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30. Featuring: Editors' Choice

That Tricky Bastard




tickling our feet

with catfish whiskers;


the nose

with rabbit’s feet;


sprouting weeds

at frozen graveyards;


(those crowded

ghostly wheels)


Melanie Browne



What if Manson


What if Manson had

carved a

rainbow into

his forehead instead

of a swastika?


Everyone knows that

rainbows are

only illusions


Melanie Browne


for Israel and Palestine


the recently-painted room

ex pl  o  ded –

thirty years

of dust and desperation

dis man (t) led –

buried beneath

cracks in time.


cherished possessions,

like layers

shedding lives.

if these former walls

could talk . . .


shalom, shanti,

peace be with you . . .


and also with you.


Betsy Content Bogert



Case Study (2)


If, when he attacked his neighbour,

he had been tried for assault,

had paid his fine, done his time;

if his brother had told someone, then,

that the old woman next door

did persecute him, did

bang on the dividing wall, did

lay in wait and berate him, did pull faces,

make vile gestures at him every single time

she saw him passing her window; if his brother

had said that he too had seen this,

instead of saying that his brother had always

‘taken things too much to heart’;

then he would’t have been diagnoseed initially

as suffering paranoid delusions

and placed on a Section. If

we had believed him when he quietly told us

how much the hospital beds were hurting his back

and if the doctors hadn’t thought his anger

at being disbelieved a part of his delusion;

if we had paid more attention to his complaints

about the effects the neuroleptics were having on him

he wouldn’t have tried to squeeze himself

through the first floor window; and if,

before he came back from the secure unit,

they had told us that two days previously

he had tried to strangle a woman he thought

‘was about to attack me’; and if his brother

had said that he had phoned him every week

since his admission threatening suicide;

if we had understood what he meant when he said

that the fortnightly depots

were leaving him ‘no future’, that they wouldn’t

let him ‘have two thoughts together’,

then maybe he wouldn’t have been allowed

to proceed on weekend leave, to the same flat

beside the horrible old woman; and maybe

he wouldn’t, within three hours of getting indoors,

have hung himself. Maybe.


Sam Smith



letter to puma perl


dear puma


you won’t catch me writing about the big sad years


happy to share dripping wet on national express in

pouting depeche fantasy mode. dancing in seat full

celebration of the extra post-birth curve. to be

thought of as trouble makes me tingle. is exciting.


would not be caught dead writing of shock. automatic

sterile doors will not appear anytime soon


let me be queen brag. skin tears. is stitched. sensitive.

tighter. on pink canvas art deco shoebox stockings

galore silk dusk winter berry collection. bunny

ears. myriad of age defying hair clips.


more chance of finding a fleck of stardust in a clown’s

pocket than ever meeting mamma on these pages


different skin expanded shape. under black all clues are

there. crater marks. impact visceral. apple shaped. pills

in purse. a book with red shoes. my name is all over it


once there was a hammerhead shark poem. meds vodka

anton corbijn’s control many bad thoughts swimming

poem never surfaced. stayed in deep blue. peripheral

east london cemetery that was all in my spoilt

warped hysterical delusional psyche. christ

I would rather eat worms than ever do it again


rotten in my charmed existence.

people should read you more. much love




Sarah Crewe


The dead dog in the mornings


I am that dead dog you meet every morning.

Knocked by that car

With my insides out

My head, heart and soul splattered

For others to roll over


Whenever I see the car

I run for mercy

But I am hit.

Flattened limbs, nameless; useless


Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva





Exploded shattered glass meekly apologetic

in its splintered chaos

sprinkling the newly turned earth

an unwelcome seeding

a persecution too far

a storm driven revenge

perfectly timed

finely angled to pierce the pleasurable expectation of escape

a sneer at the frustrated efforts of construction

a sarcastic glance at the memory of lacerated finger-ends

and shredded tempers

standing waiting for a reluctant cavalry already gone over the hill

tattered plants cowering in their neshness

stranded in the still cold fearful of a further battering

the bleached raffia table leans drunkenly against the once cheeky



Nothing to do but collect the biggest shards and leave it




Ric Lee


for a minute


i was a wild child,

a daughter of third street.

i hid words in brick walls

a thousand stories

died in my arms,

each track

an aborted symphony


tonight i linger

in the back room

listen to long-haired poets

who don’t remember me


i’ve died in abandoned buildings

been saved by junkies and dope fiends

baptized in fire hydrants, blessed by thieves


i hide poems in my back pockets

words scar my arms like the train


poets’ eyes glitter madness

voices of heroin velvet

just for a minute i’m in love


Puma Perl



Nothing new this summer.

An old spider and a friend

who has bought four boomerangs

in different colours!

I also go to town.

That is to say I lie in the middle

of Gotherstreet and pretend

to be the end

of a human being.


Grzegorz Wroblewski