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This issue of London Grip New Poetry features new poems by:

*Eve Pearce *Phil Kirby *P A Levy *Gareth Culshaw *Grant Tarbard *Robert Nisbet
*Katherine Gallagher *Shadwell Smith *John Harvey *David Flynn *Utsav Kaushik
*Norbert Hirschhorn * Jared Carter *Caroline Natzler *Elizabeth Smither *Greg Freeman
*Cal Freeman *Robert Etty *Mark Carson *Jack Houston *Clive Gresswell *Adrian Green
*Jane Frank *Ian C Smith *Ed Mycue *Yuan Changming

Copyright of all poems remains with the contributors

A printer-friendly version of London Grip New Poetry can be obtained at LG new poetry Spring 2016

Please send submissions to poetry@londongrip.co.uk, enclosing no more than three poems and a brief, 2-3 line, biography

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Image credit: Andante 1, 1980 © 2015 Bridget Riley.

Image: Andante 1, 1980 © 2015 Bridget Riley.

Editorial

Your editor has recently been interviewed for an American on-line literary magazine. The interview has not yet appeared, but here’s the gist of our answer to an interesting question about what we look for in contributions to London Grip. (Of course we do try to avoid hard-and-fast rules because a good poem should be able to surprise us into liking something we might not have expected to like.)  A poem accepted for London Grip is more likely to be a narrative involving people than a meditation about ‘nature’; it will probably display some structure rather than being loose and free-form. It is likely to feature some surprising images and metaphors but will also tend to understatement rather than extravagant or clichéd poetic language.  We like work which displays a sense of humour; we enjoy ekphrastic poetry (as exemplified by Shadwell Smith and John Harvey in this issue); and we are sympathetic to political poetry that is neither manifesto nor rant. (Readers may care to check how much of the current issue falls outside these guidelines …)

There are a few things that we do not care for in submissions. Two common ‘errors’ are: sending in too many poems at once (we ask for no more than three); and not reading the magazine before submitting and hence offering work that is either wildly experimental or ponderously old-fashioned.  It does not create a good impression to send in poems without any kind of covering letter and perhaps a short CV.  (On the other hand, a lengthy and boastful biographical essay does not create a good impression either!)

The above is offered by way of friendly advice; and the most important thing we have to say to our contributors is that we are mightily grateful to them for keeping London Grip New Poetry in business.

Michael Bartholomew-Biggs

http://mikeb-b.blogspot.com/

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***

Eve Pearce: Lost

First of all I lost my heart.
When he went I lost my mind
then my liberty – my shoes, my belt –
no belts allowed in the asylum –
then my appetite went.
(I’d lost my own clothes of course)
lost weight, lost sense of time.
Eventually they let me out.

On the first day I lost my drugs,
wandered in here, having lost my way,
my sense of direction.
They happened to need a dishwasher,
thought I’d come about the job.
I nodded when they asked me,
having lost my voice.
No, since you ask, I haven’t lost hope.


Eve Pearce has been an actress for over sixty years. She started to write poetry at the age of seventy and has a pamphlet, Woman In Winter, published by Hearing Eye in 2007, and a Collected Poems – Capturing Snowflakes (Greenheart Press 2012)
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***

Phil Kirby: Messages
 
We imagined your bottled message –
name, address, ‘write back’ request –
 
making landfall on a distant shore:
Scandinavia at first, then further still,
 
where some wide-eyed fumbling child
would marvel at your note having
 
bested tides, survived the roil and spume
to fetch up in the foam at their astonished feet.
 
Sunlight on the water scattering fool’s gold
through the waves, we wondered
 
if the world might change when others
spread the news that someone somewhere
 
bottlehad cast adrift a string of words encased
in plastic, like a sea-purse full of inky pearls.
 
The morning when that letter came
for you, we stood amazed and hung
 
on every revelation, learning how
your bottle had beached on a coast
 
no more than six miles from the place
where we stood and hoped and threw it in.


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Phil Kirby: ‘Light Blue’
 
Early evening, somewhere in between
his home-from-work and sunset,
the summer running and the house –
its rooms – thickening to an early dusk,
a break from chores becomes a treasured time
because he sits back in a chair
against a gauzy scarf of hers and,
 
as if he’s brushed against or bruised
some heady scented garden plant
or scratched the zest of citrus fruit,
releases perfume to the air; so strong
she could be standing there, the music
of her battered silver bangles briefly
halted while his other senses take her in.
 

