• 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
    deep-fried
    filleted and hung out to dry

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

    he attempted to deride
    but with a start, realized
    hey
    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,
    sighed,
    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
  • Pint of Milk

    I’m just a lonely pint of milk,
    I stand outside the door.
    It isn’t quite so lonely, when the
    customer wants some more.
    For then I have companions
    and we have a chance to talk.
    And looking at the people who pass,
    we can watch the way they walk.
    But how I wish when empty,
    you would wash me nice and clean,
    ‘Cause when I am cloudy,
    I’m ashamed of being seen.
    So please remember Ladies,
    before you put me out,
    Give me a rinse, so I can be,
    proud to stand about.

    Anne-Marie Hedinger
  • New Abode

    Goodbye to the cobwebs, that gathered dust
    with their static clinging, hanging like sailors
    ropes, the filth their devoted mollusks.

    Goodbye to the threadbare carpets, that gave a
    clear view of the floor boards, their perfect lines
    like a summer garden, laid out with turf, the broken
    cassettes, cigarette burns, rusted cans and two year
    old birthday cards its blossoming flowers.

    Goodbye to the lounge, with vast fortunes of copper
    that fell behind each seat, the patter of falling plaster
    like lazy April hail, that falls in time with the creak
    of each door, the drop of every tap.

    Goodbye to the evenings blazed in smog, our voices
    like the lights that hung bare, our hands too lazy to
    dress them with shade. Our palms however, never empty,
    with prayers among dust; goodbye to childhood.

    Jonathan Butcher
  • @martinadams

    Martin Adams hired a black Ferrari for 24 hours,
    He instagrammed over 2000 photographs that day,
    and entered over a million hashtags,
    By the evening he had lost all of his followers.

    Adam J. Ordinary
  • Sunday Afternoon

    We used fingers and thumbs,
    hands squeezing bums,
    but no tongues
    in and around delicate places,
    just in and out of each
    other’s faces.
    It was fun,
    something to do on a
    Sunday afternoon.

    Kat Franceska
  • Carrot

    You & I shall create a person.
    As acting cruel God, I will beset him with a toothache; rendering most thoughts
    metaphysical & esoteric the best part of redundant.
    You could put her in a beat up & battered pair of german paratrooper boots, a size
    too small, if you so wished.
    Akin to many of life’s fortunates, I shall make him of mixed-race parentage: Father
    of Polish extraction? A sturdy & stern, upright & downright political animal of a man
    from Lower Silesia. A slow-burning splenetic to boot, perhaps?
    Now for her Mother – a Ceutan? Yes! A blithe & libidinous ochre flame made
    feminine by flesh. To be near her is to be in the presence of one of Mother Nature’s
    favoured daughters. An obscure descendant of Ammi-Saduqa, no less.
    Let’s score in some rudimental sensibility for him. We can make her favourite joke,
    in its contextual entirity be: “Mam angielsku zagadke dla ciebie! Co to jest pomarancza,
    i brzmi jak papuga?………MARCHEWKA!”. After you translate this to English, shake your
    head & ask him why – she blushes & would like to change the subject.
    Time to send our man forth to stumble & gawk in the labyrinthine corridors of the
    collective mind.
    Paying no attention to the pattern (which you quite like for its Art Nouveau qualities) on
    the path-worn carpet, she has picked up pace now & if she had not of spent most of
    the quarter-mile walked assessing & cursing her footwear, she’d have noticed that
    every fifth door to her left is painted a pillar box red & ajar.
    Bored of this, I have him stop, turn to his right & come face to face with a diesel-blue,
    riveted metal door with CALIGULA ROOM scratched upon its surface.

    wes cooke
  • Cats Know What’s What

    The cat has turned
    her back
    on the tidings
    of Magpies
    high up on the roof.
    She has concerned herself
    with paw licking and
    catching the last
    rays of summer
    It’s all about
    Wood Pigeons
    these days
    anyway.

