Poem in Which She Vanishes into Fog

Fog knows the art of slow conceal:
there goes one small and hurried figure

as she flies towards the morning train,
the school of endless tests, the mute hills

of tomorrow. Fog knows how to steal
the child from your eyes, to contain

that life that can’t be yours, a land that lies
beyond you. All shapes must change.

Jacqueline Saphra

Poem in Which I’m Here for Leisure or Business

Suddenly in the mercy of the Else.
Like a tantrum-child picked by
some Mamzel Hexempixel (or Miz),
taken aback: ‘She exists. The Beast.’

(Pre-)(Post-)Tremor. Power is shifting,
joins and separates. Grief:
non-forgetting, non-remembering.
Items trapped in the door might cause delay.

What’s there to miss? No time to explain.
Nothing left but the soothing speed
to replace lif-laffing around.
Turbulence sometimes is a balm.

‘Complicated how?’ asked the fox. ‘Just run –
not by being and then knowing
but by searching yet still becoming.’

I’m here for business or leisure.

You call me petal, I don’t give you a name

Agnes Marton

Poem in Which I Try to Raise a Photograph from its Bed

It cannot remember how he clocked me
in the capacity-packed amphitheatre,
…..but I can:
my lower vertebrae were broken
…..like bread
……….at birth
…..so by the time I am nine — and I am
here — you can put me down
as ‘sick’
…..according to first-century
Greco-Roman categorisation:
…..that Spina bifida gait,
orthopaedic shoes,…..crutches,
…..a PV shunt scar…..under all my blonde.
I’ve been fed to front of the queue
…..at a few meetings, but this
is bigger, like suddenly reading
…..the Braille of death
engraved into the inside metal
…..of a gladatorial helmet.
The man’s suit is blue-grey
…..as moral clout herself.
…..He holds the microphone
as close to his chin
…..as his chest,…..surfaces
of vice …..and workbench,
…..my head, my whole personhood
……….held between them.
This boy, me — dwarfing him
…..as if about to receive
……….an award not a verdict —
knows he needs healing
…..and wears those colours;
……….they will flap
……………in his face for years yet.
If you could see the front of me
…..my eyes would be tightly closed.
The boy leans all of his faith
…..against the crutches
……….to tether his wilder inclinations
until such a time as their metal
…..knows when…..to let him go
……….onto his heels, ……….his healing.

The spill of stage lights
…..licks the vignette’s skin
like pipetted …..liquid,
……….a serpent coiled round
……………lady wisdom.
Some believers, the boy will learn,
……….wrangle venomous snakes
every Sunday. …..Whether
in colourful crowds of thousands
or pews of coughing,
……….amen-throwing tens,
we all seek the same signs
and wonders, when ‘God’
…..might simply be
the commemoration of expectation,
……….the photo — part
of a newspaper cutting my mother framed
…..probably in some attic now, suffering
……….an invisibility
……….like hell — enough
that both prayer and prayed-for know
power is left imperfect in her strength.

Mark Burnhope

POEM IN WHICH A DRONE WATCHES A US PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE FROM A TRAVELODGE OFF THE M18 NEAR DONCASTER

One of these men will have his finger on her button.
She dips a sensor into a bag of Doritos and closes

her shocking eyes, massages the remote: mute
on, mute off, mute on. This man is lying. This man

hasn’t read a novel for four years. She can
relate. This man’s face is made from fluoro silicone

rubber, slick under studio lighting. She guesses he needs
an oil change. She can relate. This man wears

a He-Man t-shirt in bed. He carries a Thundercats lunchbox.
He makes his own sandwiches. He does not choose

his own tie. This man cannot look at a gun without weeping.
This man is a whore. This man’s teeth are crawling

with nanobots. They shine like a row of white crosses.
Like fallout. The drone folds and unfolds her absentee ballot.

Harry Giles

poem in which she dissects herself

dragonfly lungs ………sealskin boots
young hibernate ……..inner body bomb
thumping matador …..heart bull horn wings
broken china bone …..rough bearskin bare

deep ground blood……scientific mouse
patter patter run ………cloud-head
light-head girl ………..lighthouse
here ……………………..stomach-book
read ……………………..deer eye cocoon

girlhood cape ………….never never landing here
little aviator ……………tiny bird nest hair

Jen Campbell

Poem in Which a Nihilist Journeys to the Beigel Shop

– Ten pound note and no change.
– Leaves the flat, locks the door. Wants all to be as it was upon his return.
– Down two flight of stairs, past three other flats. Hears noise from one: Richard Hell singing ‘Blank Generation’.
– Street door and out.
– A beggar asks for change. Every day same question.
– Gives nothing as once he has they will always expect and both of them should expect nothing.
– The Pelican crossing, button pushed by a woman on her way to yoga.
– Waits for the green man, empathises with the red.
– Traffic halts, crosses the street.
– Through the door.
– Double espresso, chopped herring beigel, doughnut.
– Ring doughnut.
– Home.

Tim Wells 

POEM IN WHICH I DO NOT BORROW ANY OF THE WORDS FROM A POEM BY HELEN MORT AND USE ALL OF THEM IN A DIFFERENT ORDER TO CREATE A POEM in which

I stepped up
towards mother pines
on the brighter moor,

I saw where five deer
more ragged than
the rose that flickered
lapped every God
to water,

I followed the river back
like each of the otters
at Ullapool did
for them and who/
whatever waited I
at the garden’s edge.

The night that never
followed stood on
through fur supple eyes
they-darned in mother,

and Rannoch forest
graceful from
the kingfisher south
where we saw the night
stealing in-between
time,

the pound-coin holidays
she brought out to hers-
the watched ones
looking for their ribs,
and those swears that saw them
the same before teatime.

I must have been
that window in my middle
because I have
no memory of them,
of the house we were then-

the years more
coloured than the trees,
fish-bone closer
than hooves.

 

Emma Hammond

Poem In Which Wallace Stevens is at Work

At the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company
fire is fox red with blue rings, vertigos of water sluice down corridors
turning furniture to garbled jetsam.
Mountains crumble into the parking lot, telegraph poles attract lightning.

Things will be broken, then they will be restored.
The sun will drape its hangings over this and every town,
over cities levelled by mud, decaying pot plants, re-built outhouses.

His hands are clean, pens ordered on his varnished desk,
jam sandwich resting in the drawer, waiting for lunch.
The phone rings, wind nudges the poplars.
In his in-tray: collapsed stars, earthquakes, civil war,
common extraordinary disaster.

Poem In Which Suddenly I’m Awake

When I hear my friend’s voice through the wall,
………..distorted by night terrors –
…………………….changed to some broken flame-soaked bird
……….or one-eyed berserker in wolfskin –

………well, it makes of the darkness in my room
………a single heavy lens
……………….so that my gaze penetrates
………………catacombs and warrens
………………to a depth beyond any I know.

………And there I can perhaps make out
………………fear with his pick, fear
……………………………..wielding his transformative powers

……………………………..the same fear who has a seat
………………in the throneroom of all inner worlds,

who itches maddeningly in the blood
………of my brother with the gun beneath his pillow,

………who boils in the vein-riddled brainpan
………………of the baron surveying his acreage,

………………who slaves even reason, his finger-smears
……………………………..grubbying all wicked policies,

……………………………..his lead adding clout
………………………………….to all blows aimed downward,

………………………………….his acid on the tongues of powerful men.

………………………………….Well then, look at him now
……………………………………..working at my heart,
……………………………………..fastidious as a watchmaker,

………………………………………..mum as to whether he means to make me
………………………………………..his fool

………………………………………….or his instrument.