Picaroon Poetry - Issue #3 - July 2016

Our third issue of Picaroon is a bucketful of doom with a dash of gloom, drinking to excess, love, loss, gardening, and fast food. Modern life is every bit as absurd as you might not think it is. Featuring work by Siegfried Baber, Carrie Redway, Bethany W Pope, Adam Phillips, Seth Crook, Mackenzie Dwyer, Vincent Frontero, Jane Burn, Richie Brown, Noel King, Pat Edwards, G.B. Ryan, Heath Brougher, Daniel Blokh, Susan Castillo Street, Glen Armstrong, Brett Evans, Steve Lambert, Hugo Esteban Rodriguez, Lindsey Lucas, Chris Hemingway, James Croal Jackson, Grace Kearney, Bernadette Gallagher, and Ben Banyard.

Our third issue of Picaroon is a bucketful of doom with a dash of gloom, drinking to excess, love, loss, gardening, and fast food. Modern life is every bit as absurd as you might not think it is.

Featuring work by Siegfried Baber, Carrie Redway, Bethany W Pope, Adam Phillips, Seth Crook, Mackenzie Dwyer, Vincent Frontero, Jane Burn, Richie Brown, Noel King, Pat Edwards, G.B. Ryan, Heath Brougher, Daniel Blokh, Susan Castillo Street, Glen Armstrong, Brett Evans, Steve Lambert, Hugo Esteban Rodriguez, Lindsey Lucas, Chris Hemingway, James Croal Jackson, Grace Kearney, Bernadette Gallagher, and Ben Banyard.


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<strong>Issue</strong> <strong>#3</strong><br />

<strong>July</strong> <strong>2016</strong><br />

Edited by Kate Garrett<br />

All poems copyright © <strong>2016</strong> individual authors<br />

Selection/issue copyright © <strong>2016</strong> Kate Garrett

This Month’s Rogue Poems ● <strong>July</strong> <strong>2016</strong><br />

Eggs (And a Side of Toast)<br />

Siegfried Baber<br />

Fourth of <strong>July</strong><br />

Carrie Redway<br />

Girls<br />

Bethany W Pope<br />

I Love You Ezra and Harlan<br />

Adam Phillips<br />

You Are<br />

Seth Crook<br />

She Hates When I Tell Her Stuff Like This<br />

Mackenzie Dwyer<br />

Perceptions<br />

Vincent Frontero<br />

What Became of Bogies?<br />

Jane Burn<br />

Soul Music<br />

Richie Brown<br />

Chaser<br />

Noel King<br />

application<br />

Pat Edwards<br />

Shop Talk<br />

G.B. Ryan

Summer’s Mechanical Thunderstorm<br />

Heath Brougher<br />

Light-Years<br />

Daniel Blokh<br />

The Gun-Runner’s Daughter<br />

Susan Castillo Street<br />

Wild Streaks<br />

Glen Armstrong<br />

Positively Shit Street – Rhyl to Venus<br />

Brett Evans<br />

Shrooming with Germ<br />

Steve Lambert<br />

Afterthought<br />

Hugo Esteban Rodriguez<br />

Kansas City Nights<br />

Lindsey Lucas<br />

Indelible<br />

Chris Hemingway<br />

Clutching My Stomach in the Bathroom<br />

James Croal Jackson<br />

Intrauterine<br />

Grace Kearney<br />

Young Urchins<br />

Bernadette Gallagher<br />

The Age of the Train<br />

Ben Banyard

Eggs (And a Side of Toast)<br />

Siegfried Baber<br />

In a dirty corner of The Cup and Saucer on Canal Street,<br />

the bride and the absentee share their booth<br />

with a man named Frank, the spitting image of Krushchev,<br />

who spills the grease from a grilled cheese sandwich<br />

down his tie between mouthfuls of bitter black coffee.<br />

She plucks the rice from her hair – Uncle Vernon was blind<br />

and played organ for the local Pentecostal church.<br />

He orders eggs and a side of toast, hash browns<br />

over easy, and two strawberry shakes – My best friend Kipper<br />

had two crooked legs, grew up in braces, and lived<br />

with his grandmother in a trailer near the Mexican border.<br />

She captures small rainbows in a bottle of Coke.<br />

Both faces are pale as firelighters – Tell me, do you think<br />

our waitress knows the world’s coming to an end?

