POETS WHO HAVE PERFORMED AT DODO

See a  Blog of video clips of poets performing at Dodo at hhttp://dodovidpoets.blogspot.com/.

HELEN MORT/  JASMINE COORAY/ PATRIC CUNNANE/ P.R.MURRY/ OTHER THERESA/ ARDELLA JONES/ CARLA PECORELLI/ EISHA KAROL/ GRAHAM BUCHAN/ HEATHER TAYLOR/LISA HITCHEN/ ZOLAN QUOBBLE/ SUE JOHNS/ RHIAN EDWARDS/ STEVE TASANE/ LIZZIE SHIRLEY/ MATTHEW COOPER/ FRANCES WHITE /LIZ CRUSE/ KATRINA NAOMI/ ALISON WINCH/ JILL ABRAMS/ LISA KELLY/  ANDY V. FROST/ RICHARD SCOTT/ PAULINE SEWARD S/SUZANNE and KEITH DRAKE/ PENNY FAULKNER/ ISABEL BERMUDEZ/ EVE PEARCE/ ANGELA STONER/lLESLEY HALE/ LI YAN/  PAUL McGRANE/ AMY McALLISTER/ JAMES EASTON/ ANNE MACAULAY/ ANNA BEECHER/ STUART LARNER/ LARA KENNEDY/ CLARE MULLEY/ ALVIN CULZAC/ CHARLOTTE KNOWLES-CUTLER/ANN VAUGHAN-WILLIAMS/FRANCES WHITE/ALISON WINCH


JILL ABRAMS

jaja

photo: Naomi Woddis Copyright 2011

Jill Abram is a prize-winning poet who writes as well for the page and mind as she does for the ear and audience. She has been described as “poignant and funny” and having “mischief and poise”, her poems have been described as “satirical and quirky” and she has great appeal to those who think they don´t like poetry, as well as those who know they do. Jill is Director of the poetry collective Malika´s Kitchen.

The following poem won the inaugural Poetry Pulse competition in 2010:

Remnants of Beauty

On a lilac fur-topped stool, she sits

while a tinny transistor hurls out hits.

She opens her mouth to stretch her eyes,

brushes mascara on her lashes

to darken, lengthen, volumise.

A spray of scent from an atomiser,

the doorbell dingdongs and she´s gone.

Faded pinks of primula petals pressed

under the glass of the dressing table.

On top, a dusting of rouge, a sprinkle of blue,

a crumpled, lipstick-kissed tissue.


ANNA BEECHER

annab

Anna Beecher is an award winning poet and performance maker. Recent projects include, Living Things, a solo spoken-word performance created with Battersea Arts Centre supported Arts Council England,Dog Rough, an audio work for parks and Hans My Hedgehog, a warm, lyrical retelling of the story by the Brothers Grimm. This summer Anna will be performing her poems and stories at Glastonbury Festival, Art in Action and Buxton Fringe. To find out more please see annabeecher.com .

Birdsong

I wet your cracked fallow tongue

(it is the end of the age of miracles)

gather up your near dead hand

and sing softly into the silence.

Jaundiced tumours, yellow as sunlight

yellow as the little bird.

Next door the little bird

is singing, calling, vibrating its tongue

a feather wrapped heartbeat, so light

-lightness itself a kind of miracle-

ready, when you die to break the silence

poised, feet curled around the chaplain´s hand.

We say ´ think he squeezed my hand´

in turn, holding it gently as a bird.

At any hint of waking, breaking silence

we rush to you with heavy tongues

longing now for smaller miracles,

jostling for the patch of light

that falls across your bed, wintery light

from the garden, that graces your hand

resting on the white sheet, where the miracle

of those familial fingers, nibbled by the bird

a certain curve of lip, ability to curl tongues

are comforting accidents to fill the silence.

We shared an accent before this silence.

I glance at you on the balcony lighting

a cigar, laughter dancing off your tongue,

the Christmas before sickness, with the same hands

that now rest on the bed sheet as lightly as birds

about to take flight. Flicking through miracles

-photographs of that lifetime before miracles

were needed (steady unnoticed growth of silence)

And the shot of you, conscious, stroking the bird

Just days before, cage catching the light

the bird gently catching your hand

weak, perfect smile over soft hydrated tongue.

Discarded miracles catch light

Cold spreads silent into slim hands

Violent beauty of bird song,

love, cracked tongue.

Hands

Embarrassed at his fingernails, trying to pick

the muck off hands that gathered eggs

to wrap instead around her small palms,

smile floating shyly above the handshake.

Later hands shaking and the kiss,

her wiping a crumb from his lips

fingers tracing thighs beneath

her starched skirt and smell of her hands

on him, like the sheets they folded, fresh.

Her index ran from his forehead to nose

gently removed a fly from his eyeball

and they slid rings

down the barrels of each other´s fingers,

him still with mud along the creases.

Lines deepening as palms are moulded

around the soft backs of babies´ heads.

Once as five fingers folded around his one

he glimpsed his own father´s hands

disappearing into gloves

The slap, when the children were in bed

which happened once and stopped time,

remembered in red, in the fingers bitten back

running through the hair no longer

tracing each other in wonder.

Wrinkled hands ceased to interlace,

wrapping themselves instead

around coffee cups for warmth

wool spooling around her thin fingers,

illuminated and old under the lamp

skin shrinking from the bones on the backs

of her hands.

When his fingers found hers again

there was a cannula at the elbow crease.

Her pulse was frantic

fragile as those first fumblings.

In the absence of her voice

her hand replied,

like the baby taking his finger

A scrap of life squeezing away doubt

And now when he reaches into the urn

to take her out in handfuls,

dust settles in the space between the skin

and the worn band of the ring.


ISABEL BERMUDEZ

ibermudez

Isabel Bermudez poet and short story writer, was born in Bogota in 1968 and grew up in London. Her short stories and poems have been published in a range of magazines and shortlisted in a number of competitions including the Aesthetica Creative Works Competition, the Live Canon Poetry Competition and the Yeovil, Fish and Bridport Prizes. Her documentary film “El Corazon de la Basura” was screened on Colombian state television and at the Cuban Film Festival in 2000.

Racer

She trembles when she sleeps, shudders

toward the track, chasing the lure; all haunch, ears back,

reliving the roar of an evening crowd;

smell of beer, glint of signet ring; shadows

of men who trained her. Six races won, second twice…

But in the orchards of her later years, she keeps to the path,

never long out of sight. A year or so ago, she might

have hared after rabbit, disappeared under apple-trees,

a streak of flank among the green.

Now is it death she sees, when she stares

into a field of baby rabbits and barely stirs?

At home, lies there, dreams; crosses and uncrosses

long faun legs, or rests her head in my lap

for no other reason than affection it seems;

till she hears the jangle of collar and catch

then she´s out again, under Kent apple trees

to mooch round windfall in evening sun

her lead swinging empty from my hand;

nose to the ground, riddling old scents; trailing

the trigger of the starter´s gate in the haze of the finish line

September´s first chill meets August´s ripe breath.

 Isabel Bermudez

Uno mas

i.m. Luis de Zulueta

Like a Spanish prince in a voluminous silk shirt

above a sea of heads, you strolled down the Avenida 19,

a tall, bald man of eighty-five

going out with me for that forbidden drink.

Un personaje del centro people said.

Un personaje …over a glass of rum you marvelled

at how the women of Bogota had grown so tall and lovely.

It takes a particular kind of talent, a deftness

in the art of fictional endings, to visit me like this,

so long after your death, relayed on that long-distance line;

your heavy Spanish accent echoing our conversations

in downtown bars where you talked and I listened,

to tales of Spain and Hollywood and old Bogota.

You spoke of my grand-mother´s house,

as I leaned closer to listen better

the celluloid of those dimming eyes

replaying the film of the past

just as I lean forward now, in cinema dark, before

this small-town drama of the civil war

in the Colombia of over half a century ago,

where men wore ruanas and sombreros,

spoke in the slow, steady speech of campesinos.

Here you are, some forty years younger

on this London screen, a man in his prime;

before industrialization, before los narcos,

la guerrilla, tecnologia;

a time that´s like an abandoned house where only

the ancient gardener knows the whereabouts of the key

and now he too is gone, the fence broken,

the garden overgrown; just one more I hear you say,

uno mas and see it come alive again,

that other country, that distant past.

 Isabel Bermudez


GRAHAM BUCHAN

BCB

Graham Buchan earned money from chemical engineering research, film editing, writing and directing, photography, travel writing, and facilitating a creative writing group for people with mental illness. He didn’t earn money from theatre directing, hospital radio presenting and poetry. He has two books and a pamphlet published by the Tall Lighthouse..

The Leader´s Wife

The Leader´s Wife tried a bit of singing

the Leader´s Wife tried a bit of television

the Leader´s Wife tried a bit of art

we took the Leader´s Wife and tied her to a post

we took the Leader and tied him to a post

opposite

we shot them

slowly

Aeroplane

I wondered if you´d open the hatch

and dance along the wing.

Eyes smiling, lips cheerful,

I wondered if I´d join you.

I wondered if the Captain

would call us ´Come back in!

I´ve got to land my plane now.´

But we´re dancing on the wing!

We´re dancing on the wing!

High above these sunny Alps

We´re dancing on the wing!

It´s time to start the long descent,

You should be strapped in safely.´

We´ll dance, we´ll fly

in cool clear air,

We’ll tumble in the breeze.

We’ll cascade down without a care

flying swiftly here and there

as other planes stop by to stare.

Don´t worry, we can fly with flair,

So leave us if you please.

And so we fell, the rushing air

was flat against our faces.

We parachuted with our love

towards the softest places.

Glanced off kindly conifers

and rolled in alpine flowers

just as our plane was lost to sight

in Adriatic showers.


