Wabi Sabi

Wabi Sabi: Japanese aesthetic. An appreciation for what is broken or thread bare or unfinished.

Most lives are unfinished,
we sit by a window where
puddles fill with repetition and struggle
to end a day, not with the same stare tasking sadness,
but with knowledge of some new thing.

We hear red leaves settle under the dying tree,
if we could stop thinking and winnow out the motors
to hear a cricket spill its night call,
with no end in sight to the evening voice.

The house cat knows to seek
the same spot–underneath the dwelling—

there is retreat and shade,
and in the sea of broken lives,
a threadbare promise.

Laurie Kuntz


The willow danced, her moves did not care about the crowd, they drew circles in the air, like caterpillars falling down from apples, they crossed over unseen faces, caressing their every pore, she twirled embracing human bodies only she could see, and the room was dark, and still, and the light was red, in the Theater-Podium bar, and only the little black cat in the corner watched and whispered through her purrs to the trees in the forest in which she thought she was, she said, look, although there is no river, and no human to cry next to her, here’s a willow with a female face, with long dark-red hair that falls onto stones like branches, a woman who forgot to dream but became a dream herself, forsaken by male touch and baby hugs, look, the cat said, there’s a woman almost taking off and leaving ground, rooting her hands deep into the clouds, but the cat was just a cat, and the forest did not listen, because there was no forest, and there was no ground, and the music stopped, and the willow was now asleep, with a little black blind kitten curled up at her feet, and the next performance, and the audience, they were nowhere to be found, and the willow’s voice was dreaming of a time when she used to sing each night, it was either opera or jazz, and the willow was young and voluptuous back then, she was nothing like a willow at all, and the willow’s voice fell asleep too, deep in her stomach, away from human sounds, behind the curtains, and never again was it to be found.

Diana Radovan


my mother says that god is not female nor male.
i am not female nor male.
so, in some ways, that makes me god.
i realized that i do not need to look to the sky for god, but only to my genitals.
and i pray.
let us pray.

True Lyons

The Unreliable Narrator

The unreliable narrator turned up late.

“You know what I’m like,” he said, by way of excuse.

We nodded our heads unconfidently. Of course, no one actually did know what he was like.

Mansour Chow

The Cat Is Gone

The cat is gone. One day already.
The night is grim, the forest dark.
I lean against a spruce’s bark,
Afar I see the lights unsteady.

The cat is gone. It’s all my fault.
I thought that it would do him good
To check out a new neighbourhood
Now nature keeps the cat enthralled.

The cat is gone. But I have hope
That he will soon come back to me.
His not returning home would be
Disastrous. No, I couldn’t cope.

The cat is back. I am delighted.
He didn’t tell, where he has been,
I didn’t want to make a scene.
My state is happy, but benighted.

Sabine Magnet

Black Beach

A Rachmaninoff whirl
the wind and the waves
and black puffins and a black beach
and nothing between us and
the south pole
but this swirling soup.

Let’s stay here
and live in a cave
and at night light a big fire
and remind the rocks
of where they came from.

We can fish with the birds
and roam with the horse
and sing to the sea
and wash in waterfalls.

Feel the warmth of Basalt
absorbing the sun
Listen for ancestors in the wind
and keep on the right side of trolls
and never throw a stone.

Joanne McLaughlin


I want to keep you captive
Like a book upon my shelf
That I will not lend to anyone
And won’t read for myself

Luke Norton

To Kit, who I haven’t seen for years, on the day I went to get an abortion

You’d lap this right up, Kitten.

I can picture you performing torture
– all wringing hands and wrenching hair,
poetry and punches –
in the waiting room.

Oh, you’d luxuriate in all this:
the tragedy, the loss, the unloved life
(and that was meant to say unlived,
funny what phones’ll make you admit).
Yep, you’d lap it up
like cool cream, warm milk, thick blood
pouring round the basin
and down the drain.

Why I’m thinking of you, I don’t know.
You’re just something to think about, I suppose,
while I sit on this bloody train to nowhere
I want to go.

Laura Powell

A room of one’s own

One is afforded the luxury
of a jumper and no pants;
sitting on my feet
with a bare bum
makes me feel like a child.
I like to wriggle my toes and
relish the rare innocence
of a naked body;
to curl up foetal around
soft folds of tummy
and nestle down to sleep
in the gap between two pillows.

Poppy Turner

The drawing I’d draw if I could draw

It would be a pencil drawing.

It would be a cartoon of a man doing a head stand on a surfboard on a wave. It would be sunny. He’d be skinny, wearing shorts and with oversized hands and feet. His feet would be facing the sky, but drawn at enough of an angle that you could read what was written on them.

It would say Soul Tan because the bottom of the man’s feet would be getting a tan; and because surfing and the sun and being upside down are good for your soul; and because Boots (the chemist) used to make suntan lotion called Soltan and that’s what my memories of family holidays on the beach smell like.



A blessing on October days,
kaleidoscope of trees,
crunch of spent leaves,
withered conkers crooked shapes.

A blessing on spiders’ tiaras,
dew blanketing the ground,
mists snuggling round valleys,
berries shining in hedgerows,
pumpkins plump like cushions.

A blessing on Autumn.

