*

This issue of London Grip features new poems by:

* Sonja Key * María Castro Domínguez * Fiona Sinclair * Sarah Lawson * Angela Kirby * Phil Wood * Jeni Curtis * J D DeHart * Marc Carver * Hugh McMillan * Linda Rose Parkes * Kate Noakes
* Norbert Hirschhorn * Peter Ulric Kennedy * Pam Job * Shash Trevett * Neil Fulwood
* Ben Banyard * Fraser Sutherland * Richie McCaffery * Ian C Smith * Jan Hutchinson
* Edmund Caterpillar * Charles Tarlton

Copyright of all poems remains with the contributors

A printer-friendly version of London Grip New Poetry can be found at LG New Poetry Autumn 2016

London Grip New Poetry appears early in March, June, September & December

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

We prefer to get submissions in the following windows: December-January, March-April, June-July and September-October i.e. avoiding the months when we are busy compiling a new issue

Editorial

EU_FlagI expect you’ve been deluged with Brexit poems, remarked one of our regular contributors in their covering note.  Well, no, not all that much.  There are a few very telling ones (e.g. from Pam Job and Peter Kennedy) to be found in this issue; but most London Grip contributors seem to be taking their time to respond to a still fluid political situation (or else they have been sending their work elsewhere).  It is of course true that some poems written before June 23 have now taken on a deeper resonance – not least Shash Trevett’s ‘The Three Thousand’ with its anger embodied in complex typography.

London Grip New Poetry has always had a poetic open-borders policy and, from its first appearance in its present form, it has featured poems from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States.  Not so frequent, but just as welcome, have been contributions from Africa and Asia.  Our neighbours in Europe may have been less well represented but I can recall work from authors of Finnish and Spanish origin. Our apologies if we have failed to remember other nationalities!

London Grip has on previous occasions expressed an interest in receiving good political poetry.  We will see what the next few post-referendum months brings us.  Maybe even a pro-Brexit poem or two?

Michael Bartholomew-Biggs
http://mikeb-b.blogspot.com/

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Sonja Key: Who Knew?
 
Who knew
 
That the mysteries of life would unfold
In myriad banalities?
 
The broken finger nail,
The wrong outfit,
The teenage angst,
The longing for a child,
The broken marriage,
The weathered face,
The deleterious health,
The hazard lights in the rain.
 
Just don't tell us at birth

Sonja Key is an emerging poet based in Hong Kong. She is presently developing her first chapbook of poetry.
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María Castro Domínguez: Forensic pathologist

It´s always the same 
midnight calling
a field in the scene
body mangled in blood
smashed steel
a good-looking screen
monotone fairy lights flicking 
whilst the dead ask the usual questions.

María Castro Domínguez is the Winner of the Erbacce Poetry Prize 2016. She has a book of poetry titled Four Hands (A Cuatro Manos) with Jacobo Valcárcel and has poems published in The Argotist, Message in a Bottle and Bareknuckle Poet.
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***

 Fiona Sinclair: Satan spends Sunday at a boot sale
 
His devil’s face Is like a prank played
with indelible ink by mates as he dozed,
but hair trained into two budding horns
whole body pigmented toadstool red
suggests he savours with theatrical relish
the shudders, shaken heads, stares that follow
his Sunday stroll with wife and grandkids
and an inward  ‘Ha! Ha! Ha! ’ as stall holders pray he won’t
pause to browse for tools, electrical goods, souls.
 
Of course the real Satan would disguise himself
as the grey haired gent in beige fleece, brown cords,
twinkling as his table is mobbed by women
eager for his home grown organic apples.


Fiona Sinclair is the editor of the on line poetry magazine Message in a Bottle . Her new collection will be published by Smokestack in 2017
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Sarah Lawson: Dante in the London Underground    

tubeCome Virgil, Mantuan, friend of mine,
Help me find the Northern Line.
I’ve come from Bakerloo,
I needed help to find that, too.
There’s a Circle underground
Where people travel round and round
Condemned to go from A to B and back again.
Beyond the Circle lie the further reaches
Of Richmond Hill and Epping beeches,
While in the City in the rain
The passengers go down the Drain.

