I’m a hippopotamus
When I’m alone, just I.

But when there’s lots of us
We are hippopotami.

Mike Reed

I’d like to commend…


the bus driver announces
over the loudspeaker,
momentarily excusing us
from pretending
to ignore our fellow
morning commuters,
whose bodies
and possessions
are all pressed against
our own bodies
and possessions.

Elizabeth Dingmann


Sweet, sticky golden rain
forms puddles of goo
on dense, creamy goodness
and drips down to soak
graham cracker crumbs
and quickly disappear
with the quick swipe of
my grateful tongue

Pamela Rudisill

Under the BT Tower


I am arrested,
no, lassoed,
brought-up long
by the sight of
a duck-egg blue
seahorse that’s
gone to extension
school, now racked
and loitering on a
sapling’s cage
outside a restaurant
promising ‘betta pitta’.

On further away inspection,
M. Pony de Mer turns
out to be a
failing to
find spring
sustenance in the
trap he has sprung.

Operation Metaphor
sweeps one more
time to discover that
its colleagues in the
Simile Squad should
have been called out,
and now they are left
with a torn plastic
bag and a scene
of no purposeful

Rishi Dastidar


Look at these buildings
these massive temples
with all the facade
and the intricate stonework
and ironmongery.

Maintenance will be required.
and you will be the ones who wipe
the soot and grime off
with raw hands
in the depths of winter.

We will keep you.

These people who live here
These people who live here.
These are people who go jogging at 9am.
These are people who put up signs
like no ball games.

These people have nothing to do
with being hungover on a bus.

It’s like waiting for an invisible guillotine
an empty forest
without me in it
to witness
the orchestrated fall

And so,
your absence
2am will never be the same

I miss you
your arms
my ability
to comprehend

Ola Podgorska


Walking the forecourt hands dug in deep breathing black winter air like a firehorse. Glass door split. No petrol for me. Look up gun in my face. Never happen before. No T-I-M-E to think. Push by me and I watch a man on the run. “I only come for Rizla” what to do? I DO NOTHING WRONG. I panic. I run. I do 4 years.

Fourteen years later hand on the pump breathing sweet petrol air like a firehorse. Glass door split. No Rizla for me. No gun in my face. Happen before. Time to T-H-I-N-K. Pay at counter and watch man look at me. “I ONLY COME FOR RIZLA.” Get in my car and turn to my son. “You my firehorse, you never be afraid.” I drive. I cry. He’s 4 years old.

Marky B

8-Bit Lit: Mrs Dalloway

Joe Hedinger

Not just a moth

Yesterday I found a moth.
Not just a moth. A giant moth.

A moth with wings like lengths of cloth.
Fat and soft as a mossy sloth.
A moth that made me go, ‘Oh, goth!’

It was a really big moth.
It was a behemoth.

Mike Reed


is the city where the streets meet the sky in a grey agreement. The fierce love I hold for this city overwhelms me.

The grey sky… to describe it as grey would be acceptable once. The second time it’s an amateur watercolour painted too heavy and layered, a sausage-and-mash of the harshest muddy blue and black, smokey tones that lose definition and blend blend blend until the sky emerges. The buildings like it, I can tell – by the way they their mirrored faces welcome the clouds and rain and reflect the light, inviting them into the traffic. The bright cranes are in direct conflict with the sky – mechanical giraffes gracefully mating across afternoon windows. How many more metaphors can this city take?

Already swelling up to the brim with foreign matter. Already weary with tomorrow, the daily congregation of salmon, filing upstream on escalators. Sardine situations. Close up underground polaroids of fragmented commuters, burnt onto my memory in the harsh tungsten lights.

I want to blend in with the stations and Tesco’s and five a.m. pigeons. It glows, with pride and council housing. Explodes at me with tree blossoms at the start of spring, with embankment glitter on a sunny evening, the air smelling like rough jazz and overwhelming caramel.

I look around and see little bits of love happening. Amazing people you would, but won’t get the chance to, as they’re leaving in a day or in a month or a moment – king-crossing on a slip of parallell universe, a sliver of acknowledgment of an hour in this lifetime that meant more – the comedown. London’s gracious payback for making you so high.

Ola Podgorska


















John Allison

Ode to a rioter

Dalston Cross Shopping Hall,
Time stopped, our eyes met,
Whilst looting T-Mobile
For brand new handsets.

Your smile stopped my heartbeat,
In burning car light,
(A torched Fiat Punto
Had lit up the night)

Though Clyde to your Bonnie,
You ransacked my heart,
Crime brought us together,
Crime tore us apart

My Angel! My Seraph!
Of Pembury Estate,
Fallen from floor fourteen,
Council flat eight

Your kiss was Lambrini,
Mixed with Mac Lip Gloss,
Your Blackberry message
Alerted the cops

My wing-footed Venus!
My Angel! My Muse!
The law tried to take back
Your new Fila Shoes

Though riot vans chased you,
True love intervened,
I tackled a copper,
To let you run free

But love’s strong arm wilted,
‘Gainst riot batons,
Whilst the Pigs battered me,
You laughed and ran on

I languish in Penton
Ville, send me a sign,
Your Primarni pants, or
A mixtape of Grime

I picture you often,
True queen of my thoughts,
In dreams you kick shop fronts,
Outside JD Sports

Give show that you love me,
Imprisoned, I wait,
I shall send a bouquet,
To Pembury Estate.

Michael Hines

Shape of things to come


What’ll you do once you’ve finally concluded this book? Sigh, slam the thing shut and keep hold of the bookmark? So we’d perhaps optimistically hope… But what did Nick Zammuto do when he’d finally finished with the Books, a project he professes to have “loved” in the belly of the Barbican? Well, he went on to pen another zany opus under his very own “culturally ambiguous” patronymic Zammuto, that’s bloomin’ well what…

“Like most things I do, while I’m setting them up I have absolutely no idea what I’m getting into”, his voice caving in to a jejune chirrup of laughter. Never one to do things by halves, nor indeed by any fraction yet known to the human mind, he’s still learning.

