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Niamh Elain:


Your mouth begging for an opening line – normally leaden with a complete lack of purpose, my tongue

twitches for the echo-taste of melon or a

rich lick of coins. And while tension lies languid underneath

the main body of the poem, the conclusion urges us to

sweat and stay breathy. Until then: a luxurious

stretch and long journey to the place

where you put your money

Occasionally, the body is somewhere else

Something happened which stopped the imagination working.

Stunted, the body was blind and locked in a basement.

It has before sat on a bench with parrots screeching round the square, felt itself

Flowing freely like warmed sand. It’s been soft & solid like soap, soaking in a summertime bath

cooled from the cold tap. There it’s seen the old sponge from inside the skull that weighs an

anchor – wiped with scum and hairs riddled through.

It isn’t grasped in a fist; you hold hands with this holey relic:

though misunderstood sometimes, it eats beans of wisdom,

likes to piece together puzzles and can lift the body out


Like the smell of my own sweat

I go to public toilets for a moment to myself

The hand driers don’t bother me

The stall protects a jewel the colour of fire, crackling into bloom


I brush my teeth, tongue and lips

I read in a magazine it stimulates the blood

Plumps them up and makes them kissable

They’re mouthing ‘me’

As I emerge from the lonely cubicle and face the mirror.

It shows me,

Upholds me,

Winks at me,

Slaps me in a way that I enjoy & saw someone ask for.

The jewel rotates with its own rhythm and becomes untouchable.


I don’t desire the dark,

Screaming instead of sleeping while you sweat through nightmares

I hear cats outside and the intruders

And want the mirror, Where my toothbrushing is put to use

Emily Blundell Owers:


I think of those posters for CREAM getting ready

Now defunct else functionally defunct (I don’t check) Liverpudlian Mecca

Of dance and the pull. Trefoil swirl connoting futurism

Whirring fans affixed to warehouse ceilings

Else slightly less than holy trinity of chemical, pheromone and bass.

The girls (on the poster) tell us they spend 3 hours preening

The blonde laying prostrate in folds of denim and duvet

Presumably satisfied

The redhead clutching a shift to her thin body, presumably not.

Both smiley - ‘Julie and Cathy’, sisters

At seven o’clock, Saturday night, South Wirral, Merseyside

-circa somewhere between twenty and thirty (!) years ago.

Immortalised would be the wrong word - save for the archive

Well preserved ephemera of serious collectors -

Theirs’ is but a glossy blip on the radar of nights like this

Unless, I guess

Julie or Cathy (their names in the corner)

Fell in love that night, with boys in shell suits

And shiny new trainers

Married them and left Merseyside to the sounds of house

Intwined with the rattle of cans on tarmac

Or fell out- some misunderstanding magnified under lasers

Finger painted in powders that transmute to

Slammed doors and missed calls.

I prefer to think that nothing happened

Julie and Cathy shared a cab, split the fare, a glass of water and a duvet

Dissected the minutia of the night between yawns

Then slept in a bed still strewn with the outfits they’d wear next week.

Christina Nteventzi

Let the flood of tears walk by

Tell her streams will heal the soul

Water wounds and all that grows

Like anew one can’t behold

What spirit is and one for all

Crescent moon that

meets the eye

Why do all the years go by

A thousand


And births arise

From where nocturnal

Light subsides

Mistress of darkness

Leads carnals to death

Plutonian River

Will drown your last breath

At last you lay down

As earth drills your head

Your eyes kissed to close,

By the angels of death,

Hellhounds the wounded,

Will feast on your flesh

Who where you my son,

In cradles of arms,

What where you my son,

Past wombs mourns of art,

What are you my son,

Past flesh life’s undone

Past time measured chronicles,

You die born become

The sun is an artist that paints earths delight,

The sun is your iris,

Your mirror that blinds

The thorns apple prickles

Your blood turns to wine

In moonlight you whistle

A free life begun

In moonlight you whistle

A free life begun.

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