Issue #9 out now

Issue #10 out now

Buy online or collect for free from your local stockist

Latest Submissions

  • The Secret to Good Pastry

    I make pastry with my mother’s fingertips. Rubbing fat into flour like she taught me. Like she was taught. I imagine those dark eyed ancestors lined up along my kitchen counter. Sharing only baking secrets. I’ll never know Jane had post-natal depression. Sarah dreaded the scrape of his key. Annie preferred wartime. And here I am. Saying to my daughter, ‘If you shake the bowl, like this, it brings up the unrubbed pieces’. There’s plenty more I could tell her. Perhaps I should.

    Amanda Quinn
  • oneblueplanet_
    (a sonnet)

    be not broken instead screw changes to walls
    undo the chains loose the anchors be a bird
    free from the dynamics taught by classroom bores
    let only the wind and songs of fidelity be heard

    we have but one blue planet and in many.hearts
    this place an onion skin of earth is our home
    praise the dirty hands cupped around spice
    they are in drug shackles to the poisoned ground

    in glassy eyes and honest beggary they need
    one healthy world celebrate their passion
    their suffering is the first crack you’ll ever heed
    the spice don’t it make their eyes blue. I am

    seeing a blue world besides a blurred word
    in between is one mind and survival obscured

    Robin Rich
  • Good Sunday Turn

    My imagination is going to get me
    into a lot of trouble.
    Sometimes, on a Sunday
    when I buy the newspaper
    and a pastry,
    I imagine the joy of
    sharing it with you.
    Or when I cook a fancy meal.
    We’d go upstairs to watch
    a movie
    but not before
    we take in the laundry
    to save it
    from the damp.

    Zahra Khan
  • to be a boss

    people speak of him in a great fashion
    at least, thats what he tells us
    even when they see how he’s speaking to us

    as soon as their notions of fashion are gone
    he’s speaking for them
    a great man calls himself a great man
    but we’re losing the heart to agree

    springs to mind
    a man in a riddle, a man so great that he can’t possibly
    be any good

    Willow Orton
  • Springtime

    Back along bygone lanes
    She crept
    Oozing with gin

    In that familiar warmth
    She slept
    Touching his skin

    Wondering what it was that
    She kept –
    A longing
    Folded within?

    But full with the hum of Spring
    She leapt
    Her blooming
    The fragrance of him

    Lily Stella
  • The discovery

    Today they found the ship
    Herodotus had described
    two thousand years ago
    lying still like a secret
    under dark waters
    silently shoring up his words
    with its hard timber ribs
    mooring itself, at last
    in sight of consciousness.
    Will I too be found
    in some unthinkable future
    will the measurement tape
    circle my temples, confirm
    that I existed, that I loved
    and was loved, that I gave
    and was given to –
    or will I appear under
    clumsy, careless fingers
    that have no knowledge
    of who they touch

    Ben Ray
  • Open Windows

    There are so many tabs
    open in my head
    and none of them will close

    I cannot find the one that I need
    and I cannot remember what I came here for

    a song is playing
    but not all of it
    just one verse on repeat

    Charlie Bertram
  • Coffee Universe

    for Miska

    I’ll have a lovely, and a coffee
    in an attempt to override the
    down and grey with warm and black.
    No sugar.
    Huddled up in this black hole
    my spoon stirs words again, at last.
    Two lumps of lovely.
    If you are in need of some milk in
    your universe, kind eyes, have my stars.

    The expanse of my debt
    is far greater than two fourty.

    Anneleen Léger
  • Ever Been Turned

    I assumed people would notice. I’d been behaving weirdly, walking around in a bit of a daze – I could sense that much, even if I was unable to actually snap out of it. I thought someone would have worked out why, would have taken me aside and said, “I know that look – what’s her name?” like they do on television. But nobody did, so it just went on. I gradually returned to normal, eventually lost interest. At some point I realised she was never on the train anymore, she must have moved away or changed jobs or something but I didn’t notice it happen. By then I was back to normal, cosy nights in with the wife, forgetting my head had ever been turned.

    Nick Lord Lancaster
  • A Blackbird

    A blackbird bobs obscenely
    taps his toes on frozen asphalt
    listens to a chirping track
    of breakup music

    He tells the houses how
    he once saw lightning strike
    a tall tree
    and it paled and cracked
    before its shadows
    were interrupted by fire

    He beats a wing
    as if that is the punchline
    because really he knows
    the secret to breaking,
    which isn’t a secret
    but he’ll say it anyway:

    apply ice to stop the swelling.

