Showing posts from November, 2010

3 poems by Matthew Stewart


Ten years on and perfection’s lost
its distant lustre. My accent

seeps away. Every few minutes
I let some vowels tug me back home,

back towards the cadence of who
I am or was or was or am.

Dad On The M25 After Midnight

Even before the front door’s shut,
I’m in first gear – up past Tesco,
third exit from the roundabout
and onto the slip road at last.
I overtake a Polish truck;
it wobbles as the driver shaves.
Tarmac reassuringly growls.

This is where the housework and kids
recede, junction after junction.
I could head west, then north, then east
- all with a millimetric nudge
of the wheel - but I hold a lane,
perfecting this nightly circle.
It closes back in on my name.

San Fairy Ann

Wit amid blood and Belgian mud,
Nan invoked you daily. Your time
on our tongues and in dictionaries
might be running out, but I’ve passed
your syllables on to my son
in return for his slang from school.

Matthew Stewart works in the Spanish wine trade and lives between Extremadura, Spain, and West Sussex, England. His poet…

5 poems by Todd Swift

Paddington Recreation Grounds

Boys on their field lit like an aquarium
sad to not be alight, like them, with goals
that a foot or hand can win; poetry’s rules
no less old than theirs, but poets
are not only players on green grass, night
and day, also the old-eyed others
edged in the park, who nod at each leap in air,
each attained yelp and elbowed throw,
the muscular panoply of bodied action
folded into hours with an end; slow to
leave, friendless, they once stood on the line,
or blew as referee, their bones now cold
and all trophies pawned. So poems both play

and hold, gravely, as if a mourner stood,
one self under the hood of the ground, the other,
above, head bowed, to pray. We stand and lie,
this way, to make the words hit home.
So ball and word fly untrue until a hand undoes
the flight by taking it down from abstract
to real motion, feeling out the meaning of its gut,
impacted with the lob’s sorrow-start,
the needing thrower’s heart, which is to gain
the art’s accolades, not be cheered in dismal

2 poems by Michelle McGrane

Lunar Postcards

I. Moondust

Two hours ago, we docked
at Crater Plaskett's northern rim.
Plumes of spent gunpowder
eructed from the landing strip
spinning into galaxies and starfields.
It clings to our helmet visors,
sifts into our spacesuits,
fine jagged particles
infiltrating hinges and joints,
scratching equipment,
shrouding instrument dials
with an electrostatic film.

II. Hadley Rille
I am writing from a lava tube
at Hadley Rille, near the Sea of Rains.
We spent the day gathering
silica-rich soil, shattered rocks,
glassy fist-sized specimens
sampled from the basalt crust.
The Lunar Roving Vehicle
has exceeded all expectations.
Jack and his crew will be pleased.
I look forward to your news.

III. Space Gourmet

We season freeze-dried macaroni
with liquid salt and pepper.
Water is distilled, recycled
from our breath and sweat.
After a week of granola bars,
nuts and bitter orange juice,
the Commander's arm
begins to look tasty.

IV. Counting Clusters

At night,
the lunar module
ticks and hums.
I shift restlessly
in my …

4 poems from Helen Ivory's 'The Breakfast Machine'

The Dolls House

The trees that grow
from the nursery walls
do not rustle in the breeze
of an open window.

The jaws of the wardrobe
do not snap shut
when a crane-fly bumbles
into their waiting smile.

But there is a shifting of furniture
in the dolls house tonight,
a slow dragging of objects
across candle-lit rooms.

The kitchen windows steam up
and the unmistakable smell
of melting plastic
drifts from the chimney.

You will notice tomorrow
your new doll is gone.
You will find her blonde hair
lines a mouse nest in spring.

The Reckless Sleeper

All night he has been inventing a vocabulary –
a mythology of cities built like a circuit board;
a skeletal picture of where he’d like to belong.

He is wrapped in a blanket of grey paint,
and sometimes an apple will roll to the surface,
sometimes a mirror, or an apple in the mirror.

Sometimes a lion will lift a lazy paw
and pull the blanket from the other side of the bed;
leaving him exposed to the dark of the room.

He walks on the surface of heaven,
he holds his own heart in …

3 poems by Maureen Jivani

Open Heart

I had a heart in my hands once.
It shivered like an injured bird.
I had to stop those fibrillations
to steady that pale heart,
cooled, in its cage of bone.
Such an enormous task,
it took all the long afternoon.

But we had opera, laughter
and a tunnel of light
in that dungeon-cold room.
And sometimes it leapt,
that insensible heart, like a flying fish
or one left behind when the tide
goes out. Poor heart to be stranded
like this, a fist of blubber, in my small hands.

Going Under

Here, waiters are tall and carry silver salvers:
the dead on a plate, cabinet doors open and close
of their own accord. Venetian crystal sparkles
like a new love. The hostess grins while flaming Sambucas.

Faces float
masks accumulating dust.
A woman breezes past
wearing gold shoes and a d├ęcolletage to die for.

In the mirror, an elderly man
removes his gloves; one slips in silence to the floor.
The grandfather clock chimes the hour.

I sigh in an effort of remembrance.

An upstairs bedroom, a drab light spools through shutters,