This netherworld reminds me of a former quest
When I wandered in a wood, somewhat depressed,
But you need a ticket in this place—
It’s not enough to show your face—
Whereas the entrance fee
To Hell, I’ve learned, is mostly free.

Sarah Lawson, an American-born Londoner, is a poet and translator. Her most recent translation is The Strength to Say No by Rekha Kalindi (Peter Owen, 2015)..
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***

Angela Kirby: So It’s Winter, Get Over It

Hell is a cold day in Fulham
though they say it’s not
much better in East Finchley
which somehow comes as no
surprise; wind tears banknotes 
from my fingers and now
it’s raining fivers, there’s ice 
on the pavements, our Council 
has run out of grit, the postman fell 
and broke his wrist, I’m fresh 
out of salt, non slip clip-ons 
ordered from Sweden haven’t 
arrived which is more or less 
the story of my life, I think it 
must be winter, I think that 
probably my heart is frozen, 
these days I don’t get out much.

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Angela Kirby: Welcome to New York

By the time the over-stuffed plane reached JFK 
I’d finished that ghastly book, The Ethics of 
Ambiguity, which you’d sent me for the flight, 
so I gave it to the fat Republican who’d sat next 
to me all the way from Heathrow, boring for 
Idaho, because I felt he truly deserved it, then 
the city gave me a ticker-tape ‘Hi’ of polluted
snow, the yellow-cab driver, a surly Russian, 
drove very slowly to Cornelia Street, claiming 
never to have heard of it, so I didn’t tip him
which was probably a mistake for he parked
outside the café, roaring something which was
almost certainly obscene till a posse of geriatric
hippies chased him off, but by now not even
a skinny latte macchiato, followed smartly by 
several mojito chasers could cheer me up; the 
snow continued to fall, a fit Latino at the next
table told his girl that He, with a capital H, must 
be busy plucking swans up there which I might 
have found charming if by then I wasn’t sick 
and tired of it all: the Big Apple itself, the snow, 
Russian cab drivers, fat Republicans, that bloody 
book, but most of all you, who for some insane 
and obscure reason sent it to me, well I ask you.

London-based Angela Kirby was born in rural Lancashire. Her poems are widely published, have won several prizes and been translated into Romanian. Shoestering Press published her four collections: Mr. Irresistible, 2005, Dirty Work, 2008, A Scent of Winter, 2013 and The Days After Always, New and Selected Poems, 2015
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Phil Wood: A Man of Science

It is unlucky killing spiders waiting 
under the blanket. Gran likes lots of salt 
in baking. Don't you spill the salt, she warns. 
Going to school I step on spidery cracks.

In class Miss Shaw is cutting up a rat, 
its fur a sunny day, its body stiff. 
Lunch break I slowly spill the salt,
then make my semolina pink with jam.

There's belly pork and dark gravy for tea.
Tonight my gran will try her luck at bingo, 
our house ticks loud with clocks, I'll quietly climb 
the stairs with glass and scissors in hand

Phil Wood works in a statistics office. He enjoys working with numbers and words. His writing can be found in various publications, most recently in: Sein und Werden, Ink Sweat and Tears, Autumn Sky Poetry, Noon Journal of the Short Poem.
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Jeni Curtis: At the Natural History Museum, London

The vast hall rises like a cathedral,
no angels here, though monkeys clamber

up pillars, and their skeletons suspend
in free-flight in the upper air.

I am drawn to the moa, I in my winter coat,
it in the freedom of its bones, featherless.

We nod in antipodean acknowledgement,
a slight dip of the head, a silent "it's ok, mate,"

while at the top of the stairs, Darwin sits
in marbled splendour, like God,

indifferent to the flash of cameras, and pretty girls
posing on his right arm. Below two-legged upright creatures

throng and thrust like wildebeest, around the base of diplodocus, 
its bones balanced precisely, tip to tail;

they congregate in pairs, or attend their young
with food, educative remarks, or admonition.