    Madeleine Quirk
  • fantasy

    Aesthetic ecstasy,
    Driven by fantasy.
    Take a photo.
    Catch that
    Plain beauty,
    Baby blue,
    Gold rings
    A fag for you.

    Nur Ceylan
  • The White Shroud

    Jigsaw pieces are cut
    From the clouds
    And dropped into place,
    Edges first.
    Lorries lower their eyelids
    Under a toffee-stained sky.
    There are shapes, hidden –
    Waiting for Michelangelo.

    Charmayne Pountney Board
  • genius

    he solved equations with his right hand
    and was tying a noose
    with his left and

    everyone said how smart he was at
    his funeral

    Oliver Hulme
  • Blind Prejudice

    Everywhere I look I see prejudice,
    You see a man with a turban that’s a terrorist,
    You see a guy in a hoodie you’re running from his fist,
    You see a black man on the stairs, you decide to take the lift.

    You see police and you feel safety,
    He sees police and he stands there bravely,
    you see man on a tube you’re not a questioner,
    She sees a man on a tube that’s a predator,
    You see a headscarf next to a bag that a bomb,
    She sees her bag and that’s a gift for her mum.
    You a see girl in a skirt as a slut,
    yet a guy without his shirt is called tough.

    Everywhere I look I see prejudice,
    I see judgment with no evidence,
    I watch people who see blind,
    Handing out labels when they’re unrefined,
    We’re in decline,
    We’re all confined,
    It’s like we’re inclined to have this frame of mind,

    And yet a child is somehow innocent,
    There brought into this world as a citizen,
    They see every person as equivalent,
    Then society diminishes this innocence,
    There now prejudice that no coincidence.

    And don’t get me wrong blaming this on society,
    It’s our own fault for creating a hierarchy,
    I’ts our fault that we see blindly
    And it’s our own fault for making this society.

    katerina joannou
  • Lobsters

    I have never eaten a lobster.

    I almost did once,
    but was told my country tongue
    would be unable to distinguish its
    rich golden hay
    from dust.

    I’ve seen them in glare-lit tanks
    banded together in their shell suits
    like a train carriage of businessfolk
    swaying to the metallic tide,
    banging eyes
    the colour of summer berries in labour
    and claws like coastlines.

    Is it true that some are blue?
    What a rhapsody,
    what a jazz. Rusted
    such trombones.
    Scuttle and cacophony.

    I have never eaten a lobster,
    but as a child
    I refused to face the beach barefoot
    in fear of blood-orange
    barbed wire.

    They are a story to me.

    Ellora Sutton
  • Between lightning and thunder

    frozen statue still
    into the void of my chest
    rushes excitement

    Chris Porter
  • Ice, Ice, Baby

    I love your smile always
    But with that white scarf
    And that blue dress and
    Your bright eyes, I feel wise;
    Not my usual mess of thoughts,
    Not even quite jumbled a lot,
    Not worried I’ll fumble or stop
    Impressing, not worried about
    Undressing eventually though
    That’d be nice, no doubt.
    Problem is I’m all ice,
    Like that blue and white gown
    Building seascapes for my heart.

    Liam Keating
  • Hardly sins

    Sometimes I get lost in what Kaveh writes in the glass jar at 3 am
    The stretching search terms
    The orders filling in the basket
    The length of film I had taken to get developed
    My father carrying negatives
    Only to find the sweltering sun he misses
    Has singed the only picture of his
    Youth and his leg wide open
    And cut from the time God had marked him for
    Death and he had narrowly escaped
    Through a broken window on a bus
    And his whole leg is a shining oscillating tale
    Thin as onion skin
    Thin with tears
    Growing soft with disuse
    The nerves that have curled up and died
    I press his leg and he doesn’t know I’m there
    Couldn’t tell if I was air or nothing or a needle stitching what fell apart again
    I spend money like it belongs to me instead of it being borrowed
    But each note is so sweet I fold them as small and as thin as I can
    Feed them into the camera and tell my father I can bring his youth back if he smiles
    I can heal his leg with my lens
    But my length of film is empty
    There are these two spots where something tried to be born
    And I can’t face my father’s defeated face
    Thinned with tears
    So I avoid him at noon, the sunset in the living room
    At night, 2 am, fair, dawn, father forgive me these little things

    Asmaa Jama
  • Gathering

    In the middle of the birch trees,
    he calls out the opening of her name
    which is Olia, and in this round emptiness,
    she writes between the lines of birch
    on her fingers in berry juice
    why and how she will feed him.

