Monday, 2 June 2014

A poem by Angela Kirby

The Bornean Hawk Moth Explains 

It’s the music I make, like this, see, vibrating 
my lower abdomen and rubbing my genitals -
it throws them off the scent. Those bloody bats,
they’re always after us, homing in, insatiable, 
they are.  You can't hear the music? Well, the  
bats can, so that’s OK, and it buggers up their
sonar; echolocation, I think it's called - whatever -
the music does it every time, sends them right
away from me and miles off course. Hell, I may
just be your ordinary small brown hawk moth 
but I've got this great trick of flying  after them
landing on their balls and laying eggs there,
one, two, three, or maybe more, I don't count - 
excuse me a moment while I rub and vibrate 
a little more - sorry about that, then, as I was  
saying, in a while, this is the best bit, one has to 
laugh, grubs emerge and munch on the bollocks
which, of course, is the end of those particular 
bats’ geneaology. Neat, isn't  it? But as a matter 
of fact, d’you know what, there are some nights 
when I could almost feel quite sorry for them.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

A poem by Dick Jones


On Cashel Hill

“And you tell me that he vanished,
out on the hillside. Nothing found,
no body, not a trace of where he’d been
or where he’d gone?”

She topped the Guinness, placed it
like a sacrament upon the bar.
We studied it.  “Oh no”, she whispered.
“Disappeared completely.  But…”

(she grinned and moved away),
“they’ve seen him late at night
still looking for his sheep, O’Faherty.
Just a shadow by the burial ground,

whistling up his flock”.  They laughed
and tipped their pints. I laughed
and raised mine too.  Through the door
of Boulger’s Bar the day was

Connemara silver-grey.  Peat fires
burning in July – the tint of them
on the edge of a salt breeze
in from Cashel Bay.

Later, high up Cashel Hill
the fog came down like wet wool.
Blinded, I perched on rock,
only my breathing shifting

the warp and weft of it. Close-knit
into that fleece of wraiths and phantoms,
robbed of a milky distance of bays
and mountains, I could speculate

the ghost of O’Faherty, white
on white, footsure, eternal, stepping
across the tussocks like a dancer.
I rose and followed him down,

a twisting fume inside smoke,
and stepped back into watery sunlight
amongst the gravestones
in the burial ground.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

A poem by David Clarke

The Messengers

Hark!, the angels are crying. We do not hear.
Even while they pace the lime-washed halls
brandishing bold lilies, as if to direct
our spiritual traffic – we are nonplussed.

We turn the pages of magazines, inspect
the sorry heel of our own dangled shoe.
Hark! and Hark! again. The rain is dashing
redbrick walls, cars illuminate

the prosey night, while ministers of all
religions bob home to a book or spouse – 
and every one just out of earshot
for seraphim, Hark!-ing themselves hoarse.

Not even poets attend to that hailing,
haloed in their screen-bright fug.
Such barren shores they choose to call to,
those heralds. Such blasted shores.

David Clarke was born in Lincolnshire and now lives in Gloucestershire. His pamphlet, Gaud, was joint winner of the Flarestack Poets Pamphlet prize in 2012 and also won the Michael Marks Award in 2013.

Monday, 21 April 2014

A poem by Susan Taylor

Time Lapse

I want these words to be nails.
No, not spikes hammered home
with swear-to-god points at the end
and cute trite titles at the top,

but flesh pink ones, delicately striated,
with ivory appearing along the edges.
See me – picking such perfect shells;
named in Latin, I gather, Moerella Pygmaea.

How they’re becoming wet new baby’s nails,
borne out of the golden bed of Anderby sand.
How I’m splashing through warm puddles
to show Mum and Dad  treasure;

the glee running to the tips of my limbs
mirrored in their eyes.

Susan Taylor’s most recent collection is A Small Wave For Your Form from Oversteps Books. She is a Dartmoor dweller, who is currently working in the heart of Totnes at Rhythm and Light (a crystal  and ethnic musical instrument shop in The Butterwalk.)

Friday, 11 April 2014

A poem by Kevin Reid

Love … it's all dying

after the movie 'Love is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon'

Undress at the table
two full bottles between you 

Shaved shy 
buttons undone
his belt a sex toy

Prostrate you wait
sphincter with a secret

Heavy pants 
burn of a butt
Francis fucked

Falling George 
his suicide attempts
pissing on your toilet piece

Premier in Paris 
run down with pills 
and champagne

Black suit 
flesh bag
tailored for a coffin

bollocks... I miss 
cowering under you

Kevin Reid lives and works as a librarian in  AngusScotland. His poetry can be found in various online and printed publications. Recent work at The Open Mouse, and  Ink,Sweat and Tears and The Interpreter’s House.. He is the founding creator of the online multimedia collaboration >erasure and>erasure iiWordless, an image and text collaboration with George Szirtes is published by Knives, Forks and Spoons Press. Kevin’s blog can be viewed here.

