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Tuesday 30 October 2012

Peter Marra

circus of nights for a rocket 88

she has a motherly instinct
she has a wonder concerning
the branches that are on fire

she is grasping at black clouds
as a car engine coughs
spits hums
go man go
vibrating - a 4 door super vegas

inside in while
all the way out
she is in love with the dead
she is obsessed with the deaf
she kisses the blind
all the way down

sing a vivid strangulation
chant a way and a cause
the acrobats slowly fondle a trapeze

a stifled moan that she
never feels
a remembrance of
when as a baby she
rejected the breast milk

the poison from the vine
bends away from treason
rusty models increased with thick veins running down
hardtop sedans. she took her to bed and
balanced the sighs in the rearview mirror
fluids coupling in a smoother fuselage
her hands slipped up

she has a motherly instinct
and the wonder about
the branches that are on fire
grasping at black clouds
passed without incident

2 of the mindless with
emotions warring inside
by the drive-in

slinking inside restless skin
shadowed by guilt
we'd been sleeping in the car together for seven years,
fueled by a lust for squirming Chevrolets

she moaned: “you've been keeping me with
some skank on a strange sort of symmetry.
at least one glass tipped basic
bodyshell was open, while he
checked out oldsmobiles”

a bump and grind
across the state line
with a dream of billy jack
tattooed on her
inner thigh

the blood and the
sweat and the

and the memories of the my lai massacre etched
into clouds by tornados

in the fissures of her brain

gun crazy

side catatonia
betrays (whisper)

symptoms of a mimic
and the small dreams offered
by antipsychotic medication for a brief
walk in the woods then
to lay down
by the river
trending towards life
a burning

burlesque dancers tear the imaging technologies
shredded moans sound concrete then crumble

under my eyelids flickering naked forms clutched
against walls bending – a sometime sweet fever

("why is it so boring," 
"i don't know what to say," 
"well," she starts, "when was the last time you?"
"i really can't remember,"
“i know what is confessed”)

giggling brought her back into a 
frantic style doze while
negative symptoms contribute to
sitting in a car with shades and a gun fondled
cherishing the sound of a telecaster and a twin reverb in the
back seat –
rubbing her legs and
glancing in the rear-view
taking in the
sight of his corpse
starting a decay
of memory

an odor so far away
what was nice once
a popular itch

he promised the nighttime
the pleasure of night town
when he showed her dawn – she blew him away
a burn in her back pocket
his photo in her wallet

("why is it so boring," 
"i don't know what to say," 
"well," she starts, "when was the last time you?"
"i really can't remember,"
“i know what is confessed”)


he had brought an album
to her home once –
parallel lines

burlesque dancers tear the imaging technologies
shredded moans sound concrete then crumble

visions of him ran around retinas
and out in tears

up against the hall naked
he was so cool
cook up/shoot in
kissing by the airport

female visions of him ran around retinas
and out in tears
the desert wind burned
felt so good

Sunday 28 October 2012

Dom Gabrielli


(a love and hate poem)

the body stands as the rampart
it is evening and grey
i rise from slumber
i glance across the murky Thames
the bridges churn with the muck
of invoiced dreams
crossing into slums of unconsciousness

i would be that body if i knew
but i abandoned knowledge
for the clarity of seeing

hence my eyes close
and i breathe away the nonsense
and the arguments
i look to hold your breasts
as the poet once dreamed his muse

i am the first to bring these words
into the bloodstream
into the spunkstream of real love

what killed the poet
brought him back again
in the cave and the cauldron
in the simmering desert mirage
came the voice

i ignored them by writing
one by one
they found their way into the fire
of oblivion
chests of raging words

you were not yet born
i could see you
i could see your father's eyes
the generosity of a moon
to lend you the light
to laugh away the idiocy

your body
my body
the sewers of this world
the shit in posh cars
dismissing the journey
watching the screens
of their incapacities
floating in and out
of programmed orbits

the lines cross
this nocturnal raga
the crash victims in their defiled path
the river poisoned to the cold sea
the dead fish and the laden algae
these lines
writing the material possibility
of challenging the texts
of preposterous goons
with proven spells

your body born into mine
as light into light
as echo into echo
close your eyes
there is too much to see
lay it on a disused canvas
until the welcome of forgetting
graces your orgasms
with the lash of living

the buildings in gridlock
the televisions in overload
the Islamist hysterics belting
and belching grenades
from their fingers
the storms coming and going
neither heard nor felt
in the unsent beginning

nothing ever happened
libraries have always burnt
and the writers in them
have always escaped
the statues and statutes
which hope to teach the world
not to follow them whilst
revering their very bones
in crematoriums of conference

my body your body
the light your light
there is no more day
just shades of grey
lodged in the bottom drawer
of a vagabond existence
i need to get out
as Celine blew a hole
in his own mind
i need to hear the music
of the winds in the olive summits
i need the silver under my tongue
your whispers
your Indian whispers

