Joe Cushnan




In Chartres


Young girl on a bench
Lights a cigarette,
Then, with her cigarette-holding hand,
Tries to put on sunglasses
And, with her camera-holding hand,
Tries to position herself
To take a photograph.
She fumbles,
She mumbles,
She almost drops the glasses,
Puts the cigarette in her mouth,
Puts the camera on the bench,
Tidies the glasses on her face
In a moment of sense to avoid a mishap.
Then, finally, she takes the photo
As a half-inch of ash drops onto her lap.



A small waiter grapples
To raise a large table umbrella,
Struggles to reach high enough,
His hand slips, au secours,
The umbrella collapses towards its pole
And he is almost swallowed whole.




Joe Cushnan is a freelance writer with a career in retailing behind him. His published work has included reviews, features and poetry in a wide range of media outlets.  He has written several books of fun verse and the biography Stephen Boyd: From Belfast To Hollywood.

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Andrew Wells




Blue Moon


blue moon from
drunk-ship said

I watch the purple-milk lake
& though my head
is ugly no

head has any use



rusted smear
or rain

by us the lake

is language


we needed it




devours me

though the whisperer

inside a beat

‘s at my chest

a black hand comes over it all



an end to everything

was predicted

after black dust

last month

I woke to sunrise

in Rome’s wide street



my dreams lie

to me

there is no escape

from everything’s

cold death

whatever that won’t be



what bitter ache

for here?

& by shadow

we urge

the raw

through pink



Andrew Wells is a writer and student based just outside of London. His recent work has appeared in HARK magazine and Cyberhex Press, among others.

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And the ‘Pick of the Month’ for May 2015 is Rushaa Louise Hamid

Huge congratulations to Rushaa Louise Hamid whose Another Canaan emerged as the voters’ choice for the first IS&T Pick of the Month. Rushaa wins a National Book Tokens £10 gift card and, as the first ‘Pick’, a place on a Lunar Poetry workshop at L’klectik gallery, cafe, performance and (soon to be) poetry bookshop space in Waterloo, London.



Another Canaan


There was a wasteland
and cold tire tracks in the skin of the sand.
I forgot I couldn’t breathe.

In the distance was something
I could crawl to;
flat lands – these were like the lands of my childhood,
a people that weren’t built for inclines
but to trundle on
ever looking past the haze of dust
and abandoning things that could not be carried.
In the rush of feet and vehicles
was a cry that all things must move forward,
amongst the heat and pain,
where the dust had been beaten down into a solid block.

My mother said
“You’ve got fire in your bones and
none in your blood,
and hot bones break,
and hot sand buries broken bones.”
A crib lingers out in the heat
leftover from a broken moment
and I am leftover too


Voters’ comments included:

‘I just love the soft colours of her words…. ‘

‘How the first line encapsulates the feeling of the entire poem. It all feels desolate after… ‘

‘Stirs something within me’

‘so full of images’

‘It was evocative of the desert and brought back some personal memories.’

‘The second verse was touching and something I could relate to.’

‘she does an impression of a Dalek (in reference to Rushaa’s biography notes), and the poem is good’



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Theodore Best




Solace in a Kiln

The fire set
to fuse your glaze,
fix your form,
was fierce
but you haven’t burst.

So you are a good pot.



Theodore Best has an MA in Poetry from UEA, and was selected to take part in ’SET’: a live literature residency (2013). He integrates poetry into leadership workshops for corporations. Poems in SSYK and Lighthouse, among others.  Blog:

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Mike Ferguson



Writing Gate

If the field gate is saturated and the garden soil too dry to
dig, my world is screwed. Having managed the day before
to lay that pen for the second raised bed just before it poured,
such a reversal of physical law would destroy the triumph in
this job – especially as I had skimmed the turf like sheets of
lasagne because of the frost. If I cannot go out and measure
for a new one or dig the earth, I will stay here writing about it.

Anything can be buried whatever the conditions if you don’t
need it to grow, and a gate still hanging will always close.
Putting all of this to a bigger test, I set the house alight and
watched it glow, flames spreading along the lawn to take out
those oak pens, scorching border camellias and heathers until
dead, and then creeping ever closer to what it licks best, a
battle with the doused marinade of a bored gardener’s gest.




Mike Ferguson taught English for 30 years, but having left this job, now writes and reads and listens to music when not examining to earn extra having left that job.

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