Take Ten Issue 3


Artwork by Jane Burn

Edited by Catherine Ayres


 Atropos in the Conference Room


 Dreams – no, you’re not allowed to have any,

at least, none that you can share with this clutch

of chicks who’re dismayed by the many

graphic tales you’ve told. That’s too much

to take from you, the old woman whose touch

would shrivel a cock, and who should quietly

accept that she’s in full crone mode. There’s such

a thing as office decorum, not lightly

cast aside. Madam, in the unlikely

event that you’ll cease and conceal

your TMI, know this: I privately

salute you, and admire your zeal.

But I need a paycheck, and close my ears

to your laughter, and their unfounded fears.


By Marie Lecrivain


After the Management Course 


Just back from Leadership Bootcamp, striped-suited Josh,

newly confirmed as having an Activist Temperament

and a Get-Things-Going Interaction Style,

assumed The Walk and volunteered to Hot-Desk

so he never got caught up in the Tyranny of the Urgent.


Instead, he sped from one Stand-Up Meeting to the next,

always 3 mins late, slurping from a Sporty Water Bottle,

topped-up by Shasta in close pursuit, taking dutiful Notes,

chasing up Actions, recording Dependencies and Risks,

devising Creative Approaches to Nosing Arse.


By Sharon Larkin


Tiresome Days of Mess and Disorder


So the phone buzzes to indicate something. It has become.


Alarming, voicing opinion, there is a haunting sort of being, a worrisome

red jacket like a stinger. Itchy wool reminds me of the moments when


the popcorn stopped popping, the syrup stopped boiling, and I stopped breathing.

The brilliant blue won’t retire, but the children will grow


and grow and scowl. I might bark at the morning light, but I will always

be scalded, and I will always want to hold you.


By alysson b parker


During a Heat Wave
















By Danny P Barbare


Fields of Mean


 once a dense forest,

wildfires destroy


(the burning uncontainable)


and golf games interminable

continue on,

despite the draught.


there could, in fact,

be greening

but the water only feeds.



angry people

drive angry people


to unknown destinations,

child in tow. poor girl.


 By alysson b parker


King of the road


See my car,

‘phone box, Monopoly hotel, Edam wax: that’s how red.

And that scratch is a fighter’s scar, victory’s proof.

Rust?  Well, my car’s no baby,

no beginner, it’s been around the block.

See, when I’m in my car

the world shifts and settles,

puts me at its centre,

pedalling like fury.


By Louise Ordish


A Sapphic for Sunday


Strolling on the riverside path on Sunday,

solo, slowly, kicking a stone in. Slyly

watching families being together, nicely,

since they’re in public.


Since in public, nothing is really showing.

Scars are covered, stitches are held together,

dressed with hoodies, bandaged with coloured T-shirts.

Sunday’s for healing.


 By Louise Ordish


All Because the Lady Loves…


So the next day he showed up with a big box of Milk Tray:

All because the lady loves a cliché to go with her bruised head

courtesy of him seeing red and deciding she deserved hurting

for perceived flirting with a male who played her lover on stage in a play.

He photographed me with said confectionary; numb, I closed my eyes…

camera never lies – even as an actress; no denying I was dead inside.

Dragged from the wrap party, assaulted in the street, walked home; weak

blisters on my feet. Aged 23 and this man, old enough to have fathered me,

was sorry ‒ said it with chocolates; documenting an episode I’d never forget.


By Susan Evans


First big project


The day after I showed him mine

and he showed me his,

and we’d shared most of a pork pie

before we realised it was mouldy,

Trevor and I were in his Mum and Dad’s

back garden, with seaside spades,

digging our way towards Australia,

stopping before we went too far.


By Sharon Larkin

4 thoughts on “Take Ten Issue 3

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