Blue Bicycle

you drop it right there
your blue bicycle
in the almost-grass of april
and it sinks in
just a little bit
like a tired dinosaur
the blue kind
i don’t know all the kinds
you talk about them a lot
but i always forget

David Luetke


i watch them
splayed fat across the sky.

we are the same,
pulled from within
towards the warmth of our mothers’ bellies.

suffocating from cold
we scream –
‘let us be free from this place’.

they, freed by flight
squeal and shout;
‘join us!’
and then they are gone,
smudged into the horizon.

i am left.
in the autumn leaves.

Lilly Warren

The Girl and the Tree


She first saw the tree when she climbed to the top of the Mount. She put down her satchel and caressed his skin; she pressed her cheek against his body and felt his strength. He sighed.

“Why were you born a tree while I was born a girl?” she asked him, gazing up to where his fingers touched the sky.

She visited the tree every day. In the summer months, the tree’s hair was green. She would strip off all her clothes and press her hot body against the tree’s cool flanks. In the autumn the tree’s hair turned reddy brown. She spent more and more time with the tree and spent less time in her home.

“You and I are just the same,” she’d say.

One evening, just as Autumn was becoming Winter, she ran away from home and went to see the tree.

“I wish I could stay here with you for ever,” she said.

She saw that much of the tree’s hair had fallen to the ground and lost its color. She felt so much tenderness that she wanted to scoop it up. She sat down, her back against him. The sun went down. When she thought about home, she knew that she would never go back. She would have to make her way up to the city. It would mean leaving the tree behind.

“Don’t you wonder what it would be like to be able to move around?” she asked him, wishing she could know what it was like to be so still.

That night, she told the tree all of the stories of her life. How she had never had anyone just be there for her before, or see her as she really was. She moved as close to his body as she could. She closed her eyes. She sensed the tree digging deep into the earth and growing into the air. She felt herself being drawn along with the Winter’s night inside the tree, melting out of her girl form and becoming part of him, held under his skin, an injection of love, mixing with his juices and flowing around his veins, pumped around all night by his mighty tree heart.

In the morning, the word ‘Goodbye’ fell from her lips as softly as the drops of dew that fell from her clothes.

Pippa Anais Gaubert


Just a quick note to say
hi I hope you’re ok
because I am
I have a new girlfriend
she has tattoos
she is more adventurous
than you you know
I didn’t want to become
that couple who chat
on the phone at lunch
because they can’t at home
but we did remember the time
we couldn’t go on holiday
because you had to work
fuck that was romantic

sent from my iPhone

Robin Boothroyd


Let me tell you only two things from my youth. When I was five years old, my father told me a sci-fi story every night. The protagonist was a five-year-old boy whose parents had perished with everyone else on earth. I alone had been saved by an alien species, who called themselves “the golden men”. Even though they cared for me, I escaped every night to look for my real parents. One of my friends was an enormous ant who lived on the moon and had built a time machine which allowed me to go all over the place. I had many adventures this way though I also felt quite sad often. I wasn’t sure if I was entitled to be sad: after all I had been spared! This went on for several years. Much later when I was grown up, at least I’d begun to feel that way, my parents’ house was not the right place to fool around. I used to go to a park with my girl friends at night. It was a special park though since it belonged to an enormous open cemetery. We felt there could not possibly be any chance of discovery: a cemetery! (It wasn’t a creepy place at all, just empty and lush, the gravestones well hidden in the shrubbery.) I often had the impression we were being watched but I was never sure and in any case, we were beautifully busy. If there were voyeurs they were very discreet and cautious not to be seen. I suppose if there were voyeurs then we’d have a bunch of shared memories now. It’s fun to reminisce. It doesn’t hurt anyone to go back in time, perambulate the past, cull clover leaves.

Marcus Speh

Modern Romance

I never want to see you again.
– Angus (sent at 17:38)

Kitty Sashkovich sat there, crying
on the train
as suburbia passed her by.

She didn’t know
that he had sent the text
to the wrong number.

Jessica Edwards

That’s Not My Name

I hadn’t had time to watch Thor
or to read any of the comics
so I had no idea why you
were wearing a red cape,
brandishing a large hammer,
and referring to me as ‘Jane’.

Jessica Edwards

Just try

Oldskool. Words printed on cellulose papers and bundled up in a book. Now, that’s going a step further. Or, shan’t we say, back? Words printed on a cellulose paper then folded up and inserted in a bundle of papers with a bunch of words. That has its own charm. Try to stick this bookmark in an e-reader.

