Wading

Chris Campanioni

Spit paddle stream

The sound of your voice

I could never know

 

How far

You like to enter

Without a lit up

 

Sign to let you

Know exit mouth

Baby in a bar

 

Put on your best

Tank top & bottom

Out the way

 

A bond

Villain drops

Into the black

 

As long as your

Air stops moving

My mouth full

 

I’ve never had

Enough of that

Ambidextrous or

 

Just dexterous

One & two &

Meet up

 

& let’s play

House, make

Fire by making it

 

Move faster

I don’t know

Once I told someone

 

I don’t know

Who I am

When I am

 

By myself

When I am

Buying myself

 

On the street

Everyone stops

Open wide

 

Like no one not even

Me magazines & video

So different depending

 

On who I am inside

Of lately like the weather

It comes & goes

 

Do you know

What that means

It means enough

 

People want

To hear about fire

Everyone either gets it

 

Or they don’t

The cost keeps

Rising I told my friend

 

It’s through the roof

I said & used my hands

To show him

 

My studio

Has no fire

Escape

Slow

Olivia Smith

My stillness isn’t an affectation.

It’s 7pm drunkenness in day-glo vision,

Fairy lights on red velvet walls.

 

You put this inside me,

This lethargic hopelessness that’s not tragic enough

For strangers to start conversations about.

 

I wish there were

Red-rimmed eyes

Or lips –

 

Someone’s little sister,

Hands slick from the cold of the glass

Hands tacky from the butt of the cigarette

 

Hands in mine;

But I want to taste the heat curled in your mouth, the ridge of your jaw.

I want bruises to bloom wherever I’ve touched you.

 

I’m sevensomething drinks in,

And the lights are up and men are

Trying to say goodbye to each other.

 

I walk home,

And I take off my boots.

You’re nearly as beautiful as I’ve been imagining.

Eternal Widow

Matilda Morrison

When hot hateful hands pull

Necks into trees, I am the farmer to harvest

That strange fruit, to hold those broken

Necks to my tired lips and say “I’m sorry,

I’m sorry,” words hollow like ripe

Apples, stroking their hair until glory takes them

 

And when those hateful hands become wrinkled and translucent and they reach

For me with tears in their cataracts, sobs catching

On the respirators tethered to their throats I reach right

Back, and rock them like mercy, my hands

 

Are always soaked with tears, but feverish

Nurslings can’t feel them when I place my cold, salty

Fingers on their burning foreheads and

Rest

 

I feel them, all, the gangsters being pushed, straight

Into my waiting arms, running ‘til

They find me, not knowing what they were looking

For until I put my mouth to their ears and tell them they’re home, rocking them like

Mothers did, or didn’t

 

And the soldiers full of holes who become whole

When I hold them wholly, holy, holy, Hallelujah and

The reverends who recognize

Me, their dark companion. For them

I wear my halo, and bring a harp along, one last

Psalm, no choir needed

 

Be still, troubled hearts, and end the beatings, bruised

Women, I know you screamed in alleys, and tore, and fought in

Fields and forests, I heard you, I hear you, and I promise I

Will wash your pain off like baptism

W10 5RB - N1C 4TB

Fantasia on a Cycle Commute

Bear Shaw

 

Here in the Orchard

we are sleep’s accomplice, you and I

witnessing its slow, subtle, shift

towards dawn. Laddering the light through her tights

she quietly hangs up her coat,

Blackbird in pocket, at its breast the new day

awash with motives and fragments.

held on the oceanic grumble of the West Way.

 

Through Muggers’ Alley

I weave my wheels, carried atop carriages

Beckon’d to the bridge to borrow a line of salmon

from a Shepherd’s sky, noted on the underground

rolling ever on. 

 

Tracing Tavistock Crescent’s gibbous shadow

arcing the villas of Leamington

where I count and count again the colours

of the leaves singing to me from the trees

the rustle of an orchestra leaving the stage.

 

A dart of a swim against the traffic

to share the Cavedone sun with the postman

carrying our burdens through Stephen’s saintly garden

rolling ever on.

 

Chain whispers a cadence

 

kneading the bitumen dough at my wheels

leavening sighs from sleeping policeman

eft dreaming , as the Alinéa Bindery  

opens a new chapter of morning chiaroscuro

which warms to its task on Porchester baths

melting the icing of Gloucester Terrace.

 

Left into the basin

Praed Street, stands a ease

all duffled and ambered with stickiness

ahead herds of red dinosaurs graze on commuters

rolling ever on.

 

As I slip invisibly between chapel and cabbala

raising a futile, Lowry stick of an arm, I rage

like a heathen, until I muffle my protest when

out of the drunken shadow of the Larrik

Eliot propping up Homer cautions me

Hurry up please, its time.

 

Death’s blackened chauffer, the cab

hovers at my side waiting for its fare

all hackneyed vowels and knowledge

caught in Portland’s architects stare

rolling ever on.

 

Laying traps in packs these orange Cyclops

colluding with Harley and his fellow clinicians

search their frequencies for my squeaky knee

transmitting its signal through the crank.

 

Dotted morse and more illegal dashes find

streets of Carburton and Cleveland

wrong way, one way, this other Eden, Fitzroy Square

Tallis passing through the trees with Dexter sheen

moment to stand and stare

that only ever rolls on.

Into evolving sun and its doorstep milk bottle warmth

fabric of the university crowd with Darwin at their door

anagram of Byng placed in his anxious beard

quick bite, sound bite chitting away at my chipped mind

King Falafel? Another history lesson sadly missed.

 

Following these streets

has become some tedious argument

destination already known, already written

rolling ever on.

 

Juddered by the cobbles of Cromer’s clichéd Coast

Miles from the sea they for now my Dogger, my Fisher, my German Bight

On whose tide I am delivered into the hands which hold the hour

the solemn blackened fingers of Pancras’ tower

Tuesday’s legs now feeling like Friday’s

I stop pedalling, and like Raeburn’s Reverend

skate serenely into Kings Cross.