To avoid the crush, an ichthyosaur spreadeagles itself
against the wall, an impassionate observer.

Its large eyes are as round as the moon
and stony. None sees it blink, wink,

but I do.

Jeni Curtis is a teacher and writer from Christchurch, New Zealand. She has published in various publications including the Christchurch Press, Takehe, JAAM, NZPS anthology 2014, and 2015 (highly commended), London Grip, 4thFloor, and the 2015 Poetry NZ Yearbook. She is secretary of the Canterbury Poets Collective. For 2016 she has received a mentorship from the New Zealand Society of Authors.
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J D DeHart: I Woke to Find

I woke to find my nose
had overtaken my face.

I woke to find the world
outside had turned upside down.

I woke to find a third arm
emerging.

I woke to find that people had
forgotten what love meant, if they
had ever known.

I woke to find a thousand
dreams from novels standing
vigil.  I went back to sleep.

JD DeHart is a writer and teacher. Has has been nominated for Best of the Net and his chapbook, The Truth About Snails, has been released by Red Dashboard.
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Marc Carver: Knock Knock

I fell asleep
pen in hand
empty notebook on bed.

When I woke up
the book was full.
 
I waited a long time
but didn't have the heart to read them
after all
they may have been better than mine.

Marc Carver has published some eight collections of poetry and around two thousand poems on the net but all that really matters to him, is when someone he does not know sends him a message saying that they are enjoying his work.
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Hugh McMillan:Red Letter Day

On the bus back from the clinic,
his face in the racing pages
of the Daily Record
Bob grips an envelope. 

He says all he has is leftovers, 
a few stumps, and the pain isn't them, 
those old ghosts of teeth, 
but the cancer back again. 
I'll no tell the wife.
He rubs his chin:
I’ll no tell the wife.
his finger skims the columns, 

the disasters and dreams, 
the ink that streams
endlessly to the bottom 
of the final page. 

I'm gan tae walk the dug 
and hae some drink, 
what else tae dae? 
Ma horse might come in: 

wud be a red letter day.

Hugh McMillan is a poet from the south west of Scotland, well published
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Linda Rose Parkes: So as not to pass that door

I walk another way or pass that door thinking
of a child in a cot a child in the making

who will slide into the air
where light rakes the wind.

A yellow dress hangs in a wardrobe
there are ties in a rack
football boots in a hall

and because there's nowhere that isn't tainted
I pass that door and stop myself thinking chairs
being smashed screaming blood no – pass that

door quickly think biscuits in a tin enamelled
with flowers a loaf being sli c e d – no no think
back think sane think frying an egg sending an email

there are crazy socks paired and nestling
in a drawer a plant on the sill has just been watered

a child in a cot a child in the making
a yellow dress is lighting up a wardrobe.

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Linda Rose Parkes: A Sonnet Of Tea

Go downstairs make tea
the dead aren't expecting you
they scatter the sill fog the glass
you keep hearing their stopped
hearts rustling inside your beating one,
no more than usual when you comb
your hair charge your phone go downstairs
make tea invite the neighbours
make tea for everyone pigeons coo
leaves float from the guttering
make a party of toast pile the plate
carry the heaped up plate through the street
the air changes the dew sings
go downstairs fill the jug with milk

Linda Rose Parkes published her third collection, Familiars, with Hearing Eye in 2015. She began painting three years ago and finds that the two forms of expression feed each other.
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Kate Noakes: I'm sent for meat, a real man's job
 
I slip on iced puddles
that pond the gutters
and the small deer slides
from my back
the hares from my grip
 
but I'm a heavy lifter.
Jug. Jug.
The gall will thicken
and she'll bring plenty
with a mad smile.
 
All we've had is rabbit meat.
 
We chance to die
today, tomorrow.
If my eyes are blue
my ears boxed black
there's no surprise.
 
That's lucky
her tongue a fist
her fist, itself.
Jug. Jug.
Bring me the bloody hind.

