Poem in Vitch Ve Kondukt en On-est Ekschainch

Vot you sink off my new Hett?

Frenkly it iss rarzer gordee.
Vair ditd you feint it from?
Vorlworse Roatd?
Vy you not try Markz?

 My Poem zat to you I sent ofa, you leikt it?

You know Dear, I’m olt-feschont!
Some Sinks I don’t visch to know apoutt,
Ze Deetayells, I don’t visch.
Vot is ronk viz some Rhymink anyvay?
I know you ken do Rhymink
you such a tellentet Girl.

I voz vunderink dear Grent-Muzzer,
vot you sink off Peter, my new Husspent?

Vy you eskink me?
Duss it metter vot I sink?
Vot you sink off him?

Zenk you Grent-Muzzer.
Viz you, et least I know
you tellink me ze Truse.
I luff you.

Bah! Zis ze keint of Schit
zay teetch you to say in Emerica?

Sophie Herxheimer

Poem in Which You Buy The Flowers Yourself

The notebooks had been marinating.
These bars are like Petri dishes.
Slapped arses and talk of tight pussy
multiply until you feel you’re in on it.

The mire that is a small seaside town.
This one guy had a thing
for hidden cameras and anal sex –
more a bad feeling than a person.

Framed pornography, gold satin sheets.
A mad ex-girlfriend had knifed
his shoes he said. No way to forget
memories that aren’t yours.

Barmen, constants in a flux of young women.
The man you love recalls how he would
batter his way through the end
of an evening all blood and scrap.

You return years later full of words
to see a stumbling girl gripped by the wrist,
pulled giggling towards a back room
and there’s a moment of clarity.

Truly shocking –
not to shout in the voice of a woman
but to calmly place an arm on each shoulder
and draw a knee up hard between his legs.

Left fist. Right fist.
Thrilling to make impact with a face
however weakly – no tears, no apparent reason.
You’ve never looked better. How gently

the bouncer put you down outside the fire escape.
How gorgeously wrong you were – fast
and hard and quietly mad. Take a bow,
they are applauding in the kebab shop.

Ella Frears


Poem in which there are no poems

Split like stars

………across the sky.

……The distance between stars

…….is the distance between us.

When love isn’t found

what happens

…………..instead of love?

Terrible poems

……..and other terrible creations

….so terrible the world dotes

on their terribleness

…………with tears.

………Love folds in on itself

and there is no breathing.

There are no poems.

There is no us.

Everything is collapsing

…………stars drop from the sky

…………trees sink to the ground

…………the sky presses down

…..and everyone else

is in love

and they can’t see what’s happening.

For heaven’s sake

………the moon just drowned in the sea.

Camellia Stafford

Poem in which my hairline recedes

and Mary’s dress tears     past all stitching     in the screen door warping shut
forever   Roy Orbison croons in memory     of the follicles     too mischievous
or weak to stay with me     a torch song     no less passionate     for being foolish
and I’m scared     both at the grand     banality of knowing     I ain’t that young
anymore     and the keener dread     of what would happen     if she met me
Mary     this far down the road     as yet unable      to offer her     a ride
It’s a slow burn     mortification     a debt being bled from me     instalment by
invisible instalment     while my hairdresser cracks     her kindly jokes     and lathers
my endangered locks     with coconut shampoo     Her laughter confiscates the dream
of  late nights     without consequence     and the songs I wrote     in my attic room
when I was 17     Springsteen was only 25     when he wrote Born to Run     his album
of awakening and fear     at the chances screaming past    on the irretrievable highway
Christ     I can’t     stop staring at those     deathless gatefold shots     where leather-
jacketed he beams    and leans on Clarence     man cleavage and medallion     on show
his perfect hair      a black hydrangea     sprouting to eternity     I want to run
my fingers     like wind     through his rolled-down window     to the roots
but no more will I listen     to that shameless harmonica     which sounds
like fragrant summer nights     and someone with the front     to corner Mary
and explain     how they’ve got     one last chance     to make it real
knowing there’s     no chance in hell     that chance may pass them by

Dai George

Poem in Which I Suffer a Slow Death in Chelsea

Despite the lateness of the hour, it’s far too hot for sex
but you’ve arrived on a First Class flight from Chicago
and we’re supposed to be having some kind of reconciliation
in this overcrowded Italian restaurant at World’s End
where the little waiter who comes to work each day
from Hammersmith on his roller skates is playing
an imaginary piano for us on a serving trolley and
you’re in that blue-and-white striped seersucker blazer
from Brooks Brothers which, as matter of fact, I’ve always
rather liked, but something about the way you’re wearing it
tonight is driving me mad; leaning back in your chair,
squaring your shoulders which are, admittedly, quite sexy,
and oozing entitlement, while those polished ox-blood stirrup
loafers are making it all much worse, plus you’re eyeing up
the youngest waitress in that short skirt while endlessly
banging on to me about synchronicity and how you nearly
castrated Bobby Kennedy after a drunken dinner
at the Hasty Pudding Club, so now I’ve pushed away
my linguine e vongole, and long to be back home again, alone
in my Fulham garden, tearing off the lovely heads from all
my roses, even those I’d hoped to save for the sake of
their red hips which they would have borne this autumn.

