Submission Guidelines

Monday 8 July 2013

Friday 5 July 2013

Gillian Prew

The Sky Will Pour Open
Ten more summers of rain, they say.              A defeat –
a downing.                  Dust eyelids dog roses –
the bees will come, their legs pollen-painted.
A roaring curtain where the sun should be                 -  the birds,
quiet and stuck,
in its up-ruin.
everything. Why not?
The sky will pour open some days.

Plath Likes My Poems
Around the Nothing, among the Grave –
fixed, like old bone, a yellow stain. A wound, a wire womb.
Winter breasts.
Plath likes my poems. Her blood hurts. Her death reeks –
she approves of my ruins.

Buy her latest book, Throats Full of Graves from Lapwing Publications

Peter Marra

Possible Scenarios
For A Midnight Mass

Plausible 1

the body came to rest
abruptly at her hips

she was one of the women
i saw skinny-dipping by
the waterfall
in the woods in the new york mountains
as dark sheets of breathing flesh
enclosed us
membrane accusing

there were 3
naked female swimmers
& they craved
the sunlight
wrapped it up & delivered it 
water droplets shiny in a nest of pubic hair

what was always denied to us
the camera tripod collapsed as they approached
the beauty of obscenities
imagine pussy taste
an electric fizzz
the mildew smell of the plants mixed
with organic lust
raspy voiced they murmured
secrets about rituals
her haunted house thrilled her sexually
synthesized a mask of pure pleasure
bright rings of lust
as she held her pornographic films
up for admiration

Plausible 2

fun in
the parking lot
wash my hands & eyes of them
they washed their hands of me
& flooded my eyes with
plasma touch
grinning out of fear
almost touching one another through the inside
as the dirty mattress burned with their love
she couldn't help but moan
she couldn’t help but laugh
as the body convulsed
she relaxed her grip & it went limp
gray & white

she lay in the back seat
masturbating while smoking a marlboro
w/ venial sin dangling from her pale lips
a mouthful of candy
drunk on the odor of black tobacco cunt-juice & semen
she told me about the ballerina’s corpse in the trunk
start the car I’ll tell you where to drive
idle the motor until I say floor it
unrestrained unregulated by law
gun it when the vice squad appears
“open your mouth wide”

Plausible 3

She shuddered.
nothing but six inch heels
excited her so
strong legs
lick loins & hum
eyes slipped down around
her calves
finishing at a certain temperature
"& she likes it."
leading to anemic metaphorical usage
economic slimy cream next to her &
they met via the human body
a mutual refusal to consume
she shows him her tits
& sticks out her tongue

“I like ‘em pinched
& lightly bitten, such are consumers”

mouth fussing with excitement
she touched his face before
leaving him with
a mouthful of ceremonies
she let him touch her labia
& fondle her mucous
so she could leave her scent 
laughing out the window
just bait for a trap
his body was found stuffed in a wooden barrel
behind the garage.
decayed. unidentifiable.
involved snake handling

female 5’ 10” long black hair
36c - 21 – 36 (like liz taylor in her prime)
approach with extreme caution
(i can always ask for forgiveness)

anonymity of sexual partners
sexual fantasy benefits
the plaintiffs were burned
she commented with a scream

the body came to rest
abruptly at her hips

her deeds were reviewed critically by others,
then in front of her parents,

who were still filming her degradation

Wednesday 3 July 2013

David McLean

of long dresses

What is the current that makes machinery, that makes it crackle, what is the current that presents a long line and a necessary waist. What is this current

What is the wind, what is it.
(Gertrude Stein)

the line that distinguishes is critical the line that is written
and there is never any death in us
until we are no longer embodied in all this sexless flesh
as the flesh is left, without its sex, to the scented exigencies of death

it flows us now all this unforgiven living
with all the sad entropy force is determined not to be -
it gives confusion next


gram Friday

and it is never gram fucking Friday
nowadays, it is a world lying over earth
like psychosis and a very penetrable barrier;

it is never gramme Friday, maybe,
just everyday passion
just homeless


reasonably enough

the Bandidos shot at an unmarked police car tonight,
reasonably enough,

and things in general happen or do not happen:
we do things because we are stupid

or we die because we deserve to,
just like everybody else does.

