A poem by IVY GAO.     plucked from the depths of the cosmos, snug as a pea, pearl-soft, toes to the moon, mind a starry sea. a twitchy hatchling, a tickly tadpole, a wriggling fish, soft as cookie dough. damp as a lilypad bathed by a sun-shower, velvety as the belly of a cherry-flower. slick as raw yolk, and twice as sunny, jumpy as a wood clock, pink as a bunny. hairless as an onion, a tulip bud scampering across the sky, a happy bug. warm as a kiss in the morning mist, a loaf of bread rising, damp with yeast. in the midsummer sun, a springy sprout curled like a question mark, tummy to the clouds.     Featured image courtesy of unsplash.com

i’m baby

A poem by BENJAMIN CAMPBELL.   Not a face you’d find photo-chopped on National Geographic fronts. Not safe enough for a shoot, anyway:   not with skies electrically alive, drowning in a constant droning that sets the teeth even during sleep. In khaki with old Kalashnikov too big, a brother’s hand-me-down, he speeds past ruined, horizonless sands   and scans for contrails as surely as a pupil bent to text. Inside him lies the unexploded man, the knot   not yet unravelled – then a bullet threads the needle of his eye. Stray chance. Then his body, like other sacks   is simply shrugged from out the back of the truck. Twenty other eyes, ten unexploded mines, watch on. Featured image source: shutterstock.com

Boy Soldier

A poem by JENNA HAM.   This is a day.   This idyllic space, though, might Disintegrate before my eyes Like a frame I’ve dropped on the kerb, If I’m not too careful.   This time in my life, Roof-bathing in sun spots, Is on the brink of ending.   I don’t feel so good, Mr Stark.     This all withers and fades in the stillness of a summer day. These trees firm in their roots, even, Are turning white in front of me. To be uncouth, un-cuð, to cut right down.   The shuttle of birds past my left side Reminds me to walk On this cable-car line that I take on every day.   Even my poems are starting to sound the same; Same the sound to starting are poems. My poems are losing their face.   But I’ve never seen the leaves look so dewy: Shiny,…Continue Reading

Instructions: Frame This

A poem by SAM HUDDLESTONE.   When handfuls of human teeth are spat out of Earth’s warming belly – with all the speed of a mounted bicycle wheel – spinning when spun – they clatter against glass shop fronts in what the newspapers call a ‘holy percussive splendour.’   Older necks crane idly from above dropping down and ‘what the hell is that?’ dances in the street to the sound of enlightening and enamel frailty are soon stopped with too much force.     The policeman, who refuses to be one, removes his helmet and prays solemnly to Apollo; the famous librarian shakes a wrinkly fist at an image of Diana, and tracks the cringey way it’s all been adopted not quite right.   I try to kick through the brick but only provide a rhythm stronger – a boot clattering cements – a tooth led orchestra – in such…Continue Reading

Teeth in the Streets

A poem by NICOLE FAN.   it has been a while since i awoke to the salute of a sunrise accustomed to darkness before dawn unused to seeing coral-tinted skies   and too long since the dining table was this full layers of dust wiped away making homes once empty now lived into     wanting to move forward with wistful prayers to go back we desperately crave a recent past while distant memories we forget   that there was a time before we’d severed the veins within when this was our normal and not the earth paused mid-spin   as the seconds stretch forward with hands past the clock so too does each day’s yearning but stay for now and remember this interlude, when the world resumes turning.     Featured image courtesy of S L on unsplash.com

a brief moment in time

A poem by SIMRAN DIVATIA. I stand, firm believer In the concept of self love, A hypocrite. A fraud, Cannot help But compare myself, To ‘prettier’ girls With skinnier waists And smaller thighs, I think we are all full Of positive advice, Until we’re talking To our reflections, And can’t meet our own eyes. Featured image by Flood G, source: Flickr. 

