Jay Frankston




The Portrait

I’m not looking for perfection
I don’t really want it
It is essence I seek, wholeness
with blunders and errors
and the unexpected surprise.
The hand that shakes
when you unwittingly are being the hero.
From small talk and blabber
to the sublime
I treasure your humanity
It must have room to breathe.
The calluses on your hands
the mud on your boots
the cut under your lip
the leaning shoulder
the hesitation in your voice,
they are a book we can all read.
But don’t be timid
nor aggressive, nor complacent.
You speak more clearly
when you body is in motion.
It is then that your portrait is complete.




Jay Frankston was raised in Paris, France. Narrowly escaping the Holocaust he came to the U.S. in 1942, became a lawyer and practiced on his own in New York for nearly twenty years, reaching the top of his profession, sculpting and writing at the same time.  He is the author of several books and of a true tale entitled A Christmas Story  which was published in New York, condensed in Reader’s Digest, translated into 15 languages. El Sereno, his latest novel.

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Ilse Pedler






Sometimes in the car I forget to breathe,

almost. Respiration reduces to

tiny transactions reluctant to leave


any trace. Warm skin and car seat a new

union, matter overcoming mind,

the windscreen a cornea to see through,


the heartbeat of wipers. I am confined

until a sickening jolt of preservation,

a shriek of tyres. Less than seconds defined


by red lights focussed, the dislocation

of time, and a density of fears

like a stone, but with the termination


of burnt rubber on tarmac, it appears

there are only white lines stretching on for years.



Ilse Pedler has had poems published previously in Poetry News, Prole, 14, Poetry Salzburg Review, Ink, Sweat and Tears and The North among others. She has also had poems in 2 anthologies. She works as a Veterinary Surgeon in Saffron Walden.

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Charlie Hill




This chaos

We live, perhaps, in a lawless world,
rejoicing as it does in the wild swings
of good against bad, confounded
by questions of maplines
and economics
and the democratic process,
informed by gods,
the tensile strength of duplicitous reason,
by spatters of blood.

And yet, in all this vital disorder,
this human-threatening human flux,
I can’t quite flap the feeling out of my hapless sickened bones,
that there is a truth
that mocks this chaos with its constancy,
even as it underwrites more chaos still.

For it seems to me, that
ours is a civilisation built on war,
and a civilisation built on war
is no such thing.



Charlie Hill is a writer from Birmingham. Both of his novels have been critically acclaimed. His short stories have appeared in many publications in print and online.  Website:

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Chris Fewings




Friday: death of God. Sunday: birth of body.

i. Relocation

Dive deeper into God: she’s relocated,
bequeathing the heavens to faeries
and astronauts. She’s chosen darkness:
a sett under the ocean, a space
at the pit of your belly; a cry.
This is the wordless womb birthing
word, colour, opening into sun.



ii. Numbers

Dive deeper into God: she’s reunited.
Forget the three: there’s two
into one – that’s you-
in-christ or christ-in-you
doing the tree dive: upwards
into pain, arms outstretched, then
the perfect three-day arc down into the source,
the sea, the non. So,
count up again: christ-you
and creator-emptiness. Two?
No, one! One breath, one axis,
with two poles, two movements
into one circle. Life dives into death,
death bursts into life: diastole, systole.
Fire flares, warms, sears, crumbles to ember: watch.



iii. A Life

Dive deeper into God. Today
we have the sky dive, up. Yes, I lied:
the relocation was temporary.
She’s arched like a gymnast across curved space
into the dance of the sky.
So fall upwards into nothingness
whose colour is light.




iv. Prelude

Dive deeper into God, but don’t
strip off yet. Wear a first-communion meringue,
a Protestant suit, a hat to outdo the others.
Sport a creed; arm yourself
with the steel of a rationale;
bear a tradition like a tortoiseshell,
or a spirituality like a brightly coloured scarf.
Others have built impressive promenades
at water’s edge: parade along them,
strut your stuff, give us a twirl before you jump:
a flash of your chosen accoutrements against the seaside sky.
No striptease is required. One day you’ll dive
so deep the water’s force
will do the stripping for you.



 Chris Fewings lives in Birmingham and writes poems, stories, rants and reflections (some of which have been published) and loves reading or reciting poetry aloud, from Shakespeare to Kei Miller.


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Jill Sharp




Leda plucks a swan

Old now, the body that enchanted him
grown coarse, how could he know her?
Yet she knows him, this creature,
even with fallen wings, eyes empty
of desire. Not hers. She’s spent a lifetime
finding what he stole from her, doing it
like he did, without her chance
to touch him, or raise her eyes to his.
That’s why, holding him in her lap,
she takes her hand to him
and in a storm of whiteness
scatters his power of flight.




Jill Sharp is a member of Poetry Swindon and her poems have appeared most recently in the Morning Star, Mslexia, The Interpreter’s House and the Orange Coast Review. Her pamphlet, Ye gods, is published by Indigo Dreams.

Note: First published in  IMPpress, Issue 3

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