Tag Archives: poetry


Peter Buckley

so whisper,
behind a curtain,
you the baroque interior of your thoughts,
the Art Deco façade,
after a Gothic phase.

Now I come along
offering fake moustaches for us to wear,
and pose like Tarzan and Jane,
you, in whom I found a place,
with whom I defined what I had.

At lunchtime, when portable oranges
are in plentiful supply,
I’ve become an entity,
more than a glass of milk.

With you,
I get up at witching hour,
with thoughts of brooms.

You with phony moustache on
an old cathode-ray tube set,
in monochrome,
think of railroads,
as I think of repairing any serviceable car into being,
and horses.

Available work
for a fruit marketeer,
you Arabic pattern
repeated often and often,
on ceramic vase, kitten, tile,
behind you in a reflection in
the bathroom cabinet full of chocolate, cranberries, wolfberries,
loosely defined as a place to be there,
with the first scene of unrealised dreams of being a filmmaker in place,
the rest to be worked on
in the manner of Dennis Hopper –

and you know,
being a good writer and performer
on wisely-chosen stages
since you journeyed here,
from Croatia

you have stood around
as a casual observer,
in the blue windmill lacking blades,
from which we
milled the occasional flower
in our days,
and had memories of
hanging paintings,
at which to stare,
and enjoy in some way.


We have enough freedom,
not to get drunk,
there are plenty of cold beers in the fridge.

When I close my eyes,
I see Roy Lichtenstein’s dots.

After going through reams of receipts,
I have worked out
you were overcharged by five pence
for tinned apricots.

I have nailed our mattress to the wall,
where we uncage panthers,
to hunt moss-green toenails
in the long-grass
of growing cress.

You play an old video game
called “Castle of Enchantment”
released exclusively on your heart,
a plucked zither,
for the SNES.

In the middle-distance,
where castles of Edinburgh
float above your knees,
as we await RAC recovery vehicles,
and National Express coaches pass by like hippos,
boastful of their newly-fitted wheels.

My habit of imagining every moment as it’s sung.


A More Radiant Complexity

Kevin Heaton

The moon’s sluice gate
is a phosphorescent tide pool
                                  of ambient radiance—
the piecemeal illuminator of neophyte stars
behind the night sky-pillow.

I look to the firmament beyond
a marshy parade ground of negligible bones.

                                                      A question—
a bass drone of belly heat
about hexagonal portals of light.
What source the static interplay
in great rift fissures, lightning
is scarcely older than oceans, dating
only prior to the slug.

                                        An entreaty for faith
beyond a cauldron of notions in a perfect
storm of revelatory vespers—essence
of sweet bay laurel—catharsis
                                                                    in the clouds.


Kevin Heaton

Cyprus chalices gild more slowly quartered in wooden
nickels. We see earth, a quandary of skewed parameters.

Flippant passing lanes flipping-off red lights. A larghissimo
rotunda: unique, timeless, beautifully scored but rootbound,

frangible on its push-me pull-you spindle. Flatulent
from breech births. A crescendo of sostenuto tympani

chords and paid forward promissory notes. We gather
as pilgrims in tempera colored almshouses, contrite as rogue

monks, offering marzipan oblations and almond chest milk
to waif children. We grope stained glass at Casa de la Caritat.

We believe. Still, nature is not confined by her terrain to an orb
of cloud deck shadows. Faith is ambient light and louvered

patinas. Shimmed cornerstones. Mustard seeds—ceded
mountains. An unseen loving cup, half-full of blossom scent.

