photographs from our holiday in bed
the night we slept how mathematicians draw an ‘x’
the night we lay facedown smug as pocket aces
the night we peeled apart like pitta from itself
the night I was ampersand and you were treble clef
the night we were paper figures strung across the bed
the night our bodies framed a question asked in Spanish
the night you coiled yourself into a burning ear
the night you unravelled like a Danish or a fern
the night we were the ‘t’s in ‘better’
the night that I was seat and seatbelt
the night that you were cloak and broach
the night that I was scarf and snowshoes
the night we slept like harboured boats
the night we were coil and core of a magnet
the night we were strawberry and lime in a Twister
the night our hips were a painting of hills
the night we slept like the logo of Kappa
the night we were stacked like strata in clay
the night the bed wore its sheet off the shoulder
the night you led from your hand to mine
the nights we fashioned from day
Ali Lewis is a 24-year-old writer and tutor from Nottingham. He graduated from Cambridge in 2012 and now lives in Peckham. His work has been published in The Cadaverine. He tweets @ali_b_lewis.Read More
Burial in Rub’ al Khali
Because she was a girl
he sought to bury her.
Under the open spaces
between the hurting spaces
where the moon hung fat.
The cut of light between hills
gleamed phosphorus over his brow
where the black bird
planted its black foot.
Sand hovered like a god.
His hands bled salt
as they pitched the bleak fire
from the earth, the pollen
of the world’s wasteland
dancing like a wasteland.
And all the while
the little girl brushed the sand-fall away.
As it fell sideways
over the darkening of his face.
As the father dug his daughter’s grave
she brushed the sand-fall away.
Helen Calcutt is an English poet choreographer and dance artist. Associated with the traditions of European verse, her work has received global publication, featuring in journals such as Equinox , The London Magazine, The Salzburg Review, Poetry Scotland, and The New Yorker. She is founder of radical contemporary project écriture corporelle – a ‘bodily writing’ which launched at the internationally acclaimed Poetry International Festival in July 2014. The project is set to tour extensively across the UK in 2015. She is the author of Sudden rainfall her first collection of poetry, published by experimental English publishing house Perdika Press. http://helencalcutt.org/
On a narrow beach of flat grey stones a boy stands with his back to the long bend in the river estuary. A black rod and its forked rest, cut from a hazel outgrowth, form a right-angled triangle. The boy is watching a small white and gold spider at work. The spider has anchored its web to the sides of a crack in the low grey cliff.
The cliff rock is dull and pitted, not gleaming like the banks of mud yet to be covered by the incoming tide. Coiling lines of brown scum pattern the filling river’s surface, warp what reflections there are of sky, trees and fields. Gulls call upstream. Shelducks patrol the mudbanks on the headland opposite. The spider pauses, and spins; pauses, and spins.
Inside his turned-down rubber boots the boy’s feet are cold. Behind and below him the first of the teak-black seaweed is being lifted from its anchor stones. The boy directs his breath away from the web that now funnels back into the crack.
Sam Smith is editor of The Journal (once ‘of Contemporary Anglo-Scandinavian Poetry’) and publisher of Original Plus books. At the moment living in Maryport, Cumbria, he has several poetry collections and novels to his name. (see website https://thesamsmith.webs.com/)Read More
All this the hedgerow saves
from the underworld:
a wire of blood-drops
necklace of blisters
and the dots of crabs
pressed on the sky in yellow braille
or stashed under leafmould
the blackbird’s counting-book
the odd dark sloe
dried like a raisin
that and the rain’s
too soon spent
on buying back the sun
Stuart Henson’s most recent collection is The Odin Stone (Shoestring Press). Feast of Fools, a book of poems and scraperboard drawings in collaboration with artist Bill Sanderson, is due in 2015. This is his website: stuarthenson.co.uk
I play the fox; what else do you expect in this
You stand, alone at the window, tall, white
staring out as if I was will-o’-the-wisp,
a green-eyed seducer
versed with pulpit words. Nightly I come to you
with a sermon of shoes:
brogues, balmorals, wingtips, winkle-pickers
trainers and loafers.
Trophies lifted from careless men, cradled in this
laid out for review and match. I preach a choice,
Let each man claim his own, tie you tight as a lace.
But don’t be deceived
by any glib-tongued spiel. Test the snout, the brush,
the shining pelt of it -
my fox paws are real, make no mistake. The woods
call us: stay wild and free,
put on your dancing shoes, step out, trot a tricksy
measure with me.
Patrick Lodge was born in Wales, lives in Yorkshire and travels on an Irish passport. His poems have been published in several countries and anthologies as well as achieving success in competitions. Valley Press published his first collection, An Anniversary of Flight, in 2013.
Note: On June 5 2014 BBC Leeds news reported that a fox was stealing dozens of shoes in a Leeds suburb and dumping them outside a woman’s house every night. Shenanigans is thought to derive from the Irish, sionnachuighim, which means I play tricks or play the fox.Read More