She goes where kites fly like lumbering
birds, and the wind splits hairs
yellow and porcelain.
Kneels down by the pastel ivy,
turns her cheek pearl and pasty
to the oily clouds
as if to say:
“alright spears! I’ve got 10 minutes in
which I shall fly you to the moon
her ornamental eyelids,
lifting like iron shutters.
Slabs of lips quiver in the dust
her green woollen scarf fluttering.
Polkadots in the grass.
Fill skies with charcoal.
brittle as toast
on teeth, chapped
on greased lips.
There's me, scratching
in a frothy car, staring
at screwed trainers,
a silhouette of sweat
against yellow floodlights
and concrete silence.
He presses his cheek against the tank.
A dignified orange shell.
But it cracks.
As his blank beady eyes
Face the skies above
A blue hand reaches down
To grab him,
Slapping that spider smile on hot white plates.
Pauline Suwanban is currently 19, lives in Essex and is currently in her second year at QMUL studying Comparative Literature. She was commended for Foyles Young Poets in 2009, the Ledbury Poetry Competition 2010 (Young Adults), shortlisted for the National Poetry Anthology competition 2011 and has publications in YM poetry magazine, The Cadaverine, The Delinquent, and soon ‘Uplifting Moments’ (United Press) and The Seventh Quarry.
Thin Sketch of a Wider Picture
In the grass a long sound a grief of daisies
shivering on the dead.
The border a burst of blown seeds how love arrives
a weed with a pretty flower.
The wind a beast eating summer,
her drooping bones laid on a table of rain.
Down by the shore dust a tide smoothing the turds,
the silent fur the clumps of worry.
In the slum of my lap the loose hands of a worn child.
The gun has burned summer to a cooling dust
and the streak of life passes a quick lie.
The world sinks and starves like a left bird
leaving a howl a thick lifting cloud.
We have been babies with the freshest wounds
with soothed throats and thoughts loose as wandering boats.
Now our eyes have backed themselves to the dark
while from the chimney pots the gulls still speak.
They bring the sea in their beaks as a grieving salve
to the dry wails of kill-stuffed earth and kiss-lost veins.
Excerpt from a Protracted Wound
He won’t contain the rain to a promise,
our wet names the same sitting
on a quiet edge,
our skin a bleached chronicle blood balled
into two soft stones fond with a delicate rage
while the world cripples under dust and sleep,
my wishes stuck-rotted fish on a dry bank,
my thoughts a dull water lost.
Born Stirling, Scotland in 1966, Gillian Prew studied Philosophy at the University of Glasgow from 1984 to 1988. On graduation she failed to see the need for a ‘career’ and so worked mostly in the service sector before moving to the Isle of Lewis to have her two children. After moving to Argyll in 1997 she experienced a few black years before breaking free and now lives happily with her children, her partner and a spoiled cat. She is the author of two recent chapbooks, DISCONNECTIONS (erbacce-press) and In the Broken Things (Virgogray Press). A previous self-published book, the idea of wings, is also available via Amazon. Her poems have been published widely online and in print. Her blog, proud spots and solitudes, can be found at http://gillianprew.wordpress.com
Flippant flight on a butterfly's wings --
life, adult life, life, life:
born from coincidence, changing, passing,
soaring above the riverbank's grass,
shaped from the yearnings of distant childhood,
venturing over the menacing waves,
lured by the nectar of pulsing flowers,
sharing the sun with invisible stars.
Blind windows high in the sky
returned the glow of the evening
at Centre Point (for long
an empty skyscraper: issue
of our divorce from our purpose),
when life settled down on the kerb
below to rest her feet.
The lingering glare of the light
still burnished the homeward flow
of cars in the traffic congestion.
Oblivious of your beauty,
you tired pedestrians morphed
into deities texting urgent
messages through the ether.
A saxophone player took loving
leave of the day. The colours
then hesitated as dusk rose,
billowing out of exhaust pipes,
engulfing London, and slowly
life filled her yearning lungs
with that mellow, polluted air.
Thomas Orsag-Land is a poet and award-winning foreign correspondent writing for global syndication. His poetry, reviews and polemics appear in current issues of Ambit, Contemporary Review and Orbis.
The only way to reach him,
was through the winding corridors,
lit by golden sconces,
Deeper through this dark carpet sanctum,
handles of brass and smiles of iron,
pass you as you walk,
into his private bedroom.
