• Cloverleaf Plaza

    The man beside me reminds me
    of Rain Man, or

    the character
    Dustin Hoffman played, he who
    could count hundreds of matches while they fell to

    the ground but could not tie his

    own shoe,
    here at The Cloverleaf Plaza
    an entire day can go by

    without a single sin:
    This day of wanted-signs,

    lipstick samples and red onions (that are really purple)
    husks of the corn islands

    that scream we are alone

    While most of us are born beneath
    Fluorescent lights: screaming,


    he sits in his spot
    the sun with each bend of his

    Sarah Hardin
  • How does it look?

    A man’s jacket, left at the bar.
    She tries it on for size,
    pats down the shoulders,
    runs fingers along its tweed.

    She sweeps back her hair,
    makes the composed face
    people use in dressing rooms;
    a visual grammar,
    the language of mirrors.

    She looks at herself,
    watches me watching her.
    How does it look?
    You make it work.

    Hazem Tagiuri
  • Empty

    She hadn’t had a great thought for months. No matter how many cafés she went to for inspiration, how many pencils she held thoughtfully to chin, how many freak-show passerbys she tried to furiously encapsulate in iambic pentameter, she was left with nothing but a notebook of lifeless clichés and a head full of empty.

    And so, as she continued to hold pencil thoughtfully to chin, she decided to stop being a writer and get into advertising.

    Go fig.

    Mahsuda Snaith
  • Woke up a little too late to get into school on time. 16/11/2012

    Thought it would be easier to just not turn up and stay in bed.
    As I laid there, festering in my pit I remembered one of the reasons Sissy gave me as to why she was leaving, “you’re lazy and have no hope, whatsoever”. I couldn’t let her to be right, so I crawled out of from my bed. Clean Versace jeans. Clean t-shirt with a screen print of two rag dolls covering the front.

    The cycle to school doesn’t take too long, around fifteen minutes. Ten minutes into the cycle and a coach full of spastics or tourists knocked me off my bike sending me over the bonnet of a small family car. As I laid on the beautiful tarmac road with the screeching sound of a Ford motor car’s breaks approaching my cantaloupe of a head I curled into a ball. The Ford drove around me and the coach left. Leaving only a pair of swollen knees, headache and a small cut on left palm.

    School had started. I walked in late. Apologised to my tutor, he said I didn’t mean it and he was right. I didn’t tell him about being knocked off my bike, all I needed was to sit down. After an hour of the tutor talking and making gestures with his hands, all the pupils were asked to leave the school because another tutor had died of a heart attack in front of his class. His wife also worked at the school. In a quiet and orderly fashion all the students left the building. It started raining. My knees were still too sore to cycle home, so I began to walk.
    Thought it would be easier to just not turn up and stay in bed.

    Barry Everest.
  • Entropy [1]

    When we were children, we built sandcastles on the coast of Cork.
    We would raise them high, making them increasingly elaborate.
    There would be a moat, and trench walls, and spilled, wet sand to make detailed patterns on the more solid structures created with buckets. We would strive to make them both fortress-like and palatial.
    We would be proud, and happy.
    The tide would start to move in, slowly.
    It would fill the moats, and we would feel vindicated,
    It would rise to the castle, and we would be triumphantly yelling at the tide’s powerlessness.
    It would wet and weaken our castles.
    The waves would flow through them.
    The castles would collapse into the waves.
    Anonymous sand again.

    The next day, we would go down after lunch and build new castles.

    [1] (Entropy is a principle whereby any system of order is bound to degrade into chaos and instability

    En/topy isaa prinnciole whud3,ebanysysytem o ordebou n d//,,dgr inatcaosasabil;ityyh)

    Rory McCarthy
  • Simple Things

    The glow fades slowly, shrinking..
    as the summer solar sphere dolefully droops under the horizon line,

    An unfathomable mass of heat.

    As the breeze tentatively sweeps through the tree, against which he rests his back, the leaves flutter playfully like string-less puppets.

    Remarkable invisible master.

    I place my head softly against his chest and feel the methodical pulse, a beat, repeat, repeat..

    Fantastically functional inner machine.

    Gazing emptily into the distance, I think, I thank, I speak… Only to say, it’s all about the simple things.

