‘Live from the Butchery’ series, hosted by Helen Ivory and Martin Figura from their home.  The reading will take place on Sunday 28th June, 4pm GMT, 11am EDT.  Please email inksweatandtears@aol.com today for meeting details.



Tea Time

My nose becomes bored
with the rest of my face.
It tugs in this direction
and that, then manages
to crawl across my left cheek,
down the side of my neck,
onto my shoulder where it
jumps to freedom. Embarrassed
by the empty plain of my face,
I don’t leave my house. I hide
in the backroom and find
a copy of Gogol. I open to
a random page and an ant
crawls out and onto my wrist,
up my arm, my shoulder,
my neck, across my cheek
and onto my face. My arm
and neck tickle as a trail of ants
follow their leader, gathering
just south of my eyes.

There they set up a Utopian
society, a model for the rest
of the planet. They call it
Undulating Mass Nation. My
friends call me Ant-Nose.
I do the talk-show circuit,
and when the public becomes bored
I am relegated to a circus
side show. Thirty years pass.
When I die the ants leave,
disgusted. I lie in my coffin,
unable to smell my own
decomposition. Each day
I expected to hear a scampering
of nostrils on my grave, my
nose come back to join me.
But all I hear is the rattle
of a rusted kettle, telling me
my tea is finally ready.



Stuart Ross is the winner of the 2019 Harbourfront Festival Prize for his contributions to Canadian literature. His 20 books of fiction, poetry, and essays include Motel of the Opposable Thumbs, A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent, and Snowball, Dragonfly, Jew. Stuart lives in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada, and occasionally blogs at http://bloggamooga.blogspot.com/


Join us for a live zoom reading from Stuart Ross and Bloodaxe poet Clare Shaw in our new occasional ‘Live from the Butchery’ series, hosted by Helen Ivory and Martin Figura from their home.  The reading will take place on Sunday 28th June, 4pm GMT, 11am EDT.  Please PM IS&T on Twitter for meeting details today.

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Phil Vernon





The first bars are the seeds
from which the music grows,
but even the music’s surprised
when it flowers; by what it knows.

The first snow lands; each further
flake that falls is laid
on the flake before, and turns
the world to white and shade:

a land that makes no claim
on you, nor yields to yours;
a shape without a name,
without an end or cause.

It’s quiet, suddenly,
and the flower has set no seed.



Phil Vernon’s poems have appeared in magazines, journals and websites. A micro-collection, This Quieter Shore, was published by Hedgehog in 2019, and a full collection Poetry After Auschwitz is forthcoming from Sentinel www.philvernon.net/category/poetry.

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Mbizo Chirasha


Country Train of My Country

I see from a distance, its metal backbones disappearing into the blue haze of our day. It moans and vomit its human snort into the silent heat. Kacha kuchu ka……cha Kuchu……uuu Kachaaa Kuchuuu. Kweeeeeeeeee.
The sound steps resonates with the echo of daylight doves and sudden laughters of gossiping pigeons down the quiet river. Kacha …a. a…a. Kachaaaaaaaaa Kuchuuuuuuu…..u . Kweeeeeeeeeeeee.

Country Train of my Country reappears again beyond the red hills, dancing again on metal mats now the steps are fragile and hesitant. It moans again, now for the death of time, belching out deathly fogs and foul sweat into the silent air 
Kacha a Kacha …aaaaa Kacha Kuchu Kuchu Kuchuuuuu Kweeeeeeeeee

Country Train of my Country, disappears again into the fabrics of mist. It cracks and breaks with broken hearts and tired souls. Souls travelled the earth since times sands were granite. Hearts exploded with the pain of every season’s funeral. Summer comes with hot tongs of hell. Spring brings fragile promises and wingless hope. Winter undresses us into utter nudity in front of our Gods.

Country Train of my Country is weeping again.

The cry echoes into the valley of bones and ripples the blood river. It stops for a season ritual and then thunders a loud fart, farting remnants of sorrow and atoms of poverty.

Air stinks with corrupted oxygen. It sleeps over here and my father’s sister was buried here and my brother too.
It sleeps over here on the debris of a dying country. Poverty is the black fabric of our times.

Jigsaw sound of the country train of my country is no more. Country Train of my Country slept over here forever.



Mbizo Chirasha is the Poet in Residence at the Fictional Café: www.fictionalcafe. 2019 Sotambe Festival Live Literature Hub and Poetry Café Curator. 2019 African Fellow for the International Human Rights Art Festival( ihraf.org), Arts Features Writer at the International Cultural Weekly, Founder and Chief Editor of Womawords Literary Press. Founder and Curator of the Brave Voices Poetry Journal and co-editor of Street Voices Poetry triluangal collection. His latest 2019 collection of experimental poetry A Letter to the President was released by Mwanaka Media and Publishing and is featured at African Books Collective.



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Priya Subberwal




how to lose your mind at the end of the world (an instruction manual)

step one: stare out the window for hours on end. pretend you’re making eye contact with someone.
step two: envision a post-apocalyptic future,
where you only eat canned beans,
talk to faces drawn on walls,
read the great american novels,
and finish all the bourbon.
feel alright with it. finish the bourbon.
step three:
draw a hole big enough for the sky to fit it.
let the sky fall in.
abandon the multi-step program,
abandon notions of time,
it is four four four in the morning
it is the first day of human existence
it is your birthday
it is the day the asteroid hits.
let the sky turn purple-
shout at the moon –
pound fists on glass –
sleep too often.
(do not go to sleep).

forget your first language,
the way it shaped your
pale blue world, stuttered through
tv static,
rolled past you on subway ads.
find a new god —
the newscaster, the demagogue,
the martyr, the rebel,
build them a tower of cardboard boxes
and a paper crown.
notice where the sun is
when the room turns violet and drowsy.
notice where your body is
when is stops answering to
that noise of your name.



Priya Subberwal a student at New York University, an environmental activist, and an avid poetry reader. She hails from the mountain west, where people are quiet and mountains and trees are loud. She loves to write poetry but has never submitted anything to a publication before now. Her favorite poets are Allen Ginsberg, Olivia Gatwood, Sarah Kay, and Mary Oliver. Her favorite bird is a crow. Her Instagram handle is @priya_roo.

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