Monday, 10 March 2014

A poem by Robert Peake

Couples Therapy

A nice cup of tea
and a mean cup of coffee
were talking across
the devilled eggs,
trying, you know,
to have a conversation.
At least that's what she,
Rosie Lee, kept saying.
But Juan just wanted
to read the paper in peace.
He wasn't mean
so much as agitated.
And Rosie, sure,
was sensitive.
Sometimes she felt
overpowered, sometimes
lonely on her saucer,
although she stood
upon it deliberately
to keep him
from getting close.
Juan was complex
though he thought
himself straightforward.
When someone tipped
the milk jug over
neither could admit
how much they wanted
to be somewhere,
anywhere else.

Robert Peake is an American poet living in England. His newest pamphlet is The Silence Teacher (Poetry Salzburg, 2013) and he created the Transatlantic Poetry on Air reading series. Details at

Saturday, 8 March 2014

A poem by Vasantha Surya


Larger than life, the peacock facing me
Out there in the rain, on the palash tree
His claws’ raw power on the supine bough
Shot a bolt through me, on the balcony.

Broader, more muscled than I’d thought it was

And blue — so blue, his handsome chest!
Bejewelled, his whipsnake neck and crest
A-quiver with ire, white-ringed eye spitting fire.

“Arree!” he shrieked, imperiously.

“You in that silly cage of human ribs!
Stupid peahen! Come out quick!”

Vasantha Surya’s work includes  over three hundred articles in major Indian newspapers and  magazines, three volumes of poetry in English (Cre-A, Writers Workshop, and Sandhya Publications), and seven works  of translation from Tamil (comprising a  collection of outstanding short stories as well as six major novels -- East-West Press, Penguin, Macmillan, Zubaan, Sahitya Akademi, New Horizons, and Oxford University Press). Several of her translations of poetry appear in  OUP’s Tamil Dalit Writing.  Her translation of  Cho Dharman’s Tamil novel Koogai is  soon to be brought out by  OUP. Mridu in Madras (in English, brought out by Rupa and in Tamil, by Kalachuvadu) is a novel for children. 

Monday, 3 March 2014

A poem by David Cooke


My aunt Peg was a country girl
who couldn’t wait to leave it.
She was flighty, flirty,
and married a gambler
with a Clark Gable moustache.

The first place they took her on
was a Camden Town tea room
where they had a Margaret,
so made her a Peggy
instead, as if that day

were a new beginning
among the fancies,
scones, and slices –
the serviettes and doilies
she insisted upon

until the end of her days –
like the fags that kept her slim,
out of sight in a wardrobe
long after, officially,
she had ‘packed them in’.

In the photo they placed
on the coffin she looks
like a forties starlet. Her head
at an angle, she’s staring
into a softer light. 

David Cooke won a Gregory Award in 1977 and published his first collection, Brueghel’s Dancers in 1984. His retrospective collection, In the Distance, was published in 2011 by Night Publishing and a collection of more recent pieces, Work Horses, has recently been published by Ward Wood Publishing.  His poems, translations and reviews have appeared widely in journals including Agenda, Ambit, The Bow Wow Shop, The Critical Quarterly, The Irish Press, The London Magazine, Magma, The North, Orbis,  Other Poetry, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry London, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Reader, The SHOp and StandI have also attached them in a single word doc.

Monday, 24 February 2014

A poem by Stephen Boyce

Painted Lady

Ironic that this butterfly should look 
so moth-eaten, poor raggedy creature

like a scrap of frail lace or cutwork 
from an antique dress, rediscovered 

in a cobwebbed cupboard, tattered, 
fluttering as it sieves the feeble breeze,

and all that I can do, among blood-red 
strawberries and dry clods, is keep 

the cat away whose slightest touch 
would turn these faded wings to dust.

Stephen Boyce is a prize-winning poet and has been published widely in magazines, anthologies and online. His collection Desire Lines (Arrowhead Press 2010) was described by Katherine Gallagher as “intelligent, sophisticated, formally assured… a truly exciting new voice”.  The Sisyphus Dog will be published by Worple Press in 2014.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

A poem by Josephine Corcoran

I never thought about you being fit or unfit

Father, we never talked about your disability
unless someone nodded at your legs or sticks or
catheter, your carrier bags of pills, your trembling arms.  We
know little more about it now and laugh, remembering when

you were re-assessed for Benefits and threw a drinks tray
over the people holding clip-boards.  You told them you were
useless, apologised for your shakes, asked them if they thought you’d make a waiter.

And near the end your leg was amputated. You
tipped whiskey in your spill-proof beaker, faced the sun, spilled ash everywhere;
overall, I couldn’t have wished for you to be lovlier;
sorry you’re no longer here, to tell Atos how you feel.