Originally from Chingford, Phil Kirby currently lives and works in Gloucestershire. He has run Waldean Press, been an East Midlands Arts ‘New Voice’ and bursary recipient, has had several pamphlets published and his first full collection, Watermarks from Arrowhead Press, came out in 2009. More at his website: www.waldeanpress.co.uk. He can also be followed on Twitter: @pkk31
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P.A. Levy: Moving To Cemetery Road

the room had stopped breathing
the boiler switched off then
respectfully
the windows were closed
amen

an estate agent
talking of the market in an unhealthy 
state with the property requiring 
drastic refurbishment
signed the contract at 11.08
all registered in his blackberry

a surveyor found the outer-skin
the brickwork the roof the guttering
all sound
but referred the interior to a specialist
he suspected something growing in the living 
room that would need urgent treatment

we all gathered in the porch to ceremoniously 
close the door for the last time
forwarding address
carved in stone 


Born East London but now residing amongst the hedge mumblers of rural Suffolk, P.A.Levy has been published in many magazines, from A cappella Zoo to Zygote In My Coffee and stations in-between. He is also a founding member of the Clueless Collective and can be found loitering on page corners and wearing hoodies at www.cluelesscollective.co.uk
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***

Gareth Culshaw: On Passing A Farm While On A Train

Rusting harrow lying still
over used pallets and broken slats,
tyres, tyres, tyres, tyres, tyres
two wandering crows
stack of old bricks webbed and mossed
lichen crawling yearly along fence rail
taking over what you know.
a boot flung away
unused chicken wire, still rolled tight
‘Not got round to it’
Old-Rusty-Abandoned-Farm-Tractor-295565
hernia hill waiting to pop
arthritis just waiting round the corner

two tractors, one in use other not.
jobs building up,
barb wire hanging, logs need chopping
wheelbarrow full
farmers grip loosening

leave it till the next life.
leave it for now


Gareth Culshaw is a published poet with various magazines across the UK. He loves Snowdonia and having a good read.
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Grant Tarbard: A Walk Through the Shadows 

This loam, a border to a world beyond 
myself, a document of thin skip rats,
lilting alehouse brawling, kicking your door in
with a drooping fag end of blazing ash.
Them, a beak of tongues gossip like sea beasts
echoing on the black waistcoat of cobbles.
Their children buzzed like a hive round and round 
they go, looping the girl that wouldn't be kissed.
There, a majesty of burrow holes with
every colour of empty beer bottle 
swaying from the branches like hanged witches,
TV antennae from every house jut	
out like the crucified thin arms of Christ;
she walks through the shadows, her hand in mine.


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***

Grant Tarbard: Poets

Poets
have Aga fires 
for hearts and a penny
on the chest of drawers for the  
meter.


Grant Tarbard is internationally published. His chapbook Yellow Wolf, published by WK Press, is available now.
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Robert Nisbet: First Snow
 
No longer scuffed quotidian, the town, the shops,
the terraces, coated now, pristine in promise.
Warm knots of conversationalists.
Word came back by hearsay’s pigeon:
the jams of traffic on the Milford road
(solid, so Rhyssie’d heard); somebody said
the Cartlett brook had frozen.
 
The story of the pensioner in Prendergast
who’d fallen, broken a leg. (Poor soul).
But later we heard it was a younger man,
just slipped, messing about,
went over on his arse.
 
People trekked the crunched half-miles
to ferry provender. Cars swerved in driveways.
Wellies and huzzahs. Kids slid.
We heaved great breaths of frost
for the tang of it. For hours,
the crystals were lit by midday sun,
 
until at three the thaw began
and the afternoon died on us, in banks of grey. 


Robert Nisbet taught creative writing in Trinity College, Carmarthen, where he also acted as professor to exchange students from the Central College of Iowa. He has over 200 poems published in Britain, including The North and The Frogmore Papers, and publications in the USA in Main Street Rag, San Pedro River Review, Provo Canyon Review and Constellations.
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***

Katherine Gallagher: The Mountain

On sunny days, the mountain turns quite blue,
takes on the azure sparkle of the sky –
always a place to dream of coming to,

to feel that snowy-crunch beneath your shoe,
or soar across a piste that’s powder-dry.
On sunny days, the mountain turns quite blue –

you feel the silence is in love with you,
invites a quietude no one can buy
in this wild place you dream of coming to.

