Stuart Pickford




Bio Earplugs

For swimming, snoring or noise pollution.
Spearmint blue and chewy soft,
they tickle your brain, let silence swell.

Like slipping under water in the bath,
your heart insists on its double bass.
For once you hear the voice that’s you.

After the drive south through France,
châteaux with fancy railings, geraniums,
water towers, hordes of sunflowers,

your pillow moulds to your head. Enter
your Bio Earplugs. You imagine the square,
the creamy stone of Loches quietening.

A saxophonist blows his cheeks into balls.
Diners beat their palms together.
For you, a crying baby doesn’t cry.

There’s no whine from a moped pulled
by string. The ghost bus floats away.
A white poodle mouths at the moon.

Your pulse rocks the hammock of silence
till sleep takes you to a turquoise sea,
snoring, blowing happy raspberries

or you shake hands with the Managing Director
of Bio Earplugs, smiles all cheese,
Delighted in bold under your picture

or dream up scientifically-proven inventions:
nose stoppers for olfactory discomfort,
anti-touch gloves, blind glasses.

You smile, knowing you’ll be a millionaire
come morning, which you are, throwing open
shutters onto the street singing with sun.

You uncork the gravelly engine of a truck,
a metal ladder dragged over concrete,
fluttering voices of two old women,

a plane pulling a banner across the sky,
various onomatopoeias throwing in their bit,
a sparrow on a wire conducting it all.




Stuart Pickford lives in Harrogate where he teaches in a local school. He is married with three children.

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John D Robinson





‘John D
must try harder
in every subject;
he appears to
spend a great
deal of time
day-dreaming and
preferring his own
company, he
may struggle to
establish a career
for himself  in
the future if he
continues with his
present attitude’
scrawled school
reports year
after year -
Mr Mathews wants
to see you right
away, you’re
no longer wanted
here” said the
grinning floor
manager of the
warehouse -
you think you’re
something special
don’t you?” snarled
the angry Corporal
“Yes Corporal”
I replied,
this was the wrong
answer and he threw
the contents
of my locker across
the floor -
you’re one hell
of a lazy bastard!”
numerous factory
supervisors have
observed -
how the fuck
you’ve made it
this far in life is
beyond my
is a frequently made
statement by friends
and enemies -
John D; you are
guilty as charged”
said the bloated
red nosed magistrate
sending me into
the arms of probation -
But for many
years, by far the
most frequent
echo is
‘Dear Mr Robinson
thank you for
sending us your
work to our
it is not what we’re
looking for at the
moment, but we wish
you luck in placing
it else where’




John D Robinson was born in 63 in the UK; his work has appeared widely in the small press, most recently in Bareback Lit, Red Fez, Dead Snakes, Pulsar, Poet&Geek, The Commonline Journal, The Kitchen Poet, The Chicago Record, Mad Swirl.

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Ash Gamble





File me, lock me away, hopefully
under love or memory, not “that
creep,” slide me into a pull out
shelf.  See what comes of our time
and pull me out when you are ready
to see me again.



J. “Ash” Gamble is a late in life poet from Ft. Myers, FL.

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Tempest Brew





I place you
in box 3,
and Tuesday
in the next box,
and bourbon
in a box after that

I place pain
in a box, memory
in a box, mother’s
smile in a box,
and I keep

putting matters
and meanings
in boxes
until I can find
nothing anymore



Tempest Brew is a someone.  She serves coffee to people every day, many of whom seem to regard her as no one.

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January 2016 Pick of the Month

It’s that time again: Voting is now open for the Pick of the Month – your favourite poem – for January 2016

Our shortlist of six is below (or see the Vote for your January 2016 Pick of the Month in the Categories list to your right on the screen). These have either been chosen by Helen and Kate or received the most attention on social media.

Voting is now closed.

The winner each month will be sent a £10 book giftcard or, if preferred, a donation of the same amount will be made to a chosen charity*. In the event of the winner being from outside the UK mainland, we will make every effort to provide a reasonable alternative.

(*Ink Sweat & Tears reserves the right to refuse certain charities if we feel they are too controversial.)

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