Take Ten Issue 6


Artwork by Jane Burn

Edited by Catherine Ayres


This blue isn’t cold. It’s old and rich, deep as the far reaches of your unknown self. Its stripes
have sheen, lights and darks blending into a near-night that strokes your spine. It’s too dark
for sky, for most flowers; it has distilled the essence of blue. When sky recedes behind street-
lamps it covers the world outside, opens resonant spaces in white walls, hangs pleated and
luxurious over the plants that rest against its pale secret lining. The colour warms you, chimes
in a chord with vases, china, cushions that are smaller versions of itself. You sink far into it,
fall through velvet into an ecstasy of quiet.

By Susan Jordan


All last summer, the neighbor boys swinging
stray cats by their tails into pools of gasoline,
raccoons howling over grapes.
That summer, they crushed each one into wine.
Everything sweet & sickly,
moon turning in its basin like a memory.
That summer, I was a knife.
Silent, pulsing,
I watched as he plunged into me,
just another animal
who couldn’t be tamed.

By Meggie Royer


Like any good child I’d feed my father tangerines by hand
as his heart broke, halving itself into bloodshot
and red horizon, all his long-gone lovers
passing through him like music,
his own father in the other room
aneurysm bursting from his body like forgiveness.
Fruit pulsing in my father’s hands,
their soft skins exploding into pulp,
not unlike the way grief rises within us
without warning.

By Meggie Royer

The Mathematics of Colour

Red bleeds from his roses
like blood to feed the apple tree.

Purple bruises his thin lip, the stain
of autumn fruit from the thorn.

Blackberries in the kitchen heat
stew against the end of days.

Green falls too fast to catch,
thud thudding onto garden mud.

Newton smiles, recalculates, knows
he’ll eat well when it snows.

By Shirley Wright

Peeled Jigsaws

Water is a jigsaw dancing in white
Polaroid, made up of memories daubed
With bare swimmers stroking teal flowing thighs,
Pooled pigments, straight lines drawn with just the eye.
We, made of a circumference of light,
Effigies distort when submerged, pulling
Tattered threads of a collage, ink doodles
On the carpet of the seas. Remember
Me with noxious mustard powder, whipping
Imagined donkeys in rain boxed Margate
Parma Violets clutched in my withered
Claw as the sky was churning with butter.
I, in my glass, will retain you, perfumed,
Stretching by the gale of a peeled window.

By Grant Tabard

Asylum of Hands

My left hand is a caged bird whose song falls
From its beak as a gilded leaf. Ropes tie
My back to the floor but my chest flies up
Like a swan and unfurls its marquee wings.
My right hand is string in a tornado,
An unwinding reel of slight Dorothys
Begging raw tin, bellowing wood and a
Rumpus of straw under sunset’s netting.
I hold a Filbert brush made from a white
Whale’s tooth painting the death spittle of the
Bones that break, stuffed with a sackcloth of time.
My toes and skull are lit with the same night,
Cobalt blue, wanton scarlet, light is frail
Unless you have a hand to steady it.

By Grant Tabard

Blinkered Motion

Nowadays the eye is an animal,
Caught in a trap tearing at its own bulb
Just to be free of this hand in front of
A face, constantly whittling away at
The stem. The blinkered motion of homeless
Cogs of light like an unwinding reel that
Pours forth, barbed as a bone. Two visions co-
Exist without knowing the other, they
Permeate a drip below the roots of
This eye where dreams convulse, haunting our hands
Of cadmium yellow, pulling at the
Thread of an endless seed, for there is no
Single moment of creation in this
Eye, just a stream of Ciné film on a loop.

By Grant Tabard

Reminds Me of My Knees

Not always, but sometimes
on summer or winter mornings:
plodding around in the kitchen
my quiet eye gathered the breakfast table
breadcrumbs; dry, crumbly but sharp
to brush the crumbs away
slight prickly feeling on my hand
same sensation in my knees
and an urgency to wipe them away
as well.

By Johanna Boal


In the morning, on the pillow,
A long tress, grey streaked,
from a weary scalp. For just a moment,
my gradual deconstruction distilled to this

By Lesley Quayle


Her man is a glass attraction, stacked with quids
and fivers; the promise of a heart’s trove,
mechanically pushed to his lip. She has slotted
a pocketful of 2ps, hoping to find the knack,
the lucky tuppence – to hear that chacka-chacka.
Perhaps, on this next try, he will make change.

By Gram Joel Davies










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