The Book Review

Some books are so dark and miserable

Like harbingers of doom,

They tempt me to make paper planes

To fly around the room,

Psycho babble couch confusion

That shouldn’t be let out

Depressing stuff that beats you up

And fills you full of doubts,

The sad thing is the covers ace,

It’s a shame the book couldn’t keep up the pace,

Signed Mr. Sensitive.

Paul Maxey

The Unbearable

What’s so wonderful about Pandas, why do people stand and stare
At what after all is only, a black and white veggie bear

A mysterious thing is a Panda
of which knowledge is vague and grey
but we do know because of its diet,
It shits, forty times, “every day”

Curious crowds are wide-eyed, at their cuddlyness, “all agog”
not deliberately shy and elusive, spend most of their time on the bog

If the Worlds population were Pandas living on bamboo grass
and man the endangered specie would it ever come to pass

I imagine myself loaned to China, on the first of many trips
would Pandas turn up in their thousands to watch ME,
eat egg and chips.

A cry on behalf of all animals, highlighting the disrespect
toward elephants spiders and warthogs
from whales to the smallest insect
this bias in favour of Pandas
is politically incorrect

Agreeing with the protest
will be creatures of the night
screeching, the public only love it
because its got bits of white

Ken Eaton-Dykes

Limerick For Sidney James

The greatest actor of any age,
was a gent called Sidney James.
He was somehow famous
and a hit with the ladies,
though his clothes and his teeth were

Andrew James Brown

A Seasonal Story


Up sprang a gust of playful wind

scattering cherry blossom

in this May time spring,

swirling round legs

old and rickety

leaving a scene,

of enchanting serendipity.

Twas a canines random scattered stools

transformed into petal encrusted jewels

euphemised on this fine day

when nature, wind,

and circumstance favour,

courtesy, a stray mutts

naughty behaviour.

An accidental work of art,

forged by the elements taking part,

this vision of wonder

the soul to delight, blossom covered

lumps of shite.

Ken Eaton-Dykes

Cassette Culture

I want to make a tape for you
The way I did when we were teens
Ignoring those pre-CD warnings
Of us killing music with C90’s

I’ll spend hours deciding the correct
Selection, labouring late into the night
Sorting through piles of eighties vinyl
Singles, twelve inches and 45’s

Until I’ve created the perfect playlist
And then fast forward, pause, rewind!
So I hope that my gift is well received
And my peace offering isn’t fated to be

Smashed in the street, or hurled into a Tree

Unfurled, streaming like a pennant in The breeze

Matt Evans

Natures Extremes

The butterfly dances a ballet
From bloom to floret
A painted lady
Decorated from natures abundant chest
Urgent in a nectar quest
Flower and insect combined
Does a most beautiful image make
And yet,
Shorn of her wings
She’s an ugly little get.

Ken Eaton-Dykes


When she cries
It makes me laugh.
She cries
because she cannot get her way.
If she was crying for someone else
It would be different
And I may even, cry along with her,
The way I do, when I feel sorry for someone else.
The way i do when someone has been hurt or through injustice.
But she will never do this
So when she cries
I laugh.

Marc Carver


This is my only voice
My voice is this only

This only is my voice
Only my voice is this

Only this is my voice
My only voice is this

Only, is this my voice?
Is this my only voice?

Is this only my voice?
Is this my voice only?

Jonny Rodgers

Young Dude’s Swagger

Young dude’s swagger
Shirts off in the sun
Comparing tattoos
With everyone,

Like battle scars
And walking galleries,
They surely are a force
Of life to see,

Testosterone fuelled
And chewing gum,
Singing along
To the iPod hum,

But in every city centre
Of this twitter Face book land
There’s a middle age parent
Looking on,
Trying to understand,

But alas for me,
Those days have gone,

But the sun hasn’t set
On the old skin yet.

Paul Maxey

Cycle Haiku

The seed awakens
Watery light springboards life
Dormancy declines

Recognition grows
Pollination of ideas
yields a bumper crop

Recognition slows
Fields of creativity
decay, fall fallow

Dormancy begins
Hibernate ideas so they
survive to revive

Cycle round again
Chain of life is circular
Season is complete?