    Joanne McLaughlin
  • Pat Sharp’s Mullet

    Pat Sharp’s mullet
    went solo years ago

    Pat Sharp’s mullet
    now lives in Mexico

    Pat Sharp’s mullet,
    his middle name is Trouble

    Pat Sharp’s mullet
    is a highly paid stunt double

    Pat Sharp’s mullet
    saunters when on set

    Pat Sharp’s mullet
    lives life with no regret

    Pat Sharp’s mullet
    wears Primark never Prada

    Pat Sharp’s mullet
    drives a clapped out, old blue Lada

    Pat Sharp’s mullet
    likes sushi, coq au vin

    Pat Sharp’s mullet
    is a ruthless ladies man

    Wesley Cooke
  • After a long run of hard luck…

    … Anton won big at the casino. Let’s not get specific but it was a life-changing amount; more than enough. Anton didn’t have to take his own life, but the fact remains that this is what he did. Is it important to know why? Is it of interest? Perhaps and perhaps. He was a roulette aficionado if anything, but triumphed on the blackjack table. The rope was already coiled up in a cupboard back home. Make of that what you will because who keeps rope in their home anymore? I myself will probably go that way some day, but not like that, how Anton did it. He might have abandoned the game halfway through but for he caught a lucky break, being dealt a run of hands so winning that they beamed. By the end of the night he’d won, he calculated, more money than he’d ever put into the whole venture. The rope was long, longer than him and it was thick, like gym rope in a school. It’s hard to say how he was feeling as he turned in his cards. He had to loop it though a fixture in the ceiling and when it came down it piled handsomely upon the floor. The chips took some time to count out, stringent checks were performed upon his ID and there was a moment where he thought he was never going to be allowed to leave. Priapism is a common side- or after-effect. He exchanged a small amount of chips for cash and the rest was wired to his bank. A cab took him back home where he loosened his tie, poured himself a drink and sat down to take in the enormity of things. After that, well. After that is after that and we all know what happened next.

    JL Bogenschneider
  • Battlestar Senatehouse Library

    if we were aboard the
    Battlestar Galactica
    you’d probably be a Viper Pilot,
    and i’d probably be an engineer
    or a deckhand or something
    probably i was blown out of the air-lock with the rest of the
    nobodies
    back in the mini-series
    i’m pretty sure you’ll still be there by Season 3, caught-up in a
    sub-plot
    about the Cylons
    and whether you’re one
    i don’t mind, but
    when the writers finally decide
    it’s your time,
    spare a thought for the generic overalls guy

    Pete Lockwood
  • Penance

    He told me he’d come back if I pulled up my socks
    up past my thighs, up at where the leg stops.
    He told me he’d stay if I wore only an apron
    while brewing him coffee and frying his bacon.

    Now I’m not quite sure if he’s aware of this
    but bacon’s grease is angry, it hisses and spits.
    And this may not matter but when you’re wearing no clothes
    it bites at your shoulders, your breastbone, and toes.

    It’s a lamentable thing that no compromise comes
    when you’ve done something awful and you’re in the wrong.
    For his begrudging forgiveness, by his rules I’ll abide.
    I’ll click on the gaslight and burn up my pride.

    Anna Hogarth
  • ABOUT MY BED

    Oh no, not again I said
    I’m dreaming things
    about my bed

    With a lettuce quilt and
    a cream cheese spread

    I sleep on a piece
    of soft white bread.

    Floe Collins
  • Fumble mouth

    The longer he had not been with a girl, the more nervous he found himself when chatting to them.

    He would say “Anyone told you how attributive you are”.

    He wished he could summon up the witty banter his circle of friends texted each other.

    Out of his mouth came ‘Can I buy a pretzel girl like you a drink’, or ‘You doing anything latex tonight’.

    The problem worsened. In the end a psychoanalyst told him he had developed predictive talking.

    Julian Baker
  • Cynthia’s great disappointment.

    Cynthia lived in a lighthouse.
    The bulb had gone.
    So it was just a house.

    J A Allison
  • Cigarette Girl

    I took a drag from a tab
    then you floated out.
    Like slow motion smoke
    you hung in the space
    in front of my eyes
    for a few seconds, smiled,
    and faded into the night –
    as if the air sucked you into its lungs
    with no intention of blowing you out.

    Yet, still that image stirs sensors,
    in a section of my brain
    that deals with senses.
    And that snapshot of December has me remembering
    how the cold felt,
    and how the air smelled of Marlboro reds,
    and how we met at the bar later on,
    and how now,
    I breathe you in
    and you dissolve into me.

    John Baker
  • Stolen phone on George’s Street

    Swimming upstream
    Against the lunch crowd
    coming down
    Two mangy otters
    high on river junk
    have opportunity
    in their eyes

    Strike, a quick swoop
    a long skinny arm
    goes in for the lucky dip
    and pulls out a fancy phone

    Everybody swims on
    over the man on the ground
    holding on, red faced, full of instinct
    But too weak against the strength
    of a junky on a mission

    The glee in his eyes
    The smile on his face
    The speed in his
    body as he gets away.

    Away off up the road
    to god knows where
    Dissolving into Camden street
    with the Galaxy in his hand.

