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


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


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


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


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.