Dom Gabrielli studied literature at Edinburgh, Paris and New York Universities. He has translated widely including published works by Bataille,  Leiris and Jabes. In the early 1990’s, he left the academic world to travel and devote himself to writing. Gabrielli has published two books to date. The Eyes of a Man (2009), his first book of poetry, and The Parallel Body (2010), which he recently translated into French (Les Corps Paralleles, 2012). Gabrielli travels extensively from his home in Salento, Italy, where he produces extra virgin olive oil.

Saturday 27 October 2012

Gillian Prew

Crossing Autumn Again
First autumn    piss rain           and the silver bone of the hill.
October’s bite
and the gold wound. A slow odour limbering
and through the trees a split-grave mist
of gifts and rumours               a loose diamond
boxed in a tumbled hour.
            My stone muscles
with their woollen coats          still as beggars
see no audience. They hush
in this cool room of leaves.     They narrow
to a word. Nothing hears
but the birds                who are not judges.
            My loss
my glittering crust from when I was first knock-kneed. I am
crossing autumn again             one arm sleeved in sadness.

The View Repeating
I cut my tongue on something good
and find a fist like a small blush bird
flung into one more dew-molested morning.
My eyes whisper like two blue seashells. They whisper
a quiet wedding tune. They ask what family is. I sigh
through my skin, the way the rain falls.          I am alive, I say. I
drag the sun onto a spoon. The light
could have been blood but I am bold with old sunrises. I
imagine the dress I will wear
with its needles and its silver-sewn medicines. I read
from a book of poems about infidelity, about the art of dying. I am ready
for a fit of vows, but the view is the edge of the sea
full of quiet that repeats like a grief.

A Conversation Condensed and Expanded
 I am more than one melancholy moment;
a drift; a sighting of sea. You washed me
through the night with your tongue
and you caused me a flood. I sleep blue
beside you while my dreams keep company with ghouls
and my dumb eyes open each morning wishing
poems were more than hospitals for my afflictions.

Thursday 25 October 2012

David McLean


the soil is waiting for our bodies

like a sweaty obligation,

and the trees and grass

are expecting to assume us shortly

like a guilt, like a cloak of memory

and tattered words we dropped

to stand naked before a god

that never was,

to stand for a world

where words were

as if

it is as if the lake and mountain,

the forest and the stars,
as if the animals and the night itself
were screaming

though only you are screaming,

it is as if this nothing here
were being

memories are made

memories are made of this

imperfection, the drip, drip, drip
of the sun on missing roofs

and saviors falling into puerile

abnegation, like babies
denying that there may be games

to play later. memories are made

of scum and some suffering;
there are far too many faces

with skin on them,

there are far too many hearts
beating in dead men

a sound thrashing

and words give one another a sound thrashing

precisely like love does

words and the massy mouth

whence nothing comes,

where nothing does

body and blood

the body and its blood are free

and never to be sacralized again
to the slightest extent -

only in the secular can memory breathe

and night be its rage in us,
loving and loveless;

beyond the hieratic establishment

of holy or profane families
lies freedom and what bodies need,

blood enough to be

nothing ever returns

nothing ever returns

though it seem the same
bloodless indifference;

and the essence of words

is retention, repetition and failure

literature being nothing -

the gross pale ghost
better than the life itself

that it never bothered to live,

that will never return;
words the impotent corpses

of nothings, of missing things

David McLean is from Wales but has lived in Sweden since 1987. He lives there with partner, dog and cats. In addition to six chapbooks, McLean is the author of three full-length poetry collections: CADAVER’S DANCE (Whistling Shade Press, 2008), PUSHING LEMMINGS (Erbacce Press, 2009), and LAUGHING AT FUNERALS (Epic Rites Press, 2010). His first novel HENRIETTA REMEMBERS is coming shortly. More information about David McLean can be found at his blog

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Kyle Hemmings

Cat People #12: Tell-Tale Nights in the Heart of the City

At the club, we’re knee deep in dusk, pockets of post-despair. The D.J. is spinning a remix of Cash’s Ring of Fire. But I and my cat brother, with his genius love of green, have already fallen in. We have codenames: He’s Puma Boy; I’m Lucky Cat. Later, we’ll rip off the straights, air brush tiger insignias on their leather jackets, now ours. Nothing is really ours unless it’s under the skin, like connective tissue, like memories of disco strangers in my bed, my false confessions to them. Was it quick-spit love? All friendly fang and chipped tooth? I use to flatten their tires so they'd remember me. Later, Puma and I will have sex in Soho’s back alleys. The pigeons will drop us condoms. We’ll blush before strangers. The city is a tea cup that leaks us. I need some coffee. Deep, dark, Columbian. On the subway, girls without claws, ones with hollow eyes, stare out of windows. I study the curl and length of their fingernails. Not enough city love, too short, too pale. I need to paint them a green that glows in the dark. Long enough to scratch against the night.

