5 September

5 September
she was on a bus to June
mourning her summer self that had not quite sparked like it used to
was not scrubbed clean by sea and sand

She tried. Remembered summers
sleeping outside with friends
dawn breaking something ephemeral
settled during the night and left
before they woke up. Magic
maybe that’s what she used to believe.

This summer her heart was broken
but her iphone was fine
so in keeping with expectations
life continued. Renaud sings
vivre libre c’est souvent vivre seule
do the French never suffer realistically

5 September
all of her heroes are lines in a poem
Her voice: on the quiet edge of panic
Her striped sailor top: ‘a versatile style that can be dressed up or down’
She doesn’t forget the simple things

Nikki Ikani


That weird spike by London Bridge
was built to protect the city
from intensely unlucky paratroopers.
We don’t want their kind here.

Jerry Turner


my love for you is like crumbs
it appears in small parts
unexpected places
you forgot to look
corners and cupboards
it will not go away

Healah Riazi


I want to be shot by Kern
his style – the less pornographic
girls with their tits, in panties
at home or outdoors
on roller skates, brushing their teeth
letting white foam spit, dribble, drip
from tongues lips to sink, floor
He could photograph my feet for
fetish magazines,
they are dainty I would offer ideas
for series – girls with towels over
their heads drying their hair
girls eating cake. Icing, cream,
jam, sprinkles elbows deep in
the mess of it all

Kat Franceska

love awry

never judge a book by its cover
but do judge a lover
by their books

Luke Lewis

Myself and the Sad Clown

When you’re drilling your mind for a little more gold,
Ideas spilling from tangled-web old
Memories catch the tails of today.
The endless to-do’s, and making hay
In case the sun shines on,
Well hold on
Just a little longer.

Sad clown twitches sharp jokes that ached,
Fragile nights, the ideas were half-baked
Of a self-deprecating manner,
That concealed all things and all manner
Of sins.
He dug within,
So they could laugh a while.
Clocked up mile upon mile
Of the ties that are cut with righteousness of youth.
It’s a long, twisted journey, the pursuit of truth.

And freedom is only a state of mind,
Stick with me here, don’t think me unkind
When I say we spend a lifetime settling into a skin
Get to know yourself, it’s all buried within.

Myself and the sad clown tonight walk along
A dark twisted road, the night is long.
And we laugh to the aching and to the breaking,
And sing to the spirit yet in the making.

Kirstin Maguire

The Cucumber Plot

I have a large knife in my hand
and I’m not afraid
to skin this mother
to sliver away at the
stiff upper lip of a
toughened epidermis
banish wrinkles, dents and prickly bits
and behold it
cleansed, stripped, unveiled…
If you ask me again
I will plainly chop
the thing in two
while I wonder what I could be

This repast, the fourth of the day
mentally diarised between
broken blinds and fresh air
changing light bulbs and toilet bleach
interrupted by
pencil shavings
polka dancing
a stubbed toe for you and an ice pack for me
will be ready when it’s ready…
If you ask me again
I might lose my thread
While I wonder what I am

The uses of a cucumber?
Well, it’s staggering
With a whole one
brought to room temperature
there’s no guilty sniff of an affair
grate it for tzatziki
slice it into Pimms
twist a piece to garnish
baton lengths to dip
pickle in a jar or two
refresh tired eyes
pack on shine
pack on an allergic reaction
like mine

This repast, the fourth of the day
mentally diarised between
identity cravings and learning to share
bathroom scum lines and out of reach
interrupted by
dead batteries
a melody for you, a harmony for me
will be ready, when its ready…
I have a large knife in my hand
and I’m not afraid
to dice this mother
expose jellied innards
vital organs
while I wonder what I was

And when you’re ready
I’ll see waves of laundry
finally dry up
breakfast and supper
mute on Sunday
the last marmite stain
wiped from the wall
that secret bogie stash cemented
to your bedroom shelf
I’ll post off to your house
cucumber cool
with a note that says, touché

Anna Ghislena

Sleeping with the Classics

I cannot sleep.

I’m thinking of sleeping with the Classics.