    Francois Cote
  • Not a sad poem

    Pity the Cyclops
    he can’t sleep
    with one eye open.

    And what about the magical unicorn?
    Being so majestic
    makes it hard to horse around.

    Pity the beautiful princess
    whose intentions are cruel and vile.

    And then there’s the poor old dragon
    with his destructive breath
    who only burns himself.

    Joanne McLaughlin
  • Hole

    I rarely win things,
    apart from hearts,
    of which I have way too many,
    apart from my own one,
    which got ripped out of my tiny chest a while ago,
    which is why I have this hole in my rib cage.

    Debora Domass
  • Wednesday at Midnight.

    Another pub,
    calls last orders.
    Or does
    the night last longer?
    Get drunk alone again,
    Those groaning men,
    flock to your ex.
    Looking for her online presence.
    Less sense, senselessness.
    Text message the next ex,
    Half expect sex.
    Get nothing,
    give nothing,

    Barry Everest.
  • Ice Record

    Goodnight, by The Beatles. It was just a song you played me once,
    with the blinds up so we could see the moon like a penny over the
    cold sea. I took the record; made a mould of every bump and groove,
    then filled the mould with water and froze it. The ice record was
    perfect. I dropped the needle and ghosts hummed out across the
    decades. But like you, it was gone before I was ready for-

    Wendy Chard
  • The grey portrait

    Billie is sitting on a navy blue wood-chipped bench and tea is dribbling from her mouth, little by little the entire contents of her forest green paper cup is falling into her lap and there is now a puddle of saliva infested tea soaking through her grey trousers. Her head is raised, poised in the air, watching the old man with the colour grey painted between his wrinkles. Billies eyes bore into his, following Point A to Point B of the sunken yellow valley below his eyes. There are sprinkles and sprinkles of tiny grey hairs resting above his lips; Billie does not know if it is the remnants of a moustache or if it has fallen from his nose.

    Billie now stares at all of the man she can see in front her, looking beyond the grey portrait and drilling her eyes into his past life, the life that is living behind every orange white patch of skin, the life that his hidden behind his freckled forehead, behind his tired eyes. Billie closes her eyes for a long moment and creates a moving picture of his life: a man and a woman kissing, tongues drenched spit clinging to each other tightly. The woman is sighing, squeezing his back repeatedly and waiting for his arms to embrace her body – he does not and instead remains rooted to the ground, hands glued to his sides, only tongue moving.

    The old man stands, he waits for only a moment and walks away from the navy blue wood-chipped bench. Billie sees the loneliness painted on the grey portrait and sighs, the old man’s past life still tiptoeing across her mind. She wonders who he is and who the girl was, she wonders if he ever did fully embrace her, fully move with her body, fully love her, fully kiss her. She wonders too much for a person who does not know the old man’s name. The forest green paper cup falls carelessly to floor and Billie begins to dab at the puddle of tea soaking through her grey trousers.

    Oyinda Yemi-Omowumi
  • Slapstick Homelife

    Where is my self respect?
    Where is my aftershave?
    Where is my gel douche?
    Where is my happy day?

    I wish I had spent all my pointless time doing pointless things on YouTube

    I’m hungry I am
    I’m tired I am
    I’m old enough to know better I am
    I’m young enough to still have to try

    I wish I had spent all my pointless time doing pointless things on YouTube

    Say what you will, Alex Zane has a fan base
    I measure my impact in layers of dust
    I’m gonna bookend all my falls with adverts
    Let my humiliations earn my crust

    I wish I had spent all my pointless time doing pointless things on YouTube

    All those wasted years tripping over off camera
    Next time my heart sinks please God let my bank balance rise
    All those wasted years living off one way shit karma
    Now it’s twenty pence a click every time a little something inside me dies

    I wish I had put all my pointless time into doing pointless things on YouTube

    Got to make my failures pay

    W Henry
  • Untitled (political)

    “Check this out”

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

    “Ben, check this out”

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

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

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

    “Right.” Ben tapped away.

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

    “Wait, is this going to be political?”

    Stephen assured him it was.

    Ben continued tapping.

    “Add 5″


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

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

    He’d never expected this, this was big.

    The answer? 80085.

    Joshua T Howell
  • Eternal Bindings

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    Maru Rojas
  • Avion Paris

    Ce matin, tu as dû te réveiller tôt.

