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17. Featuring: Lesley Quayle

+ Raymond K. Avery + Brian Blackwell + Kenneth Gurney + Suzanne Hermanoczki + Khalid Khan + Ian Mullins + Kerry Orange + A D Winans

A  to B – B to A

(Whitehouse Lane)


each day,

                      the porridge sky

the spitting jogger

                       the chafed thigh and crotch

the solitary gutter- boot

                       the ragged breath

the polystyrene coffee-cups

                       the nudge of moss

the sump of kiss kiss kiss cans

                       the scuff of grass

the wind-flayed plastic

                       the tumbling jackdaws

the butts and gobs

                       the herd of cyclists

the dog-shite coils

                       the heeling collie

the pizza poultice

                       the loveless line of road

the  tarmac blistered up

                       the stitch in side

the burrs of sleet

                       the brown gate.

This Child.


This child of ours    says he’s

always broke

snorts coke  smokes dope

life’s a joke  he said

you’re off your head

you’ll wind up dead

weren’t brought up know better I said


This child of ours    borrows

so much cash

too flash  not flush

so rash  this rush

to have it all   misled

by hype and overfed

on junk     drunk on illusion I said


This child of ours    this man

we hardly know

yet knew    watched grow

the slow years flow

gather momentum   go

the child has fled

you worry too much he said



We’ve been left a cuckoo child,

hungry and damaged, bisected by anger.


He litters our view of a cosier world,

smears his dirty protest like a sick pup;


having only ever seen the view from the cheap seats,

he has decided to shit on us now from the gods.


His quadrophonic rage is deafening,

us and them, his mother and himself,


there’s no room for simple affection,

his borderless emotions roam unchecked


and his inconsolable lust can’t help but defy –

his days are clandestine journeys along perilous edges.


All the safe houses have fallen down,

scrapped under the hammer of his gaze.


We have been left a cuckoo child,

lost in his tunnel, waving a lamp at the last, late train.



Was the first to do it.  Jail bait at thirteen.

A casual mention in the dinner line,

then gave a feline stretch, a lazy yawn,

“Christ- not fish pie again.”

On our way to the bus stop, illegally hatless,

“What’s it like?” I asked, voice snatched

by the perpetual squall, frisking our dresses.

“Depends.”  Down her nose at me, hair thrashed

wild by wind.  “On what?”  I chewed my lips.

Didn’t want to appear too interested – or stupid.

We reached the scrum for buses before she tipped

her head close but the swell pitched forward, hurried

upstairs for the back seats. Left her behind.

She never did tell me.  Had other things on her mind.



This fish,

and this, and this,


there  there

glass splinters   ascending,

double helix of sparks

unfolding outwards, upwards,

breaking open    the blueblack

scale by scale,

brief silver, copper, metalled green,

needles of violet, verdigris, vermilion,

luminous chemistry,

drawn to the surface.


The lantern’s halo stretches

wide and radiant, like an open mouth,

the dark gape teeming,

stuffed with herring,

foaming, lathering light.

I reach in, feel ice cold

rise up my fingers.

A blizzard of fish, bright as sleet,

tender as kisses,

streams through my hand is gone.