Mary Franklin – Ghost Beads

Ghost Beads
The Navajo cuts conifer branches,
lays them on the ground, watches
ants nibble ends of juniper berries
eating their bluish-white insides.
The berries he leaves in the sun.
When they are hollow and dry
he punches a hole in the other end,
strings them onto a cord.
He knows the fusion of earth, trees,
animal and human brings harmony,
keeps ghosts and nightmares away.
He’ll give a string to the new teacher,
the one with troubled eyes.  The others

he’ll sell at the market stall on Friday.

Mary Franklin has had poems published in Iota, The Open Mouse, Ink Sweat and Tears, London Grip, Message in a Bottle and various anthologies, including nothing left to burn by Ragged Raven Press.  Her tanka have appeared in poetry journals in Australia, Canada, UK and USA.  She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

Julia Webb – evening news

evening news

is not the object to rip a hole through the world
my fabric is bursting at the seams with urgency

the fabric of the universe is torn as if by a wolf’s claw
is not the object to rip a hole through the very fabric

is not the hole in the world growing larger by the second
the screen is cracking to universe hole and smoke leaks

is not the very hole in our universe under question
is not the smoke pouring in through the bomb holes

Julia Webb is a graduate of UEA’ s Creative Writing MA. She has had work in various journals including Magma, Poetry Salzburg Review, Poetry News, and The Rialto. In 2011 she won The Poetry Society’s Stanza competition with her prose poem ‘Lent’ and in 2014 she was shortlisted for the Poetry School/Pighog Pamphlet competition with her collection Bird Sisters. Julia is one of the editorial team of Lighthouse – a journal for new writing. She lives in Norwich where she teaches creative writing.

Richard Devereaux – Tribal


I am tribal.
My politics are red.
My football team is blue.

I’ll never vote Tory.
I am for the many
not the few.

I’ll never cheer The Vile.
I am Baggies
through and through.

The Vile are Aston Villa.
Prince William and David Cameron
claim to be fans.

The Baggies are West Bromwich Albion.
After he came home from World War One
granddad had a trial.

I am tribal.
My allegiances are clear.
I don’t have to think about them.

Mavis Gulliver – Cancer


Like a black box     bottomless     contents and sender unknown
it shattered the frenzied pattern of our days
stopped     the afternoon    the week     the year –
a stone to our hearts     it stole our breath    froze our words    our thoughts    our tears.

Spared the final grief we grasped the gift it offered
stepped back from blinkered busyness
to    s l o w    t h e    p a t t e r n    o f    o u r    l i v e s     learn to say no
make time for one another      find something to rejoice      in every day.

Mavis Gulliver is a retired teacher living on the Isle of Islay in the Hebrides. She hasbeen writing poetry for about 15 years and her first collection, a joint publication with Jan Fortune. “Slate Voices: Cwmorthin and Islands of Netherlorn” was published by Cinnamon Press in 2014. A second collection ‘Waymarks’ will be published in 2015 by Cinnamon Press. She is also a regular contributor to Scottish Islands Explorer magazine and her first novel for 8-12 year olds ‘Cry at Midnight’ was published by Cinnamon Press in 2014. This is Book 1 of The Hagstone Chronicles. Books 2 and 3 will be published in 2015 and 2016 respectively.


Facebook – Cry at MIdnight

Dylan Orchard – Three Poems

No Cure for Shell Shock

They tell skeletons to walk
corpses to dance
remains to re-form
Let Jesus guide you,
you are the resurrection and the light
and to fail
to fall back into your grave
the weight of dirt cracking your bones
and cold earth claiming your breath
is to commit the ultimate sin
We, the living, may scatter in cemeteries
but only you, the dead, can read the names
And only if you refuse to rise
to be Jesus
do you deny the redemption we demand

Minor Flame

A flying fist is a fiery thing
A thousand tanks are not
A dying child makes good print
A thousand dead just rot
An explosive flash in a quiet town
is every anchor’s dream
But a minor flame
on a cold, dark night
is everybody’s shame.


The cracks are the wall
the bricks aren’t.
Prison or castle, the weather aged joints are what we mould to.
Then when it falls the pattern stays
and so do we.

Dylan Orchard is a London based novelist, poet, short story writer and occasional reviewer. His début novella (Laikanist Times) was my first grand adventure in the world of Indie Publishing and is available for Amazon Kindle. His début full length novel was released on the 1st of May 2014 and is available in all eBook formats and paperback.

He has also written extensively on Open Culture, free music, Alternative and UK Hip Hop for various sites and webzines.

He says “As well as the writing schtik I’m also a native Londoner complete with Thames water flowing through my veins. Which goes some way towards explaining my unhealthy pallor and tendency towards bouts of enthusiastic swearing to mark moments of anger, joy, indifference and most things in between.”

