David Hanlon





looking out of
our bedroom window
at the car park
in the distance,
how long
you will be.

Killing time,
we drop
your Action Man
out of
the window,
the one we’ve tied
a carrier bag to
as a poor,
makeshift parachute.

The wind isn’t strong
enough for him
to glide
like we want
him to;
instead, he plunges
to the ground
with a thud




David Hanlon is from Cardiff, Wales, and has recently moved to Bristol. He believes the reflective nature of his current studies in Counselling, and the artistic influences of his previous degree in Film Studies, have engendered this new creative endeavour.


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Karl O’Hanlon





Clifford’s Tower

for the Jews of York

Have we forgotten the astringent
voice of Silkin, on frigid conscience
stupefied? Its queue-badgering ghost
must shake the iron-ribbed ceiling

of Leeds train station, the student
dives, places words choose to fester
under the skin. Plates of ice barge
the Ouse; two gulls ride convections

of air, mewing like remnant heralds
of some old Norse saga. The heart
brims over. Incongruity is shorn
of terror; hobby Vikings at Costa

warm their close-braided cheeks
with the cups. Malebisse sounds
like morning mist, halitosis low
over the stray, the derangement

of light so that there comes easy
to the imagination some deity –
its immense hands over us –
bending light pink and green

(though whether in design loving
or unloving impossible to say).
Conscience, we might well think,
is a kind of bad debt. Shake it off.

Heap ashes on it. To conclude
this weekend’s jolly, Clifford’s
tower burns again. Illuminations
lave the cold stone face, sparks

streaming down gilt-golden like
hyperactive tears; and afterward,
a girning skull vomiting smoke,
lobotomised. All applaud.

What can steel in us remembrance
of the freezing blade on shoulder
-blade, fear’s stone-encircled echo
and fire: its hunger, sad, satiable?

What can render love at its limits,
real sexual love, hounded by hate;
and in that northern walpurgisnacht,
true horror of their final non-choice?





Karl O’Hanlon grew up near Purdsyburn. His first pamphlet, A Strange Fashion of Forsaking, is to be published by Guillemot Press.


NB: This poem has previously appeared in  – Stand, and in  Eyewear’s Best New British and Irish Poets 2016.

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David O’Hanlon




As It Was

The clearing where
you stand on tiptoes
you never stood

The trees you
flick between mark a trail
we never followed

The wind tugs at
that purple dress
you never wore

The smile you run back to me
to give
you never smiled

That secret
you’re still whispering
was never yours, never shared

So far we walked
and praised together and yet
we never did



David O’Hanlon is based in Northumberland and has recently had poems in Material, and forthcoming in Dream Catcher.

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