Ice Record

Goodnight, by The Beatles. It was just a song you played me once,
with the blinds up so we could see the moon like a penny over the
cold sea. I took the record; made a mould of every bump and groove,
then filled the mould with water and froze it. The ice record was
perfect. I dropped the needle and ghosts hummed out across the
decades. But like you, it was gone before I was ready for-

Wendy Chard

The grey portrait

Billie is sitting on a navy blue wood-chipped bench and tea is dribbling from her mouth, little by little the entire contents of her forest green paper cup is falling into her lap and there is now a puddle of saliva infested tea soaking through her grey trousers. Her head is raised, poised in the air, watching the old man with the colour grey painted between his wrinkles. Billies eyes bore into his, following Point A to Point B of the sunken yellow valley below his eyes. There are sprinkles and sprinkles of tiny grey hairs resting above his lips; Billie does not know if it is the remnants of a moustache or if it has fallen from his nose.

Billie now stares at all of the man she can see in front her, looking beyond the grey portrait and drilling her eyes into his past life, the life that is living behind every orange white patch of skin, the life that his hidden behind his freckled forehead, behind his tired eyes. Billie closes her eyes for a long moment and creates a moving picture of his life: a man and a woman kissing, tongues drenched spit clinging to each other tightly. The woman is sighing, squeezing his back repeatedly and waiting for his arms to embrace her body – he does not and instead remains rooted to the ground, hands glued to his sides, only tongue moving.

The old man stands, he waits for only a moment and walks away from the navy blue wood-chipped bench. Billie sees the loneliness painted on the grey portrait and sighs, the old man’s past life still tiptoeing across her mind. She wonders who he is and who the girl was, she wonders if he ever did fully embrace her, fully move with her body, fully love her, fully kiss her. She wonders too much for a person who does not know the old man’s name. The forest green paper cup falls carelessly to floor and Billie begins to dab at the puddle of tea soaking through her grey trousers.

Oyinda Yemi-Omowumi

Slapstick Homelife

Where is my self respect?
Where is my aftershave?
Where is my gel douche?
Where is my happy day?

I wish I had spent all my pointless time doing pointless things on YouTube

I’m hungry I am
I’m tired I am
I’m old enough to know better I am
I’m young enough to still have to try

I wish I had spent all my pointless time doing pointless things on YouTube

Say what you will, Alex Zane has a fan base
I measure my impact in layers of dust
I’m gonna bookend all my falls with adverts
Let my humiliations earn my crust

I wish I had spent all my pointless time doing pointless things on YouTube

All those wasted years tripping over off camera
Next time my heart sinks please God let my bank balance rise
All those wasted years living off one way shit karma
Now it’s twenty pence a click every time a little something inside me dies

I wish I had put all my pointless time into doing pointless things on YouTube

Got to make my failures pay

W Henry

Untitled (political)

“Check this out”

Steven wasn’t concentrating on the class work they’d been set.

“Ben, check this out”

Now Ben wasn’t concentrating, he hadn’t really been able to concentrate since the shuffle around in 6Bs seating plan. Miss Boronsko had made the switch from alphabetical to a more culturally diverse spreading of age order within the year six class. “No more Mohammed’s in the middle” was the chant, Miss B was actually a bit nervous at the racist-sounding-ness of the slogan but persevered nonetheless. Although I mean she hadn’t even said it out loud but you know, ‘NSA’ etc.

Whipping out his new Casio FX-115MS-SC-UH and handing it to Ben, Steven began;

“So you take the number of potential puns about UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s name made on the internet and World of Warcraft.”

“Right.” Ben tapped away.

“Divided by the number of closeted dick jokes ready to go to print by DMG media.”

“Wait, is this going to be political?”

Stephen assured him it was.

Ben continued tapping.

“Add 5″


“Now, multiply by the current levels of radiation at the geographical centre, ground zero if you will, of the Chernobyl disaster and add the first number.”

“OK, is this going to carry on much long…” Ben’s voice trailed off has he hit enter.

He’d never expected this, this was big.

The answer? 80085.

Joshua T Howell