MATTHEW COOPER

mcooper

Matthew Cooper is a journalist who has taken up poetry as a ‘labour of love’. He has just completed his first book. Born in Nottingham, Matthew now lives in west London. He has campaigned against knife crime in his neighbourhood through verse. He draws inspiration for his work from long country walks. A lover of all things Italian, his favourite dish is duck pasta.LINKS matthewcooper321@yahoo.com

A young life

Trellick Tower skeleton

bish bash boshing the sky

gun-metal grey, late in the day

Young blades. Too young by half.

the blade sneering, appearing

from nowhere

never saw it until too late

He stoops. Slumps.

his lungs pump

their valediction

lips an ´o´

tiniest fleck of

spittle

spits at life

another young life

ends before it begins

Lost

Far from suffocating San Marco

or the Rialto’s grasping

rasp

we follow little canals

like children on an adventure

The light plays

hide and seek

on the softly lapping waters

Voices drift across the decay

as distant bells sound their

sad refrain


JASMINE COORAY

jc

Jasmine Ann Cooray is a writer, poet, and creative innovator. Winner of the Farrago Summer Slam and runner up at the Roundhouse Slam, she writes with soul and precision, transforming intimate everyday relationships and painting the world into something you want to look at twice. Jasmine founded the Brighton monthly sell-out performance night Floetics and is now building a signature range of site-specific creative writing workshops called WRITE London, which generate rich material for their participants. Look out for her work in print later in the year.

Links: http://www.myspace.com/jasmineanncooray

Blue Movie Starlet

This messy room was not what you expected,

no silk-lined boudoir smelling of rose water,

incense beckoning a finger through muslin.

Instead: knickers. Pale smudged gussets

that grimace at you.

Indifferent as prison jailors to a fresh inmate,

they´ve seen it all before.

Though doe-flutter eyes and soft focus

limbs might poise prettier than this gin-doused maiden,

spontaneity is known for it’s sepia tint.

Illusion was ready to lick its lips until

you tripped on a wince at my kicked off trainers,

skirt yanked round the knees, no hip coiled striptease

to ease us in and buy time to remember the names

shouted over shredded electro.

The thump still punched along our veins as we clung

to the nightbus bars, swung splat

into a shag like a promise from a weekend dad.

Your absence at daybreak pricks the same tepid teardrop.


 ALVIN CULZAC

alvin

Alvin Culzac is a member of a local choir and performs poetry and song in his local area of East Sussex and sometimes ventures to London to perform at The Poetry Society and Ronnie Scott.He is now ready to widen his horizons..

Farewell By Alvin CulZac

Farewell to one now silenced quite

Without thee we are no longer whole

For indubitably great sophistry did smite

And took away our brethren´s soul.

The pain in time did not retreat

And tales are told of one so right

Tho some did raise the cry and hue

And said the words did not ring true.

More so, they said that good was bad

And bad was good and deception sits

Atop the cornerstone of ideology

Thus making the now weary soul

Embrace the thoughts of: Eternity.

Blowing in the wind By Alvin Culzac

You will be blowing in the wind

and piddling in the sea

if you wait for salvation

from some faraway entity.

You will be whistling to the clouds

and supplicating yourselves

to vague suppositions

as you await your deliverance

from your enemies.

Your pain and suffering could be long

as your tormentors rejoice

in the enlightenment of their debauchery.

You try to find reasons for your living hell.

Then, not withstanding external delivery;

Do you not discover that secluded

in your meagre possessions are the seeds

of your own

Hope is indeed the rarest of beasts

It trudges the landscapes

and crevices of impossible causes,

eternally searching for the dispossessed..

Peace on Earth means nothing

If you are a victim

So pray tell, the the miracles?


 LI YAN

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Li Yan is a reader, songwriter and performer of poems.

Love Apples

Lyrics by Li Yan Music from Tea Collecting Song of Min folk tune and Scarborough Fair, Celtic folk tune

We are sitting in a lorry.

We are going to catch the Dover ferry.

We are heading for a life without misery.

The English sky is so blue.

The English sea is even more blue.

The English summer, O, strawberries and cream!

The English sun shines so bright.

The English moon charms her light.

But it´s only darkness, darkness only we see.

The English cows and sheep are so free.

But it´s only darkness, darkness only we see.

Our lorry carries so many love apples.

Our lorry carries so many juicy dreams.

Flowers bloom! O, love apples fall!

When will we arrive in Dover?

The air, O, the air, is getting thinner.

O, the juice of love apples grows thicker.

Flowers bloom! O, love apples fall!

When will we arrive in Dover?

Here at last our lorry arrives in Dover.

It carries fifty-eight young bodies.

Lying on so many, many love apples,

We have dreamt a sweet and sour dream.

Note: In the summer of 2000, sixty young people from Fujian, China got on a tomato lorry from Rotterdam, Holland and headed for England via the Port of Zeebrugge in Belgium. In the midnight of 18 June, they arrived in the English Port of Dover. However, fifty-eight of them were choked to death due to closure of the air vent.

I Love You with No Regret

 Music by Bruce Goatly Lyrics by Li Yan

I love you with no regret,

No matter if it´s a sweet dream,

No matter how I have broken my heart,

No matter now we have to part.

I love you with no regret,

No matter how I tear,

No matter how in pieces my heart,

No matter how brief we love.

I love you with no regret,

No matter how heaven turns dark,

No matter if the sun no longer shines,

No matter if the moon no longer lights.

I love you with no regret,

Because I see you in my dreams,

Because I love you day by day,

Because I miss you all the time.

Chorus:

Loving you, so sweet and sad,

Loving you, how so much I love you.

O, how I miss the joy I´ve shared with you.

I know you love me. You know I love you.

I love you with no regret.

You have given me so much love.

My tears turn into honey dews.

Who can I love, but love you?

I love you with no regret.

O, birds! O, joy! How we sing!

O, flowers grow out of my heart!

So sweet, sweet, we love!

Let me go back to earth

1. Where everything grows

Let me go back to earth.

That´s where my beans grow.

That´s where my corns grow.

That´s where my tomatoes grow.

That´s where my potatoes grow.

That´s where my carrots grow.

That´s where my cucumbers grow.

That´s where my aubergines grow.

That´s where my pumpkins grow.

That´s where my marrows grow.

That´s where my melons grow.

That´s where my rice grow.

That´s where my wheat grow.

That´s where my apple trees grow.

That´s where my peach trees grow.

That´s where everything grows.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

Like a leaf or a seed, buried deep into earth.

It´s warm down there.

Let me take a rest from this tiring life.

Let me take a rest from this cold winter.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

That’s where my old wife is.

She’s been waiting for me, you know.

Night or day, she’s told me many, many times.

She´s made me a new coat.

She´s made me a new hat.

She´s made me a new shirt.

She´s made me a warm bed.

She´s made me a warm duvet.

She´s made me a warm pillow.

She´s made me love.

She´s cooked me my favourite meal.

And I love her cooking.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

That´s where Mum and Dad are.

Not so keen to see Dad, though.

I´m still scared of his walking stick.

But I miss my mum.

I miss her calling.

I miss her hug.

I miss her milk.

And I miss her cooking, too.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

That´s where my grand-parents are.

That´s where my grand-grand-parents are.

That´s where my ancestors are.

I hardly know them.

I’ve never seen them.

Though I´ve heard so much about them.

Dad said they protected me.

So I should show some respect.

I´d better listen to the old man.

Alright, I´ll go to see my granddad and grandmum.

I´ll go to see my grand-grand-parents.

I´ll go to see my ancestors.

I´ll go to show them my respect.

I´ll go to serve them food and wine.

I´ll go to give them their favourite toys.

I´ll go to give them some of my pocket-money.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

Bury me.

Bury me.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

Don´t let them take me.

Let me go back to earth.

My dog is there.

My cat is there.

My hens are there.

My cows are there.

My goats are there.

My buffalos are there.

My friends are there.

All my neighbours are there.

And that’s where I´ve left my spade and hoe.

Let me go back to earth.

That´s where I’d like to be.

That´s where I should be.

That´s where I want to be.

That´s where I need to be.

No place for me?

Why not?

Why can’t there be a tiny, tiny place for me?

Don´t set fire on me.

I beg you.

Please.

Bury me. Bury me. Bury me.

Please don´t set fire on me.

No, not them again.

In the past, they came from time to time.

Nowadays, they come all the time.

They say my time has come.

They talk to me.

They talk to my children.

They say they’ll burn me.

But I didn´t harm anyone.

Did my dad harm anyone?

Not really except me.

A stick on my head or a kick on my ass.

It doesn´t hurt anymore.

Sometimes, he had a fight.

But nothing serious.

Did my grand-dad harm anyone?

Not that I know.

Any of my ancestors to blame?

Really, I didn´t hurt anyone, did I?

Except those chickens, or ducks, or rabbits, or pigs I ate

But everyone did it.

Why pick on me?

Let me go back to earth.

No, I´m not scared of worms.

They are fine.

I know them, especially the earthworms.

They are gentle and kind.

They promised they’ll look after me

Jut as I had looked after them.

No. No. No. No. No.

I don´t want to go to the air.

It´s not the same.

It´s not the same.

It´s not the same.

They say it´s just the same.

But it´s not the same.

How can I make them understand it´s not the same?

Bury me. Bury me. Bury me.

Please don´t set fire on me.

Why do I have to live so long?

I wish I was dead.

But I´m afraid to be dead.

Not that I´m afraid to be dead.

I´m only afraid to be dead.

I wish I´m dead so I don’t have to see them again.

I wish I´m dead so I don’t have to hear them talk

about fire again.

Why didn´t I die earlier?

Why didn´t I die long time ago.

Why didn´t I die when my old wife was dead?

Why didn´t I die when my old friends were dead?

Why didn´t I die when the old men or women of the

village were all dead?

Oh, my god! Why didn´t you let me die?

Oh, my god! Why do I have to live this long?

Oh, my old god! Why do you let me grow so old?

I´m scared.

I´m scared.

I´m really scared.

I´m scared of fire.

I don’t want to be roasted like a chicken or a rabbit,

or a lamb, or a pig.