Fourth of <strong>July</strong><br />

Carrie Redway<br />

I watched the news again<br />

waiting for that one video clip of the wreckage:<br />

Metal shards in the field,<br />

the shot of the tree,<br />

the blood on the windshield your blood on the windshield.<br />

The soundbite of the farmer<br />

who saw your helicopter come lurching down,<br />

just a squeal in the sky.<br />

Your reconstructed face looked like Bob Hope in the casket.<br />

My last memory. It makes me wonder how the medics<br />

found you.<br />

I heard you whisper now: “You should have screeched through the<br />

sky too.<br />

We could have been like meteors showering the cosmos.”<br />

I nod. Yes, I should have.<br />

But tonight, only fireworks explode in the night sky<br />

as a gunshot would the chest.

Girls<br />

Bethany W Pope<br />

Sometimes, to get out of work, we’d fist-fight.<br />

We were as close as it was possible<br />

to be in such a place. She had a crush<br />

on a boy with bad skin and a huge nose,<br />

bad enough that she went red every time<br />

he stood within ten feet of her, and she<br />

trusted me enough to tell me what she’d<br />

like to do with him if they were ever<br />

alone. In return, I let her know where<br />

I hid my stash of stolen books. Sometimes<br />

we’d sneak into the high school to rob the<br />

vending machines. I had a long, skinny<br />

arm and she was good at peering around<br />

corners. I’d aim to grab a few packets<br />

of chocolate candies, shaped like peanuts, with<br />

creamy peanut butter inside. We’d suck<br />

their guts out, one at a time, sitting under<br />

the dusty bleachers where normal kids sat<br />

to watch graduations and plays. When we<br />

fought, we held nothing back. We were really<br />

fighting. I cracked her teeth; she blacked my eyes,<br />

we tore each other bloody. This was love,<br />

of a kind. This was deep intimacy.<br />

We trusted each other to not go too<br />

far. When the monotony of farm work,<br />

those familiar dangers, grew too boring<br />

to block out the things we were afraid of,<br />

we’d glance at each other over a bale<br />

of hay or a row of cabbages and nod,<br />

once. Then we’d begin.When we fought, she wore<br />

the face of my rapist. I don't know who<br />

I was, for her. Someone who’d hurt her bad.<br />

Eventually, the Foreman would bust through<br />

the circle of kids who gathered around,<br />

placing their bets (a coke, on the skinny

one) and pry us apart. He’d shout for a<br />

while, then send us away to cool off in<br />

the shit-scented milking hall. This was what<br />

we wanted. Cool air. A little quiet.<br />

A place to settle down and have a talk.

I Love You Ezra and Harlan<br />

Adam Phillips<br />

without you I<br />

was going to die – now I never get<br />

to leave, I’m lidless<br />

eyes in the sky –<br />

I’m a nail<br />

through a two<br />

by four –<br />

I say this all the time – I’m<br />

an unrequited kiss, the business<br />

end of a thirty ought six – this<br />

is all I ever get<br />

to say – I can’t<br />

die – once<br />

the cells swarmed like bees, fleas, I took the needle, my gums<br />

receded, my teeth fell out, I pushed<br />

them back, I bit the tube, I spit<br />

the blood, fuck you, I said, this dark<br />

reptilian love – the drip that brought<br />

me back –<br />

I think of<br />

all the things<br />

I’d kill<br />

with my bare hands – between you and me<br />

nothing passes<br />

I might have liked

to. Die I mean. I won’t. Not in a room<br />

with wine, or a girl, not<br />

in a wreck, not<br />

in the apocalypse – You<br />

wander here and there, you’ve eaten<br />

off the ground – I slap your hand I watch<br />

the sea – they’re up to something<br />

out there – I'm ready<br />

in the park, I’m<br />

ready for the dark beyond<br />

the stars, I watch<br />

the clock – I’ve got an eye that never sleeps-<br />

I crack my neck and grit my teeth<br />

and breathe<br />

the gas and dig<br />

the shattered concrete – I’ll hold<br />

your hand in the medevac you<br />

stubborn little fucker, I may have had<br />

other plans – it’s exactly what I said – your brother<br />

never leaves – never hides<br />

in trees, never needs<br />

transfusions, stitches – I watch you sleep –<br />

I watch<br />

you eat – I taught<br />

you how to walk, you hit your head –<br />

I taught you how to fight – I’d like<br />

to crush you down<br />

into a block,<br />

and put it in my pocket.

the point is<br />

not to die – there is a line<br />

a time my withered<br />

wings no longer bear<br />

your body home – I’m tethered<br />

to your baby teeth, a wreath<br />

upon my grave I'll eat<br />

the leaves- you thought I left – I’m back – I thought<br />

I was asleep – we start again – I can never die –<br />

I say it all the time.

