Daniel Sluman – Separate



Sometimes    I’m the wind in your garden

where your hands pluck the pegs
from the line     & I hold each stitch

of your dress & streamed hair     silently

for a second carrying     your exquisite human weight
once again     with its intricately slick mechanisms

of pressure & release       & sometimes I’m a shoal

of birds exploding from the side of your house
slipped through the corner of your eye       you stop

for a moment      a memory teases from the lawn

& I want to tell you    I need you     that your eyes
are all the clichés we read about eyes   wrestled

into a knot & lit         that your clavicles hold the light

like buckets brimmed with rain            but I’m not here
the sun slides off the wall      & you get back to the task

of filling the bowl with clothes    the breeze dropping

down to the floor    as you pull a band from your back-
pocket          squeeze a silly notion through the tip

of your ponytail     turn    & walk back through the door



Daniel Sluman is a 28 year old writer based in Cheltenham, whose debut Absence has a weight of its own was released to critical acclaim in 2012 through Nine Arches Press. He has been published widely in journals in the UK and abroad, including B O D Y, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Hinterland, and Popshot. He gained a BA and MA in Creative Writing at University of Gloucestershire, and won AHRC funding for his PhD into Disability Poetics, at BCU starting in 2014.

Emma Lee – Dress Code for Live Music

Dress Code for Live Music


Skinny or boyfriend jeans?

Clingy tank or baggy tee?

Heeled knee highs or biker boots?

Go brunette or stay blonde?

Make-up: minimal.

Is geeky eyewear unappealing

or do I look vulnerable?


Beer or fruit juice?

One in three rapes happen

when the woman’s drunk,

so two of three happen

when she’s sober,

that makes drinking safer, surely??


Start again: jeans, sweatshirt,

slipper-socks, make-up free,

slump on the sofa

and watch it all on TV.


Emma Lee’s “Mimicking a Snowdrop” is forthcoming from Thynks Press and “Yellow Torchlight and the Blues” is available from Original Plus. She blogs at http://emmalee1.wordpress.com and is a blogger-reviewer for Simon and Schuster. She also reviews for The Journal, Elsewhere, London Grip and Sabotage Review magazines.

Stella Wulf – Panacea


If I could
I’d invent a machine,
a fantastical contraption of convulsion,
a locomotion of rip-roarrrrrring propulsion.
I’d plumb it with ebullient valves and effervescent vents,
I’d forge it a belly of g i n o r m o u s proportion. I would!
I’d feed it with images, mirages, phantasmagorical contortions,
chortling babies, gurning chaps, dancing parrots,
jiggling boobies, mad mishaps, misshapen carrots.
I’d start it off s l o w, set to a simmering chuckle,
then I’d wind it up till it snickered then snorted
then guffawed. Then I’d feed it some more, I would!
I’d stuff it with slapstick pies,
banana skin slips, rollicking gags,
video clips of fat ladies on s l i d e s.
I’d stoke it with wit and poke it with jokes
until it roared and roared and split its sides.
Until laughter rushed in a crying tide,
a tsunami of rolling hilarity,
doubling up the unbending,
shaking the shoulders of humanity.
I’d do it, I would,
If I could.

Stella Wulf hails from North Wales but now lives in South West France with her husband and a menagerie of animals. Her poems have appeared in The Screech Owl, Prole and The Sentinel Literary Quarterly (after gaining third place in their competition, September 2012). Her work has been accepted for publication by Message in a Bottle and will appear in their Spring 2015 issue. Stella has had flash fiction, poetry and articles published by AD Newspapers in Nottingham. She is also an artist and exhibits her work under her real name, Claire Jefferson. Her work can be seen on her websitehttp://www.stellawulf.com

Fran Lock – The difference between

The difference between 

i.m. M.J.H

This is not London, these cold, encumbered houses
where First Light is polar and philistine. Yous told me
that every city’s Sunday is broken open diff’rent.
Belfast, then, in her minutely scrutinised wakening,
lifts up her trees like trophies. It is Ulster turning
her talk-to-the-hand to the hills. My body aches.

I won’t sleep in. I will not sleep. I will not sleep my walking,
walk my sleeping. I will be awake, and say at last, out loud
that grief is not a dream.