Where is my son?

Where is my daughter?

Where is my grandson?

Where is my grand daughter?

Where are you, my children?

Where is everyone?

Don´t let them do this to me.

Let me go back to earth.

I beg you.. I beg you. I beg you. I beg you. I beg you.

Bury me. Bury me. Bury me.

Please don´t set fire on me.

2. This is not a funeral

This is not a funeral.

I don´t have to listen to what the village-chief say.

Not any more.

No, not any more.

This is not a funeral.

He just talks on and on and on.

Why do I still hear him?

I am dead, aren´t I?

This is not a funeral.

No one cries.

No one cries any more.

Not like the old days.

Cry your head off.

Cry your heart out.

Cry like a river after a summer rain.

3. Help

Don’t just sit there.

Do something.

Please.

I beg you. I beg you. I beg you.

Or it´ll be too late.

Take me out.

Take me away.

Take me back to earth.

Help.

Help.

Help.

Help.

Help.

Help me.

Please help me.

Someone, anyone, help me.

Oh, my god! Where are you?

Please, please help me.

Let me go back to earth.

Stop this fire!

Stop this fire!

Stop this fire!

Stop this fire!

Will you stop this fire?

4. It´s too late

Have you ever seen a sheep die?

She just takes the knife with her throat and bleeds

without making a sound.

Have you ever seen a buffalo die?

He has so many tears in his eyes, like a well.

Have you ever seen a dog die?

She barks. She bites. She puts up a good fight.

Have you ever seen a pig die?

He screams to his last breath.

Have you ever seen a duck die?

After some one chops off her head,

She still stumbles to the river without a head on her neck.

Have you ever seen a rooster die?

After a knife slits his throat,

He just keeps flapping his wings as if he wants to fly.

It´s too late now.

I´m homeless.

I have nowhere to go.

A wild ghost, that’s what they call me.

What should I do?

Where should I go?

5. I don´t have a cry

I cry.

I don’t hear a thing.

I cry.

I don´t have a tear.

I cry.

I don´t have a cry.

Will some one take my soul, my wandering soul and

Put me back to earth?

That´s where I can have my peace.

Let me go back to earth.

I beg you, please.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

Let me go back to earth.

Hunting in the City

By Li Yan Translated by Li Yan, Jenny Putin and Richard Liu

The weather forecast warns of storms.

The bright sun shines down from a blue sky.

Cars converge on the City from all sides.

Waving their swords, the horsemen are galloping

In a text book.

Riding on tanks, the modern army

Roared into the history museum.

When we motorists come to town,

An eternal smile hangs on the face all day long.

Monkey troupes come down from the forest,

Head for the City,

Grab a VISA,

Pay their way home

And sunbathe under the lost tree.

Trenches of rush are built on the forehead.

Time rolls on as faxes strafe in the air.

Military casualties litter the streets.

Chieftans on the throne drain banquet cups.

Words, laughter and voices ring up $ and £.

An on-call beautican comes to repair your fading face.

Hunting for food but not for the winter.

Cheque books are jammed with meat and vegetables

Sealed in a secret mountain cave.

The drunks in mind stare at

A wild ox trapped by the come and go hunters.

Be kind, please. But the monkeys must rush. So just forget it.

When the sun sets in blood,

Apes go home with steak on their shoulders.

Monkeys have to stay, fighting a war that´s ended


 LIZ CRUSE

liz

Liz CruseI am a poet, writer and storyteller whose inspiration comes from my friends and from the sacred lands of Britain. I live in London but my heart is in Avalon. I have been a member of the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids since 2005 and follow the earth-based spiritual path of Druidry. I´ve long been passionate about the environment and spent many years raising money for Greenpeace. I do yoga and love to dance and to walk in the countryside. I live in North London with my cat Samhain, in the shade of a magic apple tree.  -January 2011

Psyche Come Home

(for my friends, wishing them happiness and the blessings of the gods)

 Intent as tightrope walkers

They pass together through night´s nuptial garden.

All their paths are necklaced with lights, trees laden

With lucent fruit, mirrored in the sapphire

Of the pool between the columns.

Clangour of instruments wakes their wedding day:

Archaic horns out of a fantasy of Babylon

Blare epithalamic overtures;

A tachycardia of drumming

Speeds us to the threshold of union

Under marigold garlands and scarlet parasols.

Draped in white and gold,

Hung with aureate chains and filigree,

She is ushered to her marriage rites.

Flickers of incandescence attend her:

A flock of salamandrical goldfinches

In the hands of bright silked girls.

Uncertain conference with priests is edged with carboniferous smoke,

Harried by electronic bustle and flash of photographers,videographers,

And we plain Europeans, become exotic,

Skipping over sand that sears our soles,

Are photographed between coconut palms

By the Malayalam press.

Beyond the lagoon the monsoon breakers

Throw up depth charged foam.

From the awning of the mandap

I see it, as glorious and unreal as a painted backdrop

While rose petals, pink as fondant sweets,

Shower down around them.

He hangs a golden necklace around her neck,

Hard as the opposition of families,

Precious as the long anticipated life to come.

Garlanded in white and crimson they stand together

Parvati come to Shiva; Psyche´s tasks accomplished;

Eros, long since seen, now claimed.

So memories thread themselves like beads on a rosary

Along the flight paths that highwire their way in time out of time

From Trivandrum to Abu Dhabi and on to Heathrow

Until I am delivered from unpredictable poetry of India,

Into the familiar prosody of London streets.

 2004

Prufrock´s Mermaid

Muscular as snake under coruscation of scales

My finned tail, mackerel iridescent, grips granite,

Reflects rainbows, sunshot water, stippled skies.

Over my breasts I comb my hair with fishbone,

Leaving it unsnarled

To float and flow, drift in the moon-dreamt tides.

Echoes in my song the sea light before dawn

And my sisters take up the aria of the stars,

Brothers reprise the clarion call of morning

And swimmers, baffled by the water, drown.

We have risen, breathing aqueous winds,

To weep with tears of air this unexperienced shore.

My seventh sister

Lives on land.

Tail crudely forked

She walks on knives,

Should leave behind

Gouts of blood clotted,

Sea anemones

Deserted by the tide.

Tongue sliced out

In the garden of death

Where polyps writhe

Now she swims silent,

Drowned

In the blind vision

Of a high-born boy.

She does not hear our song.

Under Venus shell sky of evening

I keep her vigil.

The deeps call me.

Should I plunge with the whales,

Humpback, blue, narwhal, finn, spermaceti?

Flirt with dolphins, shimmer through herring shoals?

Shall I chase penguins through Antarctic seas?

Explore the deep sea trench where rare light comes

Only from luminous eyes, from sulphurous vents

Where tectonic partings show volcanic fire?

Will I swim down to wrecks and giant squid,

Consort with skeletons of sailors,

Score my fish flesh on jagged reefs of rusting fleets,

Bruise my white arms

Against containered cargoes, split and barnacled?

I may at hazard, seize untarnished coins;

Dig in the sedimenting ooze to claim

Cups of porcelain, daggers of black silver;

Play among corroding shadows of mines,

Missiles, uranium enriched, unspent;

Weave between the metal rain of mortal war

Whose ships flotilla on the surface of our oceans.

A dive perilous, fraught with tooth of shark,

Toxin of man-at-war, shock of eel and ray,

For all its siren chance of treasure.

Shall I after all

Sit on this rock

Scrying my mirror,

Singing to my sister?

On the brink of the boundless sea.


 SUZANNE and KEITH DRAKE

DISCOVERY (female voice)

The bottom dropped out

I had to scream and shout

I went round the bend

On hearing of your little friend

Almost a teenager

So they say.

Pretty in an anaemic way.

The Esso station´s

Female assistant

The one who looks

A bit vague and distant.

You´d had my life.

Gift wrapped, you weasel

I hope her knickers

Smell of diesel!

KEITH DRAKE May 2009

Oh go and jump in the Bospherous, darling

That´s exactly what you said

Then you flew back to England

And wished me a long time dead.

The first minutes of the rest of my life

Had only just begun

But the astringency of that remark

in the officers mess, the boom..boom of my heart.

Blocked out the Turkish sun.

And I remember the message on the Kleenex box

When I was just a boy

The stark blue lettering read:

PULL TEAR USE DESTROY!

KEITH DRAKE


JAMES EASTON

jeaston

James Easton is a 24 year old rapper / poet from Kent and has recently moved to East London. He started rapping at age 18 after being a big fan of UK Hip Hop for many years previous. He had various shows and even a few rap battles for the UK´s largest battle league ´Don´t Flop´. At age 23 he went travelling to Australia, and unable to record, but the creative intuitiveness still nagging him, he began to write Spoken word, a cross between rap and poetry. After returning home he continued to peruse this and is now performing at shows and has released his first video which hit 3,000 views in just 3 weeks. He writes from the heart and never forces his words to ensure it´s coming from a pure place. A strong performance and stage presence combined with his words will have you paying attention to the very end.