Sally Long

On Ownership

You bought me food I’d never tasted before
So that I cultivated tastes I’d miss
You bought me a website
So that all my work was filtered through you
You bought me sheets
So I’d sleep in you
You bought me pillows
So I couldn’t even rest my head without your help
You bought me notebooks and pens
So I couldn’t even have autonomy in words
You bought me a Netflix account
So when I was watching something, you could watch me
You bought me a trip to France
So I could see worlds owned by you
I think you would have eventually bought me a ring
And the worst thing is
I would have let you

Sara McCallum

Woke up a little too late to get into school on time. 16/11/2012

Thought it would be easier to just not turn up and stay in bed.
As I laid there, festering in my pit I remembered one of the reasons Sissy gave me as to why she was leaving, “you’re lazy and have no hope, whatsoever”. I couldn’t let her to be right, so I crawled out of from my bed. Clean Versace jeans. Clean t-shirt with a screen print of two rag dolls covering the front.

The cycle to school doesn’t take too long, around fifteen minutes. Ten minutes into the cycle and a coach full of spastics or tourists knocked me off my bike sending me over the bonnet of a small family car. As I laid on the beautiful tarmac road with the screeching sound of a Ford motor car’s breaks approaching my cantaloupe of a head I curled into a ball. The Ford drove around me and the coach left. Leaving only a pair of swollen knees, headache and a small cut on left palm.

School had started. I walked in late. Apologised to my tutor, he said I didn’t mean it and he was right. I didn’t tell him about being knocked off my bike, all I needed was to sit down. After an hour of the tutor talking and making gestures with his hands, all the pupils were asked to leave the school because another tutor had died of a heart attack in front of his class. His wife also worked at the school. In a quiet and orderly fashion all the students left the building. It started raining. My knees were still too sore to cycle home, so I began to walk.
Thought it would be easier to just not turn up and stay in bed.

Barry Everest.


I rarely win things,
apart from hearts,
of which I have way too many,
apart from my own one,
which got ripped out of my tiny chest a while ago,
which is why I have this hole in my rib cage.

Debora Domass

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

Avion Paris

Ce matin, tu as dû te réveiller tôt.

J’étais encore dans ton lit
tournée vers le mur
roulée en boule sous ta couette,

j’avais chaud même si j’étais nue.

Tu t’es allongé contre moi
ton bras frais m’enveloppait.
La peau de mon corps
qui était découverte,
a eu des frissons.

On était triste de se quitter,

Je me suis levée,
tu m’as serré fort dans tes bras,

Je n’ai pas réalisé que c’était la fin.

Charlotte Beltzung


I followed you down, Regent Street
Admiring, assessing, head to feet

Well contoured curves, shiny hair
Tailored skirt, straining buttock pair

Moving level. A firm, tight breast
Careful jewellery, skin sun-blessed

Raised my eyes, nervous, shock
For you my love were a BOBFOC

Jerry Turner


I was the first person ever to think ‘no thought is truly original’, which was weird because not only was it a brilliant point, it was also rendered completely invalid by its originality.

Mansour Chow


roses are red
biolets are vlue
we spoon alot,
because i love you.

Floe Collins

Thousands and Thousands of Chairs

A man called William is standing in the space that belongs to the yellow door. Beyond him there are thousands and thousands of chairs; there are so many chairs that his brain, my brain, your brain cannot even begin to count them. Our brains would not even attempt to count them because they all share the fear of the pink and the blood splattered everywhere. The amount of chairs in the room beyond the yellow door Is overwhelming and William will sit down on one, William will sit down in an empty room and disturb the emptiness of the thousands and thousands of chairs with bare fronts. I am thinking that one human soul sat down on an inanimate object which is then surrounded by thousands and thousands of inanimate objects is scary. One human soul is that room is all you, me and William are aware of, that soul is William, except once William has sat down I wonder if he will question “the human soul”. I wonder if the emptiness of everything he sees will make William doubt his own humanity, I wonder if the thought of all these thousands and thousands of chairs also having human souls will bury itself in William’s mind. I wonder how you measure a human soul. William wonders how you measure a human soul. Do you wonder how you measure a human soul. Is it you? Is it William? Is it me?

Oyinda Yemi-Omowumi


I grew up in darkness and stars.
They might be old and familiar
but they were different:
black and bright; burning, cold; clear-cut.

It’s never dark in this city.
Nothing’s black and white;
it’s just murky.
The birds think it’s dawn
when it’s streetlights at midnight.
Artificial heat turns winter to autumn.
Everything’s half-done.

I mention this to you one night
before bed. You roll your eyes to the back of your head
and switch off the light.

Charlotte Powell

Keyboard Slide

“be my bride”,
he cried
but to no avail.
his request denied
with nowhere to hide
unable to debride
he traveled worldwide
his wounded pride
to salvage

he groaned he moaned
and agonized and why’d
in terms of emotion
he was oversupplied
his insides hog-tied
filleted and hung out to dry

one day
during a longish car ride
he eyed the view
and thusly spied
a dewy cobweb
glimmering and wide
a tree bestride

he attempted to deride
but with a start, realized
i lived
i loved
i tried
es tut mir nicht leid
(he’d had some free time
to study German)

at this point,
the writer rubbed his eyes,
and went off to the loo
to commit well-deserved suicide.

Priya Slayer

Does This Count As Meditation?

I am thinking about the people who are sitting on that fast train that just went by in the distance, and the fact that some of those people are probably gazing out of their windows and looking at the same low sun as I am, and some of the same fields and trees and maybe even houses. And maybe some of those people are thinking about the people in those houses who are sitting in the last rays of sun of the day and looking out at the low sun and the fields and the trees, thinking their own thoughts about the people who love them or the people who don’t love them back or what they are going to have for dinner. And just maybe, some of those other people sitting outside their houses in the last rays of sunshine of the day, like me, are thinking about those people on that fast train that just went by in the distance.

Poppy Turner