Hypocrite

A poem by CLAUDIO CAMBRA. noise Iʼm used to it. they said, I said, this is how it is. all this noise and everyoneʼs listening. everyoneʼs looking. talk to the ceiling but quietly, the keyholeʼs watching. somewhere out there the keyʼs going to come kill me. twenty thousand seatbelt threads ready to rip and throw me through the windshield and everyoneʼll hear me die. scratches on the wall I hear the nails scraping on the wall counting the times I breathe waiting for the last one to pass. shapeless faces staring through the frosted windows. listening through the blindfolds as I try to sleep. they tell me theyʼre coming. through the vents and through the windows. all I tell them is the same: Iʼm used to it. Featured image courtesy of Claudio Cambra Gomez

Schizophrenic

DIANA MOLDOVEANU explores conflicting voices in Sylvia Plath’s poem ‘A Mad Girl’s Love Song’. Sylvia Plath remains one of the most prolific poets in American literature, renowned for her lyrical genius as well as her tormented adolescence and an even more unsettling adulthood. Like any other art, poetry can be a cathartic tool in the process of self-understanding, and Plath uses it to explore her own internal suffering. ‘A Mad Girl’s Love Song’, written in 1951 and following her semi-autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, discusses the muddling of Plath’s often painful experiences of love and mental health issues. While the novel focuses on the degradation of the protagonist’s mental state, the poem comes as the quintessential expression of the interior predicament, focusing on a young girl’s experience of the first thrills of love. Torn between reality and disillusionment at the loss of her lover, her initial passion unfolds as a traumatic…Continue Reading

Love’s Madness

A poem by ELLIOT JAMES SMITH. No one sleeps in this city, no one, no one sleeps, not tonight. Tonight we’ll listen to Zarathustra and read the new Bible. Tonight we’ll walk through the streets of the Old City, though the streets, the twisting, turning, winding, weaving streets, and unlink all the hands that are linked because sleeplessness is found in solitude. Tonight we’ll kick everyone out of our beds and leave them sat on their luggage in Sants Station like tourists without a map, robbed of all identification in the Ramblas, the bars or the beach. We’ll call them Morpheus and refuse to slumber under warm Christmas lights and Coca-Cola Santa Claus, under shiny new blinking iPhones and bottomless beer bottles. This night we’ll celebrate Samhain instead of Halloween and wish the mainstream media happy Hanukkah because our name is not Palinurus any longer and we drowned all the Gods…Continue Reading

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

SAYEH YOUSEFI reviews an event at the British Library delving into Sylvia Plath’s personal letters and the light they shed on her as a writer. Decades after her untimely death, the life and works of Sylvia Plath are regarded as one of the pinnacles of literary curiosity. One of the most acclaimed poets of her generation and a pioneer for women writers, Plath’s personal life is often overshadowed by her grave, her public reputation and her, at times, tragic work. In an effort to gain a greater understanding into the life and thoughts of Plath, editors Karen V. Kukil and Peter K. Steinburg have curated The Letters of Sylvia Plath Volume II: 1956–1963. Published by Faber and Faber, this new volume consists of a collection of letters from the later years of Plath’s life, providing readers and scholars insight into her work and personal life. They give a new look…Continue Reading

Triple-Threat Woman

A poem by XARA ZABIHI DUTTON. (for the boy who goes to the gym after his lecture) His soles step worn pavements, Jumping recognisable cracks Building the palace of the body His soles pad inside the grey obelisk Seeking amber-lit convocation Engineering the palace of the mind One holds a protein shake before his torso The other clutches a leather satchel at his side   Both share a grim demeanor instead of a smile, Lips pinned by unpronounced cases.   Monochromatic concepts strike the lines of his brow Engorge the folds of his eyes,   Yet they are one in inflections which concord: deconstructing Demonstratives by hand Spines exhorted to curvature, by their labour they are hardened. Repeated patterns wear paths into trenches, Intensity transmutes into dogma. Seeking to establish a stable identity, They sacrifice their porousness; calcify. As brittle as they are dog-eared, They close in on themselves, Drawing…Continue Reading

How Old English Works