Beautiful Basics

Take me back to the days with no video games,

And stick me in a cave by an open flame,

Back to the roots before we became,

what we´ve grown into as time slipped away,

As a race we´ve been accustomed to waste our physical traits,

That helped us to gain, food through hunting,

Building shelter for warmth,

Escape through running and using our legs to actually walk,

Now we sit in front of computers,

Microwave meals, get food delivered,

Small kids with iPhones, young spirits are hindered

Getting quickly conditioned becoming cogs in the system,

I speak with conviction for these blindly led victims,

A stream of generations slowly erasing,

The nature of evolution through embracing sedation,

Let´s take it back, rise with the sun

And fall, when it fades,

Meditate and refrain from making mistakes,

That you may have made the previous day,

In the face of a world that sees change and hates,

Don´t be afraid, follow your instinct,

Make conscious decisions and let your gut do the thinking

You

As the rain falls, so do my thoughts, Tears from the sky, one giant eye over seeing what we call life

Some search for a meaning, or put faith in a higher power, Failing to acknowledge that we’re all here now, And this time is ours,

It´s up to no one but you to chose how it´s used,

Infuse your inner truth, with whatever you do,

Feel a passion burning, the outcome, will be worth it

Relaxed, but hurtling towards it

The end result is undetermined

And to think about the end, is to miss the greatness of the present

A sheer excellence is evident when remembering our relevance,

We´ve all got a part to play, it´s more than a game,

Time is an amenity I can´t afford to waste,

So there´s a power of chase,

-To keep giving the gift I´ve been given, by hearing my thoughts,

And letting them transform into scriptures,

Find your lane, your talent,

The artist within, love what you do

To deny yourself of it,

There´s, a real sin


RHIAN EDWARDS

RhianEdwards

Rhian Edwards Published by tall-Lighthouse, Rhian launched her first pamphlet of poems Parade the Fib in May 2008 which has since been awarded the Poetry Book Society Choice for autumn 2008. “Rhian Edwards makes the language sing and dance. Join her campaign for the liberation of poetry from all that is dry, stuffy, insincere and boring.”Christopher Reid”These poems are from a highly distinctive new voice. They bristle with sensual wit, chronicling relationships young and old, personal portraits and the minutiae of life as we live it. The unique voice lies I the music of the language, a distinctly un-English sound, often in a minor key, elegiac but with unexpected leaps of the imagination. Against a Celtic bass-line, she sets her own modern turn of phrase and sense of humour.”Hugo Williams.Rhian has racked up more than 200 stage and radio performances in the 6 years she has been writing, which have included, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Latitude Festival and the Verb on Radio 3: “Outstanding performances that get you in the emotional gut.”The Verb, Radio 3 LINKSrhian_edwards@hotmail.comhttp://www.myspace.com/rhianedwards

Marital Visit

 It´s her visiting time

which presses the pause,

makes you follow me downstairs

and shepherd me out of the door.

I sigh the train South,

unearth my unwanted habits,

remind all my rooms

to smell of me again.

Like the man who threw a party

but didn´t dare touch a drop,

you busy yourself in the tidying,

the rounding up of my scraps.

The ritual begins with the clearing

away of my face; foundation, lipstick,

powder, concealer, the wooden brush

cobwebbed with my unyielding knots.

Everything strewn like toys on the surface

of her kidney-shaped dressing table,

is gathered and bagged

as on the day they had the nerve to arrive.

You empty the shelves of my skin

the eczema ointments, the bottled fake tan,

the perfume you bought on a whim

that patched me in rashes.

Flicked over the edge,

my pieces topple into the dark of the bag,

where they chink together

as if to toast their reunion.

Your wife lets herself in,

carries herself across the threshold,

she smiles at her hallway,

sniffing me everywhere.

Sick Bed

It went as far as the eyes,

stirred something up, stitching them shut.

The morning I woke to the immediate black,

eyelids padlocked, I howled for myself.

The tears had nowhere to go, they stayed put,

dammed up against thin walls of skin.

In the blacked out room, you let

me lie on you again.

You dabbed and circled pink ointment

into the mohair itch of my body,

while I wriggled, sickened

most at being put back in nappies.

You touched my cheek and palms

with the cool plastic of toys,

I heard you in the doorway, watching

with your hand on your hip?

You did the crying for me,

smoking cigarettes in prayer.


PENNY FAULKNER

pfaulkner

Penny Faulkner grew up in the West Country and lived in Edinburgh for ten years before moving to London in 2011, where she works as a hospital teacher and home tutor for the London Borough of Sutton. She began writing poetry as a student, and has had work published in The Eildon Tree and V:New Writing from Edinburgh

Birdsong

Tonight is a hammock strung between

coffee and conversations; a knotted mesh that strains

beneath the weight of sleeplessness.

The sharpened blade of a blackbird´s song

……….planes the darkness. Corkscrews

………..of dawn soften the asphalt

…………sky, rings around fingers

………..small enough to prise

……….the concrete open

………and make a nest

……..of rough-skinned

…….hope, an overflow

……………of fluted

……………questions.

A sheet of ruckled cloud conceals

the polished grain of early morning; birdsong quavers

within a hedgerow of unbudded thoughts.

Penny Faulkner

Departure

A gate scrapes across a grey roofed dusk

until the yard becomes nothing

but a pulse of sounds; a broom swept across cobbles,

the clang of a bucket on stone

and the quiet, sparse words of the dairymen

who talk of their families, and the weather, and of Christmas.

The twilight creaks and drips. A white-tipped tail

twitches a semaphore of fear and need,

slips through a rotten fence, and disappears.

Cows tear the grass. A bell chimes, resonating

through pasture land and into terraced streets

of charred red bricks, and stripped, bedraggled trees.

Sodden fields cling to every homeward step

then let go suddenly, in a gasp of mud and air.

Warped by fog and smoke, the moon is a yellow bruise

above a future of straight lines; lean gardens sloping

to a slatted fence, and then a chaos of brambles

and the distant canter of a train.

 Penny Faulkner


ANDY V. FROST

andyvfrost

Andy V.Frost is a 50 years old Merton Biker who has been writing and performing poetry for the past twelve years. His likes are all good music, good cinema, live poetry, natural beauty, motorcycles and any excuse to ride them. He has often been found at the side of the road writing to the rhythm of his engine with a fly-peppered smile on his face.

2,000 Miles on a Motorcycle, Why?

I ride alone,

At my own pace,

My course,

No need to race,

With you,

Or any other brethren.

This is my way.

And the stillness in my mind,

Is the road beating time,

Mile after mile after mile,

A thrumming meditation,

Carrying me through,

To a new Nirvana.

´Till I reach where I´m bound for,

Switch off the machine,

Standing silent inside,

The following moments,

For I still hum to the tune of the engine,

The rhythm of the asphalt,

And the song of the curves in the mountains.

Andy V. (Frost) 28/08/07

8/08/11: A personal recollection of the Croydon Riots

Places I know are no longer whole,

I saw them in flames yesterday.

A mixture of sadness, anger and pain,

Worried and scared for my friend,

A wall of fire between her and her home,

A war-zone,

Me, wall-to-wall live coverage and a phone,

Trying to reach out,

Find her,

Guide her,

Wanting to hire a tank to go and get her

so I could hold her and keep her safe from the madness.

Hundreds were going through this,

Not just us,

But I don´t think I´ve ever felt so alone.

Places I know are no longer whole,

I saw their ashes today.

Andy V. Frost or. 9/08/11 v7. 14/07/12 MP/WW Anthology version


 LESLEY HALE

lhale

Lesley Hale is a reader, writer and performer of poems, living in St Ives where she is now thoroughly retired. Her poems have been published in journals including Poetry Cornwall and South. This year she has contributed to anthologies for Loose Muse and Poems for Freedom.She last read at the Poetry Café in December 2012 and looks forward to being in such talented company again.

Gannet flute

A long-winged gannet flies above a rock of stammering birds

that lift themselves in sudden silence

to form lines across the cove.

Mackerel ride the currents

flow in shoals around the bay

wind into silver balls

bait the scanning birds.

Black-tipped

torpedoes

foam the sea

salvos of divers

drill the shoals.

Gannets feeding.

Crashed at 60 miles an hour

the bird is broken

floating

to the shore.

A flute is fashioned from the wing

the hollow bone carved with holes

finger tips engineer a rising sound

lips feather breath.

Lesley Hale


LISA HITCHEN

lh
Lisa Hitchen soulful truths from this poet of the new confessional contact “Lisa Hitchen” lh@lisahitchen.com

Missing

 A fifth of me is gone, walked out.

Smell, the most powerful

yet subtle sense of all.

Whalloping stink or tiniest perfume

don´t word stir, stir anything.

Washing flung across the house

is sweat wet but absent.

Tomato leaves don´t tango my tastebuds.

Your body, your face, your mouth,

hold their warmth and texture

but don´t carry you,

with triple thrill, to my brain.

Eating is the bare preserve

of tongue with its restricting palate.

I provoke nasal work out.

Vacum up rose with my nose.

Slice onion, sniff catfood,

there´s no response.

Only a sense of what I knew.

The absence of a lifetime friend,

that gave me colour, warning

of bad foods, fumbled farts,

of who not to fuck.

The sharpest and keenest gift,

made me chocolate tender,

radared for rotten breath,

or the lust of orange cardamon.

Tea is for the scent addict.

Its easel of spices,

bound to a cup,

is nothing to me now.

Healing will take striking

nasal engines back to work.

I must wait.

23/9/07


ARDELLA JONES

ardellaj

Ardella Jones grew up fast in West London then read English at Bristol University.On graduating, she worked for Lambeth Council whilst moonlighting as reggae correspondent for the NME, winning the Catherine Pakenham Award for journalism.Ardella switched to writing fiction and scripts including France2´s cult 3D animation, Bunny Maloney. As part of double act, Ken & Ard, she won the New Names of 92 award at the Edinburgh Fringe, and, as a solo stand up, she toured the comedy circuit from Up the Creek to Jongleurs.Ardella taught creative writing in Adult Education; now she performs as a poet, writes fiction, and runs Chalk the Sun creative writing workshops in Balham and retreats in Puglia and Andalusia.Ardella´s star sign is Scorpio; her hobby is buying shoes and her favourite food is expensive.
ALLO LOVE SALAAM
The Afghan Butcher´s boy,
Has eyes of shyest green,
They slither from bold to coy,
Leave little left unseen.
He comes from the wild borders
Mountainous, cool, remote,
Where Taliban give orders
Qu´ran is learnt by rote.
School is just some old iman
Sitting beneath the trees
Women are both worthless mules
And endless fantasies.
The UN drops its food aid,
The Allies only bombs,
He escapes from an air raid,
Finds everybody gone.
So now he´s here in Tooting,
The Afghan Butcher´s Boy,
Safe from bombing and shooting,
His sharp knife just a toy.
Expert he cuts, chops, slices,
Through sheep and cows and goats,
Halal free from vices,
Blood drained through slitted throats.
He speaks Pashtu and Farsi,

Writes numbers but not words,He´s learnt to speak in cockney,To Bosnians and Kurds.Jamaicans, Nigerians,He greets with “What a gwan?”Iraqis, Algerians,”A Salaam Alaikum”He cuts beef corti cortiChicken chinga chingaLeaves the lamb deghi deghiChops ghost chops when you ready.He sports a diamond earring,Hair gel, a mobile phone.Says “It cool” and “Ting and ting””You want that on the bone?”Potato head, he calls his mate,That´s aloo head to you,”My English she not very great,”He shrugs “But what to do?”:While women wait inside the shopHe still comes over shyHis hands chop chop non-stopThrough bellies, breasts and thigh.Sometimes his green eyes lingerCan´t help but go astray,He´s nearly lost a finger

But still he chops away.