Reeking of smoke and exquisite perfumes,
black hat pulled down over his eyes,
silver tongue behind a contempt grimace.
feel the shiver down your spine,
gruff voice in a seduced overlay,
“sit down”, he’d say,
“we have much to discuss”.
Shahroz Mousavi is a short story writer working from his dingy bedroom at the heart of Chicago city. He occasionally goes out for a sandwich or tea and likes to observe people in their natural habitat, from which he derives the ideas for a lot of his works. Mousavi has been writing since early childhood, but only discovered the masculinity in writing poetry a few years back, and since then he has valued it as a concise and tactful way to portray ideas and scenery.
The stone-frame sings
my threshold, sings my
heart's futility. It is
so hard a cage it makes
my knuckles crack, it breaks
my bones from too much leaping.
The stone-frame wishes
to be my womb, but could
never be a comforting hovel,
or resting ground away from
world-wind and flame.
The stone-frame maims my voice
from protesting, strikes a match
to my endurance and holds me in
its damp, dusty dorm.
The stone-frame lets me dream of miles
away from its door, but never lets more
than my imagination go wandering.
The stone-frame is my perception trapped
in faithless monotony, is my coward smile
that fears the chaos outside
its grey, unchanging walls.
It is found,
found in a pocket on a jacket
that has not been worn for years.
It is an emblem of uncharted kindness
that cannot fade even when I falter.
It is a name on a wall
that changes but is always mine.
It is the end result, the start of all
It is not going to leave me, or seep
through the mattress, underground.
It is so beautiful, it has the whole of my being.
It is speaking to me from billboard signs,
from the ones I loved and lost.
It is the parcel I have been waiting for.
It is my graduation party,
my only hope for recovery.
It is warmth and well being.
It is Friday night.
It is a star-shaped candy,
and it is found.
I place my arms up here
reaching for you in the morning
at half-past six and later
when you are just waking, dishevelled
and wishing to return to dreams.
In the afternoon when we
finally talk, the brightness of the day
absorbs into your face and what is left is
the movement of our connection
between coffee mugs and our children’s play.
At dinner, you tell me stories and I see
the rudiments of nature in your monolithic blood.
I see the years behind us, and for a moment the
curtains of heaven draw back before my eyes.
At night when we hold and the children sleep,
we talk of the unspeakable things – ourselves for a time,
fully happy – two together
in the warped arena of society’s plight,
two together, beholden
to only this love.
Over the past twenty years Alison Grayhurst's poems have been published in journals throughout the United States, Canada, and in the United Kingdom, including Parabola, The Antigonish Review, Dalhousie Review, The New Quarterly, Wascana Review, Poetry Nottingham International, The Cape Rock and White Wall Review. Her book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers, a Porcepic Book, in Vancouver in 1995Over the past twenty years Alison Grayhurst's poems have been published in journals throughout the United States, Canada, and in the United Kingdom, including Parabola, The Antigonish Review, Dalhousie Review, The New Quarterly, Wascana Review, Poetry Nottingham International, The Cape Rock and White Wall Review. Her book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers, a Porcepic Book, in Vancouver in 1995.The stone-frame
Full of movement, the terminus
was not what he hoped
nor, among the floating faces
was the one he sought.
Bought, he had hoped, permanently
by the hard cash and harder diamonds
he had given - in profusion
Confusion then, at her absence
when he had confidently expected
to see her here.
He remained until slence finally
settled upon the empty platforms
as did the pigeons
seeking crumbs of comfort.
The Bee Boy.
He hangs there, body loosely jointed
as if not quite properly finished in the making,
mouth open, the grin lopsided.
'See' he says, looking into your eyes
'They do not hurt'.
His hand pushed into the bees' nest,
they crawling on his skin,
warm and comfortable to the touch.
Something missing in the mind behind the smile.
One awkward in that knowledge, concious of one's superiority,
yet also knowing
in a way
one is somehow less.
Derailed On The DLR.
My aura had already attenuated me.
As I tripped onto the Docklands Light Rail.
(Swiping my ticket twice.)
Purple splotches splotched my vision
As I fell
Into a crowd of fluorescent French children.
Were they going to a rave?
Why do they cheer as we pass ASDA?
And what was he going to be like?
Three momentous concerns.
Maybe not in order of consequentiality.
Another important inquiry of mine
(Now in Swindon)
Why would the male Indian train manager
‘Hallo, my name is Erica.’ ?
I was distracted by
The frantically garbled statement:
Veiled by my word search,
And other coffee-break puzzles.
Panic buying Perrier from Pret a Minge,
Trapped, Trying to escape
The confines of Greenwich station.