You Are<br />

Seth Crook<br />

your shadow’s shadow.<br />

A double act,<br />

although the partnership<br />

is not as close as it appears to be.<br />

Your shadow doesn’t like you<br />

because you block the light.<br />

You don’t like your shadow<br />

because it doesn’t pull much weight.<br />

But, on matters of divorce,<br />

the old rules apply:<br />

you must always be together,<br />

except in the dark.

She Hates When I Tell Her Stuff Like<br />

This<br />

Mackenzie Dwyer<br />

Mom! Did you know that NASA<br />

found space marijuana? No, because<br />

I’d get stoned (by you) if you thought<br />

I knew more about drugs than you do.<br />

Even though I just said that, there’s no<br />

cause even to think less of me.<br />

Some people out there are calling<br />

their pets<br />

their significant others & they mean it.<br />

Imagine that, but with eyelash mites.<br />

I could tell people that, or I could ask<br />

did you know: one’s skin takes up<br />

seventeen percent of one’s body weight?<br />

Yours weighs as much as my brother did<br />

when he was four years old. He was<br />

underweight for a while though.<br />

& this he saw, but I’d stayed home<br />

well — I read that a sizable minority<br />

of the elderly<br />

have sex in nursing homes.<br />

when you ran over that cat, remember?<br />

The way you told it, it just streaked out<br />

from the yard, fluffy & gray till you<br />

crushed its guts. You picked it up,<br />

placed it on the doorstep<br />

from whence it came.<br />

Didn’t even leave a note. Oh, sorry<br />

about that Mom — I sense<br />

you want to talk about something<br />

more redeeming, more comforting —

Perceptions<br />

Vincent Frontero<br />

Ricky sits up and watches tv<br />

mindlessly taking in<br />

Ricky drives to work each morning<br />

carelessly running over<br />

Ricky listens to his co workers all day<br />

pouring from the water jug cups of<br />

Ricky gets anxious in front of<br />

the girl he can’t stop thinking is just like<br />

Ricky stops at the gas station<br />

and buys a pack of<br />

Ricky stops at the grocery store<br />

and fills his cart with<br />

Ricky stops at a red light and<br />

thinks about<br />

Ricky walks to the bridge and thinks<br />

about that red light and then thinks about<br />

Ricky thinks about jumping but stops himself<br />

because he knows he’s too selfish to think only about<br />

Ricky goes home and sits<br />

in front of the tv until<br />

Ricky Falls asleep and dreams<br />

about<br />


What Became of Bogies?<br />

Jane Burn<br />

The ones kids made. The ones we made.<br />

Pram wheels, old pallets, string to steer,<br />

Don’t need brakes – drag it to the top of a hill<br />

and go. Pray for no cars. Kick the can,<br />

Red Rover, Red Rover, we call Robert over.<br />

Dinner money down your sock.<br />

Knock-off Walkman – tape the Top 40<br />

from Radio 1, wind the loose bits on with a pen.<br />

Go in a group to the phone booth<br />

and not phone the person you fancy,<br />

after all that. Doing homework in the library,<br />

jelly shoes. What happened to people?<br />

You have to have this thing in front of your face now –<br />

this slender screen. You look at life through it,<br />

it filters what might make you afraid,<br />

makes it unreal. YouTube has trained us<br />

to see each other as movies, made a million<br />

miles away, who gives a fuck about that?<br />

Like Like Like Like Like. One hundred likes.<br />

One million likes. No likes. Nobody likes U.<br />

The world, fed back to you second-hand,<br />

like you can’t bear the true colours of sky<br />

without the blindfold of a Galaxy that is not planets –<br />

an apple that is not fruit. Can’t take a beach pic<br />

without your hot-dog legs, can’t be somewhere<br />

beautiful without chill-out, hipster, hot coffee shots.<br />

Instasnap, chatgram, facetwit, booktime,<br />


Retweet, trending. Going phishing, SMiShing<br />

I am trying to serve this lady on the till and she

talks on her phone the whole time yeahrightayeamin<br />

theshopgettingservednowuhhuhahhanolikenoImight<br />

seyoulaters. You don’t need manners. Smile,<br />

the little laminated note instructs us workers. Smile<br />

and greet the customer. Ask them if they need bags.<br />

Help with their packing. They can’t hear you.<br />

They can’t even see you, the YOLO generation.<br />

Shan. Sick. This arsewipe coming up the laundry aisle,<br />

phone clamped to ear, shouting at the top of his lungs.<br />