Cat People #13: Noir

I wake up screaming. I can’t remember the exact content, only the gross shadows and the girl falling from the wharf. She was young with a voice that could charm dolphins, kingpins. Was that girl me? I’m bleeding. I always cut myself when I dream. It’s my way of telling myself: Hey, wake up! You’re nowhere in sight. My white Persian with the blue eyes no longer answers to her French name: Jolie fille. The psychiatrist who speaks in shades of monotone, whose eyes scare me like ravens, says It’s all the result of stress. Stop working so many hours he says. But I tell him: There’s a war. There’s a war going on. I suspect that in secret rooms with fly-a-way women, he’s a fascist with heavy necrophilliac eyes. The phone rings. It’s the same man I met yesterday at Frankie’s diner. He said his name was Dana Andrews. He handed me his card. He said tailing people was his specialty and asked whether anyone was giving me a hard time. I watched Frankie sling some hash, yell out to 86 the ham steaks. Now I remember. Dana Andrews was the man in my dream. He pushed me in. I believe he did. Then he swam after me. On the moonlit dock, I was shivering. He held me, kept calling me by my childhood nickname: Bleau. His eyes looked through me. Hooked through me. He had the eyes of my cat.

Cat People #12: Burlesque Cat

I finally did it. Took Mr. Tibbs to the vet and had him put to sleep. It was getting to the point of no return, him, not able to hold anything down, walking in circles at the foot of bed, the constant whine at night, his gutteral directives to get up off my ass. Mr. Tibbs and I were together for some 16 years. On stage, we made a great act. Mr. Tibbs was a schizophrenic cat, a Siamese with deep blue acid eyes, a fawn-colored coat. He'd love to churn out kit-cryptic neologisms. During our stage act, the audience must have thought I was the puppet and Mr. Tibbs was a little man inside a cat. For his burial in my backyard, I dressed in the stage attire of my  comedian persona: bowler hat, neck tie, pinstripe suit and spats. I spent the rest of the afternoon sweeping Mr. Tibbs from under the carpets, the sheets, his hairs clinging to my clothes, the way I once clung to him, as if by static electricity and some invisible threads. 

Kyle Hemmings is the author of several chapbooks of poetry and prose: Avenue C, Cat People, and Anime Junkie (Scars Publications), and Tokyo Girls in Science Fiction (NAP). His latest e-books are You Never Die in Wholes from Good Story Press and The Truth about Onions from Good Samaritan. He lives and writes in New Jersey.

Sunday 21 October 2012

Craig Podmore

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7…All Good Children Go To Heaven
We dreamt of a dragon fucking us.
Breathing hellfire,
She sang Elvis songs,
I wore a Marilyn Monroe mask whilst
Shooting shadows into stagnant vein
Of a pulpy nothing.
Charlie Manson on the TV;
He is no longer flesh,
No longer a nightmare.
I ripped her panties off with a naked blade,
We wrote love letters to death in blood
On the bed sheets;
Eroticised by such absurdity.
Erectile homicide,
35mm orgy abuse for the famous meat –
Give birth to revolver.
Shoot. Smile. Bleed. Cry. Fuck. Die.
Her sex kills me like an outlaw
But we love it like Christ.
Anti-Depressant Cinephile Gunman
B-movie dildo abuser,
Snuff superstar intro;
Let’s relieve ourselves.
Praise the violence on screen,
Denounce the brutalism off-screen.
The villain on the camera is perfect.
The gunman, all too human is the error
Because we don’t want to be victims.
We see the auditorium butchery,
Thus vomiting of the ‘real’ –
Juxtaposed with the embrace of the reel.
Target practice – target audience.
XXX theatre of wounds,
A sell out crowd
Singing Shakespearean death quotes
In the viscera of celluloid tombs.
Such a performance will not be welcomed on a red carpet
But it will make the cover of magazines
Because it’s another screen,
A new fiction – a modern obscene.

