Dust – a poem by RICHARD GREEN




It’s grim up north they say in monotone voices, 

stuffed with colourless authenticity.

They say we are all puddings up here and maybe so,

an array of sugar-coated, calorie soaked treats.

We gave them coal to warm their privileged feet in winter,

as they habitually tuned in to Coronation Street.

Still they sneer at our lingo and scowl at our bingo,

act surprised when we accidentally start to achieve.

There is no line scraped in white playground chalk,

except in the heads and bellies of each of us.

There, the line is invisible yet impenetrable.

A sense of identity etched into frozen faces.

I spoke to a man on Dog Hill on August bank holiday,

a veteran of some far off trip to hell perhaps.

Or perhaps a lifetime bent double, digging like a blind mole,

with hardened heart held in his leathery hands.

He told me of how he shouted at the telly now and then,

especially when he watched the ten-o-clock news.

‘Ah dunt know why they dunt spayk bleedin normal’,

‘They orlas spayk darn to such as me an thee the bastards’.

Its great up north they sing in carnivals of voices,

cold, damp and smoggy, ‘just how we like it’ they cry.

A dawn chorus of old men coughing up coal and sleck

brings in a new day, full of colour and of song.



“I wrote this poem as part of a collection in 2003,” says Green. “It’s about the village where I grew up and how it looks different as you move further away from it.” Green is a self-described Yorkshire born wordsmith and poetry mechanic.

Richard Green is a northern wordsmith, living in self induced exile in Plymouth. Richard cites Seamus Heaney and Sean O’Brien has his literary heroes and is fortunate to have been taught by the latter. Richard’s work shameless carries echoes of his northern roots, fused with an eye for the obscure and a love of people watching.

You can follow Richard Green’s blog here: https://yorkshirepoetblog.wordpress.com/#

And follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/yorkshirepoet1


The Quiet Rebellion – a poem by GAVIN HEDAUX

What rights do we have that they cannot take?

those who say no are often burnt at the stake,

They keep us darkened and blighted, stratified and divided,

when we speak out of turn, like children we’re chided.

We voice our discord and they show their disgust,

tell us things will be better, that in them we should trust,

offer us education and wisdom that reinforce their position

all scraps from their table built on a capitalist vision.

I’d quote Howl or rant Marxist but I know it won’t matter

as we’re all marching along to that soft pitter patter

of the spit on our faces that they tell us is rain

but we all know the difference and we all feel the same.

“Why can’t you just work? Why can’t you just earn?

Come consume with us boy the world it must turn!”

But i just can’t believe that, can’t accept it’s our fate,

to be valued and weighed by how much money we make.

We’re humans in as much as we can buy our way in

and pledge our allegiance to cold cash and not kin.

And those that don’t have it, be they red white or blue?

“Well to hell with them boy, they’re them and not you,

look after yourself now, caring won’t get you far

they’d step on and over you just to get where you are.

Suck it up and earn money, buy things and be happy

invest in Christmas and Cola and then start a family.

You can buy things for them, they’ll love you for it too,

just remember it doesn’t start with a them but a you.”

But our planet is not peopled by a collection of yous,

sheep we may act like, but I think we have grander views.

The sad truth is the world functions this way,

not perfect, not happy but it still turns each day.

And as long as it turns and our families are safe

we accept what we’re doing is as good as it gets.

Whats wrong with new phones, nice houses and cars?

Trips to the movies and magazines about stars?

What harm does it do? What does it even mean?

When your life begins and ends with each new fashion scene?

And therein is the tragedy, the myth that they sell:

that we have to have comfort to function so well.

In truth, as we know, we could have so much more,

we could share wealth out equally, lose this concept of poor.

Poor is a perspective and it works for the rich

and will maintain for as long as the top tier resist,

the notion that equality is an innate human right

and not intrinsically linked with financial might.

But give it some time, give the world room to breath,

give good people time to watch and time to perceive:

And what happens behind the words and closed doors,

will undoubtedly out, be pushed to the fore.

Revolution need not be bloody or grim,

we can stand shoulder to shoulder, breed strength from within

Chain links forged of morals and steely desire,

and resistance that’s tempered with peace and not fire

To take back control of our lives, loves and destiny,

we need intelligent resistance based universal humanity.



***Gavin Hedaux spends his time in Cornwall, England where he repeatedly tries to convince the locals that he is actually one of them despite his vague cockney twang. He likes poetry and prose of all kinds and has an irrational fear of the word yokel and the colour yellow. He tweets at: https://twitter.com/GavinHedaux ****

Sonnet 1/ Dandelion / Beside Me, She Sits – by CHRISTOPHER IACONO

By Christopher Iacono


Sonnet 1

I cast the line against the cooling breeze

And clouds of gray cover the lake’s surface

The hook disrupts the water’s sole purpose

To pacify the fish inside the reeds

It doesn’t take too long for them to seize

Its morning snack without getting nervous

It bites the worm and shakes the lake’s surface

As my bobber rebounds below the trees

I gently yank the line and start to reel

Click-click-click — it’s getting closer to shore

It tries to free itself but fails — for now

I have to keep on turning ‘cause I feel

It tug — another yank, and maybe more —

It’s gone! And I alone with naked steel


I didn’t ask to be here, surrounded by so many others like me.