Yes, this is really happening. I mope my morning cup,
wallow in music: the mad glitching skirl of our breadline
braggadocio; feral euphorias, fanfare of aggro. I dance.
I mime my dancing, wringing the wanderlust out of
my hands. I imagine you into a song that sounds like fog
lifting, knowing full well you’d have been unimpressed, said
juss like a Tenement Westie to temper disaster with singing!

But oh, there are jigs, love, and then there are reels.
And somewhere between the thumped gut of the bodhrán,
the twitterpated squeak of the fiddle; the grim
correctional whine of the flute, we came undone.

We all came undone, not just you, badluck
Bedouin, drowned on the wide, ruled-margins
of the sea. All of us, lithe for pell-mell not
for marches. How would any of us live?
Though we did, for a while.

Mine was to grieve what the auld folks fled from,
spinning out the feudal eruditions of a Catholic
child. I wanted religion, wanted to con church
from punk, from politics. You saw through, from
the obsolescent lecheries of priests to the knock-on-
wood monotony of Protestant salvation. You saw
through my starveling art and militant tendency.
You said faith is a cracked skull and a cup of mud.
You said fuck ‘em all, their milestone martyrdoms,
retinue heroics. Fuck ‘em all, you said, The Land
and her agonies of erosion; the polymorphous
North, a perverse instrumental of pipes and wire.

But we lived for a while. We tried. You tried,
but you cried in the night; your long feet itched
for the Lower Falls, for a boyhood bedecking itself
in stones. Hungry as only half-breeds can be,
we grabbed on each other those days when remorse
was neither worn or swallowed.

But we lived for a while, got free for a while,
of bigots drilling fingers into stingy fists, of a God
only God enough to daub or bray; of sink estates,
their malice either pandered to and fattened.
We got away, had smiling days.

Yes, this is really happening. This morning is yours.
The North you could not claim claims you. I will go
down to the shore and give you back: a spree
of grey salt water, the sky descends to meet the day,
this crescent moon in feckless penitential vanishing.
And I cannot be wise inside my wanting you. I want to
call out stay

But I don’t mean stay, I mean go, tangent and fleeting,
in the rain, on the air. I mean to say that some days
freedom is attrition, and those days the living are awkward
and spare.

Go, then. I will walk away. I will pass the ruin
of the prison, sleeping like a Sphinx. I will live
to learn the difference
between what’s lost and what is
missing; what is tied and what is bound.


Fran Lock’s collection The Mystic and the Pig Thief is due to launch soon. She has recently been announced as the winner of  the Ambit 2014 Poetry competition.

Cristine A. Gruber – Ritual


In a weakened moment

I open the box,

remove each card

and read them

one by one.

I don’t glance

at the clock,

not even once,

taking all the time I need

to get through the observance.

When done with

my ceremony,

I close up the case,

tape it securely,

then bind it with string.

But even as

I bury it

in the deepest,

furthest corner

of the storage unit,

I remain fully aware

that these measures

won’t stop me

from repeating the ritual

the very next weekend.

Cristine A. Gruber has had work featured in numerous magazines, including: North American Review, Writer’s Digest, Ascent Aspirations, Dead Snakes Online Journal, The Endicott Review, The Homestead Review, Iodine Poetry Journal, Miller’s Pond, The Penwood Review, Poem, Thema, The Tule Review, and Westward Quarterly. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Lifeline, was released by Infinity Publishing and is available from Amazon.com.

Susan Richardson – Phorusrhacidae


This is not a guillemot
bobbing in the froth of our dreams
or a mallard dabbling in shallow water
for our shoots and seeds.
This is not a jay storing our acorn-mistakes
for future gorging, or a great grey owl braced
        for the   twitch
of lemming beneath our snow.
No. And this isn’t a fossil:
scientists who hypothesise –
flightless…exceeded two metres in height –
should unfledge their computer models and edge
into the light, where a beak slashes open
the belly of sleep, rips
the flesh from our skittish pledges,
crushes smug bones and scythes
the scrub as it hunts
our mammal logic.
Futile to assume we can outpace it.
Useless to play dead.
Too late to plead now it copulates
              with greed, exchanges
gifts of shifted blame
and squats on top of our world, coercing
it to          crack.
Susan Richardson: I am a Wales-based poet, performer and educator whose third collection, skindancing, themed around human-animal metamorphosis and our dys/functional relationship with the wild, will be published by Cinnamon Press next year. I am currently poet-in-residence with the Marine Conservation Society.

twitter – @susanpoet

C J Heyworth – Wheelbarrow questing

Wheelbarrow questing

School urges us
ever to accumulate
yet what dawns in
maturity is selectivity
not bulk – how I soon
began to seek white
chickens and essence
of red wheelbarrow
glazed with rain.