Tooting´s a confusing mix

Blood, money, lust and joy,

And Women with alluring tricks

To tempt an Afghan boy.

This poem is dedicated to our mendacious friends Tony and George. It´s called….

MINISTRY of TRUTH

Extraordinary rendition

Sounds like a musical accolade

Collateral damage

Something for which insurance can be paid.

Friendly fire

Should be cosy, warm and nice

Theatre of War

Is surely starring Vincent Price

Blue on Blue

May sound rude to you

But what is actually true

Is that these linguistic compromises

Are just shoddy shabby disguises

For when truth bleeds and dies

Buried under bloody lies.


EISHA KAROL

ek

Eisha Karol studied dance in Santiago de Cuba and Salvador da Bahia before creating her own multimedia dance theatre format based around her poetry. Her first show SeaSuite:Ultraviolet played at venues all over London and gatecrashed the Edinburgh Fringe. The new show Inner Birds & Outer Birds has played at Watermans Arts Theatre and Tara Studio.Links: myspace.com/eishakarol
Friday night party, back in London 
I always want to leave via the window
The night beckons to me while the room hums
Cut-out buildings against the sky
Just like they were in Salvador
And the moon that pulls, pulls, pulls
I don´t know whether my face is smiling or sad
Only that I can’t hold it in the way you do
I want to belong but I can’t
Trying to leave the room before it happens
The umbrella ignites in my chest
My feet leave the ground
The sun bursts out of my face
Carrying me up away from the party
Over the stone church spire
I want to go to Salvador
Let there be no more sadness
Let’s do cartwheels into the sea at sundown
Breeze past the ever-changing covesThe glittering million shades of blue in theWhite-gold Atlantic lightLet´s strut with prideNot hide ourselves for a better dayLet´s buy nothing and have everythingLet´s sing whether it’s any good or notDance half-naked round your front roomMake clothes so that we look like queensCelebrate the craziness of what´s around us.Let there be no more pots of gold at the endI don´t want to miss the rainbow right above us.

  LISA KELLY

lisakelly

Lisa Kellyis half English and half Danish and is learning Danish very slowly. She is a freelance journalist living in London, specialising in technology, but please don´t ask her to sort out your printer. Her pamphlet Bloodhound is published by Hearing Eye. She regularly hosts poetry evenings at the Torriano Meeting House in London. A&E was recently published in The Spectator in February this year and Ø is in the latest issue of The Interpreter´s House.

A&E

If this waiting is hellish, then the sick are limbo dancing;

only those who are bent double, or on the floor, puddles

of their former selves, have a hope of getting under the bar,

progressively lowered as more contorted squeeze through.

If the woman in a white coat is god, then the boy with bleeding hands

has stigmata, the man with closed eyes on the stretcher is Lazarus,

and the toddler pushing donkey-on-wheels up and down,

up and down, is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

If this is a place of worship, then the grey kidney-shaped receptacles

are donation plates passed around for contributions from the faithful,

hopeful they are worthy of saving. If this is where you think the wait

will end within four hours, then think again, the end is always waiting.

Ø

Danish for island

a new word

new world

to explore

My tongue

tastes the sound of Ø

touches its shores

its limits

My mouth has a Caliban look

monsterish in expressiveness

and more ridiculously

round than Ø

Surrounded by a sea of white

Ø is what it means

but I can´t possess

even this small word

The axis cutting

north east to south west

makes Ø

a No Entry sign

I dream of Ø, wishing

it in my blood

as the English sound

that comes so easily, it is thoughtless

Ø floats

like those white blood cells

that gave my mother

& her tongue life

I will navigate Ø

the line going through

is a river perhaps

and will lead to fresh water


LARA KENNEDY

larak

Lara Kennedy Welsh word-lover whose writing is inspired by Ancient Greek and Roman poetry as much as by that squirrel in the park who just came over to say hello. I cannot remember a time when I didn´t write poetry, and now a firm believer in following your bliss, I have recently decided to take writing poetry “seriously”, whatever that means …

Kernels

The squirrel, a teacher

Most beloved.

Whose classroom has no door,

Whose lesson: The art

Of being humble.

For it stumbles on kernels

Again and again.

Given and given,

Each cone a token

Of generosity

The highest majesty

Bestows.

Seeds, though preferring

The shade beneath blades,

Are as the dew drops

Delighting in the light,

Both threads that trace back

To the selfsame night.

And in fairness, so too,

Does each gift receive its like.

Thirst

For each cup of coffee

Bitter, sweet life do I crave.

A patch on the tongue

Perpetually parched,

A body for a mouth,

And by this vessel is it drunk.

Each step a sip,

Each word a gulp,

Each embrace a long draw.

A thirst rivalled

Only by the mouths of rivers,

The body of water

Fearing dryness

So all-consuming

The drinking is

Neverending.

For a curse in disguise

Is each water droplet,

Wrapped in its aqua cloak

The seed of salt

Cultivates greater thirst

Than before, always more

Always more.

But Thirst, do not mistake

These words for complaints

Flames… from which you run,

For the heat that hits your ears

Is that of air.

Yet if you leave,

Eyes follow your lead

And pour forth

To douse the embers

Marking the spot

Where once you stood.

For longing changes not form,

Only direction towards

The object of affection,

And in your absence,

Water would lose its lustre

And desire would seek

That which desires it … Thirst,

By which all else is birthed.

And charged with my birth,

So too shall this thirst

Release my body

When the time is done.

The pursuit of life

Outrunning this skin,

And a cup filled to the brim

Is raised to my lips,

The last of its kind,

For now in water

Do I swim.

And Life, here is my

Outstretched hand,

Extending not to clasp the cup

But to grasp that which

Lifts it,

A handshake our signatures.

Bringing cups of perspiration

The footprints of hard work,

Glasses half empty with tears,

The loss of which

Attests the loss for which they weep,

And a fountain spouting

Vapour so fine

Every eye would deny it,

Every heart live by it.

To quench …our vow,

The dependence … mutual,

For I too, feed you.


 CHARLOTTE KNOWLES-CUTLER

ckc

Charlotte Knowles–Cutler is a member of Caterham sixth form from Kent. Having recently turned 17, Charlotte has found her love of poetry has only increased and evolved with age as she finds her true style in spoken word and performance poetry. In her spare time, Charlotte cooks, daydreams and reads far too much Sylvia Plath.

Vacancy Sign

This anonymous highway

We hightail the aged tarmac in the solitude

Of our own minds

Humming darkness holds me silent

Pyramids playing

Road signs swaying

By vacancy after vacancy sign

Neon in our vacant state

Each roadside homestead

As empty as our conversations

For everything I long to say to you

I choke upon the cloying words

This is a love of the worst kind

Infatuated, blind

Nothing good will come of should, would, could

Nothing sweet from bitter hearts

Nothing sure from this roulette

Furthest thing from heaven sent

And like these beaten up motels

I wear a flickering vacancy sign upon my chest

By Charlotte Knowles–Cutler

Letter to Westboro

Do you believe in God?

Are you blind in your need to be saved?

And could you condemn a stranger

If they´re lesbian or gay?

Does His judgement work this way?

Does your conscience have no say?

Is mindless, muted puppet

The role you sought to play?

Do you believe in love?

Prevailing through darkest despair

Do you call it human instinct?

Or a cross that we must bear?

Dependence in comparison to air?

Intrinsic desire for acceptance we share?

If God is love, all love is good,

Your judgement can´t be fair

Do you believe in choice?

Can you shape what you do, who you are?

Or does God write out your story

As you simply play your part?

Attractions no decisions, I don´t need your God´s permission

I won´t let Church nor State dictate

The direction of my heart

So fuck your pointless legislate

And fuck religion as an excuse for hate

Sexuality´s not a choice; it´s innate

So if I meet Peter at Heaven´s gates

And he slams your God´s doors in my face

I won´t know up from down

On Hell I´ll smile, Heaven frown


STUART LARNER

Stuart Larner

Stuart Larner is a chartered psychologist. As Mental Health Expert, he ran an advice column for XL for Men Magazine. He has published international articles and poems in magazines and newspapers, as well as in scientific journals. He has been involved in scriptwriting and directing productions at the Edinburgh Fringe. Stuart published Scarborough Modern Sea Songs; an ebook in verse “Jack Daw and the Cat” and an enovel about cricket entitled ;Guile and Spin” http://stuartlarner.blogspot.com/

Map Reading

“This is where we started from,” you say.

A feeble line, on uncertain ground,

Wispy as your hair once on my coat.

“This is where we think we went,” you say.

A wavering contour took us round

And back, though no higher, yet so close.

“This is where we meet again,” you say.

Looking for pointers is how we found

Each other, when thinking we were lost.

first published Kansas City Voices (Volume 10),2012

The Cellotape Dispenser

Clung to its roll cellotape hides, clever,

Clearly eluding the keenest nail and eyes

That search its circumference for ever

Tensely hunting the slightest nick to prise.

Like cellotape we hide the tortured end

Of life´s crude tears and long twisting stresses

And when we are called upon again some part to mend

Our strengths tangle into weaknesses.