He’s got swagger, so he thinks, other hand down<br />

low hanging shreddies, rummaging his bollocks<br />

as if they are a lively nest of mice. I want<br />

to grab onto summat – tin of beans, can of pop,<br />

stott it off his head. He is going to finish in there,<br />

at some point and piss off to handle bread, or pears,<br />

the toe-rag. He makes me want to puke, or punch,<br />

or scream. I don’t want to see folk stroke their penis<br />

with such fond admiration. I am surprised<br />

he’s not taking a selfie down there, live-streaming,<br />

#proudcock@pubesdotcom. It’s got us all, mind you.<br />

But I do, I do want to see your hair-cuts and I do<br />

want to see you find a photograph in which you are happy<br />

with yourself, want to see you with your pets, ‘cause<br />

animals are ace, don’t mind seeing a cake you made.<br />

Oh no, it weren’t all perfect back then, with the bogies.<br />

There was fear and loss, loneliness and love just the same.<br />

But there wasn’t this wall – this locking of ourselves behind<br />

such forcefields of ignorance. They can’t hear you.<br />

They can’t see you. Die and your headstone is a hashtag.<br />

Sadface. If you’re famous, die and be a status for a day.

Soul Music<br />

Richie Brown<br />

Remember how they mourned their Queen of Hearts?<br />

The Palace gates laid siege by Safeway blooms<br />

From those she didn’t know. By afternoon,<br />

All tributes paid, she left for Althorp Park.<br />

In later weeks, one woman’s tear-soaked farce:<br />

Her arms and arms and arms full of that tune<br />

She’d hummed since Elton’s hatchet job. Newsrooms<br />

Prepare reports for when it tops the charts.<br />

I choked on breakfast news that Bowie died.<br />

The coffee, cataclysm, lukewarm toast –<br />

Not buttered. Landing still on buttered side.<br />

I sat, thin-lipped through Diamond Dogs and most<br />

Of Lodger, ‘Heroes’, Low. But could have cried<br />

When Major Tom encountered Ziggy’s ghost.

Chaser<br />

Noel King<br />

Here, let me chase this editor’s lineage,<br />

what university she studied at,<br />

the festivals she’s read from her<br />

poetry books at, the journals her<br />

own work has been seen in.<br />

Then, let’s look at who is<br />

in this issue she has edited,<br />

find the patterns that indicate<br />

so and so also studied at such and such<br />

a Uni; the annals that said Wendy Hope<br />

met Robert Sisk at some festival or other.<br />

That all the ‘famous’ poets had<br />

many of their first poems published<br />

in a small range of magazines.<br />

Then, we will see that yes, she is<br />

only interested in publishing pals.

application<br />

Pat Edwards<br />

I don’t remember applying<br />

it certainly wasn’t online back then<br />

obviously I don’t fit the person spec<br />

not at all sure what the selection process was<br />

did you invite me to an interview<br />

how the hell was I short-listed<br />

there don’t seem to be any clear criteria<br />

I fit

Shop Talk<br />

G.B. Ryan<br />

When I heard that many there would be<br />

professional gardeners<br />

I expected talk to be about<br />

flora with Latin names.<br />

If there was any dominant theme<br />

it was their painful knees<br />

and what it was best to kneel upon:<br />

knee pads or folded sacks.

Summer’s Mechanical Thunderstorm<br />

Heath Brougher<br />

Fading in, fading out, lawnmower raging in <strong>July</strong> past my window<br />

around the neighborhood, chopping blades with blades,<br />

grassblades with metalblades, early morning thunder on the ground<br />

wisps through my window.<br />

I notice the scent of a broken fragrance, of bleeding grass,<br />

the headless grassblades, shorn green tendrils<br />

mixed with the dew wake me from my early morning slumber<br />

to hear the mechanical storm below in the yards,<br />

the butchers and their machines pacing, fading in<br />

and fading out, down the yards and around the houses,<br />

binging on oil and gas to guillotine the dewy tendrils of summer.

Light-Years<br />

Daniel Blokh<br />

I think I’ve lost those days of moss.<br />

The king’s chains loosen and I swing,<br />

flesh spinning into oceans, rain.<br />

I am motion, my center gone.<br />

I am the spectre in the brook.<br />

Dimming lights skim my surface, and<br />

I cease to be the sum, become<br />

the difference, and run past myself.<br />

Crows landing darkly at my door<br />

leave an outfit for my hanging.

