Issue 3 Part 2

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Artwork by Jane Burn

Edited by Julia Webb

On Falling Up Dog Leap Stairs

Already your tongue’s
checked your front teeth twice. One shin
is stinging, your forehead’s intact

but those minutes you’d saved, precious
coins in your pocket, lie spent
on the steps. You notice your legs

have you upright again, and your feet,
ignoring the interruption,
have carried you on – suede-booted,

weightless – but now they’ve given in.
You’re on your own, half-way up,
illuminated by a yellow lamp.

You hold on to what’s left of your breath
then slowly exhale, listening for footsteps
not coming, still

not coming out of the dark, the silence above
and behind your thudding pulse. In the beats between
you offer a deal to the ancient

hiding close by, watching. Then you stop
having thoughts – you make a move, go
with what the shadow-cat in you knows, in her bones.

By Joan Johnston

A stain, a gift, a shadow

Hiding in a toilet stall,
I photograph the bruise:
this capillary trace of the way your cupped palms
made their percussive contact with my skin.

I call it bruise: it’s really just a hint
of sepia, a watercolour tint,
a stain, a gift, the shadow of your fist.
Impermanent: not tattoo, still less brand,

it aches to be recorded. With inexpert hands,
that I would never think to cup when striking,
I tilt my phone, I shoot the spot and wish
you’d left behind a far more livid kiss.

This loving violence I memorialise
perhaps more than is necessary or true.
This mark, this ghost desire left behind:
I take its photo, and I name it bruise.

By AJ McKenna

Carcass

there’s no need for hanging to see her bleed

………………………………….shrick shrick schrick

knives on edge
who will take the first cut?

the rump is tenderdeep
the back fillets twisted

but wait till she’s gutted propergood

lay out all her entrails
breech, discard her heart

there’s no need for hanging to see her bleed
she does it freely

rib by rib released
go in swift with your blade

go in hard,
chuck, hock, silverside, cheek

monkey brains, eyeball parfait
use her all, dead meat

By Liz Breslin

The News

reel backwards to dance radio
in a summer kitchen
the sun shines up the window-dust
and glory be to a day of cooking
no-one else here to noise the quiet
and now these two voices outside
barking the dog, wagging its tail,
two policeman
the outside coming to meet me
its hands full of fate
London bound traffic
a car tin-can crushed
on the bypass
the shock of my bare knees
on the brown earth path
the world spinning
as if life has broken from its spring
and is rushing towards the ground
its engines screaming

By Julia Webb

Eighteen years later


I stop talking, lock the door
with her “sorry” behind it, turn left.

Late morning, the world
is grey. The only sound

is the stream chanting
its way over rocks, beer

cans, plastic bottles, tires.
It flows down the hill

as I run up, block out the song.
I squeeze two miles

out of these trails, out of my
lungs. The world is grey

and waiting for me
to put it back together.

I breathe in acres of air,
and the hours I’ve lost.

By Kate Garrett

Perditus

I am a tomb, rolled shut with stone; cached in shrouds,
fusted with sweat. I had a dream last night – am clammy
with heat, sticky under my aching breasts. I smell drizzle

in my pits; feel the tatters of it drifting in my head. I remember
voices but the words they spoke vanished in a spellbind of echoes.
I have bled my babies on the bed again. fresh and red as wine,

I feel their downward journey drying on my leg. Gripe roughs
the arca of my stomach – scrapes at what is dead. I feel them
fall out of me, spread their faces into flowers. Lather breaks

the filth of my skin, purges my emptyings out of the sheets.
Risen on air, they make a communion disc of the sun. My babies
are faded stains. I pray for sunlight, the sweet milk of rain.

I offer them up to the lift of the wind.

By Jane Burn

Feathers, of a Sort

The buildings want to eat me
they’ve heard I’m soft enough to chew.
But I’m undeterred, living carapace free,
one mix tape after another. The elevator’s
throat gapes at my floor, a long corridor
disguised as the doorman’s seeing-eye
twerk. I’m rising. Believe me. I pushed
the up button twice. I can feel
my jelly legs fold from the upward
force. Soon, there will be pie
on the roof, clouds to reel down.
I’ll make them into the softest pillows you’ll
never see.

By CL Bledsoe and Michael Gushue

Echoes

It’s the constant punctuation of our thoughts               despite our efforts
at tuning out. I want to hear your chest rise                and the clock tick
but I find myself drifting to a place of no machinery at all             and I
can’t quite grasp it. These blank corridors echo and                 I am easy
to disorientate. Every metaphor about space                  and floating has
since been spent and I am left with nylon             static, scratching skin.
And yes, I know you are the blanket I recycle                 time after time.
When they switched the machines off I swear         you nearly breathed.

By Zelda Chappel

The Fat Damsel’s Fat Choice

Mornings and Mournings

The soul of loneliness envelops our mornings
So we fill it with our own solitude,
The loneliness of soul envelops our mournings.

We seek the pulse of thunders and lightnings
In the vast universe filled with gratitude,
The soul of loneliness envelops our mornings.

The wind commiserates with the fledglings
Along with the elders in their fortitude,
The loneliness of soul envelops our mournings.

When the being abandoned its belongings,
Our world is divided into a multitude;
The soul of loneliness envelops our mornings.

Witnessing the flapping of full-pledged wings
Of our dreams that are bare and nude,
The loneliness of soul envelops our mournings.

Sorrow travels in our veins and brings
The art of pain as pain in art already queued;
The soul of loneliness envelops our mornings,

The loneliness of soul envelops our mournings.

By April Mae Berza

 

 

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