the other subject and its empty eyes
is all that is truly disgusting,

the superego gets off on farts and vomiting,
it feeds on dead children, we want our fathers

safely dead, all that is totally unacceptable
is progenitors who are living --

and if there really was this alleged fucking god
we would have to do great things

to hunt, locate and kill it


it is anxious

it is anxious in the thundering stomach, replete
its fullness like death or ovulation
and nightmares devalued by the tight spiral life
cutting scars in skin or memories from time;
we wear terrible nothing pulled up over us
its insatiably patient painless touch,
like snuggling up in blankets and blood
like dread Armageddon and defection,
like rabbits and love


children through windows

children through windows an ancient forgotten cocaine Friday
oblivious the monstrous is and there is time enough
for devils to be invented and not touch;

like all the anxious devouring the nostalgic gut,
like pebbles and empty riverbeds,
dead men to touch


cautious corpses walking

and here is no cautious corpse walking invulnerable his loveless,
for sleep is dreamless and diamonds,
a window pane and never yet;

horses are waiting patient for the anxious chivalric and courtly love
has dropped her easy lesions in muddy puddles
with every forgotten lesson;

the ghost of Hegel is sitting his luckless nothing
insulting anxious, somewhere his Marie is furious
and he is never done explaining his meaning -

we have dropped the medium idiot fish glimpse
where corpses used to go dancing
through all the absences -

and he pretended he never said marriage was an ethical state
and love just a fucking feeling, nobody ever said that yet
in remembered Jena who ever met Schiller or Schelling:

but i do not intend to accept him to my lap yet,
happy like a puppy is until he is dead enough
to learn every nothing and love,

till there is no dread memory left for corpses to recollect -
till Hegel and wife come like summer suns,
like memories or blood

David McLean is from Wales but has lived in Sweden since 1987. He lives there with his dog, Oscar, and his computers. In addition to seven chapbooks, McLean is the author of four full-length poetry collections: CADAVER’S DANCE (Whistling Shade Press, 2008), PUSHING LEMMINGS (Erbacce Press, 2009), LAUGHING AT FUNERALS (Epic Rites Press, 2010) and NOBODY WANTS TO GO TO HEAVEN BUT EVERYBODY WANTS TO DIE (Oneiros Books, June 2013). His first novel HENRIETTA REMEMBERS is due in 2014 from Unlikely Books. During 2013 a seventh chapbook SHOUTING AT GHOSTS is forthcoming from Grey Book Press. More information about McLean can be found at his blog

Friday 28 June 2013

Christine Murray


the feather-hook is a seed spiralling in the breeze,
a false signal

it mocks the mayhem of the caught moth down to
its nub stone

its plane is a shell network of dried skin, veined even
- it has a spine of sorts

it mocks the mayhem of the caught moth down to
its nub stone


the red rope is looped around the neck
and brought down the back to the bra-line

it tightly binds across the top of the chest and
is looped down to the cunt-lips separating them

held-to and pulled in the back arches back
bow-bent as if its wood had seasoned in

an iron girder above hot embers and released
steam onto a still lake the hook retracts when

the dress slides into a bluey ripple onto the boards
there are six hooks embedded into the ceiling

stockings catch up the desert breeze on a small
balcony, a strip of silk portholes the room and

sutras are tacked into the walls the hooks do not
look as if they could carry the weight of an inert body

spider-rolled silk-skeined red-cocooned
the bird panics spider-fruits from under
dry eaves

these net-webs are laden with the small dead
best not to move he is demented with hunger.



outside the ragged bird panics
dead flies from the window nets
yet it is not clothed right
- it claws the glass

Christine Murray is a City and Guilds Stone­cutter. Her poetry is published in a variety of magazines and ezines. She has reviewed poetry for Post (Mater Dei Institute), Poetry Ireland and Chris blogs at Poethead, A Poetry Blog. Her chapbook, Three Red Things was published on June 4th 2013 by Smithereens Press, Dublin, Ireland. 

Friday 14 June 2013

Throats Full of Graves- A Review by David McLean

Gillian Prew - Throats full of graves

Gillian Prew
Throats Full of Graves
Lapwing Publications
chapbook review by David McLean

This is a brief review of the latest production by the Scottish poet Gillian Prew, in my opinion the best female poet currently active.

Her liminal love with its dug arms
scoops the red roots of the tight trees
where her best wedding was throttled and laid,
and her lit loss burns in her brain
scorching the slow madhouse of her days.

It might be appropriate that I modestly neglect to refer to a poem in this book that is about me, namely “In the garden with a poet”. I shall, however, refrain from doing the modest thing and mention it.

Days are here – untidy. That is the beauty
of light: it illuminates the mess
for embracing. We are

a long time nothing. There is no place
to exhibit the night like a sword.

This because it exhibits clearly, in these closing lines - which are much better than anything I have done recently - the terrible predicament of those like Ms Prew and myself, who are atheists and might like to be logically precise, when we affect to produce the “poetic”,  When “we are a long time nothing” the word “we” no longer applies to us, time and our world has ceased and probably only Larkin has ever succeeded in saying this properly, in “Aubade”. Of course, I object dreadfully to the term “poet” as a sortal, it identifies no clear class of objects; it is usually little more than a dreadful piece of self-promotion. Were I ever, per impossibile, to make a living by poems, I might allow the description on Derridean grounds - “It's me job, like” - but not as a token of self-ascribed excellence.