The Gun-Runner’s Daughter<br />

Susan Castillo Street<br />

It was a strange old year.<br />

We moved to Oklahoma one day<br />

without warning, and I started a new school.<br />

The teacher taught me to do sums,<br />

I’ll give her that. Still, she rabbited on<br />

about my lack of tidiness<br />

until one morning I arrived<br />

and every object in my desk<br />

was strewn across the floor.<br />

It’s to teach you a lesson, she said,<br />

Nice girls should be tidy!<br />

I picked it all up, lips pressed tight.<br />

I hope she found my silence scary.<br />

Shortly thereafter, we left town when Dad made headlines:<br />


Perhaps I taught my teacher<br />

sometimes it’s a waste of effort<br />

to try to place things in neat boxes.

Wild Streaks<br />

Glen Armstrong<br />

That boy has a wild streak<br />

like white on lightning.<br />

He hammers nails into plaster.<br />

He beds space junk.<br />

That girl has a wild streak<br />

like luck on a seven.<br />

She ignites M-80s.<br />

She says, Hey, man,<br />

where’d you get that tentacle?<br />

And the sky never flinches.<br />

It’s a given that the sun<br />

and the electric chair,<br />

the peroxide<br />

and the blunderbuss<br />

all try too hard,<br />

but what about the rest of us?<br />

Consider the knife’s humble utility,<br />

so much like our own.<br />

Wait for the quietest<br />

of the sisters to finish.<br />

She was thinking aloud<br />

when her thought scampered off<br />

as lithe and as wild as any<br />

startled bunny.

Positively Shit Street – Rhyl to Venus<br />

Brett Evans<br />

for Mark ‘Sparx’ Hughes<br />

Trousers off and wrapped round our heads,<br />

worthless diamonds pitting pavement<br />

and bare legs on a five mile homeward stagger,<br />

pissed and potless, Mark slurs Should shee Venush<br />

ish mornin’.<br />

Daybreak caravanned to the moon,<br />

our off beat feet were light years from home.<br />

Beneath trousered heads, coats flapped like bats<br />

and laughs howled the Tom Waits wannabes back<br />

into doorways, their proud fag ends dying.<br />

When the sky took to grey, we halted in Pensarn’s salt air;<br />

legs in revolt, stumbling shoulder to shoulder.<br />

I stood with this man I love, trousers on head,<br />

glaring through cigarette smoke at the vast cosmos above -<br />

goggling Venusians, wondering what fucking planet we were on.

Shrooming with Germ<br />

Steve Lambert<br />

In the early morning, the good ones off at school,<br />

my cousin and I head for the cow pasture behind his trailer park.<br />

They’re all over, and we know how to find them:<br />

pick the thick grey ones and pop the stems,<br />

wait for purple to appear along the stringy break.<br />

We know the way we know Columbus sailed the ocean blue.<br />

But we’ve forsaken that kind of learning for field work.<br />

In the undulant green, at seven in the morning, we dodge<br />

doe-eyed calves, steer clear of their vigilant mothers,<br />

Kick dry patties at each other, like feckless fieldhands.<br />

While our friends pledge allegiance to the flag, we load<br />

our sacks with psilocybin and head back to his place,<br />

parents gone, and eat a couple caps each, make tea,<br />

our own ignorant alchemy, the only high we can afford.

Afterthought<br />

Hugo Esteban Rodriguez<br />

It was six in the morning, and Hope left her earring on the bedside<br />

table – an afterthought.<br />

A recollection of last night, where<br />

poison led to late night philosophy and Google-less pondering<br />

searching<br />

for the answers to the questions of<br />

two drunks, contemplating lyrics<br />

we should have sung at karaoke<br />

A duet.<br />

Why not duet?<br />

We indulged in each other, lust and gluttony as our eyes met and we<br />

forgot the grease<br />

in our stomach acid, breaking down our inhibition.<br />

I kissed her ketchup lips, the why not consuming the why as bloated<br />

lust clogged arteries<br />

ignoring self-control and the hazards<br />

to my heart<br />

broke with the dawn and a side order of mascara tears, our bodies<br />

surrounded by wrappers<br />

used up<br />

discarded – an afterthought at four in the morning

Kansas City Nights<br />

Lindsey Lucas<br />

Home is when we order lo mein in greasy styrofoam,<br />

and you ask for extra fortune cookies.<br />

We face each other cross-legged on the carpet<br />

to read that Good food is love and we agree.<br />

Home is when we watch old cartoons<br />

and I know the exact moment you will laugh<br />

as the screen flickers over our faces<br />

and we slowly sink into your cracked-spine sofa.<br />

Home is when you run out for chocolate and chardonnay,<br />

and the way I smooth your hair when I’m tipsy.<br />

It’s the steaming mint tea you make when I’m tired<br />

and the lines in your forehead when I drive home late.<br />

Sometimes I live in the gap<br />

between contentment and wanderlust.<br />

I lay awake and stare at maps in my head.<br />

Never on these nights.