The snow melts earlier now, the view
quite changed, and not so lovely to the eye;
on sunny days, the mountain turns quite blue.

It’s clear that tales of acid rain are true
as ragged trees suggest they’ll surely die
in this wild place you dream of coming to.

Its hazy beauty strangely keeps it new,
helps you forget the damage or the why.
On sunny days, the mountain turns quite blue   ? 
this special place you dream of coming to. 

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Katherine Gallagher: Refugees at the Aid Centre

The tapered fingers of her gaunt hands,
a version of her child’s . . .
She caresses him, his fists opening, 
closing, drawing down the sun.

Her eyes beg, the face of one more parent
in the queue. She smiles into her hands,
arms enfolding the child as if
her carrying will never be over.
She will keep holding him, offering
water, milk, a spoonful of rice. . .

The child, innocent of the fight around him,
wages his own battle, whimpers,
sinks into his mother. Another day.


Katherine Gallagher is an Australian-born poet resident in North London. Her most recent collection is Carnival Edge: New & Selected Poems (Arc Publications, 2010). Her next book Acres of Light is due out in 2016.
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Shadwell Smith: A Jungle Queen Takes the Train
Rote Frau, by Franz Marc (1912)

When the bricks smashed
through the windows,
it was time to leave.

rote frauHer fertile blush 
of buttocks
was called degenerate;
the forest where she lived
pronounced insane.

They would have burned her
as a witch
that grew green hair
and wore red skin.

Each leaf
taken in for questioning:
And where are the rest
of your kind?
The yellow cow?
The blue horse?

Every colour
drained,
put in jars,
stored on shelves.

The Red Woman
wasn’t governed
by their machines
or painted by numbers.

Laid flat,
hidden in a sideboard,
she caught the last train
out of Erfurt.


Shadwell Smith is a school teacher who lives in Dunstable. His poems have appeared in a number online magazines and he sometimes appears in pubs, clubs and coffee shops reading them.
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John Harvey: Curve
Bridget Riley: The Curve Paintings 1961-2014, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill: August, 2015
for Lee Harwood  & for Sarah

Late summer already
and the swifts that raced the canyon
of our suburban street,
criss-crossing from nest to nest,
have left swiftly as they arrived.
Our daughter is in France, 
dreaming of becoming seventeen.

Out of the blue, news
Lee Harwood, whose poetry
I read and re-read 
until I almost believed 
his words were mine
has died …

Cast adrift
we catch the morning train.
through fields of yellowing wheat 
towards the sea; 
the light oscillating 
on the water’s surface, 
patterning across the painter’s canvas, 
ever moving, iridescent,
rarely what it seems.

What are you doing? you asked,
when, walking beside you, I first
threaded my fingers through yours.
Evening, it would have been, the air
about us urgent, electric,
my shoulder brushing yours.

Now the sweet heat of nights 
and insatiable afternoons
has ripened into this: 
the accidental touch of bodies
and flustering of hands;
the lushness of late-flowering
blackberries, their juices 
sticky rich upon the skin.

Feet bare on shingle, wearing 
your black dress with its green sash,
you walk cautiously to the water’s edge
and stand there looking out:
the blur of motion on the horizon, 
the far prospect of land;
the impossibility of leaving.

Have I ever said I love you and not meant it?
Yes, but not to you.

For an instant it’s as if my breath has stopped:
then you turn and come back to where I’m waiting,
small shells like keepsakes tight
in the palm of your hand.


A prolific and award-winning writer of crime fiction, John Harvey is also a dramatist, sometime small press publisher and poet. His New & Selected Poems, Out of Silence, was published by Smith/Doorstop in 2014.
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David Flynn: A Pity

It's a pity you are glorious.  Sad
to think you're so grand.  In the morning you
are the sunrise, night a black dress
sequined with stars.  

It's so awful you are lovely.  A crime 
you look that way.  Your eyes:  their blue 
makes the sky look faded, cobalt
seem bland.  You gaze, and stallions run wild.