I didn’t ask for a golden crown with its tiny florets. And I didn’t ask that they turn to seed, only to be snatched by the wind and sprinkled among these blades surrounding me.

I didn’t ask for the seeds to grow in the crowded spots, so when they flaunt their golden heads, they have little room to breathe.

I didn’t ask to watch the others get cut down — as the blade heads my way.

Beside Me, She Sits

Beside me, she sits

Hair draping my arm

Speaking of old days

“Arthur ruled the land

Lancelot ruled my heart

And he rules it still”

Beside me, she sits

Head propped on elbow

Telling me stories

“I’ll stay by your side

A thousand-one nights

But then I must go”

Beside me, she sits

The abducted wife

Of Menelaus

“The brave Greek

They’re coming for me

In a wooden horse”

Beside me, no one

Empty bed, empty room

My mind fills again


Christopher Iacono lives with his wife and son in Massachusetts. Besides writing fiction and poetry, he has written book reviews for Three Percent and the Neglected Books Page. When he is not writing, he copy-edits and proofreads marketing materials. 

FOLLOW him on TWITTER AT: @ciacono1973.
Check out Christopher’s blog at: 

Brain Damaged Bastard of the Night & Pariah’s Cauldron – A Tryptich – two poems by OWEN CLAYBORN

Brain Damaged Bastard of the Night
Brain damaged bastard of the night,
I scour the phallus-haunted mysteries
alone with the sadness and the slime.

Black moon pricks dead eyes awake,
hurts the swollen optic balls,
the rewired devilry of my head.

Misremembered visions backlit,
revived, eviscerated by the powerlines
that trace my sacral chakra, wake me.

Down to the tea stain shaped like Antarctica,
up to the blind, a vertical prayer mat against
the hot white glare of the sun,

my conscious drifts, plucked at random
& dropped onto the wheel of seasons,
surprising me almightily with November.

Pariah’s Cauldron – A Tryptich

The Liquid Hush – an ode to Gerard Manley Hopkins
Beware the pizzlegush of gashed gold
the gleeful rush of epiglottal garglings that toll
the all-night fuck and fumbledance.

Scoop my balls up, like the unladylike ladling of soup,
& lick these split red lentils; the couple-christed old man’s stoop,
the swooping loop of steel, the cold, perverted script,
gripped into your meal & out with your brush of gruel.

But be sweet, my beating sweep of thigh and teet,
it is not for you that I choose & die!
(My gush-gashed eye unzipping your unpried prize;
no meat-free mystery for me,)
but for the meeting of your thighs.

Beautiful Waists
We are a waste, we ephemeral beauties;
spirits that turn in the air like coccoons.

Watching the moon slide across the white hallway,
shapes in the branches remind us of bones.

What home? The pale sickly expanses of death,
so near slipped-down-the-cracks-of-life people?

We are the wastelands, the howling forever,
such utterly deep, pretty bleaknesses we.

Woeful invisible models clean toilets,
so fat moneyed asses can shit there in peace.

What is the point if this is our dharma?
suck diesel, fart diamonds, and dance, my dears.

On the Violent Death of a Telephone
Jealous of a shape, a ghost of negative space,
I move; the drapes betray my skull-bald anger,
tigering me light & dark in the black & orange
cross the room.

I killed my phone so loud you thought your sex or breasts
offended my hands, my swearing mouth.

No, my dear, it was my back, the slump of clothes
I could not stoop to grab, and the jobless pity –
it was a different snap of red.

Somewhere a yachted man handles fortunes,
and he could better handle you.

***Owen Clayborn is a British-American writer of poetry, full-length fiction, and short stories. His work usually features roguish characters in unusual situations. Owen is currently working on a picaresque novel. Follow Owen on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/claybornwrites ***

My Craving/I wrote you a Love Song : Poetry by KANIKA KATYAL

My Craving

I’m grinding against you,
day and night,
I know it is futile,
And you won’t yield.
Some people find it disgusting.
They spit on me.
“It is insolent, for a girl… My god, such desires!”
I do not know how to explain the appetite.

Cave in, is their command.
Cave in, is also my plea to you.
It’s sad, isn’t it?
That love is nothing but the residual of two overturning bodies?
I am reeking all day.
Consumed and spat.