    Joanne McLaughlin
  • Perfectmatch.com

    She is made from freshly squeezed oranges
    Bio ewes milk yoghurt
    Organic nuts & apricots from Syria
    Oolong tea & Tofu spread oatcakes
    Moroccan Olives washed with sparkling dry wine
    in the evenings while she listens to her favourite
    Elgars Cello concerto.
    He is made from strong milky tea
    2 sugars please
    fried egg sandwiches on the hop
    burnt toast under beans & chips
    sugary doughnuts pork pies and iced fingers
    Golden Virginia & cans of Stella
    in the evenings while he watches his favourite
    A Touch of Frost episode.
    Their rendezvous – in the privacy of their laptops
    She gave him a vapour image; a surface smile
    He said: ‘I like your style’
    And gave her bland beige statistics in return.
    She declared she wanted only a plutonic relationship,
    Intimacy without sex,
    someone to share events, experiences, to have fun with,
    Nothing serious. Nothing more.
    He said ‘Yeah….me too’
    And shifted uncomfortably to change tactics
    Music, favourite songs, favourite memories
    Worst experiences, embarrassing tales,
    boring dialogues about work
    all shared feverishly every night
    Till eventually
    One night….
    In an outburst of unguarded passion
    Drinking one can of Stella too many;
    Desire bred on his fingers
    His lips, the root of his penis
    And he declared;
    “I REALLY WANT TO FUCK YOU”
    Silence logged her out
    The next morning, after a night of wrestling fantasies
    She logged back on to find he’d sent her
    The You Tube link
    Of Frank & Nancy Sinatra
    Singing ‘Something Stupid”
    She would marry that sausage egg & chip man
    As soon as he came back online….

    Charlie Right
  • A Moment’s Harm in the Graveyard

    Say hello to Hendon for me, I said.
    Did you make it to the Olympics? she replied.

    We met in a coffee house in Golders Green,
    sat and watched the parade of Jewish families,
    shalom, hello, moving between bakeries,
    cafés and restaurants, halal.
    Everything made you laugh; my northern accent,
    all of its foibles, and the names of tube-stops,
    especially and always Cockfosters.
    I did visit the Olympic village; she returned
    to London one summer,
    and walked Traf.Square,
    St.Pauls, Pal Mal – went as far out as Windsor.

    There was a garden once, I remind her in email,
    deep in the heart of Farringdon,
    in the grounds of a church, where we sat
    for the first time alone and kissed.
    You were all jostle and frisk, but
    a true English Gent must push to resist.
    Pulling towards dusk, in august, amongst
    the gravestones, we kissed, kissed
    and kissed.

    Christy Hall
  • Haircut

    Weird it was
    (disgusting too)
    That fresh day
    When quietly
    Walking to Sunday
    Market the
    Three of us
    Were
    Showered by
    The discarded
    Falling remnants
    Of a
    Haircut
    Hurled from some
    Overhanging balcony
    Window
    Florence in her
    New acrylic jumper
    All of us
    Unsure what to
    Feel or think
    Being touched all over
    By the dry rain
    Of somebody else’s
    Head.

    S. Andrus
  • The Tea

    I make some tea and we sit down.
    He sips and looks at me.
    We talk and laugh, I look at him,
    He sits and sips his tea.

    He sits, just where you used to sit,
    Right across from me.
    I look at him, he looks at me
    And sits and sips his tea.

    If he was you, I’d touch him now,
    But since he’s not I don’t.
    I feel inside I hate him now,
    For the things you did he won’t.

    His look is not the same as yours,
    Nor is his smile, his touch.
    I know it’s mean, he’s not to blame,
    It’s you I miss so much.

    The room, the tea, the chair, the night,
    All how it used to be.

    The only the thing that feels so wrong:
    It’s not you who looks at me.

    Louisa Lorenz
  • PERGATORY

    Imagine pergatory’s a gameshow,
    And Dale Winton is the host,
    And he decides who goes to heaven,
    By whose basket’s worth the most.

    Floe Collins
  • Under the Weather

    He looked up. The cloud which had been following him for several days was beginning to leak. He sighed; this was the last thing he needed. He would turn up to his date soaked to the skin and she would peer at the clear blue sky and wonder why she had agreed to meet such a dripping weirdo.
    He had woken up one morning and discovered the cloud balancing above him, bobbing and white. Half asleep, he had made a playful swipe at its middle and felt the moist fluffiness beneath his fingertips. The cloud soon got embarrassing, however, following him all the way to work and into his office. A few of his colleagues had thought it endearing until it dimmed and unfettered a small thunderstorm over his desk. His spreadsheets were ruined and his laptop was scorched.
    He began to run everywhere he went, in the hope of losing the perfectly rounded cloud. But it clung to the place above his head persistently; he could not lose it. And now it was about to shower over his date. He screwed his eyes shut in despair.
    In the black distance he heard a chuckle. Just as he arrived at the cafe, a rogue ray of sunshine had hit his little cloud. Over their heads arched a perfect rainbow, and the woman was clasping her hands in delight. No-one’s ever brought me a rainbow before, she said. He could only smile and pat his damp burden happily.

    Xenobe Purvis
  • Hangover

    A saccharine sensation, sticky and wet,
    the morning on the tip of my tongue,
    the night layered across my teeth.

    Blue slithers of my eyes water themselves,
    from between heavy lids, drip into waking
    and find themselves regretful of their venture.

    Hair plays at monkey games on my jungled face,
    swinging from nose to ear to sky,
    and i?
    I remain unable to be swayed from the swaying.

    Mercedes Dawson