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25. Featuring Eleanor Rees

Sefton Park


This is a spell to call you

across the woodlands, out of the crowd.

I write into this noise

with only half my mind.

The other part is arguing or silent

trying to pull me back

out of the woods.

I want to hear with the trees and the pulse

not looking forwards, not looking back

but angling in to find

an inner forest of tree and shadow

that feels like light –

a dark that is mine and marked

with the pawprints of the dog in the mud

I’ve drawn from the woodland.

I try not to see too far ahead

but reach after an unlearning,

an unravelling that pitches me forwards

into a beat, a pulse that pulls

streaks of light between the branches like a ribbon

folding amongst their moss-covered reaching

as I reach with them,

pushing into the sun spattered leaves

pushing into the shifting shadows

wrapped up in the space between branches

kept and held in the trees

without judgement, questioning or accusation

in the earth’s basin under a silk spun sky.


Eleanor Rees



The planet’s crust is cracked right through

beneath our feet

we the meanwhile talking

politics or pickled herrings,

Edward Hopper, adverbs of degree,



Boots scuff the scarp.

Quakes happen here.


The crack goes on for half the Earth

and chops the sea floor


like a log. It shifts a bit – some islands

tip up down the line.


I mean

a thing like this can ground

a person’s fix on solar scale

and telescopic time:

a person’s pinprick mind

half gets Andromeda


throws it:

   roads and rooms

but half exist / no blue

is true.


Colin Sutherill

Bloated Father Things


We watch our fathers

asleep in chairs,

dead, ruined,

wasted with

heads lolling, slumped down

great guts, bellies, stomachs.


These bloated things.


Look at them old red-faced bastards

with grey hair!

Look at them sloshed gits,

drunken bums

who forgot paradise!

heavy in armchairs

with old drunks’ snoring shadows

in TV’s midnight glare.


What wasters! They

could’ve been anyone


they pissed it all away

all up the wall.

Now just look at them!


Fathers in drunken armchairs.


They drink their demons.

Do they dream their angels?


But they are the templates,

they are ugly paternal shapes,

things we hate, things

we must not become.


We must not turn into them.

We must shoot at stars

We must be something,




than those




David Mac



Pungent pigs’ piss. For Christmas. The subtlety will always be

questionable at best: sex and loneliness, the apostasy inherent

in this gesture, that hardening, this implosion without end. Moths

batter the window pane as she hunts

blackheads on my back; later, in vain, one tries to abolish itself

against the bare bulb, making a noise that contains

Z and K. Moths, pobrecitos, lost souls, all they want

is to fly home to the moon.

In all the photographs he bore a panicked air.


John Z. Komurki:


bodhypnotised by rituals


you long to escape this

cluttered room with its

loud walls and moving furniture


do not deny it;

i know

i have seen you


sometimes when you think i am not looking

you will shoot a furtive glance

out of the window at the serenity of the

flowers i have planted, at the soil i have dug

at the soothing emptiness outside


your eyes turn, downcast, back to

the dank room, so pale

in comparison and yet so stifling


automatically, without thought, your hands

work their mindless preaching

it has become second nature

to know but not to understand

to do but not to think


one day, i know you hope, you

and i will watch flowers bloom

together. and we shall not look through

the tinted trappings of glass


it will be free and lovely

and you will dance on the wind.


Maryam Qureshi