But the dispenser, a friend of measure,

Will keep an outstretched hand so clear and free.

The cutter zips. The bond grows with pressure

And clearly through it all we learn to see

How with simple help at various lengths

From weaknesses can come our greatest strengths.

first broadcast on:17/06/1995 The Northern Line,Huddersfield FM Community Radio

first published in:15/11/1995 Huddersfield Examiner,Huddersfield Newspapers Ltd


ANNE MACAULAY

annemaca

Anne Macaulaywas brought up in rural, northern Scotland but, since meeting her husband in the 70s, has embraced urban life in East London. Proud mother of two grown up children, with 30 years immersed in Education, she now wants to focus more on her writing and loving the Arts!

Premiere

A stuttering cine projects her onto the sitting room wall,

first screen appearance … a once-blue bobbled

cotton t shirt sculpts her teenage breasts as closely

as a silver screen starlet´s little black dress; and,

though lipstick-lacking, her lips still pout a sultry smile

before the mock bite of the fish slippery in her hands,

shining its silver belly and fins while a child´s scrawls

of thick black felt tip zigzag across its back

over scales of pale greenish blue phosphorescence.

Mackerel, that morning´s catch, glistening lemmings to the lines,

lie twitching in the bucket in the bottom of the boat next to the baler

for the leak (only slight, not really dangerous her father said).

She takes the knife as she´d been shown, blade upwards,

to slit its silver belly in a straight line from the tail to the head,

and plunges in, pulling out the innards, and,

hands gutsmeared, she smiles, eyes open wide

lashes, unmascara´d, but ready and willing to flutter at the lens,

long fair hair billowing, blown by real wind not machine.

Saturday Night

And she runs all the way in the middle of the treelined road,

black and red baseball boots stick to the white lines, the only

thing visible in the black of nearly midnight, the final deadline.

Teeshirt and Levis cling to her damp skin, breaths rasp in her

taut throat, chest tom tomming at the hoot of that owl

gliding just past her ear in the choking, cloaking dark.

Behind, on the rounded stones by the edge of the Spey, others,

still lolling, laughing by the fire, glug bottles of Bulmers

and cans of Tennents, heads tipped back and slurring smiles.

She knew she shouldn´t have stayed out so long, she knew,

she knew … a futile cyclone in her mind of trying to remember

the what and where and who …her pretexts for this forbidden fun.

She called it fun but wasn´t sure she really had enjoyed herself,

not ready for a part in the giggling fumbling, not able to go home

with alcohol on her breath …and it was so, so late, nearly the Sabbath.

The final stretch into the village, heart pounding in time with her feet,

relief at streetlights and owls gone, but the biggest fear still present:

framed on the doorstep, furrowed brow and blazing blue eyes.

 Anne Macaulay


AMY McALLISTER

amca2

Amy Mc Allisterhas featured at spoken word nights around the UK and Ireland including Tongue Fu, Stand Up and Slam, Jawdance, Sage and Time, The Bus Driver´s Prayer, Hammer and Tongue, and The Monday Echo, and she is the current London Antislam Champion. She read at the Royal Festival Hall as part of Sylvia Plath´s Ariel with Frieda Hughes and has also performed live on NTS Radio as a guest on the Re:Versed show. More recently, Amy was Angel Underground Station´s poet in residence as part of Transport for London´s ´Travel Better London´ campaign. She is published in Rhyming Thunder Young Poets´ Anthology and in several editions of South Bank Poetry Magazine and her own collection is coming out later this year. Amy is also an actress and recent credits include Philomena, Call the Midwife, Holby City, and Emmerdale. For more info, visit amymcallisterpoetry.wordpress.com .

Mistress

He said ´If I didn´t have this

Cold sore I´d kiss you´.

I said ´Is “cold sore” the

Nickname you give to your wife?´

We bought the furniture we were

Sitting on and I didn´t

Keep the receipt.

I knew there´d be no need.


 PAUL McGRANE

pmcgrane1

Paul McGrane is co-founder of Forest Poets in Walthamstow, and Membership Manager at the Poetry Society. His poems have appeared in several publications and anthologies including South Bank Poetry, The Morning Star, the Templar Poetry Anthology, and the upcoming Penguin anthology The Poetry of Sex.

Charlton Heston

Although he isn´t I know exactly

who he is the God I don´t believe in

the God I don´t believe in is a man

he wears white hair white robes white all over

skin

from the Bible and not the Koran

the God I don´t believe in

this might sound racist

I find it hard to express

how I don´t believe in my God

but in your God less

it´s not my fault

daily School and Sunday School

taught me all I shouldn´t know

Heaven is above Hell is down below

cloud inhabiter finger pointer

can´t crack a joke

Charlton Heston

could have played that bloke

or his non existent son

Paul McGrane

The Wake

Saw, just now, a picture in the paper

someone has thrown on the floor in the Square.

They´ve given her a different name, a daughter,

and a mother who is only forty-four.

If asked to put an age on her,

I´d have stabbed at fifty-something-or-other.

First time, I thought, I´ve clocked her in colour.

Here´s to the offy, the boozer, and the bar.

She would show me the stars,

The Big Dipper, Cassiopeia.

Would go on about how constant they are,

etc.

Here´s to the moon and the sun and the cider.

She would cry a lot. Had a great big scar

on her shoulder, a blackeye bruise under

her breast. Let me run a finger,

slowly, over one and (once) the other.

And here´s to the rise and the fall of the shutters.

Last night, for what feels like thirty six hours,

they blocked me from walking to the river

and the underpass they built to keep us warm.

Another drink, I may remember more.

 Paul McGrane


 HELEN MORT

hmort

Helen Mort was born in Sheffield and lives in Cambridge. Her pamphlet, “The Shape of Every Box”, was published by Tall-Lighthouse in 2007, the same year she received an Eric Gregory award from The Society of Authors.

A winner of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award on five occasions between 1997 and 2004, Helen has published work in The Rialto, Dreamcatcher and the Times Educational Supplement. She has performed her work at the Ledbury Festival, The Oxford Literary Festival and, more recently, in Buckingham Palace.

From her home in Cambridge, she organises a Poetry Society ‘Stanza’ and a writing society for students. In her spare time she runs marathons and climbs in the Peak District. Over the years, Helen has scribbled poems furtively at work in pharmacies, pubs, nightclubs and now tries to jot them down in offices. A first collection is slowly materialising.

http://www.tall-lighthouse.co.uk * ww.cb1poetry.org.uk * www.christs.cam.ac.uk/milton400 *www.poetrysociety.org.uk/content/membership/stanzas *http://international.poetryinternationalweb.org

” Carnation”

They´ve built a Body Shop

in the old butcher´s district

caul and pig skin giving way

to coconut oil, jojoba,

as if the cloying air

should remind us there´s no such thing

as a simple kindness

like the spring carnations

fetched from earth to roadside

and, while you wait, beheaded

for your buttonhole.


CLARE MULLEY

cmulley

Clare Mulley was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, and majored in English and Scottish Literature at the University of St Andrews, where she studied 20th Century British and Irish poetry with Don Paterson and was a regular performer at StAnza poetry festival. She was accepted onto the prestigious Christopher Tower Poetry Summer School at Christchurch College, Oxford in 2012, and has since been published by Christchurch Press and The Great British Write-Off. Clare is now a member of The Highgate Poets, and is currently shortlisted to become London´s next Young Poet Laureate. She regularly attends Poet In The City and other open mic nights around London.

The Rhubarb and Grandad

The corner where they can be found has little to commend it,

Only that sunlight and voices do not penetrate so harshly

Leaving room for sounds of water.

This isn´t sweetness as the easy picking gives from low-slung berries

Where the sugar glows, a Chinese lantern in the sheltering green,

But only in the making.

It is necessary for a nail to seek the crease between the rind and flesh,

And with a bowing motion, gently draw the centre from itself

In corkscrew skeins of wear.

Sitting, not smiling too hard, in the silence of another´s thought,

I try to shed the skins distance has grown on us, to softly call

To something gone to earth.

Death of a character

Who comes to view the body? There are none.

His words, his wit, his spirits have been quaffed

And praised and drunk again; some even laughed

To think of him that way…a catch undone,

A shattered bust, a topsail without wind …

The man who never spoke when he could curse

Or beam, or bellow, threaten, spit (or worse)

Made history in a second. “God was kind

To take him at his best.” They never saw

A man who left his face at his front gate,

Who, wide-eyed through the small hours, lay in wait

For meatless fingers scratching at his door,

Wondering that silence had so loud a tread,

And if to be unseen was to be dead.


KATRINA NAOMI

kn

Pinochet´s Garden

Punctured gasps of bog cotton in the marsh by the stream

only he knew the way through. He liked his knowledge.

He had the gardeners dowse selected plants on the hour,

every hour, calibrating which were the last to droop.

He admired cacti for their instinct, their endurance,

liked the sweat of his greenhouse, the heat forced to its limit.

He logged what could survive, beyond the open mouths

of orchids. He knew all their Latin names.

As a boy, he’d snipped the heads off lilies, now

he wanted beauty, found comfort in the red wounds of roses.

One task he retained; no one was allowed to shoo the birds

from the lawn. He hung his catapult from a hook.

His blooms won prizes. His soil, rich. Bone meal rich.

Katrina Naomi, from ” The Girl with the Cactus Handshake” (Templar Poetry 2009)

Charlotte Bronte´s Corset

I´m sorry Charlotte for this disservice.

Of course, your corset is discoloured,

these padded cups no longer coral pink.

Strips of whale plunge the depths

of your bodice, the slightly rusty metal strip

grips from breastbone to wasp-waist.

I feel like a tabloid reporter, sniffing around

the armholes of your life.

…………………….I once wore a corset

in my late teens, black PVC over a black skirt,

fishnets and suede stilettos. I didn’t know

a lot of things then, hardly knew who I was,

had barely heard of you. So what gives

me the right to go searching through

your smalls, to lay out your stays

in the library?

