Thato Angela Chuma – Love For Me

Love For Me

There is a love for me
A love wrapped in old prayer
A love tucked in my lungs like breath

There is a love I was pulled from
A dust of stories
A wind of rapture
A cunning song that leads the darkest night to its dawn

Crowds my tongue
It weaves a new language
It carries itself in the scent of a new day




Thato Angela Chuma is a Motswana singer, poet and writer. Her poetry has featured in literary magazines such as Saraba Magazine, Brittle Paper, Strange Horizons and The Kalahari Review.

Matt Black – Like Marbles in a Tin

Like marbles in a tin

written after talking to lovely people and groups at the Bus Park Café in Swadlincote, Derbyshire

The winds are bitter cold, you’d think we’d had enough,
All the same High Streets, the modern world is rough,
All machines and faceless, and no jobs, it’s tough
But we’ll always get through, always find a way
Because we come together down at the Resistance Café

It’s all for profit now, for some fat cat’s stash,
We turn the heating down, because we haven’t got the cash,
But we’re living it up tonight, bingo, bangers ‘n mash,
You couldn’t want for better, so hear our call, W’hey
Come on down and find us at the Resistance Café

If you ask what’s in ‘Swad’, we’ll say it’s all gone,
And the cuts, buses, benefits, hospitals, it’s all wrong,
But we’ve got cheese on toast, and that’s our song
We’re young at heart, and we do enjoy a buffet
So come on down and join us at the Resistance Café

We know each other, help each other, plot
Our next travel trip, Scarborough’s a favourite spot,
We bring each other tea, because little things mean a lot
And you gotta get out every day
So we’ll see you down at the Resistance Café

We talk and talk, little stuff, big stuff, sitting
In a circle, we natter while we’re knitting,
Yes, we like to rattle, we’re like marbles in a tin
We like to get things off our chest, have our say
And we’re raising funds down at the Resistance Café

Whatever someone needs, we just give or lend,
It’s what we do, we make do and mend,
We won’t lie down, and you’ll always find a friend
While the politicians think they’ve had their way
We’re just getting on down at the Resistance Café


Matt Black writes poems for adults and children, lives in Sheffield and Leamington Spa, and has 2 grown-up children. He was Derbyshire Poet Laureate (2011-2013), and his most recent collections are Footsteps and Fuddles: Laureate Poems (Derbyshire County Council), and The Owl and the Pussycat and the Turtles of Fun  (Two Rivers Press). He invented the world’s first Poetry Jukebox.

Julie Hogg – Driftwood Detroit

Driftwood Detroit

A city is being sedated
Jesus Christ where are you now!
Listen, for God’s sake, to the almost incidental
silver-tongued debates, polished up by cheap liquored
words, marinated for zero hours in all the habitual permanence of a
hotel room, calling it a

town, calling it a town, for God’s sake,
not quite meeting byzantine, undisclosed criteria for
numerous reasons, making metallurgy a cyclical, self-depreciating
struggle in authentic better nature and Sunday best pride, keeping an
infant Hercules, juvenile. God I’ve tried, I’ve really tried to contort to hard
and brittle, tarred in

over-sized molten alloy footprints,
watching the core of our Constantine College’s
foundations quiver and crack, Jesus Christ, I’m an
inshore seagull flying over the tracks from a driftwood
Detroit and you call me a Fishwife! But this is my voice and this,
this is how I cry

Julie Hogg is a Poet from Teesside who is passionate about the area. She has work published in Alliterati, the Black Light Engine Room Literary Journal, Ink, Sweat and Tears and The Linnet’s Wings. Anthologized by Apple Tree Writers and Ek Zuban, she is featured in a chapbook, ‘Dark Matter 2,’ from the Black Light Engine Room Press.

Jeff Skinner – All the Same

All the Same

Summoned not by me this time,
Everyman says left or right
it makes no difference, they’re all the same:
out of touch – with the hospital at night,
mayday loans; intensely relaxed about
the filthy rich they will not shame.

And when he says there’s no point, won’t vote,
I want the interviewer to ask –
did he feel that way about Atlee
or revolution’s white heat
this disillusioned man who knows nothing
of history, suffrage, me?

All the same is what some recognised you were
In 1945. Not one law, one bank, offshore
for them; another, charitable, Christian,
to feed the hungry and sanctioned, disabled, poor.
All the same, it beggars belief, rough-sleeping,
a reasonable man might think it fair

his children eating free school meals
while others sup at fee-paying schools;
a twelve month wait for a new heart – worse –
unless you go private they could do it at three?
is all the same to banker and exile
Muslim, Romanian, plumber and nurse.

The poorer you are the younger I come
to you. In any book of account, the bottom line’s
no earthly good. No difference then?
or just indifference to the suffering
of others, his kiss in the box for none
of the above like a betrayal.