Scattered Miracles

Clare Holman-Hobbs

You are miles away
I must feel
Not see
I must pray
Scattered miracles, in the damp patches
On my pillow case
Accepting, or trying at least
Losing you to sleep
Losing sleep
And being left
Feeling the empty
Between the sheets
The empty

Trying to map you

Fiona Sinclair

I was a debt collector once: usual static shock
at some new revelation about your past,
a politician’s deflection to my When was this?
So more details I can’t place on your Jackson Pollock timeline.
Over a year you have wooed me with
ripping yarns of life as an engineer overseas:
rock star strutting onto Concorde twice,
commuting to work on a camel in a sandstorm ,
the gilded cage of 5 star hotels from weeks to months,
Then lottery win salaries in your pocket,
de-mob happy, no contest for you and your mate
between the UK or sticking a pin in an atlas-
Back home between contracts you took
the covers off the Bugatti, Norton, Triumph,
one finger to plods as you G-forced up the motorway
to your side- line turning Shepherd Neame pubs around
with clenched fists, a head for maths, Barnum ingenuity.
One vacation, you work a tramp steamer
through the back door into Australia,
police cells like an over-night stay in B and B,
steak and beers for dinner, when a visa releases you,
another of your chance meetings, chatting to a man in a bar,
who has just lost a British engineer, you stay two years …

Decades wielding tools heavy as training weights takes its toll,
a hope I die before I get old attitude means no savings at 50,
but your canny agent reveals a modest pension
you supplement by ducking and weaving about Sussex…
Your constant first person narrative infers
only man’s best friend for company now,
but once post coitus you disclose Oh no I was living with
Showing me photos of bespoke doll’s houses
you let slip this hobby started as a labour of love for…
Sometimes the ‘I’ does mean living alone,
sharing Christmas Dinner with two blokes from the pub.
Trouble is, when our relationship first began to close in on my
own background, my gambled Let’s not talk about the past,
was accepted by you with polka player cool.
Overtime as my secrets burst their locks
I expected us to both show our hands,
but you grip onto our contract like a winning betting slip.

No One

Frank Praeger

Not depressed, just sad.
I am still, I am loud,
I laugh, contest – occasionally, even, parse.
Contentious speech waylays my wakefulness,
I can not muster, can not – what a phrase, what a
dismal outlook, can not.
Not and not reverberate,
dampen felt, dampen spell, displace Alice’s Looking Glass,
Alice looking at herself.
Big turns small, tame
and no one’s name is called,
no one reaches out his arms,
no one smiles,
no one cries,
and no one walks before or walks beside,
no one.
No one is bigger than they are,
sucking up the air
and they are not to be found,
not in the spaces between periods,
or after exclamatory events, after futile interrogations.
Where did the furies go?
Placated, humored, trifles trance-like staked out
replace the formidable.
No wobbly center,
no final take
but bachelor’s button, marigold, something that lingers,
or passing as rosemary’s scent,
as a shout arising out of a starred, windless night.

A Little Bit Off

Frank Praeger

Picaresque beetles, a plethora of fungi,
lilac, wasps and a yellow-shafted flicker.
Surrounded by so many,
each coming and going,
each combatant confidant.
Hemmed in,
gigantic as each mid-day flight,
a few weeds, innocuous shrubs,
gravel and sore feet,
and in the quiet predators wait.
Out of?
then run,
a whistle away,
and incalculable misdirections.
The tentative does stimulate.
Numbers remain.
Separated, an arm and a leg,

a magnitude compressed
yet, marginal;
contrary to beg
the helpless stay,
Seagulls float in air.
As someone takes a bath
a juvenile complains.
Glory, awards and sulky aftermaths.

by black sand.

After The Poetry

Elena Broch

After the verses have been written there’s no reconciliation
Poetry is the worst of all betrayals
The knife stuck in the back right up to the hilt
When poetry starts, it’s all over
The exclusivity
As always, that little vice which adorns
Those who love
Those who love without thinking
Those who leave and return
Expecting to see the same arrangement of trees
The same holes in the rafters of my building
(remnants of the Allies’ present for Easter 1944)
After the verses have been written, there’s no apologizing
If it could be, it would be
If it was worthy, these verses wouldn’t be written
If it as curable, I wouldn’t patch my wound with them
I embroidered my wound by hand, with a gold thread
Filigree work
You think you can buy it?
The wound stitched with pure gold is priceless
After the verses have been written, there’s no forgiving,
I don’t like the same streets any more,
Ploughed under a million times
Into my verses
They are worse worn out than our words on the phone
And more devastated/wasted than our encounter
Much colder than the snow that was falling then
And much bewildering than the image of the snow falling then
And around the street lamp could be seen the swirl of snowflakes
Don’t think you know the real value of the ache I feel
Don’t even think I feel a real ache
It has been written
The pain’s gone
After I’d written the verses, you became false
You became distant
Impersonal like the boulevards
If you try to say something
I’ll know it’s out of boredom
You have nothing to say any more
The ache is precious
The worlds are created out of it
One disappears into it
You can do anything you like now
Feel free to love me
You have no poetry for me to write