‘Hay (or Hey, I am not quite sure)
What ARE you doing?’
Pastries and Pastures
Blinded by the butterfingers of light,
Creeping through the floury air.
The breeze saunters
My homemade bunting.
I wonder why I am inside,
For, in my mind
I am toeing stones;
Adamant guardians of tadpoles.
Tripping over gurgling currents.
That wrestle with my ankles,
Straddle my shins,
Flirt with the backs of my knees and
Gossip with my piggie toes
…On their way to market…
Where I scoff scones
Nestled with currants,
Plump with flesh white cream.
Juicy lipped strawberries kiss my teeth,
Staining and stamping my face
With lipstick like letterpresses.
I changed my photos to Sepia
To hide my blushes.
My cheeks burned as you photographed me
Running, nay, tripping along the beach.
And it was not because I was sunburnt.
The redness reminds me of drinking Bicardi Raspberry
Whilst discussing lust and Alcatraz.
As I led you by the hand.
And we dried off in the shower.
My heart, be still (!)
You already had une fille.
Hayley Ann Brusdon is a poet from Stroud. She enjoys farmers markets, plum eating contests and boys with large vocabularies. When she is not teaching poetry workshops she performs her own work around Gloucestershire and London. She has been writing for a year and is a finalist in Gloucestershire's search for a Poet Laureate. The verses above were the first 3 she wrote. haybrunsdon.com
A fawn, I thought at first: a sylvan scene,
of course, but Bambi-like, domestic bliss
embodied in those pretty creatures fresh
from drawing boards in heaven, full of grace,
unfallen, although that rutting flute,
sketching the diabolic interval,
seems to allude to something less pristine,
but not this shaggy fellow, sleepy-eyed,
awaking from his dreams of ribaldry
among the shrubbery. His jutting cock
is Adam walking in the garden, naming
the sullen nymphs and, knowing them by name,
sometimes pursuing them into the shade
to frolic for a while, and then subside.
Mallarmé is difficult. The grounds
include his musicalité cryptique,
syntactical inversions and the like,
but in his sonics, so they say, resides
a greater mystery, ses purs ongles
(her pure nails) becoming ces purs sons,
these (or those or his or her) pure sounds,
and in the realm of anecdotal myth
I've seen the same, as once in Orléans,
that hotel clerk and Quel est votre nom?
Yes, what was my no? Could Sartre say?
And later, when I asked Où est le loo?
Le loup? she gasped, and looked around to find
a chair to stand on or to hit me with.
Mishearing is creative. Ask the deaf.
(You may have to repeat yourself.) They work
with insufficient data, making up
their world as best they can from what they catch -
a state that may be general. Perhaps
the starry welkin rings with angels' singing
and we live too far down the treble clef.
Morning over Chibbanagh
Across a pale December sky,
as pretty as a fan,
whose colours seem to reify
a mythical Japan,
there pass two solitary birds:
a lost quotation mark
trying to find its flock of words
before the page grows dark.
I fell in love
with the word duffefa,
half-heard on Radio Four,
conjuring images of gentle journeys
through seas and centuries
to ancient dignified deserts,
of favoured rulers buried with boats
to sail into the afterlife.
Reality was not so romantic.
Servants and subordinate wives
entombed with their Kings,
slaughtered cattle buried outside,
skulls and screams unearthed, preserved,
in Kerma in the Kingdom of Kush.
Judy Cavanagh lives in Liverpool and is addicted to reading crime fiction by women
wrapped in a
containing the same
due to malnutrition
Lunch in a restaurant
served by skeleton
flesh in the shining plates
Dinner in a hotel
keeping us awake
till the time
comes out of the dark
Moving in the
On a road
In stampede cost him his life
Answers without questions
Staring at the
Table stuffed with
Biscuits and tea cups
Made him drowsy
You are not the kind of
Person we are looking at
Said the person with sheepish smile
The tiny, gentleman was silent
Said thank you and folded his certificates
In a dark black file
Left the room
Place full of rats and big cats
Deepak Chaswal is a poet from the soil of India. His poetry exhibits
his perception of the universe from the perspective of an insider. His
poems have been published in reputed international poetry journals like Sam Smith's The Journal, Pacific Review, Pamona Valley Review, Forge, Enchanting Verses, The Tower, Earthborne Poetry Magazine, Kritya- A Journal of Poetry, Indian Ruminations ,Bicycle Review, Electronic Monsoon
Magazine, Efiction Notice, Frog Croon to name a few. Contact him at