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

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

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.

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


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

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.

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

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

Untitled (political)

“Check this out”

Steven wasn’t concentrating on the class work they’d been set.

“Ben, check this out”

Now Ben wasn’t concentrating, he hadn’t really been able to concentrate since the shuffle around in 6Bs seating plan. Miss Boronsko had made the switch from alphabetical to a more culturally diverse spreading of age order within the year six class. “No more Mohammed’s in the middle” was the chant, Miss B was actually a bit nervous at the racist-sounding-ness of the slogan but persevered nonetheless. Although I mean she hadn’t even said it out loud but you know, ‘NSA’ etc.

Whipping out his new Casio FX-115MS-SC-UH and handing it to Ben, Steven began;

“So you take the number of potential puns about UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s name made on the internet and World of Warcraft.”

“Right.” Ben tapped away.

“Divided by the number of closeted dick jokes ready to go to print by DMG media.”

“Wait, is this going to be political?”

Stephen assured him it was.

Ben continued tapping.

“Add 5″


“Now, multiply by the current levels of radiation at the geographical centre, ground zero if you will, of the Chernobyl disaster and add the first number.”

“OK, is this going to carry on much long…” Ben’s voice trailed off has he hit enter.

He’d never expected this, this was big.

The answer? 80085.

Joshua T Howell

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Maru Rojas

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

Celebrity Chefs

What would Jamie Oliver say
if he saw you eating that?
He’d probably talk about olive oil
and lemon.
Lemon is fresh as a baby.
When a baby laughs
I feel like I’m swimming in lemon
and a healthy lime.

Nigella would say ‘Ooh,
I know I shouldn’t
but I just can’t resist.’
She would lick the mixture off the spoon
with a cat’s tongue.
The chocolate tastes like velvet curtains
that are held back
with ropes and tassels and adjectives.

Ramsay wouldn’t give a shit
but his kitchen is cleaner than mine.

Lewis Coffey


He licked his lips as he moved the cake closer to his mouth,
His heart raced and his hands went clammy with excitement,
Simon grinned as the powdered sugar glistened in the sunlight, he took his first bite,
and the jam dribbled out like a young Ryan Giggs penetrating a Coventry defence.

Adam J. Ordinary

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