I'm depressed that I love you.  Can't sleep
that you love me too.  Your kiss before bedtime
makes me flinch with happiness:  lips redder
than sunset, more liquid than cabernet.

You'll be my death, from this joy I can't kill,
an electrocution, strapped to romance.


David Flynn was born in the textile mill company town of Bemis, TN. His jobs have included newspaper reporter, magazine editor and university teacher. He has five degrees and is both a Fulbright Senior Scholar and a Fulbright Senior Specialist with an upcoming grant in Indonesia. His literary publications total more than 180. David Flynn’s writing blog, where he posts a new story and poem every month, is at http://writing-flynn.blogspot.com/ . His web site is at http://www.davidflynnbooks.com/
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Utsav Kaushik: Leaves

Leaves
Rustling outside the window;
A sound – whispering;
The wind flirting
With the sunbeams.

This calm
In the scene outside. As if 
As if, it wants to; but can’t.
It is soothing,
My mind down and down

The air
In which, I feel like gazing on and on.
A smooth sheet of soft silk
Suddenly stretched away and gone.

A kiss
Leaving a cool impression
On my lips. Oh if I...
If I could hover like that kite,
For hours in this quiet

And sleep
On clouds and never look down
Let the evening pass – living
This pleasant dream and would never wake
But then ..... 

Utsav Kaushik studies English at Zakir Husain Delhi College (Evening), University Of Delhi. He has conducted research in wide areas such as: Literary criticism, 17th-18th Century English Poets (Including Alexander Pope, Samuel Johnson and others), Victorian Era, etc. He is currently working on publishing research papers in the field of Post-colonialism. Also, has a deep interest in writing poetry, songs, short story and plays. His poems have been published in the college magazine, entitled Vesper. He has participated in theatre activities at district and state levels.
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Norbert Hirschhorn: The Call

4:13 by the bedside alarm,
jangled from a chaotic dream,
blankets tangled – has someone died?

A muted voice, echoing,
one he’d heard before.

	I know why you’re calling. Who are you?
	Irrelevant.
	I’ve tried to be good.
	You only think you’re good.
	Everyone deserves to be held.
	Don’t presume.

The moon hung over the high-rise opposite,
frozen like a tombstone.

	I’m generous, all my friends will tell you.
	You never bought Big Issue from the homeless person.
	Stop. Stop. I hate this.
	I’m sure you do. 
	Who are you?  Is this a nightmare?

Jagged clouds eroded Orion.

	Are you prepared?
	Maybe an angel I’m supposed to wrestle?
	Throw out my hip, become a cripple?
	You’re already crippled.
	Wait! You’re my muse, right? Bringing me a poem?
	Nothing so pitiful as a failed poet.
	You make me feel like a worm impaled on a hook of indifference.
	That’s pathetic.

A sharp wind blew up, tree limbs beckoned.

	Please, give me some ease.
	Not to be had.
	Then let me ask you something.
	Go ahead.
	Why does it take me so long to leave the house?
	You know, forget this, forget that, recheck the hob,
	go back for the umbrella…
	
	You’re afraid you’ll die.
	But don’t most people die in bed?
	Precisely.



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Norbert Hirschhorn: Two Old Men Remembering
Based on Tales of the Hasidim by Martin Buber

An old man in an old century remembered: 

As long as there were no roads, and wolves roamed the forest, 
you had to interrupt a journey at nightfall. Then you had all 
the leisure in the world to recite psalms at the inn, open a book, 
have a good talk. Nowadays you can ride these roads day
and night, and there is no peace any more. 

An old man in a new century remembers: 

As long as there was no Facebook or Instagram, no Flickr or Twitter,
no private music listened through earbuds – then you had the leisure 
to recite poetry, meet friends at the pub, read a book, have good talks 
with neighbors, family. Nowadays, you are ridden bareback by these 
doodads, all day, all night. There is no peace any more.  


Norbert Hirschhorn is a public health physician, commended by President Bill Clinton as an “American Health Hero.” He lives in London and Beirut. He has published four collections. His poems have appeared in numerous US/UK publications, several as prize-winning. See his website, www.bertzpoet.com.
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Jared Carter: Shekinah

He for a minstrel asked, and when
          the minstrel played,
The Lord’s hand came upon him. Then
          those once afraid

Were comforted. Wheresover
          they were exiled,
It went with them. And the river
          was reconciled

With Canaan’s valley, wherein dwells
          the light, and where
Rich honey flows, and nothing quells
          the singing there.