Laura Taylor

Saturday Triolets

My love plays the PlayStation
my love kisses my breast.
In Saturday elation
my love plays the PlayStation
then views the cricket test.
As sun spills from the West
my love plays the PlayStation
my love kisses my breast.

Then I play PJ Harvey
and grin for the weekend
for we are simple, aren’t we?
Then I play PJ Harvey
sing it until the end
and kiss my love, my friend.
Then I play PJ Harvey
and grin for the weekend.

Jen Robottom

My Squeeze

A thin sliver of a box,
Barely enough space
To hang a pair of socks
Or draw a long face.

A tiny little split
That’s higher than it’s wide
Unless, of course, you pick it up
And lay it on its side.

You might use it as a marker
You could put it your book.
If they decide to publish mine
Then that will be a fluke.

If you think that it is silly
I will take you at your word,
For even I who wrote it
Find it quite absurd.

But do not mock too loudly,
Not you, nor anyone,
For even squeezing words in
Can be a lot of fun.

Wendy Scott

Thursday Afternoon

Making love to you is a ritual –
When the rain is done
and the air is new and clean and fresh
After all of that
I still love you, I just love
It lays there bare, a knowing, a fact
A feeling on its own
Separate from place and journeys and destinations…

I open and close the window
as the wind abides and sun appears
I spend my day like this
Adjusting a sail
Yet the tree always stands in the courtyard
letting the wind through its branches easily
Perhaps it’s true, it has no choice
but to grow towards the sun from where it’s rooted…

I look for my voice in hiding places
A child playing, koo koo

Zunya Flow


In 2002, in the mushroom town of Garamanda, there was born a young goblin. This goblin was named Cooke and he grew up to be the greatest warrior ever seen by the goblins. By the time he was ten, a war between the goblins and the elves broke out. The war went on for three years and soon the Wise Goblin, Yadamante, became ill and died. He was the commander of the goblin army so the goblins were forced to choose a new leader. All eyes fell upon Cooke. After three days of intense battle, the goblin warriors gave up. They said,
“We are outnumbered, and unmatched. If one of their spells can kill the Wise Goblin, then what could one hundred spells do to the whole of Garamanda?”
Cooke listened for a long time. Finally he spoke.
“You giving up will do more harm to Garamanda then the elves could ever do.”
The warriors were silent for a while before a massive cheer erupted. They rushed into battle and their desire for safety of Garamanda was no match for the elves. After ten days of war the fight came down to Cooke and the Elf King. Cooke slashed and stabbed while the Elf King could only just defend the blows. The fight went on for three days and took Cooke and the Elf King all the way to the desert. The two fought viciously until Cooke lunged at the Elf Kingʼs chest. Time seemed to slow down as the golden goblin blade grew closer to the heart of the Elf King. Just as the blade pierced his heart, the Elf King said,
“Who are you? Are you some sort of god?”
Cooke replied with only a wink and killed the Elf King.
Cooke was never seen again after that battle, though some warriors claim to have heard his voice while in battle.

Isaac Andrews (aged 9)

Atlanta Ballroom

Between the Red House pub
and the Railway hotel,
after Ready, Steady, Go!,
the rendezvous. Handbags
circled like wagons, tactical retreats
to the loos. Revving up scooters,
puffing on fags, waiting for ever
to make the first move.

Perfumed sweat, floor sticky
with beer; every Motown beat
of my heart. Forces sweethearts
starting fights, drinks spilt,
innocent squaddies tumbling
into bloodied streets
while not-yet-famous bands played
on. Most saw their names in lights.

Why didn’t we? Things you’d
forgotten with the years;
words that once made sense.
Where can she be? Fingers
tapping keys, hands searching
in the dark. The longest kiss
you’ve ever known; holding her
close on the last bus home.

Greg Freeman

Ballard’s ‘High Rise’

Inspired by the architecture of the barbican.

Ballard’s ‘High Rise’
Charlotte Gardner

My Sister’s Birthday

We rubbed our faces against the clear cool glass,
The border land almost breached as we laughed.
Barefoot in hand-me-down Armani I held my sister,
As she beamed at ivory white mannequins six foot tall.
We giggled and danced invisible in front of our Gods,
As we forgot our hunger and my sister’s missing hand.

