Peter Daniels




The Venue


Could you please wait for the indicator buzzer

on the control panel: staff will be glad to oblige.


Though let’s be blunt, we want you as guinea pigs,

to make you feel responsible, and see you blush.


Sorry about the air in here, the fan’s broken

and the drains come up with an occasional belch.


A pleasure to be of service. Please mind your hair

in the sagging cables, if you’re sitting near the bulge.


The manager seems lonely up there in his cockpit

but he’s looking for new worlds to abolish.


We like to think the place is hygienic, the vinyl floor

is regularly scrubbed with a special bleach,


and the metal fixtures polished by our skivvies

gleam to charm you if you’re going to get bolshie.


So splash your wine where you like. On the sofa

the chocolate stains are guaranteed Belgian.




Peter Daniels has two collections, Counting Eggs (Mulfran, 2012) and A Season in Eden (Gatehouse, 2016). His translations of Khodasevich from Russian (Angel Classics, 2013) were shortlisted for three awards. He has also written the obscene Ballad of Captain Rigby.


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Samuel Kendall



A drunk decaying moth


A drunk decaying moth

hovers drip-drab through a silvered attic,

at home in the folded corners

of later gone unspoken.

Plaits its nest in the rafters

above dishevelled sheets

festooned with peacock quills,

uncombed, tousled and tangled,

so full of hair, and ponders

the encroaching moon

that brought it here

inside, ashen outsides

of unfurling oyster pearls.

Flits around the splayed subject,

death’s head tacked forever to its thorax,

cursing the Moirai, snarled in the thread.

Questions if it matters;

the allure and the decision,

the kink and the break,

plants its feelers

on the empty side of the bed.


Ponders its mistakes,

if they were really mistakes

at all.





Samuel Kendall is from Nottingham and was recently awarded The Angela Carter Prize in Creative Writing. He co-edits Cicatrice journal with The University of Sheffield and has been published in Three Drops from a Cauldron, Route 57, Picaroon and Laldy.



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Hannah Linden


Above the Living Room Fire
Everyone had that painting, didn’t they?
Well, everyone we knew round here.
But not everyone felt as proud of it.
Not everyone’s mum looked like her
so that there was a nod, an embarrassed look down
as a man’s eye swept the painting’s cleavage;
or weighed the weight of the ponytail
in their mind’s hand. And she took
the exotic location, the brown eyes
the glisten of her perfect skin
and wore them over her stretch-marks
over the blush on her legs
from sitting too close to the open fire.
I wanted her to have that far-flung sky
the view out of the door of the painting.
I wanted her to be anywhere but here,
maybe, as a sensible child, even more
than she did. When we left, in a hurry,
missing the demolition men
by days, leaving Dad, and toys
still on the shelf above the kitchen door,
she must have stayed in the painting,
mustn’t she? She must have
felt the walls cave in on her.
I wonder if she felt where
my fingers had touched her hand once
when no one was looking. How I’d loved
her and then forgot I had.
Published widely, Hannah Linden was highly commended in the Prole Laureate competition 2015, and working with Gram Joel Davies, won the 2015 Cheltenham Poetry Festival Compound Competition. Her debut collection, ‘Wolf Daughter’, will explore the impact of parental suicide. Twitter: @hannahl1n

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Louise Wilford





The ache’s an old friend,

hacking out a week

from every month.


Sneering cramp

clings from neck

to knee; madness


stalks the grey

week’s waiting,

masks the world


like a lead apron.

Feelings stray

to incongruous places,


crumbling thoughts

sliding off in a

red stream.


This is our time

to surge – snagged

by this scarlet pause.


And now the monthly

crosses wobble closer,

further – soon


the gaps between

will stretch to

fill the years.


So bring it on,

you think. Can’t wait.

But still you hear


the cold dark radiator

groan as life




Yorkshirewoman Louise Wilford  is an English teacher and examiner.  She has had around 50 poems and short stories published in magazines including Popshots, Pushing Out The Boat and Agenda, and has won or been shortlisted for several competitions.  She is currently writing a children’s fantasy novel.

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‘Dummies’ by Jane Salmons is our Pick of the Month for February 2018

The votes are in and the ‘Dummies’ have it for February 2018. Jane Salmons’ poem – ‘stunning’ ‘vibrant’ ‘fun’ – with its ‘brilliant’ image thoroughly appealed, occasionally disconcerted, and marks the first time a Word & Image piece has been chosen as an IS&T Pick of the Month.

Jane is a teacher living in the Black Country. She is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing and has previously been published in Snakeskin, I am not a Silent Poet and Creative Ink. She also spends her precious free time creating handmade photomontage collages.




We ride the escalators in pairs
upwards past the plastic palms,
the static rapids. Our flawless skin
shines blue in the half-light, the smell
of palma violets hangs in the air.

We dare not speak, nor touch,
for fear of waking the blinking eye
while above us, through the criss-cross roof
of steel and glass, the planets glow.
We do not know their names,
or if we do, forgot them long ago.

The hum of neon guides us
to our gods – Gucci, Prada,
Michael Kors. Consumption courses
through our veins driving us higher
to our great design.



Voters comments included:

Beautifully written and captures the manic compulsive behaviour of affluenza.

It is so current and emotive as our younger generations are riding that escalator to consumerism.

Hugely evocative of the fashion-thick world we live in.

Jane has the ability to evoke a true and understandable atmosphere – I’m transported to the very place or feeling she is describing so beautifully in her poems.

Just love it – simple

A haunting and evocation piece, illustrated to perfection by Jane’s accompanying montage.

It’s a truly original piece of writing and brings shop dummies to life!

… not only so original in its conception but because of the careful crafting and execution of the poem.

Left field subject, finely crafted

Clever, thought provoking + brilliant image is a bonus

… a vivid description of materialism. Consumerism is sometimes our god.

I love the way she adds a surreal originality to the details in the visual image, and the poise of the lines.

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To Round Out our Celebration of International Women’s Day, a New Poem from IS&T Editor Helen Ivory.


Six Signs You Might Be a Slattern


Are you a little draggle-tail;

do your skirts bedevil leavings from the gutter?


When you take a turn around the park

do bitches bevy close and claim you kin?


Are you wanton in your daily intercourse,

your ankles grimed, your lips stained cochineal?


And how’s your baking lately –

is your dough a coffer for slut’s pennies?


Do you hear ill-clamouring in your breast,

is there a midden where your heart should sit?


When a caller raps, does your front door

acquiesce directly, the catch already sprung?




Helen Ivory’s fourth Bloodaxe collection is Waiting for Bluebeard. She teaches online for the UEA/WCN creative writing programme. Fool’s World , a Tarot (with artist Tom de Freston) won the 2016 Saboteur Best Collaborative Work award.  A book of mixed media poems Hear What the Moon Told Me is out from KFS.

Note: This poem is from ‘The Anatomical Venus’, which is forthcoming from Bloodaxe in 2019

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