Madonna and Child Redux

John Grey

museum promises to be dull,
you’ll be hours

with the Virgin Mary
and her offspring

a thousand artists
with unpronounceable names

all imagining the same thing,
all dabbling in the same illusion;

after a while, you’re caught up in
the improvements you could make:

a moustache for the woman,
a split lip for the child,

maybe a new scrawl for a signature,
Gumby or Kilroy or Normal Rockwell;

meanwhile, your lover is in awe
of the beauty, the reverence,

and, more than that, she believes;
relationship promises to be chill,

you’ll be years in that museum

Love Is An Oil Spill

John Grey

Not waves of flesh
but an ocean heavy, turgid.
Not deep and warm
but thick and oily to the touch.

You find love
by groping your hands in it,
hoping to rescue suffocated dreams,
scrub their bodies, wash their wings.

What’s a fantasy
when dense brown bubbles
pop and hiss,
or clot the veins, the arteries.

Love’s the men who,
for all their measured breaths,
break like barges in the clinch,
boil and roil you in a coat of oil.

Soon, your beaches are graveyards,
your scents are smells.
Your hair cannot glide across your neck,
just squats down on your head.

If you think of God at all,
it’s as the relentless owner of these vessels,
who sends them to you
knowing they’re not sea-worthy.

You don’t smile at the joke
for fear your teeth will blacken.
And then when you find you can’t swim in love,
you learn to float atop it.


Theo Martin

I will go to hot winds with ragged breath,
When browns and blues made rich bedfellows,
And tempers fueled fires and raged into the night,
And soft dreams seemed full of purpose.

There the oil of youth, the endless wealth,
Was open and playful, all knowing and shameful,
Full of dark, wicked riches, when love was empty,
When the sky was open and waiting.

I will go to soft sands and rough winds,
Those narrow paths, damp with heat,
Toxic with sweetness and glory,
When love was easy and the world was ready.


Theo Martin

I miss those tender days of you,
How open you were,
How broken you seemed,
How wild and free

Quiet brings exotic need,
Open hearts and open mouths,
That grow from leaves, to roots and seed,
And call me, tumbling earthward bound

There is no going back, it’s true,
No throwing myself into you,
Those long bright days of glamorous fervour,
Hot bright weeks with greatness to offer

But it was never real, at least not true,
Too many shadows entered you,
But still in quiet moments I’ll come,
Wake, to when you and I were one.


Holly Day

You can’t count on nature spirits to find
babies wrapped in old sheets, by the side
of the road and under the trees, gasping for their first breaths
not quite alive, simply abandoned. You can’t count

on fox-headed women, sylphs with cow tails
to be there to find babies left behind
in rest station bathrooms on lonely country roads
to come just in time to stop those tiny cries

to save those tiny fingers twitching in lines of ash
left by cigarettes burning out on wet tile.

Bean Nighe

Holly Day

I stood over your bed and watched you sleep
watched your breath come in and out of your body in ethereal waves
of damp heat. I stood so close to you I could
feel your warm breath on my skin, close enough to imagine
crawling into your bed, curling up next to you beneath the thin blankets
could have reached out and touched you, taken you in your sleep
dragged you out of bed by your hair and taken you home with me.

Instead, I dropped your purse on the floor, made
just enough noise that you stirred in your sleep. If
someone else had found your purse, someone not me,
they could have come into your apartment and taken you
where you slept. You’re so lucky it was me
and not some lunatic. All I want is
to watch you sleep, to know that you got back home safely
despite having dropped your purse in the street
to see if you were as pretty
as your driver’s license picture.

