Issue 19
John McAuliffe

Editorial

When Manchester was announced as a UNESCO City of Literature in November, it felt as if the city’s fragmented history and its current disparate network of writers, publishers and readers could be seen together for the first time. The task of knitting together the various strands of activity and planning fell to a steering group, […]

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Immanuel Misfud

Four poems

Daħlet Qorrot, Gozo Water has a long story. So does my soul. One it recounts every day to silent rocks, an avalanche of memories that falls headlong into this damp patch of darkened sand. Under the sand the mute tongues of the waves keep recounting, recounting their histories. Since water is a long story in […]

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Gerard Fanning

Five poems

After a Short Illness Bare chested, fresh out of pomade, he lies with a beat-up paperback propped for the benefit of shade. Lothario of seltzer, tight with the riot squad, he remembers the Margate Lido, art deco on the Bray esplanade. Dozing in a cloud of powder and snuff, he dreams where red brick stores […]

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Beverley Bie Brahic

Four poems

Future Perfect Yesterday he thought the future was a tense they taught you in school where if you make a mistake it isn’t the end of the world. Well he learned his lesson God now give him his book bag back let him be on his way home again no voyous at the construction site […]

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Anirudha Dhanawade

Good Vibrations: On Jelly’s Wobbly Aesthetics

May, 2008. In University College, London, in an anechoic chamber designed to smother even the faintest noise, the artist Douglas Murphy sits next to a plateful of dessert jelly and coaxes it into motion. The jelly quivers, and the sound of this quivering floats alone in the still air. There is nothing to drown out […]

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Judy Birkbeck

Monopoly

By night they came, six masked figures armed with chainsaws and handsaws, spreading through the garden like a poked ants’ nest. Their targets were eleven apple trees, two pears, one plum, one morello cherry, one gage and two damsons. The ground was arid, the grass yellowed by the August drought. The leaves gleamed silver in […]

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Jay Merill

Sibilant Sunday

Spreading When Mr Andrews showed me how to prepare a sandwich. Like this, he said. And then I tried, myself. Got some butter on the end of the knife, not too much. So it could be managed easily. Smoothed it evenly over part of a slice of bread. Got some more. Mr Andrews took the […]

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Steven Heighton

Shared Room on Union

They were parked on Union, in front of her place, their knees locked in conference around the stick shift, Janna and Justin talking, necking a little, the windows just beginning to steam. We’d better stop, she said. I should go now. It was one a.m., a Thursday night turned Friday morning. Squads of drunken students […]

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Saba Sams

Once Done

We met second year first term. Two snakebites shouted hot in my ear. Your sharp white elbow a triangle on the dark wood. Chalky pool cue sticking up out the crease in your arm. I poured the weird pints, put them in front of you. Dried my hands on front pocket of my hoodie. Cheers, […]

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Elliott Simpson

Five Hundred and Forty Meals

One A small café, lunchtime. Ryan sits alone, chewing on the inside of his cheek. He watches people as they pass him by, looking for her. Short, blonde, very sarcastic: that’s all the information James has given him. Ryan is thirsty, but he thinks it best to wait. Polite.             ‘Hello.’ A woman, short and blonde. […]

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Fergus Cronin

All that Jazz

It may have been in Ronnie Scott’s — Jack Bruce storming his way through a driving ‘Politician’— or it could have been in the Bricklayer’s Arms at a Curved Air gig where only the naked drummer was more drenched than myself but on one of those sweaty nights it had occurred to me to try […]

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Valerie O'Riordan

Three Stories

Economics I stole Mrs. Gavinchy’s car. I didn’t know it was hers, I robbed it from the multiplex carpark because Harvey Slade bought scrap metal and I thought if I gave it him for free maybe he’d take me out for a drink or whatever. But when Harv saw the car he was all, I […]

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Alicia J. Rouverol

Backstroke

It was the year loneliness broke my back. September 2007, and I’d only been in town three weeks. Fall was the season I associated with Boston, so why not build the city into my plan? I’d finished out my job at the ‘word firm’—that’s what we called it, the editors. My ‘word tools’ thesaurus project […]

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Alamgir Hashmi

Two poems

Fest of course we broke the wishbone together grip tighter with each twist hands in the feel of breaking even plus thumb joint pressure and feathers plucked one after another and another until endings of alphabet her blue grass skirt rustling in wicked sea wind so we touch off the surface light, sail easy mix […]

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Dawn Watson

Two poems

The Shipping Forecast I am sinking too far from the inch-high lighthouse sweeping Malin Head with its tiny beam. This boat is scuppered, to be terribly frank. It’s lit up by lightning just beyond the box grey of Banba’s Crown. Wild spray like eiderdown rat-a-tats the teak helm wheel as I straddle the extended bowsprit’s […]

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Patrick Slevin

The Way Back

They didn’t expect me to lead the log flume. To make them stay on for another pirate ship. To lean back on the helter skelter and raise my hands in victory. When they asked me in the car, I told them. We never went to fairs. The older ones might have gone but when I […]

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Alice Lyons

Two poems

Portrait of a Lady Breathing Alternately The wetsuit bubbled at my sacrum with seawater. I shivered, dove through breakers. Such an urge to swim into the swell. Museums roiled in me. My cold face an oval Portrait of a Lady breathing alternately every three strokes to the sky. I counted time, counted Souls in Limbo […]

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Ailbhe Darcy

Two poems

Stink They think you came first from Japan in packing crates hoping for mulberries, figs and persimmons, for time to vibrate to one another come mating season, one signal longer and lower than any other, for good sidings and soffits to wander all winter, where you’d never let loose the stink of coriander. First you […]