Kate Noakes‘ fifth collection is Tattoo on Crow Street (Parthian, 2015). Her website is archived by the National Library of Wales. She was elected to the Welsh Academy in 2011. She lives in London and Paris.
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Norbert Hirschhorn: Rescuing The Turkish Wood-Wasp 

We eat. They join. We try drive them off 
with smouldering coffee grounds on a salver. 

One falls into a cruet of honey. O! heavenly 
quicksand. We spoon it out, drizzle cool 

water on its body and watch his legs quaver, 
wash himself off. After a time, it takes flight. 

I think of St. Thomas Aquinas daintily fishing 
a fly from a chalice of consecrated wine, 

laving the wings and body, then burning the lot. 

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Norbert Hirschhorn: ‘The Morning After Is The First Day’ 
(Louis MacNeice)

A swarm of locusts unseen since the Bible. America, Great Plains. 
A blinding snow, a blackened sky, while underfoot: crunch crunch.  
Scavenging everything: hair off a cow, harnesses off horses, shoes
off a farm boy’s feet. Then, never again.  Last of its kind – brittle,
dry, shoved into a Smithsonian drawer. 1902.

Passenger pigeon flocks, one mile wide, three hundred miles long. 
Day turned night, the flight taking hours to pass the gap-toothed 
boy on the farm, gleaning everything: nuts, fruits, seed corn. Birdshit 
likepoisoned manna strewn on the land. The deluge, easy to kill, cheap 
to eat. Martha, last of the breed, dead on a stump in the Cincinnati 
Zoo. 1914.
 
A phalanx of baby strollers, five abreast, pushed by guards with idiot 
grins, one hour to exit the camp. Recycled to mothers of Aryan infants. 
A pram leftover: ridden, rocked, wheeled, spun by a barefoot boy, stick-thin, 
humming a song alongside bodies lying on the verge. 1945.
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Boy walking past corpses, Bergen-Belsen. photo by George Roger

Boy walking past corpses, Bergen-Belsen.
photo by George Roger

Norbert Hirschhorn is an international public health physician, an American settled in the UK. He is proud to follow in the tradition of physician-poets. His poems appear in four full collections. See www.bertzpoet.com
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Peter Ulric Kennedy: After the Fall
July 2016

when we danced together
	we were angels
our wings were silver
our wings were mother of pearl
	and we danced

we spoke in tongues
	as we danced we sang
we sang of the honey of the road
we sang of the joy of the people
	we sang of peace

now we close our borders
	we exclude the stranger
we deny our brothers
we chastise our sisters
	we wag our heads
	
gravel is in our mouths
	we speak no kindness
we have no wings
we do not dance
	what have we become?

Peter Ulric Kennedy lives in Wivenhoe, Essex, where he is a co-founder and current organiser of Poetry Wivenhoe.
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Pam Job: How I am now

How I am now dressing every day
carefully, in case I am bombed – in case
I have to be undressed by someone I don't know
 – how somewhere I am conscious of this
and I wonder how many other people 
are consciously or unconsciously also dressing
carefully in case they too are bombed except
we could all just wear black because all of us
will end up that way and maybe I have been reading
too much Gertrude Stein and yet not enough
because she was a brave woman and decorated
with medals and she would not have dressed 
according to any thought of what might 
happen that day but only according to what 
she was comfortable in and that mainly wool – 
yes these are my thoughts on how I am now,
immediate, here, questioning every word 
as it appears on my screen and knowing 
questions are not ever answered, really.

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Pam Job: Why you go? 

They all asked the same question, the café owners and the 
waiters in the tavernas along the sea-front, Why you go? 

They meant, who in their right mind would choose to leave 
this enclave, its emerald mine of a sea, its hills capped with curious 

goats, its lack of traffic, its thyme-scented earth studded with ruins. 
In another life, perhaps I would have stayed, laid tables, polished 

mirrors, smiled at the next ferry-load of tourists, but now I felt 
unstitched from everything, watching footballs being kicked 

around on the giant TV screen in the bar, as one team after another 
exited the contest. They went because they’d lost, men in bright 

strips hanging their heads, shamed before their enemy. Greeks
have seen it all before. Then, news flashes along the edge of the green 

field and men in suits in front of flags throw up their hands in disbelief
and ask the same unanswerable question, Why you go?