More seriously, in another poem, Prew writes

I, like a slow thaw in the garden where
all this started under the sun yesterday
(or years ago) There is

a simmering vitality that permits persistence,
that allows healing and the adoration of wounds

This is close to the essential, the reflexive wallowing in despite and self-contempt that is the essence of anything interesting in literature. The glorious puny assholes who fall down in their sheer stupid debility waiting for some cunt Godot who never even shows, they are so much more beautiful than any alleged poetic perfection:

There is no destiny worth hoping for.

There will be death, and
in the meantime life. What rages
inside is something
if we are lucky
do not fear
or love,
or bother to breathe.

The metaphor of interiority is acceptable here, of course, although I assume the inside to be the consciousness that spreads outside the alleged real. The poems here are of seasonal mortality, or, more precisely, of facticity and thrownness, of being there in this confusing admixture of earth and world that colors memories ideologically and insists - with the simmering vitality that is the sheer denial of entropy that even the simplest organism is - on taking a shot at perdurance, an attempt that is doomed to failure since the ultimate victory of entropy will become the ordered beauty of perfected and, necessarily, unobserved disorder. If we could perdure, this would be spoiled. But there is a pointless meaningless beauty in the striving, one which expresses itself in the laudable futility of poetry, at which Prew kicks serious ass, with poems like this one, of “Memory”:

Bud of the quiet dead, lifting
light from the black-bitten wound. A grief,
a lie a dry, futile church. You are a ruin
of tears and ragged distances. A hidden.
A scarred truth roaming bone. You fail
with a brave despair
like widowed songbirds, their throats full of graves.

The need for miracles, as Prew says, is abject. What actually is, is enough. if one does not multiply entities beyond necessity one can still populate a poem.

I think this may be Prew's best yet, which means that you should buy the thing. It can be purchased here

In Damage Seasons- A Review by David McLean

Michael Mc Aloran
In Damage Seasons  

130 pp
Oneiros Books
Here is one of Michael Mc Aloran's best attempts to do what he does so well, kicking round the scattered teeth of sunlight in a darkened room. The book is divided into scenes that articulate a dismemberment of the drab conventional, and that paint red what already was always painted black.

the amputated limb with which one child beats the other the arm torn away to break the bones of dissolve in dislocation of tears here a ravage there a ravage the nicotine stained teeth and the breath upon…
there is no sun or better yet we have swallowed the dead cum of absence the swelling meat in the mouth clasped down upon till castrative screams echoing violently the bloody dead meat of it spat out into foreign excrement…
The poems are the insistent echo of pointless and life behind the grind of hunger, cum-stained memory, the splendid array of absences and almost forgotten we carry within us like a well-tended garden of cancers.
There is, after all, no denying the beauty and appositeness of lines like:
torn out the fingernails yet ever on till severed pulse of the snare of it hacking in cold corridors warped from one wall unto the next till crimson…
snap snap the fingers snap snapping till ritornellos of the absurd a dressage of crushed bone all afar until yet spun in widow’s teeth of claimed verandas…
Mick's poetry, in a sense, is an angry railing against not so much the dying of the light, fuck the light, but against words not working any more
baseless till tongue to sever-bite in the none of speech the clamour in the echoing chasm of vibratory steel drawn in excommunicable lights deadened yet bustling never ending…
The none of speech might mean that which is unsaid, it might mean the saying of the none, or void, something that is usually done very wrong by way of horrid hypostatization among the burgeoning  insincere nihilists, it might also mean the emptiness and absurdity of Gerede, idle talk, running on and meaning certain things, just not the essential and important.
And what is essential and important is the tooth of hunger, it is the obstinate bone, it is the scattered teeth and the insistent emptiness of discourse, and thus the book ends, perfectly logically and correctly, with:
collapse unto thy dread for the good of nothing claimed none but the shit clinging to the heels it was ever of the all for silences the rapture emptied silenced silenced it was all for the good of nothing claimed
This book is very good, get it here:

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Throats Full of Graves- Gillian Prew
'Throats Full of Graves', by Gillian Prew is available to purchase here

Tuesday 21 May 2013

The Non Herein- by Michael Mc Aloran. A Review by Christopher Barnes

This is an ambitious group of poems of considerable formal dexterity.  An avant-garde tract of angst, night terrors, the quest for renewal and ultimate loss.  The poems churn upon themselves in echoes.  Half and distorted repetitions create unity across all of the poems which keeps the rhythm moving.