Where should I start?
With the vulnerable Pound?
The clumsy Thomas?
The mystical Rainer?
Blake? I certainly loved his technique.
Maybe Bukowski could be somewhere in the middle…
I bet he’d last an entire five minutes.

Perhaps I could finish with
Sade Marquis.
It could be my punishment-
for all of the sinful fornication,
the moral blasphemous
of such casual carnage–
each lash of the whip a bit
of forgiveness.

Yes, yes, yes!
I will go out not with a bang

but a whimper.

Sarah Hardin

The Last Lemon

‘This is it, you know.’
‘Is that so?’
Flo holds up a dull tin, the label warped and peeling. Smoothing the paper, she reads:
‘Sausages and-’
Flic joins her. ‘Beans. Best til last.’ She sniffs the metal with exaggerated relish.
‘Well then.’
‘Shall I?’
A pause.
‘Yes, you do the honours Flic.’
‘Are you sure? Come with me.’
‘Wait… Let’s cook this first.’
Flo walks to where a low sun casts through the glass. It reflects off a loch, red with algae. With arthritic hands, she turns the gears of the can-opener. Slow.
‘I’ll get the knife.’
‘Warm the pan too. We can spare the gas, after all.’
‘Get it piping.’
Flo chuckles. It is always hot now.
While the flame burns, blue on black, Flic goes over to the other window. On the deep stone sill sits a stunted lemon tree. She spits on a cuff and polishes its crisp leaves. A broken residue comes away on her sleeve.
‘To think Flo. We grew it.’
‘From just a pip.’
Flo prises the can’s lid with a knife, scrapes congealed innards onto the heat. She joins Flic, looking out over the raw dark hills.
‘What’re the odds?’
‘Not good. But it lived, alright.’
Breath held, Flic pulls the lone lemon from its branch. In the palm of her hand, she eases through the soft pith with blunted blade. Zest. Flo leans forward, inhales for them both.
‘I’ll get the bottles.’
Fast on stiff hips, Flo makes for the cupboard. The tonic lets off the barest hiss and the gin cap is almost rusted stiff.
‘Glasses, Flic.’
One. Two. Yellowed liquor slipped in both. Flo throws the remaining dram to the flagstones.
‘For the dead,’ she laughs. Flic smiles with her, eyes rheumy in the acid air.
Flic cuts over the glass, but the dry fruit does not drip. Three slices and a hard navel each.
‘Pull that pan.’
‘No need.’ Flo holds up their spoons, passes the least bent one over. She stirs, prising charred meat from the pan bottom. Takes a bite.
‘Well then, Flic.’
The two friends lock eyes, cheers.
‘To health.’
‘To health.’

Eleanor Matthews

infinity commutes

like knots on a diseased oak,
we huddle together
not like rotten planks
of a fallen floor
but rather
like something alive;
apples in a farmer’s market
or flowers
gasping from a pavement crack,
reaching towards God
and grasping the crossbar,
eyes dodging from faces
or staring at them openly,
minds on work
or the press
or some drifting zephr memory;
a million infinities
touching eachother uncomfortably,
as many as there are fish in the sea,
and all on their way to somewhere,
and all with something unshareable in their heart

DS Maolalai

Britain’s Greatest Living Composer

In London there’s a man, a composer for the broadway stage, who gets every one of his diaries professionally bound. At home, with his wife, he has whole walled bookshelves, deep mahogany, touching the ceiling of his study. And during the day he’ll be writing down the poached eggs he had for breakfast, and the clouds moving through the city, just outside his window, when his wife comes in.

“10am: Dorothy enters. Asks what my plans are (Ha!), she pauses.”

Clicking away in his study all day, you’d think he’d write about interesting things, all the people he’s met. ‘Britain’s greatest living composer’ the newspapers say. But opening any of his books, you can see he barely notices a thing.