Pam Job has been writing poetry for the last eight years and is a member of the Poetry Wivenhoe team and a co-editor of their publications, one of the most recent being so too have the doves gone, new poetry on the theme of conflict. She has won awards in several national poetry competitions and has been published in various magazines including Acumen and Artemis.
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Shash Trevett: The Three Thousand


Bellingham  Clifton-Brown Carmichael Duncan-Smith Wilson Wragg Holobone Malthouse Duddridge Fernandes
Allan Baker Stevenson Costa Watkinson Lefroy Green Morris  Cleverly Donelan Dowden Elwood Graham Gyimah
  Parish Scully Selous Tracey Heaton-Jones Kawczynski Norman Carswell Baldwin Barwell Borwick Cartlidge 
  Knight Jenrick Lumley Thomas Tolhurst Warman Jenkin  Stewart Hammond Argar Miller Ghani Williamson
                                                 Howell Leslie Djanogly Morris Gillan Beresford


McCartney                                             Johnson Letwin                                  Lilley Fabricant Lewis
Shannon                                                 Trevelyan Syms                                Prentis Wright  Lidington
Cash                                                                                                                  Liddell-Grainger  Clark Pow
Drax                  Fox                                   Wheeler                                    Rees-Mogg Whittingdale Philp
Burt                    Lee                                  Pickles                                    Soames Penrose Sturdy  Stewart
Ellis                       Mak                              Walker                                 Spelman                                Leadsom
Field                      Bone                            Morton                              Robinson                                   Metcalfe
Freer                       Bebb                          Shapps                               Solloway                                     Murrison
Gale                         Berry                         Fallon                               Whittaker                                       Loughton
Gibb                          Smith                       Soubry                             Pritchard                                         Holloway
Glen                           White                      Villiers                            Pursglove                                          Merman
Gove                            Smith                    Stuart                             Sandbach                                           Spencer
Patel                              Offord                 Stride                             Robertson  	                                        Whately
Prisk                                Nuttall                Evans                            Wollaston                                            Menzies
Quin                                  Murray             Evans                            Opperman                                           Swayne
Raab                                   Pawsey            Smith                            Skidmore                                             Milling
Rudd                                    Barclay            Smith                           Redwood                                             Morgan
Tyrie                                      Pennin            Hall                               Timpson                                             Herbert
Hart                                         Newton          May                             Jackson                                            Vicker
Hunt                                          Johnson          Burns                         Streeter                                         Walker
Hurd                                            Mordant          Chalk                        Johnson                                      Turner
Lord                                               Kinahan             Swire                     Stewart                                     Wiggin
Main                                                Williams             Amess                   Poulter                                  Lewis
Mann                                                 Lopresti                                           Jenkyns                              Brazier
Blunt                                                    Paterson                                         Bottomley  Hands  Tomlinson
Berry                                                     Rosind                                              McLoughlin Grayling Crabb
Bingham                                                 Heaton-Harris Wood                    Lancaster Mowat Gummer
Tugendhat                                               Jayawardena Sunak                       Vaizey Tredinnick Javid


Nokes Rutley Mackintosh Huddleston Stephenson McPartland Elphicke Evennett Freeman Griffiths Goodwill
Hancock Bradley Afriyie Aldous Benyon Andrew Chishti Collins Colvile Double Ellison Garner Sherbrooke 
Buckland Latham Jones Charting Leigh Garnier Harrington Haselhurst Henderson Sharma Knight Brokenshire 
Doyle-Price Drummond Mackinlay Kennedy Jones Bruce Howlett Morris Chope Harris Milton Simpson  
Tomlinson Davies Howarth Adams Green Bacon Hinds Pincher VaraHeald Kirby Brady Frazer Gauke Atkins 
Baron Halfon Grant Dunne Grieve Harper Dining Ansell Churchill Davies Mills Coffey Jones Clarke Burrowes 
                                                                    Burns Fallon Elliott Campbell


                                                                                   they said

                                                               as mobilised children endure
                                                                                     alone
                                                                   on Europe’s dung heaps.
                                                              They have hung up their toys
                                                                               their drums
                                                                            and their harps.
                                                              They have no song left to sing
                                                                           in this new land.