…………………….I don´t have so many scruples,

can´t be tight laced. I need to breathe

the length of my lungs. And I do know

I´ve made your tiny body so much larger

than in life. Forgive me, my waist

is so very different to yours.


Other Theresa

sothert

“Nice singing” – John Hegley,

“Sharper than Lorena Bobbit´s best steak knife” – Niall O´Sullivan (compere: Poetry Unplugged & The Cellar),

“Pam Ayres for Generation X” – Niall Spooner-Harvey (Farrago UK slam champion)

“Victoria Woods with tourettes”- audience member

Other Theresa surfaced from the smog after a night down the Poetry Café in Covent Garden. From there, she vented her voice at various venues, mostly in London and the South East.

Now, she´s proud to be on the E17 scene, getting lyrical and satirical with spiky poetry, salacious songs and banter. Life has taught her how to be sickeningly shallow and dangerously deep.

She´s performed across the UK at a range of top venues including Manchester´s Green Rooms, The Pop Cafe; London´s Hackney Empire, Theatre Royal Stratford East, The Poetry Cafe and RADA.

Other Theresa has worked with famous names including World Slam champion Kat Francois, popular rap poet, MC Shortman, plus the legendary John Hegley and most recently, die-hard punk poet, Atilla the Stockbroker.


EVE PEARCE

evepearce

Eve Pearce has been an actress all her life. Born in Aberdeen she came to London at the age of 12 and regards herself as a Scottish Londoner. She started to write poetry in Katherine Gallacher´s workshops, and in 2007 John Rety published her pamphlet WOMAN IN WINTER (Hearing Eye): and in 2012 her First Collection CAPTURING SNOWFLAKES, together with a CD, LEFT TAE´ TELL THE TALE, was published by Greenheart Press.

ANDROMACHE´S LULLABY

Today you are anchored to my belly

and I am rocking you, rocking you

your fine gold hair on my shoulder

a scarf of grief

They will come soon to take you away

to dash you from the highest rock…

we all know the place, overlooking Troy.

I don´t want to do this, says the Greek herald

He looks kind. I believe him.

No doubt he has children of his own.

The women are keening, beating their breasts

No words come to me, no tears

I rock you my son, my only son…

Hector´s child … golden one

Sleep now my love, so that the moment

when they snatch you from me

may be as a dream, and you wake only

to a flash of blue and your father´s arms

I am rocking you now

rocking and praying to Zeus to save you —

to Hera, Queen of Heaven

such a little boy

to add you to her family

The Herald says it is time

My arms tighten round you

I bless your astonished eyes,

bluer than the skies above.

I call your name:

I let you go

LANG TAE WAIT

Weel, ancient I may be, bit a Granny,

I´d lang tae wait, thocht it wud nivir cum,

bit life´s a funny thing, ye cannae

tell when it´ll deal a body blow, or sum

wee pressie … jist when ye´d gied up hope

and thocht ye wernae fit; and ye´d better be,

for Grannies are aye on call, so dinnae mope,

be a´ready fur the crisis, bit see

ye´re nae mouthin´ the borin´ platitude:

aye weel, this is the way I used tae dae it.

The wurld his changed, ditch that attitude,

aye weel, this is the way I used tae dae it.

The wurld his changed, ditch that attitude,


CARLA PECORELLI

carlap

Carla Pecorelli

about me:my family is from Italy but I was born in Brasil (so,I speak Portuguese-but I’m not from Portugal) www.carlapecorelli.com (my site)

ALL RIGHT

So cold when break your heart

Move on

Love turns away

Like foreigners, loneliness, incomplete, a cloudy day

I never let you down

Because you hands still with me

City lights

Breeze across the sea

Tell me it´s all right

What are you waiting for?

When you begin…

Tell me it´s all right

I wonder how

Ringing in my ears

Tell me it´s all right

I would not leave you

I never would

I could ever touch your face

Because your eyes still with me

Like morning light, bluish light

“Don’t push me aside”

Some time to breath

Once I had your love, your smile

One real think and I shed tears

Baby I could pray

I will try my dear

Words and Music:Carla Pecorelli  Guitar ,vocals and harmonicas:Carla Pecorelli 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.USED BY PERMISSION.


PAULINE SEWARDS

psewards

I have been writing and studying poetry for several years, while working in healthcare. I´ve been published in small press magazines, including South Bank Poetry and enjoy reading and listening to poetry live.

A rough guide to the ghosts of Venice

At one Carnival some sprinkled rice flour

on the tumors of their skin

to hide the plague,

weak, but fortified

with grappa, they danced

like crazy to make one last seduction.

In the city built on trees bolted into mud

and turned to stone, death

is a refrain… ground

into reflected stone

the air smells of bitter herbs

skulls jeer at angels in stoic fascination.

It is often hard to find the line dividing

land and water, air from mist,

iridescence shines

on a pigeon´s breast,

all this he would have loved

is loving now beside you in imagination

GI Bride

It was bit of thrill…we weren´t meant to admit it.

Uniforms in High St, those creamy stateside accents.

All a bit of a puzzle…we didn´t understand it,

the black troops separate from the white officers,

friends said there was bad stuff going down,

all I knew was the thrill. Getting bussed in to the dances,

Saturday nights at the aerodrome…big bands

in the officers mess, the boom..boom of my heart.

He was gorgeous in uniform, smelled clean

unlike a dairy farmer or a clunch ploughman, he was

Washington DC or New England in the fall.

I was a jitterbug in faced up cottons, ink drawn seam

imitating stockings, my fingernails tarted up

with green enamel. Don´t you know there´s a War on?

Mother said. I did – that’s why I kissed so hard.

Pauline Sewards


RICHARD SCOTT

rscott

Richard Scott studied poetry at The Faber Academy and went on to win The Wasafiri New Writing Prize and was selected as a Jerwood/ Arvon Poetry Mentee. His poetry has been published twice in Poetry Review and twice in Poetry London.

Jeanne Baré Observes the Inlet

Roosting starlings watch the river continue

its labour. Anglers draw their boats up

onto the sand, erasing the hoof prints of cattle

who retreat into the violet cedars.

And as if they know they are alone

perch rise up out of the dark,

wake the inlet and drive the water mad

grasping for damselfly, beetles, boatmen,

mosquitoes, hawk moth and paper wasp.

This water sport soundtracks the dusk

inestimable leaps into that other world

through the fearsome belt of oxygen.

All of us are capable of great change;

you only have to watch the fish transform

into dark birds swooping the surface at enormous speed

to know.

Richard Scott


LIZZIE SHIRLEY Singing/songwriter of political and more personal material. Has sung all over , including Italy, France, Sweden, USA, Edinburgh Festival, and GB etc, and TV and Radio.

 “..sings as sweetly as anyone in Edinburgh.” SCOTSMAN

” .. a rare and ringing voice.”

” …’equally talented in both arts” TIME OUT

” …a born performer” SOUTH LONDON PRESS

1

maybe next time

maybe next time

I won´t laugh at jokes I don’t understand

won´t do emotional somersaults

without knowing how to land

2

hello marilyn

though i never knew you at all

They bang it hard in a woman´s face

But for little girls they always open the door

Don´t come around here all flirt and silliness

And say you didn´’t know this

Don´t ask me if I´m sure.

You play their game and they mock you and call you ridiculous

They call you a whore

Then you turn around and blow them kissess and giggle

As if you are asking for more….


 ANGELA STONER

astoner

Angela Stoner is a poet and storyteller, who has lived in Cornwall since 1998. Her work regularly appears in literary journals, and is performed at festivals. She loves the immediacy and connection of sharing her work through live performance. Her first book Once in a Blue Moon (Fal publications, 2005) was performed by Shallal dance and drama company, and her poetry has been interpreted by professional musicians. In 2012, She won the Poetry Society´s Stanza award and the first ever Poetry Out Loud competition held in Cornwall. She is inspired by the landscape of Cornwall and by the power of myth and metaphor to transform the inner landscape and contribute to emotional well-being. She has written articles for several professional journals on this subject and her poetry collection Weight and Flight (oversteps Books 2010) reflects this interest.

Swimming my way Home

All water always opens up a space

exactly me shaped when I slip inside.

In water I´ve a fluency and grace

I never sense on land, a weightless glide

of limbs, the movement effortless and smooth,

each stroke as easy as a heartbeat or a breath.

The ocean washes me of all untruth

opening me to something alien, immense.

The surface of the sea speaks to my skin…

but not in any language I can understand

however carefully I try to listen in.

What seeps in might be far too huge to handle

while all I´d hoped to keep locked solid, fast

will disappear, dissolve, and might not last.

Stone written

Not a calm or a cool stone

It still carries the charge of its birth

the fracture of every wave smash

the bruise of every pebble smash,

every power hammer of the sea

the jarring fall of every tide

the percussive battery of stone slides

as each pebble rubs its partner up the wrong way.

It carries the record of every knockout blow

etched in white hot lightning stripes.