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Sebastian Agudelo

Three poems

The Philadelphia Sound Nothing to write about: Man and “Lyrical God,” how he christened the contrivance clobbered to mimic the school desk where he learned. He sets it up by the exit, makes the black acrylic sheets rattle, babble, reverb with his forearm, a pen, spoons. A bunch of wannabes gang around turfing a bit, […]

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Steve Sawyer

Two poems

Litany Because you made me pulsate like hot peach trees, reel like liquid skies the colour of naked limbs. Because you were the rain that dreams of larkspur and woodruff, the smell of loam and bubble gum laughter as the pub door opened. Because we felt the same way about the city of leaves and […]

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Carl Watts

Two poems

Vintage Metal vintage metal tins in iTunes sour ends like blood or B12 supplements iron ass-shots mom got yet mostly what was spinning in my Discman back then in the back of our four-door drowning out fighting with Smashing Pumpkins doubling down in mid-career, crawling from forge to table, mini-Moloch’s ignorant alloy automatic transmission accompanying […]

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Katherine Horrex

Two poems

Lapwings in Fallowfield They sit with the road’s oily tang in their nares, their bodies like helmets in grass. Younger ones look like soil upon snow and nest in the adults’ thick feathers. My sister and I at somebody’s wedding, when we hid under somebody’s dress.

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Helen Lambert

Three poems

The Russian Doll Cutter Inside the Russian doll, as every child knows, is another doll, which though smaller is made from the same wood, and can be twisted at the waist, just above the doll’s painted hands, to reveal another doll which, though smaller, is made from the same wood and has the same painted […]

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Elizabeth Smither

Teaching my mother to put on a fitted sheet

Fitted sheets were not in vogue when my mother made her bed all those thousand times the bottom sheet and the top identical. Now when I make my bed I find the words for explaining the fitted sheet in my head and the elastic that holds it taut. Isn’t it an advantage, I say – […]

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Mary Noonan

Two poems

Fractured For your first, mortuarial anniversary, I managed it, my finest trick: I became you yes, I pulled off the skin- changing thing by flinging myself up in the air and banging back down on my left arm: banjaxed. I was a barmy, splintered Boney in a black sling as they drove me to your […]

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Adam Crothers

Three poems

Goldfinch for Jack Thacker Soundbitesize memories belong not to goldfish but to us, who are probably not goldfish. Cultish devotion to culling one tiddly square of lichen. A view not to my liking: goldfinch – nugget-chicken, cocoa with notes of jam and custard, candied pine cone built out of a buzzard – says Buzz off, […]

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Maria Isakova Bennett

Evening came, the sixteenth day

After the storm that’s my mum— screaming at me, at the nurses, telling us she’ll batter us, using words I didn’t know she knew, all’s calm. Mary, in the next bed turns the pages of yesterday’s newspaper, cuts a banana with a plastic spoon, feeds each piece into her custard. Betty, opposite, sucks a bread […]

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Heidi Williamson

Hare

What if the dangerous thing actually happens and you are elsewhere, looking away – at a hare on the grass in the compound of the offices, twirling the phone cord and listening, bored, to an adviser advise you on what’s wrong with the mortgage application that shouldn’t be wrong because you should know that the […]

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Erik Kennedy

Two poems

I Rank All the Beautiful Things There Are I rank all the beautiful things there are starting with self-sacrifice, then supernovas, the brain, love, virga, Korean pottery, lemurs, cuckoo clocks, suits of armour for horses, a child’s first words, mercy, bread, and so on. The list extends for miles in knee-high piles of pages I […]

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Sarah Corbett

Two poems

Warming Time was, they would air lift food supplies to hill farms trenched in snow for months. We’ve not seen that here for twenty years. Christmas is warm and wet, viruses spoiling through the closed-in valleys like gossip. February, no doubt, will be the same slide into March, weeks of white-lid skies, least path a […]

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Evan Jones

Eight poems

Maximin When Maximin shouts at the Emperor Severus, almost in a breath, Look at me, look what I can do, he is gigantic, his body is taut but has no purpose than to flex and recover. Severus is content. It is his son Geta’s birthday. Look at me, Maximin shouts, look what I can do. […]

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Michael Naghten Shanks

Three poems

I Have To Confess That Only Sometimes Am I With You after Michael Earl Craig It occurs to me I am like a houseplant. I turn a little in my chair to look out a different window. A rabbit has stepped out from behind a shrub; the rabbit presents himself to me. They say poetry […]

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Victoria Kennefick

Arctic Circle

My father’s brain filleted on the icy X-ray block glows luminescent, a strange fish on a slab. I shiver at this part of him I never thought I’d see. Instead his neural pathways presented in a grin we shared on Sundays by the sea, watching birds scatter air when he clapped his hands. The surgeon […]

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Judy O'Kane

The Drawing Room

Betty looks into the tea leaves. She’s wearing thick woolen purple tights with a tweed skirt. Pip and Bobo, her Yorkshire Terriers sit at her feet. We’re on the low sofas beside the fireplace. ‘What can you see?’, I ask her, but the leaves aren’t clear. There’s a gilt mirror to our left that looks […]

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Evan Jones

God-culture: an interview with Robert Bringhurst

Robert Bringhurst was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1946, and raised in western North America, moving back and forth across the US/Canada border. He moved to Vancouver in 1972 as a graduate student at the University of British Columbia and has lived on the B.C. coast ever since. He is the author of fourteen […]

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