Jared Carter’s most recent book is Darkened Rooms of Summer: New and Selected Poems (University of Nebraska Press). He lives in Indiana in the American Middlewest.
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Caroline Natzler: Evening

Stones balanced like standing eggs
tender in this slide of golden light

human high, seem to tilt and multiply
as you move among them
on a slope above shaven wheat fields

you need the shadows of this slant light to see
worn engravings
random whorls curled like tongues

a script no-one can read
so magic we say, or ritual

or like the ragbag we sent out to space
to sign that we are here.


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Caroline Natzler: Passage

Each step the body pushes you into
is the first

a new scrambling
new way of being 

you had not been a child before

yet lives brush at you from the past
and the long world’s scribbles
towards different ways of wisdom

though you have not been old before
age comes as a familiar.

Caroline Natzler’s collections are Design Fault (Flambard Press 2001), Smart Dust (Grenadine Press 2009), and two smaller ones, Fold (Hearing Eye 2014) and Only (Grenadine Press 2015). Caroline teaches creative writing at the City Lit and runs some free-lance writing workshops.
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Elizabeth Smither: Cat night

The cats are out by the letterboxes
at the ends of long driveways
waiting to see how the night will shape itself.

Black fur is fading into darkness.
Stripes into shadows on the paths.
Only the eyes are growing brighter.

No need to move yet. Let the heat
of the concrete paths rise through the paws
and haunches. Let desire creep out from the flowerbeds

and hedges. Let the street lights mark
the great promenade down which love will come
like black carriages on the Champs-Elysées.

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Elizabeth Smither: Alice and the four horses

10,000* horses went from our small country.
Four came back. In her field Alice is thinner
needing hay and a supplement.

Her companion is a Shetland pony. A field away
three alpacas graze like a touring trio
piano, cello and violin.

Which animal sleeps standing up? the quiz master
 asks on TV. The choices: lion
giraffe, elephant. The contestant

says elephant. Those feet in which umbrellas
were furled and walking sticks
forgetting the beautiful fetlocks of a horse.

Alice, if you are one of the four
hay is coming, an extra bale
with field flowers trapped like medals.

*horses sent from New Zealand in World War I


Elizabeth Smither is working on a new collection of poetry to be called Night Horse. A new short story, Baking Night was recently published on Harvard Review Online.
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***

Greg Freeman: Liberation, 1945 

To: Private WE Freeman, Recovered 
POW centre, Bombay, Indian Command.
“Dearest son, After all this long time, 

we are so excited, we hardly know
what to do. It seems so strange
to be able to write.”

So many letters, via War Office,
Red Cross. When she heard 
he was safe she sent three in a week. 

“Some camps seemed to have fared
better than others. I still tried
to think your luck would hold. 

You were missing 15 months 
before I heard you were in Jap hands.
Mrs Smith heard this June

that Taffy, as you used to call him, 
died in June 1943. She still hopes
they have made a mistake. 

We will make it up to you,
as far as it is in our powers. 
Last year we had a bad hit,

but we were lucky. The house
was much damaged, but our furniture
was safe. Also your piano. 

Do you know I am getting on now, 
63 this birthday. Pop says it does not
seem true. I do so wonder how you will be

after all this time in the terrible heat.”
When he returned there was bunting
down the street. He hid indoors for days. 


Greg Freeman is a former newspaper sub-editor, and now news editor for the poetry website Write Out Loud. His pamphlet collection, Trainspotters, was published by Indigo Dreams in February 2015.
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***

Cal Freeman: About Objects

You wandered around
looking for books and one
book found you.

It had been broken
and taped over with a false
chipboard cover.

Everything that begins
this broken forges
itself into something

we are allowed to say
about objects.


Cal Freeman, author of Brother of Leaving, is a poet from Detroit, MI. His writing has appeared in many journals including Berfrois, Commonweal, The Paris-American, Birmingham Poetry Review and The Drunken Boat.
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Robert Etty: A Boy Up A Tree In A Wood In A Book
 
A boy once lived up a tree in a wood,
making hideaways in the elbows of boughs,
asleep with the pheasants and woken by blackbirds
and sunbeams beaming through leaves.