What happens to the flowers that shrink before they reach full bloom?
They don’t adorn the lover’s hair.
They don’t make it to the wedding wreath.
They are sold separately, I think.
The purpose having served.

It may be my courage or insolence,
But do you, my love, have the nerve to clasp my thorns?

I Wrote You a Love Song

I wrote you a love song, and you never wrote back again. It's all right. Because, promises are never set in stone. And I know, my heart. And yours. And I remember, when you had run your fingers through my hair. It was dark, and it was cold, and I remember it rained that December. It was tea, I think. Or coffee. And your hands had cupped me or maybe there was someone else. With us. Or. On your mind. And I remember you breaking into smiles. And I thought it was when you caught me clicking you, but maybe it was someone else. With you. Or on your mind. And then I noticed pictures of my back on your phone and it sends me thrills and I'm aroused. But then I wonder, if it was someone else. With you, Or on your mind, or someone that your eyes were looking for, when they looked at me. Because it was never my face. And so I cut those locks, that maybe, you would see me the way I know you could. But, I'm not jealous, because I remember we kissed once, and it was all my laughter in your mouth. I hope you remember. Because I do. And I was happy. So happy. I haven't slept since. Because it was you. And I remember your drunk voice. You got melancholy in your eyes. And your hands are hard, and skinny, and strong, and strangely warm. And I remember, you wouldn't let me touch, because my hands are always cold. And your smile. It's so rare. The big one. And I wonder, if I've seen it. If it were ever for me. But tell me, we were lovers, or God is dead. Because I remember your cigarettes, and your journals and your dreams, and your rebellion. And I could tell you, your favourite color. And the song you listen to when you're drunk. I know you love your mom. You'd never let anyone see you cry. I fell in love, deeper with your sorrow. And I remember, sitting awkwardly on that passenger seat. It was noisy, but I was so in love with you, jerking and giggling on every puddle, and inching myself closer to you. But for your nonchalance! You jumped off, before it could stop. It took you a while to remember that I had tagged along. Because your steps were paced, maybe with someone else. Who'd been with you. Or was on your mind.


***Kanika Katyal is an optimist and a definite feminist; she thrives on coffee, cinema and conversations (in that order). She’s also a compulsive reader who bookmarks books with other books, swears by poetry and professes that “Passion is Piety.” Currently studying for her Master of Arts in English at the University of Delhi, and a former community manager and features writer at Youth Ki Awaaz, Katyal stays busy. Katyal has also written for HT City. She tweets at: https://twitter.com/PopZilla_ ***

Crying alone in a bed meant for two – a sonnet by JOSIE ALFORD

Crying alone in a bed meant for two
Because you know there’s nothing else to do.
Try a cigarette to take away the pain
Of another fuck up, you’ve done it again.
Leave quickly with an empty goodbye,
An emotionless hug, can’t look at his eyes.
Walk down the road without turning round,
Desperate to find some familiar ground:
Home. Where you can wash away the dirt of last night
Confront your emotions or keep them out of sight.
Where you can make a nice cup of tea
Calm yourself down, trying not to see
Inside your heart, regretting to be blunt:
You didn’t realise earlier he was an absolute cunt.


***Josie lives in Bristol after graduating in English from UWE. After writing a collection of sonnets for her dissertation, Josie has been rebelling against the restrictive form and writing about life after university. Working as a receptionist, it seems that it is not the career-filled utopia she first thought. Follow her on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/AlfordJmo ****

Three hours to go – a poem by JOSIE ALFORD

Three hours to go

The dial tone

Again begins

Its ever repeating dirge

Its soporific effect

Weighs down my lids

As I wait

And wait

For the next one

Maybe I’ll make a sale

And I hate myself for caring

The figures on the board

All red and read too much

Attempt to motivate

the bowed heads around me

Incapacitated by the pressure

Of unreachable targets.

Hello. We’re not available now

But please leave a message

After the tone.

I peal my eyes open

Straighten my back

And reflect

The robotic cheerfulness

As I leave another message

Another plea

For a returned call.

I regurgitate

The all too rehearsed

Speech and I begin

To think.

In vain stifling another yawn,

I wonder how I got here.

How my degree

In English literature

Spoken with fingered quotation marks

By colleagues

Led me to this place

Devoid of creativity and culture

How I got rejected

From so many better jobs

In so many better companies

How I ever hope to save

The money to return to education

When I barely pay rent at all.

The message is over.

Hang up the phone.

Check the list.

Dial the number.

It all begins again

I return to the dial tone’s cold embrace.

Two hours and fifty five minutes to go.


***Josie lives in Bristol after graduating in English from UWE. After writing a collection of sonnets for her dissertation, Josie has been rebelling against the restrictive form and writing about life after university. Working as a receptionist, it seems that it is not the career filled utopia she first thought. Follow her on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/AlfordJmo ****