California skies are blue and taste of sunlight and cold wind. I once submerged a soybean seed for science class. Twin tendrils grew long and cynical. And withered in the late weeks of September. Here in polluted airways and toxic sunsets I cling to the ghostly strands of your smile.
I pointed at the stars – far away, dead as diamonds, watching us with gleaming eyes. You bent my glance towards earth and said that the starry sky is found here: Near as now. Adjacent and alive. You taught me that all flowers are stars – and earth is […]
All the whales wonder at the new guy in the sea. Metal, finless, with his one stalk eye. The new guy’s not real social, he cruises by himself. And rumor has it, he’s controlled by little people from somewhere else.
Summers ago I went tomato picking in the greenhouse. I remember it so well – The hot, sticky smell of the air around us Contrasting with the cool, strangely calming smell of the fruit, Shiny, red and speckled, Wonderfully different from all others, It was the one for me. Small and round But hard at […]
This house is too well-known to me. It creaks In high winds when the ocean blows them in. It murmurs to itself. I hear the thin Soft whispers of its voice pour through the leaks. I think you hear them too. These old walls seek To hem us like the mountains, pen us in. The […]
I’ve been biting my nails For as long as I can recall. For years they were slivers Of white, on pink, Tauntingly small. My friends and parents Would badger me, In the nicest possible way, Hoping secretly For them to be long as the Yangtze. Then one day, a few weeks […]
There once was a man from Kashmir, Who was Muslim and lived over here, When he went to the mosque, Some youths shouted, “Get lost!” And hurled a bottle of beer. This rather depressed the Kashmiri, As he set off home, munching a sarnie (Halal, of course, With a sheep as its source) And […]
Late last summer, I wore gingham and brought you fruit from next door, scrumped. I wanted to crunch the flesh and let the juice dribbledown your chin as we kissed, and mingle the sweetness. I had painted my fingers and toes and eyelids with colours you liked And you licked my sticky lips, shiny dappled […]
The garden constructed our swings; scaffolding that once bespectacled the house became a skeletal tent, spelling out an iron alphabet. A letter for each of us. We kicked away the earth, tipped the world on its axis of falling blue skies, and hurled our heads against clotting clouds. I flew up to places […]
“Can you feel the year changing?” January 1st, and my fingers have gone blue Holding hands at a street party at 00:02 And we’re praying for a thaw, huddled in each other’s coats Waiting for a signal to go out into the world And make it ours while we still can, Before our youth has […]
Jazz likes to play in the background As if it has a right to be there. The clouds outside clog up the sky, and the open window lets them in, Lets them seep into the furniture and darken the room, Covering everything. I can’t actually see you anymore; There is a thick blanket […]
Other people live in fear of gun massacres, heart attacks, car smashes, plane crashes, horrific back-street slaughters. But me? I can tell you my future: all two hours and twenty-six minutes of it. I can tell you how I will be swaddled in wires like a new-born in a blanket; how plastic and metal […]
At the top of Palatine Hill, you stand cradling an infant, a stained glass miniature I have clumsily leaded with the cracks of a dropped photo frame, its gentle clouds now a mass of teeth above your jagged body. A cheap mosaic like graffiti sprayed over a brick wall, so sorrily childish hands have […]
A woman stands and opens her mouth to screech: “These HORRORS, these EVILS, these CRUDE-“/ While pamphlets are scattered like holy white birds. He pleads with them. Islam! Jihad: Striving For Peace!/ “CRUDE and BLASPHEMOUS-” Just some old woman in some shopping lane, in the skin-stripping wind. Words carry. Heaved and tossed by the […]
The school, sandstone, soot-darkened, A maze of striplit corridors and chilly stairwells Drilled through by bells at nine and four, Is a site of great importance. It should be protected. It should be blue-plaqued, revered, respected; For in these classrooms, The atom was split for the first time. Each year it was seen to […]
we wonder how black-and-white has come out in polychrome, and why so many are blank or blurred. We say to ourselves in the dark empty evenings, holding each other to broken promises, watching the day’s curtain draw itself early, where in these tableaux are the unspoken words, the words which hang for ever. But all […]
The corridors all smelt like hairspray not her perfume, even as she passed so he pretended it was her hairspray (not that she used it) and he sat next to her in history lessons clammily holding his lighter under the desk. Sometimes he wanted to start a fire, just in case she […]
A sort of curdled-milk sky and the council houses A-reg cars and the iron terraces, and football shirts on the way to the shops the car stereos and the drum and bass. The Greengrocers shop and the boarded night clubs, and the wind-swept Tesco bags, on fly-posted lampposts. A sort of […]
A winner of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2006 and 2007, Richard O’Brien’s publications include The Emmores (The Emma Press, 2014) and A Bloody Mess (Valley Press, 2015), and work in a range of magazines and anthologies. Richard won an Eric Gregory Award for his own poetry from the Society of Authors in 2017, and currently […]
A winner of Foyle Young Poets of the Year 2005 and 2006.
A winner of Foyle Young Poets of the Year 2006. Charlotte’s pamphlet Seventeen Horse Skeletons is published by tall-lighthouse. Charlotte’s poems are about journeys, internal and external, real and imagined. Using both strict form and free verse, her pamphlet tells stories of the everyday alongside semi-mythical beings and strange landscapes, from the bottom of the […]
A winner of Foyle Young Poets of the Year 2005, 2006 and 2007, Charlotte has been published in The Salt Book of Younger Poets and Stop Sharpening Your Knives 3 & 4. She was poetry submissions editor for Pomegranate, an online magazine that showcased poets under thirty.
Annie Katchinska’s pamphlet Faber New Poets 6 was produced as part of Faber’s New Poets series, which identified and supported emerging talents at an early stage in their career through a programme of mentorship, bursary and pamphlet publication. Annie’s poetry was featured in Bloodaxe’s Voice Recognition: 21 poets for the 21st century. Annie has had […]
Adham Smart is a poet and linguist from London. He was a winner of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award in 2006, 2008, and 2009, and has had writing in The Cadaverine Anthology (Cadaverine Magazine, 2009), Korsakoff’s Paper Chain (Sidekick Books, 2010) and The Salt Book of Younger Poets (Salt, 2011). Adham was […]