Jan Orrok

Inception Haiku

Five in the First line,
Seven in the Second line,
Five in the Third line.

Dan Broadbent

Good Pluck

The day I was dumped

I stopped plucking

my eyebrows.

I haven’t had a good

pluck now for

nearly three months.

I used to pluck

every day. Or,


I wanted to pluck

every day but my


they only wanted to

pluck me every

second, third or fourth


I’m getting pretty hairy.

Kat Franceska


This table
is the high seas
Open water, bread crumbs
We reach across
opposite shores
and let our glasses travel

David Luetke


A wild howl
Hunts from above
Tearing my cells up
In honeycomb hunks
Leaves fall from the trees
Moulting hair parting
Revealing me fleeing
That enormous tongue
Flickering and testing
The air like a snake
Narrowing on my body
Locking on, casting out
Plunging down
Like a drinking straw

Forged in your pits
I peel away from myself
Rolling and burning
Over and over
Hardening to a foetal
Spherical skeleton
Concertinaed and shifted
In upward contractions
Reaching wet cheeks
Swilled and spat out
Scuttling along the ground
Piddling ghostly trails.

Lucy Winrow

Three Strangers


As the patter
of our passing feet fades,
I wonder
how hair on a head so young
could be so mortified to grey.


A pity,
that the mystery she weaves
can be dispelled
by a common name
scrawled on her coffee cup.


She careens across the street,
In her eyes,
a glint shines still.

Hazem Tagiuri

Over It

I’m SO over that, says the girl student, imperious, to her sidekick boy. Y’know? SO past the age where, like, I have to get drunk and emotional. She sighs.

From the other side of the carriage, I smirk. The girl wears an outfit in a style pre-dating my student days. A twenty year cycle; now it’s the hip new thing.

An older woman opposite peers over her reading glasses at the paper. As the girl speaks again, the woman looks up at me. I realise I’m tutting out loud. As my eyes meet the woman’s in the hope of complicity, she drops them, and her mouth twitches into a smile.

Laura Windley

The Look Out

I can immerse myself in stones

and pebbles here.
A gathering of tens of thousands
of boulders; rolling, rough but as
meaningful now as a human heart,
a similar size and as rich in history.

To my left a friend is
mapping out the coast;
rock-slides have left a minefield here,
deposits from another age –
but he’ll walk it.
I listen to nothing but the frish
and shush of wave-sets.
I look straight ahead and try
to see France.

Christy Hall

The Grump

Lives his life in knives and forks
He often talks a kind of squawk
A clump of a man
Slumped into a beanbag
A complete mess
A face of stress
Going nowhere fast
The grump

Zach Roddis

Dear Andrex

I think I should tell you
I have been poisoning
Your dog
It Watches me

Adam French


Julie left the orthodontist clutching her mouth. She hated these visits. Her braces were tightened and the ache lasted for several days. She had always chosen colored bands to go over the train tracks but today she defiantly went with the natural color of the elastic. It was her protest. The truth was that she hadn’t been concerned about her teeth. She would have preferred a hip shaving operation in order to slim down the childbearing beasts housed within inherited chubby thighs. Julie stepped into the passenger seat of the car that her mother sat in, the engine quietly sniggering. The ache in Julie’s mouth continued the whole ride home and her resentment built. With each twinge of pain that eased the crooked pearly soldiers in line, Julie considered another part of her 13 year old complexion that could benefit from alteration.

Julie proceeded through life blaming her parents for highlighting the flaws of her body – for pointing out the imperfections that she had once been blind to. Their casual indifference to ‘correcting’ their daughter lingered, and Julie’s confidence slowly diminished. At first Julie tried extreme dieting – altering her body shape through juice cleanses and cabbage remedies in an attempt to reach what she believed could be perfection. Next it was her lips; they received multiple collagen injections and her face was hardened with repetitive botox. After some careful consideration and a lifetime of self loathing, Julie decided she would be more comfortable as a man. She lived as the opposite gender for over a year and booked a sex change operation with the local consultant. Julie’s mother pleaded with her to only have the breasts removed, but ever defiant, Julie had her vagina turned inside out and made into a makeshift penis. To Julie’s father’s surprise, he actually found his daughter more alluring as a man.

Julian had some real poise. And a perfect smile.

J. A. Hall