Global Dimension Caretakers

John Pallister

global dimension caretakers,
Transcending through realities,
The imaginators,
The beautiful rewired creators,
connecting to higher source,
to steer humanity on course
a chosen family of liberators
that follow love wisdom and serenity,
to build up compassion and forgiveness,
Ones who hang on the fringes of societies rules,
observing relating to the greater good and growth of mankind.

Far from Human

John Pallister

Far from human; moulded as a brand,
Stamped and filed; organised like beans in a can,
Different variations but still served for materialistic gain,
The drifter, the bad eggs, the insane,
Conformed or detached from a methodical social ideal,
While being fed propaganda manipulating what is real,
Those out the box see it from multiple views,
While those inside think they have the freewill to choose,
How can you be free when your eyes are told what to see,
Your status is measured in coins and notes
Not valued in your dreams and hopes,
Drones taught to serve the state and law,
Dividing the rich and the poor
To an unnatural selection,
Take a step back and cure this infection

Advice for Morning TV

Glenn Fosbraey

My little girl
Sat beside me
Tiny body taking up most of the three-seat settee
The TV we’re watching makes my mind wander
And formulate
words, sentences, speeches, ADVICE (it’s what parents are meant to give, right?)
And mine? My words of wisdom born on this settee?
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse up on the screen, are these:
Don’t drink before school like I did,
‘cause I’m still mopping up
the mess that it caused
the black-sacked kitchen wad rolled over years in blonde hair, fluff
until I pick nothing up
least of all an explanation as to WHY I drank before school
downed can after can of John Smiths before Maths exams
half-emptied bottles of Fanta, then re-filled with vodka
held my nose, drained, then did it again
before my morning piss
had laid waste to the previous day
poured cheap blended malt into a 2nd hand hip-flask
sipped it in Music until I threw up at lunch, forced to start over again, so…
Don’t. Do. What I did. Darling.
I start to say this aloud, get as far as the first syllable “d…”
Then stop.
Think again.
Think that:
If I hadn’t wasted perfectly good Fanta,
If I hadn’t chugged scotch and breathed rank toxic lust in the face of my latest infatuation as she backed away, face painted fake smile, to tell “Sir” again
If I changed one of these things
Come to the aid of this brain so tasered, stained, and basted with hairballs, stale Frosties, dead spiders, M&Ms
If I had…
You wouldn’t be next to me
So I stop. At that first syllable.
Put my arm around you, pull you into me
And thank all that is anything that I drank before school

Holiday Inn

Glenn Fosbraey

A bag for life; plastication bulge,
in he checked, shatting up his chat-up to blue-suit blonde:
“I’ve left my life, come to Holiday Inn,”
her smile, stopped at her lips, provokes
a thought -from my sub, conned:
Man-hands swaddled
Arms up, sharp and sour (raw-run death fucker)
Face aches in wide screen – HD-
You dreamt this
Went all out to get this:
“My loss: my gain”, ingrained memory spunk, pitted on
your dental floss,
blown wideandfar, spilling outta pink bins
painted like rouged pigs
their strands strewn for yards (and sewn) we
sat on bricks
saying : “lonely man’s idiocy; lonely man’s adultery”
you second that, in time
means less to go on\
no fingers to bring up
that guttural squelch, greenscreen freeze
tinned headphone shriek
three stumps stuck throaty disdain affluence
pitched o’er reception wadded accented oik
a piss stain on y-fronts of life
he said, with a straight face:
“the grass isn’t greener,
the grass is half-dead”
and the other side
of that fence
is matted with silage,
so rank,
“I can barely beat one off and be caught in two minds”
To that, she did smile,
Handed ‘cross the keycard, her chapped, claptrap hands
A patron, ionised, to room 101,
he walked in silence

Nella Larsen Crossroads

Kennita Ballard

It’s called passing
To blend in
Living life as not the other
But living life just
To pass through
Get safety from egg to sperm
To the deathbed
Without incident or
Injury to the outside self.
Like an artificial penis an identity is strapped on
With casualness to the causalities
To the numbers of those who choose to speak out
Embraced their stand out
Hang in clusters like strange fruit
The seemingly soul alternative is to choose;
To pass
To be the majoritive’s cuckoo bird
Afforded wings of privilege
By the very cheap nature of passing you can in fact afford it all
For a buy one get one free; mobility and invisibility.