                                                          Meanwhile faith, hope and charity
                                                                  lie chained and debased
                                                                         on Albion’s shore.


Written in response to the decision by Parliament to reject Lord Dubs’ proposed amendment to the Immigration Bill,
asking for 3000 lone refugee children from Syria to find safety and peace in the UK. The names of every MP who voted
against the plan has been used to create both the word ‘NO’ and the borders above and below it

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Shash Trevett: Nurseries

Here, they watch each pod for blemishes,
compare notes, consult manuals,
nip, wrap, water and cleave
and fertilize like honey-bees, busily.
Here, each smug bud blossoms
into a promise ensured,
and butterflies lose themselves
in sunshine and shadow.

But there, promises do not bloom but are broken.
There, we sow tears and water sorrow.
There, the plough catches on things
that should not have been planted,
and a pointless mankind awaits a pointless harvest.
There, in the troubled emptiness of silenced lives
even the grass will not grow,
and the birds were the first to go.

Shash Trevett is a Tamil from Sri Lanka who came to the UK to escape from the civil war; she now lives in York. She has had poems published in journals most notably Modern Poetry in Translation. Her poems have appeared in anthologies such as Hallelujah for 50ft Women (Bloodaxe 2015) and Centres of Cataclysm (MPT 2016). She is a winner of the 2016 Amnesty International ‘Silenced Shadows’ poetry competition about the disappeared in Sri Lanka. She has been recorded by the British Library sound archive for their Between Two Worlds Poetry & Translation Project (forthcoming). She is the 2016 winner of a Northern Writers’ Promise Award for Poetry. She is working on completing her first collection.
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***

Neil Fulwood: Directions

Take that passage from Dickens – the one
where fog seeps into the first page
of the novel – and substitute snow.
Take a road map and trace the few miles

from Jedburgh to the English border;
reflect that you’re South of Edinburgh, 
nowhere near the highlands or the headiest 
of single malts. Take a landscape

that has lost definition, road and field
indistinguishable from sky. Snowflakes
muffle the windscreen wipers. 
Rear wheels fishtail. Your right foot

hesitates; leaves the accelerator alone.
Take heart in the approaching shape,
a piss-yellow smudge that resolves
as snowplough. Take account of the driver,

padded like a test dummy in pudgy layers
of winter wear – this in April – and take
as gospel his admonition to turn round,
turn round while you can, and head back.

Neil Fulwood‘s poetry has appeared in Butcher’s Dog, The Lampeter Review, The Interpreter’s House, Prole and The Morning Star. He is co-editor, with David Sillitoe of the anthology More Raw Material: work inspired by Alan Sillitoe (Lucifer Press). His debut collection, No Avoiding It, is forthcoming from Shoestring Press in 2017.
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Ben Banyard: Down in the Dumps

Worn carpet and a box of china.
Cracked baby bath and torn lampshade.
Bundles of magazines and a broken television.
Singed rug and the in-laws' coffee table.

You peer at them in the rear view mirror,
travelling companions for ten minutes.
Open a window to banish the smell
knowing they’ll leave fragments and cobwebs.

You keep this stuff for years
until one Sunday it's time.
Fold down the car seats and load them
ready to be tossed into the void.

Your trouble is letting go, 
miss those minutes every few years
when you turn them over in your hands, 
glaze a far-off smile of recollection.

The hard part's done now, they're out.
Smile weakly at the high-vis attendant,
heave them over. Don’t look back;
plenty more where they came from.

Ben Banyard lives and writes in Portishead, UK. His debut pamphlet, Communing, was published by Indigo Dreams in February 2016. Ben edits Clear Poetry, an online journal publishing accessible writing by newcomers and old hands alike: https://clearpoetry.wordpress.com
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***

Fraser Sutherland: Helping Methodists Move House
 
The lifting is done with Christian cheer,
likewise the dropping.
The clergyman and the parishioner 
who sometimes takes the service
have wedged a sofa in the door.
One end drops on the minister's foot.
                                                                "Ooooh, golly,"
says the minister.
 
