Poems

‘Afterwards’

The January light was more notable, the day I went back for his belongings to the room where he died; magnolia buds presented themselves differently, they uplifted as though nothing could compel death to reach inside their grey skin. His climbing boots, paired neatly as we had never been, and his torn denims left on…

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‘For Tomorrow’

Spring blossom on the Blackthorn, flakes of snow Once crystal frost now refusing to freeze, Melting, falling like tears for tomorrow. Cities wheeze and choke. Their electric glow Threatens the stars, disturbs nature’s reprise – Spring blossom on the Blackthorn, flakes of snow. Pictures from polar satellites clearly show Bird filled canopies of rain forest…

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‘To a Mole’

Mouldiwarp, tunnel-grubber you with the shovel-paws pink as my skin, the purblind eyes, never once have I seen your snout poke through a lawn, caught a flick of your tail though I’ve grieved for you, rural guerrilla, gibbeted on barbed wire. King-toppler, gentleman in velvet, snuffling root-vaulted mazes driven to company by the sting of…

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‘Another Church Tour’

Coming into a church I can’t help thinking of Philip Larkin taking off his cycle clips in awkward reverence. I’m not here out of habit or curiosity I’ve filed in with a flock out of politeness and sit in the stalls feeling shifty. I want to escape this scripted space: stained glass stories of suffering,…

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‘Mill House’

After his mother moved out her clothes sat in the hall beneath the mirror they played lost and found in hollow rooms. He sat in the long kitchen with his so-called sister who scratched at her scabs as they gulped cold milk waiting for school. Awake with his new brother under the sleeping bag with…

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‘Boy’

Most mornings, I glimpse the boy walking to school. His shoes trodden down at the back. He trails behind, at the back, apart from the scuffle of boys. I worry they laugh at his shoes. He looks downtrodden, not just the shoes. I wonder if his mother is back. The eggshell pale boy. The boy…

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‘Occupancy’

After Staircase by Do Ho Suh I balk at stepping up and stepping down. There’s no perspective I can stand. Handrails that don’t hold and dizzy red-lit vertigo. Ladies with skin like aspic, squat behind balusters – in ruby lingerie. Blood, graffiti, dirty treads and risers. The janitor has lost his mop, his bucket and…

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‘To the Fates’

after Kathleen Jamie and Friedrich Hölderlin in your weaving grant me sight just once of it skimming the slow-flowing river lightning-blue mantle nape to tail in your weaving grant me sight just once of it poised above the slow-flowing river copper feathers belly to breast in your weaving grant me sight just once vertebrae leaning…

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‘This is not the island I was expecting’

I learned to swim, but never mastered breathing underwater. Pebbles, the twirly insides of worn-down shells, bubbles of lugworms I could squidge and pat. Anything the sea brought me, that I didn’t have to dive for, I was grateful. Now the sea brings other things to my attention: a tide of children; puddles of stickiness…

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‘Number 90’

The skip’s hungry mouth swallowed my childhood. I fed it my record player, mattress, black and white TV, teddy bear that had soaked up girlish tears. As we left, all the years ran up the stairs, gathered in the empty rooms to wring their hands. Silence evicted music and voices, reclaimed the unfaded spaces where…

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‘Funeral Cortege As Umbilical Cord’

  You have been a receptacle for the dead for as long as anyone can remember but when a vein of cars issues from the church- yard on the mainland across the strand at low tide I consider you more womb than tomb, your graveyard a belly-button tethered to the funeral cortege, your coastline foetal,…

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‘Trixie Might: No More Baristas’

There are millions of baristas in rumbo countries who would love to hobble in fluidness. Sure, the best baristas love countries – BUT where there is typhotoxin / the right way to help is not. Rumbo + typhotoxin = hobble – help. Not millions… MILLIONS! The nippy and squealing effect of high steam is close…

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‘Witness’

I am trying to hear the cow’s story, but it is thin and acrid as the stream of piss and fear from the back of a cattle truck pitching between hedges on the abattoir road. I am trying to hear the cow’s story, but all I have seen with my own eyes is the cluster…

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‘The Cutter’

Anyone bold enough can find the booth in Ho Ping Lane, twin shutters opened out like wings heart strung with keys and locks of every kind, tinkling promises in the sultry wind. Deep inside the master cutter squats, squints as he selects a blank to suit your purpose. He spins his wheel, its sharp teeth…

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‘Briony Grist: Let’s be clear about the challenges we face with ermits.’

First and foremost, we should be concerned about ermits obtaining cilicious books – underperforming mystics must improve or they will merit cryogenic sealing – no one benefits from hirsute heresies. Look, until such day as they can safely be released into runnels, their otherness and thick fur folios must be cauterised, curried, and caked in…

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‘To the wild boar swimming in Victoria Harbour’

My call to you the outlaw who got your way to play in our water, in front of so many eyes, without paying taxes or having sweated your butt off for a job, The rogue who tusked down rules of traffic, burst through fences, skirted CCTV and mobile snapshots just to cool the bites of…

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‘Arcadia’

I’d like to say it’s for the coffee, sure. Greek stuff, the thick kind that collects in the cup, leaves a bitter-toffee residue. And theirs is pretty good, pretty strong. But it’s the staff, in their thirties, dark. I’ve studied the faces. Boy, are they slow. Unbelievably slow! Takes four of them to make mine…

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‘shadows of aphantasia’

my mind is blind unable to hold an image, a face, a place, I might devise an outline use words, describe a radiant smile have some recall but images cannot last they disappear into the breath of words – last night you were lit in a double shadow as if soul and spirit exist  –…

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Haiku Rebellion Studio: Students’ Work

We are very proud to present below a small selection of work from students on our recent Haiku Rebellion Studio.    

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‘The Waiting Room’

I used to sit and paint blue prints in the museum of hearts, the unborn lookalikes tethered benignly in the adjacent pleated room, dissimilar as bulbs. Disposed dispossessed. I listened to the ghosts in the radio cabs night after night thoughts blurting from between days that happened years ago People always presume my sister and…

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‘Mistress’

Nobody comes from Nairobi. She’s a creation a fiction thrown together for a railway line. Watch how in December the city empties after Jamhuri Day the lovers deserting her to return to the patient village wife who moves like a chameleon over the years demanding little apart from a constant acknowledgement that the city will…

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How I Did It – Michael Marks Edition: Lizzi Thistlethwayte ‘lovesong’

I am aware of an emotional landscape rooted within a geographical one that may bear no outward resemblance to a particular place; merely that there are echoes, reference points. I recognize something. I know I need to pin it down. By ‘pinning it down’ I mean trying to understand by exploring different ways of ‘seeing’;…

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‘Ghost Soldier’

He might have slept a hundred years, to wake bareheaded, roll-up warm against his palm, as if the curse that sent them back to war had been a dream – and here another spit and polish day of buckled brass, of shining chestnut boots, the station concourse bright with rain, of stainless benches, orderly trees,…

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‘Bucharest’

and if I had to build myself a past here this must be the ministry where years later they processed my papers here is the museum I walked around hung-over that one day I spent in this city over there the apartment Andrei told me about that night walking through Leblon where his mother hid…

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‘Song Without Words
’

music everywhere, rolling in secretive oceans, slicking trees, curling like smoke over hills and hummocks, sounds from centuries of mandolins and flutes, harps, bayans, dulcimers, citterns hovering, a universe of stray notes fluttering around their stranded bodies. If only they could hear it stuck in a silent siding, facing each other wondering who will be…

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