The self has passed on
Rest in peace
and an identity as transparent as the edges of the sky
passes through

Ebb and Flow

Kennita Ballard

We need to open our eyes

Then open them wider than that

We do not get the privilege

To simply



Flesh weeps

And puddles underneath as
A heritage
A culture
Pulse through red tape bandages
And statistic shaped scabs
No we do not get the privilege of
Simply being
Because if we were left to be
This would not be an issue
Everything I do does not affect me
But everything I do effects
A we
But we are recognized as a unit
When there is blood and where there are fools
We are punished as a unit
We all bear this whipping of history

Our selves vibrate
But in polyrhythmic sound


Raoul Izzard

Cold as the dorm was, we elected
to go out into the blankness before
us, before the others came back home.
More than miraculous, the angels
we had formed in the new fallen snow,
lost their substance to the disbelief
of thawing, worrying at the frayed edges,
unpicking the wing tips, flake by flake.
We watched our chilly silhouettes
in the warm and wondered at our
earthbound selves outside ascending.

Tao of teaching English as a Second Language

Raoul Izzard

Let us dig deeper into teacher lore:
“Elicit what pupils do not want to know:

torn postcards undated, unseen kiss and tell
lips overdue on library loan, love hearts

erased from the Puritan’s Kama Sutra.”
“Life is a once lived experience relived

in fifty words in written timed exams.”
“You are living language in the class so make

the Earth your desk, the moon your lamp, a tree
hollow your bed then sleep on it for the night

is an orthodontist conference in Wichita, full
of illicit glances, misplaced key cards, and

room numbers inked on the napkins of the heart.”
“The fig tree leaf resembles the human hand,

as the new language does the cuckoo, only
seeming its true bedfellow, mother tongue.”

My Sunset

Stephen Philip Druce

In the distant horizon, a lava latent
has spewed its molten creatures in every colour,
sprawling beyond the shifting precipice in its tender atrocity.
To us – the immortal canvas, where the delicate hands of the gods
in their infinite measure, could never cast such a rich disarray
of raging splendour, bathed in a spiteful dusk that is not worthy.

A Spacey Nut Fell From a Tree in the Sky

Sam Silva

A spacey nut
fell from a tree in the sky
in the heat of Summer’s
broiling lullaby

…we nod and doze
who know no other way
to sow our seed.

And so
the brain, that bloodless rose,
learns how to bleed!

Jazz Club: Tubby Hayes

Dick Jones

The chunter of the bass,
a ruminant, chewing the
syllables over the heft
and shuffle of the drums.
A hi-hat sneeze, a pebble-
dash across the snare.
Eyes closed, strap-hanging
in rhythm like a passenger,
he nurses the tenor, cheek
nuzzled against the curve
of mouthpiece, waiting.

We huddle round the table,
heads swinging, on the nod
inside blue fumes. I see us
across the room – two
impasto vagabonds, skinny
chancers, callow, untried,
painted by Soutine, in blues
and blacks; two grotesques
trapped in a box of shadows.

And then there’s voltage.
First it’s the shock of a
clicking relay: a press-roll,
a rim-shot, a four-bar hiatus.
And then he’s bucking like
a great bull waking out of
a dream, his horn fighting
the thick air, spilling a
tumbling mess of wisdom,
blown out of light and
into the dark on a long
unfurling breath, the tale
of a messenger with
too much to tell
and too little time.

And like a dreamer waking,
here in my small piece
of the real world, I’m up
on my feet. Not to dance
or to worship or to scat
my own shower of notes
back at him, but just to
wake up for the first time
to the sound of surprise and
to stay standing while my heart
shifts a beat and my blood
is drawn by new tides
for the first time.

(Read by Cerys Matthews on her BBC 6 Music show.)