Dorelia J. Evans

i want to buy you lunch poem

sometimes i feel sad and i look
at your Facebook and then i feel
a strange combination of happy
and sad. i crack a grolsch and its
taste is one of melancholy and promise.

i think back to the times
i’d meet you after dark and the excitement that charged
my drunken heart. i think
of rolling down hills
in hyde park and thinking
you were the mould
i’d force my life to fill.
i think of all the times
i’d insist on getting wine you’d correctly never touch, and passing out fused and content.

all i wanted was to cook for you,
to call you
in the faint jaundiced murmur of the barely morning and hear you say “maybe lunch?”

Django Wylie

Spilt sugar

Licked my finger
and dabbed at the spilt sugar
to avoid watching your mouth move.

Bitter sweet stuck in my teeth it’s odd,
how I still want to kiss it.
Even when it’s full
of broken promises
and empty excuses
and endless apologies.
You stop. And I look up at your lips.
I bet it seemed easier just to lie.

Charlotte Josephine

Cloverleaf Plaza

The man beside me reminds me
of Rain Man, or

the character
Dustin Hoffman played, he who
could count hundreds of matches while they fell to

the ground but could not tie his

own shoe,
here at The Cloverleaf Plaza
an entire day can go by

without a single sin:
This day of wanted-signs,

lipstick samples and red onions (that are really purple)
husks of the corn islands

that scream we are alone

While most of us are born beneath
Fluorescent lights: screaming,


he sits in his spot
the sun with each bend of his

Sarah Hardin

How does it look?

A man’s jacket, left at the bar.
She tries it on for size,
pats down the shoulders,
runs fingers along its tweed.

She sweeps back her hair,
makes the composed face
people use in dressing rooms;
a visual grammar,
the language of mirrors.

She looks at herself,
watches me watching her.
How does it look?
You make it work.

Hazem Tagiuri


She hadn’t had a great thought for months. No matter how many cafés she went to for inspiration, how many pencils she held thoughtfully to chin, how many freak-show passerbys she tried to furiously encapsulate in iambic pentameter, she was left with nothing but a notebook of lifeless clichés and a head full of empty.

And so, as she continued to hold pencil thoughtfully to chin, she decided to stop being a writer and get into advertising.

Go fig.

Mahsuda Snaith

Entropy [1]

When we were children, we built sandcastles on the coast of Cork.
We would raise them high, making them increasingly elaborate.
There would be a moat, and trench walls, and spilled, wet sand to make detailed patterns on the more solid structures created with buckets. We would strive to make them both fortress-like and palatial.
We would be proud, and happy.
The tide would start to move in, slowly.
It would fill the moats, and we would feel vindicated,
It would rise to the castle, and we would be triumphantly yelling at the tide’s powerlessness.
It would wet and weaken our castles.
The waves would flow through them.
The castles would collapse into the waves.
Anonymous sand again.

The next day, we would go down after lunch and build new castles.

[1] (Entropy is a principle whereby any system of order is bound to degrade into chaos and instability

En/topy isaa prinnciole whud3,ebanysysytem o ordebou n d//,,dgr inatcaosasabil;ityyh)

Rory McCarthy

Simple Things

The glow fades slowly, shrinking..
as the summer solar sphere dolefully droops under the horizon line,

An unfathomable mass of heat.

As the breeze tentatively sweeps through the tree, against which he rests his back, the leaves flutter playfully like string-less puppets.

Remarkable invisible master.

I place my head softly against his chest and feel the methodical pulse, a beat, repeat, repeat..

Fantastically functional inner machine.

Gazing emptily into the distance, I think, I thank, I speak… Only to say, it’s all about the simple things.

Francois Cote

Not a sad poem

Pity the Cyclops
he can’t sleep
with one eye open.

And what about the magical unicorn?
Being so majestic
makes it hard to horse around.

Pity the beautiful princess
whose intentions are cruel and vile.

And then there’s the poor old dragon
with his destructive breath
who only burns himself.

Joanne McLaughlin

Wednesday at Midnight.

Another pub,
calls last orders.
Or does
the night last longer?
Get drunk alone again,
Those groaning men,
flock to your ex.
Looking for her online presence.
Less sense, senselessness.
Text message the next ex,
Half expect sex.
Get nothing,
give nothing,

Barry Everest.

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