Indelible<br />

Chris Hemingway<br />

Come with me to the tattoo parlour.<br />

Wednesday, 5pm, when it’s quieter.<br />

We can take a decision,<br />

indelible as a teenage tweet.<br />

Your selections will be fantastic.<br />

You’ll conjure up imaginary animals,<br />

mottos in invented languages.<br />

And me?<br />

I’ll change my last tattoo;<br />

“Je ne regrette Lianne.”<br />

I’ll get the ‘ne’ removed.<br />

For you.

Clutching My Stomach in the Bathroom<br />

James Croal Jackson<br />

in front of the mirror wondering<br />

how you made it through those nine months<br />

to get nothing but condensation from a cloud<br />

yes the smiles returned in the desert<br />

when the scythe allowed we spoke truths<br />

and asked everyone to provide thirst<br />

because we were the cacti with reservoirs<br />

of lust and destruction<br />

laid out in desiccate flowerbeds<br />

our wallets filled with zinnias<br />

while we were filled<br />

from the green of living<br />

sometimes we are horses<br />

galloping along dirt paths<br />

and westbound highways<br />

hoping they lead to ocean<br />

but it leads always to night<br />

to hunger<br />

we barely know how to be raw anymore<br />

how to sink dead teeth into apples<br />

and want the core<br />

our thin gums only cling to our mouths<br />

because there’s nowhere else to call home<br />

no more words that can make you<br />

believe in a future

Intrauterine<br />

Grace Kearney<br />

that spring, I force my body into labor<br />

twin mattresses pushed together<br />

squeezed into a single fitted sheet<br />

raised onto a platform of milk crates and called a queen size<br />

bed<br />

on which I lie alone,<br />

eyes on the ceiling,<br />

no queen.<br />

next door the room is silent as it never is<br />

except early, early in the morning,<br />

when my roommate finally wanders into dreams with techno<br />

beats<br />

through the wall I imagine her temples pulsing<br />

but now my own eyes close and<br />

my fingers find space between my ribs and<br />

I feel the walls of my uterus contract to expel—<br />

nothing. nothing is inside of me and nothing comes out.<br />

the labor is only a simulation<br />

a means of opening the womb<br />

not to deliver but to implant,<br />

not a child but a deliberate<br />

lack-of-child,<br />

fancy modern medicine in the service of motherhood<br />

deferred.<br />

mother, mater, matter—<br />

beneath layers of signification,<br />

the feminine is rooted in the organic body<br />

she who contributes the flesh of the child<br />

she who makes monthly peace<br />

while he professes a fear of fluids<br />

fluids, uncontrollable, beyond reason, beyond boundary

excess always the crime<br />

why Mother is nature and Father is time<br />

why, if she is quiet and keeps very very still,<br />

she is taken for an animal

Young Urchins<br />

Bernadette Gallagher<br />

In memoriam: Aylan (Alan) Kurdi<br />

We walked on the beach, heads down,<br />

to find the white heart shapes of the<br />

Sea Potato, light as a feather, delicate,<br />

empty of life, small holes in a precise<br />

pattern visible now that the soft<br />

spines to fend off predators<br />

are no longer needed.<br />

These young urchins washed<br />

up from their sand homes<br />

and thrown onto the beach<br />

already dead.

The Age of the Train<br />

Ben Banyard<br />

On behalf of First Great Western<br />

I’d like to apologise unreservedly<br />

for the nose-whistling man next to you<br />

and the flakes of his pastry<br />

which dapple your knee.<br />

But while we’re on the subject<br />

We’d also like to say sorry<br />

about Swindon, graffiti, smelly loos,<br />

posh idiots, Metro, mobile smarm,<br />

tippy-tappy laptops, fat thighs<br />

and elbows that invade.<br />

Oh, and we’re late.<br />

Deal with it.

For writer biographies / web links, please see<br />

the ‘Contributors’ page on our website.<br />

Thank you for reading!

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