 STEVE TASANE

Stasane

Steve Tasane Steve is the master of tongue twisting, mind boggling alternative poetry. Over the last dozen years you could have caught his dynamic performances almost anywhere: Glastonbury Festival jazz stage, the Barbican, Ronnie Scott´s, Hamley´s Toy Shop, even Battersesa Dogs Home. For its 7 year duration, he was mentor for young slam poets in Ken Livingstone´s Rise festival. He rap funks fro everyone from primary schools to may day anarchists. His arts Council one person show against global corportations, KELPTO, toured throughout 2006, broadcast on BBC1, Channel 4, Radio1 and Radio4, he´s equally likely to be found performing to three year olds in the Glastonbury Kidz Field,or to families on the Poetry Bus at Canterbury festival. His latest project is Talkies, a poetry film album, watch this space. Links: website http://stevetasane.com/

Permission to Dance

gimme your hand

I wanna shake it

permission to dance?

we wanna take it

but we´ve got to fill out a form, give six months notice

spin on our heads and spout hocus pocus

we can state out case but the cause is hopeless

as we lock horns with jobsworth jokers

pleased as punch as they try to halt us

with Pinocchio noses pointing out the small print

permission to dance is what they won´t ever give

no right no way no pride no say

no dance no drums no chance no fun

no more no

bring back the Yes, man, ignore the no body

less bans, more jams, let´s give a little give

cos no man’s land is no place to live

and if your mouth´s so big, make your message positive

better get a festival

Ramadan to Notting Hill

can we plan a carnival?

yes we can, so we will

savour every syllable

the only word we really need

is okeydokey, yessiree

si, oui, ya, da

Hannuka, Mardi Gras

si, oui, ya, da

lead us where the dances are

escape that bar

liberate your hips

truth of the matter´s gonna kiss you on the lips

the stamp of approval needs a great big lick

cos it´s not just kids getting teenage kicks

stop pen pushin, start toe-tappin

cut the finger waggin and add hand clappin

yes give yes get yes live yes let’s

yes do yes please yes you yes me

express that yes

the best word of all languages

si, oui, ya, da

Glastonbury, Diwali, Fleadh

si, oui, ya, da

Hogmanay, say ooh la la

nod not shake it

give a bit and take it

nod not shake it

if it´s not fair, break it

nod not shake it

live with give

let the rhythm beat the bans

permission to dance

is a universal passport

stamped by the people, not the man

yes means yes we said

yes means yes we said

yes means yes we said yes!

Rats In The Attic

The neighbours are at it again,

their scattergun domestic shakes the foundations,

setting off the howl of a dog

whimpering in nearby neglect.

A rumble of revellers nightbus

over the speedbumps of his slumber.

The dull chunter of a free-range alcoholic

and the pickaxe wit of overnight track workers

keep time with the pounding crunk of his inner panic.

The pre-dawn echo of yesterday´s complaints

is hectored away by the nagging advice

of an elder brother; lecturing from the grave,

on how best to cope with the voices.

Gas bags, rattling in his head.

Angry bed bugs.

Hush now. Baby needs his sleep,

for tomorrow will be war.


HEATHER TAYLOR

htay
Heather TaylorHeather Taylor is a London-based writer, performer & educator, whose work has been published and produced throughout Europe, Asia & North America. Her work includes film, theatre, poetry, fiction, radio, and journalism and her first collection, Horizon & Back, was published by Tall Lighthouse. She recently graduated with an MA with Distinction in Plays and Scripts from City University and her first feature film, The Last Thakur, premiered at the London Film Festival. As an actress, she works as Heather Arness and more details can be found on www.spotlight.com/interactive/cv/2610-1209-2995. You can find more of her writing on www.heathertaylor.co.uk

Away

 There are layers between us

The sheets

The walls

The streets

The city

The phone

Your voice crackles over time zones

Sending kisses through fibre optics

To caress my ear

“I love you”

I say those words

In my vacant apartment

Neat as you last left it

Red wine grown murky

In the bottom of glasses

Your head printed in my pillow

A razor forgotten by the sink

A photograph empty of you.

My last memory seems to end

With waving though terminal gates

Or plodding down long hallways

Greeted by chirpy blonde attendants

And safety procedures.

Can that be enough

In that world of ours

In those moments between

Weekends and phone bills

Can that be enough

Bodies separating us

Water choppy under airplane wings

in the sky turning blue grey

There are layers between us

The sheets

The walls

The streets

The city

The phone

But I still have you.

 published in ´Horizon & Back´

Architect & his Muse

Anton Rafael Mengs, 1779

Square lines, thermos, compass point

Circles drawn with hands guided

Your eyes drawn to space staring

There your muse tickles your wrist

Your neck back, curved spine

Leans a girls whisper in your ear

Never wanton, she delicately hovers

A mysterious perfume you inhale

To turn pencil marks into dreamed cathedrals.


 ANN VAUGHAN-WILLIAMS

avw

Ann Vaughan–Williams is a Merton Poet, published in their anthologies. Her first collection was Warming the Stones. She has been an editor of The Long Poem magazine for 5 years. She is a founder member of Write Afresh, the weekly writing group in Raynes Park library.

Retail Therapy

My favourite shop closed down some years ago.

I first saw it with wide furs in the window,

the models stepping out with pride

like in a Beryl Cook painting,

very high heels and soft pink flesh:

this was the Evans Outsize Shop, in 1960s Lynn.

I could go in there and feel smaller.

I do hate shopping in Kingston now

they?ve closed their Evans branch:

saris and trinkets took over,

everything glittery,

until that closed down as well.

I walk the mall past fashions that are slinky,

ride ´he escalator in John Lewis:

we don´t take larger sizes now.

Evans Outsize had a stylish brand called Essence,

I didn´t meet anyone else wearing their clothes.

The assistants were fat and chatty,

breezed about in brave colours,

waved me into a cubicle with as many items as I wanted.

I bought that loose knitted coat with the tasselled collar.

I found an M & S at Mortlake Retail Park,

bought a dress for Tenerife in winter.

The thing about this shop is

it?s all on one level,

the car park is immediately outside

which is a help with a bad leg.

The women in the changing room prance about

dispensing numbers and chat,

don?t mind how many times I go out for more clothes,

it´s almost like it used to be at Evans.

If when you get home you find the fit is wrong

you can return the items.

Because of my mixed feelings about shopping I don´t go back,

I put the clothes in the charity shop,

so I am quite popular.

I love playing shops with my grand-daughter,

it’s the real thing that´s difficult.

Ann Vaughan–Williams

Travelling the roads in my Red Mini

The outside was unpolished,

the inside held bottles of juice and maps,

showing streets where depressed women lived.

There were crumbs from the lunch I took in a layby.

There was mud from the woodland walk I might take

trying to shake off the enclosure of the hospital,

my psychiatric load, the stench of cabbage water.

My red mini had punctures

so there was always a jack at the ready

and someone would stop when I was in distress.

The distributor of those early models was faulty:

go through a puddle and the car runs to a halt.

Eventually I was told what spray would keep it dry.

After an accident in another car

where I had been in the passenger seat

as we rounded a bend into a tractor, swerved,

went head–on into a lamp–post,

I had a fear that lamp–posts would suck me towards them.

I loved hearing the zing of tarmac,

winding the windows down,

letting the air circulate,

singing to myself at the top of my voice

to keep awake on the long journey home

from Leamington Spa to Norfolk.

I loved how you could swing around bends,

daring if there was room to overtake.

On a dark night I´d sense that I had a stow-away in the back.

I?d turn my head quickly to catch him out.

He was going to gag me then make off.

Once I took a man who had murdered his mother to a hostel,

Your car is inhabited by people you have given lifts to,

Streams of thoughts you have harboured,

The songs, the sound of pouring rain,

heat, fears of stalling or of breakdown.

The car is an accompaniment.


FRANCES WHITE

Franw
Frances White´s poems and artwork have been published in magazines and anthologies. Thirty of her poems were published in ´AWAY WITH WORDS, An Anthology of Poetry´ (Poetry Monthly Press 2007), which she co-authored with the late Aeronwy Thomas. Her poems have won first prizes in three local competitions and she received a Highly-Commended nomination in the Torbay Open Poetry Competition, 2010.
Frances lives in South West London and has read as a guest poet at poetry venues and festivals in London and Wales. She is working towards her first collection.LINKS to more poems by Frances White:Second Light Live Members´ Page http://www.secondlightlive.co.uk/members/franceswhite.shtmlpoetry p f pages http://www.poetrypf.co.uk/franceswhitepage.html

Back to University

Poinsettia extends its wings…

you pack your things.

at student gates.

Along the motorway you speed

with all you need

PC, CDs

we pay the fees.

I slowly start to strip your bed.

“Bye, Mum,” you said……………..

Despite your height

Frances White

Published in: ´AWAY WITH WORDS. An Anthology of Poetry´ (Aeronwy Thomas, Beryl Myers, Annie Taylor, Frances White) Poetry Monthly Press, 2007, ISBN 978-1-906357-01-6

The Lake

Trousers rolled up, his knees

quake by the waterside.

Don´t go too near.

Keep away from the edge.

Pool black, his eyes tell

he´s ready to dive.

Matchstick arms fly out

in an arrow head.

The waters enclose him.

There´s silence

then splashing and whoops of boy

as he climbs out on the other side

ribs rippling

hair sleek as otter pelt.

Frances White

Published in: ´AWAY WITH WORDS. An Anthology of Poetry´ (Aeronwy Thomas, Beryl Myers, Annie Taylor, Frances White) Poetry Monthly Press, 2007, ISBN 978-1-906357-01-6


ALISON WINCH 

aw

Alison Winch has a showcase feature in issue 51 of Magma.

Honeymoon

The sleeper drops us in a Bologna dawn

rinsed blue; my mind is cracked,

out of synch

from too much snoring intimacy.

Upside down you turn me

you seek toilets and I track sound

and men upside down boy,

you turn me inside out

thoughts asleep, senses freed,

sharpening to café clarity,

split coffee beans, spuming milk,

glare of a white cup and the fizz

of aqua frizzante in a small glass.

aware that you’re cheating

the mirror sneaks the barista,

his neck, hips, fishbowl windows

giving love instinctively

we hum, breathe in time, a wink, a flush,

the radio as driven as our flirting.

You open the door. I cherish the moments with you

Russell Square

I lie in a green incubator,

disinfecting my soul with chlorophyll.

I´ve been scavenging at the back

side of yellow lines

in this city´s tubes for too many lives.

The sun is ignoring me

but the sky is mine; yellow roses, ash trees,

sycamores are mine

and nectarine stones, pear cores.

I´ve been in repose

since the scraggy dawn

handed herself in

to the summer solstice. It´s Tuesday

and I´ve surrendered my 9am.

I´m incensed by pregnancies

and mortgaged friends.

This is all I have.

My soul is not a bird,

it is sluttishly coupled

to this body, its chins, verrucas.

I breathe London´s collapsing lung,

its green thoughts.

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