However he concedes to losing his way somewhat following what sounds like a rather inimical breakup: “This record was like a do-or-die situation for me. And I felt as though maybe I should quit because, you know, it’s so hard on my family. But my wife and friends encouraged me 100%. To just go for it; to go and do something new.”

Although not entirely new – the rampaging bass lines of The Way Out slink through the ominous mechanical thunder of F U C-3PO; sample interlude Crabbing recalls the Books’ collagist approach; the self-professed ‘Grammar Stickler’ swoons through Auto-Tune on Too Late To Topologize, a searing denunciation of that dastardly Timbaland track perhaps – yet in scrapping the scraps of sound and opting to gallivant toward this unquanitified “something new”, Zammuto has galvanized his presence to inscribe a comprehensible future.

Dots and Dashes




John Allison

On this day…

1998 – A man waits three minutes for an image to download. Half way through he clicks ‘back’.

2012 – A man waits three minutes for a 10 minute HD video to download halfway through he clicks ‘back’.

John Cherry

Short inheritance stories

The heir to the Tippex fortune spent his inheritance on jets, cars, women and parties – it wasn’t long before he’d wiped it out.

John Cherry

Mysteries of reading

Rui do Rosário Ribeiro

Scenes from a party

Door bell.
Shake hands.
Coat off.

Push through.
Kitchen throng.
Warm wine.

Living room.
Background chatter.
Scan round.

Not him.
Not him.
Not him.

Eye contact.
Not you.
Not him.

But you.
Yes you.
And how.

And now.
Glide over.
Small talk.

Bigger claims.
Wider smiles.
Delicate touches.

Guiding hands.
Taxi called.
Coats retrieved.

Threshold crossed.
Eyes closed.
Forever started.

Rishi Dastidar

Platform 12C

Wife – What’s that woman got around her neck?

Husband – Where? What Woman?

Wife – Don’t Stare but there in the the grey to…

Husband – You mean the Hippie with the Beard

Wife – Oh, maybe I do need glasses…

Steve Humber

I want to write a novel

I want to write a novel

I want to tell a long story
paced and moody
heavy in weight
bound by Rosa Parks spine

I want to write a pit bull of a book that

that bites

I want to write a novel

but what
the hell do I know about writing novels?

novels are long
so long

James Dean is easy
James Dean is a shooting star

but Marlon’s gut
gets bigger and bigger
each marriage
a bigger crash than last

a short story can
shoot its girlfriend
shoot heroine

flood its lungs
no Noah to build no Ark

but a novel

a novel loses hair
a novel lives the death of punk
a novel sells butter on TV

I want to write a novel so bad

Celine Song

A lesson learned?

It’s too hot.
Everyone is busy
Blaming everyone else.
Saying they’ve tried their best
and done nothing at all.
And now it’s broken.

Denial is beautiful.

Anys Brown

The search

When she cries, she is forgiven.
When he cries, she believes in his love.
To be described as pure, is bingo.
Until a slip of a thing, she will seek discipline.
As a bride, she vows to breathe her past closed.
As a mother, she will be reborn.

Rebecca Hattersley


People on the Piccadilly Line were eating themselves.

At least, that was the rumour. He’d heard that as food had run out, they’d started hacking at their arms like salami – starting with the pinky, working towards the thumb, then up the wrist and beyond the elbow. Everyone giving up one limb if needed. To keep it democratic.

Barbaric. But that was the Piccadilly Line. Their battle with the western section of the District had begun only days after the thuds forced everyone under. He had little experience of both of those lines – a water raid at Finsbury; a revenge skirmish for a rape at Victoria – and was thankful for it. They had once found a young girl who told stories of Gloucester Road platforms covered in corpses piled high as the ceiling. He had somehow managed to convince everyone that they couldn’t just leave her – but soon discovered that she kept everyone not on watch awake with her nightmares. They’d had to ‘lose’ her within a week.

He stubbed the big toe on his right foot

Joe Hedinger

Catch my tongue

Earth tumbles.
Inside his bubble, Spaceman sweats;
remembers his mother. Luna waves goodbye.
And he writhes like a new-born, adorably:
ballet-panics across the stage of the sky.
In the corner, his tin-can ticket –
back to Sunday lunch
and long endless summer,
and the smell of her sweat and “daddy” –
fades, to a dot, and is gone.

Joe Hedinger



A girl approaches an old lady and a chicken outside a coffee shop.


Is that your chicken?



The lady puts the chicken on her shoulder and walks off.

Emily Cussins

A book by it’s cover #002


‘Purge’ by Sofi Oksanen:

It makes oneself want to do just that, entirely. Well, this was until I realised that purging wasn’t in fact the ‘art’ of sticking one’s fingers down one’s throat. Who knew? No, it in fact means to ‘purify’, to ‘cleanse’. Same thing, if you ask a slightly bohemian bulimia sufferer. Either way, purge still works for this one, that is, if applied with a loofah and concentrated in the general open-eye area.

Judging this book by it’s cover, it wreaks of self loathing and bulimia! And the man in the background obviously isn’t sticking around to see which one surfaces first. By the speed on him, my guess is the puke.

Rosie Parker

Why pigs are pink?

Why are pigs pink?
Are they of a delicate nature and blush easily,
Or is it just their favourite colour.
I think they are pretty
And I’m sure you’d agree,
They wouldn’t look any good in Blue or Khaki.
Pigs are best pink.


dogs in books #001

The Adventures of Tintin
Explorers on the Moon
Hergé 1954

Pete Lewis