Catherine Edmunds – glimpsed


I’m at the station, election night,
addled with speeches, argued out
a train whistles by and my eyes

something, on the retina, an image –

in the train, a woman, her child
muffler round her neck, black hair, a smile

and that’s all I saw, the flashing
of the lights from the windows
but this woman

the hum of electricity sits in the air, dissipates with the memory
of the train
leaves a delicious softness

I go home, we make love

Catherine Edmunds reinvented herself as a writer and artist after twenty years as a professional musician. Works in print include poetry, stories and novels. 2015 will see publication of a wartime biography of her mother and a collaborative illustrated novel.


Vanessa Gebbie – South Rim, Grand Canyon

South Rim, Grand Canyon

Which strata holds our broken bones?
Which holds my greenstick
sisters, bruised-shin ballerinas,
smile-for-the-camera girls?
Beside us a photographer sways,
triangulating for perspective
like the balancing peregrine
who bobs from side to side
to set the distance before the stoop.

We stand higher than the peregrine flies.
Haze blurs the North Rim, ten miles away.
Where are all those the lost grains now,
the eroded Colorado plateau’s sand?
And look – from which strata flew
that Southern blue bird,
to perch in the sun
and dance his colours for us,
more than a mile above the flood?

Vanessa Gebbie’s poetry has found success in a few competitions and appeared in various publications and anthologies. Her  pamphlet The Half-life of Fathers (Pighog) was selected among the best of 2014 by the TLS. She is also a published novelist and short story writer, and contributing editor of the text book Short Circuit – Guide to the Art of the Short Story (Salt).

Susan Castillo – Boiling a Frog

Boiling a Frog

It’s lovely here in the cauldron.
When the sun rose, I saw the water,
the blue green ripples, on the stove
leapt straight in.

Now I float on my back, inflate/deflate my belly.
I croak in Ribbet Ribbet glee.
Bubbles begin to rise
burst slow against my skin.

Actually it’s getting warm in here.
Relaxing, I suppose, but just a bit
uncomfortable and hot. Steam rises,
spirals into air.

I see a face appear, look down at me,
sharpen a knife, prepare to spear me
with a fork, slice me into
tasty well-cooked morsels.

Susan Castillo Street is a Louisiana expatriate and academic who lives in the Sussex countryside. She is Harriet Beecher Stowe Professor Emeritus, King’s College, University of London, and has published a book of poems titled The Candlewoman’s Trade (Diehard Press, 2003).  Her second collection, Abiding Chemistry, is forthcoming later this spring from Aldrich Press.  Her poems have appeared in The Missing Slate, The Stare’s Nest, Nutshells and Nuggets, I Am Not a Silent Poet, Snakeskin, Literature Today, York Mix), She is a member of three poetry groups, The Conduit Street Poets (London), 52, and Slant 2015.

Angela Readman – The Poet’s Last Will and Testament

The Poet’s Last Will and Testament

I bequeath to you morning upholstering my chair,
light slicing a dull hour, spread on the rug like my map.
And birds, whom I shall not name, but allow
to make their own introductions, peck words
to the window I saw through. You may find
the glass dirty, the view worn soft as a painter’s brush.
Finger it. Never stop looking out. If there are bees,
recall spilling a box of felt tip pens as a child,
swapping the yellow and black lids, look to insects
on a leaf, feel the wander slow as a palm reader
scribing life and love to a hand. Don’t be surprised
if you find hearts and faces in my room, knotted
into the oak of the desk. Its weeping is done,
sap dried, it will pucker and darken in due time.
The sag in my chair will learn the shape of someone
else’s recline. Fill it with your own behind, roll a page
of moonlight into an Olivetti, and let your name
on cork roll over mine. I can leave you only this. Now.

angela readman’s poetry has won the Mslexia poetry competition, The Charles Causley, and The Essex Poetry Prize. She is also a Costa Short Story Award winning story writer, her story collection Don’t Try This at Home will be published in May by And Other Stories.

Peter Raynard – The Poetry of Party Political Debate

The Poetry of Party Political Debate

The Tories are clear where they stand
With Sonnets and couplets to hand
They will rhyme like old Will, so to sugar the pill
Of more cuts that will blight this fair land.

Labour prefers to go back
To Blair’s speeches on which they will tack
Some lines from a Poet, who’s far from heroic
And will do all he can for the Craic.

The Lib Dems will use pretty prose
Whilst the people take hold of their nose
It used to be sick, to agree with ‘cool’ Nick
But now the whole land will say No.

The Green Party have one MP
Who says it’s the Haiku for me
In seventeen syllables, one can be quite clinical
In saving some trees and a bee.

UKIP are asleep at the back
After six pints in the Woolpack
They think poetry boring, hence all of the snoring
So dream ways to deal out more flak.

The gallery which is packed to the rafters
Now suddenly explodes into laughter
What they’ve heard has been jokes by the Westminster folks
So they’ll hack WikiLeaks for the answer.



Peter Raynard’s poems have appeared in South Bank Poetry, the Morning Star, CALM magazine, New Left Project. He is editor of Proletarian Poetry: poetry of working class lives.; @peter_raynard @proletarianpoet