    Silenced by her silence, he walks in
    his new and unaccustomed greys,
    tracing back to her the lineage
    of the swampy grass, marked by
    severed trees and the absences
    of earth their feet had made.

    In a hollow by the brook, he finds her
    sitting in the moss, caressing into falling
    bunches of berries. “I’ll wait for you
    in the boat by the mouth of the river.”
    The lines around her lips, etched in dark
    juices, dark years, smile “I will come.”

    For forty years he has waited at the mouth
    of some river for her – gathered with her
    and then separated. He counts his crop
    of mushrooms four times before calling again.
    She calls back his name, half an hour passes,
    and she joins him.

    Madeleine Pulman-Jones
  • time? don’t know her.

    the morning mist meanders,
    the soft sun surfaces,
    and Lana lulls us slow.

    i realise that the sky tastes like
    peach lollies in my mouth
    i rest my head on yours
    your smoke
    and fresh linen,
    that was the scent of the day.

  • A Great Writer

    Is entertaining a friend at her home when there is a knock at the door. It turns out to be a delivery: her latest book is back from the printers. The friend, far younger than she is and not particularly bright, is anxious to get the box open. He keeps exclaiming at the size of the package and all the books that there must be inside. The great writer is reluctant to open the box as she’d much rather go through the book later, when she’s alone. The delivery of a new book from the printers is an event filled with trepidation: she has learned over time that mistakes are inevitable. One hopes that they will be minor – the odd missed comma or extra space between words – but occasionally there is a gross, unpardonable error that will inevitably sour the relationship between herself and the publisher, making things especially awkward when the editor is a friend, as is the case in this instance. Her companion, however, begs and pleads like a child trying to winkle an early Christmas present from his parents, and eventually the great writer gives in. He gleefully plunges towards the box and tears at it feverishly, emitting a little squeal as the first book emerges from the bubble wrap. After regarding it with a strangely ravenous look in his eyes, he passes the book to the writer and delves back into the box. His groan of disappointment confirms her worst fears:
    “What is it?”
    “They’ve made a mistake!”
    “They’re all the same book!”

    Kit Maude
  • adaptation

    we used to sing “adap- adaptation…
    changes in the body to fit a location”

    to remember why we can’t breathe
    underwater but your fish can.

    in the playground, all our bodies made tender
    by play, by fingers interlocked, and your bite,

    your breathmarks on my wristbone,
    you wished away offences caused when

    you threatened to tell everyone about me
    stealing your crisps. now I mend myself

    for a different you. cast my limbs just so that
    I might fit more comfortably under your arm,

    in the palm of a friend, when I am just so
    small, hooked on and impossibly breathless,

    sprouting gills in the guilt of coming to know
    the impossibility of my environment.

    Madeleine Pulman-Jones
  • Appetite

    “You won’t always have this appetite.” Jane McKie

    Wooing her is like licking
    an electric fence, all wet hunger and idiot shock.
    You won’t always want this trouble.
    You won’t always have this appetite.
    You won’t always write DMs and then
    delete, and then refresh. You won’t always insist
    on getting your chin wet. This story stretches
    only as far as browsing the cost of a flight.
    Ask lightning, an easier trip, a gentler blast
    than a nude at midnight.
    Girls are taught to make
    hunger –
    I am built for sating, packet-mix, preheated,
    impatient. I am buttered peaches,
    I am the wide field of expectation, I am the calm cow
    who asks how the new fence tastes, and I am proof
    that you might always have that appetite.

    alice tarbuck
  • If We Had Met Before

    Maybe on the first
    day of first grade,
    before we had money
    and all that came with it,
    before there were hand marks
    all over both of us,
    before we stumbled
    like blind men without dogs,
    it would be just me
    standing behind you
    in the class picture,
    two of my fingers
    making bunny ears
    above your head
    small but sure as soldiers,
    it’s you, it’s going to be you.

    Julia Wagner