Friday 19 October 2012

Christopher Barnes

Puppeteer’s Croon
Cliqued in the finesse
Of bestowing decrees, I swallow it
Wanting gripe.
Soaked up by long-in-tooth conventions,
Machinations smart-arsing the no-accounts.
Righto, you structure by hush-hushes,
Floodlight defects.
Kick off the coming bloodshed.
You made trap-doors alright;
In the sewer try bobbing along.
Disorganising Revolution
Inconsiderate – your Simian good looks,
Strew in knock-kneed rain.  Convictions
Of ‘tactics’ gist –
Someone’s tackling to string-pull
The Schism.
War is a gargled-earth malodour.
Muffled drum.  The matter of daring,
A bare anthropological index.
The New Politics Are Dead

Right path whores
With pit-a-pat scowls
Had flesh that made thunder certain.
Sprung, seven senses – they’ll tangle you
In the eye.
We’re divided from gallows.
Unreplenished of possessions.
Smuggled banners jolt.
Dishevelled see-saw resistance
Death rattles treading damp steps
Set forward by the living.

Christopher Barnes' first collection LOVEBITES is published by Chanticleer.  He is a participant writer for and reads at Poetry Scotland's Callendar Poetry Weekends.  He also has art criticism published in Peel and Combustus magazines.

Thursday 18 October 2012

Mercedes Webb-Pullman


after the hard work of that night
all the laboured hours
slowed to match her slow
harsh respiration
its rhythm almost lulling
unsure if she struggled to breathe
or to stop – as the sun rose
the sound softened
then both were over,  her life
and her death, already
in the past – one hand lifted
in warding off
or welcome

equinox moon

surrounded by a green
diffusion of darkness
heavy as threat
she watches; silver
eye patch
or weathered balloon,
her wrinkled
mercury skin a map
tracking song lines
on my mother’s dead face

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Joseph M. Gant


whiskey sweats at 10am;
it's Tuesday, and I
really shouldn't leave today.
the sheen of the gun,
this light beside the candle—
luster never was our game;
we shine beside the shallow grave:
angry light electric ghouls
deprived of all that mattered.


for all the stars I've seen
and all the stars I've since forgotten,
kissed beneath the sky
and parched of all oblivion,
supernova seraphs bled their tears
and fertilized
a joyous field, giving life not theirs
into these springtime memories of lust, synaptic
and forever woven,
now a tapestry since lain
along the pathway leading nowhere but to here.

Chris Guidon


The air was nearly opaque with the heavy heat.
People moving upright everywhere; dizzied, sort
of lost. 
             We found the blood at the back of the pub.
Like excrement.

                              A straight line.
From the pub through the alley to the phone-box by the shops.

Blood like art,
illustrating panic.

                                The fourth dead on the estate that summer.
As with art, each piece has only six seconds to excite
                 before the viewer moves on
to contemplate the TV, their relationships, searing violence.     
           Apparently it was over a ten bag.
                                                                Something to fill the void.

Sunday 14 October 2012

Steve Klepetar

Hold On Tight

This ride may last a few minutes or it may
endure, like nails rusting slowly in a splintery

board, for the rest of your life.  Professors
of motion have climbed down iron ladders

and are working it out.  You can hear them
moaning all night in closets and dens.  Whiskey

glasses clink as mountains of ice pile up,
steaming in amber flow.  Meanwhile your little

car rattles high on the track and your frayed
nerves, those cables of glass and wind, bend

tighter and tighter as your stomach fills
with birds.  Forget mercy.  Only machines live

here, and they won’t negotiate a different ending
now.  No wonder you have eaten shadows

from that plate of rice.  The summit slowly rises
into the deep well of your sight.  Could anyone

be surprised when sharks grow pale in the wan
depths of your eyes?  Screams linger in fiery ash and rain.

The Half-Brother’s Song

I’ve been a black bear stung with hunger, stumbling
through autumn-ravaged yards.  My shadow hangs

between slender pines, scent of water flooding my nose. 
Here comes the moon, my half-brother, drunk again

on light and stars.  His laughter shakes the night, breaking
yellowing leaves as they cling to maple and oak.  See how

they drift in his cold and pallid gleam.  I’ve been a crow
staring out over a browning field, my yellow eyes bright

as little moons.  I’ve been a fish with silver scales
and a frog, pinging passionate songs through rushes

and mud.  When winter returns I will sleep through the slow
pulsing of my turgid blood, half believing the miracles I dream.

Saturday 13 October 2012

John Swain

The Inside of a Jar

End of the wilderness
at our cross purpose,
this scabrous city.
The farther fluid fathering sky
let chaotic waters
pressure the stones into law.
And all of the sons became his executioner
and all of the daughters were born widows.
I laid in the place
where the bones were removed
from both the fallen animal and its ground.
The lock of this altar
provided your face with an eye
of blue natron,
I tasted its taste
like the inside of a broken jar
I could not enter
or decipher its meaning.