Angela Kirby

Poem in which a knife bursts a bubble


First I had dreamt of (& it was unclear)
the music that convinces
the scene of itself.
More noise in bubble to mark this,
a man walks through tall ghost.

An end state of all mass
becoming water,
being of bubble.
A state where it is fair to drink
the water wars in three dimensions.

A drift adreamt of an end state
where I am clever enough
in bubble
to not pop the edges with my blade
& with skill
to know what is best for others.

So sat, like a Buddha in the globular
circular             forum form.
I carved talking dolls for mourners
and if someone wanted to love a live animal
I made arrangements
I was skilful, I was


Friends in the sphere,
but not real friends without
limits of the globe
but not more than what is acceptable
to its integrity.

Subtle bubble
gentle bubble, flight.
The water which maintains the cellular parameters
downregulates in sleep
and in narcotic induction.

A case that flies, that can become comfortable,
that is better than normal work,
that hides the intelligence in cases
but is, of course, while adreamt
during dreary work
still vulnerable,
for after all, these are bubbles.

In fur with water horse hands
then of fairness in exile
then every land, then who was this?
surrounded by rising waters


Knives in to the bubble
but no one notices
for the water has blackened
and so the bubble opaque
and Exitement in worms
who seek health to live
are thirsty & private.

What I have read is
even into liquid that stays shadow
is woman and man rebuilt
even in the sound of water
is the mandarin within
unpulled in punishment.

And the last knife
that slips into water
learns to instead seek the bubble
for up onto a rock of their shoulders
before flooding into the war
there will not soon be return to relief.
We’re reached the sea
all can be drunk now and clean again.
Knife in bubble,
knife in side.

SJ Fowler

Poem in which witches witched, allegedly

Catherine Monvoisin
helped countless French noblemen
using her gift of premonition,

Agnes Sampson
a great storm did call for
trying to sink the ship of Queen Anne,

Alice Kyteler
sacrificed creatures
each time she thought marriage wasn’t for her,

Angele de la Barthe
bore a wolf-snake son
after demonic intercourse,

Mother Shipton
could predict the future
and also moved objects by levitation,

Märet Jonsdotter
men and cows she rode
like horses to the meadow of Blockula,

Marie Laveau
gave world leaders advice;
using various methods of Voodoo,

Agnes Waterhouse
used black magic
and her cat in order to curse,

Bridget Bishop
got caught up in Salem
with the wrong crowd doing the Devil’s work,

and Merga Bien
at Sabbats held by Satan
plotted against her own husband and children.

Jerrold Bowam

poem in which I wish I had children

the cracks in the ceiling
are getting longer
just as I’m getting used to them

these 24-hour sleeping pills
I’ve forgotten more
than I ever knew

like the boy on the bus said
you should have went on this side
because there’s a duck

then he laughed so perfectly
like I missed a nimbus
for every tumbler I’ve wasted

my explanations are convincing enough—
from slow-running planets
through to overly luminous teeth

but in truth, the flight deck’s burning
and I’ve always attended to my own
oxygen mask first

Ian Cartland

Poem in which my better self is an eternal debutante

My better self is wearing white again. She is languid,
thinking this is the time; there are pearls at my throat.

My better self is preparing to float downstairs in her white dress.
Her hand rests languidly on the banister;
she is thinking this time I will go further.

My better self is pretending not to be aware of her lunar power,
how her languid right arm is making everyone think of the moon.

My better self is very conscious of the eyes in the room
and the implications of her languid white dress.

My better self is pausing languidly at the first step.
The dancers below her waltz and stare;
shushushush goes the taffeta.

Sometimes my better self has looked better.

My better self has a complex approach towards first impressions.
Other debutantes have sunk languidly into their seasons.

The night is all before my better self.
The night could hold a thousand better steps.
My better self should take the first step down with languidness.

How languidly my better self will float downstairs.
She is just making herself prepared.
She is immaculate up there.

Rachel Piercey