C J Heyworth is the pen version of the blogger, commentator and poet Christopher James Heyworth who is a widower based in North West England.  CJH has poems in many Small Press magazines, articles on poetry, and a 2003 chapbook After Singapore and Other Poems to his name.  A fuller collection, Hurry Up Please – It’s Time, is in preparation with Authorhouse and should be released before Christmas 2014:

Sue Kindon – Dear Planet

Dear Planet,


If all the trees on the Mirabat were streetlamps

and the hum of the river was a motorway

and the snow peaks on the horizon

turned to tower blocks,

and the field where the horses graze

was an aircraft factory

and the swallows were doodlebugs

detonating the touchpaper sky,

what would become of you and me?


Will you hold my hand in the future’s bunker?

Shall we make plans for when we get out of here?

While coltsfoot grows through cracks in the concrete,

can we give it another try?


Sue Kindon’s poems have appeared in The Interpreter’s House, The North, Antiphon, Popshot, and The Rialto. She was awarded The Maryport Poetry Prize 2012. and Poets and Players Open Prize, Manchester 2013. She lives in The French Pyrenees.


Tom D’Evelyn – Pond Song 4.32

Pond Song 4.32

No finite whole is absolutely self-supporting as a contingent happening. (William Desmond)

The country falling apart__the moon restores the tide
wastewater mixed with salt__fat mallards catch a ride

smart money feeds on itself__my wetland mind breathes in
essences of windblown beach rose__brick chokes the horizon

oak tree tops wind’s highway__our heroes fall elsewhere
may these rhymes fall together__seagulls split the air



Tom D’Evelyn: I’ve been writing Pond Songs for many years now. I have not submitted any for publication. I do “publish” them at metaxysongs.com

I am a retired editor. I was books editor at The Christian Science Monitor in the 80s. After the paper imploded, I worked at Harvard University Press as a humanities editor; at Boston University as a managing editor; and at Brown University in the President’s Office. Meanwhile, I ran a literary agency for ten years. When I retired, I continued to teach private students in Portsmouth New Hampshire. I blog, too.

I explain the project in the about page at metaxysongs.com They fuse several traditions, English and Chinese.

Chris Fewings – HOME: How to build an old brick terrace in Brum (parts 1 & 2)

HOME: How to build an old brick terrace in Brum.

from a sequence of seven poems

1. Mangla Dam, 1960; Elan Valley Reservoir, 1892

Seven houses in our street. In the first
a family of seven, three generations –
for the telling of this tale they are Mirpuri.
Imagine the domes of mosques keeping
their heads above water in a hydroelectric
reservoir. That’s Mirpur, drowned by a dam,
its people flowing out to English factories

to build communities in terraces,
new mosques; to spice meat-and-two-veg
with chilli, haldi, fresh coriander grown
with Welsh water and sold in new shops on corners
of surprised suburbs and slums. Red brides, bright
shalwar-kameez, bhangra and Bollywood
land on black-and-white weddings and TV.
2. Documentation

Black-and-white weddings and TV land
on the pile of memories in the skip outside
No. 2: photos from a mantlepiece
above a fire that burned black coal to warm
a couple who’d spent their married decades there.
She’d scrub his Sunday shirts white, and he
would scrub black oil from his hands each evening,

back from the engineering works by bus.
Their daughter finds a ration book in a drawer,
a National Service number; a union card.
After her mother’s black-and-white funeral
her father moves into a Council care home
which has no room for memories. She places
coloured flowers on a grave in serried ranks.


Chris Fewings lives in Birmingham and writes poems (some published on Ink Sweat & Tears and elsewhere), stories (including A Glossary of my Grandmother) and articles. He also hosts poetry groups at Balsall Heath Library and elsewhere. His website is at  www.chris.fewin.gs.