          “Tracing the night’s
And “Of the traces of –“are good examples.  The language and grammatical units disconnect and are often left uncompleted which de-familiarises our expectations of what words normally do.
          …laughter till the lungs bleed dry of corrugated flowerings”
This enacts these poem’s themes concretely.  Crafted into the dissonance of the physical language, is a sense of breathlessness and even fear.   This is a series of poems of torture, mayhem, death and the realities of the body.  The careful honing of lines and verses and the tense economy used create a shape that brings to my mind the genre New Music.  Line endings and rhythms also create a sense of controlled and well-tested soundscapes.
         Of dust and of the
         Parched sun
         Of bled”.
These are difficult poems, ordinary perceptions are de-habituated.  We are in a place broken which is a frightening at-the-edge experience.  Though the end is a passing out, “Fading wishful fading ever knowing none of it”.
It does not feel like the end because of the circularity of these poem’s psychological and visual cat’s cradles.  The conscious voice in the set of poems could wake up at the beginning and start over.
The collection’s title holds within it its opposite ‘the herein’.  The dichotomy between the internal/external seems to suggest a constant search to find meaning, connecting the persona’s internal life to the world in an Existential vacuum, a voice in the wilderness,            
         “And the brutal fist
          Of the herein”, the poet adds, as well as the tension and confusion of verses such as,
          “Head non vast
          Non herein
          Scattered speeches of”, the central failed quest being to unite the two.
The first line “Into Echoing –“springs into action as ‘a shall we begin’, with the promise of the half-repetitions and turnings back that sustain these poem’s themes and obsessions.  The line endings are quite brilliant.  Look at the way
          “Till severed
          Knocking upon the
          Bone chimes
          Hollow” creates a psychological gap or gasp, a vertigo hangs on the use of the world “the”.  There are instances of synaesthesia which show that we can’t trust the subject matter to stay stable, nor the senses,
          “Breathless the eye”.
There is a mention of opiates and the experience is like a bad trip of the soul which can be used as a device to explain the unfamiliar.  There is also the occasional suggestion of a struggle for faith.
          “(Bring out your dead)” seems apocalyptic, an
          “The lightning
         Of the upturned
          Eyes”, could subtly reference religion, though the poems seem Nietzschen.   There isn’t an ‘I’ in these poems, the closest we get to an identifiable persona is that some things are
          “(Asked of)”.  That in itself is a very radical challenge, there is only witnessing.  The hinted at persona is
          “Next to none
          And nothing next”.
The poems haunt with lines such as,
          “Or a locket of
          Shadow”, not quite sentimental, or entirely romantic in these contexts of visceral imagery and the poetry of the bodily real,
          “Doused by final piss”.
There is great skill in the lines,
          “Split skyline of
          Heaving silences”, suggesting chasms that want to be alive and personified but lack the ability to connect their herein with their non herein.  And the weight of the word “black” in,
          “Breathing of the black pulse” is tonally (musically) disturbing as it fights with the “ck” “lse” glooping sounds.
The poem’s imagery is bleak, fragmentary and sometimes deadly,
          “Ah bone wither”, but notice how carefully, how artfully the poet controls the havoc by means of fine articulation,
          Droplets of rampage
         The dead eyes wastage of it”, even the chaos has style.
Meanings jump to their opposites,
          “Ballast heart” implies the hope of safety, the heart as stable but later…
          “Spew of the heart’s cancer”.  There is a line where the gaps between words stretch into two spaces, a void for something to slip into that never comes, a visual representation of it.  We are “Lingering on the dice of loss”, chance has brought us here not self-making, which must therefore hold an absence of guilt.
          (None)” is a ghostly chorus of lack, deceptively simple but profound.
         “Breath (Till Knock) -
         The knock of absence” has dramatic urgency; with terror embedded but the knock is also a chasm, a vertigo.   And like many quests, in the end there is nothing to find, nothing to know, “Knowing of the which or when of naught” leaves mere disappointment.
The line “Head of sand” is brilliantly Surrealist but as important as it is as an image, just as striking is its economy.  But all things fall into each other,
          “Smear of night
          Till flesh smeared” is closer to Impressionism in its blurriness.
And the norms of narrative are skewed to be only potential narratives,
          “Further back in till forage laughter” is merely a hint.
Some echoes are very subtle,
          “Bone orchid” becomes
           (Orchid)” so we can’t read the “Orchid” without thinking of bones.  And the line

          “All along the walls the fathom refusing to scream of it” shouldn’t work.  There is no natural caesura; the line has a magnet in it pulling us past the scream.  Throughout these poems there is a need to grasp language in its meanings which forever change and are elusive.  And whether language is decorative or destitute, making language unexpected is at the core of Michael Mc Aloran’s talent.
It can be purchased here