Then when this man, clean-living,
and noted for the rigour of his sermons,
grips a carton of books
and the bottom falls through,
littering the sidewalk, it's
                                           “Gosh."

All afternoon it's like that:
Ooooh and golly and gosh.
Only once when one of them
trips on a step and topples

to the basement, busting a vase
do I hear a plaintive 
                                  "Gee...."
 
We quickly add
                          "Whiz."
lest harm be done.

Fraser Sutherland has published 17 books, nine of them poetry collections and most recently The Philosophy of As If. A poet and lexicographer, he lives in Toronto, Canada
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***

Richie McCaffery: Patching up the new house

Balancing atop a fragile window,
thirty feet above the ground, I try
to mend the broken lead flashing
in our leaky roof with black mastic.

Meanwhile inside, Stef is working
on her Maghrebi films or else
talking to her mother on the phone
about her new odd-job-man above.

A few days later sitting inside, out
of the rain, the place’s watertight
and I can’t quite believe I did it.
Soon we bring home worse weather. 

The sealant is working both ways
keeping water out and my crying in,
even now, just the two of us, I cannot
tell you how hard I’m finding this.


Richie McCaffery has a PhD in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow and now lives with his Flemish partner, in Ghent, Belgium. He is the author of two poetry chapbooks (including Spinning Plates from HappenStance Press) as well as the book-length collection Cairn from Nine Arches Press. He has a pamphlet collection forthcoming in 2017 and is busy working on a collection based on his Belgian experiences.
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***

Ian C Smith: For Auction: Decrepitude of Dreams

Its expected appearance startles like an interloper,
this board beyond my fence, a braggart, brilliant,
featuring photographs touched with gold.
Former Calulu Post Office it says, High Ceilings.

A festival of colour glows, warm inside and out,
grapevines left unpruned for picturesque effect.
One of 3 Bedrooms, a snapshot taken from the doorway,
lays bare where I rest my head to dream.

The Detached Studio with Loft brings to mind
a second-hand bookshop, old odour imbued.
But Lots of Shedding conjures a wry verb.
Verandahs, Porches, twist my heart with love
as artless as these framed angles are artful.

Donkeys’ lugubrious faces peer into the lens,
trigger yet again Chesterton’s poem from schooldays.
Big Caravan, actually small, tyres slumped now,
Proximity to River, School Bus: I know, I know.
2 Bathrooms, 2 Living Areas, in need of a hubbub.

No mention of birds, high trees, still mornings.
How shall I fare away from here when I can’t return
to gather windfalls under the espaliered pear,
listen to the iron tattoo of rain on spring nights?

Perhaps dread of discontinuity led to a hope
the buyer might share my long-ago feverish dreams.
After WW1 these small paddocks fed three families.
I decide to keep the brochure as a memento mori.

Historic Old Charmer the board blares.
I am up for auction, I jest, but nobody laughs.

Ian C Smith’s work has appeared in Australian Poetry Journal, Cream City Review, New Contrast, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Stony Thursday Book, Two-Thirds North, & 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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***

Jan Hutchinson: Tangle

all week a word has pestered me
like a shut-in
autumn fly

I escape to Beyond The Fringe
where Neville stands at the door
with his little hairpin smile

a maple leaf
floating on the fabric of his shirt
offers me the early morning

I lean back in the chair
and wait for Neville's comb
to sift an ambush in my hair

a mirror tells it straight

last month I stayed inside
plain talk frightened me
I forget to notice leave

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***

Jan Hutchinson: The paulownia tree

paulowniahow good, father
that you have led me as far as this
and I am not too old to thank you
even though the only sound
is your going away

the paulownia still shades your garden
and with big hands
reaches out for morning
each leaf knows the tree is changing -
not how the wind will blow

Jan Hutchison lives in Christchurch and is published in a variety of magazines. Her fourth book At the Margins is in preparation. She is represented in Essential N.Z. Poems and this year in Beyond the Red Zone – an anthology about the earthquake.
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Edmund Caterpillar: Hong Kong
 
Delicately scented balsamic
                                                  with hints of musk vanilla
soft floral, fluty-wood tones.
 