His story I read in a book I took home
from the splintery-floorboarded village library,
on summer nights with my sash window open. 
I made sure the book was returned by its due date,

but kept out on loan the desire it gave me.
The wish to be the boy in the wood, dew steaming
off him, feeding on berries and chocolate he’d stored
and having no truck with school and behaving

passed into wanting the book in my hand
(this time noting its title and author), to leaf
through and track down the spaces at line ends
that marked me with an X.


Robert Etty‘s latest collection is A Hook in the Milk Shed (Shoestring Press). A selection of his work appears in Something Happens, Sometimes Here: Contemporary Lincolnshire Poetry (Five Leaves)
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Mark Carson: The Frogs

When the time comes I will lock the front door
seal the letter box with duct tape reinforced with cheese-head screws.
I will cancel my subscriptions to the New Scientist and London Review of Books
so that the dangerous head-high heaps of unread issues threatening my safety
will stagnate peacefully.

Slowly the flood of poetry magazines and proceedings of learned bodies
the Journal of the British Clavichord Society and the British Canoe Union
not to mention the multiple copies of gardening and wildlife magazines
will dwindle

and I will start to process steadily the stacks of unread books 
reading only the first few pages if the content leaves me
less than totally intrigued.

Each day I will place items in the blue box for recovery by the authorities
and I will arrange for regular collection of unattributable supermarket bags
containing rejected volumes – maybe Oxfam will oblige – and light 
will once again penetrate the upper sash 
of many of the windows.

If all goes well I will take a day’s holiday once a month when I will read 
nothing, nothing at all, but take a short walk from the back door
speaking to the tiny frogs which sprinkle the damp grass 
with their joyful leaping.


Mark Carson is an offshore engineer, washed up in Cumbria. He writes about the sea and the land and the emotions in between. His pamphlet, Hove-to is a State of Mind, has been published by Wayleave Press (2015)
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***

Jack Houston: We Are Local Government
 
and we like keys,
copies of Auden biographies
with torn plastic covers,
 
not the pigeons
raising their ugly young
under the eaves of the railway bridges
hammering at rush hour,
 
tea-breaks,
but not cigarettes
anymore,
 
two tiered
paper-holders
one in
one out,
 
health and wellbeing
initiatives
aimed at promoting
the local parks
and other green spaces,
 
not overeating
too much TV
or careless lack of exercise
wearing tracksuits
 
but nappuccinos, gravlax
for breakfast, a Brompton
to the makers’ market 
and the deli’s cheese –
 
we are local government and we like these.


For more information on nappuccinos visit: http://www.realnappiesforlondon.org.uk/scheme/eventsdiary.php


Jack Houston has published work in Neon, South Bank Poetry, Brittle Star and Ink sweat and tears; forthcoming work in Obsessed With Pipework, The Journal, Interpreter’s House and Shooter. He is a poetry editor at Nutshell Magazine.
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***

Clive Gresswell: aching lawns
.
the british love
of aching lawns
stretching out in
suburban paradises
 
aching to gardeners
the garden cities laze
criss-crossing patterns
in the pools of your
tracing lawns of aching
 
the british love to ache
for you’re in lazy pools
lazy repossessions hint
that under the lazy pools
blood and sinew ache
 
the garden cities ache
paradises ache the british
love the lazy repossession
 
tracing lawns of aching
paradises ache under
the british love to garden
blood and sinew ache now
all the lazy repossessions
 
 

Clive Gresswell is a 57-year-old writer and poet from Luton in Bedfordshire who has just finished his Master’s in Innovative Poetry at the university there. He is a regular at the Shoreditch-based group of poets Writers Forum (New Series) which meets monthly.
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Adrian Green: Autumn leaves
 
In a bar glooming
towards the fall
there are leaves at the door
 
an open Bechstein grand
and red wine smoothing
memories of summer,
 
a plaintive reed
quoting the notes
of My Favourite Things
 
in a clarinet interpretation
of Coltrane’s
lilting cadenza
 
with a tremolo hint
and rhythm brushed
on snare and cymbal
 
as the drinkers nod and smile
at the days passing
through another season.
 