    J’étais encore dans ton lit
    tournée vers le mur
    roulée en boule sous ta couette,

    j’avais chaud même si j’étais nue.

    Tu t’es allongé contre moi
    ton bras frais m’enveloppait.
    La peau de mon corps
    qui était découverte,
    a eu des frissons.

    On était triste de se quitter,

    Je me suis levée,
    tu m’as serré fort dans tes bras,

    Je n’ai pas réalisé que c’était la fin.

    Charlotte Beltzung

    I followed you down, Regent Street
    Admiring, assessing, head to feet

    Well contoured curves, shiny hair
    Tailored skirt, straining buttock pair

    Moving level. A firm, tight breast
    Careful jewellery, skin sun-blessed

    Raised my eyes, nervous, shock
    For you my love were a BOBFOC

    Jerry Turner
  • Originality

    I was the first person ever to think ‘no thought is truly original’, which was weird because not only was it a brilliant point, it was also rendered completely invalid by its originality.

    Mansour Chow
  • Spooning

    roses are red
    biolets are vlue
    we spoon alot,
    because i love you.

    Floe Collins
  • Celebrity Chefs

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

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

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

    Lewis Coffey
  • Cake

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

    Adam J. Ordinary
  • Thousands and Thousands of Chairs

    A man called William is standing in the space that belongs to the yellow door. Beyond him there are thousands and thousands of chairs; there are so many chairs that his brain, my brain, your brain cannot even begin to count them. Our brains would not even attempt to count them because they all share the fear of the pink and the blood splattered everywhere. The amount of chairs in the room beyond the yellow door Is overwhelming and William will sit down on one, William will sit down in an empty room and disturb the emptiness of the thousands and thousands of chairs with bare fronts. I am thinking that one human soul sat down on an inanimate object which is then surrounded by thousands and thousands of inanimate objects is scary. One human soul is that room is all you, me and William are aware of, that soul is William, except once William has sat down I wonder if he will question “the human soul”. I wonder if the emptiness of everything he sees will make William doubt his own humanity, I wonder if the thought of all these thousands and thousands of chairs also having human souls will bury itself in William’s mind. I wonder how you measure a human soul. William wonders how you measure a human soul. Do you wonder how you measure a human soul. Is it you? Is it William? Is it me?

    Oyinda Yemi-Omowumi
  • Here

    I grew up in darkness and stars.
    They might be old and familiar
    but they were different:
    black and bright; burning, cold; clear-cut.

    It’s never dark in this city.
    Nothing’s black and white;
    it’s just murky.
    The birds think it’s dawn
    when it’s streetlights at midnight.
    Artificial heat turns winter to autumn.
    Everything’s half-done.

    I mention this to you one night
    before bed. You roll your eyes to the back of your head
    and switch off the light.

    Charlotte Powell
  • Keyboard Slide

    “be my bride”,
    he cried
    but to no avail.
    his request denied
    with nowhere to hide
    unable to debride
    he traveled worldwide
    his wounded pride
    to salvage

    he groaned he moaned
    and agonized and why’d
    in terms of emotion
    he was oversupplied
    his insides hog-tied
    filleted and hung out to dry

    one day
    during a longish car ride
    he eyed the view
    and thusly spied
    a dewy cobweb
    glimmering and wide
    a tree bestride

    he attempted to deride
    but with a start, realized
    i lived
    i loved
    i tried
    es tut mir nicht leid
    (he’d had some free time
    to study German)

    at this point,
    the writer rubbed his eyes,
    and went off to the loo
    to commit well-deserved suicide.

    Priya Slayer
  • Does This Count As Meditation?

    I am thinking about the people who are sitting on that fast train that just went by in the distance, and the fact that some of those people are probably gazing out of their windows and looking at the same low sun as I am, and some of the same fields and trees and maybe even houses. And maybe some of those people are thinking about the people in those houses who are sitting in the last rays of sun of the day and looking out at the low sun and the fields and the trees, thinking their own thoughts about the people who love them or the people who don’t love them back or what they are going to have for dinner. And just maybe, some of those other people sitting outside their houses in the last rays of sunshine of the day, like me, are thinking about those people on that fast train that just went by in the distance.

    Poppy Turner