They come for it.
 
Lying awake in the tombstone hour in my closed village
from across our mystic ravine, away up in the National Park
I hear the unmistakeable
                                       pock, pock;         
                                                            silence;          
                                                                          pock pock;  
                                                                                             of deft hand-axes at work
 
stealing Agarwood trees,
 
whose heartwood is pressed to produce the most prized joss sticks 
                                                                                                   in all mainland China.
 
They’re razed there now, so at an unfathomable 10,000 dollars a kilo, 
                                                                                             they come for them here.
 
Agarwood gave our home its name:
Xianggang -
                 “Fragrant Harbour”
                                                   long before the British christened us Hong Kong.
 
And now here in our out-lands,
away from the glittering prize of commercial Xianggang,
marauding north bears
are pilfering their fill of ripe berries so long out of reach.
  
I lie awake listening
our sleeping baby between us and wonder
Agarwood treeswhat will we be called 
when all the Agarwood is gone?

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Edmund Caterpillar is an emerging poet who lives in Hong Kong. He recently completed his first chapbook. His short film script “All Class” received individual mention from judges at the 2016 British Independent Film Festival.  A version of this poem has previously appeared in the Dublin-based magazine Into the Void

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***

Charles Tarlton: A Lucian Freud Etching after a John Constable Study

Constable's Elm













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Lucien Freud’s drawing based on this Constable Study of an Elm Tree can be viewed online at:
http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O90713/after-constables-elm-print-freud-lucian/

1
If you wrote an essay or a poem about a painting of a tree, it would be ekphrasis (or it 
could be). But what of  this drawing of a painting of a tree?  It is not authentically the
 drawing of a “tree,” though it is a tree (but only “after” Constable). It is “Constable’s 
Elm,” but not his style – the same tree although the model is not any real tree, just 
someone else’s rendering of a tree, perhaps, for all we can know, a made-up tree to 
begin with, a dream tree in both imaginations.

then you would point out
how pencil lines and shading
do not do justice
to the colors and textures
the fissured bark in shadow

maybe it’s only
an invitation to see
what is essential 
in any reproduction
of a tree--shape and thickness

did he mean to draw
our attention to just how
perfectly the master
had represented that Elm 
exactly photographed it

2
It was only a sketch after all.  A young Freud got from Constable the idea of drawing 
trees, because trees were  everywhere, but when he sat down to try it, he despaired, and
 quit.   Years later, when he himself was an  undisputed master, he made this work – the
 reverse of Constable’s because it’s an etching – but how poetic!  The docent tries to copy
 the master, realizes it is beyond his powers, and so he makes his “copy” by a different 
method, so it would never be confused with Constable’s.  A question: if someone had 
found Freud’s picture among Constable’s effects, would we think it an original?

what if all your life
you heard nothing but Constable
this and Constable that?  
like Picasso, Freud destroyed
the scale he could not surpass

Constable painted
the world closely as he could
but Freud distorted
the tired faces of people
creating his own world

see how Constable
worried the colors, trying
to get the tree
exactly; Freud was rougher
drawing just the idea
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3
Imagine the two pictures side by side on a Holmes-stereoscope card.  Wouldn’t that let us 
see more deeply?   Wouldn’t Freud’s view, being just a little askew of Constable’s, lend 
depth?  The effect would be like blending with your own shadow, the new dimension 
gray and arid alongside the brighter colors.

Modern Art reflects
the world back upon itself
does that make us look
more carefully, feel the bark
catch the sunlight just behind?

trying to copy
a tree, I would say there are
two difficult things –
the leaves, of course, leaves are hard
but bark rises to meet you

a tree in my yard
is glowing an electric
green this spring, but I 
can’t take a good picture of it
must be my imagination

Charles Tarlton is a retired philosophy professor from New York now living in Massachusetts with his wife, Ann Knickerbocker, an abstract painter.
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