 

Adrian Green lives in Southend, Essex, the county where he was born. He has degrees in arts and psychology. His poems have appeared in several magazines and anthologies in the UK and abroad. His first full-length collection Chorus and Coda is available from The Littoral Press.
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Jane Frank: Stadium
 
Looking down at my ankle is preferable.
I’m estimating the percentage of it
in sun versus shadow,
thinking that ten minutes ago
half my leg was still in soft light,
another afternoon eked away.

I’ve spent a lot of time in stadiums –
I try and work out how many
days or even years it would be –
impassively watching goals and saves,
trying to make conversation with people
who’ve mistaken me
for one of those wives that
know all the players’ names
and which teams they’ve come from,
all the numb minutiae of the game.

My glass needs filling
but I don’t want to stand
inside and eat mini pies,
listen to the lady in the tight dress
tell me that her life’s
been transformed since
she bought the thermomix,
sympathise as grown men
agonise about what might have been.

What do you mean it’s a bit rude
to sit texting
when it’s a privilege to be here,
witnessing all this at first hand?

I need a line to the outside

or I’ll die.

Of boredom.


Jane Frank’s poems have appeared in Australian Poetry Journal, Writ, Uneven Floor, Yellow Chair Review, Antiphon, The Lake and elsewhere in Australia and the UK. Jane teaches a range of writing disciplines at Griffith University in south east Queensland. She has just completed a PhD examining the rise of the global Book Town Movement.
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***

Ian C Smith: Banished to the Front

 
Meteoric heroes of sport
decorate back pages,
their ability  
to cavort
plus envied high wages
thrills spectators whose dreams fell short.

The mob disengages,
goodwill blown, tall poppies in court,
hubris meets front pages.


Ian C Smith’s work has appeared in , Australian Poetry Journal, New Contrast, Poetry Salzburg Review, Rabbit Journal, Two-Thirds North, The Weekend Australian,& Westerly. His seventh book is wonder sadness madness joy, Ginninderra (Port Adelaide). He lives in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, Australia.
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***

Ed Mycue: Carnivory In The Plant Kingdom  

Eating during bankers’ hours,
during the time others are sawing wood
and the termites are eating it,
hunger is first things first.  Not sex.
 
Not shelter. You live, learn and still
and all we knock on wood because
you’re never too young to step up to the plate,
but you have to prioritize especially
if you are a vegetarian as big as a reindeer.
 
From the get-go when you are beating
the tom-tom for dinner you don’t shilly-shally
or you’re so full of beans
(though it’s no skin off your teeth).
 
As for freeloaders with time passing
for anyone who knows his onions
those layabouts will soon learn
a new rite of passage when they are
deader than a doornail. OK,
 
plants eat animals, animals
eat plants and other animals, but do
plants eat other plants? (fungi, plants?)
Jeez louise, you say, it’s screwey louie
 
as far as the eye can see. But all
you really need to know
is that time-flies enter the ointment:
because if it isn’t omnivory or carnivory,
it’s herbivory, and a herd of hippos. 

Ed Mycue was born at Niagara Falls,NY, raised Dallas,TX, studied in Boston,MA, and resides in San Francisco,CA . His books: include Damage Within The Community (San Francisco)1973, Root, Route & Range: The Song Returns (Melbourne) 1979, The Singing Man My Father Gave Me (London) 1980 and Mindwalking (Seattle) 2008. He has also published an E-Book: I Am A Fact Not A Fiction 2009
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***

Yuan Changming: twenty word idioms

No belief without a lie
No business without sin
No character without an act
No courage without rage

No culture without a cult
No entrance without a trance
No Europe without a rope
No freedom without a reed

No friendship without an end
No life without if
No malady without a lady
No manifestation without man

No passage without a sage
No pharmacy without harm
No plant without a plan
No prevention without an event

No slaughter without laughter
No substance without a stance
No think without ink
No truth without a rut


Yuan Changming grew up in rural China, began to learn English at 19, and published monographs on translation before moving to Canada. With a PhD in English, Yuan currently edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan in Vancouver, and has poetry appearing in Best Canadian Poetry, Best New Poems Online, London Magazine, Threepenny Review and 1109 others across 37 countries.
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