Carolyn O’Connell – Loft


It was a conversion, once a part of the city walls,
the docks where spices were unloaded.
Gangmasters wrote messages on walls
lists of cargoes to be stacked into
ships that pulled up to the wharves,
that are unseen from this high window
with its railings, once anchoring hoists,
now converted to faux-balconies.
The dark boards throw up essence
of cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, clove,
despite a coat of varnish wearing thin in places.

I’ve only rented, can’t afford to buy
the price of these apartments is sky-high.
That’s why this room’s so bare
no new paint or plaster’s sheen is glinting in the light.
I hung this mirror by the name I found
scratched on the back wall.
I think it is “Jim Walters”, not really sure.
Now it has faded like the measure drawn
just at the edge of the mirror’s frame.



Carolyn O’Connell lives in Richmond-on-Thames.  Her collection Timelines was published by Indigo Dreams August 2014

Maggie Sawkins – The World’s Coat

The World’s Coat
‘In the struggle between yourself and the world, hold the world’s coat’ – Kafka

The world’s coat
has a zillion buttons made of stone,

has pockets
deeper than the Pacific Ocean.

With its collar pulled up
it reaches beyond the death of stars.

Its fabric can cope with hurricane and hail,
sandstorm and snow;

it can embrace your sorrow and your fear
of no tomorrow.

The world’s coat is lined with silk from all the silk worms
that ever existed;

its length is long but it never touches the ground.
There’s no reason to shun it.

It is waiting patient as the sky for you to sink
into the black holes of its arms.

The world’s coat
may seem an ill fit, but just turn up

its cuffs, it will grow into you,
or you into it.

Maggie Sawkins is the winner of the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry

Mikey Bryant – Sermon on Mount Westminster

Sermon on Mount Westminster


Blessed are the rich men’s wallets,

for theirs are the tortured women,

Blessed are those in triumph,

for they needn’t bother comforting,

Blessed are the vain,

for they will inhibit the earth,

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for TV airtime,

for their wish is God’s command,

Blessed are the vindictive,

for they will be shown the rages of sin,

Blessed are the pure of suits,

for they will see yes-men,

Blessed are the facist leaders,

for they will be called fathers of grief,

Blessed are those who ignore the persecuted children,

for theirs is the kingdom of sofas.

Blessed are you when it’s trendy to big you up and when people falsely say all kinds of good about you because of your speeches. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your ego, for in the same way they cheered the despots who were before you.

Hannah Linden – Through Light

Through Light

I’m walking through the light in the poems
Americans can write: expansive skies, taking
the space to tell a story including the way
a writer feels as the story winds its way without
necessarily needing to underline any conclusions.

And I’m wondering about this side of the Atlantic
and how frightened we are by that massive sky
where everyone has a right and stands up to
fight for it but mostly just expects it to be there
over the prairies, the mountains, the sky-scrapers

whilst we boxed in by the weather drear
and the hopelessness of ourselves as subjects
to the crown and the police with their new laws
and ways of enforcing them as nearly a million
people have to line up for food from food banks

no matter how many hours we’re stuck inside
call centres and zero-hour contracts. And here
we all are, like chickens who’ve forgotten there
ever was a road to cross pecking at the feathers
of disabled people, the poor, immigrants, any

body close enough to draw blood from which
means just about everyone. Sky darkening
with drawn blood and everyone ducking out
of the way, frightened of the fall-out and how
it might show on our faces, the fear, the shame

that we couldn’t stand up and be counted
which means telling the real stories of how
oppressed we all feel and how we need to stop
hoping things will just get better if we just keep
ourselves neatly between the lines.

Hannah Linden is a Devon-based poet, emerging from Jo Bell’s 52 group. She has work published in Domestic Cherry 4, Nuggets and Nutshells, Poetry24, The Broadsheet, Wonderzoo, I Am Not a Silent Poet, Appletree’s Speak! anthology,  Ink, Sweat and Tears 2014/15 12 Days of Christmas feature and more by the time this goes to print: it’s been a busy year!  She tweets @hannahl1n

Julie Hogg – Chance and Fine Things

Chance and Fine Things

Backyard cracked knuckles
with unattended weals,
devoid of moisture and
starved of cream, began.
Courtesans of men of rank,

living their identities out,
buckling their knees,
pulling back possibilities
in fluent solidarity and
fine, unrequited dreams.

There’s still hope in the
rubble of emulsion and
skirting boards, frames
and acrylic, synthetic or
real glass ceilings in this

sometime state-of-the-art
partly demolished block
of flats, where no-one tried
too hard to have a heart, it
came naturally like a spark

or a pigment reflecting light
off lintels, live wires and
cut copper cables. On the
rooftop, holding on tightly
to solitary experiences,

there’s a chance of settling
down completely at dusk in
a thrilling stillness tonight.
The quality of air above
the flyover is astounding.



Julie Hogg is a Poet who enjoys flipping words around each other so that they have a chance of looking, sounding and meaning their very best. She is interested in things which may have been missed, either accidentally or on purpose.

Further information  is available on twitter @hogg_julie