Thundering bahar descends full of outrage,
As we flee the dream temple onto the baked lands.
At half height we weave like acrobats in our dirt skins,
Ready for the next bad-trade and hunger-meal.
With our three paws we forage for the glinty-things,
And see only images of oranges where bottle tops lie.

My sister finds apple peel and we share double quick,
And spit out sand and memories of our mother-land.
We cross the bady-bady where the stone-boys roam,
And find the water crack to clean our panda eyes.
Safe like hunted deer we pause and with cracked mouths,
We yawn knowing the day has only just begun.

We fist trade our glinty-things for finger bread,
But kutra circles so we push-off to monkey land.
Our dancing friends keep the black dogs at bay,
As I give my sister a marble I name Samsung.
She holds it eagerly in her only-hand and cries,
She wants to hold the marble,
She wants to hold my hand,
But more than this,
She wants to lie down and die.

Marky B

Indefinite Leave to Remain

(Diamond Jubilee)
Intensity is done
Now the wait
What comes next?
We, immigrant
Moving nations
Not across borders
But inside bodies
Our blue eyed son
The reminder of migrations past
That cut across
Boundaries made from desks and glass partitions
The inventions of form filling
Line making
Appetite suppressing
This Indefinite Leave To Remain
Speaks of staying
The softness of the story, human sized and roughly hewn; indistinct
Asks for audience
But, childlike, must quiet itself
Elevating certainty above ambiguity
For the egalitarian process
Of mutual address, proof
Credit card payments
The evidence of our good citizenship
Heading home
Bus driver rides angry,
Son of forced movements sweetened later with the cultivation of recruitment promises
Cushioned beneath a Jubilee weekend
Sixty diamond years of continental drift
Culminate in a pen stroke of declaration
That what we are is enough
That what we are is the truth
The pragmatism of surrender
Another layer on the foreshore
As 1000 ships sail by.

Dominique Santos

Snow White

isn’t into dwarf rights,
cares not a fig for mine safety
or forest ecology:
she’s set her cap for the prince
and his castle –
meantime, she blows
seven old men in a single bed.

Norbert Hirschhorn

Kraken Mask

Pokémon reject #9971
The cuttlefish’s best mate
Something even Paul the Octopus
couldn’t have dreamt up
Octopus meat is simply humbugs
wrapped in streaky bacon
Anchor-mouth teased the kids
A double-split experiment gone wrong
An oceanic Higgs boson

Christian Ward

The Empty Jar

The process of pouring yourself
into another was alien to you
Yet, you pushed back your fears
the god forsaken donkey years
And plunged deeply
Into hope-
Ah, that shiny coin
caught between heads and tails

Being the women I am
I walked away,
leaving nothing more than
small bites of poetry
bellowing behind

Small flutters of wingless love
that you hungrily chewed
until blood gave way to bone

Using all your strength
you captured what the wind
would steal

As I gorged myself on life
your preception of reality
was forever altered

How I remember
How I am shamed

Sarah Hardin


(Things I had to search for on Google Images at work today)

‘Animatronic Party Tortoise’

Julie Seal

The Better Brother

You wouldn’t have ended up broke
two weeks before each payday
unable to pay the rent
or heat the house;

and you wouldn’t have looked for
easy ways out of it: therefore,
you wouldn’t have seen the
open door as an opportunity

and you wouldn’t have poked your
head inside
and you wouldn’t have noticed
the flatscreen TV
and you wouldn’t have taken it.

And even if you’d ended up there,
you wouldn’t have panicked
at footsteps upstairs;

you would have walked out calmly,
rather than fled
so you would not have dropped
your wallet.

Zoë Fiander


Pity those
Who in fruitless pursuit
Of all evil’s root
Forsake that which matters most
That which can’t be controlled,
Hurried, cajoled
The commodity, none can trade
An end that can’t be stayed

It slips right by them
Where they stand
That most precious gem
The hourglass sand.

Rather still, the thinking man
Who knows what it is
To sit and gaze on that or this
Who just rests a while
Beneath birch,
Or perched
On style
And just is
And just be’s
Who says I am,
I understand.

Robert McEvoy