Josephine Corcoran ( was raised in a family entirely dependent on State Benefits for income.  Her father, Basil Patrick Dominic Corcoran, a gas fitter and champion boxer in his army regiment (he served in WW2) became disabled in the late 1950s, waking up one morning and finding he was paralysed from the waist down.  Eventually he re-gained some movement but his condition, which was never fully diagnosed, became more complex.  Josephine wrote this poem in his memory.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

A poem by Monica Timms

Three Cowslips

You go past the lake
to the left.
Past where the children play
Along the path
and up the hill
past the green
where grow the red wild roses
that smell of ponds cold cream.
On a little hill, facing south.
There we found three cowslips
In January.  Three cowslips.

Monday, 27 January 2014

A poem by Simon Williams

The Lion of the Black Face and the Lioness of Skull

When summer came
with all the hot stars of the empty months,
the birds flew high and always
out of reach, circling alone.

The lion of the black face
and the lioness of skull sat 
beneath the Katachu tree and hoped
their wings would break.

Every day they dreamt of cloud,
every day they wished for claws
to climb the tree, surprise the birds,
fill their lion bellies.

They waited under the branches
through all the peaks of heat
til neither lion could remember the taste of bird,
or the feel of feathers on the tongue.

At night the lion god of sky
came by and watched them sleeping.
In the blue dawn the lion god of underneath
came by and watched them wake.

At end of summer, the birds flew north.
The lions left the Katachu
and went to drink. The river flowed;
the lion gods went hunting.

The lion of the black face
and the lioness of skull caught antelope,
okapi, fed until they needed no more meat
and then the brittle stars ran cold.

Simon Williams has written poetry for 35 years. He makes a living as a journalist. His poetry ranges widely, from quirky pieces often derived from news items or science and technology, to biographical pieces, to the occasional Clerihew. He has five published collections, the latest being A Place Where Odd Animals Stand (Oversteps Books, 2012) and He|She  (Itinerant Press, 2013). He has a website at, is currently The Bard of Exeter and founder of new magazine, The Broadsheet (

Friday, 24 January 2014

A poem by Paul Hawkins

Two People Eating a Meal and then Shagging

You brought home a kilo or so of squid:
Armhook, Rams Horn or Comb-Finned.
You slit the bag, a feathery shaped mantle
slithered out.

You washed out its mouth,
rinsed it in cold water, washed away
sand, salt, the sins of the sea.
The cats gathered below the sink.

Before frying, as you held it up,
a little silver fish slid out,
a tiny mirror, a last supper.
It fell to the tiles, to the cats.

As we eat I wonder what I am to you;
tentacles of light or a passing morsel?
As you drizzle olive oil, I`ve an eye
on the stairs, of lapping against your nipple.

After the wine our fingers dance along lips,
we roll into one another’s hips; a whirl-pool
of tongues, legs. The math of the silver fish world,
turning another revolution, is forgotten.

Paul Hawkins is a poet, writer and storyteller. He’s been interested in alternative culture and music, place, protest and survival for as long as we can remember. He curates Untold Boscombe, a locative storytelling project and co-edits poetry pamphlet Boscombe Revolution. He has performed his work at The Royal Opera House, Womad, The Shelley Theatre and other venues across the south-west. His publishing credits include Fit to Work: Poets Against ATOS, The Interpreters House, The Occupy Wall Street Anthology, London Lit Project, The Bath Lit Festival, Museum of Alcohol, Verba Vitae, M58 and the Noir Erasure Poetry Anthology. Paul is based in Bournemouth and is an associate artist of Vita Nova.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

A poem by Graeme Durham


I saw this creature walking down the street,
It had
Legs, toes, shins,
Thighs, ankles, feet.
Soles, knees, hips, -crotch, bottom, tummy
Chest, navel, shoulder blades
Neck, armpits, mouth
Collar bone, forearm, finger
Wrists, nails, palms
Nose, eyebrows, elbows
Chin, nipples, eyes,
Throat, ears, teeth
The creature walked with a slight wobble and had....
….a very nice face.
I never saw it again!

Monday, 6 January 2014

A poem by Wendy Klein


My landlord in Llandudno had a deaf Jack Russell
that yapped and whined continuously, 
snuffled at scraps that fell from the table
its square black snout twitching,
while its agile tongue hoovered up.

Sated, it would present its taut belly 
for stroking, fart luxuriously, 
fall asleep and snore.

Undifferentiated id, said my landlord,
and I had a vision of the man himself
in all his simplicity, clamouring
for attention, while silently
ferreting out, wolfing down,
furtive snacks, the dregs of drinks,
crawling into bed at all the wrong times
hungry, hungry, hungry.

Wendy Klein was born in New York, but has lived in the UK most of her adult life.  She has been writing poetry for about  12 years and has two collection with Cinnamon Press:  'Cuba in the Blood' (2009) and 'Anything in Turquoise' (2013).  Published in many magazines and anthologies, she hopes to manage another collection, or maybe even just a chapbook, before she pops her clogs.  Dogs, dancing and poetry keep her alive a day at a time.